The Mystery of Roopkund Lake

Archaeology can be complicated. Sometimes you get beautifully stratified layers of remains making it easy to determine exactly what happened and when. And then sometimes you get a situation like that at Roopkund lake. By lake standards Roopkund is small, only around 40m across and it is buried high in the Himalayan mountains, more than... Continue Reading →

9,000 Year Old Ritual Decapitation

Occasionally in the life of some archaeologists there must come moments when they feel like they are excavating the aftermath of a particularly gruesome horror movie. The recent discovery of a severed head and hands from east-central Brazil is a case in point. The research was performed by an international team, led by researchers from... Continue Reading →

Force-fed Kestrels in Ancient Egypt?

Earlier this month researchers from the American University in Cairo, Stellenbosch University and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies announced the results of an autopsy of a bird, mummified as part of a votive offering to the Gods. Although most such birds were gutted before being buried this particular specimen still had its stomach and... Continue Reading →

Lice: Dedicated Followers of Fashion

Not all palaeopathology is about death, believe it or not, and sometimes researching the diseases of the past can actually tell you a lot about how people lived. Sometimes this insight can take a surprising form and one excellent example of this is the origin of clothing. Clothing is a quintessential human technology. Palaeontologists speculate... Continue Reading →

What Killed the Berezovka Mammoth?

It isn't often that palaeopathology enters popular culture but then mammoths have long fascinated humanity. Perhaps it is because our ancestors actually lived alongside them, or maybe it is the existence of such beautifully preserved examples, often with intact hair and skin, that has given us such an intimate glimpse of these prehistoric mammals. A... Continue Reading →

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