Ancient news stories

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.

Volcanic Eruptions that Shaped Oregon May Have Had Chilling Effect
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Earth

A series of volcanic eruptions starting 17.5 million years ago formed the Columbia River Basalt Group, a complex of rock formations that was created over a few million years as lava erupted from fissures in the ground and seeped over the landscape. The eruptions deposited about 10,000 cubic miles of rock and likely released enough sulfur gas to cool the whole planet down.

A Moorish Palace in Florida Houses an Ancient Egyptian Sacred Cat Rug
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Weird

Of all the oddities in St. Augustine, Florida, the Moorish Alhambra palace-inspired Villa Zorayda Museum may possess the oddest.  Legend holds that a mummified foot wrapped in a rug was acquired from a pyramid in Egypt sometime prior to 1913.  The rug itself, which depicts a large stylized feline much like an African wildcat is on display inside the castle. Experts determined the textile to be over 2,400 years old, making it arguably one of the oldest rugs in the world.  An examination of the rug confirmed that it is woven entirely from cat hair.

Earliest Evidence of Domesticated Sorghum Discovered in Sudan
12th October 2017 | sci-news.com | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Sorghum was domesticated from its wild ancestor more than 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence uncovered by University College London archaeologists in Sudan.

Hadrian’s Cavalry: Unique Wind Powered UK Sculpture Mimics Sounds of 500 Galloping Horses
12th October 2017 | greenmatters.com | Ancient, Tech

At the site of an ancient Chester’s Fort in England, an artist has managed to honour history, bringing back the ghosts from the past through an installation that plays with sound and renewable energy.  Called Hadrian’s Cavalry 360°, the piece is a large circle inside which visitors can stand and hear the simulated sound of 500 horses galloping, as an ode to the cavalry stationed at Hadrian’s Wall in the 2nd century. Article contains a short YouTube video of the unique device in action.

Archaeologists Strike Gold at Mysterious Site of 5th Century Massacre on Swedish Island
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient

Barely four miles off the Swedish coast, in the Baltic Sea, the rocky island of Öland was once witness to a gruesome mass murder. Archaeologists uncovered skeleton after skeleton there—bodies that had initially been left unburied. Experts estimate that this mysterious massacre at Sandby borg, one of the island’s 15 ancient forts, took place in the 5th century. The fort’s 15 foot tall ramparts, which once protected 53 houses and their inhabitants, were no match for whichever assailants stormed the settlement. Now, a discovery of two gold rings and a coin at the site may hint at the motive behind what appears to have been a particularly bloody personal attack.

California’s Methuselah Tree
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Earth

An ancient 4,800 year old Great Basin Bristlecone Pine known as the Methuselah Tree grows high in the White Mountains of eastern California. Named for the Biblical figure that lived for 969 years, the Methuselah Tree grows in Inyo National Forest’s “Forest of Ancients.”  The exact location of Methuselah is kept secret to protect it against vandalism.  Once thought to be the oldest living tree in the world, it was germinated before the Egyptian Pyramids were built.

The Enigma of Prehistoric Native American Bannerstones
11th October 2017 | archaeology.org | Ancient

Around 8,000 years ago, in the woodlands of what is now the eastern United States, hunter-gatherers began to make stone objects with holes drilled in them that have no parallel in any other prehistoric society.  Today archaeologists call these highly polished and sometimes elaborate objects “bannerstones.”  Just why they were made only during the so-called Archaic period, which ended around 3,000 years ago, has been debated by archaeologists for more than a hundred years.

Tasmania’s Climate and Fire History Held in Ancient King Billy Pine Trees
11th October 2017 | abc.net.au | Ancient, Earth

Athrotaxis selaginoides, known as King Billy or King William pines, are endemic to Tasmania.  The trees, which are actually conifers but not pines, have been used in an eight year study by an international research team to understand the environmental history of Australia. Core sample tree ring chronology shows the growth rate of the ancient trees, which can be used to interpret the climate and other environmental influences in Tasmania.

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