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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.

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author


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Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning

Extinct ibex is resurrected by cloning
Young Spanish ibex (Capra pyrenaica), Sierra de Gredos, Spain Photo: Jose Luis GOMEZ de FRANCISCO/

The Pyrenean ibex, a form of wild mountain goat, was officially declared extinct in 2000 when the last-known animal of its kind was found dead in northern Spain.

Read the rest here.


Silbury Hill mystery soon to be resolved

Rising riddle: Silbury Hill has dominiated the Wiltshire countryside for thousands of years, but its purpose remains unknown Photo: MATT FABERA/PA

It is said that there is a greater concentration of ancient monuments in the Wiltshire countryside between Marlborough and Avebury than anywhere else in Britain. Many present an eternal puzzle to archaeologists as to how and why they came to be, but Silbury Hill out-puzzles them all.

Read the rest on the Telegraph.


Who's your mummy? High-tech wizardry reveals face of ancient aristocrat

The face of an Egyptian mummy at Otago Museum has been revealed for the first time in over 2,000 years.


Read the rest here.

Ancient wrecks being hunted in once forbidden sea off Albania

AP: Once Europe's most forbidding coast, this sparkling stretch of the Ionian Sea is slowly revealing lost treasures that date back 2,500 years and shipwrecks from ancient times.

Read the rest here.

Locked in time... the 400-year-old mummies (and one little girl)

Preserved: Rosalina died in 1920, aged two
Preserved: Rosalina died in 1920, aged two

By Jane Fryer

With her crumpled yellow hairbow and grubby face, pretty little Rosalina looks as though she's just flaked out for a nap after a morning spent playing in the garden.

In fact, she has been lying in her tiny, wooden, glass-topped coffin in the catacombs beneath the Capuchin monastery in Palermo, Sicily, for more than 90 years - skilfully and shockingly preserved to look just as she did when she died of a bronchial infection in December 1920, aged two.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.


Home - Prehistoric Cambridge The site of a cemetery was found during the dig at Addenbrooke's Hospital during six months of excavations.

by Stephen Exley

PREHISTORIC Cambridge may have been a far bigger settlement than previously thought. A new book published by the Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) suggests that population density in the prehistoric and Roman eras may have been higher than earlier research had claimed.

Read the rest here.

Comet impact theory disproved

ew data, published today, disproves the recent theory that a large comet exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, causing a shock wave that travelled at hundreds of kilometres per hour and triggering continent-wide wildfires.

Read the rest here.

Glacier man may have been attacked twice

Another chapter in a murder case over 5000 years old. New investigations by an LMU research team working together with a Bolzano colleague reconstructed the chronology of the injuries that Ötzi, the glacier man preserved as a frozen mummy, received in his last days.

Read the rest here.


Egypt finds second pier at ancient temple complex

CAIRO (Reuters Life!) - Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a pier used by ancient Egyptians to access the Karnak temple complex during the dry season in the southern city of Luxor, the Egyptian government said on Monday.

Read the rest on Reuters.

Celtic Hoard Found in Netherlands

By Richard Giedroyc, World Coin News

Coins are often used as "index fossils" by archaeologists. An index fossil is a fossil with which paleontologists are familiar that is also known to have lived during a specific time period and in a certain environment.

Read the rest here.


1,800-year-old marble head unearthed in Israel

(CNN) -- Archaeologists in Israel have discovered what they believe is the bust of a Roman boxer from the second or third century.

The figurine is small -- about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide -- but very detailed, archaeologists say.
The figurine is small -- about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide -- but very detailed, archaeologists say.

Read the rest on CNN.


Study on early human migration focuses on stomachs


To better understand the early migrations of humans, modern scientists have followed their stomachs.

Read the rest here.

Ancient wooden tablet bearing land-division term found in Iwate

OSHU, Iwate -- A wooden tablet bearing the Chinese character for an ancient land-division term has been unearthed in Iwate Prefecture.

Read the rest here.


How Mary Queen of Scots wrote of her fears for strife-torn nation

DEEP in an archive, more than two dozen letters written by Mary, Queen of Scots, lie largely unseen for centuries. Many are written in a secret code as Mary fought to preserve and protect the Catholic faith in Scotland after the 1560 Reformation which saw the country break with Rome.

But soon the letters, which in recent years have only been seen by a select group of historians, will be available to view on-line.

Read the rest here.

Book Claims Nazi 'Angel of Death' Responsible for High Rate of Twins in Brazilian Town

A German doctor who was commissioned by Adolf Hitler to artificially increase the Aryan birthrate may be responsible for a large number of twins born in a small Brazilian town, a new book claims.

Read the rest on FoxNews.


Gallery: Advanced painting techniques in ancient Egypt

by Stephanie Pain

He was a mid-ranking official and wasn't rich - but he clearly wanted to be remembered. Nebamun was an accountant at the Temple of Amun at Karnak in ancient Egypt. The wall paintings he had commissioned for his tomb-chapel, completed around 1350 BC, are masterpieces of Egyptian art, and 11 fragments of them go on display at the British Museum this week.

See a gallery of the paintings from Nebamun's tomb

Read the rest on New Scientist.

Roman mosaic floor is uncovered in a Cotswold field

A ROMAN mosaic has been uncovered by two metal detector enthusiasts in a Cotswold field. John Carter and Paul Ballinger say their find could be of national significance.

Read the rest here.


Galileo DNA to solve astronomical riddle

galileo galilei
Italian researchers want to exhume the body of Galileo Galilei to determine what caused his blindness

Italian scientists are hoping to extract Galileo's DNA to determine how the astronomer forged groundbreaking theories on the universe while gradually becoming blind.

Read the rest here.

Ancient Greek vessel docks for Pompey refit

By Andrew Johnson

The most complete ancient Greek ship ever found – which is being painstakingly pieced back together by marine archaeology experts in Portsmouth – is shown here as it would probably have looked when it sailed around the Greek islands at the time of Homer.

Read the rest here.

Neanderthal Weaponry Lacked Projectile Advantage

Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News
Photo of Neanderthal Skeleton
Out Competed | Discovery News Video

A trio of new studies on prehistoric weapons suggests Neanderthals made sophisticated weapons and tools -- possibly including the first sticky adhesive -- but they lacked the projectile weapons possessed by early humans.

Read the rest on Discovery.

Mexico's Unconquered Maya Hold Tight to Their Old Ways

Eliza Barclay
for National Geographic News

When archaeologist Joel Palka ventured into the rain forests of northern Guatemala to study the disappearance of the ancient Maya, locals laughed. The "ancient" Maya had, in fact, been in the area as recently as the 1920s, they told him.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

Back From Jamaica!

I'm back!!!! And I have to say, Jamaica has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. My best friend's wedding was absolutely beautiful, filled with music and flowers and wonderful friends and family. Jamaica has a fascinating mix of foods, races and cultural traditions. The Arawak and Taíno settlers (2000 BC) named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water". Later, when the island was colonized by the Spanish and then by the British, it became known as Jamaica. Here are a few photos of this land of wood and water.


Update: Body of Queen Sesheshet Found in New Pyramid

Remains of Sesheshet. Photo: Reuters handout

Remains of an ancient Egyptian mummy, thought to be those of Queen Sesheshet have been found inside the newly discovered pyramid at Saqqara.

Read the rest here.


Early chemical warfare comes to light

PHILADELPHIA — Roman soldiers defending a Middle Eastern garrison from attack nearly 2,000 years ago met the horrors of war in a most unusual place. Inside a cramped tunnel beneath the site’s massive front wall, enemy fighters stacked up nearly two dozen dead or dying Romans and set them on fire, using substances that gave off toxic fumes and drove away Roman warriors just outside the tunnel.

Read the rest on Science News.


Study Reveals DNA Links Between Ancient Peruvians, Japanese

LIMA -- A study has revealed genetic links between people who inhabited northern Peru more than 1,000 years ago and Japanese, El Comercio newspaper reported Thursday.

Read the rest here.

Finding Darwin's Lost Ship

By Tudor Vieru

Although only known to very few, the HMS Beagle was one of the most influential ships of modern times, simply because it was the means Charles Darwin used to get around the world and observe plant and animal species that eventually led to him creating his famous theory of evolution on the survival of the strongest.

Read the rest here.


Making History: Life As We Know It Nearly Created in Lab

One of life's greatest mysteries is how it began. Scientists have pinned it down to roughly this: Some chemical reactions occurred about 4 billion years ago — perhaps in a primordial tidal soup or maybe with help of volcanoes or possibly at the bottom of the sea or between the mica sheets — to create biology. Now scientists have created something in the lab that is tantalizingly close to what might have happened.

Read the rest here.

Radiocarbon dates indicate early Irish were just visiting

Ireland’s first farmers settled the island later than some sites from Ulster have long suggested, but did so in a short period which may also have seen parallel migration into western England and Scotland.

Read the rest on the Times.

DNA Testing May Unlock Secrets Of Medieval Manuscripts

ScienceDaily — Thousands of painstakingly handwritten books produced in medieval Europe still exist today, but scholars have long struggled with questions about when and where the majority of these works originated. Now a researcher from North Carolina State University is using modern advances in genetics to develop techniques that will shed light on the origins of these important cultural artifacts.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.


Scientists Bring 2000 year old painted warrior to virtual live

By Peter Dunn

A 2000-year-old painted statue is being restored to her original glory by scientists from WMG at the University of Warwick, the University of Southampton, and the Herculaneum Conservation Project.

Read the rest on Eurekalert.

The Maya suffered for their looks

We may think we make sufficient sacrifices for our idea of beauty, what with false eyelashes, body perforations supporting various bits of metalwork from earrings to tongue studs, toupees and hair extensions, Spanx and padded bras. The Ancient Maya went much farther, however, reshaping their children’s skulls and inlaying their own teeth with jade.

Read the rest on the Times.

WWII-Era Mass Grave Believed to Contain 1,800 Germans

AP: WARSAW, Poland — Construction workers have unearthed a World War II-era mass grave containing what are believed to be the bodies of 1,800 German men, women and children near Poland's border with Germany, authorities said Monday.

Read the rest on FoxNews.



I'm off to Jamaica, where I'll be the matron of honor is my BFF's wedding! I'll be back on Tuesday the 20th. In the mean time, History Buff will continue to update, but with fewer news stories (only one - maybe two - a day). I promise to return with lots of photos and at least one story about Jamaican history (of course)!


Stolen by the Nazis: The tragic tale of 12,000 blue-eyed blond children taken by the SS to create an Aryan super-race

By Andrew Malone

With blond hair and striking blue eyes, the toddler attracted admiring glances from other mothers growing up in the Crimea. But Folker Heinecke's looks also proved a curse: they brought him to the attention of Heinrich Himmler, the psychopathic head of the German SS and architect of a plan to populate the world with the Aryan master race.

Folker Heinecke
Little boy lost: Folker Heinecke - or Aleksander Litau?

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

Comet smashes triggered ancient famine

By Ker Than

MULTIPLE comet impacts around 1500 years ago triggered a "dry fog" that plunged half the world into famine. Historical records tell us that from the beginning of March 536 AD, a fog of dust blanketed the atmosphere for 18 months.

Read the rest on New Scientist.


1,000 years on, perils of fake Viking swords are revealed

by Maev Kennedy
Jorvik Viking Centre
The difference between a fake Viking sword and the real thing would only have emerged in the heat of battle. Photograph: PA

It must have been an appalling moment when a Viking realised he had paid two cows for a fake designer sword; a clash of blade on blade in battle would have led to his sword, still sharp enough to slice through bone, shattering like glass... Some Viking swords were among the best ever made, still fearsome weapons after a millennium. The legendary swords found at Viking sites across northern Europe bear the maker's name, Ulfberht, in raised letters at the hilt end. Puzzlingly, so do the worst ones, found in fragments on battle sites or in graves.

Read the rest on the Guardian.

Stonehenge in Lake Michigan?


Getty Images: Stones in a circular formation along with possible ancient carvings have been discovered deep below the surface of Lake Michigan.

The iconic Stonehenge in the UK is one of the most famous prehistoric monuments in the world, but it is not the only stone formation of its kind. Similar stone alignments have been found throughout England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales… and now, it seems, in Lake Michigan.

Read the rest here.

Mummy thought to be Queen Seshestet found in Egypt

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian archaeologists have found the remains of a mummy thought to be that of Queen Seshestet, the mother of a pharaoh who ruled Egypt in the 24th century BC, the government said on Thursday.

Read the rest on Yahoo.


Long-extinct creatures like the dodo and woolly mammoth could be brought back to life thanks to scientific advances

By Fiona Macrae

It has long been synonymous with death. But the dodo could live again, along with other long-extinct creatures from the fearsome sabre-toothed tiger to the lumbering Neanderthal. Other beasts of yesteryear ripe for resurrection include the Tasmanian tiger, the woolly rhinoceros and the glyptodon - a VW Beetle-sized armadillo which last roamed the Earth 11,000 years ago.
woolly mammoth
Ripe for resurrection: The New Scientist claims bringing back the woolly mammoth is now a possibility, with a modern-day elephant being a suitable surrogate mother

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

European Neanderthals had ginger hair and freckles

by Edward Owen

In a major breakthrough, Spanish scientists have discovered the blood group and two other genes of the early humans who lived 43,000 ago. After analysing the fossil bones found in a cave in north-west Spain, the experts concluded they had human blood group "O" and were genetically more likely to be fair skinned, perhaps even with freckles, have red or ginger hair and could talk.

Read the rest on the Telegraph.

Fossilised skull suggests cheetahs evolved in Asia not Americas

James Randerson, science correspondent
A cheetah in the Masai Mara, Kenya
A cheetah in the Masai Mara, Kenya. Photograph: Allstar/Stewart Kendall

The fossilised skull of a big cat unearthed in north-west China has been identified as the most primitive cheetah ever found. The skull, which is between 2.16m and 2.55m years old, is superbly preserved and its location has cast doubt on ideas that cheetahs evolved in the Americas.

Read the rest on the Guardian.


Ancient burial ground uncovered

Archaeologists on the dig
The remains are being taken back to Oxford to be examined

More than a dozen skeletons thought to be thousands of years old, have been found by Oxford archaeologists working at an ancient burial site in Dorset.

Read the rest on the BBC.

Meteorite Triggered Ancient New York Tsunami?

Ker Than in New York City

A meteorite impact off Long Island 2,300 years ago may have set off a huge tsunami that flooded the New York City region, a new study says.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

"Nanodiamond" Find Supports Comet Extinction Theory

The discovery of tiny "nanodiamonds" supports a controversial theory that a catastrophic bombardment of space rocks altered the course of Earth history. About 12,900 years ago, Earth was escaping the grips of an ice age when something triggered a sudden refreeze.

Read the rest on National Geographic.


Macedonia archeologists uncover 4,000 year old writing

Uncovered are the first traces of the old Macedonian language in the country, says "Dr. Dushko Aleksovski, paleolinguistics professor and honorary president of the World Rock Art Academy.

Read the rest here.

Argentine builders 'strike oil'

Screen-grab of builders at site of find, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 30 December 2008
The galleon was discovered as workers dug the foundations of a block of flats

Construction workers in Argentina have struck oil - of the olive variety - as they unearthed a colonial-era Spanish ship believed to be 250 years old.

Read the rest on the BBC.

Necklaces reveal early man’s intelligence


The date when our ancestors first began to use ornaments — which would indicate a set of thought processes that might be recognised as human — has once again been under debate. While good evidence exists for the use of natural objects modified as jewellery almost 100,000 years ago in southern Africa and the Middle East, the case for this having occurred twice as long ago in Europe has also been argued, and has now come under renewed scrutiny.

Read the rest on the Times Online.

German battlefield yields Roman surprises

HANOVER, Germany (CNN) -- Archaeologists have found more than 600 relics from a huge battle between a Roman army and Barbarians in the third century, long after historians believed Rome had given up control of northern Germany.

Read the rest on CNN.