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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, 26 Sep 2017 00:06:01 EDT

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

How aerial thermal imagery is revolutionizing archaeology

Sun, 24 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Dartmouth College) A Dartmouth-led study has demonstrated how the latest aerial thermal imagery is transforming archaeology due to advancements in technology. Today's thermal cameras, commercial drones and photogrammetric software has introduced a new realm of possibilities for collecting site data-- field survey data across a much larger area can now be obtained in much less time. The findings in Advances in Archaeological Practice serve as a manual on how to use aerial thermography.

700-year-old saint myth has been proven (almost) true

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Southern Denmark) Scientists confirm that the age and content of an old sack is in accordance with a medieval myth about Saint Francis of Assisi.

Ancient textiles reveal differences in Mediterranean fabrics in the 1st millennium BC

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Cambridge) Analysis of Iron Age textiles indicates that during c. 1000-400 BC Italy shared the textile culture of Central Europe, while Greece was largely influenced by the traditions of ancient Near East.

CSIC reconstructs how Neanderthals grew, based on an El Sidrón child

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)) How did Neanderthals grow? Does modern man develop in the same way as Homo neanderthalensis did? How does the size of the brain affect the development of the body? A study led by the Spanish National Research Council researcher, Antonio Rosas, has studied the fossil remains of a Neanderthal child's skeleton in order to establish whether there are differences between the growth of Neanderthals and that of sapiens.

Convergent evolution of mimetic butterflies confounds classification

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(City College of New York) David Lohman, associate professor of biology at The City College of New York's Division of Science, is co-author of a landmark paper on butterflies 'An illustrated checklist of the genus Elymnias Hübner, 1818 (Nymphalidae, Satyrinae).' Lohman and his colleagues from Taiwan and Indonesia revise the taxonomy of Asian palmflies in the genus Elymnias in light of a forthcoming study on the butterflies' evolutionary history.

How Teotihuacan's urban design was lost and found

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(De Gruyter Open) The paper outlines how the urban design of the city of Teotihuacan differed from past and subsequent cities, only to be rediscovered and partially modelled on many centuries later by the Aztecs.

Bite force research reveals dinosaur-eating frog

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Adelaide) Scientists say that a large, now extinct, frog called Beelzebufo that lived about 68 million years ago in Madagascar would have been capable of eating small dinosaurs.The conclusion comes from a study of the bite force of South American horned frogs from the living genus Ceratophrys, known as Pacman frogs for their characteristic round shape and large mouth, similar to the video game character Pac-Man.

Solving the Easter Island population puzzle

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Frontiers) The nearly nine hundred giant stone statues discovered by the first Europeans to land on Easter Island seemed at odds with the small population found living there. It is believed a once thriving community witnessed sweeping ecological change and suffered internal conflict, resulting in a population crash. A new detailed study of the farming potential of the Island suggests it could have sustained 17,500 people at its peak.

Complex life evolved out of the chance coupling of small molecules

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of the Witwatersrand) Very simple ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules (compounds similar to Deoxyribonucleic acid(DNA)) can join other RNA molecules to themselves though a chemical reaction called ligation. The random joining together of different pieces or RNA could give rise to a group of molecules able to produce copies of themselves and so kick start the process of life. Wits researchers discovered exactly how this was done.

Huge genetic diversity among Papuan New Guinean peoples revealed

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute) The first large-scale genetic study of people in Papua New Guinea has shown that different groups within the country are genetically highly different from each other. Scientists at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and their colleagues reveal that the people there have remained genetically independent from Europe and Asia for most of the last 50,000 years, and that people from the country's isolated highlands region have been completely independent even until the present day.

Earthquake faults may have played key role in shaping the culture of ancient Greece

Tue, 12 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Plymouth) The Ancient Greeks may have built sacred sites deliberately on land affected by previous earthquake activity, according to a new study by BBC presenter Iain Stewart MBE, Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth.

An officer and a gentlewoman from the Viking army in Birka

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Stockholm University) War was not an activity exclusive to males in the Viking world. A new study conducted by researchers at Stockholm and Uppsala universities shows that women could be found in the higher ranks at the battlefield.

18th century nautical charts document historic loss of coral reefs

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(American Association for the Advancement of Science) Researchers studying 18th century British nautical charts tracked the loss of coral reef habitat in the Florida Keys over the last two centuries. According to their analysis, entire sections of reef near the shore that were present prior to European settlement are now largely gone.

Mobile women were key to cultural exchange in Stone Age and Bronze Age Europe

Mon, 04 Sep 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History) At the end of the Stone Age and in the early Bronze Age, families were established in a surprising manner in the Lechtal, south of Augsburg, Germany. The majority of women probably came from Bohemia or Central Germany, while men usually remained in the region of their birth. This so-called patrilocal pattern combined with individual female mobility persisted over a period of 800 years during the transition from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age.

Techniques used in forensic science help discover new molecular fossils

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Tohoku University) Researchers in Japan and China believe they have found new molecular fossils of archaea using a method of analysis commonly used in forensic science.

Research on the meaning of ancient geometric earthworks in southwestern Amazonia

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Helsinki) Researchers examine pre-colonial geometric earthworks in the southwestern Amazonia from the point of view of indigenous peoples and archaeology. The study shows that the earthworks were once important ritual communication spaces.

New clue may reveal the fate of famous French explorer

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Australian National University) An anthropologist at The Australian National University (ANU) may have stumbled across a clue to resolving one of the most enduring mysteries of Pacific history - the fate of famous French navigator, Jean François de Galaup, Comte de La Pérouse who disappeared in 1788.

Human settlement in the Americas may have occurred in the late Pleistocene

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(PLOS) Analysis of a skeleton found in the Chan Hol cave near Tulum, Mexico, suggests human settlement in the Americas occurred in the late Pleistocene era, according to a study published Aug. 30, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wolfgang Stinnesbeck from Universität Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues.

Ancient Cahokia Future Visions Conference

Mon, 28 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois ) The Illinois State Archaeological Survey will host the Ancient Cahokia Future Visions Conference April 27, 2018. The conference brings together leading archaeologists and decision makers to discuss Cahokia's past and future. This conference is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois and celebrates 150 years of research. Ancient Cahokia Future Visions Conference is free to attend but registration is required.

Paleontologists discover new species of sauropod dinosaur in Tanzania

Fri, 25 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(National Science Foundation) Paleontologists have identified a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur. The research is reported in a paper published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Farming, cheese, chewing changed human skull shape

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of California - Davis) The advent of farming, especially dairy products, had a small but significant effect on the shape of human skulls, according to a recently published study from anthropologists at UC Davis.

World's oldest Italian wine just discovered

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of South Florida (USF Health)) Researchers discover Italian wine residue from the Copper Age, debunking current belief wine growing and wine production in Italy developed during the Middle Bronze Age.

Mathematical mystery of ancient Babylonian clay tablet solved

Thu, 24 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of New South Wales) UNSW Sydney scientists have discovered the purpose of a famous 3,700-year old Babylonian clay tablet, revealing it is the world's oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, possibly used by ancient mathematical scribes to calculate how to construct palaces and temples and build canals. The new research shows the Babylonians beat the Greeks to the invention of trigonometry -- the study of triangles -- by more than 1,000 years.

Confederate submarine crew killed by their own weapon

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(Duke University) A powerful shockwave from the H.L. Hunley's own weapon killed the crew of the Confederate combat submarine as it sunk a Union ship. This finding comes from a four-year research project that involved repeatedly setting blasts near a scale model, shooting authentic weapons at historically accurate iron plate and many calculations on human respiration and the transmission of blast energy by Rachel Lance, a 2016 Ph.D. graduate of Duke Engineering.

Wild sheep grazed in the Black Desert 14,500 years ago

Tue, 22 Aug 2017 00:00:00 EDT

(University of Copenhagen - Faculty of Humanities) Excavations of architecture and associated deposits left by hunter-gatherers in the Black Desert in eastern Jordan have revealed bones from wild sheep -- a species previously not identified in this area in the Late Pleistocene. According to the team of University of Copenhagen archaeologists, who led the excavations, the discovery is further evidence that the region often seen as a 'marginal zone' was capable of supporting a variety of resources, including a population of wild sheep, 14,500 years ago.