Archive for the ‘Archaeology’ Category

New Cousin to the Velociraptor Discovered in China

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Liaoning Province in China is known for the substantial amount of dinosaur fossils that’ve turned up in the dirt there. Over the years everything from insects to fish to plants have been discovered in such detail that even skin textures have been left behind in the rock.

Now it appears that a new feathered dinosaur that is cousin to the Velociraptor can be added to the long list of discoveries there.

The new dinosaur with a ridiculous name to try and pronounce, Zhenyuanlong suni, stood at about 5 feet tall, had wings too short to allow them to fly and some of the most complex feathers seen on a dinosaur up to this point. The feathers’ complexity is clearly visible on the rock that the near-complete skeleton has been found in and resemble the feathers of today’s eagles.

Professor Junchang Lü from the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences’ Institute of Geology:

“The first feathered dinosaurs were found here and now our discovery of Zhenyuanlong suni indicates that there is an even higher diversity of feathered dinosaurs than we thought. It’s amazing that new feathered dinosaurs are still being found.”

It’s also hugely terrifying to think of these semi-flying, feathered 5 foot dinosaurs tracking you down to feed their young.


18th Century Shipwreck Accidentally Discovered – 100 Miles Off the Coast of North Carolina

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

Marine scientists that had set out on an expedition to explore seepage of methane gas along the eastern coastline as well as looking for their mooring from previous visits to the area were surprised when they caught of sight something they did NOT expect…

An old, aged chain running along the bottom of the ocean about 100 miles from the coast of North Carolina and one mile from the surface.

Using submersibles and sonar, scientists were excited to discover it was attached to a boat…

A very old boat.

Several artifacts including bottles, jars, the ship’s compass and sextant have been photographed just lying on the ocean floor around the wreckage.

Located well beyond an area known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic” researchers believe that the ship was used in trading. Research and dating will be carried out by NOAA to determine just how old the boat is and its importance, if any, to history.

Cindy Van Dover, director of the expedition:

“This is an exciting find, and a vivid reminder that even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean, the deep sea holds its secrets close.”

[Washington Post]

Ancient Lodging Discovery Rewrites Icelandic Local Settlement History

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Archaeologists have discovered the remains of what appears to be an ancient lodging almost 20 feet wide and 65 feet long in central Reykjavík. A government-sponsored team stumbled across the remains of the building and believes it predates another, similar lodge discovered in 2001.

While dating information and analysis aren’t yet finished, the researchers firmly believe that this discovery will rewrite local history regarding the settlement of that area of Iceland.

Another great example that illustrates that we really don’t have a full grasp of the planet’s history with each new discovery…

And a reminder that somewhere…under layers of dirt…

The ancient ones are probably waiting for us to find them.

[Icelandic Review]

Oldest Footprints in Europe Discovered on Coast!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

In May of 2013 during a geophysics survey along the Coast of Norfolk in England, researchers stumbled across what might be the oldest
evidence of human life in the region…footprints.

While skeptical at first, archaeologists have been doing extensive testing of dozens of foot-like indentations in a sediment layer that’s been
revealed by the tide and erosion in the area (similar to the discovery of a possible pyramid we talk about in the latest episode of the Weird Things podcast).

Scientists took photos of the indentations from every angle in order to create a 3D model that they could use to determine whether these odd
hollows in the sediment were, in fact, footprints or, perhaps, something else.

Almost a year later and with lots of careful analysis, researchers are agreeing that these are footprints left by what appears to be “…at least two
children and one adult male.” Researchers are estimating that these prints date back between 800,000 to 1 million years ago.


Ancient Underwater Pyramid Discovered Off the Coast of Portugal!

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

For quite a while archaeologists have suspected that people inhabited Portugal long before people claimed to have first inhabited Portugal. Within the last three years, researchers have discovered small rock pyramids on a small island called Pico as well as cave paintings and tons of new artifacts believed to possibly be several thousand years old on the nearby island of Terceira.

Now reports are buzzing the news feeds about a find that could validate the theory that people settled in the area long before historians imagined…

The owner of a private yacht out for a spin around the islands picked up something on his GPS instrumentation.

That something appears to be a perfectly shaped pyramid approximately 200 feet tall.

Researchers and archaeology experts are descending on the area in hopes of learning more about the discovery.

We’re secretly hoping they find underwater versions of everything from Stargate or Mermummies or…something else just as awesome.

[Portuguese American Journal]

Ancient Egyptian Statuette Mysteriously Starts Doing 180s in Museum

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Something weird is going on concerning a 10-inch statue of Neb-Sanu that is on display at the Manchester Museum.

This small statue is turning around…by itself.

During the course of the day Neb-Sanu’s little statue decides it’s done being stared at by museum guests so quietly and very, very slowly it turns itself around to face the other way.

While many are saying that vibrations from museum guests are causing vibrations in the glass shelves that the statue sits on causing it to turn around, the museum staff is disagreeing with the idea.

“But it has been on those surfaces since we have had it and it has never moved before. And why would it go around in a perfect circle?”

Egyptologist Campbell Price who works at the museum has even weighed in with his somewhat eerie thoughts:

“I noticed one day that it had turned around. I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key. I put it back but then the next day it had moved again. We set up a time-lapse video and, although the naked eye can’t see it, you can clearly see it rotate on the film. The statuette is something that used to go in the tomb along with the mummy. Mourners would lay offerings at its feet. In Ancient Egypt they believed that if the mummy is destroyed then the statuette can act as an alternative vessel for the spirit. Maybe that is what is causing the movement.”


Famed English King’s Remains Discovered – Under a Parking Lot!

Monday, February 11th, 2013

King Richard III’s body has been missing for several centuries now. Most historians figured the guy was buried near Leicester, England…somewhere. Nobody could figure out where the hell the body ended up after Henry VIII’s people lost the records showing the location of the remains.

Using other records of the day, archaeologists determined that the King’s remains were buried somewhere near the altar of the Grey Friars Church…

The very same Grey Friars Church that was about to become a parking lot.

After construction began and trenches were being dug for the new parking lot, things came to a screeching halt as workers found they’d unearthed a skeleton…a skeleton that had been there for a very long time.

Scientists and archaeologists descended on the future home of another forgettable strip mall to see if they could learn more about the skeleton who’d been chilling just a few feet below the surface of the area for what appeared to be several centuries.

After a lot of testing, retesting and verified tests….there was no doubt as to whose body this was.

Discovered last summer, this story has resurfaced (totally intentional pun) as the lab-coats have determined that this, in fact and without a doubt, King Richard III’s remains.

Makes you wonder what the hell’s under the nearest WalMart.

[Telegraph UK]

Man Discovers 16th Century Well…Under His Sofa!

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

We’re pretty sure that some of you have been in a house or a building with sagging floorboards before and just never really gave much thought to what was causing the sagging. Probably just figured,”Meh…old house. Sags.” End of story.

Mr. Steer of Plymouth, England had been wondering the same thing about one such sag in his living room for quite a while. Once he retired, he decided to get down to business and fix the problem.

He decided to repair the joists in the floor that might’ve been causing the sag when he noticed something else.

“I was replacing the joists in the floor when I noticed a slight depression – it appeared to be filled in with the foundations of the house,” he said.
“I dug down about one foot but my wife just wanted to me to cover it back up because we had three children running around at the time.
“I always wanted to dig it out to see if I could find a pot of gold at the bottom, so when I retired at the end of last year that’s what I started to do.”

What Steer found was a well dating back to the 16th century. With the help of a friend, Steer began excavating the well. During the excavation, Steer and his friend uncovered what appears to be a peasant’s sword.

After installing lights in the well and making it the new focal point of his living room, Steer’s research has taught him that the well was built in the 16th century by Sir Francis Drake to carry water from Dartmoor to Plymouth. The well had been covered over sometime around 1895.

Just hope they don’t find that video tape and that creepy little Samara Morgan doesn’t come crawling out in the middle of the night dripping well-water all over the floor.

[ Telegraph.Co.UK]

50 Prius-Sized Wombat Fossils Discovered in Australia

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Wombats are like the koala’s derpy ground-dwelling brother. They’re harmless, adorable and just keep their noses to the ground without being a bother to anyone. They’re about the size of a small, fat, over-inflated dog/gopher hybrid that like to build extensive burrows and tunnels.

Almost 200,000 years ago they were still cute and adorable and liked to create burrows with one small difference…

Wombats used to be about the size of a Prius.

In a remote part of the outback in Australia, almost 50 prehistoric mega-wombats called Diprotodons have been discovered in what’s being called a ‘graveyard’ for these giant animals.

As researchers uncover more of the site, the conditions of what brought the animals together in one place is becoming clearer…and creepier.

Also found at the site? The bony back-plates of a massive ancient crocodile and the teeth of an 18-foot-long venomous lizard called megalania.


Besties Forever: Woman and Cow Found Buried Together

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

During the excavation of an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in Cambridgeshire, archaeologists have discovered the last resting place of a woman and her….cow?

University students who uncovered the find first thought the animal was a horse since men and their horses, even though rare, have been discovered in the past.

Dr. Duncan Sayer, co-director of the excavation stated:

“Animal burials are extremely rare, anyway. There are only 31 horse burials in Britain and they are all with men. This is the first animal to be discovered with a woman from this period – the late fifth Century – and it’s really interesting that it’s a cow, a symbol of economic and domestic wealth and power. It’s also incredibly early to find any grave of a woman buried with such obvious wealth.”

From other trinkets found with these two interesting and apparent companions, it appears that these two may have been besties while alive.

“They would have wanted to give her something really important to show respect and they wouldn’t have done that for just anybody. That’s why we don’t find cows with burials,” she said. Dr Sayer added: “The cow burial is unique in Europe which makes this an incredibly exciting and important find. I don’t think I’ll find anything as significant as this again in my lifetime.”

Anyone else smell a potential animated feature in this story?


Video: Easter Island Statue Walks!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

This fall a collaboration between NOVA & National Geographic will show how scientists think primitive culture may have moved the five-ton, ten-foot-tall Moai statues on Easter Island.

[National Geographic YouTube Channel]

Revealed: Bodies of the Easter Island Statues

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

They’re featured in the title of practically every documentary or television show dealing with mysterious places. Their heads have adorned everything from coasters to keychains to books to backyard statuary. Heck, one of them even made it in Hollywood and nailed a part in Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller.

But now a fairly recent investigation called the EISP (Easter Island Statue Project) is uncovering something relatively new about the heads of Easter Island…they have bodies.

While experts have known about the bodies for several decades now, it’s only recently that tourists have been able to really see the dig sites up close and have seen that the enigmatic heads actually sit on shoulders of a complete figure down to the feet.

Because tourism to the islands is limited, it’s taken a while for this pictures and this information to begin circulating.

There are over 1,000 Moari heads scattered across the island and most of their bodies have simply been covered up by time.

Why is this such a big deal if experts knew about the bodies the whole time? As the bodies are excavated, petroglyphs once hidden on the statues backs and other artifacts which laid at the feet of the statues on what used to be the top layer of soil are uncovering more and more clues about the mysterious islanders who once called Easter Island home.

[Daily Mail]

Archaeologist Discover 17 Egyptian Pyramids Using Satellites

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

A team of archaeologists from the University of Alabama in Birmingham used infra-red satellite cameras to locate evidence of 17 lost pyramids and thousands of ancient structures not visible to the naked eye. In addition to the pyramids, they also identified 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.

Archaeologists on the ground have excavated several sites and confirmed there is something on them.

Ancient Egyptians used dense mud bricks to build their homes and temples, and the cameras were able to differentiate between that and the regular soil surrounding them.

[NY Daily News]

2600-Year-Old Human Brain Found In Bog

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Archaeologists have recently unearthed a 2600-year-old human skull from a bog in the United Kingdom, and the skull contained what is believed to be one of the oldest known intact human brains. The skull belonged to a man in his thirties, who was hung,  and then had his head cut off and thrown in the bog.

“The brain-containing skull was found at Heslington, Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom. O’Connor and her team suspect the site served a ceremonial function that persisted from the Bronze Age through the early Roman period. Many pits at the site were marked with single stakes. The remains of the man were without a body, but the scientists also found the headless body of a red deer that had been deposited into a channel.”

The brain had no evidence of fungal or bacteria and they described it as being “odorless…with a resilient, tofu-like texture.” Delicious.

[Discovery News]

Dead Sea Scroll Mystery Solved?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010


National Geogrphic has some really interesting historical findings on where the Dead Sea Scrolls might have originated. Also:

And on Jerusalem’s Mount Zion, archaeologists recently discovered and deciphered a two-thousand-year-old cup with the phrase “Lord, I have returned” inscribed on its sides in a cryptic code similar to one used in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

…either that or Jesus was really fussy about people using his favorite cup so he had to write his name on it.

[Nat Geo]

Caveman Playboy

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Penn Bullock Reports:


No – that’s not a small, cooked, headless chicken, but a 25,000 year-old statuette just unearthed in Germany. Archeologists are calling it the earliest known example of human pornography. When we at Weirdthings took a closer look, we observed, without arousal, the “dramatically exaggerated breasts” as put in the delicate words of the archeologists. The curves on this female form suggest, for one, that thin hasn’t always been in. 25,000 years ago, man’s ideal woman had the body of a boulder, chicken wings for legs, protruding, basket-ball-sized breasts, and no head. Imagine the pressure on women back then to live up to the ideal.