Category Archives: archaeology

A night on the tiles – a Roman cat paw print

by Matthew Cobb A piece of Roman tile, dating back 2000 years, was dug up in the English city of Gloucester in 1969. It lay unremarked in the Gloucester City Museum until an archeologist noticed that when the clay was drying a cat walked across it, leaving its trace… According to the BBC website: The tile, a […]

Remains of Richard III identified: oldest forensic ID yet

You remember these famous words from Shakespeare: Now is the winter of our discontent Made glorious summer by this sun of York; And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house In the deep bosom of the ocean buried. They are of course the opening lines of “Richard III,” and are spoken by the nefarious […]

The world’s oldest graffiti: by Homo erectus! (maybe)

Look at the shell below, which has been dated to 500,000 years ago. See the scratches? Those represent the oldest human etchings, or graffiti, ever found, preceding the next oldest by 300,000 years! Some anthropologists dissent, but more on that at the end of this post. As Science reports, this shell was found by a […]

Ice age art

Perusing the latest stuff from the journal Nature, I found this lovely video of a new exhibit at the British Museum featuring some of the oldest artwork known—including pieces made 40,000 years ago. That’s not too long after the “out of Africa” event that spread modern Homo sapiens through the world! Take a look at […]

Pawprints 2: Roman cat ruins brickwork

Here’s another trace of an ancient moggy, this time from a 1975 paper by G. S. Maxwell, “Excavation at the Roman Fort of Bothwellhaugh, Lanarkshire, 1967-8″ (Brittania 6:20-35; free download). I quote from the paper and reproduce the photo in question: The most remarkable find in this category was, however, the collection of twenty-five brick-fragments […]


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