Geoarchaeology

geoarchaeology

Environmental changes contributed to Mediterranean cultural crisis

About 3,200 years ago, urban cultures thrived in the Eastern Mediterranean until invasions in coastal and inland areas, compounded by agricultural decline, created a regional crisis.

13 Sep 2013

Ancient Egyptian artifact is otherworldly

In ancient Egypt, iron was a rare and symbolic metal, but scientists and historians have long wondered about the prehistoric civilization’s knowledge of metallurgy. Now, one part of that mystery has been solved: The oldest-known iron artifacts were made from meteorites. The evidence comes in the form of iron beads from approximately 3300 B.C., more than 2,000 years before the Iron Age in Egypt, and before there is record of trade in iron goods with other civilizations.

03 Jul 2013

Blogging on EARTH: New lessons from antiquity, this time on construction

Each year, millions of visitors flock to Italy to wander among the remains of ancient Rome, where Cicero strolled and Augustus celebrated his expanding empire. Vestiges of the historic city center lie sprawled around the forum grounds like the abandoned playthings of a distracted giant: vertebrae of toppled columns, a crossword puzzle of ancient foundations, towering doorframes granting access to long-gone buildings. Above everything soars the lopsided profile of the Roman Colosseum, a structure as tough and stubborn as the gladiators that once battled in its ring.
 

20 Jun 2013

Modern humans arrived in South Asia 25,000 years later than previously thought?

Figuring out when modern humans left Africa and migrated throughout the world is a complicated task. For example, some evidence suggests modern humans may have migrated out of Africa and into Asia as early as 120,000 years ago. Further evidence puts modern humans in India and other parts of South Asia prior to the super-eruption of Mount Toba in Sumatra, which took place 74,000 years ago.

13 Jun 2013

New dates place Spanish cave art as oldest in Europe

But were the artists modern humans or Neanderthals?

Scientists have studied Paleolithic cave art for more than a century, but new research suggests paintings and carvings in some Spanish caves are thousands of years older than previously thought, which would make them the oldest cave art in Europe. The new evidence has left researchers wondering if the artists were modern humans or Neanderthals.

14 Jun 2012

Hazardous Living: Bringing down the house at Pompeii

Heavy rains last week caused the roof of a 2,000-year-old frescoed house at Pompeii to crash in, much to the dismay of the Italian government. The house, thought to have been erected just before Vesuvius buried Pompeii under six meters of ash in A.D. 79, was outside an amphitheatre and had been used by gladiators before going into battle. According to an Associated Press story, Italian President Giorgio Napolitano called the cave-in a "disgrace for Italy," and he demanded an explanation.

11 Nov 2010

Museums: Cleopatra: The search for the last queen of Egypt

Cleopatra VII was the queen of Egypt. Even 2,000 years after her death, the last ruler of the great empire is still a focal point of worldwide fascination. Despite the number of movies and books that have centered on Cleopatra, most of her life and death remains a mystery. However, a new traveling exhibit called Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt, currently at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pa., aims to finally set the record straight on her life — and perhaps reveal her final resting place.

08 Sep 2010

Underwater basalt formation looks like a city wall

Blogging on EARTH

The concept of sunken, undersea cities has long been present in almost every society, especially in the form of myths such as Atlantis. And now a recent discovery in the Taiwan Strait yields video of a geologic formation that resembles an ancient city wall.

Jeng Ming-hsiou, a biodiversity researcher and professor at the Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan, discovered the formation. It is 200 meters long and 10 meters high and resembles tightly-packed pillars. He said it is basaltic and probably formed from a volcanic eruption around 1,800 years ago.

05 Jan 2009

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