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Monday, July 6, 2020
South Asia now has the oldest evidence of bows and arrows outside Africa

South Asia now has the oldest evidence of bows and arrows...

Langley et al. 2020 For more than 100,000 years, the earliest humans hunted Pleistocene megafauna with wooden throwing spears. But by at least 64,000 years ago, people in Africa had invented a deadly new way to hunt: the bow and arrow. Bows and arrows eventually became a staple of hunting and warfare for cultures on…
Clues to the earliest known bow-and-arrow hunting outside Africa have been found

Clues to the earliest known bow-and-arrow hunting outside Africa have been...

People hunted with bows and arrows in a rainforest on a South Asian island starting around 48,000 years ago, a new study suggests. Small bone artifacts with sharpened tips unearthed in a Sri Lankan cave represent the earliest evidence of bow-and-arrow use outside Africa, says a team led by archaeologist Michelle Langley of Griffith University…
Archaeologists find a way to look for ancient beer

Archaeologists find a way to look for ancient beer

Enlarge / Barley grain used in the production of beer at the Asahi Kanagawa Brewery in Japan.Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty Images Over the last few years, archaeologists have learned a lot from ancient people’s dirty dishes. Microscopic residues clinging to the inside of potsherds contain chemical traces of ancient food and drink, which have revealed remarkable details…
Lidar reveals the oldest and biggest Maya structure yet found

Lidar reveals the oldest and biggest Maya structure yet found

Ancient Maya society got off to a monumentally fast start around 3,000 years ago. Excavations and airborne mapping at a previously unknown site in Mexico, called Aguada Fénix, have uncovered the oldest and largest known structure built by Maya people, say archaeologist Takeshi Inomata of the University of Arizona in Tucson and his colleagues. This…
Archaeologists discover the largest—and oldest—Maya monument ever

Archaeologists discover the largest—and oldest—Maya monument ever

Inomata et al. 2020 The Mayan culture built city-states across Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize for centuries, but we’re only starting to appreciate how extensive Maya civilization was and how drastically Maya farmers and engineers reworked the Mesoamerican landscape. Over the last few years, lidar surveys have revealed an ancient landscape previously hidden beneath vegetation and…
Rare miniature rock art found in Australia

Rare miniature rock art found in Australia

Brady et al. 2020 Ancient artists used several techniques to paint images on rock. Sometimes they drew by hand, but other times they would place an object like a hand, a leaf, or a boomerang against the wall and spatter it with paint, leaving behind a spray of color surrounding a silhouette of the object.…
The Dead Sea Scrolls contain genetic clues to their origins

The Dead Sea Scrolls contain genetic clues to their origins

Genetic clues extracted from slivers of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls are helping to piece together related scroll remnants and reveal the diverse origins of these ancient texts, including a book of the Hebrew Bible. The scrolls are made of sheepskin and cow skin, which retain DNA from those animals. Analyzing that DNA represents a…
New study challenges popular “collapse” hypothesis for Easter Island

New study challenges popular “collapse” hypothesis for Easter Island

Enlarge / Moai statues in a row, Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, Chile.De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images In his bestselling 2005 book Collapse, Jared Diamond offered the societal collapse of Easter Island (aka Rapa Nui), around 1600, as a cautionary tale. Diamond essentially argued that the destruction of the island's ecological environment triggered a downward spiral of…
A biblical-era Israeli shrine shows signs of the earliest ritual use of marijuana

A biblical-era Israeli shrine shows signs of the earliest ritual use...

A limestone altar from an Iron Age shrine in Israel contains remnants of the world’s earliest known instance of burning cannabis plants in a ritual ceremony, a new study finds. This altar, along with a second altar on which frankincense was burned, stood at the entrance to a room where religious rites were presumably held…
Scientists discover that four “blank” Dead Sea Scrolls actually have text

Scientists discover that four “blank” Dead Sea Scrolls actually have text

Enlarge / Multispectral imaging has revealed hidden text on four Dead Sea Scroll fragments previously believed to be blank.University of Manchester The 16 purported fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Museum of the Bible might be fakes, but at least four such fragments housed at the University of Manchester in the UK are…

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