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Thursday, November 8
by Jessica E. Saraceni
November 8, 2012

Tiny stone blades discovered in South Africa’s Pinnacle Point Cave could indicate that early Homo sapiens had “modern minds” and created a complex technology more than 70,000 years ago. The 27 microliths were found in different layers of sand and soil of the cave spanning 11,000 years, further suggesting that the complex process of producing the blades had been transmitted across generations. “We think they almost certainly had complex language,” explained Curtis Marean of Arizona State University. The blades probably would have been affixed to wooden shafts for use as arrows or spears.

In northern Bulgaria’s Sveshtari tomb, archaeologists have unearthed a hoard of gold artifacts  stored in a wooden box. The objects include bracelets, a ring, horse fittings, and a headpiece decorated with lions and other animals. Gold threads in the remains of the box suggest that the items had been wrapped in gold-woven cloth. The Thracian tomb dates to the end of the fourth century or the beginning of the third century B.C. Archaeologist Diana Gergova of Bulgaria’s National Archaeology Institute suspects that they will find additional burials near the hoard site.

While investigating a well carved from limestone some 8,500 years ago, archaeologists in Israel’s Jezreel Valley recovered flint and stone tools, and two skeletons, one of a woman around the age of 19, the other of an older man. “The impressive well was connected to an ancient farming settlement, and it seems the inhabitants used it for their subsistence and living. After these unknown individuals fell into the well, it was no longer used, for the simple reason that the water was contaminated,” said excavation director Yotam Tepper.

Cat lovers have told Rome’s archaeology officials that they will not abandon the stray cats that live at the unauthorized shelter at the Republic-era archaeological site of Largo Argentina. “The cats of Rome  are by definition as ancient as the marble capitals they lounge on. We have to find a solution that balances the care of Rome’s historical archaeological heritage with a historical, social practice that has its own tradition,” reasoned Umberto Broccoli, Rome’s superintendent for culture.

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