FLORIDA: Artifacts from a 19th-century African-American community were exposed when Hurricane Michael uprooted dozens of trees at the site of a fort located on the Apalachicola River. The fort was originally built by the British during the War of 1812, and became a place of refuge for thousands of freed and escaped slaves who joined the British side. Shortly after the war’s end, the U.S. Navy attacked the fort, blowing up a munitions cache inside and killing hundreds of people. (Photo Courtesy Rhonda Kimbrough)​

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—According to a Gizmodo report, a new study of Must Farm suggests the well-preserved Bronze Age settlement was destroyed by fire just one year after it was built.

Located in eastern England, the site includes the remains of at least five roundhouses that stood on wooden stilts set in a small river in a wetland environment. The structures were connected by an internal walkway and enclosed with a fence.

Analysis of wooden beams indicated they were all cut in the same year, and were still green at the time of the fire. No signs of repairs were detected. “The fire was catastrophic,” explained Mark Knight of the University of Cambridge. Knight and his colleagues think the fire started inside at least one of the dwellings, which eventually collapsed into the river.

The silt preserved the charred wood, textiles, pottery, glass beads, bronze tools and weapons, grinding stones, loom weights, and spindle whorls recovered by the excavation team. Read the original scholarly article about this research in Antiquity. For more, go to “The Curse of a Medieval English Well.”


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ENGLAND: During the 3rd millennium B.C., Neolithic Britons held annual celebrations at sacred monuments such as Stonehenge. New research reveals that people from all over the island attended these BYOP—Bring Your Own Pig—feasts. Isotope analysis of porcine bones from several henge sites in southwestern England indicates that the pigs eaten there were not raised locally. Not only did people travel from as far away as Scotland, northeastern England, and western Wales, they transported their own pigs with them.

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CONNECTICUT: Coins, wampum beads, and other colonial-era objects found near the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield may be associated with the earliest settlers of Connecticut’s oldest English town. Archaeologists hope that these objects, along with the remains of a 17th-century wooden palisade, will provide vital information on one of the most infamous events in the state’s history—a 1637 raid by Pequot Indians that killed several colonists and helped fuel the deadly conflict known as the Pequot War.


(Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Public Domain)


Digging Deeper into Pompeii’s Past
New research is uncovering the ancient city’s dynamic story from its origins to the eruption that buried it

Place of the Loyal Samurai
On the beaches and in the caves of a small Micronesian island, archaeologists have identified evocative evidence of one of WWII’s most brutal battles

Magnetic Mesoamericans
Did an ancient culture master a fundamental force of nature?

The Prayerstone Hypothesis
Thousands of decorated stone artifacts in the American West may be the key to understanding a people’s contested history

Sacred Rites of an Early Andean Empire
A trove of offerings discovered in Lake Titicaca shows how the Tiwanaku used religion to control their territory

LIMA, PERU—Science News reports that Alejandro Chu of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and Gary Urton of Harvard University suggest that sets of colored and knotted strings discovered at Inkawasi, an Inca administrative center featuring a storage facility with large, rectangular rooms, may have been used to keep track of taxes. Chu and his team discovered the knotted textiles, called khipus, under traces of crops such as peanuts and chili peppers that had been spread evenly over a grid pattern impressed on the mud floor of each storage room. Chu and Urton argue that the Inkawasi khipus were coded for numbers equaling units of produce and a set percentage of a particular crop. “These khipus contain all the earmarks of the first known Inca taxation system,” Urton explained. For more, go to “An Overlooked Inca Wonder.”


Lectures will resume in September

New Thoughts on Inca Knotted Cords From Southern Peru

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

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England’s Bronze Age Roundhouses Preserved in River Silts

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

(Must Farm excavation by D. Webb)