Ancient Civilizations

Ancient Civilizations News -- ScienceDaily Archaeology news. Articles on ancient Egypt, ancient Rome, ancient Greece and other civilizations.

  • Laser technology takes Maya archeologists where they've never gone before
    on February 21, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    With the help of airborne laser mapping technology, a team of archeologists is exploring on a larger scale than ever before the history and spread of settlement at the ancient Maya site of Ceibal in Guatemala. […]

  • Ancient DNA tells tales of humans' migrant history
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Fueled by advances in analyzing DNA from the bones of ancient humans, scientists have dramatically expanded the number of samples studied -- revealing vast and surprising migrations and genetic mixing of populations in our prehistoric past. […]

  • Ancient-DNA researchers surpass the 1,000-genome milestone
    on February 21, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    In the last eight years, the field of ancient DNA research has expanded from just one ancient human genome to more than 1,300. The latest 625 of those genomes debut Feb. 21 in Nature, including the largest study of ancient DNA to date. […]

  • Traces of indigenous 'Taíno' in present-day Caribbean populations
    on February 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    A thousand-year-old tooth has provided the first clear genetic evidence that the Taíno -- the indigenous people whom Columbus first encountered on arriving in the New World -- still have living descendants today, despite erroneous claims in some historical narratives that these people are extinct. The findings are likely to have particular resonance for people in the Caribbean and the US who claim Taíno ancestry, but have until now been unable to prove definitively that such a thing is possible. […]

  • 'Middle Earth' preserved in giant bird dung
    on February 12, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts. […]

  • Face of first Brit revealed: Blue eyes, dark hair and skin
    on February 8, 2018 at 1:24 am

    Researchers have revealed the face of 'Cheddar Man', Britain's oldest nearly complete skeleton at 10,000 years old, with unprecedented accuracy. The results indicate that Cheddar Man had blue eyes, dark colored curly hair and 'dark to black' skin pigmentation. […]

  • Mapping the Maya: Laser technology reveals secrets of ancient civilization
    on February 5, 2018 at 7:01 pm

    The Maya civilization began to emerge about 3,000 years ago, and reached its peak during the Classic Period, from about A.D. 250-900. Now, technology called LiDAR (light detection and ranging) has uncovered thousands of new Maya structures previously undetected beneath smothering vegetation. […]

  • Radiocarbon dating reveals mass grave did date to the Viking age
    on February 2, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Archaeologists have discovered that a mass grave uncovered in the 1980s dates to the Viking Age and may have been a burial site of the Viking Great Army war dead. […]

  • Reconstructing an ancient lethal weapon
    on January 31, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    Researchers have reconstructed prehistoric projectiles and points from ancient sites in what is now Alaska and studied the qualities that would make for a lethal hunting weapon. By examining and testing different projectile points, the team has come to a new understanding about the technological choices people made in ancient times. […]

  • It's not how you play the game, but how the dice were made
    on January 30, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    Over time, dice used in playing games have changed in shape and size and evolved with considerations about fairness, chance and probability. […]

  • Northern European population history revealed by ancient human genomes
    on January 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Scientists analyzed ancient human genomes from 38 northern Europeans dating from approximately 7,500 to 500 BCE. The study found that Scandinavia was initially settled via a southern and a northern route and that the arrival of agriculture in northern Europe was facilitated by movements of farmers and pastoralists into the region. […]

  • Scientists discover oldest known modern human fossil outside of Africa
    on January 25, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    A large international research team has discovered the earliest modern human fossil ever found outside of Africa. The finding suggests that modern humans left the continent at least 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. […]

  • Ancient Eurasian DNA sequencing is revealing links with modern humans
    on January 25, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    Until recently, very little was known about the genetic relationship between modern humans of the Upper Paleolithic age (the period of time between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, also called the Late Stone age) and today's populations. But with direct DNA sequencing, researchers are discovering unexpected genetic connections between individuals on opposing sides of Eurasia. These suggest a complex history that may represent an early population structure that eventually led to Europeans and Asians. […]

  • Frozen in time: Glacial archaeology on the roof of Norway
    on January 24, 2018 at 4:51 am

    Artefacts revealed by melting ice patches in the high mountains of Oppland shed new light on ancient high-altitude hunting. […]

  • Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery
    on January 17, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers. The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men -- Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh -- dating to around 1800 BC. […]

  • Possible cause of early colonial-era Mexican epidemic identified
    on January 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Researchers have used new methods in ancient DNA research to identify Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C, a pathogen that causes enteric fever, in the skeletons of victims of the 1545-1550 cocoliztli epidemic in Mexico, identifying a possible cause of this devastating colonial epidemic. […]

  • Dramatic decline in genetic diversity of Northwest salmon
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Columbia River Chinook salmon have lost as much as two-thirds of their genetic diversity, researchers have found. The researchers reached this conclusion after extracting DNA from scores of bone samples -- some harvested as many as 7,000 years ago -- and comparing them to the DNA of Chinook currently swimming in the Snake and Columbia rivers. The work is 'the first direct measure of reduced genetic diversity for Chinook salmon from the ancient to the contemporary period.' […]

  • Ancient Phoenician DNA from Sardinia, Lebanon reflects settlement, integration, mobility
    on January 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    Ancient DNA from the Phoenician remains found in Sardinia and Lebanon could provide insight into the extent of integration with settled communities and human movement during this time period, according to a new study. The researchers looked at mitochondrial genomes, which are maternally inherited, in a search for markers of Phoenician ancestry. […]

  • DNA analysis of ancient mummy, thought to have smallpox, points to Hepatitis B instead
    on January 4, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    A team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of an ancient strain of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV), shedding new light on a pervasive, complex and deadly pathogen that today kills nearly one million people every year. While little is known about its evolutionary history and origin, the findings confirm the idea that HBV has existed in humans for centuries. […]

  • Redefining knowledge of elderly people throughout history
    on January 4, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    An archaeologist is set to redefine what we know about elderly people in cultures throughout history, and dispel the myth that most people didn't live much past 40 prior to modern medicine. […]

  • Did ancient irrigation technology travel Silk Road?
    on January 4, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Using satellite imaging and drone reconnaissance, archaeologists have discovered an ancient irrigation system that allowed a farming community in northwestern China to raise livestock and cultivate crops in one of the world's driest desert climates. […]

  • Evidence of previously unknown population of ancient Native Americans, research reveals
    on January 3, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Genetic analysis of ancient DNA from a 6-week-old infant found at an Interior Alaska archaeological site has revealed a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The findings represent a major shift in scientists' theories about how humans populated North America. The researchers have named the new group 'Ancient Beringians.' […]

  • Prehistoric bling? Aesthetics crucial factor in development of earliest copper alloys
    on December 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm

    Researchers have developed a Cu-As-Sn (Copper-Arsenic-Tin) color ternary diagram to uncover the original colors of archaeological artifacts now patinated through age and exposure. […]

  • Easter Island had a cooperative community, analysis of giant hats reveals
    on December 20, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Analysis of giant stone hats found on Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) provides evidence contrary to the widely held belief that the ancient civilization had a warrior culture. According to a new study these stone hats suggest that the people of Rapa Nui were part of a supportive and inclusive community. […]

  • Discovery of ruins of ancient Turkic monument surrounded by 14 pillars with inscriptions
    on December 19, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    A joint excavation team has discovered the ruins of a unique monument surrounded by 14 large stone pillars with Turkic Runic inscriptions arranged in a square on the steppe called Dongoin shiree in eastern Mongolia during their three-year (2015 ~ 2017) joint excavation. […]

  • CT scans of Egyptian mummies reveal oldest known cases of breast cancer and multiple myeloma
    on December 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    An international team has discovered the world's oldest known cases of breast cancer and multiple myeloma (a type of bone marrow cancer). The discoveries were made by conducting CT scans of two mummies found in the pharaonic necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt. […]

  • More than 1,000 ancient sealings discovered
    on December 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Classical scholars have discovered a large number of sealings in southeast Turkey. More than 1,000 sealings give new insights into the Greco-Roman pantheon. The finds were in a late antique building complex point to a hitherto unknown church. […]

  • Could ancient bones suggest Santa was real?
    on December 6, 2017 at 1:30 am

    Was St Nicholas, the fourth century saint who inspired the iconography of Santa Claus, a legend or was he a real person? New research has revealed that bones long venerated as relics of the saint, do in fact date from the right historical period. […]

  • Copy of 'Jesus' secret revelations to his brother' discovered by biblical scholars
    on November 30, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    The first-known original Greek copy of a heretical Christian writing describing Jesus' secret teachings to his brother James has been discovered by biblical scholars. The original manuscript was probably a teacher's model used to help students learn to read and write. […]

  • First-of-its-kind mummy study reveals clues to girl’s story
    on November 29, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Who is she, this little mummy girl? Scientists and students are working to unravel some of her mysteries, including how her body was prepared 1,900 years ago in Egypt, what items she may have been buried with, the quality of her bones and what material is present in her brain cavity. As part of a comprehensive scientific investigation, the mummy traveled from Evanston to Argonne National Laboratory on Nov. 27 for an all-day X-ray scattering experiment. It was the first study of its kind performed on a human mummy. […]