About 500 years ago a group of Incas marched hundreds of miles through the treacherous Andes Mountains to the top of a distant volcano, where they buried three children alive as part of a religious ceremony. In 1999, an expedition led by explorer Johan Reinhard unearthed the mummies atop Argentina’s Mount Llullaillaco (yoo-yay-YAH-co), finding that they were among the best preserved mummies ever discovered, with largely unscathed skin and facial features.
When University of Colorado researcher Steve Schmidt read about the mummies, he knew he had to visit the region — not to see the mummies, but to study microbes. Normally, bodies that old would have long ago decayed, in part by the action of microbes, so Schmidt reasoned that the microbes on the mountain, if there were any, must be pretty intriguing. Read more.
In the course of routine excavation work at the tomb of the first Middle Kingdom governor of the Hare Nome or province, the nomarch Ahanakht I at the Deir Al-Barsha site in Minya, Belgian archaeologists from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven stumbled on what is believed to be an important burial going back to the beginning of the Middle Kingdom.
“It is for the first time in over a century that a relatively well preserved burial of this kind has been found,” said Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State for Antiquities. He went on to explain that, although the burial was robbed at least twice in antiquity and has suffered extensive damage since, a large part of the funerary collection was found well preserved at its original position.
Early studies suggest that the burial must belong to one of the governor or a member of his family. Read more.
Jambi. Archeologists on Monday announced they had found remnants of an ancient village and a burial complex in the Merangin Geopark in Jambi.
“In the framework of our research, we found ruins of an ancient village and a burial complex,” said Yusuf Martun, the coordinator for the archeology division of the Merangin Geopark research team. “Their conditions are precarious because they were located somewhere in the middle of the jungle.”
Yusuf was unable say how old the central Sumatra settlement or burial site were but estimated them to be at least hundreds of years old. He cited details of the burial practice for his estimate.
“The graves were not in a row laying on the north-south axis like in present day Muslim cemeteries,” Yusuf explained.
The graves are following an east-west or a southeast-northwest axis.
He said that some of the graves were terraced mounds that used stone walls. Read more.
DGEWATER, Md. (AP) — The artifact-rich, multilayered Pig Point site being worked by Anne Arundel County’s archaeological team for yet another season has turned up more unusual finds — a dinosaur bone and a dog burial site.
The dinosaur bone was found during last season’s dig along the banks of the Patuxent River overlooking Jug Bay in south county, and later identified as technicians pored over the pickings at the county’s archaeological lab at Historic London Town and Gardens.
The dog burial site was discovered just weeks ago as this season’s dig got under way near the original upper tract. Three years ago, the team found evidence of a series of wigwams indicating a settlement over hundreds of years.
Al Luckenbach, the county’s archaeologist, said he immediately identified the petrified dinosaur bone because he had seen similar bones years ago. Read more.
(The Hindu) - A vast urn-burial site has been found at Mandapam village, near Aarpakkam intersection, about 14 km from Kancheepuram.
The importance of the site, archaeologists say, is that it belongs to a period earlier than the Megalithic Age or Iron Age in Tamil Nadu.
They estimate that the site is datable to 1,800 BCE to 1,500 BCE, that is, 3,800 to 3,500 years before the present.
The site, however, has been ravaged by quarrying for blue-metal. Earth-movers have sliced the big urns and smashed into pieces ritual pottery, bowls and terracotta plates inside the urns.
Quarrying has reduced the site to small lakes with deposits of blue metal jutting out and broken urns protruding in places. A stone-crushing machine is filling the air with dust. Read more.
PUNE: Researchers from the city-based Deccan College Post-Graduate and Research Institute recently unearthed four megalithic burials at Hirapur in Chandrapur district, which, the researchers say, were used for more than just burying the dead.
Material evidences unearthed at the excavation sites testify that these burials or ‘megaliths’, dating between the 3rd and the 2nd century BC, were also worshipped by the local rural communities, and guarded with Laterite protection walls. Archaeologists said this is perhaps the first time that a megalithic structure has been found to have been worshipped. Archaeologists said the megaliths might have been erected and protected during the Asmaka Janapada or in the Satavahana periods.
Archaeologists have termed the four non-sepulchral megaliths as unique burial-cum-temple architectural structures, discovered for the first time in the South Asian megalithic culture. Read more.
The distinctive Bronze Age landmark at Fiddler’s Hill has been transferred to the ownership of the Norfolk Archaeological Trust (NAT) for a token value of £1.
The agreement will mean improvements to public access and historic interpretations at the 4,000-year-old site, which lies next to a crossroads on Binham Road, between Binham and Warham.
Prehistoric human remains, burnt flints and evidence of possible cremations have previously been recorded at the mound, but the focus will be on preservation rather than excavation.
The NAT has assumed responsibility for keeping the site clear of scrub and putting up public information boards, for which funding has been agreed by English Heritage. Read more.
Excavations in Cirencester have unearthed one of the earliest burial sites ever found in Roman Britain.
The dig at the former Bridges Garage on Tetbury Road has uncovered over 40 burials and four cremations.
Experts say it is the largest archaeological find in the town since the 1970s.
Neil Holbrook, chief executive at Cotswold Archaeology, said he could not “underestimate the potential significance” of the discovery.
Archaeologists said they were particularly excited by the discovery of a child’s grave containing a pottery flagon, which could date to the early Roman period, between 70 AD and 120 AD.
They said if the burial could be dated to this time, it could “challenge the current belief amongst archaeologists” that inhumation burials were not common practice until the later Roman period. Read more.