Archaeological News

            The latest news in archaeology.       


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We don’t know what the Denisovan looked like. We don’t know how it lived, what tools it used, how tall it was, what it ate, or if it buried its dead.

But from only two teeth and a piece of finger bone smaller than a penny, we’ve been able to extract the rich history of a species that split off from Homo sapiens approximately 600,000 years ago. We know they’re more closely related to Neanderthals than humans—though still distantly. We know they made their way to Southeast Asian islands, interbreeding with indigenous modern human groups in New Guinea and Australia. We know their interspecies mingling with modern humans in mainland Asia was brief, but enough to impart a few genes. And we know Denisovan genes reveal evidence of interbreeding with Neanderthals and an even more archaic hominid species.

It’s the first human cousin species identified with more than fossil records. Instead, scientists used the DNA it left behind. There’s now a mystery on our hands: Who were the Denisovans, and where did they go? Read more.

A historic dugout canoe thought to date to early 1800s settlement in Mississippi is being extracted today from its Pearl River resting spot by a suite of cooperating state agencies.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks (MDWFP) conservation officers Kallum Herrington and Mike Jones discovered the canoe Saturday while patrolling the Pearl River near Monticello, around 6:30 p.m.

They spotted it on the river bank, right at the water’s edge, while motoring back to the boat ramp. “It was an immediate slow down and turn around,” Herrington said. They could tell it was old and handmade. “Once we got to it and saw it, it was, in our opinion, an absolute, unique find.” Read more.

MOSCOW - Russian archaeologists are conducting an underwater expedition in search of the remains of an ancient civilization at the bottom of the lake Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan, Nikolay Lukashov, the president of the Russian Confederation of Underwater Activities, told RIA Novosti Monday.

“During the expedition, which is led by Professor Vladimir Ploskikh from the Kyrgyz Academy of Sciences, Kyrgyz and Russian scientists plan to explore underwater archaeological sites to test the hypothesis of the ancient, so-called Andronovo culture, located in the area that is now flooded by the waters of Issyk Kul,” Lukashov said. Read more.

Teams of archaeologists are researching a number of ancient Maya sites in Belize that could stand some help to stay intact as important cultural heritage sites.

One of those sites is called Nojol Nah. It is located on the east side of the Bajo Alacranes, which extends across Belize’s northwest corner and parts of Mexico and Guatemala. The Alacranes Bajo is a low-lying area that is very fertile and continues to be today. The Mexican portion has been surveyed in recent years, revealing several large Maya centers and a number of smaller centers. At the far south end of the bajo, in Guatemala, is the major center of Río Azul. Read more.

Ancient stone artifacts recently excavated from Saudi Arabia possess similarities to items of about the same age in Africa — a discovery that could provide clues to how humans dispersed out of Africa, researchers say.

Modern humans originated about 200,000 years ago in Africa. However, scientists have long debated when and how the modern human lineage spread out of Africa.

"Understanding how we originated and colonized the world remains one of the most fascinating and enduring questions, because it is our story as humans," said lead study author Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at the University of Bordeaux in France. Read more.

As archaeologists continue to clear dirt and stone slabs from the entrance of a huge tomb in Greece, excitement is building over what excavators may find inside.

The monumental burial complex — which dates back to the fourth century B.C., during the era of Alexander the Great — is enclosed by a marble wall that runs 1,600 feet (490 meters) around the perimeter. It has been quietly revealed over the last two years, during excavations at the Kasta Hill site in ancient Amphipolis in the Macedonian region of Greece.

Excavators recently unearthed the grand arched entrance to the tomb, guarded by two broken but intricately carved sphinxes. Read more.

Two ancient tomb covers, which were found during the rehabilitation of an underpass in Istanbul’s historical peninsula, have been delivered to Istanbul Archaeology Museum, but only after being damaged in the construction work.

The tomb parts were discovered while a bulldozer was working to remove asphalt on the Vezneciler Underpass, next to the main door of Istanbul University, as part of a project which started Aug. 5. The Istanbul Archaeology Museum was informed when the tombs were found, albeit after they were damaged due by the heavy construction vehicle.

The area was defined as a “necropolis” in the ancient era of the city. Read more.

Hundreds of people in Canterbury took to the city’s Westgate Parks, to take part in an archaeological dig that uncovered Roman artefacts, treasures, and Britain’s oldest road.

Over six hundred people stopped by the community dig over the three-day weekend, to see some of the amazing finds unearthed by more than seventy members of the community, volunteers from the Friends of Westgate Parks, and members of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust.

The dig unearthed a part of the Roman Watling Street, the ancient trackway between Canterbury and St Albans. Read more.