A nameless woman who died in Rakhigarhi, a settlement in Haryana of antiquity, and an ancestor of the Harappan civilisation, would never have guessed that she would be the centre of a debate 4,500 years later.
DNA tests showed that the deceased, whose long-forgotten name has been replaced by the number '14411', did not possess the R1a1 gene-the 'Aryan gene' of the Bronze Age people who lived 4,000 years ago in the Central Asian 'Pontic steppe' situated between the Black Sea and the Caspian.
The discovery cast doubts on the colonial Aryan Migration Theory (AMT), popularly called AIT (Aryan Invasion Theory).
When the earth gives up its secrets, ghosts of dead cultures rise to question the beliefs of centuries.
Simply put, AIT states that India was invaded by Aryans, a fair blue-eyed nomadic tribe from Europe in 1,500 BC who drove out the dark, snub-nosed Dravidians to South India. Subsequently, these speaking Aryans composed the Vedas."
[This is an excellent review of long-held beliefs about ancient India which is long overdue.
Fancy theories resulting from India's colonial past, written by British and other European colonial 'ologists, have increasingly been challenged by archaeological and palaeontological evidence emerging from excavations conducted by India's own scholars.
To understand more about ancient India it's well worth a visit to the New Indian Express site to read this lengthy article which supercedes all the nonsense that has gone before it - Ed.]
A group of Neanderthal children walked on a sand dune 80,000 years ago - and now their footprints have been uncovered in France
A team of archaeologists analysed 257 footprints discovered at Le Rozel on the coast of Normandy.
They found the footprints belong to a group of between 10 and 14 individuals, most of whom were children including a two-year-old, they reported in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday.
'It was incredible to observe these tracks, which represent moments in the lives of individuals, sometimes very young, who lived 80,000 years ago', said Jérémy Duveau of the French National Museum of Natural History.
Created under just the right conditions, these snapshots in time are incredibly rare."
Perched on a slab of rock that juts dramatically over the forests of central Sri Lanka, Sigiriya is as imposing a sight now as it must have been when it was first built by a fierce king in the fifth century A.D.
Meaning 'lion’s rock', Sigiriya (designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1982) is accessed by way of passageways cut into the rock face between a monumental pair of lion paws.
The fortress was later swallowed by the forest, and only familiar to local villagers. Outsiders used knowledge of its past, preserved in Buddhist texts, to search for the ancient site.
Sigiriya was built by the fifth-century king Kashyapa I, who ruled the native Sinhalese dynasty, the Moriya. "
UPDATE August 01 2019 - Unfortunately John is no better a month on from his accident and I will continue to fill in for his work whenever I can. There will not be as much news updates as usual and we apologise for any inconvenience. Please bear with us - Polly
Dr Steve Davis of UCD's School of Archaeology said the monuments appear to range from what are most likely 'early Neolithic houses to Neolithic timber enclosures as well as Bronze Age burial monuments and some early medieval farmsteads.'
The area surveyed included locations both sides of the Boyne, within the bend of the Boyne and across from the prehistoric tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
Dr Davis, who has worked for over a decade on the Brú na Bóinne landscape, said the surveys were carried out as part of collaborative research between UCD School of Archaeology and the Romano-Germanic Commission, Frankfurt.
The research is part of the 'Boyne to Brodgar' project, which is examining connections between Neolithic sites in the Boyne Valley and the Orkney Islands."
[What an interesting discovery! Thanks to RTE we can now see that there is likely to be as much yet to be discovered in the Boyne valley as has been found near the Ring of Brodgar/Stones of Stenness area on Orkney. Both will change our view of the past in these and similar areas on these islands.
It's well worth a visit to read the full story and see the aerial images of the new sites - Ed.]
UPDATE July 27 2019 - Unfortunately our Web Editor, John, has had a nasty fall resulting in a dislocated shoulder, and is unable to contribute to updating the news pages for the foreseeable future. I am working in Germany and cannot get cluster access so there will be few updates until I can find a work-around solution. We apologise for any inconvenience. Please bear with us - Polly
A day of archaeological digging by the Associates for Biblical Research always begins with a reading of the Bible, the very text of which they are trying to demonstrate the historical reliability.
'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life', repeated the group of twenty ideologically-driven Evangelical Christians, mostly pro-Israel Americans on the white religious right of the faith at odds with many of its strands in the Middle East.
It is barely 5am in Jerusalem, and team members are just boarding a bus heading to Tel Shiloh, an archaeological site on private Palestinian land in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is subjected to full Israeli control.
There, they say, may lie the remains of the tabernacle - the shrine that is believed to have hosted the Ark of the Covenant, a wooden chest said to have held the ten commandments on two stone tablets."
[Congratulations to The National, and author Amnon Gutman, for bringing this story of the continuous illegal trespassing on Palestinian lands by ultra right Amercan evangelical christians who believe they can prove that Israel has a right to those lands because the bible supposedly says so.
These people's attempts to show that their 'beliefs' allow them to behave in this way are nauseating. Should they find anything that would undermine their 'beliefs' they will either ignore the find, discard the evidence or simply 'lose' it. Cherry-picking evidence on god's behalf!!!!!
It really is well worth a visit to the site to read the full story so as to better understand how archaeology is being perverted for highly suspect religious reasons - Polly & Ed.]
"Pottery related to unknown culture was found in Ecuador" EurekAlert (USA)
"Archaeologists of Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU), Institute of Archeology and Ethnography SB RAS (Russia), Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) (Ecuador), and Tohoku University (Japan) found shards of ceramic vessels referred to the cultural sediments of early periods of Real Alto site.
Findings date back to 4640 - 4460 BC, this period borders with Valdivia, one of the oldest pottery-featured cultures in North and South America.
During the excavations at Real Alto site (Ecuador), Russian scientists found fragments of ceramic vessels at a depth of 75 cm to 1 meter.
They belong to the insufficiently studied San Pedro complex.
Radiocarbon analysis by mass spectrometer showed the pottery dates back to 4640-4460 BC.
This period borders or coincides with the first stages of Valdivia culture, the worldwide famous ceramic figures, a kind of symbol of Ecuador, relates to."
[Another good story from EurekAlert! Ecuador no doubt has much more to be discovered in it's remote regions, and a good explanation for the Japanese Jomon culture pottery found there has yet to emerge. It's worth a visit to the site to read the full story - Polly.]
After re-analyzing ceramic pots that earlier researchers believed were used to cook food, archaeologist Lisa-Marie Shillito concluded that many of those pots may have been used to collect fat that dripped off pigs as they were spit-roasted.
The grease would have been stored as lard or tallow and used to lubricate the sleds most archaeologists believe were used to move the stones.
'Until now, there has been a general assumption that the traces of animal fat absorbed by these pieces of pottery were related to the cooking and consumption of food, and this steered initial interpretations in that direction', Shillito said in a statement.
'But there may have been other things going on as well, and these residues could be tantalizing evidence of the greased sled theory.'"
[Another good story from Live Science! This unique explanation as to how the builders may have moved the massive megaliths is worthy of serious consideration. It's worth a visit to the site to read the full story - Polly.]
"The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project" Cardiff/Athens Universites (Cymru/Greece)
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal "Nature" published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon - as seen from the Earth: - Ed]
"This generously illustrated collection of presentations and reports presents a fascinating multidimensional perspective on ancient cultures, including some that have not been widely known.
Ancient civilizations developed far more than fine artwork and magnificent monuments. In songs to their gods, laments for their dead, and the universal human quest for the supernatural, people also made some very strange noise.
Scholars from around the world explore man's early use of sound and music, revealing both ancient knowledge and the potential for new learning.
"Archaeoacoustics is at this 'pre-paradigmatic stage'," writes anthropologist Dr. Ezra Zubrow.
"This book will help that synthesizing, theorizing pioneer of the future.
Looking back there will be new scholars who will wonder how present scholars could have been so wrong. They will smile and yet they will remember this book."
"What drove the building of the first megalithic monuments?
Here is new perspective for anyone with an interest in prehistory and human development in its most pivotal days.
From Gobekli Tepe in Anatolia to the megalithic temples of Malta to the passage tombs of Ireland, the world’s oldest buildings and the newest scientific research combine for a look at the Stone Age Neolithic Revolution that goes where no one has gone before.
With original photos and illustrations, includes data from the worlds of Archaeology, Architecture, Anthropology, Genetics, Physics, Physiology.
Fascinating pieces of evidence are set side by side, resulting in a stunning premise."
"The 2300 BC Event takes a new look at an old puzzle: what happened at this date to cause the various advanced societies on the Earth to simultaneously collapse?
Civilizations in Anatolia and Greece, through Egypt and the Middle East, and eastward to India and Central Asia were at their height. The collapse of these civilizations due to earthquakes and climatic changes has been mirrored by similar interruptions on all continents, in the Arctic, and extending to the Pacific.
The discontinuities have long puzzled archaeologists and historians. New religions and accompanying mythologies appeared at this time in all cultural regions describing bombardment and flooding from the skies.
Strangely, the dominant aspect of the mythologies, however, is the observation and worship of a ring appearing to surround the Earth, oriented to the two Ursa (Bear) constellations."
"Some time around 2300 BC the Earth encountered a dense clustering of space debris, the early Southern & Northern Taurid meteoroid stream. The result was an intense fall of meteoroids, some of them sufficiently large to cause surface destruction.
Simultaneous with the meteoroid fall was a huge downpouring of water which caused flash flooding. Extensive destruction and loss of life resulted. An astonishing aspect of the event was the formation of a ring surrounding the Earth, reflecting sunlight during the day, hiding some stars at night, and moving around the sky through a 24-hour period.
Following the 'main event', there were crustal movements which shifted the location of water sources, and caused earthquakes which destroyed settlements. Abrupt severe climate changes occurred."
"The Northern/Southern Taurid meteoroid stream is identified as the specific meteoroid stream that the Earth encountered at 2300 BC.
The Earth's encounter with a dense cluster of large objects would produce atmospheric phenomena very different from the pleasant and interesting night displays of meteor trails that are within our own experience.
The rain of objects would have generated extraordinary visual and auditory effects combined with ground vibrations; and under extreme conditions would bring about severe surface destruction and loss of life.
The overall event was associated by the people with powerful deities and formed the basis for major religions. The mythologies and traditions are, in large part, the residues of those religions."
"In IMHOTEP THE AFRICAN, Egyptologist, Robert Bauval, and astrophysicist, Thomas Brophy, uncover the mystery of Imhotep, ancient Egyptian superstar, pharaonic Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Galileo and Newton all rolled into one.
Based on their research at the Step Pyramid Complex at Saqqara, Bauval and Brophy delve into observational astronomy to 'decode' the alignments and other design features of the Step Pyramid Complex, to uncover the true origins and genius of Imhotep."