Archaeology Magazine Archive

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World Roundup Volume 59 Number 4, July/August 2006

Central & South America Europe North America Asia


Some four decades after it was first dismantled in an attempt to stabilize and restore the fragile thousand-year-old structure, the Baphuan, one of the oldest and largest temples of the Angkor complex, has been fully reconstructed. The French government paid more than $35 million to support the project, which involved refitting 300,000 architectural elements of the temple.
(World Monuments Fund)

A 2,000-year-old walled city was revealed at the bottom of the Yunfeng Reservoir, near the northeastern city of Ji'an, when the water level was recently lowered. Encircled by a moat and a 13-foot-thick wall, the city may have been part of the Koguryo Empire, which then ruled Korea and part of China. Authorities were apparently unaware of the ruins at the bottom of the reservoir, which was constructed in the 1950s.

The oldest-known intact vertebrae of the genus Homo have been found at the site of Dmanisi, Georgia. Analysis of the 1.8-million-year-old bones shows that they fall within the human range, and could have held a modern human spinal cord, and also could have provided enough support for the respiratory muscles needed for speech.

Ouch! The first successful trips to the dentist just got pushed back another four millennia, thanks to an analysis of 300 molars from the Neolithic village of Mergarh in the Indus River Valley. Holes in some of the samples indicate that at least nine adults survived flint-drilling dental procedures some time around 7000 B.C. Until now, the earliest-known evidence for tooth drilling came from a northern European molar dated to 3000 B.C.

Central & South America

Archaeologists at the Maya site known as El Peru, or Waka, have discovered what may be the tomb of the city's first ruler. Jade figurines and jaguar remains were among the finds in the 1,500-year-old burial. A second possible royal burial, four centuries later than the first, has been found and awaits full excavation, but already an offering deposit there yielded a dozen figurines depicting seated lords and elegant women, ball players, and dwarfs.


Archaeologists are busy excavating a section of Paris' Cardo Maximus--known now as Rue St. Jacques--ahead of construction work for the new Curie Research Center near the Sorbonne. The well-preserved road and accompanying houses are the only known Augustan period (27 B.C.-A.D.14) remains found so far in Paris.

A seated female figurine was recently discovered in a male Neolithic (7000-5000 B.C.) burial near Parma. While Neolithic "mother goddess" figurines from this area are known, this is the first seated example ever discovered.
(Giovanni Lattanzi)

North America

Excavations in New Salem, Illinois, at the first building Abraham Lincoln owned are turning up the usual assortment of glass and pottery fragments, as well as a slate pencil. Lincoln and a business partner used the building for multiple purposes, including a warehouse for a general store. Archaeologists say that though legend has it that Lincoln was more fond of telling jokes than running a store, their dig shows the future president ran an organized business.

Archaeologists and Mexican Catholics alike were shocked to discover that a reenactment of the crucifixion of Christ, a popular Good Friday tradition dating back to the 1830s, takes place on a hill covering a 1,500-year-old pyramid.

North America
More evidence has emerged that humans aren't the culprits in the massive extinction of megafauna that occurred in North America 10,000 years ago. The "overkill theory" posits that once human hunters reached America they wiped out mammoth, horse, and other large animals. But a new analysis of dates on bones of these species show they disappeared at different times, making it unlikely they were killed off rapidly by skilled human hunters. A changing climate was one of the many factors that likely did them in.

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© 2006 by the Archaeological Institute of America