Archaeology

  1. South Africa’s Border Cave
    Archaeology

    The oldest known grass beds from 200,000 years ago included insect repellents

    Found in South Africa, 200,000-year-old bedding remnants included fossilized grass, bug-repelling ash and once aromatic camphor leaves.

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  2. Inca ritual offering llama figurine
    Archaeology

    A submerged Inca offering hints at Lake Titicaca’s sacred role

    Divers found a stone box holding a figurine and a gold item, highlighting Lake Titicaca’s sacred status to the Inca.

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  3. skeletons found in mass grave in England
    Archaeology

    Ancient DNA suggests Vikings may have been plagued by smallpox

    Viral genetic material from human remains provides direct evidence that smallpox infected people dating back to the year 603.

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  4. stone artifact from central Mexico
    Archaeology

    Stone artifacts hint that humans reached the Americas surprisingly early

    Finds uncovered in a Mexican cave suggest North America may have had human inhabitants more than 30,000 years ago — way before archaeologists thought.

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  5. person holding a hand ax
    Archaeology

    This 1.4-million-year-old hand ax adds to Homo erectus’ known toolkit

    A newly described East African find, among the oldest bone tools found, shows the ancient hominids crafted a range of simple and more complex tools.

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  6. diver in underwater Mexican cave
    Humans

    Underwater caves once hosted the Americas’ oldest known ochre mines

    Now-submerged chambers in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula contain ancient evidence of extensive red ochre removal as early as 12,000 years ago.

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  7. Ireland's Newgrange passage tomb
    Genetics

    DNA from a 5,200-year-old Irish tomb hints at ancient royal incest

    Ruling families in Ireland may have organized a big tomb project, and inbred, more than 5,000 years ago, a new study suggests.

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  8. artifacts from Sri Lanka
    Archaeology

    Clues to the earliest known bow-and-arrow hunting outside Africa have been found

    Possible arrowheads at a rainforest site in Sri Lanka date to 48,000 years ago.

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  9. 3-D rendering of Maya site Aguada Fénix
    Humans

    Lidar reveals the oldest and biggest Maya structure yet found

    A previously unknown Maya site in Mexico, called Aguada Fénix, adds to evidence that massive public works may have preceded kings in the civilization.

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  10. Dead Sea Scrolls
    Humans

    The Dead Sea Scrolls contain genetic clues to their origins

    Animal DNA is providing researchers with hints on how to assemble what amounts to a giant jigsaw puzzle of ancient manuscript fragments.

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  11. Arad shrine
    Archaeology

    A biblical-era Israeli shrine shows signs of the earliest ritual use of marijuana

    Chemical analyses reveal a residue of cannabis and animal dung on an altar from a biblical-era fortress in use more than 2,700 years ago.

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  12. a photo of a papyrus boat
    Archaeology

    50 years ago, explorer Thor Heyerdahl’s Atlantic crossing hit a snag

    Explorer Thor Heyerdahl followed an aborted Atlantic voyage with a second trip that indicated ancient Egyptians could have traveled over long distances by sea.

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