• Name: Paul McLerran
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Thursday, December 29, 2005

Alternative Human Origins Theory

Two archaeologists are proposing that humans arose first, not in Africa, as the prevailing model depicts, but in Asia. They maintain that much of the early human fossil evidence discovered over the past ten years supports their contention.

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Friday, December 23, 2005

Evolution: Humans and Chimpanzees Even Closer Than We Thought

Through recently conducted research, scientists have narrowed the time range limits within which the homo (human) line split from our closest animal relative, the chimpanzee. They conclude that the common ancestor of both chimpanzees and humans is now more likely placed firmly between 3 million and 7 million years ago. This contrasts with the more commonly accepted range of between 3 and 13 million years.

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Europeans Have Stone Age Faces

A new study concludes that today's Europeans have inherited the features of their stone age hunter-gatherer predecesors. The study compared 24 face measurements of a large modern-day sample with measurements taken from ancient skeletons from Scandinavia to North Africa. The results suggest that today's Europeans are descended primarily from indigenous prehistoric hunter-gatherers, and that farming, originally introduced by Neolithic settlers from the Near East, was largely adopted by the indigenous prehistoric population and not spread by massive immigration from the Neolithic middle-easterners, as was previously thought.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Most Popular Archaeology Magazines

If you want detailed accounts of the latest discoveries along with great photos and illustrations, here are two of the most popular magazines dealing with the subject of archaeology and archaeological digs. If you do not already subscribe to them, you can get them at most magazine racks or you can easily order them online by clicking on the titles below.


Biblical Archaeology Review

Sunday, December 18, 2005

More on King David's Palace

The Israeli archaeologist, Eilat Mazar, presents a detailed and persuasive case supporting her claim that the remains of a monumental building she is excavating within the area known as the ancient "City of David" in old Jerusalem is indeed the palace of the famous Old Testament king.

You can read about it in the pages of the January/February 2006 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, complete with photographs. The magazine can be found on most magazine racks, or you can order online by going to www.bib-arch.org.

Earliest Humans in Britain

Ancient flint tools dated to 700,000 years ago have recently been discovered in cliffs in eastern England, suggesting that early humans arrived in northern Europe 200,000 years earlier than scientists had suspected. The tools were found in association with the remains of hippos, elephants, and other exotic animals known to have inhabited northern Europe when the climate was more Mediterranean-like and when Britain was connected to mainland Europe by a land bridge.

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Friday, December 16, 2005

The Earliest Pyramids in Mesoamerica?

Research on an early Formative site called Ojo de Agua in the Soconusco area of Chiapas, Mexico promises to reveal the earliest known monumental pyramid and ceremonial structures in the Mexico/Mesoamerican region.

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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Cradle of Humankind Opens New Door to the Public

The Cradle of Humankind, a UN world heritage site near Johannesburg, South Africa, opens its doors wider to the public with the inauguration of a large new interpretation center and tours of the Sterkfontein cave complex. The Sterkfontein caves contain one of the world's largest fossil treasure troves bearing on human origins, including "Little Foot", an almost complete fossil skeleton of an australopithecus hominid about 4 million years old. The site is the oldest continuous paleo-anthropological dig in the world.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Unique New Mayan Stela Discovered

A unique new Mayan stela (carved standing stone) recently discovered by scientists in Guatemala depicts a portrait of a woman who apparently held religious or historical significance in the ancient Mayan culture. Dated to about the 4th century AD, it is the earliest known portrait of a woman in Mayan society carved in stone, where her significance stands independent of any association with another more significant male counterpart or relation. The discovery was made at the site of Naachtun in the dense jungle approximately 90 kilometers north of the ancient site of Tikal. Read the Story

Friday, December 02, 2005

Jerusalem Dig Raises Controversy

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In a previous posting, I wrote that the Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar believes she has uncovered evidence for the ancient palace of King David. As only a fraction of the remains have been excavated, there is much more to come, but other scholars express reservation. See the latest Washington Post news story for more.