Tag Archives: archaeology

What Poop Can Teach Us About an Ancient City’s Downfall

27 Feb

Northwest Iowa Center for Regional Studies

An aerial shot of Cahokia's Monks Mound.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF poop. After more than 1,000 years, it can still have a lot to offer.

Just ask the authors of a new study, out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which discusses how fecal remains can teach us about the rise and fall of Cahokia, an ancient city less than 10 miles outside of present-day St. Louis, Missouri. According to UNESCO, Cahokia was “the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico.”

So begins Matthew Taub’s Atlas Obscura post on Cahokia. You may read the entire post here.

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Indigenous Remains Do Not Belong to Science

30 Apr

Indigenous Remains Do Not Belong to Science

Editors at Scientific American offer their take on an important and ongoing issue here.

Laser Scans Reveal Maya “Megalopolis” Below Guatemalan Jungle

2 Feb

At National Geographic, Tom Clynes reports:

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

You may read the rest of the report, with illustrations, here.

Mortar Found at “Jesus’ Tomb” Dates to the Constantine Era Read

29 Nov


In the year 325 A.D., according to historical sources, Constantine, Rome’s first Christian emperor, sent an envoy to Jerusalem in the hopes of locating the tomb of Jesus of Nazareth. His representatives were reportedly told that Jesus’ burial place lay under a pagan temple to Venus, which they proceeded to tear down. Beneath the building, they discovered a tomb cut from a limestone cave. Constantine subsequently ordered a majestic church—now known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre—to be built at the site.

So begins Brigit Katz’s brief report at Smithsonian.com about recent archaeological work at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. You can read the entire post, with links, here.

How to Decode an Ancient Roman’s Handwriting

2 May

Roger Tomlin has made a name for himself deciphering Latin texts that were never meant for posterity. Read Charlotte Higgin’s fascinating New Yorker story of paleographer Tomlin here: How to Decode an Ancient Roman’s Handwriting – The New Yorker

130,000-year-old mastodon bones could rewrite story of how humans first appeared in the Americas 

27 Apr

Shattered mastodon bones from a Southern California site bear the scars of human activity from 130,700 years ago, a team of scientists says — pushing back the generally accepted date that humans are thought to have settled North America by a whopping 115,000 or so years.

If verified and corroborated by other scientists, the discovery described in the journal Nature could radically rewrite the timeline of when humans first arrived in the Americas.

Read the rest of the story by Amina Khan of the Los Angeles Times here: 130,000-year-old mastodon bones could rewrite story of how humans first appeared in the Americas – LA Times

The Roanoke Colonists: Lost, and Found?

10 Aug

Perhaps some evidence has turned up about some of the “lost” colonists of Roanoke Island? For more, read this fascinating account by Theo Emery at the New York Times of an archaeological dig in North Carolina: The Roanoke Colonists: Lost, and Found? – The New York Times.

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