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Wednesday, April 1, 2020
East Asians might have been improving their skulls 12,000 years ago

East Asians might have been improving their skulls 12,000 years ago

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Ancient tombs in China have produced what may be some of the oldest known human skulls to be intentionally reshaped. At a site called Houtaomuga, scientists unearthed 25 skeletons dating to between around 12,000 years ago and 5,000 years ago. Of those, 11 featured skulls with artificially elongated braincases and flattened bones at the front…
Peru’s well-known Nazca Lines might consist of illustrations of unique birds

Peru’s well-known Nazca Lines might consist of illustrations of unique birds

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Massive drawings of birds etched by pre-Inca people on southern Peru’s Nazca desert plateau include several exotic surprises, Japanese researchers say. Three avian images depict species that live far outside the region where the famous drawings were created, zooarchaeologist Masaki Eda of Hokkaido University Museum and his colleagues conclude. A drawing previously classified as a…
These knotted cables might conceal the very first proof that the Incas gathered taxes

These knotted cables might conceal the very first proof that the...

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While excavating an Inca outpost on Peru’s southern coast, archaeologist Alejandro Chu and his colleagues uncovered some twisted surprises. In 2013, the scientists were digging in one of four rooms lining the entrance to what had been a massive storage structure, and they started finding sets of colored and knotted strings poking through the ground.…
Excavations reveal hunter-gatherers resided in the Amazon more than 10,000 years ago

Excavations reveal hunter-gatherers resided in the Amazon more than 10,000 years...

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Hunter-gatherers occupied the southwestern Amazon rainforest by around 10,600 years ago — at least several thousand years earlier than previously thought. Excavated food remains and human burials at several locations in Bolivia support a scenario in which hunter-gatherers regularly occupied those spots for large parts of the year. The unearthed evidence also indicates that the…
Ancient carvers made magnetic figures from rocks struck by lightning

Ancient carvers made magnetic figures from rocks struck by lightning

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People living at least 2,000 years ago near the Pacific Coast of what’s now Guatemala crafted massive human sculptures with magnetized foreheads, cheeks and navels. New research provides the first detailed look at how these sculpted body parts were intentionally placed within magnetic fields on large rocks. Lightning strikes probably magnetized sections of boulders that…
Freshly equated Cherokee cavern works expose spiritual messages

Freshly equated Cherokee cavern works expose spiritual messages

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Shortly before being forced out of their homeland in the 1830s, Cherokee people of the southeastern United States left written accounts on cave walls of secretive rituals. Now researchers have translated some of those messages from long ago. Cherokee inscriptions in Alabama’s Manitou Cave, now a popular tourist destination, describe religious ceremonies and beliefs using…
The earliest recognized astrolabe was utilized on among Vasco da Gama’s ships

The earliest recognized astrolabe was utilized on among Vasco da Gama’s...

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While searching for shipwreck remains near Oman in the Arabian Sea in 2014, divers discovered an unusual metal disk that has since proven to be the world’s oldest known mariner’s astrolabe, British researchers report. The navigational device came from the wreckage of a ship in the Portuguese armada that had been part of explorer Vasco…
A 2,000- year-old tattoo tool is the earliest in western The United States and Canada

A 2,000- year-old tattoo tool is the earliest in western The...

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While taking an inventory of stored artifacts excavated in Utah in 1972, archaeologist Andrew Gillreath-Brown thought he recognized one: a tattooing tool. That previously overlooked find dates to nearly 2,000 years ago, making it the oldest known tattoo implement from western North America. Until now, several similar tattoo implements from the U.S. Southwest dated to…
Ancient Angkor’s mystical decrease might have been sluggish, not unexpected

Ancient Angkor’s mystical decrease might have been sluggish, not unexpected

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Angkor’s moat is giving up the medieval Cambodian city’s secrets, showing that the metropolis gradually dwindled over roughly a century. The last capital of the Khmer Empire, Angkor was the world’s most extensive city in the 1200s, home to hundreds of thousands of people in its urban core and comparable numbers of rice farmers in…
Tooth plaque reveals drinking milk returns 3,000 years in Mongolia

Tooth plaque reveals drinking milk returns 3,000 years in Mongolia

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WASHINGTON — Ancient people living in what’s now Mongolia drank milk from cows, yaks and sheep — even though, as adults, they couldn’t digest lactose. That finding comes from the humblest of sources: ancient dental plaque. Modern Mongolians are big on dairy, milking seven different animal species, including cows, yaks and camels. But how far…

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