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Current Archaeology News and Events, Archaeology News Articles.
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Tang Dynasty noblewoman buried with her donkeys, for the love of polo
A noblewoman from Imperial China enjoyed playing polo on donkeys so much she had her steeds buried with her so she could keep doing it in the afterlife, archaeologists found. This discovery by a team that includes archaeologist Fiona Marshall at Washington University in St. Louis is published March 17 in the journal Antiquity. (2020-03-16)

Your back pain may be due to evolution and spine shape
The cause of back pain can be linked to humanity's evolutionary past, according to new research from a team of bioarchaeologists at Simon Fraser University, the University of Liverpool, and the University of Sydney. (2020-03-05)

As farming developed, so did cooperation -- and violence
The growth of agriculture led to unprecedented cooperation in human societies, a team of researchers, has found, but it also led to a spike in violence, an insight that offers lessons for the present. (2020-03-04)

How millets sustained Mongolia's empires
Researchers examined stable isotopes from bone collagen and dental enamel to reconstruct the diets of ancient Mongolians. Findings challenge the popular notion of a completely nomadic prehistoric population, linking grain cultivation with the success of the Xiongnu Empire (c. 200 BCE-150 CE) and showing continual grain consumption during the Mongol Empire of the Khans (c. 1200-1400 CE). (2020-03-03)

Big data could yield big discoveries in archaeology, Brown scholar says
Parker VanValkenburgh, an assistant professor of anthropology, curated a journal issue that explores the opportunities and challenges big data could bring to the field of archaeology. (2020-02-25)

Cognitive experiments give a glimpse into the ancient mind
New study published in PNAS shed light on some of the earliest examples of human symbolic behavior: Ancient engravings were likely produced with aesthetic intent and marked group identity. (2020-02-19)

Discovery at 'flower burial' site could unravel mystery of Neanderthal death rites
* First articulated Neanderthal skeleton to be found in over 20 years. * Discovered in famous 'flower burial' cave that sparked decades of debate about Neanderthal mortuary behaviour. * New find offers ''unparalleled opportunity'' to use latest techniques to understand Neanderthal ''ways of death''. (2020-02-18)

Old Irish 'clachan' found in South Australia
The oldest known Australian example of a communal type of Irish settlement has been 'unearthed' in a dusty paddock in rural South Australia. An extensive geophysical study of the Baker's Flat Irish settlement site near Kapunda has found the first -- and possibly largest -- clachan in Australia, says Flinders archaeologist Susan Arthure. (2020-02-16)

Team creates game-based virtual archaeology field school
Before they can get started at their field site - a giant cave studded with stalactites, stalagmites and human artifacts -- 15 undergraduate students must figure out how to use their virtual hands and tools. They also must learn to teleport. (2020-01-29)

Study reveals 2 writers penned landmark inscriptions in 8th-century BCE Samaria
A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that only 2 writers penned landmark inscriptions on an 8th-century BCE Samarian ostraca. The discovery illuminates the bureaucratic apparatus of an ancient kingdom of Israel. (2020-01-22)

The Vikings erected a runestone out of fear of a climate catastrophe
Several passages on the Rök stone -- the world's most famous Viking Age runic monument -- suggest that the inscription is about battles and for over a hundred years, researchers have been trying to connect the inscription with heroic deeds in war. Now, thanks to an interdisciplinary research project, a new interpretation of the inscription is being presented. The study shows that the inscription deals with an entirely different kind of battle: the conflict between light and darkness, warmth and cold, life and death. (2020-01-09)

'Lost crops' could have fed as many as maize
Grown together, newly examined 'lost crops' could have produced enough seed to feed as many indigenous people as traditionally grown maize, according to new research from Washington University in St. Louis. (2019-12-23)

New archaeological discoveries reveal birch bark tar was used in medieval England
Scientists from the University of Bristol and the British Museum, in collaboration with Oxford Archaeology East and Canterbury Archaeological Trust, have, for the first time, identified the use of birch bark tar in medieval England -- the use of which was previously thought to be limited to prehistory. (2019-12-19)

Only eat oysters in months with an 'r'? Rule of thumb is at least 4,000 years old
Foodie tradition dictates only eating wild oysters during months containing the letter 'r' -- from September to April. Now, a new study suggests people have been following this practice for at least 4,000 years. (2019-11-20)

What felled the great Assyrian Empire? A Yale professor weighs in
The Neo-Assyrian Empire, centered in northern Iraq and extending from Iran to Egypt -- the largest empire of its time -- collapsed after more than two centuries of dominance at the fall of its capital, Nineveh, in 612 B.C.E. Despite a plethora of cuneiform textual documentation and archaeological excavations and field surveys, archaeologists and historians have been unable to explain the abruptness and finality of the historic empire's collapse. (2019-11-14)

World's oldest glue used from prehistoric times till the days of the Gauls
By studying artefacts that date back to the first 6 centuries AD through the lens of chemistry, archaeology, and textual analysis, french researchers have discovered birch tar was being used right up to late antiquity, if not longer. The artefacts in question -- found in a region where birch is scarce, thus raising the question of how it was procured -- are testimony to the strength of tradition among the Gauls. (2019-11-13)

'Ghost' footprints from Pleistocene era revealed by radar tech
Invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age -- and what lies beneath them -- have been discovered by Cornell University researchers using a special type of radar in a novel way. (2019-11-11)

Did an extraterrestrial impact trigger the extinction of ice-age animals?
Based on research at White Pond near Elgin, South Carolina, University of South Carolina archaeologist Christopher Moore and 16 colleagues present new evidence of a controversial theory that suggests an extraterrestrial body crashing to Earth almost 13,000 years ago caused the extinction of many large animals and a probable population decline in early humans. (2019-10-25)

360 degree virtual dive in Iceland shipwreck
October 16, 2019 marks 360 years since the Dutch merchant ship Melckmeyt (Milkmaid) was wrecked off a remote Icelandic island. Digital archaeology specialists have created a spectacular 360 degree virtual dive on the wreck to mark the anniversary. (2019-10-22)

Pro-science vs anti-science debates
Recent attacks on 'grievance' studies have occasioned renewed attention to the politics of knowledge in the academy. In a wide-ranging survey, Mark Horowitz, William Yaworsky and Kenneth Kickham revisit some of anthropology's most sensitive controversies. Taking the field's temperature since the sweltry 'science wars' of the nineties, Horowitz and colleagues probe whether anthropology is still a house divided on questions of truth, justice and the American Anthropological Association. (2019-10-15)

Cretan tomb's location may have strengthened territorial claim
Examining the position occupied by tombs in their landscape in Prepalatial Crete gives us new insights into the role played by burial sites, mortuary practices and the deceased in the living society. (2019-10-09)

Microscopic evidence sheds light on the disappearance of the world's largest mammals
Understanding the causes and consequences of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions is increasingly important in a world of growing human populations and climate change. A review, led by scholars at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, highlights the role that cutting-edge scientific methods can play in broadening the discussions about megafaunal extinction and enabling insights into ecosystems and species-specific responses to climate change and human activities. (2019-10-02)

First evidence for early baby bottles used to feed animal milk to prehistoric babies
A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has found the first evidence that prehistoric babies were fed animal milk using the equivalent of modern-day baby bottles. (2019-09-25)

Traditional fisherfolk help uncover ancient fish preservation methods
Archaeologists have little insight into the methods used for the long-term processing and preservation of fish in the past. A study of traditional fish preparation employed by fisherfolk in Panama and Egypt, revealed patterns of modifications to the fishes' skeletons which are comparable to those found among fish remains recovered in archaeological sites (2019-09-24)

Can machine learning reveal geology humans can't see?
Identifying geological features in a densely vegetated, steep, and rough terrain can be almost impossible. Imagery like LiDAR can help researchers see through the tree cover, but subtle landforms can often be missed by the human eye. (2019-09-21)

HKU archaeological team excavates at one of the major fortress-settlements in the Armenian Highlands
A team of researchers and students from HKU unearthed huge storage jars, animal bones and fortress walls from 3,000 years ago in Armenia as they initiated the Ararat Plain Southeast Archaeological Project (APSAP) during the summer of 2019. (2019-09-10)

Teeth offer vital clues about diet during the Great Irish Famine
Scientific analysis of dental calculus -- plaque build-up -- of the Famine's victims found evidence of corn (maize), oats, potato, wheat and milk foodstuffs. (2019-09-09)

Humans were changing the planet earlier than we knew
Humans had caused significant landcover change on Earth up to 4000 years earlier than previously thought, University of Queensland researchers have found. The School of Social Sciences' Dr Andrea Kay said some scientists defined the Anthropocene as starting in the 20th century, but the new research showed human-induced landcover change was globally extensive by 2000BC. (2019-08-30)

Tiny ear bones help archaeologists piece together the past
For the first time archaeologists have used the small bones found in the ear to look at the health of women and children from 160 years ago. (2019-08-21)

A Stone Age boat building site has been discovered underwater
The Maritime Archaeological Trust has discovered a new 8,000 year old structure 11 metres below sea level on the Isle of Wight. It is the most intact, wooden Middle Stone Age structure ever found in the UK. (2019-08-20)

Ancient feces reveal how 'marsh diet' left Bronze Age Fen folk infected with parasites
'Coprolites' from the Must Farm archaeological excavation in East Anglia, UK, shows the prehistoric inhabitants were infected by parasitic worms that can be spread by eating raw fish, frogs and shellfish. (2019-08-15)

Ancient pigs endured a complete genomic turnover after they arrived in Europe
New research led by Oxford University and Queen Mary University of London has resolved a pig paradox. Archaeological evidence has shown that pigs were domesticated in the Near East and as such, modern pigs should resemble Near Eastern wild boar. They do not. Instead, the genetic signatures of modern European domestic pigs resemble European wild boar. (2019-08-12)

Who dominates the discourse of the past?
Male academics, who comprise less than 10% of North American archaeologists, write the vast majority of the field's high impact, peer-reviewed literature. (2019-07-29)

Ancient Roman port history unveiled
A team of international researchers led by La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne have, for the first time worldwide, applied marine geology techniques at an ancient harbour archaeological site to uncover ancient harbour technologies of the first centuries AD. (2019-07-15)

Archaeological mystery solved with modern genetics
Researchers at the University of Tokyo conducted a census of the Japanese population around 2,500 years ago using the Y chromosomes of men living on the main islands of modern-day Japan. This is the first time analysis of modern genomes has estimated the size of an ancient human population before they were met by a separate ancient population. (2019-06-20)

21st century archaeology has rediscovered historical Cordoba
University of Cordoba researcher Antonio Monterroso Checa applied aerial laser LiDAR technology to draw out the ancient geomorphology of the city of Cordoba (2019-06-11)

The Neolithic precedents of gender inequality
Inequality between men and women was not generally consolidated in Iberia during the Neolithic. However, situations progressively appeared that indicate dominance of men over women. Four important lines in which inequality between men and women can be investigated through successive historical periods are their access to funeral rites, the material conditions of their existence, the appearance of specific social roles for each of the genders and the growing association of men with violence. (2019-06-10)

More mysterious jars of the dead unearthed in Laos
Archaeologists have discovered 15 new sites in Laos containing more than one hundred 1,000-year-old massive stone jars possibly used for the dead. (2019-06-06)

Ancient feces reveal parasites in 8,000-year-old village of Çatalhöyük
Earliest archaeological evidence of intestinal parasitic worms in the ancient inhabitants of Turkey shows whipworm infected this population of prehistoric farmers. (2019-05-31)

Early humans deliberately recycled flint to create tiny, sharp tools
A new Tel Aviv University study finds that prehistoric humans 'recycled' discarded or broken flint tools 400,000 years ago to create small, sharp utensils with specific functions. The artifacts were discovered at the site of Qesem Cave, located just outside Tel Aviv. (2019-05-29)

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