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Archeology

SCIENCE
July 19, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Scientists in Panama have unearthed hundreds of animal fossils dating back 20 million years, which could shed more light on how and when the American continent became connected. Geologists from the Smithsonian Institution, which has a permanent base in Panama, said engineers digging to widen the Panama Canal have uncovered more than 500 fossils, including teeth and bones of rodents and crocodiles that lived before a land bridge linked North and South America. Scientists believe the South American and Caribbean tectonic plates collided about 15 million years ago, causing volcanic activity that eventually formed a thin strip of land linking the Americas and separating the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
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ENTERTAINMENT
July 11, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Macedonian archaeologists say they have discovered a well-preserved statue of the goddess of love in the ruins of an ancient Roman city near Skopje, Macedonia. Archaeologist Marina Oncevska said Thursday that the 5-foot-6-inch-tall marble Venus is a masterpiece of ancient art executed in the late classical Greek tradition. It dates to the second or third century. She says archaeologists found it Tuesday in the ruins of Scupi on the northwest outskirts of Macedonia's capital. "The smoothness of the marble and the beauty of the statue give us the clue that this masterpiece came from one of the best artistic schools in the Mediterranean," Oncevska said.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 10, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Some mysteries are such fun you almost don't want to know the truth. That may help explain why people are fascinated with crystal skulls. Happy to share the spotlight with the latest Indiana Jones movie, the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History in Washington is putting its crystal skull on display starting today. "People like to believe in something greater than themselves," Smithsonian anthropologist Jane MacLaren Walsh said, and crystal skulls are mysterious and beautiful. But she studied the Smithsonian skull and those in other museums and concluded they are all fakes, made in the 19th and 20th centuries.
SCIENCE
April 12, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Excavation of two graves in the Mixtec Indian village of Tayata, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca along the Pacific Coast, have revealed evidence that the Mixtec cremated some of their dead as early as 3,000 years ago, researchers reported Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The find represents the earliest evidence for cremation, a practice that was later reserved for Mixtec kings and Aztec emperors. Evidence from the graves indicates that Mixtec elite may have emerged as early as 1100 BC, and that the elite consumed dogs as part of their diet.
SCIENCE
January 26, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
The victims of human sacrifice by Mexico's ancient Mayas were likely boys and young men, archaeologists said this week. Maya priests in Chichen Itza on the Yucatan peninsula sacrificed children by throwing them into sacred water-filled sinkhole caves known as cenotes. Archaeologist Guillermo de Anda from the University of Yucatan pieced together the bones of 127 bodies and found that more than 80% were likely boys between the ages of 3 and 11. The rest were mostly men.
SCIENCE
December 29, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Archeologists have discovered the ruins of an 800-year-old Aztec pyramid in the heart of the Mexican capital that could show the ancient city is at least a century older than previously thought. Mexican archeologists found the ruins, which are about 36 feet high, in the central Tlatelolco area, once a major religious and political center for the Aztec elite.
SCIENCE
September 1, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Researchers studying Otzi, the 5,000-year-old mummy found frozen in the Italian Alps, believe he died of head trauma, not from the wound of an arrow. Two months ago, researchers in Switzerland published an article in the Journal of Archaeological Science saying the man died after an arrow tore a hole in an artery beneath his left collarbone, leading to massive blood loss, shock and heart attack.
SCIENCE
August 21, 2007 | Thomas H. Maugh II, Times Staff Writer
Colorado researchers have found the earliest direct evidence of manioc cultivation in the Americas, the remains of a 1,400-year-old field in El Salvador that was buried by volcanic ash shortly after the crop was harvested.
WORLD
July 20, 2007 | From the Associated Press
One of the biggest Viking treasures ever found has been discovered on an English farm by a father-son team of amateur treasure hunters, the British Museum announced Thursday. The trove of coins and jewelry, buried more than 1,000 years ago, contains items from Ireland, France, Russia, Scandinavia and Afghanistan, testifying to the raiders' international reach.
SCIENCE
July 7, 2007 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Chinese researchers say they have found a strange pyramid-shape chamber while surveying the huge underground tomb of China's first emperor. Remote sensing equipment has revealed what appears to be a 100-foot-high room above Emperor Qin Shihuang's tomb near the ancient capital of Xi'an in Shaanxi province, the state-run New China News Agency reported this week. The room has not been excavated.
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