Tag Archives: archaeologists

For archaeologists, Middle East conflicts create ‘perfect sandstorm’ of challenges

Conflicts in the Middle East have made archaeological work increasingly difficult, but the work must go on, scholars said at a recent conference organized with the help of the Oriental Institute.

The task of digging ancient sites and studying artifacts always has been historically challenging, but recent regime changes and civil war further burden scholars who must maneuver through national bureaucracies and forge relationships for help. “By any stretch of the imagination, work during the last four years has become particularly difficult,” said Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute. (more…)

Read More

Newly unearthed ruins challenge views of early Romans

ANN ARBOR — In a long-buried Italian city, archaeologists have found a massive monument that dates back 300 years before the Colosseum and 100 years before the invention of mortar, revealing that the Romans had grand architectural ambitions much earlier than previously thought.

The structure, unearthed at the site known as Gabii, just east of Rome, is built with giant stone blocks in a Lego-like fashion. It’s about half the size of a football field and dates back 350-250 years BCE. It’s possibly the earliest public building ever found, said Nicola Terrenato, a University of Michigan classics professor who leads the project—the largest American dig in Italy in the past 50 years. (more…)

Read More

New CU-Boulder led research effort dates oldest petroglyphs known in North America

A new high-tech analysis led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher shows the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, which are cut into several boulders in western Nevada, date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago.

The petroglyphs located at the Winnemucca Lake petroglyph site 35 miles northeast of Reno consist of large, deeply carved grooves and dots forming complex designs on several large limestone boulders that have been known about for decades, said CU-Boulder researcher Larry Benson, who led the new effort.  Although there are no people, animals or handprint symbols depicted, the petroglyph designs include a series of vertical, chain-like symbols and a number of smaller pits deeply incised with a type of hard rock scraper. (more…)

Read More

Two 6000-year-old ‘halls of the dead’ unearthed, in UK first

The remains of two large 6000-year-old halls, each buried within a prehistoric burial mound, have been discovered by archaeologists from The University of Manchester and Herefordshire Council – in a UK first.

The sensational finds on Dorstone Hill, near Peterchurch in Herefordshire, were thought to be constructed between 4000 and 3600 BC.

Some of the burnt wood discovered at the site shows the character of the building’s structure above ground level-  in another UK first.

The buildings, probably used by entire communities, are of unknown size, but may have been of similar length to the Neolithic long barrows beneath which they were found – 70metres and 30m long. (more…)

Read More

Unlocking Cornwall’s Bronze Age past

A modern day boat builder is being challenged to recreate the oldest boat ever found in western Europe, dating to around 2000 BC.

The prehistoric boat will be built to scale using ancient tools such as bronze axes at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth, as part of a collaborative project devised by the University of Exeter.

Professor Robert Van de Noort of the University of Exeter is one of the world’s leading experts in Bronze Age period sewn-plank boats. He is leading the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project that will produce the exhibition 2012BC: Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Archaeologists and engineers at the University of Southampton and Oxford Brookes University are also involved in developing the interactive project with experts at the University of Exeter. (more…)

Read More

Joint Palestinian-American Dig Near Jericho Yields Clues About Early Islamic Culture

As the Byzantine Empire was in decline, Islam began to dominate the Middle East, with a remarkable culture that showed a command of technology and an appreciation of art and decoration, research by archaeologists shows.

In order to study Islamic civilization in its earliest days, Donald Whitcomb, who directs the Islamic Archaeology project at the Oriental Institute, is undertaking a project with Palestinian colleagues to further excavate an early Islamic site north of Jericho that contains a palace, a bathhouse and what was probably a settlement to the north. (more…)

Read More

Earliest Image of Egyptian Ruler Wearing “White Crown” of Royalty Brought to Light

The earliest known image of an Egyptian ruler wearing the “White Crown” associated with Egyptian dynastic power has been brought to light by an international team of archaeologists led by Egyptologists from Yale University.

Carved around 3200 BCE, this unique record of a royal celebration at the dawn of the Egyptian dynastic period was found at a site discovered almost a half-century ago by Egyptologist Labib Habachi at Nag el-Hamdulab, on the West Bank of the Nile to the north of Aswan. (more…)

Read More