archaeology

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A child whose lifeless body was carefully placed in an East African cave around 78,300 years ago has made a grand return.

Researchers who unearthed the ancient youngster’s remains say that they’ve found the oldest known intentional human burial in Africa. The investigators, who report the discovery in the May 6 Nature, have named the ancient youngster Mtoto, a Swahili word that means “child.”

“Mtoto was buried in a sheltered part of a cave that was repeatedly occupied by people over a span of nearly 80,000 years, up to about 500 years ago,” said archaeologist Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, at a May 3 news conference. Local people still visit this spot to worship and conduct rituals.

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Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered the remains of a "magnificent" Roman-era arena, where up to 20,000 spectators likely cheered and jeered as they watched gladiator matches and wild animal fights, the excavators said.

The 1,800-year-old arena was discovered on the rolling hills of the ancient city of Mastaura, in Turkey's western Aydın Province. Its large central area, where "bloody shows" once took place, has since filled with earth and vegetation over the centuries.

"Most of the amphitheater is under the ground," and the part that is visible is largely covered by "shrubs and wild trees," Mehmet Umut Tuncer, the Aydın Culture and Tourism provincial director and project survey leader Sedat Akkurnaz, an archaeologist at Adnan Menderes University in Turkey, told Live Science in a translated email.

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