Archaeological finds collected over 25 years by Leiden University researchers in Syria may have been plundered, the University announces.
Between dozens and hundreds of boxes of artifacts were taken in “a dramatic development for 25 years of Leiden research”, says Peter Akkermans, Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology.
The archaeological team has been busy with excavations on the Syrian site Tell Sabi Abyad since 1986. Their finds were stored in depots were stored in provincial capital Raqqa, in the North of Syria. Due to tensions during the civil war in the region, their research activities had to be abandoned in 2011.
Artifacts found in the archeological dig included 6000-year-old pottery, art objects as well as animal and human remains. Read more.
Emotional expressions on Greek tombstones from the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.) help increase our understanding of social communication and cultural values. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Gothenburg.
Doctoral student Sandra Karlsson has studied ancient grave reliefs from the Greek city-states Smyrna and Kyzikos in present Turkey. The reliefs display both figurative motifs and inscriptions.
'This source material provides important information about funerary rituals, demographics, family structures and ideas about life after death,' says Karlsson, who chose to focus on expressions of emotions, but also conceptions of death. Read more.
One of the most astounding archaeological discoveries of the 20th century is arguably the life-size terra-cotta army buried alongside China’s first emperor. Now, scientists have figured out how the bronze triggers for the crossbows of the 8,000 terra-cotta warriors were manufactured.
Teams of craftspeople worked in small groups to produce the bronze pieces in batches for the tomb of ancient Emperor Qin Shi Huang, according to a new study detailed in the March issue of the journal Antiquity.
Historical documents suggest that soon after Emperor Qin Shi Huang ascended to the throne in 246 B.C., he began work on his tomb near Xi’an, China. When the tomb was first unearthed in the 1970s,it revealed thousands of lifelike terra-cotta statues of artisans, musicians, officials, horses and soldiers. Read more.
Archaeologists have unearthed an ancient staff carved with two realistic human faces in southern Syria.
The roughly 9,000-year-old artifact was discovered near a graveyard where about 30 people were buried without their heads — which were found in a nearby living space.
"The find is very unusual. It’s unique," said study co-author Frank Braemer, an archaeologist at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in France.
The wand, which was likely used in a long-lost funeral ritual, is one of the only naturalistic depictions of human faces from this time and place, Braemer said. Read more.
Zhoukoudian Locality 1 in northern China has been widely known for the discovery of the Middle Pleistocene human ancestor Homo erectus pekinensis ( known as Peking Man ) since the 1920s. By 1931, the suggestion that the Zhoukoudian hominins could use and control fire had become widely accepted. However, some analyses have cast doubt on this assertion as siliceous aggregate (an insoluble phase of burned ash) was not present in ash remains recovered from the site. New analyses of four ash samples retrieved from different positions of Zhoukoudian Locality 1 during the excavations carried out in 2009, present evidence for the controlled use of fire by Peking Man, according to an article published in the journal Chinese Science Bulletin.
"At present, the key point of the debate over the intentional use of fire by Homo erectus pekinensis at Zhoukoudian is whether or not siliceous aggregate (an insoluble phase of burned ash) is present in ash remains recovered from the site". Read more.
The home of the Anglo-Saxons who built the world famous burial mounds at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, where a king was laid with golden treasure heaped around him, has been discovered on nearby farmland a few miles from the site.
The finds from Rendlesham, which will go on display for the first time this week at the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo visitor centre, include fragments of exquisite gold jewellery comparable in workmanship, if not in scale, to the Sutton Hoo treasures, pieces of gilt bronze horse harness, Saxon pennies and metal offcuts from a blacksmith’s workshop.
The 50-hectare (123.5-acre) site, four miles north-east of Sutton Hoo, was discovered by archaeologists after a local landowner, Sir Michael Bunbury, became concerned about nighthawks – treasure-hunting thieves who use metal detectors. Read more.
For unsuspecting herdsmen in the 13th century, April showers didn’t bring May flowers—they brought Mongol hordes.
New research by a team of tree-ring scientists from Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory may have uncovered the reason why an obscure band of nomadic Mongol horsemen were able to sweep through much of Asia in a few meteoric decades 800 years ago, conquering everything in their path: They enjoyed an unprecedented, and yet-to-be-repeated, 15-year run of bountiful rains and mild weather on the normally cold and arid steppes.
By sampling tree rings in the gnarled and twisted Siberian pines in the Hangay Mountains in central Mongolia, the team pieced together a remarkably precise chronology of local climatic conditions stretching from the year 900 A.D. to the present. Read more.
Alcatraz, the notorious island prison surrounded by the waters of San Francisco Bay, is slowly giving up its secrets.
Researchers have now discovered extensive tunnels, embankments and other remnants of a military fortress hidden beneath the floors of the prison. Experts had thought these structures were completely destroyed long ago.
The fortress was discovered purely by accident, after concrete experts were called in to repair a small tripping hazard — a hole in the floor of the prison’s former recreation yard. When the experts took out a chunk of concrete, it exposed the top of an old battery wall from the 19th century. Read more.