Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "cave"

COMSTOCK — On the wall of a limestone cave above the Rio Grande, at about the time the pyramids were rising in ancient Egypt, a nomadic people painted fantastic scenes of human and animal figures, leaving a story that resists modern interpretation.

Pausing at one of the compositions, archaeologist Amanda Castañeda pointed out details, lost to the untrained eye, in a faint humanoid figure.

“This dates to about 4,000 years ago. What’s interesting about this guy is that his atlatl (throwing stick) is backwards and his wrist has a crazy decoration. The more you look, the more you see,” she said.

Across the broad stone canvas were dozens of surreal and distorted figures of humans, deer, rabbits and felines, as well as others aptly classified as “enigmatics,” simply because they remain inscrutable. Read more.

Hades wasn’t the happiest place, the Department of Motor Vehicles of the ancient Greek afterlife.

There, in a gloomy underworld, departed heroes such as Achilles gathered mostly to grouse about their boredom, and await the verdict of the judges of the dead.

"I would rather be a paid servant in a poor man’s house and be above ground than king of kings among the dead," said Achilles, the greatest of Greek heroes,commenting on the scenery, according to the ancient poem, The Odyssey. (Tough break for Achilles, but perhaps he was later cheered to learn that Brad Pittwould play him in the 2004 filmTroy. )

But for archaeologists, a Greek cave that has sparked comparisons to Hades looks more like heaven. Overlooking a quiet Greek bay, Alepotrypa Cavecontains the remains of a Stone Age village, burials, a lake and an amphitheater-sized final chamber that saw blazing rituals take place more than 5,000 years ago. All of it was sealed from the world until modern times, and scholars are only now reporting what lies within. Read more.

ScienceDaily — A 33,000-year-old dog skull unearthed in a Siberian mountain cave presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication and, together with an equally ancient find in a cave in Belgium, indicates that modern dogs may be descended from multiple ancestors.

If you think a Chihuahua doesn’t have much in common with a Rottweiler, you might be on to something.

An ancient dog skull, preserved in a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia for 33,000 years, presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication and, together with equally ancient dog remains from a cave in Belgium, indicates that domestication of dogs may have occurred repeatedly in different geographic locations rather than with a single domestication event.

In other words, man’s best friends may have originated from more than one ancient ancestor, contrary to what some DNA evidence previously has indicated. Read more.

Researchers have unearthed two abalone shells from a South African cave that they believe were used to produce and store a mixture of pigmented paint, and that possibly represent the first known use of containers. The discovery, released in the journal Science on Thursday, also indicates that as long as 100,000 years ago, humans had strategic planning skills and knew some basic chemistry.

Excavated from the Blombos cave near the southern Cape shore of the Indian Ocean in South Africa, the finding consists of two “toolkits” found side by side, containing fragments of ancient grinding, crushing and painting tools, along with the shells. All had residue of ochre, earth pigment derived from iron oxides and other natural minerals, which has been well-documented as a source of early colored paint. Read more.

At least 14,000 years ago, artists took to Altamira cave in Spain with charcoal and red pigments, painting bison, deer and their own handprints on the rock walls and ceiling. This prehistoric art gallery is now closed to the public, but plans to reopen it have scientists raising the alarm.

"Altamira cave, although currently closed, is at real risk," a group of Spanish researchers wrote in the Oct. 6 issue of the journal Science. 

The threat, according to the scientists, is that even a limited stream of visitors will spur bacterial and fungal growth on the cave walls, damaging the very paintings tourists long to see. Read more.

Instead of Neanderthals being dim-witted hunters who only dined on big game, new findings suggest they had more balanced diets, with broad menus that may have included birds, fish and plants.

Neanderthals are currently our closest known extinct relatives, near enough to modern humans to interbreed, with Neanderthal DNA making up 1 percent to 4 percent of modern Eurasian genomes. A host of recent findings suggest they were not only close genetically, but may have shared many other traits with us, such as creating art.

Still, the term “Neanderthal” has long been synonymous with “stupid.”

"Since they went extinct, conventional wisdom says they were dumber than us," said researcher Bruce Hardy, a paleoanthropologist at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio.

For instance, ample fossil evidence suggests Neanderthals hunted big game,  deriving the vast majority of their diet from deer, mammoths and other large herbivores. Still, while pursuing such prey undoubtedly must have taken smarts,  this fact also led some researchers to suggest they may have had little interest or even capability to dine on other items. Although hints that Neanderthals  supplemented their diet with birds, fish, shellfish and plants have popped up at certain sites, these are typically dismissed as unusual exceptions, Hardy said.

"It’s been said that Neanderthals weren’t capable of hunting birds — they moved too fast," Hardy noted.

Now researchers find evidence that Neanderthals may indeed have dined on a broad menu of plant and animal foods at a cave in the Rhone Valley in France. Read more.

KUALA TERENGGANU: An exhibition centre in a cave is being planned at the historical Gua Bewah in Tasik Kenyir.

“Gua Bewah is believed to be 1,500 years old and it has a lot of historical artefacts which can attract tourists,” said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said yesterday.

He said the cave gained prominence after the discovery of Malaysia’s oldest human skeleton there.

In March last year, Ahmad had said the skeletal remains were confirmed to be 16,000 years old.

He added that this made the skeleton the oldest in the country, followed by the Perak Man whose remains were 13,000 years old.

The Mentri Besar said the RM15mil three-storey exhibition centre that would showcase the state’s rich artefacts would incorporate green measures with plans to utilise solar or hybrid energy. Read more.

YEREVAN. – Excavations at Areni 1 Cave in Armenia’s Vayots Dzor region unearthed a more-than-5,900-year-old women’s straw-woven skirt, Armenian Archaeology and Ethnography Institute Director Pavel Avetisyan told Armenian News-News.am. 

Avetisyan informed that this artifact was discovered in 2010 and, even though they had informed about this precious item at the time, interest toward it grew further only recently. 

“The women’s clothing dates back to 39th century BC. So far we have discovered the skirt’s parts, which were superbly preserved. It is an amazing material with rhythmic color hues, and other remnants of the straw-woven material were also discovered. Such thing is recorded in Armenia for the first time,” Avetisyan noted. Read more.