Ancient news stories

Medieval ‘false leg’ strap found at Gloucester Cathedral
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

A strap for a medieval false leg has been uncovered by archaeologists digging at Gloucester Cathedral.

Metal pieces from a prosthesis band were found with a skeleton in the old lay cemetery.

New research indicates that Alfred the Great probably wasn’t that great
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

Was Alfred the Great really that great? If we judge him on the basis of new findings in landscape archaeology that are radically changing our understanding of warfare in the Viking Age, it would seem not. It looks like Alfred was a good propagandist rather than a visionary military leader.

It wasn’t just Greece: Archaeologists find early democratic societies in the Americas
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

The candidate for political office stood in a plaza, naked, bracing himself against the punches and kicks. The crowd roared, pulsing around him like a beating heart. People for whom he had risked his life in war after war hurled blows and insults from all directions. The candidate breathed deeply. Trained as a warrior, he knew he had to stay calm to reach the next phase of his candidacy.

Archaeology Students Seek Answers to Lost Civilization
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

In a lab in Frick Hall at California University of Pennsylvania, archaeology students sift through the finds of digs stored for as much as four decades. They are searching for clues to civilizations as much as two millennia old.

Two New Scientific Papers Suggest a Catastrophic Extraterrestrial Impact Event Occurred 12,000 Years Ago
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

Alternative history’ researcher and author Graham Hancock has long postulated that a cataclysm some 12,000 years ago might have wiped out advanced civilisations. In his most recent book Magicians of the Gods he discusses at length the Younger Dryas period (c. 12,900 to c. 11,700 calendar years ago), which began when temperatures plummeted over the course of just a few decades – and the ‘heretical’ theory that this event may have been caused by a comet impact.

Now, two new papers recently published in respected journals may perhaps provide material support for that idea.

Stone Age tools and animal bones in Tunisia provide new clues on a 72,000-year-old ‘early human corridor’ across Africa
22nd March 2017 | | Ancient

Lying at the ‘crossroads’ for north-south movements between the Sahara and the Mediterranean, Tunisia is one of the world’s key regions for under early human travels.

Researchers have now discovered animal bones and stone tools in the land that once formed a giant lake in Tunisia.

How a 400,000-year-old skull fragment hints at ancient ‘unified humanity’
21st March 2017 | | Ancient

At one point, any new human fossil from hundreds of thousands of years ago might have drawn intrigue. If the new bones looked different from others that had been found before, they may have even been hailed as a new archaic human species, and given a taxonomic name in the genus Homo.

But some scientists say evidence is mounting that paleoanthropologists in the past may have been too quick to categorize hominin fossils as distinct species.

Alt: 400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal

Human skull evolved along with two-legged walking, study confirms
21st March 2017 | Ancient

The evolution of bipedalism in fossil humans can be detected using a key feature of the skull — a claim that was previously contested but now has been further validated by researchers at Stony Brook University and The University of Texas at Austin.

Nose form was shaped by climate
21st March 2017 | | Ancient

Big, small, broad, narrow, long or short, turned up, pug, hooked, bulbous or prominent, humans inherit their nose shape from their parents, but ultimately, the shape of someone’s nose and that of their parents was formed by a long process of adaptation to our local climate, according to an international team of researchers.

Chinese scientists use remote sensing technology to detect underground Great Wall remains
21st March 2017 | Ancient

More than 1,000 years ago, several dotted, flake-shaped sections of the Great Wall stood in Xinjiang, protecting the border and the trade road. Recently, researchers from the China Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) analyzed the distribution of ancient Great Wall sections in Xinjiang using remote sensing technology. They also used the technology to “restore” the wall’s appearance.

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.

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