Questions tagged [archaeology]

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

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5 votes
1 answer
339 views

How can we make claims of ancient alcohol consumption based on chemical analysis of remains?

Inspired by this question: Did early northern Europeans drink alcohol? and Wikipedia articles, I had to wonder... How can the presence of alcohol in ancient pots support a conclusion that it was ...
45 votes
2 answers
7k views

How do we know the gender distribution of cave art painters?

I recently visited an exhibition about climate, nature and culture during the last glacial period. One interactive exhibit about cave paintings sported a plaque saying: "...Jetzt wissen wir, dass ...
1 vote
0 answers
59 views

Help understanding exactly the phases of stone tool development during the stone age?

I have been studying how the stone tools evolved for the past few days, and think I am close to understanding roughly what the model is, but after reading a few recent papers, it seems there's a lot ...
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Are there pyramids at Sternenfels?

The author Frederick Dodson in his rather strange book "Extraterrestrial Linguistics" (2020) makes the claim that several pyramids have been excavated in the German town of Sternenfels. I ...
2 votes
2 answers
274 views

Roughly how many people were in a Magdalenian group? (And Gravettian?)

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 ...
8 votes
1 answer
619 views

Are there any archeological finds or primary source drawings of the Chinese "blade shaped" bamboo-copter or rotary fans?

Bamboo-copter was a toy in China, dated to 400 BC. A Rotary Fan also existed in China around 180 AD. I'm interested in both of those things, as they work on the exact same principle. Do we have any ...
3 votes
0 answers
89 views

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 ...
-4 votes
2 answers
190 views

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 ...
9 votes
1 answer
206 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]...
7 votes
2 answers
930 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
233 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
273 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. ...
15 votes
2 answers
490 views

What are early archeological clues of humans boiling food?

Over the course of my life I have seen several large, dangerous fires. Unfortunate animals often perish in these. Especially slower ones, such as turtles. Surely, it can not have been difficult for ...
6 votes
1 answer
455 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
159 views

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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
278 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
330 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: ...
20 votes
2 answers
8k 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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
197 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 ...
6 votes
8 answers
800 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 ...
39 votes
4 answers
4k views

What is the historical basis for the Exodus?

As a sideline to the question How Long Did the Belief in the Egyptian Sun God Ra Last?, the comments have become a long discussion on the historicity of the Exodus. Rather than have pages of comments ...
14 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why do people still leave flowers at the Temple of Julius Caesar?

I visited Rome recently and did an audio tour through the Colosseum and Roman Forum archeological sites. In the Roman Forum there is the remains of the Temple of Caesar, where Julius Caesar was ...
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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
273 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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
503 views

Are parts of the Sphinx older than 5000 years?

Are parts of the Great Sphinx of Giza more than 5000 years old? There was a controversy about this question 15 years ago on which I didn't find anything to conclusively prove or debunk it.
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 ...
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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
450 views

What are the dimensions of this pomerium marker?

The pomerium of Vespasian from 75AD (pictured below) was moved to Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, Rome in the 20th century. What are its dimensions, and what is its height, measuring from street level to ...
5 votes
1 answer
316 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 ...
3 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where can I find reliable primary sources written by Ancient Egyptian laborers?

I am working on a Year 12 New Kingdom Pharaoh assignment. I have chosen Ramesses II and must determine if he was an effective king. I have decided that he was, but now I just have to provide the ...
0 votes
0 answers
109 views

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 ...
-2 votes
1 answer
272 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: ...
29 votes
5 answers
6k views

Why were there no agricultural, city-state forming civilizations in the Ice Age?

In spite of various fringe historians claiming to have found remains of Ice Age civilizations on lost continents, Atlantis and what not, there is - to the best of my knowledge - no tangible evidence ...
13 votes
4 answers
837 views

Does the Kimmirut find indicate pre-Viking Europeans traveling to Baffin Island?

A 2008 article from the Nunatsiaq News claimed there was new evidence of European contact with the Canadian Arctic, saying things like: Dating of some yarn and other artifacts, presumed to be left ...
4 votes
1 answer
223 views

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 ...
9 votes
2 answers
353 views

Why does the Ħaġar Qim seem to have drilled holes / pitted dots on its stoneworks?

Does anyone have any idea or knowledge why Neolithic temple stones have these small holes? They are facing the sun, and the other side of the stones is flat. Smaller object were drilled all over, not ...
1 vote
0 answers
96 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 ...
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
-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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
67 views

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 ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

Are there known completely sealed chambers in Egyptian pyramids?

According to new measurements, there likely is a large hidden chamber in the Great Pyramid (Paper). There is already speculation about its contents, with people looking at religious sources the ...
6 votes
1 answer
369 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
175 views

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 ...
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 ...
6 votes
0 answers
213 views

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....
3 votes
1 answer
184 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
170 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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Has Mohenjo-daro been reconstructed?

What is the extent of current knowledge on the physical structure of the city of Mohenjo Daro? Have all possible roads and buildings (possibly in 3D) been reconstructed? Do we completely know the ...
5 votes
2 answers
176 views

What is the definition, usage, and etymology of “Sandy ware”?

Wikipedia has the category "Sandy ware in the Portable Antiquities Scheme" Is it a kind of pottery? Or a type of coating for pottery? That's what I would understand from this page. What would it have ...
1 vote
2 answers
217 views

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 ...