Archaeologists Find Ancient Comb With Inscription About LiceIf you’ve ever wondered what one of the oldest recorded sentences in the world would sound like, well, these archaeologists got you covered. The results may shock you, though.A group of Israeli archaeologists found the oldest known full sentence written in the Canaanite alphabetical script. The Canaanite alphabet was invented around 1800 B.C., and its creation kick-started the rise of other systems such as Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Latin, and Cyrillic. The statement was inscribed in an ancient comb that was estimated to be dated around 3,700 years ago. The ancient sentence tells people to comb their hair to get rid of lice. With 17 letters, the statement read: “May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.”While it isn’t that grand in terms of meaning, it’s actually nice to catch a glimpse of what people prioritize in terms of grooming. While the ancient statement may not contain grand messages of peace or tranquility, we think that it’s nice that even back then, people still care the most about their hygiene and preventing any issues with their hair. It also implies that people didn’t really change and that lice issues were very serious, even back then.Additionally, the comb also tells experts that only the rich were able to read and write during that period. This is because the sentence was found on an ivory comb in the ancient city’s palace and temple district. The archaeologists consider the comb’s inscription to be the first and oldest sentence in Canaanite to be discovered as it is the only complete sentence they have discovered. We’d like to note that there are other phrases and words that have been discovered that predated the “ancient lice statement.” Image credit: Dafna Gazit, Israel Antiquities Authority via AP#archaeology #comb #finds #artifacts #Canaanite #scripts #alphabets
5,200-year-old Vase Contains an Ancient Animation(Image credit: Emesik)We talk about animation going back to the turn of the 20th century, but that's just film animation. Before that, there were zoetropes that showed a sequence of drawings that appeared to move to the human eye. The concept behind those animations goes back much further than the delightful mechanical zoetropes. A vase unearthed from UNESCO World heritage site Shahr-e Sukhteh in Iran in 1967 dates back 5,200 years. It is decorated with a series of images showing a goat. If you see the images in sequence, it shows the goat jumping up to munch on some tree leaves.
The Oldest Manmade Structure in the AmericasThe campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge has two large mounds, called Mound A and Mound B. They were built thousands of years ago, just like hundreds of other mounds scattered across the US by people who left no written records. Many of these mounds were plundered, flattened, or hauled away to make room for various construction projects. The ones remaining are now the subject of intense scrutiny by archaeologists. LSU has some of those archaeologists, who have confidently ascertained that the construction of Mound B began 11,000 years ago! That makes it older than any other manmade mound found in the Western Hemisphere. While we don't know the exact purpose of the LSU mounds, Mound B contains the charred remains of animal bones and plants.The ash layers within the mounds provide a record of their construction. Around 8,200 years ago—several thousand years into its construction—Mound B was abandoned, the researchers said. Tree roots found in the mound indicate it wasn’t used by humans for a millennium. Then, Mound A’s construction began, and shortly after, construction on Mound B resumed. The mounds were completed about 6,000 years ago—a time when woolly mammoths still walked Earth.Read more about Mound B and what we've found out at Gizmodo. -via Damn Interesting#archaeology #LSU #mound
The Oldest Prosthetic Eye We Know OfThe skeleton you see above is a museum recreation of one unearthed in Burnt City, Iran, in 2006. It belonged to a woman who lived nearly 5,000 years ago and died between the ages of 20 and 30. She appears to be a high-ranking woman of wealth. The prosthetic eye that was buried with her has been the subject of much study since then. Scientists have determined that she did wear it during her life, as she had an abscess that may have been caused by irritation, and the tissue of the eyelid was still stuck to the prosthetic thousands of years later. The eye itself is a work of art. It is made from natural tar and animal fat, which would have lubricated it in her eye socket. A pupil and iris were carved into the round eyeball, and filaments of gold were added to recreate veins. Gold thread was also used to hold the eye in place. Small fragments of white indicate that it may have been painted to look like a real eye. It was undoubtedly an expensive prosthetic, and none have been found to be older. Wearing this eye would not have been all that comfortable, but if you were missing your natural eye, it beats developing extensive scar tissue or getting dust and dirt in one's eye socket. Who knows? This woman may have worried more about her looks than anything else. Read what we know about the world's oldest prosthetic eye at Archaeology World. -via Strange Company #archaeology #prostheticeye #fakeeye
Thousand-year-old Hand Grenade Found in JerusalemJerusalem has been the site of violence since time immemorial, and archaeologists have another bit of evidence of that history. Archaeological digs have uncovered many ceramic "sphero-conical" vessels, meaning the shape of a ball with a point. These vessels were storage for many types of materials, from oil to perfume, but now some have been found, dating to the 11th or 12th century CE, that may have been used as hand grenades. Dr. Carney Matheson of Griffith University tells us about them.“These vessels have been reported during the time of the Crusades as grenades thrown against Crusader strongholds producing loud noises and bright flashes of light.”“Some researchers had proposed the vessels were used as grenades and held black powder, an explosive invented in ancient China and known to have been introduced into the Middle East and Europe by the 13th century.”Chemical analysis shows that locally-made explosive mixtures of fatty acids, mercury, sulfur, aluminum, potassium, magnesium, nitrates, and phosphorous, could have been used for the hand grenades. Read more about this study at Sci News.​-via Fark ​(Image credit: Robert Mason, Royal Ontario Museum)#archaeology #handgrenade #crusades #Jerusalem #explosive   
50,000-Year-Old Grocery and Pharmacy DiscoveredThe land of the Martu people in the Western Desert of Australia is revealing its history. An archaeological dig is using archaeobotanists from the University of Western Australia and the Martu to identify substances found in a settlement that dates back more than 50,000 years. The Aboriginals of this area know every kind of acacia tree in the desert, because they were used for so many purposes, including food, firewood, building materials, and medicine. These same species of bushes were found in the charcoal left by ancient people at the site. In particular, they found ancient remains of golden wattle, which is the national flower of Australia. Golden wattle acacias provided a consistent supply of food and medicine to those who lived in this region, and evidence from the site shows what time of year it was burned, giving clues as to its use.Scientists believed the site was used for tens of thousand of years. Read more about this research at Archaeology World. -via Strange Company​(Image credit: James St. John) #archaeology #Australia #wattle #acacia
9,000-Year-Old Stone Age Shrine Discovered in Jordan DesertA ritual complex predicted to be 9000 years of age has just been discovered in Jordan. A joint Jordanian and French archaeologist team discovered it in the eastern desert of the country.The shrine was found in a Neolithic campsite near large structures known as “desert kites,” or mass traps that are believed to have been used to confine wild gazelles for slaughter. According to Jordanian archaeologist Wael Abu-Azziza, who is a co-director of the project, the site was exceptionally well-preserved, given its age. Everything was nearly intact. Inside the shrine stood a pair of carved stones bearing anthropomorphic figures as well as an altar, hearth, marine shells, and miniature model of the gazelle trap.Image: Jordanian Tourism Ministry/South Eastern Badia Archaeological Project#archaeology #Jordan #desert #shrine #stoneage
14th Century Lead Coffin Discovered Beneath Notre DameLike a scene out of a movie, the reconstruction of Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral following a devastating fire in 2019 has unearthed a mystery buried deep beneath its ruin. In preparation for the rebuild, a thorough examination was conducted to ensure the construction of the floor is stable enough. A team of archeologists was deployed to check that no important things were damaged in the process.Lo and behold, the team discovered multiple burials dating back to the 18th century beneath the church floor. One in particular was a lead sarcophagus believed to be at least 700 year old. The investigation into the sarcophagus concluded that the relatively pristine condition of the coffin indicated that the person buried inside must have been some sort of religious leader.The reconstruction is expected to carry out until its reopening in 2024. Until then, who knows what else lies beneath the crypt?Image: INRAP#archaeology #sarcophagus #coffin #NotreDame #lead
Some Prehistoric Paleolithic Paintings Were Actually Made by ChildrenA new study shows that though thousands of years have passed, some human behaviors still remain. Researchers from Cambridge University and Spain’s University of Cantabria studying Paleolithic paintings have deduced that some of the world’s oldest paintings might have been the handiworks of children. Since the dawn of time, it seems like kids have been doing drawings… What are the chances?The team examined 180 hand stencils painted in Spanish caves around 20,000 years ago. The researchers found that up to 25 percent of the hand marks were not large enough to belong to adults or teenagers. Furthermore, they found that these prehistoric images would have been made by blowing pigments through a hollow reed or bone onto hands placed against the cave wall—a process that would have made the outlines slightly larger than the hands themselves. They theorized that due to the slightly complex process, these children might have gotten the help of adults.Images:VerónicaFernández-Navarro/Journal of Archaeological Science#archaeology #CaveArt #hand #prehistoric #paleolithic #painting #children
Controversial Rock Art Showed Early Humans Alongside Extinct Ice Age BeastsA record of prehistoric life forms has been discovered at Serranía de la Lindosa in the Colombian Amazon rainforest. The 8-mile-long (13-kilometer-long) frieze of rock paintings created by some of the earliest humans to live in the region illustrates the diversity of Amazonia- from turtles and fishes to jaguars, monkeys, and porcupines. According to Jose Iriarte, a professor in the Department of Archaeology at the University of Exeter, unlike their modern counterparts, these were gargantuan creatures in their heyday.But the discovery of what scientists term "extinct megafauna" among the dazzlingly detailed paintings is controversial and contested.Other archaeologists argue the pristine condition of the paintings suggest a much more recent origin and that there are other plausible candidates for the creatures depicted. For example, the giant ground sloth identified by Iriarte and his colleagues could in fact be a capybara -- a giant rodent common to the local habitat.Image: Last Journey Project#IceAge #RockArt #GiantSloth #SerraniaDeLaLindosa #AmazonForest #Amazonia #archaeology
World's Oldest Pants are Surprisingly StylishIn the early 1970s, at Yanghai cemetery near Turfan, China, a group of Chinese archaeologists was met a man. The man, however, did not say a word, nor did he move a muscle. He was already dead, after all. But what told his story are the things found in his grave — a leather bridle, wooden horse bit, and a battle axe, which suggested that he was a horse-riding warrior. But what stood out from the man was not the artifacts in his grave, but his outfit, specifically his very fashionable pants. Archaeologists now recognize Turfan Man's trousers as the oldest known trousers in the world. Archaeologists, fashion designers, geoscientists, chemists, and conservators, took an interest in this pair of pants. Together, they investigated how these durable trousers were made, and made a modern replica of the article in question. These were not just trousers, mind you. These trousers were a celebration of various cultures, traditions, and techniques, as evidenced by the weaving patterns found in them. There is a mystery, however: how did the ancient clothes makers make these? Archaeologists are unsure. (Images: M. Wagner/ Archaeological Research in Asia 2022) #Fashion #Archaeology #Pants #Trousers #TurfanMan
Fossil Records Show that Even Dinosaurs Get Respiratory Diseases like PneumoniaMeet Dolly—not American singer Dolly Parton, or Dolly the sheep who was the first mammal cloned from an adult somatic cell, but—the first evidence of any kind of respiratory infection in a non-avian dinosaur.
Europe's First Homo sapiens? Evidence of 54,000-Year-Old Tooth and Tool Found in a French CaveIt turns out that the first Homo sapiens to reside in Europe lived in southern France before they mysteriously disappeared. Archeologists discovered stone tools and a child’s tooth that pointed to the existence of these humans living in a rock shelter some 54,000 years ago. According to the researchers, the first set of humans, way before the Neanderthals, were estimated to have lived in the location for a few decades.The discovery pre-dates the earliest known evidence of the species in the continent by 10,000 years. Most of the tools resemble ‘Mousterian technology,’ artifacts that are found at Neanderthal sites across Eurasia. Other tools contained small blades that are more typical of early Homo sapiens technology. While this evidence can point to the existence of an earlier set of human beings in Europe, some researchers remain unconvinced.  “I find the evidence less than convincing,” said William Banks, a paleolithic archeologist at the French national research agency CNRS and the University of Bordeaux.image credit: Ludovic Slimak; Laure Metz #archaeology #France #HomoSapiens#stonetools
The Last Roman Gladiator Arena Discovered in SwitzerlandA third Roman-era amphitheater was uncovered by archaeologists in Switzerland last December 2021. The discovery was announced by the Department of Education, Culture, and Sport in the Swiss canton of Aargau on January 19.However, compared to the previous two amphitheaters discovered, this one probably holds some special significance; this may have been the last gladiator arena ever built, dating to the 4th century A.D. The age was based on two things. The first was the discovery of a coin dating between A.D 337 and 341. The second was the composition of the structure's materials (stone blocks and mortar).​Archaeologists never expected to discover this, as they were only at the site to monitor the construction work of a new boathouse.Amphitheaters were a common sight during the Roman Empire. It is said that there are over 200 of these scattered across the Empire.(Image Credit: Kantonsarchäologie Aargau/ Kanton Aargau via Live Science)#Archaeology #RomanEmpire #Amphitheater #gladiator
Archaeologists Unearthed Two New Sphinxes in Luxor, EgyptA team of researchers composed of Germans and Egyptians has unearthed a pair of limestone sphinxes at the ancient Egyptian temple of Amenhotep III in western Luxor, Egypt. The sphinxes measure around 26 feet long and could have depicted the pharaoh.​Other significant ancient artifacts were also at the site, like three nearly intact statues of the goddess Sekhmet (the protector of the pharaohs).Amenhotep III is also known as Amenhotep the Magnificent, and Egypt prospered greatly during his reign.(On an unrelated note, I’m happy no mummies that can turn back to life were disturbed during the excavation).(Image Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Tourism & Antiquities)#Archaeology #AncientEgypt #Sphinx #Egypt
"Bionic" Fish-Scale Armor Made of Leather Found in 2,500 Year Old Chinese Burial SiteResearchers discovered fish-scale armor that is an early version of bionics. The armor was found in a 2,500-Year-Old Chinese burial site. The military garment was made of more than 5,000 leather scales, which make it look like the overlapping scales of a fish. According to lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, the armor is “a light, highly efficient one-size-fits-all defensive garment for soldiers of a mass army."The fish-like design is not an aesthetic choice, but more of a reinforcement of defense. The overlapping leather scales "strengthen the human skin for better defense against blow, stab and shot," said study co-researcher Mayke Wagner, the scientific director of the Eurasia Department of the German Archeological Institute and head of its Beijing office.Image credit: Dongliang Xu/Turfan Museum, Patrick Wertmann#armor #China #bionics #history #archaeology
Hungry Badger Led to the Discovery of Roman Coins in a Spanish CaveWhen archeologists received a phone call about what turned out to be the largest Roman hoard to have been discovered in a Spanish cave, the caller was a local man, but the culprit was no other than a badger.Archeologist Alfonso Fanjul Peraza and colleagues uncovered 209 coins from the Late Roman period (200-400 AD) which could have possibly been hidden by Romans fleeing from barbarians. Of these coins, the badger had dug out nearly half. The coins were found lying around the hole leading to the badger's nest in the La Cuesta cave in the Asturias region of northwest Spain.For the badger, it might have been a mundane week of nest-building and food-hunting, but for humanity, it may help expand our knowledge on the eventual fall of the Roman Empire.#archaeology #coin #RomanCoin #RomanEmpire #badger
Chemical Warfare in 256 ADWe think of chemical warfare as arising with World War I, but the earliest known instance of chemical warfare has been determined to have occurred in Syria in the third century. The Sasanian Empire, composed of Persians, fought the Romans, and archaeological evidence from the military city of Dura-Europos reveals their tactics. Dura-Europos was occupied by Roman forces at the time. The Sasanians laid siege to the Roman fort, and were prepared for a long battle. They dug tunnels underneath the walls, hoping to bring them down. The Romans also dug tunnels, which became a battleground in themselves. In one tunnel, the remains of 20 bodies were found, 19 of them Roman. There were also bits of bitumen and sulphur among the artifacts. When these two chemicals are combined, they produce sulphur dioxide that choked the enemy from lack of oxygen. They must have had this scheme ready in the event that the Roman breached the Sasanian tunnels. Read what we know about this ancient battle at Heritage Daily. -via Strange Company​(Image credit: Heretiq)#archaeology #chemicalwarfare #SasanianEmpire #Roman 
The World's Oldest Family Tree Sheds Light on Neolithic CultureAn excavation into a 5,700-year-old tomb in Hazleton North, Gloucestershire, UK, has unearthed bones that have been genetically mapped to reveal the kinship relations between those buried there. They are almost all descended from one man who had children with four women. These five parents and their offspring are joined by three more generations of their descendants. It's quite a feat to get a DNA analysis from so many different individuals who died so long ago, and the data on their relationships gives us some intriguing clues into their culture. The tomb is organized into sections headed by each of the four women of the first generation, whose descendants are buried in the same section. There are some individuals who were not related to the single first-generation male, but were the child of one of the four first-generation women. One of the more curious finds is that no adult daughters are found in the tomb. That might indicate that daughters were eventually buried with their husbands' families elsewhere, or they may have been cremated. Read the fascinating findings of the family tree constructed thousands of years after the fact at BBC News. -via Damn Interesting#DNA #family tree #archaeology
Remains of 200,000-year-old Bedding DiscoveredBorder Cave in the Lebombo Mountains is named such because it lies near the border of South Africa and eSwatini (formerly Swaziland). Humans have lived in the cave at least as far back a 227,000 years ago, according to artifacts excavated there. A layer of grass has been identified as bedding, and has been dated to 200,000 years ago! That's more than twice as old as the oldest human bedding we previous knew, dated at 77,000 years ago and also in South Africa. How do they know this ancient mat of grass was human bedding? Because it was cleverly constructed. The top of the bedding was made of once fresh grass, with remains of camphor bushes mixed in. Camphor is a known insect repellent. The grass was laid over a layer of ashes, which would also serve to repel or kill insects. The ashes are the remnants of the same grass/camphor mixture as the top layer, indicating that the bedding was burned and rebuilt, another clever way to kept the bed clean and vermin-free. Fragments of other materials were found on top of the grass, indicating that people sat there doing everyday activities. Read about this early bed and what scientists have learned about it at Archaeology World. -via Strange Company (Image credit: L. Wadley) #archaeology #bedding #caveman
The Origin of the 4,000-Year-Old Mummies Found Buried in Boats in the Chinese Desert of Tarim BasinIn this part of the Tarim Basin in China lie boat-shaped coffins which contain the naturally preserved remains of people from the Bronze Age. Archaeologists have been very well acquainted with these people physically, but their identities and why they're there have been a puzzle to them. Thanks to genomic analysis, said archaeologists now have an answer to the decades-long mystery.Some thought that these people were originally from the west, thousands of kilometers away from the site, and they had just brought their farming practices over when they passed away. The analysis, however, reveals that these were indigenous people who adopted farming methods from their neighbors.The mummies are said to be over 2,000 years old. It was a time of significance in the Xinjiang region, as it was when ancient communities began to switch from being hunter-gatherers to farmers.Learn more about this over at Nature.(Image Credit: Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology)#Archaeology #Xinjiang #China #AncientCemetery
Archaeologists Revealed Massive Intricate Mosaic Floor Made from 5 Million Pieces of Stone in the Hisham Palace in JerichoThe Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry revealed one of the largest and most important mosaics in the world. The mosaic dated back to the Umayyad period and the palace was thought to be built by the Umayyad caliph Hisham bin Abd al-Malik between 724 and 743 C.E., but experts today believed that his nephew al-Walid II actually was the one who built the palace. When the site was discovered in 1873, British archaeologist Robert Hamilton performed the first excavation.
Archaeologists Unearth "Once-in-a-Lifetime" Discovery of Roman Statues and Artefacts under a Church in EnglandArchaeologists in Buckinghamshire uncovered three extraordinarily rare stone Roman busts at a hypothesized Roman mausoleum under a Medieval Church in Stoke Mandeville. This church, St. Mary’s Norman church, was in its final stages of excavation when they found three stylistically Roman stone busts.Two of the stone busts are made up of a head and torso while the other one just the head. These two complete statues look like a female adult and a male adult with the other head like a child. The discovery of the said artefacts brought excitement to the team of archaeologists working on the site, and these efforts have been carried out by HS2’s Enabling Works Contractor, Fusion JV, and their archaeological contactor, L-P Archaeology.Dr. Rachel Wood, the Lead Archaeologist for Fusion JV, said, “For us to end the dig with these utterly astounding finds is beyond exciting. The statues are exceptionally well preserved, and you really get an impression of the people they depict – literally looking into the faces of the past is a unique experience. Of course, it leads us to wonder what else might be buried beneath England’s medieval village churches. This has truly been a once in a lifetime site and we are all looking forward to hearing what more the specialists can tell us about these incredible statues and the history of the site before the construction of the Norman church.”Aside from the statues, a well-preserved hexagonal glass Roman jug was found that can only be compared to another intact vessel in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The discovered artefacts will be brought to a specialist laboratory for cleaning and examination.Image: HS2
The First Crusader Camp Ever Found is Unearthed in IsraelThe First Kingdom of Jerusalem existed between 1099 and 1187, when the army of Saladin defeated the European Crusaders who established the kingdom. Christian forces camped in the area of the Tzipori Springs for a couple of months leading up to the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187. Before expanding route 79 in Israel, the Israel Antiquities Authority sent in archaeologists to search for historic artifacts to prevent them from being destroyed. Those archaeologists believe they have found that encampment, which is the first Crusader camp ever found in the Middle East.The artifacts found so far include many that have to do with horses: horseshoes, horse nails, bridal fittings, and combs. There are also coins, needles, buckles, and other metal items. Notably, these artifacts originated in both Europe and the Levant, and indicate they were owned by people of widely varying wealth and status. Read more about the Crusader camp and its artifacts at Smithsonian. (Image credit: Israel Antiquities Authority) #Crusader #Israel #KingdomofJerusalem #archaeology