Articles on Archaeology

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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Many tourists hold an outdated romanticized image of an abandoned temple emerging from the jungle.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.
A Motu trading ship with its characteristic crab claw shaped sails. Taken in the period 1903-1904. Trustees of The British Museum

Archaeology is unravelling new stories about Indigenous seagoing trade on Australia’s doorstep

It has often been assumed that Australia was essentially isolated until 1788. But research into the seagoing trade on the south coast of Papua New Guinea suggests otherwise.
New technology means accessing new information from ancient human remains, some which have been in collections for decades. Duckworth Laboratory

Ancient DNA is a powerful tool for studying the past – when archaeologists and geneticists work together

Ancient DNA allows scientists to learn directly from the remains of people from the past. As this new field takes off, researchers are figuring out how to ethically work with ancient samples and each other.

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