Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "bones"

SALT LAKE CITY — A 14-year-old boy digging a trout pond in the backyard of his father’s Salt Lake City home stumbled across a surprise: the remains of an American Indian who lived about 1,000 years ago.

Experts from the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts spent Friday removing the remains, which were confirmed by medical examiners as those of a person from a millennium ago, and investigating the site for archaeological clues after ninth-grader Ali Erturk’s discovery earlier in the week.

"Humans have occupied this valley for up to 10,000 years," department spokesman Geoffrey Fattah told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We do run into situations where progress runs into the ancient past." Read more.

The diet and journeys taken by those who lived in the Sahara Desert thousands of years ago are being analysed through their teeth and bones.

Our knowledge of past civilisations is gleaned from what is left behind – the shards of pots, traces of dwellings and goods from graves. And just as these are clues to the everyday behaviours of individuals long gone, so too are their bodily remains. Locked in their teeth and bones is information that scientists can use to reveal how they lived, such as the food they ate and the distances they travelled.

Dr Ronika Power and Dr Marta Mirazon Lahr from Cambridge’s Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies (LCHES) with Dr Tamsin O’Connell from the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research are reading these ‘biographies in bone’ in the skeletons and skulls of people who lived up to 8,000 years ago in the Sahara Desert and across the African continent. Read more.

The legs of an 800-year-old medieval monk have been discovered, poking out of a cliff face in Wales.

Although badly damaged and missing their knees, shins and feet, the thigh bones were found after the fierce recent storms caused severe coastal erosion.

They were spotted by rambler Mandy Ewington, who sent a photograph to coastal archaeologist Karl-James Langford.

Mr Langford, 39, said “I thought she must have been mistaken but I went down to see for myself and thought: “Bloody hell,this is amazing!
"You can clearly see a grave has been eroded into the sea. Read more.

Archaeologists at IT Sligo have found bones of a Stone Age child and an adult in a tiny cave high on Knocknarea mountain near the town.

Radiocarbon dating has shown that they are some 5,500 years old, which makes them among the earliest human bones found in the county.

The find represents important fresh evidence of Knocknarea’s Neolithic (Stone Age) links and a prehistoric practice known as “excarnation”.

Researchers discovered a total of 13 small bones and bone fragments in an almost inaccessible cave last November. Read more.

From Egyptian mummies to Ötzi the Iceman, human remains are a common, if macabre, feature of museum exhibits. Writing in Clinical Anatomy, Dr. Philippe Charlier explores the argument that curators have an ethical obligation to return these bodies to their native communities for burial.

The recent case of the ‘Irish Giant’ Charles Byrne reveals that this is not an issue limited to cadavers from pre-antiquity. Byrne found celebrity in the 1780s and while his skeleton remains in the Royal College of Surgeons in London, ethics experts argue his remains should be buried at sea in accordance with his wishes. Read more.

German scientists have announced after almost 26 years of research that the bones interred for centuries at Aachen Cathedral are likely to be those of Charlemagne.

Researchers confirmed on Wednesday evening - 1,200 years to the day since Charlemagne died - that the 94 bones and bone fragments taken from the supposed resting place of the King of the Franks and founder of what was to become the Holy Roman Empire came from a tall, thin, older man.

The team first opened the sarcophagus of the first emperor in western Europe since the fall of the Roman Empire in secret in 1988 and presented their results for the first time on Wednesday. Read more.

Evidence linked to one of Edinburgh’s most nefarious trade has emerged from the rear garden of a house in the Haymarket district, according to archaeologists who have linked humans remains unearthed more than a year ago to the body snatching era made infamous by Irish killers Burke and Hare.

Belonging to four adults and at least one child, the disarticulated remains — about 60 bones — feature small holes used to re-articulate the skeletons with wire. This suggests they were used for anatomical display, said experts at consultants GUARD Archaeology.

"The forensic archaeologist at GUARD also identified that some of the bones had very smooth shinny patches, suggesting that they had been handled many times," John Lawson, from the City of Edinburgh Council Archaeology Service, told Discovery News. Read more.

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Recreating the story of humanity’s past by studying ancient bones can hit a snag when they deteriorate, but scientists are now reporting an advance inspired by seashells that can better preserve valuable remains. Their findings, which appear in the ACS journal Langmuir, could have wide-ranging implications for both archeology and paleontology.

Luigi Dei and colleagues explain that a process similar to osteoporosis causes bones discovered at historically significant sites to become brittle and fragile—and in the process, lose clues to the culture they were once part of. Preserving them has proved challenging. Current techniques to harden and strengthen bones use vinyl and acrylic polymers. They act as a sort of glue, filling in cracks and holding fragments together, but they are not ideal. In an effort to stanch the loss of information due to damage, Dei’s team set out to find a better way to preserve old bones. Read more.