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Medieval gamblers turned their back on fate and made dice fair

Posted on 19 Jan 2018 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

The dice used by gamers and gamblers in northern Europe became much more fair about 600 years ago. What’s more, the pattern on the faces changed, and these trends together might reflect people’s growing awareness that bets were decided by chance, not by the gods – even though probability theory was centuries away. Image: Steve A Johnson

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Hoax or not? Three ancient texts with controversial origins

Posted on 15 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Journalism

The Beyköy text, published this month by Eberhard Zangger and Fred Woudhuizen, is far from the first archaeological text to have been disputed. Here are three others that show it can be surprisingly hard to tell a hoax from the genuine article. Image: Zangger/Woudhuizen

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Venice may be almost 200 years older than anyone thought

Posted on 14 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

Deep beneath the elaborate mosaic floor of Venice’s Saint Mark’s Basilica, archaeologists have discovered two 1300-year-old peach stones. The find may add 180 years to the history of the iconic floating city. Image: Sergey Galyonkin

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How World War Zero wrecked three Bronze Age civilisations

Posted on 13 Dec 2017 in Archaeology, Featured, Journalism

In June, Eberhard Zangger had an experience most archaeologists only dream of: his very own Tutankhamun moment. Just as Howard Carter had done in 1922 when he entered the boy king’s intact tomb, Zangger was exploring a chamber with the potential to revolutionise archaeology. Image: Following Hadrian

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Early farmers may have polluted the sea 4000 years ago

Posted on 4 Oct 2017 in Archaeology, Journalism

Humans have been polluting the environment for at least 4000 years. So say scientists who have analysed sediment from the South China Sea – but not everyone is convinced. Image: Pai Shih

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It took these monkeys just 13 years to learn how to crack nuts

Posted on 4 Sep 2017 in Animal Behaviour, Archaeology, Journalism

The macaques of southern Thailand have started a new tradition. For at least a century, they have used simple stone tools to smash open shellfish on the seashore. Now the monkeys have begun using stones to crack open oil palm nuts further inland. Image: mcoughlin

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