Tag: Archaeology and Anthropology

Millions of Ibises Were Mummified. But Where Did Ancient Egypt Get Them?

The ancient Egyptians left us with plenty of head scratching. How did they actually build the pyramids? Where is Queen Nefertiti buried? What’s inside that mysterious void in the Great Pyramid of Giza? Then there are the deeper cuts. For example: Where did Egypt get the millions — yes, millions — of African sacred ibises […]

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Stabbing Attack at Archaeological Site in Jordan Wounds at Least 8

AMMAN, Jordan — An assailant stabbed at least eight people at the popular archaeological site of Jerash in northern Jordan on Wednesday, according to the authorities, who said the individual had been arrested. The motive for the attack remained unclear. Four foreign tourists and four Jordanians, including a tour guide and a security official who […]

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Oxford Professor Is Accused of Selling Ancient Texts to Hobby Lobby

ImageThe American chain Hobby Lobby is owned by the Green family, which opened the Museum of the Bible in 2017.CreditJoe Raedle/Getty Images LONDON — A trans-Atlantic investigation conducted by a Washington museum and a London-based archaeological group has accused a prominent Oxford University professor of stealing and selling fragments of ancient texts to Hobby Lobby, […]

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Are We Ready for Satellites That See Our Every Move?

When President Trump tweeted an image of Iran’s Imam Khomeini Space Center in August, amateur satellite trackers were shocked by the image’s high resolution. After some sleuthing, they concluded it came from USA 224, a highly classified satellite launched in 2011 by the National Reconnaissance Office and believed to be part of the multibillion-dollar KH-11 […]

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The Amelia Earhart Mystery Stays Down in the Deep

For two weeks in August, a multimillion-dollar search from air, land and sea sought to solve the 80-year mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance. Robert Ballard, the ocean explorer famous for locating the wreck of the Titanic, led a team that discovered two hats in the depths. It found debris from an old shipwreck. It even […]

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What Was Kept in This Stone Age Meat Locker? Bone Marrow

Sealed for millenniums, Qesem Cave in central Israel is a limestone time capsule of the lives and diets of Paleolithic people from 420,000 to 200,000 years ago. Inside, ancient humans once butchered fresh kills with stone blades and barbecued meat on campfires. “It was believed that early hominins were consuming everything they could put their […]

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Online Map Leads Archaeologist to Maya Discovery

Until recently, archaeology was limited by what a researcher could see while standing on the ground. But light detection and ranging, or lidar, technology has transformed the field, providing a way to scan entire regions for archaeological sites. With an array of airborne lasers, researchers can peer down through dense forest canopies or pick out […]

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Napoleon Chagnon, 81, Controversial Anthropologist, Is Dead

Napoleon Chagnon, a cultural anthropologist whose studies of the indigenous Yanomami people of the Amazon rain forest made them famous but whose methods provoked intense disputes among other anthropologists, died on Sept. 21 in Traverse City, Mich. He was 81. His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by his granddaughter Caitlin Machak. No specific cause […]

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How to Develop an Appetite for Insects

Repeat after me: entomophagy. It’s derived from Greek and Latin: “entomon,” meaning “insect,” and “phagus,” as in “feeding on.” Some think it’s the future of food. In 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations released a report declaring the need to swap traditional protein sources for insects to support a sustainable future. […]

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Prehistoric Parents Used Baby Bottles Made of Pottery

As long as 7,000 years ago, Stone Age farmers in Central Europe were making and using small pottery bottles or cups with spouts. Ancient baby bottles? So it seemed — although they could have been used to nurse the sick. As the Stone Age gave way to the Bronze and Iron ages, the vessels were […]

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Getty Trust to Invest $100 Million in Saving Threatened Antiquities

The J. Paul Getty Trust will invest $100 million in the conservation of antiquities from ancient societies across the world, citing threats such as sectarian violence and climate change, officials of the Los Angeles-based organization said Tuesday. The trust, which operates the Getty Museum, has long focused on ancient Greek and Roman antiquities. This new […]

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Neanderthal Footprints in France Offer Clues to Group Behavior

A group of Neanderthal children scampered around the Normandy coast in France 80,000 years ago. Their footprints quickly became covered by windblown sand, preserved as ghostly signs of their passage. The tracks were eventually discovered by archaeologists working at a site called Le Rozel on the country’s northwestern shore. Carefully brushing away layers of sand, […]

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Cable Cars Over Jerusalem? Some See ‘Disneyfication’ of Holy City

JERUSALEM — At a glance, Jerusalem’s Holy Basin still looks pretty much as it must have looked centuries ago. The Old City’s yellow walls still read in silhouette against an ancient landscape of parched hills and valleys. The skyline is still dominated by the city’s great Muslim and Christian shrines: the gold, glistening Dome of […]

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Humans Dominated Earth Earlier Than Previously Thought

Humans substantially altered the planet much earlier than previously thought, a worldwide collection of archaeological experts reported Thursday. By 3,000 years ago, the experts wrote in Science magazine, the planet had been “largely transformed by hunter-gatherers, farmers, and pastoralists.” People farmed, burned forests and grazed their goats, sheep and cattle. By about 1,000 BCE, with […]

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Deformed Skulls Mark a Historic Migration Into Europe

The pit contained three sets of human bones, as well as animal skeletons and broken pottery. Workers at a private company found the pit in 2013, during the construction of a highway near the town of Osijek in eastern Croatia. The skulls were intact. Two of them were also misshapen. “A friend, the owner of […]

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An Archaeological Puzzle on the Danube

LEPENSKI VIR, Serbia — The faces are haunting. About 8,000 years ago, over a period of perhaps 200 years, artists that lived in this settlement on the banks of the Danube carved about 100 sandstone boulders with faces and abstract designs. The faces are simple, with wide round eyes, a stylized nose and down-turned open […]

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The Mystery of the Himalayas’ Skeleton Lake Just Got Weirder

Nestled in the Indian Himalayas, some 16,500 feet above sea level, sits Roopkund Lake. One hundred and thirty feet wide, it is frozen for much of the year, a frosty pond in a lonely, snowbound valley. But on warmer days, it delivers a macabre performance, as hundreds of human skeletons, some with flesh still attached, […]

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Finding Amelia Earhart’s Plane Seemed Impossible. Then Came a Startling Clue.

Robert Ballard is the finder of important lost things. In 1985, he discovered the Titanic scattered beneath the Atlantic Ocean. He and his team also located the giant Nazi battleship Bismarck and, more recently, 18 shipwrecks in the Black Sea. Dr. Ballard has always wanted to find the remains of the plane Amelia Earhart was […]

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Stuffed Dormouse and Fish Gut Sauce: The Flavors of Pompeii

OXFORD, England — A starter of stuffed dormouse, anyone? The dish was a delicacy in ancient Rome. It was prepared by gutting the mouse, filling it with pork mince, and baking it. The dormouse had previously been fattened in a special jar that had tiny ledges molded inside, so it could run around before it […]

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Burning of Mayan City Said to Be Act of Total Warfare

On May 21, 697, according to Mayan hieroglyphs, the city of Bahlam Jol “burned for the second time.” But, like much of Mayan writing and history, the record remained mysterious to modern Maya researchers. Where was Bahlam Jol? What exactly were the Mayans describing with the hieroglyph that is translated as “burn”? There are many […]

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How a Group of Heretical Thinkers Chipped Away at the Idea of ‘Us’ and ‘Them’

During the 1930s, the New York-based anthropologist Franz Boas grew increasingly worried about events in his native Germany. He was in his 70s, and close to retiring from Columbia University, where he taught his students to reject the junk science underpinning the country’s restrictive immigration laws, colonial expansion and Jim Crow. Born into a Jewish […]

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A Shipwreck, 500 Years Old, Appears on the Baltic Seabed

For 500 years, the Baltic Sea held in its depths a tall ship of the Renaissance era. Around the time the ship sank, Columbus was discovering the New World. His fleet vanished long ago. But the Renaissance vessel suddenly reappeared recently, remarkably well preserved in the icy Baltic waters. The first hint of its existence […]

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