What a Deer Tooth Necklace Says about Our Ice Age Ancestors

About 19,000 years ago in southwestern France at a site called Saint-Germain-La-Rivière, an adult woman dies and is prepared for burial by members of her society. Ice Age Europe, approximately 20,000-13,500 years ago; a period known as the Magdalenian. The climate is gradually ameliorating after glaciers and cold temperatures reached their height in the Last[…]

Trade Tales and Tiny Trails: Glass Beads in the Kalahari Desert

Glass beads, more than any other type of artifact, help us make sense of the last 600 years of Kalahari history. The archaeological site of Khubu la Dintša in Botswana is littered with broken-down entranceways of mud and stone melted and slumped inwards on themselves: dirty, stacked lumpy piles defeated and retired from the seasonal[…]

Exploring Western Crete’s Ancient Minoan Archaeological Treasures

Remainders of Crete’s extraordinary past are scattered all over the island. Introduction As the cradle of European Civilization and a meeting place of diverse cultures, Crete is a magical island that stands apart in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. Its prominent place in world history dates back to the mysterious and fascinating Bronze Age civilization of the Minoans, who were building lavish labyrinth-like[…]

Archaeology and Religion in Late Bronze Age Canaan

Numerous excavations and a fairly large number of contemporary written documents give us a good picture of the religious system and cult practices in Canaan. Abstract Dozens of temples were excavated in the Canaanite city-states of the Late Bronze Age. These temples were the focal points for the Canaanites’ cultic activities, mainly sacrifices and ceremonial[…]

Angkor Wat Archaeological Digs Yield New Clues to Its Civilization’s Decline

Research around Angkor Wat suggests its collapse might be better described as a transformation. By Dr. Alison Kyra CarterAssistant Professor of AnthropologyUniversity of Oregon Introduction Cambodia’s famous temple of Angkor Wat is one of the world’s largest religious monuments, visited by over 2 million tourists each year. It was built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II, one[…]

Meritamun: Brought to Life 2,000 Years Later

Modern technology and research restores an ancient Egyptian woman, Meritamun, creating a unique teaching tool for medicine and health science. Introduction Reconstructed from a mummified head dating back at least two millennia, the fine-featured ancient Egyptian face looks out from an artist’s studio in the forested hills of rural Victoria. Ancient Egypt has fascinated everyone[…]

Lucky Discoveries of Lost Ancient History

Our knowledge of the ancient world owes a lot to chance discoveries. Here, we share the stories of some of the most important and unlikely finds from ancient Western history. Unearthing a secret scroll, tablet, stone or parchment filled with important revelations about the past is an archaeologist’s dream. Chance finds, like the Dead Sea Scrolls –[…]

Unearthing the Health of Victorian London

What bones tell us about the lives and deaths of the dead. In 2011, AOC Archaeology completed an archaeological excavation at St John’s Primary School, Peel Grove, in Bethnal Green, London, ahead of the construction of a new nursery school. The site was a former burial ground privately run as a commercial business by pawnbroker[…]

Grim Relics: Excavating Long-Buried Stories from the Nazi Era

In a discussion with Reinhard Bernbeck, he delves into the origins and ethics of conducting archaeological investigations of the Nazi period. By Christopher DeCou the end of the Cold War, high school students from the German city of Witten visited the Dachau concentration camp to learn about the Holocaust. Walking among the still buildings, they[…]

Archaeological Evidence of Ancient Philistine Cult and Religion

Examining cult and religion in Philistia during the Iron Age. By Dr. David Ben-ShlomoProfessor of ArchaeologyAriel University Abstract The paper surveys and discusses the updated archaeological evidence for Philistine cult and religion, and cult and religion in Philistia during the Iron Age. The evidence can be related to public or official cult, represented in temple[…]

Following a New Trail of Crumbs to Agriculture’s Origins

Archaeologists have found tiny pieces of ancient bread from hunter-gatherers that predate agriculture by about 4,000 years. It’s mid-August in 2013, and we are working in the dry heat of the Jordanian Harra basalt desert. It is the last week of our second season of excavations at the 14,500-year-old archaeological site called Shubayqa 1. We[…]

The Archaeological Excavations at Magdala

According to historical sources and archaeological facts, Magdala was an important town with social and economic development. Introduction Magdala, known as Migdal in Hebrew (מִגְדָּל: tower) and also as Taricheae (Ταριχέα, from the Greek Τάριχος or tarichos: preserved by salting or drying fish), was an important fishing town during the first century CE on the western shore[…]

‘Palestine Man’: The Prehistoric Skull from the ‘Cave of the Robbers’

Discovered in 1925, the skull was the first fossilized archaic human found in Western Asia. Introduction Mugharet el-Zuttiyeh (“Cave of the Robbers”)[1] is a prehistoric archaeological site in Upper Galilee, Israel.[2] It is situated 800 m (2,600 ft) from the Nahal Amud outlet, approximately 30 m (98 ft) above the wadi bed (148 m (486 ft) below sea level). It was found to house a fossil today known[…]

Ancient Tonga Tattoo Tools May Illustrate Birth of Polynesian Body Art

The tools, called “bone combs,” resemble hair combs with their grooved edges. By Amy Held Tattooing goes back millennia and spans cultures, as evidenced by mummified remains, yet many details of the body modification’s origins have been shrouded in mystery. Now an ancient bone tattoo kit from the Pacific island nation of Tonga is providing researchers[…]

New Trilingual Inscription Discovered Near Tomb of Persian King Darius

A trilingual inscription has been discovered on the hillside around the tomb of Darius in Naqshe-Rustam. Two Iranian researchers, M. Doorodi from Shiraz and S. Delshad from Berlin, have announced that a hitherto undocumented trilingual inscription has been discovered on the hillside around the tomb of Darius in Naqshe-Rustam. The discovery of the inscription, which[…]

2018 Was a Bumper Year for Prehistoric Archaeological Finds in Modern Crop Fields

A hot summer revealed a hidden history beneath the dried-out fields – but only when seen from the air. For an aerial archaeologist 2018 was a bumper year. The long, hot summer revealed ancient landscapes not visible from ground level, but easily recognised in fields of growing crops from the air. The principle behind the[…]

Old Sites, New Visions: Art and Archaeology Work Together in Cyprus

Over the past two decades Australian archaeologists have been slowly uncovering the World Heritage-listed ancient theatre site at Paphos in Cyprus. The Hellenistic-Roman period theatre was used for performance for over six centuries from around 300 BC to the late fourth century AD. There is also considerable evidence of activity on the site after the theatre was[…]

The Style and Regional Differences of Seljuk Persian Minarets

Seljuk art and architecture is a fusion of Persian, Islamic, and Central Asian (Turkic) elements. By Dr. Fatema AlSulaitiExpert in Islamic Archaeology Under the Seljuk rule, Persia gained a period of economic and cultural prosperity. The innovative techniques of the Seljuk period and style in architecture and the arts had a strong influence on later[…]

Women’s Voices in a Male World: Actions, Bodies, and Spaces among the Ancient Maya

A greater focus on female activities such as food processing and weaving can provide valuable information on macro-scale social dynamics. Abstract Feminist archaeology has prompted scholars to reconsider gender roles in ancient Mesoamerica.Current research, however, tends to focus on elite women, classes and sites. Although I do not ignore the potential of these sources, in[…]

In King Tut’s Shadow: The Story of Theodore Davis

In a single stroke, Davis and his legacy were all but buried. What was it like to discover an ancient Egyptian tomb? If the breathless records from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are to be believed, it was an experience almost too marvelous to be grasped. Having cleared a portal back through the[…]

Investigations into Ancient Maya Domestic and Ritual Activities

Gaining an understanding of the particular social processes involved in the transitional Terminal Classic period in this area of the Maya world. Introduction A fifth season of excavations was conducted between June and September 2005 at the ancient Maya site of Pook’s Hill, Belize (Helmke 2006a). The excavations were conducted as part of the Belize[…]

“The Lying Pen of the Scribes”: A Nineteenth-Century Dead Sea Scroll

Historical research is important not simply for its own sake, but for what we can learn from it and apply to the future. The original version of Deuteronomy. That’s how the newly-discovered text was billed in August 1883. Several fragments of a 2,800-year-old scroll had made their way into the hands of Moses Shapira, an[…]

The Fourth Skull: A Tale of Authenticity and Fraud

This is a story of four different skulls that reached three of the world’s largest museums under less than transparent circumstances. By Dr. Jane MacLaren Walsh and Dr. David HuntWalsh: Anthropologist Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution Museum of Natural HistoryHunt: Professional Lecturer in Anthropology, George Washington University Introduction This is a story of four different skulls that[…]