Archaeological News

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Michalis Chrysochoidis, the Greek Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks, visited the archaeological site of Alikyrna near Missolonghi in western Greece, where an ancient city was recently unearthed during construction work for Ionia Odos.

The ancient city, located next to the construction site, sits in the area of Agios Thomas. Government officials were perplexed by the discovery of a previously-unknown city so large it stretches for many acres.

According to sources in the Greek media, the first findings suggest an ancient urban center which crosses over to the Ionia Odos construction site. Further excavations, research and mapping are expected. Read more.

Three Teutonic battle axes from the late Middle Ages have been found by engineers who removed World War II artillery shells left in the Forest District Wipsowo (Warmia and Mazury). The weapons will be donated to the museum.

Engineers stumbled upon the historic axes by chance, while searching the woods with metal detectors. The weapons have been initially identified by an archaeologist as late-medieval Teutonic battle axes.

Iron axes were close to each other, shallow underground, among the roots of trees. “It can be assumed that this is a deposit that someone left for better times. Read more.

The jungles of the Peten are hot and sweaty. Most of the best places for archeology are. Field seasons are especially hot, since they are always during the driest time of year so that the site doesn’t get flooded. Howler monkeys boom from the parched trees, which barely twitch during the windless days. Meanwhile, pasty grad students toil away in the hot sun, quietly picking away at a stucco relief or the markings on a stone pillar.

In this heat, it’s good to wear a hat, preferably something sturdy with a wide brim. Every archeology site in the world is littered with rugged people in wide-brimmed hats talking about long dead civilizations. Tulane archeologist Marcello Canuto, for instance, prefers the khaki, floppy variety. Walking back to camp with after a long day at one Northern Guatemalan site, I can’t help but make the obvious comparison.

“Oh God,” he groans, “Don’t even go there. Indiana Jones is not an archeologist.” Read more.

Boomerangs are usually associated with Australian aborigines but these amazing wooden weapons have been found in Egypt, apparently dating back 2,000 years, and in Europe - the oldest one, which was found in a cave in Poland, being 30,000 years old.

They were apparently toys but now archaeologists have found what seems to be a 2,000-year-old boomerang on the beach at Cotentin and it was not used for play, Le Monde newspaper reports.

The stick doesn’t come back when you throw it, the archaeologists said, it was used as a weapon, to hunt.

The ancient Gauls probably used these boomerangs to hunt seagulls, the archaeologists believe. Read more.

While exploring ancient copper factories in southern Jordan, a team of archaeologists picked up an Egyptian amulet that bears the name of the powerful pharaoh Sheshonq I.

The tiny artifact could attest to the fabled military campaign that Sheshonq I waged in the region nearly 3,000 years ago, researchers say.

The scarab (called that because it’s shaped like a scarab beetle) was found at the copper-producing site of Khirbat Hamra Ifdan in the Faynan district, some 31 miles (50 kilometers) south of the Dead Sea. Read more.

The eruption occurred just before the 1815 Tambora volcanic eruption, which is famous for its overwhelming impact on climate worldwide, with 1816 given memorable names such as ’Eighteen-Hundred-and-Froze-to-Death’, the ‘Year of the Beggar’ and the ‘Year Without a Summer’ due to unseasonal frosts, crop failure and famine across Europe and North America. The extraordinary conditions are considered to have inspired literary works such Byron’s ‘Darkness’ and Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’.

However, the global deterioration of the 1810s into the coldest decade in the last 500 years began six years earlier, with another large eruption. In contrast to Tambora, this so-called ‘Unknown’ eruption apparently occurred unnoticed, with both its location and date a mystery. In fact, the ‘Unknown’ eruption was only recognized in the 1990s, from tell-tale markers in Greenland and Antarctic ice that record the rare events when volcanic aerosols are so violently erupted that they reach the Earth’s stratosphere. Read more.

Japanese researchers who made the first comprehensive study in six decades of a crumbling brick tower from an 11th-century fortress town in eastern Mongolia say their findings shed light on the little-known nomadic Khitan people.

The tower is the centerpiece of ruins in Kherlen Bars, a settlement that dates to the Liao Dynasty (916-1125), when the Khitan flourished. The site is about 600 kilometers east of Ulan Bator, Mongolia’s capital.

A team of researchers from Nara University made a number of discoveries about the structure of the tower. They also found remnants of a mural that suggests the Khitan were more advanced than historians realized. Read more.

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In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now “exhibit significant damage” and some structures have been “reduced to rubble,” according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

The AAAS analysis, offering the first comprehensive look at the extent of damage to Syria’s priceless cultural heritage sites, was completed in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology’s Penn Cultural Heritage Center (PennCHC) and the Smithsonian Institution, and in cooperation with the Syrian Heritage Task Force. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the analysis provides authoritative confirmation of previous on-the-ground reports of damage to individual sites. Read more.