Archeology Headlines April 2012

In April of 2012, there have been an array of headlines related to archeology finds and discoveries. In this article, you will learn more about recent discoveries in 2012, such as a shipwreck dating back to the 3rd century to the discovery of the oldest known animal mounds.

Oldest Known Animal Mounds

In Peru, animal effigy mounds have been recently uncovered and are thought to be the oldest known to date. An animal effigy mound is a structure shaped like an animal and they help shed light on a particular culture of the past. A professor from the University of Missouri believes the oldest known animal effigy mound has been uncovered in Peru. Satellite imagery reveals mounds in the coastal valley that were most likely aligned to match the constellations of stars or the rising of the sun on the June solstice. This would have served as a way to keep track of time for ancient residents.

At first, researchers thought that animal mounds were only found in North America , with just a few exceptions. It is not uncommon for scientists to walk over such finds without knowing what lies underneath. The mounds are made by man and are in the shapes of condors, orcas and other creatures, like the duck. It is these creations outside of North America that will most likely serve as evidence of the oldest of animal mounds.

It is estimated that some of the mounds in Peru are more than 4,000 years old, where the previous record holders at Nazca dated back 2,000 years. The Nazca Lines were uncomplicated stone outlines of animals that were found at the Nazca Desert in Peru. It is believed that this site possessed ritual significance. The shapes also had a connection with the constellations that the ancient people would have seen in the Milky Way when they looked in the sky.  

Dinosaur Fossil Found in Maryland

The Pig Point site in Maryland has produced a dinosaur fossil that was most likely used by Native Americans for cooking purposes. You’d think Native Americans would have cooked their meals in clay pots over a fire. However, the clay would crack if it was heated up over a flame, so they’d heat up small rocks that they’d toss into the pot when cooking their meat, vegetables, and water. A dog burial was also uncovered at the site of a rather old companion.

Shipwreck Dating Back to the 3rd Century Found

In the shallow waters off the west coast of Sicily, a shipwreck dating back to the 3rd century AD was uncovered recently. The vessel had sank while it was traveling from North Africa to Rome , carrying a cargo filled with walnuts, figs, olives, wine oil, and fish sauce. On the ship, small terra cotta tiles in the shape of small tubes were found throughout the wreckage. These tiles were used by Roman builders to make vaulted ceiling and the sailor would smuggle the materials as a way to make extra money. The small tubes cost less in Africa, so they hid them aboard the vessel until they could be resold in Rome.