Ancient news stories

Ancient Sundial Shaped Like Ham Was Roman Pocket Watch
26th January 2017 | Ancient

While excavating an ancient Roman villa buried in volcanic ash, 18th-century workers found an unusual lump of metal small enough to fit in a coffee mug. Cleaning it revealed something both historically important and hilarious: one of the world’s oldest known examples of a portable sundial, which was made in the shape of an Italian ham.

The Great Wall of India: 80km ‘diwaal’ is an ancient mystery no one knew about
26th January 2017 | | Ancient

It’s a whodunit, a jigsaw puzzle and a history lesson all in one. In the heart of Madhya Pradesh, at the very centre of India, stands a massive stone wall that’s odd, as walls go. It runs straight in parts, zig-zags wildly in others, stops or branches off where you least expect. Some sections tower at 15 feet; others are a just a low stretch of rubble.

Archaeologists uncover new clues to Maya collapse
25th January 2017 | Ancient

Using the largest set of radiocarbon dates ever obtained from a single Maya site, archaeologists have developed a high-precision chronology that sheds new light on patterns leading up to the two major collapses of the ancient civilization.

Humans, not climate change, wiped out Australian megafauna
25th January 2017 | | Ancient

New evidence involving the ancient poop of some of the huge and astonishing creatures that once roamed Australia indicates the primary cause of their extinction around 45,000 years ago was likely a result of humans, not climate change.

Tasmanian Tigers’ Brains Yield Clues Long After Extinction
25th January 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

The tale of the Tasmanian tiger was tragic. Once numerous across Tasmania, the doglike marsupial was branded a sheep killer by colonists in the 1830s and hunted to extinction. The last of its kind, Benjamin, died in a zoo in 1936, and with it many secrets into the animals’ lives were lost.

Bottom of Siberian Lake Deepens Mystery of Tunguska Event
24th January 2017 | Ancient, Earth, Space

On June 30th, 1908, a massive explosion rocked a remote area of Siberia near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River, leveling trees for 1,000 square miles and creating a mystery that has become known as the Tunguska Event. What caused such destruction? Most experts believed the area was hit by a comet or a meteor, with comet becoming the accepted explanation since no crater nor meteorite fragments were ever found.

Neanderthals Capable of Incorporating Symbolic Objects into Their Culture, Discovery Suggests
24th January 2017 | | Ancient

An unusual limestone rock found at an archaeological site in Croatia indicates that Neanderthals were capable of incorporating symbolic objects into their culture.

The rock was collected more than a century ago from the Krapina Neanderthal site and was just recently analyzed by experts from the Croatian Natural History Museum, the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts and the University of Kansas.

Iceman Oetzi’s last meal was ‘Stone Age bacon’
24th January 2017 | Ancient

Oetzi the famous “iceman” mummy of the Alps appears to have enjoyed a fine slice or two of Stone Age bacon before he was killed by an arrow some 5,300 years ago.

His last meal was most likely dried goat meat, according to scientists who recently managed to dissect the contents of Oetzi’s stomach.

Sea-surface temps during last interglacial period like modern temps
24th January 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

Sea-surface temperatures during the last interglaciation period were like those of today, a new study reports. The trend is worrisome, as sea levels during the last interglacial period were between six and nine meters above their present height.

Alt: Sea levels could rise by six to nine metres over time, new study warns

The last time the Earth was this warm was 125,000 years ago
24th January 2017 | | Ancient, Earth

The planet sizzled to its third straight record warm year in 2016, and human activity is to blame, federal scientists announced Wednesday.

Related: Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year

Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden
24th January 2017 | | Ancient

During spring of 2016 a number of large presumed house terraces were identified by the authors at Korshamn. As a consequence high resolution geophysical surveys using ground-penetrating radar were carried out in September 2016.

Massive Burial Ground Unearthed at Medieval Monastery in Sudan
24th January 2017 | | Ancient

Four cemeteries, from which at least 123 individuals have been excavated so far, have been unearthed near the remains of a medieval Christian monastery in Sudan. A few of the burials contained individuals buried in unusual ways.

Lost Dark Age Kingdom Uncovered in Scotland
24th January 2017 | | Ancient

Archaeologists may have finally found the lost kingdom of Rheged, the most elusive of all the sixth century kingdoms of Dark Age Britain.

The first humans arrived in North America a lot earlier than believed
23rd January 2017 | Ancient

The timing of the first entry of humans into North America across the Bering Strait has now been set back 10,000 years.

The earliest settlement date of North America, until now estimated at 14,000 years Before Present (BP) according to the earliest dated archaeological sites, is now estimated at 24,000 BP, at the height of the last ice age or Last Glacial Maximum.

Alt: The first humans arrived in North America a lot earlier than believed

How the panda’s ‘thumb’ evolved twice
23rd January 2017 | | Ancient, Animal Life

Giant pandas and the distantly related red pandas may have independently evolved an extra ‘digit’ — a false thumb — through changes to the same genes.

The dinosaurs might have died a much slower death than we thought
23rd January 2017 | | Ancient

Freezing temperatures and a blanket of darkness spelled the end for the non-avian dinosaurs roughly 66 million years ago, according to a new study that suggests this massive extinction period was far more complicated than we thought.

Rock samples suggest oxygen levels during ‘Lomagundi Event’ were high enough to support life development progress
23rd January 2017 | Ancient

A small team of researchers in the U.S. has found evidence in rock samples that suggests that oxygen levels during the Lomagundi Event were high enough to support the advancement of life on Earth.

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