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Thursday, September 20
by Jessica E. Saraceni
September 20, 2012

Rectangular coffins carved from limestone outcrops have been unearthed at a 1,000-year-old village in the Philippines. The village is located on Mount Kamhantik, on the island of Luzon, in the northernmost region of the archipelago. Coffins found in this region are usually carved from wood. Pottery jars, metal artifacts, and bone fragments from humans, monkeys, wild pigs, and other animals have been found in the coffins.

In the Archaeological Zone of Tingambato Michoacan, a worker cutting the grass discovered a 1,000-year-old funerary chamber when his foot sank four inches into the dirt and landed on a sandstone slab. Archaeologists found that the tomb, which was constructed with a floor and ceiling of sandstone and walls covered with stucco made of vegetable fiber, contained some 19,000 green stone beads, shell beads, and human remains. The beads may have been obtained through a trade network that linked the coastal towns together.

Italian scientists say they have discovered a 6,500-year-old filling in a human tooth that was found embedded in the wall of a cave in Slovenia. Claudio Tuniz, Federico Bernardini, and others at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics analyzed a portion of a fossilized adult jaw and several teeth while testing new equipment, and found a vertical crack in the enamel and dentin of one tooth. The damaged area had been filled with beeswax. “This would provide the earliest known direct evidence of therapeutic-palliative dental filling,” they concluded.

An ancient staircase in a wine cellar in central Italy led researchers into a pyramid-shaped cave carved by the Etruscans. The structure’s tapered walls had been carved in the tufa plateau so that only the top layer was visible from the surface. As the team of American and Italian archaeologists digs, the stairway continues into the earth. “We still don’t know where they are going to take us,” said Claudio Bizzarri of the Parco Archaeologico Ambientale dell’Orvietano. He estimates that there are at least five such structures under the city of Orvieto.

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