Sunshine Recorder

Link: Bioarchaeology of Crucifixion

The Romans practiced crucifixion - literally, “fixed to a cross” - for nearly a millennium.  Like death by guillotine in early modern times, crucifixion was a public act, but unlike the swift action of the guillotine, crucifixion involved a long and painful - hence, excruciating - death.  So crucifixion was both a deterrent of further crimes and a humiliation of the dying person, who had to spend the last days of his life naked, in full view of any passersby, until he died of dehydration, asphyxiation, infection, or other causes.  The Roman orator Cicero noted that “of all punishments, it is the most cruel and most terrifying” and Jewish historian Josephus called it “the most wretched of deaths.”

Although crucifixion seems to have originated in Persia, the Romans created the practice as we think of it today, employing either a crux immissa (similar to the Christian cross) or a crux commissa (a T-shaped cross) made up of an upright post (stipes) and a crossbar (patibulum).  Generally, the stipes was erected first, and the victim was tied or nailed to the patibulum and then hoisted up.  Usually, there was an inscription nailed above the victim, noting his particular crime, and sometimes victims got a wooden support to sit on (sedile) or to stand on (suppedaneum) (Retief & Cilliers 2003).

The process of crucifying someone varied greatly, as recorded by Seneca in 40 AD:

I see crosses there, not just of one kind but made in many different ways: some have their victims with their head down to the ground, some impale their private parts, others stretch out their arms. — de Consolatione ad Marciam

But often crucifixion involved driving nails into the wrists and the feet. Long, square nails (about 15cm long and 1cm thick) were hammered into the victim’s wrists or, occasionally, the forearms, to fix him to the crossbar.  Once the crossbar was in place, the feet may be nailed to either side of the upright or crossed.  In the first case, nails would have been driven through the calcanei (heel bones), and in the second case, one nail would have been hammered through the metatarsals.  To hasten death, the victim sometimes had his legs broken (crurifragium); the resulting compound fracture of the tibiae may have resulted in hemorrhage and fat embolisms, not to mention significant pain, thereby causing earlier death (Retief & Cilliers 2003).

Since the Romans crucified people from at least the 3rd century BC until Constantine banned the practice in 337 AD out of respect for Jesus and the cross’s potent symbolism for Christianity, it would follow that archaeological evidence of crucifixion would have been found all over the Empire.  Surprisingly, though, there is almost no direct archaeological evidence for crucifixion.

Several reasons can explain this lack of evidence.

(Source: sunrec)

"How could you go ahead of me?"
In April of 1998, shortly after excavating an ancient tomb in Andong City, South Korea, archaeologists were stunned to find the coffin of Eung-Tae Lee — a 16th-century male, now mummified, who, until his death at the age of 30, had been a member of the ancient Goseong Yi clan. Resting on his chest was the following moving letter, written by his pregnant widow and addressed to the father of their unborn child. Also found in the tomb, placed beside his head, were the sandals pictured above, woven from hemp bark and his distraught wife’s own hair. Translated transcript follows.

To Won’s Father
June 1, 1586
You always said, “Dear, let’s live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day.” How could you pass away without me? Who should I and our little boy listen to and how should we live? How could you go ahead of me?
How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, “Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?” How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?
I just cannot live without you. I just want to go to you. Please take me to where you are. My feelings toward you I cannot forget in this world and my sorrow knows no limit. Where would I put my heart in now and how can I live with the child missing you?
Please look at this letter and tell me in detail in my dreams. Because I want to listen to your saying in detail in my dreams I write this letter and put it in. Look closely and talk to me.
When I give birth to the child in me, who should it call father? Can anyone fathom how I feel? There is no tragedy like this under the sky.
You are just in another place, and not in such a deep grief as I am. There is no limit and end to my sorrows that I write roughly. Please look closely at this letter and come to me in my dreams and show yourself in detail and tell me. I believe I can see you in my dreams. Come to me secretly and show yourself. There is no limit to what I want to say and I stop here.

"How could you go ahead of me?"

In April of 1998, shortly after excavating an ancient tomb in Andong City, South Korea, archaeologists were stunned to find the coffin of Eung-Tae Lee — a 16th-century male, now mummified, who, until his death at the age of 30, had been a member of the ancient Goseong Yi clan. Resting on his chest was the following moving letter, written by his pregnant widow and addressed to the father of their unborn child. Also found in the tomb, placed beside his head, were the sandals pictured above, woven from hemp bark and his distraught wife’s own hair. Translated transcript follows.

To Won’s Father

June 1, 1586

You always said, “Dear, let’s live together until our hair turns gray and die on the same day.” How could you pass away without me? Who should I and our little boy listen to and how should we live? How could you go ahead of me?

How did you bring your heart to me and how did I bring my heart to you? Whenever we lay down together you always told me, “Dear, do other people cherish and love each other like we do? Are they really like us?” How could you leave all that behind and go ahead of me?

I just cannot live without you. I just want to go to you. Please take me to where you are. My feelings toward you I cannot forget in this world and my sorrow knows no limit. Where would I put my heart in now and how can I live with the child missing you?

Please look at this letter and tell me in detail in my dreams. Because I want to listen to your saying in detail in my dreams I write this letter and put it in. Look closely and talk to me.

When I give birth to the child in me, who should it call father? Can anyone fathom how I feel? There is no tragedy like this under the sky.

You are just in another place, and not in such a deep grief as I am. There is no limit and end to my sorrows that I write roughly. Please look closely at this letter and come to me in my dreams and show yourself in detail and tell me. I believe I can see you in my dreams. Come to me secretly and show yourself. There is no limit to what I want to say and I stop here.

Link: The Lost City of Z

A quest to uncover the secrets of the Amazon.

In the summer of 1996, rains flooded the Amazon, rendering it virtually impenetrable. Bridges were swept away, and, amid vast stretches of mud, small holes appeared where cobras and armadillos had buried themselves. Then the sun came out and scorched the region. Rivers sank by thirty feet; bogs became meadows; islands turned into hills. Finally, after months of waiting, a team of Brazilian adventurers and scientists headed into the jungle, determined to solve what has been described as “the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.” The group was searching for signs of Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett, a British explorer who, in 1925, had disappeared in the forest, along with his son and another companion.

The expedition expected to find little more than bones—yet even discovering those would have been a revelation. When he vanished, Fawcett and his party had been trying to uncover a lost civilization hidden in the Amazon, which Fawcett had named, simply, the City of Z. In the next seven decades, scores of explorers had tried and failed to retrace Fawcett’s path. Some nearly died of starvation, while others retreated in the face of tribes that attacked with poisoned arrows. Then there were those adventurers who had gone to find Fawcett and, instead, disappeared along with him, swallowed by the same forests in the Mato Grosso region which travellers had long ago christened the “green hell.”

The latest attempt was led by James Lynch, a Brazilian financier who had trekked through the most unforgiving terrains of South America. A man in his early forties, with blue eyes and pale skin that burned in the sun, he had competed in many gruelling adventure contests: once, he had hiked for seventy-two hours without sleep, and traversed a wide canyon by shimmying across a rope. For all their physical challenges, Lynch’s voyages were also intellectual endeavors, and he spent months in the library, researching and planning them. On one trip, he located the long-disputed source of the Amazon, and pinpointed where, in 1937, a pioneering German aviator had crashed in the Andes. He had never, however, encountered a case like that of Colonel Fawcett.

In the first decades of the twentieth century, Fawcett had been acclaimed as one of the last of the great amateur archeologists and cartographers—men who ventured into uncharted territories with little more than a machete, a compass, and an almost divine sense of purpose. Fawcett survived in the jungle for years at a time, without contact with the outside world, often subsisting for days on a handful of nuts; he was ambushed by hostile tribesmen, many of whom had never seen a white man before; he emerged with maps of regions from which no expedition had returned.

Yet it was his “quest,” as Fawcett called it, to find Z that most captivated Lynch. For centuries after the discovery of the New World, many Europeans believed that a fantastical kingdom of untold wealth was concealed in the ethereal landscape of the Amazon. In 1541, Friar Gaspar Carvajal, a member of the first European expedition to descend from the Andes into the Amazon, reported glimpses of white Indians and women warriors who resembled the mythical Greek Amazons. One early map of South America was adorned with minotaurs and headless beings with eyes in their chests, and well into the twentieth century the Amazon remained, as Fawcett put it, “the last great blank space in the world.”


The Beer Archaeologist 
By analyzing ancient pottery, Patrick McGovern is resurrecting the libations that fueled civilization.
The truest alcohol enthusiasts will try almost anything to conjure the libations of old. They’ll slaughter goats to fashion fresh wineskins, so the vintage takes on an authentically gamey taste. They’ll brew beer in dung-tempered pottery or boil it by dropping in hot rocks. The Anchor Steam Brewery, in San Francisco, once cribbed ingredients from a 4,000-year-old hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian beer goddess.

“Dr. Pat,” as he’s known at Dogfish Head, is the world’s foremost expert on ancient fermented beverages, and he cracks long-forgotten recipes with chemistry, scouring ancient kegs and bottles for residue samples to scrutinize in the lab. He has identified the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.), the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.) and the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed some 9,000 years ago.

Widely published in academic journals and books, McGovern’s research has shed light on agriculture, medicine and trade routes during the pre-biblical era. But—and here’s where Calagione’s grin comes in—it’s also inspired a couple of Dogfish Head’s offerings, including Midas Touch, a beer based on decrepit refreshments recovered from King Midas’ 700 B.C. tomb, which has received more medals than any other Dogfish creation.

“It’s called experimental archaeology,” McGovern explains.

To devise this latest Egyptian drink, the archaeologist and the brewer toured acres of spice stalls at the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s oldest and largest market, handpicking ingredients amid the squawks of soon-to-be decapitated chickens and under the surveillance of cameras for “Brew Masters,” a Discovery Channel reality show about Calagione’s business.

The ancients were liable to spike their drinks with all sorts of unpredictable stuff—olive oil, bog myrtle, cheese, meadow­sweet, mugwort, carrot, not to mention hallucinogens like hemp and poppy. But Calagione and McGovern based their Egyptian selections on the archaeologist’s work with the tomb of the Pharaoh Scorpion I, where a curious combination of savory, thyme and coriander showed up in the residues of libations interred with the monarch in 3150 B.C. (They decided the za’atar spice medley, which frequently includes all those herbs, plus oregano and several others, was a current-day substitute.) Other guidelines came from the even more ancient Wadi Kubbaniya, an 18,000-year-old site in Upper Egypt where starch-dusted stones, probably used for grinding sorghum or bulrush, were found with the remains of doum-palm fruit and chamomile. It’s difficult to confirm, but “it’s very likely they were making beer there,” McGovern says.

The brewers also went so far as to harvest a local yeast, which might be descended from ancient varieties (many commercial beers are made with manufactured cultures). They left sugar-filled petri dishes out overnight at a remote Egyptian date farm, to capture wild airborne yeast cells, then mailed the samples to a Belgian lab, where the organisms were isolated and grown in large quantities.

The Beer Archaeologist

By analyzing ancient pottery, Patrick McGovern is resurrecting the libations that fueled civilization.

The truest alcohol enthusiasts will try almost anything to conjure the libations of old. They’ll slaughter goats to fashion fresh wineskins, so the vintage takes on an authentically gamey taste. They’ll brew beer in dung-tempered pottery or boil it by dropping in hot rocks. The Anchor Steam Brewery, in San Francisco, once cribbed ingredients from a 4,000-year-old hymn to Ninkasi, the Sumerian beer goddess.

“Dr. Pat,” as he’s known at Dogfish Head, is the world’s foremost expert on ancient fermented beverages, and he cracks long-forgotten recipes with chemistry, scouring ancient kegs and bottles for residue samples to scrutinize in the lab. He has identified the world’s oldest known barley beer (from Iran’s Zagros Mountains, dating to 3400 B.C.), the oldest grape wine (also from the Zagros, circa 5400 B.C.) and the earliest known booze of any kind, a Neolithic grog from China’s Yellow River Valley brewed some 9,000 years ago.

Widely published in academic journals and books, McGovern’s research has shed light on agriculture, medicine and trade routes during the pre-biblical era. But—and here’s where Calagione’s grin comes in—it’s also inspired a couple of Dogfish Head’s offerings, including Midas Touch, a beer based on decrepit refreshments recovered from King Midas’ 700 B.C. tomb, which has received more medals than any other Dogfish creation.

“It’s called experimental archaeology,” McGovern explains.

To devise this latest Egyptian drink, the archaeologist and the brewer toured acres of spice stalls at the Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s oldest and largest market, handpicking ingredients amid the squawks of soon-to-be decapitated chickens and under the surveillance of cameras for “Brew Masters,” a Discovery Channel reality show about Calagione’s business.

The ancients were liable to spike their drinks with all sorts of unpredictable stuff—olive oil, bog myrtle, cheese, meadow­sweet, mugwort, carrot, not to mention hallucinogens like hemp and poppy. But Calagione and McGovern based their Egyptian selections on the archaeologist’s work with the tomb of the Pharaoh Scorpion I, where a curious combination of savory, thyme and coriander showed up in the residues of libations interred with the monarch in 3150 B.C. (They decided the za’atar spice medley, which frequently includes all those herbs, plus oregano and several others, was a current-day substitute.) Other guidelines came from the even more ancient Wadi Kubbaniya, an 18,000-year-old site in Upper Egypt where starch-dusted stones, probably used for grinding sorghum or bulrush, were found with the remains of doum-palm fruit and chamomile. It’s difficult to confirm, but “it’s very likely they were making beer there,” McGovern says.

The brewers also went so far as to harvest a local yeast, which might be descended from ancient varieties (many commercial beers are made with manufactured cultures). They left sugar-filled petri dishes out overnight at a remote Egyptian date farm, to capture wild airborne yeast cells, then mailed the samples to a Belgian lab, where the organisms were isolated and grown in large quantities.


Mysterious Viking-era Graves Found With Treasure
Photo: Sword at his side, the so-called Young Warrior (left) is among the thousand-year-old discoveries in a newfound cemetery in Poland, a new study says.

The burial ground holds not only a hoard of precious objects but also hints of human sacrifice—and several dozen graves of a mysterious people with links to both the Vikings and the rulers of the founding states of eastern Europe.
Researchers are especially intrigued by the Young Warrior, who died a violent death in his 20s. The man’s jaw is fractured, his skull laced with cut marks. The sword provides further evidence of a martial life. Objects in the warrior’s grave suggest he had ties to one of the region’s earliest Slavic monarchs, said the project leader Andrzej Buko, head of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology at the Polish Academy of Sciences. But the north-south orientation of the man’s body is a Scandinavian custom. Slavic graves were oriented east-west, Buko says. Buried just below the Young Warrior—probably at the same time, Buko said—is a woman in her early 20s who may have met a similarly violent end. Though evidence is scanty, Buko guesses she was killed to be buried with the man, “because it’s very hard to suppose she died at the same moment as the warrior.” Archaeologists stumbled upon the cemetery, which dates to the late 10th and early 11th centuries, after surveying a highway-construction site near the village of Bodzia, roughly 90 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Warsaw. The find is reported in this month’s issue of the journal Antiquity.

Read more.

Mysterious Viking-era Graves Found With Treasure

Photo: Sword at his side, the so-called Young Warrior (left) is among the thousand-year-old discoveries in a newfound cemetery in Poland, a new study says.

The burial ground holds not only a hoard of precious objects but also hints of human sacrifice—and several dozen graves of a mysterious people with links to both the Vikings and the rulers of the founding states of eastern Europe.

Researchers are especially intrigued by the Young Warrior, who died a violent death in his 20s. The man’s jaw is fractured, his skull laced with cut marks. The sword provides further evidence of a martial life. Objects in the warrior’s grave suggest he had ties to one of the region’s earliest Slavic monarchs, said the project leader Andrzej Buko, head of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology at the Polish Academy of Sciences. But the north-south orientation of the man’s body is a Scandinavian custom. Slavic graves were oriented east-west, Buko says. Buried just below the Young Warrior—probably at the same time, Buko said—is a woman in her early 20s who may have met a similarly violent end. Though evidence is scanty, Buko guesses she was killed to be buried with the man, “because it’s very hard to suppose she died at the same moment as the warrior.” Archaeologists stumbled upon the cemetery, which dates to the late 10th and early 11th centuries, after surveying a highway-construction site near the village of Bodzia, roughly 90 miles (150 kilometers) northwest of Warsaw. The find is reported in this month’s issue of the journal Antiquity.

Read more.

Link: The Battle of Towton

The men whose skeletons were unearthed at Towton were a diverse lot. Their ages at time of death ranged widely. It is easier to be precise about younger individuals, thanks to the predictable ways in which teeth develop and bones fuse during a person’s adolescence and 20s. The youngest occupants of the mass grave were around 17 years old; the oldest, Towton 16, was around 50. Their stature varies greatly, too. The men’s height ranges from 1.5-1.8 metres (just under five feet to just under six feet), with the older men, almost certainly experienced soldiers, being the tallest. […] The soldier now known as Towton 25 had survived battle before. A healed skull fracture points to previous engagements. He was old enough—somewhere between 36 and 45 when he died—to have gained plenty of experience of fighting. But on March 29th 1461, his luck ran out. Towton 25 suffered eight wounds to his head that day. The precise order can be worked out from the direction of fractures on his skull: when bone breaks, the cracks veer towards existing areas of weakness. The first five blows were delivered by a bladed weapon to the left-hand side of his head, presumably by a right-handed opponent standing in front of him. None is likely to have been lethal. Read More.

Fascinating and well researched article about medieval warfare in England. A mass grave at Towton was found and since then, researchers and archaeologists have been piecing together what happened. It’s pretty amazing how much detail they can recover from these centuries-old skeletons.


Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? 
Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus  Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of  our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and  arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or  even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The  place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who  has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it’s the site of  the world’s oldest temple.
Read more.

Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple?

Six miles from Urfa, an ancient city in southeastern Turkey, Klaus Schmidt has made one of the most startling archaeological discoveries of our time: massive carved stones about 11,000 years old, crafted and arranged by prehistoric people who had not yet developed metal tools or even pottery. The megaliths predate Stonehenge by some 6,000 years. The place is called Gobekli Tepe, and Schmidt, a German archaeologist who has been working here more than a decade, is convinced it’s the site of the world’s oldest temple.

Read more.

Link: El Mirador, the Lost City of the Maya

El Mirador, an ancient Maya city in northern Guatemala, was abandoned nearly 2,000 years ago, and rediscovered in the 1920s. Follow archaeologist Richard Hansen as he peels back the encroaching jungle to excavate the 15-square-mile site of pyramids and other manmade structures.

“There!” Hansen said. Lozano banked down toward what looked from afar to be a huge stone knoll, half swallowed in vines and trees. The pilots who first flew over the Mirador basin in the 1930s, among them Charles Lindbergh, were startled to see what they thought were volcanoes rising out of the limestone lowlands. In fact, they were pyramids built more than two millennia ago, and what we were circling was the largest of them all, the crown of the La Danta complex. At 230 feet, it is not as tall as the great pyramid at Giza, but, according to Hansen, it is more massive, containing some 99 million cubic feet of rock and fill.

We were hovering now over the heart of the ancient city of El Mirador, once home to an estimated 200,000 people and the capital of a complex society of interconnected cities and settlements that may have supported upwards of a million people. The last thing you would ever guess from a casual aerial overview was that virtually every topographical contour in the primordial forest was created not by geological and environmental forces but by the vanished inhabitants of one of the world’s foundational civilizations.

Link: Ashes to Ashes: the Latter-Day Ruin of Pompeii

Pompeii, the best-preserved Roman town in the world, still attracts millions of visitors. But its appalling state is a disgrace to Italy, Unesco and European civilisation.

The fate of Pompeii and its sister site Herculaneum puts Europe’s recent volcanic difficulty into proper perspective. The eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 had been preceded by weeks of earth tremors but the town, with a population of perhaps 20,000, was totally unprepared for the devastation. Pliny the Elder wrote that the eruption was “thrusting… bulging and uncoiling… as if the hot entrails of the earth were being drawn out and dragged towards the heavens.”

Over the following 1,500 years, the existence of the two towns was largely forgotten. Some local plundering seems to have occurred in the middle ages, and Pompeiian frescoes were unearthed in the 1590s, only to be covered over again. It was not until the late 18th century that systematic excavation got underway and people realised the degree to which the towns remained intact. “Many disasters have befallen the world,” Goethe said, “but few which have given posterity such delight… I have seldom seen anything so interesting.” Figures such as Charles, the first Bourbon king of Naples, Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Caroline, and Mussolini were inspired by the sites, and devoted resources to excavating them. As Unesco’s inspectors said, when placing the sites on its world heritage list in 1997, the towns provide “a complete and vivid picture of society and daily life at a specific moment in the past that is without parallel anywhere in the world.”

But today they are so reduced that it is hard to guess what went on among the ruins. Profili’s dogs ramble around, crapping where they see fit. The great majority of the houses are in such decay that people aren’t allowed to enter them. Broken fences and signboards tell of torpor and indifference. Nearby Herculaneum, where many frescoes and mosaics have been irreparably damaged by rainwater, is an archaeological casualty ward; a team funded by the US billionaire David Packard is fighting to save what it can. Twice officially inaugurated, the site’s museum has never opened to the public.

Link: Bioarchaeology of Crucifixion

The Romans practiced crucifixion - literally, “fixed to a cross” - for nearly a millennium.  Like death by guillotine in early modern times, crucifixion was a public act, but unlike the swift action of the guillotine, crucifixion involved a long and painful - hence, excruciating - death.  So crucifixion was both a deterrent of further crimes and a humiliation of the dying person, who had to spend the last days of his life naked, in full view of any passersby, until he died of dehydration, asphyxiation, infection, or other causes.  The Roman orator Cicero noted that “of all punishments, it is the most cruel and most terrifying” and Jewish historian Josephus called it “the most wretched of deaths.” […] Since the Romans crucified people from at least the 3rd century BC until Constantine banned the practice in 337 AD out of respect for Jesus and the cross’s potent symbolism for Christianity, it would follow that archaeological evidence of crucifixion would have been found all over the Empire.  Surprisingly, though, there is almost no direct archaeological evidence for crucifixion. Several reasons can explain this lack of evidence.

Link: Castles of 'Lost Cities' Revealed in Libyan Desert

New evidence of a lost civilization in an area of the Sahara in Libya has emerged from images taken by satellites. Using satellites and air photographs to identify the remains in one of the most inhospitable parts of the desert, a team from the University of Leicester in England has discovered more than 100 fortified farms and villages with castle-like structures and several towns, most dating between AD 1 to 500. “It is like someone coming to England and suddenly discovering all the medieval castles. These settlements had been unremarked and unrecorded under the Gadhafi regime,” said project leader David Mattingly, professor of Roman archaeology at the university. The fall of the regime has opened up Libya to more exploration by archaeologists of its pre-Islamic heritage. These “lost cities” were built by a little-known ancient civilization called the Garamantes, whose lifestyle and culture was far more advanced and historically significant than ancient sources had suggested.

Link: Unfrozen

Shortly after 6 p.m. on a drizzling, dreary November day in 2010, two men dressed in green surgical scrubs opened the door of the Iceman’s chamber in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy. They slid the frozen body onto a stainless steel gurney. One of the men was a young scientist named Marco Samadelli. Normally, it was his job to keep the famous Neolithic mummy frozen under the precise conditions that had preserved it for 5,300 years, following an attack that had left the Iceman dead, high on a nearby mountain. On this day, however, Samadelli had raised the temperature in the museum’s tiny laboratory room to 18°C—64°F. […] This was not the first time that the Iceman had been subject to intense scientific scrutiny. After Austrian authorities first recovered the mummy in 1991, scientists in Innsbruck cut a large gash across his lower torso as part of their initial investigation, along with other incisions in his back, at the top of the skull, and on his legs. It was later determined that the shallow conch of gray rock where he had been found was on the Italian side of the border with Austria, so the body and the artifacts surrounding it were relocated to Bolzano. Over the years, numerous less invasive explorations of the remains were conducted there, including x-ray and CT scan imaging studies and an analysis of the mummy’s mitochondrial DNA. The most astonishing revelation came in 2001, when a local radiologist named Paul Gostner noticed a detail that had been overlooked in the images: an arrowhead buried in the Iceman’s left shoulder, indicating that he had been shot from behind. Later work by Gostner and his colleagues with more powerful CT imaging devices revealed that the arrow had pierced a major artery in the thoracic cavity, causing a hemorrhage that would have been almost immediately fatal. The oldest accidentally preserved human ever found was the victim of a brutally efficient murder.

Link: WWI Grave Find Tells Story Germans Want To Forget

Archaeologists in northern France have unearthed the bodies of 21 German soldiers from World War One in an elaborate underground shelter that was destroyed in a French attack in March 1918, and hasn’t been opened since. Individual war casualties are still frequently found during construction work on the former Western front battlefields of France and Belgium, but the discovery of so many soldiers in one location is rare. The tomb, poignant and grisly, sheds light on the lives of the soldiers who died in explosions from heavy shells that penetrated the tunnel. “It’s a bit like Pompeii,” Michaël Landolt, the French archaeologist leading the dig, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “Everything collapsed in seconds and is just the way it was at the time. This is an extraordinary find.”

Link: Archaeologists find a fully intact Viking boat burial site of a 'high-ranking' warrior — the most important discovery of its kind to be made on the UK mainland.

The UK mainland’s first fully intact Viking boat burial site has been uncovered in the west Highlands, archaeologists have said. The site, at Ardnamurchan, is thought to be more than 1,000 years old. Artefacts buried alongside the Viking in his boat suggest he was a high-ranking warrior. Archaeologist Dr Hannah Cobb said the “artefacts and preservation make this one of the most important Norse graves ever excavated in Britain”.