Three New DNA Studies Are Shaking Up the History of Humans in the Americas

It’s a huge event for archaeologists and anyone interested in the history of America’s first settlers. Findings from three new genetics studies, released last week, are presenting a fascinating, yet complex, picture of the first people in North and South America, and how they spread and diversified across two continents. Read More >>

Discovery of Ancient Spearpoints in Texas Has Some Archaeologists Questioning the History of Early Americas

Archaeologists have discovered two previously unknown forms of spearpoint technology at a site in the US state of Texas. The triangular blades appear to be older than the projectile points produced by the Paleoamerican Clovis culture, an observation that’s complicating our understanding of how the Americas were colonised—and by whom. Read More >>

How Industrial-Scale Tar Production Powered the Viking Age

Vikings acquired the capacity to produce tar at an industrial scale as early as the 8th century AD, according to new research. The protective black goo was applied to the planks and sails of ships, which the Vikings used for trade and launching raids. Without the ability to produce copious amounts of tar, this new study suggests, the Viking Age may have never happened. Read More >>

Pieces of Ancient Luzia Skull Recovered From Scorched Brazilian Museum

A recovery team working at the site of Brazil’s burnt-out National Museum in Rio de Janeiro have rescued several pieces of the 11,500-year-old Luzia skull—one of the most ancient human fossils ever discovered in the Americas. Read More >>

New Theory Explains Why Europe’s Original Dogs Vanished

The first farmers to arrive in Europe from the Middle East brought their dogs along with them, effectively wiping out the original population of European canines, according to new research. Read More >>

Ancient Viking Ship Found Buried Next to Busy Norwegian Road

Using ground-penetrating radar, archaeologists in Norway have discovered an ancient Viking ship buried just 20 inches beneath the surface of a farmer’s field. The 66-foot-long ship, deliberately buried during a funeral ritual, appears surprisingly intact – and it could contain the skeletal remains of a high-ranking Viking warrior. Read More >>

Archaeologists Find Oldest Example of Nutmeg-Spiced Food, Just in Time for Autumn

Mmmm, nutmeg. It’s the spice that adds a certain something to custards and hot cups of coffee. We love our nutmeg to an embarrassing degree, but as a recent archaeological discovery shows, its origins date back to a very different time—and far longer ago than we realised. Read More >>

Hidden Pyramid Among Thousands of Ancient Maya Structures Revealed by New Aerial Survey

Using an airborne laser mapping technique called lidar, an international team of archaeologists has uncovered an astounding number of previously undetected structures belonging to the ancient Maya civilisation – a discovery that’s changing what we know of this remarkable society. Read More >>

Ancient Bronze Hand Found in Switzerland Mystifies Archaeologists

In October 2017, a pair of treasure-hunting metal detectorists made an extraordinary discovery near a Swiss lake: a sculpted bronze hand with a gold cuff dating back some 3,500 years. Archaeologists have never seen anything quite like it, and are at a loss to explain its purpose or function. And in an unfortunate turn, the hand is now at the centre of a criminal investigation. Read More >>

Archaeologists Have Found the World’s Oldest Known Drawing in a South African Cave

Some 73,000 years ago in what is now South Africa, an early human used a red ochre crayon to draw a cross-hatched pattern onto a smooth flake, according to new research published today. It’s now considered the earliest evidence of drawing in the archaeological record. Read More >>

Humans Lived in Madagascar 6,000 Years Earlier Than Previously Thought

An analysis of butchered animal bones suggests humans had somehow ventured to Madagascar by at least 10,000 years ago, which is 6,000 years earlier than previous evidence suggested. This means humans likely played a key role in the extinction of the island’s large animals. Read More >>

We’re Learning More About the Contents of that Mysterious Egyptian Sarcophagus

Back in July, Egyptian archaeologists dared to open a strange granite sarcophagus, finding three skeletons soaking in an unsightly reddish-brown liquid. Scientists have now completed a preliminary analysis of the coffin’s contents, offering new insights into the tomb’s 2,000-year-old occupants. Read More >>

Ancient Cemetery Packed With Hundreds of Bodies Discovered in Kenya

Archaeologists in Kenya have discovered a 5,000-year-old cemetery containing at least 580 bodies. Built by Africa’s earliest herders, the ancient cemetery contains virtually no signs of social stratification, pointing to a surprisingly egalitarian society. Read More >>

Ancient Egyptians Mastered Mummification Long Before the Time of Pharaohs

The earliest mummies are typically associated with the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt, but as an intensive examination of a 5,600-year-old mummy confirms, the methods used for this iconic funeral practice date back to well before the age of pharaohs. Read More >>

Humans May Have Reached North America by More Than One Route

There’s an ongoing debate among archaeologists as to which route the first settlers of North America took to reach the continent. Some say these migrants travelled along an interior passage between two massive ice sheets, while others say they traversed along a coastal route. New research suggests both interpretations are correct, and that multiple pathways into North America existed by the end of the last Ice Age. Read More >>