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Wednesday, October 3

Based upon the skull and lower jaw bone, archaeologists from Austria’s Museum of Ancient History say that a grave containing metal-working tools belonged to a Bronze Age woman. It had been thought that such work was performed only by men during this period. “It was normal in those days for a person to be buried with the items that were part of their daily working lives,” explained Ernst Lauermann.

Archaeologists excavating the basement floor of an abandoned convent in Florence have uncovered two more skeletons, bringing the total number to seven. They are looking for the remains of Lisa Gherardini, thought to be the model for Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, Mona Lisa. “If everything goes as planned, we will find Gherardini and with her skull we will be able to reconstruct her face thanks to sophisticated, new technology,” said Silvano Vinceti, head of Italy’s National Committee for The Promotion of Historic and Cultural Heritage.

There’s more information on the reopening of the Serapeum at Saqqara at Al-Ahram. As the burial place for the sacred bulls believed to be manifestations of the god Ptah, the Serapeum consists of the Simple Vaults, where the tombs of the Apis bulls were kept between the Eighteenth and Twenty-sixth Dynasties, and the Great Vaults, which consists of a long corridor lined with 24 vaulted tombs for the Apis bulls that lived from the Twenty-sixth Dynasty to the Greco-Roman period. Development for tourism, quarrying, and military training all contributed to the damage that forced the Serapeum to close in 1986.

British aviation archaeologist Tony Graves talks about his attempt to identify a RAF Lancaster bomber that was shot down over Normandy on D-Day in this video at The Telegraph. All eight crew members were killed, but no human remains were ever found at the crash site. He’s hoping the engine and propeller blades they’ve uncovered will provide proof of the identity of the aircraft.

Two ancient Egyptian false toes of different designs have been confirmed as the world’s oldest prosthetics. Two volunteers missing their right toes wore replicas of the ancient prosthetics during tests conducted by Jacqueline Finch of the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology. She found that one particular false toe helped one of the volunteers wear ancient Egyptian-style sandals. “Interestingly, the ability to push off using the prosthetic toe was not as good when this volunteer wasn’t wearing the sandals,” she noted.

Tests indicate that soil samples taken from a site in Roseville, Michigan, are free of any traces of human remains. After receiving a tip, police officers collected the samples, thinking that Jimmy Hoffa may have been buried there after his disappearance in 1975. “If this guy was standing there watching this, and it was Jimmy Hoffa, he would have been in the hole with him,” Andy Arena, a former FBI special agent, said of the tipster.

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