Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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World Roundup Volume 58 Number 3, May/June 2005


Three well-preserved 2,500-year-old mummies, including one with a remarkable beaded covering, were found at Saqqara.

New hominid fossil finds dated to 3.8 to 4 million years old may help researchers fill in the gap between 4.4-million-year-old Ardipithecus ramidus and 3.2-million-year-old A. afarensis ("Lucy"). The 12 fossils, which have not yet been assigned a species, were discovered in the eastern region of Afar.

Asia & the Pacific

Examination of highly polished ceremonial axes from the Sanxingcun and Liangzhu cultures, dating from 6,000 to 4,500 years ago, suggests that the ancient Chinese may have been using diamonds to grind and polish hard stone millennia before diamonds were thought to be first employed for lapidary use, around 500 B.C.

First Teotihuacan, now Oahu--Wal-Mart has run into another archaeological fire storm. Archaeologists hired by the company are being investigated by the state attorney general's office for alleged desecration of human skeletal remains found at a construction site.

Archaeologists discovered an enormous structure, possibly a palace or monastery, about 120 miles southeast of Kathmandu. Scholars suspect the building, estimated to be more than 1,000 years old based on wall engravings, may be a Bengali palace mentioned in historical documents.

The oldest complete shroud in Southeast Asia was found wrapped around the body of an adult male who had been interred in a boat-shaped coffin some 2,300 years ago. The burial, discovered in Dong Xa, 30 miles southeast of Hanoi, was heavily waterlogged, which preserved the hemplike fabric. The fabric has been frozen until it can be treated by conservators.

Central America

Drug traffickers are camping out in the 1,400-year-old site of Piedras Negras. The remote Maya city lies close to the Mexican border, on a smuggling route for cocaine and heroin. The presence of armed criminals at the important site threatens future research, say archaeologists.

Archaeologists working at the Maya site of Copán announced the discovery of 30 previously unknown buildings in the ancient city. The remains of 69 people were also found, including those of a 12-year-old child who, judging from the wealth of associated burial goods, may have been a very important resident.
[image] [LARGER IMAGE]


See "
Insider: Look Before You Date."

A dig at the Macedonian center of Pella has revealed 25 sixth-century B.C. tombs containing warriors, nearly all garbed in gold-embossed armor with gold-handled weapons and silver and gold jewelry, as well as the tombs of 17 women buried with ornate gold and silver jewlery.

Men happily harvest grapes in this mosaic recently discovered during construction work in Rome. The mosaic is in excellent condition because the structure that houses it was sealed up in A.D. 109 by another building project.

United Kingdom
Police called to investigate the discovery of 42 human skeletons in the closet of a Welsh townhouse were stunned to discover that the remains were actually 3,000 years old. As it turns out, the bodies were taken out of their original home in the nearby Dan yr Ogof caves during WWII to make room for art treasures and ammunition--and never returned.

United Kingdom
Divers recovered a haul of Bronze Age artifacts off the Devon coast, including an adze, a gold bracelet, and some of the earliest swords ever discovered in northwest Europe. Archaeologists suspect the objects, which date to around the thirteenth century B.C., may have come from a nearby shipwreck.

Near & Middle East

See "
Focus on Iran."

North America

North Carolina
Excavators at a site on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill were surprised to find Middle Woodland period (500 B.C.-A.D. 500) pottery together with atlatl projectile points of a type thought to have gone out of use thousands of years before.
(Courtesy Research Laboratories of Archaeology, University of North Carolina) [LARGER IMAGE]
* For more news, see "From the Trenches."

© 2005 by the Archaeological Institute of America