Current Archaeological Site News and Events

Current Archaeological Site News and Events, Archaeological Site News Articles.
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Hospital hygiene: A closer look reveals realistic frequency of infection
A research team led by Inselspital, Bern University Hospital and the University of Bern found a correlation between the frequency of infections after surgery and performance in quality audits. Lower surgical site infection rates correlate with a lower audit score. In other words, looking more closely reveals more reported infections. Recommendations for possible correction are presented. (2021-02-18)

Megadroughts in arid central Asia delayed the cultural exchange along the proto-Silk Road
Over the past four millennia the main corridor of ancient cultural dispersal passed through Arid Central Asia; historically, this marked the central artery of the Silk Road. However, little is known about the effects of hydroclimatic changes in this region on ancient human populations. An international team of researchers have identified a 640-year megadrought (5820-5180 a BP) impacting the desert oases of this region and hindering earlier cultural diffusion between East and West Asia. (2021-02-17)

Changing livestock in ancient Europe reflect political shifts
In ancient European settlements, livestock use was likely primarily determined by political structure and market demands, according to a study published February 17, 2021 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ariadna Nieto-Espinet and colleagues of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Barcelona. (2021-02-17)

Neanderthals and Homo sapiens used identical Nubian technology
New analysis of a fossil tooth and stone tools from Shukbah Cave reveals Neanderthals used stone tool technologies thought to have been unique to modern humans (2021-02-15)

Ancient Amazonian farmers fortified valuable land they had spent years making fertile to protect it
Ancient Amazonian communities fortified valuable land they had spent years making fertile to protect it from conflict, excavations show. (2021-02-09)

New drug target for Ebola, Marburg viruses
Researchers have identified a previously unknown site on the filovirus glycoprotein to which small drug molecules can bind and prevent infection -- blocking both sites may be a more effective treatment while reducing the risk of side effects. (2021-02-08)

Nehandertals' gut microbiota and the bacteria helping our health
Through the study of ancient DNA from 50,000-year-old Neanderthal faecal sediments, an international research group isolated a group of micro-organisms whose characteristics are similar to those of modern Sapiens: such findings can be instrumental to the protection of our gut microbiota (2021-02-05)

Study suggests environmental factors had a role in the evolution of human tolerance
Environmental pressures may have led humans to become more tolerant and friendly towards each other as the need to share food and raw materials became mutually beneficial, a new study suggests. (2021-02-03)

New discovery sheds light on human history of symbols
A recent discovery by archeologists has uncovered evidence of what may be the earliest-known use of symbols. The symbols were found on a bone fragment in the Ramle region in central Israel and are believed to be approximately 120,000 years old. (2021-02-03)

Hydrogen-producing enzyme protects itself against oxygen
Hydrogen-producing enzymes are beacons of hope in biohydrogen research. However, they are so vulnerable to oxygen in the air that it has not been possible to exploit their potential on a larger scale. The recently discovered [FeFe]-hydrogenase CbA5H from the bacterium Clostridium beijerinckii resists the oxygen attack. (2021-02-02)

A glimpse into the wardrobe of King David and King Solomon, 3000 years ago
In groundbreaking research, archaeologists have recovered scraps of fabric dyed in royal purple from the time of King David and King Solomon. According to the researchers, 'The color immediately attracted our attention, but we found it hard to believe we had found true purple from such an ancient era'. (2021-01-28)

Ancient proteins help track early milk drinking in Africa
Got milk? The 1990s ad campaign highlighted the importance of milk for health and wellbeing, but when did we start drinking the milk of other animals? And how did the practice spread? A new study led by scientists from Germany and Kenya highlights the critical role of Africa in the story of dairying, showing that communities there were drinking milk by at least 6,000 years ago. (2021-01-27)

History of the Champagne vineyards revealed
Although the reputation of Champagne is well established, the history of Champagne wines and vineyards is poorly documented. However, a research team led by scientists from the CNRS and the Université de Montpellier at the Institut des sciences de l'évolution de Montpellier has just lifted the veil on this history by analysing the archaeological grape seeds from excavations carried out in Troyes and Reims. (2021-01-27)

On the origins of money: Ancient European hoards full of standardized bronze objects
In the Early Bronze Age of Europe, ancient people used bronze objects as an early form of money, even going so far as to standardize the shape and weight of their currency, according to a study published January 20, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Maikel H. G. Kuijpers and C?t?lin N. Popa of Leiden University, Netherlands. (2021-01-20)

WSU scientists identify contents of ancient Maya drug containers
Scientists have identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time. The researchers detected Mexican marigold (Tagetes lucida) in residues taken from 14 miniature Maya ceramic vessels. The vessels also contain chemical traces present in two types of dried and cured tobacco. (2021-01-15)

Teeth pendants speak of the elk's prominent status in the Stone Age
The elk was the most important animal to the people inhabiting the northern coniferous belt, with its incisors being perhaps the most coveted part of the body. Incisors were turned into pendants, which were attached using strings made of fibre or sinew. The manufacturing techniques of the thousands of elk tooth pendants discovered in the graves of hunter-gatherers who lived approximately 8,200 years ago depict a homogeneous culture and strict rules. (2021-01-14)

Oldest hominins of Olduvai Gorge persisted across changing environments
Olduvai (now Oldupai) Gorge, known as the Cradle of Humankind, is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Tanzania, made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey. New interdisciplinary field work has led to the discovery of the oldest archaeological site in Oldupai Gorge as reported in Nature Communications, which shows that early human used a wide diversity of habitats amidst environmental changes across a 200,000 year-long period. (2021-01-07)

Climate change caused mangrove collapse in Oman
Most of the mangrove forests on the coasts of Oman disappeared about 6,000 years ago. Until now, the reason for this was not entirely clear. A current study now sheds light on this: It indicates that the collapse of coastal ecosystems was caused by climatic changes. The results are published in the journal Quaternary Research. (2021-01-05)

Fires, flooding before settlement may have formed the Amazon's rare patches of fertility
Phosphorous, calcium and charcoal in spotty patches of fertile soil in the Amazon rainforest suggest that natural processes such as fires and river flooding, not the ingenuity of indigenous populations, created rare sites suitable for agriculture, according to new research. (2021-01-04)

Archaeologists from Kuzbass created a 3D model of a part of the Tepsei archaeological site
The scientists worked in cooperation with specialists from the RSSDA laboratory (Moscow). Together, they completed a 3D virtual model of one of the clusters. (2020-12-24)

Ancient DNA sheds light on the peopling of the Mariana Islands
Compared to the first peopling of Polynesia, the settlement of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, which happened around 3,500 years ago, has received little attention. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Australian National University and the University of Guam have now obtained answers to long debated questions regarding the origin of the first colonizers of the Marianas and their relationship to the people who initially settled in Polynesia. (2020-12-22)

New path to rare earth mineral formation has implications for green energy and smart tech
Researchers from Trinity College Dublin have shed new light on the formation mechanisms of a rare earth-bearing mineral that is in increasingly high demand across the globe for its use in the green energy and tech industries. Their discovery has important economic implications because there are no substitute alternatives to these rare earth elements, which are indispensable for smart devices and low-carbon energy generation (e.g., electronics, wind turbines, hybrid cars). (2020-12-17)

Study tracks elephant tusks from 16th century shipwreck
In 1533, the Bom Jesus - a Portuguese trading vessel carrying 40 tons of cargo including gold, silver, copper and more than 100 elephant tusks - sank off the coast of Africa near present-day Namibia. The wreck was found in 2008, and scientists say they now have determined the source of much of the ivory recovered from the ship. (2020-12-17)

Climate change caused the demise of Central Asia's river civilizations, not Genghis Khan
While Genghis Khan and Mongol invasion is often blamed for the fall of Central Asia's medieval river civilisations, new research shows it may have been down to climate change. Researchers from the University of Lincoln conducted analysis on the region and found that falling water levels may have led to the fall of civilisations around the Aral Sea Basin, as they depended on the water for irrigation-based farming. (2020-12-15)

Ancient DNA continues to rewrite corn's 9,000-year society-shaping history
In the Dec. 14 issue of the journal the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, international team of scientists report the fully sequenced genomes of three roughly 2,000-year-old cobs from the El Gigante rock shelter in Honduras. Analysis of the three genomes reveals that these millennia-old varieties of Central American corn had South American ancestry and adds a new chapter in an emerging complex story of corn's domestication history. (2020-12-14)

Fatty residues on ancient pottery reveal meat-heavy diets of Indus Civilization
New lipid residue analyses have revealed a dominance of animal products, such as the meat of animals like pigs, cattle, buffalo, sheep and goat as well as dairy products, used in ancient ceramic vessels from rural and urban settlements of the Indus Civilisation in north-west India, the present-day states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. (2020-12-09)

New evidence: Neandertals buried their dead
Was burial of the dead practiced by Neandertals or is it an innovation specific to our species? For the first time in Europe, however, a multi-disciplinary team led by researchers at the CNRS and the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (France) and the University of the Basque Country (Spain) has demonstrated, using a variety of criteria, that a Neandertal child was buried, probably around 41,000 years ago, at the Ferrassie site (Dordogne, France). (2020-12-09)

Glass beads from medieval sites suggest more complex trade networks
Glass beads from remote medieval sites in Mali and Senegal suggest long distance trade networks may have been more extensive than previously thought -- while a modern bead fragment also implicates a modern grave looter! (2020-12-02)

African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads
The chemical composition of glass beads and their morphological characteristics can reveal where they come from. Archaeologists from the University of Geneva analyzed glass beads found at rural sites in Mali and Senegal from between the 7th and 13th centuries AD. The scientists demonstrate that the glass they are made of probably came from Egypt, the Levantine coast and the Middle East. The results show that international trade linking Africa to Europe and Asia during was connected with local and regional trade. (2020-12-02)

Pyroclasts protect the paintings of Pompeii buried but damage them when they are unearthed
A study conducted by the UPV/EHU's IBeA group shows that pyroclasts may be putting the conservation of the paintings of Pompeii at risk. Specifically, the ions leached from these materials and the underground ion-rich waters from the volcanic rocks may be causing the salts in the paintings to crystallise. In addition, the use of fluorine as a marker is proposed to monitor in situ the extent of the damage sustained by the murals. (2020-11-30)

UCLA study of threatened desert tortoises offers new conservation strategy
A UCLA study publishing Nov. 27 in Science supports a new conservation strategy. Climate change increasingly makes relocating threatened species necessary, despite the frequently low success rate. The study found tortoises with lots of genetic variation were much more likely to survive after their relocation. The research supports this fast, inexpensive conservation tool, and upends the conventional wisdom suggesting that tortoises from areas moved from close by would fare best. (2020-11-26)

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers
New WSU research sheds light on the production of an 800-year-old turkey feather blanket and explores the economic and cultural aspects of raising turkeys to supply feathers in the ancient Southwest. (2020-11-25)

First exhaustive review of fossils recovered from Iberian archaeological sites
The Iberian Peninsula has one of the richest paleontological records in Western Europe. However,''there were generally only scarce indications of the collection and use of fossils at Iberian sites during Prehistory, and thus the documentation of this behaviour presented an anomalous situation compared to other regions of Europe, where numerous studies have been published on this practice. (2020-11-24)

Ancient people relied on coastal environments to survive the Last Glacial Maximum
Excavations on the south coast of South Africa have uncovered evidence of human occupations from the end of the last ice age, approximately 35,000 years ago, through the complex transition to the modern time, known as the Holocene and adaptions that were key to our species ability to survive wide climate and environmental fluctuations. (2020-11-23)

Middle Stone Age populations repeatedly occupied West African coast
In a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports, researchers from the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH), and the University of Sheffield, reveal evidence of Middle Stone Age occupations of the West African coast. Ranging from 62 to 25 thousand years ago, the largest well-dated assemblages from the region clearly document technological continuity across almost 40,000 years in West Africa. (2020-11-20)

X-ray imaging of a beetle's world in ancient earthenware
Using X-rays, Professor Hiroki Obata of Kumamoto University, Japan has imaged 28 impressions of maize weevils on pottery shards from the late Jomon period (around 3,600 years ago) excavated from the Yakushoden site in Miyazaki Prefecture. This is the first example of pottery with multiple weevil impressions discovered in Kyushu, and the density of impressions is the highest ever found in Japan. (2020-11-17)

Large predatory fish thrive on WWII shipwrecks off North Carolina coast
Results of an expedition to a sunken U-boat and Nicaraguan freighter, published this week in Ecosphere, offer a detailed glimpse into unexpected ''islands of habitat.'' (2020-11-17)

The unique hydraulics in the Barbegal water mills, the world's first industrial plant
The Barbegal watermills in southern France are a unique complex dating back to the 2nd century AD. The construction with 16 waterwheels is, as far as is known, the first attempt in Europe to build a machine complex on an industrial scale. A team of scientists has now gained new knowledge about the construction and principle of the water supply to the mills in Barbegal. (2020-11-13)

Bronze Age travel routes revealed using pioneering research method
Archaeologists from the University of Sydney have reconstructed the ancient seasonal migration routes of Bronze Age herders in Xinjiang, north-western China. Published in the high-ranking journal PLOS ONE, their research was the result of innovative methodology. To determine snow cover and vegetation cycles, crucial to the survival of Bronze Age people and their flocks, they examined both satellite imagery and archaeological evidence, as well as interviewing modern-day herders. (2020-11-04)

Local cooking preferences drove acceptance of new crop staples in prehistoric China
The food preparation preferences of Chinese cooks -- such as the technological choice to boil or steam grains, instead of grinding or processing them into flour -- had continental-scale consequences for the adoption of new crops in prehistoric China, according to research from Washington University in St. Louis. The authors drew on data from the bones of nearly 2,500 humans to map patterns of changing cuisines over the course of 6,000 years. (2020-11-04)

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