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Archeo-news archive: March-April 2006

palace at Knossos
Olive branch clue to how Minoans were wiped out
(Apr 30, 2006)

A single olive branch may have solved one of ancient history's most enduring mysteries: when and why did the great Minoan civilisation of the Mediterranean come to a sudden end? The branch was buried during a cataclysmic volcanic eruption on the Aegean island of Thera – now known as Santorini – and scientists believe they can date the precise moment of the tree's death.

Read more. Source: Independent

Visocica Hill
Dig for ancient pyramid in Bosnia
(Apr 15, 2006)

Archaeologists have begun digging for what they think might be a pyramid hidden beneath a hill in Bosnia. Known as Visocica, the 650m (2,120ft) triangular mound, overlooking Visoko, has long been shrouded in local legend. The Bosnian archaeologist leading the project says it resembles pyramid sites he has studied in Latin America. Initial excavations have revealed a narrow entrance to what could be an underground network of tunnels.

Read more. Source: BBC

tooth from Merhgarh. Credit: Nature
Stone age man used dentist drill
(Apr 9, 2006)

Stone age people in Pakistan were using dental drills made of flint 9,000 years ago, according to researchers. Teeth from a Neolithic graveyard in Mehgarh in the country's Baluchistan province show clear signs of drilling. Analysis of the teeth shows prehistoric dentists had a go at curing toothache with drills made from flint heads.

Read more. Source: BBC

site of the pyramid discovery near Mexico City
Ancient pyramid found in Mexico
(Apr 6, 2006)

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient pyramid buried under a hill on the outskirts of Mexico City. The pyramid is said to be 1,500 years old and was built by the same ancient people who constructed the Teotihuacan complex, known as the City of the Gods. Parts of the structure have been badly damaged as the hill has been used for decades to stage re-enactments of the crucifixion of Christ during Holy Week.

Read more. Source: BBC

Biologist Tom Iliffe of Texas A&M University studies a centuries-old human skull found in the submerged cave systems of the Yucatán during an expedition. Credit: VideoRay
Mayan underworld holds natural wonders
(Mar 22, 2006)

The ancient Maya once believed that Mexico’s jungle sinkholes, containing crystalline waters, were the gateway to the underworld and the lair of a surly rain god who had to be appeased with human sacrifices. Now, the “cenotes,” deep sinkholes in limestone that have pools at the bottom, are yielding scientific discoveries – including possible lifesaving cancer treatments.

Read more. Source: MSNBC/Reuters

Computer-generated view showing the Parthenon as it might have appeared during its colorful prime. Credit: Iowa State University Virtual Reality Applications Center
Parthenon once a riot of color
(Mar 22, 2006)

If the ancient Greeks sold kitschy postcards to tourists 2,000 years ago, they would have depicted much different views of the popular sites that visitors flock to today. Archaeologists say many of the stony ruins looked much different in their prime. Many were brightly painted in hues that have faded with time and, in some cases, with forced removal. The Parthenon in Athens was once covered in colorful splashes of paint, for example.

Read more. Source:

People work in the ancient tomb in Kouklia village near the coastal town of Paphos, Cyprus, where the white-stone sarcophagus was found. Credit: AP
Coffin with scenes from Homer's epics found
(Mar 21, 2006)

A 2,500-year-old stone coffin with well-preserved color illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said Monday. "It is a very important find," said Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the island's antiquities department. "The style of the decoration is unique, not so much from an artistic point of view, but for the subject and the colors used."

Read more. Source: MSNBC/AP

sarcophagus in the Valley of the Kings
Egypt Pharaoh find 'not a tomb'
(Mar 16, 2006)

Archaeologists in Egypt have said that a chamber unearthed last month in the Valley of the Kings was not a tomb as first thought. Instead the room was used by the ancient Egyptians for mummifying pharaohs. The chamber was discovered in the Valley of the Kings by a team from the University of Memphis. It contained seven wooden coffins and a number of sealed jars.

Read more. Source: BBC

Easter Island statues
Did humans devastate Easter Island on arrival?
(Mar 10, 2006)

The first humans may have arrived on Easter Island several centuries later than previously supposed, suggests a new study. If so, these Polynesian settlers must have begun destroying the island's forests almost immediately after their arrival. Easter Island has often been cited as the classic example of a human-induced ecological catastrophe. The island – one of the most remote places on Earth – was once richly forested, but settlers cut the forests, partly to use the wood in construction of the massive stone statues and temples for which the island is famous. When Dutch sailors arrived in 1722, they found a starving population on a barren island.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Thornborough henges
Henges years older than pyramids
(Mar 1, 2006)

An ancient North Yorkshire monument has been recognised as being almost 1,000 years older than the pyramids of Giza. Researchers at Newcastle University have found the Thornborough Henges are one of the earliest major monuments aligned to the constellation Orion. The 5,500-year-old earthworks, north of Ripon, and the Egyptian pyramids are thought to have been built to mirror Orion's belt for its religious focus.

Read more. Source: BBC


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