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Friday, July 3, 2020
Neanderthals may have been shallow free divers, suggests a new study

Neanderthals may have been shallow free divers, suggests a new study

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Enlarge / Because Mediterranean smooth clams live up to their name, their shells produce a cleaner cutting edge than others. There may be a little more evidence to suggest that Neanderthals waded, swam, and even dove to gather resources along the shores of the Mediterranean. A new study claims Neanderthals at a coastal cave in…
Floor pavements in Pompeii illustrate surveying technology

Floor pavements in Pompeii illustrate surveying technology

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L. FERRO, G MAGLI, M. OSANNA Decorative pavements in the floor of a recently unearthed Roman house in Pompeii offer a glimpse into the life and work of an ancient land surveyor. The pavements depict a stylized drawing of an ancient surveyor’s tool called a groma, along with a diagram of a surveying technique and…
Neanderthals experienced a genuine epidemic of swimmer’s ear

Neanderthals experienced a genuine epidemic of swimmer’s ear

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Enlarge / The arrows point to bony growths called external auditory exostoses, or swimmer's ear, in the skull of a Neanderthal from La Chapelle-aux-Saints, in France. Swimmer's ear happens when constant exposure to cold water irritates tissues in the ear canal, causing bony growths to form. As its name implies, it commonly shows up in…
Did Stonehenge home builders utilize pig grease to assist slide megaliths into location?

Did Stonehenge home builders utilize pig grease to assist slide megaliths...

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Enlarge / Feasts at nearby Durrington Walls drew attendees from all over Britain. For several centuries, modern people have been trying to figure out how prehistoric farmers in southern Britain moved multi-ton blocks of stone into a pair of concentric circles at Stonehenge. Chemical studies on the stones have revealed their origins: the smaller bluestones…
Neanderthals glued their tools together

Neanderthals glued their tools together

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Enlarge / Neanderthals lived in Grotta di Sant'Agostino between 55,000 and 40,000 years ago. Degano et al. 2019 Neanderthals glued their stone tools into place on wooden handles, a new study suggests. Archaeologists found chemical traces of pine resin on 10 stone tools from Grotta del Fossellone and Grotta di Sant’Agostino, on the western coast…
Ancient Peruvian engineering might assist fix modern-day water lacks

Ancient Peruvian engineering might assist fix modern-day water lacks

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Enlarge / Diversion canals channel water into earth-bottomed infiltration canals like this one, where water can begin to soak into the ground on its way to a pond or basin. Musuq Briceño, CONDESAN, 2012. Rain seldom falls on the desert lowlands of coastal Peru, so people in the area have always depended on the water…
This 2,400- year-old bark guard took a whipping in an Iron Age battle

This 2,400- year-old bark guard took a whipping in an Iron...

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Enlarge / This is what the shield looked like after being excavated and conserved. When they found the shield, University of York archaeologists Michael Bamforth and his colleagues thought it must have been ceremonial, because surely bark couldn’t hold up against heavy iron-tipped spears and iron axes. After all, every other Iron Age shield archaeologists…
Archaeologists discover DNA in a 10,000- year-old piece of chewing gum

Archaeologists discover DNA in a 10,000- year-old piece of chewing gum

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Kashuba et al. 2019 The people who lived at Huseby-Kiev in western Sweden 10,000 years ago made their living by hunting and fishing. That doesn't sound surprising until you consider that this was a landscape that had, until recently, been covered by ice sheets 4 km (2.5 miles) thick. How they occupied the re-emerging landscape…
How to brew ancient Wari beer

How to brew ancient Wari beer

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Donna Nash When the people of the Wari Empire (predecessors of the Inca) abandoned the southern Andes around 1100 CE, they made sure nobody else could enjoy their former home by destroyed the brewery that, for 400 years, had provided for lavish festivals held at the provincial center of Cerro Baúl. "They intentionally and deliberately…
1,550 years back, somebody consumed a rattlesnake whole– and we have poo to show it

1,550 years back, somebody consumed a rattlesnake whole– and we have...

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An example of Crotalus atrox, aka western diamondback rattlesnake. Sometime around 450 CE in the Chihuahuan Desert, one brave soul ate a whole rattlesnake raw. If you think that takes guts, imagine passing an 11mm (0.43 inch) fang afterward. The desiccated coprolite—archaeologists’ term for ancient poop—contained the scales and bones of the snake along with…

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