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Analysis and Comment (35)

Still with mysteries to reveal after 7,000 years. Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project LBIArchPRO

How technology, not spades, revealed what lies beneath Stonehenge

The recent discoveries at Stonehenge, including ritual monuments, burial mounds and a long barrow, are wonderful examples of how archaeological geophysics can be used in areas where excavation is hard…
Volunteers are a common sight on any archaeological dig, such as this one in Cyprus. Craig Barker

Down and dirty: what volunteers bring to archaeological digs

Although it is not yet 6am, and the sun has only just begun to rise, already the thermometer is pushing 30C, and the humidity so high it is impossible not to sweat. I’m leading an Australian archaeological…
The roots of gender stereotyping are perhaps not so old as we thought. Kostsov/Shutterstock

Our ancient ancestors may have known more about gender than we do

A recent advert by sanitary product manufacturer Always asks us to think harder about the term “like a girl” by asking young adults and teenagers to run, throw or fight “like a girl”. Without thinking…
The view from Hambledon Hill’s impressive defenses towards Shaftesbury. Marilyn Peddle

Hambledon Hill is home to 5,000 years of British history

It is great news that the National Trust has bought Hambledon Hill, a Iron Age hill fort in southwest England, for the nation. Now the expertise of its in-house archaeologists and conservators can be used…
This Assyrian winged bull is safe in Chicago, if far from home. How much else is safe? Trjames

Fears grow for safety of Iraq’s cultural heritage under ISIS

Iraq has a long and rich heritage, home for thousands of years to mighty empires – Assyria and Babylon, the Abbasid caliphate – that ruled the region once known as Mesopotamia, widely held as the cradle…
On the hunt for an Iron Age relic. stab at sleep

Some advice for treasure hunters and culture ministers

Although some countries bar the export of all cultural heritage objects, this is not the case in the UK. It is legal to sell British antiquities overseas, but sellers must acquire an export license for…
The thawing ground gives up its many secrets. Qanirtuuq Collection

Ancient Eskimo artefacts saved from slipping into the sea

Villagers living in the Somerset levels who have been inundated with floodwaters for weeks will be able to sympathise with the difficulties faced by those in the similarly low-lying Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta…
For days when Lucozade and a Mars bar just won’t cut it. barclakj

How eat-local palaeolithic diet kept our ancestors healthy

During the warm periods between ice ages stretching from 500,000 to 200,000 years ago, the southern parts of Britain were occupied by a species of ancient human, Homo heidelbergensis. These hunter-gatherers…
Revelations of a quantum world. ox4photos

X-ray vision for road diggers: the next quantum leap?

Quantum mechanics has been hailed as the next big thing in technology. And quantum computers are a media favourite. But there is a little-known quantum technology that can peer beneath the earth, which…
Lucy, born 3.2m years ago. Pat Sullivan/AP

How a changing landscape and climate shaped early humans

It should not be a surprise that East Africa was a hotbed of evolution, because over the last five million years everything about the landscape has changed. The extraordinary forces of plate tectonics…
Finding Entelognathus is a revelation comparable to the discovery of Archaeopteryx. Brian Choo

Extraordinary ‘missing link’ fossil fish found in China

A spectacular new “missing link” fossil has been unearthed in China. The 419 million year old armoured fish, called Entelognathus, meaning “complete jaw” solves an age-old debate in science. For palaeontologists…
Syria’s ancient fortifications are sadly in use once again, and have been heavily damaged. Emma Cunliffe

In Syria’s ruined relics lies the history of human civilisation

What makes us human? Whatever it is, it can be found in Syria. When the earliest hominids first came from Africa they passed through Syria, and their remains, together with the tools they made, can still…
Cut from the sea bed this 20m long core contains 100,000 years of climate history. Ian Hall

Humans have a long history of coming together to solve a climate crisis

Responding to a crisis often brings out the best in people. Certainly it has in the past, when sudden changes in climate during the Middle Stone Age sparked off surges of cultural evolution and innovation…
Figures regarding the original population of Australia may be way off. WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com)

Australia’s colonisation was no accident, say the numbers

Like many people, I grew up believing Australia was colonised by a small band of people, who had most likely landed on its shores by accident; but research I published this week suggests a far larger founding…
Fossils found in Queensland have added another gigantic creature to Australia’s prehistoric mammals. Peter Schouten/PloSONE

Fossils reveal Australia’s tree-top heavyweight herbivore

In Australia today, the biggest tree-dwelling mammals are our iconic and much loved koala and the enigmatic Bennett’s tree-kangaroo. The largest males of both species weigh a mere 14 kg. But a study of…
There’s not much left to show megafauna were hunted, but that doesn’t prove they weren’t. Peter Murray

Hunting or climate change? Megafauna extinction debate narrows

What is the oldest debate in Australian science? Probably, the argument over what caused extinction of our Pleistocene megafauna – the diprotodons, giant kangaroos, marsupial tapirs, über-echidnas and…
The amateur radio satellite, Australis Oscar V, is an important part of our spacefaring history. Alice Gorman

Saving space junk, our cultural heritage in orbit

A few weeks ago astronauts on the International Space Station hid in escape capsules following concerns a piece of space junk was going to collide with the station. The collision didn’t eventuate but the…
Bones recovered from northern Ethiopia have forced a major rethink about how bipedalism evolved. Lars Plougmann

Ancient toe gets a foothold in bipedal evolution

A report published today in Nature by Yohannes Hailie-Selassie and co-workers outlines the importance to our evolutionary story of some very ancient foot bones discovered recently in the Rift Valley of…
Genetic estimates of the age of the common ancestor of non-African humans may be wrong. bruncosta

Out of Africa, only to die … new clues on early human migration

How and when did humans colonise the globe? This question has become one of the key concerns of archaeologists, geneticists and human biologists. And now the latest archaeological discovery in Oman in…
We are still learning about the Mongolian invasions, 750 years after they happened. Hanoi History Museum, James Delgado

The original kamikaze: Kublai Khan’s invasion shipwreck found?

Archaeologists from the University of the Ryukyus in Japan have discovered part of a 13th century ship that apparently belonged to Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan. The ship is believed to be a remnant of…
Infamous street artist Banksy’s precursors have been found in South Africa. Lord Jim

Birth of bling: world’s first art studio found in South Africa

Could we have found the first artist’s studio in human history? We may well have. We all recognise the material signs of wealth. Fast cars, large yachts and sparkling bling all tell us who has more. Crowns…

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Research and News (4)

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Ancient fortress uncovered

The remnants of a Late Bronze Age (1500-750 B.C.) fortress that may have protected an important urban economic centre has…