Category Archives: WORLD

Reconstructed Jesus’ Tomb Opened for First Time in 500 Years

Reconstructed Jesus’ Tomb Opened for First Time in 500 Years

The tomb’s contents provides ‘visible proof that the spot the pilgrims worship today really is the same tomb the Roman Emperor Constantine found in the 4th century’. The tomb believed to be the place where Jesus was laid has been opened for the first time in centuries.

For decades, archaeologists and theologians have debated over whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is the site where Christ was supposedly buried and resurrected after being crucified.

The tomb has been sealed in marble since the 1500s in order to prevent visitors from stealing pieces as relics.

Over the preceding centuries, the famous church had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times that experts were left unsure about whether the tomb had been moved and what it might contain.

The entrance of the Tomb of Jesus at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Lifting the tomb’s marble lid for the first time in 500 years, researchers discovered the limestone shelf where Jesus’s body was thought to have been placed, the Mirror reported.

Also discovered, was a second grey marble slab previously unknown to the researchers, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.

Workers at tomb

Archaeologist Fredrik Hiebert of National Geographic, a partner in the project, said: “The most amazing thing for me was when we removed the first layer of dust and found a second piece of marble.

“This one was grey, not creamy white like the exterior, and right in the middle of it was a beautifully inscribed cross. We had no idea that was there.

“The shrine has been destroyed many times by fire, earthquakes, and invasions over the centuries. We didn’t really know if they had built it in exactly the same place every time.

“But this seems to be visible proof that the spot the pilgrims worship today really is the same tomb the Roman Emperor Constantine found in the 4th century and the Crusaders revered. It’s amazing.

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalems Old City

“When we realised what we had found my knees were shaking a little bit.”

According to Christian scripture, Jesus died on the cross and buried for three days before rising from the dead.

Upon opening the ancient tomb, religious leaders from the Greek and Armenian Orthodox churches and the Franciscan monks, who share responsibility for the church, were the first to enter the tomb.

Construction on the tomb

Mr Hiebert added: They came out with big smiles on their face. Then the monks went in and they were all smiling.

“We were all getting really curious. Then we went in, looked into the tomb, and saw a lot of rubble. So it wasn’t empty, even though there were no artefacts or bones.”

Researchers have been involved in discussions as to whether or not the tomb could be opened for vital repairs since 1959, but the committee has faced difficulty in coming to an agreement.

Mr Hiebert said: “Everything has to be approved by the committee, so even changing a candle takes a long time.

”There is a ladder by the main entrance to the church that hasn’t moved in 240 years and they still haven’t reached a decision. It’s called the immovable ladder.

“So the fact we were finally allowed to carry out this work is a triumph of negotiation.”

The original bedrock of the tomb of Jesus Christ

Using ground penetrating radar and thermographic scanners, conservation experts gathered information on the insides of the tomb before unsealing it.

The data is so extensive it will take months to analyse, but the team hope to create a virtual reconstruction for public viewing.

800,000-Year-Old Human Footprints Discovered in UK

800,000-Year-Old Human Footprints Discovered in UK

Archaeologists today announced the discovery of a series of footprints left by a group of adults and children about 800,000 years ago. The prints were first discovered and recorded on the foreshore at Happisburgh in Norfolk, England, in May 2013.

Human footprints, thought to be more than 800,000 years old, discovered at Happisburgh, England

“At first we weren’t sure what we were seeing, but as we removed any remaining beach sand and sponged off the seawater, it was clear that the hollows resembled prints, perhaps human footprints,” said Dr Nick Ashton of the British Museum, the lead author of a paper published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Footprint surface.

Using a technique called photogrammetry, Dr Ashton and his colleagues recorded the surface as quickly as possible before the sea eroded it away. The analysis of images confirmed that the elongated hollows were indeed ancient human footprints, perhaps of five individuals.

The analysis showed that the prints were from a range of adult and juvenile foot sizes and that in some cases the heel, arch and even toes could be identified, equating to modern shoes of up to U.S. size 9-10 (European 39-41).

800,000-year-old human footprint.

“In some cases we could accurately measure the length and width of the footprints and estimate the height of the individuals who made them. In most populations today and in the past foot length is approximately 15 percent of height,” explained co-author Dr Isabelle De Groote of Liverpool John Moores University.

“We can therefore estimate that the heights varied from about 0.9 m to over 1.7 m. This height range suggests a mix of adults and children with the largest print possibly being a male.”

Model of footprint surface produced from photogrammetric survey with enlarged photo of a footprint showing toe impressions.

Over the last ten years the sediments at Happisburgh have revealed a series of sites with stone tools and fossil bones, dating back to over 800,000 years. This latest discovery is from the same deposits.

“Although we knew that the sediments were old, we had to be certain that the hollows were also ancient and hadn’t been created recently,” said co-author Dr Simon Lewis from Queen Mary University of London.

“There are no known erosional processes that create that pattern. In addition, the sediments are too compacted for the hollows to have been made recently.”

Model of footprint surface generated from photogrammetric survey.

The age of the site, 800,000 years ago, is based on its geological position beneath the glacial deposits that form the cliffs, but also the association with extinct animals.

The site also preserves plant remains and pollen, together with beetles and shells, which allows a detailed reconstruction of the landscape. At this time Britain was linked by land to continental Europe and the site at Happisburgh would have been on the banks of a wide estuary several miles from the coast. There would have been muddy freshwater pools on the floodplain with salt marsh and coast nearby.

Deer, bison, mammoth, hippo and rhino grazed the river valley, surrounded by more dense coniferous forest. The estuary provided a rich array of resources for the early humans with edible plant tubers, seaweed and shellfish nearby, while the grazing herds would have provided meat through hunting or scavenging.

Fossil remains of our forebears are still proving elusive.

“The humans who made the Happisburgh footprints may well have been related to the people of similar antiquity from Atapuerca in Spain, assigned to the species Homo antecessor. These people were of a similar height to ourselves and were fully bipedal.

They seem to have become extinct in Europe by 600,000 years ago and were perhaps replaced by the species Homo heidelbergensis.

Neanderthals followed from about 400,000 years ago, and eventually modern humans some 40,000 years ago,” said co-author Prof Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, UK.

The importance of the Happisburgh footprints is highlighted by the rarity of footprints surviving elsewhere.

Only those at Laetoli in Tanzania at about 3.5 million years and at Ileret and Koobi Fora in Kenya at about 1.5 million years are more ancient.

“These footprints provide a very tangible link to our forebears and deep past,” Dr Ashton concluded.

135-Year-Old Message In A Bottle Found In Floorboards – Amazing Victorian Time Capsule

135-Year-Old Message In A Bottle Found In Floorboards – Amazing Victorian Time Capsule

A rather incredible discovery occurred in Edinburgh, Scotland, where a woman found a 135-year-old message in a bottle under her floorboards.

Everything started in October 1877 when two local workers left a note under the floorboards at a Morningside villa. The message was placed in a bottle and left untouched until now when Eilidh Stimpson, a mother of two found it in her Morningside home in Edinburgh!

“Stimpson couldn’t believe her eyes as she read out the hand-written message on the withered note, which had been rolled up inside an empty whisky bottle since the day the floor was laid.

The Victorian time capsule was discovered on Monday by local plumber Peter Allan who just happened to cut through the exact place in the floorboards where it had been left on October 6, 1887,” the Edinburgh Live reports.

The message in a bottle left mum Eilidh Stimpson stunned on Monday

“It’s pretty cool,” Eilidh, who works as a GP, told Edinburgh Live. “And so lucky as well, because we were meant to be moving a radiator from one side of the wall to the other. The plumber came and started cutting a hole and said it was going to be a bit of a nightmare as there was a floor on top of a floor.

“Then he came down the stairs going, ‘Look at what I just found in the hole I just made!’. It was quite exciting.”

Peter and Eilidh decided to until her children came home from school, and Eilidh’s partner returned from work before opening the bottle and reading the old message.

Together they tried to get the message out of the bottle, but it was easier said than done. There was no way to remove the old note without tearing it, so they had no other option than to break the bottle.

“Eilidh explained: “We were desperately trying to get the note out with tweezers and pliers, but it started to rip a little bit. We didn’t want to damage it further, so regrettably had to smash the Bottle.”

As reported by Edunburgh Live, “untouched for an astonishing 7,049 weeks and four days, the message written on the mysterious parchment was finally revealed.

Signed and dated by two male workers, the message read: “James Ritchie and John Grieve laid this floor, but they did not drink the whisky. October 6th, 1887. Whoever finds this bottle may think our dust is blowing along the road.”

Intrigued to find out more about the workers, a friend of Eilidh’s conducted a bit of research and found that there were two men registered as living in the Newington area by the same names in the 1880s.

Following his incredible discovery, plumber Peter Allan, who works with Bruntsfield firm WF Wightman, told us: “It’s all a bit strange, but what a find! Where I cut the hole in the floor, is exactly where the bottle was located, which is crazy and so random.”

On Wednesday, Eilidh took to social media to share her family’s incredible find with the community.

Eilidh added: “We’ve just been amazingly lucky, and I’m glad everyone thinks it’s as interesting as we do. It feels quite nice to have a positive news story amid all this doom and gloom that’s around at the moment.

The note contained a message from the two workers who laid the floor in 1887

“Now, I’m thinking we need to preserve the note and replace it with a message of our own for future generations to discover.”

Responding to Eilidh’s post on the I Love Morningside page on Facebook, Lucie McAus commented: “I don’t think they ever could have predicted when they wrote it that you would be able to take a photograph using a device no bigger than your hand and put it instantly on a platform that could reach the entire community in a few seconds. Incredible.

“If you place one for the next person who knows how it would be discovered and the information shared? What a lovely timeframe from the past.”

2,000 Years of Genetic History in Scandinavia: Unraveling the Viking Age to Modern Times

2,000 Years of Genetic History in Scandinavia: Unraveling the Viking Age to Modern Times

A new study published in the journal Cell on January captures a genetic history across Scandinavia over 2,000 years, from the Iron Age to the present day.

This look back at Scandinavian history is based on an analysis of 48 new and 249 published ancient human genomes representing multiple iconic archaeological sites together with genetic data from more than 16,500 people living in Scandinavia today.

Among other intriguing findings, the new study led by Stockholm University and deCODE genetics (Reykjavik) offers insight into migration patterns and gene flow during the Viking age (750–1050 CE). It also shows that ancestries that were introduced into the area during the Viking period later declined for reasons that aren’t clear.

“Although still evident in modern Scandinavians, levels of non-local ancestry in some regions are lower than those observed in ancient individuals from the Viking to Medieval periods,” said Ricardo Rodríguez-Varela of Stockholm University.

“This suggests that ancient individuals with non-Scandinavian ancestry contributed proportionately less to the current gene pool in Scandinavia than expected based on the patterns observed in the archaeological record.”

“Different processes brought people from different areas to Scandinavia,” added Anders Götherström, Stockholm University.

The researchers hadn’t originally planned to piece together Scandinavian history over time and space. Rather, they were working on three separate studies focused on different archaeological sites.

“When we were analyzing the genetic affinities of the individuals from different archaeological sites such as the Vendel period boat burials, Viking period chamber burials, and well-known archaeological sites like the Migration period Sandby borg ringfort, known for the massacre that occurred there in 500 CE, and individuals from the 17th-century royal Swedish warship Kronan, we start to see differences in the levels and origin of non-local ancestry across the different regions and periods of Scandinavia,” Rodríguez-Varela explained.

“Initially, we were working with three different studies,” Götherström said. “One on Sandby Borg, one on the boat burials, and one on the man-of-war Kronan. At some point, it made more sense to unite them to one study on the Scandinavian demography during the latest 2,000 years.”

The goal was to document how past migrations have affected the Scandinavian gene pool across time and space to better understand the current Scandinavian genetic structure.

As reported in the new study, the researchers found regional variation in the timing and magnitude of gene flow from three sources: the eastern Baltic, the British Irish Isles, and southern Europe.

British Irish ancestry was widespread in Scandinavia from the Viking period, whereas eastern Baltic ancestry is more localized to Gotland and central Sweden.

In some regions, a drop in current levels of external ancestry suggests that ancient immigrants contributed proportionately less to the modern Scandinavian gene pool than indicated by the ancestry of genomes from the Viking and Medieval periods.

Finally, the data show that a north-south genetic cline that characterizes modern Scandinavians is mainly due to differential levels of Uralic ancestry. It also shows that this cline existed in the Viking Age and possibly even earlier.

Götherström suggests that what the data reveal about the nature of the Viking period is perhaps most intriguing. The migration from the west impacted all of Scandinavia, and the migration from the east was sex-biased, with the movement primarily of female people into the region.

As the researchers write, the findings overall “indicate a major increase [in gene flow] during the Viking period and a potential bias toward females in the introduction of eastern Baltic and, to a lesser extent, British-Irish ancestries.

“Gene flow from the British-Irish Isles during this period seems to have had a lasting impact on the gene pool in most parts of Scandinavia,” they continued.

“This is perhaps not surprising given the extent of Norse activities in the British-Irish Isles, starting in the 8th century with recurrent raids and culminating in the 11th century North Sea Empire, the personal union that united the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and England.

The circumstances and fate of people of British-Irish ancestry who arrived in Scandinavia at this time are likely to have been variable, ranging from the forced migration of slaves to the voluntary immigration of more high-ranking individuals such as Christian missionaries and monks.”

Overall, the findings show that the Viking period in Scandinavia was a very dynamic time, they say, with people moving around and doing many different things. In future work, they hope to add additional genetic data in hopes of learning more about how the ancestries that arrived during the Viking period were later diluted. They’d also like to pinpoint when the north-south cline was shaped based on a study of larger ancient datasets from the north.

“We need more pre-Viking individuals from north Scandinavia to investigate when the Uralic ancestry enters this region,” Rodríguez-Varela said. “Also, individuals from 1000 BCE to 0 are very scarce, [and] retrieving DNA from Scandinavian individuals with these chronologies will be important to understand the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age in this part of the world.

Finally, more individuals from the Medieval period until the present will help us to understand when and why we observe a reduction in the levels of non-local ancestry in some current regions of Scandinavia.”

“There is so much fascinating information about our prehistory to be explored in ancient genomes,” Götherström said.

The Ancient Mystery of the Dolmens of the North Caucasus

The Ancient Mystery of the Dolmens of the North Caucasus

Scattered around in some previously inaccessible parts of Russia are some mysterious stone structures built by an ancient megalithic civilization that have endured centuries of both veneration and plunder.

If you ever travel to the North-West Caucasus, you might encounter some strange stone structures that look like miniature houses with round holes in their front walls.

These are the dolmens, ancient megalithic monuments that date back to the early Bronze Age, from the middle of the 4th millennium BC to the end of the 2nd millennium BC.

The dolmens are scattered across the region, from Abkhazia to the Taman Peninsula in an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometers (around 4650 square miles), and are known by the locals as “ispun”, meaning the “houses of dwarves”.

Around 3,000 such megalithic monuments are known in the North Caucasus, with more discoveries regularly happening. The area has the largest concentration of dolmens on Earth.

The construction is remarkable, with massive stone plates fit together without the use of mortar or cement, precisely interlocking via specially crafted grooves. Some joints are so tight that a knife blade cannot pass through.

In 2007, an attempt to reconstruct a dolmen using high-precision electric tools with stones from Gelendzhik’s destroyed structures fell short of the precision achieved by Bronze Age builders.

The dolmens usually consist of a chamber with a large roof slab and an access portal formed by projecting blocks from the side walls and the overhanging roof slab. Most dolmens have a square, semi-circular, or oval access porthole in the center of the façade, which is thought to have been used to place offerings or burials inside the chamber.

Some dolmens have raised patterns (petroglyphs) on their face slabs, such as vertical and horizontal zigzags, hanging triangles, concentric circles, and some depicting pairs of breasts.

These symbols may have had religious or cultural meanings for the builders, but their exact interpretation is still unknown. The dolmens were mainly constructed from fluidogenic rock masses, such as sandstone or limestone, which were hand-carried from nearby quarries to the construction sites.

The purpose and function of the dolmens are still debated by scholars. Some of the dolmens are aligned with astronomical phenomena, such as solstices or equinoxes, indicating that they may have had an astrological or calendrical function.

Some of them are clustered in groups or rows, suggesting that they may have marked territorial boundaries or sacred landscapes. Some of them contain human remains or offerings, indicating that they may have been used for funerary or ceremonial purposes.

The proponents of the theory that the sites were used for tribal worship or ritual ceremonies point out that some dolmens are located in remote areas or on hilltops, away from settlements or cemeteries, and that some dolmens have no traces of burials at all. They also suggest that the petroglyphs may have represented deities or ancestors that were revered by the Dolmen builders.

The identity and origin of the Dolmen builders are also unclear. Some propose that they were associated with the Klin-Yar community in the North Caucasus, or the Koban culture from the Great Caucasus Range.

Others suggest that they were a separate group of people with their own unique culture and traditions. The dolmens may have been built by different tribes or clans over a long period, reflecting their social and political organization.

The dolmens are an enigmatic and fascinating part mysterious prehistoric civilization that left behind these impressive stone monuments. They are also threatened by natural erosion and vandalism, of the Caucasus heritage, revealing glimpses of looting, and urban development.

Many dolmens have been damaged or destroyed over time, and some have been moved or reconstructed for tourism purposes. Efforts are being made to preserve and protect these ancient structures, which are part of the cultural and historical legacy of the region.

Ancient Expensive Roman Domus With Beautiful Mosaic Unearthed In Rome

Ancient Expensive Roman Domus With Beautiful Mosaic Unearthed In Rome

Archaeologists working within the Colosseum Archaeological Park’s research project, have unearthed some rooms of a luxurious domus dated to the late Republican age.

The discovery was made in close vicinity of the Horrea Agrippiana warehouse complex along the Vicus Tuscus (commercial road that connected the river port on the Tiber and the Roman Forum built by Augustus’ son-in-law, Marco Vipsanio Agrippa.)

The domus is spread over several floors, probably divided into terraces, and characterized by at least three building phases dating back to the second half of the 2nd century BC and the end of the 1st century BC.

Distributed around an atrium/garden, the domus presents, as its main environment (the specus aestivus) a banquet hall that imitates a cave, used during the summer season and originally animated by spectacular games of water thanks to the passage of some lead fistulas (pipes) between the decorated walls.

An extraordinary wall decorated with the so-called “rustic” mosaic, characterized by the complexity of the scenes depicted and chronology, makes this discovery unique, researchers say in a press release.

The mosaic – dated to the last decades of the 2nd century BC – is made up of different types of shells, Egyptian blue tiles, precious glass, minute flakes of white marble or other types of stone, tartars (fragments of spongy travertine), and all this is bound by mortar and warps. The mosaic presents a complex sequence of figurative scenes.

In the four aedicules, defined by pilasters and decorated with vases from which shoots of lotus and vine leaves emerge, stacks of weapons are depicted with Celtic-type trumpets (carnyx), prows of ships with tridents, rudders with triremes which allude, perhaps , to a double triumph, land and naval, of the owner of the domus.

The large lunette above also presents a fascinating depiction of a landscape with, in the centre, a city, with a cliff simulated with travertine tartars, overlooking the sea crossed by three large ships, one of which with raised sails; a city wall with small towers surrounds the city equipped with porticoes, gates, and a large public building; on one side a pastoral scene.

The representation of a coastal city could allude to a war conquest by the owner of the domus, belonging to an aristocratic figure, presumably of senatorial rank, according to researchers.

In an adjoining reception room, however, the careful restoration work has brought to light a white stucco covering with landscapes within fake architecture and figures of the highest quality.

“The discovery of a new domus with an environment decorated with a truly extraordinary mosaic represents an important result which demonstrates, once again, how much the Colosseum Archaeological Park and the Ministry of Culture are constantly committed to promoting research, knowledge, protection and enhancement of our extraordinary cultural heritage.

The discovery then has an important scientific value which makes the domus even more relevant.

After the reopening of the Domus Tiberiana and the improvement of the accessibility of the Flavian Amphitheater, with the inauguration of the elevator which now reaches the third level, the heart of Romanity has therefore revealed an authentic treasure, which it will be our responsibility to safeguard and make accessible to the public”, according the Minister of Culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano.

The archaeological excavation will end in the first months of 2024 and then, this specacular ancient structure will be prepared to finally welcome the public.

Roadside dig Reveals 10,000 Year Old House In Israel

Roadside dig Reveals 10,000 Year Old House In Israel

Archeologists say that while digging at a construction site in Israel, they have uncovered some stunning finds, including stone axes, a “cultic” temple, and traces of a house 10,000 years old.

This image shows the 10,000-year-old house, the oldest dwelling to be unearthed to date in the Judean Shephelah.

The discoveries provide a “broad picture” of human development over thousands of years, from the time when people first started settling in homes to the early days of urban planning, officials with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said.

In preparation for the widening of an Israeli road, the excavation took place at Eshtaol, about 15 miles (25 kilometers) west of Jerusalem.

The site’s oldest discovery was an 8th millennium B.C. building during the Neolithic period.

“This is the first time that such an ancient structure has been discovered in the Judean Shephelah,” archaeologists with the IAA said, referring to the plains west of Jerusalem.

The building seems to have undergone a number of renovations and represents a time when humans were first starting to live in permanent settlements rather than constantly migrating in search of food, the researchers said.

Near this house, the team found a cluster of abandoned flint and limestone axes.

“Here we have evidence of man’s transition to permanent dwellings and that in fact is the beginning of the domestication of animals and plants; instead of searching out wild sheep, the ancient man started raising them near the house,” the archaeologists said in a statement.

The excavators also say they found the remains of a possible “cultic” temple that’s more than 6,000 years old.

The researchers think this structure, built in the second half of the 5th millennium B.C., was used for ritual purposes because it contains a heavy, 4-foot-tall (1.3 meters) standing stone that is smoothed on all six of its sides and was erected facing east.

Archaeologists think this standing stone, which is worked on all of its sides, is evidence of cultic activity in the Chalcolithic period.

“The large excavation affords us a broad picture of the progression and development of the society in the settlement throughout the ages,” said Amir Golani, one of the excavation directors for the IAA.

Golani added that there is evidence of rural society in Eshtaol making the transition to an urban society in the early Bronze Age, 5,000 years ago.

“We can see distinctly a settlement that gradually became planned, which included alleys and buildings that were extremely impressive from the standpoint of their size and the manner of their construction,” Golani explained in a statement.

“We can clearly trace the urban planning and see the guiding hand of the settlement’s leadership that chose to regulate the construction in the crowded regions in the center of the settlement and allowed less planning along its periphery.

The buildings and artifacts were discovered ahead of the widening of Highway 38, which runs north-south through the city of Beit Shemesh.

Throughout Israel, construction projects often lead to new archaeological discoveries. For example, during recent expansions of Highway 1, the main road connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, excavators discovered 9,500-year-old animal figurines, a carving of a phallus from the Stone Age and a ritual building from the First Temple era.

Geologist who discovered Mungo Man fights for 40,000-year-old remains

Geologist who discovered Mungo Man fights for 40,000-year-old remains

Forty years after Mungo Man was unearthed in the dunes of western New South Wales, the geologist who made the discovery is urging the NSW government to speed up repatriation of the remains.

Professor Jim Bowler said the process of returning the remains dated at more than 40,000 years old, whose 1974 discovery confirmed that Indigenous Australians belonged to the world’s oldest continuing culture, had “stalled”, and needed to be “dealt with quickly, and dealt with authoritatively by Robyn Parker”.

Bowler said the World Heritage-listed Willandra Lakes region, where the remains where found, was being improperly managed and could soon “fall into a stage that we would regret, unless moves are made to put management into a better, more efficient level of operation”.

It had been hoped that the repatriation would take place on 2014, 40 years to the day since Bowler made his famous find. But obstacles meant it would still be “some weeks” before Mungo Man was returned to country, he said.

“We’re waiting on the protocols to be worked through. But we’re using the anniversary to highlight the relevance of Mungo Man, and to speed up his repatriation.”

Long-term plans to commemorate the discovery include building a mausoleum near the site, “as we have built for Australian soldiers in Fromelles”, Bowler said. “The remains we hope will be put in a crypt with appropriate dignity, in a place that’s in keeping with their sacred nature and their national and international importance.”

Mungo Man is currently housed at the Australian National University in Canberra, where his remains have been intensely scrutinised. The ancient bones have been Cat-scanned and thoroughly documented at a local hospital.

But the research has long since been exhausted, and Mungo Man now sits “incarcerated in a cardboard box in Canberra”, Bowler said. “The time has come now for the bones to come back to country.”

Bowler discovered Mungo Man (though some local Aboriginal elders insist it was the other way around) while conducting geological research in the dried-up lake basins of far-western NSW.

The rich sands had, five years before, yielded the 20,000-year-old remains of a woman, dubbed Mungo Lady, whose bones showed signs of ritualistic cremation and burial, evidence she had belonged to a developed culture.

That afternoon, heavy rain had battered the dunes, forcing the geologist to take shelter. When he emerged, he spotted a patch of bone glinting in the shore of a then unnamed lake. He brushed away the sand to reveal an intact jawbone.

Archaeologists would soon unearth Mungo Man, the oldest skeleton ever discovered in Australia. Dated at 41,000 years old, it more than doubled previous estimates of the length of human settlement in Australia.

Mungo Lady was returned to what is now called Lake Mungo national park in 1991, and is awaiting reburial.

Bowler said he hoped to forge an agreement with the local Aboriginal people to allow scientists future access to both her and Mungo Man. He was also working to “develop a forum with scientists, Aboriginal people and the community, to discuss the incredible significance of this turning point in Australian history”.

“There will be a national dialogue about the contribution of these remains. They are the iconic foundations for the World Heritage area. They have defined the almost sacred nature of Aboriginal connections with land,” he said.

“It puts the Australian cultural context right at the forefront of the international story of what it means to be human.”

Parker said in a statement: “The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Aboriginal community at Mungo are in discussion about how to best manage the repatriation of remains to Mungo national park, including those of Mungo Man.

“These discussions and associated planning is now occurring while the current keeping place at Mungo national park is being upgraded to improve its cultural appropriateness in readiness.

“While we are committed to the repatriation as soon as possible, the decision as to what will occur with the ancestral remains rests with the traditional owners – members of the Mutthi Mutthi, Ngiyampaa and Paakantji tribal groups, and those discussions are continuing.”

Ancient mosaic showing Jesus feeding the 5,000 is found in church ruins

Ancient mosaic showing Jesus feeding the 5,000 is found in church ruins

A 1,500-year-old mosaic depicting Jesus’s feeding of the five thousand has been unearthed during an excavation of an ancient city near the Sea of Galilee.

The discovery of the so-called Burnt Church in Hippos, northern Israel, has enthralled archaeologists who have spent the summer combing it for historical evidence. 

A fire destroyed the fifth-century church in 700AD but the mosaic-paved floor has been remarkably preserved throughout the centuries by a layer of ash.

Located in the heart of the Holy Land, Hippos overlooks the Sea of Galilee – also known as the Kinneret – where it was once the site of a Greco-Roman city.

An 2,000-year-old mosaic depicting Jesus’s feeding of the five thousand has been unearthed during an excavation of an ancient city near the Sea of Galilee
The discovery of the so-called Burnt Church in Hippos, northern Israel, has enthralled archaeologists who have spent the summer combing it for historical evidence

The mosaic purports to capture one of the miracles referred to in the New Testament where Jesus used just five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 people gathered on the banks of the water. 

A team from the University of Haifa found the Burnt Church in 2005, but only began the dig this summer.

Head archaeologist Dr Michael Eisenburg said: ‘There can certainly be different explanations to the descriptions of loaves and fish in the mosaic, but you cannot ignore the similarity to the description in the New Testament.

‘For example, from the fact that the New Testament has a description of five loaves in a basket or the two fish depicted in the apse, as we find in the mosaic.’

He added that the generally accepted location of the miracle performed by Christ may have to be reconsidered in light of the new evidence. 

A team from the University of Haifa found the Burnt Church in 2005, but only began the dig this summer
A fire destroyed the fifth-century church in 700AD but the mosaic-paved floor has been remarkably preserved throughout the centuries by a layer of ash

The historian said: Nowadays, we tend to regard the Church of the Multiplication in Tabgha on the north-west of the Sea of Galilee as the location of the miracle, but with careful reading of the New Testament it is evident that it might have taken place north of Hippos within the city’s region. 

‘According to the scripture, after the miracle Jesus crossed the water to the northwest of the Sea of Galilee, to the area of Tabgha/Ginosar, so that the miracle had to take place at the place where he began the crossing rather than at the place he finished it. 

‘In addition, the mosaic at the Church of Multiplication has a depiction of two fish and a basket with only four loaves, while in all places in the New Testament which tell of the miracle, there are five loaves of bread, as found in the mosaic in Hippos. 

‘In addition, the mosaic at the burnt church has a depiction of 12 baskets, and the New Testament also describes the disciples who, at the end of the miracle, were left with 12 baskets of bread and fish.

‘There is no doubt that the local community was well familiar with the two miracles of Feeding the Multitude and perhaps knew their estimated locations better than us.’

After centuries of falling into the hands of several empires and religious groups, Hippos was abandoned in around 600AD when an earthquake devastated the hilltop city.

Archaeologists Uncover 2,000-year-old Wooden Bridge Linking England and Wales

Archaeologists Uncover 2,000-year-old Wooden Bridge Linking England and Wales

In the historic town of Chepstow, often referred to as the “gateway to Wales,” a team of archaeologists recently made a remarkable discovery.

Nestled beneath the shadow of a 950-year-old Norman castle and hidden within the muddy banks of the River Wye, this discovery has unveiled a fascinating piece of history that uniquely connects England and Wales.

Chepstow, with its 12th-century Norman castle and rich history, is known for its strategic importance throughout various periods. The town’s historical significance goes beyond its medieval fortress, as archaeologists have previously uncovered evidence of prehistoric, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon fortifications within its borders.

However, the most recent revelation has taken historians and archaeologists by surprise. During an “extreme low tide event,” researchers stumbled upon a remarkably preserved wooden bridge, believed to have been constructed by the Romans around 2,000 years ago.

This ancient structure, hidden beneath layers of mud for centuries, served as a vital link between England and Wales long before the modern boundaries of these two countries existed.

Simon Maddison, a member of the Chepstow Archaeological Society (CAS), described the discovery, saying, “The team was able to locate upright timbers in a tidal pool on the location of the Roman crossing.

Until the results come back, we won’t know for sure the period of the structure. We are thrilled with what we were able to achieve and await dating results with keen anticipation.”

The wooden bridge’s existence suggests that it was a critical passageway for travelers between Wales and England for centuries, facilitating trade, communication, and cultural exchange during a time when modern transportation networks were nonexistent.

This discovery was made possible due to a fortuitous two-hour “extreme low tide event,” during which the upright timbers of the bridge became visible in a tidal pool just off the riverbed.

The excavation process involved exposing substantial timbers and intricate joints, likely part of the original pier and cutwater structure.

Researchers collected timber samples for dendrochronological and potential Carbon-14 dating, which will provide more precise information about the bridge’s age.

Assisting the CAS team during the excavation were members of the Severn Area Rescue Association (SARA), who played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the researchers navigating the challenging and sticky mud of the riverbank.

Simon Maddison expressed gratitude for SARA’s assistance, stating, “The mud was very dense and very sticky, and we frequently got stuck in it. Without SARA, it would have been impossibly dangerous.”

This remarkable crossing, predating the existing Monmouth and Chepstow bridges, offers a unique glimpse into the region’s ancient past. Interestingly, it was first discovered and partially excavated back in 1911 by Dr. Orville Owen, an early pioneer in the field of archaeology.

Despite being recorded at the time and appearing on an old Ordnance Survey map, the bridge’s precise location remained a mystery, buried beneath layers of mud.

Chepstow’s rich history traces back to ancient times. Archaeological evidence indicates that the area was inhabited during the prehistoric period, featuring various ancient fortifications and settlements. During the Roman era, Chepstow was a significant settlement, serving as a key point along the Roman road network.

Subsequently, the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings left their mark on Chepstow before it was conquered by the Normans in the 11th century. The construction of Chepstow Castle by Norman lord William FitzOsbern marked the town’s transformation into a strategic stronghold, a legacy that endures to this day.