Questions tagged [archaeology]

For questions about the study of the physical remains of humans and human activity.

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What was the estimated weight of transport wagons (plaustra) in 1st through 3rd century Rome?

I am writing a paper about land transport using oxen carts and wagons in central Italy during the High Empire (late 1st century BC to early 3rd century AD), including some computing simulations of ...
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9 votes
1 answer
190 views

Why was the king of Judah referred to as "the king of the House-of-David"?

In the famous Tel Dan Stele it says, likely in the name of Hazael, king of Aram: "… קתלת.אית.יהו[רם].בר [אחאב.]מלך.ישראל.וקתל[ת.אית.אחז]יהו.בר[.יהורם.מל]ך.ביתדוד …" "… killed Jeho[ram]...
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6 votes
1 answer
214 views

Help identify origin of a small clay statue

I have come across an interesting clay figurine. I was told it's pre-colombian, coming somewhere from Mexico region. Unfortunately it's not in a good shape as one hand and head decoration are broken ...
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1 vote
1 answer
268 views

Can 8 m³ of ashes in an AD 750 burial mound mean 2+ k corpses?

This burial mound was excavated in 1903, and apparently contained 8 m³ of ashes. Här låg nämligen på den ursprungliga marken ett mycket intensivt lager af aska utbredt öfver ett vidsträckt, 20 kv. m. ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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What is the difference between archeology and defacing a tomb? [closed]

Its an old joke I heard that well, archeology is just defacing/looting some old tombs. If you mess up and go for a tomb that is too fresh, you will be in trouble. But that raises a good point: When ...
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2 votes
2 answers
265 views

Were there clay printing presses in the bronze age?

I'm no lithographer, but it seems to me that making a die cast out of metal, wood or stone, which could be pressed in to clay tablets to produce copies of its textual contents, would be easier than ...
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6 votes
1 answer
326 views

What's this item?

I have found this item and I'm wondering what it is, and what civilization it came from (if it's old); and if there are any simple methods to know how old it is or what it is made of. Location: ...
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-4 votes
2 answers
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What made the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb such a significant archeological find? [closed]

The discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb in Egypt is often regarded as one of the most notable archeological finds of recent history, and is certainly one of the most famous ones. Before its discovery ...
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6 votes
1 answer
447 views

Has this rock been engineered by humans and, if so, what was its use?

I found this rock in my garden (Cheshire, UK) and wondered whether it had been fashioned by humans for some use. If so what was it used for and what is its history? The two largest holes on either ...
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6 votes
0 answers
192 views

What is this decorative metal object with overlapping squares?

Can anyone identify this object? Found in a rockpool, exposed at low tide, just East of the entrance to Plymouth Sound, South West UK. It feels like it's made of metal. There's a square in the centre ...
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6 votes
8 answers
781 views

Were ancient people interested in archaeology?

Before the establishment of the field of archaeology, which is said here to have originated in 15th and 16th century Europe, surely ancient peoples were also curious about those who came before them ...
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3 votes
1 answer
272 views

What mining feature is this?

In a former lead mining region of Derbyshire (Just North of Wirksworth) there's this bank of earth running across the side of a hill, with a small "valley" alongside it: It's about 15-20m ...
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1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Could there be frozen animals under Antarctica's ice sheets?

Similar to how we occassionally dig up frozen mammoths from the Siberian permafrost, could there be animals and plants frozen under the Antarctic ice sheets? I understand that at various times in the ...
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5 votes
1 answer
312 views

Is there any estimate for expected life of 'ordinary' or 'poor' people in middle ages after surviving infancy?

I tried to do my own research on this and according to paper I found: Life expectancy at birth was a brief 25 years during the Roman Empire, it reached 33 years by the Middle Ages and raised up to 55 ...
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0 answers
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Are there examples of African/European/American hunter-gatherer's constructions?

Often people think about hunter-gatherers as primitives. "Dark Emu" book is a great example of popular history book that refutes those beliefs. Aboriginal constructions could be quite ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
255 views

What's the primary theory behind tracks in the stone around the world? [closed]

What's the primary theory behind tracks in the stone around the world? Even if they are ancient roads, why there are no traces from the horses or other animals that should be in the middle? Turkey: ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Why did ancient cultures (e.g. the Mesopotamians) use sexagesimal?

Why did ancient cultures, such as the Mesopotamians, use sexagesimal (base-60)? I've been doing some reading on this, and there seems to be no consensus. Of course, it's rare that there's perfect ...
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1 vote
0 answers
93 views

Is there any evidence that people in the late Pleistocene understood that their environment was changing?

Of all the periods of geographic and climactic transformation our planet has undergone, the late Pleistocene is of particular interest to historians, since it was the first to be witnessed by human ...
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4 votes
0 answers
160 views

What is the emblem on this ring?

After cleaning up a local cave, among lots of trash this ring was found laying underneath. Can anyone identify this emblem? Location: Center, Israel
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2 votes
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Where can I find illustrations online depicting Idrisi's coffer in the Queen's chamber in the "Khufu" pyramid

I believe I have found sufficient evidence that points to a block of stone, not necessarily a coffer as stated by Idrisi, being inside the niche in the Queen's Chamber blocking the entrance to the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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What does this Swedish sonar image depict? [closed]

I am wondering what conclusions can be drawn from this sonar image. The object is sunk in a river, of unknown age, and not examined. Width 5,5 m Length 15,6 m Depth 9,7-9,2 m The image was taken ...
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4 votes
0 answers
59 views

Was any object from Anza's expeditions conserved?

In the 1770s, Juan Bautista de Anza led two overland expeditions from Sinaloa to Alta California. The first was for reconnaissance and the second, larger and better known, for the purpose of ...
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6 votes
0 answers
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What was the architectural predecessor of Roman triumphal arches?

Roman triumphal arches (fornix, ianus, then arcus triumphalis) are generally categorized into two main types: those with a single arched opening (e.g. Arch of Titus) and those with three openings (e.g....
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3 votes
1 answer
181 views

What is the oldest discovered Neanderthal boat or raft? [closed]

I read how there is evidence that Neanderthals used to sail on the Mediterranean using primitive 'boats'. Have we discovered any of these boats, and if we have, what is the oldest of these Neanderthal ...
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4 votes
1 answer
167 views

Why so many old remains of different animals and almost no remains of humans [closed]

There are so many fossils of dinosaurs 70, 100, 200 million years ago, and no remains of human ancestors like Orrorin. If we assume that is size, but there are plenty of other examples of much smaller ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Why are the Corded Ware and Kurgan theories incompatible?

Why can't the Corded Ware Culture be a part of the Kurgan hypothesis of the PIE Urheimat? These two things overlap in time and place. Gambutas included the Corded Ware culture in her theory. I'm not ...
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6 votes
1 answer
560 views

What exactly is a Tang dynasty 壺 (pot)?

I have asked this question on Chinese Stack Exchange but received no satisfactory answer there so far. I think it is relevant to the History Stack Exchange and will link these two questions together. ...
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6 votes
1 answer
359 views

Are there any hypotheses on how the Dorset people disappeared?

I read an article about how anthropologists have discovered artifacts from an ancient Arctic culture known as the Dorset that disappeared centuries ago and were the precursors to the Inuit in the ...
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10 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does BPE/PE in some archaeology journals stand for?

Apparently, this is an acronym for reckoning time period instead of using the usual BC-AD or BCE-CE. The journal I am referring to is archeo sciences. Here's a snippet of the article: I've looked ...
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13 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do archaeologists date cave paintings?

Imagine I get hold on 15000 yr old pigments and I draw an iguana next to a bison at "Altamira Caves"... how does one know that that drawing wasn't made 15000 years back? Would people then start saying ...
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42 votes
3 answers
8k views

Earliest evidence of objects intended for future archaeologists?

In modern times, it is not unusual for people to wonder what, if anything, will archeologists of the future (human or otherwise) will learn about our civilization from various artifacts we leave ...
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2 votes
4 answers
1k views

Troy: How could a city be built on top of an older one?

As far as I know, archaeological excavation discovered several layers of the city of Troy, each one built on top of the ruins of the older ones. I just can imagine how that might have happened. One ...
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20 votes
2 answers
7k views

What is known about the Ubaid lizard-people figurines?

I find the Ubaid lizard-people figurines visually captivating. But for obvious reasons it's difficult to search for information about them online without wading chest deep through pages of ancient ...
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-1 votes
2 answers
990 views

Why do very old arts (paintings, sculptures) look pretty inaccurate and abstract? [closed]

I have been looking at arts (drawings, sculptures) from different archeological periods (40000BC up to now). A pattern that I have picked up consistently when looking at arts from these periods is ...
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4 votes
1 answer
246 views

How can a megalith be dated via the C14 method?

Technically this is pre-history, but maybe someone can answer this. I was listening to a podcast about the spread of megalithic structures in Europe. A modern basis of research on this is the dating ...
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13 votes
1 answer
1k views

Have any artifacts or archaeological remains from the White Ship disaster of 1120 ever been recovered?

After the White Ship disaster, which claimed the lives of all on board (except one), including William Adeline, the heir to the English throne, England was plunged into a civil war known as the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
902 views

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century?

Why there is no Islamic architecture with glass in windows before 18th century? Glass windows frequently appear in gothic architecture since 11th century but why Medieval Islamic architecture lack ...
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5 votes
0 answers
125 views

History of the Ruins near Chagyl in Turkmenistan

In the Balkan Region of Turkmenistan, there is a small (possibly abandoned) modern village built on top of what looks to be some sort of ancient ruins near the remote town of Chagyl. (Some of the ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
334 views

What's the most elaborate ancient mechanism?

I'm playing the latest installment of the Tomb Raider, where you uncover secrets of ancient Incas and Maya. The game is full of huge stone doors that open only when you go through an elaborate ...
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7 votes
1 answer
549 views

Formation of underground layers of Rome

I have recently came across several news articles (for example) from various decades, talking about existing underground structures in the city of Rome, which used to be above ground at some point of ...
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9 votes
2 answers
325 views

What are the ruins in Turkey near Kömürcü Köyü?

I am curious and I would like to know what the ruins are near Kömürcü Köyü in Turkey (38°15'27.8"N 34°33'05.5"E | 38.257711,34.551535)? I tried to search but I found nothing. It looks like ancient ...
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1 vote
2 answers
213 views

In view of the widespread use of the term "Semitic", which groups of people are classified as being of Hamitic ethnicity? [closed]

I am aware of the curse of Ham. It is a myth deriving from Abrahamic religions. It was used as moral justification by European and Arab slave traders. The etymology of the word Ham is associated ...
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4 votes
1 answer
367 views

How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"?

How objective are books like "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"? How are they "proven"? How can one assess the objectivity of historical literature? Why is it still not subjective, if not even ...
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4 votes
1 answer
173 views

How many people were there in a average Magdalenian group? (And what about Gravettian groups?)

The book "The Creation of Inequality" (Marcus & Fannery, 2012) says the Magdalenian groups were much larger than the Gravettian groups but doesn't provide a clear number (or I did not find them). ...
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  • 449
18 votes
2 answers
1k views

How do we know that prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies were egalitarian?

In the Wikipedia article on Patriarchy it says: Anthropological, archaeological, and evolutionary psychological evidence suggests that most prehistoric hunter-gatherer societies were relatively ...
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3 votes
1 answer
241 views

Has the drought also revealed ancient structures in France as it did in Ireland?

I was wondering whether the drought has also revealed ancient structures in France as it did in Ireland (see the BBC article Dry weather reveals ancient site in Meath's Boyne Valley). I searched the ...
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3 votes
1 answer
319 views

is Ubaid 0 actually related to Eridu and Ubaid I-IV?

Most sources state 5400 B.C. as the beginning of the Ubaid period. The Ubaid period is further divided by them into Ubaid I-IV. Wikipedia lists Tel El Oueili (6500 B.C.) as "Ubaid 0", thus placing the ...
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22 votes
4 answers
4k views

Are there any underground cities known except those found in Cappadocia?

I've recently read the story about the discovery of the underground city of Derinkuyu. Now I'm a bit curious if there are other similar archaeological discoveries: I mean something we could really ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is the ancient altar with petroglyphs at the foot of Jabal Maqla Mt. Sinai?

Lately there has been an increasing awareness among biblical scholars that Mt. Sinai is in Arabia and not in the Sinai peninsula as has been previously thought. Jabal Maqla (or Jabal Al Lawz as the ...
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4 votes
0 answers
108 views

What is the oldest known depiction of Isis with wings?

Some of the oldest known references to the goddess Isis are inscriptions, like the Pyramid texts. However, I have been interested in the visual depictions of the Egyptian gods and how they change ...
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