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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

1.31.2010

Egypt to Announce King Tut DNA Results

AP: CAIRO -- Egypt will soon reveal the results of DNA tests made on the world's most famous ancient king, the young Pharaoh Tutankhamun, to answer lingering mysteries over his lineage, the antiquities department said Sunday.

Read the rest here.

1.30.2010

Big Daddy: New Tyrannosaur Discovered

By Rachael Rettner - LiveScience

T. rex's family tree just got one member larger. Scientists unearthed bones from a new dinosaur species, including an adult specimen and bones from a "teenager" that lived some 75 million years ago.

Read the rest on FoxNews.

1.29.2010

Silver coin dating to 211 BC is oldest piece of Roman money ever found in Britain

A 2,221-year-old silver coin dug up as part of a hoard is the oldest piece of Roman money ever found in Britain.

Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

1.28.2010

Mexican archaeologist finds tomb in Mayan area, say it could shed light on collapse

TONINA, Mexico — Mexican archaeologists have found an 1,100-year-old tomb from the twilight of the Maya civilization that they hope may shed light on what happened to the once-glorious culture.

Read the rest here.


Early copy of the Gospel of Mark is a forgery

By Emily Sharpe
Not what it appears to be: the Archaic Mark
Not what it appears to be: the Archaic Mark

LONDON. A clever bit of detective work by US scholars and scientists has proven that one of the jewels of the University of Chicago’s manuscript collection is, in fact, a skilled late 19th- or early 20th-century forgery.

Read the rest here.


Ambassador or slave? East Asian skeleton discovered in Vagnari Roman Cemetery

By Owen Jarus

    Read more »


    Elderly couple discover vase used as umbrella stand is a 270-year-old Chinese masterpiece worth £500,000

    vase
    This old vase, used by its owners to store umbrellas, could be worth up to £500,000

    A lost Chinese vase owned by an elderly British couple and used as an umbrella stand has turned out to be worth up to £500,000 - more than their house is worth.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

    1.27.2010

    Last Neanderthals in Europe Died out 37,000 Years Ago

    ScienceDaily — The paper, by Professor João Zilhão and colleagues, builds on his earlier research which proposed that, south of the Cantabro-Pyrenean mountain chain, Neanderthals survived for several millennia after being replaced or assimilated by anatomically modern humans everywhere else in Europe.

    Read the rest on Science Daily.


    Viking settlement unearthed by OPW

    Archaeologists from Margaret Gowen Co comb through the site at Hammond Lane, off Church Street, just north of the Liffey. It is hoped to establish that a "Hiberno-Norse suburb" existed there. Photograph: Dara Mac DónaillArchaeologists from Margaret Gowen Co comb through the site at Hammond Lane, off Church Street, just north of the Liffey. It is hoped to establish that a "Hiberno-Norse suburb" existed there. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

    KITTY HOLLAND

    DUBLIN’S NORTHSIDE is revealing its own Viking past with the first evidence of 11th-century Dubliners choosing to settle on the north shore of the Liffey emerging in the past week.

    Read the rest on the Irish Times.


    Lost Roman law code discovered in London

    Part of an ancient Roman law code previously thought to have been lost forever has been discovered by researchers at UCL's Department of History. Simon Corcoran and Benet Salway made the breakthrough after piecing together 17 fragments of previously incomprehensible parchment. The fragments were being studied at UCL as part of the Arts & Humanities Research Council-funded "Projet Volterra" – a ten year study of Roman law in its full social, legal and political context.

    Read the rest on Eurekalert.

    1.26.2010

    Medusas in Caesarea Harbor

    A unique archaeological exhibition has opened in Caesarea harbor: for the first time the general public can see an extraordinary 1,700 year old sarcophagus cover that is one of the most impressive ever discovered in Caesarea.

    Read the rest here.


    Two thousand year old Roman aqueduct discovered

    Prof. Lorenzo Quilici in the Aqua Traiana: Two thousand year old Roman aqueduct discovered
    Prof. Lorenzo Quilici in the Aqua Traiana Photo: MEON HDTV

    The underground spring lies behind a concealed door beneath an abandoned 13th century church on the shores of Lake Bracciano, 35 miles north of Rome.

    Read the rest on The Telegraph.

    1.25.2010

    Evidence of Stone Age amputation forces rethink over history of surgery

    By Adam Sage

    The surgeon was dressed in a goat or sheep skin and used a sharpened stone to amputate the arm of his patient. The operating theatre was not exactly Harley Street — more probably a wooden shelter — but the intervention was a success, and it has shed light on the medical talents of our Stone Age ancestors.

    Read the rest on the Times Online.


    Leonardo da Vinci's bones to be dug up by Italian scientists

    Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
    By John Follain

    Scientists seeking permission to exhume the remains of Leonardo da Vinci plan to reconstruct his face to discover whether his masterpiece, the Mona Lisa, is a disguised self-portrait.

    Read the rest on the London Times.

    1.24.2010

    Dillinger's getaway car sells for $165,000

    dillingers_get_away_car.top.jpg
    by Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A 1930 Ford Model A used by bank robber John Dillinger to evade federal agents sold at auction Saturday for $165,000.

    Read the rest on CNN.

    1.22.2010

    Letters from the edge: Van Gogh's poignant story revealed through his writing

    By Victoria Moore

    Mind-blowing hallucinations. Epileptic fits. Suicidal despair. Van Gogh's fierce, swirling brushstrokes are often said to be the work of a madman. But a major new exhibition, based on his letters, reveals a far more poignant story.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.


    Dinosaur "Death Pits" Created by Giant's Footprints?

    Brian Handwerk

    Following in a giant dinosaur's footsteps could be fatal—but not for the reasons you might suspect. Mysterious "death pits" holding the fossil skeletons of nearly two dozen small dinosaur species may actually be the 160-million-year-old footprints of an ancient behemoth, a new study suggests.

    Read the rest on National Geographic.


    Humans Caused Demise of Australia's Megafauna, Evidence Shows

    ScienceDaily — A new scientific paper co-authored by a University of Adelaide researcher reports strong evidence that humans, not climate change, caused the demise of Australia's megafauna -- giant marsupials, huge reptiles and flightless birds -- at least 40,000 years ago.

    Read the rest on Science Daily.

    1.21.2010

    Revealed: The dark secrets about Charlie Chaplin's mother that fired his genius

    Ill-fated: The tragic decline of Hannah Chaplin haunted the star all his life
    Ill-fated: The tragic decline of Hannah Chaplin haunted the star all his life
    by Glenys Roberts

    Notorious for his under-age mistresses and pilloried for his Leftwing views, Charlie Chaplin will forever be remembered for his tear-jerking performances as the vulnerable Little Tramp - the icon he created in silent movie days.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.


    HMS Invincible: Inside the battle ship made famous by Turner, the fighting Temeraire, and its amazing history

    by Sam Willis

    Struggling to breathe in mouthfuls of air rank with choking gunsmoke, hundreds of men and boys crouched low on the gun decks of His Majesty's Ship Temeraire.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.


    Study: Animals populated Madagascar by rafting there

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - How did the lemurs, flying foxes and narrow-striped mongooses get to the large, isolated island of Madagascar sometime after 65 million years ago?

    Read the rest here.


    Evidence suggests some Mexican Indians dug up graves, dismembered bodies and reburied them

    AP: MEXICO CITY — Archaeologists have found evidence that pre-Hispanic groups in Mexico's Baja California peninsula dug up their decomposing dead, dismembered the bodies and then reburied them.

    Read the rest on Google.

    1.20.2010

    Uncovering Secrets of the Sphinx

    When Mark Lehner was a teenager in the late 1960s, his parents introduced him to the writings of the famed clairvoyant Edgar Cayce. During one of his trances, Cayce, who died in 1945, saw that refugees from the lost city of Atlantis buried their secrets in a hall of records under the Sphinx and that the hall would be discovered before the end of the 20th century.

    Read the rest in Smithsonian Magazine.


    Chemical analyses uncover secrets of an ancient amphora

    A team of chemists from the University of Valencia (UV) has confirmed that the substance used to hermetically seal an amphora found among remains at Lixus, in Morocco, was pine resin. The scientists also studied the metallic fragments inside the 2,000-year-old vessel, which could be fragments of material used for iron-working.

    Read the rest on Eurekalert.


    Early queen's skeleton 'found in German cathedral'

    Raising the lid of the tomb. Picture supplied by Landesamt fur Denkmalpflege und Archaologie Sachsen-Anhalt, Juraj Liptak
    Eadgyth's bones are thought to have been moved to this tomb in 1510

    Remains of one of the earliest members of the English royal family may have been unearthed in a German cathedral, a Bristol University research team says. They believe a near-complete female skeleton, aged 30 to 40, found wrapped in silk in a lead coffin in Magdeburg Cathedral is that of Queen Eadgyth. The granddaughter of Alfred the Great, she married Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor, in 929. She died 17 years later, at 36.

    Read the rest on the BBC.


    Viking Shipwrecks Face Ruin as Odd "Worms" Invade

    by James Owen

    The dreaded wood-eating shipworm is invading northern Europe's Baltic Sea. The animal threatens to munch through thousands of Viking vessels and other historic shipwrecks, scientists warn.

    Read the rest on National Geographic.

    1.19.2010

    Mound of Ash Reveals Shrine to Zeus

    By Bruce Bower

    Excavations at the Sanctuary of Zeus atop Greece's Mount Lykaion have revealed that ritual activities occurred there for roughly 1,500 years, from the height of classic Greek civilization around 3,400 years ago until just before Roman conquest in 146.

    Read the rest on Discovery.


    Roman Statue Re-Discovered

    Read the rest on the Croatian Times.


    Most British men are descended from ancient farmers

    By Ian Sample

    Most men in Britain are descended from the first farmers to migrate across Europe from the Near East 10,000 years ago, scientists say.

    Read the rest on The Guardian.


    Temple to cat god found in Egypt

    A statue of the cat goddess Bastet
    The temple was filled with statues of Bastet, a once fearsome lion-headed goddess whose image changed over time to a domesticated cat

    Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 2,000-year-old temple in Alexandria dedicated to a cat goddess. The temple is the first trace of the royal quarters of the Ptolemaic dynasty to be revealed in Alexandria.

    Read the rest on the BBC.


    Mystery Visitor Fails to Show Up at Edgar Allan Poe Grave

    AP: BALTIMORE — Is this tradition "nevermore"?

    A mysterious visitor who left roses and cognac at the grave of Edgar Allan Poe each year on the writer's birthday failed to show early Tuesday, breaking with a ritual that began more than 60 years ago.

    Read the rest here.

    1.18.2010

    'Priceless' Amber Room of the Tsars, looted and hidden by the Nazis, is 'found' by Russian treasure hunter

    Foreign dignitaries admire the Amber Room after a complete restoration in the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2003. A Russian treasure hunter claims he has found the original Amber Room in Kaliningrad
    Foreign dignitaries admire a replica of the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg. A Russian treasure hunter claims he has found the original Amber Room in Kaliningrad

    The Amber Room of the Tsars - one of the greatest missing treasures of WW2 that was looted by the Nazis during their invasion of the Soviet Union - may have been found.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

    1.16.2010

    Victorian Rhapsody: Queen guitarist Brian May on the photos of a forgotten Britain that became his secret obsession

    The Ferry
    BRIAN MAY WRITES: A magnificent 1850s view of the river - tranquil with a hint of suspense. Across the water lies Ferry Farm, busy with goods for the village of Hinton Waldrist, to be delivered by ferry. To the right we can see nets drying

    By BRIAN MAY

    When I was about 12 years old, Weetabix gave away a series of 3-D picture cards featuring animals - you would find them nestling between the box and the inner bag. The idea was that you could send off for a special 'Vista-Screen' viewer which, when the pictures were inserted, made them leap into amazing 3-D.

    Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

    1.15.2010

    Medieval defences found at Edinburgh Castle

    Edinburgh Castle Esplanade
    Archaeologists made the discovery during work to build new Tattoo stands

    Late medieval walls and the foundations of what appears to be a military spur, which formed part of the outer defences at Edinburgh Castle, have been found.

    Read the rest on the BBC.

    1.14.2010

    Mysterious Jamestown Tablet an American Rosetta Stone?

    Jamestown tablet picture: Seventeenth-century slate is shown in a photograph and a digital enhancement emphasizing inscriptions.
    A conservator digitally isolated inscriptions (right) on the 17th-century Jamestown tablet (left).

    Paula Neely
    for National Geographic magazine

    With the help of enhanced imagery and an expert in Elizabethan script, archaeologists are beginning to unravel the meaning of mysterious text and images etched into a rare 400-year-old slate tablet discovered this past summer at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in America.

    Read the rest on National Geographic.


    Sailing into antiquity

    by Colin Nickerson

    The archeological digs at Egypt’s Wadi Gawasis have yielded neither mummies nor grand monuments. But Boston University archeologist Kathryn Bard and her colleagues are uncovering the oldest remnants of seagoing ships and other relics linked to exotic trade with a mysterious Red Sea realm called Punt.

    Read the rest on the Boston Globe.


    On a mission to crack the Norse code

    Gavin Francis

    The wind whipped the waves of Scapa Flow into streamers of white froth, and the swell built to a stomach-churning height.An announcement came over the Tannoy – our ferry would just make it in to Stromness, but its return journey to Scrabster would be cancelled. The other passengers took in this information without a murmur. Orcadians know that they are cut off, that they live in a world apart.

    Read the rest here.

    1.12.2010

    East Yorkshire gas storage facility making historic discoveries - Iron Age sword found at Centrica site, Caythorpe

    An East Yorkshire-based gas storage facility has been making some incredible discoveries after six months of archeological excavations in advance of construction work starting at the site.

    Read the rest here.


    Laminated Linen Protected Alexander the Great

    By Rossella Lorenzi

    A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research. Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.

    Read the rest on Discovery.

    1.11.2010

    Egypt tombs suggest pyramids not built by slaves

    CAIRO (Reuters) - New tombs found in Giza support the view that the Great Pyramids were built by free workers and not slaves, as widely believed, Egypt's chief archaeologist said on Sunday.

    Read the rest on Reuters UK.


    More on Neanderthal 'make-up' containers discovered

    Scientists claim to have the first persuasive evidence that Neanderthals wore "body paint" 50,000 years ago. The team report in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that shells containing pigment residues were Neanderthal make-up containers.

    Read the rest on the BBC.

    1.10.2010

    Signatures may prove William Shakespeare was a secret Catholic who spent his 'lost years' in Italy

    by Richard Owen

    THREE mysterious signatures on pages of parchment bound in leather and kept under lock and key may prove the theory that William Shakespeare was a secret Catholic who spent his "lost years" in Italy.

    Read the rest here.


    1.09.2010

    Heavy Brows, High Art?: Newly Unearthed Painted Shells Show Neandertals Were Homo sapiens's Mental Equals

    By Charles Q. Choi
    S
    HELL GAME:
    The two sides of a perforated upper half-valve of Pecten maximus from Middle Paleolithic level I-k of Cueva Anton (height: 120 mm). The external side (right, in the picture) was painted with an orange mix of goethite and hematite, either to regain the original appearance or to make it the same color as the internal side, which remained its natural red Joao Zilhao

    Newly discovered painted scallops and cockleshells in Spain are the first hard evidence that Neandertals made jewelry. These findings suggest humanity's closest extinct relatives might have been capable of symbolism, after all.

    Read the rest on Scientific American.

    1.08.2010

    Egyptian Eyeliner May Have Warded Off Disease

    By Katie Cottingham
    ScienceNOW Daily News

    Clearly, ancient Egyptians didn't get the memo about lead poisoning. Their eye makeup was full of the stuff. Although today we know that lead can cause brain damage and miscarriages, the Egyptians believed that lead-based cosmetics protected against eye diseases. Now, new research suggests that they may have been on to something.

    Read the rest on Science Now.


    Massive statue of Pharaoh Taharqa discovered deep in Sudan

    By Owen Jarus

    The largest piece of the Taharqa statue is pictured here. It includes parts of the base and torso. There is an inscription on the back-pillar.
    Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project:

    The largest piece of the Taharqa statue is pictured here. It includes parts of the base and torso. There is an inscription on the back-pillar.

    No statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. At the height of his reign, King Taharqa controlled an empire stretching from Sudan to the Levant.

    Read the rest on the Independent UK.


    Did Unemployed Minoan Artists Land Jobs in Ancient Egypt?

    A computer reconstruction of a bull-leaping scene from Tell el-Dab'a. Copyright Austrian Archaeological Institute.
    One of the most perplexing mysteries that Egyptologists and Aegean experts are tackling is that of the frescoes of Tell el-Dab'a, also known as Avaris.

    Read the rest here.


    Did We Mate Or Murder Neanderthals?

    Aiming his crossbow, Steven Churchill leaves no more than a two-inch gap between the freshly killed pig and the tip of his spear. His weapon of choice is a bamboo rod attached to a sharpened stone, modeled after the killing tools wielded by early modern humans some 50,000 years ago, when they cohabited in Eurasia with their large-boned relatives, the Neanderthals.

    Read the rest on CBS news.

    1.07.2010

    Most ancient Hebrew biblical inscription deciphered

    By Rachel Feldman

    Prof. Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa who deciphered the inscription: "It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research."

    Read the rest on Eurekalert.


    First Minoan Shipwreck

    by Eti Bonn-Muller

    Crete has seduced archaeologists for more than a century, luring them to its rocky shores with fantastic tales of legendary kings, cunning deities, and mythical creatures. The largest of the Greek islands, Crete was the land of the Minoans (3100-1050 B.C.), a Bronze Age civilization named after its first ruler, King Minos, the "master of the seas" who is said to have rid the waters of pirates.

    Read the rest on Archaeology.org.


    Scientists discover oldest footprints on Earth

    (CNN) -- Scientists have found the oldest fossilized footprints made by a four-legged creature forcing a rethink on when fish first crawled out of water and onto land.

    Read the rest on CNN.

    1.06.2010

    What Happened to the Hominids Who May Have Been Smarter Than Us?

    The following text is an excerpt from the book Big Brain by Gary Lynch and Richard Granger, and it represents their own theory about the Boskops. The theory is a controversial one; see, for instance, paleoanthropologist John Hawks' much different take.

    In the autumn of 1913, two farmers were arguing about hominid skull fragments they had uncovered while digging a drainage ditch. The location was Boskop, a small town about 200 miles inland from the east coast of South Africa.

    Read the rest here.


    A sweet discovery: Evidence reveals chocolate enjoyed in St. Augustine in the 1500s

    The Utopian Chocolates solid gold box decoration from the late 1800s was found near Orange and Cordova streets. By DARON DEAN, daron.dean@staugustine.com
    The Utopian Chocolates solid gold box decoration from the late 1800s was found near Orange and Cordova streets. By DARON DEAN

    By Marcia Lane

    In a plastic container inside the storerooms at St. Augustine's Government House is a slender wooden stick with a carved knob on one end. Think of it as an electric mixer without the electricity.

    Read the rest here.


    Largest Saqqara Tomb Discovered

    By Rossella Lorenzi

    An Egyptian team led by Dr. Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, has unearthed the largest tomb yet discovered in the ancient necropolis of Saqqara, also known as the "City of the Dead."

    Read the rest on Discovery.

    1.05.2010

    DNA analysed from early European

    By Paul Rincon
    Science reporter, BBC News



    Scientists have analysed DNA extracted from the remains of a 30,000-year-old European hunter-gatherer.

    Read the rest on the BBC.


    The oldest brothels in the Malaga

    WORK is currently being carried out on a plot of land between Calle Nosquera and Muro de las Catalinas to determine whether an underground car park can be built in the area which contains historic remains. By February, work should be completed on the plot where 46 council houses are to be built, and where initial excavations uncovered Roman remains from the IV century, homes build during the Almohad dynasty in the XI century, Nasrid remains from the XIV century, and Judeo-Christian remains from the XV century.

    Read the rest here.


    Davy Crockett's Marriage License Application at Center of Florida Court Battle

    AP: TAMPA, Fla. — It's not exactly the Alamo, but Davy Crockett is at the center of a battle here. Officials in Tennessee want a Hillsborough County judge to enforce a Tennessee order that 90-year-old Margaret V. Smith turn over Crockett's original marriage license application, which the Tampa woman says she inherited.

    Read the rest here.

    1.04.2010

    Moors give up ancient secret

    ARCHAEOLOGISTS have snapped the first picture of an ancient monument on the North York Moors near Scarborough which could date back more than 4,500 years to neolithic times.

    Read the rest here.


    Ancient child’s coffin unearthed at Parthian site in southwestern Iran

    TEHRAN -- A team of archaeologists has stumbled upon an ancient coffin bearing a skeleton of a child buried in a Parthian mound in Khuzestan Province, southwestern Iran.

    Read the rest on Tehran Times.


    Method found to read 30,000-year-old DNA

    London: Researchers have developed a way to analyse DNA samples from human remains 30,000 years ago, allowing a direct look into the history of evolution.

    Read the rest here.


    Relic reveals Noah's ark was circular

    Maev Kennedy

    That they processed aboard the enormous floating wildlife collection two-by-two is well known. Less familiar, however, is the possibility that the animals Noah shepherded on to his ark then went round and round inside.

    Read the rest on The Guardian.