News

Archaeology

Archaeology

Ancient Roman Hand-Holding Skeletons Were Both Men

Brothers? Friends? Soldiers? Life partners? Researchers don’t know the relationship between two individuals buried side-by-side holding hands. But new findings surrounding the archeological find, called the “Lovers of Modena,” show both were adult males. Discovered in the Ciro ...read more

Viking 'Drinking Hall' Uncovered in Scotland

Archaeologists in the Orkney Islands, off the northeastern coast of Scotland, have uncovered the ruins of what they think is a Viking drinking hall used by elite warriors, possibly including a powerful 12th-century chieftain named Sigurd. Orkney’s link to the Vikings can clearly ...read more

The Juicy History of Humans Eating Meat

The mouth-watering smokiness of a rack of pork ribs. The juicy gluttony of a medium-rare bacon cheeseburger. The simple pleasure of a salami sandwich on rye. One thing is clear—humans love meat. But why do we eat so much more meat than our primate cousins and why are we wired to ...read more

The Most Amazing Historical Discoveries of 2018

From a 13,000-year-old brewery to a long-lost ancient city supposedly built by Trojan War captives, it was an eventful year for historical discoveries. As the year comes to a close, take a look back at some of the ways history made news this year.1. A human ...read more

DNA Identifies Origins of World's Oldest Natural Mummy

Scientists discovered the ancient human skeleton known as the “Spirit Cave Mummy” back in 1940, hidden in a small rocky cave in the Great Basin Desert in northwest Nevada. But it wouldn’t be until the 1990s that radiocarbon dating techniques revealed the skeleton was some 10,600 ...read more

Massive Viking Ship Found in Shallow Burial in Norway

A massive Viking ship has been found in Norway less than two feet below the Earth’s surface. Archaeologists at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) made the discovery using radar designed to permeate the ground without actually excavating any artifacts. ...read more

8-Year-Old Girl Pulls 1,000-Year-Old Sword From Lake

Sure, the story of King Arthur drawing Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake is pretty cool. But have you heard about the eight-year-old girl who pulled a sword that’s at least 1,000 years old out of a Swedish lake? The Swedish news site The Local reports that Saga Vanecek was ...read more

‘Pumpkin Spice’ Has Been a Thing for 3,500 Years

Every fall, grocery stores line their shelves with pumpkin spice-flavored products that range from traditional pumpkin pies to the more questionable pumpkin spice candy corn. The flavor is a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves—all spices that humans have enjoyed in ...read more

Researchers Just Discovered 50 Ancient Hieroglyphs in Peru

In 2014, Greenpeace got in trouble for disturbing a mysterious World Heritage site of desert hieroglyphs known as the Nazca Lines (and in early 2018, a truck drove across them, too). The site consists of massive designs that pre-Incan people etched into the ground starting around ...read more

5 Famous Shipwrecks Still Waiting to be Discovered

1. Santa Maria Christopher Columbus famously set sail on his first voyage to the Americas with three ships—the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria—but only two returned to Spain. On Christmas Eve 1492, the sailor charged with steering the flagship Santa Maria handed the wheel ...read more

Archaeologists Unearth “Greek Pompeii” in Sicily

The allure of Sicily’s beauty is nothing new. Around 650 B.C. the Mediterranean island seduced a band of colonists from the port of Megara in ancient Greece who settled near the mouth of a small river on the southwest coast. The colony—named for the wild celery (“selinon” in ...read more

7 Historical Treasures Discovered by Accident

1. Lascaux Cave In September 1940, four French teenagers were roaming the forests near Montignac when their dog began sniffing around a mysterious hole in the ground. After shimmying down a stone shaft, the boys encountered a vast underground cavern whose walls were adorned with ...read more

Deeper Roots of Northern Slavery Unearthed

In the winter of 1757, one of the bluest of Colonial Connecticut’s bluebloods set sail from New London. Colonial governors sprouted from Dudley Saltonstall’s family tree, and his ancestors included John Winthrop, the Puritan founder of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and Sir ...read more

5 Great Mummy Discoveries

1. Ginger Nicknamed for its red hair, “Ginger” is the most famous of six naturally mummified bodies excavated in the late 19th century from shallow graves in the Egyptian desert. It went on display at the British Museum in 1901, becoming the first mummy to be exhibited in public, ...read more


Archaeology - HISTORY

BAS Virtual Summer Seminar

Biblical Archaeology: Past and Present

- Dr. Eric Cline, The George Washington University & Dr. Rachel Hallote, Purchase College, SUNY

24th Annual Bible and Archaeology FestONLINE via Zoom

Israel 2021

Host Dr. Carl Rasmussen, Bethel University & Master Guide Ofer Drori

Find a Holy Land Dig

We are in the process of hearing back from the dig directors about their plans for the 2021 dig season. Keep an eye on this space for updates.

Participating on an archaeological excavation is a unique and exciting way to experience history firsthand. For almost four decades, BAS has been connecting volunteers with the opportunity to participate in some of the most exciting archaeological excavations in the Near East. A wide variety of people take part in our featured digs, and individuals of many different ages, backgrounds, and cultures have come together to share the thrill of discovery.

All Access Pass

Dig into the illuminating world of the Bible with a BAS All-Access membership. Combine a one-year tablet and print subscription to BAR with membership in the BAS Library to start your journey into the ancient past today!


Archaeology - HISTORY

Archaeology Archaeology Archaeology Archaeology

Bringing the past to light

The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia) acquired 22.5 acres on Jamestown Island in 1893 to protect the memory of America’s birthplace. In 1994, the APVA began an archaeological project called Jamestown Rediscovery to find the remains of the original James Fort, ca. 1607–1624. Over 25 years of exploration have established the location of the fort and principal buildings and recovered more than three million artifacts.

The project has rewritten our understanding of early settlers’ daily life and purpose and their relations with Indian peoples. The research project continues to bring to life a narrative of human endeavor and perseverance that laid the foundations of British America and, ultimately, the United States.

Dig updates

Explore Jamestown Rediscovery’s exciting finds in monthly archaeological updates.

Jamestown online

Watch Jamestown Rediscovery's Dig Deeper video series and find other online resources about archaeology.

Map of discoveries

Click each James Fort feature to learn more about what archaeologists have learned in over 25 years of work.

Excavations & research

Learn more about ongoing excavations as well as current and previous research initiatives.


Archaeology - HISTORY

Archeology and History: Texas' Cultural Environment

As TxDOT builds roads and bridges, archeologists and historians review how transportation projects might affect Texas' history, heritage and cultural environments.

Addressing cultural resources is one step in the environmental review process that all projects must go through before construction. It is part of what we do that goes Beyond the Road.

  • Learn more about TxDOT's current archeology projects or other environmental processes. .
  • Visit the Roadside Chat page to see webinars and podcasts about topics that go Beyond The Road.

Cultural Resource Projects

What are cultural resources? Cultural resources include bridges and buildings, archeological sites and cemeteries, sacred/religious landmarks and sites, and historical objects.

TxDOT consults with the Texas Historical Commission, the cultural resources community and federally recognized Native American tribes to determine how to manage cultural resources under the guidance of the National Historic Preservation Act.

If a project cannot avoid affecting a cultural resource, TxDOT can mitigate adverse effects by excavating, studying and curating artifacts documenting artifacts or historic resources and/or public outreach. This research adds to the knowledge base of and engages the community in Texas history.


Secrets of the Stone Age

The human race has been building huge stone structures for ages but what are the origins of these structures? What were these circular constructions used for?Many of these structures were sealed up thousands of years ago by the people who had built them, but in some cases it was the wind and waves that wore down their protective covering over time. These structures are known as megaliths but


The First Archaeologists

Tradition has it that the first recorded archaeological dig was operated by Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon who ruled between 555–539 BCE. Nabonidus' contribution to the science of the past is the unearthing of the foundation stone of a building dedicated to Naram-Sin, the grandson of the Akkadian king Sargon the Great. Nabonidus overestimated the age of the building foundation by 1,500 years—Naram Sim lived about 2250 BCE, but, heck, it was the middle of the 6th century BCE: there were no radiocarbon dates. Nabonidus was, frankly, deranged (an object lesson for many an archaeologist of the present), and Babylon was eventually conquered by Cyrus the Great, founder of Persepolis and the Persian empire.

To find the modern equivalent of Nabonidus, ne'er do well well-born British citizen John Aubrey (1626–1697) is a good candidate. He discovered the stone circle of Avebury in 1649 and completed the first good plan of Stonehenge. Intrigued, he wandered the British countryside from Cornwall to the Orkneys, visiting and recording all the stone circles he could find, ending up 30 years later with his Templa Druidum (Temples of the Druids)—he was misguided about the attribution.


Ancient Carthage, the Carthaginians did more than we were told, Had explorers that traveled the world in their ships, great artist, advanced medicine, indoor plumbing, six story apartments, waterproof concrete, advanced ship designs, and had a amazing city, they were a remarkable civilization.

The Indus Valley Assembly was one of the largest ancient civilizations in the world. This civilization was larger than the assemblies of ancient Egypt or Mesopotamia. A discovery in 2016 says that this civilization was around 8000 years old. The new discovery was also published in the famous British


THEME: “ANCIENT GARDENS, PALACES AND PAINTINGS”

We are pleased to welcome you to the 2 nd International Conference on Archaeology, History and Heritage 2021 (ICAHH 2021) which will be held from 14 th – 15 th October 2021 In Virtual Platform. ICAHH 2021 provides a wonderful opportunity for you to enhance your knowledge and share new research findings in Archaeology, History and Heritage. The conference will feature renowned speakers, a keynote forum, plenary speakers, thematic sessions, field visits and many more networking opportunities.


An outline History of Archaeology

The exact origins of archaeology as a disciplined study are uncertain.
Excavations of ancient monuments and the collection of antiquities have been taking place for thousands of years. The terms "excavations" ond "collection" can, however, cover a multitude of scenarios. In ancient times the Tombs of the Pharaohs of Egypt were looted by graverobbers who probably hoped for financial gain through sale of their plunder.
We can contrast this with the endeavours of the Italian Renaissance humanist historian, Flavio Biondo, who created a systematic and documented guide to the ruins and topography of ancient Rome in the early 15th century.
Flavio Biondo, is seen by posterity a candidate for consideration as an early founder of archaeology. He was a man of his times, Renaissance means rebirth and the rebirth those involved in the Renaissance hoped for was the rebirth of Human Achievement such as the ancients of the Classical Age of Greece and Rome had been capable of. Thus Biondo was inclined to treat the ruins and topography of ancient Rome with great respect.

Such excavations and investigations as took place over ensuing centuries tended to be haphazard the importance of concepts such as stratification and context were usually completely overlooked. King Charles of the Two Sicilies employed Marcello Venuti, an antiquities expert in 1738, to excavate by methodical approach, the ancient city of Herculaneum. This first supervised excavation of an archaeological site was likely the birth of modern archaeology.

In America, Thomas Jefferson, as he reported in his "Notes on the State of Virginia" by Jefferson (completed in 1781), supervised the systematic excavation of an Native American burial mound on his land in Virginia in 1781, (or perhaps slightly earlier). Although Jefferson's investigative methods were ahead of his time (and have earned him the nickname from some of the "father of archaeology"), they were primitive by today's standards. He did not simply dig down into the mound in the hope of "finding something" he cut a wedge out of it in order to examine the stratigraphy. The results did not inspire his contemporaries to do likewise, and they generally continued to hack away indiscriminately at the deposited remains of ancient settlements, - ( aka "tell" sites), in the Middle East, at barrows and tumuli in Europe, and at ancient mounds in North America, destroying valuable archaeological material in the process.

In 1801, an army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was deployed in an Egyptian campaign. Napoleon brought some five hundred civilian scientists, specialists in fields such as biology, chemistry and languages, in order to carry out a full study of the ancient civilisations of Egypt. In these times some soldiers rebuilding a fort discovered an unusual stone on which ancient scripts were engraved. This stone, known to posterity as the Rosetta Stone, caused great excitement amongst the scholars attached to Napoleon's army.
Several decades later the work of Jean-Francois Champollion in deciphering the Rosetta stone led to the discovery of the hidden meaning of hieroglyphics. This discovery proved to be the key to the study of Egyptology.

Egyptology has since become a celebrated and prolific branch of classical archaeology because of the amount and quality of material that have been well preserved in the dry Egyptian climate,

In 1803, there was widespread criticism of Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin for removing the "Elgin Marbles" from their original location as a frieze on the Parthenon in Athens. Back in England these marble sculptures themselves tended to be valued, even by his critics, only for their aesthetic qualities, not for the information they might yield about Greek civilisation.

It was only as the 19th century continued, however, that the systematic study of the past through its physical remains began to be carried out in a manner recognisable to modern students of archaeology.
Richard Colt-Hoare (1758-1838) turned his attention to recording the past of the countryside surrounding his estate at Stourhead in Wiltshire which he published in a book entitled Ancient Historie of Wiltshire in 1812.
In his reporting of his investigations and ecavations of such neolithic barrows as Silbury Hill used terminology that was later adopted by other archaeologists. Colt-Hoare made meticulous recordings of his discoveries and preferred to use a trowel for careful excavation.

Archaeology was continued as an amateur pastime pursued, in later years, by persons such as Augustus Pitt-Rivers who collected many artifacts during his early career as a colonial soldier to which he added further finds from a large estate he had inherited complete with numerous prehistoric features. Pitt-Rivers extensive personal collection of artifacts was used by him to develop a typology scheme for dating archaeological remains. The Pitt-Rivers collection forms the nucleus of a museum named after him, in Oxford.

William Flinders Petrie is another man who may legitimately be called the Father of Archaeology. His work in Egypt developed the concept of seriation, which permitted accurate dating long before scientific methods were available to corroborate his chronologies. He was also a meticulous excavator and scrupulous record keeper and laid down many of the ideas behind modern archaeological recording.

The next major figure in the development of archaeology in the UK was Mortimer Wheeler, whose highly disciplined approach to excavation and systematic coverage of much of Great Britain in the 1920s and 1930s brought the science on swiftly. It was not until the introduction of modern technology from the 1950s onwards that a similar leap forward would be made in field archaeology. Wheeler's method of excavation, laying out the site on a grid pattern, though gradually abandoned in favour of the open-area method, still forms the basis of excavation technique.

Meanwhile, the work of Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos in Crete had shed light on the Minoan civilisation. Many of the finds from this site were catalogued and brought to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, where they could be studied by classicists, while an attempt was made to reconstruct much of the original site. Although this was done in a manner that would be considered inappropriate today, it helped raise the profile of archaeology considerably.

Archaeology was increasingly becoming a professional activity. Although the bulk of an excavation's workforce would still consist of volunteers, it would normally be led by a professional. It was now possible to study archaeology as a subject in universities and even schools, and by the end of the 20th century nearly all professional archaeologists, at least in developed countries, were graduates.

Undoubtedly the major technological development in 20th century archaeology was the introduction of radiocarbon dating, based on a theory first developed by American scientist Willard Libby in 1949. Despite its many limitations (compared to later methods it is inaccurate it can only be used on organic matter it is reliant on a dataset to corroborate it and it only works with remains from the last 10,000 years), the technique brought about a revolution in archaeological understanding. For the first time, it was possible to put reasonably accurate dates on discoveries such as bones. Other developments, often spin-offs from wartime technology, led to other scientific advances. For field archaeologists, the most significant of these was the use of the geophysical survey, enabling an advance picture to be built up of what lies beneath the soil, before excavation even commences. The entire Roman town of Viroconium, modern day Wroxeter in England, has been surveyed by these methods, though only a small portion has actually been excavated.

When people "took to the skies" in hot-air baloons and aircraft it began to allow the discernment of previously undiscovered features in the landscape - particularly in dry weather when underlying building materials and foundations could influence the degree to which surface vegetation would suffer from drought-related stress.

The skies have not proven to be the limit, however, as satellites and people have ventured into near-earth orbits allowing remote-sensing technologies to be developed whereby Archaeological investigations can be pursued by interpreting imagery gathered relating to infra-red and other regions of the light spectrum.

Traditional archaeologists - working on the ground - often find it difficult to know where to focus particular investigative efforts. With the aid of insights gained through the interpretation of imagery gained through remote-sensing from space probable areas of interest can be identified for closer study.


Frequently Asked Questions

How old is this arrowhead that I found on my property? What if I find a dugout canoe in a creek? Find the answers to these questions and more on our Archaeology FAQ below.

How do I report a site on my land?

If you find what may be a site on your land, MDAH archaeologists will be glad to assist you in documenting the site for our records. We ask that you make a record of where the site is located on an accurate map, such as a USGS 7.5” topographic map, USDA soil maps, or a highway map. Ideally, if possible, document the UTM coordinates (most cellular phones now contain this information on apps such as Google Maps and Bing) and contact the Archaeological Site File Registrar for assistance.

If I report a site on my land, will the state limit what I can do or try to take over my property?

No. MDAH archaeologists are interested in recording the site’s location and artifacts from your site, and cannot confiscate your property. However, we are interesting in protecting sites from destructions and can provide guidance to landowners in methods to preserve important sites. If you are a landowner seeking guidance to preserve your site, please contact MDAH Archaeology at [email protected]

What should I do if I find a site on private property?

First, make sure that you have written permission to be on the owner’s land. Never take anything from a site or disturb it in any way unless the landowner has given permission (in writing) and you know how to keep a careful record of what is removed. It can be a trespassing violation to gather artifacts on private property with the written permission of the landowner. See https://law.justia.com/citations.html MS Code §39-7-31

What should I do if I find artifacts or a site on state or federal land?

If you find artifacts on publicly owned land, report the location to the agency manager or MDAH Archaeology. Archaeological sites on State-owned lands are protected under Mississippi Code 39-7-11, which states that any archaeological sites found on state-owned lands are considered Mississippi Landmarks. Archaeological sites found on federally owned lands are protected by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, also known as ARPA. Removing artifacts from state or federal lands is illegal, punishable by fines and/or jail.

If I report a site, will it become public record?

Yes and no. Yes, the general information about the site will be available to the public as well as professional archaeologists and government agency planners. No, the specific information about site locations is protected information. Records of MDAH are public, but information about archaeological site locations is protected by law and exempted from Freedom of Information Act requests. Site location information is kept confidential so that site owners will not be disturbed with trespassers, and sites will not be damaged or destroyed by vandals.

What should I do if I find artifacts at a site?

Only collect artifacts from private property with the landowner’s written permission. If the artifacts are on land owned by a city, county, or state, please contact MDAH Archaeology and leave the artifacts in place. If you collect artifacts from an archaeological site, it is very important to keep good records. You should notate each of your sites on an accurate map (see FAQ - How do I report a site on my land). Be sure to keep artifacts from different sites separated. Label each of your pieces in a way that will tell you from which site they came. For example, mark your own site name or number on artifact containers with indelible ink.

If I find artifacts on top of the ground, should I dig to see what else is there?

Please refrain from digging at archaeological sites. The locations of the artifacts and other fragile archaeological remains are evidence of the behavior of the people who made them. Only through careful, scientific excavation can the archaeologist recover and interpret the evidence. Archaeological sites are considered “non-renewable resources”: once a site is excavated or disturbed in any way, the information the site contained is no longer available and cannot be gained from another source.

Will the state confiscate my artifacts?

No. By state law, artifacts found on private property belong to the landowner. MDAH archaeologists are interested in recording private collections to add to the MDAH database and to aid our understanding of the past. MDAH does accept donations of some artifact for permanent curation and future study however, these collections must be clearly marked as to their provenience. For further guidance on donating your collection to MDAH, learn more at Collections.

What should I do if I find a burial or what looks like human bone on top of the ground?

If you believe you have found a burial or human bone on the surface of the ground, call your local law enforcement as soon as possible. A deputy or police officer will be sent to your location to determine if it is an active crime scene. If the burial or exposed remains are determined to be a historic burial, the county coroner should be contacted for further guidance. If the remains are determined to be prehistoric, please contact MDAH archaeology at [email protected] for further guidance as soon as possible.
MDAH is only responsible for prehistoric remains. Recent and historic remains fall under the responsibility of the county coroner.

What should I do if I find someone trespassing on or looting from a site located on my land?

Call 911 immediately if you find someone who is trespassing or looting on your lands. Do not approach the looter(s) or do anything that will endanger yourself. Direct law enforcement to the location of the trespasser and answer any further questions they might have regarding the investigation.

Who should I contact if I see someone looting on state-owned or federally-owned lands?

You should call the appropriate agency law enforcement as soon as it is safe to do so and report your location, the name of the facility/park you are located, and a general description of the individual to law enforcement. DO NOT approach the looter(s) or do anything that will endanger yourself. Be sure to provide contact information to the assigned officer so that they can contact you if they have additional questions in their investigation.