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Monday, April 6, 2020
This is one of the largest Ice Age structures made of mammoth bones

This is one of the largest Ice Age structures made of...

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Ancient people took on a mammoth project, in more ways than one. Excavations at Russia’s Kostenki 11 site have uncovered one of the oldest and largest Ice Age structures made of mammoth bones. Hunter-gatherers assembled bones from at least 60 mammoths into an imposing ring around 25,000 years ago, say archaeologist Alexander Pryor of the…
An ancient ball court sheds light on a game made famous by the Aztecs

An ancient ball court sheds light on a game made famous...

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A roughly 3,400-year-old ball court in the mountains of southern Mexico has scored surprising insights into a game that later played a big role in Maya and Aztec societies. Excavations at a site called Etlatongo revealed the ancient ball court — the second oldest found to date. The discovery shows that, at a time when…
People survived the Toba supervolcano’s global winter after all

People survived the Toba supervolcano’s global winter after all

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Landsat image of Lake Toba A supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago wasn’t enough to stop humanity in its tracks, artifacts at a Paleolithic site in central India suggest. The study is the latest strike against a hotly debated proposal that suggests the eruption of Indonesia’s Toba supervolcano had a huge influence on human evolution. The…
South Asian toolmaking withstood the biggest volcanic blast in 2 million years

South Asian toolmaking withstood the biggest volcanic blast in 2 million...

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Stone tools found in central India suggest that ancient South Asians stayed the course after a massive explosion of Indonesia’s Toba volcano around 74,000 years ago, researchers say. While the volcanic eruption was Earth’s largest in the last 2 million years, scientists have disagreed about how much it affected human populations as well as the…
Ancient ‘megasites’ may reshape the history of the first cities

Ancient ‘megasites’ may reshape the history of the first cities

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Nebelivka, a Ukrainian village of about 700 people, sits amid rolling hills and grassy fields. Here at the edge of Eastern Europe, empty space stretches to the horizon. It wasn’t always so. Beneath the surface of Nebelivka’s surrounding landscape and at nearby archaeological sites, roughly 6,000-year-old remnants of what were possibly some of the world’s…
New cave fossils have revived the debate over Neandertal burials

New cave fossils have revived the debate over Neandertal burials

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The excavation of an adult Neandertal’s partial upper-body skeleton in Iraqi Kurdistan has revived a decades-long debate over whether Neandertals intentionally buried their dead. Analyses of the fossils, unearthed from the region’s Shanidar Cave, and the surrounding sediment indicate the individual was placed at the bottom of a shallow depression that someone had dug, scientists…
Food residues offer a taste of pottery’s diverse origins in East Asia

Food residues offer a taste of pottery’s diverse origins in East...

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Pottery making may not have emerged in one Big Bang–like event. Instead, it was more like a cluster of ceramic eruptions among ancient East Asian hunter-gatherer groups as the last Ice Age waned, a new study suggests. East Asian hunter-gatherer populations living about 700 kilometers apart made and used cooking pots in contrasting ways between…
An ancient skeleton from an underwater Mexican cave sheds light on early Americans

An ancient skeleton from an underwater Mexican cave sheds light on...

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Nearly 10,000 years ago, the body of a young woman ended up in a dry cave in southern Mexico. Her bones, discovered by divers in the now-submerged cave, are revealing clues to a short, hard life as well as the history of the first Americans.   Traditionally, scientists thought just one group of humans crossed…
Wasp nests provide the key to dating 12,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art

Wasp nests provide the key to dating 12,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art

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Fanciful human figures adorning rock shelters in western Australia’s Kimberley region have often been assumed to date back 17,000 years or more.  In a stinging rebuke of that idea, a new study suggests that most of these figures were painted much more recently — around 12,700 to 11,500 years ago. Ages of rock art in…
Ancient poop reveals what happened after the fall of Cahokia

Ancient poop reveals what happened after the fall of Cahokia

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Tens of thousands of people once lived in Cahokia, the city at the heart of the mound-building Mississippian culture (which dominated the midwestern and southeastern United States from 700 to 1500 CE). And then, around 1450, they all left. Now, sediment cores from nearby Horseshoe Lake suggest that the area didn't stay deserted for long.…

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