science
Human Activity Has Been Chemically Changing the Earth Since Well Before the Industrial Revolution

It’s no secret that modern humans, with our fuel-burning cars, massive ranching and agriculture practices, and penchant for disposable goods, have had a huge impact on nearly every environment across the globe. But new research shows that even our ancestors in the Bronze Age changed the chemistry of the soils they farmed over 2,000 years ago. It’s some of the earliest evidence of humans having a lasting environmental impact on planet Earth. Read More >>

archaeology
These Are the Oldest Known Footprints on the Planet

An international team of researchers is claiming to have discovered the world’s oldest footprints. Dating back a whopping 550 million years and found in a limestone bed in China, the prints were made by an unknown sea creature. Read More >>

archaeology
Ingenious Technique Explains How Easter Island Statues May Have Gotten Their Giant Hats

Some of Easter Island’s moai statues are adorned with large red hats, the heaviest of which weigh as much as 13 tonnes. Archaeologists have struggled to understand how these hats were positioned atop the iconic heads, but a new explanation may finally hold the answer—and it’s surprisingly simple. Read More >>

archaeology
Something Completely Unexpected Happened to the First Settlers of South America

As the last Ice Age was coming to an end, and as the first settlers arrived in North America, two distinct populations emerged. One of these groups would eventually go on to settle South America, but as new genetic evidence shows, these two ancestral groups — after being separated for thousands of years — had an unexpected reunion. The finding is changing our conceptions of how the southern continent was colonised and by whom. Read More >>

archaeology
Ancient Egyptian Mummified ‘Hawk’ Is Actually a Stillborn Human Baby

High-resolution micro-CT scanning has shown that an Egyptian mummy thought to be a bird is really a stillborn human baby, a surprising discovery that’s providing a rare glimpse into the complex cultural practices that existed some 2,100 years ago. Read More >>

archaeology
Pompeii Resident Had His Head Crushed by a Giant Stone While Fleeing Eruption

Mount Vesuvius at Pompeii erupted in 79 AD, killing scores of the city’s inhabitants and famously locking many of them in the positions of their death throes. New excavations at the Royal V site, the so-called “Cuneo” area, have yielded another extraordinary scene, one that ended in tragedy for an individual as he struggled to find safety amid the unfolding chaos. 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 >>

archaeology
There’s No Secret Chamber at King Tut’s Tomb, Investigation Concludes

Using ground-penetrating radar, three independent teams of researchers failed to detect the presence of doors or empty spaces behind the walls of King Tut’s funeral chamber. It’s a disappointing result, as archaeologists were hoping to find the final resting place of Queen Nefertiti. Read More >>

archaeology
Stunning Discovery Shows Early Humans Were Hunting Rhinos in the Philippines Over 700,000 Years Ago

Our species, Homo sapiens, weren’t the first humans to leave Africa—not by a long shot. The remarkable discovery of a 709,000-year-old butchered rhino fossil in the Philippines shows that so-called archaic humans were romping around the islands of southeast Asia a full 400,000 years before our species even existed. Read More >>

science
This Recently Discovered Fifth-Century Massacre in Sweden is So Game of Thrones We Can’t Even Handle It

Scientists in Sweden have completed a preliminary investigation of one of the most disturbing archaeological sites to be uncovered in recent memory. Over 1,500 years ago, scores of villagers were mercilessly killed in their homes by an unknown band of marauders, who left the bodies where they fell. And inexplicably, the killers refrained from collecting the many riches that lay inside the village. Read More >>

archaeology
Why in the World Did Ancient Humans Perform Brain Surgery On This Cow?

Humans have been drilling holes into each others’ heads for thousands of years, and, surprisingly, we’ve actually been pretty good at it, even way back when. A re-analysis of a 5,000-year-old cow’s skull suggests humans were performing cranial surgery on animals as well—but why would they even bother? The answer could yield new insights into ancient human behaviour and the origin of practices that still exist to this very day. Read More >>

anthropology
Why Papuan Men Made Daggers From Human Thigh Bones

Up until the 20th century, the use of bone daggers among the Papuan males of New Guinea was commonplace. Many of these daggers were forged from the femurs of large birds, but some were made from the bones of humans. New research shows which of the two materials provided for a superior dagger, demonstrating that, for Papuan men, it wasn’t the strength of the blade that mattered—but rather the prestige bestowed by the weapon. Read More >>

history
WWII Sub Rumoured to Have Taken Top Nazis to South America Found Off Danish Coast

In the dying days of World War II, a German sub was reportedly sunk near the Danish coast, but the wreck was never found, leading to speculation that high-ranking Nazi officials—even possibly Adolf Hitler himself—used the high-tech vessel to escape to South America. A museum in Denmark has finally found the missing U-boat, ending this 73-year-old mystery. Read More >>

history
Medieval Italian Man Replaced His Amputated Hand With a Knife

Italian anthropologists have documented a remarkable case in which a Medieval-era Italian male not only managed to survive the amputation of his right hand, he also used a bladed weapon as a prosthetic limb. Read More >>

science
Sweet Potato DNA Challenges Theory That Polynesians Beat Columbus to America

Christopher Columbus reached the New World in 1492, but some experts say Polynesian explorers beat him to it. There’s little evidence to support this fringe theory, but scientists have pointed to the presence of sweet potatoes, a plant thought to be native to the Americas, in the South Pacific as potential proof. A genetic analysis of the popular tuberous root and its relatives has now effectively quashed this hypothesis. Read More >>