Questions tagged [archaeology]

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

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49 views

What does the phrase “Harappan Site” mean? [closed]

What does the phrase “Harappan Site” mean exactly? Does it mean that the site has the evidences of a culture/life similar to Harappan site or does it mean that the site flourished in the same period ...
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79 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....
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63 views

Is there a possibility of using new air knife (high power air) trenching equipment in archaeological digs and excavations?

I'm just a novice and amateur interested in virtually any archaeology digs and excavations and I've been curious about this as I can't find any references or examples of its usage. There may be plenty ...
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1answer
126 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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1answer
150 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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2answers
112 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 ...
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1answer
529 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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1answer
173 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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1k 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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402 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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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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4answers
362 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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1answer
1k 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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423 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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1answer
154 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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1answer
497 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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460 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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102 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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1answer
304 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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1answer
309 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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289 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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193 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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315 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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1answer
141 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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845 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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1answer
230 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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1answer
207 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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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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847 views

An ancient altar with petroglyphs at the foot of Jabal Maqla--Is it 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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88 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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318 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 ...
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116 views

Pyramidal marae on one of the Pacific islands

About 10 years ago I saw some information on the Web that an ancient pyramid-like structure (marae) existed on one of the Pacific islands, but was demolished in the end of 19th century. There was even ...
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94 views

Where do archaeological layers keep accumulating from? [closed]

People always seem to be digging up stuff from below the ground - artifacts, buildings and entire cities. Often they are below a current city. My question is - where do the layers covering the stuff ...
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1answer
215 views

What was Mohenjo-Daro's “lower town”?

I was reading about Mohenjo-daro sites in current day Pakistan. The text talked about something called "lower town". What is lower town in that context? "Kalibangan is situated on the left bank of ...
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2answers
412 views

What is the use of vinegar as a component in ancient ink receipes?

Quite some receipes of old (pre-iron-gall) ink seem to include vinegar. It is of pale colour though, and it may or may not be corrosive to the paper. Whats it's use?
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1answer
208 views

What kind of gas caused the end of excavations/tunneling of the “villa of the papyrii” in the 18th century?

The reason why excavations of the Villa of the papyrii in Herculaneum had to end is usually cited to be "gas invading the tunnels". That is a common problem in coal mining. However, volcanic deposits, ...
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1answer
940 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 ...
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111 views

Are there “Sumerian” figurines from the Uruk and Ubaid periods?

There are distinctive Sumerian figurines from the Early Dynastic period. One of the early arguments for indigenous Sumerians was that these figurines were also in the Jemdet Nasr, Uruk, and Ubaid ...
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1answer
164 views

Does Winckler's explanation of Semitic migrations have any merit?

Hugo Winckler's 1907 History of Babylon and Assyria, says something along these lines: Semitic people originated in the Arabian Peninsula. All Semitic migrations were caused by overpopulation. Syria ...
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2answers
635 views

What's the significance of “Sprinkler” (bottle)

Wikimedia Commons lists a few bottles named "Sprinkler" (Islamic, 17th–18th century). What was the use of this kind of bottle? By searching on Google for "sprinkler bottle" I got some similar looking ...
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1answer
170 views

What's the significance of “Splashware”?

I've found at Wikimedia Commons a few dishes labeled as "Splashware". Imitation Splashware in fact. It seems to be related to archaeology, so I hope this is the right place to ask the question (...
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1answer
214 views

Is there still controversy among historians and archaeologists about the exact date of the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD?

Fresh fruit, olives, and vegetables in the shops are typical of October, and conversely the summer fruit that would have been typical of August was already being sold in dried, or conserved form. The ...
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3k views

When did nonporous ceramic become widespread?

Nonporous ceramic (glazed earthenware, stoneware and porcelain) has the advantage that it doesn't absorb water and today it's vastly predominant. Since pottery manufacturing started with earthenware ...
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1answer
312 views

The history of toys: Who invented the first porcelain dolls?

I've been reading about the history of toys online, as part of a personal project. One thing that surprised me was that every article I've found lists porcelain toys as having been invented by ...
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1answer
127 views

Is a “buckle plate” the same thing as a “buckle chape”?

Many archaeological items are labeled as "buckle plate" - is that the same thing as a "buckle chape" (the last photo in this article)?
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2k views

Is there a difference between “post-medieval” and “modern”?

Is there a difference between "post-medieval" and "modern"? Many of the items in the UK's Portable Antiquities Scheme mention "post-medieval or modern period" and even "post-medieval or early modern ...
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2answers
158 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 ...
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4k views

Was the Earth's sea-level significantly lower in ancient times? [closed]

A lot of times, ancient artifacts or even whole ancient civilizations are found buried very deep into the ground surface of the earth. Entire civilizations that had high buildings have been found ...
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1answer
260 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 ...
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174 views

Why is the writing on the Vindolanda plates changing when exposed to air?

"In the case of Papyri [...]deterioration of the fibre and fading of the writing occurs, if at all, only over a very considerable period of time. This is not true of the writing-tablets which have ...