Ancient Origins Tour IRAQ

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Burning wood polluted the air in ancient Rome. Source: Ara Hovhannisyan / Adobe Stock.

Ancient Rome’s Polluted Air was Attributed to Burning Wood (Video)

In ancient Rome , the burgeoning glass industry cast a literal shadow over the city. The demand for vast quantities of firewood to fuel glass ovens resulted in a pervasive haze known locally as "...
Indigenous rock art at Western Australia’s Murujuga National Park. Source: totajla / Adobe Stock

Fertilizer Giant Blocked from Removing Aboriginal Indigenous Rock Art

The Australian federal government has blocked a multinational fertilizer company from removing indigenous rock art from Western Australia’s Burrup Peninsula. This UNESCO World Heritage-nominated area...
Top Stories This Week: A Big Stink, a Sacred Clean Up, a Magic Brooch and More

Top Stories This Week: A Big Stink, a Sacred Clean Up, a Magic Brooch and More

In this top story overview, we highlight our most read articles this week, including a look at a study dispelling the ‘meat made us human’ hypothesis, an almighty stink in London, and a controversial...
A 19th-century woman during London’s Great Stink woman drops her teacup in horror upon viewing a magnified drop of polluted Thames River water, which was a prime source of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid. 	Source: William Heath / Public domain

The Great Stink of 1858: When the Thames River was Filth and Excrement

What happens when we stop taking care of our surroundings? Humans create a lot of waste, and it needs to be disposed of adequately. Neglecting to do so can only lead to trouble. Londoners living in...
The ancient Maya may have abandoned Tikal after its water became toxic. Source: Ingo Bartussek /Adobe Stock

The Ancient Maya Poisoned Tikal’s Drinking Water

Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found toxic levels of...
The Minoan cup, shown here next to a modern throwaway container that washed up in the Pacific.    Source: Trustees of the British Museum

3500-Year-Old Minoan Cup Proves Ancients Weren’t Green Either

A disposable Minoan cup forged by the early Mediterranean civilization will be displayed in a “stunning showcase,” which evaporates the cultural myth that ‘single-use’ crockery is a modern creation...
Tal Mahal is losing its luster.

The Taj Mahal is wasting away, and it may soon hit the point of no return

The saying goes that the Taj Mahal is pinkish in the morning, milky white in the evening, and golden when the moon shines. Though this may once have been true for the famously pristine marble...
: Human teeth from Qesem Cave. Credit: Prof. Israel Hershkovitz, Tel Aviv University

Ancient teeth reveal evidence of 400,000 year-old manmade pollution in Israel

A multi-national team of researchers found the first known case of manmade pollution in a cave in Israel. The evidence was found in the hardened dental plaque of 400,000-year-old teeth, which had...
Slaves working in a mine. Corinthian terracotta plaque painting, 5th century BC.

Ice-Core Study Finds Evidence of Ancient European Plagues, Wars, and Imperial Expansion

To learn about the rise and fall of ancient European civilizations, researchers sometimes find clues in unlikely places: deep inside of the Greenland ice sheet, for example. Thousands of years ago,...
The famous abandoned city of Machu Picchu. Incan architecture, c. 1450 A.D.

Conquistadors caused Toxic Air Pollution 500 years ago by changing Incan Mining

Scientists studying ice core samples from Peru have discovered a variety of trace elements, indicating that Spanish colonial mining caused toxic air pollution over South America approximately 240...