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My First Adventure

Below are current event articles that relate to events, topics, and people found in My First Adventure.


For the First Time Ever, Explore Angkor Wat With Google Street View

Smithsonian.com
4/3/2014

Angkor, what remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, is an incredibly beautiful place, but it's also very remote: tucked in the Cambodian jungle, at the intersection of jumbled ancient roads, its ruins remain off the beaten path and seemingly untouched by the modern world. Or at least it remained untouched until the 2000s, when the Cambodian government granted the oil company Sokimex rights to the money earned from ticket concessions to Angkor, and tourism to the ancient ruins skyrocketed—today, nearly two million visitors traipse over the temples' stones, causing irreversible damage to the site's foundations. Like Machu Picchu, once hidden from human view and then endangered by an influx of tourism, Angkor could eventually fall into complete ruin because of its appeal.

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Ancient Migration Patterns to North America Are Hidden in Languages Spoken Today

Smithsonian.com
3/12/2014

A few weeks ago, scientists announced an intriguing finding about the ancestors of today's Native Americans. Previously, genetic analysis had indicated that they'd left Siberia to migrate across ancient Beringia (the strip of land that once connected Asia and what's now Alaska) about 25,000 years ago, but the earliest evidence of human habitation on North America dates to 15,000 years ago.

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How the Monuments Men Saved Italy’s Treasures

Smithsonian.com
1/15/2014

Swam through the sea a crescent of sunwashed white houses, lavender hillsides and rust red roofs, and a high campanile whose bells, soft across the water, stole to the mental ear. No country in the world has, for me, the breathtaking beauty of Italy.” It was the fall of 1943. A couple of months earlier, the Sicilian landings of July 10 had marked the beginning of the Allied Italian campaign. The two British officers, who had met and become instant friends during the recently concluded push to drive the Germans from North Africa, were assigned to the Allied Military Government for Occupied Territories (AMGOT), which took over control of Italy as the country was being liberated by the Allies. Edward “Teddy” Croft-Murray, who in civilian life was a curator of prints and drawings at the British Museum in London, belonged to the small Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (MFAA) unit inside AMGOT. Its task—dramatized in George Clooney’s new film, The Monuments Men, celebrating the unit’s exploits—would be to safeguard landmarks and works of art from war damage. Croft-Murray had, Fielden wrote in his memoirs, a “twinkling eye in a large face which was attached to the most untidy imaginable body...the Ancient Monument he called himself. God be praised, I said, for someone like this.”

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Fossil Tooth Is "Smoking Gun" That T. Rex Was a Killer

Nationalgeographic.com
7/17/2013

A fossil tooth found buried inside the healed tailbones of a duckbill dinosaur suggests the animal survived a close encounter with a Tyrannosaurus rex about 65 million years ago, according to a new study. Scientists say the embedded tooth, discovered in the Hell Creek Formation in Montana, is the first conclusive proof that T. rex was not just a scavenger, but also a predator that hunted and killed prey. (Related: "Scarred Duckbill Dinosaur Escaped T. Rex Attack.") "It's not just a smoking gun—we've actually found the bullet," said study co-author Peter Larson, a paleontologist at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in South Dakota.

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First Unlooted Royal Tomb of Its Kind Unearthed in Peru

Nationalgeographic.com
6/27/2013

It was a stunning discovery: the first unlooted imperial tomb of the Wari, the ancient civilization that built South America's earliest empire between 700 and 1000 A.D. Yet it wasn't happiness that Milosz Giersz felt when he first glimpsed gold in the dim recesses of the burial chamber in northern Peru. Giersz, an archaeologist at the University of Warsaw in Poland, realized at once that if word leaked out that his Polish-Peruvian team had discovered a 1,200-year-old "temple of the dead" filled with precious gold and silver artifacts, looters would descend on the site in droves. "I had a nightmare about the possibility," says Giersz.

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Dead Sea Scroll For Sale; Fragments Of Earliest Bible Ever Found Offered To Highest Bidder

huffingtonpost.com
5/25/2013

Parts of the Dead Sea Scrolls are up for sale – in tiny pieces. Nearly 70 years after the discovery of the world's oldest biblical manuscripts, the Palestinian family who originally sold them to scholars and institutions is now quietly marketing the leftovers – fragments the family says it has kept in a Swiss safe deposit box all these years.

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Potato Famine Pathogen's DNA Sequenced, Solving Scientific Mystery After 168 Years

huffingtonpost.com
5/23/2013

More than 1 million people died of starvation and disease during the Irish Potato Famine (also known as the Great Famine), between 1845 and 1852—a watershed event for the Irish that caused 1 million people to emigrate and fueled tension between Irish Catholics and Protestants in England who offered little aid. All the suffering was triggered by the blight that wiped out a single species of potato—the so-called Irish "lumper"—that the Irish depended on as a staple crop to feed their growing population.

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Ancient Maya Pyramid Destroyed in Belize

Nationalgeographic.com
5/15/2013

Despite its small size, the Caribbean country of Belize is known for a few outstanding characteristics: a spectacular barrier reef, a teeming rain forest, and extensive Maya ruins. It now has one fewer of those ruins. A construction company in Belize has been scooping stone out of the major pyramid at the site of Nohmul (meaning Big Mound), one of only 15 ancient Maya sites important enough to be noted on the National Geographic World Atlas.

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Starving Settlers in Jamestown Colony Resorted to Cannibalism

Smithsonian.com
5/1/2013

The harsh winter of 1609 in Virginia’s Jamestown Colony forced residents to do the unthinkable. A recent excavation at the historic site discovered the carcasses of dogs, cats and horses consumed during the season commonly called the “Starving Time.” But a few other newly discovered bones in particular, though, tell a far more gruesome story: the dismemberment and cannibalization of a 14-year-old English girl.

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8 Mummy Finds Revealing Ancient Disease

Nationalgeographic.com
3/21/2013

Whether laid to rest in a simple grave or a grand tomb, the human body rarely survives the sweep of time. But in a few places where people deliberately mummified their dead, or the environmental conditions were right—very dry or wet—flesh and bone are preserved. Today these remains, probed by modern CT scans, MRIs, and DNA tests, are offering intriguing insights into how people lived and died long ago. A 2011 study of 52 mummies in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo showed that almost half had clogged arteries, the kind of condition that can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

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Failure to Hunt Rabbits Part of Neanderthals' Demise?

Nationalgeographic.com
3/11/2013

Rabbits are small, fast, and devilishly hard to catch. And that could have had dire consequences for Neanderthals. A new study suggests that an inability to shift from hunting large mammals to wild rabbits and other small game may have contributed to the downfall of European Neanderthals during the Middle Paleolithic period, about 30,000 years ago. "There have been some studies that examined the importance of rabbit meat to hominins"—or early human ancestors—"but we give it a new twist," said study lead author John Fa, a biologist at the United Kingdom's Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Imperial College London. "We show in our study that [modern humans] used rabbits extensively, but Neanderthals didn't."

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Finders Keepers? Not Always in Treasure Hunting

Nationalgeographic.com
3/6/2013

In September 2009, David Booth, a park ranger in Stirling, Scotland, packed up his brand-new metal detector ("I practiced at home picking up nails and bits"), drove to a field, walked seven yards (six meters) from his parked car, and scored big. His first sweep with a metal detector yielded a spectacular find: four gold torques, or neck bands, from the first century B.C.—the most important hoard of Iron Age gold found in Scotland to date. Several days later, Stuart Campbell of the National Museum of Scotland, the man in charge of "treasure trove" finds, as they are known in the United Kingdom, arrived at his Edinburgh office, opened his email to find a message with the subject "gold jewelry" and thought, "Oh, no, not another Victorian watch chain." Then he saw the images.

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This 33,000-Year-Old Skull Belonged to One of the World’s First Dogs

Smithsonian.com
3/6/2013

In 1975, a team of Russian archaeologists announced that they’d made a remarkable find: From a cave in the Altai Mountains of Siberia, they’d unearthed a 33,000-year-old fossil skull that resembled a wolf. In 2011, an anatomical analysis suggested that the fossil was a hybrid of a wolf (with its large teeth) and a dog (with its shortened snout), raising the possibility that it was a partly domesticated wolf—in other words, one of the oldest ancestors of the modern dog ever discovered. At the time, though, DNA analysis was needed to make certain that the fossil came from an ancestor of man’s best friend. A paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE confirms that fact, indicating that the creature was more closely related to modern dogs than wolves, and forcing scientists to reconsider the dog’s evolutionary family tree.

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Return of the Neanderthals

Nationalgeographic.com
3/6/2013

For now, the Neanderthal genome is an abstract string of billions of DNA letters stored in computer databases. But it naturally sparks the imagination: Could scientists use that genetic blueprint to create neo-Neanderthals in the flesh? In the not-so-distant future, advances in genetic engineering might enable that feat, experts say. But whether such a resurrection should happen is another story. Since the 1996 birth of Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, scientists have greatly expanded and improved on cloning techniques. They have cloned dogs, cats, rats, pigs, and cows, among other species. In 2003, researchers in Spain were the first to bring back an extinct species—the Pyrenean ibex, a wild mountain goat also called a bucardo—though the clone only lived for a few minutes.

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What’s Inside a 2,000-Year-Old, Shipwreck-Preserved Roman Pill?

Smithsonian.com
1/7/2013

Around 120 B.C.E., the Relitto del Pozzino, a Roman shipping vessel, sank off the coast of Tuscany. More than two millennia later, in the 1980s and 90s, a team sent by the Archeological Superintendency of Tuscany began to excavate the ruins, hauling up planks of rotting wood. “It wasn’t an easy task. The wreck is covered by marine plants and their roots. This makes it hard to excavate it,” underwater archaeologist Enrico Ciabatti told Discovery News in 2010. “But our efforts paid off, since we discovered a unique, heterogeneous cargo.”

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Antigua’s Disputed Slave Conspiracy of 1736

Smithsonian.com
1/2/2013

Breaking on the wheel was the most horrific punishment ever visited on a convicted criminal. It was a form of crucifixion, but with several cruel refinements; in its evolved form, a prisoner was strapped, spreadeagled, to a large cartwheel that was placed axle-first in the earth so that it formed a rotating platform a few feet above the ground. The wheel was then slowly rotated while an executioner methodically crushed the bones in the condemned man’s body, starting with his fingers and toes and working inexorably inward. An experienced headsman would take pride in ensuring that his victim remained conscious throughout the procedure, and when his work was done, the wheel would be hoisted upright and fixed in the soil, leaving the condemned to hang there until he died from shock and internal bleeding a few hours or a few days later.

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Document Deep Dive: Emancipation Proclamation

Smithsonian.com
12/19/2012

When President Abraham Lincoln read the first draft of his Emancipation Proclamation to his Cabinet on July 22, 1862, it was to mixed reviews. Undeterred, he gathered that it would be best to announce his plan to free the slaves in seceded states on the heels of a Union victory. So, he waited.

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Cavemen Were Much Better At Illustrating Animals Than Artists Today

Smithsonian.com
12/5/2012

The iconic caveman in popular culture is Fred Flintstone: slow-witted and unskilled. In general, we think of the cave art produced by prehistoric people as crude and imprecise too—a mere glimmer of the artistic mastery that would blossom millenia later, during the Renaissance and beyond.

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Mysterious Maya Tomb Explored for First Time

Nationalgeographic.com
11/30/2012

An entrance to a Maya burial chamber is decorated with vibrant red wall murals—the first look scientists have gotten of a mysterious tomb discovered in 1999. For the first time, a team of researchers from Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently entered the tomb, which also contains 11 vessels as well as pieces of jade, according to an INAH statement.

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Why the Maya Fell: Climate Change, Conflict—And a Trip to the Beach?

Nationalgeographic.com
11/9/2012

Every civilization has its rise and fall. But no culture has fallen quite like the Maya Empire, seemingly swallowed by the jungle after centuries of urban, cultural, intellectual, and agricultural evolution. What went wrong? The latest discoveries point not to a cataclysmic eruption, quake, or plague but rather to climate change. And faced with the fallout, one expert says, the Maya may have packed up and gone to the beach.

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Fossils Reveal Earliest Known Case of Anemia in Hominids

Smithsonian.com
10/3/2012

Archaeologists have something new to add to the record books: the earliest case of anemia. Two 1.5-million-year-old skull fragments unearthed in Tanzania display tell-tale signatures of the blood disorder—and may offer hints on the meat-eating habits of our ancestors.

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No, Really, There is No Secret Code in the Pyramids

Smithsonian.com
9/1/2012

This past May, a Venezuelan state TV host announced he had discovered a conspiracy to assassinate the elder brother of President Hugo Chavez. His evidence? A newspaper crossword puzzle. He pointed out that the crossword contained the word asesinen (“murder”), intersecting horizontally with the name of Chavez’s brother, Adan. And directly above the name was the word ráfagas, meaning either “gusts of wind” or, more ominously, “bursts of gunfire.”

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Stomach Contents Preserve Sinocalliopteryx Snacks

Smithsonian.com
8/31/2012

Earlier this week, I got into a snit over the blinkered assertion that feathery dinosaurs are lame. I argued the opposite point–as I wrote at the time “Feathered dinosaurs are awesome. Deal with it.” How fortunate that a new paper this week offers proof of fuzzy dinosaur superiority. The evidence comes in the form of gut contents found within predatory dinosaurs that stalked Cretaceous China around 125 million years ago.

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Maya Prince's Tomb Found With Rare Drinking Vessel

Nationalgeographic.com
8/30/2012

Excavating a remote Maya palace in the ruined city of Uxul, archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered the ancient tomb of a young prince—and a rare artifact. The floor of an entrance building within Uxul's 11-building royal complex concealed the entrance to the small chamber, which held the remains of the 20- to 25-year-old man and nine ceramic objects.

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Mass Sacrifice Found Near Aztec Temple

Nationalgeographic.com
8/29/2012

Sixteen feet (five meters) below street level in Mexico City, archaeologists have found a jumble of 1,789 bones from children, teenagers, and adults along with the complete skeleton of a young woman. The burial, dating to the 1480s, lies at the foot of the main temple in the sacred ceremonial precinct of the Aztec capital, Tenochtitlan, founded by the Aztecs in 1325. The Aztecs dominated central Mexico until falling to Spanish conquistadores in 1521.

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The Oldest Human Fossils in Southeast Asia?

Smithsonian.com
8/27/2012

In 2009, paleoanthropologists working in a cave in Laos unearthed skull bones and teeth belonging to a modern human. Dating to between 46,000 and 63,000 years ago, the bones may be the earliest fossil evidence of Homo sapiens in mainland Southeast Asia, researchers reported last week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Syrian Cultural Sites Damaged by Conflict

Nationalgeographic.com
8/20/2012

Cultural monuments throughout Syria, like this mosque in Azaz north of Aleppo, have been damaged by shelling, gunfire, and ongoing violence.

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New Pyramid Found With Vivid Murals, Stacked Tombs

Nationalgeographic.com
8/17/2012

One of three stacked tombs newly discovered within a pyramid, this vividly painted chamber is unique among ancient Zapotec funerary architecture, Mexican archaeologists announced in late July. Dating from about A.D. 650 to 850, the funerary complex was part of an elite neighborhood of the Zapotec, an agrarian culture that once thrived throughout what's now the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

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Sahelanthropus tchadensis: Ten Years After the Disocvery

Smithsonian.com
7/16/2012

Ten years ago, an international group of anthropologists made a bold claim: They had unearthed the earliest hominid ever found, in the Sahel region of Chad. They named their discovery Sahelanthropus tchadensis. Today, many anthropologists agree that the seven-million-year-old Sahelanthropus was an early hominid while others suggest it was nothing more than an ancient ape.

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Spend Your Fourth of July Hominid Hunting

Smithsonian.com
7/2/2012

The United States celebrates its 236th birthday this week. If you’re tired of the same old fireworks and cook outs, consider taking a trip to one of the country’s many archaeological parks to learn more about the people who lived in the U. S. hundreds or thousands of years before the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Here are a few suggestions:

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What a 28,000-year-old piece of art looks like

thestar.com
6/28/2012

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA—An archeologist says he found the oldest piece of rock art in Australia and one of the oldest in the world: an Aboriginal work created 28,000 years ago in an Outback cave. The dating of one of the thousands of images in the Northern Territory rock shelter known as Nawarla Gabarnmang will be published in the next edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Human Ancestors Ate Bark—Food in Teeth Hints at Chimplike Origins

Nationalgeographic.com
6/27/2012

Chew on this: Bits of food stuck in the two-million-year-old teeth of a human ancestor suggest some of our forebears ate tree bark, a new study says. A first ever find for early human ancestors, the bark evidence hints at a woodsier, more chimplike lifestyle for the Australopithecus sediba species. Other so-called hominins alive at the time are thought to have dined mostly on savanna grasses.

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World's Oldest Purse Found—Studded With a Hundred Dog Teeth?

Nationalgeographic.com
6/27/2012

The world's oldest purse may have been found in Germany—and its owner apparently had a sharp sense of Stone Age style. Excavators at a site near Leipzig (map) uncovered more than a hundred dog teeth arranged close together in a grave dated to between 2,500 and 2,200 B.C. According to archaeologist Susanne Friederich, the teeth were likely decorations for the outer flap of a handbag.

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Easter Island Mystery Solved? New Theory Says Giant Statues Rocked

Nationalgeographic.com
6/22/2012

For centuries, scientists have tried to solve the mystery of how the colossal stone statues of Easter Island moved. Now there's a new theory—and it rocks. The multiton behemoths traveled up to 11 miles (18 kilometers) from the quarry where most of them were carved, without the benefit of wheels, cranes, or even large animals.

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Mating Turtles Fossilized in the Act

Nationalgeographic.com
6/21/2012

German scientists have just reported an extraordinary discovery: the first known pairs of mating vertebrate fossils. And along with the thrill of a fossil first comes another possible breakthrough. The 47-million-year-old turtle remains offer clues to how a prehistoric lake became one of the world’s richest fossil troves. "Just finding these couples is completely unique worldwide," lead study author Walter Joyce said. "There are no other vertebrate fossils to be found like this."

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New Terra-Cotta Warriors—And Unprecedented Armor

Nationalgeographic.com
6/20/2012

View pictures of this terrific archaeological find!

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42,000 modern-day slaves rescued but millions in bondage, trafficking report says

MSNBC.com
6/20/2012

More than 42,000 adults and children kept as slaves, forced into prostitution or otherwise trafficked were discovered by authorities around the world in 2011, according to a new report by the U.S. State Department. However this figure was a tiny fraction of the estimated number of people held in bondage with the International Labor Organization estimating earlier this month that there are about 20.9 million victims of modern slavery, the State Department Trafficking in Persons Report noted.

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Virus “Fossils” Reveal Neanderthals’ Kin

Smithsonian.com
6/18/2012

Humans and Neanderthals are close cousins. So close, in fact, that some researchers argue the two hominids might actually be members of the same species. But a few years ago, anthropologists discovered a mysterious new type of hominid that shook up the family tree. Known only from a finger fragment, a molar tooth and the DNA derived from both, the Denisovans lived in Asia and were contemporaries of Neanderthals and modern humans. And they might have been Neanderthals’ closest relatives. A recent study of virus “fossils” provides new evidence of this relationship.

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World's Oldest Cave Art Found—Made by Neanderthals?

Nationalgeographic.com
6/14/2012

Prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils on Spanish cave walls are now the world's oldest known cave art, according to new dating results—perhaps the best evidence yet that Neanderthals were Earth's first cave painters. If that's the case, the discovery narrows the cultural distance between us and Neanderthals—and fuels the argument, at least for one scientist, that the heavy-browed humans were not a separate species but only another race.

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Louis Leakey: The Father of Hominid Hunting

Smithsonian.com
6/13/2012

Louis Leaky was not the first person to ever find an ancient hominid fossil. But more than anyone else, he promoted and popularized the study of human evolution. His work spurred others to go to Africa to find our ancestors’ remains, he and his wife raised their son to go into the family business, and he initiated some of the first field studies of our closest living relatives, the great apes, as a way to understand early hominids. For all of these accomplishments, I call Leakey the Father of Hominid Hunting.

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Human Evolution Discoveries in Iraq

Smithsonian.com
5/23/2012

Iraq is the home of the Fertile Crescent, the Cradle of Civilization. But the country's importance in human history goes back even further, to the time of the Neanderthals. In 1951, American archaeologist Ralph Solecki discovered Neanderthal remains in Shanidar Cave. The cave sits in the Zagros Mountains in the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq, about 250 miles north of Baghdad. From 1951 to 1960, Solecki and colleagues excavated the cave and recovered fossils belonging to 10 individuals dating to between 65,000 and 35,000 years ago. Politics prevented further archaeological work, but the Shanidar fossils still provide important insights on the Neanderthals of West Asia. Here are a few of the most intriguing finds:

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Where Are Greece's Missing Hominids?

Smithsonian.com
5/21/2012

Greece should be filled with hominid bones and stone tools. Its location makes it the perfect gateway to Europe for the earliest hominids leaving Africa, and even during dry and cold spells that made many other parts of the world uninhabitable, Greece remained pleasant. Yet the country's archaeological record is bare from 1.8 million to 125,000 years ago, a period known as the Early to Middle Pleistocene.

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Howard Carter: Famous Archaeologist, Not-So-Famous Painter

Smithsonian.com
5/9/2012

It isn't often that we hear anything about English archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter other than this groundbreaking discovery of King Tut's chamber on November 4, 1922. But as we celebrate Carter's 138th birthday, we also look to his lesser-known talent as an artist.

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The Cave Art Debate

Smithsonian.com
3/1/2012

The oldest sculpture of a human being is so small it could be hidden in your fist. Carved out of mammoth ivory, the 40,000-year-old figurine clearly represents a woman, with ballooning breasts and elaboratey carved genitalia. The head, arms and legs are merely suggested. "You couldn't get more female than this," says Nicholas Conard, the Ohio-born archaeologist whose University of Tobingen team found the sculpture at the bottom of a vaulted cave in southwestern Germany in the fall of 2008. "Head and legs don't matter. This is about sex, reproduction."

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Meet the Contenders for Earliest Modern Human

Smithsonian.com
1/11/2012

Paleoanthropologists agree that modern humans evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago, yet the fossil evidence for the earliest examples of Homo sapiens is scarce. One problem is the difficulty in recognizing true modern humans in the fossil record: At this time, many of the fossils thought to be early members of our species possess a mix of modern and primitive traits. For some paleoanthropologists, it means our species once had a greater range of physical variation than we do today. For others, it means more than one species of Homo may have lived in Africa at this time, sharing some traits in common.

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Top 10 Hominid Discoveries of 2011

Smithsonian.com
12/28/2011

For this last Hominid Hunting post of 2011, I reviewed recent human evolution research highlights to come up with my picks for the top 10 hominid discoveries of the year. While genetic breakthroughs have hogged the spotlight the past couple of years, good old-fashioned fossil and archaeological finds were front and center in 2011.

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The World's Oldest Mattress

Smithsonian.com
12/14/2011

When I moved to Washington, D.C., a few years ago, I needed to buy a bed. The salesman at the mattress store warned me to choose carefully. We spend a third of our lives sleeping, he told me, so picking a mattress was one of the most important decisions in life (somewhere in the top ten, he said). I didn't go for the ultra-fancy, super-expensive mattress set he recommended, but my bed is far more luxurious than the world's oldest-known mattress: layers of leaves and grass.

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The Secrets of Ancient Rome's Buildings

Smithsonian.com
11/16/2011

The Romans started making concrete more than 2,000 years ago, but it wasn't quite like today's concrete. They had a different formula, which resulted in a substance that was not as strong as the modern product. Yet structures like the Pantheon and the Colosseum have survived for centuries, often with little to no maintenance. Geologists, archaeologists and engineers are studying the properties of ancient Roman concrete to solve the mystery of its longevity.

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Inside the Great Pyramid

Smithsonian.com
9/1/2011

There is a story, regrettably apocryphal, about Napoleon and the Great Pyramid. When Bonaparte visited Giza during his Nile expedition of 1798 (it goes), he determined to spend a night alone inside the King's Chamber, the granite-lined vault that lies precisely in the center of the pyramid. This chamber is generally acknowledged as the spot where Khufu, the most powerful ruler of Egypt's Old Kingdom (c.2690-2180 BC), was interred for all eternity, and it still contains the remains of Pharaoh's sarcophagus a fractured mass of red stone that is said to ring like a bell when struck.

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Archaeologists May Have A Bone To Pick With Herbivores

Smithsonian.com
8/4/2011

When you see news stories with headlines like Crocodile Ate Our Human Ancestors, do you ever wonder how the archaeologists knew that the bones had been chewed by a certain creature? This is harder than it seems because carnivores arent the only creatures munching on bones, and herbivores are not the strict vegans we think they are. Herbivores eat bones. Theyre not delving in to get the yummy marrow, though. Herbivores chew only on dry bones and only when theyre mineral-deprived; the bones provide essential nutrients, phosphorus and a bit of sodium.

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Machu Picchu, Before and After Excavation

Nationalgeographic.com
7/22/2011

The ruins of Machu Picchu are covered in jungle growth in this 1911 photograph taken when Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham first came to the site a century ago this week. Bingham was surprised to find that the ancient Inca sites he visited in Peru, including Machu Picchu, weren't as hidden or deserted as he imagined they would be.

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Wormlike Parasite Detected in Ancient Mummies

Nationalgeographic.com
5/31/2011

A tiny, wormlike parasite that plagues people worldwide also infected ancient Africans, new analyses of mummies reveal for the first time.

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Neanderthals Made a Last Stand at Subarctic Outpost?

Nationalgeographic.com
5/13/2011

A hardy band of Neanderthals may have made a last stand for their species at a remote outpost in subarctic Russia, a newfound prehistoric "tool kit" suggests. The Ural Mountains site "may be one of the last [refuges] of the Neanderthals, and that would be very exciting," said study leader Ludovic Slimak, an archaeologist at France's Universit de Toulouse le Mirail.

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Neanderthals' Last Stand Possibly Found

Discovery.com
5/12/2011

A Neanderthal-style toolkit found in the frigid far north of Russia's Ural Mountains dates to 33,000 years ago and may mark the last refuge of Neanderthals before they went extinct, according to a new Science study.

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Archaeology of World War II

Archaeology.org
5/1/2011

Between 1939 and 1945, the world was engulfed in a conflict fought on almost every continent and ocean, involving every world power, and ultimately costing more than 50 million people, both soldiers and civilians, their lives. More than a dozen nations, among them the United States, Great Britain, and the U.S.S.R, fought on the side of the Allies, joining forces against the Axis powersprimarily Germany, Italy, and Japanwho, at the apex of their power, controlled or were poised to control large swaths of Europe, Africa, the Pacific Ocean, and East and Southeast Asia. Perhaps the greatest difference between World War II and the wars and conflicts that preceded it was its ubiquity.

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Nails Tied to Jesus' Crucifixion Found?

Discovery.com
4/13/2011

Two Roman nails dating back 2,000 years, found in the burial cave of the Jewish high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans, may be linked to the crucifixion, an Israeli filmmaker has claimed.

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Twenty Years of Archaeology at Blue Creek

pasthorizons.com
3/5/2011

In 1992 the Maya Research Program began work at Blue Creek, Belize, expanding over a twenty year period to encompass a multi-disciplinary team of researchers. A yearly summer field project of excavation and survey brings together students and volunteers from around the world, to help advance our understanding of Maya society.

Blue Creek is located on the Rio Bravo escarpment in north-western Belize. Despite its modest size, the strategic location at the head of the Rio Hondo afforded its rulers substantial wealth, prestige, and authority. At its peak from 200-600 AD it was a successful city state supporting up to 20,000 inhabitants. Trade and agriculture formed the basis of wealth for Blue Creek leading to a relatively stable social system. However, by 800 AD a major decline is evident with building construction at the core area coming to a halt. By 1100 AD the site was almost completely abandoned.

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Egypt Antiquities Missing

Nationalgeographic.com
2/14/2011

Click to watch a video about missing antiquities from the Cairo Museum.

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"Lucy" Was No Swinger, Walked Like Us, Fossil Suggests

Nationalgeographic.com
2/10/2011

An unprecedented fossil foot bone appears to confirm that Australopithecus afarensisthe early human ancestors made famous by the "Lucy" skeletonwalked like modern humans, a new study says. Until now it had been unclear just how uprightin a sense, just how humanLucy really was.

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Archaeological Digs

popular-archaeology.com
1/10/2011

There are archaeology field schools and research activities being conducted all over the world. Many excavations are conducted during the summer months; however, some are ongoing throughout the year, and some are being conducted even during the winter months in parts of the world where the climate is favorable.

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Humans First Wore Clothing 170,000 Years Ago

Discovery.com
1/6/2011

Humans began to wear clothing 170,000 years ago, concludes a new study that suggests our ancestors first put on clothes after the second-to-last Ice Age, when being nude must have been too cool for comfort. The evidence comes from seemingly very unfashionable lice, since scientists tracked when head lice evolved into clothing/body lice around 170,000 years ago. So lice have been with us since the world's first clothes were made.

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A boat, possibly Civil War-era, emerges on Sea Pines' shore

islandpacket.com
1/6/2011

Coastal waters uncovered a potential piece of Civil War-era history discovered last week by a visiting diplomat on a Hilton Head Island beach. Sea Pines resident Sally Peterson was walking on the beach in Sea Pines with her brother, Peter Thomson, and his family, who were visiting for the holidays. Thomson is a Fiji diplomat and the South Pacific island nation's permanent representative to the United Nations.

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Secrets of the Colosseum

Smithsonian.com
1/3/2011

The floor of the colosseum, where you might expect to see a smooth ellipse of sand, is instead a bewildering array of masonry walls shaped in concentric rings, whorls and chambers, like a huge thumbprint. The confusion is compounded as you descend a long stairway at the eastern end of the stadium and enter ruins that were hidden beneath a wooden floor during the nearly five centuries the arena was in use, beginning with its inauguration in A.D. 80.

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New Type of Ancient Human FoundDescendants Live Today?

Nationalgeographic.com
12/22/2010

A previously unknown kind of humanthe Denisovanslikely roamed Asia for thousands of years, probably interbreeding occasionally with humans like you and me, according to a new genetic study.

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Mummified Forest Found on Treeless Arctic Island

Nationalgeographic.com
12/17/2010

An ancient mummified forest, complete with well-preserved logs, leaves, and seedpods, has been discovered deep in the Canadian Arctic, scientists say. The dry, frigid site is now surrounded by glaciers and is completely treeless, except for a few bonsai-size dwarf trees.

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Statue 'Cemetery' Found Near Egyptian Tomb

Discovery.com
12/16/2010

Egyptian archaeologists believe they have found a type of cemetery of broken and damaged ancient statues near the northern side of the funerary temple of King Tut's grandfather on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. A team excavating the site, which has recently yielded many statues, has unearthed two red granite statue fragments. One is part of a larger statue of Amenhotep III, believed to be the grandfather of King Tutankhamun, and features two legs. The other is a 2.73-meter (9-foot) high head of the god Hapi.

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Archaeology: World's Oldest Ropes Found.

Discovery.com
12/16/2010

Coils of nearly 4,000 year-old rope has turned up in caves on the Red Sea. Discovery News' Rossella Lorenzi digs deep to bring us a new story from ancient Egypt.

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Neanderthals Fashioned Earliest Tool Made From Human Bone

livescience.com
12/15/2010

The earliest known tool made from human bone has been discovered and it was apparently crafted by Neanderthals, scientists find. The scientists note that as of yet, they have no way to prove or disprove whether the Neanderthals who made the tool did so intentionally for instance, for rituals or after cannibalization.

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Pompeii skeletons reveal secrets of Roman family life

bbc.co.uk
12/13/2010

Skeletons uncovered in Pompeii in the 1980s have provided scientists with information about how people lived. Among the discoveries are markers of congenital syphilis, long thought to have first reached Europe with Christopher Columbus sailors in the fifteenth century.

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Prehistoric Dice Boards FoundOldest Games in Americas?

Nationalgeographic.com
12/10/2010

American Indian casinos aren't exactly new to the gamepeople were playing dice in the New World as early as 5,000 years ago, preliminary research suggests. Mysterious holes arranged in c shapespunched into clay floors at the Tlacuachero archaeological site in Mexico's Chiapas state (see map)may have been dice-game scoreboards, according to archaeologist Barbara Voorhies.

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Chinese Noodle Dinner Buried for 2,500 Years

Discovery.com
11/19/2010

Noodles, cakes, porridge, and meat bones dating to around 2,500 years ago were recently unearthed at a Chinese cemetery, according to a paper that will appear in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Painting of Henry VIII's 'Lost' Palace For Sale

Discovery.com
11/4/2010

It was among Henry VIII's grandest undertakings: a castle to outshine the castle of his rival, King Francois I of France. And so it was named "Nonsuch," as in no other palace could ever equal its magnificence. But, after taking eight years to construct, the Nonsuch Palace would end up standing for less than 150 years. In the 1680s, the grand estate fell into disrepair and was lost to history.

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High-Level Mummies

Nationalgeographic.com
10/26/2010

A rare undisturbed tomb atop an ancient pyramid in Lima, Peru, has yielded four 1,150-year-old, well-bundled mummies of the Wari culture, archaeologists announced on October 20. The mummies include what appear to be an elite woman and three children, who may have been sacrificed to accompany her into the afterlife, according to Isabel Flores Espinosa, excavation director at the Huaca Pucllana archaeological site.

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'Mini-Pompeii' Found in Norway

Discovery.com
10/7/2010

Norwegian archaeologists have unearthed a Neolithic mini Pompeii at a campsite near the North Sea, they announced this week. Discovered at Hamresanden, not far from Kristiansands airport at Kjevik in southern Norway, the settlement has remained undisturbed for 5,500 years, buried under three feet of sand.

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The Origins of Life

Smithsonian.com
10/5/2010

A hilly green campus in Washington, D.C. houses two departments of the Carnegie Institution for Science: the Geophysical Laboratory and the quaintly named Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. When the institution was founded, in 1902, measuring the earths magnetic field was a pressing scientific need for makers of nautical maps. Now, the people who work herepeople like Bob Hazenhave more fundamental concerns.

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A Viking Mystery

Smithsonian.com
10/5/2010

Before construction could begin on new student housing at one of Oxford Universitys 38 colleges, St. Johns, archaeologists were summoned to investigate the site in January 2008. After just a few hours of digging, one archaeologist discovered the remains of a 4,000-year-old religious complexan earthwork enclosure, or henge, built by late Neolithic tribesmen, probably for a sun-worshiping cult. About 400 feet in diameter, the temple was one of the largest of Britains prehistoric henges, of which more than 100 have been found.

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Trampling Skews Artifact Dates by Thousands of Years?

Nationalgeographic.com
9/29/2010

Around the world, the hooves of water buffaloes, goats, and other large animals may have propelled countless Stone Age artifacts back in time, at least as far as archaeologists are concerned. In wet areas, wild or domestic animals' heavy footfalls can push stone artifacts deep into the ground, making them seem older than they really arein some cases, thousands of years olderaccording to a new study.

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Harriet Tubman's Amazing Grace

Smithsonian.com
9/1/2010

An 8- by 5-inch 19th-century hymnal, bound in faded paperboard and cloth, bears its owners name handwritten on the inside cover. The well-worn book of hymns belonged to one of American historys most legendary heroines: Harriet Tubman.

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Reading the Writing on Pompeiis Walls

Smithsonian.com
7/27/2010

Rebecca Benefiel stepped into the tiny dark room on the first floor of the House of Maius Castricius. Mosquitoes whined. Huge moths flapped around her head. And much higher on the ick meterher flashlight revealed a desiccated corpse that looked as if it was struggling to rise from the floor. Nonetheless, she moved closer to the walls and searched for aberrations in the stucco. She soon found what she was looking for: a string of names and a cluster of numbers, part of the vibrant graffiti chitchat carried on by the citizens of Pompeii before Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79 and buried their city in a light pumice stone called lapilli.

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The Great Escape From Slavery of Ellen and William Craft

Smithsonian.com
6/17/2010

Most runaway slaves fled to freedom in the dead of night, often pursued by barking bloodhounds. A few fugitives, such as Henry Box Brown who mailed himself north in a wooden crate, devised clever ruses or stowed away on ships and wagons. One of the most ingenious escapes was that of a married couple from Georgia, Ellen and William Craft, who traveled in first-class trains, dined with a steamboat captain and stayed in the best hotels during their escape to Philadelphia and freedom in 1848.

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Decapitated Gladiators Found in England?

Discovery.com
6/14/2010

The lives of Roman gladiators and the wide reach of the bloody games throughout the empire is coming more into focus thanks to the discovery of a possible gladiator graveyard in Britain. Jorge Ribas talks to the excavation's field officer.

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Leonardo da Vinci Paleontology Pioneer

Smithsonian.com
6/11/2010

Although hes been dead for nearly 500 years, Leonardo da Vinci is still remembered as the quintessential Renaissance man, a polymath whose curiosity and creativity ranged widely among the arts and sciences. One of his interests was the study of fossils. In a new paper in the journal Palaios, Andrea Baucon shows that he was a pioneer in the study of both body fossils, or the remains of once-living organisms, and of trace fossils, such as the footprints, burrows and coprolites organisms left behind.

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Oldest leather shoe steps out after 5,500 years

News.yahoo.com
6/6/2010

About 5,500 years ago someone in the mountains of Armenia put his best foot forward in what is now the oldest leather shoe ever found.

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From the Castle: Becoming Us

Smithsonian.com
3/1/2010

Why do our wisdom teeth often cause problems, and why do we have relatively hairless skin? The answers come from our distant past. Anyone with Internet access will soon be able to solve such mysteries in the Smithsonians compelling Web site, Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human?

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The Human Family's Earliest Ancestors

Smithsonian.com
3/1/2010

Tim White is standing with a group of restless men atop a ridge in the Afar desert of Ethiopia. A few of them are pacing back and forth, straining to see if they can spot fragments of beige bone in the reddish-brown rubble below, as eager to start their search as children at an Easter egg hunt.

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Sugar Masters in a New World

Smithsonian.com
2/1/2010

Until the discovery of the New World in the late 15th century, Europeans hungered for sugar. So precious was the commodity that a medieval burgher could only afford to consume one teaspoon of the sweet granules per year. And even in Europes early Renaissance courts, the wealthy and powerful regarded the refined sweetener as a delicious extravagance. When Queen Isabella of Castile sought a Christmas present for her daughters, she chose a small box brimming with sugar.

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Uncovering Secrets of the Sphinx

Smithsonian.com
2/1/2010

When Mark Lehner was a teenager in the late 1960s, his parents introduced him to the writings of the famed clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. During one of his trances, Cayce, who died in 1945, saw that refugees from the lost city of Atlantis buried their secrets in a hall of records under the Sphinx and that the hall would be discovered before the end of the 20th century.

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Temple to cat god found in Egypt

news.bbc.co.uk
1/19/2010

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 2,000-year-old temple in Alexandria dedicated to a cat goddess. The temple is the first trace of the royal quarters of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be revealed in Alexandria. The find confirms the Greek dynasty of Egyptians continued the worship of ancient animal deities. Many more ruins of the ancient capital of Hellenistic Egypt lie preserved under the modern city, yet to be unearthed, archaeologists say.

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Century-Old Butter Found in Antarctica

Discovery.com
12/16/2009

Two blocks of butter have been found intact after nearly a century in an Antarctic hut used by British explorer Robert Falcon Scott on his doomed 1910-12 expedition, a report said. Television New Zealand reported that conservators found the two blocks of New Zealand butter in bags in stables attached to the expedition Hut at Cape Evans in Antarctica.

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Ancient Lost Army Found?

Discovery.com
11/9/2009

Has the lost army of Cambyses II been found? The Persian army of 50,000 soldiers supposedly perished in a sandstorm in ancient Egypt 2500 years ago. Researchers have located a valley of bones they think may belong to the fabled army.

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Five Roman-Era Shipwrecks Found Off Italy

Discovery.com
7/24/2009

A team of archaeologists has discovered a trove of five Roman-era shipwrecks deep under the sea off a small Mediterranean island. The find of well-preserved ships, made possible by sonar technology and the use of remotely operated vehicles, includes cargo of largely intact clay vases and pots transporting wine, olive oil, fish sauce and other goods.

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King Tut Explorer's Photos, Treasures Revealed

Discovery.com
7/16/2009

Lord Carnarvon, the man who funded the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun and died five months later in mysterious circumstances before he could actually see the mummy's face, was a superstitious man who wore the same lucky bow tie all his life.

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Specially trained dogs to be used in Port Angeles archaeological survey

peninsuladailynews.com
7/11/2009

The city's archaeologist, Derek Beery, intends to employ specially trained dogs to sniff for human remains at least a century old for his ongoing waterfront archaeological survey. He is drafting requests for proposals for dogs and handlers schooled in "canine forensics," he said.

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Lod mosaic to be re-exposed

mfa.gov
7/1/2009

The 1,700 year old mosaic floor, one of the most amazing and largest in Israel, is being exposed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, in cooperation with the Municipality of Lod and residents of the city.

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Blue Paint Traces Found on Elgin Marbles

Discovery.com
6/25/2009

The Elgin Marbles, the subject of one of the oldest international cultural disputes, were originally coated with shades of blue, a new imaging technique has found. Some of the 17 figures and 56 panels from a giant frieze that once decorated the Parthenon have revealed traces of an ancient pigment known as Egyptian blue.

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Bone Flute Is Oldest Instrument, Study Says

Nationalgeographic.com
6/24/2009

A vulture-bone flute discovered in a European cave is likely the world's oldest recognizable musical instrument and pushes back humanity's musical roots, a new study says. Found with fragments of mammoth-ivory flutes, the 40,000-year-old artifact also adds to evidence that music may have given the first European modern humans a strategic advantage over Neanderthals, researchers say.

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DNA test to discover Tutankhamun's parentage

Googlenews
6/2/2009

Egyptian researchers are using DNA tests to discover the lineage of pharaoh king Tutankhamun, whose ancestry remains a mystery to Egyptologists, antiquities chief Zahi Hawass said on Monday.

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Billion-Pixel Pictures Allow Ultra-Zooming for Science

Nationalgeographic.com
5/27/2009

If a picture is worth a thousand words, what's a thousand-megapixel picture worth? Such "gigapixel" pictures allow viewers to zoom in from say, a panoramic view of President Obama's inauguration to the solemn expression on his faceas in one of the new technology's most famous applications.

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"MISSING LINK" PHOTOS: New Fossil Links Humans, Lemurs?

Nationalgeographic.com
5/19/2009

Meet "Ida," the small "missing link" found in Germany that's created a big media splash and will likely continue to make waves among those who study human origins.

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Ancient Gem-Studded Teeth Show Skill of Early Dentists

www.nationalgeographic.com
5/18/2009

The glittering "grills" of some hip-hop stars aren't exactly unprecedented. Sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago, a new study says.

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Cache of mummies unearthed at Egypt's Lahun pyramid

News.yahoo.com
4/26/2009

Archaeologists have unearthed a cache of pharaonic-era mummies in brightly painted wooden coffins near Egypt's little-known Lahun pyramid, the site head said on Sunday.

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The Dinosaur Fossil Wars

Smithsonian.com
3/28/2009

Buried beneath a barren stretch of South Dakota badland, the deceased appeared small for its species. As Ron Frithiof, an Austin, Texas, real-estate developer turned dinosaur prospector, dug cautiously around it in a rugged expanse of backcountry, he was growing increasingly confident that he and his partners were uncovering a once-in-a-lifetime find.

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Mass Grave of 19th Century Immigrants Found

Discovery.com
3/25/2009

Researchers may have discovered a mass grave for nearly five dozen 19th-century Irish immigrants who died of cholera weeks after traveling to Pennsylvania to build a railroad. Historians at Immaculata University have known for years about the 57 immigrants who died in August 1832 but could not find the grave.

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Africans Came with Columbus to New World

News.yahoo.com
3/20/2009

Teeth from exhumed skeletons of crew members Christopher Columbus left on the island of Hispaniola more than 500 years ago reveal the presence of at least one African in the New World as a contemporary of the explorer, it was announced.

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Teeth Of Columbus' Crew Flesh Out Tale Of New World Discovery

Sciencedaily.com
3/20/2009

ScienceDaily The adage that dead men tell no tales has long been disproved by archaeology. Now, however, science is taking interrogation of the dead to new heights. In a study that promises fresh and perhaps personal insight into some of the earliest European visitors to the New World, a team or researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is extracting the chemical details of life history from the teeth of crew members Christopher Columbus left on the island of Hispaniola after his second voyage to America in 1493-94.

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Screaming Mummies!

Archaeology.org
3/11/2009

For well over a century, the contorted features of ancient mummies have led to speculation of untold pain and horrible deaths. The examples quoted above are from the examination of Egyptian mummies more than 120 years ago. Today, similar descriptions can still be found in television programs and academic writings. "Is this the face of a queen? What kind of terrible end did she meet?" and "a terrible head wound, an agonized scream," intones the narrator of "Secrets of Egypt's Lost Queen," a 2007 documentary.

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Digging up the Past at a Richmond Jail

Smithsonian.com
3/1/2009

Archaeologists knew that Robert Lumpkin's slave jail stood in one of the lowest parts of Richmond, Virginiaa sunken spot known as Shockoe Bottom. From the 1830s to the Civil War, when Richmond was the largest American slave-trading hub outside of New Orleans, "the devil's half acre," as Lumpkin's complex was called, sat amid a swampy cluster of tobacco warehouses, gallows and African-American cemeteries.

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The Tomb of Queen Sesheshet

Smithsonian.com
2/3/2009

"Let's start from the beginning," Abdel Hakim Karar suggests as he scampers up the north side of an archaeological dig of sun-bleached pink stone and gravel. When you make your living unearthing the royal riches of ancient Egypt, the beginning is a very distant place indeed more than four millennia away, during the time of the 6th dynasty. We are standing on the rim of the necropolis of King Teti at Saqqara, where Karar and his team of archaeologists are excavating the tomb of Queen Sesheshet, Teti's mother. The tomb, and the once five-story-high pyramid that accommodates it, was until recently a dump for the sand and detritus of surrounding digs.

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One Woman's Journey to Save Child Slaves

Smithsonian.com
1/12/2009

Jared Greenberg didn't expect Somaly Mam to meet him at the airport in Phnom Penh. After all, she was an award-winning human rights activist, the head of a multinational organization. He was an idealistic college graduate who'd foolishly promised to raise her a million dollars the week before.

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