Archaeological news from around the world.
This site is updated daily with the latest world news.
March 20, 2017
Jamestown Unearthed: Archaeologists explore tombs at center of 1901
In 1901, Mary Jeffery Galt and the Association for the Preservation of
Virginia Antiquities broke ground on the remnants of a 17th-century church
More than a century later, a team of archaeologists from Preservation
Virginia are doing the same.
Their goal is to learn as much as they can about the historic churches that
once sat upon the site — and the graves that lie underneath.
“The building dates to 1906, but it’s built on top of three historic
churches starting in 1617,” said Preservation Virginia Field Supervisor Mary
Anna Hartley. “It’s a memorial building built on top of the foundations for
the 1640s church that was reused in the 1680s.”
March 16, 2017
2,000 year old warrior armour made of reindeer antlers found on the Arctic
Ceremonial suit was embellished with decorations and left as a sacrifice for
the gods by ancient bear cult polar people, say archeologists.
The discovery is the oldest evidence of armour found in the north of western
Siberia, and was located at the rich Ust-Polui site, dating to between the
1st century BC and the 1st century AD.
Earlier discoveries at the site indicate a bear cult among these ancient
Archeologist Andrey Gusev, from the Scientific Research Centre of the Arctic
in Salekhard, said the plates of armour found at the site are all made from
'There are about 30 plates in the collection of Ust-Polui,' he said. 'They
differ regarding the degree of preservation, as well as the size, location
of mounting holes, and the presence or absence of ornamentation.'
The largest were 23-25 centimetres in length. In ancient times, they would
have been fixed to a leather base and offered a reliable means of
March 14, 2017
Nova Scotian archeologists dig deep to help buildings go up
Archeological work is experiencing a boom in Nova Scotia as developers
become increasingly interested in what lies beneath the surface, says the
curator of archeology for the Nova Scotia Museum.
Catherine Cottreau-Robins said in most cases archeologists are being hired
by developers who don't want to risk disturbing archeological sites when
they start a new building project.
In the last 10 years, the number of heritage research permits the province
issues annually for archeological work has jumped to about 125 from 50 or
"Developers are more and more keen on archeology," said Cottreau-Robins
March 01, 2017
200-year-old Russian wreck found on Kruzov Island near Sitka
In July, an international team of archaeologists returned to the coast of
Kruzov Island in their search for the lost Russian ship, Neva, wrecked in
1813 in one of the worst maritime disasters in Alaskan history. Following up
on last year’s discovery of a Russian period survivor’s camp, researchers
uncovered significant new wreckage and artifacts, and most somber, the grave
of one of Neva’s forgotten crewmen or passengers who perished during the
wreck. New finds leave little doubt that the elusive wreck site has been
located after more than 200 years. The team has also begun piecing together
the amazing story of its shipwrecked crew.
The demise of the Neva
The Russian-American Company (RAC) ship Neva was arguably one of most
celebrated and reviled ships in early Alaskan history. Between 1803 and 1806
it was the first of two ships to circumnavigate the globe for Russia’s
fledgling Navy. It also played the pivotal role in the 1804 Battle of Sitka,
using her guns and crew to break Tlingit resistance to Russian settlement.
For years the ship supplied the RAC with crucial supplies and personnel, and
again made history in 1807 as the first Russian ship to sail to Australia.
Yet Neva’s luck ran out during what would become her final voyage in late
February 22, 2017
Elite ‘Dynasty’ at Chaco Canyon Got Its Power From One Woman, DNA Shows
They were interred in what’s been described as “the richest burial known in
the Southwest” — 14 men and women buried over the course of 330 years in the
same crypt, some accompanied by pieces of pottery and pendants, others
lavished with thousands of turquoise and shell beads.
Their resting place was a chamber deep inside Pueblo Bonito, the largest of
the so-called “great houses” in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon.
Archaeologists believe these 14 people, buried between the years 800 and
1130, were among the elite leadership of the Ancestral Puebloan society
whose influence radiated for hundreds of miles from Chaco Canyon.
And new analysis of DNA from the 14 sets of remains shows that these elites
weren’t merely members of the same influential class — indeed, they were all
members of the same extended family, a “dynasty” that traced its ancestry to
a single woman.
February 21, 2017
Kennewick Man skeleton may be on its way back to ancestral home
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed Friday morning
that representatives from the Corps and the Washington Department of
Archaeology and Historic Preservation are conducting an inventory of the
bones at the University of Washington museum where the remains have long
The inventory will take about three to four hours, and after it's complete
the bones will be handed over to the state, said Amy Gaskill of the ACOE.
The Corps is "doing the final transfer paperwork today," she said.
Under legislation signed by former President Barack Obama on Dec. 19, the
state will then transfer the remains to Native American tribes that have
fought for two decades to reclaim and rebury what they consider to be an
February 17, 2017
Scarcity of resources led to violence in prehistoric central California
A longtime Cal Poly Pomona anthropology professor who studies violence among
prehistoric people in California has been published in a prestigious
Professor Mark Allen's study, titled "Resource scarcity drives lethal
aggression among prehistoric hunter-gathers in central California," was
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the
United States of America, one of the top journals highlighting the general
sciences. Allen teamed up with professors at U.C. Davis, the University of
Utah, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and an archeologist for the Sacramento-based
Millennia Archeological Consulting.
"You have to have something significant," Allen says of what it takes to be
published in the journal. "You have to have good evidence. As archeologists,
you don't get the data you want most of the time. We are typically dealing
with fragmented evidence."
February 15, 2017
75 Years After Start of Internment, Archaeologists Excavate Hawaii’s Largest
Chopping through the overgrowth with machetes to clear a way through
terrain, William Belcher's students know there's American history beneath
dirt that's settled for seven decades.
The land is stained.
"When I was in elementary school I never even heard that this had occurred.
We never studied this in history or talked about it," Belcher, an
archaeology professor at the University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu, told NBC
Four decades out of elementary school, that's changed.
February 09, 2017
Clovis Culture, Ice Age Fauna Weren’t Wiped Out by Cosmic Impact, Study
A physicist says his latest research may finally put to rest one of the most
vexing theories about America’s natural history: that the giant fauna of the
Ice Age — and the culture of humans who hunted them — were wiped out by a
Studies of rock samples from the Channel Islands of California to the creeks
of Oklahoma have failed to turn up any evidence, he says, that supports
what’s known as the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis.
The missing evidence? Diamonds.
For a decade, the impact theory has posited that a period of sudden cooling
that occurred around 12,900 years ago, known as the Younger Dryas event, was
caused by a collision with Earth by a meteorite, comet, or some other
February 01, 2017
Artifacts turning up in Savannah as hurricane debris is removed
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Bits of Savannah's past just below our feet are
forcing the city to take its time during the final stage of storm debris
removal from Hurricane Matthew.
When the strong winds toppled centuries-old trees, especially in cemeteries,
parks and historic battlefield artifacts were lifted to the surface.
FEMA has some pretty clear guidelines when it comes to removing what are
referred to as “root-balls”, which are clumps of the trees root systems just
below the surface, specifically for sites listed on the National Register of
Because of that, Savannah isn't looking for just any stump removal company.
They're looking for one that can also bring some archaeological experience
to the table.
"A quick look by a local archaeologist dated some of the pieces from the
18th century," said Library and Archives Director Luciana Spracher, as she
pointed out broken pieces of pottery collected over the past few months.
February 01, 2017
Mesa Verde’s Sun Temple Reveals Geometrical ‘Genius,’ Physicist Says
An 800-year-old ceremonial complex near the famous cliff dwellings of Mesa
Verde was built using the same basic geometry found in ancient monuments
from Greece to Egypt, a new study has found.
The site, in southwestern Colorado, also appears to have been measured out
in multiples of 30.5 centimeters, or about 1 foot, suggesting that the
Ancestral Puebloan architects who designed the complex used a common unit of
Together these new insights reveal a “genius” for precise geometry that’s
gone unrecognized in Ancestral Pubeloan architecture, said Dr. Sherry
Towers, a physicist and statistician at Arizona State University who
conducted the study.
“These findings represent the first potential quantitative evidence of
knowledge of advanced geometrical constructs in a prehistoric North American
society,” Towers writes, in her paper published in the Journal of
Archaeological Science: Reports, “which is particularly remarkable given
that the Ancestral Pueblo peoples had no written language or number system.”
January 23, 2017
Wyoming Wildfire Reveals ‘Massive’ Shoshone Camp, Thousands of Artifacts
A wildfire high in the alpine forests of northwestern Wyoming has revealed a
vast, centuries-old Shoshone campsite, replete with cooking hearths,
ceramics, and stone tools and flakes numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
The site, found along Caldwell Creek in the Absaroka Range, had likely been
used intermittently for as much as 2,500 years, archaeologists say.
But most of the artifacts point to a prolonged and impactful presence by the
Mountain Shoshone some 300 to 400 years ago.
“This time period is significant,” said. Dr. Laura Scheiber, archaeologist
at Indiana University, who reported the find, “because a massive campsite of
this age is extremely rare in the mountains, without evidence of historic
trade goods but with a wide variety of activities implied by the range of
“We have documented small arrow points, pottery sherds, bone tools,
distinctive bifacial knives, grooved mauls, and hundreds of thousands of
tiny chipped stone flakes,” she said.
January 23, 2017
Revolutionary War artifacts crop up in Gloucester Point dig
GLOUCERSTER POINT, Va. — Archaeologists nearing the end of a prolonged
Gloucester Point dig were rewarded for their doggedness this past week when
they unearthed one of the most noteworthy caches of Revolutionary War
artifacts to be found in the region in years.
Slowed at first by stubbornly compacted soil — then by a dense layer of
unusually large oyster shells — the team excavating the site of a new
Virginia Institute of Marine Science building was probing one of the last
targets of their 10-month-long excavation when they began uncovering a trail
of French infantry buttons and English and Spanish coins.
Then archaeologist Michele Brumfield discovered an ancient brass plate that
at first looked unmarked — yet when turned over and brushed off a few
seconds later revealed the engraving: “Lt. Dickson, 80th Regt. of Foot.”
January 17, 2017
Wreck of 16th-Century Spanish Ship Found Off Florida Coast
The third of six sunken Spanish ships that were lost in a hurricane in 1559
has been discovered off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.
In the summer of 2016, the wreck of the ship, dubbed the Emanuel Point III,
was found resting under the sand 7 feet (2 meters) below the ocean surface
in Pensacola Bay. Archaeologists have found the ship's hull, ballast rocks
and ceramic artifacts in the wreckage. The ship was part of a failed
colonization attempt by Spain that took place just 60 years after
Christopher Columbus first sailed across the Atlantic.
"The shipwrecks themselves are giving us insights into these amazing
machines they were developing for these voyages that were never really
happening before," marine archaeologist Greg Cook, of the University of West
Florida, told Live Science.
January 17, 2017
Archaeologists and Metal Detectorists Find Common Ground
NEW LONDON, Conn. — Keith Wille was metal detecting in the woods of
Connecticut a few years ago when he found a triangle of brass about 2 1/2-
inches long with a small hole in the middle. He thought little of the find
at first, and threw it in his scrap pile. Wille, 29, is a manager at a
survival training company, but spends most of his spare time metal
In September, Wille drove from his home here to the Mashantucket Pequot
Museum and Research Center with several boxes of objects — the highlights of
his recent collecting. The museum — a vast, glassy structure that looks like
an airport terminal, complete with a 185-foot-tall traffic-control-style
tower — is a testament to the years when the Foxwoods Resort Casino made the
Pequots the wealthiest tribe in the nation.
Although those fortunes have declined, the Pequots are still financing
projects by the archaeologist Kevin McBride, who works full time on what
Lori Potter, a spokeswoman for the Mashantucket Pequot Nation, called
“history that’s written by the conquered and not by the conqueror.”
January 17, 2017
Bones in Yukon Cave Show Humans in North America 24,000 Years Ago, Study
A close look at bones found in a Yukon cave seems to confirm a controversial
finding made decades ago, archaeologists say: that humans arrived in North
America 10,000 years earlier than many experts believe.
The bones are the remains of horse, bison, mammoths, and other Ice Age
fauna, originally excavated from the Bluefish Caves near the border of
Alaska and the Yukon Territory in the 1970s and 1980s.
Back then, radiocarbon dating placed the bones at about 25, 000 years old —
not in itself surprising, except that many of the bones appeared to have
been butchered by humans.
January 12, 2017
Archaeological Find Puts Humans in North America 10,000 Years Earlier Than
About 24,000 years ago, when much of North America was buried under the ice
of the Last Glacial Maximum, a few hunters took shelter in a small cave
above the Bluefish River in what is now northwestern Yukon. The hunters had
killed a Yukon horse and were butchering it using super-sharp stone shards
called microblades. As they sliced out the horse’s meaty tongue, the
microblades left distinctive cuts in its jaw bone. Millennia later,
archaeologist and doctoral candidate Lauriane Bourgeon spotted those marks
through her microscope at the University of Montreal and added the fragment
of ancient jaw bone to her small selection of samples for radiocarbon
The bones came from excavations led by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars
between 1977 and 1987 and have been in storage at the Canadian Museum of
History in Gatineau, Quebec. At the time, Cinq-Mars and his team concluded
that the Bluefish Caves showed evidence of occasional human use as much as
30,000 years ago. That is so much older than anything else found in the
Americas that Cinq-Mars’s conclusions were widely disputed, and the three
small caves were largely left out of discussions about the peopling of the
January 01, 2017
Plan aims to save Plains Indian archaeology near Stanton
STANTON, N.D. (AP) — An archaeological resources plan has been drafted to
protect the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site.
The 1,750-acre site just north of Stanton preserves the ancestral homelands
of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara, the remains of earth lodges, and a
buried trove of artifacts associated with the cultures.
The drafted plan addresses many issues, including a long-term problem of
water infiltration into the site's visitor center, which has been
threatening the museum collection, The Bismarck Tribune
(http://bit.ly/2h6zqlm ) reported. Park Superintendent Craig Hansen
mentioned an ongoing $350,000 project, which involved pulling back soil
around the building to replace the drain field and reinforce water barriers,
and to resurface most of the building, might have already solved the problem
and should keep water out of the building. However, if the issue is not
resolved, the plan calls for finding alternative housing for the museum's
collection of artifacts.
December 19, 2016
Top 5 Archaeology Discoveries in the American West of 2016
Blades made of glass, unusual crescent-shaped tools, and a dagger formed by
shadows are some of the more striking finds reported this year by
archaeologists working around the American West.
Together these discoveries comprise just a tiny slice of the research that
was done this year, at countless sites from the Great Plains to the Pacific
Some of these finds were made in the field, others in labs; some were made
by academics, still more by anthropologists working at private firms.
Western Digs reported on dozens of different studies in 2016, but a handful
of the ones that we told you about rose to the top, capturing your attention
as the most popular archaeological discoveries of the year.
December 18, 2016
Archaeology: How far did the Great Hopewell Road stretch across Ohio?
In 1820, Caleb Atwater, one of Ohio’s first archaeologists, speculated that
an ancient avenue framed by parallel walls of earth extended from the
monumental Octagon Earthworks at Newark to the Hocking River, a distance of
about 30 miles.
Few archaeologists took any notice of Atwater’s claim. Instead, most
accepted the Smithsonian Institution’s brusque assessment in 1848 that the
walls only went 2.5 miles.
But in 1862, James Salisbury and his brother Charles followed the walls from
Newark for a distance of at least 6 miles “through tangled swamps and across
streams, still keeping their undeviating course.”
December 16, 2016
State says 2,300-year-old crab pot skull is Native American
The 2,300-year old skull found in a crab pot off Ocean Shores in 2014 has
been positively identified as Native American by an anthropologist at the
Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation.
“Dr. Guy Tasa determined that it was indeed Native American,” said State
Historic Preservation Officer Allyson Brooks, Ph.D. Dr. Tasa is the
Washington State Physical Anthropologist and in charge of the
identification, preservation, excavation and repatriation of human remains.
Following state law, the agency has informed a number of area tribes of the
findings, including the Chehalis, Puyallup, Quinault, Shoalwater Bay and
Squaxin Island nations. “We expect to hear from the interested tribes and
then will work on repatriation,” said Brooks. “They will determine who
actually takes the remains.”
December 05, 2016
New Evidence Reveals Violent Final Days at Arizona’s Montezuma Castle
It’s one of Arizona’s most famous landmarks: a pair of 900-year-old
limestone cliff dwellings whose sudden abandonment centuries ago has proven
to be one of the Southwest’s most enduring mysteries.
New evidence suggests that the site — now part of Montezuma Castle National
Monument — was not simply evacuated by its inhabitants, as archaeologists
have believed for more than 80 years.
Instead, recent research shows that its final days were likely fraught with
violent conflict and death — an account corroborated by Native American oral
histories of the site’s collapse some 600 years ago.
“It changed the conventional thinking [about the site],” said Matt Guebard,
archaeologist with the U.S. National Park Service, about his research into
the cliff dwellings’ fate.
November 25, 2016
N.Y. explorers find 1872 shipwreck of rare Great Lakes vessel
ALBANY, N.Y. — The 144-year-old shipwreck of a rare sailing vessel that
typically wasn’t used for long voyages on the Great Lakes has been found in
deep water off Lake Ontario’s New York shore, according to two underwater
Western New York-based explorers Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski announced
Friday that they identified the wreck as the Black Duck in September, three
years after initially coming across it while using side-scan sonar in 350
feet of water off Oswego, New York.
The 51-foot-long, single-mast ship known as a scow-sloop sank during a gale
while hauling goods along the lake’s eastern end in August 1872. The ship’s
captain, his wife and a crewmember, the only people on board, all survived
by getting into a small boat and reaching shore eight hours later.
November 17, 2016
Unearthing New Clues to America’s First English Colony
Not at Jamestown Island, and not at Plymouth Rock, did the first English
settlers step onto American soil.
It was at Roanoke Island, lying between the present-day North Carolina
mainland and the barrier islands of the Outer Banks, where the very
beginnings of English colonization took place. And though far from the
shores of the Elizabethan England of its time, the site owes its inception
in large measure to the geopolitics, culture and economic enterprise of the
broader European 16th century stage. Queen Elizabeth I and her England, with
its upstart naval prowess, were challenging Spain’s undisputed position as
the world’s preeminent naval power. News of Spain’s solid and strengthening
foothold in the New World and the vast new resources—especially gold—that
flowed from it, quickly caught the attention of the Queen’s chief
playmakers—men like the favored and influential courtier Sir Walter Raleigh.
November 16, 2016
Mexican experts say original pyramid found at Chichen Itza
Archaeologists have discovered what may be the original structure built at
the pyramid of Kukulkan at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, experts said
Last year, archaeologists using electrical imagining techniques found that
the pyramid, which is also known as El Castillo, was built atop a
subterranean river, or a cenote.
Archaeologists have long known that a smaller pyramid is encapsulated
underneath the visible temple.
Researchers said Wednesday that they had detected an even smaller structure
inside the other two structures. Using what is called tri-dimensional
electric resistivity tomography, or "ERT-3D," they found a 10-meter (yard)
tall structure within the 20-meter (yard) tall 'intermediate' pyramid that
was covered over by the last construction stage, perhaps around 900 A.D.
Archaeologist Denisse Lorenia Argote said "if we can research this structure
in the future it could be important, because it could tell us about the
first-period inhabitants" of the site.
November 15, 2016
Archaeologist explores the function of early Native American architecture
What is the significance of ancient architecture and how might people have
interacted with it in their daily lives?
Sissel Schroeder, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at
the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will explore the archaeological
evidence of rare architectural features to identify whether there was a
cosmological as well as mundane function to the architecture of Aztalan, a
once-bustling city near present-day St. Louis. Drawing upon years of
settlement survey and household archaeology, Schroeder will give her
presentation “From the Quotidian to the Cosmological: The Historical
Development of Inferential Frameworks Regarding Ancient Mississippian
Architecture” at 7 p.m. Nov. 16, in Cole Hall room 100. The presentation is
free and open to the public.
October 21, 2016
Third shipwreck from Luna fleet discovered
Ten months ago at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, University of West Florida
President Judy Bense announced the first European settlement in the United
States existed in what is now a suburban neighborhood off Pensacola Bay.
Perhaps lost in the hubbub of that monumental announcement was that the site
clued UWF archaeologists in on where to search for the four undiscovered
shipwrecks from the fleet that brought Don Tristan de Luna to Pensacola in
Bense returned to the same museum Friday morning to announce the UWF
archaeology program discovered a shipwreck buried under sand in a mere 7
feet of water. Summer field school students and staff discovered Emanuel
Point III June 20 when scuba divers' probes felt stones under the sandy
bottom of the bay.
“We had period artifacts that afternoon from the site,” said Greg Cook,
assistant professor of anthropology and principal investigator of the 2006
EP II shipwreck. “I told my students it shouldn’t be that easy.”
October 18, 2016
Ice Age Cave Dwellers in Oregon Lived Among Extinct ‘Stout-Legged’ Horses,
Some of the earliest known inhabitants of the Pacific Northwest lived
alongside a now-extinct species of “stout-legged” horse that wasn’t known to
have lived in the region until now, scientists say.
The revelation comes from a new study of fossils from the famous Paisley
Caves in southern Oregon, where in 2008, researchers reported finding some
of the earliest evidence yet of human occupation in North America, including
stone tools and human feces dating back 14,300 years.
October 12, 2016
Civil War Cannonballs Uncovered by Hurricane Have Been Detonated
A pile of Civil War-era cannonballs was uncovered by Hurricane Matthew after
it lashed South Carolina with strong waves and high winds over the weekend.
But rather than preserve the artifacts, authorities have destroyed most of
the historic weapons for safety reasons, according to the Folly Beach Police
A day after the hurricane blasted the state's coastline, on Sunday (Oct. 9),
a resident walking along the east end of Folly Island — a coastal region
about 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Charleston that's known for its
history of pirates and Civil War battles — spotted a pile of 16 corroded
ordnances resting on the sand, said Folly Beach Chief Andrew Gilreath,
director of public safety. The resident contacted the authorities, who came
to assess the situation, he said.
September 29, 2016
Asian Metal Found in Alaska Reveals Trade Centuries Before European Contact
A bronze buckle and a cylindrical metal bead found in Alaska are the first
evidence of trade between Asia and the indigenous peoples of the
North American Arctic, centuries before contact with Europeans,
An analysis of the artifacts has shown that they were smelted in East Asia
out of lead, copper, and tin, before finding their way to an indigenous
village some 700 years ago.
H. Kory Cooper, an anthropologist at Purdue University described the
discovery as “a small finding with really interesting implications.”
“This will cause other people to think about the Arctic differently,” Cooper
said in a press statement.
September 27, 2016
UO scientists place extinct horse with humans in Paisley Caves
Horses and people are an iconic pairing in stories of the Old West. But as
researchers at the UO's Museum of Natural and Cultural History recently
found, human-horse relations go way back — back to the old west that was
Oregon during the last ice age.
A new study by those researchers reveals that a small, stout-legged horse
species known as Equus conversidens — sometimes known as the Mexican horse,
which once roamed parts of North America — coexisted with people around
Oregon’s Paisley Caves more than 14,000 years ago.
A horse fossil from a now extinct tiny horse found at Oregon's Paisley
CavesThe study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Vertebrate
Paleontology, was coauthored by paleontologist Edward Davis and
archaeologist Dennis Jenkins — along with paleo-horse experts Brianna
McHorse of Harvard University and Eric Scott at California State University,
September 26, 2016
Cliff Dwelling in Utah Found to Have Unique Decoration: Dinosaur Tracks
Scientists searching for fossils in southern Utah have found that they
certainly weren’t the first to prize the traces left behind by dinosaurs.
While on a break from a fossil hunt in Utah’s San Juan County,
paleontologists explored a stone structure that had been built under a cliff
overhang at least 800 years ago.
While most of the building had been made from cream-colored sandstone found
nearby, one piece stood out — the pinkish rock that formed the lintel over
It was covered in the fossilized tracks of a theropod dinosaur.
September 16, 2016
Trove of artifacts found during North End dig
BOSTON —A trove of artifacts was recovered this week during a dig at
Boston's Old North Church.
City archaeologist Joseph Bagley said the items found at the Washington
Garden reveal a snapshot of English, Irish, Jewish and Italian immigrant
life in the mid- to late 1800s.
Items found include ceramic pottery, children's toys and a clay tobacco pipe
with an Irish shamrock.
September 01, 2016
Deep in the Swamps, Archaeologists Are Finding How Fugitive Slaves Kept
The worse it gets, as I wade and stumble through the Great Dismal Swamp, the
better I understand its history as a place of refuge. Each ripping thorn and
sucking mudhole makes it clearer. It was the dense, tangled hostility of the
swamp and its enormous size that enabled hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of
escaped slaves to live here in freedom.
We don’t know much about them, but thanks to the archaeologist hacking
through the mire ahead of me, we know they were out here, subsisting in
hidden communities, and using almost nothing from the outside world until
the 19th century. The Dismal Swamp covered great tracts of southeast
Virginia and northeast North Carolina, and its vegetation was far too thick
for horses or canoes. In the early 1600s, Native Americans fleeing the
colonial frontier took refuge here, and they were soon joined by fugitive
slaves, and probably some whites escaping indentured servitude or hiding
from the law. From about 1680 to the Civil War, it appears that the swamp
communities were dominated by Africans and African-Americans.
August 24, 2016
Humans Have Been Visiting Mount Rainier For More Than 9,000 Years. Why?
In the last 10 years, significant archaeological finds in the Cascades have
expanded our understanding of ancient mountain culture.
When he was growing up, Dave Burlingame’s mother would sometimes take him
and his siblings out of school to drive around Mount Rainier.
“We’re going to go out and look at our stuff,” Burlingame, an enrolled
member of the Cowlitz Tribe of Indians, remembers her saying. “I didn’t know
what that meant at the time.”
August 20, 2016
Stash of Obsidian Blades, Hidden for a Thousand Years, Discovered in Oregon
A landowner in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon has made a unique
find — a cache of obsidian blades that had been stashed away a thousand
years ago or more by prehistoric traders.
Numbering at least 15 in all, the artifacts are double-sided stone blades
known as bifaces, an essential part of every ancient hunter-gatherer’s
But the Willamette bifaces are extremely rare examples of a kind of tools
known as blanks.
The craftsmen who made these artifacts had roughly hewn them into their
general shape, but they hadn’t yet knapped the stones into their final,
August 19, 2016
Huntington Library sets out to decode thousands of Civil War telegrams
hidden for a century: 'It's mind-boggling'
They ticked out news of typhoid, scurvy and fear. They spoke of long marches
and vast battles. They hummed with frailty and humor, fretting over drunken
soldiers and praising the unwavering president of a fraying republic. They
clacked in broken rhythms that rang with the ominous: “We will not remain
undisturbed tonight. Even the Rail Road men have been ordered to leave.”
The 15,971 telegrams — hidden in a wooden foot locker for more than a
century — scrolled like a Twitter feed through the Civil War. The messages
from the Union side, many tapped out in code to elude Confederate forces,
carried the urgings and reflections of Abraham Lincoln, Gen. Ulysses S.
Grant and other prominent players. But most echo with the thoughts and
schemes of colonels, infantrymen and lesser-knowns that offer a peek into
the bureaucracy and machinery of war.
August 17, 2016
Archaeologists find rare Native American artifacts in Willamette Valley
Thanks to a discovery by a local landowner, archaeologists unearthed the
first recorded Native American tools of their kind in the Willamette Valley
While building a pond on his property, the landowner, who was not
identified, found 15 obsidian hand axes. He reported his discovery to the
Oregon State Historical Preservation Office, which led an archaeological dig
at the site in June.
The tools, known as bifaces, are a rare find, said assistant state
archaeologist John Pouley, who led the dig.
"Of approximately 35,000 recorded archaeological sites in Oregon, few,
likely less than 25, consist of biface caches," he said.
August 16, 2016
Mono County man pleads guilty to removing thousands of items from public
A Mono County man pleaded guilty Monday to unauthorized removal and
transportation of archaeological items from a national forest and Death
Valley National Park.
According to federal prosecutors, Jonathan Bourne, 59, has been collecting
artifacts and archaeological resources since 1994, and has now voluntarily
turned over to the government an estimated 20,000 items he had collected
from public lands. He has also agreed to pay $249,372 in restitution to the
The stolen items will be restored and/or repatriated, the prosecutors said.
A written plea agreement, signed by Bourne, says he was not collecting the
items “for profit or commercial purposes.” It says he “kept meticulous
records documenting what all the items were and where (they) were found.”
He faces a maximum two years on each of the two felony counts to which he
pleaded guilty, and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7 by U.S. District
Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill.
August 12, 2016
Dig extended at site of 1750s British, American encampments
An archaeological dig that was supposed to wrap up this week at an 18th
century military site has yielded such intriguing artifacts the project has
been extended, the archaeologist leading the excavations said.
The six-week project was supposed to end Friday, but state officials have
granted an extension for excavations in Lake George Battlefield Park to
continue at least for another week and possibly two, said David Starbuck, an
anthropology professor at New Hampshire's Plymouth State University.
More than two dozen pits dug along the two-lane road that cuts through the
park have yielded evidence of the British and provincial American
encampments known to have been located there in 1755-59 during the French
and Indian War, which was part of the Seven Years' War. Those new
excavations have been made along sloping ground above the park's open field,
which was a swamp in the 18th century.
Among the many artifacts found so far are uniform buttons and buckles,
musket balls, gun flints, and high-quality pottery and porcelain, Starbuck
said. Those finds, along with a large number of butchered animal bones and
oyster shells, indicate the site may have been occupied by high-ranking
August 10, 2016
Archaeologists Uncover Structure at James Madison's Montpelier
ORANGE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -
Archaeologists at James Madison's Montpelier believe they have uncovered the
final piece of a long-lost part of the estate's past.
The foundation of the North Dwelling is the final known structure that
existed in the South Yard of the president’s estate. The South Yard of
Montpelier was home to around 100 enslaved workers during Madison's life.
"We're trying to capture the authenticity of Montpelier in terms of what
existed here in the 19th century," said Dr. Matthew Reeves, director of
Reeves’ team was digging in the South Yard when they happened upon a
building called the North Dwelling.
"Well, this spring we started excavations. We started finding a brick here
and there, and we came across a beautiful chimney base, and all of a sudden
that was the smoking gun we needed to say 'we've got the right place, we've
got the right building,'" he said.
August 08, 2016
Large petroglyphs discovered on Waianae coast
Two visitors last month discovered large petroglyphs etched into sandstone
on the Waianae Coast. At least 17 figures, believed to be created by
aboriginal inhabitants of the Waianae coast, stretch over about 60 feet of
beach, the U.S. Army and Department of Land and Natural Resources said in a
news release today.
The DLNR State Historic Preservation Division and the U.S. Army have been
working together to record and document the petroglyphs.
Though it’s likely that these petroglyphs have been exposed before, it is
the first time they have been brought to the attention of the DLNR and the
Visitors Lonnie Watson and Mark Louviere from Fort Worth, Texas noticed the
petroglyphs last month while wandering the coastline.
“For some reason there was a beam of light … just a beam. It landed right on
one of them and for some reason I just turned my head,” Watson said. “I
said, ‘Look!’ It was just a stroke of luck.”
August 07, 2016
Battlefield Archaeologists Find Oregon Indian War Anything But Ancient
During the decade before the U.S. Civil War, a different conflict made a big
impact on the future of the Oregon Territory. It’s known as the Rogue River
Indian War. But unlike the Civil War battlefields in the eastern U.S. or
American South that receive hundreds of thousands of visitors annually,
you’ll be hard pressed to tour — or even find — those battlefields.
Now a series of archaeological investigations is resurrecting this Northwest
The Rogue River Indian War was an uprising against miners and settlers in
southwest Oregon from 1855–56. There were massacres, reprisals, pitched
battles and a final forced expulsion of native tribes from their homelands
to distant reservations.
August 06, 2016
12,300-Year-Old Fire Pit Found in Northern Utah
An ancient tribal fire pit with tools, a spear tip and tobacco seeds that
archaeologists say dates back 12,300 years was recently discovered on a
military testing range in northern Utah.
An archaeological team this month uncovered the hearth at Hill Air Force
Base's Utah Test and Training Range, which is south of Ogden. The artifacts
will be curated through the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake
City, The Standard Examiner reported (http://bit.ly/2ayONDx).
Hill archaeologist and Cultural Resource Manager Anya Kitterman worked with
Far Western Anthropological Research Group to uncover charcoal, animal bone
fragments and other remnants from the cooking pit.
"When you come across a find like that, it's obviously very exciting,"
Kitterman said. "You're getting a real picture of the history of this land.
It's an unbelievable feeling. We've been looking for something major like
this for years."
August 01, 2016
Archaeology: Experts find importance in mysterious Hopewell Earthworks
In a new book devoted to exploring multiple perspectives on the Newark
Earthworks, two archaeologists who specialize in different regions of the
Americas offer differing views on the grandest achievement of Ohio’s
Helaine Silverman, an archaeologist with the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, studies the ancient cultures of Peru. Stephen Lekson, at
the University of Colorado-Boulder, works in the American Southwest.
But each contributed a chapter to the "Newark Earthworks: Enduring
Monuments, Contested Meanings," edited by Ohio State University professors
Lindsay Jones and Richard Shiels.
July 26, 2016
Archaeologists find elusive 16th-century Spanish fort on Parris Island
Nearly 40 years after finding the remains of the 16th-century town of Santa
Elena on present-day Parris Island in Beaufort County, South Carolina,
archaeologists have discovered San Marcos, one of five Spanish forts that
operated during the town's 21-year history.
University of South Carolina archaeologist Chester DePratter along with
Victor Thompson, an anthropologist from the University of Georgia, have
conducted research at Santa Elena since 2014 to find the fort that was
founded in 1577 by Pedro Menedez Marquez, the governor of Spanish La
Their discovery, which will be published this week in the Journal of
Archeology Science Reports, sheds new light on the oldest, most northern
Spanish settlement in the Americas, built to thwart French exploration into
the New World.
July 26, 2016
Archaeologists make 'exciting' discovery in Alamo dig
Archaeologists digging at the Alamo have discovered an adobe wall that may
provide clues to the famous site’s Spanish Colonial history.
The wall, which is about 23 inches below the flagstone surface of San
Antonio's Alamo Plaza, was discovered July 22 near where historians think
the west wall of the complex was built. Experts are working to locate the
compound’s original walls.
The location of the famous battle of the Alamo in 1836, the site was first
established as a Spanish mission in 1744.
“Last week we very excited to discover we found the remnants of an old adobe
brick wall,” explained Nesta Anderson, the dig’s lead investigator and
senior archaeologist at Pape-Dawson Engineers, in a press conference Monday.
“In the ground, we can see clearly, bricks stacked next to each other, they
are made of adobe, so they are very fragile.”
July 25, 2016
Ice Age Hunting Camp, Replete With Bird Bones and Tobacco, Found in Utah
In the dead-flat desert of northwestern Utah, archaeologists have uncovered
a scene from a distant, and more verdant, time.
Just a few centimeters below the sun-baked surface, researchers have
discovered a campsite used by prehistoric hunter-gatherers 12,300 years ago
— when Utah’s West Desert was lush wetland.
Artifacts found at the site include the charred remains of an ancient
hearth, a finely crafted spear point, and, most surprising, a collection of
tobacco seeds — likely the earliest evidence of tobacco use ever found in
“What makes this interesting is there’s no direct evidence of anybody using
tobacco past 3,000 years ago,” said Dr. Daron Duke, senior archaeologist
with the Nevada-based Far Western Anthropological Research Group, in a press
July 18, 2016
16,000-Year-Old Tools Discovered in Texas, Among the
Oldest Found in the West
Archaeologists in Texas thought they’d made an important discovery in the
1990s, when they unearthed a trove of stone tools dating back 13,000 years,
revealing traces of the oldest widespread culture on the continent.
But then, years later, they made an even more powerful find in the same
place — another layer of artifacts that were older still.
About a half-hour north of Austin and a meter deep in water-logged silty
clay, researchers have uncovered evidence of human occupation dating back as
much as 16,700 years, including fragments of human teeth and more than 90
June 23, 2016
Campsite dating back 12,000 years unearthed by Route 8
Archaeologists say a campsite unearthed just metres from a new highway in
Fredericton could be more than 12,000 years old.
The campsite held 600 artifacts, most of which were from tool making, as
well as a fire pit containing ancient charcoal.
"It's very, very rare to find a campfire from 12,000 years ago, intact like
this," said Brent Suttie, the provincial archaeologist, who is leading a
team of 22 technicians on site.
Artifacts including stone tool fragments and arrowheads that would have been
attached to rods to make spears have been found at the site. No ceremonial
objects were found at the site.
The campsite is located just metres from the shoulder of a stretch of Route
June 19, 2016
Archaeologists find pieces of a small medicine jar that are linked to the
MANTEO, N.C. Archaeologists have found pottery pieces that could have been
part of a jar belonging to a medicine maker of the Roanoke voyages, and even
a member of the lost colony.
The two quarter-sized fragments, colored blue, white and brown, were buried
in the soil two feet below the surface not far from The Lost Colony theater
ticket house. An earthen mound believed to be a fort from the period lies 75
yards from the discovery site.
“It was an exciting find,” said Eric Deetz, an archaeologist with the First
Colony Foundation who was part of the dig earlier this month. “That pottery
had something to do with the Elizabethan presence on that island.”
June 10, 2016
Archaeological discoveries at rare 400-year-old American Indian homestead
GAINESVILLE, Ga. – With each gentle scrape of the trowel, the underside of a
large broken pottery vessel emerges from the dirt in a peaceful river valley
in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Artful coils and swirls are stamped on
the fired clay. A few feet to the left, the remains of a clay wall and
burned wood help paint the story of what might have happened at this family
farmstead 400 years ago.
“The extended family that occupied this site were likely forerunners of the
Tribe we know today as the Cherokee,” said Chattahoochee-Oconee National
Forests archeologist James Wettstead. “Each pottery piece helps us determine
how these people lived in the early 1600s and why they were here.”
June 07, 2016
Ancient Seafarers’ Tool Sites, Up to 12,000 Years Old, Discovered on
On a rugged island just offshore from Ventura County, archaeologists have
turned up evidence of some of the oldest human activity in coastal Southern
On Santa Cruz Island, the largest of the Channel Islands, researchers have
found three sites scattered with ancient tool-making debris and the shells
of harvested shellfish.
The youngest of the three sites has been dated to 6,600 BCE, but based on
the types of tools found at the other two, archaeologists say they may be as
much as 11,000 to 12,000 years old.
The artifacts are traces of what’s known as the Island Paleocoastal culture,
descendants of migrants who moved south from Alaska along the Pacific at the
end of the last Ice Age.
June 02, 2016
19th-Century White House Garden Aligns with Solstice Sun
A 19th-century garden just north of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue,
in Washington, D.C., was designed so that its statues align with the rising
and setting sun on the summer and winter solstices, a physics professor has
found. Using satellite imagery and astronomical software, Amelia Sparavigna,
of Politecnico di Torino in Italy, discovered the phenomenon. The solstice
sun aligns with the center of the garden, which contains a statue of
President Andrew Jackson, and the endings of four walkways that now contain
four statues of generals from the American Revolutionary War, the physicist
June 01, 2016
Looters Steal Civil War History at Petersburg National Battlefield
Petersburg, Virginia - While Americans this weekend honor citizens who gave
their lives in defense of home and country, the National Park Service is
investigating looting that took place at a Civil War battlefield earlier in
the week. The initial assessment at Petersburg National Battlefield
identified a large number of excavations in the park. Thieves were likely
looking for relics on a field where more than 1,000 Union and Confederate
soldiers died fighting during the Siege of Petersburg.
'This is an affront to the memory of people who fought and died on this
field and it is destruction and theft of history from the American people,'
said Petersburg National Battlefield Superintendent Lewis Rogers. 'This kind
of aberrant behavior is always disgusting but it is particularly egregious
as Memorial Day weekend arrives, a time when we honor the memories of our
friends and family.'
The affected area of the battlefield is an active crime scene, Rogers said.
The remainder of the 2,700-acre park is open to visitors. Park staff
discovered the excavated pits earlier in the week.
June 01, 2016
Why Archaeologists Are Intentionally Setting Early American Sites on Fire
On a sunny day this spring Josh Chase, an archaeologist for the Bureau of
Land Management, stood on the bluff above Montana’s Milk River and watched
as flames raced through one of the most unique archaeological sites on the
northern Plains. But instead of worrying about the fate of smoldering teepee
rings or stone tools, Chase was excited. He had planned the controlled burn,
and even the firefighters on scene could see the fire instantly uncovering a
rich record of the bison hunters who lived there 700 to 1,000 years ago.
By burning the 600-acre stretch of grassland in northeastern Montana named
after one-time landowner Henry Smith, Chase gained perspective that would
have been nearly impossible to achieve with traditional archaeological
techniques. A research aircraft later flew over to image the freshly exposed
artifacts, including the remains of rock structures used to corral and kill
bison, stone vision quest structures where people fasted and prayed and
stones arranged in human and animal.
May 25, 2016
Shipwreck From 1800s Found Buried Under New Building Site In Seaport
BOSTON (CBS) – An old shipwreck has been found buried in the Seaport
District and, according to the city’s archaeologist, it is a rare find.
“This is the first shipwreck that I know of in Boston discovered in filled
land,” City archaeologist Joe Bagley told WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud. “This is
the largest and most significant by far.”
The ship, a wooden sloop at least 50 feet long from the mid-to-late 1800s,
was uncovered late last week during construction of a new building at 121
Seaport Boulevard. It was found about 25 feet below grade.
May 23, 2016
Archaeologist: Site of Bear River Massacre pinpointed
POCATELLO, Idaho — The exact location of the Bear River Massacre in eastern
Idaho has been determined, an archaeologist says.
State Historic Preservation Office Director Ken Reid said he and a team from
Utah State University used modern technology and maps created by soldiers at
the 1863 massacre that left up to 500 Northwestern Shoshone dead.
The Idaho State Journal reports (http://bit.ly/244xKuo) that Reid presented
his findings Saturday to the Pocatello Historic Preservation Committee at
Idaho State University.
"I suspect it turned into a traffic jam and then a slaughter," Reid said
about how women and children fled along the bottom of a ravine during
crossfire from soldiers on both sides.
The commanding Army officer involved counted 220-270 dead. Settlers who went
in later found many more bodies in ravines or under deep snow and put the
number as high as 500, a figure cited in a National Park Service history.
The tribe estimates 400 of their number were killed. No more than 60
May 18, 2016
Archaeologists reveal probable sites of two missions that predate the Alamo
SAN ANTONIO - Archaeologists are revealing the location of the site where
they believe San Antonio's first mission once stood, saying the Alamo had
"There were three locations of Mission San Antonio de Valero," said Kay
Hindes, city archaeologist.
She says the first site is likely somewhere near the Christopher Columbus
Italian Society near I-10 and I-35. It was founded in 1718.
"They were only here about a year, so it was a very short-lived site," she
It's unclear why the mission was moved, possibly to the La Villita area. A
hurricane hit in 1724, and then came the Alamo.
May 18, 2016
Fragment of a bronze lamp decorated with the image of the
sun god Sol, as discovered on the seabed.
A fortuitous discovery before the Passover holiday by two divers in the
ancient port of Caesarea has led to the revelation of a large, spectacular
and beautiful ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank there during
the Late Roman period, about 1,600 years ago.
As soon as they emerged from the water, divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer
Ra‘anan of Ra‘anana contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority and reported
the discovery and the removal of several ancient items from the sea.
May 17, 2016
Ancient Cosmology Seen at Prehistoric Ohio Site
A curious prehistoric site on a hilltop in northern Ohio may reflect the
spiritual cosmology of the ancient hunter-gatherer people who built the site
around 2,300 years ago, according to a new study.
The so-called Heckelman site, located near the town of Milan, in Ohio’s Erie
County, is on a flat-topped bluff above the Huron River. There, people of
the “Early Woodland” period of North American prehistory erected tall,
freestanding wooden poles as part of the group’s social or religious
Archaeologist Brian Redmond, a curator at the Cleveland Museum of Natural
History, said the location of the site appeared to echo a conception of the
cosmos common to many Native American peoples.
May 16, 2016
Increased vandalism to archaeological sites in Southern Utah prompts "Petroglyph
Over the last few years vandalism to historic petroglyphs, paleontological
sites and important natural resources have been a serious problem,
especially in Southwest Utah.
But now, a group that calls themselves the "Petroglyph Patrol" is visiting
all the most popular tourist destinations in the area to educate visitors
and keep a watchful eye on these historic sites. The group consists of
dozens of people covering hundreds of archaeological and historic sites
around southern Utah.
One of them is located a few miles East of Santa Clara, on the Anasazi
May 13, 2016
Prehistoric Site in Florida Confirms Pre-Clovis Peopling of the Americas
Radiocarbon dating of a prehistoric archeological site in Florida suggests
that 14,550 years ago, hunter-gatherers, possibly accompanied by dogs,
butchered or scavenged a mastodon next to a small pond. The findings, based
on a four-year study of the Page-Ladson archaeological site in the Aucilla
River, about 45 minutes from Tallahassee, Florida, provide a rare glimpse of
the earliest human occupation in the southeastern United States, and offer
clues to the timing of the disappearance of large animals like the mastodon
and camel that roamed the American Southeast during the Late Pleistocene.
Additionally, the artifacts at Page-Ladson highlight that much of the
earliest record of human habitation of the American Southeast lies submerged
and buried in unique depositional settings like those found along the
Aucilla River, which passes through Florida on its way to the Gulf of
Mexico. This record can only be accessed through underwater investigation,
which, if undertaken with precision and care, should reveal a rich and
abundant pre-Clovis record for the American Southeast, the authors say.
May 13, 2016
Unusual Native American ceremonial site unearthed in Ohio
Native Americans in Northern Ohio constructed a detailed ceremonial site
2,300 years ago that may have been used to celebrate life and observe the
cosmos, according to archaeologists who spent five years excavating there.
The archaeologists, from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the
University of Toledo and the Firelands Archaeological Research Center in
Amherst, uncovered the ceremonial site within the Heckelman excavation site,
located on a hilltop near the Huron River outside Milan, Ohio.
May 12, 2016
900-Year-Old Village Recorded in Volcanic Badlands of New Mexico
In the black-rock badlands of northwestern New Mexico, archaeologists have
documented a 900-year-old village with unique ties to the Ancestral Puebloan
citadel of Chaco Canyon.
Consisting of more than a hundred separate sites, including a two-story
great house with as many as 85 rooms, the newly recorded community shows a
strong influence of Chacoan culture, but at the same time, it appears to
have other qualities not found anywhere else.
Some of its stonework has been fashioned from local black volcanic rock, for
example, and an intricate system of trails has been worn into the otherwise
trackless expanses of lava around it — their exact purpose still unclear.
May 11, 2016
Experts: Teen's 'Discovery' of Maya City is a Very Western Mistake
For gee-whiz value, the announcement has been hard to beat: A Canadian
teenager discovers a lost Maya city without even stepping foot in the
Central American jungle.
Unfortunately, this "discovery" appears to be the well-intentioned, albeit
faulty, result of modern Western education colliding with an ancient
civilization that saw the world in a very different way.
According to the original news report, 15-year-old William Gadoury
correlated more than 20 Maya constellations against a map of known Maya
cities. The cities lined up perfectly with the star map, with the exception
of a "missing" settlement in a constellation that includes the sites of
Calakmul and El Mirador.
May 11, 2016
Archaeologists uncover 13,000-year-old bones of ancient, extinct species of
FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY—In what is considered one of the oldest and most
important archaeological digs in North America, scientists have uncovered
what they believe are the bones of a 13,000- to 14,000-year-old ancient,
extinct species of bison at the Old Vero Man Site in Vero Beach, Fla.
Archaeologists from Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch
Oceanographic Institute made this discovery just 10 feet below the ground's
surface during the final stretch of the 2016 excavation efforts at the Vero
May 10, 2016
James Monroe’s Home May Not Have Been So Humble After All
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — For decades, tour guides led visitors through a
modest two-room cottage on the outskirts of this city, recounting the
accomplishments of James Monroe, the country’s fifth president, and
highlighting details of life at Highland, the homestead where he lived with
his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, from 1799 to 1823.
But that chapter of the home’s history came to an abrupt and slightly
embarrassing end not long ago when the estate’s director revealed what some
recent explorations turned up at the site: a fieldstone foundation for a
much larger house with a footprint of about 74 by 30 feet. Tours have been
revised to reflect the discovery that the humble cottage was, in fact,
merely a guesthouse — and Monroe’s actual home, a mansion, had probably
burned down after he sold the property.
May 04, 2016
USS Monitor gun turret: Ramping up to save a landmark artifact
Conservators drained the historic USS Monitor gun turret for the first time
in more than a year this week as they prepared the giant Civil War artifact
for its first major conservation and archaeological campaign since 2011.
Buoyed by ramped-up fundraising efforts, the recently expanded conservation
team at the USS Monitor Center is embarking on a two-month-long regimen
aimed at removing the layers of marine concretion loosened from the turret's
surface after five years of treatment in a mammoth 90,000-gallon tank.
May 03, 2016
300-year-old bowl found in St. Augustine
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla.—It is the first intact bowl that was intentionally
buried that Carl Halbirt has found. 300 years old.1700 - possibly a little
earlier. And it was in its own pit!
That's how they know it was intentionally buried, and it's a "cache bowl"
meaning it was buried with something in it.
May 02, 2016
Captain Cook's ship Endeavour 'found' in Newport Harbor
Marine archaeologists say they have likely found HMS Endeavour, which Capt.
Cook sailed on when he discovered Australia, at the bottom of Newport
The Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project (RIMAP) says that Endeavour,
which was renamed Lord Sandwich, is one of 13 ships scuttled in Newport
Harbor in 1778. Lord Sandwich had been used to transport troops during the
American Revolution and was scuttled in the days leading up to the Battle of
The vessel was a bark, or three-masted sailing ship.
RIMAP used a grant from the Australian National Maritime Museum to locate
documents in London that identify the groups of ships in the 13-vessel
fleet, and where each group was scuttled. “One group of 5 ships included the
Lord Sandwich transport, formerly Capt. James Cook's Endeavour Bark,” said
RIMAP, on its website.
May 01, 2016
Secret Atomic Role of WWII-Era Aircraft Carrier Revealed
A team of underwater archaeologists has pieced together information from
declassified government documents and a shipwrecked World War II-era naval
vessel to understand the secret role played by one of the most historic U.S.
aircraft carriers: the USS Independence.
The Independence (CVL 22) was one of 90 vessels assigned to Operation
Crossroads — the atomic bomb tests conducted at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall
Islands — but it was deliberately sunk, or scuttled, in 1951 and little was
known about its career after the atomic bomb tests.
After discovering the location of the Independence shipwreck last year,
researchers were able to compare sonar images of the wreck with declassified
documents to uncover the carrier's use as a radiological laboratory and
nuclear waste receptacle from 1946 to 1950.
April 26, 2016
Sunken steamboat found after 175 years
MALTA BEND, Mo. -- A group of excavators has found the 175-year-old sunken
steamboat Malta, the namesake of the rural city of Malta Bend.
The Columbia Missourian reported a white outline, 140 feet long and 22 feet
wide, marks the area where the steamboat Malta is buried.
David Hawley, the leader of the steamboat recovery process, has been
searching for steamboat wrecks up and down the Missouri River for more than
He has found 11 and dug up two.
April 25, 2016
Wood found in Arkansas thought to be remains of cross left in 1540s
Archaeologists unearthed what they believe are remains of a large wooden
Christian cross Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto placed atop a hill in 1541
at what is now part of Parkin Archeological State Park in Cross County.
J̶e̶f̶f̶e̶r̶y̶ Jeffrey Mitchem*, the Parkin park site archaeologist for the
Arkansas Archeological Survey, said he will send a 2-foot chunk of
baldcypress thought to have been used for the cross more than 500 years ago
to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville next week for further testing.
Archaeologists first found a large wooden post at the site in 1966 while
covering holes left by looters and surmised it could be de Soto's cross.
Carbon-dating conducted then indicated the post was cut from a cypress tree
between 1515 and 1663.
April 18, 2016
Searching for the Vikings: 3 Sites Possibly Found in Canada
Three archaeological sites that may have been used by Vikings around 1,000
years ago were excavated recently in Canada.
If confirmed, the discoveries would add to the single known Viking
settlement in the New World, located at L'Anse aux Meadows on the northern
tip of Newfoundland. Excavated in the 1960s, that Viking outpost was used
for a short period of time around 1,000 years agoas well.
Sagas from the time of the Vikings tell tales of their journeys into the New
World, mentioning places named "Helluland" (widely believed to be modern-day
Baffin Island), "Markland" (widely believed to be Labrador) and "Vinland,"
which is a more mysterious location that some archaeologists have argued
could be Newfoundland.
April 17, 2016
Archaeology: 'Noble' monument lost to the ages to build 1823 dam
The discovery and dredging up of the wreck of the canal boat Black Diamond
from the bottom of Buckeye Lake back in February got me thinking about a
much more ancient archaeological wonder that received similarly rough
treatment during the original construction of what was then called the
Licking Summit Reservoir.
In 1823, the builders of the dam that created Buckeye Lake, which is now
undergoing extensive repairs, got the stone they needed by partially
dismantling an ancient stone mound located about 2 miles north of Thornport
at the eastern end of Buckeye Lake.
The Reservoir Stone Mound, apparently named for the cause of its
destruction, wasn’t just any mound. It was the largest pre-Columbian stone
structure north of Mexico.
I present what little we know about this amazing mound in the current issue
of the Journal of Ohio Archaeology.
April 14, 2016
Lost Wright Brothers' 'Flying Machine' Patent Resurfaces
The patent file for the Wright brothers' original "Flying Machine" has
returned to the National Archives, after being misplaced 36 years ago.
The long-missing patent paperwork filed by aviation pioneers Orville and
Wilbur Wright on March 23,1903, included a diagram of their invention, their
petition for patent approval, the patent registry form, and their patent
oath, affirming that "they verily believe themselves to be the original,
joint inventors" of the so-called "Flying Machine."
April 07, 2016
Fire reveals archaeological sites hundreds of years old
MALTA, Mont. - Archaeologists on Montana's Hi-Line are using fire to reveal
Native American artifacts hundreds of years old.
Last year's controlled burn of 300 acres on bluffs near the Milk River
turned up effigies outlined in stone, teepee rings, cairns, vision quest
sites, stone tools and rows of rock along which bison were herded to kill
The artifacts are estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 years old.
This year, another 600 acres were burned and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service plane flew over the site to record more data points.
April 01, 2016
View From Space Hints at a New Viking Site in North America
A thousand years after the Vikings braved the icy seas from Greenland to the
New World in search of timber and plunder, satellite technology has found
intriguing evidence of a long-elusive prize in archaeology — a second Norse
settlement in North America, further south than ever known.
The new Canadian site, with telltale signs of iron-working, was discovered
last summer after infrared images from 400 miles in space showed possible
man-made shapes under discolored vegetation. The site is on the southwest
coast of Newfoundland, about 300 miles south of L’Anse aux Meadows, the
first and so far only confirmed Viking settlement in North America,
discovered in 1960.
April 01, 2016
Ancient DNA sheds new light on early Americans
UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE—The first large-scale study of ancient DNA from early
American people has confirmed the devastating impact of European
colonisation on the indigenous American populations of the time.
Led by the University of Adelaide's Australian Centre for Ancient DNA
(ACAD), the researchers have reconstructed a genetic history of indigenous
American populations by looking directly into the DNA of 92 pre-Columbian
mummies and skeletons between 500 and 8600 years old.
Published today in Science Advances, the study reveals a striking absence of
the pre-Columbian genetic lineages in modern indigenous Americans; showing
extinction of these lineages with the arrival of the Spaniards.
March 29, 2016
Thousands of Ancient Petroglyphs, ‘Dramatic’ Solar Calendar Reported in N.
Archaeologists exploring the remote mesas of northern Arizona have uncovered
a trove of previously undocumented rock art, including more than 1,500
petroglyphs, and confirmed the presence a prehistoric solar calendar, which
has been marking the seasons for more than 700 years with a striking “shadow
dagger” that travels across its sandstone face.
Researchers made these finds in the backcountry of Wupatki National Monument
northeast of Flagstaff, which includes the ruins of dozens of sites built by
Ancestral Puebloans known as the Kayenta and the Sinagua.
March 24, 2016
300-year-old cannon unearthed in North Carolina
A 300-year-old cannon has been unearthed during construction work in
downtown Wilmington, North Carolina.
The find was made Tuesday directly in front of the federal courthouse steps
on Wilmington’s riverfront. The cannon was buried 6 to 8 feet underground.
“It’s right below where there are typically summertime concerts,” a
spokesman for the city of Wilmington told FoxNews.com. “People have danced
for years right on top of it.”
“At first, the contractor wasn’t sure what it was - they proceeded to scrape
some of the mud away and quickly realized that it was a cannon,” he added.
March 18, 2016
Uncovering the mystery of very early humans in New Mexico
Shaggy, heavy-shouldered bison have grazed the wide open spaces of the
American Southwest for thousands of years. They made a tempting target for
the hunters who walked the empty landscape between 9,000 and 13,000 years
ago. The bison were attracted to a lush landscape west of Socorro, New
Mexico where wetlands created by mountain runoff stretched across hundreds
of acres. The hunters were attracted to the bison.
In 2000, archeologist Robert Dello-Russo was hired by the Energetic
Materials Research and Testing Center (EMERTC) at the New Mexico Institute
of Mining and Technology to survey land where they wanted to build a new
observation facility for their explosives research. He contracted to look
for archeological sites on the state-owned land, and found much more than
"We found the Water Canyon Paleo-Indian site and a lot of other early
Holocene sites because we were right at the edge of this big alluvial fan so
there were other sites eroding out and basically, we said well if you are
going to build this, you are going to have to move it some place that is not
littered with archeological sites," said Dello-Russo.
March 10, 2016
First Evidence of Corn Beer in Southwest Discovered on Teeth From Ancient
The last meals of men and women buried centuries ago in the ancient city of
Casas Grandes were dominated by corn, new research has found — from ground
maize, to corn smut, to what archaeologists say is the first conclusive
evidence of corn beer in the Greater Southwest.
And these clues were found in a long-overlooked source: the fossilized
plaque on the teeth of the dead.
Archaeologists say these and other findings are providing important insights
into the diet and lifeways of one of the most influential prehistoric cities
in the region.
“The results of this study offer some of the first hard evidence for the
production of corn beer, consumption of corn smut, and food processing
methods,” said Daniel King, a graduate student in anthropology at Brigham
Young University, who led the research.
March 07, 2016
Significant Civil War-Era Shipwreck Discovered Off N.C. Coast
Kure Beach - Another pearl in the form of a large iron-hulled Civil War era
steamer has been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of N.C.,
near Oak Island. Researchers and archaeologists from the Underwater
Archaeology Branch of the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology and the
Institute of International Maritime Research made the discovery Saturday,
Feb. 27 during sonar operations.
The vessel is believed to possibly be the remains of one of three blockade
runners used to penetrate the wall of Union naval vessels blocking the port
of Wilmington during the Civil War. The goal of the Union blockade was to
keep supplies from reaching the Confederacy through one of its most
important ports and to prevent the export of cotton and other marketable
items by the Southerners. The wreck is located 27 miles downstream from
Wilmington near Fort Caswell at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, and is the
first Civil War-era vessel discovered in the area in decades.
March 04, 2016
Bison bones found at lake bottom tell few tales
ALEXANDRIA, Minn. – On a windy, much warmer day on this lake, Roger Van
Surksum snagged the first bison bone with a fishing hook. The fishing guide
knew it was no walleye and reeled it in slowly, carefully. The bone was 10
inches long, he said, “as black as the ace of spades.”
He put it in the back of his truck but couldn’t get it out of his mind. “I
had to figure out what it was,” said Van Surksum, 69, standing near the
shore of Lake Victoria in Alexandria this week.
He enlisted the help of two divers and, over the summer of 2011, they
brought up more than 250 bones from the bottom of the lake on the east edge
of Alexandria, in central Minnesota. Then Van Surksum pestered experts for
answers. A state archaeologist found that the number and condition of the
bison bones hint at an American Indian gathering place — a bison kill site,
hundreds or perhaps thousands of years old.
March 01, 2016
Louisiana's Disappearing Coast Takes Ancient History With
The loss of Louisiana’s coast due to saltwater intrusion, sea level rise and
industry is a big problem for the environment and the economy. But it could
also change our understanding of the state’s history. In some places, the
water is taking with it ancient Native American sites, posing challenges for
Richie Blink is a community organizer for the National Wildlife Federation
in Plaquemines Parish, where he grew up. When he was a kid his dad showed
him a special place. With little Richie at the helm, they would head out to
fish in Bay Adams, near Empire, about an hour south of New Orleans on the
west bank of the Mississippi River.
After leaving the docks they would wind through the waterways and to the
floodgates, which opened to the wide open bay.
February 23, 2016
The search continues for Fort Germanna
Virginia Commonwealth University archaeology students will help the folks at
the Germanna Foundation uncover its long-sought-after 1714 Fort Germanna and
Enchanted Castle site in Locust Grove.
According to Germanna Foundation chief operating officer Steve Hein, VCU has
agreed to conduct a field school — a short academic session typically during
the summer months — for students at the Germanna site.
“Students will learn excavation techniques and help us in our search for the
1714 Fort,” exclaimed Germanna Foundation president Marc Wheat.
February 21, 2016
To prevent archaeological looting, scientist wants to crowdsource
Sarah Parcek, an archaeologist who uses satellite imagery to track
archaeological looting, wants everyone to get involved in archaeological
protection through a worldwide campaign.
Parcak is the winner of the TED Prize 2016, and she will use her prize money
of $1 million U.S. to implement a platform where everyone can participate in
this work. Parcak's plan for an online platform calls for millions of people
on the Internet to do what she does, analyze satellite imagery for clues to
archaeological sites. This way, she believes we can uncover humanity's past
During her TED talk announcing the platform, Parcak said,"I wish for us to
discover the millions of unknown archaeological sites across the globe. By
building an online citizen science platform and training a 21st century army
of global explorers, we'll find and protect the world's hidden heritage,
which contains clues to humankind's collective resilience and creativity."
February 17, 2016
Sleuth finds a lost Spanish settlement in Florida Panhandle
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Amateur archaeologist Tom Garner had time to kill and
took a drive along Pensacola Bay in the Florida Panhandle. Spying a newly
cleared lot, he poked about, hoping to find artifacts from the city's rich
history dating back centuries to the Spanish explorers.
Garner stumbled upon some shards of 16th Spanish pottery.
"There it was, artifacts from the 16th century lying on the ground," said
Garner, a history buff whose discovery has made him a celebrity in
Experts have confirmed the find as the site of the long-lost land settlement
of a doomed 1559 Spanish expedition to the Gulf Coast led by Tristan de
Luna. The discovery bolsters Pensacola's claim as the first European
settlement in the modern-day United States, six years before the Spanish
reached St. Augustine on Florida's Atlantic seaboard. The expedition was
scuttled by a hurricane in September 1559, shortly after the fleet arrived
in Pensacola. Five ships sank.
February 10, 2016
Vandals strike ancient archeological site near Tucson
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -
Investigators are seeking help from the public to find the vandals who have
done what no one else has ever done in more than 1,000 years.
Sometime between Jan. 9 and Jan. 21 in Catalina State Park someone toppled a
rock on which an ancient artist had created a petroglyph.
Coronado National Forest Spokeswoman Heidi Schewel said it may be a
petroglyph done by someone from the Hohokam culture.
A petroglyph, also known as "rock art," is a picture chipped into a rock.
This petroglyph looks something like a sunburst design.
Schewel said vegetation in the surrounding area was also damaged.
The site is on Coronado National Forest Service land, so it is a federal
crime, and federal investigators are working the case.