The first known masks are Halloween-like stone portraits of the dead, according to an upcoming exhibition at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
The exhibit, called Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World, reveals for the first time 12 Neolithic masks featuring wide toothy smiles and large eyes.
According to the curators, who set up the display after 10 years of investigative work, the eerie stone portraits were carved out of limestone some 9,000 years ago by Stone Age people who were among the first to abandon nomadic life.
Analysis into the type of stone revealed the masks came from the Judean Hills and nearby Judean desert in Israel. Read more.
Archaeologists at IT Sligo have found bones of a Stone Age child and an adult in a tiny cave high on Knocknarea mountain near the town.
Radiocarbon dating has shown that they are some 5,500 years old, which makes them among the earliest human bones found in the county.
The find represents important fresh evidence of Knocknarea’s Neolithic (Stone Age) links and a prehistoric practice known as “excarnation”.
Researchers discovered a total of 13 small bones and bone fragments in an almost inaccessible cave last November. Read more.
"One-of-a-kind" Stone Age artefacts left by Swedish nomads 11,000 years ago have been discovered by divers in the Baltic Sea, prompting some to claim that Sweden’s Atlantis had been found.
"What we have here is maybe one of the oldest settlements from the first more permanent sites in Scania and in Sweden full stop," project leader and archaeology professor at Södertörn University Björn Nilsson told The Local.
Nilsson’s team has been diving in Hanö, a sandy bay off the coast of Skåne County, and has been given the resources by the Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) needed for a three-year excavation of an area 16 metres below the water’s surface.
So far, they’ve uncovered a number of remnants that are believed to have been discarded in the water by nomadic Swedes in the Stone Age, objects which have been preserved thanks to the lack of oxygen and the abundance of gyttja sediment. Read more.
A firefighter who found Stone Age flints at the fire station he worked at 40 years ago says he is “thrilled” that find has now led to a nationally-important archaeological discovery.
Ron Shettle, 88, first spotted the flints while working there decades ago.
A recent rebuild of the Guildford station has now allowed experts to carry out a dig.
Archaeologists have now found 2,400 flints - some dating back to the Ice Age - under the old fire station yard.
They say there are only a handful of such sites in Europe where a similar number of flints - many of which had been shaped into tools and blades - have been found.
Mr Shettle studied archaeology for a year at Dorking’s evening institute while he was stationed in the town. Read more.
New evidence of Stone Age and Iron Age activity in the Weald area of Sussex has been revealed by findings from archaeological excavations at a development near Horsham.
This new evidence, found at Countryside Properties’ Wickhurst Green in Broadbridge Heath, sheds further light on the theory that the Weald was not the unpopulated wilderness during prehistoric times that it was previously thought to be.
“The Wickhurst Green archaeological project has greatly increased knowledge of the archaeology and history of Broadbridge Heath and the wider region,” explained Robert Masefield, archaeology director from RPS Planning and Development. Read more.
An extinct species of tool-making humans apparently occupied a vast area in China as early as 1.7 million years ago, researchers say.
The human lineage evolved in Africa, with now-extinct species of humans dispersing away from their origin continent more than a million years before modern humans did. Scientists would like to learn more about when and where humans went to better understand what drove human evolution.
Researchers investigated the Nihewan Basin, which lies in a mountainous region about 90 miles (150 kilometers) west of Beijing. It holds more than 60 sites from the Stone Age, with thousands of stone tools found there since 1972 — relatively simple types, such as stone flakes altogether known as the Oldowan. Read more.
Humans had a sophisticated calendrical system thousands of years earlier than previously thought, according to new research.
The discovery is based on a detailed analysis of data from an archaeological site in northern Scotland – a row of ancient pits which archaeologists believe is the world’s oldest calendar. It is almost five thousand years older than its nearest rival – an ancient calendar from Bronze Age Mesopotamia.
Created by Stone Age Britons some 10,000 years ago, archaeologists believe that the complex of pits was designed to represent the months of the year and the lunar phases of the month. Read more.
Archaeological excavations which were conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Judean foothills moshav (cooperative village) of Eshta’ol, before laying a sewer line, have unearthed evidence that the area where the moshav houses sprawl started attracting agricultural entrepreneurs as far back as 9,000 years ago.
According to Benjamin Storchen, the excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the ancient findings we unveiled at the site indicate that there was a flourishing agricultural settlement in this place, and it lasted for as long as 4,000 years.” Read more.