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 #88

I hope you enjoy my last weekly roundup of 2017. As suggested by a rather astute friend, I will also be doing a Best of 2017 post before the year is out, so stay tuned!

From the Smithsonian:

The principia of the fabled Sixth Legion has been identified in Israel near Tel Megiddo (apparently also known as Armageddon). An earlier post by can be found here.

Have you cleaned out your attic recently? Westminster Abbey is doing so and, in the process, have found thousands of pieces of stained glass as well as (for all Monty Python fans out there) the oldest known stuffed parrot. also reports on it here.

I’m not a fan of the melodrama in this video, but evidence of gladiator burials in England is causing a stir for its similarity to burials at the other end of the empire.


A fortress in the Nile Delta near Wadi Tumilat has been identified. I had the pleasure of working on a Wadi Tumilat project, albeit tangentially, so this kind of news always interests me.

Childrens’ toys from the Bronze Age have been discovered at a gravesite in Russia.

A blockhouse from the Tudor period has been identified at Hull in the UK (I had to look up what a blockhouse was, but as soon as I saw the images in this Wikipedia article, I remembered).

The Roundup #66

In the week since I last posted an archaeology roundup, it feels like seven years instead of seven days has passed in the absurdity of the Trump White House. Spicer out; Scaramucci in. Then Priebus out; Kelly in. Then Scaramucci (Mrs.) out. Trumpcare out; Obamacare in. McCain out; McCain in. Etc, etc, etc. ad nauseam. It’s a good thing that one of the tenets of archaeological study is care and consideration, and so news of this sort is released with a certain degree of stability.

And so, without further ado, here is this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From The Guardian:

A 1,300 year old wooden coffin – considered the most important wooden object in England from before the Norman invasion – is going on display in Durham, where St. Cuthbert’s body was interred following his death in the 7th century.


A 16th century musical score has been recreated with the help of Ad Lib.

Dafna Langgut, an archaeobotanist, has tracked the introduction of citrus fruit from Southeast Asia to the Ancient Mediterranean.

A monumental tomb, referencing a famous brawl after a gladiatorial match in 59 AD, has been discovered in Pompeii.

The Roundup #55

It’s been one hell of a couple weeks. Donald Trump was elected President of the United States, Leonard Cohen died, and I now know what’s left of a body after it’s hit by a train. All fun stuff, you can imagine.

During the Mosul offensive in Iraq, it appears that ISIS/ISIL/Daesh have made efforts to destroy anything in their path as they retreat, including more of the ancient site of Nimrud in the north. Reuters has reported on it, as has the Smithsonian – specifically regarding the ziggurat destroyed there – and History Today offers a retrospective on the city for those hoping to learn more.

So, as a respite, here is the roundup from the last two weeks. Enjoy!


Otzi the Ice Man’s outfit was assembled from five different animal species, suggesting there was more going on than straight-up subsistence living.

Would you like a crocodile mummy? Why not 50 for the price of one? New evidence shows that a crocodile mummy actually contains the mummies of 47 hatchlings as well, folded into the wrappings of the larger animal.

Does anyone remember the scavenger-doctor character Tom Hanks played in Cloud Atlas? Hunting around for real teeth for dentures wasn’t made up, as these from Tuscany and suggest.

A possible site for the final resting place of the last emperor of the Inca may be on the table, after archaeologists began excavating at Maiqui-Machay in Ecuador.

An odd thing: a pot from a Roman camp site in Switzerland containing oil lamps with images of Luna, gladiators, peacocks, and other figures.

Archaeologists working at a site in Kazakhstan have unearthed stone structures containing a variety of treasures suggesting that the people living here were wealthy as well as originally nomadic.

Mosaic floors found in Turkey! Need I say more?

Hundreds of graves for monks have been discovered at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire.

A feature on an Islamic palace found near Jericho.

Petroglyphs in Hawaii were uncovered after shifting sand revealed them in July.

A burial causeway in Aswan dating to the 12th dynasty has been discovered in Egypt.

Evidence of a mythical flood that ushered in the Xia dynasty in China has been discovered.

Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre is currently being excavated in London. Of the many items discovered there are ticket boxes and parts of costumes.

And ongoing excavations at Tel Gezer in Israel are revealing some stunning finds.

The Roundup #47

It’s been an interesting week in archaeological news (to the public; not the archaeologists themselves, who’ve been working at these sites for months if not years). The big highlight has to be the discovery of ruins outside of the already ruined castle of Tintagel where archaeologists believe Arthur may have been born.

Here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Possibly my favourite bit of news from this week, archaeologists have recreated a kitchen in a launderette at Pompeii.

The question over whether a burial site where the skeletons of men were found decapitated remains, as scholars dispute the idea that it could have been a mass grave for either gladiators or criminals.

Technology adds new dimensions to archaeological work as the footprints originally discovered by Mary Leakey in the Laetoli area of Tanzania and dated to over 3 millions years ago are analyzed by DigTrace software.

Evidence to support the mythical founding of China’s empire have been found: sediment from a massive flooding of the Yellow River nearly 4,000 years ago at a site called Lajia.

And a lavish burial for a woman has been discovered near Aspero in Peru.

From the CBC:

A huge mass burial site has been uncovered near Piraeus in Greece dating from the 8th to the 5th century BCE.

From the National Post:

Specialists have used a particle accelerator to determine that an old and much despised Degas held in Australia contains another portrait underneath, of one of Degas’ models, Emma Dobigny.

From The Guardian:

A massive, ornate Mayan tomb from the historical snake dynasty has been discovered in Belize.

The Roundup #45

This week brought to light (for me at least) some rather interesting notes on projects ongoing around the world. The first, and of course my favourite, is this piece from the Smithsonian about Wolfgang Neubauer’s non-invasive archaeological work on Carnuntum in Austria, particularly the ludus or gladiator school near the amphitheatre there. The second, which I stumbled on quite by accident after deciding to check out for the first time in ages, about the search for the provenance of a Gospel purportedly to be of Jesus’s wife.

So how ’bout them apples?

And, with that, here’s the rest of this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


The remains of four people found in the back of a shop in Pompeii were discovered with jewellery and money, despite evidence of looting at the site.

Evidence of bitumen collection from Russia has been identified in the molecular remains inside an amphora.

Archaeological reconstruction of funeral rites for a shaman in Israel from 12,000 years ago yields all kinds of new information.

Evidence of what could prove to be a remarkable cooling system for working men and animals in Carthage’s circus.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is not a new thing, as evidence from mummies from Peru and Italy suggest.

From the Atlantic:

A short and delightful video on new techniques designed to non-invasively read papyrus scrolls from Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Roundup #25

Lots of dead animals and decapitations this time around for some reason. I leave it to you to determine what if any significance that might have…


Evidence of sacrifice in the area around Aarhus in Denmark is being described as “not normal” after a site where a woman was decapitated and buried in a bog with eight dogs is discovered in an area resplendent for its bog burials.

An incredibly well-preserved skeleton of a horse – complete with its hooves – has been discovered in a necropolis at Faliro, outside of Athens, Greece.

Genome sequencing of seven skeletons from a cemetery in northern England attests to the cosmopolitan nature of the Roman Empire. The Guardian has also reported on this.

It appears that, approximately 10,000 years ago, a group of people were massacred on the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya.

France has returned the head of a Khmer statue to be reunited with the body at Cambodia’s National Museum after 125 years in the Guimet Museum.

From the Smithsonian:

There are always people in history who are endlessly fascinated and intricately connected to the world they lived in and the way we understand our world now. One of these, John Dee, advisor and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I of England, is the subject of this article and of a Victorian-era painting of him by Henry Gilland Glindoni.

From the Portland Press Herald:

The place where 19 people were hanged during the Salem Witch Trials in the late 17th century have been formally identified using ground penetrating radar