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Are We All Asian After All

New research suggests that the ancestors of Homo sapiens may not have evolved in Africa at all, but Asia instead. Are we all secret Chinese clones?

It has long been held by evolutionary experts that the original ancestors of humanity were found in Africa, but new research is suggesting that early examples of the genus Homo - we are the Homo sapiens variety - might well have actually evolved in Asia before journeying to Africa, not,as many scientists have assumed in the past, the other way round.

Paleoanthropologists have long favored an African origin option, especially for the evolution of our human ancestor Homo erectus, though the latest finds reveal that these 'people' lived at Dmansi, a West Asian site between1.85 and 1.77 million years ago, quite possibly a little sooner in time than the earliest African so far discovered.

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Image of Ancient Mammoth or Mastodon Found on Bone in Florida

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© Jeff Gage/Florida Museum of Natural History
Washington - Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.

A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.

While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

"It's pretty exciting, we haven't found anything like this in North America," said Dennis J. Stanford, curator of North American Archaeology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, who was a co-author of the report.

They hunted these animals, Stanford explained, and "you see people drawing all kinds of pictures that are of relevance and importance to them."

"Much of the real significance of such finds is in the tangible, emotional connection they allow us to feel with people in the deep past," said Dietrich Stout, an anthropologist at Emory University in Atlanta, who was not part of the research team.

The bone fragment, discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., contains an incised image about 3 inches long from head to tail and about 1 3/4 inches from head to foot.

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Bulgarian Archaeologists Uncover Story of Ancient Thracians' War with Philip II of Macedon

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© National History Museum
The freshly uncovered section of the northeastern wall of the Thracian kings' residence.
Bulgarian archaeologists have made crucial discoveries at the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom, the state of the most powerful tribe of Ancient Thrace, including details about its sacking by the troops of Philip II of Macedon.

The discoveries have been made within the project of Bulgaria's National History Museum, whose team started in early June 2011 the largest alpine expedition in the history of Bulgarian archaeology in order to excavate the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom.

Bulgarian archaeologists uncovered the unique residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom in July 2010, after its location was initially detected in 2005.

The residence is located on the Kozi Gramadi mount in the Sredna Gora mountain, in the village of Starosel, close to the resort town of Hissar in central Bulgaria, at about 1 200 m above sea level.

The National History Museum announced Tuesday that its archaeologists have uncovered in full the northeastern wall of the Thracian kings' residence; it is 13 m long, and has been preserved at a height of 2 m, according to the head of the expedition, Prof. Ivan Hristov.

Not unlike the facade of the building uncovered in 2005, the northeastern wall is made with "perfectly prepared stone blocks with encarved decorations." The building is believed to have hosted the treasury of the Odrysian rulers. It was erected by Ancient Greek architects between 354 BC and 342 BC, which is also when the Thracian kings' residence is dated, during the rule of Odrysian king Teres II (351 BC-341 BC).

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Iraq's Ancient Ur Site in Danger

Ur City
© Getty Images
The Ur archeological site, where Abraham was supposedly born, as shown in 2008 when Coalition Forces used it as one of their bases.

Standing before the imposing ziggurat which was once part of a temple complex at the Sumerian capital of Ur, Iraqi archaeologist Abdelamir Hamdani worried about the natural elements that are eating away at one of the wonders of Mesopotamia.

"Is there anybody thinking about preserving these monuments?" asked the doctoral student from New York's Stony Brook University who is one of the leaders of a nascent project to conserve the few unearthed remains of ancient Mesopotamia, one of the cradles of civilization.

The buried treasures of Ur still beckon foreign archaeologists who have begun cautiously returning to Iraq, but experts like Hamdani say that preserving the sites is more urgent than digging for more.

Ur, the Biblical birthplace of Abraham, and which more than 4,000 years ago was the capital of a prosperous empire ruling over Mesopotamia, is believed to have so far relinquished only a fraction of its buried antiquities.

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Researchers Explain Ancient Copper Artifacts

Northwestern University researchers ditched many of their high-tech tools and turned to large stones, fire and some old-fashioned elbow grease to recreate techniques used by Native American coppersmiths who lived more than 600 years ago.

This prehistoric approach to metalworking was part of a metallurgical analysis of copper artifacts left behind by the Mississippians of the Cahokia Mounds, who lived in southwestern Illinois from 700 until 1400 A.D. The study was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science in May.

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Cyprus: Excavations shed light on ancient Paphos city

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Aarchaeological investigations at the edges and to the south of the Hellenistic-Roman theatre of Nea Paphos have identified significant structures of the ancient city, according to an official announcement by the Department of Antiquities yesterday.

The investigations were carried out October 6 to November 17 of last year by the University of Sydney, under the direction of Emeritus Professor Richard Green, Dr Craig Barker and Dr Smadar Gabrieli.

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Morocco: University of Pennsylvania Team Uncovers Skeleton of "World's Oldest Child"

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© Unknown
Paleoartist Viktor works on the model of Bouchra, which means "good news" in Arabic. Some say it's possible this child's people were part of our ancestry.
Last year, while a Penn team of archaeologists was working in Morocco, members uncovered a treasure beyond anything they'd imagined - a skeleton of a child from 108,000 years ago.

They don't know what killed him at about age 8, but his remains are believed to be one of the most complete ever found of this period.

The skeleton promises to open a window into a pivotal time in human evolution when Neanderthals still ruled Europe, and Africans were inventing art and symbolic thought.

One of the earliest sites where people left evidence of artwork and symbolism is in Morocco, where a team led by Penn Museum's Harold Dibble found the child.

One of Dibble's students was the first to notice a piece of bone the size of a quarter, said Dibble, who is a curator at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. To everyone's surprise, the bone was part of a remarkably complete skull and upper body of a child that died 108,000 years ago, as shown by various dating techniques.

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Archaeologists discover evidence of prehistoric settlement on remote Scottish island

Scottish Ancient Settlement
© Doc Searls
Isolated: The tiny island of Boreray is remote but beautiful.

'Incredibly significant find' on tiny island of Boreray is 'is further evidence of the international importance of the St Kilda archipelago'.

Evidence of a permanent Iron Age settlement on one of Europe's most inhospitable islands has been uncovered by archaeologists.

It had been thought that the St Kildan island of Boreray, 40 miles west of the Outer Hebrides in the Atlantic Ocean, had never been populated.

Inhabitants of nearby Hirta island only visit Boreray in the summer to hunt birds and gather wool.

But the new discovery suggests that people may have lived on the steep slopes of the island back in prehistoric times.

The last 36 inhabitants of the St Kilda archipelago left the islands in 1930.

Archaeologists from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland made the discovery on an eight-day research trip to Boreray.

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'Biggest Porcelain Haul' Found in Indonesia

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© Agence France-Presse
This undated recent handout picture released by Portugal-based salvage company Arqueonautas Worldwide (AWW) shows a diver inspecting stacked porcelain at a shipwreck in the Java sea. A $70-million haul of Ming Dynasty porcelain has been found in a 16th-century shipwreck off the Indonesian island of Java, a Portugal-based salvage company said
A $70-million haul of Ming Dynasty porcelain has been found in a 16th-century shipwreck off the Indonesian island of Java, a Portugal-based salvage company said Friday.

Arqueonautas Worldwide (AWW) and its Indonesia-based partner RM Discovery Inc. said an "archaeological reconnaissance operation" had confirmed the discovery of the "biggest shipwreck cargo of Ming porcelain ever found".

"The Chinese merchant ship from the time of the Wanli Emperor sank around 1580 in over 50 metres (600 feet) depth approximately 150 kilometres (93 miles) off the Indonesian coast," the company said in a statement.

Fishermen found the wreck in mid-2009 and the Indonesian government contracted AWW and RM Discovery to carry out the delicate task of recovering its historically significant cargo, the company said.

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UK: Prehistoric stone circle discovered in Yorkshire

Mölndal cairn in Sweden
© Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Mölndal cairn in Sweden. No image of the Ilkley Moor cairn is available. It's not as well preserved as the Mölndal cairn.
A stone circle that was once part of a prehistoric cairn has been discovered by a group of amateur archaeologists on Ilkley Moor, Yorkshire, England.

A cairn is a large pile of stones that marked the grave of an important individual in prehistoric times. These stones were often taken away by later farmers for building walls or cottages, and sometimes all that's left is a circle of stones from the base, as is the case here. The team says the cairn measures 27 by 24 feet. It would have been pretty high back in its glory days.

One stone had a man-made circular impression archaeologists call a cup mark. These are found all over prehistoric Europe singly or in groups, but nobody knows what they mean.