Corpse of 200-Year-Old Monk Found in Lotus Position

The amazingly intact remains of a meditating monk have been discovered in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia, according to a report in Mongolia’s Morning News.

The mummified body, which was covered in animal skin, has been sitting in the lotus position for about 200 years.

According to the report, no information is so far available as to where the body was found.

“The only details we learned was that it was covered with a cattle skin,” the newspaper wrote.

Researchers at the Ulaanbaatar National Centre of Forensic Expertise are now analyzing the remains. Read more.


Using ZooMS to identify fragmentary bone from the Late Middle/Early Upper Palaeolithic sequence of Les Cottés, France

  • by Frido Welker, Marie Soressi, William Rendu, Jean-Jacques Hublin and Matthew Collins

"We report the application of a molecular barcode method (ZooMS) to identify fragmentary bone remains (>2.5 cm) from a Middle to Upper Palaeolithic sequence at Les Cottés, France. ZooMS uses peptide mass fingerprinting of collagen (the most abundant protein in bone) to discriminate fauna (typically to genus level). Using previously reported peptide markers we initially conducted a blind test using 34 morphologically identified bones, followed by the application of ZooMS on 145 morphologically unidentified bone specimens. For the blind test, ZooMS was in agreement with morphological identifications in all cases, but in some instances taxonomic resolution is lower than morphological identifications. Further, 93.8% (136/145) of spectra obtained for morphologically unidentified bone specimens result in identifications that cannot be taxonomically improved by ZooMS. These include ten bone specimens showing signs of carnivore digestion. Focussing on the unidentified bone specimens of the Châtelperronian unit at Les Cottés (US06), ZooMS identified an additional ≈30% of the total number of bones discovered, increasing the total number of identified bone specimens to 61.8%. Further, ZooMS revealed higher taxonomic richness compared to morphological identifications for US06, thereby providing a more informed interpretation of the faunal community present at Les Cottés during the Châtelperronian" (read more/open access).

(Open access source: Journal of Archaeological Science 54:279-286, 2015 via; bottom image: MPI EVA)



"…Archaeologists in Turkey have uncovered another massive underground city in Cappadocia, consisting of at least 7 kilometers (3.5 miles) of tunnels, hidden churches, and escape galleries dating back around 5,000 years.

Calling it the “biggest archeological finding of 2014”, Hurriyet Daily News announced that the ancient city was found beneath Nevşehir fortress and the surrounding area, during an urban transformation project carried out by Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ)…”

Scientists recreate ancient Siberian brain surgery techniques for first time

Experts undertake pioneering tests on skulls to finally understand how doctors carried out remarkable operations more than 2,300 years ago.

More details about the remarkable brain surgery techniques carried out by the earliest Siberians 2,300 years ago have been revealed by scientists.

Neurosurgeons have been working with anthropologists and archaeologists over the past year following the discovery of holes in the skulls of three ancient sets of remains in the Altai Mountains.

Evidence at the time suggested they were examples of trepanation – the oldest form of neurosurgery – with speculation it showed the early nomads had learned the skilful technique from the medical centres of the ancient world, or had uncovered it at the same time as prominent doctors in Greece and the Middle East. Read more.


How do you read a scroll that was buried and burnt by volcanic ash?

X-ray reading glasses.

In 1750, about 1,800 scrolls were unearthed from the ruins of the library of Herculaneum. Hercalaneum, like Pompeii, was destroyed when Mount Vesuvius erupted, so the scrolls were a bit crispy. Try to unroll them, and they’ll just crumble.

BUT using super sensitive X-rays generated by a particle accelerator in France, scientists can detect changes in thickness where ink had been used to write letters. Now they hope to use a computer program to decode the letters - and republish texts that have been lost to the world.

Image: Salvatore Laporta/AP

I had always assumed that archeology was driven by the objects that came out of the earth: the pottery and the trinkets and the temples. But at its core, archeology is not about artifacts; it is about the people who used them.
—  Jon Michaud on a new book that demystifies the profession.
Found in Spain: traces of Hannibal's troops

Spanish archaeology students have discovered a 2,200-year-old moat in what is now the Catalan town of Valls, filled with objects providing evidence of the presence of troops of the Carthaginian general Hannibal in the area.

The moat, which surrounded the Iberian town of Vilar de Vals, contained coins and lead projectiles, researchers said in a statement.

It is estimated the moat could have had a width of 40 metres (131 feet), a depth of five metres, and a length of nearly half a kilometre.

The huge dimensions of the trench surprised the directors of the investigation, Jaume Noguera from the Prehistory department at the University of Barcelona, and Jordi López, from the Catalan Institute of Classic Archeology, according to Catalan newspaper, La Vanguardia. Read more.


Lake Resia, The Sunken Town Where You’ll Walk On Water

This takes “walking on water” to an astonishingly real-life level.

In Italy’s Lake Resia, near the borders of Austria and Switzerland, a lone bell tower shoots up from the perfect, blue-green water. It’s the only visible remnant of Graun(Curon in Italian), a town that vanished underwater more than 60 years ago.



Archaeologists may be a bit closer to solving one of the greatest ancient Mesoamerican mysteries: Who ruled the ancient city of Teotihuacán, and where are they buried? Small remote-controlled robots have led the team excavating the ruins to a cache of around 50,000 objects — from intricately carved sculptures to obsidian blades to jewelry — in a tunnel underneath the Temple of the Plumed Serpent that is now believed to lead to the royal tombs.

Learn more at Atlas Obscura

Saved Mali manuscripts face damage in new home

After being spirited away from under the noses of rampaging Islamic extremists, thousands of ancient manuscripts from the fabled city of Timbuktu now face another threat: weather and poor storage conditions in their new location that scholars say could cause permanent damage.

In 2012, Timbuktu and the rest of northern Mali fell under the control of Islamic extremists following a military coup. The turbaned fighters made women hide their faces, forbade the music for which Mali is known and deemed religious buildings and artifacts to be idolatrous.

They took aim at the manuscripts that date back to the 13th century. The camel-skin bound manuscripts reflect the diversity of learning that marked Timbuktu’s heyday and cover a vast array of subjects, including astronomy, law, history and philosophy. Read more.


We had a great time at #ArchivesSleepover on Saturday. Our guests came from states up and down the East Coast and as far away as Michigan as well from the DC area.

The theme was “History, Heroes, and Treasure” and our archival explorers met an underwater archeologist from the National Park Service who is exploring the shipwreck of the “America” as well as representatives from the Navy History and Heritage Center.

They learned about mapping underwater shipwrecks and tried on tools used by underwater archeologists, as well as artifacts found in shipwrecks. They even had the chance to dress up as underwater archeologists!

They also had a chance to question famous explorers Meriwether Lewis and Matthew Henson as well as an archeologist during “Archives Reports.”

After a good night’s sleep on the marble floor of the Rotunda, they woke up to pancakes flipped and served by David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and hot chocolate served by American Heritage Chocolate.

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