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Welcome to History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings news stories about archaeology from around the world together on one site. From finds in ancient Egypt to new discoveries in anthropology, History Buff wants to know. And feel free to stop by History Buff's ** Author Interviews** for Q&As with authors of historical fiction. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at www.michellemoran.com.

Logo designed by Shaun Venish

Blog designed by Mia Pearlman Design

2.27.2009

Wooden sarcophaguses found in Egypt tomb

CAIRO (Reuters) - Japanese archaeologists working in Egypt have found four wooden sarcophaguses and associated grave goods which could date back up to 3,300 years, the Egyptian government said on Thursday.

Read the rest on Reuters.


2.26.2009

Ancient footprints: Earliest signs of modern feet

(CNN) -- Ancient footprints discovered in northern Kenya are believed to be the oldest sign that early humans had feet like ours.

Read the rest on CNN.



Spanish Archaeologists Find Oldest Evidence of Man in Paraguay

TORRELAVEGA, SPAIN – Spanish experts have found in Paraguay the oldest evidence of the presence of man dating back more than 5,000 years. The find was made during the course of an investigation being conducted into the heritage of the Pai Tavytera Indians.

Read the rest here.


'Oldest English words' identified

Macclesfield Psalter (PA)
Medieval manuscripts give linguists clues about more recent changes

Some of the oldest words in English have been identified, scientists say. Reading University researchers claim "I", "we", "two" and "three" are among the most ancient, dating back tens of thousands of years.

Read the rest on the BBC.

2.25.2009

Prehistoric fish pioneered sex

LONDON (Reuters) - Sex has been a fact of life for at least 380 million years, longer than previously thought.

Read the rest here.


Ancient Shipwreck's Stone Cargo Linked to Apollo Temple

Helen Fields
for National Geographic magazine

For a few days back in July 2007, it was hard for archaeologist Deborah Carlson to get any work done at her site off the Aegean coast of western Turkey. She was leading an underwater excavation of a 2,000-year-old shipwreck, but the Turkish members of her crew had taken time off to vote in national elections. So things were quiet at her camp on an isolated cape called Kızılburun.

Read the rest on National Geographic.


Ancient statue found buried at Egypt Giza pyramids

CAIRO (Reuters) - Maintenance workers at Egypt's Giza Pyramids have found an ancient quartzite statue of a seated man buried close to the surface of the desert, the culture ministry said on Tuesday.

Read the rest on Reuters.

2.23.2009

Student Finds Rare Lincoln Fingerprint


Confirmed thumbprint of Abraham Lincoln, the second one found in collections at Miami University. (Credit: Jeffrey Sabo, Miami University)
ScienceDaily— A student at Miami University has discovered what experts say is a fingerprint belonging to Abraham Lincoln from nearly 150 years ago.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.


Ancient Black Sea Flood: Nuisance or Calamity?

by Emily Sohn, Discovery News
Photo of the Black Sea
The Black Sea | Discovery News Video

Something happened along the shores of the Black Sea about 9,500 years ago. According to one theory, a huge flood suddenly drowned the landscape, forcing some of the planet's first farmers to move elsewhere.

Read the rest on Discovery.

2.20.2009

Test firing an Elizabethan cannon

Archaeologists have built a replica Elizabethan cannon to find out how powerful English ships were at the time of the Spanish Armada.

Watch the video on the BBC.

2.19.2009

Well-known baths awash in hidden artifacts, rare finds


Excavations at an ancient Roman villa and bath complex in the outskirts of Rome have unearthed a wealth of surprisingly well-preserved artifacts, including the marble head of a Greek god, archeologists said on Wednesday.

Read the rest here.



Easter Island’s Controversial Collapse: More To The Story Than Deforestation?


The famous stone sculptures on Easter Island where Dr. Stevenson and Rapanui scientist Sonia Haoa have worked with Earthwatch volunteers for the last 20 years to uncover new twists in the story of Easter Island. (Credit: Charles H. Whitfield)

ScienceDaily— Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has gained recognition in recent years due in part to a book that used it as a model for societal collapse from bad environmental practices—ringing alarm bells for those concerned about the health of the planet today. But that’s not the whole story, says Dr. Chris Stevenson, an archaeologist who has studied the island—famous for its massive stone statues—with a Rapa Nui scientist, Sonia Haoa, and Earthwatch volunteers for nearly 20 years.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.


Sinkhole Holds 12,000-Year-Old Clues to Early Americans

Willie Drye
for National Geographic News

Divers exploring a southern Florida sinkhole have uncovered clues to what life was like for some of America's first residents.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

2.17.2009

Ice Age Fossils, Including Those of Saber-Toothed Cat, Found in L.A. Tar Pit


AP: LOS ANGELES — Scientists are studying a huge cache of Ice Age fossil deposits recovered near the famous La Brea Tar Pits in the middle of the nation's second-largest city.

Read the rest here.


Uncovered bones are a hot find from the Ice Age


Star Tribune: John Ackerman with a portion of the nearly 100 bones found in Bat River Cave and Tyson Spring Cave. A Farmington caver and his friends have unearthed some rich and surprising pieces of Minnesota's prehistoric past.
Read the rest here.


Thackley site could hold remains of ancient settlement

By Kathie Griffiths

An archaeological dig is to start in Bradford woodland later this month, thanks to a heritage lottery grant. A cheque for £24,300 has allowed the Friends of Buck Wood to dig for proof that an Iron or Bronze Age earthwork exists at the Thackley site.

Read the rest here.

2.16.2009

Uncovered: Archaeologists unearth remnants of a giant medieval watermill

By Louise Jury

It may look like just another hole in the ground, but this is no ordinary hole in the ground - it contains the remnants of one of the earliest watermills ever found.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.


2.14.2009

Henry VIII reveals his softer side in never-before-seen gushing love letter to Anne Boleyn

He's infamous for beheading two of his wives, but it has emerged that Henry VII had a much softer side. A passionate love letter to Anne Boleyn - who later lost her head when their marriage soured - is to go on display for the first time at the British Library in London.

A love letter written by Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
Gushing: The love letter written by Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn reveals his passion for the woman who was to become his second wife and includes a passage where he writes "henceforth my heart will be dedicated to you alone."

Read the rest on the DailyMail.


2.13.2009

Why Chemical Warfare is Ancient History

An engraving of Ancient Roman equestrian soldiers by Julius Romanus
An engraving of Ancient Roman equestrian soldiers by Julius Romanus

The prospect of chemical and biological warfare in this age of anthrax scares and WMDs can feel — like the threat of nuclear Armageddon before it— like a uniquely modern terror. But a British archaeologist's recent find offers a reminder that chemical weapons are nothing new — in fact, the tactic is nearly two thousand years old.

Read the rest on Time Magazine.


High-tech Tests Allow Anthropologists To Track Ancient Hominids Across The Landscape

ScienceDaily — Dazzling new scientific techniques are allowing archaeologists to track the movements and menus of extinct hominids through the seasons and years as they ate their way across the African landscape, helping to illuminate the evolution of human diets.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.

2.12.2009

Virtual Library Of Medieval Manuscripts Created

ScienceDaily— Google "Edward the Confessor" and you'll get page after page of links to biographies of this 11th-century English king, to Westminster Abbey, which he founded and where he is buried, and to the Magna Carta, which was partly inspired by laws enacted during his 24-year reign.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.


Dig unearths 13th century ceramic

Ceramic mask
The mask was unearthed at a site where new homes will be built

A rare ceramic face-mask jug dating back to the 13th century has been uncovered at a building site in Rothesay in Argyll.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Found in Iraq: "King Tut"

Dohuk, Iraq - A Kurdish archaeological expedition announced on Thursday that it had found a small statue of the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen in northern Iraq, a Kurdish news agency reported.

Read the rest here.

2.11.2009

'Pre-historic Viagra' found in Siberian mammoth DNA could boost your sex life and let you live longer

By Will Stewart In Moscow

Russian scientists working at a 'graveyard' of extinct mammoths and woolly rhinos in Siberia claim to have found a bacterium which could prolong human virility and life span. Already nicknamed 'pre-historic Viagra', experiments on mice show it increases mental alertness, physical prowess and sexual activity, with females reportedly having babies into old age.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

2.10.2009

Mythic Birthplace of Zeus Possibly Found

By Heather Whipps

The Greek god of thunder and lightning had Earthly beginnings, and scientists think they finally know where.

Read the rest here.

2.09.2009

Chamber of mummies found in Egypt

Egyptian archaeologists have found more than 20 mummies in a burial chamber dating back at least 2,600 years.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Centuries-old legend in Gozo proved true

By Noel Grima

As far back as 1583, a legend existed in Gozo about Ghar ix-Xih, literally The Cave of the Old Man, but possibly also The Cave of the Sheik. The legend is about a popular judge who used to sit in judgement on people accused of thefts. For a long time the legend was just that, a legend, but the location of the cave has now been discovered and along with it a treasure trove of artefacts ranging from Punic to late Roman times.

Read the rest here.


Oldest Human Hair Found in Hyena Poop Fossil?

Charles Q. Choi
for National Geographic News

The oldest known human hairs could be the strands discovered in fossil hyena poop found in a South African cave, a new study hints.

Read the rest on National Geographic.


Underwater stones puzzle archeologists

Underwater archeology at work
Underwater archeologist Mark Holley investigates a circle of stones on the Grand Traverse Bay floor near Traverse City, Mich. Scientists are not sure whether the stones were arranged by humans or natural forces. (Chris Doyal / February 7, 2009)

Forty feet below the surface of Lake Michigan in Grand Traverse Bay, a mysterious pattern of stones can be seen rising from an otherwise sandy half-mile of lake floor.

Read the rest on the ChicagoTribune.

2.08.2009

The Mummy X-posed: The face of an Ancient Egyptian priestess revealed after 3,000 years

A close-up of the mummy's face
A close-up of the mummy's face

By David Derbyshire

She has lain undisturbed for nearly 3,000 years, sealed in a decorated coffin ready for her voyage to the underworld. Now the face of Meresamun, a priestess who sang in the temples of Ancient Egypt hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, has been revealed to the world for the first time.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

2.06.2009

Mystery of Ancient Pueblo Jars Is Solved


ALBUQUERQUE — For years Patricia Crown puzzled over the cylindrical clay jars found in the ruins at Chaco Canyon, the great complex of multistory masonry dwellings set amid the arid mesas of northwestern New Mexico. They were utterly unlike other pots and pitchers she had seen.

Read the rest on the NYT.


'Green Magic' Protected Egyptian Child Mummies

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Protection for the Afterlife
Protection for the Afterlife

A rare mummified child from the early period of Egyptian history was discovered buried with a bright green amulet stone once believed to hold magical powers, according to a new study.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Neanderthal genome to be unveiled

The entire genome of a 38,000-year-old Neanderthal has been sequenced by a team of scientists in Germany. The group is already extracting DNA from other ancient Neanderthal bones and hopes that the genomes will allow an unprecedented comparison between modern humans and their closest evolutionary relative.

Read the rest on Nature.com.

2.05.2009

Africa's oldest human sacrifice found in Sudan

In a graveyard in Al-Kadada, north of Khartoum, the archaeologists have dug up the tomb of a man and a woman facing each other in a ditch, with bodies of two women, two goats and a dog buried nearby.

Read the rest on the Telegraph.


Pair unearth Saxon burial remains

Two gilded copper Saxon saucer brooches
The gilded brooches date from the 6th Century AD

The remains of a 1,500-year-old Saxon burial ground have been uncovered by two Sussex metal detector enthusiasts.

Read the rest on the BBC.

2.04.2009

Fresh Look at Martha Washington: Less First Frump, More Foxy Lady

Washington Post Staff Writer

Forensic anthropologists used the 1796 portrait to generate an image of what Martha would have looked like in her 20s, inspiring this painting by Michael Deas.
Forensic anthropologists used the 1796 portrait to generate an image of what Martha would have looked like in her 20s, inspiring this painting by Michael Deas. (Courtesy Of Michael Deas, whose amazing website of illustrations and photography you can visit here.)

This just in: Martha Washington was hot. Or at least hotter than we thought.

Read the rest on the WashingtonPost.



Gigantic 45ft snake that weighed as much as a car found by fossil hunters

By David Derbyshire

A killer snake that was longer than a bus, as heavy as a small car and which could swallow an animal the size of a horse, has been discovered by scientists.

snake

Read the rest on the DailyMail.


2.03.2009

'Warts and all' death mask of Oliver Cromwell up for auction

Cromwell mask

This death mask of Oliver Cromwell is up for auction

He loathed personal vanity and is credited with coining the phrase 'warts and all' when commissioning a portrait. Now a death mask bearing all the facial contours of Oliver Cromwell is up for sale.

Read the rest on DailyMail.


2.02.2009

King size! Henry VIII's armour reveals he had a 52in girth - for which he paid a terrible price


By Philippa Gregory

He was an immense figure in the history of England. Just how immense, however, has finally been revealed after a study of his body armour exposed Henry VIII's extraordinary vital statistics.
Expanding waistline: A suit of armour worn by the king in his early 20sSuit of armour worn by King Henry VIII approximately 1540

Expanding waistline: A suit of armour worn by the king in his early 20s, left, is noticeably slimmer than one he used in about 1540, right

Read the rest on the DailyMail.



Is the Roman Pantheon a colossal sundial?

By Jo Marchant

HAS the grand Roman Pantheon been keeping a secret for nearly 2000 years? An expert in ancient timekeeping thinks so, arguing that it acts as a colossal sundial.

Read the rest on NewScientist.


Brass cannons clue to wreck of HMS Victory

DIVERS believe they have found the remains of one of the greatest British sailing ships ever wrecked at sea. HMS Victory, forerunner of Nelson’s flagship of the same name, was lost in a storm near the Channel Islands in 1744 with her crew of about 1,150, including an admiral.

Read the rest on the Times Online.


Hobbit feud: scientists argue over mysterious bones

By Dan Vergano

The setting was a hidden island filled with pint-size men who feasted on pygmy elephants and battled dragons. The story of paleontology's "Hobbits," the extinct human species called Homo floresiensis, packs plenty of drama.

Read the rest on USAToday.


Virginia Man to Search for Noah's Ark in Turkey

AP: LYNCHBURG, Va. — It's one of the most familiar Bible stories.

Read the rest here.