Looters destroy mummies in Egyptian Museum
January 29 2011 at 10:05pm

Smoke billows from a building adjacent to the Egyptian museum in the central Tahrir square in Cairo as thousands of anti-regime demonstrators continue to pour onto Cairo's streets, demanding President Hosni Mubarak stand down the day after the veteran leader ordered the army to tackle the deadly protests.
Cairo - Looters broke into the Egyptian Museum during anti-government protests late on Friday and destroyed two Pharaonic mummies, Egypt's top archaeologist told state television.

The museum in central Cairo, which has the world's biggest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, is adjacent to the headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party that protesters had earlier set ablaze. Flames were seen still pouring out of the party headquarters early on Saturday.

“I felt deeply sorry today when I came this morning to the Egyptian Museum and found that some had tried to raid the museum by force last night,” Zahi Hawass, chairman of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said on Saturday.

“Egyptian citizens tried to prevent them and were joined by the tourism police, but some (looters) managed to enter from above and they destroyed two of the mummies,” he said.

He added looters had also ransacked the ticket office.

The two-storey museum, built in 1902, houses tens of thousands of objects in its galleries and storerooms, including most of the King Tutankhamen collection. – Reuters

News from Cairo – ARCE Director Dr. Gerry Scott talks about the crisis and Egypt’s Antiquities
Saturday, January 29, 2011

This morning Dr. Gerry Scott, director of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), gave a telephone interview from Cairo itself.
He gave what information he had on how the crisis in Egypt is affecting its antiquities. ARCE supports nearly two dozen active projects in Egypt. Its mission focuses on conserving Egypt’s cultural heritage and has attracted numerous grants – including funding from USAID.
Over the past few days Egypt has been become embroiled in protests and unrest. The news has been changing by the hour and last night President Hosni Mubarak, a man who has led Egypt for nearly 30 years, ordered his cabinet to resign. The government has cut off internet access and cell phone service has been curtailed.
Dr. Scott said that for now ARCE intends to keeps its staff in the country. “At the moment, yes, we will stay and wait (and see) how things develop in terms of whether we can function or not,” he said.
Scott has been stuck in his apartment over the Egyptian weekend (Friday and Saturday) and has had only limited communication through a landline. He started the interview by praising the protesters who held hands to protect the Egyptian Museum.
“Everybody in the Egyptological community, I think, has been very heartened by the fact that the demonstrators sort of linked hands last night when they thought that the Egyptian Museum was in danger.”
They “made it clear that the Egyptian Museum was a place where Egypt’s treasures were and it belonged to the nation.”
The situation
The lack of communications, and the fact that the unrest has left him stuck in his apartment, has limited Dr. Scott’s ability to get a sense of how this crisis is affecting Egypt’s antiquities.
The fact that it’s the weekend means that the Supreme Council of Antiquities staff, in Cairo, is off work.
As far as he knows Zahi Hawass is still in charge of the council and he was not forced to resign even though he is a vice-minister. “What I have heard at this point is that it’s the cabinet that has resigned, I haven’t heard about people who are lower in office,” said Scott.  
Furthermore the council still appears to be operational, at least on some level.
Scott said that he has been in contact with his staff in Luxor, where ARCE has several conservation and research projects that are ongoing. In that ancient city the council staff “advised not to work at the east bank at the site today (while) US and international teams were allowed to go out to their sites on the west bank.”
However he was quick to add that it’s still the weekend and we won’t know the full status of the council until the Egyptian work week begins tomorrow (Sunday).
He also cautioned that this is a fluid situation and communication needs to be established with other ARCE projects.
“There are US ARCE sponsored expeditions in the field and we will be in touch with them in the coming days as the situation unfolds. I don’t know that any of us at this point really have a sense of quite how things are going to happen.”
Posted by Owen Jarus at 9:28 AM

Monday, January 31, 2011
Damage reported at Giza Pyramids, Looters turned back at Karnak – Dr. Gerry Scott, ARCE director, provides an update from Cairo

Dr. Scott said that antiquities at Giza have been damaged and a team working there
had some of their equipment stolen. The archaeologists are waiting for the
SCA to arrive and assess the situation. It is unclear exactly what archaeological
remains have been damaged at this point. Photo by Sigurd Gartmann CC attribution share-alike
2.0 generic

This morning Dr. Gerry Scott gave an update from Cairo on how the crisis is affecting Egypt’s antiquities, sharing what new information he had.
Dr. Scott is director of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), an organization that supports nearly two dozen projects throughout the country and aims to help conserve Egypt’s antiquities. Its work has attracted numerous grants including funding from USAID.
The past few days have seen mass protests, with Egyptian citizens demanding that President Hosni Mubarak, a man who has led the country for nearly 30 years, step down. He has responded by sacking his cabinet and naming new ministers. Among those named is Dr. Zahi Hawass, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), who takes on a new cabinet post dedicated to Egypt’s archaeological heritage.
Scott is in Cairo and has been telephoning project directors and archaeologists – collecting information and helping those who want to leave the country get out. His efforts have been hindered by the government’s decision to shut down internet access and cell phone service. Also, with the turmoil outside, he has been forced to work from his apartment.
He said that a number of archaeology teams are choosing to leave, including those at the Dakhleh Oasis and at the Temple of Mut in Luxor.
Dr. Scott has both good and bad news.
The bad news is that there is antiquities damage at the Giza Pyramids. Mark Lehner and his team are currently working there.
“I’ve heard that the team lost some equipment and that there was some damage to the antiquities but I do not know the extent of that at this point,” he said. He also does not know what exactly was damaged. The Egyptian army is now guarding the pyramids and access has been restricted.
Lehner’s team has halted their work for the time being. “The latest I’ve heard is that they are not working until the SCA has had a chance to record what’s happened there.”
One piece of good news is that looters attempted to enter Karnak temple last night but were turned back by local citizens.
“Apparently there was an attempt for some people to get into Karnak temple last night and loot – the local people came to the defence of the site and some of the men were apprehended by local citizens,” he said.
He also said that ARCE’s conservation work at Luxor continues on. Among the projects they are involved with is a ground water lowering project which prevents Luxor and Karnak temple from being partially flooded, it takes out nearly 30,000 cubic meters of water a day. “To the best of my knowledge it’s still operational,” said Scott. In addition scholars from the University of Chicago are continuing their epigraphic work at the site.
He also said that the SCA is still operational, at least in some areas of the country. “In Luxor I’m told the SCA is up and functioning, also in Abydos I’m hearing, it really kinds of depends on the site."
With the council still in operation at Abydos, Scott said that archaeological teams have decided to continue work there.

A 3-D simulation of the 4,500-year-old structure suggests an ancient secret lies beneath the desert sand.
Thu Jan 27, 2011 04:29 PM ET
Content provided by AFP


A French architect campaigning for a new exploration of the 4,500-year-old Great Pyramid of Giza said on Thursday that the edifice may contain two chambers housing funereal furniture.

Jean-Pierre Houdin -- who was rebuffed three years ago by Egypt in his appeal for a probe into how the Pyramid was built -- said 3-D simulation and data from a U.S. Egyptologist, Bob Brier, pointed to two secret chambers in the heart of the structure.

The rooms would have housed furniture for use in the afterlife by the pharaoh Khufu, also known as Cheops in Greek, he told a press conference.

"I am convinced there are antechambers in this pyramid. What I want is to find them," he said.

In March 2007, Houdin advanced the theory that the Great Pyramid had been built inside-out using an internal spiral ramp, as opposed to an external ramp as had long been suggested.

He proposed mounting a joint expedition of Egyptian antiquities experts and French engineers, using infrared, radar and other non-invasive methods to check out the hypothesis.

The idea was nixed by Egypt's antiquities department. A Canadian team from Laval University in Quebec will seek permission this year to carry out thermal imaging from outside the Pyramid to explore the theory, Houdin said.

Houdin said a pointer to the antechambers came from the existence of such rooms in the pyramid of Snefru, Khufu's father. It was possible a similar design was retained for the Great Pyramid.

In addition, blocks in the northern wall of the king's chamber in the Great Pyramid indicate an overlooked passage which led to the hypothesized chambers and also enabled the funeral party to exit, he added.

Hints of earlier human exit from Africa
Stone tools suggest a surprisingly ancient move eastward
By Bruce Bower Web edition : Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Stone Age people apparently took a surprisingly fast track out of Africa via an unexpected route — Arabia. Modern humans reached Arabia’s eastern edge, not far from the shores of southwestern Asia, as early as 125,000 years ago, according to a report in the Jan. 28 Science. That’s a good 65,000 years earlier than the generally accepted date for the first substantial human migrations beyond Africa.

Stone tools unearthed at an Arabian Peninsula rock shelter called Jebel Faya resemble sharpened points and cutting implements from East African sites of about the same age, says a scientific team led by physical geographer Simon Armitage of the University of London and archaeologist Hans-Peter Uerpmann of the University of Tübingen in Germany. Jebel Faya is located in what’s now the United Arab Emirates.

“New dates at Jebel Faya reveal that modern humans migrated out of Africa much earlier than previously thought, helped by global fluctuations in sea-level and climate change in the Arabian Peninsula,” Armitage says.

Modern humans originated in East Africa around 200,000 years ago, according to fossil and genetic evidence (SN: 2/26/05, p. 141).

DNA analyses of people living in different regions of the world today suggest that modern humans rapidly migrated from Africa to Asia around 60,000 years ago. Most researchers suspect that those ancient travelers moved through the Middle East or along Arabia’s south coast to reach Asia.

Many advocates of this later African departure suspect that a massive eruption of Indonesia’s Mount Toba around 74,000 years ago created a global “volcanic winter” that decimated modern human populations in Africa and rendered the Indian subcontinent uninhabitable for thousands of years.

Finds at Jebel Faya call that scenario into question, Armitage says. By about 130,000 years ago, decreased sea levels narrowed the Bab al-Mandab Strait separating East Africa from southwest Arabia to about 4 kilometers, allowing safe passage, the researchers estimate. Travelers could have then moved through a network of Arabian lakes and rivers created by warm, wet conditions at that time.

Jebel Faya sits just across the Persian Gulf from Iran, at another narrow water crossing where low sea levels would again have eased passage, Armitage says.

Excavations began at Jebel Faya in 2003. Initial finds came from settlements dating to between about 3,000 and 10,000 years ago. Stone tools from roughly 38,000 years ago then turned up. In March 2006, investigators began to unearth tools from the ancient rock shelter, which was occupied between 100,000 and 125,000 years ago.

Estimated ages are based on a widely accepted method that measures accumulated natural radiation in sand grains to determine the amount of time elapsed since the grains were exposed to sunlight.

Another cache of stone tools encased in sediment just above the rock shelter has not been dated.

Finds at Jebel Faya consist of stone points, a few teardrop-shaped cutting implements known as hand axes and a variety of other sharpened rocks. These tools, in particular the points and hand axes, closely resemble African Stone Age artifacts from around the same time, the scientists assert.

So far, the site has yielded no modern human fossils.

Still, archaeologists familiar with the new report say that Jebel Faya provides an important glimpse of an early push by modern humans into Arabia. That’s where agreement ends.

Ravi Korisettar of Karnatak University in Dharwad, India, agrees with Armitage’s team that Arabia possibly served as hub between Africa and Asia for early modern human migrations. Since 2003, Korisettar has codirected excavations of Stone Age sites in southern India’s Jwalapuram Valley. Modern humans’ stone tools found there come from sediment just below and above an ash layer deposited by the Toba eruption, suggesting that people arrived before the blast and endured its devastation, he says.

Jebel Faya and Jwalapuram tools display some similarities, but the oldest Indian finds date to shortly before Toba’s detonation 74,000 years ago and look more like African implements from that time, Korisettar holds.

Tough, adaptable modern humans could have forged into Asia at least 100,000 years ago and withstood Toba’s insults, agrees John Shea of Stony Brook University in New York. But stone points from Jebel Faya are shorter, thicker and less pointy than those found throughout Africa beginning 100,000 years ago, he says.

Similarities of Jebel Faya points to Indian finds suggest that the Arabian site could as easily reflect an ancient westward movement of Asians — possibly Homo sapiens from the Persian Gulf region — to Arabia, Shea proposes. So humans could have been migrating away from Asia, not toward it as argued in the new report. It’s more likely that warm, wet conditions around 100,000 years ago prompted dead-end migrations of modern humans into Arabia and the Middle East, argues Stanley Ambrose of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Previously unearthed fossils from several Israeli caves indicate that modern humans moved from Africa to the Middle East approximately 100,000 years ago but — either because they died out or returned to Africa — gave way to Neandertals by 70,000 years ago.

Pollen evidence indicates that the Toba explosion set off 10,000 years of extreme cold and environmental devastation that nearly wiped out African Homo sapiens, Ambrose contends. Modern human survivors of the blast’s aftermath then colonized Asia, in his opinion.

Paul Mellars of the University of Cambridge agrees with that scenario. But like Shea, he sees critical size and shape differences between Jebel Faya and African stone tools, casting doubt on the African origins of the Arabian tool-makers. “These Arabian finds are too ambiguous to say what was happening with human movements out of Africa,” Mellars remarks.

If the Arabian discoveries indeed signal an early human migration to Asia, then excavations of Stone Age sites in Iran should produce similar tools, Shea predicts. Iran’s current political climate, however, makes such work difficult, he says.

Centuries-Old Cave Reveals Secrets of Ancient Humans
Tools and teeth found in Israel could be oldest ever discovered
Rosanne Skirble | Washington, D.C.  January 26, 2011

Israeli archeologists have discovered ancient artifacts in a cave outside of Tel Aviv that could shed new light on the theory of human origins. Tel Aviv University archeologist Ran Barkai says what his team has excavated at Qesem Cave show a much more advanced people than the accepted image of our Stone Age ancestors in the Middle Paleolithic period.
These early hominids hunted for food, cooked meat over fires and crafted a sophisticated array of flint tools.
"We know that they had a set of different knives, almost like a modern butcher, that they used in the cave in order to cut the meat and eat it. And, we even have what we call Paleolithic cutlery. We have very small knives that we suggest were used while eating," Barkai says, adding that the tools are all remarkably well preserved. "They look like new, like they were made yesterday."
The archeologists also found human teeth in different strata in the cave. Barkai says scholars and dental anthropologists from Europe and the United States joined the Israelis to analyze the dental samples.

"It was clear from the comparison that the human teeth from Qesem Cave resembled most of the teeth of homo sapiens that lived in Israel much later, at an age of 100,000 years before present, at two caves, one in the Galilee and one in the Carmel."
According to a widely accepted scientific theory, modern humans emerged from Africa around 200,000 years ago. Barkai says the teeth in Qesem Cave would predate those early human migrants. "We think that we are right. It is still only eight teeth or 10 teeth. So we need more evidence. It might imply that during this phase, maybe even a new hominid was living and this is another link or piece of the chain leading to modern humans."
According to New York University paleo-dental anthropologist Shara Bailey, it may also represent another step in the evolution of man’s ancient human relatives, the Neanderthals, who lived in Europe and Asia around 200,000 years ago.

"My take on it is that these teeth are quite primitive. There is nothing in the morphology of these teeth that looks like homo-sapiens at all," says Bailey. "In fact it looks primitive and if anything it looks a little bit Neanderthal like."
In a recent article in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Barkai and his team suggest three theories: the Qesem teeth could belong to earlier humans or homo sapiens that developed independently from those in Africa and Europe. They could, as Shara Bailey suggests, represent an evolving Neanderthal in Southwest Asia. Or they could be from unknown extinct hominid species.
But Bailey says whether the residents of Qesem Cave were like us or not, does not make the discoveries any less important. "Any new material that we find, especially from this poorly documented time period 200,000 to 400,000 years ago, is great and necessary for our ongoing interpretation of human evolution and Neanderthal evolution."
Israeli archeologist Barkai expects Qesem Cave will continue to yield magical artifacts. He and his team from Tel Aviv University hope to find bones to add to the story of our ancient ancestors.

Success of Poznań archaeologists in Sudan

Concentration of carvings with thousands of images, ancient burial grounds and several dozen terracotta figurines were found by archaeological team from the Department of Archaeology of Africa of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology PAS Poznań Branch during a survey in the mountains on the Red Sea, north of Port Sudan.

North-east Sudan, where the archaeological mission conducts its activities, has never been surveyed for prehistoric settlement. In 1999, Krzysztof Pluskota accidentally discovered the first concentration of stone art and informed the archaeologists, which led him to sending an expedition. The head of the expedition is Dr. Przemyslaw Bobrowski.

"During December's expedition we discovered another, very rich concentrations of stone art - mainly images of cattle, but also humans and some animals of wild African fauna" - said Prof. Michał Kobusiewicz, one of the expedition members. "These images are concentrated near a characteristic of a lonely, conical mountain with phallic shape, suggesting that the concentration of the images of cattle, the main sustenance of the then population, is associated with the cult of fertility" - he added.

According to archaeologists, the mountain was a symbol of fertility cult, the proof of which are its miniatures are made of sandstone found near the carvings, remains of cemeteries and settlements, and its image carved in stone.

Cult nature of this place is also evidenced by the discovery of a deposit consisting of several terracotta figurines depicting humans, cattle and phallic symbols.

In the immediate vicinity of cave engravings, the researchers found many traced of prehistoric settlements in different periods.

According to the researchers, more close determination of the age of carvings looks promising with radiocarbon analysis, geomorphological and environmental studies.

In 2011, archaeologists plan to continue research with regard to these important discoveries. Previous activities were possible with grants allocated by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

Vietnam's own 'great wall' uncovered
By Adam Bray, Special for CNN
January 26, 2011 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)

It's not on the same scale of China's Great Wall but is still significant for Vietnam's past and future.

  1. Team uncovers what it calls the "longest monument in Southeast Asia"
  2. The Long Wall stretches for 127km and was used to regulate trade and travel
  3. It could help redefine tourism in Vietnam
  4. It's nicknamed Vietnam's Great Wall, by locals although it is not on the same scale as China's

Editor's note: Adam Bray has written extensively on Vietnam and is the first journalist to have visited the Long Wall.

Quang Ngai, Vietnam (CNN)
Nestled in the mountain foothills of a remote province in central Vietnam, one of the country's most important archaeological discoveries in a century has recently come to light.
After five years of exploration and excavation, a team of archaeologists has uncovered a 127-kilometer (79-mile) wall -- which locals have called "Vietnam's Great Wall."
Professor Phan Huy Lê, president of the Vietnam Association of Historians, said: "This is the longest monument in Southeast Asia."
The wall is built of alternating sections of stone and earth, with some sections reaching a height of up to four meters.
In 2005, Dr. Andrew Hardy, associate professor and head of the Hanoi branch of École Française d'Extrême-Orient (French School of Asian Studies), found an odd reference to a "Long Wall of Quang Ngai" in an 1885 document compiled by the Nguyen Dynasty court entitled, "Descriptive Geography of the Emperor Dong Khanh."
It sparked his imagination and a major exploration and excavation project for a team led by Hardy and Dr. Nguyen Tien Dong, an archaeologist at the Institute of Archaeology (Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences). The wall was discovered after some five years of work.
It stretches from northern Quang Ngai Province south into the province of Binh Dinh and is arguably the greatest engineering feat of the Nguyen Dynasty.
Construction of the Long Wall started in 1819 under the direction of Le Van Duyet, a high-ranking mandarin serving Emperor Gia Long.
Despite the locals' nickname referencing the Great Wall of China, the Vietnam Wall is more like Hadrian's Wall -- a Roman-era wall on the border of England and Scotland.
Like Hadrian's Wall, the Quang Ngai wall was built along a pre-existing road. More than 50 ancient forts have been identified along its length, established to maintain security and levy taxes.
There is evidence to suggest that many of the forts, markets and temples built along the road are much older than the wall itself.
It served to demarcate territory and regulate trade and travel between the Viet in the plains and the Hrê tribes in the mountain valleys.
Research suggests it may have been built in cooperation between both the Viet and the Hrê.
According to experts, the wall's construction was in the interests of both communities, and inhabitants in both zones tell stories about how their respective ancestors built the wall to protect their territory from incursions by the other side.
An application for National Heritage status is now being processed with the ambition of turning the Long Wall into an international tourist attraction.
During a visit to Quang Ngai by international experts in 2010, Christopher Young, Head of International Advice at English Heritage, said: "The Long Wall presents an enormous opportunity for research, careful conservation and sustainable use."
Quang Ngai's Long Wall is not the province's only potential resource for tourism. The area also boasts a lush, mountainous countryside, hot springs, an offshore volcanic island, coral reefs and miles of pristine beaches.
Spread across the province, there are also sites of cultural interest, including vestiges of more than a dozen ancient Cham temples, citadels and Sa Huynh burial grounds dating as far back as 1000 BC.
Most notable among them is the well-preserved Chau Sa Citadel, built in the ninth century.
But the development of the wall for tourism is not without hurdles, given the history of the region.
Quang Ngai is the province where the infamous My Lai massacre occurred in 1968 when U.S. servicemen killed more than 300 apparently unarmed civilians.
Although a museum memorializing the tragedy was built in cooperation with U.S. specialists, the area has remained politically sensitive and under tight government control.
Until recently, the government has been reluctant to allow foreigners to visit some minority communities.
If the endeavor to develop the wall for tourism is successful, it will require the government to promote adventure trekking and cycling through previously isolated highland communities on an unprecedented scale.
That would open Vietnam up to a new kind of tourism -- historical ecotourism -- which goes beyond the Ministry of Tourism's preference for packaged tours in coastal beach resorts.
It may also create the greatest trek in Southeast Asia.

Largest Stone Age building found in NW China's Shaanxi
English.news.cn   2011-01-25 11:49:29
XI'AN, Jan. 25 (Xinhua)

Archaeologists have identified the remains of the largest Stone Age building ever found in China -- thought to be a prehistoric "town hall" -- in the northwestern Shaanxi Province.

The remains of the pentagon-shaped structure, discovered at the Xiahe Site in Baishui County, date back to the Yangshao culture era of 5,000 to 3,000 BC in the New Stone Age.

Covering 364 square meters, the building had a capacity to hold hundreds of people and might once have been used as a meeting hall, said Zhang Pengcheng, a researcher with the Shaanxi Archaeological Research Institute.

"The ancients erected four large wooden pillars and columns along the walls, making the structure of this size possible," said Zhang.

Zhang said the multiple-layer walls, the calcite-plastered floor and a 1.8-meter-wide fireplace in the center made the building "quite special."

Traces at the site suggested the above-ground structure was later carefully removed, rather than abandoned, said Zhang.

Researchers are still considering its exact purpose.

The Yangshao culture was a Neolithic culture existing along the Yellow River. Relics discovered from the time include colorful painted pottery. The most recent finds included the ruins of a building devastated by an early earthquake.

Editor: Xiong Tong

Clovis Find reveals Humans hunted Gomphotheres in North America

Mexican archaeologists found three projectile points from the Clovis culture, associated with remains of a Gomphotheres  – a now extinct type of elephant - dating back at least 12,000 years, in northern Sonora.  The find is of major importance,  as this is the first evidence in North America that this animal was contemporary with early humans.

The location and date of these remains opens the possibility that in North America the  Gomphotheres was still alive, in contrast with previous theories that suggest it had disappeared 30,000 years previously.

The finds were made  in early January at the site of ‘World’s End’, in Sonora, Mexico, by researchers at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), during a third season of excavations at a location that has been identified as an area for hunting and butchering of animals of the Pleistocene, discovered in 2007.

This  recent discovery, completes a “scene” in which archaeologists can recognise a group of Clovis people hunting Proboscidean (ancestors of the elephant).  This is an unprecedented find in Mexico as the first projectile points were found among the bones of the megafauna.

“It is very important because it is the first archaeological site of the Clovis culture to be associated with the remains of Gomphotheres whose remains have now been dated to between 11,600 and 10,600 years.” said Guadalupe Sanchez, archaeologist, director of the Research Project End of the World.

The discovery occurred in the same archaeological context where articulated bones from Gomphotheres and various stone tools, including a Clovis point quartz crystal  were recovered in 2008.

Clovis people are known as Mammoth hunters, one of the three species of Proboscidea that inhabited America, the other two being the Mastodon and Gomphotheres .  Of the three species, the latter is the smallest and oldest in the Americas.

The Gomphotheres had only been found previously in association with man in South America, while in Costa Rica (Central America), the evidence of association between humans is limited to the behemoth Proboscidean and the Mammoth.

INAH archaeologist Natalia Martinez, who led the research in the field, explained that the Clovis points were found in a place called Town 1 (the remnant of a marsh deposits of Pleistocene eras Terminal / Early Holocene), at a depth of 1.5 metres.

These ancient stone artefacts that were produced by the Clovis to hunt large animals, were located a few inches below Gomphotheres bones, discovered in the two previous excavation seasons in the winter of 2007 and autumn 2008 as part of the research project jointly developed the INAH, the University of Arizona and National Geographic Society.

The projectile points are made of flint – two of the points are complete and the other is only the tip of the projectile.

Sanchez comments that, “This perfectly recreates the scene of the hunt, with the tip left at the scene of the attack in the butchered carcass.

The previous Clovis material was too small and fragmented to prove the animals were being hunted, but this find confirms they were. The points are similar to ones found in Rio San Pedro in Arizona, dated to the same time period.

“The C14 sample taken was very small and so the dating error ranges from plus or minus 500 years, which gives an approximate age of 10,700 years, coinciding with the Clovis occupation America” said Sanchez.

Besides finding these spear points, Sanchez said that some 500 metres  from the site they found a Clovis camp with series of objects including flints and blades.

Clovis culture – information from the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences
Madsen, David B., ed. Entering America: Northeast Asia and Beringia Before the Last Glacial Maximum. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004

Created by Past Horizons (c) 2011 –

Stratford-upon-Avon African skeleton was Roman soldier
25 January 2011 Last updated at 16:32

A 1,700-year-old skeleton shows that people of African descent have lived in Warwickshire for far longer than was previously thought, experts say.

The skeleton of an African man was discovered buried in Tiddington Road, Stratford-upon-Avon, in 2009.

Archaeologists said they now believed the man may have been a Roman soldier who chose to retire in Stratford after serving in an African unit.

Investigations into the man's background are continuing.

Malin Holst, of York Osteoarchaeology Ltd, said he had identified elements of the mature African male skeleton in bones unearthed from a Roman-period cemetery.

Stuart Palmer, from Archaeology Warwickshire, said: "African skeletons have previously been found in large Romano-British towns like York and African units are known to have formed part of the Hadrian's Wall garrison, but we had no reason to expect any in Warwickshire and certainly not in a community as small as Roman Stratford."

He added the bones revealed the man was heavily built and used to carrying heavy loads. He had suffered arthritis in one of his shoulders, his hips and lower back.

Mr Palmer said: "His teeth showed that his childhood was plagued by disease or malnutrition, but there was no evidence for the cause of death.

"He could have been a merchant, although, based on the evidence of the skeletal pathology it is probably more likely that he was a slave or an army veteran who retired to Stratford."

Loyal dog still guarding coins after 2,000 years
By Tim Healy

Archaeologists have pieced together the remains of a 2,000-year-old guard dog whose spirit is believed to have protected a hoard of treasure.

The skeleton, which is about the same size as that of a retriever or Alsatian, was discovered in a pit at the site of an Iron Age shrine in Hallaton, near Market Harborough.

Experts think the animal was sacrificed and buried to protect the Hallaton Treasure – a collection of more than 5,000 gold and silver coins.

The hoard was discovered a decade ago and is now housed in a gallery at Harborough Museum.

The dog's skeleton, which was pieced together by experts from the University of Leicester's archaeological services, will go on show at the museum for the first time on Saturday.

Vicki Score, the university's project manager, said: "The Hallaton site is surrounded by a boundary ditch.

"The skeleton of the dog was discovered at the entrance to the site, buried in a slot in the ground.

"We believe it was bound and sacrificed and buried to guard the coin offerings. It was in an awkward position, looking at the hoard."

Mrs Score said the archaeologists had pieced together most of the skeleton, which dates back to between AD1 and AD50.

"Unfortunately, the back legs are missing," she said. "They could have been ploughed away."

She said the skeleton was buried on top of the remains of another dog and there was evidence of a third.

Mrs Score added: "It may be it was felt the previous guard dog had lost its power to protect.

"It would have been considered an honour for the dog, which was probably quite old, to be sacrificed in this way."

The dog bones will be housed in a case in the entranceway to the Hallaton Treasure Gallery, imitating the location of the dog burial at the shrine.

David Sprason, Leicestershire County Council's cabinet member for adults and communities, said: "It is fitting that the remains of this dog be reunited with the magnificent objects from the Hallaton Treasure and find a new home at the award-winning Harborough Museum.

"The dog's story is yet another intriguing aspect of this nationally-important find and illustrates the special relationship between humans and dogs that has existed for thousands of years."

Visitors to the Adam and Eve Street museum on Saturday will be the first people to view the skeleton on display. They will also be asked to think of a name for it. Younger visitors will be encouraged to draw a picture of how they think it may have looked when alive.