www.archaeology.ws/archive

http://www.physorg.com/news5995.html

Researcher explores Spanish cave to find why early humans replaced Neanderthals in Europe

August 24, 2005

  

ASU researcher Ana Pinto is shedding some light on an age-old mystery in anthropology: What was the relationship between Neanderthals and early humans?

Pinto’s findings of the remains of a modern human culture stacked directly atop remnants of a Neanderthal dwelling in a Spanish cave are shedding light on the historical mystery and providing evidence for just how those species may have lived and interacted with their environment.

 

In 2002, while Pinto was working as a county archaeologist in northern Spain searching for archaeological sites in the Cordillera Cantabrica mountain range, she noticed a peculiar rock outcropping out her window while driving past.

 

“I had a feeling that there was a cave in that rock,” says Pinto, who completes her ASU postdoctoral research in September. “And if there was a cave, there was a chance for human occupation. I thought to myself, ‘If I were a Neanderthal or an early human, that’s where I would choose to live.’ ”

 

Pinto, who recently returned to Spain to continue her research, says the outcropping had a vaulted, dominant position peering down the mountain. It overlooked the whole valley, with a stream meandering close by the site. The scene had everything an early hominid could ask for: water, plentiful food sources, shelter and protection.

 

“Good real estate,” Pinto says.

 

So she set out to investigate the area, and her determination paid off in a big way. As she suspected, the rock outcropping housed a rock shelter at its base. At first glance, the 10-square-meter (30-square-foot) limestone enclave seemed little more than a rocky overhang, but the environmental and topographical conditions would have made this shelter an ideal habitat. Whose habitat, though, remained a mystery.

 

The site is called Sopeña, which in Spanish means “under the rock.” Pinto began a test excavation – which involves digging a narrow, deep trench to gain a rough estimate of what lies beneath – revealing 16 layers of rock and sediment.

 

Caves are excellent safekeepers of fossils because they are very stable, sheltered environments, Pinto says. Limestone, common in caves, helps preserve bones.

 

But caves have their pitfalls as well. The activation and reactivation of water systems and underground rivers inside the caves are affected dramatically between periods of glaciation, the periodic formation and movement of massive ice sheets. This can wreak havoc on a cave, scattering and sometimes washing away fossil evidence. Sopeña proved to be a rare, exquisitely intact specimen.

 

After sifting through a meter-deep bed of manure, Pinto found an assortment of small stone tools and bone fragments. Among these, a few larger stone blades were discovered.

 

“Stone blade tools are usually thought to be associated with the arrival of the earliest modern humans in Europe,” Pinto says. “So this discovery gave the first indication as to the probable age of 34,000 B.C. for the upper layers of the site.”

 

A small, pointy bone tool provided even more clues. The bone point in archaeology is known as a fossil director, a relic that uniquely indicates the area in which it was produced. The base of the bone point was broken, which prevented precise knowledge of when it was fashioned, but it was enough to confirm for Pinto that this cave dwelling once belonged to the Aurignacian culture, the very earliest modern humans to arrive in Europe about 30,000 years ago (28,000 B.C.).

 

When the team’s test excavation reached the 12th level, they found what they had been hoping for: primitive scraping tools, fashioned out of retouched stone flakes, lying next to bone fragments of some prehistoric feast. The tools differed from those normally associated with modern humans, indicating they belonged to a Neanderthal culture.

 

Given that Pinto’s evidence shows that Neanderthals and modern humans shared a common location at a time when evidence shows that both species may have been in Europe, it seems likely that the two species would have encountered one another.

 

Looking to further her research, Pinto discovered that ASU’s Institute of Human Origins (IHO) had tools and personnel to assist her. She contacted Curtis Marean, a professor with the IHO, who arranged for her postdoctoral research at ASU in 2002.

 

Pinto’s goal is to discover definitive evidence for why humans eventually replaced Neanderthals in Europe. Her work has garnered attention from benefactors like the Wings WorldQuest organization, which awarded her a $10,000 grant and a subsidy from the National Geographic Society.

 

Although Pinto is back in Spain, she plans on maintaining the working relationships she has made at ASU so that graduate students, professors and researchers can assist her in her discoveries.

 

“Sopeña is outstanding because it has a continuous registry of events along the 25,000 or so critical years of human evolution consisting of the transition from Neanderthals to modern humans,” Pinto says. “The archaeological levels of this site read like the pages of a book.”

 

So far, 16 layers of Sopeña’s stratigraphic column have been seen with the test excavation. The excavation crew has only thoroughly explored the topmost layers, but Pinto is confident that her research will result in a better understanding of the history of early humans and Neanderthals.

 

“The general public is thrilled with spectacular, single discoveries like Tutankhamen’s chamber in Egypt or the Neanderthal burial sites in France ,” Pinto says. “But that is not what we are about. Spectacular discoveries can be made over the course of the excavation of Sopeña, but what we are trying to do is reconstruct the paleoecology and human behavior during the later stages of human evolution.”

 

http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/RegionNF.asp?ArticleID=179089

Region | Oman

Published: 28/8/2005, 08:43 (UAE) 

Trading boat to sail across the sea recreating 5,000-year-old journey

By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief

 

Muscat: A replica of a 5,000-year-old boat is being created by Omani craftsmen.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Heritage and Culture yesterday, the boat will be used by sailors to travel from Sur to the port of Dwarka in India to revive the old maritime links between the two countries.

 

The boat, which is being built with materials such as cane and lightwood collected from Africa and Iraq, will set sail on September 7 from Sur and is expected to take between 10 days to a month to reach Dwarka.

 

"The boat will not have any motorised device and is designed in such a way that it will work on the traditional sailing method using the forces of wind," a release from the ministry said, adding that the crew would solely depend on wind direction.

 

However, he added that another vessel Fulk Al Salama will sail alongside Majan during its journey.

 

Sayyed Haitham Bin Tariq Al Said, Oman's Minister of Heritage and Culture, will flag off the boat at the fishing port in Sur, about 350km from Muscat.

 

AAfter reaching the port in the Indian state of Gujarat the boat will then sail to Mandoli, another port town in India.

 

"The voyage is considered a revival of the maritime tradition of Oman when ships sailed from Sur to Gujarat. The crew will live on fish, bread and dates, and will have no access to modern equipment or any other facilities," the statement said.

 

A team of skilled craftsmen from the coastal town of Sur are busy building an exact replica of the 5,000-year-old raft Majan, which used to ply between Oman and India during the ancient days of their trade relationship.

 

"Archaeological surveys in Oman have concluded that Majan, which was mentioned in historical sources of Bilad Al Rafidain, is actually contemporary Oman," Biubwa Ali Al Sabry, Director of Archaeology, told Gulf News yesterday.

 

"The name of Majan was written in the cuneiform marks 'Ma' which means ship and 'jan' which means body. The full expression means the body of a ship."

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/lancashire/4185966.stm

5,000-year-old remains discovered 

 

Students from Lancashire discovered 5,000-year-old human remains on an archaeological dig in south Wales.

The remains of seven humans were found in a large pit in the mouth of a cave on the Goldsland Wood site, near Wenvoe, in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

Archaeology students from the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, had been digging there as part of their course.

 

The pottery and flint blades found with them date the remains to about 3000 BC.

 

"The Goldsland caves have never been excavated before," said Dr Rick Peterson, the course leader.

 

'Pottery and stone'

 

"We went there hoping to find undisturbed evidence for whatever ritual took place 5000 years ago that led to peoples' bones being put in caves and we seem to have found it.

 

"At the moment our understanding of these rituals is that first the large pit was dug, probably to make the small cave mouth look much bigger and more impressive.

 

"Then the dead were placed in the pit with some of their possessions such as pottery and stone tools.

 

"Then once the bodies had become skeletons it seems that most of the bones were then moved to other ritual sites, like the nearby chambered tomb of St Lythans.

 

"The pit containing the ash from a cremation is evidence for a different sort of rite - although it probably took place around the same time."

 

The team plan to return to the site in 2006 and excavate a much larger area.

 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1749059,00.html

August 25, 2005

The Times

Stone axes highlight 10,000 years of commuting in stockbroker belt

By Dalya Alberge, Arts Correspondent

 

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered an important Stone Age site in the heart of Surrey.

An excavation has turned up flint tools and cooking pots from about 10,000 years ago at the site on the North Downs. The area, which bears the remains of cooked meals, campfires and flints shaped into tools by people who visited the North Downs around 8,000BC, is believed to contain one of the most important Mesolithic excavations in Britain.

 

Andrew Josephs, an archaeologist and the project’s consultant, said: “The most extraordinary thing is that people gathered here for 4,000 years. It’s over a period of time that is very hard to comprehend. We think of the Romans as a long time ago, at 2,000 years. Mesolithic man was coming here for 4,000 years, which is 200 generations of people. It suggests a tradition passed down from generation to generation.”

 

Within hours of starting to dig yesterday, archaeologists had unearthed an adze, an implement used for shaping wood. The buried land surface is littered with evidence of communities that came to the area from around 8,000BC to 4,300BC.

 

So little is known about Mesolithic man’s way of life that the artefacts will greatly improve archaeologists’ understanding. The site is at North Park Farm, Bletchingley, a medieval village in East Surrey. It emerged when WBB Minerals, a mineral supply company, applied for planning permission to quarry in the area and an archaeological investigation was undertaken as part of the process.

 

WBB Minerals and English Heritage are funding a full excavation at a cost of £350,000. A series of public open days has been planned.

 

Jonathan Last, English Heritage’s head of prehistory research policy, said: “This excavation provides an invaluable opportunity to enhance our understanding of Mesolithic chronology and settlement. What’s really interesting about this site is the potential to have undisturbed remains of activities from this period.

 

“We find quite a lot of Mesolithic flints across England, but they usually turn up in plough soils on the surface. It is unusual to have undisturbed remains of occupation, where we can refit pieces of flint and find them in relation to hearths and cooking places.”

 

The Mesolithic period, also called the Middle Stone Age, began about 8,000BC and lasted until about 4,000BC. Across England there were only 10,000 people, who led a mobile existence, hunter-gathering in woodland. They would have followed herds of animals or moved to riverside or coastal locations to catch fish.

 

Archaeologists are working side-by-side under the guidance of Surrey County Archaeological Unit and ArchaeoScape, at Royal Holloway College.

 

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2005-08/24/content_3396344.htm

Ancient site reveals stories of sacrificed horses

www.chinaview.cn 2005-08-24 14:15:53

BEIJING, Aug. 24

 

A trip to Zibo might leave you with the similar impression as to a trip to Xi'an, especially when you visit the relics of horses buried for sacrifice.

 

Zibo, in east China's Shandong Province, is the location of the state of Qi's capital in the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). During this period, five feudal lords were able to gain control over the other states, with Duke Huan of Qi the head of the five.

 

The difference between the horse buried for sacrifice in Zibo and the terracotta warriors and horses in Xi'an of Shaanxi Province is that the horses in Zibo were live horses, killed especially for sacrifice.

 

The site of sacrificed horses was found in the village of Yatou in the 1960s, where many tombs of the Qi's emperors and aristocracies are still visibly seen on the plain.

 

In the No 5 tomb, 145 sacrificed horses on the northern side of the tomb were unearthed. And in 1972, on the western side of the tomb, 83 more buried horses were found.

 

According to the investigation by archaeologists, the sacrificed horses were buried on the eastern, western and northern sides of the tomb, and there might be upwards of 600 horses in total, although most of them have not been unearthed now due to consideration of difficult conservation.

 

The buried horses were young and middle-aged horses aged from 5 to 7.

 

According to archaeologists' speculation, these horses were fed with a lot of alcohol and fell into unconsciousness. Then they were beaten to death on the head with some heavy tools. It can be seen from the horses' broken skulls now.

 

The horses were arranged into two lines and laid on one side in the posture of running with their chins up. It seems that they are ready to rush into a war at any time once the battle drums are beaten.

 

Standing in front of the graves and seeing the line-up of horse skeletons, it is possible to get a sense of the tumultuous atmosphere of the time, with the sounds of battle drums and the screams of soldiers.

 

The horse, in China's history, was both a tool of agricultural production and a military object.

 

The number of war chariots was a major index to measure a country's competitiveness.

 

If a war chariot driven by four horses was considered as one unit, a country with more than 1,000 such units would be regarded as a powerful state at that time.

 

In the vault, there were buried about 600 strong horses, which could equip 150 battle vehicles, equivalent to the total armament of a small country at that time.

 

So it can be concluded just from the large number of sacrificed horses that Qi, in the Spring and Autumn Period, was a leading state with strong economic and military power.

 

As archaeologists discovered, Duke Jing of Qi, the owner of the No 5 tomb, was the 25th emperor of Qi. He held the post for 58 years, the longest term of rule in Qi's history.

 

Historical records show that Duke Jing had an infatuation with horses. He employed many people to feed and train his beloved horses in his palace.

 

When a favourite horse died, the horses' raisers would also be killed and buried together with the horses for sacrifice. It was brutal, but it proves the important role of horses at that time.

 

http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050827/SPNEWS01/107260127

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Excavations reveal secrets of ancient Roman roads

By COSTAS KANTOURIS Associated Press Writer

 

KOMOTINI, Greece (AP) — Archaeologists excavating along the ancient Via Egnatia are revealing the secrets of the ancient Romans' equivalent of an Interstate highway.

 

Stretching 535 miles across modern-day Albania, Macedonia and Greece, the stone-paved road made the going easy for charioteers, soldiers and other travelers. It was up to 30 feet wide in places and was dotted with safety features, inns and service stations.

 

"This was a busy road, and the Romans managed to make it completely functional," archaeologist Polyxeni Tsatsopoulou told The Associated Press.

 

Built between 146 and 120 B.C. under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.

 

Ancient engineers did such a good job that the Via Egnatia remained in use for some 2,000 years, sticking to its original course even as its paving slabs were plundered for building material. But over the last century, what's visible of it has dwindled to less than two miles in total.

 

Now it is being reincarnated as the Egnatia highway spanning northern Greece and set for completion in 2008. This 425-mile highway costing nearly $8 billion runs more or less parallel to the Roman road and crosses it several times.

 

An excavation near the town of Komotini, 170 miles east of Thessaloniki, revealed the Romans' sophisticated road-building techniques.

 

A central partition of large stones protected charioteers from oncoming vehicles, with similar barriers on the verges.

 

"This prevented chariots, wagons and carts from skidding off the road," Tsatsopoulou said.

 

She said drivers held the reins with their right hand and wielded their whip with the left, so the Romans made drivers stay on the left to avoid the lash of oncoming riders and keep road-rage incidents to a minimum.

 

There were inns every 30 to 40 miles, and post stations, the Roman equivalent of gas stations, every 7 to 14 miles. "These post stations had spare beasts, as well as ... vets, grooms and shoesmiths," Tsatsopoulou said.

 

Archaeologists also discovered ruins of military outposts, checkpoints and camps, with guard posts built near narrow passes to curb highway robbery.

 

Culture Ministry officials are hoping to turn the surviving highway remains into an archaeological walk for tourists, Tsatsopoulou said.

 

The Romans conquered Greece in 146 B.C., although Macedonia had come under Rome's control 20 years earlier. In A.D. 330, the empire's capital was moved to Constantinople, which marked the beginning of the Byzantine period in Greece.

 

http://ansa.it/main/notizie/awnplus/english/news/2005-08-26_1097692.html

Colosseum brickworks discovered

 The brothers who made bricks for Ancient Roman monuments

(ANSA) - Viterbo, August 26 - A local brickworks north of the Italian capital provided material used in some of Ancient Rome's most famous monuments, new excavations suggest .

 

Tiziano Gasperoni, an archaeologist at Tuscia University near Viterbo, has uncovered the remains of a Roman site that appears to have produced bricks for the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Trajan Markets and Hadrian's mausoleum .

 

The ancient site, which lies near the town of Bomarzo around 100km north of Rome, is littered with brick and tile remains marked with the stamp of the Domitius Brothers .

 

Roman law obliged brickmakers to include a series of details on their products, so the manufacturer could be held liable for the quality of buildings made with their bricks .

 

The mark was usually an image - such as the figure of a god, plant or animal - encircled by the brickmakers' own name. The place and the date of manufacture were also included .

 

Although experts had known of the Domitius Brothers' existence and general location from their mark on materials found in numerous monuments, the precise site of their business had been unclear .

 

The find is particularly important as it is the first brickworks uncovered that is known to have provided material for Ancient Rome's most important monuments .

 

Work is only just starting on the site, which was stumbled across by accident in the course of other research, but experts have already established that the factory comprises two different sites .

 

Furthermore, the enterprise appears to have been hugely successful. It was set up in the 1st century AD and ran through until the 5th century AD .

 

As well as bricks, the brothers manufactured roof and floor tiles, which were used in every kind of construction imaginable: columns, roofs, decorations, walls and arches .

 

These travelled by road to the nearby River Tiber, before being transported by barge to the heart of the capital .

 

Although bricks had been used by previous civilizations, the Romans popularised and spread their use .

 

Brick was so common in Rome that Suetonius reported Augustus as saying "I found Rome a city of bricks and left it a city of marble" .

 

But underneath Rome's marble surfaces, brick was the chief material used in construction .

 

Romans distinguished between bricks dried by the sun and air (lateres crudi) and those fired in a kiln (lateres cocti). Whitish or red clay, often mixed was straw, was usually used .

 

The bricks were kept for two years before being used and were much thinner ones used today, looking more like modern tiles .

 

After the fall of the Roman Empire, the art of brick manufacturing was lost in most of Europe, surviving only in Italy itself. Central Europe didn't rediscover the skill until the 18th century and England until the 1100s .

 

 

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article308339.ece

Archaeologist begins search for wreck of slave ship that mutinied

By Meera Selva, Africa Correspondent

Published: 27 August 2005

An archaeologist is to begin searching the South African coast for a slave ship that was the site of a dramatic battle between Madagascan slaves and their Dutch captors in 1766. Jaco Boshoff hopes to find the wreck of the Meermin and shed new light on the slave trade.

 

In December 1765, the Dutch East India Company controlled the Meermin and sent it from Cape Town round the tip of South Africa to buy slaves on the west coast of Madagascar, 1,700 miles away. The crew picked up 147 slaves there, and set sail to return home. At sea, the Dutch crew ordered some of the slaves to clean the guns and some spears they had picked up as souvenirs. The quick-witted slaves used the arms to kill half the 60-member crew and ordered the survivors to sail the ship back to Madagascar.

 

The sailors did as they were ordered by day, but at night they steered the ship back towards Cape Town - at a faster pace. When the boat finally dropped anchor in Cape Town, some of the Madagascans went ashore, only to be overpowered by farmers. The rest remained on board until the ship hit a sandbank and they were captured. The authorities abandoned the damaged Meermin on the sand.

 

Now Mr Boshoff, who works with the government-run Iziko Museums in Cape Town, believes he can find the remains of the ship. He has already spent three years surveying with magnetometers the area he hopes to dig and is confident that the clutch of magnetic abnormalities near the mouth of the Heuningries River in the Western Cape indicate it is the place. He hopes to find shackles, spears and iron guns that will provide evidence of the battles that took place on board.

 

At least 30 ships are believed to have run aground in the dangerous waters off Struis Bay, at the southernmost tip of South Africa, but most have never been recovered. Historians often complain that while slavery has left a strong legacy, there has been very little archaeological and written evidence of its history.

 

The first wreck of a slave ship was found off Key West in Florida in 1972. Divers had initially thought the sunken ship was a Spanish galleon, until they unearthed an ivory tusk - evidence that the ship had carried African cargo. Since then, 10 slave shipwrecks have been found worldwide.

 

South Africa was for a time the centre of a global slave trade: in the days when the Dutch controlled the Cape, slaves were brought there from Sumatra, Madagascar, and other farflung islands. At one point the number of slaves in the Cape outnumbered free citizens.

 

An archaeologist is to begin searching the South African coast for a slave ship that was the site of a dramatic battle between Madagascan slaves and their Dutch captors in 1766. Jaco Boshoff hopes to find the wreck of the Meermin and shed new light on the slave trade.

 

In December 1765, the Dutch East India Company controlled the Meermin and sent it from Cape Town round the tip of South Africa to buy slaves on the west coast of Madagascar, 1,700 miles away. The crew picked up 147 slaves there, and set sail to return home. At sea, the Dutch crew ordered some of the slaves to clean the guns and some spears they had picked up as souvenirs. The quick-witted slaves used the arms to kill half the 60-member crew and ordered the survivors to sail the ship back to Madagascar.

 

The sailors did as they were ordered by day, but at night they steered the ship back towards Cape Town - at a faster pace. When the boat finally dropped anchor in Cape Town, some of the Madagascans went ashore, only to be overpowered by farmers. The rest remained on board until the ship hit a sandbank and they were captured. The authorities abandoned the damaged Meermin on the sand.

 

Now Mr Boshoff, who works with the government-run Iziko Museums in Cape Town, believes he can find the remains of the ship. He has already spent three years surveying with magnetometers the area he hopes to dig and is confident that the clutch of magnetic abnormalities near the mouth of the Heuningries River in the Western Cape indicate it is the place. He hopes to find shackles, spears and iron guns that will provide evidence of the battles that took place on board.

At least 30 ships are believed to have run aground in the dangerous waters off Struis Bay, at the southernmost tip of South Africa, but most have never been recovered. Historians often complain that while slavery has left a strong legacy, there has been very little archaeological and written evidence of its history.

 

The first wreck of a slave ship was found off Key West in Florida in 1972. Divers had initially thought the sunken ship was a Spanish galleon, until they unearthed an ivory tusk - evidence that the ship had carried African cargo. Since then, 10 slave shipwrecks have been found worldwide.

 

South Africa was for a time the centre of a global slave trade: in the days when the Dutch controlled the Cape, slaves were brought there from Sumatra, Madagascar, and other farflung islands. At one point the number of slaves in the Cape outnumbered free citizens.

 

http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/08/25/flute.shtml

Estonian Archaeologists Play Flute Recovered from 600-Year Old Loo

Created: 25.08.2005 18:27 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 18:28 MSK

MosNews

 

Estonian archaeologists have found an ancient flute in an outhouse dating 600 years back, the DELFI news portal reports. The chief researcher praised the finding and said that the ancient musical instrument was still playable.

 

The dig site where the flute was found is located in the town of Tartu near the border with Russia. Chief researcher Andres Tvauri has said that the flute was in “working condition” after staying in an outhouse for six centuries and added that to his awareness there was no equally old woodwind instrument in Estonia that could still be played.

 

An expert from the Estonian musical academy said that the flute could be the most ancient playable woodwind instrument in the world. He said that another 600-year-old flute was found in Holland last year, but this instrument was not in working condition.

 

Press Releases from the journal Antiquity:

Mummies from Bronze Age Scotland

 

Ancient Egyptians are thought to have been the only people in the Old World who were practising mummification in the Bronze Age (c. 2200-700 BC). But now a remarkable series of finds from a remote Scottish island indicates that Ancient Britons were performing similar, if less elaborate, practices of bodily preservation. Evidence of mummification is usually limited to a narrow range of arid or frozen environments which are conducive to soft tissue preservation. Mike Parker Pearson and his team show that a combination of microstructural, contextual and AMS 14C analysis of bone allows the identification of mummification in more temperate and wetter climates where soft tissues and fabrics do not normally survive. Human skeletons found at Cladh Hallan on South Uist, Western Isles, Scotland provide evidence of post mortem manipulation of body parts. Bodies seem to have been preserved by binding and only buried or reburied several hundred years after death. Perhaps these practices were widespread in mainland Britain during the Bronze Age.

 

Lidar: seeing through trees

 

The development of lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) opens a new era in archaeological survey – the surface of the ground, including the residual earthworks of archaeological sites can be precisely mapped from the air.  Two pioneering papers in our September issue launch the new technique. Bob Bewley of English Heritage and his team present a lidar survey of the landscape around Stonehenge landscape and a second research group led by Bernard Devereux of the University of Cambridge, demonstrates lidar’s application to woodland, showing how it can be used to ‘see through the trees’ to the archaeological features below. Lidar has the potential to radically transform our future understanding and management of the historic environment; in this issue of Antiquity its potential as an important new tool for the management of archaeological landscapes is discussed for the first time.

 

Knowing when to consult the oracle at Delphi

The cities of Greece had their own calendars, so how did they all know when the god Apollo had returned from the northern realms and it was time to consult the oracle at Delphi? Alun Salt and Efrosyni Boutsikas of the University of Leicester show that it was the heliacal rising of the constellation Delphinus that probably provided the annual cue. Moreover, because the site of the oracle is ringed by mountains, Delphinus appears to rise a month later at Delphi than on the plains. This gave would-be visitors the necessary few weeks to travel to the oracle and still consult it at the propitious moment.