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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, 18 Jan 2018 10:06:02 EST

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

Not just for Christmas: Study sheds new light on ancient human-turkey relationship

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of York) For the first time, research has uncovered the origins of the earliest domestic turkeys in ancient Mexico.The study also suggests turkeys weren't only prized for their meat -- with demand for the birds soaring with the Mayans and Aztecs because of their cultural significance in rituals and sacrifices.

Ancient DNA results end 4,000-year-old Egyptian mummy mystery

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Manchester) Using 'next generation' DNA sequencing scientists have found that the famous 'Two Brothers' mummies of the Manchester Museum have different fathers so are, in fact, half-brothers. The Two Brothers are the Museum's oldest mummies and amongst the best-known human remains in its Egyptology collection. They are the mummies of two elite men -- Khnum-nakht and Nakht-ankh -- dating to around 1800 BC.

Europe's lost forests -- study shows coverage has halved over 6,000 years

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Plymouth) Research led by the University of Plymouth shows more than half of the forests across Europe have been lost over the past 6,000 years.

Possible cause of early colonial-era Mexican epidemic identified

Mon, 15 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Harvard University and the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History have used new methods in ancient DNA research to identify Salmonella enterica Paratyphi C, a pathogen that causes enteric fever, in the skeletons of victims of the 1545-1550 cocoliztli epidemic in Mexico, identifying a possible cause of this devastating colonial epidemic, as published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Print a 200-million-year-old dinosaur fossil in your own home

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of the Witwatersrand) The digital reconstruction of the skull of a 200-million-year-old South African dinosaur, Massospondylus, has made it possible for researchers to make 3-D prints and in this way facilitate research on other dinosaurs all over the world.

Cheops' pyramid: Is there an iron throne in the newly discovered chamber?

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Politecnico di milano) A recent exploration has shown the presence of a significant void in the pyramid of Khufu at Giza. A possible explanation of this space, interpreted as a chamber connected to the lower north channel and aimed to contain a specific funerary equipment is tentatively proposed. According to the Pyramid Texts, this equipment might consist of a Iron throne, actually a wooden throne endowed with meteoritic Iron sheets.

Giant extinct burrowing bat discovered in New Zealand

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of New South Wales) The fossilized remains of a giant burrowing bat that lived in New Zealand millions of years ago have been found by a UNSW Sydney-led international team of scientists. Teeth and bones of the extinct bat -- which was about three times the size of an average bat today -- were recovered from 19 to 16-million-year-old sediments near the town of St Bathans in Central Otago on the South Island.

Life on land and tropical overheating 250 million years ago

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Bristol) One of the key effects of the end-Permian mass extinction, 252 million years ago, was rapid heating of tropical waters and atmospheres. How this affected life on land has been uncertain until now. In a new study published today, Dr, Massimo Bernardi and Professor Mike Benton from the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol show how early reptiles were expelled from the tropics.

Genomic data suggest two main migrations into Scandinavia after the last ice age

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Uppsala University) In a new study published in PLOS Biology, an international research team suggests Scandinavia was populated by two main migrations after the last glacial maximum: an initial migration of groups from the south (modern day Denmark and Germany) and an additional migration from the north-east, following the ice-free Atlantic coast.

Dual migration created genetic 'melting pot' of the first Scandinavians

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(PLOS) New genomic data suggest that the first human settlers on the Scandinavian peninsula followed two distinct migration routes. The study publishing Jan. 9 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology led by researchers from Uppsala University with an international team of collaborators, also indicates that the resulting mixed population genetically adapted to the extreme environmental conditions.

Nok research project enters final phase

Fri, 05 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Goethe University Frankfurt) Goethe University Frankfurt can continue its study of the Nok Culture. The German Research Foundation has recently approved the funding application submitted by Professor Peter Breunig, Professor of African Archaeology, and Professor Katharina Neumann, Professor of African Archaeobotany. This means that an additional €1.5 million are available to complete the project, which explores the 2,500-year-old West African culture.

Did ancient irrigation technology travel Silk Road?

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Washington University in St. Louis) Using satellite imaging and drone reconnaissance, archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered an ancient irrigation system that allowed a farming community in northwestern China to raise livestock and cultivate crops in one of the world's driest desert climates.

DNA analysis of ancient mummy, thought to have smallpox, points to hepatitis B instead

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(McMaster University) A team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of an ancient strain of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), shedding new light on a pervasive, complex and deadly pathogen that today kills nearly 1 million people every year. While little is known about its evolutionary history and origin, the findings confirm the idea that HBV has existed in humans for centuries.

Redefining knowledge of elderly people throughout history

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Australian National University) An archaeologist from The Australian National University is set to redefine what we know about elderly people in cultures throughout history, and dispel the myth that most people didn't live much past 40 prior to modern medicine.

Research reveals evidence of new population of ancient Native Americans

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Alaska Fairbanks) Genetic analysis of ancient DNA from a 6-week-old infant found at an Interior Alaska archaeological site has revealed a previously unknown population of ancient people in North America. The findings, published in the Jan. 3 edition of the journal Nature, represent a major shift in scientists' theories about how humans populated North America. The researchers have named the new group 'Ancient Beringians.'

Direct genetic evidence of founding population reveals story of first Native Americans

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(St John's College, University of Cambridge) Direct genetic evidence of the earliest Native Americans has been identified for the first time, enabling researchers to answer long-standing questions about how the Americas were first populated. They suggest that people entered the continent in a single migratory wave around 20,000 years ago. They also identify a previously unknown Native American population called Ancient Beringians.

Discovery of a 4,000-year-old military network in northern Syria

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(CNRS) The discovery of more than a thousand sites in Syria has revised our understanding of the settlement of the steppes during all periods in the history of the Near East. Recently, analysis of aerial and satellite images has enabled the discovery of a vast structured surveillance and communication network dating from the Middle Bronze Age (2nd millennium BCE).

Prehistoric bling? Aesthetics crucial factor in development of earliest copper alloys

Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Cambridge) New study suggests golden hue crucial to development of world's earliest tin bronze artefacts. Using experimentally made copper alloys and colorimetric analyses, original colour of artefacts c. 6,500 years old can now be seen.

Easter Island had a cooperative community, analysis of giant hats reveals

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Binghamton University) Analysis of giant stone hats found on Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) provides evidence contrary to the widely held belief that the ancient civilization had a warrior culture. According to a new study conducted by a team of researchers, including a professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York, these stone hats suggest that the people of Rapa Nui were part of a supportive and inclusive community.

Unexpected agricultural production allowed pre-Hispanic society to flourish in arid Andes

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(CNRS) Archaeological remains found in southern Bolivia reveal a flourishing agrarian society from the 13th to the 15th centuries, despite marked drying and cooling of the climate throughout the period. This unexpected observation is the result of an interdisciplinary study conducted by an international team (CONICET, CNRS, IRD and UCSD). This research, published in Science Advances, highlights the adaptive capacity and resilience of societies with little hierarchical differentiation, in confronting the challenges of climate degradation.

A 508-million-year-old sea predator with a 'jackknife' head

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Toronto) Paleontologists at the University of Toronto and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have revisited a tiny yet fierce ancient sea creature called Habelia optata that has confounded scientists since it was discovered more than a century ago. Analysis of new fossil specimens suggest it was a close relative of the ancestor of all chelicerates, a sub-group of arthropods living today named for appendages called chelicerae in front of the mouth used to cut food.

NSF grant funds kent state anthropology professor's study of primate evolution

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Kent State University) Anthony Tosi, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology at Kent State University, received a NSF grant to study primate evolution and whether a species' genetic makeup includes genes brought together through occasional episodes of hybridization. Are we an amalgamation of DNA from a variety of interbreeding species? Did such hybridization happen throughout the 7 million years of human evolution? Tosi will collaborate with researchers from New York University and Pennsylvania State University to address such questions.

Are bones discovered under an Exeter street from the first turkey dinner in England?

Tue, 19 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Exeter) Bones dug up from under an Exeter street may be the remains of the first ever turkey dinner in England, archaeologists believe.

Discovery of ruins of ancient Turkic monument surrounded by 14 pillars with inscriptions

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(Osaka University) A joint excavation team from Osaka University and the Institute of History and Archaeology of the Mongolian Academy of Sciences discovered the ruins of a unique monument surrounded by 14 large stone pillars with Turkic Runic inscriptions arranged in a square on the steppe called Dongoin shiree in eastern Mongolia during their three-year (2015 ~ 2017) joint excavation.

Human societies evolve along similar paths

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 EST

(University of Exeter) Societies ranging from ancient Rome and the Inca empire to modern Britain and China have evolved along similar paths, a huge new study shows.