Smart News History & Archaeology

A popular tourist site, Turkmenistan's Darvasa crater pit has been burning gas for over 50 years. The country's attempts to put out its flames have been unsuccessful. 

The Quest to Extinguish the Flames of Turkmenistan's Terrifying 'Gates of Hell' Firepit

The country's president says it’s time to quash the ongoing 50-year blaze at the 230-foot-wide Darvaza gas crater

Earlshall Castle has hosted royalty over the years and sits on 34 acres of parkland and gardens. 

You Could Own a Possibly Haunted Castle Visited by Mary, Queen of Scots

Located in Fife, Scotland, the 16th-century Earlshall Castle boasts a rich history—and its very own ghost story

The Bonhams sale features more than 1,000 books from the late Supreme Court justice's personal library.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Personal Library Is Up for Auction

The late Supreme Court justice's collection includes novels, law books, notes and other documents dating back to her youth

Ancient people might have used these elongated tubes to drink beer from the same pot during ceremonial feasts or gatherings. 

New Research

Ancient People May Have Sipped Beer Through These 5,500-Year-Old Drinking Straws

Eight gold and silver tubes might be the oldest known drinking straws, according to a new study from the Russian Academy of Sciences

The first-ever archaeology experiment in space is being conducted on the International Space Station.

First-Ever Archaeological Project Studies How Astronauts Adapt to Their Environments

Researchers on Earth, partnering with those on the International Space Station, are taking a novel approach to understanding the ways humans live in space

An extremely rare Henry III gold penny discovered in a farm field in England could fetch more than $500,000 at auction this month.

Cool Finds

Metal Detectorist Discovers One of England's Earliest Gold Coins in a Farm Field

The 13th-century gold penny found in southwestern Britain could sell for half a million at auction

The multidisciplinary team suggests that Arnold van den Bergh, a notary and member of Amsterdam's Jewish Council, gave the Secret Annex's address to the Nazis to avoid deportation.

New Research

Did a Jewish Notary Betray Anne Frank to the Nazis?

A six-year investigation posits that Arnold van den Bergh disclosed the diarist's hiding place to protect his family from deportation

Some of the ancient Roman decorative pottery pieces uncovered at the archaeological site in England.

Cool Finds

Ancient Roman Trading Settlement Unearthed 80 Miles From London

Researchers discover a Roman road, coins, jewelry and evidence of makeup at a dig site near a railway project

The Cecil Williams South Carolina Civil Rights Museum preserves photographs and artifacts from the civil rights movement.

New Funding Will Help Highlight Five Black History Sites in the American South

The Southern Poverty Law Center’s $50,000 grants will support civil rights museums, a monument to victims of an industrial disaster and other organizations

Maya Angelou, pictured here in 2008, became the first Black woman to feature on a U.S. quarter this week. The celebrated poet and author died in 2014. 

Women Who Shaped History

Newly Minted Maya Angelou Quarters Enter Circulation and Make History

Here’s how to find one of the new U.S. quarters—the first to feature a Black woman

This 14th-century religious carving of a water spirit was part of a window decoration in a Kathmandu monastery.

Rubin Museum Agrees to Return Stolen Religious Artifacts to Nepal

An investigation launched by the New York cultural institution concluded that the 14th- and 17th-century carvings were "unlawfully obtained"

Ingeborg Hornkjøl poses with a piece of wood inscribed with Nordic runes. 

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Discover—and Start to Decode—Rare Medieval Runes

One of the newly unearthed objects, an inscribed bone, is the first of its kind found in Oslo in decades

The catacombs contain the bodies of 1,284 people, including 163 children.

Researchers Are Using X-Rays to Solve the Mystery Behind Sicily's Child Mummies

The bodies were preserved and put on display at the Catacombs of Palermo between 1787 and 1880, and have yet to be identified

The stone board game featured a grid-like pattern and cup holes to hold game pieces.

Cool Finds

Archaeologists Unearth 4,000-Year-Old Stone Board Game in Oman

The board resembled other artifacts that point toward a game similar to backgammon

Researchers say the badger that found the coins was possibly digging for food or to make a nest.

Cool Finds

Hungry Badger Digs Up a Trove of Roman Coins in Spain

Discovered near the animal’s den, the cache contains more than 200 coins from at least 1,600 years ago

The new research dates the helmets to around 900 B.C.E.

Cool Finds

The Horned Helmets Falsely Attributed to Vikings Are Actually Nearly 3,000 Years Old

The helmets’ similarities to art from southern Europe shows how goods and ideas traveled during the Nordic Bronze Age

Archaeologists search for artifacts at a dig in Rendlesham, where local craftsmen may have made the items found at the Sutton Hoo burial site.

Cool Finds

Sutton Hoo's Treasures Were Likely Crafted at This 1,400-Year-Old Workshop

Archaeologists found evidence of metalworking near the famed English burial ground

Sidney Poitier, pictured here in 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, died Friday, January 7. He was 94. 

How Sidney Poitier Rewrote the Script for Black Actors in Hollywood

Smithsonian curators reflect on the legacy of the late Poitier, who starred in 'In the Heat of the Night' and 'Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner'

Archaeologists unearthed a terracotta figurine of a dog at an excavation of one of Rome's oldest streets. The statue is estimated to be around 2,000 years old.

Cool Finds

Construction in Rome Reveals Well-Preserved, 2,000-Year-Old Dog Statue

Researchers also uncovered three stone tombs, an urn and the remains of a young man

Lawrence Brooks, 110, pictured at a previous birthday celebration at the National World War II Museum

Lawrence Brooks, the United States' Oldest Living WWII Veteran, Dies at 112

Brooks was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1940, when he was in his early 30s

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