The remains of more than 210 French soldiers were found in a sand pit during a military exercise about 50 miles northwest of Minsk. They were preliminarily identified by 115 associated buttons from uniforms that were worn by men in Napoleon's army, and the remains are believed to be of troops who participated in the emperor's failed 1812 invasion of Russia.
An exquisite silver rhyton, a type of drinking vessel, was one of dozens of precious artifacts discovered in a Thracian tomb in Zlatinitsa, 180 miles east of the Bulgarian captial of Sophia. Archaeologists believe the tomb may belong to a Thracian king who lived 2,400 years ago.
See "Insider: Sky Disk on Trial."
Three more of Novgorod's famous birch-bark letters have been discovered during this year's excavation season--two of which contain profanities so rude that the archaeologists are refusing to release them to the public. One of the two twelfth-century artifacts is a fragment of a larger letter, while the other is a note written by a woman to an acquaintance in which she reprimands the man for not repaying a debt to her.
An underwater survey of Loch Tay in Perthshire has revealed a well-preserved forest submerged some 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists found fallen elm and oak trees and upright trunks surrounded by organic material such as moss and hazelnuts. Samples taken from the trees gave radiocarbon dates of 2500 and 3200 B.C. Researchers hope the discovery will assist them in dendrochronology and climate-change studies.
Near & Middle East
Japanese archaeologists at Bamiyan have announced a number of recent discoveries, including an as-yet-undated residence and meeting house for Buddhist monks near the base of one of the destroyed statues, as well as a 1,400-year-old mural depicting the Buddha and other Buddhist deities, below.
Government heritage officials insist that the ancient city of Pasargadae, first capital of the Persian Empire, will not be submerged by the reservoir created when the Sivand Dam goes online next year. They claim "foreign opposition groups" are "spreading rumors" in the international archaeological community that the city and the Tomb of Cyrus will be destroyed.
Has King David's palace been found? The excavator of an enormous stone structure in Jerusalem thinks so, based on pottery found at the site. But other archaeologists believe the pottery dates from centuries after the king. The argument about whether Jerusalem was a powerful city or a small settlement during the time of David continues.