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Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Ancient Peruvian engineering might assist fix modern-day water lacks

Ancient Peruvian engineering might assist fix modern-day water lacks

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...

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

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

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...

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…
Neanderthal cannibalism is less unexpected than you believe

Neanderthal cannibalism is less unexpected than you believe

A new study suggests that a group of Neanderthals in southeast France resorted to cannibalism to survive lean times. If that says anything about Neanderthals, it’s that they weren’t so different from us—for better and for worse. The bones in the cave Something awful happened in Moula-Guercy cave in southeastern France around 120,000 years ago.…
These quarries provided the stones that constructed Stonehenge

These quarries provided the stones that constructed Stonehenge

Excavations at two ancient quarry sites in western Wales suggest how ancient people probably quarried some of the stones now standing at Stonehenge. The 42 stones in question are some of the smaller parts at Stonehenge, relatively speaking: they still weigh two to four tons each. They're called the bluestones, and they came all the…
The skulls of ancient pearl scuba divers include irregular ear canal bone developments

The skulls of ancient pearl scuba divers include irregular ear canal...

Enlarge / This temporal bone from a male skull unearthed at the site of a pre-Columbian village near the Gulf of Panama has bony bumps characteristic of surfer's ear. Smith-Guzman and Cooke Surfers, divers, and others who spend time in cold water sometimes suffer from a condition called "surfer’s ear," in which a small bony…
The world’s earliest metaphorical illustration portrays an injured animal

The world’s earliest metaphorical illustration portrays an injured animal

Aubert et al. 2018 New radiometric dating identifies the oldest known figurative drawing—not a stenciled outline of a hand or an abstract design, but an actual attempt to depict a real object in an image. As far as we know, a cave wall in Indonesian Borneo was the site for the first time a person…
How did Easter Islanders make it through without wells or streams?

How did Easter Islanders make it through without wells or streams?

Enlarge / A freshwater seep in the tidal zone near Tongariki. Brosnan et al. 2018 Archaeologists are piecing together more details about how the Rapanui people once erected the formerly enigmatic stone statues, or moai. But one of the island’s lingering mysteries is how the Rapanui found enough water to sustain thousands of people on…

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