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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

4.30.2010

Carlisle dig's Roman finds

The secrets of a Roman dig in Carlisle said to be of “international importance” have finally been laid bare after more than 10 years.

Roman  find photo
An illustration of a first century AD horse harness found during the dig, shown with the genuine article

A 936-page report into the Millennium dig in the grounds of Carlisle castle in 1999 has now been published, detailing the 80,000 artefacts discovered and what they reveal about Roman life in the city.

Read the rest here.


Henry VIII replica wine fountain unveiled

A wine fountain similar to those used by Henry VIII has been unveiled at Hampton Court Palace. The working replica was created after the remains of a 16th Century fountain were found during an archaeological dig at the London palace in 2008.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Dinosaur Feathers Changed With Age

Charles Q. Choi

Newfound fossils of a feathered dinosaur suggest that the extinct reptiles might have possessed a diversity in plumage types that puts modern birds to shame. Farmers in northeastern China have unearthed two roughly 125-million-year-old specimens of the dinosaur Similicaudipteryx, a member of the group called the oviraptorosaurs, which are believed to be ancestors of birds.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

4.28.2010

Archaeologists baffled over ‘bizarre’ Viking discovery

A team of Irish archaeologists is puzzled by the "bizarre" discovery of a 1,150-year-old Viking necklace in a cave in the Burren. Besides being the largest by far – up to 12 times longer than previous finds – the team is puzzled by how such a "high-status" Viking treasure came to lie in the Burren, an area never settled by the Norsemen.

Read the rest on the Irish Examiner.


Excavations near Reading show evidence of Boudicca

Silchester coin
Roman and Iron Age remains have been found at Silchester

Evidence found at the Roman site of Silchester could mean it was the site of one of Boudicca's battles. Professor Michael Fulford said that 13 years of excavations at Calleva had revealed evidence of the first gridded Iron Age town in Britain.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Uncovering the Truth About Viking Men

ScienceDaily — Vikings are associated with weapons and warfare, machismo and mayhem. But many of them had the same concerns about choosing their children's names as we do, says a researcher from the University of Leicester who delivered his paper at a Viking conference on April 24.

Read the rest on Science Daily.



Ancient artifacts revealed as northern ice patches melt

YELLOWKNIFE, NT – APRIL 2010 – High in the Mackenzie Mountains, scientists are finding a treasure trove of ancient hunting tools being revealed as warming temperatures melt patches of ice that have been in place for thousands of years.

Read the rest on Eurekalert.

4.27.2010

Grim convict past revealed in archaeological dig

A recent archaeological dig on Tasmania's remote west coast promises to shed more light on one of Australia's most notorious penal outposts. Although it only operated for eleven years before being closed in 1833, Sarah Island in Macquarie Harbour had a reputation as one of the British Empire's most hellish prisons.

Read the rest here.


"Noah's Ark" Found In Tukey?

The remains of Noah's Ark have been discovered 13,000ft up a Turkish mountain, it has been claimed. A group of Chinese and Turkish evangelical explorers say they have found wooden remains on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.

Read the rest on The Sun.

4.26.2010

Dawn of Urban Life Uncovered in Syria

by Rossella Lorenzi

Before the invention of the wheel and writing, a prehistoric civilization in northern Mesopotamia engaged in trade, processed copper and developed the first social classes based on power and wealth.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Probing Question: What can we learn from Neanderthal DNA?

What can we learn from the DNA of extinct humans?

"It can tell us a story about human history," says Webb Miller, Penn State professor of biology and computer science. Miller has been a leader in several major genome sequencing projects, which decipher the genetic code of all the chromosomes of an individual. Comparing the DNA sequences of modern and ancient humans can show us similarities and differences in our basic biology, he notes.

Read the rest here.

4.23.2010

Roman altar stones unearthed at Scottish cricket ground

The roman alter stones
Inscriptions may reveal information about life in Roman times

Roman altar stones dating back almost 2000 years have been found at a cricket pavilion in Musselburgh, East Lothian.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Laser to scan Robin Hood's prison under Nottingham city

The dungeon believed to have housed Robin Hood when he was caught by the Sheriff of Nottingham is to be surveyed using a laser. It is part of a major project to explore every cave in Nottingham.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Egypt dig uncovers coins more than 2,250 years old

Archaeologists have uncovered bronze coins bearing the image of ancient Egyptian ruler King Ptolemy III in an oasis south of the capital, the culture ministry announced on Thursday.

Read the rest here.

4.22.2010

‘Ancient IKEA building’ discovered by Italian archaeologists

by Richard Owen

Italian archaeologists have found the ruins of a 6th-century BC Greek temple-like structure in southern Italy that came with detailed assembly instructions and is being called an “ancient IKEA building”.

Read the rest on the Times.


Ancient Hominids Had Human-Like Grip

A tiny fossil thumb bone provides a gripping look at the early evolution of human hands, according to a study presented April 16 at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. An upright gait and a relatively sophisticated ability to manipulate objects apparently evolved in tandem among the earliest hominids at least 6 million years ago, said Sergio Almécijaof the Autonomous University of Barcelona. That's well before the earliest evidence of stone toolmaking, about 2.6 million years ago, arguing against the idea that fine motor skills for toolmaking drove the evolution of opposable thumbs.

Read the rest on Discovery.


We may all be a little bit Neanderthal as study finds species interbred twice with humans

neanderthal
PA: A new study suggests that most of us have some Neanderthal genes in our DNA. Scientists believe our ancestors may have bred twice with the extinct species

It won't come as a surprise to anyone wandering around Britain's city centres late on a Friday night. But scientists have discovered that most people have a little bit of Neanderthal man in them.Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

4.21.2010

Lice hang ancient date on first clothes

ALBUQUERQUE — For once lice are nice, at least for scientists investigating the origins of garments. Using DNA to trace the evolutionary split between head and body lice, researchers conclude that body lice first came on the scene approximately 190,000 years ago. And that shift, the scientists propose, followed soon after people first began wearing clothing.

Read the rest on Science News.



Prehistoric Mummies Poisoned

Brian Handwerk

Poison-laced drinking water killed some of the world's oldest mummies, which are found in the harsh northern deserts of Chile, a new study says.

Read the rest on National Geographic.


Ancient Maya Buried Relatives, Artifacts Under Homes

by Rossella Lorenzi

Illiterate Maya people recorded their history by burying their domestic universe under their floors, according to excavations of modest Maya homes in central Belize. Analysis of objects and human remains embedded beneath these ordinary Maya houses from the Classic period (250-900 A.D.) revealed that farmers and servants cached objects and buried relatives within their residences.

Read the rest on Discovery.


New Bony-Skulled Dinosaur Species Discovered in Texas

ScienceDaily — Paleontologists have discovered a new species of dinosaur with a softball-sized lump of solid bone on top of its skull, according to a paper published in the April issue of the journal Cretaceous Research.

Read the rest on Science Daily.


'Ancestral Eve' Crystal May Explain Origin of Life's Left-Handedness

ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2010) — Scientists are reporting discovery of what may be the "ancestral Eve" crystal that billions of years ago gave life on Earth its curious and exclusive preference for so-called left-handed amino acids. Those building blocks of proteins come in two forms -- left- and right-handed -- that mirror each other like a pair of hands.

Read the rest on Science Daily.

4.20.2010

Supervolcano: How humanity survived its darkest hour

THE first sign that something had gone terribly wrong was a deep rumbling roar. Hours later the choking ash arrived, falling like snow in a relentless storm that raged for over two weeks. Despite being more than 2000 kilometres from the eruption, hominins living as far away as eastern India would have felt Toba's fury.

Read the rest on New Scientist.


Syrian Archaeologists: Tower Tombs Unearthed in Palmyra

Tower_Tombs_Unearthed_Palmyra_Syria
The Syrian Archaeological Expedition working at the site of Palmyra's northern defensive wall (Central Syria) has unearthed tower tombs close to the wall.

Head of Palmyra Antiquities Department Walid Asa'ad said Wednesday the square-shaped burial has a two-slab decorated stone gate. The doorway leads to the roof of the burial place through stairs.

Read the rest here.

4.19.2010

2 skeletons on Va. campus dated to 17th century

Two skeletons found in an archaeological dig at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are probably the remains of female servants from the mid-1600s.

Read the rest here.


Remains in Southwell 'could be Roman temple'

Excavated wall at Southwell
The scale of the walls uncovered indicate a high-status building

Remains unearthed in Nottinghamshire could be an unknown Roman temple, archaeologists have claimed.

Read the rest on the BBC.


“X-Woman” coexisted with Neanderthals and modern humans 40,000 years ago

Washington, March 25 (ANI): A new study has suggested that an unknown type of human, nicknamed “X-Woman,” coexisted with Neanderthals and our own species between 30,000 to 50,000 years ago.

Read the rest here.

4.17.2010

George Washington Racks Up Late Fees at NYC Library

NEW YORK — If George Washington were alive today, he might face a hefty overdue library fine. New York City's oldest library says one of its ledgers shows that the president has racked up 220 years' worth of late fees on two books he borrowed, but never returned.

Read the rest here.

4.16.2010

King Tut's Dad's Toe Returns Home

by Rossella Lorenzi

A toe belonging to King Tutankhamun’s father has been finally returned to Egypt, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said on Wednesday.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Appalachian professor’s research finds no evidence of cannibalism at Donner Party campsite

BOONE – Research conducted by Dr. Gwen Robbins, an assistant professor of biological anthropology at Appalachian State University, finds there is no evidence of cannibalism among the 84 members of the Donner Party who were trapped by a snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in the mid-1840s.

Read the rest here.


Treasure hunt group are in for £40,000 after discovering the first penny

Amateur treasure hunters have hit the jackpot after digging up a rare hoard of pennies from the reign of Henry I.

Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

4.15.2010

Forensic Scientists Improve DNA Analysis With Mummy-inspired Bone-baking

Forensic scientists analyzing bones found in the Gobi desert discovered that the DNA within them could be surprisingly easily extracted. In an experiment designed to mimic the conditions that affected those bones, baking a particularly difficult sample made the DNA much more easily extracted, probably because it makes it easier to break open more cells and expose more of the DNA molecules.


Read the rest on Science Daily.


Classic Maya history is embedded in commoners' homes

Diana Yates

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — They were illiterate farmers, builders and servants, but Maya commoners found a way to record their own history – by burying it within their homes. A new study of the objects embedded in the floors of homes occupied more than 1,000 years ago in central Belize begins to decode their story.

Read the rest on Eurekalert.

4.14.2010

Mummified Baboons in British Museum May Reveal Location of the Land of Punt

Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen are all possible locations of the Land of Punt. Throughout their history the ancient Egyptians recorded making voyages to a place called the 'Land of Punt'. To the Egyptians it was a far-off source of exotic animals and valuable goods.

Read the rest here.


Hundreds of rare Roman pots discovered by accident off Italy's coast by British research ship

A British underwater research team has discovered hundreds of rare Roman pots by accident, while trawling the wreckages of ships on the sea bed.

Read the rest on the Daily Mail.


Tomb Of Ken-Amun, Royal Scribe, Unearthed In Egypt

by Rossella Lorenzi

The elaborate burial tomb of an ancient royal scribe has been unearthed near Ismailia, 75 miles (120 kilometers) east of Cairo.

Read the rest on Discovery.

4.13.2010

300-year-old shoes found in castle wall during restoration

Photo:  DPA

A collection of 300-year-old shoes has been found walled into a Gothic tower at a palace in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, regional authorities said late on Monday. Eight women’s, men’s and children’s shoes were uncovered within the wall during restorations at the Liedberg Palace in Korschenbroich, a spokesperson for the Neuss district authority said.

Read the rest here.


The oldest sanctuary 
in Arabia is discovered

UMM AL QUWAIN — The French archaeological mission to the UAE and the museum of the Umm Al Quwain Emirate have recently discovered the oldest sanctuary in Arabia, as well as the oldest known ceremonial site dedicated to a very particular marine mammal, the dugong. These results have just been published in the international review Antiquity.

Read the rest here.


Hannibal’s real Alpine trunk road to Rome is revealed

Norman Hammond

“A hundred elephants Hannibal had when Hannibal crossed the Alps” is a piece of childish doggerel that sticks in the mind, along with “Hannibal crossed the alps, with his horsemen and his spearmen and his elephants”. What Hannibal, the Carthaginian leader, did in 218BC is well known: “I will use fire and steel to arrest the destiny of Rome,” he had vowed at the start of the campaign. With Rome poised to attack Carthage across the strait from Sicily, he decided the best way to tackle the Romans was head on.

Read the rest on the Times.


Ship Paul Revere Dodged Found Beneath Sands

The wreck of the British warship that Paul Revere eluded at the start of his famous ride has resurfaced in Cape Cod's shifting sands, WCVB-TV in Boston reported. About a dozen timbers from the HMS Somerset III were spotted on a Provincetown beach after erosion from a series of powerful storms that ravaged the Cape Cod beaches in March.

Read the rest here.

4.12.2010

Brain Parts Found in Ancient Human Ancestor

Jennifer Viegas

Remains of a 1.9-million-year-old human ancestor are so well preserved that they may contain a remnant of the male individual's brain, according to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France, where the remains were recently examined.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Roman-Era Mummy Uncovered in Egypt Oasis

Rossella Lorenzi

A bejeweled mummy dressed in Roman robes has emerged from the sands of Egypt's Bahariya Oasis, the Supreme Council of Antiquities said Monday.

Read the rest on Discovery.

4.09.2010

Pre-Stonehenge Megaliths Linked to Death Rituals

Jennifer Viegas

Nine megaliths in a remote part of Dartmoor, England, share features in common with Stonehenge, and may shed light on the meaning behind these prehistoric stone monuments, according to a report in the latest issue of British Archaeology.

Read the rest on Discovery.


HISTORY'S HORRORS IN THE PRESENT: Yemeni child bride dies of internal bleeding

By Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN

A 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, the United Nations Children's Fund said.

Read the rest on CNN.


Archeological survey to resume on massive Roman mosaic in Kemble

The uncovered section of the mosaic reveals intricate  floor tiles which show the leg of an animal
The uncovered section of the mosaic reveals intricate floor tiles which show the leg of an animal

by Andy Woolfoot

ARCHAEOLOGICAL work to determine the full extent of a massive Roman mosaic uncovered in a Cotswold field will resume shortly.

Read the rest here.


Ruins in airpark site date from late Roman period

Archaeological ruins found at the site of the new Medavia hangar in Safi were found to be of the late Roman period and work to protect and preserve them started yesterday.

Read the rest on the times of Malta.


'Synagogue' find under Northampton kebab shop

Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be the remains of a medieval synagogue underneath a kebab shop in Northamptonshire.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Scientists dig for Caravaggio's bones, cause of death

AP: PORTO ERCOLE, Italy — Mystery swirls around the death of the great Italian painter Caravaggio, who died at age 39 after a dissipated life of street brawls, brothels, and boozing.

Read the rest here.

4.08.2010

New Dinosaur from Utah's Red Rocks

ScienceDaily — Utah's red rocks -- world-famous attractions at numerous national parks, monuments and state parks -- have yielded a rare skeleton of a new species of plant-eating dinosaur that lived 185 million years ago and may have been buried alive by a collapsing sand dune. The discovery confirms the widespread success of sauropodomorph dinosaurs during the Early Jurassic Period.

Read the rest on Science Daily.


Researchers Shed Light on Ancient Assyrian Tablets

ScienceDaily — A cache of cuneiform tablets unearthed by a team led by a University of Toronto archaeologist has been found to contain a largely intact Assyrian treaty from the early 7th century BCE.

Read the rest on Science Daily.

4.07.2010

Stele names Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus as Egyptian Pharaoh

Scholars translating a Roman victory stele, erected in the Temple of Isis at Philae in Egypt in 29 BC, have discovered the Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus’ name inscribed in a cartouche – an honour normally reserved for an Egyptian pharaoh

Read the rest here.


Oldest Man-Made Structure Found in Greek Cave

Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi

The oldest known example of a man-made structure was found within a prehistoric cave in central Greece, according to the Greek culture ministry. The structure is a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance to the Theopetra cave near Kalambaka on the north edge of the Thessalian plain. It was constructed 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier to cold winds.

Read the rest on Discovery.


Archaeologists dig up Shakespeare's 'cesspit'

Experts have begun excavating the ruins of New Place, Shakespeare’s former home in Stratford-upon-Avon, which was demolished 250 years ago.

Read the rest on the Telegraph.


King Tut Wore Orthopedic Sandals

Rossella Lorenzi

King Tutankhamun might have worn some sort of orthopedic shoes specially designed to cope with his club foot condition, an investigation into the pharaoh's footwear has suggested.

Read the rest on Discovery.

4.06.2010

Philippines dragon-sized lizard is a new species

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A dragon-sized, fruit-eating lizard that lives in the trees on the northern Philippines island of Luzon has been confirmed as a new species, scientists reported on Tuesday.

Read the rest on Yahoo.


Serbia to boast heritage as birthplace of 18 Roman emperors

By Ksenija Prodanovic

Belgrade - The mention of Serbia usually brings to mind the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, but rarely ever the Roman Empire - despite the fact that 18 Roman rulers, one fifth of all emperors, were born on its territory.

Read the rest here.


Cows are key to 2,500 years of human progress

by Jamie Doward

The Romans, as Monty Python famously acknowledged, have done many things for us. Contrary to popular wisdom, however, improving our diet was not one of them.

Read the rest here.

4.05.2010

Missing link between man and apes found

By Richard Gray, Science CorrespondentThe discovery of a nearly-complete early human skeleton is set to  revolutionise scientists' understanding of human evolution.
Homo habilis lived 2.0-1.6 million years ago and had a wide distribution in Africa Photo: SPL

The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week.

Read the rest here.



Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus Named as Egyptian Pharaoh on Philae Victory Stele

A new translation of a Roman victory stele, erected in April 29 BC, shows Octavian Augustus’s name inscribed in a cartouche (an oblong enclosure that surrounds a pharaoh’s name) – an honour normally reserved for an Egyptian pharaoh.

Read the rest on Heritage-Key.


Ancient Roman gluten death seen

(ANSA) - Rome, April 1 - An Italian doctor claims to have found the first Italian case of death from gluten intolerance in a female skeleton uncovered at an Ancient Roman site.

Read the rest here.

4.02.2010

Roman finds made during work on access road

Pieces of the past have been unearthed during the first stages of construction of the East Kent Access Road.

Read the rest here.


Inca cemetery holds brutal glimpses of Spanish violence

download
Photo by M. Murphy

By Bruce Bower

If bones could scream, a bloodcurdling din would be reverberating through a 500-year-old cemetery in Peru. Human skeletons unearthed there have yielded the first direct evidence of Inca fatalities caused by Spanish conquerors.

Read the rest on Science News.


'I pray lovely creature, comply!' 300-year-old stash of erotica found hidden in Lake District manor house

A secret hoard of lewd pamphlets written to titillate the common man more than 300 years ago have been discovered in a manor house.

Read the rest on the Daily Mail.


Andean mummies afflicted with arsenic

By Dan Vergano

Andean mummies reveal arsenic poisoning afflicted people in northern Chile for thousands of years, a hair analysis shows.

Read the rest on USA Today.


Stone Age Scandinavians unable to digest milk

by Anders Götherström

The hunter-gatherers who inhabited the southern coast of Scandinavia 4,000 years ago were lactose intolerant. This has been shown by a new study carried out by researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. The study, which has been published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, supports the researchers' earlier conclusion that today's Scandinavians are not descended from the Stone Age people in question but from a group that arrived later.

Read the rest on Eurekalert.

4.01.2010

CLEOPATRA'S TOMB DISCOVERED!

In a discovery sure to be heralded across the globe as one of the biggest finds of the twenty-first century, Egyptologists have discovered the final resting place of Cleopatra.

Read the rest here.