Tales as old as time: Teeth reveal migrant neighborhoods in ancient Mesopotamia

The earliest large cities emerged in northern Mesopotamia during the Late Chalcolithic (c. 4200 – 2900 BCE). It was a time of transformation from local village-based social structures to big cities with hierarchical societies, more sophisticated division of labour and development of central authorities towards early states. The process of urbanization is well indicated by the rapid increase in settlement size, which at Tell Brak reached more than 120 hectares in mid-4th millennium BCE. It was however not clear whether this process was due to local population growth or migration and absorption of people from different areas. A recent bioarchaeological study published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology offered a new line of evidence, suggesting that the Late Chalcolithic urban growth was supported by migration. Much like today, people migrated into the city and settled in neighborhoods based around their shared migratory origins. These neighborhoods remained distinct communities that did not begin to integrate for multiple generations.

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Protection for Tungul: new, unique wall paintings discovered in Old Dongola, Sudan

Old Dongola (Tungul in Old Nubian) was the capital of Makuria, one of the most prominent medieval African states. Research in this city, initiated by Prof. Kazimierz Michałowski, has been providing groundbreaking results practically every year. Such was the case of the last excavation season of the Starting Grant project “UMMA – Urban Metamorphosis of the community of a Medieval African capital city” financed by the European Research Council and carried out by a team led by Dr. hab. Artur Obłuski from the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology, University of Warsaw.

Archaeologists Dr. Lorenzo de Lellis and Dr. Maciej Wyżgoł unexpectedly stumbled upon an enigmatic complex of rooms made of sun-dried brick, the interiors of which were covered with figural scenes unique for Christian art. 

Scene with King David, fot. Adrian Chlebowski, PCMA

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Tingitana Frontier Project – Polish-Moroccan exploration of the Roman limes in Morocco

Polish-Moroccan archaeological mission, which researches the Roman limes, unearthed remains of a Roman watchtower in late October and early November 2021. The watchtower was a part of the defence system of the ancient city of Volubilis. This research project is conducted within the framework of the agreement of mutual cooperation that was signed in July 2021 by the University of Warsaw and the National Institute of Archaeology and Cultural Heritage in Rabat (INSAP).

Widok ze stanowiska w kierunku południowo-wschodnim © K. Bartczak, opublikowano na licencji CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
South-eastern view from the site 
© K. Bartczak, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence

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Legitimization of the Elites in Poland and Norway – series of minilectures

A series of six mini-lectures was published by ELITES – Symbolic Resources and Political Structures on the Periphery: Legitimization of the ELITES in Poland and Norway, c. 1000 – 1300.The project focuses on the forms and means of symbolic power the members of the political elites in the two peripheral areas of Europe (Norway and Poland) employed to manifest their privilege right to rule to their peers and subjects.

The mini-lectures (in Polish and English, with subtitles) by an interdisciplinary team from the University of Warsaw and the University of Oslo, in partnership with the Museum of the Origins of the Polish State in Gniezno, deal with the legitimacy of elites in Poland and Norway and discuss topics such as:


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Climate Change and State Evolution

Despite substantial evidence on the short-term effects of adverse climate shocks, our understanding of their long-term impact is limited.  To address such a key issue, research has focused on ancient societies because of their limited economic complexity and their unparalleled experience of environmental and institutional change.  Notably, ‘Collapse Archaeology’ literature has reported statistical evidence consistent with the mantra that severe droughts trigger institutional crises.  This view, however, has recently been challenged by literature summarized in the paper Climate Change and State Evolution by Giacomo Benati and Carmine Guerriero.

Ziggurat w Nippur (współczesny Nuffar, Irak), niegdyś centrum religijne południowej Mezopotamii. Nawet jeśli uznajemy wywołany przez przemiany środowiska upadek starożytnych społeczeństw, to aby właściwie ocenić pełny wpływ zmian klimatycznych i związanych z nimi zmian politycznych, musimy odpowiednio połączyć wyniki analiz nauk przyrodniczych i społecznych © G. Benati
Ziggurat of Nippur (modern Nuffar, Iraq), once at the center of a key religious Mesopotamian polity and cultic center. Even if the environmental induced collapse of ancient societies has attracted much attention, to correctly evaluate the full impact of climate change and inform policy intervention we need to properly combine natural and social sciences. 
©  G. Benati

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New opening

Nearly 15 years ago, in June 2006, I decided to experiment, set up a blog and published my first post on the just-announced probable location of an ancient Indian port reached by Roman traders. I assumed that I would publish some archaeological news every day and if, after a month, there were dozens of visits a day, I would continue.

The information was to be given fairly lightly to make it accessible to non-specialists, but at the same time based on the most direct sources I could reach to avoid the distortions and misrepresentations that stick to every piece of information travelling through the media and the internet.

To my surprise, after a month the blog had several hundred visits a day, so Archeowieści became a part of the Internet for good. Quite soon the interest and reactions (including many very nice opinions and gestures from the scientific community) exceeded my wildest imagination and finally I decided to transform the blog into a service.

In total, I wrote ArchaeNews for 10 years. Eventually, however, due to financial reasons I had to devote my time to other activities.

Today Archeowieści is back. New life will be given to them by archaeologists from the University of Warsaw. I only share the domain and the profile on Facebook. The fact that they decided to blog under the brand I created is another very nice and totally unexpected result of my experiment from almost 15 years ago.

I sincerely wish you good luck and many readers!

Wojciech Pastuszka


From the very beginning of the creation of Archeowieści we have been following the information appearing there with interest. We ourselves have also had the opportunity to pass on news of our discoveries. Sometimes Archeowieści was the first place where you could read about the current research of Polish archaeologists and take part in often very lively discussions about them. It is not without a reason, that Wojciech Pastuszka was awarded twice for the popularisation of archaeology: in 2011 with Krzysztof Dąbrowski Award and in 2010 in the competition “Populizer of Science” of PAP’s Science in Poland service, in cooperation with Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

It is a great honour for us that we can continue the activity of Archeowiesta, although we realise that the bar has been set very high. We hope, however, that the whole team, consisting of the staff, PhD students and Archaeology Department students of the University of Warsaw will be able to come at least close to the level of Archeowiesta from the times when the blog was run by Wojciech Pastuszka and popularize archaeology in a reliable, but at the same time light and comprehensible way. We want the blog created by professional archaeologists to be a friendly place for all readers interested in knowledge about the past.

We invite you to read it!

Julia M. Chyla, Miron Bogacki, Arkadiusz Sołtysiak