Ancient Whale Bones Found in Burica Peninsula of Panama

Fossil Hunters Found Bones From An Ancient Whale… And Then They Saw The Bite Marks

The whale fin fossils. (Photo: Photos courtesy Carlos Jaramillo)

At the top of the water surface, there was tremendous turmoil. An island of flesh, once comfortably living and swimming through the ancient seas, bobbed silently, at times yanked violently to the side or jolted upward by forces below it.

A huge prehistoric seabird called Pelagornis miocaenus, which circles lazily above the scene, may have noticed that the whale carcass in its entirety, partially exposed to the air, but much of it underwater.

He had seen the many sharks that surrounded him. Some take breaths, shaking the flesh off the body and go away. Others may have attacked the whale from below, propelling themselves teeth first into the dead mammal.

The head and snout of a lone great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias) may have appeared amongst the waves, biting off chunks from the dead whale’s side.

A whale this size isn’t devoured in a day, no matter how hungry the sharks encircling it was. With the tastier options—the tongue and most of the fatty flesh—eaten away, the carcass was beginning to come apart. The head had long since detached, its skull drifting down to the seafloor. Other parts were carried off to be eaten, the bones discarded elsewhere. Eventually, whatever gases or fat content kept the carcass afloat would dissipate, and it would sink.

One of the whale’s fins, in shreds, had already sunk to the sand. Ancient fish may have snacked on the threads of flesh still clinging to the exposed bones. Marine invertebrates such as worms and bryozoans attached themselves onto what remained.

In time, the remnants of this fin were covered by the seafloor. Those same remnants saw daylight again over 2 million years later, in September 2016. Professor Joaquín Atencio, two of his students, Joel Orocú and Patricio Pimentel, and Joel’s father, Félix Orocú, discovered the exposed fossil whale bones when the tide was out in the Burica Peninsula of Panama.

The fossil hunters: Félix Orocú (red shirt); his son, Joel Orocú (holding shovel); and students from Colegio Punta Burica and Escuela Primaria Caña Blanca. (Photo: Photos courtesy of Carlos Jaramillo)

After spotting the fossils in the coastal outcrop, Atencio called Carlos Jaramillo, a geologist, and paleontologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, who in turn put together a team of scientists to excavate them. They uncovered several disarticulated fossil whale bones and a fossil shark tooth nearby.

The research into these bones culminated in a paper published recently in the journal Palaeontologia Electronica: “Shark-cetacean trophic interactions during the late Pliocene in the Central Eastern Pacific (Panama).”

The authors determined that these bones belonged to a type of Balaenopterid, a genus of filter-feeding whales that includes today’s humpback and blue whales. Fin bones alone are not enough to determine the exact species or the size of the marine mammal, but these particular bones did offer tantalizing clues into the last moments of this animal.

Graphic: Cortés et al.

“When we collected the whale fossils,” explained lead author Dirley Cortés, a paleobiologist at Redpath Museum, McGill University, “from the beginning we were really surprised about the giant size of the appendicular bones. After a while of inspection, we realized some of the bones had strange serrated marks across the surface, we came up with the exciting hypothesis of shark bite marks, but it took us more time to actually confirm it.”

One such bone, they reported, has 26 separate bite traces upon it. Studying such traces is the hallmark of ichnology, a field that specializes in the grooves, marks, edges, and prints left behind by living species. What might look like just a bunch of cracks on the ancient bone to the average person reads like an entire language to ichnologists, one that provides remarkable insight?

“Some of the bite traces show these very finely spaced parallel lines,” said Anthony Martin, ichnologist at Emory University, “which is typical of the kind of damage you would get from a serrated tooth. That damage is generally associated with sharks.”

Image: Cortés et al.

Absent conclusive proof one way or the other, the authors conservatively propose that at least two different sharks may have scavenged upon this whale, perhaps great white sharks. Jorge Velez-Juarbe, the marine mammal curator for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, explained that this assumption is due to the size difference between the bite traces.

The scenario described at the start of this article may or may not have actually occurred. While fossils tell us a great deal, they don’t reveal every detail. We don’t know whether the whale was already dead at the time of the shark bites; we don’t know whether it was scavenged while floating on the surface or whether it had already sunk and was eaten on the seafloor. We also don’t know with certainty which species of shark gnawed on its flesh.

“From what we know, at the end of the Pliocene, there is an interesting mix of more modern fauna with other more ‘archaic’ or extinct groups,” Velez-Juarbe said. “This, of course, changed a bit at the end of the Neogene, when there seems to have been a marine megafauna extinction event.”

In other words, some of the creatures living in oceans 3.6 million to 2.58 million years ago are very much a part of our world today. We have filter-feeding whales and great white sharks off of our coasts. The story these fossils tell is one we can instantly imagine and understand. Today’s sharks are not known to attack full-grown whales. If their ancestors behaved in similar ways, then it is reasonable to assume ancient sharks scavenged—rather than killed then ate—this ancient whale. The bite traces support this.

“The vast majority of bite traces on bone are scavenging,” Martin said. “In many instances, and I think in this instance, too, there might not be enough flesh to prevent the teeth from contacting the bone. Once the teeth are contacting the bone, that means either that bone is exposed or the flesh is thin enough that the teeth can contact bone.”

“This finding is of scientific importance not only because we were able to tell much about sharks feeding on whales [in prehistoric times], but because of its temporal context. As we pointed out in the paper, the genetic diversity of cetaceans, and especially mysticetes, declined around the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary, an example of a global turnover event in the marine megafauna,” wrote Cortés in an email. “Fossil marine mammals, like the one preserved here, will be useful for understanding the dynamics of the marine fauna in one of the most critical periods of Earth history, the Plio-Pleistocene transition.”

Cortés emphasized the importance of further exploring the Burica Peninsula in Panama and other nearby sites. While whale fossils are common throughout the world, discoveries have been relatively few in Central and South America. The whale specimen described here is actually the first marine mammal recorded from the Neogene (a period that spanned from 23 million years ago to 2.58 million years ago) in the Burica Peninsula.

“One of the reasons,” Cortés offered, “maybe the lack of fully exposed Cenozoic outcrops in particular in the Pacific side of Central America, which makes it difficult to prospect this succession and get data. Another important reason is the number of researchers per capita.”

She described how paleontology is still an emerging science in countries such as Panama and Colombia. To illustrate this further, she explained that out of “1 million citizens, Colombia has less than 90 scientists, of which a minimum amount is involved in paleontology. Without enough paleontologists, research becomes challenged although the privileged way of life. And the panorama for women scientists does not look so encouraging either.”

“Something paleontologists always highlight is that no matter how complete, what matters most is the amazing story that fossil has to tell us,” wrote Cortés. The stories yet to be told—the fossils hidden for millions of years—are just waiting to be found.

A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain

A Farmer’s Misplaced Hammer Led to the Largest Roman Treasure in Britain

When Eric Lawes set off for a field in Hoxne village, Suffolk on November 16, 1992, it wasn’t on a treasure hunt.

The metal detector he’d received as a retirement gift was meant to find a hammer lost on the farmland.

But the detector picked up a strong signal in the earth, leading Lawes to start digging, and it quickly became apparent that he had indeed found treasure.

Hoxne Village. 

The Guardian reports that, when Lawes saw that his preliminary digging had yielded a few gold coins and silver spoons, he immediately contacted both the local archaeological society and the police department.

Archaeologists came to the property the following day and had the area of earth holding the treasure carefully sectioned-off and removed. Their hope was that at a later stage, in their laboratory, they could examine the items in order to identify both their age and how they were stored.

Hoxne Hoard: Display case at the British Museum showing a reconstruction of the arrangement of the hoard treasure when excavated in 1992. 

When all was said and done, close to 60 pounds of items made from silver and gold were found on the site. These included more than 15,000 Roman coins, 200 gold objects, and several silver spoons.

For archaeologists, this find — which later became labeled as the Hoxne Hoard — was an incredible discovery. AP News reported that archaeologist Judith Plouviez was over-the-moon about the discovery, saying that it was “an incredibly exciting and amazing find.” What’s more, another archaeologist, Rachel Wilkinson, told Smithsonian Magazine that this discovery was “the largest and latest ever found in Britain.”

Ordinarily, archaeologists would use radiocarbon dating as a means of identifying the age of ancient relics. However, they couldn’t locate any suitable material from the haul. Consequently, they determined the age by examining the writing on the coins, as well as the ruler carved into them, estimating that the treasure was probably buried in either 408 or 409 AD.

The silver “Hoxne Tigress” – the broken-off handle from an unknown object – is the best known single piece out of some 15,000 in the hoard.

Roman-era archaeologist Peter Guest told Smithsonian Magazine that “if you look at them a little more carefully, then they should be dated to the period after the separation of Britain from the Roman Empire.”

He offers as part of his evidence the fact that almost all of the coins found in the Hoxne Hoard were clipped – in other words, small chunks of their edges had been taken off. These clippings would have been used to create coins which were similar to the Roman coins of that era.

A silver-gilt spoon with a marine beast from the Hoxne Hoard. Currently in the British Museum. 

A guest has a logical reason for this, arguing that “The Roman Empire wasn’t supplying Britain with new gold and silver coins, and in light of that, the population tried to get over this sudden cutoff in the supply of their precious metals by making the existing supplies go further.”

Reconstruction of the Hoxne treasure chest. 

Archaeologists also believe that the treasure belonged to a Romano-British family. During that time, considering that there was so much societal discord and upheaval, it was common for Romans who had settled in Britain to bury their most prized possessions.

Two gold bracelets from the Hoxne Hoard, in the British Museum.

That said, one archaeologist is of the belief that the hoard had a lot of sentimental value for the Romano-British family to whom it is believed to have belonged. In her book The Hoxne Late Roman Treasure: Gold Jewellery and Silver Plate, Catherine Johns claims that the manner in which the treasure was kept supported this claim.

Some of the items which were recovered had been packaged in small, wooden boxes which were lined with leather. What’s more, pieces of wood, locks, and nails, among other things, surrounded the gold and silver pieces. This leads Catherine to assert that the package was carefully buried and not simply chucked away in a rush.

Three silver-gilt Roman piperatoria or pepper pots from the Hoxne Hoard on display at the British Museum

Interestingly enough, the items unearthed might shed some light on the identity of the family who owned them. They cite a gold bracelet bearing the inscription “UTERE FELIX DOMINA IULIANE,” which roughly translates to “use this happily Lady Juliane”.


A second name “Aurelius Ursicinus” has also been discovered. This has consequently led some to believe that Juliane and Aurelius were the couples and the original owners of the treasure. That said, that has yet to be confirmed.

Two toiletry items, one in the shape of a crane-like bird; the other with an empty socket, probably for bristles for a makeup brush. 

All in all, the discovery was a real treasure for archaeologists, and by extension, for Lawes. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in recognition of his discovery and willingness to contact authorities, the British government rewarded him with over £1.7 million, an amount which he shared with the farmer whose land was dug out in order to get the treasure.

Funnily enough, apart from the treasure, Lawes also found his lost hammer — which now resides in the British Museum.

The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock

The Town that is Literally Living Under a Rock

In the province of Cádiz in southern Spain, there is a tiny settlement where individuals seem to have discovered a way to live more efficiently and with nature.

Many of the homes are literally located under the rock, just like the saying and like cavemen, but not exactly.

Concealed from the scorching Spanish sun, Setenil de las Bodegas is a small pueblo Blanco (Andalusian white village) and is home today to almost 3,000 residents and a tourist attraction for thousands.

A Spanish town built into the cliffs. Setenil de las Bodegas, one of the well-known “white villages” in Spain.

At first glance, the place makes one wonder if the houses were formed beneath these rocks, or if it was vice versa.

The first homes were built into the cliff-face thousands of years ago, and over the years have been expanded between the boulders and beneath the rocky overhang that shelters these white houses from the heat of the Spanish summers.

Setenil de Las Bodegas has played an important role throughout Spanish history.

According to popular belief, the natural caves of Setenil were indeed inhabited from the dawn of time, or at least as far back as 20,000 B.C.

At least this is what nearby prehistoric cave settlements suggest. For instance, the Cueva de la Pileta that sits just outside the magnificent mountain top city of Ronda, in Malaga province, just 20 to 30 minutes drive from Setenil, have been found to show signs of humans from the Paleolithic and the Neolithic periods. Drawings inside the caves here are believed to be more than 20,000 years old.

Most amazingly, one large overhang covers an entire block of white houses, providing shade and natural cooling during warm summers in southern Spain.

What this highly unusual village does offer are blinding white houses with rock instead of ceilings for a hundred homes and shops, and olive groves instead of roofs; it’s a unique experience to walk or drink a cup of coffee in the shade below a giant looming rock, as well as a chance to learn the peculiar history of how it got its name and why it was built as it is, here above the Rio Trejo and right in the middle of the well-trodden pathway through the White Villages of Andalucía.

What is known for sure is that it was continually inhabited from the 12th century, in the Arabic Almohad period?

There are also indications of pre-Roman inhabitants and noticeable traces of former Roman dwellers scattered here and there to back a claim that the town existed even earlier, 2,000 years ago when allegedly it was seized and held by the Romans during their invasion of the Iberian peninsula.

View of the town of Setenil de las Bodegas, in the province of Cádiz (Spain). 

The same claim says that during the Umayyad conquest of Hispania and the Umayyad Caliphate expansion across Europe in 8th century A.D., Moors captured the whole peninsula.

This village then fell under their rule and it was theirs to keep for seven long centuries until the Christians recaptured it once again, expelled the Moors, and marked the fall of the Nasrid Dynasty (the last Arab Muslim dynasty in Iberia). Which proved to be a harder task than was first believed.

According to town history, Setenil de las Bodegas’s steep and rocky nature proved to be “solid as a rock” and of an advantage to the medieval Arabian inhabitants as they were trying to fend off the Christians’ attacks, which they did successfully six times and over 80 years, allegedly until 1484, when on the seventh, and after 15 days of constant siege, Christian forces finally managed to overrun the town’s castle. What’s left of Castillo de Setenil de las Bodegas speaks about this epic holdout, its rich history, and how this place got its name.

It comes from two Latin words, “septem nihil,” which means seven nothings, or seven times no. As for the second part of its name, “de las Bodegas,” it came from what followed after 1484 and these legendary skirmishes.

The Catholic settlers furnished Setenil as a modern town and brought olives, almonds, and vineyards along with recipes for dried meat specialties when they arrived.

They began to use the shade of the rocks and their natural air-conditioning capability to store their products, especially grapes, usually placed in large storerooms under the giant overhangs.

Which is most probably how the place earned its name de las Bodegas, “of the vineyards.” Unfortunately, the vineyards were all wiped out by phylloxera insect infestation during the mid-1800s, when almost all of the wine industry in Europe was destroyed by these pests.

Two of the vineyards are still flourishing after all this time on top of the hills of Setenil, and the well-preserved Moorish fortress looms on the top of the ravine in which the village was built.

There’s also a street where one humongous overhang covers a whole block of white-painted cafes and dozens of small restaurants and where a local owner can tell you all about this place while serving you a cup of wine and amazing chorizo, Setenil’s special.

2000-year-old preserved loaf of bread found in the ruins of Pompeii

2000-year-old preserved loaf of bread found in the ruins of Pompeii

This is the ultimate piece of toast: a loaf of bread made in the first century AD, which was discovered at Pompeii, preserved for centuries in the volcanic ashes of Mount Vesuvius.

The markings visible on the top are made from a Roman bread stamp, which bakeries were required to use in order to mark the source of the loaves, and to prevent fraud.

I can’t get over how well it maintained its shape and texture, through both the volcano eruption and the ravages of time. It’s a very unsettling tribute to the normalcy of day-to-day life leading up to the catastrophic event: a (sort of) edible memento mori.

The ruins of Pompeii were first “discovered” in the late 16th century, even though the existence of an ancient city, hidden for centuries somewhere below the ground, was well known.

With the help of modern archaeology, the remains of more than 1,500 people were recovered, and with them numerous mundane objects, encompassing the daily life of a Roman town — frozen in time.

Herculaneum was engulfed by a fast-moving wave of hot mud, whereas Pompeii was buried by a hailstorm of ash and lumps of rock.

Roman bakery oven – archaeological remains at Ruins of Pompeii. The city was an ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius. Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

The volcanic material solidified into up to 50 feet of rock that preserved all kinds of objects such as furniture, family portraits, and mosaics. Because the rock kept out the air, organic materials including leather, wood, and foodstuffs were also saved from decay.

The most amazing human remains have been found at Pompeii. Unable to escape the destruction, it is thought that most of the residents were killed by the intense heat.

The petrified bodies decayed to leave hollow impressions in the rock. In around 1860, superintendent of the excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli, poured wet plaster into the mysterious cavities his team was finding — revealing finely detailed molds of the ancient Pompeians.

Oven and stone hand mills (mola asinaria) for grinding grain, Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

One object among the thousands of interesting artifacts has received much attention from both the scientific community as well as the general public. Loaves of bread were found in an oven inside the ruins of a bakery, preserved in charcoal, covered in ancient ash, with their texture and shape looking like they just came out of the oven.

Each is marked with the baker’s stamp, which was used as a guarantee of quality and a mark of the bakery in which the loaf was made.

The baker’s oven with the bread was first discovered around 1880, and while the loaf has long since been part of museum exhibitions, the bakery remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in Pompeii today.

A portrait depicting the baker, Terentius Neo, and his wife was also found. What makes the portrait even more interesting is the way the wife is depicted — holding a writing plate, indicating that she was literate and standing with her husband as an equal, both in marriage and in business.

The Roman kitchen of a Thermopolium in Via Consolare street at Ruins of Pompeii, Campania, Italy.

Food remains, among other things, were discovered in both cities, giving us a rare and exquisite insight into the diet of an average Roman citizen.

In 1930, archaeologists discovered another carbonized loaf of bread inside an oven in Herculaneum. The Roman bread exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples was later borrowed by the British Museum. For their 2013 live cinema event, “Pompeii Live from the British Museum,” London-based Italian chef Giorgio Locatelli was invited to recreate the 2000-year-old recipe.

Bases for a roman stone hand mills (mola asinarae) of a bakery at Ruins of Pompeii. The city was an ancient Roman city destroyed by the volcano Vesuvius. Pompei, Campania, Italy.

“In AD 79, a baker put his loaf of bread into the oven. Nearly 2,000 years later it was found during excavations in Herculaneum. The British Museum asked Giorgio Locatelli to recreate the recipe as part of his culinary investigations for Pompeii Live,” explains the British Museum.

Charred loaf, from Modestus’ bakery, Pompeii, Campania, Italy. Roman civilization, 1st century. Naples, Museo Archeologico Nazionale (Archaeological Museum) 

With recreating the ancient bread recipe, Locatelli and the British Museum offered a glimpse into something quite ordinary, yet it so fascinating to be able to understand how people ate their bread 2000 years ago.

The objects, the food, the furniture, and − above all − the plaster casts of the people, today serve as a tribute to a time long lost, when life was violently interrupted by the forces of nature and left to be rediscovered centuries later.

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

For a few years now, contemporary historians have been debating the future of the oldest bottle of wine in the world, known as the Speyer wine bottle, or “Römerwein.”

Historians have split opinions on whether the bottle should be opened or not. This extremely rare artifact is 1,650-years-old and it is placed in the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Germany.

The glass amphora has handled in the shape of dolphins and is sealed with wax.

The contents of the bottle are about one-third olive oil which in the past was used as a preservative that prevented the wine from oxidizing.

The Speyer bottle was found in the grave of a Roman nobleman in 1867, in the Rhineland-Palatine region of Germany and caused a real stir among historians and archaeologists at the time.

It’s been said that the noble owner, believed to be a high ranking Legionnaire, was buried with the bottle of wine, an ancient custom which represents the Romans’ beliefs in the after-life, that is, sending valuable objects with the body of the deceased so she or he can use them in the “hereafter.”

Reportedly, the tomb near the city of Speyer also contained the sarcophagi of his two spouses.

The Speyer wine bottle. 

The antique bottle, which represents thousands of years of human history and customs, was named after the city of Speyer.

In the glory days of Ancient Rome, wine and wine cults were diligently observed.

One of the inventions of Hero of Alexandria, an engineer who was centuries ahead of his time, was a delightful party centerpiece that seemingly turned one liquid into another.

Speyer, Germany

His trick jug incorporated two separate, sealed compartments and some clever pneumatics to make it seem that water added to the vessel was dispensed as wine. This is one of several similar devices that Hero describes in his Pneumatica.

During WWI, a chemist analyzed the Speyer bottle but never opened it so the wine was given to the Historical Museum of the Palatinate collection in Speyer. Over time, numerous scientists have hoped to obtain permission to analyze the bottle’s contents thoroughly, though nobody has been granted one yet.

Some scientists and microbiologists are adamant that the bottle shouldn’t be opened, among them Ludger Tekampe, the curator of the Folklore Wine Museum collection.

“We are not sure whether or not it could stand the shock to the air. It is still liquid and there are some who believe it should be subjected to new scientific analysis but we are not sure,” said Tekampe on the matter.

The world’s oldest known bottle of wine, 325 AD, Historical Museum of the Palatinate, Speyer, Germany. 

This rare artifact of the ancient world was created during the early days of the tradition of wine production and consumption, which was begun by the ancient Greeks.

The tradition was later embraced by the ancient Romans, who also took Dionysus, the Greek god of agriculture, wine, and fertility, and renamed him, Bacchus.

Contrary to the general notion and belief that the older the wine is, the better, the Speyer wine is presumed to be undrinkable.

According to the Daily Mail, Professor Monika Christmann said that although the Speyer wine might not be microbiologically spoiled, it “would not bring joy to the palate.”

A student found an ancient Canadian village that’s 10,000 years older than the Pyramids

A student found an ancient Canadian village that’s 10,000 years older than the Pyramids

An ancients village dating back to before the Pyramids era was discovered by a team from Canadian Ph.D. students.

CTV reports that a team of students from the University of Victoria’s archeology department has uncovered the oldest settlement in North America.

This ancient village was discovered when researchers were searching Triquet Island, an island located about 300 miles north of Victoria, British Columbia.

The team found ancient fish hooks and spears, as well as tools for making fires.

However, they really hit the jackpot when they found an ancient cooking hearth, from which they were able to obtain flakes of charcoal burnt by prehistoric Canadians.

Using carbon dating on the charcoal flakes, the researchers were able to determine that the settlement dates back 14,000 years ago, making it significantly older than the pyramids of Ancient Egypt, which were built about 4,700 years ago.

To understand how old that truly is, one has to consider that the ancient ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra lived closer in time to you than she did to the creation of the pyramids.

Even to what we consider ancient people, the Egyptian pyramids were quite old.

This newly discovered settlement dates back more than three times older than the pyramids.

Alisha Gauvreau, a Ph.D. student who helped discover this site said, “I remember when we got the dates back, and we just sat back and said, ‘Holy moly, this is old.’”

She and her team began investigating the area for ancient settlements after hearing the oral history of the indigenous Heiltsuk people, which told of a sliver of land that never froze during the last ice age.

William Housty, a member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, said, “To think about how these stories survived only to be supported by this archeological evidence is just amazing.”

“This find is very important because it reaffirms a lot of the history that our people have been talking about for thousands of years.”

Researchers believe that this settlement indicates a mass human migration down the coast of British Columbia.

“What this is doing, is changing our idea of the way in which North America was first peopled, said Gauvreau.”

The students hope to continue to search nearby islands for more evidence of this migration.

Oldest weapons ever discovered in North America pre-date Clovis

Researchers Uncover 15,500-Year-Old Weapons, The Earliest Ever Found In North America

A group of scientists in Texas has recently discovered North America’s oldest weapon ever found, and archeologists call into question the history of the early settlers of the continent.

The weapons are ancient spear points which date back 15,500 years. They are around three to four inches long and were excavated from the Debra L. Friedkin site located about 40 miles outside of Austin, T.X.

The researchers recently published their findings in the journal Science Advances, and these record-breaking weapons are raising new questions about the first groups to settle in North America, once believed to be the Clovis people.


“The findings expand our understanding of the earliest people to explore and settle North America,” Michael Waters, a distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M, said in a statement.

“The peopling of the Americas during the end of the last Ice Age was a complex process and this complexity is seen in their genetic record. Now we are starting to see this complexity mirrored in the archaeological record.”

These small weapons were made from stone and feature a triangular, lanceolate (leaf-shaped) point. Their fluted base allowed them to be easily attached to the end of a spear.

The new, pre-Clovis spear points discovered in Texas.

The weapons were found buried under several feet of sediment and amongst many Clovis and Folsom “projectile points.” The Clovis people date back between 13,000 to 12,700 years ago and the Folsom came after that.

Thus, for many years, the Clovis people were believed to be the first to venture into the continent, but these newly discovered spear points pre-date that group by thousands of years.

The researchers point out that stone tools from before the time of the Clovis people have been found, but these are the first weapons that pre-date the Clovis to ever be discovered.

“There is no doubt these weapons were used for hunting game in the area at that time,” Waters said. “The discovery is significant because almost all pre-Clovis sites have stone tools, but spear points have yet to be found.”

Excavations at the Friedkin site in Texas.

Clovis-style spear points, aptly named the “Clovis point,” have been discovered in Texas, parts of the U.S., and in Northern Mexico, but they are around 2,500 years younger than these spear points most recently found at the Friedkin site.

“The dream has always been to find diagnostic artifacts — such as projectile points — that can be recognized as older than Clovis and this is what we have at the Friedkin site,” Waters said.

This momentous discovery has answered many long-held questions from archaeologists about tools and weapons used by early Americans. However, as with all major discoveries, many new questions have popped up as well.

Who made these weapons? Did these tools inspire the other projectile points that came after? Or were they brought to North America during a migration?

Despite the remaining questions, these ancient weapons have unlocked countless secrets about the lives of those who came before us in North America.

Roman Senate Building Unearthed in Egypt

Remains of Graeco-Roman Senate Building Unearthed in Egypt

With a history as rich as Egypt’s, there’s really no limit to the type of discoveries that can be unearthed between Sinai to Siwa and down to Aswan.

North Sinai holds the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Pelusium – an area now known as Tell Farama, which dates back to the Greek, Roman, and Ptolemaic ages.

Remains of a huge Graeco-Roman building, believed to have been the Roman Empire’s main senate, has been unearthed at the Pelusiam archaeological site near North Sinai.

The building was found by the Egyptian archaeological mission working on location in Tel al-Farma in cooperation with the Institute of Archeology and Ethnology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The 2,500 sqm building consists of bricks and limestone and contains three main amphitheaters covered with marble.

With the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches found at the third amphitheater made of red brick. 

“The building was most probably used as a headquarters for the Senate Council of Pelusium, one of the North Sinai’s old cities,” said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

The initial studies conducted on architectural planning and the construction of the building indicated that it was used to hold meetings for the citizens’ representatives.

During the rule of the Ptolemies and Romans for taking important decisions about the public affairs of the city and its citizens, Waziri said.

Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities, said the 2,500-square-metre building shaped from outside as a rectangular, with circular terraces and the main gate located on the eastern side.

He pointed out that the interior design of the building consists of the remains of three 60 cm-thick circular benches which were built of red brick and covered with marble.

The mission also uncovered the main streets of Pelusium city, Ashmawy added.

He explained that during the fifth and sixth century AD, the building was used as a quarry where the stones, bricks, and columns were extracted from their original places for use in the construction of other buildings in the city.

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