The Roundup #89

Welcome to 2018, everyone! Even though Toronto has been in a deep freeze for the last two days, the rest of the world seems to be chugging along as per usual, and you know what that means? News from the archaeological world!

The highlight so far this year has to be the news that, after DNA sequencing was completed on two infant burials in Alaska, we’re being introduced to the Beringians. It’s been reported in the New York Times, the Guardian, and in Archaeology (that I’ve seen thus far), but I’m certain it’s going to be making the rounds for some time to come. And that’s lovely to see, since it’s not a straightforward idea being put forward with this news, and the general public is still interested. Knowledge may yet be catching on!

So without further ado, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From The Toronto Star:

Possibly the oldest artifact yet discovered in Toronto – a small arrowhead – has been returned after it was lifted from Fort York on a school trip in 1935.

From the Smithsonian:

More overly dramatic video, but information gleaned from the teeth of gladiators exhumed at York suggest that poor youth were selected as gladiators and then beefed up (perhaps quite literally) to be the muscular machines of arena spectacle.


A wood henge has been discovered near the North Sea coast in Yorkshire, England, along with several other sites that suggest ritual activities went on here.

The site of Tel Al-Pharaeen is yielding a large variety of artifacts from Egypt’s Late Period.

A seal dating to the First Temple Period in Jerusalem has been discovered under the Western Wall plaza.

From the Tongtiandong Cave in northern China, layers of artifacts going back 45,000 years have been discovered.

Similar to last year’s news that a ritual bath had been discovered in Jerusalem following private renovations, a Song Dynasty tomb has been discovered under a house in China.

Archaeologists may have identified a ritual shrine of the Aztecs near an extinct volcano in Mexico.

A naturally mummified body of a child from Italy has been shown to have likely suffered from Hepatitis B, causing scarring and eventually death.


The Roundup #58

Everyone lost their minds this week, and with good reason, when a feathered dinosaur tail complete with a few vertebrae was discovered encased in amber in Myanmar. The CBC and The Economist were two such sites that picked up on this story. There was also the remarkable Twitter spat between a (clearly uneducated) member of UKIP and Cambridge Professor of Classics Mary Beard, although the outrage was limited to the tweets from the UKIP dude. Professor Beard engages angry people on Twitter with a grace and consideration that I certainly wouldn’t have the fortitude for. Kudos!

Otherwise, without further ado, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Evidence of malaria in the remains of people from Italy has been confirmed by geneticists at McMaster University in Canada.

‘Tis the season for reporting on diseases, it seems. Evidence from pots from an Iron Age fort in Germany suggest a hemorrhagic fever was present in the population in the last half of the first millenium BCE.

Facial reconstruction from the skull of Robert the Bruce offers us a glimpse of what the Medieval Scottish king may have looked like.

From the Smithsonian:

A two thousand year old pet cemetery has been discovered in Egypt. Stephen King and Molly aka The Thing of Evil would be pleased.

From the CBC:

Further evidence regarding the doomed Franklin Expedition suggests that low zinc levels may have exacerbated low immune function that contributed to the deaths of the crew of the HMS Erebus and Terror.

From the Guardian:

Shellfish from which the famed Tyrian purple was drawn appear to have vanished from the eastern Mediterranean, a likely result of rising ocean temperatures and loss of habitat.

The Roundup #12

After a last hurrah of holidays over the Labour Day weekend, I’m back, and with a hefty review to complete for this roundup, which will cover anything I took note of from August 28th to today. Here goes!

It’s been a strange few days: England’s Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning monarch in history on Wednesday, Germany seems to have done an about face and will be offering Syrian refugees sanctuary within its borders, and Matt Damon is so remarkably ripped for the new Bourne movie and for The Martian that, in a Freudian slip, I actually typed “Matt Damn” to begin with. In other news…


New radio carbon dating has confirmed that the Shigir Idol, discovered in 1894, is actually older than the pyramids.

The fun never stops on the Salisbury Plain, as a new set of standing stones has been discovered under the Durrington Wall, itself a nearly 5,000 year old earth embankment.

Also in Britain, analysis of a skeleton dates the earliest recorded case of rickets back 3,000 years. Proof that, so long as you’re in Britain, rickets will always be alive and well.

And a mass burial, presumably for sailors, has been discovered in Cornwall.


From the Smithsonian:

A lovely feature on the famous blue paint of Egypt.

Mysterious tunnels under Liverpool are now being explored.


From CP24:

Closer to home, excavations are now underway at the St Lawrence Market in Toronto after archaeologists discovered parts of the various 19th century buildings that occupied the spot.


From the Toronto Sun:

Perhaps the only time I’ll post anything from the Sun, here’s a video and story of a time capsule opened at Summerhill, the site of the old train station.


From National Geographic:

Perhaps the biggest story of the week (if the theory turns out to be true): a new hominid, dubbed Homo naledi, has been identified from fossil fragments unearthed in South Africa.


And from Biblical Archaeology:

A pyramid structure has been discovered in Jerusalem.

The mystique of King Solomon’s Temple is pervasive, as this feature discusses the similarities between that as-yet-undiscovered site and the temple at ‘Ain Dara temple complex in Syria.