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Apr 30, 2020. 7 comments

Three African Skeletons Found in Mexico Show Horrors of Early Slavery in the New World

Three African Skeletons Found in Mexico Show Horrors of Early Slavery in the New World

Three skeletons belonging to African individuals have been uncovered at a mass grave in Mexico City. They represent some of the first African people to be forcibly relocated to the New World. An interdisciplinary analysis of these remains is shedding new light on this grim period of history and the harsh conditions endured by the first wave of enslaved Africans in the Americas.

“To the best of...

7 Comments

Apr 29, 2020. 5 comments

Citizen Scientist Larpers Recreate Bronze Age Sword-Fighting Techniques to Uncover Ancient Combat Secrets

Citizen Scientist Larpers Recreate Bronze Age Sword-Fighting Techniques to Uncover Ancient Combat Secrets

By recreating prehistoric one-on-one sword fighting and analyzing the ensuing damage inflicted onto replica weapons, experimental archaeologists are shedding new light onto ancient combat techniques and the advanced skills required to be a Bronze Age warrior.

Previous investigations into the use of Bronze Age weapons either applied experimental techniques, such as recreations of combat, or...

5 Comments

Apr 16, 2020. 15 comments

Melting Ice Exposes Mountain Pass Used by Vikings, Including Ancient Dog and Leash

Melting Ice Exposes Mountain Pass Used by Vikings, Including Ancient Dog and Leash

Archaeologists in central Norway have uncovered evidence of a heavily traveled mountain passageway that was used during the Viking Age. Hundreds of beautifully preserved items were found atop a melting glacier, in a discovery that was, sadly, made possible by global warming.

New research published today in Antiquity describes a forgotten mountain pass at Lendbreen, Norway, that was in use from...

15 Comments

Apr 14, 2020. 10 comments

Ancient Britons Worshipped Chickens and Hares Before Deciding They Were Food

Ancient Britons Worshipped Chickens and Hares Before Deciding They Were Food

Archaeologists in Britain have uncovered evidence of chickens and brown hares being buried fully intact and with great care in the centuries leading up to the Roman period. It’s further evidence that these animals, which would eventually become important food staples, were once associated with gods.

When the first chickens and brown hares arrived in Britain some 2,300 to 2,200 years ago, they...

10 Comments

Apr 03, 2020. 3 comments

This Tiny Skull Cap Is Rocking What We Know About an Ancient Human Species

This Tiny Skull Cap Is Rocking What We Know About an Ancient Human Species

A partial skull found in South Africa suggests Homo erectus—an ancestral human species—appeared 100,000 years earlier than previously thought. The new research also shows that H. erectus lived alongside two other hominin species, neither of which were human.

A skull cap belonging to a Homo erectus toddler has been dated to between 2.04 million and 1.95 million years old, according to new

3 Comments

Apr 02, 2020. 16 comments

Humanity's Origin Story Just Got More Complicated

Humanity's Origin Story Just Got More Complicated

Human evolution was messy, with multiple human species living and interbreeding at the same time, in a convoluted process that eventually led to us. Such is the emerging narrative in anthropology, and it’s a theory now bolstered by three fascinating new studies released today.

Not too long ago, anthropology and archaeology students were told that modern humans, formally known as Homo sapiens,...

16 Comments

Mar 27, 2020. 4 comments

Neanderthals Enjoyed Seafood, Too, New Evidence Suggests

Neanderthals Enjoyed Seafood, Too, New Evidence Suggests

Neanderthals living in Portugal during the last ice age consumed copious amounts of seafood, according to new archaeological evidence. The discovery suggests Neanderthals, like our modern human ancestors, made the most of marine resources.

Marine food resources such as fish, eel, mollusk, and crab were staples of the Iberian Neanderthal diet for tens of thousands of years, according to

4 Comments

Mar 18, 2020. 8 comments

Discovery in Tomb Reveals Ancient Game of Donkey Polo

Discovery in Tomb Reveals Ancient Game of Donkey Polo

Archaeologists in China have unearthed a tomb belonging to a 9th-century noblewoman who was buried alongside her donkeys, which she likely rode while playing an ancient version of polo.

New research published this week in Antiquity describes the tomb of Cui Shi, an Imperial Chinese noblewoman who died in 878 CE. Her tomb was found eight years ago in Xi’an, China and appears to have been badly...

8 Comments

Mar 17, 2020. 13 comments

Scientists Discover Ice Age Structure Made From Bones of 60 Mammoths

Scientists Discover Ice Age Structure Made From Bones of 60 Mammoths

An unusually large structure from the last ice age built from the bones of dozens of woolly mammoths has been uncovered in Russia. Dating back some 25,000 years, it’s the oldest known structure of its kind—but its purpose isn’t entirely clear.

Circular structures made from mammoth bones are surprisingly common in the archaeological record, dating to around 22,000 years ago and appearing across...

13 Comments

Mar 14, 2020. 10 comments

Discovery in Mexico Sheds New Light on Ancient Ballgame

Discovery in Mexico Sheds New Light on Ancient Ballgame

Mesoamericans living thousands of years ago participated in a ballgame that carried tremendous social, political, and spiritual importance. The discovery of two surprisingly ancient ballcourts in Mexico is challenging conventional notions about the development and spread of this prehistoric pastime.

New research published in Science Advances describes the discovery of two Mesoamerican...

10 Comments

Mar 05, 2020. 4 comments

Extinct Humans May Have Passed Down Stone Technology for Thousands of Generations

Extinct Humans May Have Passed Down Stone Technology for Thousands of Generations

Archaeologists in Ethiopia have uncovered skull fragments and tools belonging to Homo erectus, one of the most successful hominins to have ever lived. Importantly, the newly discovered stone tools came from two different technological traditions, highlighting the diversity and flexibility of these extinct hominins.

When it comes to extinct human species, Neanderthals tend to hog the...

4 Comments

Feb 21, 2020. 13 comments

Study Suggests Early Humans Had Even More Interspecies Sex

Study Suggests Early Humans Had Even More Interspecies Sex

Before we became the only remaining humans on the planet, Homo sapiens mated

with Neanderthals and the closely related Denisovans . New research is now revealing that the common ancestor of Neanderthals and Denisovans interbred with its own predecessor, a population of “superarchaic” hominids.

This new model suggests a rewritten history of human evolution, and, if it holds, demonstrates that...

13 Comments

Feb 06, 2020. 1 comments

Skeleton Found in Submerged Mexican Cave Sheds New Light on Earliest People in America

Skeleton Found in Submerged Mexican Cave Sheds New Light on Earliest People in America

An extraordinary 9,900-year-old skeleton found in the submerged caves of Tulum is both enhancing and complicating our understanding of the first humans to settle in the Americas.

Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula is typically associated with the Maya civilization, but emerging archaeological evidence suggests this region was settled thousands of years earlier by some of the first people to set foot...

1 Comments

Jan 24, 2020. 1 comments

14th-Century Steambath Discovered in Mexico City

14th-Century Steambath Discovered in Mexico City

Archaeologists in Mexico City have uncovered a pre-Hispanic steambath dating back to the 14th century. Its location in the city’s historic district confirms the whereabouts of a vibrant neighborhood that once stood in Tenochtitlán—an ancient urban center that eventually became Mexico City.

The 14th-century steambath, or temazcal as its known in the indigenous Nahuatl language, was discovered...

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George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 16, 2020. 3 comments

Free-Diving Neanderthals Gathered Tools From the Seafloor

Free-Diving Neanderthals Gathered Tools From the Seafloor

New evidence suggests Neanderthals gathered clam shells and volcanic rock from the bottom of the Mediterranean, which they fashioned into tools. The work is yet more evidence that Neanderthals often ventured into the water, and it adds to the body of research showing that they were nothing like the unintelligent, uncoordinated clods they’ve long been portrayed to be.

Researchers have...

3 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Jan 11, 2020. 14 comments

Viking Runes Warned of a Climate Catastrophe, New Research Suggests

Viking Runes Warned of a Climate Catastrophe, New Research Suggests

An updated interpretation of the famous Rök runestone suggests Vikings were preoccupied by the threat of a climate calamity.

The Rök runestone was completed and upraised in what is now Östergötland, Sweden, around 800 CE, and it was long thought to describe a series of battles. Given that the poem inscribed on the rune was written as a series of riddles, this interpretation has remained just...

14 Comments

Jan 10, 2020. 4 comments

An Extinct Human Species May Not Have Evolved in Asia After All, New Research Suggests

An Extinct Human Species May Not Have Evolved in Asia After All, New Research Suggests

New research suggests Homo erectus—the most successful hominin prior to the emergence of modern humans—reached southeast Asia later than is conventionally assumed. It’s a significant finding, as it casts doubt on a theory that points to an Asian birthplace for this now-extinct species.

Homo erectus reached the Indonesian island of Java at some point between 1.3 million to 1.5 million years...

4 Comments

Jan 08, 2020. 4 comments

Over-Hunting Walruses Likely Forced Vikings to Abandon Greenland

Over-Hunting Walruses Likely Forced Vikings to Abandon Greenland

Scientists have struggled to understand why, after hundreds of years, Vikings suddenly abandoned their Greenland colony. New research suggests their economic over-reliance on walrus tusks—a valuable but dwindling trade commodity—had a lot to do with it.

Viking settlements in Greenland were established by Erik the Red around 985 CE. This Norse colony lasted for centuries, but it was abandoned...

4 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Dec 31, 2019. 5 comments

Prehistoric Stone Monument in Scotland May Have Been Intentionally Built to Attract Lightning

Prehistoric Stone Monument in Scotland May Have Been Intentionally Built to Attract Lightning

Researchers working in the Outer Hebrides island chain off the west coast of Scotland have uncovered evidence of a previously unknown rock monument located within a stone’s throw of the iconic Calanais Standing Stones.

The newly discovered monument featured standing stones that were arranged in a circular pattern around a spot bearing the distinctive traces of a powerful lightning strike....

5 Comments

George Dvorsky George Dvorsky Dec 21, 2019. 5 comments

Rare Skeleton Points to Compassion, Care, and Tragedy in Prehistoric China

Rare Skeleton Points to Compassion, Care, and Tragedy in Prehistoric China

The discovery of a 5,000-year-old skeleton of a young adult who had serious physical limitations suggests a form of social support existed in Neolithic China, but only to a point, as this individual may have met an untimely death.

The skeleton was found at the Guanjia site in China’s Henan Province, and it dates back to the late Neolithic Yangshao cultural period (3300–2900 BCE). A recent...

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