Just offshore from the chock-a-block development of Southern California, archaeologists have discovered some of the oldest sites of human occupation on the Pacific Coast.
On Santa Rosa Island, one of the Channel Islands just 65 kilometers from Santa Barbara, nearly 20 sites have been found that reveal signs of prehistoric human activity, from massive middens of abalone shells to distinctive stone points and tool-making debris.
At least nine of the sites have what archaeologists say is “definitive evidence” of ancient Paleoindian occupation, about half of them having been dated to 11,000 to 12,000 years ago — making their inhabitants some of the earliest known settlers of North America’s West Coast. Read more.
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Tucked behind a leafy oak hammock near this Brevard County city, a murky blackwater bog containing some of the world’s rarest archaeological treasures will remain protected from a potential housing development. The vegetated 8.5-acre upland buffer bordering the Windover Archaeological Site has been purchased for $90,000 by The Archaeological Conservancy. This New Mexico-based organization has acquired and preserved more than 465 historic sites across the United States.
A backhoe operator stumbled upon the prehistoric burial ground in 1982. Since then, scientists have excavated 168 remarkably preserved skeletons dating to the Early Archaic period from Windover’s swamp — including some of the oldest brain DNA samples ever found on the planet. Read more.
A huge archaeological dig on the edge of Cambridge has uncovered evidence of people living in the area in prehistoric times.
In what is described as the largest single excavation undertaken in the city, experts have uncovered traces of field systems, enclosures and settlements dating back to the Middle Bronze Age - 1,500 years ago.
Finds include pottery and metalwork, among them a bronze spearhead, and a variety of body parts, including human skulls.
Evidence of two “high-status cremation burials” from Roman-British times was found, one grave containing a leather-bound wooden box with a metal lock plate and 11 pottery vessels imported from Gaul, which would have been used during the funeral feast before being laid to rest with the deceased. Read more.
To an outsider, the Wind River Range of Wyoming does not seem a hospitable place. Glaciers dot the peaks, and snow can fall even in August. But in the thin air above 10,000 feet, archaeologists have discovered a host of sky-high prehistoric villages, including one that may be the oldest mountain settlement in North America.
Researchers will report 13 new Wind River villages in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Archaeological Science, bringing the total number to 19. Such high-altitude settlements are extremely rare in North America, and scientists plan to study plant remains from the villages that may help them understand the prehistoric peoples who moved to the roof of the world. Read more.
Pitkin County is close to conserving a 43-acre piece of land in Emma where the discovery of more than two dozen prehistoric stone tools — including knives, spear points and a drill — has provided evidence of human habitation up to 8,000 years ago.
On Wednesday, Pitkin County commissioners voted 4-1 to grant the first of two approvals necessary to place a conservation easement on the archaeological site.
The easement and an associated management plan would strip the parcel’s owners of their development rights, and confer management of the land to Pitkin County and the Archaeological Conservancy, a New Mexico-based group. Read more.
Centuries before the first massive sarsen stone was hauled into place at Stonehenge, the world’s most famous prehistoric monument may have begun life as a giant burial ground, according to a theory disclosed on Saturday.
More than 50,000 cremated bone fragments, of 63 individuals buried at Stonehenge, have been excavated and studied for the first time by a team led by archaeologist Professor Mike Parker Pearson, who has been working at the site and on nearby monuments for decades. He now believes the earliest burials long predate the monument in its current form.
The first bluestones, the smaller standing stones, were brought from Wales and placed as grave markers around 3,000BC, and it remained a giant circular graveyard for at least 200 years, with sporadic burials after that, he claims. Read more.
The Mold Gold Cape will go on loan from the British Museum for public display in Wales this summer. In partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and Wrexham County Borough Museum & Archives, this will be the third time the cape will have been displayed in Cardiff and will go on to be shown in Wrexham, not far from where it was found. The Cape will be on display for free at both venues as part of the Spotlight Tours organised through the British Museum’s Partnership UK Scheme.
The Mold Cape is a unique ceremonial gold cape and made around 3,700 years ago, during the Early Bronze Age. A highlight exhibit at the British Museum, the cape will be shown at National Museum Cardiff 2 July to 4 August and then Wrexham County Borough Museum, 7 August to 14 September 2013.
The cape is one of the finest examples of prehistoric sheet and embossed-gold working in Europe. Skillfully and carefully fashioned from a single sheet of thin gold, it is unique in design. Read more.
Archaeologists from the University of Southampton studying a Neolithic archaeological site in central Greece have helped unearth over 300 clay figurines, one of the highest density for such finds in south-eastern Europe.
The Southampton team, working in collaboration with the Greek Archaeological Service and the British School at Athens, is studying the site of Koutroulou Magoula near the Greek village of Neo Monastiri, around 160 miles from Athens.
Koutroulou Magoula was occupied during the Middle Neolithic period (c. 5800 - 5300 BC) by a community of a few hundred people who made architecturally sophisticated houses from stone and mud-bricks. The figurines were found all over the site, with some located on wall foundations. Read more.