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Preview: EurekAlert! - Archaeology

EurekAlert! - Archaeology

The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2018 21:06:02 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.

New linguistic analysis finds Dravidian language family is approximately 4,500 years old

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) The origin of the Dravidian language family, consisting of about 80 varieties spoken by 220 million people across South Asia, can be dated to about 4,500 years ago, based on new linguistic analyses. An international team used data collected first-hand from native speakers and analyzed these using cutting-edge computational methods. The findings, published in Royal Society Open Science, shed light on the prehistory of these languages and their speakers.

Agriculture initiated by indigenous peoples, not Fertile Crescent migration

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Liverpool) Small scale agricultural farming was first initiated by indigenous communities living on Turkey's Anatolian plateau, and not introduced by migrant farmers as previously thought, according to new research by the University of Liverpool.

Historians to climate researchers: Let's talk

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Princeton University) Ours is not the first society to be confronted by massive environmental change. Over the course of history, some societies have been destroyed by natural disasters, like Pompeii, while others have learned how to accommodate floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions and other natural hazards. The key is how a society plans for and interacts with the stress from nature, say Princeton University historians John Haldon and Lee Mordechai.

Fish accounted for surprisingly large part of the Stone Age diet

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Lund University) New research at Lund University in Sweden can now show what Stone Age people actually ate in southern Scandinavia 10 000 years ago. The importance of fish in the diet has proven to be greater than expected. So, if you want to follow a Paleo diet -- you should quite simply eat a lot of fish.

Intensification of agriculture and social hierarchies evolve together, study finds

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) A joint project between the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Auckland analyzed the evolution of 155 Island South East Asian and Pacific societies to determine that, rather than intensification of agriculture leading to social stratification, the two evolve together. The study, published in PNAS, illustrates the way social and material factors combine to drive human cultural evolution.

Smithsonian reports first evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute) Earliest evidence that Mayas raised and traded dogs and other animals-probably for ceremonies-from Ceibal, Guatemala. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science.

The absence of ants -- entomologist confirms first Saharan farming 10,000 years ago

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Huddersfield) Dr. Stefano Vanin was part of an international team working on discoveries at the Holocene age hunter-gatherer site at Takarkori in south-western Libya.

Fish the primary source of nutrition in medieval Northern Ostrobothnia

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Helsinki) Researchers investigated the diet of people buried in the Ii Hamina, Northern Finland, cemetery from the 15th to the 17th centuries by analysing isotopes in the bones of the deceased. Isotopes preserve information on the various nutrient sources used by humans during their lifetime. A study published in the Environmental Archaeology journal reveals that the dominant protein source was small fish, such as roach or Baltic herring.

The truth behind St. Patrick's Day: Celebrations did not originate in Boston

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of South Florida (USF Health)) Gun expenditure log from 1600 and 1601 prove St. Patrick's Day celebrations began in St. Augustine, Fla., and not in Boston or New York.

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Utah) An international collaboration has discovered that early humans in eastern Africa had -- by about 320,000 years ago -- begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age. These behavioral innovations may represent a response to the rapid environmental and climactic changes occurring at the time.

Scientists discover genomic ancestry of Stone Age North Africans from Morocco

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) An international team of researchers have sequenced DNA from individuals from Morocco dating to approximately 15,000 years ago. This is the oldest nuclear DNA from Africa ever successfully analyzed. The study, published in Science, shows that the individuals, dating to the Late Stone Age, had a genetic heritage that was in part similar to ancient Levantine Natufians and an uncharacterized sub-Saharan African lineage to which modern West Africans are genetically closest.

Scientists discover evidence of early human innovation, pushing back evolutionary timeline

Thu, 15 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Smithsonian) Scientists discovered that early humans in East Africa had -- by about 320,000 years ago -- begun trading with distant groups, using color pigments and manufacturing more sophisticated tools than those of the Early Stone Age, tens of thousands of years earlier than previous evidence has shown in eastern Africa. As earthquakes remodeled the landscape and climate fluctuated between wet and dry conditions, technological and social innovation would have helped early humans survive unpredictable conditions.

Compassion helped Neanderthals to survive, new study reveals

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of York) They have an unwarranted image as brutish and uncaring, but new research has revealed just how knowledgeable and effective Neanderthal healthcare was.

Ash from dinosaur-era volcanoes linked with shale oil, gas

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Rice University) Nutrient-rich ash from an enormous flare-up of volcanic eruptions toward the end of the dinosaurs' reign kicked off a chain of events that led to the formation of shale gas and oil fields from Texas to Montana.

New insights into the origin of elongated heads in early medieval Germany

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz) A palaeogenomic study investigates early medieval migration in southern Germany and the peculiar phenomenon of artificial skull deformation.

Pterosaurs went out with a bang, not a whimper

Tue, 13 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Fossils of six new species of pterosaurs -- giant flying reptiles that flew over the heads of the dinosaurs -- have been discovered by a research team led by the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, revealing that this lineage was killed off in its prime. An analysis of the fossils, publishing March 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology shows that, contrary to previous studies, there was still remarkable diversity among pterosaurs up to the point of their extinction.

Modern humans flourished through ancient supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Cape Town) Early modern humans living in South Africa around 74,000 years ago prospered through the cataclysmic eruption of the Toba supervolcano in Sumatra. The Toba eruption was one of the Earth's most explosive volcanic events. The environmental effects of this event have been heavily debated, with some researchers having previously proposed that the eruption led to a worldwide volcanic winter that devastated contemporaneous human populations.

Humans thrived in South Africa through the Toba super-volcanic eruption ~74,000 years ago

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Arizona State University) New research describes finding glass shards from a volcanic eruption at two archaeological sites in coastal South Africa, tracing those shards to Mount Toba in Indonesia through chemical fingerprinting and documenting a continuous human occupation across the volcanic event.

Genetic prehistory of Iberia differs from central and northern Europe

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EDT

(Uppsala University) In a multidisciplinary study published in PNAS, an international team of researchers combined archaeological, genetic and stable isotope data to encapsulate 4000 years of Iberian biomolecular prehistory.

ANU research reveals genetic timeline of early Pacific settlers

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Australian National University) Researchers from The Australian National University have helped put together the most comprehensive study ever conducted into the origins of people in Vanuatu -- regarded as a geographic gateway from Asia to the Remote Pacific.

New study reveals the secret of magmas that produce global treasures

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of the Witwatersrand) South Africa's history and economy has been built on its rich natural treasures of a number of precious metals, stones and minerals. The country's mineral deposits have been created over hundreds of millions of years through processes that are still not completely understood. One of these processes is the origin of chromitite layers hosted by layered intrusions -- a major source of chromium on our planet. The study reveals the formation of these layers.

New data helps explain recent fluctuations in Earth's magnetic field

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Rochester) Using new data gathered from sites in southern Africa, researchers have extended their record of Earth's magnetic field back thousands of years to the first millennium. The new data also provides more evidence that the region may play a unique role in magnetic pole reversals.

Study offers blueprint for community-based public history research

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(North Carolina State University) A new paper on fieldwork in rural Belize serves as a case study for how an established anthropology fieldwork model can be used to both develop site-specific cultural and historical exhibits and train a new generation of public history scholars. The paper also highlights the importance of diversity to research teams when engaging in research - especially community-based scholarship.

WSU researchers extract nicotine from ancient dental plaque for the first time

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Washington State University) A team of scientists has shown for the first time that nicotine residue can be extracted from dental plaque on the teeth of ancient tobacco users. Their research provides a new method for determining who was consuming tobacco in the ancient world and could help trace the use of tobacco and other intoxicating plants further back into prehistory.

Ancient DNA reveals genetic replacement despite language continuity in the South Pacific

Tue, 27 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution and led by a multidisciplinary research team at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, reveals that migrations of people from the Bismarck Archipelago in Oceania to the previously settled islands of the Pacific began as early as 2,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought. Vanuatu presents an unprecedented case, where the population's genetic ancestry but not its languages were replaced.