Puma skull from the Motmot burial.

The Maya Captured, Traded and Sacrificed Jaguars and Other Large Mammals

New archeological findings suggest the Maya city state Copan dealt in a robust jaguar trade

Blombos Cave drawing with ochre pencil on silcrete stone.

Stone Age Markings May Be the Oldest Drawing Ever Discovered

The crosshatch symbol was made with a red ochre utensil more than 70,000 years ago

The beauty and grace of the third century funerary bust, known as Haliphat, helped convey an important chapter of history as well as the significance of preserving her and what remains of Palmyra.

Two Sculptures of Ancient Women Give Voice to the Protection of Antiquities in War Zones

The Smithsonian's elegant Haliphat of Palmyra and the blue-eyed Miriam from Yemen raise awareness of the illegal trade in and destruction of antiquities

The Oldest American Combat Ship Ever Found

In 1935, an old wooden boat was found in a lake in upstate New York. It was the USS Philadelphia - the oldest U.S. gunboat ever recovered

Liang Bua cave on Flores Island, where Homo floresiensis remains were discovered in 2003. Nearby is a village where the pygmies live.

New Research

A New Genetic Study Suggests Modern Flores Island Pygmies and Ancient Hobbits Are Unrelated

The island dwarfism effect seems to have occurred independently in each population, thousands of years apart

The Tatev Monastery sits perched on a cliff above Vorotan Gorge, Armenia's largest gorge.


How a Record-Breaking Aerial Tramway Helped Save a Centuries-Old Armenian Monastery

The world's longest reversible cableway now carries an unprecedented number of visitors to this historic site

Coming together for a solstice feast in ancient Peru.

How Feasting Rituals Help Shape Human Civilization

These transformative practices—and the cooperation they require—are a cornerstone of societies the world over

Contrary to popular beliefs, Neanderthals lived in complex societies and hunted prey cooperatively.

New Research

Neanderthals Hunted in Groups, One More Strike Against the Dumb Brute Myth

The skeletons of deer killed 120,000 years ago offer more evidence of cooperative behavior and risk-taking among our hominin relatives

The charred papyrus scroll recovered from Herculaneum is preserved in 12 trays mounted under glass. Here is PHerc.118 in tray 8. The scroll was physically unrolled in 1883-84, causing irreparable damage.

Buried by the Ash of Vesuvius, These Scrolls Are Being Read for the First Time in Millennia

A revolutionary American scientist is using subatomic physics to decipher 2,000-year-old texts from the early days of Western civilization

The Nasotek is on display at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, an art museum in Copenhagen, Denmark.

What a Cabinet of Fake Noses Tells Us About How Art Preservation Has Evolved

The collection of replica appendages is on display in Copenhagen's Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum

The bones were discovered at a very shallow depth, indicating that they had been disposed of in a hurry, and with little ceremony.

Newly Unearthed Civil War Bones Speak Silently to the Grim Aftermath of Battle

What the amputated limbs and full skeletons of a Manassas burial pit tell us about wartime surgical practices

How Bad Weather Delayed the Norman Invasion of England

It's 1066 and William of Normandy and his massive army of 14,000 men are preparing to cross the English Channel and invade England

Painting of four species of rat, including the Polynesian rat (right).

New Research

Rat Bones Reveal How Humans Transformed Their Island Environments

Rodent remains prove an ideal tool for investigating changes on three Polynesian island chains

The Violent 1066 Battle of Stamford Bridge

The 1066 battle of Stamford Bridge was said to be so violent that a giant mountain of bones remained a half century later

The Startling Alternative Theory of How Humans Arrived in America

On an island off the east coast of Maryland, a stone spearpoint sticking out of a coastal cliff stuns archaeologists

Terrifying Mammals That May Have Greeted Early Humans in America

Arriving in the Chesapeake Bay, the early American inhabitants' first order of business would have been to craft weapons to defend themselves

Liu Cun Yu, the director of the Beipiao Pterosaur Museum, poses in front of a full-scale model of a Moganopterus zhuiana, a species named after his wife.

The Great Chinese Dinosaur Boom

A gold rush of fossil-finding is turning China into the new epicenter of paleontology

A U-Boat Class II submarine (this one depicted, UB-35, was the same class as UB-29) prowls the open seas.

The Hunt for the Notorious U-Boat UB-29

A wreck-diving archaeologist and his quest to discover a missing submarine

While looters discard bones, they are invaluable to archaeologists’ research.

As Mongolia Melts, Looters Close In On Priceless Artifacts

Climate change and desperation are putting the country’s unique history at risk

Runaway Slaves Built This Fort to Defend Their Freedom

An archaeological expedition into the wilderness of North Carolina uncovers evidence of a remarkable settlement once filled with runaway slaves

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