All posts by Archaeology World Team

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves

The latest discovery in the ongoing excavations in the Ancient City of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves and gladiators, was a “Dancing Muses” statue, an iconic figure from ancient mythology.

According to the statement made by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the statue found in the works carried out in the ancient city is this unearthed statue is the sole original Hellenistic period piece attributed to a work famously replicated during the Roman period.

Today the ancient city is located in Eskihisar village of the Yatagan district of Mugla Province. It is one of the cities of the Ancient Caria Region. With an area of ​​7 km, it is one of the largest marble-built cities in the world. It is the only city-state with two major sanctuaries dedicated to Hekate and Zeus.

Historically, the “Dancing Muses,” considered one of the muses born from Zeus and Mnemosyne’s union, was reputedly crafted by Philiskos, a renowned sculptor from the second century B.C.

While there are numerous Roman period reproductions of this piece throughout Anatolia and Greece, the newly discovered statue from Stratonikeia stands out as the only authentic work by Philiskos from the Hellenistic era.

A Dancing Muses statue 2175 years old was found in the ancient city of Stratonikeia, known as the city of eternal loves
Photo: Stratonikeia and Lagina Excavation from social media account.

Information about Philiskos, the renowned sculptor from the Hellenistic Period, is quite scarce. Philiskos was known for his work in bronze sculpture, particularly in creating statues and sculptures of athletes and gods. He was active during the 4th century BCE and hailed from Rhodes, a center for artistic innovation during that era.

Philiskos is often mentioned in historical records and texts for his mastery in portraying movement and anatomical accuracy in his sculptures.

Unfortunately, none of his original works have survived, leaving us to rely on written accounts and references by other ancient authors to understand his artistic prowess and contributions to the field of sculpture during the Hellenistic Period.

Therefore, the discovery of the statue in Stratonikeia is significant for archaeologists because it demonstrates Philiskos’ artistic presence in the ancient city during the Hellenistic period.

The statue and pedestal were found during excavations inside the frigidarium of the Roman bath in Stratonikeia. However, the head and arms of the sculpture were notably absent from the findings.

Previously, a replica of this revered statue was discovered in the Roman baths of the ancient city of Perge, as well as another in Rhodes, demonstrating its widespread replication during the Roman period.

The statue will be exhibited at the Muğla Museum after the work to be done.

Oldest Fortresses in the World Discovered in Siberia

Oldest Fortresses in the World Discovered in Siberia

Oldest Fortresses in the World Discovered in Siberia

Archaeologists from Freie Universität Berlin together with an international team have uncovered fortified prehistoric settlements in a remote region of Siberia.

The results of their research reveal that hunter-gatherers in Siberia constructed complex defense structures around their settlements already 8000 years ago.

This discovery reshapes our understanding of early human societies, challenging the notion that people only began to build permanent settlements with monumental architecture and complex social structures with the advent of agriculture.

The investigation centered on the fortified settlement of Amnya, acknowledged as the northernmost Stone Age fort in Eurasia, where the team of researchers conducted fieldwork in 2019.

The group was led by Professor Henny Piezonka, an archaeologist at Freie Universität Berlin, and Dr. Natalia Chairkina, an archaeologist in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Among the team’s members were German and Russian researchers from Berlin, Kiel, and Yekaterinburg.

Tanja Schreiber, an archaeologist at the Institute of Prehistoric Archaeology in Berlin and co-author of the study explains, “Through detailed archaeological examinations at Amnya, we collected samples for radiocarbon dating, confirming the prehistoric age of the site and establishing it as the world’s oldest-known fort.

Our new palaeobotanical and stratigraphical examinations reveal that inhabitants of Western Siberia led a sophisticated lifestyle based on the abundant resources of the taiga environment.”

The prehistoric inhabitants caught fish from the Amnya River and hunted elk and reindeer using bone and stone-tipped spears. To preserve their surplus of fish oil and meat, they crafted elaborately decorated pottery.

Top: aerial view of the Amnya river and promontory; bottom: general plan of Amnya I and II, showing location of excavation trenches and features visible in the surface relief.

Approximately ten Stone Age fortified sites are known to date, with pit houses and surrounded by earthen walls and wooden palisades, suggesting advanced architectural and defensive capabilities. This discovery challenges the traditional view that permanent settlements, accompanied by defensive structures, only emerged with farming societies, thus disproving the notion that agriculture and animal husbandry were prerequisites for societal complexity.

The Siberian findings, along with other global examples like Gobekli Tepe in Anatolia, contribute to a broader reassessment of evolutionist notions that suggest a linear development of societies from simple to complex.

In various parts of the world, from the Korean peninsula to Scandinavia, hunter-gatherer communities developed large settlements by drawing on aquatic resources.

The abundance of natural resources in the Siberian taiga, such as annual fish runs and migrating herds, probably played a crucial role in the emergence of the hunter-gatherer forts.

The fortified settlements overlooking rivers may have served as strategic locations to control and exploit productive fishing spots. The competitive nature arising from the storage of resources and increased populations is evident in these prehistoric constructions, overturning previous assumptions that competition and conflict were absent in hunter-gatherer societies.

The findings underscore the diversity of pathways that led to complex societal organizations, reflected in the emergence of monumental constructions such as the Siberian forts. They also highlight the significance of local environmental conditions in shaping the trajectories of human societies.

Research results were published in the scientific journal “Antiquity.”

125,000 Years Ago Neanderthals Hunted Elephants Much Larger Than Extinct Woolly Mammoths

125,000 Years Ago Neanderthals Hunted Elephants Much Larger Than Extinct Woolly Mammoths

Hunting the now-extinct straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) was widespread among Neanderthals, concludes a research team.

In the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences scientists write that they have closely examined the bones of elephants that are approximately 125,000 years old that were discovered in Gröbern in Saxony-Anhalt and Taubach in Thuringia, Germany, decades ago.

They were able to identify cut marks made by stone tools used by the Neanderthals that indicate that the animals must have been hunted before they were extensively butchered.

125,000 Years Ago Neanderthals Hunted Elephants Much Larger Than Extinct Woolly Mammoths
Pelvic bone of a Palaeoloxodon antiquus found in Gröbern.

It was two years ago, during the analysis of bones found at the Neumark-Nord site in a former lignite mine in Saxony-Anhalt, that the same team discovered the very first evidence that Neanderthals actively hunted straight-tusked elephants, the largest terrestrial mammals of the Pleistocene.

“The results of the more recent examination of the bones from Gröbern and Taubach now show that the hunting of these elephants by Neanderthals was not an isolated phenomenon but must have been a more regular activity,” emphasized Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser, Professor of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology at JGU and Director of the Archaeological Research Center and Museum of Human Behavioral Evolution MONREPOS in Neuwied, an institute run under the aegis of LEIZA.

Gaudzinski-Windheuser was extensively involved in the investigation of the bones from Gröbern and Taubach as well as the previous study of the bones from the Neumark-Nord site.

Palaeoloxodon antiquus roamed the landscapes of Europe and Western Asia 800,000 to 100,000 years ago.

With shoulder heights of up to 4 meters and body masses of up to 13 tons, the European straight-tusked elephant was the largest land-living animal at the time, significantly larger than today’s African and Asian elephants and even bigger than the extinct wooly mammoth.

“We have estimated that the meat and fat supplied by the body of an adult Palaeoloxodon antiquus bull would have been sufficient to satisfy the daily calorie intake of at least 2,500 adult Neanderthals,” explained Gaudzinski-Windheuser.

“This is a significant number because it furnishes us with new insights into the behavior of Neanderthals.

So far, for instance, researchers had generally assumed that Neanderthals associated in groups of no more than 20 individuals.

However, the information now obtained in relation to the systematic exploitation of straight-tusked elephants indicates that Neanderthals must have gathered, at least temporarily, in larger groups or mastered techniques that allowed them to preserve and store large quantities of foodstuffs—or both.

Unexpected Discovery Of Roman Baths Under Split City Museum In Croatia

Unexpected Discovery Of Roman Baths Under Split City Museum In Croatia

Archaeologists assisting with the restoration works of the Split City Museum in Croatia have made a surprising discovery. Beneath the building, they found large Roman baths and mosaics.

Researchers did expect to make some minor archaeological discoveries, but not large Roman thermal baths!

One of the goals of the European project called “Palace of Life, City of Change” is to reconstruct the ground floor and the installation of a lift in the Split City Museum.

Located inside the old Papalic Palace, the museum is visited by many, featuring various fascinating exhibitions telling the story of the rich history of Split and its citizens.

The ongoing restoration works have been carried out according to the plans, and archaeologists enjoyed the minor discoveries they made at the site. It was a huge surprise and sensation when they suddenly unearthed massive Roman structures.

Total Croatia News reports that “in the former museum reception, the structure of the ancient floor, underfloor heating, an opening for warm air connected to the stove, a praetorium, an opening inside the underfloor heating, and a furnace construction were all discovered.

Unexpected Discovery Of Roman Baths Under Split City Museum In Croatia

A deeper continuation of digging revealed an ancient mosaic in the southern room, then a continuation of the ancient wall in the central room with a pool and an oil and grape press.

In the northern room, next to the staircase, a pool with a white mosaic floor was also found – the head of archaeological research from the Neir company, Nebojša Cingeli, revealed.

Cingeli explained that the discoveries underneath the Papalic Palace are related to water because they are pools and cisterns, so it is easy to conclude “that there were once thermal baths in the northern part of Diocletian’s Palace as well”.

This comes as somewhat of a surprise for both historians and archaeologists, because for years it was assumed that the northern part of Diocletian’s palace housed barracks and training grounds for Diocletian’s personal guard and staff.”

The plan is to holed the excavated rooms open to the public. Before visitors can come it is important to strengthen the walls and secure the structure. Above the open archaeology site, architects will design a design a system of walkways that will allow movement above the site.

“The selection of exhibits, expanded legends/descriptions and other museological items created a narrative thread of the exhibition that starts from before Diocletian’s time, the connection with Salona, ancient Split, all the way through to the early Middle Ages to the period of the autonomous commune.

“Showing our visitors the “living past” that speaks to us through the original layers of centuries long gone by adds insurmountable value and legacy to future generations. It is up to us to carry this out in the best and most professional way,” concluded the director of the Split City Museum.”

Humans Got To America 7,000 Years Earlier Than Thought – New Research Confirms

Humans Got To America 7,000 Years Earlier Than Thought – New Research Confirms

When and how humans first settled in the Americas is a subject of considerable controversy. In the 20th century, archaeologists believed that humans reached the North American interior no earlier than around 14,000 years ago.

But our new research found something different. Our latest study supports the view that people were in America about 23,000 years ago.

Humans Got To America 7,000 Years Earlier Than Thought – New Research Confirms
The footprints come from a group of people of different ages.

The 20th-century experts thought the appearance of humans had coincided with the formation of an ice-free corridor between two immense ice sheets straddling what’s now Canada and the northern US. According to this idea, the corridor, caused by melting at the end of the last Ice Age, allowed humans to trek from Alaska into the heart of North America.

Gradually, this orthodoxy crumbled. In recent decades, dates for the earliest evidence of people have crept back from 14,000 years ago to 16,000 years ago. This is still consistent with humans only reaching the Americas as the last Ice Age was ending.

In September 2021, we published a paper in Science that dated fossil footprints uncovered in New Mexico to around 23,000 years ago—the height of the last Ice Age. They were made by a group of people passing by an ancient lake near what’s now White Sands. The discovery added 7,000 years to the record of humans on the continent, rewriting American prehistory.

If humans were in America at the height of the last Ice Age, either the ice posed few barriers to their passage, or humans had been there for much longer. Perhaps they had reached the continent during an earlier period of melting.

Our conclusions were criticized, however, we have now published evidence confirming the early dates.

Dating the pollen

For many people, the word pollen conjures up a summer of allergies, sneezing, and misery. But fossilized pollen can be a powerful scientific tool.

In our 2021 study, we carried out radiocarbon dating on common ditch grass seeds found in sediment layers above and below where the footprints were found. Radiocarbon dating is based on how a particular form—called an isotope—of carbon (carbon-14) undergoes radioactive decay in organisms that have died within the last 50,000 years.

Some researchers claimed that the radiocarbon dates in our 2021 research were too old because they were subject to something called the “hard water” effect. Water contains carbonate salts and therefore carbon. Hard water is groundwater that has been isolated from the atmosphere for some period of time, meaning that some of its carbon-14 has already undergone radioactive decay.

Common ditch grass is an aquatic plant and the critics said seeds from this plant could have consumed old water, scrambling the dates in a way that made them seem older than they were.

It’s quite right that they raised this issue. This is the way that science should proceed, with claim and counter-claim.

How did we test our claim?

Radiocarbon dating is robust and well-understood. You can date any type of organic matter in this way as long as you have enough of it. So two members of our team, Kathleen Springer and Jeff Pigati of the United States Geological Survey set out to date the pollen grains. However, pollen grains are really small, typically about 0.005 millimeters in diameter, so you need lots of them.

This posed a formidable challenge: you need thousands of them to get enough carbon to date something. In fact, you need 70,000 grains or more.

Medical science provided a remarkable solution to our conundrum. We used a technique called flow cytometry, which is more commonly used for counting and sampling individual human cells, to count and isolate fossil pollen for radiocarbon dating.

Flow cytometry uses the fluorescent properties of cells, stimulated by a laser. These cells move through a stream of liquid. Fluorescence causes a gate to open, allowing individual cells in the flow of liquid to be diverted, sampled, and concentrated.

We have pollen grains in all sediment layers between the footprints at White Sands, which allows us to date them. The key advantage of having so much pollen is that you can pick plants like pine trees that are not affected by old water. Our samples were processed to concentrate the pollen within them using flow cytometry.

After a year or more of labor-intensive and expensive laboratory work, we were rewarded with dates based on pine pollen that validated the original chronology of the footprints. They also showed that old water effects were absent at this site.

The pollen also allowed us to reconstruct vegetation that was growing when people made the footprints. We got exactly the kinds of plants we would expect to have been there during the Ice Age in New Mexico.

We also used a different dating technique called optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) as an independent check. OSL relies on the accumulation of energy within buried grains of quartz over time. This energy comes from the background radiation that’s all around us.

Colorized scanning electron microscope image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants.

The more energy we find, the older we can assume the quartz grains are. This energy is released when the quartz is exposed to light, so what you are dating is the last time the quartz grains saw sunlight.

To sample the buried quartz, you drive metal tubes into the sediment and remove them carefully to avoid exposing them to light. Taking quartz grains from the center of the tube, you expose them to light in the lab and measure the light emitted by grains. This reveals their age. The dates from OSL supported those we got using other techniques.

The humble pollen grain and some marvelous medical technology helped us confirm the dates the footprints were made, and when people reached the Americas.

Seven Bronze Age Swords And Large Hoard Of Slavic Coins Found In Germany

Seven Bronze Age Swords And Large Hoard Of Slavic Coins Found In Germany

Seven impressive Bronze Age swords and a large hoard of Slavic coins have been unearthed by volunteer archaeologists in Germany. The find was made in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal, and European Affairs announced in a press release that the seven swords were found in fragments near Mirow (Mecklenburg Lake District).

Seven Bronze Age Swords And Large Hoard Of Slavic Coins Found In Germany
Credit: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal and European Affairs

It can be assumed that they came to the surface some time ago when a trench was being dredged and spread over a larger area with the dredged material.

Originally, the swords were probably sunk into the lowlands as consecration or sacrificial offerings. Although such deposits of valuable items are not unusual, many Bronze Age swords have never been discovered in one place in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Scientific dating has shown that the swords date back to the Bronze Age. Their age is estimated at around 3,000 years.

The finders meticulously tracked down the individual fragments, making it possible to assemble the swords almost completely.

The recovery was carried out together with an excavation technician from the state archaeology department.

The 6,000 silver coins from the 11th century were found on Rügen, Germany’s largest island. They were scattered over a larger area, but most of them were in a clay pot.

Credit: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal and European Affairs

The coins were also found by volunteer conservationists, more precisely by the “De Ackerlöper” working group.

The origins of the coins are very different. Some of the coins are from Western Germany, while others can be traced to the Meißen-Upper Lusatia region. About 10 percent of the coins come from England, Denmark, Bohemia, and Hungary.

Credit: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal and European Affairs

The unearthed coins reflect trade relationships in the 11th century. Scientists point out that this is the largest Slavic coin hoard of the post-war period to date.

Another very unusual find is the reliquary containers that were found in the Mecklenburg Lake District. A volunteer conservationist discovered the treasure during an inspection. In a pot with around 1,700 coins were neck and finger rings, a pearl necklace (with gold, rock crystal, and carnelian beads), and two reliquary containers.

Credit: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Science, Culture, Federal and European Affairs

The researcher explained that the two reliquary containers offer surprising evidence of the Christian faith in an area that was still largely influenced by other beliefs at the time.

“Around 250 volunteers are currently active in the preservation of archaeological monuments. About the same number are currently undergoing relevant training. They are indispensable for preserving our cultural heritage in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania,” Culture Minister Bettina Martin said, highlighting the work of the volunteer archaeological preservationists in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada

Archaeologists have discovered dozens of unique artifacts that span more than 7,000 years in melting ice patches in British Columbia’s Mount Edziza Provincial Park, Canada.

During the survey, over 50 perishable artifacts were found near Goat Mountain and the Kitsu Plateau in Mount Edziza Provincial Park, a region that is a volcanic landscape “extremely significant” to the Tahltan, one of Canada’s indigenous First Nations. 

7,000-Year-Old Unique Artifacts Discovered Under Melting Ice In Canada
A 3,000-year-old pair of stick wrapped in animal hide found in the ice.

The finds include stitched birch bark containers, wooden walking staffs, carved and beveled sticks, an atlatl dart foreshaft, and a stitched hide boot, the research team writes in their study published in the Journal of Field Archaeology.

While previously exploring the area, scientists discovered many “vast obsidian quarries” and obsidian artifacts in the park.

However, the nearby ice patches had not been examined as extensively. This time, scientists wanted to find out if perishable ancient artifacts were preserved in the ice.

The study of nine ice patches led to the discovery of 56 perishable artifacts.

The 6,200-year-old stitched animal hide as it looked in the melting ice (A) and after unfolding (C). A close-up photo (B) shows the knotted sinew and a stitch.
One of the many obsidian artifacts found in the melting ice.

“Most of the perishable artifacts were manufactured from wood, including birch bark containers, projectile shafts, and walking staffs,” researchers said. Other artifacts were made “using animal remains include a stitched hide boot and carved antler and bone tools.”

According to a report in the Miami Herald, “Archaeologists found two bark containers with stitching.” One of these is a” 2,000-year-old piece of bark is folded with two rows of stitching along one side and some of the stitching material still left in the holes, the study said.

A 5,300-year-old antler shaped like an ice pick found in the melting ice.

The other “unique” bark container has sticks stitched into its sides, suggesting it was part of a reinforced basket used for transporting heavy loads. Researchers said it dates back over 1,400 years.”

“Archaeologists also uncovered an artifact made of stitched animal hide that they identified as the remains of a moccasin-like boot,” which is about 6,200 years old. It has “two different thicknesses of hide … which have been stitched in multiple places,” the study said.

Another intriguing object uncovered under the ice was a 5,300-year-old antler shaped like an ice pick.  The research team explained the three-pronged antler had one sharpened point, one blunted as if used as a hammer, and one broken but presumed to be used as a handle.

“Every perishable artifact was found amongst a backdrop of millions of obsidian” artifacts, the study said. The artifacts were taken to a museum in British Columbia for “climate-controlled conservation” and further study.

“Radiocarbon ages on 13 of the perishable artifacts reveal that they span the last 7000 years,” the study informs.

New study: Humans engaged in large-scale warfare in Europe 5,000 years ago ‘1,000 years earlier than previously thought’

New study: Humans engaged in large-scale warfare in Europe 5,000 years ago ‘1,000 years earlier than previously thought’

New study: Humans engaged in large-scale warfare in Europe 5,000 years ago ‘1,000 years earlier than previously thought’

Hundreds of human remains unearthed from a burial site point to a  warfare between Stone Age people long before the formation of powerful states in Europe, according to a new study.

The evidence comes from a re-analysis of more than 300 sets of skeletal remains uncovered in northern Spain (radiocarbon dated to between 5,400 and 5,000 years ago).

The bones are predominantly male and many have evidence of injuries from stabbing and blunt-force trauma – suggesting they belonged to a warrior class.

The study pushes the first evidence of large-scale warfare back more than 1,000 years, and indicates that periods of conflict lasted for months on end.

Previous research has suggested that conflicts during this period, known as the Late Neolithic, consisted of short raids lasting no more than a few days and involved small groups of 20-30 individuals. The assumption, therefore, was that early societies lacked the logistical capabilities to support longer, larger-scale conflicts.

In the new study, researchers re-examined the skeletal remains of 338 people recovered from a mass grave site in a shallow cave in the Rioja Alavesa region of northern Spain. The site in question is San Juan ante Portam Latinam, a rock shelter in a valley in northern Spain.

San Juan ante Portam Latinam is about 20 square meters in area. In that small space, researchers found densely packed human bones. They include 90 complete skeletons, over 200 partial skeletons and thousands of seemingly isolated bones. There were also many stone weapons, including blades, arrowheads, and axes.

Most of the head injuries could be attributed to blunt-force trauma, which may have been caused by axes, wooden clubs, slingshots, or thrown stones.

Teresa Fernández‑Crespo and colleagues from the University of Oxford re-examined the skeletal remains of 338 individuals for evidence of healed and unhealed injuries.

Some 52 flint arrowheads had also been discovered at the same site, with previous research finding that 36 of these had minor damage associated with hitting a target.

The authors found that 23.1% of the individuals had skeletal injuries, with 10.1% having unhealed injuries, substantially higher than estimated injury rates for the time (7–17% and 2–5%, respectively).

Most of the head injuries could be attributed to blunt-force trauma, which may have been caused by axes, wooden clubs, slingshots or thrown stones.

The researchers also found that the majority of injuries had occurred in adolescent or adult males – a significantly higher rate than in females. The findings suggest many of the individuals at the burial site were exposed to violence and may have been casualties of conflict.

The earliest such conflict in Europe was previously thought to have occurred during the bronze age, approximately 4,000 to 2,800 years ago.

The authors speculate that the conflict persisted over several months based on the comparatively high rate of healed injuries. Although the authors offer a number of theories, including conflict between various cultural groups in the area during the Late Neolithic, the reasons for the conflict remain unclear.

The study was published in Scientific Reports.