Ancient news stories

Prehistoric Burials and Artifacts Unearthed in Wiltshire UK
14th October 2017 | archaeology.org | Ancient

Prehistoric burials were uncovered during construction work at a military base located about a mile and a half from Stonehenge.  Prehistoric pottery was found in the ditch fill which sealed the grave, which suggests the burial is also prehistoric. One body was placed in a crouched position, and such burials typically date between 2400 to 1600 BC.

Viking Silk Burial Garments Embroidered with “Allah” and “Ali” in Kufic Script
14th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient

When archaeologists originally analyzed the burial clothes found at Viking graves in Sweden, they were working during World War II and looking at the garments through the lens of a Nordic-focused ideology. They missed a fascinating detail. As textile archaeologist Annika Larsson discovered when she re-examined the silks, which had been in storage for decades, the burial clothes had woven bands of silk patterned with Kufic characters referring to Allah and Ali, one of the most important figures in Islam.

How Osiris, First Ruler of Egypt, Became God of the Underworld
14th October 2017 | ancient-origins.net | Ancient

Osiris was one of the most prominent gods in the ancient Egyptian pantheon. This prominent deity was a member of the Ennead (known also as the Great Ennead and the Ennead of Heliopolis), a group of nine Egyptian deities worshipped primarily in Heliopolis, but whose influence spread to the rest of Egypt as well.

Ancient Tasmanian Stone Tools Seized from Home After Online Auction Tip-off
14th October 2017 | theguardian.com | Ancient

More than 130 suspected relic aboriginal stone tools were seized in Sydney Australia as part of investigation into the illegal sales of indigenous cultural material which carries penalties up to $795,000.

The United States Officially Withdraws From UNESCO
13th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Ancient

And so ends America’s efforts to list some of the most distinctive ancient earthworks and irreplaceable historical treasures in the world on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The official effective date of withdrawal is December 2018.  Hopefully we can still celebrate these ancient sites, cherish them, protect them, and educate the world about them.

The Mysterious Tribe of Blue Eyed Native Americans
13th October 2017 mysteriousuniverse.org | Ancient, Humans

History holds many oddities that we may never fully understand, either through incomplete documentation, disinterest at the time, or simply a big question mark that hangs over all. Among these are mysterious tribes of people that have been encountered and confronted in all corners of the globe, often vanishing before we really understand them and leaving us perplexed at just who they were or where their origins lie. One such tribe was a mysterious group of Native Americans who appeared to explorers as something quite European in nature, although their ways and beginnings have always been cloaked in shadows. Known mostly from historical accounts, their origins remain murky, their lineage uncertain, and they are a historical curiosity we may never fully understand.

Evolution: The Beneficiaries of Mass Extinction
13th October 2017 | heritagedaily.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Mass extinctions were followed by periods of low diversity in which certain new species dominated wide regions of the supercontinent Pangaea, reports a new study.

DNA Study: South Americans Did Not Populate Easter Island
13th October 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Ancient, Humans

Researchers from UC Santa Cruz analysed bone fragments from the ancient skeletal remains of five people, which were excavated in the 1980s,to make their discovery.

DNA Study: Newfoundland Populated Multiple Times by Distinct Groups
13th October 2017 popular-archaeology.com | Ancient, Humans

Indigenous people have been on the far northeastern edge of Canada for most of the last 10,000 years, moving in shortly after the ice retreated from the Last Glacial Maximum. Archaeological evidence suggests that people with distinct cultural traditions inhabited the region at least three different times with a possible hiatus for a period between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago.

How the People of Wales Became Welsh
13th October 2017 | heritagedaily.com | Ancient, Humans

Britain in the early Middle Ages was very different to the country it is now. Rather than England, Scotland and Wales, the island consisted of numerous kingdoms, the fate and fortune of which fluctuated, as some kings gained lordship over others, some smaller kingdoms were swallowed by their larger neighbours and others fell to foreign invaders – including Vikings, in the ninth and tenth centuries.

Obsidian Artifacts Found at Maya Site in Guatemala
13th October 2017 | ablogabouthistory.com | Ancient

42 obsidian artifacts have been found at the Maya site of Ceibal in Guatemala.  The precious rocks were thought to hold special spiritual or supernatural significance for Preclassical Mayan people.

Partial Statues of King Psamtik I, Ramses II, and Ra-Horakhti Discovered in Egypt
13th October 2017 | heritagedaily.com | Ancient

Archaeologists working in Souq al-Kharnis in the Matariya district of Egypt have uncovered a large number of fragments of the lower part of a King Psamtik I colossus, fragments of a colossal statue of King Ramses II, and part of the statue of god Ra-Horakhti.

Megalithic Tombs on the Brink of Destruction in Poland
12th October 2017 popular-archaeology.com | Ancient

Megalithic tombs in Poland sit atop a coal deposit.  Will a small mining company destroy a cultural heritage older than the Egyptian Pyramids?

The Enigmatic Imiut: Magical Gear for Ancient Egyptian Priests
12th October 2017 | ancient-origins.net | Ancient

The Imiut is a peculiar artifact which has puzzled Egyptologists for a very long time. It was worshipped for its supposed magical powers, making it a fetish, but no one is entirely sure what it was actually used for. In art, the Imiut is a stuffed skin of an animal, normally a big cat such as a leopard, or occasionally a bull. This religious object was already in use as far back as the First Dynasty.

The Big Egyptian Sphinx Cover-Up: Hidden Chambers, an Unexcavated Mound, and Endless Denial
12th October 2017 | ancient-origins.net | Ancient

In 1935, Egypt was still the main draw for archaeologists digging for answers. However, right now, our attention is focused on the latest attempt to hide the real ancient history of an unknown civilization that left us with great wonders both above and below the sands of the Giza Plateau.

The Ancient Native American Owl Totem of Hontoon Island, Florida
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Humans

The 10-foot owl, carved from a single piece of southern hard pine was unearthed in 1955. It once guarded the shore of the 1,600-acre island, which is now a state park. Hontoon Island has a long history of indigenous habitation going back thousands of years. Similar effigies of an otter and a pelican were also found there.  Researchers disagree on whether the totem was carved by the Mayaca tribe or the Timucuan indians, both of whom are now extinct.

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