Spatula to poison darts, Malaysia

Poisons, plants and Palaeolithic hunters

21 Mar 2015

Dozens of common plants are toxic. Archaeologists have long suspected that our Palaeolithic ancestors used plant poisons to make their hunting weapons more lethal.  Now Dr Valentina Borgia has teamed up with a forensic chemist to develop a technique for detecting residues of deadly substances on archaeological objects.

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Study finds increased DNA mutations in children of teenage fathers

18 Feb 2015

New research reveals that the sperm cells of adolescent boys have more than six times the rate of DNA mutations as the equivalent egg cells in adolescent girls, resulting in higher rates of DNA mutation being passed down to children of teenage fathers. The findings suggest that the risk of birth defects is higher in the children of teenage fathers as a consequence.

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Prehistoric ‘book keeping’ continued long after invention of writing

14 Jul 2014

An ancient token-based recording system from before the dawn of history was rendered obsolete by the birth of writing, according to popular wisdom. But now, latest excavations show that, in fact, these clay tokens were integral to administrative functions right across the Assyrian empire – millennia after this system was believed to have vanished.

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The “wonderful rubbish” of the Gilf Kebir desert

17 Jun 2014

A chance find in a site known as the Cave of Swimmers adds a colourful twist to an exhibition in Paris celebrating the work of ethnographer Leo Frobenius in raising awareness of the rock art of Africa. The discovery by Italian archaeologist Dr Giulio Lucarini, currently at Cambridge University, underlines the vital importance of safeguarding the heritage of the Gilf Kebir. 

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Discovering the artists of the Eastern Sahara

19 May 2014

The identification of rock art found in Farafra as Neolithic adds substance to the argument that Egypt drew on cultural influences from Africa as well as the Near East.  At a talk tonight (19 May, 2014) archaeologist Dr Giulio Lucarini will talk about his fieldwork in the Egyptian Western Desert and show images of newly-identified Neolithic drawings to a public audience for the first time.

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