Ancient news stories

Stone sculptures smashed by Isil in ancient city of Palmyra restored to former glory by Italian experts
19th February 2017 | | Ancient

Priceless stone sculptures that were smashed with hammers by Islamic State extremists in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra have been meticulously restored by Italian experts with the help of laser scans and 3D printers.

The 2nd century AD funerary busts – one of a man, the other of a woman – were vandalised by Isis terrorists after they overran the archeological site and its museum in 2015.

Found: A Crucial Map of Tokyo’s Ancient Edo Castle, Which Was Ready for War
19th February 2017 | | Ancient

The Edo Castle in Tokyo—now part of the city’s Imperial Palace—was once much grander than the buildings and walls that still exist today. That’s because it was originally designed as a home for the country’s shoguns, the line of dictators appointed by the Emperor who ruled Japan for centuries until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.

Related: Tomb with ancient mural surveyed near Fukushima plant

Unearthing Armenia’s Giant, Ancient Earthenware
19th February 2017 | | Ancient

The enormous 240-gallon clay vessel, or karas, was nestled snugly in the corner of Asli Saghatelyan’s maran (storage cellar) in Chiva, a modest village in the Vayots Dzor region of Armenia. Asli and her son Mushegh watched with curious faces as I beheld their egg-shaped earthenware with awe.

Ancient Jars Hold Clues About Earth’s Fluctuating Magnetic Fields
18th February 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Space

The Earth’s magnetic field — which deflects harmful space radiation from the surface — has been weakening, losing about 10 percent of its strength over the last two centuries, and the decay may have been accelerating in recent years.

That weakening led to speculation that the magnetic field may be on the cusp of disappearing during a reversal, when the planet’s north and south poles flip, which could have consequences for civilization and life. But geoscientists have little knowledge of what has been occurring with the magnetic field during recent millenniums.

Alt: Astonishing geomagnetic spike hit the ancient kingdom of Judah

Volcanic Eruption May Have Plunged the Maya into a “Dark Age”
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

A new study of ancient ash links an El Chichón eruption to a time of inexplicable cultural upheaval in Maya history

The Maya, who thrived from A.D. 250 to 900, are widely considered the most advanced civilization in the pre-Columbian Americas. They developed a writing system, precise calendars, new mathematics and magnificent cities with pyramids that still cast their shadows today.

400-year-old temple is revealed after decades underwater as drought drains the Mexican lake which flooded it
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

A historic church which has been completely underwater for decades is still nearly perfectly intact, a drought has revealed. The Dominican church in Mexico was submerged by water in the 1960s, but drone footage shows that the stone structure has not crumbled beneath the surface.

The church is believed to have been built by monks and nuns in the 1500s, when they arrived in Mexico to spread Christianity.

Ancient Pueblo Used Golden Ratio to Build the Sun Temple
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

The Great Pyramids in Giza, the Parthenon in Athens and Chichen Itza in Mexico have something in common. Besides attracting hordes of tourists, all of these architectural wonders appear to use the golden ratio.

Viking VIP: Grave Belonging to ‘Warrior of High Status’ Uncovered
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

About 1,000 years ago, Vikings dug a grave for a “warrior of high status” and buried him in a boat that was overflowing with grave goods, including a hefty sword and a broad-bladed ax, according to a new study.

Related: Romanian skeleton puzzles archaeologists

The look of love: Scientists use 3D mapping to reveal what St Valentine looked like before his execution 1,700 years ago
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

Scientists have for the first time revealed the face of the patron saint of lovers, who paid a heavy price for his defence of romance 1,700 years ago.

Experts in Brazil have revealed what Saint Valentine looked like, using state-of-the-art 3D interactive technology after studying the ancient holy man’s skull.

Face of Orkney’s St Magnus reconstructed
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

A facial reconstruction has been made of Orkney’s St Magnus to help mark the 900th anniversary of his death.

Related: Did a 17th century Slovakian lawyer invent the smiley face and the hashtag? Curators find the ‘world’s first emoji’ in a 382-year-old memo

Oldest Prostate Stones Ever Found Suggest a Man Was in Agony 12,000 Years Ago
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

Italian and British researchers investigating a prehistoric cemetery in central Sudan have found what they believe are the oldest prostate stones, revealing the disease affected men as early as 12,000 years ago.

Archaeologists to break ground at biblical site where Ark of the Covenant stood
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

One of the few remaining unstudied major biblical sites, where according to the Bible the Ark of the Covenant was kept for two decades, will be excavated by archaeologists this summer for the first time.

Alt: New Search Begins for the Ark of the Covenant

What is the Mysterious Handbag Seen in Ancient Carvings Across Cultures and Countries?
18th February 2017 | | Ancient

One of the more mysterious symbols that has been found in ancient carvings is an image that looks uncannily like a handbag. The shape appears in depictions made by the Sumerians of Iraq, in the ruins of ancient Turkish temples, in decorations of the Maori of New Zealand, and in crafts made by the Olmecs of Central America. Handbags can be seen in the art of disparate cultures from around the world and throughout time, with the first known instance of a handbag appearing at the end of the Ice Age

Winston Churchill’s views on aliens revealed in lost essay
18th February 2017 | | Ancient, Space, Weird

A newly unearthed essay by Winston Churchill reveals he was open to the possibility of life on other planets.

Churchill’s interest in science is well-known: he was the first British prime minister to employ a science adviser, Frederick Lindemann, and met regularly with scientists such as Sir Bernard Lovell, a pioneer of radio astronomy.

Is There a Secret Chamber in King Tut’s Tomb? A Final Hunt Will Investigate
17th February 2017 | | Ancient

The search for a secret chamber in the tomb of King Tutankhamun will resume later this year when a team of Italian researchers begin the most in-depth investigation ever of the boy king’s burial site.

A team from the Polytechnic University of Turin will scan the tomb and its surroundings with advanced radar technology.

Swiss archaeologist shines light on Sudan’s buried past
17th February 2017 | | Ancient

A veteran Swiss archaeologist has unearthed three temples in Sudan built thousands of years ago, a discovery he says promises to throw new light on Africa’s buried ancient past.

The round and oval shaped structures dating from 1,500 to 2,000 BC were found late last year not far from the famed archaeological site of Kerma in northern Sudan.

This architecture is unknown … there is no example in central Africa or in the Nile Valley of this architecture

How places can influence the mind – and vice versa
17th February 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Psychogeography – the idea that places can soak up stories and legends – is the subject of a new book

Not far from where I live there’s a landscape that’s soaked in apocalyptic imagery. It’s a place that has soaked up history and stories, legends and folklore, tales that sit and ferment in the unforgiving stone, long outlasting those frail humans who first forged them. It has what we might call psychogeography, an entwining of people and place, where humans influence the land and the land, in turn, makes its indelible mark on generations of people.

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