The oldest known stone-tipped projectiles have been found in Ethiopia, clocking in at around 280,000 years old. That’s about 88,000 years older than Homo sapiens. We know that we were not the only intelligent, tool building hominids— there were ones that came before us and existed at the same time as us, and this new find confirms that the rise of abstract intelligence was a long, slow process that occurred through many different hominid species over time. We weren’t the first, and we probably won’t be the last either.
Archaeologists have been digging for clues about the origins of Stonehenge in the wrong place for 90 years
In order to try and determine the origin of the stones used to make Stonehenge, archaeologists have been digging at a site in Wales, where it was thought the rocks originated from. And they were in the general area, kinda sorta… using x-rays of the rocks, it turns out the rocks actually originated a mile from where everyone’s been swinging their picks for 90 years.
Brains, being soft tissuey organs don’t last long at all after anything dies under pretty much all conditions. Finding an ancient brain in any condition is miracle of archaeology, but finding a human brain that’s still some sort of stuff after 4000 years is pretty unlikely. But here it was, a Bronze Age brain under the dirt in Turkey.
Jamestown, Virginia was one of the first European colonies in the New World, and almost every single one of these early settlements dealt with incredible hardship. Archaeologists have now found evidence of cannibalism in 17th century Jamestown during the deadly winter of 1609-1610, in which 80% of the colonists died of cold and starvation.
A section of rail project for the London Crossrail had to be halted when archaeologists discovered a huge cache of ancient human skeletons that seem to be a hastily put-together body pit for victims of the Black Death around 1349. There could be as many as 50,000 individuals scattered across the site.
The problem with trying to study the evolution of arthropods is that there isn’t much to leave behind. The best thing scientists could find were bits of carapace, which doesn’t give you much idea of how a creature works. Above however is the fossilized imprint of a 520 million year old arthropod that shows a head and a long string of mouth part feeding tubes, that the thing would use to rake hapless victims into its gut.
If you’ve caught the first couple episodes of the History Channel drama, ‘Vikings’, you’ll know that Ragnor uses a “sunstone” he procured from a traveler to chart the sun’s course, even during thick, overcast days. Archaeologists may have discovered such a fabled stone in the wreck of an old Viking ship at the bottom of the English Channel.
Peruvian archeologists have discovered a temple believed to be about 5,000 years old at the ancient El Paraiso archeological site in a valley just north of Lima, the Culture Ministry said, putting it among the oldest sites in the world, comparable to the ancient city of Caral, a coastal city some 200 kilometers (125 miles) to the north.
In Leicester, England, where once stood a friary is now a parking lot. And under that parking lot were the skeletal remains of a man that scientists can now positively identify as that of King Richard III. By analyzing the bone structure, injuries, bone chemical composition and finally DNA matching, the University of Leicester finally solved one big puzzle in British history.
Archaeologists at Japan’s Kanai Higashiura site, sometimes referred to as the “Pompeii of Japan”, because of how the town was quickly buried in volcanic ash, have been unearthing all kinds of neat finds, including a 1400 year old warrior still in full armor.
Nothing in that headline is misleading. In an interview with The Hairpin, author, photographer and ossuary expert Paul Koudounaris sat down to talk about some of the weirder traditions he’s encountered in regards to ossuaries, mummies and treatment of the dead.
According to Hollywood, part of archaeology is breaking into ancient tombs and dealing with deadly traps, poison gas and the undead. In real life, it’s far less dangerous. In fact, despite rumors, there hasn’t been a single ancient deadly trap-filled ancient tomb discovered anywhere in the world… until now. Work on excavating an ancient Chinese imperial tomb has stopped because archaeologists are afraid it’s full of traps and poison gas.
For hundreds and hundreds of years, Christians have flocked to the city of Bethlehem in Israel as the site of the birth of Jesus. But new archaeological evidence shows that the Bethlehem that’s being worshipped is probably the wrong one. At the time when Jesus would have been born, it turns out there was a town of Bethlehem in Galilee, much closer to where Mary was living. Oops.