Ancient news stories

Scientists Reconstruct Paleoindian Bison Hunt from 10,300 year old Bone Bed in Kansas
1st September 2017 | | Ancient

Fascinating article retells the step-by-step story of how scientists, led by a geoarchaeologist, recreated the scene from a time thousands of years ago when a small band of Paleoindian hunter-gatherers on foot without bows pulled off a largely successful slaughter of skittish longhorn bison in a waterhole ambush at a place now called Bear Creek, Kansas.

Nevada’s Lovelock Cave: A Native American Tale of Giants, or a Giant Tale of Fiction?
1st September 2017 | | Ancient, Weird

The Paiutes, a Native American tribe indigenous to parts of Nevada, have an oral tradition about a violent race of red-haired, white giants or ‘barbarians’ that their ancestors referred to as the “Si-Te-Cah” or Saiduka.   The story was written down in a book in 1882 by Sarah Winnemucca Hopkins, daughter of a Paiute Indian chief.  There is some debate as to the veracity of the claims made regarding the Lovelock Giants.  During initial cave excavations, there were reports of mummified remains being found of two red-haired giants up to 8 feet tall.  But as the article explains, however, only a giant mystery remains.

Potato Cultivation May Have Begun in Utah 11,000 Years Ago
1st September 2017 | Ancient, Earth

New archaeological research from Utah shows that prehistoric inhabitants of the Escalante Valley could have been nourishing themselves with wild potato tubers for thousands of years.  This is the earliest evidence of potato use in North America to date.  The wild Four Corners potato can yield up to 125 small tubers on one plant.

New Findings May Evidence Late Pleistocene People in the Americas
1st September 2017 | Ancient

Analysis has been done on prehistoric human remains found in Chan Hol cave in Tulum, Mexico, which had a stalagmite growing through its pelvic bone. Findings suggest that the was accessed during the late Pleistocene, roughly 13,000 years ago, providing one of the oldest examples of a human settler in the Americas.

After Incredible Finds, Angkor Archaeologists Wrap Up Dig
1st September 2017 | Ancient
After 13 days of excavation that yielded artifacts beyond their dreams, archaeologists and researchers wrapped up work in Angkor Archaeological Park in Cambodia this week. Now they must get on with the job of assessing what they found.
Eternal Kiss of Hasanlu Tepe Raises Questions of Ancient Love and Gender
1st September 2017 | | Ancient

The genders of these two 2,800 year old skeletons found in Iran have been the subject of much debate. Despite many researchers suggesting that the remains of both individuals belong to males, there are as many scientists who have concluded that the individual on the left was a female. The individual on the left – whose sex isn’t defined with certainty – was around 30–35 years old at the time of death, while the individual on the right is believed to have been a young male of around 20-22 years of age

Amazingly Well-Preserved 3,500 year old Lunchbox Found in Swiss Alps
1st September 2017 | Ancient

An incredibly rare wooden container from the Bronze Age has been discovered on the Lötschberg mountain in Switzerland, still with detectable traces of the grains that the box carried in 1,500 BC.  Analysis of the grains revealed them to be spelt, emmer, and barley.

Research on the Meaning of Ancient Geometric Earthworks in Brazilian Amazonia
1st September 2017 | Ancient

In this article, researchers from Helsinki examine precolonial geometric earthworks, dated to 5,000 years ago, in the southwestern Amazonia from the point of view of indigenous peoples and archaeology. The study shows that the earthworks, labeled the Geoglyphs of Acre, were once important ritual communication spaces.  Contemporary indigenous peoples of the area still protect earthwork sites as sacred places and avoid using them for mundane activities.

New Energy in a Land of Clay, Tin, and Ancient Trails
1st September 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

This picturesque word-painting from Guardian’s Country Diary tells of Cornwall’s St. Dennis landscape then and now – the legendary hunting grounds of King Arthur form the waterlogged bog and headstreams of the river Fal, overlooked by a moss-covered fort. Tin working was recorded here in the 11th and 12th centuries; and from 1930 to 1950 sand and gravel were extracted.  The area is now designated a nature preserve.

Indian Archaeologists Refute Claim that Taj Mahal was Once Hindu Temple
1st September 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists have refuted a petition by six Indian lawyers claiming that the iconic Taj Mahal, built by a Mughal emperor in the 17th century as a mausoleum to his dead wife, was in reality a Hindu temple whose original name was Tejo Mahalaya.

Neolithic Caves of Turkey Being Intentionally Dynamited and Submerged
31st August 2017 | Ancient, Earth
The Tigris River gave rise to some of the world’s first settlements, and soon its waters will submerge some of their remnants as crews have begun dynamiting Neolithic-era caves near Hasankeyf, Turkey. The early Mesopotamian settlement will soon be submerged by a hydroelectric dam project.  According to the article, protestors believe the short-term gains in energy production do not justify the destruction of a 12,000-year-old settlement, especially when the dam is only expected to be operational for 50-70 years before being decommissioned.
Paleoclimate: Volcanism Caused Ancient Global Warming
31st August 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

A study published in Nature confirms that volcanism set off one of Earth’s fastest global-warming events called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.  This upheaval 56 million years ago was the result of Greenland separating from Europe during the opening of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Is Spain’s First Historian of the Americas Buried Under Columbus’ Tomb?
31st August 2017 | | Ancient

In 1992, a few meters underneath Columbus’ tomb in Santo Domingo, an older crypt was found whose brick floor and size attested that someone of importance had been buried there. Esteban Prieto Vicioso, the cathedral’s head of conservation thinks he knows who that individual may have been: Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo.  Oviedo’s 1526 book was the first to introduce indigenous foods, plants, and techniques that are now commonplace including pineapple, tobacco, and the barbecue.

Study Dates Corn as Staple Crop in Central America 4,300 years ago
31st August 2017 | Ancient, Earth

Corn, known also as maize, is a vital crop throughout the Americas. First domesticated in Mexico some 9,000 years ago, scientists are still working to determine when it became the staple crop we know today. In a recently published paper, a team of scientists suggests that maize was fully domesticated as a staple crop in Honduras around 4,300 years ago.

Ancient Whales Were Wolves of the Sea
31st August 2017 | Ancient, Animal Life

The biggest animals on the planet right now are baleen whales, which upped their size thanks to efficient filter-feeding. How they got that specialized system has long been a mystery, but a new study nixes some theories about it evolving out of ancient whales’ dentition. This article contains a link to the open-access study from whence its research comes.

Archaeologists Unearth Mass Graves from Spanish Civil War
31st August 2017 | | Ancient

Four mass graves have now been excavated near the central Spanish city of Valladolid containing 228 bodies thought to be among more than 2,000 mass burial sites that exist across Spain from the civil war in the 1930s.  Historians estimate as many as 500,000 people were killed on both sides combined.

News stories covering history, archaeology, ancient Egypt, and mysteries of the past.