Archaeology

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

Learn More

In the search for Cleopatra's tomb, a team of archaeologists was surprised by two mummies with gold foil-covered tongues. What was the reason for this strange burial custom?

By Jesslyn Shields

Archaeologists have long debated whether Neanderthals buried their dead. Newly interpreted evidence indicates they did.

By Jesslyn Shields

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?

By Mark Mancini

Advertisement

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!

By Nathan Chandler

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?

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Mark Mancini

But that doesn't mean they worshipped them.

By Dave Roos

Advertisement

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?

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Christopher Hassiotis

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

By Michelle Konstantinovsky

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

Advertisement

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

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.

By Jesslyn Shields

Advertisement

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?

By Nathan Chandler

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?

By Jessika Toothman

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?

By Charles W. Bryant

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?

By Charles W. Bryant

Advertisement

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?

By Charles W. Bryant

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"?

By Charles W. Bryant

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?

By Charles W. Bryant

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.

By William Harris

Advertisement

Identifying the biggest archaeological find in history is sort of like naming the best movie ever made. One person's blockbuster could be another person's bust. So which find swept the other contenders into the dust?

By William Harris

Before the existence of radiocarbon dating, archaeologists would hope their prized potsherds happened to lie buried next to a dated coin. How has the measurement of C-14 and C-12 revolutionized the science of archaeology?

By Jessika Toothman