Archaeology News for the Week of October 13th, 2013

October 14th, 2013

Link to Oetzi the Iceman found in living Austrians

Austrian scientists have found that 19 Tyrolean men alive today are related to Oetzi the Iceman, whose 5,300-year-old frozen body was found in the Alps. Their relationship was established through DNA analysis by scientists from the Institute of Legal Medicine at Innsbruck Medical University. The men have not been told about their connection to Oetzi. The DNA tests were taken from blood donors in Tyrol. (BBC News)

Prehistoric Code Found In Clay Balls From Mesopotamia May Represent First Data Storage System

Researchers studying clay balls from Mesopotamia have discovered clues to a lost code that was used for record-keeping about 200 years before writing was invented. The clay balls may represent the world’s “very first data storage system,” at least the first that scientists know of, said Christopher Woods, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, in a lecture at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where he presented initial findings. (Huffington Post)

European hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years

Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or were absorbed into the farming population. In a paper published today in Science, researchers describe their analysis of DNA and isotopes from human bones found in the ‘Blätterhöhle’ cave near Hagen in Germany, where both hunter-gatherers and farmers were buried.  (EurekAlert)

Archaeologists discover rare 18th-century mission site in St. Augustine

The lot on Duero Street looks pretty much like any other slightly overgrown site to passers-by, but for archaeologists it’s a treasure trove. There is no gold or silver here, but lots of fragments of Native American pottery and some European pottery, signs this is the remains of a farmstead that was once part of an 18th-century mission site known as Pocotalaca. (

Rare Second World War bunker unearthed in Hampshire by sewage workers

IT is a reminder of the days when the south was in the front line of defending the country from the Nazis. Thought to be one of just two in the country a rare Second World War bunker has been uncovered in Hampshire by sewage workers after being buried for half a century. (Southern Daily Echo)

Amesbury dig ‘could explain’ Stonehenge history

A group of archaeologists is undertaking a major dig in Wiltshire, which it is hoped could explain why Stonehenge was built where it was. The team, which consists of leading experts in the Mesolithic period, also hopes to confirm Amesbury as the oldest continuous settlement in the UK. (BBC News)

Discovery of a 2,700-Year-Old Portico in Greece

A 2,700-year-old portico was discovered this summer on the site of the ancient city of Argilos in northern Greece, following an archaeological excavation led by Jacques Perreault, Professor at the University of Montreal’s Centre of Classical Studies and Zisis Bonias, an archaeologist with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports. (Science Daily)

Half a million years ago, proto-men recycled, say Israeli scientists

If you thought recycling was just a modern phenomenon championed by environmentalists— think again. There is mounting evidence that hundreds of thousands of years ago, our prehistoric ancestors recycled objects they used in their daily lives, say researchers gathered at an international conference in Israel. (HAARETZ)

6,000-Year-Old Wine Found In Greece; Ancient Samples May Be Oldest Unearthed In Europe

Conventional wisdom agrees that a fine wine generally gets better with age — good news for the 6,200-year-old wine samples unearthed in Greece, huh? Researchers working at an ongoing dig site in northern Greece recently announced that the final results of residue analysis from ancient ceramics showed evidence of wine dating back to 4200 B.C., according to the Greek Reporter. The excavation, located at a prehistoric settlement known as Dikili Tash, is situated 1.2 miles from the ancient city of Philippi and has been inhabited since 6500 B.C., according to the researchers’ website. (Huffington Post)