Archaeology Summer 2015

ARCHAEOLOGY

1. PARIS (AFP).- Scientists said Tuesday they have discovered what appear to be red blood cells and collagen fibres in dinosaur bones, a find that may boost prospects of prising organic remains from a much wider range of fossils.Using molecular microscopy, a British team analysed eight bone fragments from dinosaurs that lived some 75 million years ago, in the Cretaceous period. The fossils were so poorly conserved that it was impossible to tell precisely what type of animal some of them came from, study co-author Sergio Bertazzo from Imperial College London told AFP. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79222/British-scientists-find-what-appear-to-be-red-blood-cells-and-collagen-fibres-in-dinosaur-bones#.VXtRELN0zIU

2. TORONTO.- It is too soon to claim that the common ancestor of dinosaurs had feathers, according to research by scientists at the Natural History Museum, Royal Ontario Museum and Uppsala University. A new study, published in the journal Biology Letters this week, suggests that feathers were less prevalent among dinosaurs than previously believed. Scientists examined the fossil record of dinosaur skin and combined this with an evolutionary tree to assess the probability of feathers appearing in different dinosaur groups. This analysis demonstrated that the majority of non-avian dinosaurs were more likely to have scales than to exhibit signs of ‘feather-like’ structures. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79185/Ontario-Museum-announces-origins-of-feathered-dinosaurs-more-complex-than-first-thought#.VXtcaLN0zIU

3. MIAMI (AFP).- The skull of a horned dinosaur that was previously unknown to scientists and was unearthed in Canada is actually a relative of the Triceratops, researchers this week. The bones were found sticking out of a cliff along the Oldman River in southeastern Alberta about a decade ago. "However, it was not until the specimen was being slowly prepared from the rocks in the laboratory that the full anatomy was uncovered, and the bizarre suite of characters revealed," said Caleb Brown of the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Alberta, Canada. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79158/Regaliceratops-peterhewsi--Unusual-horned-dinosaur-unearthed-in-Alberta--Canada#.VXtdb7N0zIU

4. SYDNEY (AFP).- Australian scientists said Wednesday they have uncovered a "very rare" 2,000-year-old natural sea pearl -- the first found on the vast island continent -- while excavating a remote coastal Aboriginal site. Archaeologists were working the site on the north Kimberley coast of Western Australia when they came across the unique gem below the surface, said Kat Szabo, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong."Natural pearls are very rare in nature and we certainly -- despite many, many (oyster) shell middens being found in Australia -- we've never found a natural pearl before," Szabo, who specialises in studying shells at archaeological sites, told AFP. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79136/Archaeological-excavations-in-Australia-reveal-a-2-000-year-old-natural-marine-pearl#.VXte7LN0zIU

5. JERUSALEM (AFP).- The oldest complete example of the Ten Commandments has gone on rare display in Jerusalem, part of the Israel Museum's collection of the Dead Sea scrolls, an official said Wednesday.
Written in Hebrew more than 2,000 years ago, it is one of 870 scrolls discovered between 1947 and 1956 in the Qumran caves above the Dead Sea. More  Information: http://artdaily.com/news/78446/World-s-oldest-complete-example-of-10-Commandments-on-rare-display-in-Israel#.VYSU8bN0zIU

6. SAINTE MARIE (AFP).- A team of American explorers on Thursday claimed to have discovered silver treasure from the infamous 17th-century Scottish pirate William Kidd in a shipwreck off the coast of Madagascar. Marine archaeologist Barry Clifford told reporters he had found a 50-kilogramme (110-pound) silver bar in the wreck of Kidd's ship the "Adventure Gallery", close to the small island of Sainte Marie. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/78405/Team-of-American-explorers-say-pirate-Captain-Kidd-s-treasure-found-off-Madagascar#.VYSVkLN0zIU

7. MONTREAL (AFP).- Footprints recently discovered on the shores of a small island off the west coast of Canada may be the oldest in North America, researchers say. The find also bolsters a novel theory that the first inhabitants of the continent migrated from Alaska south along the coast by boat rather than inland on foot. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79593/Oldest-North-America-footprints-discovered-by-researchers-on-Canada-west-coast#.VZGROLN0zIU



8. WASHINGTON, DC.- An international team of researchers from the United States and Germany have discovered a key missing link in the evolutionary history of turtles. The new extinct species of reptile, Pappochelys, was unearthed in an area that was an ancient lake in southern Germany about 240 million years ago during the Middle Triassic Period. Its physical traits make it a clear intermediate between two of the earliest known turtles, Eunotosaurus and Odontochelys. Features in the skull of Pappochelys also provide critical evidence that turtles are most closely related to other modern reptiles, such as lizards and snakes. Previously, scientists believed that turtles may have descended from the earliest known reptiles. Additional information is available in the June 24 issue of Nature. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79573/Smithsonian-National-Museum-of-Natural-History-scientist-discovers-key-link-in-turtle-evolution-#.VZGd0LN0zIU

9. TALLINN.- The capital of Estonia is perhaps not the place where one would expect to find the remains of medieval ships, but that is exactly what happened to a group of construction workers in Tallinn this week.While working on the foundations for high-end apartments in a seaside area of the Baltic state's capital, the men noticed something strange in the ground: the remains of at least two ships thought to be from the 14th-17th centuries. "We were digging the ground, when we found some massive wooden pieces, and we decided this might be something interesting," said Ain Kivisaar, spokesman for property developer Metro Capital. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/79288/Estonian-construction-workers-dig-up-medieval-ships-while-building-new-residential-area-#.VZWeVLN0zIU

10. SEATTLE  In Seattle, archaeologists working under a bridge have found 2,600 or so artifacts from Seattle history—everything from depression-era shoes and dolls to a Chinese coin that was minted in the 1700s, during the Qing Dynasty, KOMO News reports. More Information: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/found-a-chinese-coin-from-the-1700s-buried-in-seattle

11. JERUSALEM (AFP).- Cutting-edge technology has for the first time allowed scholars to read the most ancient Hebrew scroll found since the Dead Sea Scrolls, Israeli and US experts said on Monday. The charred piece of parchment from the sixth century AD was found in the ashes of an ancient synagogue at Ein Gedi, on the shores of the Dead Sea, in 1970 but until now has been impossible to read. More Information: http://artdaily.com/news/80158/21st-century-technology-deciphers-Hebrew-scroll-from-about-1-500-years-ago#.Va7ODBNViko