Learn more about ancient civilizations and human remains, such as buildings, art or trash.


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The Nebra Sky Disc: Early Calendar, Ancient Astronomical Art or Simply a Fake?

Since its discovery, the Nebra Sky Disc has been known as the oldest artifact in the world depicting cosmic phenomena. But is the 3,600-year-old disc actually 1,000 years younger than previously thought or is it a fake altogether?

Who Was the World's First King?

This is not an easy question to answer, thanks to the mists of time. But historians have put forth several possibilities. An ancient tablet claims one king ruled for 28,000 years!

Lapis Lazuli Found in Teeth of Medieval European Woman

The pigment ultramarine was as expensive as gold in medieval Europe; so how did it end up in the teeth of a nun buried at a monastery in rural Germany?

Peat Bogs Are Freakishly Good at Preserving Human Remains

What makes these spongy, waterlogged areas of decaying plant matter so perfect at preservation? In a word: science.

Stonehenge Was the Final Resting Place of Foreigners, Study Finds

Some of the cremated remains buried at Stonehenge came from a spot in Wales that's more than 100 miles away. How did that happen?

Anthropologists Discover Mummified, Green Baby Hand

And it turns out their strange discovery has a straightforward explanation: copper.

Roman Ruins Discovered Underwater in Tunisia

Archaeologists discovered what they believe to be ruins of the Roman city of Neapolis — underwater near Tunisia.

Matrilineal Dynasty Unearthed in Ancient Pueblo Community

And archaeologists figured it out with just a little DNA.

450 Huge Geometrical Earthworks in the Amazon Hint at Past Civilizations

Although the trenched enclosures were probably used to conduct rituals, they can tell us how the ancient indigenous people of the Amazon managed their forests.

Human Penis Bone Disappeared With Rise of Monogamy, Succinct Sex

Most mammals have a penis bone called a baculum, but humans don't. A new study sheds light on the history of the baculum, and why ours is missing.

Ancient Human Skeleton Found in Antikythera Shipwreck

Could this new underwater find shed light on the enigmatic ancient computing device known as the Antikythera Mechanism?

Scholars Could Crack the Code of the Etruscan Language With Big, New Find

A stone slab unearthed in northern Italy has revealed its first big discovery: the name of an Etruscan goddess in a lost language.

Bronze Age Wonders Emerge After 3,000 Years Beneath a British Bog

The perfectly preserved remains of a 3,000-year-old settlement called Must Farm provide a window into the lives of the Bronze Age Britons.

If Those Aren't Human Hands in Ancient Cave Art … What Are They?

Wadi Sura's enigmatic cave art gives a glimpse into a society where lines between human and animal were very, very blurry. New research has solved some of the mystery.

How Bioarchaeology Works

Archaeologists dig up and study the material remains of human civilizations. Bioarchaeologists do the same thing, except they focus on the remains of, well, us. What's the big deal about old bones and teeth?

How the La Brea Tar Pits Work

A sculpted mammoth shows visitors to the La Brea Tar Pits what these ancient animals might have looked like, but the pits themselves have looked the same for thousands of years. How did they form, and what discoveries lie beneath the sticky surface?

What can we learn from geoarchaeology?

When you're trying to patch together human history, it helps to have a trick or two up your sleeve. And geoarchaeology, a scientific discipline with a fondness for fossils and soil, might be just that.

What can we learn from urban archaeology?

Not all archaeological digs take place in the sandy desert. Beneath the concrete sidewalks and streets and towering skyscrapers in our world's great cities are artifacts that tell stories.

What can we learn from computational archaeology?

While archaeological digs are still hands-on projects, some computer programs can help piece together a more complete picture of the site and even what its inhabitants might have looked like. What else can the software tell us?

What did the Nazis have to do with archaeology?

In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Dr. Jones battles the Nazis for the Holy Grail. Did the Nazis really have an interest in archaeology? And if so, what fueled it?

What's the difference between archaeology and grave robbing?

In "The Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones competes with grave-robbing Nazis for the lost Ark of the Covenant. But what defined Dr. Jones as legit and the Nazis as grave robbers?

Who owns archaeological artifacts?

Each country and each region within each country has its own laws regarding the right to cultural property. So, how do you know which artifacts belong to the government and which are "finders keepers"?

How long does it take to excavate an archaeological dig site?

It's not so much about time as it is about money. What dictates how long an archeological team is permitted to dig at a particular site?

What can archaeology teach us about humanity?

We've been scribbling our thoughts down on stone and paper for a while now. But the job of assembling a history for all of humanity gets a lot harder once those written records disappear. Luckily, archaeologists are happy to tackle the job.