Archaeology in the News!

Posted in: Archaeology in the News, ASOR
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Harvard students work to preserve and restore cuneiform tablets, by baking them. Students work at Harvard’s Semitic Museum on the clay tablets, which were recovered from excavations at the ancient city of Nuzi in Iraq, helping to preserve the details of everyday life from 3,500 years ago recorded in the clay.

An apparent ritual mass sacrifice—including decapitations and a royal beer bash—is coming to light near a pre-Inca pyramid in northern Peru, archaeologists say. The pyramid is part of the Sicán site, the capital of the Lambayeque people—also known as the Sicán—who ruled Peru’s northern coast from about A.D. 900 to 1100.

In a study published by Nature Communications, led by Markus Bastir and Antonio Rosas, of the Spanish Natural Science Museum (CSIC), high-tech medical imaging techniques were used to access internal structures of fossil human skulls. Modern humans and Neanderthals were compared and while Neanderthals might have had larger noses that modern humans, they probably had a worse sense of smell.

A team of scholars has discovered what might be the oldest representation of the Tower of Babel of Biblical fame, they report in a newly published book. Carved on a black stone, the inscription dates to 604-562 BCE and the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II.

Good taste is not a feature of a new Roman house that has risen, with much sweat and cursing, from a flat Shropshire field at the genuinely ancient Roman town site of Wroxeter: painted bright yellow and oxblood red, the building can be seen a mile off. The house was built by modern builders using genuine Roman techniques.

Orkney Islands temple at Ness of Brodgar thought to predate Stonehenge by 500 years.

China’s extraordinary historical treasures are under threat from increasingly aggressive and sophisticated tomb raiders, who destroy precious archaeological evidence as they swipe irreplaceable relics, usually to sell to international dealers.

Angkor, the ancient city in Cambodia that was the seat of the Khmer empire, flourished from the 9th to the 15th century. Researchers now studying sediments from one of the reservoirs report that prolonged droughts and overuse of the soil may have interfered with Angkor’s water management system and led to the empire’s decline.

The bizarre object to the right was found in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian architect. For over 100 years, it has languished while archaeologists debated its function. Now, a physicist has thrown her hat into the ring, arguing that it is the world’s first known protractor. The intriguing suggestion–which has drawn scepticism from archaeologists–is based on the numbers encoded within the carvings on its surface.

Romans used an artificial sweetener, Sugar of Lead, to sweeten and preserve their foods. However, the sweetener also probably gave large numbers of Romans lead poisoning.

Construction work forces the return of the remains of a Roman temple to the god Mithras to its original London home after 58 years.

A 33,000-year-old dog skull unearthed in a Siberian mountain cave presents some of the oldest known evidence of dog domestication and, together with an equally ancient find in a cave in Belgium, indicates that modern dogs may be descended from multiple ancestors.

Two teams of Michigan State University researchers – one working at a medieval burial site in Albania, the other at a DNA lab in East Lansing – have shown how modern science can unlock the mysteries of the past. The scientists are the first to confirm the existence of brucellosis, an infectious disease still prevalent today, in ancient skeletal remains.

It’s still entwined in mystery and jungle vines, but one of Cambodia’s grandest monuments is slowly awakening after eight centuries of isolated slumber, having attracted a crack archaeological team and a trickle of tourists. Banteay Chhmar, a vast Buddhist temple built by Jayavarman VII, is nearly the same size as Angkor Wat and in the process of being reclaimed from the jungle.

Researchers and scientists work together together to find a way to play recordings made by the studio of inventor Alexander Graham Bell.

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