Making spears

Making spears

Spears helped our ancestors eat and defend themselves. Spearmaking required ingenuity, experiments and communication. Symmetrical stone tools with damage at the tip indicate that spears were being used in South Africa half a million years ago, according to a new study. More »

When dead men speak…

When dead men speak…

How do bones, isotopes, historic records, DNA and grave goods tell us about the dead? We check out the example of King Richard III, found in a parking lot! More »

Peopling the Americas — New evidence

stone tool points

A report that people were in Texas 15,500 years ago settles a long dispute: The Americans who made Clovis-style spear-points were not the first Americans — despite heavy archeological skepticism. Pre-Clovis rules! But who were the pre-Clovis people, and why are scientists so dismissive of contrary evidence? More »

Plumbing ancient Mayan plumbing!

Plumbing ancient Mayan plumbing!
A small constriction in a buried pipe shows that the Maya were using pressurized pipes before year 750. It’s more proof that when it comes to water, people get inventive! And what did the Maya do with the New World’s oldest plumbing? How about storing water, supplying drinking water, and flushing toilets? More »

Happy tax day: Meet bureaucracy’s roots!

Happy tax day: Meet bureaucracy's roots!
Which came first: The empire or the administration? Conventional wisdom says the demands of empire led to the rise of bureaucracy. But a new study of six early states suggests that the specialization of power and function we call bureaucracy arises at the same time as the territorial expansion that leads to empire. More »

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up!

People have been controlling fermentation for at least 9,000 years. What were the ancients brewing, and how did alcohol change society? More »

Dig the latest top tech tricks

What you can’t see can still interest you. Archeologists use radar, magnetic, electrical gizmos to see through the ground, find places to dig. More »

Ancient cities: A new plan for sprawl?

Archeologists thought Middle-Eastern cities grew through remote “daughter” villages. But a new study of a big city in ancient Syria, shows that new settlements formed closer to town.
More »

Bread for All: New Origin of Wheat!

Was wheat tamed in 200 years or less? New information on the origin of agriculture in the Middle East shows the process may have taken millennia… More »

Lovable Loot: Vaunted Vase Heads “Home”

Art, like fossils, can be stolen. What’s at the story on looting art, antiques, and fossils? Does it make sense for big museums to keep artifacts, or should it all go back to source countries? More »

Old Is Beautiful. Ancient Script Found!

Who invented writing in the New World? New find in Guatemala may give credit to the Mayans, even though this is probably not the first Mayan writing. More »

Forensic Anthropology

This Why File surveys the latest in forensic anthropology, with a visit to the Forensic Anthropology Center at the University of Tennessee, AKA The Body Farm. More »