Archaeology News for the Week of September 1st, 2013

September 4th, 2013

Modern Humans Were in China Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

The ongoing debate about when and how anatomically modern humans (“AMH”) made their presence in east Asia has taken another turn with new evidence recovered from a cave in central China. The finds may push back the generally accepted time of their appearance in the region by as much as 50,000 years. A team of six researchers from four institutions, using high-precision mass spectrometric U-series dating techniques, were able to determine a reliable and constrained date range of between 81 and 101 ka (thousand years) for seven human fossil teeth recovered from the Huanglong Cave in the Hubei Province of central China. (Popular Archaeology)

Who ruled ancient Egypt and when: The most precise timeline yet

The most precise chronology of Early Egypt yet suggests the country formed much more quickly than previously thought. The new finding reveals a robust timeline for the first eight kings and queens of Egypt, including, in order of succession, King Aha, King Djer, King Djet, Queen Merneith, King Den, King Anedjib, King Semerkhet and King Qa’a. The accession of Aha to the throne is often thought to define the start of the Egyptian state, with the new study suggesting (with 68 percent probability) that he became king between 3111 B.C. and 3045 B.C. (NBCNews)

Richard III’s worms of discontent: Experts say hunchback English king infected with parasite

Researchers who dug up King Richard III’s skeleton say they appear to have discovered another problem the hunchback monarch had during his brief and violent reign: parasitic worms in his guts that grew up to a foot long. In those remains, dug up last year beneath a parking lot in Leicester, the researchers say they discovered numerous roundworm eggs in the soil around his pelvis, where his intestines would have been. (The Washington Post)

Archaeologists Unearth 10,400-Year-Old Settlements in Bolivia

An international team of scientists from Switzerland, Australia, Germany and the United States has discovered remains of three hunter-gatherer settlements in the western Amazon. Their study, reported in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, focuses on a region in the Bolivian Amazon thought to be rarely occupied by pre-agricultural communities due to unfavorable environmental conditions (

Men’s average height ‘up 11cm since 1870s’

The average height of men has risen by almost 11cm since the mid-19th century, experts have found. Data was collected on hundreds of thousands of men from 15 European countries. For British men, the average height at age 21 rose from 167.05cm (5ft 5in) in 1871-75 to 177.37cm (5ft 10in) in 1971-75. A public health expert said height was a “useful barometer” but it was crucial to focus on improving health overall. (BBC News)