This Week In History News, July 14 – 20

Published July 19, 2019

Napoleonic general's remains unearthed, oldest human fossils outside Africa discovered, 9,000-year-old Jerusalem city found.

Bones Of One Of Napoleon’s Favorite Generals Found Under Russian Dance Floor After 200 Years

Charles-Étienne Gudin Excavation

Рабочий Путь/FacebookThe body of Charles-Étienne Gudin was found on July 6 under the foundation of a dance floor in Smolensk, Russia. Gudin had been buried for more than 200 years.

The remains of General Charles-Étienne Gudin, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s most valued military commanders, have been uncovered in Smolensk, Russia by a team of French and Russian archaeologists. According to LiveScience, the one-legged military man was killed by a cannonball at age 44, on Aug. 22, 1812 — and his remains were left buried until now.

Found on July 6 beneath the foundations of a dancefloor, the skeleton was indeed missing a left leg and also showed evidence of injury on the right leg — two essential details that suggest that these remains in fact belong to Gudin.

Dig deeper here.

Scientists Discover “Oldest Human Fossil Outside Africa”

Apidima Skull Fragment

Katerina Harvati, Eberhard Karls University of TübingenThe Apidima 1 fossil was found to be at least 210,000 years old, predating the previously oldest human fossil found outside of Africa by over 160,000 years.

When a broken skull was excavated from a limestone cliff in the Apidima cave in Greece in the 1970s, experts didn’t fully understand what they’d found, and stored it in a museum in Athens. Now, according to The Guardian, a new analysis has now found the skull fragment to be the oldest human fossil ever found outside of Africa.

Published in the journal Nature, the research estimates that the partial skull is at least 210,000 years old. If accurate, that claim would force a significant rewriting of human history. Apidima 1, as the skull is called, would predate the oldest known Homo sapiens fossil in Europe by more than 160,000 years.

The ramifications here would indicate human migration out of Africa occurred much earlier than previously thought.

See more in this report.

9,000-Year-Old City Just Unearthed Near Jerusalem Is A “Game Changer” For Archaeologists

Motza Dig Site Aerial View

Eyal Marco, Israel Antiquities AuthorityThe excavation uncovered large buildings, alleyways, burial plots, and countless artifacts like arrowheads and beads.

An excavation project archaeologists are calling “a game changer” in Motza near the city of Jerusalem, has revealed an expansive 9,000-year-old settlement. According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the site was saved when builders surveyed it before their planned construction of a highway.

The Neolithic settlement predates Britain’s Stonehenge monument, during which time “more and more” human populations transitioned from continuous migration to more permanent communities.

Co-director of the Motza excavations, Jacob Vardi, claimed the knowledge gathered from this discovery gives archaeologists their “Big Bang” moment regarding this particular stage of human history.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.