Archaeology in the News!

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A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures. An enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield, have been discovered in her former territory in Ethiopia.

A research team in Croatia has discovered what may be the world’s oldest astrologer’s board, an ivory board dating back more than 2,000 years and engraved with zodiac signs. Found with Hellenistic drinking vessels, archaeologists are not sure how the board ended up in a cave overlooking the Adriatic.

According to 3,000-year-old evidence discovered by two Bryn Mawr College excavations in Sharjah, people in what is now the UAE were probably the first to domesticate the wild camel. The excavations have revealed almost 10 times as many bones of domesticated dromedaries as at any other single site in the Middle East and show an unusual pattern of expansion during dry periods.

A battle over historic artifacts hidden below the surface of Alabama’s rivers, lakes, and bays is surfacing in advance of the opening of Legislature’s 2012 regular session on Feb. 7. In the proposed version, the law would still require permits for recovery of artifacts related to shipwrecks and would forbid disturbing Native American burial sites, but treasure hunters would otherwise be able to search state waters and keep what they find.

Action from expanding development pressures began to inch closer to three Maya archaeological sites in northwestern Belize, sites that have not yet been badly damaged by bulldozing. To protect one of the sites the Maya Research Program (MRP), a U.S.-based non-profit corporation, archaeologists, preservationists and donors purchased the Grey Fox site and now hope to protect it for future conservation and research.

The remains of the first HMS Victory are to be raised from the sea bed nearly 300 years after it sank. The vessel, predecessor of Nelson’s famous flagship, went down in a storm off the Channel Islands in 1744, taking more than 1,000 sailors to their deaths, along with a possible  £500 million in gold coins.

Ancient Egyptians paid special attention to the organs of their dead, embalming them so they would continue to function in the afterlife. Now it seems they did the same for sacrificed ibis birds, and even packed their stomachs with food so they wouldn’t go hungry.

Since the discovery of its ruins more than a century ago, the 2,500-year-old site of Chandraketugarh in West Bengal has only been partly excavated. Looting, neglect and decay have been the banes of its existence for decades. But now the site is to be excavated and turned into a “heritage village.”

Moa bones and other relics of an early Maori settlement around Redcliffs have been found during excavations in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The ancient remains of four prehistoric bears, in some cases near human skulls, have been uncovered by archaeologists diving in underwater caves in Mexico.

Achill-henge, modern tribute to Stonehenge or blight on the Irish landscape?

Anthropology professor Stephen Lubkemann thinks his planned trek into the sea will soon help shape the understanding of one of the ugliest aspects of human history: the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Stories of Bronze Age Scandinavian invaders killing men and enslaving women may have to be rewritten thanks to discovery of a series of virtual “time capsules” in the Outer Hebrides. A synthesis of 20 years of research  the research challenges the existing belief that the Norse period marked a cataclysmic change in the Hebridean way of life.

New technology may help Waikato University researchers pinpoint the origins of Maori human remains. The Te Papa Museum in Wellington is been responsible for the country’s international repatriation efforts and for helping identify the origins of Maori remains held in foreign institutions.

British researchers are reexamining the Piltdown Man remains in an attempt to discover who carried out the hoax.

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