Articles on Archaeology

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Graffiti bullheads carved on the temple walls. RTI: Suzanne Davis and Janelle Batkin-Hall/IKAP, 2016

Temple graffiti reveals stories from ancient Sudan

Visitors to these sites had one particular religious ritual that may strike some as strange: they carved graffiti in important and sacred places.
People have been modifying Earth – as in these rice terraces near Pokhara, Nepal – for millennia. Erle C. Ellis

Surveying archaeologists across the globe reveals deeper and more widespread roots of the human age, the Anthropocene

Hundreds of archaeologists provided on-the-ground data from across the globe, providing a new view of the long and varied history of people transforming Earth's environment.
A large bowl or pan thought to have been made in Sydney by the potter Thomas Ball between 1801 and 1823. Courtesy of Casey & Lowe, photo by Russell Workman

How clay helped shape colonial Sydney

Though the Indigenous inhabitants were using white clay long before them, Sydney-made pottery helped colonists maintain different aspects of 'civilised' behaviour.
One of the Klasies River spinning discs and the replica built for the recording studio. Kumbani et al (2019), Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

How our African ancestors made sound in the Stone Age

Working with bone artefacts from archaeological sites in South Africa's southern Cape region, we've been able to show that some implements might have been used for sound production in the past.
Ranger Trevor Bramwell on the walk up to the Split Rock art galleries in Cape York’s Quinkan Country in 2017. Rebekah Ison/AAP

Budj Bim’s world heritage listing is an Australian first – what other Indigenous cultural sites could be next?

The World Heritage Listing for Victoria's Budj Bim fish traps was ground-breaking. Here are five other Australian Indigenous sites that also deserve greater attention.
Archaeological visualization of Angkor Wat at sunset, with site map at upper right. Tom Chandler, Mike Yeates, Chandara Ung and Brent McKee, Monash University, SensiLab, 2019

Angkor Wat archaeological digs yield new clues to its civilization’s decline

Many tourists hold an outdated romanticized image of an abandoned temple emerging from the jungle. But research around Angkor Wat suggests its collapse might be better described as a transformation.
Livestock, like these goats in the Rift Valley of Tanzania, are critical to household economies in East Africa. Katherine Grillo

Ancient DNA is revealing the origins of livestock herding in Africa

Pastoralism is a central part of many Africans' identity. But how and when did this way of life get started on the continent? Ancient DNA can reveal how herding populations spread.
The National Museum of Iraq photographed in February 2018. Many of the pieces discovered at the ruins of Ur, arranged and labelled by Ennigaldi-Nanna, can be found here. Wikimedia Commons

Hidden women of history: Ennigaldi-Nanna, curator of the world’s first museum

Ennigaldi-Nanna is largely unknown in the modern day. But in 530BC, this Mesopotamian priestess worked to arrange and label various artefacts in the world's first museum.
Stucco frieze from Placeres, Campeche, Mexico, Early Classic period, c. 250-600 AD. Wolfgang Sauber/Wikimedia

Misreading the story of climate change and the Maya

Many people think climate change caused Classic Maya civilization to collapse abruptly around 900 A.D. An archaeologist says that view is too simplistic and misses the bigger point.
A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

We’re just beginning to grasp the toll of the Islamic State’s archaeological looting in Syria

According to a new study, a small portion of a site can yield thousands of objects, adding up to millions of dollars.

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