The Roundup #90

We’re in the final stretch to my 100th #roundup! Let’s hear it for my attention span, and a rather manic insistence that I stick to a plan.

Lots of interesting news this week, some of which has to do with prehistoric sites, as well as my other love – the Ancient Mediterranean. In addition, while I’m nursing my first cold/flu of the year, I have a box of tissues that has the Standing Stones of Callanish on it. Enjoy!


Hand axes from a 500,000 year old site have been recovered in Israel.

The best preserved wooden game board from north of the Mediterranean ever found has been discovered in Slovakia.

A 2,500 year old stone fort in Ireland has been damaged by recent extreme weather.

Several Hellenistic tombs – including one with a false door – have been unearthed near Alexandria in Egypt.

Mouth harps have been discovered in the Altai Republic in Siberia, one of which even still carries a tune.

Also in Siberia, a kurgan that looks to be undisturbed may house the remains of a Scythian prince.

A broch (a kind of roundhouse, not a piece of jewellery) has been discovered near Inverness in Scotland.

Evidence pointing to the rediscovery of the monastery where the Book of the Deer was written has been identified in Scotland.

From the Smithsonian:

A feature on the Hoxne Hoard.

From the Guardian:

Real life continues to prove the film Prometheus wrong. In this latest example, possibly the oldest depiction of a supernova has been identified in Kashmir, showing our sun, the nova, and the constellations Taurus and Orion.


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 #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 #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 #5

It’s been an exciting week! The New Horizons flyby of Pluto was (so far, at least) a complete success and the world is basking in the light of all the new images pouring in from the spacecraft’s downloads to NASA.

It’s also been a weird week, considering the recent theft from the grave of acclaimed director FW Murnau’s head. Murnau is probably most recognized (well, until someone stole his head anyway) for the film Nosferatu.

And we haven’t had anything related to Nazis recently, so here’s something new: a metal detectorist (apparently that’s a word) has discovered a cache of gold coins from the late 19th and early 20th century along with two seals bearing swastikas and the imperial eagle with the stamp “Reichsbank Berlin 244”.

Otherwise, here’s what the world decided to reveal to us this time around:


A Viking sword with a beautifully preserved gold and silver hilt has been discovered in Norway.

Beautiful mosaics are being unearthed in a synagogue near Huqoq currently being surveyed by archaeologists from UNC Chapel Hill. One in particular may depict the first non-Biblical story yet to be found in the synagogue.

One of the largest and possibly earliest open settlements (ie. not a hill fort) has been discovered in southern England.

Two Roman ballista stones have been returned to the Israel Antiquities Authority with a note: “…they have brought me nothing but trouble. Please do not steal antiquities!” We hear you, loud and clear, anonymous thief.

A marble slab with a Greek inscription referring to the Odrysian kings of Thrace has been discovered in Bulgaria near the ancient site of Aquae Calidae.

And the mummified body of a young boy is being examined after its discovery in the Zeleny Yar necropolis in Siberia. The Siberian Times article on the same discovery include some fantastic pictures of the birchbark coffin and goes into more detail about this mysterious medieval civilization.

In LiveScience:

More on the stunning mosaics at Huqoq and the overall richness of the site in the Galilee region of Israel means that archaeologists have a lot more work to do in the coming seasons.

From the Beeb:

The Staffordshire Hoard continues to delight as conservationists learn about ancient metallurgy techniques and make connections between this hoard, discovered in 2009, and that found at Sutton Hoo.

From the Smithsonian:

The updated UNESCO World Heritage list is out, with new additions like Ephesus in Turkey, the Alamo in Texas, the controversial ‘Battleship Island’ in Japan, the Champagne region in France, and the Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain in Mongolia.

From The Guardian:

The records and correspondence of the Slave Compensation Commission are being reviewed at the National Archives in the UK, containing the names of 46,000 slave owners and the compensation they received in 1833 for their recently emancipated ‘property’.

Tim Butcher talks about his new book ‘The Trigger’ and Gavrilo Princip, the man who shot Archduke Frans Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife in 1914, precipitating the First World War.

And from Popular Science:

Analyses of rock samples from Mars point to similarities between the Red Planet and our own Blue Marble.