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Thu, 06 May 2021
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Sherlock

Researchers find neolithic site

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© unknown
A string of neolithic posthole sites, considered to be used by ancient people for the construction of pillared halls, have been found in Palakkad district in south Indian state .

A group of researchers, led by V Sanal Kumar, Director of the Palakkad-based Geo-Heritage Archaeology Research Centre, recently unearthed around 13 such sites in various locations of the district.

While a large number of sites were found in the rocky plateaus at Thenmala in Western Ghats in the Palakkad gap zone, some others were found on the banks of Ikshumathipuzha--a tributary of the Gayathripuzha flowing through Kollengode, Muthalamada and Elevanchery here.

The remnants of a similar site was also found at Polpully, about 20 km away from Thenmala, researchers said.

Magnify

34,000-Year-Old Bacteria Discovered

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© unknown
34,000-year-old bacteria were found in ancient salt crystals dug up for research from deep below Death Valley - a surprising discovery of sci-fi proportions.

Scientist Brian Schubert made the bacteria discovery after taking a second look at 34,000-year-old crystals that had been originally dug for climate research. What he discovered, according to LiveScience.com, was astonishing - ancient bacteria within "tiny, fluid-filled chambers inside the salt crystals."

"It was actually a very big surprise to me," said Brian Schubert.

Because salt crystals grow quickly, they essentially imprison anything that happens to be nearby, "akin to naturally made, miniature snow-globes."

Arrow Down

Armenia: World's Earliest Winery Discovered 6,100 Years After Producing its Last Vintage

The world's oldest winery has been uncovered in a remote cave in the mountains of Armenia.

A grape press, fermentation jars and even a cup and drinking bowl dating to about 6,100 years ago were discovered by an international team of researchers.

While older evidence of wine drinking has been found, this is the earliest example of complete wine production, according to Gregory Areshian of the University of California, Los Angeles, co-director of the excavation.

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© Reuters
Archaeologist Levon Petrosyan looks at a 6,100-year-old wine-making equipment discovered by an international project at the excavations of the Areni-1 cave complex in Armenia

Sherlock

London's oldest structure discovered

A team from Thames Discovery Programme (TDP) has discovered London's oldest structure on the foreshore of the Thames just metres from the MI6 building in Vauxhall.

As they surveyed the foreshore in spring of 2010, archaeologists from TDP found six timber piles of up to 0.3 metres in diameter. Although no definite alignment or function can yet be determined, it is clear that the piles formed part of a prehistoric structure which stood beside the river over 6500 years ago, during the Mesolithic period, when river levels were lower and the landscape very different. Structures of Mesolithic date are very rare anywhere in Britain, reports Past Horizons.

Kept secret until it could be fully recorded and investigated, the site is located at the confluence of the Rivers Effra and Thames. Near the timbers, late Mesolithic stone tools, including a fine tranchet adze (a woodworking tool), were also discovered, as well as slightly later Neolithic pottery of two distinct types. The area, may have been a significant, named place continuing through centuries or even millennia. It is only 600m downstream from the Bronze Age timber-built bridge or jetty (c1500 BC), which hit the headlines in the 1990s.

Blackbox

Odd Pyramid Had Rooftop Homes, Ritual Sacrifices?

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© Edward Swenson
A ewly excavated platform atop a pyramid at the Huaca Colorada site looks out on the Peruvian desert.
Yes, it's yielded human remains - including five females who may have been ritually sacrificed. But it's the signs of life that make a half-excavated Peruvian pyramid of the Moche culture stand out, archaeologists say.

"Often these pyramidal mounds were built as mortuaries more than anything else," said excavation co-leader Edward Swenson.

"In most instances [a pyramid] is not where people live, it is not where they were cooking their food," the University of Toronto archaeologist added.

But the newly exposed 1,400-year-old flat-topped pyramid supported residences for up to a couple dozen elites, who oversaw and perhaps took part in copper production at the site, evidence suggests.

The pre-Inca pyramid dwellers likely presided over important rituals, feasted on roasted llama and guinea pig, and drank corn beer, according to archaeologists working at the site.

Among the signs of occupation are at least 19 adobe stands where large vessels of water and corn beer were stored, as well as scattered llama, dog, guinea pig, and fish bones and traces of coca leaves and red peppers.

"There's a far more robust domestic occupation than what we would have expected," said expedition co-leader John Warner, an archaeologist with the University of Kentucky.

Pharoah

Statue Pieces of King Tut's Grandparents Found

statue of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye
© Vipeldo/FlickreviewR/Creative Commons
The colossal double statue of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed six missing pieces from a 3,400-year-old colossal double statue of King Tut's grandparents, the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Sunday.

Belonging to the statues of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye, the fragments were found at the pharaoh's mortuary temple in Luxor during work to lower the ground water on the west bank of the Nile.

Currently a centerpiece of the main hall at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the double statue was unearthed in 1889 at Medinet Habu on the west bank of the Nile by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.

"When the statue was first discovered an Italian team restored it and filled in the missing pieces with modern stonework," Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement.

Ranging from 47 cm (18.50 inches) to 103 cm (40.55 inches), the uncovered fragments belong to the right side of Amenhotep III's chest, crown and leg.

The other pieces come from a section of Queen Tiye's wig and from her left arm, fingers and foot.

Heart - Black

"Chilling" Child Sacrifices Found at Prehistoric Site

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© Haagen Klaus
The skull of a child sacrificed at around 9 years of age.
Eighty-two Peruvian skeletons found with signs of throats slit, chests opened

The skeletons of dozens of children killed as part of a ritual bloodletting sacrifice a thousand years ago have been discovered in northern Peru, a new study says.

The remains are the earliest evidence of ritualized blood sacrifice and mutilation of children that has so far been seen in the South American Andes, according to study leader Haagen Klaus.

Seeds of a paralytic and hallucinogenic plant called Nectandra, which also prevents blood clotting, were found with the skeletons, suggesting the children were drugged before their throats were slit and their chests cut open.

During the sacrifices, sharp bronze knives were used to hack the children to death. One skeleton had more than 25 cut marks on it. A few had their hands and legs bound with rope.

"It is so beyond what is necessary to kill a person. It really gives you the chills," Klaus, an anthropologist at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, told National Geographic News.

"But we are trying to understand this on their terms, not ours."

Sherlock

US: Archaeologists Driven to Solve Mystery of Abandoned City Beneath East St. Louis

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© unknown
The site of the current archaeological dig is in the vicinity of Monk’s Mound, the largest of the Cahokia Mounds in southwest Illinois. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Archaeologists who have uncovered the remains of a prehistoric city beneath what is now East St. Louis are trying to unravel why that ancient city was abandoned while another one just to the east managed to survive two more centuries.

Archaeologists believe Native Americans abandoned the city of roughly 3,000 or more people around the year 1200, some 200 years before a bigger settlement at nearby Cahokia Mounds ended inexplicably.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the East St. Louis settlement appeared to have been ravaged by fire in the late 1100s, although the cause of that blaze isn't clear. Joe Galloy, coordinator at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's American Bottom Field Station in Wood River, said an attack from outside, rioting or a ritual burning are among theories for the fire's origin, though archaeologists hope to pinpoint during the dig.

Archaeologists have been working the site since 2008, in advance of construction of an Interstate 70 bridge across the Mississippi River.

Galloy called the archaeological dig near the site of the old St. Louis National Stockyards "an unprecedented look at a Mississippian city" and perhaps the most significant archaeology of any kind under way in the country. About 50 people are working full-time on the effort.

Blackbox

US: Climate, culture linked in prehistoric Northeast

Though climate change seems a particularly modern predicament - one that generates alarm about the fate of the planet and how people and businesses will adapt - scientists are finding evidence that climate fluctuations influenced cultural changes among inhabitants of prehistoric New England.

Research is revealing the interconnected relationship between environmental shifts and changes in prehistoric people's tools and settlement patterns. At the end of a cold period came the end of a particular type of chipped stone point used in hunting; when surface water temperatures cooled, burial traditions shifted.

"It's a reminder that climate has changed in the past, but it's also a reminder that cultures either have to change or get changed, whether they like it or not, when the climate changes,'' said Arthur Spiess, senior archeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Archeologists have long debated how environmental changes shaped the lives of people. Today, big sets of data are allowing them to look more closely at possible correlations between human and ecological changes in prehistory. Research published this month found that every time the climatic needle jumped in the Northeast, so did human culture. That work builds on a 2005 study that looked closely at a 1,300-year mini ice age followed by rapid warming, and the simultaneous abrupt change in both the landscape and hunting tools.

Sherlock

Polish archaeologists score another success

Rock engravings, ancient burial sites and several dozen terracotta figurines were discovered by a group of Polish archaeologists in the north-eastern part of Sudan by the Red Sea, Rzeczpospolita reports. The research was carried out by scientists from the Archaeology and Ethnology Institute of the Polish Academy of Science, Poznan branch.

Prehistoric settlement has never been researched in north-western Sudan, Rzeczpospolita notes. The first rock engravings were accidentally discovered by Krzysztof Pluskota in 1999. An expedition led by Doctor Przemysław Bobrowski has been researching the area. "During the December expedition we discovered lots of rock engravings. Most of them depict cattle but there are also portraits of people and African animals" says Prof. Michal Kobusiewicz, member of the team. "The engravings were concentrated around a solitary phallus-shaped mountain, which suggests that they were connected with fertility rites" Kobusiewicz adds.

According to archaeologists, the mountain was a symbol of fertility cult, which is supposedly proved by its miniature copies made in sandstone found near the engravings. The theory about the cult character of the site may be proved by the discovery of several dozen terracotta figurines of people and the miniature sandstone phallus-shaped mountains. Numerous traces of prehistoric settlement were also discovered near the engravings.