Climate change adds urgency to archaeology

Read the full story at ClimateWire.

Climate change is putting pressure on one of science’s earliest fields of discovery: archaeology.

Drought in the Colorado River basin is re-exposing centuries-old artifacts as lakes and rivers become mudflats. And where droughts aren’t happening, floods are — sometimes in quick succession with drought.

Consider the Mississippi River basin. Two and a half years ago, the basin experienced record-high flooding that devastated riverbanks and adjacent land loaded with artifacts dating to Mississippian civilization. Today, the river is so dry, shipwrecks are popping up from watery graves, including in the Lower Mississippi where Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 16th century, followed by French explorers who plied the river while claiming the region for King Louis XIV, calling it “Louisiane.”

She warned the grain elevator would disrupt sacred Black history. They deleted her findings.

Read the full story at ProPublica.

A whistleblower says a plan to build a grain elevator on an old plantation would disrupt important historic sites, including possibly unmarked graves of enslaved people, and that her cultural resource management firm tried to bury her findings.

The latest find as water levels fall: Dinosaur tracks in Texas

Read the full story in the New York Times.

As a punishing drought grips parts of the world this summer, bodies of water have been drying up, exposing submerged World War II relics in Europe, several sets of human remains at Lake Mead outside Las Vegas, and even an entire village in Spain.

The latest find as water levels fall: dinosaur tracks in Texas.

Severe drought conditions at Dinosaur Valley State Park, about 60 miles southwest of Fort Worth, exposed dinosaur tracks from around 113 million years ago that were previously hidden underneath the Paluxy River, according to Stephanie Garcia, a spokeswoman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The tracks, which were discovered this month, belong to Acrocanthosaurus, which are theropods, or bipedal dinosaurs with three toes and claws on each limb.

The dinosaur would have stood 15 feet tall and weighed close to seven tons as an adult. They would have left their tracks in sediment that hardened into what is now limestone, researchers say.

Carbon dating hampered by rising fossil-fuel emissions

Read the full story in Nature.

Archaeologists will increasingly have to rely on other techniques as emissions continue to alter the composition of carbon isotopes in air.

Archeology field school explores Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site

Read the full story in the Southern Illinoisan.

Students in the summer archeology field school at SIU are getting off campus to learn more about archeological investigation. Students are investigating the sites of forts at Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site in Randolph County through July 1.

From museum to laptop: Visual leaf library a new tool for identifying plants

Read the full story from Penn State University.

Fossil plants reveal the evolution of green life on Earth, but the most abundant samples that are found — fossil leaves — are also the most challenging to identify. A large, open-access visual leaf library provides a new resource to help scientists recognize and classify these leaves.

Paleontology ‘a hotbed of unethical practices rooted in colonialism’, say scientists

Read the full story in The Guardian.

The public image of palaeontologists as dusty, but rather affable academics, could be due an update. The study of ancient life is a hotbed of unethical and inequitable scientific practices rooted in colonialism, which strip poorer countries of their fossil heritage, and devalue the contributions of local researchers, scientists say.

Writing in the journal Royal Society Open Science, an international team of palaeontologists argue that there has been a steady drain of plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, prehistoric spiders, and other fossils from poorer countries into foreign repositories or local private collections – despite laws and regulations introduced to try to conserve their heritage.

This app lets you see what Cahokia Mounds looked like 1,000 years ago

Read the full story from St. Louis Public Radio.

Visitors to Cahokia Mounds have always needed to rely on their imagination to picture what life looked like 1,000 years ago.

“There’s really nothing to look at outside of the interpretive center, except for the mounds that are left behind,” said site superintendent Lori Belknap.

But a new augmented reality app now allows visitors to visualize the scale of the ancient city built by the Mississippians, which had a population between 10,000 and 20,000 at its height.

Wisconsin historians seek to return dug-up human remains for Indigenous burials

Read the full story in the Green Bay Press Gazette.

Wisconsin was once home to about 20,000 ancient burial mounds, but only about 4,000 remain because of development, farming, erosion or looting during the past 200 years.

Many of the artifacts and human bones looted from the graves have since found their way into museums in the state, including the Wisconsin Historical Society Museum in Madison, which also acquired artifacts through its own past excavations, donations or purchases.

Today, museum officials are working to return certain artifacts, especially human remains, to their respective tribal nations for reburial, in accordance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

How rich countries skew the fossil record

Read the full story in Nature.

Scientists from wealthier nations in Europe and North America contribute the lion’s share of fossil data.