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.


Best of 2017 Roundup

There’s been a lot in the news this year – not all of it great (mostly the gameshow antics coming out of the US) – but there have been some great discoveries this year that will reinforce your love of the world and all the history in it. One thing I noticed while going back over my posts from this year is that I apparently only started regular weekly roundups in July. The routine has turned out to be a good one, and there’s lots to look back on and enjoy again.

This “Best of” list has nothing to do with clicks, likes, celebrity, or star-power. Rather it’s a selection of the stories from this past year that I found particularly endearing. Enjoy!


My ongoing love of very old votive objects – particularly Venus figurines – was well fed this year with this discovery from Turkey.

The seat of the ancient kingdom of Rheged has been identified in Scotland.

The ongoing construction of Metro Line C in Rome has yielded some fantastic finds, including the barracks of the Praetorian Guard.

New evidence suggests that Greek theatres had moveable sets.

Evidence that Phoenicians manufactured disposable figures of gods makes for an all new dimension to this commercial, seafaring people.

What is being called “Little Pompeii” has been discovered near Lyon in France.

The USS Indianapolis has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Philippines.

Connections between the Viking and Arab worlds are becoming more clear following the identification of Arab text on Viking silk.

A possible inscription by the mysterious Sea Peoples is being translated from Luwian.

One of many stories of repatriation this year, marble from the Nemi ships is being returned to Italy.

Previously classified documents regarding President John F. Kennedy have been released and are being reviewed.

Better late than never, Ovid’s exile has been overturned.

Excavations have identified Caesar’s original landing site in Britain.

Archaeologists are releasing images of the items discovered in the Griffin Warrior tomb at Pylos.

And my person favourite of the year: wolves have been seen around Rome again for the first time in decades.


It seems like a long time ago, but ISIS/ISIL/Daesh destroyed much of the ancient site of Palmyra, including the famous Tetrapylon back in January.

Also from January is a rather appalling story of plans to build a freeway under Stonehenge. Paving paradise and putting up a parking lot seems positively ideal in comparison.

A live cannon ball discovered in Quebec City during routine construction dates back to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in the 1700s.


The history of citrus fruit is ever changing, most recently due to the work of archaeobotanist Dafna Langgut.

A watercolour painting of a bird has been discovered in Antarctica.

A triceratops was discovered during construction work in Denver, Colorado.

What appears to be a figure with a feathered headdress was unearthed in Siberia.

Possibly the oldest original manuscript of the 100 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade has been saved from auction after France declared it a national treasure.

The oldest known compound eye has been identified from a fossil more than 500 million years old.

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 #80

This has been a quiet week in terms of archaeological news. But even archaeologists need a break once in a while.

This week’s roundup. Enjoy!

From the Smithsonian:

The remains of 24 individuals have been repatriated to the Yupik people of Iguigig in northern Russia.

A series of items have been repatriated to Italy, including a mosaic used as a coffee table that is said to have once adorned a pleasure ship of the Emperor Caligula.


A large number of horse skeletons have been discovered in an as-yet unidentified tomb from the Spring and Autumn Period in China.

A wooden hut on Iona in Scotland, long associated with Saint Columba, has been dated to his lifetime.

Petroglyphs have been identified in caves on the island of Mona in the Caribbean.


The Roundup #78

Theatres and temples are on the uptick in Israel and Egypt respectively. And a surprise from New Jersey, to round out the week. Enjoy!


5,000 year old toys have been discovered in a necropolis in the ancient religious centre of Sogmatar in Turkey.

A late Roman “theatre-like” structure has been identified during excavations around the Western Wall Tunnels in Israel.

A temple dedicated to Rameses II has been discovered in the Abusir necropolis outside Cairo in Egypt. The Smithsonian reports on it here.

An extremely well preserved gilt bronze statue has been discovered at Jinjeon Temple in South Korea.

Bronze Age stone structures have been identified on Thirassia, one of the Santorini Islands in Greece.

Marble from the Nemi Ships is being repatriated to Italy after being in private hands in New York for the better part of a century.

From the Smithsonian:

A bust of Napoleon in New Jersey has recently been revealed to be a sculpture by Auguste Rodin.


The Roundup #74

Temples, submarines, porpoises, oh my! An eclectic selection of archaeological news from this week. Enjoy!


The discovery of the oldest copper masks from the Andes ever unearthed challenges the understanding of the development of metallurgy in South America.

Archaeologists have returned to the Minoan palace at Zominthos and have already identified some new and interesting items.

It was one of the most destructive wars in human history, and the proof of which is in the ongoing discoveries of artefacts from World War II. This time, it’s part of a window and dog tags from Norfolk that were likely part of a B-17 American bomber squadron.

1,600 year old early Christian frescoes have been laser-cleaned at the catacombs in Domitilla, Rome.

The wreckage of a World War I submarine has been discovered in the North Sea off the coast of Belgium.

The Greek temple of Artemis at Euboea has been identified, approximately six miles from where it was originally thought to have been.

A myoji from the medieval period in Korea has been returned by the widow of a Japanese collector.

Work on the skeleton of a Neanderthal boy shows that the child’s skull was still growing at the time of his death, suggesting that development was more dynamic than originally thought. The Guardian reports on this as well here.

(Also) From the Guardian:

Archaeologists are enjoying scratching their heads over the recent discovery of a porpoise burial on one of the Channel Islands dating to the 14th century.

From the Toronto Star:

The City of Toronto is back to the drawing board, trying to determine the best course of action for preserving and displaying a drain from 1831 found while excavating near St. Lawrence Market.


The Roundup #60

Welcome to 2017, everyone! Things are still insane, but now we’ve got a whole new year to add to the insanity that happens in it. I took time away from the internets over the holidays, so here’s the latest roundup from then to now. Enjoy!


Drones are taking high resolution photos of caribou fences in the Northwest Territories believed to have been built by the Sahtu Dene a century ago.

Rock art showing a menorah, a cross, and a key have been identified at a site in Israel.

Excavations on the Japanese island of Honshu are yielding new information on the dimensions of a medieval fort that fell to the Tokugawa Shogunate after a prolonged siege.

If you don’t know already, I’m in love with neolithic figurines, and this discovery in Turkey has given me goosebumps. More on this here.

A prehistoric garden has been discovered near Vancouver, Canada.

An Egyptian relief from the reign of Hatshepsut has been repatriated.

In the Smithsonian:

Apparently bats like to argue.