The popular conception of the Neanderthal as a club-wielding carnivore is, well, rather primitive, according to a new study conducted at MIT. Instead, our prehistoric cousin may have had a more varied diet that, while heavy on meat, also included plant tissues, such as tubers and nuts.
Scientists from MIT and the University of La Laguna in Spain have identified human fecal remains from El Salt, a known site of Neanderthal occupation in southern Spain that dates back 50,000 years. The researchers analyzed each sample for metabolized versions of animal-derived cholesterol, as well as phytosterol, a cholesterol-like compound found in plants. While all samples contained signs of meat consumption, two samples showed traces of plants—the first direct evidence that Neanderthals may have enjoyed an omnivorous diet. Read more.
MADRID (Reuters) - Spain returned to Colombia on Tuesday 691 archaeological pieces including 3,000-year-old ceramics that were seized in 2003 in a drug-trafficking and money-laundering case.
The pieces - including busts, statues and stone jewelry - were housed for 11 years in Madrid’s Museum of America while courts decided who their rightful owner was after they were illegally exported from Colombia.
The South American country made an official petition to repatriate the objects and Spain’s High Court ruled on June 10 that they be turned over to the Colombian government’s archaeological authorities. Read more.
The cargo from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes warship came to Spain in 2012 after a five-year legal battle with Odyssey, the US company that hauled it up two centuries after it sank.
Officials on Thursday inaugurated a new exhibition at the Museum of Subaquatic Archaeology in the southeastern Spanish city of Cartagena.
It features 8,000 coins — just a fraction of the estimated 580,000 found in the wreck — plus other precious artefacts.
"It is an extraordinary collection," said Spain’s junior culture minister Jose Maria Lasalle at the inauguration.
"These cultural assets are the heritage of everyone, not the privilege of a few." Read more.
In a report co-authored by Michael Walker and colleagues of Spain’s Murcia University, scientists suggest that early humans who lived in the Cueva Negra (Black Cave) rock-shelter of southeastern Spain about 800,000 years ago used fire, and that they exhibited behaviors that indicated a cognitively sophisticated late early Pleistocene use of resources and tools in their environment. The detailed report is published in the upcoming Volume 15 of Popular Archaeology Magazine.
The rock-shelter, located in the face of a cliff overlooking the Quipar river and the small village of La Encarnación, became the subject of initial exploration by archaeologists in 1981. But full systematic excavations didn’t begin until 1990, when an archaeological team led by Walker and colleagues with the Murcia University Experimental Sciences Research Group undertook detailed investigation that continued for another 25 field seasons. Read more.
Archaeologists in eastern Spain have discovered 12 prehistoric rock paintings depicting hunting scenes from 7,000 years ago.
Town hall representatives in the Valencian municipality of Vilafranca announced the finding on Tuesday, the first of its kind and importance for many years in the region.
Although archaeologists are still searching the area for more rock paintings, their work has already unveiled detailed depictions of prehistoric hunting; including bulls, goats and archers chasing them down.
The site’s location is being kept a secret until the necessary security precautions are in place. Read more.
A 5,000 year-old rock painting in southern Spain has been destroyed by thieves who tried to steal the Unesco World Heritage-listed artwork by chipping it off the cave wall where it was housed.
Residents of the Santa Elena in Spain’s southern Jaén province are reeling after news of the damage.
Local mayor Juan Caminero said the painting was now “irreparable” and condemned the act of vandalism as “heartless”, Spanish daily La Vanguardia reported on Monday.
News of the attempted theft first emerged on Saturday after visitors to the Los Escolares Cave noticed the damage to the zoomorphic painting of a person resembling a swallow.
After noticing what looked like evidence of someone having tried to chip away at the image with a pick, they spotted fine dust and rock fragments on the floor. Read more.
Scientists will start scanning Monday with a radar the floor of a Madrid convent where they hope to find the body of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, author of “Don Quixote”.
They said on Friday they were ready to begin searching in the Convent of Trinitarians to identify the writer, who died in poverty despite creating one of the landmarks of Western literature.
Cervantes is recorded as having died on April 22, 1616 and been buried a day later in the church of the red-brick convent, but the precise spot is now unknown.
"We have marked out an area to search. It seems logical that if he was indeed buried there, it was below the floor of the church," said Francisco Etxeberria, a forensic anthropologist. Read more.
Researchers in Spain have applied new remote sensing and aerial imaging to the Phoenician colony of Cabezo Pequeño del Estany of Guardamar under the project “Cultural Transfers in the Ancient Mediterranean” to begin a new round of archaeological works on the site.
The settlement was first discovered by chance in the late 1980s when it was partially destroyed by an illegal cement quarry and subsequently excavated in several seasons of rescue archaeology under the direction of Antonio García Menárguez, director of the Archaeological Museum of Guardamar.
The current joint work between the University and the Museum has raised interest in this spectacular site after recent consolidation work was photographed from the air showing the preserved sections of an impressive 2 metre high defensive wall, with projecting bastion and towers. Read more.