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Friday, September 21
by Jessica E. Saraceni
September 21, 2012

Wildfires across south-central Idaho cleared vegetation and exposed ancient artifacts on public lands. “These are areas where Native Americans lived for thousands of years before we ever showed up. These artifacts vary from arrowheads to just everyday items that Native Americans might have used back then,” said Suzanne Henrikson of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The Bureau cautions people that it is against the law to disturb the artifacts.

A new dictionary of Demotic, the everyday language of ancient Egyptians, has been completed after 37 years of research. Demotic was used between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. “Personal documents (letters, tax receipts, accounts, legal texts), administrative documents, and literary, scientific, and religious texts were all written in Demotic and provide a wealth of information about the Egyptian-speaking population in Egypt,” said Janet Johnson of the University of Chicago. The dictionary is available online.

Meet a descendant of Anne of York, Richard III’s sister, who has offered a DNA sample for comparison with the now-famous skeleton unearthed in the English city of Leicester. The family was identified several years ago by John Ashdown-Hill, a Richard III biographer and genealogist. “When I turned up there on behalf of my mother, it hadn’t really clicked that – hang on – our family has this relationship going all the way back to the fifteenth century,” said Michael Ibsen. Richard III’s precise burial place was lost when the monastery church housing it was demolished under the Tudor kings.

Evidence that stone tools were recycled has reportedly been discovered in the Moli del Salt site in Spain. “In order to identify the recycling, it is necessary to differentiate the two stages of the manipulation sequence of an object: the moment before it is altered and the moment after. The two are separated by an interval in which the artifact has undergone some form of alteration. This is the first time a systematic study of this type has been performed,” explained Manuel Vaquero of the Universitat Rovira I Virgili. His team found 13,000-year-old stone objects, mostly those used in domestic chores, which had been burnt and then modified.

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