Ancient news stories
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.