A jam-packed weekly archaeology roundup 18/4/2014

Well, well, well. Let’s see what’s been making headlines in the world of archaeology on this Good Friday.

Arsenic found in Chilean mummies

Traces of arsenic found in the hair of Chilean mummies had researchers scratching their heads. Somehow arsenic slowly poisoned many Chileans, likely from the water and irrigation of plants. But up till now, researchers were unsure if they ingested it or the element was absorbed into the mummies hair after death.

Tests done on a 1,000 – 1,500 year old mummy has now confirmed that the arsenic was ingested.┬áThe sediment is rich with arsenic due to copper mining in the highlands.


Columbus’s men suffered from…scurvy?

The great explorer, Christopher Columbus, who founded the New World, had more to deal with than the rough seas and discovering new land, and one of those things was scurvy.

The excavation of a European graveyard in the Dominican Republic where Columbus founded on his second journey, was the first full European colony La Isabela, but it was abandoned 4 years later.

Researchers thought it was due to heavy illnesses such as smallpox, but the bones at the graveyard don’t lie, and the men severely needed some oranges and Vitamin C supplements.


Oldest Roman mosaic goes on display

One of the oldest and definitely one of the most complete Roman mosaics, dating back 1,700 years ago, is going on display at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire, UK.

The discovery was made in Lod, Israel and depicts some truly amazing images mainly of animals.

The exhibition entitled Predators and Prey: A Roman Mosaic from Lod, Israel will go display from 5 June – 2 November this year.


Police seize Bulgarian treasure

Bulgarian police seized a variety of archaeological artifacts from smugglers trying to sell them off. The artifacts consisted of three necklaces of gold and other ancient treasures.

Police brought them into the National History Museum in Sofia, where the artifacts were found dating to the 3rd millenium BC, making them some of the oldest finds ever discovered in Bulgaria.


Puppy prints found in Roman tiles

An ancient puppy was definitely in the dogbox for this one. Paw prints have been found on clay tiles dating back 2,000 years when the Romans were in England. The find was discovered in Leicester.

The team of researchers found two sets of clay tiles with animal prints, one being the naughty pup, and the other showing hoof prints, likely from a sheep or goat.


Ancient Greek wrestling match was fixed

It seems that even the ancients had some trouble with sports matches being fixed. Papyrus with ancient Greek writing, dating to AD 267 has recently been deciphered and reveals the true colours of ancient sports.

The papyrus tells of two young wrestlers Nicantinous and Demetrius who were in the finals. It says that the father of Nicantinous was willing to pay Demetrius 3,800 drachma if he lost the match.

I wonder who won…


Here’s more already covered from the week:

Ancient Rome was bigger and older than previously thought

Skeleton found in Melkbostrand, Cape Town

The Blood Moon prophecy

8 Rock art sites from around the world



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