The Roundup #92

After a long absence (and a startling illness to round out January 2018), we’re back with a weekend archaeological roundup. Enjoy!

The biggest news of the last couple of weeks – it even made the Wikipedia home page – is the discovery using LIDAR of a massive number of structures in the jungles of Guatemala. With more than 60,000 structures discovered, this suggests that the population of the region was much higher than originally thought.

Additionally, a cluster of structures have been identified in Saudi Arabia using similar technology.


The archaeological season has got off to a great start in the UK with, for example, the discovery of this Neolithic causeway in England.

A 2,000 year old building has been discovered on the isle of Lewis in Scotland during construction of a new home in the area.

A large Roman villa has been discovered along the Avon river in the West Midlands.

A gorgeous mosaic has been discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Caesarea.

A Liao-era tomb with a drainage system has been discovered in China.

Evidence from Italy suggests that Neanderthals may have understood how to use fire to make wooden weapons and tools.

Analysis of ancient dice shows that they were not designed to land fairly until at least the Renaissance.

Evidence of another game – this time chess – has been identified in Norway.

A crown from Milas has been repatriated to Turkey from Scotland.

Analysis of glass beads from Nigeria suggest they were made locally rather than imported much earlier than previously thought.

New studies suggest that humans were making tools in India about 100,000 years ago.

From the Smithsonian:

Neapolitan pizza making has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.

A remarkably well preserved tomb of a priestess has been discovered in a cemetery to the west of the Great Pyramid in Egypt.

The last known American slave ship may have been identified in Alabama.

From the CBC:

A 1.7 billion year old chunk of what is now Canada has been identified in Australia.

From the Atlantic:

A long-lost satellite has recently woken up and scientists are working to find out why.

From the Guardian:

A long-lost painting by one of Nigeria’s most important painters has been discovered in a flat in London.

A fascinating feature piece on the work archaeologists have been scrambling to do before a dam project in Turkey floods a sight entirely, not unlike the work done before the Aswan Dam destroyed such sites as Abu Simbel in the 20th century.


The Roundup #83

A day late but hopefully not a dollar short. As a result of some impromptu travelling this weekend, here is your Monday roundup! Enjoy!


A feature on the Jebel Qumra area of northeastern Jordan that is almost uninhabitable today, but shows evidence of human settlement dating back to at least the Early Bronze Age.

A mosaic from the Byzantine period found in Israel is the earliest example of the Georgian calendar in the region.

An extremely rare site in Denmark – a stone settlement – has been unearthed by archaeologists from the National Museum of Denmark.

A basalt relief of a lion dating to the 6th century AD/CE has been unearthed in the Galilee.

Three Roman shipwrecks and the wreck of an Egyptian barque have been identified in Alexandria’s eastern harbour.

Egyptian artifacts, originally thought to have been smuggled to Cyprus in the 1980s, are being repatriated with the help of the the Egyptian Embassy in Cyprus.

Two 800 year old tombs from the Song dynasty have been discovered at a construction site in Zhejiang Province, China.

From the Smithsonian:

More than 100 items once belonging to John Lennon and stolen from Yoko Ono in 2006 have been recovered in Germany.

From the University of Toronto:

Archaeologists have discovered rock-cut churches in Ethiopia.

From the Guardian:

A painting by Bartholome Esteban Murillo – long thought lost – has been rediscovered after an expert in Spanish portrait painters visited a castle in Wales.

The Roundup #82

Feet (well, shoes) and wine headline this week’s roundup; two things I’m rather interested in because a) I like wine, and b) I walk like a mutant (and not the yellow spandex kind).


From the CBC:

The previous holder of the oldest confirmed evidence of wine, the Zagros Mountains, has been unseated by Gadachrili Gora in Georgia, where pots from neolithic times have tested positive for the acid found only in grapes in the region. reports on it here.

From the Smithsonian:

A “Pictish” rock carving discovered in Perth, Scotland shows a man with a large nose (I put Pictish in quotations because it’s a somewhat derogatory descriptive used by the Romans rather than any name these people in Scotland called themselves).

A realistic portrait of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson painted in 1799 (during his lifetime) is on display at Philip Mould & Company and for sale at an undisclosed price.


In a somewhat less than surprising research report, studies on the skeletons of Dutch farmers who wore the iconic wooden shoes were found to have bone malformations as a result.

A loom dating to the 5th or 6th century AD/CE has been discovered during recent excavations in Iraq.

During excavations of Norse longhouses in northern England, volunteers have discovered a Bronze Age settlement dating to 1300 BC/BCE.

Initial surveys of a hill in Turkey suggest that another Bronze Age site is waiting beneath layers upon layers of human habitation.

Sound engineers have looked at rumours about acoustics in Greek theatres, studying whether or not a whisper really could be heard from the last row of seats.

A mummy has been discovered in the Fayum in Egypt, complete with wrappings and votive objects from the Greco-Roman period.

Fire has irreparably damaged a unique pre-Inca site in Peru after a cane field blazed out of control.

A 1,000 year old ceramic box said to contain the ashes of the Buddha has been discovered at a monastery in China.


The Roundup #77

While certain US Presidents carry on trying to take us back to the Stone Age in the derogatory sense, it’s good to know there are finds being unearthed around the world to reinforce the complexity of human civilization and our relationship to it. Here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Genetic testing on five individuals from Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) suggest that the islanders had contact with native peoples from South America earlier than previously believed.

Sweden’s violent history is growing more intriguing with the discovery of gold coins minted during the reign of Roman Emperor Valentinian III on an island off the country’s south coast.

Textiles from another site in Sweden suggest that the Vikings’ burial practices were influenced by interactions with the Arab world.

If you’ve never heard of Luwian, go look it up. This translation, and its accompanying reference to the Sea Peoples, could be game-changing.

More DNA evidence points to a strange conclusion; that the Beothuk peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador were not related to any of the other First Nations in the area. The full article in The Globe and Mail can be found here.

From the Smithsonian:

Painting over history is nothing new, as this restored painting from the 17th century shows.

The canoe dredged up during the catastrophic hurricane season this year dates to between 1640 and 1680, according to recent tests.

From the CBC:

As the water levels of the Thompson River in BC continue to drop, pre-contact artifacts are being discovered all along its banks.

Critically rare Ojibway ponies are preparing for the auction block in Manitoba.

From the University of Victoria:

A legendary settlement on the coast of BC has likely been identified by archaeologists from the Hakai Institute and the University of Victoria.

From Archaeology UK:

Well preserved evidence from a broch in Scotland may shed light on an Iron Age destruction event.


The Roundup #69

New discoveries of old things are the theme running throughout this week’s roundup. By happy accident, because I didn’t post as usual on Saturday, I am now able to include the announcement that the USS Indianapolis has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Famous for delivering the atomic bombs that decimated Japan in 1945, it’s also famous for the extremely high loss of life suffered when she was torpedoed (316 of over 1,100 men survived). And I first learned about it from Quint’s drunken speech in the film Jaws.

So, apart from that roundabout way of learning history, here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


A Roman villa has been discovered near Realmonte in Sicily and is currently being excavated.

Excavations of the wreck of the Mentor, Lord Elgin’s ship bound from Athens to England, are ongoing.

A Hellenistic temple has been discovered near Umm Qais in Jordan.

The remains of Yugeno-miya, what was supposed to be a new capital city in Japan, have been identified.

The discovery of ritual baths in Vilnius emphasize the cultural richness of the Great Synagogue of Vilna, built in the 17th century, burned by the Nazis, and razed by the Russians in the 20th century.

Parts of Greenwich Palace, where King Henry VII and his daughters Mary and Elizabeth were born, have been identified in London, England.

Along with a myriad of other papers, a small watercolour of a dead bird has been discovered at the site where the Scott Expedition met its end in 1912. If anyone needed a more appropriate example of pathetic fallacy, this is a pretty good one.

Also from Antarctica and the Scott Expedition, fruitcake! Apparently it’s edible. However, that assumes that one considers fruitcake to be edible at all.

An early Islamic house has been discovered in Jordan after a cache of tesserae were unearthed, suggesting the house was being renovated at the time of an earthquake in the 8th century CE.

From The Guardian:

Analyzing the silver content of Roman coins has allowed archaeologists and historians to more clearly understand the economic impact of the Hannibalic War in the 3rd century BCE. reports on the same here.

The discovery of subglacial volcanos in Antarctica may mean that the site is the densest collection of volcanos on the planet.

From the CBC:

The diary of the wife of a Hudson’s Bay Company captain has been donated to the University of British Columbia. The firsthand account of a woman on a fur trading expedition is considered remarkable for its uniqueness.

From the New York Times:

An early daguerrotype of the 6th President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, taken in 1843 may be the oldest surviving original photograph of an American President.


The Roundup #54

Just a few days until the American election and the anti-Trump/anti-Clinton rhetoric is beyond exhausting. As Obama says: “Don’t boo. Vote.” And as one of the mother’s in Titanic said, “It’ll all be over soon.”

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


Osteologists report that they may have found the remains of Amelia Earhart (again, some more) after examining the records of bones (rather than the bones themselves, which have been lost) discovered on a remote island in Kiribati.

Evidence from caves in Ethiopia suggest a more ubiquitous use of ochre throughout the Middle Stone Age.

A remarkably well-preserved shipwreck has been discovered in shallow waters off the Aland Islands in Finland.

Ostrich eggshell beads of incredible craftsmanship have been discovered in Siberia.

A Phoenician shipwreck off the coast of Malta has yielded more information on local and international trade in the area.

A massive find: a hippodrome mosaic has been discovered in Cyprus, one of less than 10 on the subject so far unearthed.


The Roundup #51

While SNL, Seth Meyers, and the late night comedy and variety hosts continue to ravish this travesty of an American election, it’s a grateful person who can find reprieve elsewhere.

So here’s this week’s roundup. Enjoy!


Analysis of pigments on Greek vases is yielding new insight into how paint was developed and applied to some of the most iconic archaeological pieces of Greek history.

I am posting this with strong reservations. Without having read Civilization, Niall Ferguson seems to have left my hyper vigilant against western normative bias: a new theory suggests that the builders of the terracotta army of Qin Shihuang Di may have been influenced by Greek artists.

Word games have been discovered in the ancient marketplace of Smyrna.

From the Smithsonian:

Civil War era cannonballs have been revealed in South Carolina following Hurricane Matthew.