‘Photographing Tutankhamun’ Reveals Historical Context behind Pioneering Images

Iconic photography taken during the decade-long excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb has gone on display at Cambridge University’s Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA). 06.14.2018 The exhibition Photographing Tutankhamun has been curated by University of East Anglia (UEA) Egyptologist Dr Christina Riggs and gives a different view on the ‘golden age’ of archaeology and photography in the[…]

How Science is Giving Voice to Mummies Such as Ötzi the Iceman

Ötzi the Iceman has come to life. Simon Claessen/Flickr, CC BY-SA Here’s what one man from around 3,300 BCE actually sounded like. By Dr. Anna Barney / 10.03.2016 Associate Dean of Education Professor of Biomedical Acoustic Engineering University of Southampton Researchers recently managed to recreate the voice of 5,300-year-old Ötzi the iceman by recreating his vocal tract. The technology is promising[…]

Why We Love (and Fear) Mummies

The Mummy, in its 2017 rendition, rehashes an 80-year-old franchise focused on revived Egyptian corpses. AlloCine Mummies are scary but they also fascinate us, giving us the feeling that we can vanquish time by preserving our most perishable feature: flesh. By Dr. Christian-Georges Schwentzel / 06.22.2017 Professor of Ancient History Université de Lorraine Somewhere in Iraq, the tomb raider[…]

What We’re Finding as We Excavate Halmyris, a Frontier Fort of the Roman Empire

Excavating the eastern wall section of Halmyris in 2016. Emily Hanscam, Author provided Excavating the history of migration along the frontier of the Danube. By Emily Hanscam / 07.25.2017 PhD Candidate in Archaeology Durham University Today, some of the frontiers of the Roman Empire are now national boundaries, but in antiquity these spaces functioned very differently from how we understand borders today. I am part of a[…]

From Stonehenge to Nefertiti: How High-Tech Archaeology is Transforming Our View of History

EPA It takes more than a quick scan for high-tech archaeology to reveal history’s secrets. By Dr. Kristian Strutt / 03.23.2016 Experimental Officer and Geophysical Researcher University of Southampton A recent discovery could radically change our views of one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites, Tutankhamun’s tomb. Scans of the complex in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings revealed[…]

Ancient Human Bone Reveals When We Bred with Neanderthals

Behold the femur. Bence Viola, MPI EVA Radiocarbon-dated to around 45,000 years old. By Dr. Daniel Zadik / 10.24.2014 Postdoctoral Researcher in Genetics University of Leicester When a human bone was found on a gravelly riverbank by a bone-carver who was searching for mammoth ivory, little did he know it would provide the oldest modern-human genome yet sequenced. The[…]

Indian Stone Tools Could Dramatically Push Back Date When Modern Humans First Left Africa

Middle Palaeolithic artefacts emerged during excavation at Attirampakkam. Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India Modern humans could have left Africa shortly after evolving, making it to India in tens of thousands of years. By Dr. Patrick Randolph-Quinney / 01.31.2018 Reader/Associate Professor in Biological and Forensic Anthropology University of Central Lancashire We are all children of Africa. As members of the hominin species Homo sapiens, you and[…]

Tutankhamun’s Dagger Made from a Meteorite

Fallen star sword. Daniella Comelli/University of Pisa Research has confirmed a knife found in the ancient Egyptian pharaoh’s tomb was made with metal from the heavens. By Dr. Diane Johnson / 06.03.2016 Post-Doctoral Research Associate Department of Physical Sciences The Open University Scientists have long speculated that the ancient Egyptians used metal from meteorites to make iron objects. Now an analysis of[…]

4,000-Year-Old Wine Cellar Reveals Wild Nights of the Canaanites

A key part of civilisation? E Photos, CC BY-SA The discovery of a 4,000-year-old wine cellar in Israel has provided the best direct evidence yet of the raucous, boozy celebrations that were a key part of the region’s culture at the time. By Dr. Karlena Tomc-Barbosa / 08.27.2014 Archaeologist, Private Tutor Durham University The discovery of a 4,000-year-old wine cellar in Israel has provided the best direct evidence yet of the raucous, boozy[…]

Combining Linguistics, Archaeology, and Ancient DNA Genetics to Understand Deep Human History

TonelloPhotography/Shutterstock.com Each discipline tells us only part of the story. And so the truest picture of prehistory comes from triangulating these independent lines of evidence.    By Dr. Michael Dunn (left) and Dr. Annemarie Verkerk (right) / 03.29.2018 Dunn: Professor in Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University Verkerk: Postdoctoral Research Associate in Linguistics, Max Planck Institute for the[…]

Archaeology is Revealing New Truths about the Origins of British Christianity

Centre for the Study for Christianity and Culture, University of York., Author provided New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for the earliest settlement of the site by 200 years – and reopens debate on Glastonbury’s origin myths. By Dr. Roberta Gilchrist / 03.23.2018 Professor of Archaeology University of Reading New archaeological research on Glastonbury Abbey pushes back the date for[…]

Shifting Roman Attitudes in Children’s Sarcophagi

By Dr. Beryl Rawson Vale Professor Emerita Professor of Classics and Ancient History Australian National University The sarcophagi shown below can be used to examine changing notions of childhood over time in the ancient Roman world.  Death is part of every society, but the rituals and objects surrounding death have varied across centuries and continents. They[…]

Ancient Roman Antonine Wall and Imperial Propaganda

The Summerston distance stone from the Antonine Wall, which was found near Bearsden, was one artefact successfully tested for pigment. Photo: The Hunterian Museum / University of Glasgow By Ivan Dikov / 04.22.2018 The 2nd century AD Antonine Wall in Scotland, the northernmost border wall built by the Ancient Romans, was painted in bright colors at least partly,[…]

The Villa J. Paul Getty Built but Never Saw

J. Paul Getty (at left) views a model of the Getty Villa at Sutton Place, his home in England, in 1971. The Getty Research Institute, Institutional Archives. Ancient and modern history intertwine at the Getty Villa. By Dr. Kenneth Lapatin / 04.10.2018 Curator of Antiquities J. Paul Getty Museum Ironically, J. Paul Getty never saw[…]

The Mystery of Britain’s Bronze Age Mummies

Tom Booth, Author provided Turns out the Egyptians weren’t the only ones who mummified their dead. By Dr. Tom Booth / 11.24.2015 Wellcome Post-Doctoral Research Associate Natural History Museum Whenever mummies are mentioned, our imaginations stray to the dusty tombs and gilded relics of ancient Egyptian burial sites. With their eerily lifelike repose, the preserved bodies of ancient Pharaohs like Hatshepsut and[…]

Extracting DNA from Human Remains for Archaeology and History: An Ethical Dilemma

Who gets to decide for the dead, such as this Egyptian mummy? AP Photo/Ric Feld Are DNA samples today’s version of the human skeletons that hung in 20th-century natural history museums? They can provide genetic revelations about our species’ history – but at an ethical price. By Dr. Chip Colwell / 04.06.2018 Lecturer in Anthropology University of Colorado Denver The remains of a[…]

Excavating Etruscan Acquarossa

A revetment plaque depicting dancers. Terracotta, Portico Building A, Acquarossa. 6th century BCE. (National Etruscan Museum of Viterbo, Italy). / Dan Diffendale, Flickr, Creative Commons By Mark Cartwright / 02.03.2017 Introduction Acquarossa, located in the north of Italy’s Lazio region, is the site of an Etruscan settlement of unknown name. Although much smaller than other, more famous Etruscan towns, Acquarossa has proved invaluable[…]

Conservation vs. Restoration: The Palace of Knossos

The archaeological site at Knossos, with restored rooms in the background, Crete (photo: Jebulon, public domain) By Dr. Senta German / 03.24.2018 Faculty of Classics Andrew W Mellon Foundation Teaching Curator, Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford Restoration versus conservation What happens to an archaeological site after the archaeologist’s work is completed? Should the site (or parts of it)[…]

Processing the Material Record of the Tomb of Nefertari Project

Conservators working in the tomb of Nefertari. Photo: Guillermo Aldana Newly catalogued archives document years of conservation work at this Egyptian heritage site. By Lorain Wang and Cameron Trowbridge / 03.22.2018 The Tomb of Nefertari project archive is a record of the conservation of one of the most important surviving examples of pharaonic art and a view[…]

Secrets of a 19th-Century Brothel Privy

the mid-19th century, brothels were just one among many businesses in Boston’s North End. / Bostonian Society via Wikimedia Commons By Anna Goldfield / 03.06.2018 PhD Candidate in Archaeology Boston University For Jade Luiz, a graduate student in archaeology at Boston University, historical archaeology is all about detective work. Through piecing together historical documents and[…]

The Roman Empire in West Africa

This mosaic from the Antakya Archaeological Museum, Hatay Province, Turkey dates to the 2nd Century CE and depicts a black African fisherman. By Arienne King / 03.07.2018 Historian Introduction At its fullest extent, the Roman Empire stretched from around modern-day Aswan, Egypt at its southernmost point to Great Britain in the north but the influence of the RomanEmpire went far beyond even the borders of its[…]

7,000-Year-Old Prehistoric Native American Burial Site Found Underwater in Gulf of Mexico

Photo by Ivor Molleema, Florida Department of State In an unprecedented discovery, archaeologists identify a site where prehistoric people once buried their dead—now submerged beneath the waves. By Megan Gannon / 02.28.2018 Venice is Florida’s unofficial capital of fossil hunting. Divers and beachcombers flock to this city on the Gulf Coast, mostly seeking palm-sized teeth[…]

Why This Paleolithic Burial Site is So Strange (And So Important)

Ivory beads and ochre—affixed to the pelvic bones of a child—likely decorated the burial clothing of this 10-year-old interred at Sunghir some 34,000 years ago. / E. Trinkaus/Trinkaus and Buzhilova/Antiquity An ancient interment site in Russia challenges us to rethink how Paleolithic humans in Europe treated their dead and organized their societies. By Lea Surugue /[…]

Can the Hunt for Skeletons Help Heal a Nation’s Wounds?

David Williams/SAPIENS Anthropologists in Cyprus are quietly working to unite the intensely divided island country—by finding and identifying human remains. By Megan Gannon / 01.31.2018 The abandoned Nicosia airport in Cyprus is a strange place for an anthropology lab. But there I was—at the end of a humid spring day in 2017—looking at about 30[…]

Traces of Indigenous “Taíno” Found in Present-Day Caribbean Populations

A thousand-year-old tooth has provided genetic evidence that the so-called “Taíno”, the first indigenous Americans to feel the full impact of European colonisation after Columbus arrived in the New World, still have living descendants in the Caribbean today. 02.19.2018 Researchers were able to use the tooth of a woman found in a cave on the[…]

How We Discovered that Neanderthals Could Make Art

Neanderthal art. P. Saura    By Dr. Chris Standish (left) and Dr. Alistair Pike (right) / 02.22.2018 Standish: Postdoctoral Fellow of Archaeology Pike: Professor of Archaeological Sciences University of Southampton What makes us human? A lot of people would argue it is the ability of our species to engage in complex behaviour such as using language,[…]