Ancient news stories

Ancient Tomb Decorated with Vibrant Murals Found in China
21st March 2017 | | Ancient

A 1,000-year-old circular tomb, whose walls are decorated with colorful murals, has been discovered in Datong City, in northern China.

Because the tomb’s entranceway is sealed off with bricks, archaeologists had to enter through a hole in the deteriorating arch-shaped roof.

Mystery of the ‘pyramid of China’: Archaeologists discover strange tomb under a construction site
21st March 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists have unearthed a pyramid-shaped tomb under a construction site in central China.

Residents are amazed after the unusual ancient burial site was discovered in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, with one calling it ‘magical’.

Common Tools or Ancient Advanced Technology? How Did the Egyptians Bore Through Granite?
21st March 2017 | | Ancient

Ancient Egypt is known for many technological and artistic achievements, constructing pyramids and temples, inventing a system of writing, hieroglyphs, and making advancements in medicine, astronomy, and many other fields. One area for which the Egyptians are particularly famous, of course, is their stone working. A particularly controversial issue is how the ancient Egyptians were able to cut and bore through solid granite – which is considerably more difficult to do than cutting through softer, sedimentary rock such as limestone or sandstone.

Related: Egyptian statue recently unearthed is not Ramses II

Formed by Megafloods, This Place Fooled Scientists for Decades
21st March 2017 | Ancient, Earth

Geologists couldn’t account for the strange landforms of eastern Washington State. Then a high school teacher dared to question the scientific dogma of his day

It was geological heresy. For almost a century, ever since Charles Lyell’s 1830 text Principles of Geology set the standards for the field, it had been assumed that geological change was gradual and uniform—always the product of, as Lyell put it, “causes now in operation.” And floods of quasi-Biblical proportions certainly did not meet that standard. It didn’t matter how meticulous Bretz’s research was, or how sound his reasoning might be; he seemed to be advocating a return to geology’s dark ages, when “scientists” used catastrophic explanations for the Earth’s features to buttress theological presumptions about the age of a Creator’s divine handiwork. It was unacceptable. How did canyons and cataracts form? By rivers, of course, over millions of years. Not gigantic floods. Period.

How to Fight Like a Viking
19th March 2017 | Ancient

From the day in 793 when Viking warriors descended on an isolated monastery in the north of England, the Norsemen became an object of fascination and terror for medieval Europeans. “Never before,” an English monk later wrote, “has such terror appeared in Britain as we have now suffered from a pagan race.”

Look on my works, ye mighty … Ozymandias statue found in mud
18th March 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists from Egypt and Germany have found an eight-metre (26ft) statue submerged in groundwater in a Cairo slum that they say probably depicts revered Pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.

Alt: Egypt archaeologists discover massive statue in Cairo slum

Birds Evolved From Dinosaurs In a ‘Supercharged’ Evolutionary Surge
18th March 2017 | Ancient

Bird evolution is like a Legend of Zelda puzzle: the pieces may take a while to come together, but once they do, it’s next-level.

Paleontologists have created what they claim is the most detailed family tree of meat-eating dinosaurs ever, revealing fresh insights into the origin of birds.

Figuring Out When and Why Squids Lost Their Shells
18th March 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

Shaped like a torpedo and about as swift, squids are jet-propelled underwater predators. Together with their nimble brethren, the octopus and cuttlefish, they make for an agile invertebrate armada.

But that was not always the case.

Vision, not limbs, led fish onto land 385 million years ago
18th March 2017 | | Ancient

A new study suggests it was the power of the eyes and not the limbs that first led our aquatic ancestors to make the leap from water to land. The researchers discovered that eyes nearly tripled in size before — not after — the water-to-land transition. Crocodile-like animals saw easy meals on land and then evolved limbs that enabled them to get there, the researchers argue.

Ancient reptile mystery solved as 2 extinct species found to be the same
18th March 2017 | | Ancient

Ichthyosaurs, which are similar-shaped to dolphins and sharks, but are reptiles, swam the seas for millions of years during the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. They were the first, large extinct reptiles brought to the attention of the scientific world.

Oldest croc eggs discovered in dinosaur nest
18th March 2017 | | Ancient

The oldest crocodilian eggs known to science have been discovered in the cliffs of western Portugal.

They are so well preserved that they give an insight into the “mother croc” that laid them 152 million years ago.

Evidence found of ostriches in India 25,000 years ago
18th March 2017 | Ancient

A team of researchers with members from several institutions in India has found evidence of ostrich relatives living in India as far back as 25,000 years ago. In their paper uploaded to the open access site PLOS ONE, the group describes finding avian eggshells, their DNA analysis of them and why they believe the finding bolsters certain aspects of continental drift theory.

De-extinction probably isn’t worth it
18th March 2017 | | Ancient, Tech

The prospect of resurrecting mammoths is back in the news after Harvard geneticist George Church announced last month that he may be only two years away from creating a mammoth-elephant hybrid fetus. That’s still a long way from a living mammoth — let alone herds of the animals — and scientists are skeptical that Church will be successful with even a hybrid fetus. The scientific hurdles that will have to be overcome are huge. But the problems with de-extinction only start there

Welcome to Pleistocene Park: Russian scientists reveal plan to restore part of Arctic Siberia to its Ice Age condition (complete with lab-grown woolly mammoths)
18th March 2017 | | Ancient, Earth, Tech

At a 50-square mile nature reserve tucked deep in Arctic Siberia, scientists are working on a radical plan to fight climate change by reviving the ancient grasslands of the last Ice Age – and the beasts that once roamed them.

While this period is better known for the glaciers that swathed the continents until 12,000 years ago, the grasslands of the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem also dominated much of the surface.

Cold extermination: One of greatest mass extinctions was due to an ice age and not to Earth’s warming
18th March 2017 | | Ancient

The Earth has known several mass extinctions over the course of its history. One of the most important happened at the Permian-Triassic boundary 250 million years ago. Over 95% of marine species disappeared and, up until now, scientists have linked this extinction to a significant rise in Earth temperatures. But researchers have now discovered that this extinction took place during a short ice age which preceded the global climate warming. It’s the first time that the various stages of a mass extinction have been accurately understood and that scientists have been able to assess the major role played by volcanic explosions in these climate processes.

Aboriginal DNA study reveals 50,000-year story of sacred ties to land
17th March 2017 | | Ancient

A study of ancient Aboriginal hair samples has revealed distinct Aboriginal populations were present in Australia with little geographical movement for up to 50,000 years.

The discovery of such a long, continuous presence in the those regions emphasised why land was so sacred to Aboriginal people, researchers said.

Alt: Australia was colonized by a single group 50,000 years ago

Neanderthals ‘self-medicated’ for pain
16th March 2017 | | Ancient

Neanderthals dosed themselves with painkillers and possibly penicillin, according to a study of their teeth.

One sick Neanderthal chewed the bark of the poplar tree, which contains a chemical related to aspirin.

Alt: Neanderthals discovered antibiotics 50,000 years before us: Caveman ‘Sid’ is found with medicinal plants stuck between his teeth which he used to treat toothache and stomach pains

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