It appeared to be one of archaeology's most sensational finds. The skull fragment discovered in a peat bog near Hamburg was more than 36,000 years old - and was the vital missing link between modern humans and Neanderthals.
This, at least, is what Professor Reiner Protsch von Zieten - a distinguished, cigar-smoking German anthropologist - told his scientific colleagues, to global acclaim, after being invited to date the extremely rare skull.
However, the professor's 30-year-old academic career has now ended in disgrace after the revelation that he systematically falsified the dates on this and numerous other "stone age" relics.
We just have to highlight more:
The university is investigating how thousands of documents lodged in the anthropology department relating to the Nazis' gruesome scientific experiments in the 1930s were mysteriously shredded, allegedly under the professor's instructions.
They also discovered that some of the 12,000 skeletons stored in the department's "bone cellar" were missing their heads, apparently sold to friends of the professor in the US and sympathetic dentists.
Hel-LOOOOOOOOOO!!! This is supposedly why we have PEER REVIEW people! And why procedures and security are supposed to be in place in museums and such. Oye vey.
Professor Protsch at "an enormous dig outside of Cairo":
Pottery Presented as Evidence Of Olmec Culture's Influence (Free reg probably required)
Scientists presented new evidence yesterday that the fabled Olmec, sculptors of ancient Mexico's colossal stone heads, were the region's first dominant civilization, a "mother culture" that served as the hub of lesser settlements.
For decades, a debate has raged between scholars favoring the mother-culture hypothesis and those who argue that the Olmec were just one of several "sister" cultures that developed simultaneously.
George Washington University's Jeffrey P. Blomster, leader of the team that examined pottery samples from Mexico and Central America, said at a news conference that chemical analysis of the clays and potsherds suggested that while other ancient settlements made pottery with symbols and designs in the "Olmec style," only the early Olmec themselves -- at San Lorenzo near Mexico's Gulf Coast -- exported their pottery.
Tsunami uncoverings update Tsunami Uncovers Ancient City in India
Archaeologists have begun underwater excavations of what is believed to be an ancient city and parts of a temple uncovered by the tsunami off the coast of a centuries-old pilgrimage town.
Three rocky structures with elaborate carvings of animals have emerged near the coastal town of Mahabalipuram, which was battered by the Dec. 26 tsunami.
As the waves receded, the force of the water removed sand deposits that had covered the structures, which appear to belong to a port city built in the seventh century, said T. Satyamurthy, a senior archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of India.
Doesn't say much new, but there it is.
Iron age necklace discovered
An amateur archaeologist using a 30-year-old metal detector has discovered a rare golden necklace from the iron age buried in a local farmer's field.
The delicately twisted torc, designed for a well-to-do member of a tribe in the area now covered by north Nottinghamshire, is expected to be valued at more than £100,000.
Maurice Richardson, 55, a self-employed tree surgeon from Newark, reported the find to the local coroner after initially thinking his soil-covered discovery was scrap metal.
In Al-Gurna where several excavation missions are probing for more Ancient Egyptian treasures under the sand, a team from the Polish Centre for Mediterranean Archaeology has stumbled on a major Coptic trove buried under the remains of a sixth-century monastery located in front of a Middle Kingdom tomb.
Excavators unearthed two papyri books with Coptic text along with a set of parchments placed between two wooden labels as well as Coptic ostraca, pottery fragments and textiles.
If you've never looked up Coptic history or archaeology, now's the time to do it!
Scum Utah legislators grabbing power from archaeologists
Utah legislators are moving to gut a tiny agency responsible for archaeology and historic preservation, a target of complaints by other agencies that manage state lands for insisting they follow laws preserving cultural resources.
A House committee on Friday approved taking the Antiquities Division out of an economic development department where it enjoys relative autonomy, and putting it under control of its biggest critic, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
"It is an extreme measure, but it's telling you how frustrated people are with the process," Miles Moretti, acting director of the Division of Wildlife Resources, said Friday in an interview.
Kinda reads like an opinion piece.
Times never change Ancient Egyptians Hoarded Crude Oil
New research suggests that oil and its by-products were valued and traded in the Mideast at least 3,000 years ago, the same region that dominates world production and export of crude oil today.
Evidence for the discovery came from surprising sources — mummies.
According to a forthcoming paper in the Journal of Geoarchaeology, scientists found tar on several ancient Egyptian mummies. Because every batch of tar contains unique biochemicals, the researchers were able to trace the sticky substances back to their origins.
This is a story we linked to a while back, but this has some more info.
Edom update Controversial Dates Of Biblical Edom Reassessed
New archeological research from modern-day Jordan indicates the existence of the biblical nation of Edom at least as early as the 10th Century B.C., the era of kings David and Solomon, and adds to the controversy over the historical accuracy of the Old Testament. The full results of the 2002 excavation, by a team of international scholars, at the site of Khirat en-Nahas (or “ruins of copper,” in Arabic), are reported in the current issue of the British journal Antiquity.
The new study, under the direction of University of California, San Diego, Professor of Archeology Thomas Levy, contradicts much contemporary scholarship which had argued that, because there had been no physical evidence, no Edomite state had existed before the 8th Century B.C. Until the current discovery many scholars had said the Bible’s numerous references to ancient Israel’s interactions with Edom could not be valid.
More info, but nothing particularly new.