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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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To Protect an Ancient City, China Moves to Raze It

KASHGAR, China — A thousand years ago, the northern and southern branches of the Silk Road converged at this oasis town near the western edge of the Taklamakan Desert.

Read the rest on the NYT.

Roman era reveals expenses claims

Ancient Roman writing tablets suggest public officials were involved in expenses scandals 2,000 years ago.

Read the rest on the BBC.


History Buff is going on vacation....

Every summer I disappear for several months to various archaeological sites around the world. So for the next 8 weeks or so, History Buff will only be updated a few times a week and with fewer stories. However, as soon as I return, plentiful posting will resume.

Have a wonderful summer!!!!!!!!

4,000-year-old road found in city

An  archaeologist recording the remains of the trackway
The short section of hurdle trackway had eroded out of the marine clay on the Swansea foreshore

A Bronze Age road has been found below Swansea's shifting foreshore.

The short section of track was discovered by a metal detector enthusiast and archaeologists have now dated it to around 4,000 years ago.

Read the rest on the BBC.


New finds span time

An incomplete Graeco-Roman statue of an athlete in Alexandria and an enormous collection of prehistoric artefacts in Fayoum are the most recent discoveries in Egypt.

Read the rest here.

'Oldest' human settlement found

Watch the video on the BBC.

Mystery footprints restore warring scene

Newly discovered footprints of different sizes, apparently left by men, women and children, on an ancient military route, have helped recreate a war scene that occurred at least 2,000 years ago, an archaeologist said Friday.

Read the rest here.


Jerusalem archaeologists uncover Iron Age jar handle with Hebrew inscription

JOSEPH MARKS, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM (AP) — Archaeologists digging on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives have discovered a nearly 3,000-year-old jar handle bearing ancient Hebrew script, a find significantly older than most inscribed artifacts unearthed in the ancient city, an archaeologist said.

Read the rest on the La Times.

Bristol Roman villa finder's thoughts revealed

Letters from the 1940s written by a Bristol schoolboy who discovered the remains of a Roman villa in Lawrence Weston have been uncovered.

Read the rest here.


Louis XVI's final testament discovered

Portrait of Louis XVI: Louis XVI's final testament discovered
Louis XVI was found guilty of treason and guillotined in 1793

The king wrote the "Declaration to all the French" the day before fleeing Paris in 1791.

Read the rest on The Telegraph.

Ancient Gem-Studded Teeth Show Skill of Early Dentists

jeweled teeth (grills) picture
Photograph courtesy José C. Jiménez López

by John roach

The glittering "grills" of some hip-hop stars aren't exactly unprecedented. Sophisticated dentistry allowed Native Americans to add bling to their teeth as far back as 2,500 years ago, a new study says.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

Antiquities returned to Greece

Read the rest on Reuters.


The gold-fingered gardener who unearths a piece of treasure every time she tends her vegetable patch

Many a veteran gardener will tell you they're 'green-fingered'. For relative novice Jan Long, however, 'gold-fingered' is a more apt description - as nearly every time she weeds her borders or tends her vegetable patch, she unearths an antique.

Read the rest on the Daily Mail.

Fossil Discovery Is Heralded

by Gautam Naik

In what could prove to be a landmark discovery, a leading paleontologist said scientists have dug up the 47 million-year-old fossil of an ancient primate whose features suggest it could be the common ancestor of all later monkeys, apes and humans.

Read the rest on the Wall Street Journal.


Fish Poisoning May Be Why Polynesians Left Paradise

Ciguatera poisoning, the food-borne disease that can come from eating large, carnivorous reef fish, causes vomiting, headaches, and a burning sensation upon contact with cold surfaces.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.

How Neanderthals met a grisly fate: devoured by humans

Robin McKie

One of science's most puzzling mysteries - the disappearance of the Neanderthals - may have been solved. Modern humans ate them, says a leading fossil expert.

Read the rest on the Guardian.


Weekend Fun!

I filmed a short segment on the history of Victorian architecture this weekend a few cities away from where I live in so Cal. Here are a few photos from the "set"!


Sardinians unlock 'sardonic grin'

(ANSA) - Cagliari, - Sardinian scientists believe they've traced the roots of the 'death-defying' sardonic grin to a plant commonly found on the Italian island.

Read the rest here.

Emperor Trajan's Palace discovered in southwestern Romania

BUCHAREST (Xinhua) -- Romanian archaeologists have discovered, in southeastern county of Caras-Severin, a complex structure estimated to be 2,000 years old belonging to the Roman culture, local media reported on Thursday.

Read the rest here.


Venus figurine sheds light on origins of art by early humans

By Thomas H. Maugh II
A 40,000-year-old figurine of a voluptuous woman carved from mammoth ivory and excavated from a cave in southwestern Germany is the oldest known example of three-dimensional or figurative representation of humans and sheds new light on the origins of art, researchers reported Wednesday.

Read the rest on the LA Times.

Neandertals Sophisticated And Fearless Hunters, New Analysis Shows

ScienceDaily — Neandertals, the 'stupid' cousins of modern humans were capable of capturing the most impressive animals.

Read the rest on ScienceDaily.


Ancient Elite Island With Pyramid Found in Mexico

Alexis Okeowo in México City
for National Geographic News

An island for ancient elites has been found in central Mexico, archaeologists say. Among the ruins are a treasury and a small pyramid that may have been used for rituals.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

Roman Ruins Survive the Ages Thanks to Volcanic Ash

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
Photo of Trajan's Market

Sandy ash produced by a volcano that erupted 456,000 years ago might have helped a huge ancient Roman complex survive intact for nearly 2,000 years despite three earthquakes, according to research presented last week in Rome.

Read the rest on Discovery.


The king of Stonehenge: Were artefacts at ancient chief's burial site Britain's first Crown Jewels?

By Paul Harris

He was a giant of a man, a chieftain who ruled with a royal sceptre and a warrior's axe. When they laid him to rest they dressed him in his finest regalia and placed his weapons at his side.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

Rare statue of marble discovered in Alexandria

The Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) Zahi Hawwas said 9/5/2009 that a Greek archeological mission under Calliope Papacosta discovered a rare statue made of white marble in Alexandria.

Read the rest here.


BBC show unearths 1641 'passport'

Eileen and Peter Milner
The passport dates backs to 1641

A BBC show which values viewers' family heirlooms has found one of its most valuable artefacts in Sunderland.

Read the rest on the BBC.

'Mayan king' remains found

TEGUCIGALPA - HONDURAN researchers believe they have uncovered the remains of one of the first kings of Central America's Mayan civilization.

Read the rest here.

Think your life is bad? Archaeologists show us worse.

Amid swine flu, sinking economies and other sorrows of the modern world, losing track of when life was really tough can be easy. Lucky for us, we have archaeologists to put things in a little perspective.

Read the rest on USA Today.

Egypt's antiquities head says statements nonsensical

One of history's most famous archaeological finds may just be a fake, claims one art historian. The world renowned bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti, believed to be 3,400 years old, is at the center of contentious debate on whether the famed artifact is genuine or just a forgery.

Read the rest here.


'Lost' medieval church discovered

University of Wales Lampeter
A team from Lampeter University will investigate the site during the summer

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a so-called "lost" medieval village church in Ceredigion.

Read the rest on the BBC.

'Viking ship' discovered in Sweden's largest lake

Marine archaeologists in Sweden have discovered what they believe to be the wreck of a Viking ship at the bottom the country's largest lake.

Read the rest here.

Sinai fort may hold clues to ancient Egypt defenses

By Alastair Sharp

QANTARA, Egypt (Reuters) - A military garrison of mud-brick and seashells unearthed in Egypt's Sinai desert may be key to finding a web of pharaonic-era defenses at the northeast gateway to ancient Egypt, archaeologists said on Thursday.

Read the rest on Reuters.


What are you waiting for?

If you haven't picked up your paperback copy of CW. Gortner's The Last Queen, now is the time! This is the story of Juana of Castile - or Joanna the Mad - the last Spanish queen and the sister of Catherine of Aragon (yes, that Catherine of Aragon, who married Henry VIII). If you haven't read it already, you're missing out!

'Ancient text' seized in Israel

Israeli authorities say they have recovered a papyrus document which appears to be nearly 2,000 years old.

Read the rest on the BBC.

Ancient tsunami 'hit New York'

By Molly Bentley
Science reporter

New York skyline
Such a wave today would flood Wall Street and the Long Island Expressway

A huge wave crashed into the New York City region 2,300 years ago, dumping sediment and shells across Long Island and New Jersey and casting wood debris far up the Hudson River.

Read the rest on the BBC.


DNA test could shed light on Lincoln's last days, doctor says

By Jennifer Pifer Bixler
CNN Senior Medical Producer

Was President Abraham Lincoln dying of a rare genetic disease when an assassin killed him in 1865?

Read the rest on CNN.


EBay Has Unexpected, Chilling Effect On Looting Of Antiquities, Archaelogist Finds

The daughter of a Peruvian artisan who specializes in the production of fake antiquities holds up an example. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles)

ScienceDaily — Having worked for 25 years at fragile archaeological sites in Peru, UCLA archaeologist Charles "Chip" Stanish held his breath when the online auction house eBay launched more than a decade ago.

Read the rest on Science Daily.


Van Gogh didn't cut off his ear - it was chopped off by Gauguin in a row over a woman, academics claim

All bandaged up: Painter Vincent Van Gogh never spoke about the cause of his missing ear, but it is claimed rival Paul Gauguin chopped it off outside a brothel
Self-portrait: Vincent Van Gogh never spoke about the cause of his missing ear, but it is claimed rival Paul Gauguin chopped it off outside a brothel

By Justin Stares

For more than 100 years, famous artist Vincent Van Gogh has been portrayed as a tortured genius who cut off his own ear as he battled with mental illness.

But it seems we may have been given the wrong impression.

Read the rest on the DailyMail.

Babylon Ruins Reopen in Iraq, to Controversy

Read the rest on the NYT.

Shedding light on the Catacombs of Rome

By Duncan Kennedy
BBC News, Rome

Rome's underground Christian, Jewish and pagan burial sites, the Catacombs, date back to the 2nd Century AD. There are more than 40 of them stretching over 170km (105 miles). But, until now, they have never been fully documented, their vast scale only recorded with handmade maps.

Read the rest on the BBC.


Google Accidentally Offends Japanese Sensibilities

TOKYO — When Google Earth added historical maps of Japan to its online collection last year, the search giant didn't expect a backlash.

Read the rest here.

"Lost World" of Dinosaurs Survived Mass Extinction?

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News

An isolated group of dinosaurs somehow survived the catastrophic event that wiped out most of their kind some 65.5 million years ago, a new study suggests.

Read the rest on National Geographic.

HISTORY'S HORRORS IN THE PRESENT: Iran Hangs Young Woman Convicted of Murder As A Minor

Delara Darabi was just 17 when she was accused of killing her father's cousin. She has now been hanged in a rushed execution

The lawyer said Darabi called her parents just moments before the execution. He quoted her as saying, "Oh, Mother, I see the hangman's noose in front of me. They are going to execute me. Please save me....

Mostafaei said the court did not seriously consider his arguments in the woman's defense. For example, he said, Darabi was left-handed, while all the evidence suggests the crime was committed by someone who was right-handed.

Read the rest here.


Aristotle school to become open-air museum

Read the rest on MSNBC.

Museum’s Egyptian Mummies: Visit to HUP for CT Scanning

One of three ancient Egyptian mummies CT scanned in the early morning of April 19th at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. (L-R) Penn student and anthropology major Samantha Cox, HUP radiologic technologist Erika Durham, Penn Museum Senior Research Scientist Jennifer Wegner, and Penn anthropology majors Jennifer Rosado and Paul Sanborn.

PUM II and Hapi-Men, two of the ancient Egyptian mummies on display at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, have had their share of medical scrutiny: PUM II was both x-rayed and autopsied in 1973, while Hapi-Men underwent an x-ray in 1980.

Read the rest here.

Ancient Carvings Reveal Pharaoh's Dark Age

AFP: Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed carvings at four ancient temples in the Sinai peninsula which they hope will shed fresh light on one of the most obscure periods of Pharaonic history.

Read the rest on Discovery.

Dinosaur-Bird Link: Ancient Proteins Preserved In Soft Tissue From 80 Million-Year-Old Hadrosaur

Samples of ancient protein dating back 80 million years preserved in bone fragments and soft tissues of a hadrosaur. (Credit: Courtesy of NCSU)
ScienceDaily— Ancient protein dating back 80 million years to the Cretaceous geologic period has been preserved in bone fragments and soft tissues of a hadrosaur, or duck-billed dinosaur, according to a study in the May 1 issue of Science.

Read the rest on Science Daily.