Archaeology News for the Week of August 4th, 2013

August 4th, 2013

Oldest Human Fossil in Western Europe Found in Spain

An international team of researchers have announced the discovery of the oldest hominin (early or archaic human) fossil ever found in Western Europe, pushing back the clock on when early humans first colonized Western Europe after their exodus from Africa. The find, a fossil tooth (molar) uncovered through excavations at the site of Barranco León in the Orce region of southeastern Spain, was dated to about 1.4 million years ago using several combined dating techniques, including Electron Spin Resonance (ESR) in combination with paleomagnetic and biochronological data. (Popular Archaeology)

Researchers Shed New Light on Genetic Adam and EveResearchers Shed New Light on Genetic Adam and Eve

Previous genetic research has indicated the existence of two ancient modern human individuals who passed their genes along to all humans living today, what scientists have referred to as our most recent common ancestors, or MRCAs. The first, designated “Mitochondrial Eve”, lived between 190,000 and 200,000 years ago, and the second, “Y-chromosomal Adam”, between 50,000 and 115,000 years ago. (Popular Archaeology)

Italy tries to spare ancient Pompeii from ruin

Italy’s government is trying to spare the ancient ruins of Pompeii from further neglect. Premier Enrico Letta told reporters that his Cabinet on Friday approved the appointment of a special superintendent to ensure that millions of euros in government and European Union funds for maintenance and restoration of the archaeological marvel and tourist site are properly spent. (The New Zealand Herald)

Archaeologists uncover 200-year-old Alaska village

Brown University archaeologists have uncovered the site of a village in northwest Alaska that’s believed to be at least 200 years old. The village dig is in Kobuk Valley National Park about 20 miles up the Kobuk River from the community of Kiana, according to KSKA. (USAToday)

Cars banned on Colosseum street by Rome’s cycling mayor

A busy road that cuts through Rome’s ancient forum to the Colosseum was blocked to private traffic on Saturday, in the first stage of a plan to pedestrianise the area that has angered some locals but which the mayor says is of global importance. In the hours before the closure, motorbikes and cars circled the Colosseum beeping their horns and taking photos to mark the last time they would take a route immortalised by Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck’s scooter ride in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. (Reuters)

Bahrain history slowly rises from sands

More than 4,000 years ago, Dilmun merchants traveled from Mesopotamia to the Indus River, titans of trade and culture before rise of the empires of the Persians or the Ottomans Over a millennia, the civilization that Dilmun created on the back of trading in pearls, copper and dates as far as South Asia faded into the encroaching sands. It wasn’t until an excavation by Danish archaeologists in the 1950s that its past was rediscovered. (Lincoln Daily News)

Archaeologists recover damaged portion of Meadowcroft Rockshelter

A team of archaeologists pored over the heavily stratified earth at the excavation site in Avella known as the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, hoping to repair damage done by recent flooding that tore through the area. And although rainwater washed away some artifacts from the site, many of the team members were excited to get their hands dirty on such an important piece of history. (