How Archaeologists Work – Archaeology Discoveries – Articles


How Archaeologists Work, Archaeology Discoveries. Selected online articles from newspapers and popular magazines about archaeology finds and techniques, and the work of archaeologists.

 

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“We Couldn’t Believe Our Eyes”: A Lost World of Shipwrecks Is Found

Archaeologists have found more than 40 vessels in the Black Sea, some more than a millennium old, shedding light on early empires and trade routes.

William J. Broad, NY Times 2016

“Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future : The Potential of Digital Archaeology”

Mobilizing the Past is a collection of 20 articles that explore the use and impact of mobile digital technology in archaeological field practice. The detailed case studies present in this volume range from drones in the Andes to iPads at Pompeii, digital workflows in the American Southwest, and examples of how bespoke, DIY, and commercial software provide solutions and craft novel challenges for field archaeologists.

Erin Walcek Averett, Creighton University, Jody Michael Gordon, Wentworth Insitute of Technology, Derek B. Counts, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2016

1,200-year-old comb holds clues to the Viking alphabet

A 1,200-year-old comb, discovered in Denmark, is shedding light on the mysterious birth and development of the Viking alphabet.

Nell Lewis, CNN 2018

10,000-year-old massacre remains may be our oldest evidence of war

An ancient mass grave in Kenya reveals a brutal, violent end for a group of humans that lived 10,000 years ago. According to a paper published Wednesday in Nature, this may be our oldest ever evidence of human warfare.

Rachel Feltman, Washington Post 2016

3-D Reconstruction Reveals Face of 500-Year-Old Irishman

The image offers a rare portrait of an ordinary Dubliner

Brigit Katz, Smithsonian 2017

Ancient Egyptian woman’s face reconstructed from her mummified head

Researchers (from multiple faculties) at the University of Melbourne have combined avenues like medical research, forensic science, CT scanning and Egyptology, to recreate the visage of Meritamun (‘beloved of the god Amun’), an Ancient Egyptian woman who lived at least 2,000 years ago.

Dattatreya Mandal, Realm of History 2016

‘Spectacular’ ancient public library discovered in Germany

Remains of grand building that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls uncovered in central Cologne, dating back to second century AD

Alison Flood, The Guardian 2018

2,600 year-old kitchen of Kingdom of Lydia unearthed in western Turkey

Turkish archeologists in Dascylium ancient city in Turkey’s western province of Balıkesir have discovered a 2,600 year-old kitchen which belonged to the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia. During the excavations, kitchenware including containers, mortars (made up of basalt stone) and some fish bones and seeds were discovered in the area where the age-old kitchen was discovered.

3-D Reconstruction Reveals Face of 500-Year-Old Irishman

Archaeologists working near Trinity College in Dublin discovered the remains of a young man who died about 500 years ago. We now have a pretty good idea of what he looked like. As George Dvorsky reports for Gizmodo, researchers at John Moore University in Liverpool have created a 3-D reconstruction of the man’s face.

Brigit Katz, Smithsonian.com, April 20, 2017

Ancient Egyptian Bread

Following an old recipe can be challenging. Following a recipe that is not written, but only depicted in pictograms and drawings, archeological examples, and assumptions is even more difficult. The job here is to not only follow the recipe, but also try to understand the culture and traditions where this bread came to be.

Miguel Esquirol Rios, The Historical Cooking Project 2014

Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years

At an archaeological site in northeastern Jordan, researchers have discovered the charred remains of a flatbread baked by hunter-gatherers 14,400 years ago.

Heritage Daily 2018

3,500-Year-Old Child Burials Unearthed at Ancient Egyptian Work Site

A team of archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed four ancient child graves at Gebel el-Silsila, the site of a former Egyptian quarry that dates back 3,500 years. The finding provides new insights on what life may have been like at this ancient work site.

Ancient Origins 2017

A ‘militant archaeologist’ is famous for finding a lost city. Some say he just stole the credit.

They used to call him ‘the boy who bought a field’. Now headlines declare him the man who found a city underneath it.

Avi Selk, Washington Post 2017

A 3,000-year-old world has been unearthed in England’s Fenlands

The excavation has yielded up a wealth of astonishing finds including pottery, textiles, metal work and ancient timbers. The dig offers, “a genuine snapshot” of a lost world — a prehistoric settlement from the Bronze Age some 3000 years ago.

Nick Glass, CNN 2016

Archaeologists Find ‘Holy Grail of Shipwrecks’ Carrying Stash Worth Up to $17 Billion

In 1708, the San José— a Spanish galleon ship carrying a stash of gold, silver and emeralds — sank during a fierce battle against the British in the Caribbean Sea.

Laura Geggel, Live Science 2018

A Lost Roman City Has Been Discovered in Southern France

For the first time in over a thousand years, archeologists have laid eyes on the ancient Roman town of Ucetia, which is decked out with some surprisingly well-preserved mosaics. (Photos included)

IFL Science

Africa’s Atlantis: Lost Roman city of Rhapta discovered off Tanzania’s Mafia Island, believes archaeologist

An ‘ancient sunken city’ discovered by a diver off Tanzania’s Mafia island last month is believed to be the Roman market town of Rhapta.

Hannah Osborne, International Business Times 2016

Archaeologists unearth Roman road in Netherlands

Archaeologists in the Netherlands have discovered a 2,000-year-old stretch of Roman road and the remains of a Roman village at the town of Katwijk, which once marked the northern boundary of the Roman Empire.

BBC News 2018

Claim that ‘200 tons of gold’ may have been found on sunken ship triggers question: Who would own it?

A South Korean company claimed this week that it has discovered a sunken Russian warship. Analysts believe it could be the shipwreck of the Dmitrii Donskoi, a Russian cruiser that vanished 113 years ago during the Russo-Japanese war. The company is speculating on what the ship may have carried: 200 tons of gold that supposedly might be worth $132 billion.

Rick Noack, Washington Post 2018

An Aztec Temple Emerges in Heart of Mexico City

The remains of a major Aztec temple are coming to light in downtown Mexico City, revealing so far a section of what was the foundation of a huge circular temple dedicated to the Aztec wind god Ehecatl and a part of a ritual ball court.

NY Times 2017

Analysing the bones: what can a skeleton tell you?

Imagine you are an archaeologist excavating at a new building site in East London, the location of an ancient cemetery. Deep down you uncover bones that look old. You recover a full skull with teeth, and most of the bones of the body, missing a few smaller vertebrae and toes. What can you find out about the person you’ve found?

Hayley Dunning, Natural History Museum, 2017

Ancient Egyptian Woman’s Face Reconstructed From A Mummified Head

Researchers (from multiple faculties) at the University of Melbourne have combined avenues like medical research, forensic science, CT scanning and Egyptology, to recreate the visage of Meritamun (‘beloved of the god Amun’), an Ancient Egyptian woman who lived at least 2,000 years ago.

Dattatreya Mandal, Realm of History 2016

DNA From Ancient Latrines Reveal What People Ate Centuries Ago

By digging in ancient toilets, researchers uncovered genetic material that tells of past diets and diseases

Marissa Fessenden, Smithsonian 2018

Amateur metal detector finds crucifix that may change the historical record of Christianity

An ancient crucifix has been found in remarkable condition

Will Worley, Independent 2016

Ancient Greeks may have built China’s famous Terracotta Army – 1,500 years before Marco Polo

‘We have discovered something more important even than the Terracotta Army,’ says Chinese archaeologist

Ian Johnston, The Independent 2016

Hidden 1,000-Year-Old Temple Discovered Inside an Aztec Pyramid

Archaeologists made the stunning discovery while scanning the pyramid for damage after the devastating 2017 central Mexican earthquake

Becky Little, History 2018

Historian uses lasers to unlock mysteries of Gothic cathedrals

A tech-savvy art historian uses lasers to understand how medieval builders constructed their architectural masterpieces

Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic 2019

Historians Uncover Slave Quarters of Sally Hemings at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Archaeologists have excavated an area of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello mansion that has astounded even the most experienced social scientists: The living quarters of Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who, historians believe, gave birth to six of Jefferson’s children.

Michael Cottman, NBC 2017

Ancient Italian ‘Stonehenge’ accidentally discovered by friends

A group of friends has accidentally discovered an ancient historical site dating back thousands of years and thought to be the Italian equivalent of Stonehenge in terms of significance, it has been reported.

Siobhan Fenton, Independent 2017

Ancient ruins keep being “discovered”: were they ever lost?

Christopher Begley is a professor of archaeology at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, and director of the Exploration Foundation.

Christopher Begley, Aeon

Archaeologist Finds Ancient Roman Coins in 12th-Century Japanese Castle

The bronze and copper coins were found along with a cache of Ottoman-era currency during an excavation of the castle, which was thought to have stood between the 12th and 16th centuries. X-ray technology revealed that the Roman coins dated all the way back to 300 to 400 A.D., while the Ottoman coins were made in 1687.

Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian.com 2016

Lost cities #7: how Nasa technology uncovered the ‘megacity’ of Angkor

Recent laser surveys have revealed traces of a vast urban settlement, comparable in size to Los Angeles, around the temples of Angkor in the Cambodian jungle. The ancient Khmer capital was never lost … it just got a bit overgrown

Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian 2016

Archaeologists Are Only Just Beginning to Reveal the Secrets Hidden in These Ancient Manuscripts

A project to scan documents found in the walls of a remote monastery is reshaping our view of the connections between East and West

Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine 2017

Archaeologists Are Spotting Ancient Ruins in Cold War Spy Photos

The declassified images are a treasure trove for scientists who study the empires of antiquity.

Geoff Manaugh, Atlantic 2016

How Tomb Raiders Are Stealing Our History

The illegal antiquities trade is booming, wreaking havoc on the world’s archaeological heritage.

Tom Mueller, National Geographic 2016

Archaeologists discover massive Petra monument that could be 2,150 years old

Buried platform measuring 184ft by 161ft ‘has no parallels’ at the ancient city and was discovered using satellite imagery to scan the surrounding land

Alan Yuhas, Guardian 2016

Archaeologists Finally Know What Happened at This Brutal Reform School

The Florida School for Boys did anything but rehabilitate its students

Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian.com 2016

Arctic explorer Roald Amundsen’s former ship raised to surface, awaits trip home to Norway

After 6 years of work, the Norwegian team has lifted the ship and is preparing it for winter

Sima Sahar Zerehi, CBC News 2016

Blackbeard’s Ship Confirmed off North Carolina

Wreck’s large size, weapons that of 18th-century pirate, experts say.

Willie Drye, National Geographic News 2011

Britain’s Earliest Mummy and the People of Wor Barrow

Wor Barrow lies within Cranborne Chase in Dorset, an area renowned for its prehistoric archaeology. It was investigated by the ‘father of scientific archaeology’, General Pitt Rivers, during 1893 and 1894 and became the first Neolithic long barrow to be completely excavated and recorded to’modern’ standards. Over 120 years later, the archaeological finds and field notebooks, now housed in Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum, are still being studied, and yielding new insights.

Historic England 2017

Cuneiform: 6 things you (probably) didn’t know about the world’s oldest writing system

Distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, cuneiform script is the oldest form of writing in the world, first appearing even earlier than Egyptian hieroglyphics.

History Extra 2015

Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept Their Freedom

The Great Dismal Swamp was once a thriving refuge for runaways

Richard Grant, Smithsonian Magazine 2016

Diet and mobility end up recorded in our bones and in our teeth

A piece of research has applied standard geological techniques and methods at an architectural site in Zaragoza to establish the diet of individuals

Heritage Daily 2017

Discover the Oldest Beer Recipe in History From Ancient Sumeria, 1800 B.C.

The ‘Hymn to Ninkasi’, which you can read below, not only provides insight into the importance of this custom in Sumerian mythology, but it also gives us a recipe for brewing ancient Sumerian beer – the oldest beer recipe we have.

Open Culture 2015

Divers uncover world’s oldest harbor, in Red Sea

Archaeologists find monumental harbor built by King Cheops 4,600 years ago at Wadi el-Jarf to import stuffs to build the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Philippe Bohstrom, Haaretz 2016

Drowned worlds: Egypt’s lost cities

As a major new exhibition opens at the British Museum, Charlotte Higgins travels to the Nile Delta to meet the archaeologists uncovering the spellbinding secrets of ancient Naukratis.

Charlotte Higgins, Guardian 2016

Earliest evidence for dog breeding found on remote Siberian island

An analysis of canine bones from Zhokhov suggests the dogs there were bred to pull sleds, making this the first evidence – by thousands of years – for dog breeding in the archaeological record.

David Grimm, Science 2017

Egypt unearths 7,000-year-old lost city

Archaeologists discover huts, tools and 15 huge graves dating from first dynasty period in Sohag province

Guardian 2016

Europe’s Famed Bog Bodies Are Starting to Reveal Their Secrets

High-tech tools divulge new information about the mysterious and violent fates met by these corpses

Joshua Levine, Smithsonian Magazine 2017

Exceptional Survival of Rare Anglo-Saxon Coffins

“Remarkable discovery of rare ‘plank-lined’ graves and tree-trunk coffins discovered in previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Norfolk. Cemetery offers a unique opportunity to increase our knowledge of early Anglo-Saxon Christian communities”

Historic England 2016

French Revolution Forgeries?

When Louis XVI went to the guillotine on January 21, 1793, spectators dipped handkerchiefs in his blood as souvenirs of the French Revolution. One hanky reportedly ended up in a hollow gourd decorated with figures of the revolution. In 2009, the family enlisted paleogenomicist Carles Lalueza-Fox, of Barcelona’s Pompeu Fabra University, to verify that the blood in the gourd was in fact Louis XVI’s.

Nikhil Swaminathan, Archaeology 2013

Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis

When Mark Altaweel agreed to hunt for ‘blood antiquities’ in London dealerships, he was expecting more of a challenge. But as the archaeologist discovered, relics from the ruins of Palmyra and Nimrud are now on display in British shops – and so far no-one has worked out how to stop it

Rachel Shabi, Guardian 2015

Remarkable New Evidence for Human Activity in North America 130,000 Years Ago

Researchers say prehistoric mastodon bones bear human-made markings

Brigit Katz, Smithsonian.com 2017

Revealed: Cambodia’s vast medieval cities hidden beneath the jungle

Exclusive: Laser technology reveals cities concealed under the earth which would have made up the world’s largest empire in 12th century

Lara Dunston, Guardian 2016

Rome metro dig unearths 1800-year-old ruins

A house, perhaps once belonging to a senior Roman army officer, destroyed by fire. Last year construction workers discovered the site near the Colosseum as they were digging a shaft to the tunnel of Rome’s new metro Line C.

Ben Wedeman, CNN 2017

Seeking eternity: 5,000 years of ancient Egyptian burial

Dr Margaret Maitland, senior curator at National Museums Scotland, charts the remarkable changes in Egyptian tombs and the extraordinary objects that filled them.

History Extra 2017

Something in the Water

Count underwater archaeologist Jessi Halligan among the cowboys of science.

Steven Potter, Discover 2016

Thanks to Fossil Fuels, Carbon Dating Is in Jeopardy. One Scientist May Have an Easy Fix

The amount of carbon dioxide humans are pumping into Earth’s atmosphere is threatening to skew the accuracy of this technique for future archaeologists looking at our own time. That’s because fossil fuels can shift the radiocarbon age of new organic materials today, making them hard to distinguish from ancient ones.

Ben Panko, Smithsonian.com 2016

The Greatest Vanishing Act in Prehistoric America

Seven centuries ago, tens of thousands of people fled their homes in the American Southwest. Archaeologists are trying to work out why.

Richard Monastersky, Scientific American 2015

This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization

The recent discovery of the grave of an ancient soldier is challenging accepted wisdom among archaeologists.

Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine 2017

Top Archaeological Finds-from-the-Air List Shows Aerial Technology is Transforming Understanding of the Past

Every year the government body that cares for England’s historic environment discovers and photographs sites across England from a light aircraft. Here are nine examples which Historic England is sharing to mark the Festival of Archaeology.

Historic England 2016

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