Archaeology

7 ghoulish archaeological discoveries

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: October 30, 2009   View Article

Remember the haunted house in grade school where your hand was guided into a bowlful of “brains”? Those skinned grapes have nothing on what happened to Rachel Cubitt of the York Archaeological Trust in England.

“Unexpected” Man Found Amid Ancient Priestesses’ Tombs

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 18, 2009   View Article

In an “unexpected” discovery, a rattle-wielding elite male has been found buried among powerful priestesses of the pre-Inca Moche society in Peru, archaeologists announced Monday.

Surrounded by early “smoke machines” as well as human and llama bones, the body was among several buried inside a unique double-chambered tomb that dates back to A.D. 850, said archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo Butters, of the Catholic University of Peru in Lima.

Europe’s First Farmers Were Segregated, Expert Immigrants

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 3, 2009   View Article

Central and western Europe’s first farmers weren’t crafty, native hunter-gatherers who gradually gave up their spears for seeds, a new study says.

Instead, they were experienced outsiders who arrived on the scene around 5500 B.C. with animals in tow—and the locals apparently didn’t roll out the welcome wagon.

7 tales of cities lost or found

Publication: MSNBC.com   Date: July 30, 2009   View Article

The Lost City of Z, a fabled metropolis of unimagined riches deep in the Amazon rain forest, has eluded explorers for centuries. But recently documented traces of a well-planned constellation of walled settlements arranged around central plazas and linked together with arrow-straight roads in the Upper Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon may be the civilization that gave birth to the legend, scientists say. Check out this and six more tales from cities lost and found.

Venice “Ancestor” City Mapped for First Time

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 30, 2009   View Article

The outline of an ancient Roman city buried beneath cropland near Venice, Italy, has been mapped in detail for the first time with the aid of aerial photography, a new study says.

Until now the ancient city of Altinum, which dates back at least to the first century B.C., was known only from historical records and a few minor excavations.

Ancient Barley Could Help Farmers Adapt to Changing Climate

Publication: By John Roach   Date: July 27, 2009   View Article

DNA has been recovered from an ancient form of barley that persisted for more than 3,000 years and the tastes of five civilizations in Egypt’s upper Nile, according to a new study.

The barely was particularly well-adapted to the region’s parched climate, allowing it to trump more bountiful but less hardy varieties, according to genetic analyses of the preserved grains.

The finding could assist efforts to breed modern crops that are able to survive a drying climate, noted plant researcher Robin Allaby, an associate professor at the University of Warwick in the UK.

“If we find genes that have evolved to cope with arid conditions, we can then look to transferring those genes, or replicating those genes in modern varieties,” he explained to me in an e-mail exchange.

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Mercury Pollution’s Oldest Traces Found in Peru

Publication: National Geographic magazine   Date: May 18, 2009   View Article

Demand for the mercury compound vermilion was strong enough to support a large-scale mercury mining industry in the Andes as far back as 1400 B.C., according to a new study.

A bright red pigment, vermilion was used in ancient Andean rituals and is frequently found adorning gold and silver ceremonial objects in ancient burials of kings and nobles in South America.

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