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Latest Archaeology News – Americas


Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 2 days ago
People in what is now Washington State were smoking Rhus glabra, a plant commonly known as smooth sumac, more than 1,400 years ago. The discovery, made by a team of Washington State University researchers, marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco … more »

The millenial pre-colonial cultural inluence is evident in the Amazon forest

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 2 days ago
 More than ten years ago, large geometric earthworks found in the southwestern parts of the Amazon, called geoglyphs, were reported in the global scientific news. A pre-colonial civilization unknown to scholars that built geometric ceremonial centers and sophisticated road systems. This civilization flourished in the rainforest area 2,000 years ago. The discovery radically altered the prevailing notion of the pristine Amazon rai… more »

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 1 week ago
 Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows. Early inhabitants fertilized the soil with charcoal from fire remains and food waste. Areas with this “dark earth” have a different set of species than the surrounding landscape, contributing to a more diverse ecos… more »

Ancient Maya reservoirs contained toxic pollution

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 2 days ago
Reservoirs in the heart of an ancient Maya city were so polluted with mercury and algae that the water likely was undrinkable. Researchers from the University of Cincinnati found toxic levels of pollution in two central reservoirs in Tikal, an ancient Maya city that dates back to the third century B.C. in what is now northern Guatemala. UC’s findings suggest droughts in the ninth century likely contributed to the depopulation and eventual abandonment of … more »

Oldest connection with Native Americans identified near Lake Baikal in Siberia

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 3 weeks ago
Using human population genetics, ancient pathogen genomics and isotope analysis, a team of researchers assessed the population history of the Lake Baikal region, finding the deepest connection to date between the peoples of Siberia and the Americas. The current study, published in the journal *Cell*, also demonstrates human mobility, and hence connectivity, across Eurasia during the Early Bronze Age. Modern humans have lived near Lake Baikal since the Upper Paleolithic, and have left behind a rich archaeological record. Ancient genomes from the region have revealed multiple genetic … more »

Ancient DNA provides new insights into the early peopling of the Caribbean

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 3 weeks ago
New study reveals multiple waves of settlement and connections to the American mainland UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN THE FACULTY OF HEALTH AND MEDICAL SCIENCES SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: LLLUSTRATION OF ONE OF THE EARLY SETTLERS IN THE CARIBBEAN. view more CREDIT: TOM BJÖRKLUND. According to a new study by an international team of researchers from the Caribbean, Europe and North America, the Caribbean was settled by several successive population dispersals that originated on the American mainland. he Caribbean was one of the last regions of the Americas to be settled b… more »

Largest, oldest Maya monument suggests importance of communal work

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 4 weeks ago
From the ground, it’s impossible to tell that the plateau underfoot is something extraordinary. But from the sky, with laser eyes, and beneath the surface, with radiocarbon dating, it’s clear that it is the largest and oldest Mayan monument ever discovered. Located in Tabasco, Mexico, near the northwestern border of Guatemala, the newly discovered site of Aguada Fénix lurked beneath the surface, hidden by its size and low profile until 2017. The monument measures nearly 4,600 feet long, ranges from 30 to 50 feet high and includes nine wide causeways. The monument was discovered by an… more »

Maize became a key food source in Central America 4,700 years ago

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 4 weeks ago
About 9,000 years ago in the Balsas River Valley of southwestern Mexico, hunter-gatherers began domesticating teosinte, a wild grass. Fast-forward to the present, and what was a humble perennial has been turned into the world’s biggest grain crop: maize. Humanity deeply relies on maize, or corn, but just when it became a major food crop in the Americas has been a source of mystery and dispute. Now, a UC Santa Barbara researcher and his collaborators, by testing the skeletons of an “unparalleled” collection of human skeletal remains in Belize, have demonstrated that maize had become a… more »

Doubts about the Nerja cave art having been done by neanderthals

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 4 weeks ago
UNIVERSITY OF CÓRDOBA SHARE PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: THE RESEARCHER JOSÉ LUIS SANCHIDRIÁN AT THE NERJA CAVE view more CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF CORDOBA Dating cave art is a key issue for understanding human cognitive development. Knowing whether the ability for abstraction and conveying reality involved in artistic development is unique to Homo sapiens or if it was shared with other species, or simply knowing at what moment these abilities developed, is vital in order to understand the complexity of human evolution. Currently in Spain, for the most part, when trying to f… more »

Ancient DNA extracted from Dead Sea Scrolls permits rare glimpse into world of Second Temple Judaism

Jonathan Kantrowitz at Archaeology News Report – 4 weeks ago
An interdisciplinary team from Tel Aviv University, led by Prof. Oded Rechavi of TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Prof. Noam Mizrahi of TAU’s Department of Biblical Studies, in collaboration with Prof. Mattias Jakobsson of Uppsala University in Sweden, the Israel Antiquities Authority and Prof. Christopher E. Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine, has successfully decoded ancient DNA extracted from the animal skins on which the Dead Sea Scrolls were written. By characterizing the genetic relationships between different scroll fragments, the researchers were able to discern … more »