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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: Thu, 30 Mar 2017 12:06:01 EDT

Copyright: Copyright 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.

Legends of the lost reservoirs

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Cincinnati) University of Cincinnati interdisciplinary researchers and global collaborators dig into the past to inspire modern water management strategies that can save time and money and may avoid negative effects on our climate.

A decorated raven bone discovered in Crimea may provide insight into Neanderthal cognition

Wed, 29 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) The cognitive abilities of Neanderthals are debated, but a raven bone fragment found at the Zaskalnaya VI (ZSK) site in Crimea features two notches that may have been made by Neanderthals intentionally to display a visually consistent pattern, according to a study by Ana Majkic at the Universite de Bordeaux and colleagues, published in the open access journal, PLOS ONE on March 29, 2017.

The future for people in the Arctic discussed at large international conference

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Umea University) Temperatures are rising, and life on earth changes. The fastest change takes place in the North, in the Arctic. That is a fact. But what societal challenges await? Is this a new hotbed for emerging diseases and conflicts? On June 8-12, 2017, world-leading researchers will gather in the hundreds at Umeå University in Sweden at the 9th International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences, ICASS IX, to discuss the future for people and societies in the North.

Mouse in the house tells tale of human settlement

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Washington University in St. Louis) Long before the advent of agriculture, hunter-gatherers began putting down roots in the Middle East, building more permanent homes and altering the ecological balance in ways that allowed the common house mouse to flourish, new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates. Findings suggest that the roots of animal domestication go back to human sedentism thousands of years prior to what has long been considered the dawn of agriculture.

The Anthropocene: Scientists respond to criticisms of a new geological epoch

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Leicester) 'Irreversible' changes to the Earth provide striking evidence of new epoch, University of Leicester experts suggest.

Geoecology and the archaeological record in the Marias river canyon

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Geological Society of America) The Marias River canyon geoecosystem and its associated archaeological resources provide an excellent example of the complex interplay among geology, plant ecology, ungulate niches, and human activities on the landscape during late Holocene time. Understanding landscape complexity from both a geologic and an ecologic perspective reveals the influences of individual elements and their interaction with one another.

Under the Dead Sea, warnings of dire drought

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(The Earth Institute at Columbia University) Nearly 1,000 feet below the bed of the Dead Sea, scientists have found evidence that during past warm periods, the Mideast has suffered drought on scales never recorded by humans -- a possible warning for current times. Thick layers of crystalline salt show that rainfall plummeted to as little as a fifth of modern levels some 120,000 years ago, and again about 10,000 years ago.

Egyptian ritual images from the Neolithic period

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Bonn) Egyptologists at the University of Bonn discovered rock art from the 4th millennium BC during an excavation at a necropolis near Aswan in Egypt. The paintings were engraved into the rock in the form of small dots and depict hunting scenes like those found in shamanic depictions. They may represent a link between the Neolithic period and Ancient Egyptian culture.

Tiller the Hun? Farmers in Roman Empire converted to Hun lifestyle -- and vice versa

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Cambridge) New archaeological analysis suggests people of Western Roman Empire switched between Hunnic nomadism and settled farming over a lifetime. Findings may be evidence of tribal encroachment that undermined Roman Empire during 5th century AD, contributing to its fall.

Huns and settlers may have cooperated on the frontier of Roman Empire

Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Analysis of isotopes in bones and teeth from fifth-century cemeteries suggests that nomadic Huns and Pannonian settlers on the frontier of Roman Empire may have intermixed, according to a study published March 22, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Susanne Hakenbeck from University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, and colleagues.

A new perspective on the European colonization of Asia

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Konstanz) Although James Cook's 18th century expeditions into the South Pacific Ocean are considered historical feats, Spanish voyages of discovery in this region preceded them. It is well-known that the Spanish, beginning with Ferdinand Magellan in 1521, explored the Pacific during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Courtship behavior trapped in 100-million-year-old amber

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) Dr. Zheng Daran and Professor Wang Bo from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology described three male damselflies showing ancient courtship behavior from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. These fossils were named Yijenplatycnemis huangi after Huang Yijen from Taiwan, for his generously donation of the type specimen.

European Geosciences Union meeting: Press conferences, media registration

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(European Geosciences Union) The schedule of press conferences at the General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) is now available. It includes presentations on Cassini's grand finale, food security, and screaming clouds, and others. The meeting is taking place on April 23-28 at the Austria Center Vienna and is expected to attract more than 14,000 scientists from around the world. Journalists interested in attending should register online by Sunday.

Intact mushroom and mycophagous rove beetle in Burmese amber leak early evolution of mushrooms

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) Recently, a research team led by Professor Huang Diying from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology reported a diversity of gilled mushrooms and mycophagous rove beetles from Burmese amber, the latter belonging to Oxyporinae, modern members of which exhibit an obligate association with soft-textured mushrooms. Their finding displays an ancient ecological community assembling diverse mushrooms and beetles and established on specialized trophic interaction by this early date.

Agriculture, dietary changes, and adaptations in fat metabolism from ancient to modern Europeans

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)) Evolutionary biologists are weighing in based on the increasing power of DNA analyses to explore how changes in diet over eons have caused human adaptations to genes regulating fat metabolism. Nielsen and his colleagues examine data from 101 Bronze Age individuals, and present-day human data from the 1000 Genomes Project. His team analyzed adaptive mutations in the FADS region in Europeans, to determine which mutations might have been targeted by recent natural selection in Europeans and to investigate the physiological effects of the mutations.

Killer spirals offer wild ride

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Springer) Øyvind Hammer was first seduced by the spiral's charms 20 years ago while studying fossils and with his new book he aims to make others susceptible. After reading it, you'll look for spirals wherever you turn and Hammer will have succeeded in his 'evil scheme.'

Marine recovery after mass extinction was likely delayed by further biotic crises

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Biotic crises during the Triassic period may have delayed marine recovery after a mass extinction during the late Permian, according to a study published March 15, 2017 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by William Foster from University of Texas, Austin, USA, and colleagues.

The chemistry of redheads (video)

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Chemical Society) The thing that sets redheads apart from the crowd is pigmentation. Most humans produce the brown-black eumelanin while redheads have a genetic variant making more reddish pheomelanin. How red hair is produced by redheads' cells might also explain why they have different sensation to pain. Watch the latest Reactions video here:

Did humans create the Sahara desert?

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Frontiers) New research investigating the transition of the Sahara from a lush, green landscape 10,000 years ago to the arid conditions found today, suggests that humans may have played an active role in its desertification.

World's oldest plant-like fossils discovered

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History have found fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae. The spectacular finds, publishing on March 14 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, indicate that advanced multicellular life evolved much earlier than previously thought.

400,000-year-old fossil human cranium is oldest ever found in Portugal

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Binghamton University) A large international research team, directed by the Portuguese archaeologist João Zilhão and including Binghamton University anthropologist Rolf Quam, has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neandertals.

University of Leicester in new project to identify Jack the Ripper's last known victim

Fri, 10 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Leicester) Research reveals likelihood of finding and identifying Mary Jane Kelly -- and using DNA to determine her true identity.

University of South Carolina discovery of widespread platinum may help solve Clovis people mystery

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of South Carolina) No one knows for certain why the Clovis people and iconic beasts -- mastodon, mammoth and saber-toothed tiger -- living some 12,800 years ago suddenly disappeared. However, a discovery of widespread platinum at archaeological sites across the US by three UofSC archaeologists has provided an important clue in solving this enduring mystery. Their research findings are outlined in a new study released Thursday (March 9) in Scientific Reports, a publication of Nature.

How big brains evolved could be revealed by new mathematical model

Thu, 09 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EST

(PLOS) A new mathematical model could help clarify what drove the evolution of large brains in humans and other animals, according to a study published in PLOS Computational Biology.

Fish, selective hunting strategies and a delayed-return lifestyle among ancient foragers

Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Lund University) A unique trove of bone material from the 9,200 year old coastal settlement Norje Sunnansund in Blekinge, Sweden, has revealed that surprisingly sophisticated hunting strategies were used at the time. One key find was that the early Mesolithic humans practiced so-called selective hunting -- seemingly in order to maximize gain and preserve the local population of certain species.