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Latest Archaeology News

Americas

Widespread Amazonian depopulation and reforestation before Europeans’ arrival
Fossil pollen records from across the Amazon basin suggest that depopulation and resulting forest regrowth in Amazonia began centuries before European arrival and did not contribute to the observed decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide during the 17th century, according to a new study. The results offer new insights into the human influence on Amazonian landscapes throughout history. When Europeans first arrived on the shores of South America, brutal waves of disease, warfare, slavery and g…
For thousands of years during the last ice age, generations of maritime migrants paddled skin boats eastward across shallow ocean waters from Asia to present-day Alaska. They voyaged from island to island and ultimately to shore, surviving on bountiful seaweeds, fish, shellfish, birds and game harveste…
A new study by Simon Fraser University historical ecologists finds that Indigenous-managed forests–cared for as “forest gardens”–contain more biologically and functionally diverse species than surrounding conifer-dominated forests and create important habitat for animals and pollinators. The findings are published today in *Ecology and Society*. According to researchers, ancient forests were once tended by Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples living along the …

Indigenous land-use reduced catastrophic wildfires on the Fish Lake Plateau

If you were to visit the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau a thousand years ago, you’d find conditions remarkably familiar to the present. The climate was warm, but drier than today. There were large populations of Indigenous people known as the Fremont, a who hunted and grew crops in the area. With similar climate and moderate human ac…

Australia
The best path across the desert is rarely the straightest. For the first human inhabitants of Sahul — the super-continent that underlies modern Australia and New Guinea — camping at the next spring, stream, or rock shelter allowed them to thrive for hundreds of generations. Those who successfully traversed the landmarks made their way across the continent, spreading…
Near East
Climate crises in Mesopotamia prompted the first stable forms of State

Research News During the Bronze Age, Mesopotamia was witness to several climate crises. In the long run, these crises prompted the development of stable forms of State and therefore elicited cooperation between political elites and non-elites. This is the main finding of a study published in the journal *PNAS* and authored by two scholars from the University of Bologna (Italy) and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen (Germany). This study investigated the impact of climate shocks in Mesopotamia between 3100 and 1750 bC. The two scholars looked at these issues through the lenses o…

Resuming the archaeological season in the Egyptian Eastern Desert provides proof of Roman emerald mines “New evidence of the importance of the Roman/Byzantine Mons Smaragdus settlement within the emerald mining network” A new paper published in the *Journal of Near Eastern Studies* presents the results of and images from the resuming of the archaeological seasons in the Mons Smaragdus region in the Egyptian Easte…

Europe
The first study to use x-rays and CT scans to detect evidence of cancer among the skeletal remains of a pre-industrial population suggests that between 9-14% of adults in medieval Britain had the disease at the time of their death. This puts cancer prevalence in a time before exposure to tumour-inducing chemicals from industry and tobacco at around ten times higher than previously th…

French 4,000-year-old carving is oldest map in Europe: study


Complete article Excavated in 1900 by Paul du Chatellier in a barrow and forgotten for a century, this ornamented slab was recently rediscovered in the Musée d’Archéologie nationale (MAN – Museum of National Archaeology) and was the subject of a significant study that allowed it to be interpreted as the oldest cartographical representation of a known territory in Europe, a probable marker of the political power of a principality of the early Bronze Age.

Pont d’Arc was formed about 124,000 years ago, the Chauvet Cave paintings. the world’s oldest cave paintings, date back 36,000 years


*CAPTION* *The Combe d’Arc was greatly impacted by the gradual entrenchment of the Ardèche River* *CREDIT* *© Kim Génuite* The Chauvet Cave, which lies by the entrance to the Gorges of the Ardèche, is home to the world’s oldest cave paintings, dating back 36,000 years. Their state of preservation and aesthetic qualities earned them a spot on the World Heritage List in 2014, 20 years after their discovery. The location of the cavern–surrounded by a remarkable landscape, next to the Pont d’Arc natural archway–raises the question of whether the people who executed these artwo…

Recolonization of Europe after the last ice age started earlier than previously thought


A study that appeared today on *Current Biology* sheds new light on the continental migrations which shaped the genetic background of all present Europeans. The research generates new ancient DNA evidence and direct dating from a fragmentary fossil mandible belonging to an individual who lived ~17,000 years ago in northeastern Italy (Riparo Tagliente, Verona). The results backdate by about 3,000 years the…

Early Neolithic farmers modified the reproductive cycle of sheep over 7,500 years ago

A new study offers exceptional first time evidence of how early flocks of domesticated sheep fed and reproduced within the Iberian Peninsula, are currently the first example of the modification of sheep’s seasonal reproductive rhythms with the aim of adapting them to human needs. The project includes technical approaches based on stable isotope analysis and dental microwear of animal remains from more than 7,500 years ago found in the Neolithic Chaves cave site in Huesca, in the central Pyrennean region of Spain. The research was coordinated from the Arqueozoology Laboratory of th…

A new study of the dietary evolution of the first agricultural and pastoral communities in Central Europe

 The lifestyle and eating habits of human groups that have lived for thousands of years can be examined by tooth. An international research group analyzed the prehistoric findings of the Neolithic Age. In addition to providing knowledge about the lifestyles o…

Grave goods show gendered roles for Neolithic farmers

Grave goods, such as stone tools, have revealed that Neolithic farmers had different work-related activities for men and women. Researchers at the University of York analysed 400 stone objects found in graves at cemetery sites across Europe and noted there were differences in size, weight, and raw material dependent on whether the body was a male or a female. Archaeologists had previously thought that polished stone tools in this period were used for woodworking, but analysis now shows a much wider range of tasks, with different activities for men and women. The tools found in f…


A genome by itself is like a recipe without a chef — full of important information, but in need of interpretation. So, even though we have sequenced genomes of our nearest extinct relatives — the Neanderthals and the Denisovans — there remain many unknowns regarding how differences in our genomes actually lead to differences in physical traits. “When we’re looking at archaic genomes, we don’t have all the layers and marks that we usually have in samples from present-day individuals that help us interpret regulation in the genome, like RNA or cel..
Creativity and community: How modern humans overcame the Neanderthals

A new study is the first-ever to identify the genes for creativity in Homo sapiens that distinguish modern humans from chimpanzees and Neanderthals. The research identified 267 genes tha…


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Scientists have succeeded in extracting and analyzing Neandertal chromosomal DNA preserved in cave sediments


PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: GALERÍA DE LAS ESTATUAS CAVE SITE IN NORTHERN SPAIN. view more CREDIT: JAVIER TRUEBA – MADRID SCIENTIFIC FILMS The field of ancient DNA has revealed important aspects of our evolutionary past, including our relationships with our distant cousins, Denisovans and Neandertals. These studies have relied on DNA from bones and teeth, which store DNA and protect it from the environment. But such skeletal remains are exceedingly rare, leaving large parts of human history inaccessible to genetic analysis. To fill these gaps, researchers at the Max Plan…
Genetic admixture in the South Pacific: from Denisovans to the human immune response
Jonathan Kantrowitz, Archaeology News Report – 2 weeks ago

Genetic admixture in the South Pacific: from Denisovans to the human immune response CREDIT © Institut Pasteur Describing the genetic diversity of human populations is essential to improve our understanding of human diseases and their geographical distribution. However, the vast majority of genetic studies have been focused on populations of European ancestry, which represent only 16% of the global population. Scientists at the Institut Pasteur, Collège de France, and CNRS have looked at understudied human populations from the South Pacific, which are severely a…

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Africa
Discarded ostrich shells provide timeline for our early African ancestors


Archeologists have learned a lot about our ancestors by rummaging through their garbage piles, which contain evidence of their diet and population levels as the local flora and faun…

Little Foot fossil shows early human ancestor clung closely to trees

Research News A long-awaited, high-tech analysis of the upper body of famed fossil “Little Foot” opens a window to a pivotal period when human ancestors diverged from apes, new USC research shows. Little Foot’s shoulder assembly proved key to interpreting an early branch of the human evolutionary tree. Scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC focused on its so-called pectoral girdle, which includes collarbones, shoulder blades and joints. Although other parts of Little Foot, especially its legs, show humanlike traits for upright walking, the shoulder components are clearl…

Study cements age and location of hotly debated skull from early human Homo erectus


Scientists also find two new, nearly 2-million-year-old specimens–likely the earliest pieces of the H. erectus skeleton yet discovered A new study verifies the age and origin of one of the oldest specimens of *Homo erectus*–a very successful early human who roamed the world for nearly 2 million years. In doing so, the researchers also found two new specim…

A team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol, with colleagues from Goethe University, Frankfurt, has found the first evidence for ancient honey hunting, locked inside pottery fragments from prehistoric West Africa, dating back some 3,500 years ago. Honeybees are an iconic species, being the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. Honeybee hive products, including beeswax, honey and pollen, used both for food and medicinal purposes, support livelihoods an…
Israel
Cracking the code of the Dead Sea Scrolls

PRINT E-MAIL [image: IMAGE] IMAGE: TWO 12X12 KOHONEN MAPS (BLUE COLOURMAPS) OF FULL CHARACTER ALEPH AND BET FROM THE DEAD SEA SCROLL COLLECTION. EACH OF THE CHARACTERS IN THE KOHONEN MAPS IS FORMED FROM MULTIPLE… view more CREDIT: MARUF A. DHALI, UNIVERSITY OF GRONINGEN The Dead Sea Scrolls, discovered some seventy years ago, are famous for containing the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and many hitherto unknown ancient Jewish texts. But the individual people behind the scrolls have eluded scientists, because the scribes are anonymous. Now, by combin..
Early alphabetic writing in the ancient Near East: the ‘missing link’ from Tel Lachish

The origin of alphabetic script lies in second-millennium BC Bronze Age Levantine societies. A chronological gap, however, divides the earliest evidence from the Sinai and Egypt—dated to the nineteenth century BC—and from the thirteenth-century BC corpus in Palestine. Here, the authors report a newly discovered Late Bronze Age alphabetic inscription from Tel Lachish, Israel. Dating to the fifteenth century BC, this inscription is currently the oldest securely dated alphabetic inscription from the Southern Levant, and may therefore be regarded as the ‘missing link’. The prolife…

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Latest Archaeology News

*ASIA* Early dispersal of neolithic domesticated sheep into the heart of central Asia Along the Tian Shan and Alay mountain ranges of Central Asia, sheep and other domestic livestock form the core economy of contemporary life. Although it was here that the movements of their ancient predecessors helped to shape the great trade networks of the Silk Road, domestic animals were thought to have come relatively late to the region. A new study, published… No evidence of interbreeding between modern humans and the ancient humans in Island Southeast Asia An international group o…