UN cultural agency UNESCO on Sunday granted its prized World Heritage status to a prehistoric cave in southern France containing the earliest known figurative drawings.
Delegates at UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee voted to grant the status to the Grotte Chauvet at a gathering in Doha, where they are considering cultural and natural wonders for inclusion on the UN list.
The cave in the Ardeche region, which survived sealed off for millennia before its discovery in 1994, contains more than 1,000 drawings dating back some 36,000 years to what is believed to be the first human culture in Europe. Read more.
Archaeologists have found artefacts dating back 45,000 years in a cave in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Animal bones and charcoal have been dug up in the Ganga Maya Cave, known to traditional owners of the land as “house on the hill”, and is now believed to be the earliest human settlement in Australia.
However Kate Morse, Director of Archaeology at Fremantle heritage consultancy Big Island Research, has said it is too early in the excavation process to officially determine the site’s significance. Read more.
Mexican officials say they plan to extract the entire skeleton of a teenage girl who nearly 13,000 years ago toppled into a deep hole in a Mexican cave and died.
Archaeologist Pilar Luna said Monday that so far only a molar and a fragment of a rib have been removed from the underground cave where the remains were found in 2007. Divers who found the remains named the girl Naia.
Luna says that once recovered, the remains will be studied and then displayed, probably in Quintana Roo state where the teenage girl was found.
The discovery of the girl’s skeleton is bolstering the long-held theory that humans arrived in the Americas by way of a land bridge from Asia. (source)
The ancient skeleton of a teenage girl found in an underwater cave in Mexico may be the missing link that solves the long-standing mystery behind the identity of the first Americans, researchers say.
These findings, the first time researchers have been able to connect an early American skeleton with modern Native American DNA, suggest the earliest Americans are indeed close relatives of modern Native Americans, scientists added.
The newfound skeleton was named “Naia,” after Greek water spirits known as naiads. The bones are the nearly intact remains of a small, delicately built teenage girl who stood about 4 feet 10 inches (149 centimeters) tall and was about 15 or 16 years old at the time of her death, based on the development of her skeleton and teeth. Read more.
A cave located on Spain’s Canary Islands, in what was probably the aboriginal region of Artevigua, could reveal an unsuspected knowledge of astronomy by the ancient islanders since it marks equinoxes and solstices, while inside it the light recreates images related to fertility.
The cave was used as a temple and, besides its astronomical function, the light creates in its interior a mythological account of fertility, the likes of which exist nowhere else in the world,” archaeologist Julio Cuenca, who has investigated the area since the 1990s, said.
“It’s like a projector of images from a vanished culture,” Cuenca told Efe, adding that during a six-month period the light creates phallic images on cave walls that are covered with engravings of female pubic triangles. Read more.
A flooded sinkhole in southern Mexico so frightens nearby villagers that they won’t go anywhere near it. The ancient Maya seem to have kept their distance too.
A recent underwater survey in the cavern, or cenote, located in Mexico’s Yucatán, has found a likely reason for its fearsome reputation—the floors of its two chambers are littered with human bones.
To investigate the cenote, archaeologist Bradley Russell and his team spent two weeks last August diving into its submerged reaches. Russell received a grant from the National Geographic Society and the Waitt Foundation for this work. Read more.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — A cave discovered near the source of Indonesia’s massive earthquake-spawned tsunami contains the footprints of past gigantic waves dating up to 7,500 years ago, a rare natural record that suggests the next disaster could be centuries away — or perhaps only decades.
The findings provide the longest and most detailed timeline for tsunamis that have occurred off the far western tip of Sumatra island in Aceh province. That’s where 100-foot (30-meter) waves triggered by a magnitude-9.1 earthquake on Dec. 26, 2004, killed 230,000 people in several countries, more than half of them in Indonesia.
The limestone cave, located within a couple hundred yards (meters) of the coast near Banda Aceh, is about 3 feet (1 meter) above knee-high tide and protected from storms and wind. Read more.
Archaeologists excavating in the ancient Ophel area near the Temple Mount (or Haram Ash-Sharif) of Jerusalem have uncovered a plaster-lined cave with an associated system of subterranean tunnels that may tell a story about life there when the Romans besieged the city during the First Jewish Revolt in 70 CE.
Under the overall direction of Dr. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University, excavators removed uncounted bucket-loads of dirt and rock fill from the cave, discovering in the process that its walls had been lined with a layer of plaster. This, along with the cave’s apparent connection to a structure dated to the First Temple period (10th to 6th centuries BCE) above it which featured water channels for directing water into the cave, told the archaeologists that they were actually exploring what was originally an ancient water cistern. Read more.