Archeology Headlines , March 2009

It’s pretty early to report the archeology headlines of March 2009, but who can resist alerting the public about evidence pointing to the earliest known domesticated horses or the discovery of an Olympic axe that dates back 4,000 years.

Earliest Known Domestic Horses Found

The Universities of Exeter and Bristol (located in the United Kingdom) have published research in the highly regarded academic journal, Science on March 6th, 2009, which reveals information centered on the earliest known evidence of human efforts to domesticate horses. Archeologists have found proof that horses were both milked and ridden. For those of you who are horse lovers, you may soon encounter the details pertaining to your favorite breeds, as further research may shed light on the origins of different horses.

Researchers have followed the origins of horse domestication back to the Botai Culture of Kazakhstan, which is about 5,500 years into the past. This would make the timeline close to 2,000 years older than what researchers first thought the approximate date that domestic horses dwelled in Europe. The finding strongly point to a theory that horses were initially domesticated not just for transportation, but for a food source that includes milk.

Thanks to the use of new techniques, the archeological team was able to create three different lines of evidence associated with early horse domestication. We now know that fourth millennium BC saw horses in Kazakhstan distinctly chosen for domestic reasons. Evidence suggests that the horses were harnessed. By analyzing the bones of the ancient horse remains, the shape is comparable to bones connected to the Bronze Age domesticated horses, but still different from the wild horses that lived in the region at the same time. Researchers assess that wild horses were being selected for the physical characteristics they possessed. Breeding would embellish these attributes.

4,000-Year-Old Axe Discovered at Olympic Park Archeological Site

Over the course of two years, an archaeological adventure at Olympic Park that involved the Olympic Delivery Authority and the Museum of London (the largest investigation of its kind in the United Kingdom) produced a flint axe that is more than 4,000 years old. About 140 trenches were dug on the overall site, where four prehistoric skeletons laid to rest in Iron Age settlement graves were uncovered. Other intriguing finds include:

·    A Roman coin
·    Roman river walls
·    Medieval and Neolithic pottery
·    Second World War gun emplacements
·    A complete 19th century boat used for hunting wild fowl on the lower River Lea

Lost Egyptian Tomb Rediscovered

This month, it was announced that Belgian archaeologists have rediscovered an ancient Egyptian tomb that has stayed hidden for decades , covered by heaps of sand. It was 1880 when Swedish Egyptologist Karl Piehl found the tomb of Amenhotep in the city of Luxor. Amenhotep once served as the deputy seal-bearer of the Pharaoh King Tuthmosis III , the sixth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty. Sand later sent the tomb into a grainy grave, keeping out of sight for many years. Unfortunately, it has been reported that the majority of the inscriptions decorating the walls of the tomb show signs of damage, meaning grave robbers may have paid the tomb a visit during the early 19th century.