Secret HistoryS


Neanderthal Survival Story Revealed in Jersey Caves

Story Neaderthalis
© BBCThe story of this excavation and its finds will feature on the latest series of Digging For Britain on BBC2 in September, with Dr Alice Roberts
New investigations at an iconic cave site on the Channel Island of Jersey have led archaeologists to believe the Neanderthals have been widely under-estimated.

Neanderthals survived in Europe through a number of ice ages and died out only about 30,000 years ago.

The site at La Cotte de St Brelade reveals a near-continuous use of the cave site spanning over a quarter of a million years, suggesting a considerable success story in adapting to a changing climate and landscape, prior to the arrival of Homo sapiens.

The La Cotte ravine has revealed the most prolific collection of early Neanderthal technology in North West Europe, including over 250,000 stone tools. These include stones with sharpened edges that could be used to cut or chop, known as hand axes.

"Archaeologists have developed new ways of looking at stone tools since La Cotte de St Brelade was excavated in the 1970s," says Dr Beccy Scott from the British Museum and the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project.


Israeli Archaeologists Confirm Ossuary's Authenticity

Two Israeli archaeologists confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old ossuary and its inscription believed to have belonged to the family of Caiaphas, the high priest during Jesus' time, American Friends of Tel Aviv University reported Tuesday. Three years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority confiscated the ancient limestone burial box from antiquities thieves.

TAU's Department of Archaeology Prof. Yuval Goren and Bar Ilan University Prof. Boaz Zissu worked together to authenticate both the ossuary and its inscription. "Beyond any reasonable doubt, the inscription is authentic," said Prof. Goren, whose findings were published in the Israel Exploration Journal. The ossuary's full inscription reads, "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphus, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri."

© Unknown


New Evidence Hints at Ice-Age Mariners in Ancient Greece

greek stamp
© n/a
Mariners may have travelled the Aegean Sea in Greece even before the end of the last ice age to extract coveted volcanic rocks for tools and weapons, according to new evidence.

A new technique which dates obsidian - volcanic glass which can be fashioned into tools - suggests that people were mining for obsidian in Mediterranean waters and shipping the once valuable rocks from the island of Melos in modern day Greece as far back as 15,000 years ago.

"Obsidian was a precious natural rock-glass found only in Melos, some in [the modern-day Greek areas of] Antiparos and Yali," Past Horizons quoted Nicolaos Laskaris of the University of the Aegean in Greece, as saying.

"From there it was spread all over the Aegean and in the continent too through contacts of trade," he added.


UK: World War I mystery in an old battered suitcase

© Unknown
It is a mystery found on a Belfast street corner that dates back to World War I.

A small battered leather suitcase carrying Princess Mary's Christmas gift to soldiers serving on the front line was found in the south of the city.

Police believe it may have belonged to a pilot, called Harry Campbell, from the McMaster area of Castlereagh.

The case also contains a love letter smudged with a lipstick kiss and a poem putting down Hitler.

Now police are trying to trace someone who has lost valuable mementoes that date back a century.


King Arthur's Round Table Found by Archaeologists in Scotland

King's Knot
© AlamyThe King's Knot in the grounds of Stirling Castle
Archeologists searching for King Arthur's Round Table believe they have found a "circular feature" beneath the historic King's Knot in Stirling, Scotland.

Researchers and historians from Glasgow University conducted the first non-invasive survey of The King's Knot, a geometrical earthwork in the former royal gardens in May and June.

The site, which has been described as looking like a cup and saucer, has been cloaked in mystery for years.

Their findings show there was indeed a round feature on the site that pre-dates the visible earthworks.

"Archaeologists using remote-sensing geophysics, have located remains of a circular ditch and other earth works beneath the King's Knot," the Telegraph quoted John Harrison, chair of the Stirling Local History Society (SLHS), who initiated the project, as saying.


Best of the Web: Falling Meteor Depicted in 5000-Year-Old Rock Carving in North China

Ancient Carvings
© Wikipedia Org
Hohhot -- A 5,000-year old rock carving in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region depicts a falling meteor, said archaeologists on Saturday.

A rock on the side of Dahei Mountain in the city of Chifeng has images of people, domed houses and a fire ball with a long tail falling from the sky engraved on it, said Wu Jiacai, head of the Inner Mongolia rock paintings protection association.

"I believe it shows prehistoric people returning at dusk from a hunting trip to their domed houses, as a meteor falls from the sky," Wu shared his findings at the 6th Hongshan Cultural Forum that runs from August 25 to 27.

He added that in the same location several years ago, another set of carvings were found showing people fleeing, snakes slithering and birds flying away, which might be what happened after the meteor hit the earth.

The area has about 1000 carvings all believed to be made by the Neolithic Hongshan people, Wu said.

"The pictures can shed some light on the disappearance of the Hongshan culture, which was quite developed," Wu said.


Scotland: Eye in the sky giving new insight into St Andrews' past

St Andrews is home to the remains of Scotland's first council building, new high-tech research has revealed

Parts of the old tollbooth on Market Street are thought to have been built in or around 1140, according to a new archaeological MikroKopter technique where a GPS device photographs the site from the air and forms a composite map of the area.

© Edward Martin PhotographyThe micro-kopter at work over Market Street.
The tollbooth, or praetorium, was the office from which the provost and baillies organised the running of the burgh over the centuries. It is well documented that this type of building was used throughout Scotland from the 16th century but the archaeological deposits found in St Andrews suggest the building dates back to the first half of the 12th century - a theory supported by medieval charter evidence. It would make them the earliest upstanding remains of a council building in Scotland.

The tollbooth is known to have been rebuilt in the 16th century after a royal proclamation ruled town houses must also include jails, and this building stood in the centre of Market Street until it was demolished in the 1860s.


Archaeologists Uncover Ancient Site In Saudi Arabia

New Discovery
© redOrbit

Saudi Arabian officials said archaeologists have begun excavating the site of a 9,000-year-old civilization, including horse fossils, suggesting people in the Arabian Peninsula domesticated horses in the ancient culture.

HRH Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), submitted the discovery to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah. Salman said the discovery at the al-Maqar site challenges the popular notion that horses were only domesticated 5,500 years ago in Central Asia.

Ali al-Ghabban added that the discovery changed what was known about the evolution of culture in the late Neolithic period.

"This discovery will change our knowledge concerning the domestication of horses and the evolution of culture in the late Neolithic period," Ali al-Ghabban told reporters at a news conference in Jeddah, according to Reuters.

"The al-Maqar civilization is a very advanced civilization of the Neolithic period. This site shows us clearly, the roots of the domestication of horses 9,000 years ago," he added.

Archaeologists also discovered a number of artifacts at the site. These included arrowheads, scrapers, grain grinders, tools for spinning and weaving, and other handicraft tools. Ghabban said carbon-14 tests on the artifacts, as well as DNA tests on human remains at the site, dated them to about 7,000 BC.


Neanderthal Skull Fragment Discovered in Nice

Neanderthal Skull
© The Riviera TimesPaleontologist Marie-Antoinette de Lumley presents the skull fragment of a nordic hunter, discovered at the Lazaret Cave in Nice.

Part of a prehistoric skull, dating back 170,000 years, has been discovered during an archaeological dig in Nice. Experts say the discovery could reveal important clues to the evolution of Neanderthals.

Students Ludovic Dolez and Sébastian Lepvraud were working on the excavation site, Lazaret Caves, on 13th August, when they came across the partial remains of a forehead belonging to a Homo Erectus.

Paleontologist Marie-Antoinette de Lumley, who has been in charge of excavation at Lazaret since 1961, said the bone is an important find: "It belonged to a nomad hunter, less than 25 years old. He may be able to teach us more about the evolution of his successor, the Neanderthal man."

The bone was left to dry for a few days where it was discovered, before being removed for a special public announcement attended by Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi.

Archaeologists have been searching this site patiently for 50 years, unveiling more than 20,000 bone fragments from prehistoric animals.

The last human discovery in the cave was in 2009, when the molar tooth of a child was uncovered.


Roman port discovered at Caerleon 'could change view of how tribes came to Wales'

It had long been thought that the Roman legions who subdued the troublesome tribes in modern-day Wales had crossed Britain by land.

Yet archaeologists taking part in a month-long dig at a previously undiscovered site in Caerleon, Newport, believe they have discovered the well-preserved remains of a port on the banks of the River Usk that could change our understanding of the conquest.

© UnknownAn artist's impression of the newly discovered Roman port at Caerleon
At the site, the academics have discovered a quay wall, landing stages and wharves where ships would have docked and unloaded their cargoes.

Dr Peter Guest, of Cardiff University, said that the site "exceeds all expectations" and could have provided a direct link from Caerleon to the rest of the Roman Empire.

"We believe that the port dates to a period when the legions were fighting and subduing the native tribes in western Britain and it's incredible to think that this is the place where the men who took part in the conquest would have arrived," he said.