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Footprints found at White Sands National Park in New Mexico provide the earliest unequivocal evidence of human activity in the Americas and offer insight into life over 23,000 years ago.

The footprints were formed in soft mud on the margins of a shallow lake that now forms part of Alkali Flat, a large playa at White Sands. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey dated these tracks using radiocarbon dating of seed layers above and below the footprint horizons. The dates range in age and confirm human presence over at least two millennia with the oldest tracks dating from around 23,000 years ago, which corresponds to the height of the last glacial cycle—making them the oldest known human footprints in the Americas.

The research, published in Science on Sept. 24, was conducted by scientists from Cornell, Bournemouth University, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Arizona. The tracks at White Sands were first discovered by David Bustos, resources manager at the park.

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Laocoön and His Sons, 1st century BC, is widely considered to be the greatest work of art created in Classical Antiquity. It was found buried in Rome in 1506.

The Library of Ashurbanipal from the 7th century BC, was found in the ruins of the ancient Assyrian capital Nineveh and contains 30,000 priceless cuneiform texts in clay tablets . H.G. Wells called it “the most precious source of historical material in the world.”

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, 2nd century BCE. Made of Parian marble, It depicts Nike, the Greek goddess of Victory. It is considered by many to be “the greatest masterpiece of Hellenistic sculpture”. Displayed at the Louvre.

A Bronze Statuette of a Dioskouros Greek, Hellenistic. ca. 150 B.C.

Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini, and Ciano pictured just before signing the Munich Agreement, 29 September 1938.

Chicken Flask with Alphabet, 650-600 BCE, Etruscan, Ceramic.

Harold Agnew, physicist on the Manhattan Project, holding plutonium core of the “Fat Man” atomic bomb to be dropped on Nagasaki, 1945.

Gallo-Roman Fibula of a female Panther, 2nd-3rd century AD.

Alabaster Relief Panel depicting Assyrian Divinity, from Nimrud, Mesopotamia. Circa 900 BCE, Neo-Assyrian period. Displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A 26000-year-old 8cm high male head carved of mammoth ivory, found in Dolní Věstonice in the Czech Republic.

Polish 12-year-old girl kneeling over the body of her sister who was killed during bombing by the Nazis, Poland on September 9, 1939.

Many resins, oils and waxes have been used over the centuries to provide a glossy finish to fine timbers. One of the most important is shellac, a resin produced from a secretion of the lac beetle (Laccifer lacca), which feeds on tree sap. The insect’s name is derived from the word lakh, the Sanskrit word for the number 100,000, and relates to the number of insects found on infested trees. The tree branches become covered in the secreted material which, in its raw form, is called sticklac. It is harvested extensively in India and, to a lesser extent, in China, Burma and Thailand.

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Hiroshima, 1945. by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Jewish Children with their Teacher in Samarkand. Early color photograph from Russia, created by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii as part of his work to document the Russian Empire from 1909 to 1915.

Ancient Ptolemaic or Roman copper bust of Alexander the Great as a pharaoh, c. 150 BCE-200 CE.

A 5,300-year-old pottery statue from North China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Hongshan culture (4700-2900 BCE).

An international team of researchers has reported the discovery of hand and foot prints from Quesang, in the Tibetan Plateau. The fossil impressions, which date to between 169,000 and 226,000 years ago and seem to have been created intentionally, could represent the earliest known art of its kind.

Called parietal art, this form of ancient visual expression typically crops up on cave walls but can also be made on the ground, as appears to be the case for the recent Tibet discovery. The fossil is a series of hand and foot impressions, none of which overlap.

Besides potentially being the oldest known parietal art, the site is the earliest evidence for hominins so high on the Tibetan Plateau, which sits about 12,000 feet above sea level. The team’s work describing the fossilized prints was published this week in Science Bulletin.

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When researchers in northern Saudi Arabia found a series of life-size camel sculptures in 2018, they estimated that the artworks dated back some 2,000 years. Now, a new study suggests that this proposed timeframe was off by as much as 6,000 years.

The findings, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, suggest that the so-called Camel Site actually dates to between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago. As Arab News reports, this timeline would likely make the sculptures the world’s oldest surviving large-scale, three-dimensional animal reliefs. In contrast, Egypt’s Pyramids of Giza are 4,500 years old, while England’s Stonehenge was built about 5,000 years ago.

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A Gold signet ring from Tiryns, Greece, a Mycenaean archaeological site in Argolis, in the Peloponnese, 15th century BC. From The National Archaeological Museum, Athens.