More than a decade ago, a team of archaeologists found the buried bodies of a man and a woman in Scotland. They had died 3,000 years ago, but they weren’t buried right away. Instead, their bodies were thrown into the Scottish bog where they were preserved and mummified for 300 to 600 years before they were finally put underground. But the skeletons looked weird, to modern scientists. The woman’s jaw was a little too large for her skull, and the man’s limbs seemed out of place.
According to new isotopic dating and DNA experiments, the mummies— both the male and the female—were assembled from the body parts of at least six people! The woman came from individuals who died around the same time. But the man's ... components? ... came from people who died hundreds of years apart. Not only were the bodies assembled like Frankenstein, but they were interred in an odd way too. The bodies were removed from the peat bog after preservation, but before acid destroyed the bones, and then re-interred in soil, where the soft tissue broke down but the bones were preserved. Why the burying, digging up, and burying again? Why the Frankenstein mismash of multiple bodies? Modern scientists have no idea, but there are plenty of theories, each a little wilder than the last.
In 2015 humanity detected, for the first time, the merger of two black holes by measuring the gravitational waves emitted by the collision that happened 1.3 billion years ago.
According to research first published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, researchers have discovered tattoos on a male and female pair of Egyptian mummies that are 5,000 years old, from between 3351 and 3017 BCE. The image above is from the woman. What appears to modern readers to be four "s" shapes are tattooed on her upper arm and shoulder. The male mummy has a tattoo on his upper arm of two slightly overlapped horned animals thought to be a bull and a sheep.
The mummies are not recent finds. They have been living in the British Museum, in London, for over 100 years! The dark splotches on their skin was dismissed as due to the effects of age. Modern technology - CT scanning, radiocarbon dating, and infrared images - recently revealed the true importance of those splotches. These two mummies are about 1,000 years older than the previously-known oldest tattoo.
Ceramic shards found within the remains of the remote ancient fortress of Arad tell the story. Studying 16 ink inscriptions, researchers found at least six different authors.
That suggests high degree of literacy in ancient Hebrew writing among officials of the military and administrative apparatus -- in other words, not just professional scribes -- in the kingdom of Judah before the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE.
Whaling, or the hunting of the ocean's whales, has a long history. Norwegians hunted whales as early as 2,000 BCE. The practice also has deep historical roots among the Japanese and Inuit.
Okay, that title is a complete joke, but with this artifact...just couldn't resist. Behold a hand-shaped stamp, made by the Olmecs sometime between 1000 and 600 BCE. It was found at Las Bocas, Mexico.
Flat stamps, such as this one, and roller stamps, meant to make a full rotation, have been found at multiple pre-Olmec and Olmec sites in Central America.
Groundbreaking research into the DNA of early Europeans has allowed unprecedented insight into the movement of people and cultures across the ancient world. Carried out by a large team of scientists from several international institutions, the ambitious genetic analysis of hundreds of human specimens from the Neolithic period, Copper Age and Bronze Age represents a fundamental challenge to traditional views about migration throughout history.
No European is “from” anywhere, is the conclusion of the study.The assumption that present-day people are directly descended from the people who always lived in that same area – is wrong almost everywhere.
Scythians were ancient horse nomads whose tribes controlled the Eurasian steppe from southern Siberia to the Black Sea from about the 800s BCE to 100s CE. Thanks to their high-latitude homeland, some Scythian burials became accidental mummies, preserved in frozen ground until archaeologists uncovered them.
Their well-preserved bodies mean we can tell they had tattoos. Lots of them! They didn’t tattoo their faces. But pretty much anywhere else was up for inking. Click through the image gallery to see photos of a modern man who is re-creating one particular Scythian mummy's tattoos!
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities recently announced the discovery of a 26th-Dynasty (664–525 BCE) cemetery in Middle Egypt. Three months of excavations have discovered a group of tombs and burials that belong to priests of the ancient Egyptian god Thoth, the main deity of the 15th nome and its capital Al-Ashmounein. So far, the excavation team has found a tomb belonging to Hersa-Essei, a high priest of the god Thoth, and the mummy of the high priest Djehuty-Irdy-Es. A total of 40 limestone sarcophagi have been recovered to date, of different shapes and sizes, some of them with anthropoid lids decorated with the names and different titles of their owners.