The Roundup #91

Two big pieces of news this week. First, researchers think they have discovered the disease that killed massive numbers of Aztecs – some estimate 80% of the population – in 1545. And second, a man-made pyramidal structure on one of the Greek islands has also been found to include other remarkable finds, including the beginnings of urban enterprise nearly 4,000 years ago.

Beyond that, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From the CBC:

The 2016 discovery of a beautifully preserved antler arrow and bronze arrowhead found in the Yukon has been announced.

From Archaeology:

Further reporting on the disease – called “cocolitzli” in primary sources – that killed so many Aztecs in the 16th century.

Further reporting also on the pyramidal site at Dhaskalio in Greece.

Evidence of beer brewing has been identified in Greece dating to the Bronze Age. I’m not sure if this pushes the date back for brewing beer in Greece, so if anyone has any follow up to this, let me know.

From the Smithsonian:

Excavations – led by former Minister of Antiquities in Egypt, Zahi Hawass – have begun on what could possibly be the tomb of Ankhesenamun, the sister-queen of King Tut.


The Roundup #87

This is my second last roundup of the year, because 2017 can go die in a fire. But archaeology was fun!


Military structures from the Bronze Age have been identified in Syria.

A mid-eighth century tomb has been discovered in Mongolia.

An extremely well-preserved 1,500 year old monastery has been discovered in Israel.

A basalt door with a menorah relief has been identified in Tiberias after it was reused in later building construction.

Sweden has repatriated 2,500 year old textiles to Peru after they were removed and donated to the Gothenburg Ethnographic Museum in 1935.

Artifacts are being recovered from the Clapham Coffeehouse under St. John’s College in Cambridge.

Marble objects have been repatriated to Lebanon by the Met in New York City.

From the New York Times:

Considered possibly the oldest original manuscript of The 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis De Sade, this scroll was saved from auction when France declared it a national treasure.

In the ongoing hilarity that is Rome’s attempt to build its Metro Line C, wonderful things are being pulled from the earth detailing the history of this mighty city.

From The Long Now Foundation:

What appears to be the oldest evidence of timekeeping by human beings, a 10,000 year old lunar calendar has been identified in Scotland.

The Roundup #86

Admittedly, the weirdest thing that happened this week was that the Roman city council voted to overturn Ovid’s banishment some 2,000 years after it was first enacted by the Roman Princeps Augustus. I’m sure the council has slightly more pressing matters of local government to attend to, but why not add a showcase piece to the agenda?

So, without further ado, here’s this week’s (properly numbered) roundup. Enjoy!

From the Guardian:

Underwater archaeology at Lechaion, the main harbour of Corinth in Greece, is yielding new understanding of Roman engineering techniques. reports on it here.

From National Geographic:

A map from 1587 by cartographer Urbano Monte has been reassembled and digitized.

From the CBC:

A newly opened pair of tombs near Luxor are designed to bolster Egypt’s ailing tourism industry. The Associated Press also reports on it here.


12,000 year old fish hooks have been found associated with a burial in Indonesia.

A large cache of bronze items have been discovered in Shaanxi Province in China.

Archaeological work being done in Albania as a result of infrastructure developments in the country is revealing a dense collage of history.

A bronze age burial has been discovered near Loch Ness in Scotland.

Evidence of New Zealand’s violent past has been exposed following the identification of 12 burials of British soldiers who died during the Northern Wars in the 19th century.

Ongoing research into pre-contact Maori is being done by analyzing obsidian tools.

An interesting assemblage of items have been discovered at a burial site in the Aswan area of Egypt.

Rock art has been discovered on Kisar, a tiny island near Indonesia.

From the Smithsonian:

Medieval palimpsests are revealing new information about knowledge exchange between East and West.

Possibly the oldest preserved eye in the world, some 500 million years old, is being studied by archaeologists from the University of Cologne.


The Roundup #81

I may be a day late with my usual #roundup post, but there was a lot going on yesterday, I swear.

The single most remarkable update is news of a startlingly beautiful sealstone revealed from the Griffin Warrior tomb at Pylos in Greece. I was recently at a lecture at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto given by the lead archaeologists on this project from the University of Cincinnati, and it was enthralling. The Smithsonian reports here, and the New York Times dove in with their take on it here.

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


A mass grave from the medieval period with the remains of approximately 1,500 people has been discovered in Kunta Hora, Czech Republic.

Another mass grave, this time a Jewish site from the 1500s, has been identified in Bologna, Italy.

Highlighting the importance of cleaning out your closets once in a while, a box of Roman coins (including at least one fake) has been pulled out of the dust in a castle in Kent, England. The Guardian reports on it in detail here.

Ongoing excavations at the site of Greenwich Palace, Henry VIII’s favourite residence, have revealed a lead-glazed floor (likely for an armoury) and a room where beehives were kept warm in winter. This was initially reported back in August by and The Independent.

A Greek gymnasion has been discovered in the Fayum in Egypt.

Some of the oldest baths ever found in China have been discovered in Shaanxi Province.

A rather lovely looking fragment of a sundial has been found in central Italy. What’s even more interesting is that it’s from the site of a Roman theatre that somehow managed to survive the ravages of the Allied bombardment of Monte Cassino during the Second World War.

The remains of several people from the 8th century have been unearthed under Hereford Cathedral in Kent, England.

Work is ongoing at the site of the White Shaman rock shelter petroglyphs in Texas.

From Biblical Archaeology:

At the ancient site of Jezreel, archaeologists believe they have identified an Iron Age site that could be the famous vineyard of Naboth described in the Book of Kings.


The Roundup #79

Of course the major news of this past week was the release of previously classified documents regarding the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. People are going to be sifting through that material for years to come, but I did enjoy the Guardian live-blogging the release.

But lots of other things have been announced this week as well. So here’s your roundup for this go around. Enjoy!

From the Smithsonian:

A nearly complete fossilized skeleton of an ichthyosaur has been discovered in Gujarat.

A 450 year old text of samurai sayings has recently been published in English as The Hundred Rules of War.

The remains of unusual structures in the Arabian desert have been identified by amateurs using Google Earth.

Cuneiform tablets have been unearthed in a destroyed building in Kurdistan.

From Haaretz:

Biologists have identified a succession of bacteria that destroy ancient parchments by first turning them purple before they begin to more obviously decompose.


Excavations are ongoing at Thouria in Greece where a theatre orchestra section with potentially moveable sections has been discovered.

A Coptic tombstone has been unearthed near the Avenue of the Sphinxes in Luxor.

An unusual figurine with what appears to be a feathered headdress has been discovered near the Ob River in western Siberia.

The mythological founding of Singapore may not be so mythological after all, as the island’s largest archaeological dig near Empress Place has revealed.

A shipwreck has been discovered in eastern China, likely from the Yuan Dynasty nearly 700 years ago.

And a Bronze Age battlefield has been identified in Germany.

From the CBC:

The HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, Royal Navy ships that Franklin took on his fateful Arctic expedition, are to be formally handed over to Canada and the Inuit people by the British government.


The Roundup #73

It’s been a strange week. London was bombed (again), but mercifully no one was killed. And the Cassini spacecraft was destroyed in Saturn’s atmosphere after 20 years in space to avoid contaminating the planet’s potentially habitable moons. So there’s an eclectic list coming up for you to enjoy. Here it is!


At the burial site of a Celtic prince, archaeologist are examining some of the many rich objects he was buried with.

A cypress dug-out canoe has been discovered after Hurricane Irma pulled it from the bottom of the Indian River in Florida.

I feel like this isn’t a new theory; however, for the record, archaeologist Iain Stewart of the University of Plymouth believes ancient structures in the Aegean were built above fault lines as a way to connect to the Underworld.

From the Daily Sabah:

What is considered a Roman-era baby bottle has been discovered in Turkey.

From the Smithsonian:

At Fort Leavenworth in Kansas (the army base, not the prison), a new exhibit is being mounted to offer the public all the various gifts presented to the Command and General Staff College over the years.

From the Guardian:

More on the viking burial that turned out to be a woman.



The Roundup #59

Further ensuing madness. The American Electoral College has spoken, and a fair number of people are huddling under blankets in their closets. Palmyra was lost (again) to ISIS, and Aleppo is getting wiped off the face of the earth (some more), and well, yeah. On the upside, I’m on holiday now until the New Year. That helps, right?

This week’s roundup was a nice distraction. Enjoy!


Banquo’s Walk may be less poltergeist and more practical, as it appears that the site was a clay mine rather than the site of the perambulations of one of literature’s most famous ghosts.

Facial reconstruction has offered us a glimpse of the visage of a man who lived in Jericho nearly 10,000 years ago.

What was previously thought to be a minor village appears instead to be a major settlement in northern Greece.

Excavations are ongoing at Abydos in Egypt, specifically a boat burial likely associated with Senusret III.

The remains of a beautiful wood panel have been discovered in an ancient road on Honshu in Japan.

From the Smithsonian:

A rare first edition of Sir Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica has sold for a record $3.7 million.

From The New York Times:

The restoration of the Ghent Altarpiece continues apace.