Recent Archeology News , March to April 2010

With all of the recent talks of the dwindling bee population across the world, perhaps archeologists can learn a bit about protecting the insects from the latest discovery found at Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel. In this article, you will encounter information regarding this headline, as well as findings regarding a new ancestral link.

Ancient Bee Hives

As renovators examined Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel, they happened upon bee hives that date back 600 years built into the two stone pinnacles of the building. An architect examining the feature stated that the hives were never intended to encourage the bees to produce honey, but were created to protect the bees from bad weather. If you’re wondering why the Rosslyn Chapel may sound familiar, it’s because it is the famous site linked to The Da Vinci Code.

Bees entered the hive through a hole in a carved flower that was created by the master stone masons of the chapel. The Midlothian building, which dates back to the 15th century, is now part of a £13m conservation and site improvement project. The two pinnacles required rebuilding because they had become unstable. As it was taken down stone by stone, architects found a large hollow space that had been abandoned by the hive.

Nothing like it has ever been found. In the past, bee hives were typically portable. They were often found in wicker baskets or ceramics, but always with the intention that people could have access to them. However, the church had a space just for the bees and people were never meant to gain access to their lair. The stone masons also placed a kind of coating on the sandstone, which protected the masonry materials from the insects. In the end, it is hoped that bees will return to the hive once the renovation has been completed.

Another Ancestral Link to the Past

In a Siberian cave, a tiny finger bone found on the site possesses mitochondrial DNA that indicates a different ancestral link similar from the Neanderthals and modern humans. Researchers have already concluded that the family tree of ancient peoples is deep and wide-ranging. The new DNA could unlock many clues to the past. So far, the new find has been dubbed “X-Woman.”

About 48,000 to 30,000 years ago, the extinct “hominin” (human-like creature) lived in Central Asia. In addition to finding the finger bone, ornamentation was also uncovered, which included a bracelet. All in all, archeologists are excited, as it can shed light on some of the evolutionary questions regarding the ancestors of people hailing from central and eastern Asia. It is the hopes of researchers that they can prove that it was possible that three different forms of human (Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and the species represented by X-woman) could have very well mingled with one another at the same time in southern Siberia. If you want to learn more about the discovery, more details have been published in Nature journal.