Ancient Civilizations

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

  • Ancient mound builders carefully timed their occupation of coastal Louisiana site
    on May 22, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    A new study of ancient mound builders who lived hundreds of years ago on the Mississippi River Delta near present-day New Orleans offers new insights into how Native peoples selected the landforms that supported their villages and earthen mounds -- and why these sites were later abandoned. […]

  • Scientists analyze first ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia
    on May 17, 2018 at 6:26 pm

    Researchers have completed the first whole-genome analysis of ancient human DNA from Southeast Asia Study identifies at least three major waves of human migration into the region over the last 50,000 years, each shaping the genetics of Southeast Asia. […]

  • Ancient human remains and a mystery unearthed
    on May 17, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Archaeologists have unearthed an intact 4,000 year old human cremation in clay pottery urn on Cornish site she discovered by accident. […]

  • Early evidence of use of a bit on domestic donkeys found in the Near East
    on May 16, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    Donkeys may have worn bits as early as the third millennium BCE, long before the introduction of horses in the ancient Near East, according to a study published May 16, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Haskel Greenfield from University of Manitoba, Canada, Aren Maeir from Bar-Ilan University, and colleagues. […]

  • Lead pollution in Greenland ice shows rise and fall of ancient European civilizations
    on May 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    Scientists, historians and economists have used ice samples from the North Greenland Ice Core Project to measure, date and analyze European lead emissions that were captured in Greenland ice between 1100 BC and AD 800. Their results provide new insight for historians about how European civilizations and their economies fared over time. […]

  • A European origin for leprosy?
    on May 10, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    New research by an international team has revealed that there was much more diversity in the leprosy strains circulating in Medieval Europe than previously thought. This finding, based on the sequencing of 10 new ancient genomes from the leprosy-causing bacterium Mycobacterium leprae, complicates prior assumptions about the origin and spread of the disease, and also includes the oldest M. leprae genome sequenced to date, from about 400 AD in the United Kingdom. […]

  • Stone Age hepatitis B virus decoded
    on May 10, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Scientists have successfully reconstructed genomes from Stone Age and Medieval European strains of the hepatitis B virus. This unprecedented recovery of ancient virus DNA indicates that hepatitis B was circulating in Europe at least 7,000 years ago. […]

  • New research shows how Indo-European languages spread across Asia
    on May 9, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    A new study has discovered that horses were first domesticated by descendants of hunter-gatherer groups in Kazakhstan who left little direct trace in the ancestry of modern populations. The research sheds new light on the long-standing 'steppe theory' on the origin and movement of Indo-European languages made possible by the domestication of the horse. […]

  • Ediacara Biota flourished in bacterially rich marine habitats
    on May 4, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    Researchers have used biomarkers in ancient rocks to learn more about the environmental conditions and food sources that sustained the Ediacara Biota. […]

  • DNA adds twist to ancient story of a Native American group
    on April 30, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    New findings draw from the first population-level nuclear DNA analysis of a Native American group from ancient to modern times. […]

  • Ancient quids reveal clues about genetic ancestry of early Great Basin inhabitants
    on April 30, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    New research showcases modern research methods that have revealed clues about the genetic ancestry of Native Americans who inhabited the Desert Southwest almost 1,000 years ago. […]

  • Respect Indigenous ancestors: Scholars urge community engagement before research
    on April 26, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    A new article provides guidance for those intending to study ancient human remains in the Americas. The paper, written by Indigenous scholars and scientists and those who collaborate with Indigenous communities on studies of ancient DNA, offers a clear directive to others contemplating such research: First, do no harm. […]

  • Archaeologists on ancient horse find in Nile River Valley
    on April 25, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    An ancient horse burial at Tombos along the Nile River Valley shows that a member of the horse family thousands of years ago was more important to the culture than previously thought, which provides a window into human-animal relationships more than 3,000 years ago. […]

  • Most primitive kangaroo ancestor rediscovered after 30 years in obscurity
    on April 11, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    A handful of tiny teeth have led scientists to identify the most distant ancestor of today's kangaroos. The fossils were found in the desert heart of Australia, and then hidden away, and almost forgotten in a museum collection for over three decades. […]

  • First human migration out of Africa more geographically widespread than previously thought
    on April 9, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Scientists have discovered a fossilized finger bone of an early modern human in the Nefud Desert of Saudi Arabia, dating to approximately 90,000 years ago. The discovery is the oldest directly dated Homo sapiens fossil outside of Africa and the Levant and indicates that early dispersals into Eurasia were more expansive than previously thought. […]

  • Oldest Neanderthal wooden tools found in Spain
    on April 3, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    Archaeological excavations in Northern Spain have revealed several episodes of Neanderthal occupations with preserved wooden remains. The excavation revealed two very well preserved wooden tools; one of them is a 15 cm long digging stick. […]

  • Fossils highlight Canada-Russia connection 53 million years ago
    on March 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    A new 53 million-year-old insect fossil called a scorpionfly discovered at B.C.'s McAbee fossil bed site bears a striking resemblance to fossils of the same age from Pacific-coastal Russia, giving further evidence of an ancient Canada-Russia connection. […]

  • Archaeologist discovers Cornish barrow site
    on March 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    An untouched Bronze-Age burial mound has been discovered by chance. The site dates back to around 2,000 BC and was discovered when an archaeologist, who was conducting geophysical surveys of a known site outside the village of Looe in Cornwall, was approached by a farmer about a possible site in a neighboring field. […]

  • New standards for ancient protein studies set forth by multi-national group of researchers
    on March 27, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    A team of researchers from institutions at the leading edge of the new field of palaeoproteomics have published guidelines to provide it with a firm foundation. Ancient proteins are used to study everything from extinct species to ancient human diets to the evolution of diseases, and more. The guide aims to support good practices in the field and to ensure the generation of robust, reproducible results. […]

  • Compared to nomadic communities, Silk Road cities were urban food deserts
    on March 27, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Like passionate foodies who know the best places to eat in every town, Silk Road nomads may have been the gastronomic elites of the Medieval Ages, enjoying diets much more diverse than their sedentary urban counterparts, suggests a new study. […]

  • Mysterious head of a pharaoh discovered by Egyptologist
    on March 23, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    Egyptologists have found a depiction of one of the most famous pharaohs in history -- Hatshepsut (one of only a handful of female pharaohs) -- on an object in the Egypt Center stores, which had been chosen for an object handling session. […]

  • Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco
    on March 15, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    An international team of researchers have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago. This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed. The study shows that the individuals, dating to the Late Stone Age, had a genetic heritage that was in part similar to ancient Levantine Natufians and an uncharacterized sub-Saharan African lineage to which modern West Africans are genetically closest. […]

  • New insights into the origin of elongated heads in early medieval Germany
    on March 13, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    A palaeogenomic study investigates early medieval migration in southern Germany and the peculiar phenomenon of artificial skull deformation. […]

  • Ancient Nubia (present-day Sudan): In the footsteps of the Napata and Meroe kingdoms
    on March 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    The archaeological site of Sedeinga is located in Sudan, a hundred kilometers to the north of the third cataract of the Nile, on the river’s western shore. Known especially for being home to the ruins of the Egyptian temple of Queen Tiye, the royal wife of Amenhotep III, the site also includes a large necropolis containing sepulchers dating from the kingdoms of Napata and Mereo (seventh century BCE–fourth century CE), a civilization mixing local traditions and Egyptian influences. Tombs, steles, and lintels have just been unearthed. […]

  • Fossilised plant leaf wax provides new tool for understanding ancient climates
    on March 2, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    New research has outlined a new methodology for estimating ancient atmospheric water content based on fossil plant leaf waxes. […]

  • Nicotine extracted from ancient dental plaque for the first time
    on February 27, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    A team of scientists has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from dental plaque on the teeth of ancient tobacco users. Their research provides a new method for determining who was consuming tobacco in the ancient world and could help trace the use of tobacco and other intoxicating plants further back into prehistory. […]

  • New light shed on prehistoric human migration in Europe
    on February 21, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    The first farmers of northern and western Europe passed through southeastern Europe with limited hunter-gatherer genetic admixture, which occurs when two or more previously isolated populations begin interbreeding. However, some groups that remained mixed extensively -- without the male-biased, hunter-gatherer admixture that prevailed later in the North and West. […]

  • 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. […]