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Friday, November 16
by Jessica E. Saraceni
November 16, 2012

More than 200 spear tips excavated from the Kathu Pan 1 site in South Africa are being called the oldest in the world. The 500,000-year-old weapons are thought to have been crafted by Homo heidelbergensis, a common ancestor of modern humans and Neanderthals, who then hafted them to handles and used them to hunt prey. The advanced age for the points was obtained through soil analysis, and if the dates are correct, it would follow that Homo sapiensand Neanderthals shared similar abilities when it came to making hafted stone tools. These points send this hunting technology back 200,000 years.

The SS City of Medicine Hat  sank in 1908 when it hit a newly constructed bridge on Canada’s South Saskatchewan River and capsized. More than 1,000 artifacts have been brought up from the wreckage of the flat-bottomed sternwheeler, including a leather boot, clothing, pieces of the ship, a fork, and a cast-iron anchor. Much of the wreckage was covered with sandy fill in 1960 during the construction of a nearby park.

A metal detector enthusiast in Austria thought he had discovered an ancient hoard of silver candlesticks and bowls  until archaeologists pointed out that the objects had been wrapped in a newspaper published in 1979. The silver items are thought to be several hundred years old, however. The police think that the objects were stolen and hidden by the thief, who was then unable to recover the loot, but they have no information to go on.“We have no records of where these items might have come from and we are hoping the original owner might be able to provide a further clue,” said a spokesperson.

Scientists at the University of Leicester are using 3D technology to create a picture of the face of a man whose remains were recovered from the site of the medieval Greyfriars monastery in Leicester, England. Many think that the bones belonged to King Richard III. DNA samples taken from the bones will be compared with a sample taken from a man thought to be a descendant of the king’s sister. “It will be very interesting, because of course there are portraits of him and if the images come back and they’re similar it’s another piece of evidence which will strengthen the identification process,” said Lin Foxhall, head of archaeology at the university. Richard III was the last king of the House of York, and he was killed in battle in 1485.

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