Ancient news stories

Mysterious fossils find place on the tree of life
16th January 2017 | | Ancient

A strange animal that lived on the ocean floor 500 million years ago has been assigned to the tree of life, solving a long-held mystery.

The creature has eluded scientific classification since the first fossil was discovered 175 years ago.

Palaeontologists reveal 350m-year-old tropical Scotland bursting with life
16th January 2017 | | Ancient

I held in my hands one of the first animals to drag itself out of the water and onto land. Christened “Tiny”, she (I like to think it was female, but we can’t actually tell) is entombed in a chunk of boring, black rock. I ran my hands over the surface, feeling the bumps betraying a stone pregnant with fossils. Yet, from the outside there’s no sign of the treasure within: no one has ever actually seen it.

Ancient Toy Inspires Low-Cost Medical Diagnostic Tool
15th January 2017 | | Ancient, Tech

Modern medicine often feels like magic: A technician pricks your skin, draws a drop of blood and whisks it away into another room. Oftentimes, this gives the doctor enough information to make a diagnosis and prescribe a treatment. But for people in developing countries, these kinds of diagnostics can be more science fiction than reality.

Egyptian treasure riddle cracked after 160 years: Missing fragments reveal 3,400-year-old wooden box is linked to Pharaoh Amenhotep II
15th January 2017 | | Ancient

It was discovered in the 1850s, but details on this rare ancient Egyptian treasure have remained a mystery to experts.

Now, the 3,400-year-old fragmented wooden box has been pieced together by a museum in Scotland.

Swedish archaeologists discover 12 ancient Egyptian cemeteries near Aswan
15th January 2017 | Ancient

Swedish archaeologists have unearthed a dozen burial sites near the southern city of Aswan that date back almost 3,500 years to the New Kingdom era of ancient Egypt, the Antiquities Ministry said on Wednesday.

Dozens of Tombs and Mysterious Crocodile Remains Found in Egypt
15th January 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists excavating an ancient quarry site in Egypt have unearthed dozens of tombs cut out of rock, child burials, goat and sheep remains and, mysteriously, the full skeleton of a crocodile on the floor of a courtyard.

Stonehenge tunnel given green light after nearly 30 years of delays
14th January 2017 | | Ancient

A tunnel at Stonehenge has finally given the go-ahead after decades of delays despite fears that it could blight the historic landscape.

The Government has confirmed that it intends to turn the whole length the A303, which passes within a few hundred metres of Stonehenge, into a dual carriageway with a 1.8 mile long tunnel.

Ancient human disturbances may skew understanding of Amazon and its impact
14th January 2017 | Ancient

Pre-European human populations of the Amazon Basin may have affected our contemporary understanding of the forest’s structure and composition, and thus our calculations of its impact on carbon dioxide remediation, according to new findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Neanderthals Were People, Too
14th January 2017 | | Ancient

New research shows they shared many behaviors that we long believed to be uniquely human. Why did science get them so wrong?

We last shared an ancestor at some point between 500,000 and 750,000 years ago. Then our evolutionary trajectory split. We evolved in Africa, while the Neanderthals would live in Europe and Asia for 300,000 years. Or as little as 60,000 years. It depends whom you ask. It always does

Scientists investigate what nearly destroyed the Great Barrier Reef 125,000 years ago
14th January 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

A recent study found that the Great Barrier Reef was nearly destroyed roughly 125,000 years ago due to rapid sea-level rise from melting glaciers and polar ice sheets. If left unchecked, the Earth could be headed for similar sea levels in the future.

Why are most people right handed? The answer may be in the mouths of our ancestors
12th January 2017 | Ancient, Humans

Roughly 90% of humans are right-handed and this is one of the traits that separates us from most other primates who don’t really show any overall preference for left or right handedness.

It’s believed that handedness played an important role in human evolution, with a recent study on the earliest evidence of right-handedness in the fossil record shedding light on when and why this trait arose. Interestingly, the clues were found not in our ancient hands, but in our ancient teeth.

Ice Age ‘skeleton crew’ offers insights for today’s endangered species
12th January 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

The ghosts of Ice Age mammals can teach valuable, real-world lessons about what happens to an ecosystem when its most distinct species go extinct, according to a Yale University study.

Pile of Skeletons Found Inside 2,400-Year-Old Tomb in Iraq
12th January 2017 | | Ancient

A 2,400-year-old tomb filled with the skeletons of at least six people has been discovered in northern Iraq. Among the artifacts found in the tomb is a bracelet decorated with images of two snake heads peering at each other.

Oldest Evidence of Silk Found in 8,500-Year-Old Tombs
12th January 2017 | | Ancient

The oldest evidence of silk made by silkworms has been found buried in 8,500-year-old tombs in China, revealing that people may have used the luxurious material thousands of years earlier than previously thought, a new study finds.

Ancient Maya developed super highways network more than 1,000 years ago
11th January 2017 | | Ancient

Roads of more than 240 kilometers long designed, traced and built by the ancient Maya have been discovered in Guatemala, near the border with Mexico.

El Mirador is a late Maya preclassic city, located in Guatemala, in the heart of the Petén jungle, and it was recently revealed that the first network of super highways in the world was made there by this ancient civilization.

The Strange Case of the Minnesota Iceman
11th January 2017 | Ancient, Weird

The modern-day corpse of a human-like hominid, preserved in a block of ice, encountered by researchers in the 1960s, you say? Surely the zoological discovery of the century!

‘Sicilian Stonehenge’ discovered by amateur archaeologists
11th January 2017 | | Ancient

A group of friends stumbled across an unusual arrangement of stones in Sicily, which experts have now confirmed form a prehistoric sundial dating back to the Bronze Age.

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