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Thursday, August 5, 2021
Is the “Dragon Man” skull actually from a new hominin species?

Is the “Dragon Man” skull actually from a new hominin species?

Enlarge / The Harbin skull (left) and the Dali skull (right).Ni et al. 2021 The reported discovery of a new hominin species from China created a lot of buzz last week. Its discoverers—paleoanthropologists Xijun Ni, Qiang Ji, Chris Stringer, and their colleagues—say that a skull discovered near Harbin, in northeast China, has a combination of…
How a 17th-century illustration is helping archaeologists find Viking ships

How a 17th-century illustration is helping archaeologists find Viking ships

In 1650, a Danish physician and antiquarian named Ole Worm conducted the first survey of a Viking cremation burial site known as the Kalvestene. Worm created a map of the locations of all the "ship settings"—stones arranged in the shape of vessels—marking the graves. Now, a team of archaeologists has compared its own detailed surveys with…
All the major players spent time in the Denisovan cave

All the major players spent time in the Denisovan cave

Enlarge / Neanderthals and Denisovans probably enjoyed the view from Denisova cave, too. At various points in the last 300,000 years, Denisova Cave has sheltered three different species of hominins. But with fossils from only eight individuals—four Denisovans, three Neanderthals, and the daughter of a Neanderthal/Denisovan pairing—it’s hard to tell a detailed story about when…
Archaeologists recreated three common kinds of Paleolithic cave lighting

Archaeologists recreated three common kinds of Paleolithic cave lighting

Enlarge / Spanish archaeologists recreated three common types of Paleolithic lighting systems.Medina-Alcaide et al, 2021, PLOS ONE In 1993, a media studies professor at Fordham University named Edward Wachtel visited several famous caves in southern France, including Lascaux, Font-de-Gaume, Les Combarelles, and La Mouthe. His purpose: to study the cave art that has justly made…
Two Viking burials, separated by an ocean, contain close kin

Two Viking burials, separated by an ocean, contain close kin

Ida Marie Odgaard AFP Roughly a thousand years ago, a young man in his early 20s met a violent end in England. 800 kilometers (500 miles) away, in Denmark, an older man who had survived a lifetime of battles died sometime in his 50s. At first glance, there’s nothing to suggest a connection between them…
New clues suggest people reached the Americas around 30,000 years ago

New clues suggest people reached the Americas around 30,000 years ago

Humans may have inhabited what’s now southern Mexico surprisingly early, between 33,448 and 28,279 years ago, researchers say. If so, those people arrived more than 10,000 years before folks often tagged as the first Americans (SN: 7/11/18). Other preliminary evidence puts humans in central Mexico as early as around 33,000 years ago (SN: 7/22/20). The…
Ancient cemetery tells a tale of constant, low-level warfare

Ancient cemetery tells a tale of constant, low-level warfare

Crevecoeur and Antoine 2021 When archaeologists in the 1960s unearthed a 13,400-year-old cemetery at Jebel Sahaba in Sudan, it looked like they’d stumbled across the aftermath of a large-scale battle fought during the Pleistocene. At least half the people buried at the site, which straddles the banks of the Upper Nile, bore the marks of…
To find answers about the 1921 race massacre, Tulsa digs up its painful past

To find answers about the 1921 race massacre, Tulsa digs up...

On May 30, 1921, Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old Black shoe shiner, walked into an elevator in downtown Tulsa, Okla. What happened next is unclear, but it sparked the Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst episodes of racial violence in U.S. history, with a death toll estimated in the hundreds. A century later, researchers are…
The oldest known tattoo tools were found at an ancient Tennessee site

The oldest known tattoo tools were found at an ancient Tennessee...

Ancient tattooing tools are tough to find or even recognize as implements for creating skin designs. But new microscopic studies of two turkey leg bones with sharpened ends indicate that Native Americans used these items to make tattoos between around 5,520 and 3,620 years ago. These pigment-stained bones are the world’s oldest known tattooing tools,…
Mount Vesuvius victims died just moments away from rescue

Mount Vesuvius victims died just moments away from rescue

armi del soldato When Mount Vesuvius destroyed the Roman city of Pompeii in 79 CE, the eruption also killed hundreds of people huddled on the shores of nearby Herculaneum. A recent study of the remains of one victim, who died on the beach not far from a small naval vessel, suggests that he might have…

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