The most important archaeological discoveries in 2012

Editors remarkable journal Archaeology sum up the year. They have chosen the opening cover 50 thousand years of history and encouraged to reflect on the eternal question: how much like us old people? Why Scottish Bronze Age bones were collected and buried them in a swamp? What did you mean our ancestors, scratching on stone circles and lines?

In the Maya city of El Soc (Guatemala) found stucco masks and a half meters in height, which adorned the temple on top of the pyramid of El Diablo in honor of the founder of a local dynasty. Masks created in 350-400 years, were painted bright red and depicted several gods — presumably, various incarnations solar deity, notes the various times of day. Between the gods are images of Venus and other planets.

Cutting edge research on Neanderthals, — it is not left their artifacts and even DNA. Now it is calcified plaque. Karen Hardy of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) and Stephen Buckley of the University of York (UK), with the help of chemical analysis first showed that Neanderthals used medicinal plants. In the hands of scientists were the remains of five individuals who lived 50,6-47,3 thousand years ago in the Spanish cave of El Sidron. Judging by the teeth, Neanderthals inhaled smoke from the fire, the fire ate cooked vegetarian food, and did not ignore the bitter chamomile with yarrow. By the way, chosen methods of analysis suitable for older teeth, which opens great perspectives to science.

Wooden stick with notches of the Border Cave (Border Cave) in South Africa aged 24 thousand years contains the earliest traces of the poison produced by man. The artifact was found in 1970, but now the chemical analysis conducted by the research team led by Francesco d'Erriko the University of Bordeaux (France), showed a trace amount of toxic substances from the castor seeds. The stick can be used to apply poison on arrowheads, as is done today in the culture of the hunter-gatherer San (before they were called Bushmen). The poison is very important, because the bone arrows are generally not able to inflict fatal damage the animal themselves.

This is just one of the objects, similar to the artifacts of modern South Africans. The cave also found a stick-digger, beads of ostrich eggshell, carved tusks, bone arrowheads and a piece of wax. Some findings about 44 thousand years: perhaps the chronology of cultural dignity makes sense to count on from there. In this case, it is the most ancient culture of the currently existing and most closely related to the first humans.

The results of the study help to explain why it is assumed that modern human behavior (loosely defined as the creation of objects that reflect symbolic thinking or complex methods of hunting) emerged in Africa. Previous evidence of this behavior have been found in South Africa in the Blombos Cave and Pinnacle Point, which found beads, pigments, and artifacts related to fisheries, age more than 100 thousand years. However, these types of artifacts in the future disappear from the archaeological record, suggesting that these cultures are extinct. Poison and other finds in the Border Cave, on the other hand, are the earliest from which a thread can be pulled directly to the culture. "When adaptation is effective, there is no reason to change," — said Mr. d'Erriko.

Templo Mayor of Tenochtitlan (now Mexico City) was the center of social life of the Aztecs before the Spanish conquest. In 2012, archaeologists have learned about its importance to death, dug more than a thousand densely packed human bones, including 45 skulls and jaws 250. Found only one complete skeleton — a woman lying face down, with his left hand wound behind his back, and his right hand resting on his stomach. She was surrounded by a lot of other people's bones, including at least a dozen skulls, as well as offerings of pottery and charcoal.

Raul Barrera, of the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico believes that this kind of dedication to the end of an important stage in the construction of the temple around 1479. According to the chaotic pile of bones, they were originally buried elsewhere. But not all. Raising volcanic plate on which people were sacrificed, archaeologists found five skulls with holes in them. Apparently, the holes done in order to put them on tsompantli. We all this practice seems terrible, but the Aztecs believed that in this way communicate with each other earth and sky.

Detection of 75 studs for sandals German archaeologists led to the discovery of a temporary Roman military camp near the city of Trier Hermeskeil near the south-western Germany. Sabine Hornung at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and her colleagues found the main gate, flat stones, which were laid in, and millstones, with which the Romans milled grain. Scattered on the pavement pieces of metal identified as nails army shoes, as they are quite large (about 2.5 cm in diameter) and have a characteristic mark of the studio (sort of a cross with the little dots). Study area with radar showed that the camp lasted almost 65 acres.

Fragments of pottery, both local and imported, have allowed dating site 50-mi years BC. e., that is, the period of the Gallic War. With 58 to 50 BC. e. Julius Caesar held three campaign against Celtic tribes in order to gain modern France and Belgium.

It should be noted that the camp was broken a few kilometers from the so-called Hunnenringa — a major strengthening of Celtic with a 9-foot wall. Such centers of military and political power of the Gauls were the main target of the Roman troops. Instead of chasing the forest scattered tribes, Julius Caesar acted more wisely.

According to new data, the image "vulva" was cut to one and a half slab of limestone cave in the French Abrikosov Castano about 37 thousand years ago. This is the minimum. Date roughly corresponds to the estimate of when the cave collapsed. Thus, it is one of the earliest examples of rock art in Europe.

Beneath this stone found hundreds of artifacts of early Aurignacian culture — the culture first modern humans who came to Europe. Imprint on the floor of the vulva-seekers, and the lack of accumulation of sediment between the block and the floor archaeologists suggested that the radiocarbon dating of several fragments of bones crushed by a falling ceiling will collapse and the exact age of a sample — engravings.

The invention of pottery for the collection, storage and preparation of food is an important step in the development of human culture and behavior. Until now it was thought that the pottery came about 10 thousand years ago — in the era of the Neolithic revolution, which gave us as agriculture, livestock and millstones. However, the findings of a more ancient pottery sent hypothesis to rest. This year, the record finds the cave called Syanzhendun in Jiangxi Province in southeastern China. Excavations in the cave were conducted in 1960, 1990 and 2000, but the dating of the earliest pottery in doubt. Researchers from China, the U.S. and Germany re-dug the place in search of suitable samples for dating. Despite the very complex stratigraphy (it does not allow to rely on it in assessing the age of artifacts), the scientists believe that the earliest shards 19? 20 thousand years, that is, they are several thousand years older specimens, considered the most ancient.

Cases skilful mummification in Europe are rare. That's why a couple of skeletons found in 2001 in the treasure-Hallane — Bronze Age settlement on the island of South Uist Scottish Outer Hebrides archipelago — has become a sensation.

Skeletons of a man and a woman aged three thousand years in the fetal position. Tests have shown that they wish to place at some time in the nearby moors, where the microorganisms prevented complete degradation. "Mummification is surprisingly common in the world's history, but this is the first example of this practice in the British Isles Bronze Age" — said Mike Parker Pearson, of University College London (UK).

Further research led to an even more startling discovery. Male skeleton was a motley crew: the torso, neck and skull and lower jaw belonged to three different people. DNA tests have shown that the female skeleton is made up of a female torso, male skull and hands of a third individual, whose gender is still unknown. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the skull is female mummy about 50 × 200 years older than the torso.

Archaeologists have not yet decided, why the remains were mummified, and then were assembled. Perhaps it symbolized the merger of several families. "At that time — suggests Mr. Pearson — right to the land depended on belonging to a particular race, and because the ancestors, as it were, in the flesh were something of the original document."

In the summer, archaeologists have discovered the treasure trove. Jewelry and coins were buried in the courtyard of an ancient building near the town of Kiryat Gat in southern Israel. According to preliminary data, it refers to the time of the Bar Kochba revolt 132? 135 years — one of the largest Jewish rebellion against the Romans. Some rich woman wrapped in the most expensive cloth, hoping to ride out the turmoil. Apparently, she had no luck.

Reading the report of the excavations in 1914, the tomb of the First Dynasty (c. 3150? 2890 years BC. E.) In elite necropolis Abu Ravash, Egyptologist Jan Tristant noticed a strange thing. The author, a legendary French archaeologist Pierre Monteux, wrote that to the north of clay tombs (mastabas), he found a wooden floor. Mr. Tristantu, employee Macquarie University (Australia), it was strange because the messages on the wooden floors around mastabas anywhere else he never met. Feeling sensation, he went to the excavation of the same tomb, which was engaged in Monte century ago. His suspicions were justified: in a hole, surrounded by a wall of mud bricks, lay the most ancient Egyptian boat, known to scientists. It was built in about 2950 BC. e.

No doubt, the ship played a role in the rite of burial tomb owner — a high-ranking official. Mr. Tristant found nearby artifacts that indicate a magnificent funeral feast (pitchers of beer and sourdough bread). Ceremonial boats have repeatedly found on the royal cemeteries. They had to carry the Pharaohs in the afterlife. But in the tombs of people not belonging to the family of the ruler, such finds are rare. About what function they perform in such cases, Mr. Tristant not undertake to judge.

Prepared according to Archaeology (first text published December 13).

Category: Archaeology

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