Five copper coins and a nearly 70-year-old map with an ‘‘X’’ might lead to a discovery that could rewrite Australia’s history.
Australian scientist Ian McIntosh, currently Professor of Anthropology at Indiana University in the US, plans an expedition in July that has stirred up the archaeological community.
The scientist wants to revisit the location where five coins were found in the Northern Territory in 1944 that have proven to be 1000 years old, opening up the possibility that seafarers from distant countries might have landed in Australia much earlier than what is currently believed.
Back in 1944 during World War II, after Japanese bombers had attacked Darwin two years earlier, the Wessel Islands - an uninhabited group of islands off Australia’s north coast - had become a strategic position to help protect the mainland.
Australian soldier Maurie Isenberg was stationed on one of the islands to man a radar station and spent his spare time fishing on the idyllic beaches.
While sitting in the sand with his fishing-rod, he discovered a handful of coins in the sand. Read more.
Archaeologists in southern subtropical China have uncovered evidence for the first time that people living in Xincun 5,000 years ago may have practised agriculture -before the arrival of domesticated rice in the region.
Current archaeological thinking is that it was the advent of rice cultivation along the Lower Yangtze River that marked the beginning of agriculture in southern China.
Poor organic preservation in the study region, as in many others, means that traditional archaeobotany techniques are not possible.
Now, thanks to a new method of analysis on ancient grinding stones, the archaeologists have uncovered evidence that agriculture could predate the advent of rice in the region. Read more.
Iron Forge, built in 1817, included a bloomery furnace and water-powered trip hammer to smelt and mold ore into iron bars.
“The forge was a small operation, a small forge,” said Alan Longmire, a blacksmith and archaeologist in the environmental division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. “There’s iron ore all along the ridge up there by Middle Creek Road, and they would just bring that down here and put in the forge.” Read more.
Archaeologist Mike Haseler believes he has evidence to suggest that the battle of Mons Graupius took place in Moray.
Mons Graupius was a key battle for British independence against the repressive hand of Rome almost 2000 years ago.
According to the Romans, 10,000 Britons died that day at the hands of this first European super-state, while many others fled the scene.
Despite stringent efforts by experts, the site of the battle between the Romans and the Caledonians – in either 83AD or 84AD – has never been conclusively identified.
However, Mr Haseler believes his research strongly points to the battle taking place near Elgin, at Quarrelwood Hill to the north-west of the town. Read more.
Nepal’s archaeologists have discovered artifacts dating from the Buddha era from an excavation site at Devdaha of Rupandehi district, which is located at a distance of 20km from Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini in western Nepal.
A team of Nepal’s Department of Archeology (DoA) started excavation at the Devdaha area some two years ago after archeological evidences suggested that it was the maternal home of the Buddha.
The excavation at Bhawanipur began three weeks back. Walls, bricks, silver and wooden bracelets, clay utensils, butter lamps and stones are among the things discovered.
Prakash Darnal, officer at the archeological department, said that findings of relics such as a bust of the Buddha, a well and the ruins of the Siddhartha palace will help prove the area’s relation with the Buddha. Read more.
Archaeologists have long debated when early humans began hurling stone-tipped spears and darts at large prey. By throwing a spear, instead of thrusting it, humans could hunt buffalo and other dangerous game from a safe distance, with less risk of a goring or mauling. But direct evidence of this hunting technique in early sites has been lacking. A new study of impact marks on the bones of ancient prey shows that such sophisticated killing techniques go back at least 90,000 years ago in Africa and offers a new method of determining how prehistoric hunters made their kills.
Other researchers have used indirect methods to study the use of projectiles, such as analyzing impact fractures on ancient stone points or identifying traces left by hafting on the points. Such evidence suggests that early humans created throwing spears as early as 500,000 years ago in Africa. But that kind of evidence leaves room for doubt and is frequently disputed. Read more.
An archaeological survey on the famous Scots isle of Iona – where St Columba landed 1450 years ago to spread Christianity in Scotland – has shown signs of ancient burials.
This is the first geophysical investigation to be undertaken away from the core focus of the Columban monastic enclosure and the Benedictine Abbey.
The surveys were carried out on National Trust for Scotland land on the island by Dr Sue Ovenden and Alastair Wilson of Rose Geophysical Consultants.
The pair examined two areas in the fields to the south of the village - one close to the current village hall and south of the Nunnery and the other at Martyr’s Bay.
The area close to the village hall seems to show features of recent or natural origin which will be excavated later this year. Read more.
Archaeologists have discovered six Pagan Saxon skeletons dating back over 1,000 years on a housing development site just a few miles from Stonehenge.
The discoveries, which also include round barrows dating back to the Bronze Age 4,000 years ago, were unearthed at a redundant brownfield development site in Amesbury, Wiltshire, which is also famous for the Amesbury Archer – an early Bronze Age man found buried among arrowheads.
The remains are thought to be those of adolescent to mature males and females. Five skeletons were arrayed around a small circular ditch, with the grave of a sixth skeleton in the centre. Two lots of beads, a shale bracelet and other grave goods were also found, which suggest the findings are Pagan. Read more.