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Monday, December 10

Archaeologists Clive Ruggles of the University of Leicester and Nicholas Saunders of the University of Bristol spent five-year studying Peru’s Nazca Lines, including an elaborate labyrinth, walking along its paths and examining data collected through satellite digital mapping. They think the geoglyphs were created for walking by a few people at a time, probably for a spiritual or ritual purpose. “The labyrinth is completely hidden in the landscape, which is flat and virtually featureless. As you walk it, only the path stretching ahead of you is visible at any given point. Similarly, if you map it from the air its form makes no sense at all,” Ruggles explained.

Turkish authorities reportedly plan to appeal to the European court of human rights for the return of statues from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. Located in Bodrum, in southwestern Turkey, the pyramid-shaped monument to Mausolus, king of Caria, was built in 350 B.C. and topped with a sculpture of a four-horse chariot and decorated with other elaborate marble figures. It is thought to have collapsed during an earthquake sometime in the medieval period. “These pieces were acquired during the course of two British initiatives, both with firmans–legal permits issued by the Ottoman authorities–that granted permission for the excavation of the site and removal of the material from the site…to the British Museum,” responded a spokeswoman from the British Museum.

A small, secret room containing some 1,600 nineteenth-century artifacts  has been discovered beneath an office block in Christchurch, New Zealand. A ladies’ fob watch, a brooch, mustard pots, cutlery, bottles, and china were among the objects found in the brick room. “The only thing we could think of was that the original house on that site must have been cleared out and everything thrown into a basement and buried and forgotten about,” said archaeologist Katharine Watson. She thinks the house was built after 1877 and demolished by 1916.

The DNA test results on the skeletal remains thought to belong to Richard III  are due in the New Year. This article reviews the discovery of the skeleton, which was uncovered with a kink and an arrowhead in its spine and damage to its skull, in the remains of the Grey Friars church in Yorkshire. “I went into it with enthusiasm –but no great hopes of finding Richard III. It was a million to one chance. I said I’d eat my hat if we did. I really didn’t think we would find anything,” remembered Richard Buckley of the University of Leicester.

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