There is an increasing risk that wooden and bone implements from the first people on Greenland will be consumed by the sea, destroyed by fungi or pierced by willow scrub roots in the future. This is partly happening, because the average temperature has risen by two to three degrees.
To secure the many archaeological finds, which have not yet been excavated, the National Museums of Denmark and Greenland have started a new project that, among other things, will result in an interactive map showing which places are most threatened by future climate change.
"To safeguard the more than 6,000 archaeological sites on Greenland, it is important that we map the threats and find the places, where the situation is worst," says Jørgen Hollesen, senior researcher in geography at the National Museum of Denmark’s Conservation department. "The ultimate aim is a tool that can give us an idea of where to focus first." Read more.
Archaeologists undertaking investigations in the Peruvian region of Arequipa discovered a large geoglyph last December.
According to Peru21, the geoglyph is approximately 60 meters by 40 meters and is located in the province of Caylloma.
Peru21 reports that the initial archaeological investigations were performed at the request of the Consorcio Angostura – Siguas, an agroindustrial company that is executing an irrigation project in the area. Consorcio Angostura – Siguas would have ordered the investigation in order to receive a certificate from the Ministry of Culture stating that there were no archaeological sites in the area, allowing them to continue with their irrigation project. Read more.
There’s a new mega-mammal on the menu of America’s first hunters.
On a ranch in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, archaeologists have discovered 13,400-year-old weapons mingled with bones from an extinct elephant relative called the gomphothere. The animal was smaller than mastodons and mammoths, but most had four sharp tusks for defense.
The new evidence puts the gomphothere in North America at the same time as a prehistoric group of paleo-Indians known as the Clovis culture, whose beautifully crafted projectile points helped bring down giant Ice Age mammals, including mammoths. This is the first time gomphothere fossils have been discovered with Clovis artifacts. Read more.
An ancient burial containing chariots, gold artifacts and possible human sacrifices has been discovered by archaeologists in the country of Georgia, in the south Caucasus.
The burial site, which would’ve been intended for a chief, dates back over 4,000 years to a time archaeologists call the Early Bronze Age, said Zurab Makharadze, head of the Centre of Archaeology at the Georgian National Museum.
Archaeologists discovered the timber burial chamber within a 39-foot-high (12 meters) mound called a kurgan. When the archaeologists reached the chamber they found an assortment of treasures, including two chariots, each with four wooden wheels. Read more.
This week, a developing field of research that merges astronomical techniques with the study of ancient human-made features and the surrounding landscapes will be highlighted at the National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) 2014 in Portsmouth. From the ‘Crystal Pathway’ that links stone circles on Cornwall’s Bodmin Moor to star-aligned megaliths in central Portugal, archaeo-astronomers are finding evidence that Neolithic and Bronze Age people were acute observers of the Sun, as well as the Moon and stars, and that they embedded astronomical references within their local landscapes.
"There’s more to archaeo-astronomy than Stonehenge," says Dr Daniel Brown of Nottingham Trent University, who will present updates on his work on the 4000-year-old astronomically aligned standing stone at Gardom’s Edge in the UK’s Peak District. "Modern archaeo-astronomy encompasses many other research areas such as anthropology, ethno-astronomy and even educational research. Read more.
For centuries, indigenous peoples in the Arctic navigated the land, sea, and ice, using knowledge of trails that was passed down through the generations.
Now, researchers have mapped these ancient routes using archival and published accounts of encounters with Inuit stretching back through the 19th and 20th centuries, and have released it online for the public as an interactive atlas – bringing together hundreds of years of accrued cultural knowledge for the first time.
The atlas, found at paninuittrails.org, is constructed from historical records, maps, trails and place names, and allows the first overview of the “pan-Inuit” world that is being fragmented as the annual sea ice diminishes and commercial mining and oil drilling encroaches. Read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY — Archaeologists will return to an ancient Native American site in eastern Oklahoma next month to resume excavation, after they discovered a prehistoric building there last October.
Few artifacts have been discovered near the formation — which measures just about 12 feet across — at Spiro Mounds making it difficult for researchers to determine the time period of the building, said Scott Hammerstedt, a researcher at the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey.
"It’s a building. A prehistoric building, a fairly faint one — but one nonetheless," he said.
Researchers will head back to excavate a handful of other areas during five weeks of fieldwork in May and June, Hammerstedt said. Read more.
Hundreds of years before asbestos became ubiquitous in the construction industry, Byzantine monks used the fibrous material in plaster coatings underlying their wall paintings during the late 1100s, new research shows.
Asbestos is a type of natural, rock-forming mineral known for its ability to separate into long, flexible fibers. It has long been thought that asbestos fibers, which are corrosion- and combustion-resistant, were first integrated into such things as plaster, finish coatings and floors after the Industrial Revolution.
But while investigating the 12th-century paintings in the Byzantine monastery Enkleistra of St. Neophytos in Cyprus, UCLA researchers discovered the magnesium silicate mineral, chrysotile (white asbestos), in the finish coating of the plaster underneath a portion of a wall painting. Read more.