For the first time since the 11th century BCE, scientists have unwrapped – virtually, using CT scans – the mummy of pharaoh Amenhotep I (r. 1525 to 1504 BCE), the only royal mummy to remain wrapped in modern times. They show that the pharaoh was around 35 years old, 169cm tall, circumcised, and in good physical health when he died, apparently from natural causes
- Frontiers in Medicine
The analysis of ancient DNA preserved in sediments is an emerging technology allowing for the detection of the past presence of humans and other animals at archaeological sites. Yet, little is known about how DNA is preserved in sediment for long periods of time. An international team of researchers involving scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig and other institutions in Germany, Australia, Portugal, and Russia have now shed light on the matter by isolating DNA from solid blocks of undisturbed sediment that are embedded in plastic resin. The study reveals that ancient human and animal DNA is concentrated in small ‘hot spots’, particularly in microscopic particles of bone or feces. Micro-sampling of such particles can recover substantial amounts of DNA from ancient humans, such as Neanderthals, and other species and link them to archaeological and ecological records at a microscopic scale.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, European Research Council, Russian Foundation for Basic Research, Australian Research Council, Portugueses Fundacao para a Ciencia e Tecnologia
The International Space Station Archaeological Project is the first archaeological study of a human habitat in space. Because of the prohibitive cost of travelling to space, archaeologists have had to think of creative ways to investigate the material culture of the space station. One method is to analyze the thousands of photographs taken of the space station’s interior.
- Current Anthropology
The central Mediterranean throughout time has been a region defined by the continuous flow of people, goods, and ideas. Excavation and analysis of ancient shipwrecks along these coastlines reveal the overlapping social, political, and economic relationships that fostered the development of the region and spurred wide-ranging movement across the Mediterranean Sea.
- American Journal of Archaeology
Analysis of ancient DNA from one of the best-preserved Neolithic tombs in Britain has revealed that most of the people buried there were from five continuous generations of a single extended family. By analysing DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of 35 individuals entombed at Hazleton North long cairn in the Cotswolds-Severn region, the research team was able to detect that 27 of them were close biological relatives. The group lived approximately 5700 years ago – around 3700-3600 BC - around 100 years after farming had been introduced to Britain. Published in Nature, it is the first study to reveal in such detail how prehistoric families were structured.
A new study, led by the University of York, Harvard Medical School, and the University of Vienna, shows that people moving into southern Britain around 1300‒800 BC were responsible for around half the genetic ancestry of subsequent populations.