Articles on archaeologists

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Here’s a modern human skull on the left, and Neanderthal skull on the right. Darren Curnoe

Curious Kids: Where did the first person come from?

Maeve, age 8, has a question that has stumped many scientists over the years. And that’s because it’s a surprisingly tricky question to answer. It depends a bit on what you mean by 'person'.
Tapping into ancient DNA can help us understand ancient humans’ movements and lives. Illustration: Marlize Lombard, Maryna Steyn and Anders Högberg

Ancient DNA increases the genetic time depth of modern humans

Archaeology is not only about stones and bones: it is mainly about the people of the past. DNA is one way to get from the stones and the bones to the people and their stories.
Marcoo was a 1.4 kilotonne ground-level nuclear test carried out at Maralinga in 1956. The contaminated debris was buried at this site in the 1967 clean-up known as Operation Brumby. Author provided

Friday essay: trace fossils – the silence of Ediacara, the shadow of uranium

History is writ large in the remote areas around Woomera and the Nullarbor: from the fossils of microscopic, cell-like creatures to ancient stone tools to the deitrus of rocket tests and the painful legacy of the Maralinga atomic blasts.
Third-year archaeology student Dominic Coe replicates a painting of rhino based on the original image in France’s Grotte Chauvet. Supplied

Why we built an artificial cave to teach our students about ancient art

In an ideal world, students might visit original cave sites to see ancient paintings in their natural setting. This isn't possible, so the idea of an artificial cave set-up at a university was born.
A depiction of the destruction. Humam Alsalim and Rami Bakhos

Should we 3D print a new Palmyra?

Work is already underway to repair the damage to the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, but we need to question if technology will take things too far.

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