archaeology
Intense Heat From Ancient Vesuvius Eruption Caused Victims’ Skulls to Explode

During the Mount Vesuvius eruption of 79 AD, clouds of superheated gas enveloped the ancient city of Pompeii and its surrounding areas, instantly vaporising bodily fluids and soft tissues, according to new research. Sounds grim, but this mode of death was actually a blessing in disguise, given the alternatives. Read More >>

archaeology
A Bizarre Bone Ritual Followed a Grisly Iron Age Battle in Denmark

To the victor go the spoils, or in some cases, the bodies of a vanquished enemy, as the discovery of remnants from an Iron Age battle in Denmark demonstrates. Read More >>

history
Scientists Match Pollution in Greenland’s Ice Sheet to Events from Ancient Greece and Rome

We tend to associate industrial pollution with the modern era, but human civilisations have been contaminating the planet for thousands of years. By drilling deep into Greenland’s ice sheet, an interdisciplinary team of researchers has chronicled the industrial waste produced by the ancient Greeks and Romans over a 1,900-year period, linking pollution to economic booms, wars, and even plagues. Read More >>

history
Did Ancient Romans Use These Shafts as Summertime Refrigerators?

The shafts were discovered in 2013 at Augusta Raurica, an archaeological site located near the Swiss city of Basel. The Roman colony was founded in 15 BC, and it soon blossomed into a vibrant metropolis and trade hub that was home to around 15,000 to 20,000 people. But by 300 AD, an unfortunate mixture of war, epidemics, and crop failures meant that most of the city had to be abandoned. Today, Augusta Raurica remains one of the best-preserved Roman cities north of the Swiss Alps. Read More >>

science
Particle Accelerator Reveals Ancient Greek Medical Text Beneath Religious Psalms on Parchment

If you’re a history buff, you might not know much particle physics. But the two fields share more in common than you’d think. X-rays from a high-energy lab have revealed ancient Greek medical texts that had been stripped and covered with religious writing. Read More >>

science
Science Reveals the Secret to Ancient Rome’s Indestructible Concrete

Roman concrete is famous for its durability, lasting for thousands of years and seemingly stronger with each passing year. New research has uncovered the chemical processes responsible for the sturdiness of this ancient building material — a finding that could inspire modern engineers to revive this forgotten technique. Read More >>

history
3D Modelling Reveals the Beauty of Pompeii Before Its Destruction

By combining archaeology with 3D computer modelling, European researchers have digitally reconstructed a house in Pompeii, showing how lavish and colourful these structures truly were before they were destroyed by a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Read More >>

weapons
Roman Troops Used Whistling Projectiles to Terrify the Enemy

Archaeologists working at an ancient Roman battlefield in Scotland have discovered a type of pierced sling-bullet that made a whistling sound when hurled at the enemy. Read More >>

history
Farmer Discovers Priceless Trove of Ancient Roman Coins While Removing a Molehill

A cache of over 4,000 silver and bronze coins dating back to ancient Rome has been discovered by a Swiss farmer. Buried some 1,700 years ago, it’s one of the largest treasures of its kind ever found in Switzerland. Read More >>

science
Ancient Roman Concrete Was Inspired By Volcanic Chemistry

In 1982, the ground beneath the historic port city of Pozzuoli began to rise like a cake in the oven. Within two years, the swell had exceeded 6 feet. Then the earth started shaking—first, a swarm of microquakes. When the first magnitude 4 quake hit, Pozzuoli became a ghost town overnight. Read More >>

history
Rome’s Collapse Wasn’t Caused by Lead Poisoning

Rome was the first city on the planet to have an extensive and efficient municipal water system, thanks to the empire's ambitious aqueduct system that's still found throughout Europe. But that infrastructure was also pumping ancient Romans with lead—up to 100 times the amount of lead found in local spring water. Read More >>