Issue 58


Cultivating disease

The development of farming by our Neolithic ancestors had a negative impact on the health of modern humans, archaeologists say. Researchers from the Universities of Adelaide and Aberdeen, and the Sanger Institute in Cambridge, extracted DNA from calcified dental plaque on ancient teeth from 34 northern European prehistoric skeletons. Their analysis, published in Nature Review, […]


Ancient Lifestyle Choices

Hardening of the arteries is commonly associated with the modern sedentary lifestyle, but it affected people across the ancient world, over a period of 4,000 years, newly-published research says. Full-body CT scans of 137 adult mummies from ancient Egypt, Peru, southwest America (Ancestral Puebloans of the Archaic and Basketmaker II cultures), and the Aleutian Islands […]


Richard III rediscovered

Human remains found beneath a Leicester carpark are those of Richard III, England’s last Medieval monarch, a multi-disciplinary team of experts have announced.


Unusual offerings

Over 130 human skulls, thought to be the remains of human sacrifices, have been discovered in a remote Mexican field, far from known ritual centres. Dated to c.AD 660-869, they were found during excavations led by Christopher Morehart of Georgia State University, who was investigating ancient agricultural practices near Lake Xaltocan. The skulls, all adult […]


Toothy Roman Tumour

Archaeologists examining the 1,600 year-old remains of a woman from Roman Spain have made a unique – if grisly – discovery: a calcified ovarian tumour containing four teeth and a piece of bone. Known as a ‘teratoma’, the spherical mass measured 4.3cm (1.7in) in diameter and was found in the right-hand part of the 30-40 […]


Reconstructing the Lion Man

Archaeologists returning to the spot where the enigmatic ‘Lion Man’ was found 74 years ago have announced the discovery of almost 1,000 new fragments of the mammoth ivory figure – and new dating evidence that could put it among the oldest figurative sculptures in the world. The first pieces of the Palaeolithic statue were excavated […]


No Neanderthal Neighbours?

Neanderthals might have died out 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, meaning that they could not have interacted or interbred with modern humans, new analysis suggests. For 20 years it had been thought that pockets of Neanderthals survived in southern Iberia until c.36,000 years ago. As Homo sapiens arrived in the northern part of the […]


Not Slow Progress

Prehistoric snail shells contain a wealth of information about what the climate was like thousands of years ago, newly-published research says. Chemical analysis led by Dr André Carlo Colonese, Dept of Archaeology, University of York, examined the carbon and oxygen isotope composition of the shells of Pomatias elegans, recovered from Mediterranean caves and ranging in […]


Monumental discoveries in Sudan

Ongoing excavations at Sedeinga, a 2,000-year-old necropolis in northern Sudan, have uncovered the remains of at least 35 densely-clustered pyramid burials – and an inscription asking the gods to ‘take care of Granny’. Identified by the French Archaeological Mission, the pyramids were built as part of a burial ground probably containing several hundred monuments, during […]


A Colourful Colosseum?

Conservation work on the Colosseum’s only remaining covered passageway has revealed fragments of colourful frescoes and graffiti from the Roman period. Previously hidden beneath layers of calcified rock and dirt, the red, black, and blue scribbles suggest that the white and grey marble surfaces of the 1st-century AD amphitheatre might once have been much more […]


Insight of the Valkyrie

A small silver figurine, found on the Danish island of Funen, is the first-known 3D representation of a valkyrie from the Viking Age, archaeologists say. Images of armed women interpreted as valkyries – literally ‘choosers of the slain’, companions of the god Odin, who in Norse mythology are sent to battlefields to fetch warriors fated […]


Russia’s wealthy warrior

Archaeologists have identified a spectacular 2,200-year-old warrior burial in Russia, part of a previously unknown necropolis in the central Caucasus mountains. Located 800m (2,600ft) above sea level, near modern Mezmay, the site came to the attention of archaeologists after Krasnodar Regional Museum was alerted to large-scale looting in the area. Museum staff, directed by Nikolay […]

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