Archaeology Weekly Roundup! 5-3-13

news_sanaaTo see Sana’a’s Old City for the first time is like “a vision of a childhood dream world of fantasy castles,” a visitor once remarked, but official neglect and unruly construction are threatening to destroy that magic. UNESCO has even threatened to remove the city from the World Heritage List.

They lived in well-planned cities, made exquisite jewelry, and enjoyed the ancient world’s best plumbing. But the people of the sophisticated Indus civilization—remain mysterious, though recent research may have uncovered evidence of matrilocality and surprising levels of violence.

During routine archaeological research as part of the Ancient Egypt Leatherwork Project (AELP) carried out by Salima Ikram, Professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and Andre Veldmeijer, head of the Egyptology section at the Netherlands Flemish Institute in Cairo, a collection of 300 leather fragments of an Old Kingdom chariot were uncovered at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

What’s certain is that some members of the desperate colony at Jamestown resorted to cannibalism to survive. The proof comes in the form of fragments of a skeleton of a girl, about age 14, found in a cellar full of debris in the fort on the James River that sheltered the starving colonists.

At least 1,000 Aboriginal founders first arrived in Australia some 50,000 years ago, a reconstruction indicates — numbers that could be evidence of an intentional migration rather than the accidental stranding of a few individuals at a time

Researchers have solved the riddle of how one of Africa’s greatest civilizations survived a catastrophic drought which wiped out other famous dynasties. Geomorphologists and dating specialists from The Universities of Aberystwyth, Manchester, and Adelaide say that it was the River Nile which made life viable for the renowned Kerma kingdom, in what is now northern Sudan.

Scientists are typically split between two theories on the subject: Either the Maya developed directly from an older”mother culture” known as the Olmec, or they sprang into existence independently. But a new paper disagrees with both theories, pointing to finds from the site of Ceibal in Guatemala, as evidence for a more complex origin story.

Past climate change varied remarkably between regions. This is demonstrated in a new study coordinated by the international Past Global Changes (PAGES) project, which reconstructed temperature over the past 1000 to 2000 years.

An international team of archaeologists has stumbled upon a cache of relics dating back several millennia in the northern Omani enclave of Musandam. The discovery has been billed by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture as among the most stunning archaeological finds of recent times.

Archaeologists in Florida are working to uncover the original Spanish settlement of St. Augustine from 1565, which the Spanish held for a year before being driven out by Native Americans. They think they may have found the early structures used by the Spanish.

The Mycenaens, the first Greeks, inspired the legends of the Trojan Wars, “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey.” Their culture abruptly declined around 1200 B.C., marking the start of a Dark Ages in Greece, and now scholars are looking for signs that earthquakes contributed to this decline.

Hundreds of lorries will rattle down the new Ras Al Khaimah truck road that is expected to open next year, but there will be no clue that they are thundering over the remains of 4,000-year-old tombs. Archaeologists are in the final days of a three-month rescue excavation of the Qarn Al Harf tombs built by prehistoric date farmers.

Eight skeletons have been discovered next to the site where a medieval knight was found underneath a car park in Edinburgh, on the former site of the 13th Century Blackfriar’s Monastery.

An Egyptian excavation mission from the Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) uncovered a complete industrial area that can be dated to the Graeco-Roman era. The discovery was found during routine excavation work at the archaeological site of Tell Abu-Seifi, located east of the Suez Canal and south of Qantara East.

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