Archaeological News

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More than 50 geoglyphs with various shapes and sizes, including a massive swastika, have been discovered across northern Kazakhstan in Central Asia, say archaeologists.

These sprawling structures, mostly earthen mounds, create the type of landscape art most famously seen in the Nazca region of Peru.

Discovered using Google Earth, the geoglyphs are designed in a variety of geometric shapes, including squares, rings, crosses and swastikas (the swastika is a design that was used in ancient times). Ranging from 90 to 400 meters (295 to 1,312 feet) in diameter, some of them are longer than a modern-day aircraft carrier. Read more.

An archaeological expedition uncovered a church treasure of more than 1200 early Byzantine coins near the Dobrich village of Debrene, said the director of the Dobirch history museum Kostadin Kostadinov.

According to the head of the expedition Boyan Totev, this is the first such discovery in Bulgaria. He said the small amphora full of bronze Byzantine coins from the VI c. A.D. was most likely church mite, buried in the ground during an invasion of Slavs or Avars.

The discovery was made on the territory of a small fortress, most likely built in late antiquity around a basilica to protect it. The church itself was built during the late Roman empire and existed till the end of VI c. A.D. (source)

A multinational team analysed stone tools recovered during a recent re-excavation of the find site of the Venus of Willendorf in Austria. The authors identified the stone tools as belonging to the Aurignacian culture, generally accepted as indicative of modern human presence. Chronostratigraphic information suggests the tools date to around 43,500 years ago, pre-dating other known Aurignacian artifacts. Based on the type of soil and its mollusk assemblage, climatic conditions during that time were likely cool, with a steppe-like environment and some conifer trees along river valleys.

The date of the artifacts represents the oldest well-documented occurrence of behaviorally modern humans in Europe and suggests contemporaneity with Neanderthals in other parts of Europe, showing that behaviorally modern humans and Neanderthals shared this region longer than previously thought. Read more.

The winds of Han are expected to blow French viewers away.

The largest exhibition of Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) artifacts outside China will run in Paris in celebration of the 50 years of Sino-French diplomatic ties.

Art Exhibitions China, which is in charge of Chinese relics’ overseas displays, signed an agreement with Paris-based Guimet Museum last week to organize the show.

Splendors of Han, Flying of the Heavenly Empire (Splendeurs des Han, Essor de l’Empire Celeste) will exhibit 456 pieces from 27 Chinese museums from Oct 21 to March 1, 2015. Displays will include silk and gold pieces, and records written on wooden slips, Art Exhibitions China deputy director Yao An says. Read more.

Ancient Greek vases with inscriptions that were once thought to be nonsense turn out to include the names of legendary Amazons, the famed warrior women.

In a forthcoming study of pottery dating to 500 B.C., study lead author Adrienne Mayor and J. Paul Getty Museum assistant curator David Saunders translated Greek inscriptions into their phonetic sounds for 12 ancient vases from Athens dated from 550 B.C. to 450 B.C. The inscriptions appear next to scenes of Amazons fighting, swimming, or shooting arrows.

They next submitted just the phonetic transcriptions without explanation to linguist John Colarusso of Canada’s McMaster University in Hamilton, who is an expert on rare languages of the Caucasus. He translated the inscriptions into names—such as Princess, Don’t Fail, and Hot Flanks—without knowing the details of the pictures of Amazons. Read more.

Deep in the Cambodian jungle lie the remains of a vast medieval city. Hidden for centuries, new archaeological techniques are now revealing its secrets - including an elaborate network of temples and boulevards, and sophisticated engineering.

In April 1858 a young French explorer, Henri Mouhot, sailed from London to south-east Asia. For the next three years he travelled widely, discovering exotic jungle insects that still bear his name.

Today he would be all but forgotten were it not for his journal, published in 1863, two years after he died of fever in Laos, aged just 35.

Mouhot’s account captured the public imagination, but not because of the beetles and spiders he found. Read more.

Koç University’s Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) in Istanbul is hosting an exhibition titled “The Forgotten Kingdom, Archaeology and Photography at Ancient Alalakh.”

An ancient city-state, Alalakh was a late Bronze Age capital in the Amuq River valley of the eastern province of Hatay. It was occupied even before 2,000 B.C., when the first palace was built, and likely destroyed in the 12th century B.C., after which it was never reoccupied. The city contained palaces, temples, private houses and fortifications. Contemporary Antakya developed near the site.

Curated by Murat Akar and Hélène Maloigne, the exhibition consists of photographs from the area’s first excavation by British archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1930s, alongside photographs from this century by Akar. Read more.

Adam: The old and famous “neighbourhood” in the wilayat of Adam, which comprises houses that have remained intact despite the passage of time, are undergoing a comprehensive overhaul by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.

The Ministry of Heritage and Culture aims to turn the neighbourhood into an open museum that shows the patterns of daily life, architectural styles, traditions and the related customs.

Adam is one of the wilayats of the governorate of Al Dakhiliyah and its main entrance to the south.
It is believed that Adam is derived from ‘Adim’ which means the cover of the surface of the Earth or the ‘dirt’. There is another meaning for Adam, which means the fertile ground located in the middle of the desert that people call ‘Al Sakbiya’, referring to its fertility throughout the year. It is an open plain situated in the middle of the desert. Read more.