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Archaeology

The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Every once in a while archaeologists (and sometimes regular Joes) make some remarkable discoveries. Stunned, they are often unable to explain what it is they’ve found, how it came into existence, or ascertain its value. This is a comprehensive list of such artifacts; artifacts that many believe should have never existed given the discerned age/period of their creation.

  THE LONDON HAMMER – A TOOL OLDER THAN HISTORY



In June 1936 (or 1934 according to some accounts), Max Hahn and his wife Emma were on a walk when they noticed a rock with wood protruding from its core. They decided to take the oddity home and later cracked it open with a hammer and a chisel. Ironically, what they found within seemed to be an archaic hammer...

Researchers find first evidence of Ice Age wolves in Nevada

Dire wolf foot bone comparison. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

A University of Nevada, Las Vegas research team recently unearthed fossil remains from an extinct wolf species in a wash northwest of Las Vegas, revealing the first evidence that the Ice Age mammal once lived in Nevada.

The metapodial, or foot bone, was uncovered late last year by UNLV geologist Josh Bonde during a survey of the Upper Las Vegas Wash. They have now confirmed that the bone...

Ancient drawings in Peruvian desert: New light on the Nazca Lines

This aerial view shows the southern part of the labyrinth, including the central mound and the spiral that marks the 'outer' end. (Credit: Copyright: Clive Ruggles, www.cliveruggles.net)

Archaeologists gain insight into ancient desert drawings -- by walking them. The first findings of the most detailed study yet by two British archaeologists into the Nazca Lines -- enigmatic drawings created between 2,100 and 1,300 years ago in the Peruvian desert -- have been published in the latest...

If Richard III has indeed been discovered, finding will reshape our views of the past, historian say

1000pa (Nov. 9, 2012) — The University of Leicester team involved in the Search for Richard III say their discovery of a skeleton with apparent battle wounds and curvature of the spine could rewrite a contentious period of English history -- if the remains indeed prove to be those of the slain monarch.

The University of Leicester, in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard III Society, is leading the Search for Richard III. The University announced in September...

'Time-capsule' Japanese lake sediment advances radiocarbon dating for older objects

A new series of radiocarbon measurements from Japan's Lake Suigetsu will give scientists a more accurate benchmark for dating materials, especially for older objects, according to a research team that included Oxford University's Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.

The research team extracted cores of beautifully preserved layers of sediment, containing organic material (such as tree leaf and twig fossils), from the bottom of the Japanese lake where they had lain undisturbed for tens of...

Grave thought to contain remains of King Richard III came within inches of being destroyed by Victorian builders

Medieval re-enactors stand guard at the spot that the remains were recovered. (Credit: University of Leicester)

Archaeologists from the University of Leicester who uncovered a grave thought to contain the skeleton of King Richard III have revealed that the remains came within inches of being destroyed by Victorian builders.

The University of Leicester led the search for the Anointed King who died at the battle of Bosworth in association with Leicester City Council and the Richard...

Methane emissions can be traced back to Roman times

The isotope curve shows that the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane had several peaks in the last 2,100 years. 1: During Roman times, where a lot of wood was burned for heating and for the processing of metals. 2: During the warm Middle Ages, where forests caught on fire. 3: In the "Little Ice Age", which was a very cold and dry period. 4: The methane concentration has increased dramatically since approx. the year 1800, when industrialization took off and triggered energy and food...

Ancient stinging nettles reveal Bronze Age trade connections

The remains of the nettle cloth. (Credit: National Museum of Denmark)

A piece of nettle cloth retrieved from Denmark's richest known Bronze Age burial mound Lusehøj may actually derive from Austria, new findings suggest. The cloth thus tells a surprising story about long-distance Bronze Age trade connections around 800 BC.

2,800 years ago, one of Denmark's richest and most powerful men died. His body was burned. And the bereaved wrapped his bones in a cloth made from stinging...

Jesus's wife? Scholar announces existence of a new early Christian gospel from Egypt

Papyrus fragment: front. (Credit: © Karen L. King 2012)

Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies today.

King, the Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, announced the existence of the ancient text at the Congress's meeting, held every four years and hosted this year by the Vatican's...

Dinosaurs lighter than previously thought

 Scientists have developed a new technique to accurately measure the weight and size of dinosaurs and discovered they are not as heavy as previously thought.

University of Manchester biologists used lasers to measure the minimum amount of skin required to wrap around the skeletons of modern-day mammals, including reindeer, polar bears, giraffes and elephants.

They discovered that the animals had almost exactly 21% more body mass than the minimum skeletal 'skin and bone' wrap...

Fossil skeleton of strange, ancient digging mammal clears up 30-year-old evolutionary debate

Shortly after dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops went extinct 65 million years ago, Earth's ancient landscapes were filled with unusual mammals only distantly related to those alive today. Until recently, one of these creatures, Ernanodon antelios, was only known from a single, highly distorted specimen that raised many questions about its habits and evolutionary relationships.

In the most recent issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, scientists describe a second...

Macabre finds in the bog at Alken Enge, Denmark: Skeletal remains of hundreds of warriors unearthed

A fractured skull and a thighbone hacked in half. Finds of damaged human bones along with axes, spears, clubs and shields confirm that the bog at Alken Enge was the site of violent conflict.

"It's clear that this must have been a quite far-reaching and dramatic event that must have had profound effect on the society of the time," explains Project Manager Mads Kähler Holst, professor of archaeology at Aarhus University.

For almost two months now, Dr Holst and a team of fifteen...

Ancient domesticated remains are oldest in southern Africa

1000pa (July 11, 2012) — Researchers have found evidence of the earliest known instance of domesticated caprines (sheep and goats) in southern Africa, dated to the end of the first millennium BC, providing new data to the ongoing debate about the origins of domestication and herding practices in this region.

The full results are published July 11 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The researchers, led by David Pleurdeau of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris...

Climate in northern Europe reconstructed for the past 2,000 years: Cooling trend calculated precisely for the first time

1000pa (July 9, 2012) — An international team that includes scientists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has published a reconstruction of the climate in northern Europe over the last 2,000 years based on the information provided by tree-rings. Professor Dr. Jan Esper's group at the Institute of Geography at JGU used tree-ring density measurements from sub-fossil pine trees originating from Finnish Lapland to produce a reconstruction reaching back to 138 BC. In so doing, the...

Welsh reindeer is Britain's oldest rock art, U-series dating suggests

1000pa (June 29, 2012) — A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in South Wales has been found to date from at least 14,505 years ago -- making it the oldest known rock art in the British Isles.

The engraving was discovered in September 2010 by Dr George Nash from the University of Bristol's Department of Archaeology and Anthropology while he was exploring the rear section of Cathole Cave, a limestone cave on the eastern side of an inland valley on the Gower Peninsula, South...

Sierra Nevada 200-year megadroughts confirmed

1000pa (June 1, 2012) — The erratic year-to-year swings in precipitation totals in the Reno-Tahoe area conjures up the word "drought" every couple of years, and this year is no exception. The Nevada State Climate Office at the University of Nevada, Reno, in conjunction with the Nevada Drought Response Committee, just announced a Stage 1 drought (moderate) for six counties and a Stage 2 drought (severe) for 11 counties.

Reno, Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada are no strangers to...

One of earliest farming sites in Europe discovered

1000pa (Apr. 16, 2012) — University of Cincinnati research is revealing early farming in a former wetlands region that was largely cut off from Western researchers until recently. The UC collaboration with the Southern Albania Neolithic Archaeological Project (SANAP) will be presented April 20 at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA).

Susan Allen, a professor in the UC Department of Anthropology who co-directs SANAP, says she and co-director Ilirjan...

Beer and bling in Iron Age Europe

1000pa (Mar. 19, 2012) — If you wanted to get ahead in Iron-Age Central Europe you would use a strategy that still works today -- dress to impress and throw parties with free alcohol.

Pre-Roman Celtic people practiced what archaeologist Bettina Arnold calls "competitive feasting," in which people vying for social and political status tried to outdo one another through power partying.

Artifacts recovered from two 2,600-year-old Celtic burial mounds in southwest Germany...

First evidence of hunting by prehistoric people in what is now Ohio

1000pa (Mar. 1, 2012) — Cut marks found on Ice Age bones indicate that humans in what is now Ohio hunted or scavenged animal meat earlier than previously known.

Dr. Brian Redmond, curator of archaeology at The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, was lead author on research published in the Feb. 22, 2012 online issue of the journal World Archaeology.

Redmond and researchers analyzed 10 animal bones found in 1998 in the collections of the Firelands Historical Society Museum...

Sturdy Scandinavian conifers survived Ice Age

1000pa (Mar. 1, 2012) — Until now, it was presumed that the last glacial period denuded the Scandinavian landscape of trees until a gradual return of milder weather began and melted away the ice cover some 9000 years ago. That perspective is now disproved by research headed by Professor Eske Willerslev from the Centre for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, Laura Parducci from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and Inger Greve Alsos from Tromsø University Museum, Norway...

Tomb exploration reveals first archaeological evidence of Christianity from the time of Jesus

1000pa (Feb. 28, 2012) — The archaeological examination by robotic camera of an intact first century tomb in Jerusalem has revealed a set of limestone Jewish ossuaries or "bone boxes" that are engraved with a rare Greek inscription and a unique iconographic image that the scholars involved identify as distinctly Christian.

The four-line Greek inscription on one ossuary refers to God "raising up" someone and a carved image found on an adjacent ossuary shows what appears to be a...

First Bird

First Bird
What was the earliest known bird?

Unexplained artifacts

unexplained artifacts
The 10 most amazing unexplained artifacts

Evolution

Timeline: Human Evolution

Biggest Dinosaurs

The 10 Biggest Dinosaurs

Fossils 

Fossil Formation: How Do Fossils Form?
 

Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...