Arctic Sea Ice : Forum

Off-topic => The rest => Topic started by: Pmt111500 on November 26, 2018, 07:21:47 AM

Title: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on November 26, 2018, 07:21:47 AM
This thread may be used to inform forumites of interesting archeology/paleontology news, lets keep the posts short and always link to a source, please.
I'm opening the thread with a local find. The site is under 10 km from my place.
Part of the burial ground of the earliest christian church yet found in Finland has been found, and the burial of a 13th century women has been excavated. No written records of this site exist. Among finds are remnants of cloth used during the time, as of yet the colors used are unknown, samples of the cloths are sent to Belgian laboratory for color analysis. Parts of socks and a skirt (apparently also a cape) have been identified.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on December 09, 2018, 09:24:58 AM
1400s AD fisherman found probably drowned in then Thames mudflats, wearing tigh high boots:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 09, 2018, 09:45:48 PM
Meanwhile in Denmark...

Oldest ever traces of the plague found in Falköping

In a 5,000 year old grave outside Falköping, scientists have found the oldest traces of the plague bacterium's DNA in the world.

"The discovery of such an early variant of the bacterium in Falköping was totally unexpected since previous findings pointed to Yersinia pestis as having originated in Asia.

The find in Falköping also means that the researchers may have solved another mystery. It was only recently discovered that people in different regions of Eurasia were all infected with the plague during the Bronze Age.

t was by analysing 'molecular clock' data that the researchers discovered that different strains of the plague bacterium spread very rapidly in Eurasia between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago. This matches exactly a period in South-East Europe when the first large population densities arose but also collapsed. It was also at this time that many technological breakthroughs occurred such as the wheel, the use of draught animals, and metallurgy – breakthroughs that facilitated long-distance trade, for example.

For full details see

or this

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 14, 2018, 02:58:30 PM
Not archaeology per se if if this pans out it will be useful for the field so i am smuggling it in here:

Chinese cave holds carbon dating ‘Holy Grail’

Stalagmites in a Chinese cave have given scientists all they need to reconstruct the historical record of atmospheric radiocarbon (carbon-14) back to the carbon dating limit of around 54,000 years ago.


 carbon dating requires calibrating because levels of carbon-14 in the atmosphere vary from year to year. Tree ring data provides a good gauge for carbon dating because their growth reflects their yearly uptake of atmospheric carbon-14. But tree ring data only goes back around 13,000 years.

Hai Cheng at Xi’an Jiaotong University, China, and colleagues in the US previously discovered that a stalagmite in Hulu Cave in China showed unusually low and stable amounts of dead carbon that allowed for accurate carbon-14 calibration between around 27,000 and 10,500 years ago. Now the team have studied two older stalagmites in the cave to help take carbon dating to its limit.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 16, 2018, 01:29:32 PM
Archaeologists in Egypt have made an exciting tomb discovery - the final resting place of a high priest, untouched for 4,400 years.

Lots of pictures on the link. Quite a bit of the paint is preserved.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on December 17, 2018, 05:49:09 PM
Feathers were present way earlier than thought, international group discovers,
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 27, 2019, 04:48:46 PM
Neanderthals Were Intelligent Enough To Make Spears That Could Kill Animals At A Distance


The 300,000-year-old Schöningen spears are throwing spears from the Palaeolithic Age that hold the record as the oldest known wooden artifacts in the world. They are also the oldest completely preserved hunting weapons from prehistoric Europe so far discovered.


To find out if the Schöningen spears could hit a target at a distance, Annemieke Milks, from University College London, and colleagues made replicas of the prehistoric weapons. They also asked six javelin athletes to throw the spears.

The researchers chose javelin athletes for the study because they have the skill to throw at high velocity, which can match of the capability of Neanderthal hunters.

Hunting Prey At A Distance
The athletes showed they could hit a target at a range of up to 20 meters, and with significant impact that could translate into killing a prey.

This means the wooden spears would have allowed the Neanderthals to use them as hunting weapons and kill at a distance.

The Neanderthals have long been known as hunters but the finding is significant since earlier studies suggest these archaic human species could only hunt and kill their prey at a close range. The demonstrated range was, in fact, double the distance scientists previously thought the spears could be thrown.

and more on:

One of my pet peeves is scientists painting Neanderthals as primitive brutes (which they did to make modern us more special). Of course nowadays we know they and Homo Sapiens mixed so they could probably communicate.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Sebastian Jones on January 28, 2019, 06:17:36 AM
Neanderthals Were Intelligent Enough To Make Spears That Could Kill Animals At A Distance


One of my pet peeves is scientists painting Neanderthals as primitive brutes (which they did to make modern us more special). Of course nowadays we know they and Homo Sapiens mixed so they could probably communicate.

Agreed, with the additional observation that Neanderthals were Homo Sapiens...Also as we learn how many non-homo animals use tools, even as weapons, this news makes even more sense.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: sidd on January 28, 2019, 07:06:42 AM
Isnt that older than neanderthal ? thats two glaciations ago ...

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 28, 2019, 10:21:06 AM
A model of the evolution of the genus Homo over the last 2 million years (vertical axis). The rapid "Out of Africa" expansion of H. sapiens is indicated at the top of the diagram, with admixture indicated with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and unspecified archaic African hominins. Late survival of robust australopithecines (Paranthropus) alongside Homo until 1.2 Mya is indicated in purple.

Homo sapiens (anatomically modern humans) emerges close to 300,000 to 200,000 years ago,[6] most likely in Africa, and Homo neanderthalensis emerges at around the same time in Europe and Western Asia.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 31, 2019, 02:45:47 PM
Neanderthals and Denisovans Shared a Siberian Cave for Thousands of Years, New Research Suggests

Results from this work showed that Denisovans first occupied the cave around 287,000 years ago, and continued to live in the cave until around 55,000 years ago. Neanderthals arrived at the cave around 193,000 years ago, and they continued to live there up until around 97,000 years ago—an overlap of 96,000 years. The bones of 27 animals, including mammals and fishes, along with 72 species of plants, were also analysed, pointing to a variable climate in the region during the millennia of occupation at the cave. At times, the region was relatively warm, featuring forests of broad-leaved trees, but at other times it was a harsh and desolate tundra-steppe habitat.

for the details see:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 06, 2019, 11:08:58 AM
A taste for fat may have made us human

Long before human ancestors began hunting large mammals for meat, a fatty diet provided them with the nutrition to develop bigger brains, posits a new paper in Current Anthropology.

The paper argues that our early ancestors acquired a taste for fat by eating marrow scavenged from the skeletal remains of large animals that had been killed and eaten by other predators. The argument challenges the widely held view among anthropologists that eating meat was the critical factor in setting the stage for the evolution of humans.


"The reservoirs of fat in the long bones of carcasses were a huge calorie package on a calorie-poor landscape. That could have been what gave an ancestral population the advantage it needed to set off the chain of human evolution."


A meat-centered paradigm for human evolution hypothesizes that an ape population began more actively hunting and eating small game, which became an evolutionary stepping stone to the human behavior of hunting large animals.

The paper argues that this theory does not make nutritional sense. "The meat of wild animals is lean," Thompson says. "It actually takes more work to metabolize lean protein than you get back."

In fact, eating lean meat without a good source of fat can lead to protein poisoning and acute malnutrition. Early Arctic explorers, who attempted to survive on rabbit meat exclusively, described the condition as "rabbit starvation."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: gerontocrat on February 06, 2019, 12:27:18 PM
A taste for fat may have made us human

. "The meat of wild animals is lean," Thompson says. "It actually takes more work to metabolize lean protein than you get back."

In fact, eating lean meat without a good source of fat can lead to protein poisoning and acute malnutrition. Early Arctic explorers, who attempted to survive on rabbit meat exclusively, described the condition as "rabbit starvation."
Modern 21st Century Anglo-Saxon man mostly just eats the lean meat of an animal. Three or four generations or more ago this was not the case for most people. Everything got eaten - the offal, the tripes, the head, and the marrow. I remember being at a smallholder credit meeting in Malawi back in the early 1980's. The one bit of the goat we had for dinner I could not eat was intestines on a stick. I was not keen on bat kebabs either. Chinese cuisine - in China - also uses all of the animal.

To say that an early humanoid would just have eaten the lean meat from an animal it killed is just stupid, as were those early Arctic explorers (and like Scott who would not eat the horses to supplement their food supply on his fatal Antarctic adventure).

And just about all predators will eat carrion if it is available and digestible. So an argument that says carrion vs an argument that says hunting is also completely dumb, as they are not mutually exclusive.

Some scientists need to get out of their studies and laboratories more
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on February 07, 2019, 11:50:38 AM
I thought Elane Morgan had the transition pretty much nailed down with her aquatic ape hypothesis. A prolonged period of exploiting the tidal reaches, using the high protien harvest available there, the closer for me was that menses ceases whilst swimming.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Sebastian Jones on February 08, 2019, 05:10:44 AM
the closer for me was that menses ceases whilst swimming.
Are you joking? If so, my apologies for being slow. If not please provide a reference for this assertion.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 08, 2019, 11:05:23 PM
Danish Workers Unearth 'Still-Sharp' Medieval Sword While Digging Out Sewer

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on February 09, 2019, 10:26:07 AM
"Are you joking" Iirc it's what the book said, the consensus now seems to be that the flow ceases due to external water pressure[?] whereas the book associated it with other reflex actions, the heart slowing when the head goes under water being one, rapid reduction of flow to near surface capillaries another.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on February 09, 2019, 11:01:06 PM
I thought Elane Morgan had the transition pretty much nailed down with her aquatic ape hypothesis. A prolonged period of exploiting the tidal reaches, using the high protien harvest available there, the closer for me was that menses ceases whilst swimming.

"The Naked Ape" by Desmond Morris opened my mind to the possibility of an aquatic ancestor. Living in a commune at Ortega Hot Springs convinced me that those ancestors were on to something good. :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 09, 2019, 06:08:15 PM
The Black Death May Have Transformed Medieval Societies In Sub-Saharan Africa

In the 14th century, the Black Death swept across Europe, Asia, and North Africa, killing up to 50% of the population in some cities. But archaeologists and historians have assumed that the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis, carried by fleas infesting rodents, didn’t make it across the Sahara Desert.


Plague is endemic in parts of Africa now; most historians have assumed it arrived in the 19th century from India or China. But Gérard Chouin, an archaeologist and historian at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and a team leader in the French National Research Agency’s GLOBAFRICA research program, first started to wonder whether plague had a longer history in sub-Saharan Africa while excavating the site of Akrokrowa in Ghana. Founded around 700 C.E., Akrokrowa was a farming community surrounded by an elliptical ditch and high earthen banks, one of dozens of similar “earthwork” settlements in southern Ghana at the time. But sometime in the late 1300s, Akrokrowa and all the other earthwork settlements were abandoned. “There was a deep, structural change in settlement patterns,” Chouin says, just as the Black Death ravaged Eurasia and North Africa. With GLOBAFRICA funding, he has since documented a similar 14th century abandonment of Ife, Nigeria, the homeland of the Yoruba people, although that site was later reoccupied.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 09, 2019, 06:10:20 PM
Cave of relics found under Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza

Archaeologists have discovered a cave filled with hundreds of artifacts beneath the ruins of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza in Mexico, the lead researcher on the project said Monday, calling the find "incredible."


It sits about 24 meters (80 feet) underground, and contains multiple chambers connected by narrow passages -- often so narrow that researchers had to crawl or drag themselves through them, De Anda said.

His team has explored about 460 meters of the cave so far, and does not know how far it stretches, he added.

The relics found include seven incense burners shaped like the Mayan rain god Chaac, which researchers believe were offerings meant to bring rain.


De Anda's team plans to continue exploring the cave. Rather than remove the artifacts they find, they will study them on site, he said.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 10, 2019, 01:40:28 AM
‘Elixir of Immortality’ Uncovered in 2,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb


A yellowish liquid found in a bronze pot dating back some 2,000 years is not wine, as Chinese archaeologists initially thought. It’s actually an “elixir of immortality” concocted during ancient times.

The bronze pot was discovered last October by archaeologists working at the tomb of a noble family in the Henan Province of central China. The 210-square-meter site in the city of Luoyang dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (202 BCE to 8 CE) and, in addition to the pot, yielded the well-preserved remains of a nobleman, painted clay pots, materials made from jade and bronze, and a lamp in the shape of a wild goose.

Intriguingly, the pot contained 3.5 liters (0.9 gallons) of a yellowish liquid exhibiting a very strong alcohol-like smell. At the time, archaeologists figured it was wine—a conclusion consistent with other discoveries dating back to the same period. Back then, wine made from rice and sorghum grains were used in ritual sacrifices and ceremonies, reported Xinhua.

But as Xinhua points out in an update to this discovery, further lab work has shown that the substance isn’t wine at all. The liquid is primarily comprised of potassium nitrate and alunite—the main ingredients of a life-enriching elixir documented in ancient Taoist texts.

He chose ... poorly

- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on March 10, 2019, 01:49:58 AM
a life-enriching elixir
It must work:  that urn is 2000 years young!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 10, 2019, 02:02:58 AM
Doesn't look a day over 1500  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Neven on March 10, 2019, 09:41:46 AM
a life-enriching elixir
It must work:  that urn is 2000 years young!

Yes, and a tomb must be the ideal location for an 'elixir of immortality'.  :D

in addition to the pot, yielded the well-preserved remains of a nobleman, painted clay pots, materials made from jade and bronze, and a lamp in the shape of a wild goose.

I think the people who stacked the tomb, were experts in irony. A pot with an 'elixir of immortality' and 'a lamp in the shape of a wild goose'. Great combination.  ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Jim Hunt on March 10, 2019, 02:41:01 PM
I think the people who stacked the tomb, were experts in irony. A pot with an 'elixir of immortality' and 'a lamp in the shape of a wild goose'. Great combination.  ;)

I must have slept for 3 weeks after partying too hard on Friday night/Saturday morning.

I didn't realise that it's already April 1st  :(
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 10, 2019, 03:40:35 PM
Hey, don't knock it ... Maybe those folks were on to something there.  8)

... The liquid is primarily comprised of potassium nitrate and alunite—the main ingredients of a life-enriching elixir documented in ancient Taoist texts.

... potassium nitrate is used for food preservation and color retention, particularly in cured meats such as bacon, bologna, corned beef, ham, hot dogs and pepperoni

... After 20 years of sorting through garbage cans and landfills, the archaeologist William L. Rathje has accumulated precious memories. There are the 40-year-old hot dogs, perfectly preserved beneath dozens of strata of waste, and the head of lettuce still in pristine condition after 25 years. But the hands-down winner, the one that still makes him shake his head in disbelief, is an order of guacamole he recently unearthed. Almost as good as new, it sat next to a newspaper apparently thrown out the same day. The date was 1967. ...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 11, 2019, 01:41:26 AM
More on the Mayan cave artfacts at Chichen Itza


The water drip over hundreds of years has resulted in the concretion of some of the objects, including this incense burner in the shape of Mayan rain God Tlaloc. 
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 14, 2019, 12:09:05 AM
Geologic Evidence Supports Theory that Major Cosmic Impact Event Occurred Approximately 12,800 Years Ago


... in a paper published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, Kennett and colleagues, led by Chilean paleontologist Mario Pino, present further evidence of a cosmic impact, this time far south of the equator, that likely lead to biomass burning, climate change and megafaunal extinctions nearly 13,000 years ago.

"We have identified the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) Impact Hypothesis layer at high latitudes in the Southern Hemisphere at near 41 degrees south, close to the tip of South America," Kennett said. This is a major expansion of the extent of the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) Impact Hypothesis event." The vast majority of evidence to date, he added, has been found in the Northern Hemisphere.

Investigators recognized changes known to be associated with YDB impact event. They included a "black mat" layer, 12,800 years in age, that coincided with the disappearance of South American Pleistocene megafauna fossils, an abrupt shift in regional vegetation and a disappearance of human artifacts.

... the group decided to run analyses of impact-related proxies in search of the YDB layer," Kennett said. This yielded the presence of microscopic spherules interpreted to have been formed by melting due to the extremely high temperatures associated with impact. The layer containing these spherules also show peak concentrations of platinum and gold, and native iron particles rarely found in nature.

"Among the most important spherules are those that are chromium-rich," Kennett explained. The Pilauco site spherules contain an unusual level of chromium, an element not found in Northern Hemisphere YDB impact spherules, but in South America. "It turns out that volcanic rocks in the southern Andes can be rich in chromium, and these rocks provided a local source for this chromium," he added. "Thus, the cometary objects must have hit South America as well."


"The plant assemblages indicate that there was an abrupt and major shift in the vegetation from wet, cold conditions at Pilauco to warm, dry conditions," Kennett said. According to him, the atmospheric zonal climatic belts shifted "like a seesaw," with a synergistic mechanism, bringing warming to the Southern Hemisphere even as the Northern Hemisphere experienced cooling and expanding sea ice.

The rapidity—within a few years—with which the climate shifted is best attributed to impact-related shifts in atmospheric systems, rather than to the slower oceanic processes, Kennett said. 

Open Access: Mario Pino et al, Sedimentary record from Patagonia, southern Chile supports cosmic-impact triggering of biomass burning, climate change, and megafaunal extinctions at 12.8 ka (, Scientific Reports (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 17, 2019, 05:02:31 PM
Nile shipwreck discovery proves Herodotus right – after 2,469 years

In the fifth century BC, the Greek historian Herodotus visited Egypt and wrote of unusual river boats on the Nile. Twenty-three lines of his Historia, the ancient world’s first great narrative history, are devoted to the intricate description of the construction of a “baris”.

For centuries, scholars have argued over his account because there was no archaeological evidence that such ships ever existed. Now there is. A “fabulously preserved” wreck in the waters around the sunken port city of Thonis-Heracleion has revealed just how accurate the historian was.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 25, 2019, 02:06:31 PM
Huge fossil discovery made in China's Hubei province


Scientists say they have discovered a "stunning" trove of thousands of fossils on a river bank in China.

The fossils are estimated to be about 518 million years old, and are particularly unusual because the soft body tissue of many creatures, including their skin, eyes, and internal organs, have been "exquisitely" well preserved.

Palaeontologists have called the findings "mind-blowing" - especially because more than half the fossils are previously undiscovered species.

The fossils, known as the Qingjiang biota, were collected near Danshui river in Hubei province.

More than 20,000 specimens were collected, and a total of 4,351 have been analysed so far, including worms, jellyfish, sea anemones and algae.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on March 25, 2019, 05:07:11 PM
See also
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on March 25, 2019, 10:16:00 PM
New Analysis Confirms Oldest Mariner's Astrolabe Ever Found

Scientists have confirmed that a gunmetal disk uncovered off the coast of Oman is the oldest known mariner’s astrolabe, according to a new study.

The disk was found underwater at the Sodré shipwreck site, and contained iconic Portuguese imagery still found on the flag of Portugal. Though it appeared to be an astrolabe, it required further confirmation. Laser imagery from scientists at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom has now revealed scale markers along the disk’s edges, confirming that it was in fact an early navigational tool. Astrolabes were instruments used by mariners beginning in the late 15th century to determine latitude, which they did by pointing the disk at the Sun and reading the markings on its sides.

The Sodré astrolabe is believed to have been made between 1496 and 1501 and is unique in comparison to all other mariner's astrolabes.

The astrolabe comes from a set of excavations of the Sodré shipwreck off of Al Hallaniyah, an island off of the Omani coast. The ships were part of a subfleet of the Portuguese armada on a trip to India led by Vasco da Gama in 1502-1503, commanded by da Gama’s uncles Vicente and Brás Sodré. They’d anchored by Al Hallaniyah to find shelter from the seasonal monsoon winds—but a particularly strong wind sunk the ship, killing many of its sailors and Vicente Sodré.



Archeologists believe Norway Find is Rare Viking Ship Burial

Archeologists believe they have found a rare Viking ship burial site in a region of Norway known for its Viking-era treasures, Norwegian officials said Monday.

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), experts found a ship-shaped anomaly near other Viking burial mounds in the Borre Park in Vestfold county, southeast of Oslo.

"The GPR data clearly show the shape of a ship, and we can see weak traces of a circular depression around the vessel. This could point to the existence of a mound that was later removed," Terje Gansum, leader of the department for cultural heritage management in Vestfold county, said in a statement.

There are only seven ship burials dating from the Viking Age (800-1050) in Europe, including three located in Vestfold county.

Another Viking ship burial was believed to have been found in Jellestad in southeastern Norway last year.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on April 01, 2019, 03:30:00 AM
Stunning Fossils Discovery Details the Day Dinosaurs Were Wiped Out


Buried for 66 million years, a prehistoric graveyard is revealing what happened in the minutes after a giant asteroid slammed into the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs, a new study says.

The site, part of the Hell Creek Formation in what is now North Dakota, used to lie along an inland sea that divided North America into two land masses.

“Essentially, what we've got there is the geologic equivalent of high-speed film of the very first moments after the impact,” paleontologist Robert DePalma, the study's lead author, told National Geographic.

Perfectly preserved fossils of fish, animals and plants at the site, which is nicknamed Tanis, offer a detailed recording of what happened immediately after the killer asteroid struck off Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, according to the study to be published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Some of the fossilized fish at the site inhaled tiny glass beads (tekites) formed by the impact.

... “This is the first mass death assemblage of large organisms anyone has found associated with the K-T boundary,” DePalma said. “At no other K-T boundary section on Earth can you find such a collection consisting of a large number of species representing different ages of organisms and different stages of life, all of which died at the same time, on the same day.” 

... We are looking at the moment-by-moment records of one of the most notable impact events in Earth’s history. No other site has a record quite like that. And this particular event is tied directly to all of us — to every mammal on Earth, in fact. Because this is essentially where we inherited the planet. Nothing was the same after that impact. It became a planet of mammals rather than a planet of dinosaurs."

"Prelude to Extinction: a seismically induced onshore surge deposit at the KPg boundary, North Dakota," by Robert DePalma et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on April 02, 2019, 06:28:28 PM
For another take on the recent K-T (now K-Pg) Boundary news:  A bad day at the end of the Cretaceous  ( Steve Drury, concerning both DePalma, R.A. and 11 others 2019, A seismically induced onshore surge deposit at the KPg boundary, North Dakota (, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science; and Preston, D. 2019, The day the dinosaurs died (, The New Yorker.

Some snippets:

 its contents are the stuff of dreams for any aspiring graduate student of palaeontology; the Indiana Jones opportunity.

The paper itself contains little of the information that dominated Preston’s New Yorker article and the global media coverage.
If verified in later peer-reviewed publications, DePalma et al’s work would help resolve the gradual vs sudden hypotheses for the end-Cretaceous mass extinction.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on April 11, 2019, 12:40:12 AM
New Species of Ancient Human Discovered in Philippines Cave

A new species of ancient human, thought to have been under 4ft tall and adapted to climbing trees, has been discovered in the Philippines, providing a twist in the story of human evolution.

The specimen, named Homo luzonensis, was excavated from Callao cave on Luzon island in the northern Philippines and has been dated to 50,000-67,000 years ago – when our own ancestors and the Neanderthals were spreading across Europe and into Asia.

... “We now know that it was a much more complex evolutionary history, with several distinct species contemporaneous with Homo sapiens, interbreeding events, extinctions,” said Détroit. “Homo luzonensis is one of those species and we will [increasingly see] that a few thousand years back in time, Homo sapiens was definitely not alone on Earth.”

... Most intriguing was the presence of a curved toe bone, which closely resembled the anatomy of far more ancient species such as Australopithecus, known only in Africa and dating to 2m-3m years ago. ... Normally this anatomy would indicate a mixed lifestyle with an ability to walk on two legs and climb trees.

Another mystery is how they arrived at Luzon, a large island that has never been connected to the mainland by a land bridge. One possibility is that the early humans set out to sea intentionally on some form of raft; another is that they were washed there in relatively large numbers due to a natural event such as a tsunami. 

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on April 17, 2019, 01:30:43 PM
A lot of species we can see today will be "paleontology" in a hundred years.
When does species loss become a social crisis:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on May 28, 2019, 06:59:21 PM
Researchers Suggest Ancient Supernovae Prompted Human Ancestors To Walk Upright

A paper published today in the Journal of Geology makes the case: Supernovae bombarded Earth with cosmic energy starting as many as 8 million years ago, with a peak some 2.6 million years ago, initiating an avalanche of electrons in the lower atmosphere and setting off a chain of events that feasibly ended with bipedal hominins such as homo habilis, dubbed "handy man."

The authors believe atmospheric ionization probably triggered an enormous upsurge in cloud-to-ground lightning strikes that ignited forest fires around the globe. These infernos could be one reason ancestors of homo sapiens developed bipedalism—to adapt in savannas that replaced torched forests in northeast Africa.

... Based on a "telltale" layer of iron-60 deposits lining the world's sea beds, astronomers have high confidence supernovae exploded in Earth's immediate cosmic neighborhood (—between 100 and only 50 parsecs (163 light years) away—during the transition from the Pliocene Epoch to the Ice Age.

"We calculated the ionization of the atmosphere from cosmic rays which would come from a supernova about as far away as the iron-60 deposits indicate," Melott said. "It appears that this was the closest one in a much longer series. We contend it would increase the ionization of the lower atmosphere by 50-fold. Usually, you don't get lower-atmosphere ionization because cosmic rays don't penetrate that far, but the more energetic ones from supernovae come right down to the surface—so there would be a lot of electrons being knocked out of the atmosphere."

The KU researcher said the probability that this lightning spike touched off a worldwide upsurge in wildfires is supported by the discovery of carbon deposits found in soils that correspond with the timing of the cosmic-ray bombardment.

"The observation is that there's a lot more charcoal and soot in the world starting a few million years ago," Melott said. "It's all over the place, and nobody has any explanation for why it would have happened all over the world in different climate zones. This could be an explanation. That increase in fires is thought to have stimulated the transition from woodland to savanna in a lot of places—where you had forests, now you had mostly open grassland with shrubby things here and there. That's thought to be related to human evolution in northeast Africa. Specifically, in the Great Rift Valley where you get all these hominin fossils."

Melott said no such event is likely to occur again anytime soon. The nearest star capable of exploding into a supernova in the next million years is Betelgeuse, some 200 parsecs (652 light years) from Earth.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: mitch on May 28, 2019, 07:51:13 PM
I tried to check out the paper, and found that all the data was in another that I couldn't access.  There is a problem when astrophysicists try to do geology--they don't seem to understand that the recording system is imperfect.  So the speculation without a tie to the actual sediment cores that they worked on is very untrustworthy.  Furthermore, they string together Fe-60 data from unknown sources to a dubious calculation of change in lightning frequency to disappearance of forests in Africa via lightning-caused fire. 

The likelihood that they are right is probably less than 10%.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 18, 2019, 05:45:11 PM
Climate change had significant impact on Amazon communities before arrival of Europeans

New analysis of what the climate was like in the Amazon from 700 to 1300 shows the changing weather led to the end of communities who farmed intensively, and had a strong class structure. Those who lived without political hierarchy, who grew a greater variety of crops, and took more care to look after the land so it remained fertile, were able to adapt and were less affected.

and much more:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on June 19, 2019, 03:30:47 PM
Anyone else think this was a cemetary?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 20, 2019, 03:05:50 PM
Nice article...I remember a drawn picture of this city with it's roof top access in a kids science book.

Most people were buried in pits that had been dug into the floors of houses, and researchers believe they were interred under the homes in which they lived. That led to an unexpected finding: Most members of a household were not biologically related.
Researchers discovered this when they found that the teeth of individuals buried under the same house weren't as similar as would be expected if they were kin.

I think this is the relevant quote for johns question.

Another quote:
Excavations showed that interior walls and floors were re-plastered many times with clay. And while the residents kept their floors mostly debris-free, analysis of house walls and floors showed traces of animal and human fecal matter.

Clear signs of living there so it is not just a cemetary.

The remains were in the same location but they are only direct family if they died at the same time. The article does not mention the quality of this time data or if they have any and the research article is paywalled.

Also we don't know who actually owned the house or if they moved often.
We don't know how this society handled death....if the mother died in childbirth the baby might go to another woman who also has a baby. And maybe stay there especially if her own dies. This sounds weird to us but maybe the father would come and visit his sibling daily and give the family raising her some food. Just an old school way of coping with infant and maternal deaths.

That could account for more mixing but it is near impossible to tease out so ideally we get the time line of the remains and some genetics (if there is teeth there is some hope for DNA).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on June 24, 2019, 06:19:43 PM
AGW threatens archeological sites:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 03, 2019, 10:04:53 AM
Ancient Northland kauri tree reveals secrets of Earth's polar reversal

The 20 metre-long kauri log could map out what to expect during a geomagnetic reversal – a change in the planet's magnetic field – including its impact on climate change and solar radiation.

The kauri, measuring a massive 2.5m in diameter, is one of the oldest trees ever found.


The tree was buried in about 8m of soil and was preserved like swamp kauri, despite not actually being in a swamp.

Now, carbon dating has confirmed the ancient kauri was alive 41,000 to 42,500 years ago, making it one of the oldest trees ever found.

"This Ngāwhā kauri is unique in the world," University of Waikato associate professor Alan Hogg, the director of the Waikato Radiocarbon Dating laboratory, said.

During its 1500-year lifespan, the tree experienced one of the earth's geomagnetic excursions, meaning the north magnetic pole drifted down to the southern hemisphere and back up again.

That´s an interesting find. It will be interesting to see what it shows when all the work on it is done.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on July 03, 2019, 07:43:51 PM
Nice find Kassy!
Wonder what will be learned.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 10, 2019, 07:58:30 PM
Earliest modern human found outside Africa


A skull unearthed in Greece has been dated to 210,000 years ago, at a time when Europe was occupied by the Neanderthals.

The sensational discovery adds to evidence of an earlier migration of people from Africa that left no trace in the DNA of people alive today.

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Researchers uncovered two significant fossils in Apidima Cave in Greece in the 1970s.

One was very distorted and the other incomplete, however, and it took computed tomography scanning and uranium-series dating to unravel their secrets.

The more complete skull appears to be a Neanderthal. But the other shows clear characteristics, such as a rounded back to the skull, diagnostic of modern humans.

Modern humans left Africa much earlier

What's more, the Neanderthal skull was younger.

"Now our scenario was that there was an early modern group in Greece by 210,000 years ago, perhaps related to comparable populations in the Levant, but it was subsequently replaced by a Neanderthal population (represented by Apidima 2) by about 170,000 years ago," said co-author Prof Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum.

For details:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Gumbercules on July 12, 2019, 11:59:56 PM
Does anyone here follow Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson? They are a bit out there. Their thing is talking about how an advanced, at least compared to what we now understand, civilization existed in pre-history. And it was wiped out in part by an asteroid/comet strike in North America on the ice sheet during one of the ice ages, contributing to the mega floods in the west, and which also killed off all of the large animals here (mammoths, saber-toothed cat, giraffes, etc.). There have recently been found some large craters under the Greenland ice sheet that could be as young as when this extinction event happened, around 12,000 years ago.

It's also related ideas like the Sphynx being significantly older than it supposedly is (it's a lion, thus it faced the sunrise or set when the sun was in the constellation Leo, which due to precession of the equinoxes would have been thousands of years earlier than it is supposed to have been built.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on July 13, 2019, 01:24:49 PM
As a curious young teenager I read Von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. It all made perfect sense, until I learned to think more scientifically and realized it was a steaming pile of BS.
I don't think pseudo-science has any value on this forum.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: b_lumenkraft on July 13, 2019, 01:30:34 PM
steaming pile of BS.

That's an understatement! ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 13, 2019, 06:26:00 PM
Gumbercules, I'll look up those two...I enjoy a little pseudoscience once in awhile.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pragma on July 13, 2019, 08:24:15 PM
As a curious young teenager I read Von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. It all made perfect sense, until I learned to think more scientifically and realized it was a steaming pile of BS.
I don't think pseudo-science has any value on this forum.

I am embarrassed to say I did the same thing. :-[
Critical thinking is both an art and a science that needs to be learned, and practiced daily. Our monkey brains need to be on a short leash.

That said, I will at least consider just about anything, but I will not entertain any discussion about a flat earth or perpetual motion. Curiously, both are on the rise. This tells me we are truly eff'ed

Gumbercules, I'll look up those two...I enjoy a little pseudoscience once in awhile.

Well, if you're looking for crackpottery, for free no less, try:

Our Mysterious Spaceship Moon
by Don Wilson.

Spoiler alert: 'cuz aliens
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 17, 2019, 12:10:44 PM
A "Game-Changing" 10,000-Year-Old Neolithic City Has Been Unearthed Near Jerusalem


The sprawling Neolithic mega-site, unearthed in the neighbourhood of Motza about 5 kilometres (3 miles) to the west of Jerusalem, was first founded over 10,000 years ago, and by its peak a millennium later would have been a bustling centre of trade and activity for some 2,000–3,000 Stone Age city-dwellers.

"This is most probably the largest excavation of this time period in the Middle East, which will allow the research to advance leaps and bounds ahead of where we are today, just by the amount of material that we are able to save and preserve from this site," archaeologist Lauren Davis from the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is conducting the excavation, told Reuters.

for details see:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 18, 2019, 02:21:18 PM
Travel back in time with the 'Google Maps' of Ancient Rome


Researchers at Stanford University have used modern technology to answer by creating a web mapping version of Ancient Rome.

Their model, called ORBIS, consists of 632 sites spread across 10 million square kilometres of terrestrial and maritime space, covering most of modern Western Europe and the Mediterranean coast in North Africa and the Middle East.

The tool generates solutions for travel between any two sites depending on specific means and mode of transport and the months of the year, providing different options based on time and expense.


A trip from London to Arles — in Provence, France — undertaken in the summer would have taken 24 days using the fastest route, which entails sailing down the Channel, then down to the Bay of Biscay to reach Bordeaux and then travelling by land.

The cheapest route would have required 35 days and involved sailing around the Iberian Peninsula. The shortest route in terms of kilometres, meanwhile, would also have been the lengthiest, involving 37 days to travel through France.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 30, 2019, 07:32:55 PM
Lost cities and climate change:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Gumbercules on July 31, 2019, 02:56:52 AM
As a curious young teenager I read Von Däniken's Chariots of the Gods. It all made perfect sense, until I learned to think more scientifically and realized it was a steaming pile of BS.
I don't think pseudo-science has any value on this forum.

That has nothing to do with my post so far as I know.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on July 31, 2019, 10:59:22 PM
For whatever it's worth I've been following the black mat extinction event for decades - and prior to that was well aware of the dark strata that marked the end of the Clovis population as well as the end of the mammoths and other Rancholabrean fossils.

I've 5 samples taken from various sites in the American South West, and one of the reasons I relocated here is that this region was one of the few places not glaciated this far north in the critical time frame.

A friend discovered the first Clovis like point in the area (there are now 2 that have been found). While they appear very similar to Clovis work they are perhaps half the size. I'd hoped to discover a northern extension of the mat, but no luck thus far.

A local? mastodon was discovered ~ a century ago and it was discovered in black soil, though no one alive knows just where it was discovered, (or what happened to it). - Probably no more than it being discovered in a bog.

There is a black layer containing magnetic properties close to the present water level of Lake Erie just west of Turkey Point. I've a sample from that strata also.

When first noted the Black Mat was considered as "Possibly Von Danikenish", but as more data has been revealed, a much stronger case has been made.

An acquaintance who was/is? in charge of ice age fossils at ROM discovered magnetic bits embedded in the top sides of Mammoth and Mastodon tusks that they had in their collections. Whatever hit them came from above - and it came at a high enough velocity to burn it's way through a few inches of ivory.

Interesting Stuff
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Gumbercules on July 31, 2019, 11:38:33 PM
Two huge asteroid/comet craters have been discovered in Greenland  that could be as young as 20,000 years old.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on August 01, 2019, 03:26:28 PM
Gumbercules perhaps you should try to trace the history of the big heads of Puma Punka which Brien Foerster takes such an interest in, they're as close as anyone to fitting the bill.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Gumbercules on August 02, 2019, 01:48:49 AM
Gumbercules perhaps you should try to trace the history of the big heads of Puma Punka which Brien Foerster takes such an interest in, they're as close as anyone to fitting the bill.

Fitting what bill?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on August 03, 2019, 12:10:36 AM
" Their thing is talking about how an advanced, at least compared to what we now understand, civilization existed in pre-history."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on August 03, 2019, 09:21:22 AM
Hi johnm33, just curious what the definition here is of 'civilization'. Is it settlements and expansion? Technological progress? Trade and ownership of nature? Domesticated animals? Agriculture? Conquest?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 03, 2019, 01:35:31 PM
Archaeologists Shed Light on Mysterious Neolithic Society Behind Rise of Ancient Egypt

To many, ancient Egypt is synonymous with the pharaohs and pyramids of the Dynastic period starting about 3,100BC. Yet long before that, about 9,300-4,000BC, enigmatic Neolithic peoples flourished. Indeed, it was the lifestyles and cultural innovations of these peoples that provided the very foundation for the advanced civilisations to come.


Though not lush, the Neolithic was wetter than today, which allowed these ancient herders to populate what is now the middle of nowhere. We focus on the Final Neolithic (4,600-4,000BC), which was built on the success of the Late Neolithic (5,500-4,650BC) with domesticated cattle and goats, wild plant processing and cattle burials.


These people also made apparent megaliths, shrines and even calendar circles – which look a bit like a mini Stonehenge.

During the final part of the Neolithic period, people started burying the dead in formal cemeteries. Skeletons provide critical information because they are from once living people who interacted with the cultural and physical environments. Health, relationships, diet and even psychological experiences can leave telltale signs on teeth and bone.

In 2001-2003 we excavated three cemeteries from this era – the first in the western desert – where we uncovered and studied 68 skeletons. ... We learned that these people enjoyed low childhood mortality, tall stature and long life. Men averaged 170cm, while women were about 160cm. Most men and women lived beyond 40 years, with some into their 50s – a long time in those days.

Strangely, in 2009-2016, we dug two more cemeteries that were very different. After analysing another 130 skeletons, we discovered that few artefacts accompanied them, and that they suffered from higher childhood mortality as well as shorter lives and stature.

We're talking several centimetres shorter and perhaps ten years younger for adults of both sexes.

Astonishingly, the largest of these two cemeteries had a separate burial area for children under three years of age, but mostly infants including late-term foetuses. Three women buried with infants were also found, so perhaps they died in childbirth. In fact, this is the world's earliest known infant cemetery.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 03, 2019, 02:18:32 PM
Mesoamerican Attraction to Magnetism


The purpose of Mesoamerican potbelly statues have been the subject of debate among anthropologists for decades: Are they depictions of the ruling elite? A way to honor dead ancestors? Or perhaps portrayals of women giving birth?

As the various theories wound their way through academic circles, the surprising discovery four decades ago that many of the statues, found in Guatemala, are magnetized in certain spots added a new dimension to those discussions.

And a Harvard study suggests that where those areas show up is no accident.

Led by Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Roger Fu, a team of researchers has shown that artisans carved the figures so that the magnetic areas fell at the navel or right temple—suggesting not only that Mesoamerican people were familiar with the concept of magnetism but also that they had some way of detecting the magnetized spots. The study is described in an April 12 paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

... It's uncertain exactly how they detected the anomalies, but earlier research had turned up evidence that Mesoamericans may have used lodestones—naturally magnetized rocks—for a variety of purposes.

"In one case, in 1975, people discovered a hematite-rich bar," Fu said. "Its purpose was unknown, and it was broken, but it was clearly very carefully made.

"If you were to tie it on a string or float it on a piece of wood, it actually could act as a compass needle," he added. "If the makers of these sculptures had access to a tool like that, that's one way they could have detected them."

... "There are some hypotheses which are quite intriguing … that involve digging into why we think people made these sculptures.

"Probably the most successful idea is that they might represent some depiction of the ancestors of the ruling elites," he continued. "The idea is: If you have some claim to power, sculptures of your ancestors with strong magnetic anomalies could appear very impressive to your subjects. The word people use in the literature is that there's a performative aspect to these sculptures, so when the sculptures deflected a magnetized stone, it would appear as though there was something alive with it, or some supernatural aspect to it."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 06, 2019, 06:30:31 PM
Recursive Language and Modern Imagination Were Acquired Simultaneously 70,000 Years Ago

A genetic mutation that slowed down the development of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in two or more children may have triggered a cascade of events leading to acquisition of recursive language and modern imagination 70,000 years ago.

This new hypothesis, called Romulus and Remus and coined by Dr. Vyshedskiy, a neuroscientist from Boston University, might be able to solve the long-standing mystery of language evolution. It is published in the open-science journal Research Ideas and Outcomes (RIO).

Numerous archeological and genetic evidence have already convinced most paleoanthropologists that the speech apparatus has reached essentially modern configurations before the human line split from the Neanderthal line 600,000 years ago.

On the other hand, artifacts signifying modern imagination, such as composite figurative arts, elaborate burials, bone needles with an eye, and construction of dwellings arose not earlier than 70,000 years ago. The half million-year-gap between the acquisition of the modern speech apparatus and modern imagination has baffled scientists for decades.

... "The acquisition of PFS and recursive language 70,000 years ago resulted in what was in essence a behaviorally new species: the first behaviorally modern Homo sapiens," concludes Dr. Vyshedskiy. "This newly acquired power for fast juxtaposition of mental objects in the process of PFS dramatically facilitated mental prototyping and led to fast acceleration of technological progress. Armed with the unprecedented ability to mentally simulate any plan and equally unprecedented ability to communicate it to their companions, humans were poised to quickly become the dominant species."

Andrey Vyshedskiy, Language evolution to revolution: the leap from rich-vocabulary non-recursive communication system to recursive language 70,000 years ago was associated with acquisition of a novel component of imagination, called Prefrontal Synthesis, enabled by a mutation that slowed down the prefrontal cortex maturation simultaneously in two or more children – the Romulus and Remus hypothesis (, Research Ideas and Outcomes (2019)

See also:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 09, 2019, 06:20:13 PM
Archaeology can help us learn from history to build a sustainable future for food

A recent paper in World Archaeology explores past agricultural systems and how they could help make agriculture more sustainable today.

There's a long history of societies around the world experimenting with the way they produce food. Through these past successes and failures comes perspective on how humans have transformed local environments through agriculture and affected soil properties over thousands of years.

Ancient agricultural practices weren't always in balance with nature—there's some evidence that early food growers damaged their environment with overgrazing or mismanaging irrigation which made the soil saltier. But there are also many instances where past systems of growing food improved soil quality, increased crop yields and protected crops against flooding and drought.

One example originated in Pre-Incan South America, and was commonly used between 300 BC and 1400 AD. The system, known today as Waru Waru, consisted of raised soil beds up to two metres high and up to six metres wide, surrounded by water channels. First discovered by researchers in the 1960s around Lake Titicaca, these raised field systems were introduced into wetland and highland areas of Bolivia and Peru over the following decades.

Although some projects failed, the majority have allowed local farmers to improve crop productivity and soil fertility without using chemicals. Compared to other local agricultural methods, the raised beds capture water during droughts and drain water when there's too much rain. This irrigates the crops all year round. The canal water retains heat and raises the air temperature surrounding the soil beds by 1°C, protecting crops from frost. The fish that colonise the channels also provide an additional food source.

Waru Waru farming could prove more resilient to the increased flooding and drought that's expected under climate change. It could also grow food in degraded habitats once considered unsuitable for crops, helping ease pressure to clear rainforest.


Fish as pest control in Asia

In southern China, farmers add fish to their rice paddy fields in a method that dates back to the later Han Dynasty (25–220 AD).

The fish are an additional protein source, so the system produces more food than rice farming alone. But another advantage over rice monocultures is that farmers save on costly chemical fertilisers and pesticides—the fish provide a natural pest control by eating weeds and harmful pests such as the rice planthopper.

Research throughout Asia has shown that compared to fields that only grow rice, rice-fish farming increases rice yields by up to 20%, allowing families to feed themselves and sell their surplus food at market.

Kelly Reed, Lessons from the Past and the Future of Food (, Journal of World Archaeology, May 2019
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 09, 2019, 06:42:20 PM
Viking History Is Melting Away in Greenland

Of all the archaeological sites in Greenland, Norse settlements are at the most risk of rotting away as the Arctic warms, according to new research published Thursday in Scientific Reports. The study estimates that up to 70 percent of the organic material in these sites could decay by 2100.

What stands to be lost is a unique record of remarkably preserved material: hair, textiles, human and animal bones, woods, hides, leathers. As the soil warms up and the number of frost-free days increases, microbes attack these fragile organics, leaving only rot behind. The changes are already happening near Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk, says lead study author Jørgen Hollesen, a senior researcher at the National Museum of Denmark. “Here we have some sites where we know that they found a lot of artifacts, a lot of bones, 40 years ago—but today we don’t see that much left,” he says. “There were bones at some point, but now it’s just this fine-grained mush.”


As the Arctic warms, archaeological sites face multiple threats. Coastal erosion and sea level rise can swamp ruins. Thickening vegetation can hide surface traces of archaeological sites, and roots can penetrate into and scramble archaeological layers. Finally, microbes in warmer soil can become more active, devouring organic material that had long stayed preserved.

The new research focuses on that final risk. Hollesen and his colleagues set automated weather stations at five archaeological sites in the Nuuk region, gathering data for two years. They also took dozens of soil and soil organics samples from seven sites stretching across a 120-kilometer (75-mile) line from the sea eastward toward the Inland Ice Sheet. These sites were not limited to Norse settlements, which existed between about A.D. 985 and A.D. 1350; they also included sites from the Saqqaq culture (2500 B.C. to 800 B.C.), the Dorset culture (300 B.C. to A.D. 600) and the Thule culture (A.D. 1300 to modern times).

The results showed that if temperatures rise 2.5 degrees Celsius or 5 degrees C, these sites stood to lose between 30 percent and 70 percent of their organic materials. The Norse Viking-era sites were at the top end of the scale because they are located inland, where soils are dry, Hollesen says. Drier soil gives microbes access to more oxygen, making them more active. The researchers estimate that 35 percent of the organic materials at Viking sites could be gone in a mere 30 years.

Open Access: Jørgen Hollesen, Predicting the loss of organic archaeological deposits at a regional scale in Greenland (,Scientific Reports, 2019
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 10, 2019, 09:21:05 AM
Ancient humans in Ethiopia fled to the mountains 13,000 feet above sea level and hunted GIANT RODENTS to survive the last Ice Age

Scientists have discovered what’s said to be the first evidence of human presence high in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains dating as far back as 45,000 years ago.

Despite the harsh conditions so high up, researchers say our ancestors made their home in a rock shelter roughly 4,000 meters above sea level (13,123 feet), where they had enough water and could hunt the native giant mole rat for sustenance.


he evidence shows ancient humans populated the site at least twice, with the most recent being around 10,000 years ago, near the end of the last Ice Age.


While life there may not have been easy, the other option wasn’t ideal either; according to the researchers, the lower valleys would then have been too dry for survival

On the ice-free plateaus of the Bale Mountains, on the other hand, the people had access to drinkable water from melt phases of the nearby glaciers and could hunt the giant rodents that lived in the region.

These settlers would also have access to volcanic obsidian rock, from which they could make tools.

‘The settlement was therefore not only comparatively habitable, but also practical,’ says MLU professor Bruno Glaser, an expert in soil biogeochemistry.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 11, 2019, 10:21:02 AM
We seem evolved to survive in cooler climes.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on August 11, 2019, 07:17:47 PM
We seem evolved to survive in cooler climes.

We don't have fur.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 12, 2019, 12:03:27 AM
The valleys were too dry so they went to where the food was.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 12, 2019, 12:37:07 AM
We seem evolved to survive in cooler climes.

We don't have fur.

We have no fur - but we can use the fur of others, many others.
There is a limit to how naked we can get. ???

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 12, 2019, 07:41:02 PM
In really warm climates the limit seems to be a penchant for ornaments.  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 15, 2019, 10:50:20 AM
Neanderthals spent a surprising amount of time underwater

Erik Trinkaus at Washington University in St Louis, Missouri, and his colleagues investigated the well-preserved ear remains of 77 ancient humans that lived in western Eurasia in the mid-to-late Pleistocene period.

They looked for dense, bony growths in the ear canals known as external auditory exostoses. These are often found in modern surfers and others who spend time in cold, wet and windy conditions, leading to the condition’s other name, “surfer’s ear”.

Trinkaus and his colleagues were surprised to find that around half of the 23 Neanderthals they studied had signs of these growths, which is at least twice as prevalent as in any of the other groups of ancient humans the team studied. This suggests that Neanderthals foraged in water for food and other resources – something that hasn’t been obvious from other archaeological evidence.


He and his team also studied the remains of early modern humans from the middle Palaeolithic period, around 130,000 to 80,000 years ago. Only one in four of them had these growths. In humans from the early-to-mid upper Palaeolithic period, around 60,000 to 25,000 years ago, the growths showed up in five out of 24 remains.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 15, 2019, 02:25:48 PM

The Aquatic Ape
Was he foraging or frolicking?

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 15, 2019, 04:59:39 PM
or avoiding predators - I remember a mooselet (okay, a moose calf) standing in a small river we were air-boating on (near Fairbanks, Alaska) that didn't want to get out of the water as we passed (but did, reluctantly).  We later walked to the location and saw wolf tracks on both shores.

or fishing - also in Alaska, I once swam in a spawning stream (.5 - 1 meter deep and 10-15 m wide - a river to my New Mexican sensibilities) and when I took a deep breath and went under water, holding onto a boulder, the salmon would 'treat me like a rock' after about a minute, but when I went up for air, they 'treated me like a bear' and kept their distance.  I could have caught one, but was dissuaded by the visible teeth!  (I grew up bathing and playing in snow-bank sourced streams in Colorado during the summer, so cold water is cool.  A minute is a long time in cold water!)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 16, 2019, 10:35:32 AM
I would think foraging but there is little evidence like fishbones or shells or even DNA traces.

Their diet varied per location:
Researchers looking at the DNA in plaque from Neanderthal remains at the Spanish site of El Sidrón found evidence that they were eating mushrooms, pine nuts, and moss, with no indication of meat in their diet. Meanwhile, scrapings of Neanderthal dental plaque from Spy Cave in Belgium indicated a meat-heavy diet of wild mountain sheep and wooly rhinoceros. Some populations of Neanderthals were definitely more carnivorous than others.

and they hunted smaller prey too:
The study examined animal bones excavated from eight sites, mostly caves, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea, dating from 400,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers know they belonged to Neanderthals because of the types of stone tools found there.

"Many of these early Neanderthal sites contained sometimes 80, 90 per cent rabbits," said Eugene Morin, assistant professor of anthropology at Trent University in Peterborough, Ont. "It was not something rare."

The discovery came as a surprise because Neanderthals were thought to hunt almost exclusively large, hoofed animals such as deer, wild cattle, mountain goats and horses. (Remains of elephants were also found at one site, Morin said, but it wasn't clear whether the Neaderthals killed them or scavenged them from other predators).

Hunting rabbits would have required a different technology, such as traps or snares, and would have produced relatively little meat for the effort.

"It's a lot of work to kill a speedy animal like a rabbit," Morin said, adding it suggests Neanderthals were experiencing food shortages and were finding ways to adapt by expanding their diet.

But if you snare them that should take care of the speed?

Some evidence from tools used for fish processing:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 16, 2019, 12:21:08 PM
Rabbit sticks, bolos, fire drives and in ancient times round hardwood atlatl heads or "bolls" were all used in the American West to hunt rabbits and other small game prior to and post the introduction of the bow and arrow.
Atlatls disappeared very soon after bows were introduced, at least in the desert regions of the South west.
AFAIK Neanderthal never developed the atlatl, but the other techniques and equipment probably wouldn't leave identifiable artifacts.
None of these preclude nets and snares of course, but they do fit my preconceptions of Neanderthal as a vigorous people not inclined to set a trap and wait for a passing rabbit.

I'd never heard of vegan Neanderthal previously :)  and the aquatic lifestyle was a shocker.

I've always pictured the Neanderthal as much brighter than our more direct antecedents, primarily due to cranial capacity, but the victors get to skew history (and prehistory).

I'll try to remember the name Morin, and look him up if he and I should attend the next OAS Conference. It sounds as though he's made some unexpected and game changing discoveries.

Nice catch!
I think hiding behind a tree and making noises like a carrot was one of the lesser known techniques of capturing rabbits. ::)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 16, 2019, 05:30:44 PM
Neanderthal Use of Fish, Mammals, Birds, Starchy Plants and Wood 125-250,000 Years Ago (
Bruce L. Hardy, Marie-Hélène Moncel  -  PLOS  -  Published: August 24, 2011
Neanderthals are most often portrayed as big game hunters who derived the vast majority of their diet from large terrestrial herbivores while birds, fish and plants are seen as relatively unimportant or beyond the capabilities of Neanderthals. Although evidence for exploitation of other resources (small mammals, birds, fish, shellfish, and plants) has been found at certain Neanderthal sites, these are typically dismissed as unusual exceptions. The general view suggests that Neanderthal diet may broaden with time, but that this only occurs sometime after 50,000 years ago. We present evidence, in the form of lithic residue and use-wear analyses, for an example of a broad-based subsistence for Neanderthals at the site of Payre, Ardèche, France (beginning of MIS 5/end of MIS 6 to beginning of MIS 7/end of MIS 8; approximately 125–250,000 years ago). In addition to large terrestrial herbivores, Neanderthals at Payre also exploited starchy plants, birds, and fish. These results demonstrate a varied subsistence already in place with early Neanderthals and suggest that our ideas of Neanderthal subsistence are biased by our dependence on the zooarchaeological record and a deep-seated intellectual emphasis on big game hunting.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: SteveMDFP on August 16, 2019, 05:46:06 PM
I would think foraging but there is little evidence like fishbones or shells or even DNA traces.

I'd agree.  The exostoses in the ear canals likely reflect some kind of inflammation.  H sapiens typically gets otitis externa (said inflammation) from getting water trapped in the ear canal.  But it's a bit of a stretch to suggest this was the exact etiology for a different species.

Cats (who avoid swimming) get otitis externa from infection, such as mites or the fungal genus Malassezia.

Neanderthals are known to have had a much heavier bone structure than modern humans.  It's plausible that they were faster to form bony growths in areas of inflammation.  Given the absence of other evidence for an aquatic lifestyle, I'd think a propensity to acquire Malassezia infections in the ear canal might be a more likely explanation.  Possibly H sapiens introduced Malassezia to the Neanderthal population.

There are certainly examples of incursions of a population into new areas that led to devastating epidemics in indigenous peoples.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 16, 2019, 08:59:10 PM
What were Neanderthals eating? (
By: Jordyn Fugere **

On the other side of the debate we have evidence for a larger variation in Neanderthal diet consisting not only of a considerable amount of protein from large terrestrial mammals, but also protein and nutrients from marine resources (fish & shellfish), avian resources (birds), smaller mammals, starchy [p]ants], and underground storage vessels like tubers. Hardy and Moncel studied the stone tools from the Payre Neanderthal site in the Rhone Valley of France.  125 of the 182 artifacts they studied exhibited use-wear traces and microscopic residues of the  resources the tools had been  used to process. Hardy and Moncel found that 18 of the 182 artifacts demonstrated a high/hard silica polish indicative of use on starchy plant processing. 31 out of the 182 artifacts showed residues of mammal processing by the presence of hair, bone, skin, muscle tissue and soft polish wear patterns. The most surprising evidence is found in the presence of marine processing, evident on 10/182 artifacts. Fish residue can be distinguished by scale fragments, bone fragments, skeletal muscle or iridophores, as well as by dull/greasy polish streaks. However, these polish streaks are slightly inconsistent and difficult to distinguish at times. A single avian residue artifact was also found at the site, as evidenced by feather barbules present on the artifact’s cutting surface.

In the Middle Paleolithic-Mediterranean Neanderthal sites there is evidence of tortoise and shellfish remains in the fossil record as they were easy to catch and occurred in large abundances.

I did not include any of the "mostly or all meat" evidence included in the student's paper, but it was presented.  It appears to me that in some places Neanderthal ate "A" and in other places they ate "B".
** - "We are a group of undergraduate students from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who are interested in in presenting the latest research on Neanderthals. We created this website during November and December of 2013."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: DrTskoul on August 16, 2019, 09:00:27 PM
Most of the time they ate food...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 16, 2019, 09:17:41 PM
Although I'd mostly not eat what they ate …
I'll stick with "A is for apple, B is for bean", and avoid "C is for caribou and D is for deer."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on August 17, 2019, 07:05:23 AM
You would need a much stronger set of jaws and jaw-muscles to chew your way through their food.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on August 17, 2019, 04:48:11 PM
Yup, chewing gum wears my jaw out.  That's what I get for having a diet of tofu, cooked cauliflower and butter pecan ice cream (plus greens, beans grains and fruit).  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on August 17, 2019, 05:32:33 PM
(I think this thread is appropriate :) )
Gerontocrat, your First-year ice is getting torched by your supremacy, sire.
Am I an alarmist here?

Sorry for the off-topic.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 20, 2019, 05:44:51 PM
Stone Age Boat Building Site Discovered Underwater

The Maritime Archaeological Trust has discovered a new 8,000 year old structure next to what is believed to be the oldest boat building site in the world on the Isle of Wight.

The site lies east of Yarmouth, and the new platform is the most intact, wooden Middle Stone Age structure ever found in the UK. The site is now 11 meters below sea level and during the period there was human activity on the site, it was dry land with lush vegetation. Importantly, it was at a time before the North Sea was fully formed and the Isle of Wight was still connected to mainland Europe.

The site was first discovered in 2005 and contains an arrangement of trimmed timbers that could be platforms, walkways or collapsed structures. ... It was then excavated by the Maritime Archaeological Trust during the summer and has revealed a cohesive platform consisting of split timbers, several layers thick, resting on horizontally laid round-wood foundations.

Garry continued "The site contains a wealth of evidence for technological skills that were not thought to have been developed for a further couple of thousand years, such as advanced wood working. This site shows the value of marine archaeology for understanding the development of civilisation.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 21, 2019, 02:51:55 PM
That is a really cool find!  :)

Here is a puzzle:

DNA Analysis Just Made The Eerie Mystery of Himalayan 'Skeleton Lake' Even Stranger

High in the Himalayas of India, amid the snow-capped peaks, nestles a mystery. Roopkund Lake is a shallow body of water filled with human bones - the skeletons of hundreds of individuals. It's these that give the lake its other name, Skeleton Lake, and no one knows how the remains came to be there.


This analysis revealed three distinct groups. The largest consisted of 23 individuals with DNA similar to that of people from present-day India. Apart from this, they seemed genetically unrelated.

The second-largest group, comprising 14 individuals, was a huge surprise. Their DNA was most similar to people in present-day Crete and Greece.

Finally, the one remaining individual had DNA suggesting a Southeast Asian origin.


Even more surprising was the staggered arrival times of the groups. Radiocarbon dating placed the Indian-related bones between the 7th and 10th centuries CE. It's possible they were divided into different groups at different times within this timespan.

But the other two groups, from the Mediterranean and from Southeast Asia, were dated to between the 17th and 20th centuries CE. That's just a few hundred years ago. And it's possible that the remains that haven't been tested could include other groups, from other times and other regions.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 21, 2019, 04:34:48 PM
Kassy, what's really weird about the skeletons in Roopkund Lake is HOW they died.

... It wasn’t until 2004 that a proper investigation into the deaths began, and the mysterious remains were revealed to the world. National Geographic Channel commissioned European and Indian researchers to retrieve the bones and tissue samples from the area and analyze them.

... all the bodies date to around 850 AD. DNA evidence indicates that there were two distinct groups of people, one a family or tribe of closely related individuals, and a second smaller, shorter group of locals, likely hired as porters and guides. Rings, spears, leather shoes, and bamboo staves were found, leading experts to believe that the group was comprised of pilgrims heading through the valley with the help of the locals.

All the bodies had died in a similar way, from blows to the head. However, the short deep cracks in the skulls appeared to be the result not of weapons, but rather of something rounded. The bodies also only had wounds on their heads, and shoulders as if the blows had all come from directly above. What had killed them all, porter and pilgrim alike?

Among Himalayan women there is an ancient and traditional folk song. The lyrics describe a goddess so enraged at outsiders who defiled her mountain sanctuary that she rained death upon them by flinging hailstones “hard as iron.” After much research and consideration, the 2004 expedition came to the same conclusion. All 200 people died from a sudden and severe hailstorm.

Trapped in the valley with nowhere to hide or seek shelter, the “hard as iron” cricket ball-sized [about 23 centimeter/9 inches circumference] hailstones came by the thousands, resulting in the travelers’ bizarre sudden death. The remains lay in the lake for 1,200 years until their discovery.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 22, 2019, 04:49:32 PM
LOL i posted it because it was such a nice quirky story but this is something else.

So if it´s hailstones why do they all end up in the lake? ... need hi res local map.

In 1942 a British forest guard in Roopkund, India made an alarming discovery. Some 16,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake absolutely full of skeletons

Flesh, hair, and the bones themselves had been preserved by the dry, cold air, but no one could properly determine exactly when they were from.

Since they have flesh and hair you would think the lake is just the place where they collect after being transported there.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 22, 2019, 04:58:46 PM
... So if it´s hailstones why do they all end up in the lake?

Everything ends up in the lake.

Also, the word 'lake' is a bit of a stretch ...

Roopkund 'Lake'
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 23, 2019, 05:09:36 PM
Looks lakeish enough for me.  ;)

The oldest RNA sample ever has been moved quite a bit. They found it in a puppy frozen for 14,3k years: 

The puppy found preserved in permafrost in Tumat in 2015 was either a wolf or a domesticated wolf-dog hybrid, scientists cannot be certain.


DNA encodes the hard copy of genes, and can survive thousands of years if conditions are right.

But RNA is seen as short-lived: it is the working copy of a gene.

DNA analysis shows what kind of genes a species had, while RNA explains which genes were working and which were silent.

Now Dr Oliver Smith, of Copenhagen University, and his colleagues analysed the RNA from the liver, cartilage and muscle tissue of the ancient animal.

‘The scientists showed that the RNA sequenced from liver tissue of the Tumat puppy was truly representative of the animal’s RNA, with many liver-specific transcripts that matched more modern samples from both wolves and dogs,’ reported

‘The canid’s transcriptome is the oldest RNA sequenced by far, surpassing the next oldest transcriptome by at least 13,000 years.’
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 24, 2019, 11:03:51 AM
Genetics is a powerful tool for looking into the past. Two cool examples.

Here's how early humans evaded immunodeficiency viruses
CryoEM reveals structural effect of mutation that made humans, but not apes, immune to SIV

The cryoEM structure of a simian immunodeficiency virus protein bound to primate proteins shows how a mutation in early humans allowed our ancestors to escape infection while monkeys and apes did not. ... A mutation in human tetherin disrupted binding, thwarting SIV budding -- until HIV evolved a work-around.


SIV developed a new trick

Some variants of SIV did eventually find a way around this hurdle, however. At some point, a few SIVs acquired a second protein, Vpu, to do what Nef also did -- wedge itself between proteins to cement connections helpful to the virus. At some point, perhaps a hundred years ago, this strain of SIV moved into humans from chimpanzees, and a slight mutation in Vpu reignited the recycling of tetherin in humans, unleashing what we know today as group M HIV-1, the most virulent form of HIV worldwide.

"There were probably many crossovers into humans that failed, but eventually, some hunter in Africa, perhaps in the course of butchering a chimp, was exposed to the blood, and the virus then acquired an additional mutation, a small step that turned SIV into HIV," Hurley said.


The Paleozoic diet: Why animals eat what they eat

What an animal eats is a fundamental aspect of its biology, but surprisingly, the evolution of diet had not been studied across the animal kingdom until now. Scientists at the University of Arizona report several unexpected findings from taking a deep dive into the evolutionary history of more than one million animal species and going back 800 million years, when the first animals appeared on our planet.


The survey suggests that across animals, carnivory is most common, including 63% of species. Another 32% are herbivorous, while humans belong to a small minority, just 3%, of omnivorous animals.

The researchers were surprised to find that many of today's carnivorous species trace this diet back all the way to the base of the animal evolutionary tree, more than 800 million years, predating the oldest known fossils that paleontologists have been able to assign to animal origins with certainty.

"We don't see that with herbivory," said Wiens, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and corresponding author of the study. "Herbivory seems to be much more recent, so in our evolutionary tree, it appears more frequently closer to the tips of the tree."

So if the first animal was a carnivore, what did it prey on?

The authors suggest the answer might lie with protists, including choanoflagellates: tiny, single-celled organisms considered to be the closest living relatives of the animals. Living as plankton in marine and freshwater, choanoflagellates are vaguely reminiscent of miniature versions of the shuttlecock batted back and forth during a game of badminton.


"The ancient creature that is most closely related to all animals living today might have eaten bacteria and other protists rather than plants," Wiens said.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 26, 2019, 05:27:56 PM
Small Skulls Point to Human Migration Highway to Australia

Human remains discovered on Alor island in Indonesia offer new insight into human migration through Southeast Asia thousands of years ago, say researchers from The Australian National University (ANU).

Lead researcher Dr. Sofía Samper Carro says the two skulls, dated between 12,000 and 17,000 years old, are the oldest human remains ever found in Wallacea—the islands between Java, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

"What is really interesting is the small size of their heads," Dr. Samper Carro said.


"The size seems to be similar to other remains found later in this region, dated to between 7,000—10,000 years old. This is potentially the result of a reduction in size after the first modern humans settled in these islands.

Dr. Samper Carro says one possible explanation for this is the so-called "island effect"—the idea that when humans and other large mammals get to an island where there are not enough food resources and predators, they tend to get smaller, while small mammals will get bigger.

"It's been suggested this is what may've happened to Homo floresiensis (hobbit) and, potentially, it may have also affected the recently discovered Homo luzonensis," Dr. Samper Carro said.

A huge number of fish bones have also been found in the Tron Bon Lei site in Alor, which could offer some important clues.

Sofía C. Samper Carro et al. Somewhere beyond the sea: Human cranial remains from the Lesser Sunda Islands (Alor Island, Indonesia) provide insights on Late Pleistocene peopling of Island Southeast Asia (, Journal of Human Evolution (2019)

... The human remains from Tron Bon Lei represent a population osteometrically distinct from Late Pleistocene Sunda and Sahul AMH. Instead, morphometrically, they appear more similar to Holocene populations in the Lesser Sundas. Thus, they may represent the remains of a population originally from Sunda whose Lesser Sunda Island descendants survived into the Holocene.


Maybe Peter Jackson was on to something, filming 'The Lord of the Rings' in New Zealand

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on August 26, 2019, 07:26:44 PM
Speaking of LOTR, is there any connection between these and Homo floresiensis?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 26, 2019, 09:22:27 PM
Since the article states they (the old ones) are homo erectus so probably not.
It would be cool if we got genetic data from the new ones.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on August 26, 2019, 11:42:20 PM
Size is very dependant on diet mainly diets of ancestors. If you want to be tall the best thing to do is make sure your maternal grandmother eats well before and during her pregnancy. After generations of near starvation the English were reduced in height to an average of about 5ft, many victorian houses in the 1950s still had doors that were less than 6ft. high. So within three generations the size/height of a population can be transformed.
I've never seen a study that examined the cumulative effects of great/rubbish diets over long periods but there was a Finnish study that established that the effects of starvation carried implications for genetic expression through at least 7 generations.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 26, 2019, 11:49:57 PM
Size is very dependant on diet mainly diets of ancestors. If you want to be tall the best thing to do is make sure your maternal grandmother eats well before and during her pregnancy. After generations of near starvation the English were reduced in height to an average of about 5ft, many victorian houses in the 1950s still had doors that were less than 6ft. high. So within three generations the size/height of a population can be transformed.
I've never seen a study that examined the cumulative effects of great/rubbish diets over long periods but there was a Finnish study that established that the effects of starvation carried implications for genetic expression through at least 7 generations.
I've witnessed the effect that eating tulips has had on the intellect of following generation. Sad.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on August 27, 2019, 01:31:25 AM
So drifting ot "I've witnessed the effect that eating tulips has had on the intellect of following generation. Sad.
Terry" do tell
Intellect so far as I can see also depends on ancestral decisions. If cousin marraige, or isolated populations forced to inbreed, happens IQ drops @15 points with no advantages. If girls are allowed to breed then IQ drops @15 points with the advantages of robust physicallity/immunity and unwarranted confidence plus early 'maturity'. I guess the message from our genetic code is [if you want to be smart and tall] avoid Tulips/Cousins/Sisters eat well and wait wait wait.
Terry I guess that your maternal grandmother was over 25 and well nourished when she produced your mother?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on August 27, 2019, 02:18:49 AM
I thought that was some kind of subtle slam by Terry against Neven!  :o

There are many reports that many people in the Netherlands resorted to eating tulip bulbs at some point during WWII. Apparently, though, most were careful to remove the center, which seems to be the poisonous part.

Perhaps others can throw more light on the subject, since I'm a bit of a dim bulb... :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 27, 2019, 03:28:02 AM
So drifting ot "I've witnessed the effect that eating tulips has had on the intellect of following generation. Sad.
Terry" do tell
Intellect so far as I can see also depends on ancestral decisions. If cousin marraige, or isolated populations forced to inbreed, happens IQ drops @15 points with no advantages. If girls are allowed to breed then IQ drops @15 points with the advantages of robust physicallity/immunity and unwarranted confidence plus early 'maturity'. I guess the message from our genetic code is [if you want to be smart and tall] avoid Tulips/Cousins/Sisters eat well and wait wait wait.
Terry I guess that your maternal grandmother was over 25 and well nourished when she produced your mother?
Right on both counts. She was also tall (for her generation) and was married the gent who was the first superintendent of GE's initial laboratory and manufacturing facility when my mother was born. I was born when my mother at 43, owned 5 upscale interior decoration stores, my father owned 2 factories. - We missed the "Depression"

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 27, 2019, 03:31:57 AM
I thought that was some kind of subtle slam by Terry against Neven!  :o

There are many reports that many people in the Netherlands resorted to eating tulip bulbs at some point during WWII. Apparently, though, most were careful to remove the center, which seems to be the poisonous part.

Perhaps others can throw more light on the subject, since I'm a bit of a dim bulb... :) (
You should know that I'd never - subtly or overtly - imply that our (very bright) host has an intellectual deficiency of any kind.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on August 27, 2019, 11:32:16 AM
FWIW that was during the hongerwinter. The southern parts had been liberated but operation Market Garden stalled at Arnhem. The famine was mainly in the west and north with the problem being worst in the bigger cities.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 27, 2019, 06:00:04 PM
Greek Temple Ruins Suggest Lifting Machines In Use 1.5 Centuries Earlier Than Previously Believed

As modern Greeks undertake to reconstruct the Parthenon, largely using stone material from the site's ruins, a question naturally arises: How did ancient Greeks construct massive temples and other buildings—lifting and placing one heavy block at a time, and up multiple rows in a wall—without modern advanced machinery?

New research by Alessandro Pierattini, assistant professor of architecture at the University of Notre Dame, adds nuance to the broadly accepted view that the crane was not in use until 515 B.C. by demonstrating how forerunners to the machine were experimented with as early as 700-650 B.C

Alessandro Pierattini. Interpreting Rope Channels: Lifting, Setting And The Birth Of Greek Monumental Architecture (, The Annual of the British School at Athens (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 30, 2019, 01:28:43 AM
New Artifacts Suggest People Arrived in North America Earlier Than Previously Thought

Stone tools and other artifacts unearthed from an archeological dig at the Cooper's Ferry site in western Idaho suggest that people lived in the area 16,000 years ago, more than a thousand years earlier than scientists previously thought.

The findings, published today in Science, add weight to the hypothesis that initial human migration to the Americas followed a Pacific coastal route rather than through the opening of an inland ice-free corridor, said Loren Davis, a professor of anthropology at Oregon State University and the study's lead author.

"The Cooper's Ferry site is located along the Salmon River, which is a tributary of the larger Columbia River basin. Early peoples moving south along the Pacific coast would have encountered the Columbia River as the first place below the glaciers where they could easily walk and paddle in to North America," Davis said. "Essentially, the Columbia River corridor was the first off-ramp of a Pacific coast migration route.

"The timing and position of the Cooper's Ferry site is consistent with and most easily explained as the result of an early Pacific coastal migration."

... The dates from the oldest artifacts challenge the long-held "Clovis First" theory of early migration to the Americas, which suggested that people crossed from Siberia into North America and traveled down through an opening in the ice sheet near the present-day Dakotas. The ice-free corridor is hypothesized to have opened as early as 14,800 years ago, well after the date of the oldest artifacts found at Cooper's Ferry, Davis said.

"Now we have good evidence that people were in Idaho before that corridor opened," he said. "This evidence leads us to conclude that early peoples moved south of continental ice sheets along the Pacific coast."


L.G. Davis el al., "Late Upper Paleolithic occupation at Cooper's Ferry, Idaho, USA,~16,000 years ago (," Science (2019)


Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 30, 2019, 02:26:22 AM
It ties in with many earlier finds. Kennewick Man, Spirit Cave Mummy @Paleo woman Paleo child all come to mind but there are many more.
The points & core stones images add intrigue.

Found beneath a black/dark strata?

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 30, 2019, 03:38:29 AM
... Found beneath a black/dark strata? 

Similar to an earlier post...,2470.msg191905.html#msg191905
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on August 30, 2019, 07:41:45 AM
... Found beneath a black/dark strata? 

Similar to an earlier post...,2470.msg191905.html#msg191905 (,2470.msg191905.html#msg191905)

You Betcha!

Black mat & below = Clovis & ice age mega-fauna.

This is presented as Pre-Clovis, so unless there had been flooding or something to wash the overburden away this must be below the mat - if the dating is close to correct.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on September 03, 2019, 05:21:22 PM
Nice article about genomics and the mixing between us homo and neanderthals and denisovans.

One cool thing is that they can now identify homo dna in the Neanderthals which comes to 3-6%.
The denisovan dna contains traces of possibly homo erectus.  8)

Humans and Neanderthals Kept Breeding—and Breeding—for Ages

Modern humans and Neanderthals commingled at many points in history, raising the possibility that the ancient hominins were just another version of us.


“I think Africa is one of the areas that’s going to give a lot more data in the future,” said Chris Stringer, an anthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London and a member of the research team that studied the Greek fossil.
Siepel is also using his algorithm to look for signs of natural selection acting on these DNA sequences: Were ancient hominins any better or worse off for carrying more genes from modern ones? So far, his team has found no evidence for either positive or negative selection in the flow of genes from modern humans into Neanderthals 200,000 years ago, which indicates that “most of this gene flow … is just a signature of populations in contact,” according to Hawks.

“It suggests that maybe Neanderthals actually are us,” he said. “As different as they are, maybe they’re just another version of us.”

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on September 08, 2019, 06:34:59 PM
'‘Natasha’s’ burial with a Xiongnu-era iPhone remains one of the most interesting at this burial site,' Pavel Leus said in a new publication summarising results of several years of recent archeological expeditions to the Ala-Tey burial site.

In fact, the discovery is a large - 18cm by 9cm - chic belt buckle made of gemstone jet with inlaid decorations of turquoise, carnelian and mother-of-pearl.

Well the headline certainly grabbed my attention.  :)

The place is a real archaeological treasure trove with undisturbed graves which are rare.

Lets see what more the unearth in the future.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 10, 2019, 02:56:51 AM
Rocks at Asteroid Impact Site Record First Day of Dinosaur Extinction

When the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs slammed into the planet, the impact set wildfires, triggered tsunamis and blasted so much sulfur into the atmosphere that it blocked the sun, which caused the global cooling that ultimately doomed the dinos.

That's the scenario scientists have hypothesized. Now, a new study led by The University of Texas at Austin has confirmed it by finding hard evidence in the hundreds of feet of rocks that filled the impact crater within the first 24 hours after impact.


The evidence includes bits of charcoal, jumbles of rock brought in by the tsunami's backflow and conspicuously absent sulfur. ...

Most of the material that filled the crater within hours of impact was produced at the impact site or was swept in by seawater pouring back into the crater from the surrounding Gulf of Mexico. Just one day deposited about 425 feet of material—a rate that's among the highest ever encountered in the geologic record. This breakneck rate of accumulation means that the rocks record what was happening in the environment within and around the crater in the minutes and hours after impact and give clues about the longer-lasting effects of the impact that wiped out 75% of life on the planet.

... "We fried them and then we froze them," ... "Not all the dinosaurs died that day, but many dinosaurs did."

Researchers estimate the asteroid hit with the equivalent power of 10 billion atomic bombs of the size used in World War II. The blast ignited trees and plants that were thousands of miles away and triggered a massive tsunami that reached as far inland as Illinois. Inside the crater, researchers found charcoal and a chemical biomarker associated with soil fungi within or just above layers of sand that shows signs of being deposited by resurging waters. This suggests that the charred landscape was pulled into the crater with the receding waters of the tsunami.

However, one of the most important takeaways from the research is what was missing from the core samples. The area surrounding the impact crater is full of sulfur-rich rocks. But there was no sulfur in the core.

That finding supports a theory that the asteroid impact vaporized the sulfur-bearing minerals present at the impact site and released it into the atmosphere, where it wreaked havoc on the Earth's climate, reflecting sunlight away from the planet and causing global cooling. Researchers estimate that at least 325 billion metric tons would have been released by the impact. To put that in perspective, that's about four orders of magnitude greater than the sulfur that was spewed during the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa—which cooled the Earth's climate by an average of 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit for five years.

Although the asteroid impact created mass destruction at the regional level, it was this global climate change that caused a mass extinction, killing off the dinosaurs along with most other life on the planet at the time.


Sean P. S. Gulick el al., "The first day of the Cenozoic," (    ) PNAS (2019).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on September 10, 2019, 10:58:47 AM
Some short pieces:

First human ancestors breastfed for longer than contemporary relatives

By analyzing the fossilized teeth of some of our most ancient ancestors, scientists have discovered that the first humans significantly breastfed their infants for longer periods than their contemporary relatives.


By reconstructing the age at tooth enamel development, they show that early Homo offspring was breastfed in significant proportions until the age of around three to four years, which likely played a role in the apparition of traits that are specific to human lineage, such as the brain development.

In contrast, infants of Paranthropus robustus, that became extinct around one million years ago and were a more robust species in terms of dental anatomy, as well as infants of Australopithecus africanus, stopped drinking sizeable proportions of mother milk in the course of the first months of life.


Largest-ever ancient-DNA study illuminates millennia of South and Central Asian prehistory

Researchers analyzed the genomes of 524 never before-studied ancient people, including the first genome of an individual from the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Insights answer longstanding questions about the origins of farming and the source of Indo-European languages in South and Central Asia. The study increases the worldwide total of published ancient genomes by some 25 percent.


A second line of evidence in favor of a steppe origin is the researchers' discovery that of the 140 present-day South Asian populations analyzed in the study, a handful show a remarkable spike in ancestry from the steppe. All but one of these steppe-enriched populations are historically priestly groups, including Brahmins -- traditional custodians of texts written in the ancient Indo-European language Sanskrit.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 12, 2019, 05:04:06 PM
'Game-Changing' Research Could Solve Evolution Mysteries

An evolution revolution has begun after scientists extracted genetic information from a 1.7 million-year-old rhino tooth—the largest and oldest genetic data to ever be recorded.

Researchers identified an almost complete set of proteins, a proteome, in the dental enamel of the rhino and the genetic information discovered is one million years older than the oldest DNA sequenced from a 700,000-year-old horse.

... "For 20 years ancient DNA has been used to address questions about the evolution of extinct species, adaptation and human migration but it has limitations. Now for the first time we have retrieved ancient genetic information which allows us to reconstruct molecular evolution way beyond the usual time limit of DNA preservation.

... Professor Cappellini added: "Dental enamel is extremely abundant and it is incredibly durable, which is why a high proportion of fossil records are teeth.

"We have been able to find a way to retrieve genetic information that is more informative and older than any other source before, and it's from a source that is abundant in the fossil records so the potential of the application of this approach is extensive."

Early Pleistocene enamel proteome from Dmanisi resolves Stephanorhinus phylogeny (, Nature (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 14, 2019, 03:44:32 AM
The Enigma of Bronze Age Tin

The origin of the tin used in the Bronze Age has long been one of the greatest enigmas in archaeological research. Now researchers from Heidelberg University and the Curt Engelhorn Centre for Archaeometry in Mannheim have solved part of the puzzle. Using methods of the natural sciences, they examined the tin from the second millennium BCE found at archaeological sites in Israel, Turkey, and Greece. They were able to prove that this tin in the form of ingots does not come from Central Asia, as previously assumed, but from tin deposits in Europe. The findings are proof that even in the Bronze Age, complex and far-reaching trade routes must have existed between Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean

Bronze, an alloy of copper and tin, was already being produced in the Middle East, Anatolia, and the Aegean in the late fourth and third millennia BCE. Knowledge on its production spread quickly across wide swaths of the Old World. "Bronze was used to make weapons, jewellery, and all types of daily objects, justifiably bequeathing its name to an entire epoch. The origin of tin has long been an enigma in archaeological research," explains Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka. The Eastern Mediterranean region, where some of the objects we studied originated, had practically none of its own deposits. So the raw material in this region must have been imported," explained the researcher.

Using lead and tin isotope data as well as trace element analysis, the Heidelberg-Mannheim research team led by Prof. Pernicka and Dr. Daniel Berger examined the tin ingots found in Turkey, Israel, and Greece. This allowed them to verify that this tin really did derive from tin deposits in Europe. The tin artefacts from Israel, for example, largely match tin from Cornwall and Devon (Great Britain).


Open Access: Daniel Berger et al, Isotope systematics and chemical composition of tin ingots from Mochlos (Crete) and other Late Bronze Age sites in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: An ultimate key to tin provenance? (, PLOS ONE (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 14, 2019, 01:03:24 PM
An Extreme Drought Has Revealed a 'Spanish Stonehenge,' a Mysterious Circle of Megaliths Once Hidden Beneath a Reservoir

This past summer, an extreme drought in the Extremadura area of Spain that caused the Valdecañas Reservoir’s water levels to plummet has revealed a series of megalithic stones. Previously submerged underwater, the Dolmen de Guadalperal, often called the Spanish Stonehenge, are now in plain sight.

Though the Dolmen are 7,000 years old, the last time they were seen in their entirety was around 1963, when the reservoir was built as part of Franco’s push toward modernization. Now, residents near the province of Cáceres are thrilled to witness the surreal return of the ancient site.

The approximately 100 menhirs ( are, like Stonehenge, hulking megalith stones—some standing up to six feet tall—that are arranged in an oval and appear oriented to filter sunlight. Evidence suggests that these stones could actually be 2,000 years older than Stonehenge.



Turkey Prepares to Flood 12,000-Year-Old City to Build Dam

Hasankeyf is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements on Earth, dating as far back as 12,000 years and containing thousands of caves, churches and tombs.

But this jewel of human history will soon be lost; most of the settlement is about to be flooded as part of the highly controversial Ilisu dam project.

... “We’ve asked for the area to be an open-air museum but the government wouldn’t accept it,” Ayhan said. “If you dig here you will find cultures layered on top of one another.”

Only 10% of the area has been explored by archaeologists.

... The Turkish authorities’ crackdown on protests has also hindered Hasankeyf residents’fight to stop the dam.

“If we protest, they take us to prisons,” Ayhan said. “There’s no democracy here. If there was democracy, maybe we could do something.”
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on September 15, 2019, 07:54:07 AM
  The bizarre social history of beds
 by Brian Fagan

Groucho Marx once joked, "Anything that can't be done in bed isn't worth doing at all." You might think he was referring to sleeping and sex. But humans, at one time or another, have done just about everything in bed.

Much about our beds have remained unchanged for centuries. But one aspect of the bed has undergone a dramatic shift.

Today, we usually sleep in bedrooms with the door shut firmly behind us. They're the ultimate realm of privacy. No one else is allowed in them, aside from a spouse or lover.

it wasn't always this way.

But one thing that has changed is who has occupied the bed. For most of human history, people thought nothing of crowding family members or friends into the same bed.

The 17th-century diarist Samuel Pepys often slept with male friends and rated their conversation skills.

Travelers often slept with strangers. In China and Mongolia, kangs – heated stone platforms—were used in inns as early as 5000 B.C. Guests supplied the bedding and slept with fellow tourists.

From public to private

During the 19th century, beds and bedrooms gradually became private spheres. A major impetus was rapid urbanization during the Industrial Revolution. In cities, compact row houses were constructed with small rooms, each with a specific purpose, one of which was sleeping.

Another reason was religion. The Victorian era was a devout age, and Evangelical Christianity was pervasive by the 1830s. Such beliefs placed great emphasis on marriage, chastity, the family, and the bond between parent and child; allowing strangers or friends under the covers was no longer kosher. By 1875, Architect magazine had published an essay declaring that a bedroom used for anything other than sleeping was unwholesome and immoral.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 18, 2019, 09:49:18 PM
Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event: Asteroid Dust Cloud Sparked Explosion in Primitive Life on Earth


About 466 million years ago, long before the age of the dinosaurs, the Earth froze. The seas began to ice over at the Earth's poles, and the new range of temperatures around the planet set the stage for a boom of new species evolving. The cause of this ice age was a mystery, until now: a new study in Science Advances argues that the ice age was caused by global cooling, triggered by extra dust in the atmosphere from a giant asteroid collision in outer space.

When the 93-mile-wide asteroid between Mars and Jupiter broke apart 466 million years ago, it created way more dust than usual. "Normally, Earth gains about 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial material every year," says Philipp Heck, a curator at the Field Museum, associate professor at the University of Chicago, and one of the paper's authors. "Imagine multiplying that by a factor of a thousand or ten thousand." To contextualize that, in a typical year, one thousand semi trucks' worth of interplanetary dust fall to Earth. In the couple million years following the collision, it'd be more like ten million semis.

The levels stayed high for 2m-4m years. “The grains come with the dust so when you see an increase in these, you know there’s been an increase in the dust,” said Schmitz.

Further tests on the ancient limestone revealed a similar spike in levels of an isotope of helium that streams out of the sun in the surge of particles known as the solar wind. The researchers believe that the helium was brought to Earth when it became embedded in the finer space dust particles as they travelled through the solar system.


Open Access: B. Schmitz el al., "An extraterrestrial trigger for the Mid-Ordovician ice age: Dust from the breakup of the L-chondrite parent body," (  ) Science Advances (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 01, 2019, 11:51:39 PM
Medieval Skeleton Puts a Face on Accounts of Torture and Violence


What’s a little strange is how little archaeological evidence of torture in the past has been found so far. Archaeologists have found evidence of violence between humans dating back to the Paleolithic, but the Milanese wheel victim is one of very few clear cases of actual torture, despite how often torture is mentioned in historical records beginning in ancient times.

Executed for the crime of being different?

... Six-hundred years later, we have no way of knowing who the unfortunate young man was or why he was executed, but historical records and his own skeleton may offer a reasonable line of speculation. In medieval Northern Italy, the wheel was mostly a tool for public executions, especially for men accused of spreading the plague. Based on the details of the wheel victim’s skeleton, his appearance might have caused his medieval neighbors to view him with suspicion, especially if they were already fearful of a plague outbreak.

He was shorter than the average man in medieval northern Italy by about 11cm (4.3 inches). Despite his small stature, he sported an extra thoracic vertebra and an extra rib on each side. The unusual thickening of his frontal bone (the forehead) suggests that he probably had a hormonal disorder. In the sutures between the bones of his skull, archaeologists found several small bits of what are called Wormian bones, which often show up along with a congenital disease. He had a noticeable gap between his upper front teeth, and his upper incisors are turned at an odd angle.

Based on bones and teeth alone, there’s no way of knowing what condition (or conditions) the man had or how else they might have impacted his appearance or his behavior. No single condition could account for everything Mazzarelli and her colleagues observed in the skeleton. But they suggest that he “could have been considered as ‘different’ by his contemporaries, and possibly this discrimination may have been the cause of his final conviction, as he could have been sacrificed, for being a ‘freak,’ by an angry crowd, as a plague spreader.

... It’s a grim story, but it illustrates one reason that studying violence in the past is relevant today; the tools have changed, but basic patterns of human behavior are still the same.


Holy Inquisitor: Now, how do you plead?

The Condemned: We're innocent.

Holy Inquisitor: We'll soon change your mind about that!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 02, 2019, 07:10:40 PM
Add this to the pile Terry ...

New Research Supports Hypothesis that Asteroid Contributed to Mass Extinction During the Younger Dryas


A team of scientists from South Africa has discovered evidence partially supporting a hypothesis that Earth was struck by a meteorite or asteroid 12 800 years ago, leading to global consequences including climate change, and contributing to the extinction of many species of large animals at the time of an episode called the Younger Dryas.

The team, led by Professor Francis Thackeray of the Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, discovered evidence of a remarkable "platinum spike" at a site called Wonderkrater in the Limpopo Province, north of Pretoria in South Africa. Working with researcher Philip Pieterse from the University of Johannesburg and Professor Louis Scott of the University of the Free State, Thackeray discovered this evidence from a core drilled in a peat deposit, notably in a sample about 12 800 years old. This research was published in Palaeontologia Africana.

Noting that meteorites are rich in platinum, Thackeray said "Our finding at least partially supports the highly controversial Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH).

... Human populations may have been indirectly affected at the time in question. In North America there is a dramatic termination of the stone tool technology of Clovis people. Remarkably, archaeologists in South Africa have detected an almost simultaneous termination of the Robberg stone artifact industry associated with people in some parts of the country, including the area around Boomplaas near the Cango Caves in the southern Cape, close to the town of Oudshoorn.

... "We cannot be certain, but a cosmic impact could have affected humans as a result of local changes in environment and the availability of food resources, associated with sudden climate change."

At Wonderkrater, the team has evidence from pollen to show that about 12 800 years ago there was temporary cooling, associated with the "Younger Dryas" drop in temperature that is well documented in the northern hemisphere, and now also in South Africa. According to some scientists, this cooling in widespread areas could at least potentially have been associated with the global dispersal of platinum-rich atmospheric dust.

This is the first evidence in Africa for a platinum spike preceding climate change. Younger Dryas spikes in platinum have also been found in Greenland, Eurasia, North America, Mexico and recently also at Pilauco in Chile. Wonderkrater is the 30th site in the world for such evidence.

A large crater 31 kilometers in diameter has been discovered in northern Greenland beneath the Hiawatha Glacier. "There is some evidence to support the view that it might possibly have been the very place where a large meteorite struck the planet earth 12 800 years ago."


Open Access: Thackeray, J. Francis; Scott, Louis; Pieterse, P, The Younger Dryas interval at Wonderkrater (South Africa) in the context of a platinum anomaly (, Palaeontologia Africana 2019-10-02
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on October 02, 2019, 10:05:56 PM
Thanks Vox
Just as with Continental Drift, or the astronomic solution to the dying off of dinosaurs, we'll have to wait until most of the doubters have died off before the new Younger Dryas Asteroid theory finds acceptance. In the meantime the evidence just keeps building.

We might get our heads around the idea that Paleo Hunters killed the last Mammoth, but imagining people with spears killing the last pride of Saber Toothed Cats, or the last pack of Dire Wolves, takes a fevered imagination.

Terry - hoping I outlive the doubters. ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Sebastian Jones on October 03, 2019, 07:35:17 AM
Thanks Vox
Just as with Continental Drift, or the astronomic solution to the dying off of dinosaurs, we'll have to wait until most of the doubters have died off before the new Younger Dryas Asteroid theory finds acceptance. In the meantime the evidence just keeps building.

We might get our heads around the idea that Paleo Hunters killed the last Mammoth, but imagining people with spears killing the last pride of Saber Toothed Cats, or the last pack of Dire Wolves, takes a fevered imagination.

Terry - hoping I outlive the doubters. ;)

Asteroid impacts coincident with the Younger Dryas event do not have to supersede the conventional theory that a mass outflow of fresh water from the already collapsing Laurentide ice sheet drove the temperature change.They could however have exacerbated the effect. Further, it is much more likely that the end of the Clovis culture was driven by the anthropogenic extinction of ice age mega fauna than by an asteroid- unless it was awfully, awfully big. And, mega predators did not have to be hunted or killed by humans to go extinct once their prey had been killed off. In my not entirely uneducated opinion, the denialism that resists the idea that humans caused the mass extinctions at the end of the last glaciation is similar in nature to that which resists the idea that human caused carbon emissions are changing the climate today.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: sidd on October 03, 2019, 08:43:54 AM
Jeremy Jackson seems convinced we ate the big ocean creatures first. So why not on land ? I have heard him express the same opinion of the disappearance of land megafauna.

I am inclined to the same. We are quite a rapacious species.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on October 03, 2019, 03:31:35 PM
Today we have the 72 oz. challenge (  [I ate there once, but didn't attempt the challenge.]  Back in the day (Pleistocene), that was nothing!  :o
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on October 03, 2019, 03:34:15 PM
Sebastian & sidd

Prior to the birth of the Black Mat theory it was known by everyone from paleontologists and anthropologists to weekend potters, arrowhead collectors and rockhounds that in the Mojave and Sonora Deserts there is a black to grey layer of strata that separates Megafauna deposits from modern, and Clovis from Fremont and more recent deposits.

If horse or camel tracks are found, you can be sure that if there is any overburden, it begins with a relatively narrow band of black deposits, often with a slightly organic odor.
When the original Clovis site, where a Clovis Point was found embedded in a mammoth rib proved beyond doubt that Clovis and Mammoths were contemporaries, the find was at the appropriately named "Blackwater Draw".

Outside Las Vegas, near Floyd Lamb State Park, a Clovis/Mammoth kill site was being excavated when remains of a supposed campfire were detected. After removing tons of overburden the outer boundary of the fire couldn't be found. Finally, after hiring a bulldozer they discovered that the ash layer extended for miles in all directions. They hadn't discovered a campfire, rather they'd dug into the Black Mat and assumed it was ashes from large campfire.

At the time it wasn't known that the mat contained iridium, micro diamonds, or other indications of it's extraterrestrial origin. All we knew then was that it lay like a shroud over Clovis and Rancholabrean finds.

The above is a short, sketchy overview of what was known prior to Firestone's Black Mat theory.
The Murray Springs Site in Southern Arizona was a Clovis/Mammoth kill site, then ~1,500 yrs later the site of a Folsom/Buffalo kill. Lots of bones and a scattering of worked stone from both cultures - all properly separated by a very visible Black Mat. The Clovis hammerstones and a bone spear straightener are enough to make it a very interesting site even without it being the location that first peaked Firestone's interest in the mat.

When arguing against the impact theory, I think some other mechanism explaining the dark strata and its relationship to Rancholabrean finds needs to be included.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 03, 2019, 08:21:23 PM
Ramen.  ;)

This is just starting but it will be interesting to see what they find:

A team of researchers is carrying out the first in-depth archaeological survey of part of Saudi Arabia, in a bid to shed light on a mysterious civilisation that once lived there. The Nabataean culture left behind sophisticated stone monuments, but many sites remain unexplored.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on October 04, 2019, 12:38:48 AM
When arguing against the impact theory, I think some other mechanism explaining the dark strata and its relationship to Rancholabrean finds needs to be included.

From Wikipedia: (

Research published in 2012 has shown that the so-called "black mats" are easily explained by typical earth processes in wetland environments.[15] The study of black mats, that are common in prehistorical wetland deposits which represent shallow marshlands, that were from 6000 to 40,000 years ago in the southwestern USA and Atacama Desert in Chile, showed elevated concentrations of iridium and magnetic sediments, magnetic spherules and titanomagnetite grains. It was suggested that because these markers are found within or at the base of black mats, irrespective of age or location, suggests that these markers arise from processes common to wetland systems, and probably not as a result of catastrophic bolide impacts.[15]
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 04, 2019, 01:28:25 AM
Oren - The study you cited is from 2012 - not that that's a bad thing. Since then, however, over 18 other sites have been discovered and dated to ~12,800 BCE.

Most of these sites are NOT wetlands.

The study you cited: Accumulation of impact markers in desert wetlands and implications for the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis

From it's Discussion Section:

... To be clear, the results of our study do not allow us to dismiss the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis outright, nor do they address the origin or significance of the remaining markers of Firestone et al. (e.g. platinum 'spike')

... They point out that Rare Earth Elements (REEs) are approximately two orders of magnitude more common in terrestrial (crustal) rocks than in chondrites and, presumably, cosmic dust ... but they don't mention the concentration in metallic meteors - which the impact crater in Hiawatha Glacier, Greenland appears to be.

Hiawatha Glacier, Greenland impact site ( ... From an interpretation of the crystalline nature of the underlying rock, together with chemical analysis of sediment washed from the crater, the impactor was argued to be a metallic asteroid with a diameter in the order of 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi).

Before the crater was discovered, the Inuit had found iron meteorites in the region. In 1957 an American surveyor found a 48-kilogram (106 lb) meteorite, and in 1963 Vagn F. Buchwald found the 20-ton Agpalilik meteorite (a fragment of the Cape York meteorite) on a nunatak near Moltke Glacier

It has been suggested that the Cape York meteorite ( is part of the main object responsible for creating the Hiawatha crater. Estimates of the Hiawatha impact's age (which is still being studied), along with other indicators, suggest that the crater may be connected with the Younger Dryas impact hypothesis.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 06, 2019, 07:26:28 PM
Ancient sippy cup may hold clues about agriculture’s spread in Europe

A recent study found that prehistoric babies drank milk from ceramic sippy cups, including some with cute animal motifs. Lest you be overwhelmed by the cuteness, there's a heartbreaking side to that discovery: Bronze and Iron Age parents buried their dead infants with their clay sippy cups.

A team of archaeologists found microscopic traces of livestock milk in three of the containers: two from Iron Age graves in Germany dating between 800 and 450 BCE, and a broken one from a much earlier Bronze Age grave nearby. The results suggest that feeding babies milk from livestock may have helped early European farming populations grow and expand.


“This paper is important as it is the first direct evidence for animal milk being contained in these bottles for feeding to babies,” Halcrow told Ars. Since the Iron Age baby bottles from Bavaria look so similar to the ones being used thousands of years earlier during the Neolithic, it’s reasonable to speculate that the practice may have been much older, but archaeologists will need to study those earlier vessels directly to say for sure.

Nice article.

The last time i was in an archaeological museum was in the old Athens museum.

They had a nice collection of prehistoric stuff. Much of it familiar...although the style was of course very old school.  ::)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 06, 2019, 08:12:44 PM
Israeli Archaeologists Claim to Discover Ancient City

Israel's Antiquities Authority on Sunday said that researchers have discovered the remains of a large, 5,000-year-old city that sheds new light on experts' understanding of the period.

Calling it a "cosmopolitan and planned city," the authority said the early Bronze Age settlement covered 65 hectares (160 acres) and was home to about 6,000 people.

... Among the discoveries was an unusual ritual temple, burnt animal bones—evidence of sacrificial offerings—and a figurine of a human head. There also were millions of pottery fragments, flint tools and stone vessels.

"The remains of residential buildings, diverse facilities and the public buildings are an indication of the organized society and the social hierarchy that existed at the time," the researchers said.

... The Antiquities Authority said that during the dig, archaeologists also found evidence of an earlier settlement dating back 7,000 years underneath the city's houses.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 10, 2019, 01:56:54 PM
Israel cave bones: Early humans 'conserved food to eat later'

Scientists in Israel say they have found evidence that prehistoric humans deliberately stored bones from animals to eat the fatty marrow later. ....  hey identified cut marks on most of the bone surfaces - consistent with preservation and delayed consumption.

The researchers suggest the marks came about because the early humans had to make greater effort to remove skin which had dried on bones which had been kept longer.

The cut marks were found on 78% of the more than 80,000 animal bone specimens analysed.


"We found that the deer leg bones, specifically the metapodials, exhibited unique chopping marks on the shafts, which are not characteristic of the marks left from stripping fresh skin to fracture the bone and extract the marrow," he said.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 15, 2019, 02:44:21 PM
3000-year-old toolkit suggests skilled warriors crossed Europe to fight an epic battle


The battle raged in a narrow, swampy valley that runs along the Tollense River, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, 160 kilometers north of Berlin. Many of the artifacts sank below the water and so were preserved in pristine condition. Since the site was discovered in 1996, archaeologists have uncovered metal and wooden weaponry and more than 12,000 pieces of human bone.

The new find, unearthed in 2016, includes cylindrical fragments of bronze, along with a bronze knife, awl, and small chisel. The jumble of tools and scrap metal resemble someone’s personal effects, rather than a ritual deposit or hoard. Archaeologists say the tools were likely in a bag or box that decayed. But the contents were held in place by the thick mud of the riverbed—until divers found them some 3000 years later.

For details and a photo of the objects:

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on October 15, 2019, 03:03:38 PM
The chisel design appears unchanged over the last 3k yrs. An amazing find!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 16, 2019, 01:11:54 AM
Aerial Laser Scans Uncover Hidden Early Capital of the Khmer Empire

Archaeologists in Cambodia have used jungle-penetrating laser to confirm the location and layout of an ancient capital city associated with the early stages of the Khmer Empire.

Researchers from the French Institute of Asian Studies and APSARA, Cambodia’s management authority for Angkor Archaeological Park, have used LIDAR to pinpoint the exact location of Mahendraparvata—an early Angkorian city and one of the first capital cities associated with the Khmer Empire. The ancient city, which dates back to the 8th and 9th century CE, was spotted in the dense jungles of Cambodia’s Phnom Kulen mountains. Details of the discovery were published today in the science journal Antiquity.

The Khmer Empire dominated much of southeast Asia from the 9th to 15th century CE, establishing the foundations of modern Cambodia. Among its many achievements, the Khmer Empire is famous for Angkor Wat—an elaborate temple complex located in the ancient city of Angkor in northwest Cambodia. Mahendraparvata was built before Angkor, and it’s very possibly the first large-scale, centrally designed, grid-plan city built by the Khmer Empire, according to the new research.


Inscriptions and other archaeological evidence had pointed to the Phnom Kulen mountain as the likely location of Mahendraparvata, but scientists were only able to uncover small and apparently isolated shrines. The city remained largely undetected owing to dense vegetation growing at the site, and because of the presence of Khmer Rouge guerillas who stayed in the area until the 1990s; the jungle remains littered with landmines and unexploded ordnance, making it an unsafe space for archaeologists.


Near Mahendraparvata, the researchers also found 366 individual mounds arranged in geometric patterns and built in groups of 15. The purpose of these mounds is unclear, but the lack of associated archaeological evidence suggests they weren’t funeral structures, former habitats, or architectural foundations. It will take further work to discern the purpose of these strange mounds as well as similar formations found elsewhere in Cambodia


Open Access: Mahendraparvata: an early Angkor-period capital defined through airborne laser scanning at Phnom Kulen
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: ael on October 16, 2019, 05:11:03 AM
Lee Berger gets a hat trick. (

Lee Berger: We have made another major discovery about early humans

Humanity’s ancient family tree is set to be shaken up by fossil skeletons found embedded in rock at a site near Johannesburg, South Africa. They could be from another long lost human cousin. “We have another major hominin discovery,” said Lee Berger at New Scientist Live on Saturday.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 22, 2019, 01:58:30 PM
More research on the Younger Drias impact hypothesis:

New evidence that an extraterrestrial collision 12,800 years ago triggered an abrupt climate change for Earth


So in 2016, my colleagues and I extracted sediment from the bottom of White Pond. Using 4-meter-long tubes, we were able to preserve the order and integrity of the many sediment layers that have accumulated over the eons.

Based on preserved seeds and wood charcoal that we radiocarbon dated, my team determined there was about a 10-centimeter thick layer that dated to the Younger Dryas Boundary, from between 12,835 and 12,735 years ago. That is where we concentrated our hunt for evidence of an extraterrestrial impact.


In the White Pond samples, we did indeed find high levels of platinum. The sediments also had an unusual ratio of platinum to palladium.

Both of these rare earth elements occur naturally in very small quantities. The fact that there was so much more platinum than palladium suggests that the extra platinum came from an outside source, such as atmospheric fallout in the aftermath of an extraterrestrial impact.

My team also found a large increase in soot, indicative of large-scale regional wildfires. Additionally, the amount of fungal spores that are usually associated with the dung of large herbivores decreased in this layer compared to previous time periods, suggesting a sudden decline in ice-age megafauna in the region at this time.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on October 22, 2019, 06:00:40 PM
suggesting a sudden decline in ice-age megafauna in the region at this time.

An impact of an extraterrestrial object.
That would mean that It is likely that it was not just humans responsible for the megafauna extinction.
Thanks kassy, interesting.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on October 23, 2019, 12:09:42 AM
The evidence just keeps building.

In the deserts of the American Southwest the "Black Mat" is easy to identify, but it's significance will not be officially recognised until professors of my generation have died out.

It's the way science advances, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 23, 2019, 07:37:44 PM
I think it is gaining traction. The Chixilub impact was controversial for a time and then it wasn´t. Some of them might live to see it.

One of my first internet buddies in 2005 or so was obsessed with this period. Both the see saw mechanism between the hemispheres and the cause.

We know a lot more now. Pity he did not get to see this.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 25, 2019, 02:10:21 PM
Some really cool finds from after the inpact:

Astonishing Fossil Site Reveals Mammal's Recovery After The Last Great Mass Extinction

An extraordinary fossil location has revealed the speed of evolution after the extinction of the non-avian dinosaurs. Within 100,000 years the number of mammalian species represented at a Colorado site more than doubled, and larger-bodied creatures appeared over the next million years. No previous site has recorded the aftermath of a mass extinction in anything like such detail.


At Corral Bluffs, just outside Colorado Springs, a single outcrop reveals the last hundred thousand years of the Cretaceous (K) and first million years of the Paleogene  (Pg) era without the discontinuities seen elsewhere. Thousands of fossils outstandingly presevered within egg-shaped structures called concretions have already been recovered. Moreover, the site is layered with volcanic ash that can be accurately dated, giving us precise measurements on when its 150 stratigraphic layers were deposited.

The age of the rocks had led fossil hunters to search Corral Bluffs before, but without success. It was only when Lyson was visiting South African colleagues, who look out for concretions rather than bits of weathered bone, that he realized the problem. Within a week of his return, he was finding a skull every 15 minutes. (international cooperation is a great thing, K  8) )

“Large bodied mammals disappear at the K-Pg boundary but returned to near KPgE levels within 100,000 years,” the paper reports. Judging by the teeth, herbivores, including some nut eaters, appeared where once mammals had been omnivorous or fed largely on insects. Thereafter Lyson found two intervals around 300,000 and 700,000 years after the extinction where even bigger mammals emerged, no longer having to look out for large dinosaurs.


Similarly, leaf mass per area and diversity of large plants took just 300,000 years to recover from the disaster. Among the fossils Lyson and co-authors report is the oldest known member of the bean family, dated to 65.35 million years ago, contradicting the theory legumes appeared in South America soon after the collision but took 7 million years to reach North America.

It´s cool to have a timeline and we also know more about beans now.  :)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on October 25, 2019, 06:40:08 PM
Thanks kassy, interesting :).
I love beans. Right now I am having beans every day for more than a week. The sperzie variant ;).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 28, 2019, 06:13:52 PM
The Homeland of Modern Humans

A study has concluded that the earliest ancestors of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) emerged in a southern African 'homeland' and thrived there for 70 thousand years.

"It has been clear for some time that anatomically modern humans appeared in Africa roughly 200 thousand years ago. What has been long debated is the exact location of this emergence and subsequent dispersal of our earliest ancestors."

... "We merged 198 new, rare mitogenomes to the current database of modern human's earliest known population, the L0 lineage. This allowed us to refine the evolutionary tree of our earliest ancestral branches better than ever before," says first author Dr. Eva Chan from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, who led the phylogenetic analyses.

... By combining the L0 lineage timeline with the linguistic, cultural and geographic distributions of different sub-lineages, the study authors revealed that 200 thousand years ago, the first Homo sapiens sapiens maternal lineage emerged in a 'homeland' south of the Greater Zambezi River Basin region, which includes the entire expanse of northern Botswana into Namibia to the west and Zimbabwe to the east.

Investigating existing geological, archeological and fossil evidence, geologist Dr. Andy Moore, from Rhodes University, revealed that the homeland region once held Africa's largest ever lake system, Lake Makgadikgadi.

"Prior to modern human emergence, the lake had begun to drain due to shifts in underlying tectonic plates. This would have created, a vast wetland, which is known to be one of the most productive ecosystems for sustaining life," says Dr. Moore.

The authors' new evolutionary timelines suggest that the ancient wetland ecosystem provided a stable ecological environment for modern humans' first ancestors to thrive for 70 thousand years.


... "We observed significant genetic divergence in the modern humans' earliest maternal sub-lineages, that indicates our ancestors migrated out of the homeland between 130 and 110 thousand years ago," explains Professor Hayes. "The first migrants ventured northeast, followed by a second wave of migrants who travelled southwest. A third population remained in the homeland until today."

The authors propose that changes in Africa's climate triggered the first human explorations, which initiated the development of humans' genetic, ethnic and cultural diversity. ... The authors speculate that the success of this migration was most likely a result of adaptation to marine foraging, which is further supported by extensive archaeological evidence along the southern tip of Africa.

Human origins in a southern African palaeowetland and first migrations (, Nature (2019)



I thought this was all settled in the last episode of BattleStar Galactica!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 30, 2019, 12:21:38 AM
This Mysterious Arctic Tree Stump Could Reveal Ancient Secrets

A hunting party in Nunavut stumbled upon a rare sight: a tree stump poking out of the permafrost. However it got there, the wood will likely tell scientists secrets of the distant past

... “In my estimation, it’s a pretty amazing discovery,” said Hakongak. “You find something like that once in your lifetime up here.”

... Located on Victoria Island, Cambridge Bay is roughly 600 km above the treeline, the latitudes above which the climate is too cold for trees to survive.


... Forests covered many parts of the Arctic millions of years ago, and pieces of fossilized wood have been found in Nunavut, on Bylot Island, Ellesmere Island and Axel Heiberg Island, that date back 45 million years.

If the stump was part of an ancient forest, Blanchette speculates, it was likely buried or frozen by a catastrophic event, like a landslide, then exposed due to erosion and melting permafrost. (The wood from the frozen forest he studied on Ellesmere was between two and 10 million years old.)

As the planet warms, still-rare finds of ancient wood like this may become more common, adds Marie-Eve LaRocque, a spokesperson for Polar Knowledge Canada, the federal organization that operates the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay.

The research station plans to get a sample from the stump and send it for analysis to scientists at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. The first step is to have the wood radiocarbon dated; the technique is reliable for dating items less than 50,000 years old, and the results would tell scientists if the wood is more recent jetsam or something far older.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on October 30, 2019, 06:33:14 AM
Some additional forests on Ellesmere Island that had been frozen, not fossilized, 2 to 8 MM yrs ago. (

Earlier today on a different thread mention was made of ongoing coal mining at Spitzenburg. Spitzenburg was a coaling station in the early days of steam. I wonder how long ago those swamps turned to coal, and how the trees and ferns survived the 6 months of darkness.

Another article today featured huge coal deposits in Alaska, again above the polar circle & I recall a large coal seam in the NWT that has been burning ever since it came in contact with a seam of sulfur some millenia ago. Again, how could these plants have survived and flourished with no insolation for 6 months, and how old are they.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 30, 2019, 07:02:09 AM
I think most of the coal comes from deposits over 300 million years old. The position of.Spitzenburg and other northern coal seams was much further south at that point in time. More light and warmer.

Continents are still moving. This is what Earth will look like 250 million years from now. Another Pangea?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 05, 2019, 03:15:00 AM
Project Silica: The Case for Storing Humanity's Most Important Data on Glass Drink Coasters


Microsoft just revealed a proof of concept. It’s a thin square of glass that’s been laser-etched with microscopic geometric shapes called “voxels” that contain a combined 75.6 gigabytes of data, which contains the 1978 film Superman in its entirety. The announcement is a publicity stunt, sure, but the idea of storing our most important data on slices of glass is undeniably poignant—and practical.

Microsoft calls this new glass storage system Project Silica. According to the company’s press release, these little glass coasters could help Warner Bros. transition its archives from vulnerable 35-millimeter film onto a medium that could last centuries.

“Glass has a very, very long lifetime,” Microsoft Research principal researcher Ant Rowstron told Variety. His team says it tried baking the glass in ultra-hot ovens, submerging them in boiling water, microwaving it, scratching it with steel wool, but still the data remained uncorrupted. “If you take a hammer to it, you can smash glass,” Rowstron added. So, ultimately, glass can break.

When you think about it, though, a cold storage method like this holds lots of promise. The term “cold storage” refers to the process of storing data that doesn’t need to be accessed daily, weekly, or even annually but rather preserved for the long haul. Many of the commonly used physical data storage techniques like tape, film, or compact disk are subject to deterioration over time. Storing data on hard drives or servers ultimately leaves it vulnerable to deletion, and in the case of cloud computing, the final call of what gets deleted or kept might lie in the hands of care-nothing overlords rather than users who ought to own that data.

Beats clay tablets...

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on November 05, 2019, 04:36:04 AM
"Beats clay tablets..."

Really? Wouldn't we need to wait 5-6000 years to know if that's true?

Clay tablets are at once immediately accessible (assuming you know the script and the language...which...we're all up on our cuneiform and Sumerian grammar, right?), and yet also has proven to be extremely durable (unless crushed into dust by the US stupidly and needlessly launching multiple invasions of the areas where these ancient civilizations evolved).

But yeah, you can fit a lot of useless, stupid movies on the glass versions...whether distant future generations will be impressed by this we will never know, but I have my doubts.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 07, 2019, 06:05:02 PM
Huge Trove of Mammoth Skeletons Found in Mexico

Archaeologists said Wednesday they have made the largest-ever discovery of mammoth remains: a trove of 800 bones from at least 14 of the extinct giants found in central Mexico.

Moreover, they believe they have made the first-ever find of a mammoth trap set by humans, who would have used it to capture the huge herbivores more than 14,000 years ago, said Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

The skeletal remains were found in Tultepec, near the site where President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government is building a new airport for Mexico City.

Some bore signs that the animals had been hunted, leading experts to conclude that they had found "the world's first mammoth trap," it said.


Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 08, 2019, 05:54:26 PM
Scientists Link Neanderthal Extinction to Human Diseases


In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, Greenbaum and his colleagues propose that complex disease transmission patterns can explain not only how modern humans were able to wipe out Neanderthals in Europe and Asia in just a few thousand years but also, perhaps more puzzling, why the end didn't come sooner.

... To understand why modern humans replaced Neanderthals and not the other way around, the researchers modeled what would happen if the suite of tropical diseases our ancestors harbored were deadlier or more numerous than those carried by Neanderthals.

"The hypothesis is that the disease burden of the tropics was larger than the disease burden in temperate regions. An asymmetry of disease burden in the contact zone might have favored modern humans, who arrived there from the tropics," said study co-author Noah Rosenberg, the Stanford Professor of Population Genetics and Society in the School of Humanities and Sciences.

According to the models, even small differences in disease burden between the two groups at the outset would grow over time, eventually giving our ancestors the edge. "It could be that by the time modern humans were almost entirely released from the added burden of Neanderthal diseases, Neanderthals were still very much vulnerable to modern human diseases," Greenbaum said. "Moreover, as modern humans expanded deeper into Eurasia, they would have encountered Neanderthal populations that did not receive any protective immune genes via hybridization."

The researchers note that the scenario they are proposing is similar to what happened when Europeans arrived in the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries and decimated indigenous populations with their more potent diseases.


Newly Discovered Motifs in Rock Art in Tumlehed Shows Seafaring in the Stone Age

South-west Sweden's best preserved rock painting has now been dated—it is from the late Stone Age. With the aid of new technologies, researchers at the University of Gothenburg have been able to reveal a number of previously unknown motifs that are no longer visible to the naked eye. The most important of these newly discovered motifs are boats with elk-head stems. This is the first time that these kinds of boats have been documented in southern or western Scandinavia and these motifs provide further evidence of the long-distance sea voyages undertaken by Stone Age maritime hunters.

... This technology has made it possible for the first time to date the rock painting in Tumlehed. It is from the late Stone Age and was painted some time between 4200-2500 years BCE by mobile hunters who had come by boat to the west coast of Sweden to hunt seal and whales.

The new technologies used on the Tumlehed rock painting included the digital image enhancing program Dstretch, which was originally developed by NASA and is being increasingly used in rock art research. It was used to digitally enhance symbols that are no longer visible to the naked eye.

Using portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) spectroscopy, the basic chemical composition of the pigment used in the motifs was also determined, and this gave the researchers data which revealed that different batches of paint had been used for some of the motifs. This suggests at least two separate episodes of producing the rock painting.

"Elk-head boats are often associated with hunting and fishing scenes, and we have interpreted the motifs in Tumlehed as three elk-head boats related to a small whale, a seal and four fish," says Bettina Schulz Paulsson.

The Tumlehed rock painting indicates similar maritime voyages during the Stone Age that are culturally connected to the peoples of eastern and northern Fennoscandia, an area that covers Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Kola Peninsula and Russian Karelia.

Bettina Schulz Paulsson et al. Elk Heads at Sea: Maritime Hunters and Long‐Distance Boat Journeys in Late Stone Age Fennoscandia, Oxford Journal of Archaeology (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 08, 2019, 10:29:37 PM
"The hypothesis is that the disease burden of the tropics was larger than the disease burden in temperate regions. An asymmetry of disease burden in the contact zone might have favored modern humans, who arrived there from the tropics,"

A whole bunch of tropical diseases are also just tropical. Immunity to something does not matter if the vector does not live where you are.

I think immunity becomes much more of an issue when society changed after people settled and we lived with domesticated animals.

Old versions of the plague (of a version which did not yet transmit via fleas) have been found in Siberia but population density for both humans and fleas was to low to change the disease to a highly contagious one.

They draw a parallel to Europeans arriving in South America but that is a totally different situation. We lived with the pigs they didn´t.

This was not an issue at that time because no one was farming.

I think the neanderthal groups were smaller over all and their smaller groups were spread more thinly. The newer wave just had more people and was also more succesful because of good timing and they basically took over population wise so they just assimilated the pockets of neanderthals.

The article states:
Within this narrow contact zone, which was centered in the Levant where first contact took place, Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted in an uneasy equilibrium that lasted tens of millennia.

Ironically, what may have broken the stalemate and ultimately allowed our ancestors to supplant Neanderthals was the coming together of our two species through interbreeding.

This is BS. How do you know the equilibrium was uneasy. Its not like they had issues over tar pits or whatever you project.   

And there was no stalemate. If you could have done an accurate headcount at the time you would probably see more sapiens over time.

an uneasy equilibrium that lasted tens of millennia. or you don´t have enough data which does not matter if you do not care what you are writing about.

I am pretty sure general population dynamics is more important then immunity to pathogen packages. Their case would be more compelling if they showed pathogens that moved along the same time frames into the same regions but that is just not likely.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 09, 2019, 12:20:19 AM

So how would the presence of a Paleolithic version of a virus (... with characteristics like HIV as an example), but unique to each species, human and neanderthal, play out in your scenario?

What if each species had partial immunity to their own variation of the disease and no immunity to the other's disease?

You seem to insist that there has to be a vector, but, in the case of HIV, humans ARE the vector. It goes where they go and it is not limited to the tropics.

Other viruses may have come and gone with similar characteristics.

... This is BS. How do you know the equilibrium was uneasy. ...

How do you know that it wasn't?

... ... And there was no stalemate. If you could have done an accurate headcount at the time you would probably see more sapiens over time.

Could you share your data source that supports such an absolute certainty of conclusion.

Conclusion are generally not supported by 'ifs' and 'probablys'.

Remember, this hypothesis is based on a model. Just a model.  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 09, 2019, 08:04:30 PM
HIV is not a good example here. It is a retrovirus and we don´t generally have immunity to it. We know that the two species interbred so if either of them had it the other would get it too.

Basically i did not like the way the article was written but that is also interpretation on my part of course. And i did not read the research itself. Or the whole article. Note to self etc.

The short version you posted basically omitted the part about a 100000 year standoff in the Levant.

I was thinking about contact in Europe but that was the next phase.

The paper itself:

The uneasy equilibrium can be read in many ways and maybe it was an easy equilibrium?

I am going to read a bunch of the links from that article on what they know about the situation.
Still not sold on the idea but maybe they already ruled out land changes in north Africa leading to extra migration or things like that.

Thanks for the interesting article vox.  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 13, 2019, 01:47:05 PM
Modern Apes Smarter Than Pre-Humans

New research from the University of Adelaide suggests living great apes are smarter than our pre-human ancestor Australopithecus, a group that included the famous "Lucy."

The new research measured the rate of blood flow to the cognitive part of the brain, based on the size of the holes in the skull that passed the supply arteries. This technique was calibrated in humans and other mammals and applied to 96 great ape skulls and 11 Australopithecus fossil skulls.

Research lead Professor Roger Seymour from the University of Adelaide's School of Biological Sciences said the study revealed a higher rate of blood flow to the cognitive part of the brain of living great apes compared to Australopithecus.

"The results were unexpected by anthropologists because it has been generally assumed that intelligence is directly related to the size of the brain,"' Professor Seymour said. ...

Open Access: Roger S. Seymour et al. Cerebral blood flow rates in recent great apes are greater than in Australopithecus species that had equal or larger brains (, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 15, 2019, 10:01:59 PM
From Ancient Seeds to Scraps of Clothing, Rats’ Nests Are Full of Treasures


Paleobotanists and climatologists have studied the ecosystems of the past by analyzing millennia-old material in rat nests, tracking ice age climates and changing flora across the American Southwest. In centuries-old homes of the antebellum South, objects preserved in rats’ nests have even taught us new things about the lives of enslaved African Americans whose stories were not preserved in the written records of the time.

Pack rats, also known as wood rats, are notorious for collecting an odd assortment of items from their surroundings to make their nests, called middens. Although pack rats are similarly sized to their city-dwelling brown and black rat cousins, they have bushy (not hairless) tails and belong to the genus Neotoma rather than Rattus. These stockpiling rodents tend to only range 100 to 150 feet from their middens, collecting items from about a 50-foot radius. Pack rats will gather everything from plants and branches to insects and bones, which they pack into their middens. While you might not expect such materials to survive for very long, pack rats also have a special trick to conserve their haul: urine.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on November 16, 2019, 08:15:45 AM
Those rats must have some special urine (I haven't read the article).
Where I have been pissing over the forest floor, most leaves have become black. The microorganisms seem to love my urine.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on November 16, 2019, 08:05:29 PM
Those rats must have some special urine (I haven't read the article).
Where I have been pissing over the forest floor, most leaves have become black. The microorganisms seem to love my urine.

Don't know if the article mentions it but packrats inhabit the same midden for many, many generations. A huge rat midden near a petroglyph of a mammoth tossing someone with his tusks was inhabited in the 1980's when a friend first discovered it. It may well be older than the petroglyph.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on November 17, 2019, 07:19:33 AM
Thanks for that info Terry. It seems that those rats spoil their own generations old midden (nest) with daily urine. Maybe it's not spoiling but conserving :).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on November 17, 2019, 04:22:51 PM
Portions of the ancient desert middens I've seen appear almost crystalline, as if slowly encased in something resembling discoloured amber.
It would make an interesting field of study.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 17, 2019, 11:56:52 PM
There is a ton of links to detailed research in the article.

The trick is that their urine is concentrated and it works best in dry places. They keep doing it in the same places forever if they can so they are great samplers collecting stuff and preserving it yes, yes.  ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 19, 2019, 05:20:45 PM
Huge Tsunami Hit Oman 1,000 Years Ago

Fifteen-meter high waves that pushed boulders the weight of a Leopard tank inland: This is more or less how one can imagine the tsunami that hit the coast of today's Sultanate of Oman about 1,000 years ago, as concluded by a recent study by the universities of Bonn, Jena, Freiburg and RWTH Aachen. The findings also show how urgently the region needs a well-functioning early warning system. But even then, coastal residents would have a maximum of 30 minutes to get to safety in a similar catastrophe. The study will be published in the journal Marine Geology, but is already available online.

... Even a smaller tsunami would have devastating consequences today: A large part of the vital infrastructure in the Sultanate of Oman has been built near the coast, such as the oil refineries and seawater desalination plants.


Gösta Hoffmann et al. Large Holocene tsunamis in the northern Arabian Sea (   ), Marine Geology (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 20, 2019, 01:50:10 AM
AI helps discover new geoglyph in the Nazca Lines

Scientists from Japan have used machine learning for the first time to identify a new figure among the ancient motifs of Peru’s Nazca Lines.

The illustration, known as a geoglyph, is thought to date to between 100 BC and 500 AD, and was made by removing the dark stones of the Nazca Desert to reveal the white sand beneath. It’s small, just five meters in height, and it shows a humanoid figure grasping a cane or club. Like the other drawings in the Nazca Desert, its exact function is unknown, but its discovery next to an ancient path suggests it might have been used as a waypoint.

“It is in an area that we often investigated, but we did not know the geoglyph existed,” Professor Makato Sakai, the leader of a team from Yamagata University that conducted the research, told The Verge over email. “It’s a large achievement.”

It’s the first design in the Nazca Lines to be discovered with the help of artificial intelligence.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on November 22, 2019, 01:41:05 AM
It's rather obvious that this is a life size representation of a robotic overseer. His 3 antenna were for communications with the Master AI and up to two henchmen, his "screen face" was for communication with his slaves, and the "club" representing his physical domination over any foolish enough to resist.

The 3 dots on the screen represent the 3 levels that he operated on.

1 - I Club You
2 - I Club You Hard
3 - I Club You Dead

Representing him as a recumbent figure lying in the sand, as opposed to a vertical statue was no accident as it was rendered immediately after the successful slave revolt by the Bowler Hat Gang. The indigenous still don headwear totally unsuited to their environment.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 22, 2019, 06:02:18 AM
I was initially going with 'a teletubby having a tantrum', but you might be right.  ;)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on November 22, 2019, 07:08:16 AM
Did you ever watch one of their shows?
Is like taking a strong soperific. DO NOT DRIVE OR OPERATE MACHINERY AFTER WATCHING.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 23, 2019, 10:22:57 PM


Back on topic ...

Why Did Vikings Bury Two People in Boats on Top of Each Other, 100 Years Apart?
A video from NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology (with Norwegian captions) illustrating the Viking boat burials

... The graves hold two bodies, a male and female. The older grave, containing a Viking man, dates back to the 8th century CE, while the more recent grave, of a Viking woman, dates back to the 9th century CE. The Vikings unearthed the original grave after some 100 years, placed the second boat grave on top, and then reburied both, reports ScienceNorway. The reason isn’t entirely clear, but the archaeologists have good reason to believe the individuals were related.

Few details were given about the man, but he was found buried alongside his shield and a single-edged sword. His weapon dates to the Merovingian era in Northern Europe, reports ScienceNorway.

The woman’s boat was around 7 to 8 meters (23 to 26 feet) long. She was buried wearing a necklace with a cross-shaped pendant, and her dress was fastened at the front with a pair of large shell-shaped brooches made from gilded bronze. Around her body lay an assortment of funerary items, including a pearl necklace, scissors, a spindle whorl, and the head of a cow.

Most of the wood is gone from the two boats, but the archaeologists found the remaining rivets in their original positions, allowing them to visualize the placement of the boat graves. The boats were buried together within a large burial mound that protruded from the landscape. The site is at the edge of a cliff overlooking a fjord, so it was likely an impressive view, according to Sauvage.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 23, 2019, 11:22:21 PM
Buried someone on top a 100 year old skeleton?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 24, 2019, 12:41:56 PM
Nothing yuck about old skeletons. I once visited the Capuchin Crypt in Rome now that was something else but still not yuck.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 24, 2019, 03:34:24 PM
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 26, 2019, 03:51:19 PM
Archaeologists Fear Bolsonaro Agenda Will Kill Amazon Civilisation Research

Brazil’s president has cut science funding while opening the region to loggers, miners and farmers – putting priceless evidence of ancient cultures at risk.

... Recent findings are radically changing our understanding of the region’s prehistory. New evidence suggests that pre-Columbian Amazonian civilisations were comparable in scale and complexity to better-known Andean and Mesoamerican cultures. They had populations numbering in the millions, living in interconnected, fortified villages.
They left rock art, vast ceremonial earthworks, sprawling irrigation channels and causeways, but any stone buildings, described in fanciful accounts by conquistadors, have not survived. Perhaps even more intriguingly, a growing body of research suggests that much of the world’s largest rainforest was moulded by humans.

But archaeologists across the Amazon warn that progress is imperilled by the policies of Brazil’s nationalist president, Jair Bolsonaro. The field is facing dramatic funding cuts, while proposed legal changes on salvage archaeology will endanger priceless physical evidence.

And the mass displacement of indigenous communities – resulting from Bolsonaro’s promises to turn the Amazon over to loggers, miners and farmers in the name of development – risks destroying the local knowledge needed to reconstruct the Amazon’s past, and potentially safeguard its future.

... In March, Bolsonaro’s administration announced a surprise budget cut of 42% to the science ministry and of 30% to university funding.

In September, the government indicated that CNPq, the main grant-providing body for trainee scientists will lose 87% of its research budget in 2020, while another scientific funding agency, Capes, will suffer cuts of 50%.

... Bolsonaro’s administration has revived proposals that prior surveys are only carried out where archaeological material is already proven to exist. Most describe this as absurd: in most cases the archaeology is completely unknown until surveyed. “If they change the law, archaeology in Brazil is over.”

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 27, 2019, 09:32:14 PM
Inbreeding and Population/Demographic Shifts May Have Led to Neanderthal Extinction

Small populations, inbreeding, and random demographic fluctuations could have been enough to cause Neanderthal extinction, according to a study published November 27, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE

Using data from extant hunter-gatherer populations as parameters, the authors developed population models for simulated Neanderthal populations of various initial sizes (50, 100, 500, 1,000, or 5,000 individuals). They then simulated for their model populations the effects of inbreeding, Allee effects (where reduced population size negatively impacts individuals' fitness), and annual random demographic fluctuations in births, deaths, and the sex ratio, to see if these factors could bring about an extinction event over a 10,000-year period.

The population models show that inbreeding alone was unlikely to have led to extinction (this only occurred in the smallest model population). However, reproduction-related Allee effects where 25 percent or fewer Neanderthal females gave birth within a given year (as is common in extant hunter-gatherers) could have caused extinction in populations of up to 1,000 individuals. In conjunction with demographic fluctuations, Allee effects plus inbreeding could have caused extinction across all population sizes modelled within the 10,000 years allotted.

Vaesen K, Scherjon F, Hemerik L, Verpoorte A (2019) Inbreeding, Allee effects and stochasticity might be sufficient to account for Neanderthal extinction ( PLoS ONE 14(11): e0225117
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 27, 2019, 10:35:33 PM
Humans (Cro-Magnon) were hunter-gatherers for more than 10,000 years and were subject to the same demographic factors. Why did they not go extinct?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on November 27, 2019, 11:14:42 PM
Hunter gatherers tend to breastfeed on demand, that generally leads to children being born about 4 years apart, so 25% is close to the max rate.
Isolated communities of all types suffer increasing loss of fertility and congenital defects from excess consanquinity, island girls deal with this by the warm reception given to passing sailors, peasants/serfs by some type of try before you buy, aristocracies by heir, spare then miscellany. I imagine when isolated groups of hominids met they happily miscegenated, some hybrids prospering some not, but since H.Sap. was/is the only one who was hard wired for grammatical language once, any hominid group had been penetrated by H.Sap. the word got passed on.  ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 30, 2019, 03:32:15 AM
18,000-Year-Old Puppy Found Frozen and Almost Perfectly Preserved in Permafrost

Researchers are trying to determine whether an 18,000-year-old puppy found in Siberia is a dog or a wolf.

The frozen puppy, found near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia, was just two months old when it died, reports CNN. Scientists from the Centre for Palaeogenetics—a joint project between Stockholm University and the Swedish Museum of Natural History—used radiocarbon dating on its rib bone to place its brief time on Earth to 18,000 years ago, during the tail end of the last Ice Age.

As to which species this animal belonged is now an intriguing question, as the DNA analysis was inconclusive. The little critter doesn’t seem to fit the genetic profile of a dog or a wolf, and it quite possibly represents an intermediary stage during the domestication of dogs.

The origin of dogs is still not completely clear, hence the importance of the new discovery. The first domesticated dogs emerged in Asia around 14,000 to 16,000 years ago, but genetic evidence suggests the divergence date between dogs and ancient wolves happened at some point between 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. To complicate matters, dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe.

That the newly discovered puppy is some kind of evolutionary missing link is wholly plausible, as the timing appears to be right. But more evidence is needed.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on December 01, 2019, 02:25:48 PM
A little confirmation bias here ( conditions would arise where miscegenation was the optimal choice.
" We present two independent models that capture the internal dynamics of Neanderthal populations―the models thus ignore, among other things, competitive interactions with AMHs―and that suggest that the disappearance of Neanderthals might have resided in the small size of their population(s) alone. Accordingly, our study substantiates the suggestion, made in passing by French [42], that “it may simply be the case that Neanderthal populations declined below their minimum viable population threshold”."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 04, 2019, 01:39:23 PM
Did a million years of rain jump-start dinosaur evolution?


Three decades later, there is a growing consensus that they were right, after all. Something strange happened in the Late Triassic — and not just in Somerset. About 232 million years ago, during a span known as the Carnian age, it rained almost everywhere. After millions of years of dry climates, Earth entered a wet period lasting one million to two million years. Nearly any place where geologists find rocks of that age, there are signs of wet weather. This so-called Carnian pluvial episode coincides with some massive evolutionary shifts.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on December 04, 2019, 03:36:24 PM
Did a million years of rain jump-start dinosaur evolution?
That article also asks:  did a million years of global warming (potentially) caused by episodes of flood basalt eruptions in (what is now) Western Canada and Alaska jump-start evolutionary changes which developed the dinosaurs (and ultimately birds) as well as corals (as we know them today) and mammals.

Maybe after we (h. sapiens) are dead and gone, really interesting biology will flourish, nurtured by the extra rain and warmth caused by our 'burning the Carboniferous', and aided by the concentration of radioactive nuclides in certain areas (currently called 'nuclear power plants' and 'military bases')!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 07, 2019, 10:20:40 PM
Floor Pavements in Pompeii Illustrate Surveying Technology


Decorative pavements in the floor of a recently unearthed Roman house in Pompeii offer a glimpse into the life and work of an ancient land surveyor. The pavements depict a stylized drawing of an ancient surveyor’s tool called a groma, along with a diagram of a surveying technique and the plan of a construction project in Pompeii. So far, they’re the only original Roman illustrations of the tools and techniques the Romans used to help build an empire and its infrastructure.

Only a few metal fragments of a Roman groma exist today (also recovered from Pompeii), and archaeologists have found only a few images carved into surveyors’ tombstones. Otherwise, we know the tool only from descriptions in medieval versions of ancient Roman surveying manuals.

The newly unearthed pavements at Pompeii suggest that those medieval copies were pretty close to the original ancient texts. An image on the floor of the entrance hall is nearly identical to illustrations in medieval copies of Roman texts, attributed to Roman surveyor Hygius and famed architect Vitruvius.

... For some reason, Hygius and Vitrivius didn’t include illustrations of a groma in their texts, so modern scholars have to rely on their descriptions and on fragments of a real groma found at Pompeii. The instrument consisted of a set of crossed arms balanced at the end of a horizontal pole so they could spin freely around the center. Four weighted plumb lines hung from the ends of the arms. A Roman land surveyor would line up two of the plumb lines on a distant point and then use the four arms of the groma to calculate an angle in relation to that line.

That seems to be what’s depicted in the pavement: a cross in a circle, at the top of a long straight line. ...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Aporia_filia on December 09, 2019, 10:34:45 AM
I have found something that supports my theory (that belongs to anybody), that humans have gone (and still are) through self domesticating processes. Maybe that helps explain why we behave like cattle when in mass.  ::) :o
Without wanting to hurt anybody, to me it also shows the role that religions have had in this process, aiming to control the human livestock under the good shepherd (before taken them to the slaughter house)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 09, 2019, 11:18:46 AM
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 09, 2019, 02:56:37 PM
Reply #174

We are constantly adapting to our environment and you can look at it that way. For example there was some research that showed that Chinese that lived way out in the country were much more likely to have an argument then Chinese living in the big cities. This was because they actually needed to do it more compared to the ones in the cities in day to day life.

Aside not all religions follow that pattern but unsurprisingly the big ones do because they nicely co-evolved with feudal exploitation and then capitalist exploitation. 
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on December 09, 2019, 05:38:31 PM
Civilisation is what I read but that is just a part of humans and humanity.

That is an important distinction to make and it gives some respect and justice to the remaining indiginous people today and all the conquered tribes of old, of which there are many.

My advise is: Try to break through your civilisation bubble for more clarity and understanding.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 09, 2019, 05:55:55 PM
And ancient Imperial exploitation before that.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 12, 2019, 05:33:58 PM
World's Oldest Artwork Uncovered in Indonesian Cave

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 13, 2019, 05:37:53 PM
New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Were Real

For years, archaeologists have debated the existence of ancient Egyptian head cones. These objects are portrayed in Egyptian artworks, but not a single one has been found by archaeologists—until now.

Ancient Egyptian head cones actually existed, according to a new paper published this week in the science journal Antiquity. The new research, led by archaeologist Anna Stevens from Monash University in Australia, suggests the adornments served an important funerary function: They were found atop the heads of two skeletons buried in a cemetery at the ancient Egyptian city of Akhetaten, now known as the Amarna site. Whether or not these head cones were worn in daily life is unknown, but the composition and design of the unusual objects strongly suggests this was the case.


The head cones were found as broken fragments, but the researchers managed to reconstruct their overall shape. A non-destructive spectroscopic analysis showed that the relics were hollow and made from wax, likely beeswax. The wax caps measured around 3 inches high and 4 inches wide.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 16, 2019, 03:43:32 PM
Speech could be older than we thought

The theory of the 'descended larynx' has stated that before speech can emerge, the larynx must be in a low position to produce differentiated vowels. Researcher show the production of differentiated vocalizations is not a question of anatomical variants but of control of articulators. This work leads us to think that speech could have emerged before the 200,000 years ago.


(Scientists tried to teach language to baby chimpanzees at the same time their kids were learning it, this failed)

To explain this result, in 1969 in a long series of articles a US researcher, Philip Lieberman, proposed the theory of the descended larynx (TDL). By comparing the human vocal tract to monkeys, this researcher has shown that these have a small pharynx, related to the high position of their larynx, whereas in humans, the larynx is lower. ... Despite some criticisms and many acoustic observations that contradict the TDL, it would come to be accepted by most primatologists.

More recently, articles on monkeys' articulatory capacities have shown that they may have used a system of proto-vowels. Considering the acoustic cavities formed by the tongue, jaw and lips (identical in primates and humans), they showed that production of differentiated vocalizations is not a question of anatomy but relates to control of articulators. The data used to establish the TDL came in fact from cadavers, so they could not reveal control of this nature.

Lets hope this puts the TDL idea to rest.

The other problem is that we only have cadavers or just some bones for ancient humans so even modelling them is not straightforward. Guess we are stuck here.  ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 16, 2019, 03:46:45 PM
And some bonus stuff on Moai. I only quoted the summary.
Best read in full on the link.

Unearthing the mystery of the meaning of Easter Island's Moai

Rapanui people likely believed the ancient monoliths helped food grow on the Polynesian island, study reveals

Based on a 5-year excavation of two Moai found within the Easter Island quarry called Rano Raraku, the Easter Island Statue Project released the first definitive study to reveal the quarry as a complex landscape and link soil fertility, agriculture, quarrying and the sacred nature of the Moai. Chemistry testing suggests the soil in the quarry itself was made more fertile by the act of quarrying, with traces of taro, banana and sweet potato in the area.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 16, 2019, 05:08:16 PM
Fossil Shells Reveal Both Global Mercury Contamination and Warming When Dinosaurs Perished

... Scientists have long debated the significance of the Deccan Traps eruptions, which began before the K-T impact and lasted, on and off, for nearly a million years, punctuated by the impact event.

Now, a University of Michigan-led geochemical analysis of fossil marine mollusk shells from around the globe is providing new insights into both the climate response and environmental mercury contamination at the time of the Deccan Traps volcanism.

From the same shell specimens, the researchers found what appears to be a global signal of both abrupt ocean warming and distinctly elevated mercury concentrations. Volcanoes are the largest natural source of mercury entering the atmosphere.

The dual chemical fingerprints begin before the impact event and align with the onset of the Deccan Traps eruptions.

... When the researchers compared the mercury levels from the ancient shells to concentrations in freshwater clam shells collected at a present-day site of industrial mercury pollution in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, the levels were roughly equivalent.

... "The modern site has a fishing ban for humans because of high mercury levels. So, imagine the environmental impact of having this level of mercury contamination globally for tens to hundreds of thousands of years," said U-M geochemist and study co-author Sierra Petersen, who was Meyer's co-adviser.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on December 16, 2019, 05:25:53 PM
Interesting Larynx theory kassy.

Perhaps Philip Lieberman knows

Quote from: wikipedia
chair of the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology. He is best known for his research on the evolution of the human head[1] and the evolution of the human body.

If you're interested in these evolutionary human developments, I've learned a lot and got a good overview from his books. Well written and packed with information.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 17, 2019, 07:20:48 PM
Archaeologists find Bronze Age Tombs Lined with Gold

Archaeologists with the University of Cincinnati have discovered two Bronze Age tombs containing a trove of engraved jewelry and artifacts that promise to unlock secrets about life in ancient Greece.

Jack Davis and Sharon Stocker, archaeologists in UC's classics department, found the two beehive-shaped tombs in Pylos, Greece, last year while investigating the area around the grave of an individual they have called the "Griffin Warrior," a Greek man whose final resting place they discovered nearby in 2015.

Like the Griffin Warrior's tomb, the princely tombs overlooking the Mediterranean Sea also contained a wealth of cultural artifacts and delicate jewelry that could help historians fill in gaps in our knowledge of early Greek civilization.

UC's team spent more than 18 months excavating and documenting the find. The tombs were littered with flakes of gold leaf that once papered the walls. ...

... "It has been 50 years since any substantial tombs of this sort have been found at any Bronze Age palatial site. That makes this extraordinary," Davis said.



'Unusual' Stone Artifact Found in North Carolina Likely Dates from 3,000 to 1,000 BC

Nearly 50 years after a mysterious spear-shaped stone was found 30 miles east of Charlotte, N.C., archaeologists have a theory that likely dates the "unusual artifact" to between 3,000 and 1,000 BC.

The stone, discovered in 1973 in Union County, was clearly too big and heavy to qualify as one of the ubiquitous arrowheads found in agricultural fields across the state. It's 7.2 inches long, 2 inches tall and nearly an inch and a half wide, the N.C. Office of State Archaeology posted on Facebook.

So what is it?

David Cranford of the Office of State Archaeology believes what the landowner found is an ancient tool: An adze (or adz) used for smoothing and trimming wood.

"It is unclear how old this object is, but if it was made during the time that many of the grooved axes were being made and used, it would likely date to the Late Archaic period (3000-1000 BC)," Cranford said in a post that accompanied a 3-D model of the stone.


... The discovery of the suspected adze is not unlike the July 2019 unearthing of a stone in Newton Grove that had a face carved in it, McClatchy News reported earlier this year.

It was 22 inches long and nearly 17 inches wide, the newspaper said. State officials have not yet published an analysis of the stone face, including how old it might be.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 18, 2019, 10:05:24 AM
DNA from Stone Age woman obtained 6,000 years on


Thanks to the tooth marks she left in ancient "chewing gum", scientists were able to obtain DNA, which they used to decipher her genetic code.

This is the first time an entire ancient human genome has been extracted from anything other than human bone, said the researchers.

She likely had dark skin, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

Dr Hannes Schroeder from the University of Copenhagen said the "chewing gum" - actually tar from a tree - is a very valuable source of ancient DNA, especially for time periods where we have no human remains.

"It is amazing to have gotten a complete ancient human genome from anything other than bone,'' he said.

What do we know about her?
The woman's entire genetic code, or genome, was decoded and used to work out what she might have looked like. She was genetically more closely related to hunter-gatherers from mainland Europe than to those who lived in central Scandinavia at the time, and, like them, had dark skin, dark brown hair and blue eyes.

She was likely descended from a population of settlers that moved up from western Europe after the glaciers retreated.

Pretty cool discovery. Lets hope we find more old chewing gum.  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 18, 2019, 06:49:29 PM
Undersea Volcanism May Explain Medieval Year of Darkness

Starting in 536 A.D., the sky went dark for more than a year. In some parts of Europe and Asia, the sun only shone for about four hours a day, and "accounts say the sun gave no more light than the moon," says Dallas Abbott, who studies paleoclimate and extraterrestrial impacts at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. The mysterious dimming of the sun brought on global cooling, famines, and civil upheavals; the Chinese reported eclipses that still can't be explained today. Trees struggled to grow from 536 to 555 A.D., suggesting that the solar dimming was extensive, and scholars don't know exactly why.

Last week, in a poster at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union, Abbott and her colleague John Barron from the U.S. Geological Survey presented a new interpretation of the event.

Volcanic eruptions have been known spew sulfur and other particles into the atmosphere that can block out sunlight. But geological records only indicate big eruptions in 536 and 541, which aren't enough to explain the nine-year downward spike in tree growth. In addition, it would require a lot of sulfur and ash to darken the sky so much, and some of that material should be visible in rock layers and ice cores. However, says Abbott, "the amount of sulfate that was deposited wasn't as much as in other eruptions where they experience a similar amount of dimming."

That led her and Barron to suspect that perhaps impacts from space rocks could have thrown up enough dust to cause the dimming. But now, after analyzing a Greenland ice core, they have another theory.

Surprisingly, the layers of the ice core contained 91 fossils of microscopic species that would have lived in warm, tropical waters. "We found by far the most low-latitude microfossils that anybody's ever found in an ice core," says Abbott. By comparison, they were only able to identify one high-latitude species in the mix.

How did all those warmth-loving tropical and subtropical species get all the way up onto the Greenland ice sheet?

The team suspects they were blown into the atmosphere by underwater volcanic eruptions near the equator. Rather than emitting lots of sulfur, these submarine eruptions (in approximately 536 and 538 A.D.) would have vaporized seawater, the rising steam carrying calcium-laden sediments and microscopic sea creatures into the atmosphere. After floating around the atmosphere for a while, some of these particles would have eventually settled in the Arctic.

Equatorial volcanic eruptions in particular can affect the entire globe and, once in the atmosphere, the white sediments and microorganisms would have been very good at reflecting sunlight back into space. They're also difficult to detect in sediment records, which explains why they hadn't been noticed before.

Researchers discovered a high number of fossils from tropical areas (blue line) deposited in the Greenland ice during the 6th century. This indicates that underwater eruptions near the equator may have contributed to epic sky-dimming during 536-537 A.D. (The black line shows sulfate levels in the ice core, an indicator of another type of volcanic eruption.)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 20, 2019, 02:56:40 PM
385-million-year-old forest discovered

While sifting through fossil soils in the Catskill region near Cairo, New York, researchers uncovered the extensive root system of 385-million-year-old trees that already appeared to have leaves and wood. The finding is the first piece of evidence that the transition toward forests as we know them today began earlier in the Devonian Period than typically believed.


The researchers also found evidence of a tree called Archaeopteris, which shares a number of characteristics with modern seed plants.

"Archaeopteris seems to reveal the beginning of the future of what forests will ultimately become," says Stein. "Based on what we know from the body fossil evidence of Archaeopteris prior to this, and now from the rooting evidence that we've added at Cairo, these plants are very modern compared to other Devonian plants. Although still dramatically different than modern trees, yet Archaeopteris nevertheless seems to point the way toward the future of forests elements."

Stein and his team were also surprised to find a third root system in the fossilized soil at Cairo belonging to a tree thought to only exist during the Carboniferous Period and beyond: "scale trees" belonging to the class Lycopsida.

"What we have at Cairo is a rooting structure that appears identical to great trees of the Carboniferous coal swamps with fascinating elongate roots. But no one has yet found body fossil evidence of this group this early in the Devonian." Stein says. "Our findings are perhaps suggestive that these plants were already in the forest, but perhaps in a different environment, earlier than generally believed. Yet we only have a footprint, and we await additional fossil evidence for confirmation."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 23, 2019, 08:02:49 PM
Ancient Secret of Stone Circles Revealed
A virtual reconstruction of the lost stone circle of Na Dromannan, created by the computer science team at the University of St Andrews under Dr Alan Miller.

New evidence of a massive lightning strike at the center of a hidden stone circle in the Outer Hebrides may help shed light on why these monuments were created thousands of years ago.

... While studying prehistoric Tursachan Chalanais, the main stone circle at Calanais on the Isle of Lewis, the project team surveyed nearby satellite sites to reveal evidence for lost circles buried beneath the peat.

One rarely-visited site surveyed, known as Site XI or Airigh na Beinne Bige, now consists of a single standing stone on an exposed hillside overlooking the great circle.

Geophysics revealed that not only was the stone originally part of a circle of standing stones, but also that there was a massive, star-shaped magnetic anomaly in the center—either the result of a single, large lighting strike or many smaller strikes on the same spot.


... "Such clear evidence for lightning strikes is extremely rare in the UK and the association with this stone circle is unlikely to be coincidental.

"Whether the lightning at Site XI focused on a tree or rock which is no longer there, or the monument itself attracted strikes, is uncertain.

"However, this remarkable evidence suggests that the forces of nature could have been intimately linked with everyday life and beliefs of the early farming communities on the island."

"This evidence is rare because lighting strikes are conducted along the top 'skin' of the Earth's surface. The clarity of the strike suggests we are looking at events before the peat enveloped the site, more than 3000 years ago."


Open Access: C. Richard. Bates et al. Geophysical Investigation of the Neolithic Calanais Landscape (, Remote Sensing (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 23, 2019, 09:43:51 PM
I think this is a cool story.

Would they have just found the mark or maybe someone witnessed it happening... We will never know.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on December 24, 2019, 05:03:37 AM
Could it have been a small (metal containing) meteorite? The small crater would now be buried beneath the peat. Just an idea :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Avalonian on December 24, 2019, 10:13:26 AM
Could it have been a small (metal containing) meteorite? The small crater would now be buried beneath the peat. Just an idea :)

'Fraid not, Nanning - fossil lightning strikes (fulgurites) are very characteristic, with irregular radial filaments (as here) rather than hemispherical shockwaves. Usually they're preserved in deserts where the sand can melt on impact.

I can't help wondering whether there was once a large upright structure at the centre of the ring... possibly embedded in sand at the base... ;)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 24, 2019, 05:47:13 PM
... I can't help wondering whether there was once a large upright structure at the centre of the ring... possibly embedded in sand at the base...

Mysterious Monolith Marks 2001



Elsewhere ...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 28, 2019, 02:50:58 AM
Archaeologists Discover Remains of Vast Mayan Palace in Mexico

Archaeologists in Mexico have uncovered the remains of a vast Mayan palace over 1,000 years old in an ancient city about 100 miles west of the tourist hotspot of Cancún.

The building in Kulubá is 55 metres long, 15 metres wide and six metres high, and appears to have been made up of six rooms, said Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History.

It is part of a larger complex that also includes two residential rooms, an altar and a large round oven. Archaeologists have also uncovered remains from a burial site, and hope forensic analysis of the bones could provide more clues about Kulubá’s Mayan inhabitants.

The palace was in use during two overlapping eras of Mayan civilisation, in the late classical period between AD600 and AD900, and the terminal classical between AD850 and AD1050, said Alfredo Barrera Rubio, one of the lead archaeologists at the site.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Aporia_filia on December 31, 2019, 11:58:27 AM
Some people think that our problems come only from our culture. But our culture is a product of our nature. Our nature evolved to live in a very different environment to this one we have created.
A new homo species is needed.

"Nine human species walked the Earth 300,000 years ago. Now there is just one. The Neanderthals, Homo neanderthalensis, were stocky hunters adapted to Europe’s cold steppes. The related Denisovans inhabited Asia, while the more primitive Homo erectus lived in Indonesia, and Homo rhodesiensis in central Africa.

Several short, small-brained species survived alongside them: Homo naledi in South Africa, Homo luzonensis in the Philippines, Homo floresiensis (“hobbits”) in Indonesia, and the mysterious Red Deer Cave People in China. Given how quickly we’re discovering new species, more are likely waiting to be found.

By 10,000 years ago, they were all gone. The disappearance of these other species resembles a mass extinction. But there’s no obvious environmental catastrophe – volcanic eruptions, climate change, asteroid impact – driving it. Instead, the extinctions’ timing suggests they were caused by the spread of a new species, evolving 260,000-350,000 years ago in Southern Africa: Homo sapiens"
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on January 01, 2020, 07:23:28 PM
We weren't at the acme WRT "brain size" ourselves as I recall. Modern homo sapiens have smaller brains than the Neandertals we displaced & the Denisovans cranial capacity is unknown at this time.
A Denisovan jaw bone from Tibet may lead to further discoveries. (

My guess is that Homo Sapiens were far from the brightest of the lot, and that the basic theme of the comedy Idiocracy has been at work at least since the inception of the neolithic. Those with the least susceptibility toward herd diseases will outcompete those whose survival depends on their ability to outsmart their neighbors.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Aporia_filia on January 01, 2020, 07:55:43 PM
I had a laugh, but that's a bright perspective!  ;D
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on January 01, 2020, 09:02:41 PM

4,000-Year-Old Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Underworld May Be Oldest Illustrated ‘Book’

Archaeologists recovered the remnants of an ancient “Book of Two Ways” from a sarcophagus
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 03, 2020, 04:53:05 PM
Evidence Suggests Ancient Impact Crater Buried Under Bolaven Volcanic Field

A team of researchers with members from Singapore, the U.S., Thailand and Laos has concluded that the impact point of a meteorite that struck the Earth approximately 790,000 years ago lies buried beneath a volcanic field in southern Laos. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group outlines four lines of evidence that point to the Bolaven volcanic field as the likely site of the meteorite strike.

Prior research has shown that approximately 790,000 years ago, a large meteorite (the largest known young meteorite impact) struck Earth in the Eastern Hemisphere. So great was the impact that debris was strewn across a tenth of the entire planet's surface. ... Prior evidence also suggested the impact site was likely somewhere in Southeast Asia, but until now, the exact location has been unknown.

Open Access: Kerry Sieh et al. Australasian impact crater buried under the Bolaven volcanic field, Southern Laos (, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 03, 2020, 06:15:58 PM
Extinction of Ice Age Mammals May Have Forced Humans to Invent Civilization

For 95% of our species' history, we didn't farm, create large settlements or complex political hierarchies. We lived in small, nomadic bands, hunting and gathering. Then, something changed.

We transitioned from hunter-gatherer life to plant harvesting, then cultivation and, finally, cities. Strikingly, this transition happened only after the ice age megafauna—mammoths, giant ground sloths, giant deer and horses—disappeared. The reasons humans began farming still remain unclear, but the disappearance of the animals we depended on for food may have forced our culture to evolve.

... Global warming at the end of the last glacial period, 11,700 years ago, probably made farming easier. Warmer temperatures, longer growing seasons, higher rainfall and long-term climate stability made more areas suitable for cultivation. But it's unlikely farming had been impossible everywhere. And Earth saw many such warming events – 11,700, 125,000, 200,000 and 325,000 years ago—but earlier warming events didn't spur experiments in farming. Climate change can't have been the only driver.

... Yet something changed. From 10,000 years ago onward, humans repeatedly abandoned the hunter-gatherer lifestyle for farming. It may be that after the extinction of mammoths and other megafauna from the Pleistocene epoch, and the overhunting of surviving game, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle became less viable, pushing people to harvest and then cultivate plants. Perhaps civilisation wasn't born out of a drive to progress, but disaster, as ecological catastrophe forced people to abandon their traditional lifestyles.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 06, 2020, 11:58:14 AM
Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago

The discovery also points to food being shared and the use of wooden digging sticks to extract the plants from the ground

The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170,000 years ago. This discovery is much older than earlier reports for cooking similar plants and it provides a fascinating insight into the behavioral practices of early modern humans in southern Africa.


The Hypoxis rhizomes were mostly recovered from fireplaces and ash dumps rather than from surrounding sediment. "The Border Cave inhabitants would have dug Hypoxis rhizomes from the hillside near the cave, and carried them back to the cave to cook them in the ashes of fireplaces," says Wadley. "The fact that they were brought back to the cave rather than cooked in the field suggests that food was shared at the home base. This suggests that the rhizomes were roasted in ashes and that, in the process, some were lost. While the evidence for cooking is circumstantial, it is nonetheless compelling."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 06, 2020, 04:27:02 PM
Here is a picture of Hypoxis.

 I have eaten rhizomes from day lilies and hypoxis looks like another flower to keep in the garden as a potential food source. Day lilies taste like good potatoes.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 06, 2020, 05:07:53 PM
^ Bruce:

... hypoxis looks like another flower to keep in the garden as a potential food source ...

You might want to be cautious about that. From your link ...

... Other common names include Yellow Star and African Potato, although this last name should really not be used as the woody corm is not edible and actually may contain toxic compounds ...

If your looking for a perennial starch substitute I've had good luck with Cinnamon Vine, Air Potato
Latin: Dioscorea batata, Dioscorea polystachya

It's perennial; tolerates <0°F; forms both aerial and storage tubers; and tastes like potato
(If you need any starter tubers, I've got tons)

One-year-old roots weigh about 3 ounces, two-year-old roots, a pound. The root, in good soil, can grow up to three feet long and weight up to five pounds.  Its flavor is between a sweet potato and a regular potato. It is 20% starch, 75% water, 0.1% B1, and has 10 to 15 mgs vitamin C. The most common use is cooked like a potato.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 06, 2020, 05:12:38 PM
Tragedy of the Commons: Over-Hunting Walruses Contributed to the Collapse of Norse Greenland

Latest research from the universities of Cambridge, Oslo and Trondheim has found that, for hundreds of years, almost all ivory traded across Europe came from walruses hunted in seas only accessible via Norse settlements in south-western Greenland.

Walrus ivory was a valuable medieval commodity, used to carve luxury items such as ornate crucifixes or pieces for games like chess and Viking favourite hnefatafl. The famous Lewis chessmen are made of walrus tusk.

However, the study also indicates that, as time wore on, the ivory came from smaller animals, often female; with genetic and archaeological evidence suggesting they were sourced from ever farther north—meaning longer and more treacherous hunting voyages for less reward.

Increasingly globalised trade saw elephant ivory flood European markets in the 13th century, and fashions changed. There is little evidence of walrus ivory imports to mainland Europe after 1400.

Dr. James H. Barrett, from the University of Cambridge's Department of Archaeology, argues that the Norse abandonment of Greenland may have been precipitated by a "perfect storm" of depleted resources and volatile prices, exacerbated by climate change.

Open Access: James H. Barrett et al, Ecological globalisation, serial depletion and the medieval trade of walrus rostra (, Quaternary Science Reviews (2019)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on January 10, 2020, 08:43:00 PM
Viking Runestone Linked to Fears of Climate Change

The Rok runestone, raised in the ninth century near the lake Vattern in south central Sweden, bears the longest runic inscription in the world with more than 700 runes covering its five sides.

It is believed to have been erected as a memorial to a dead son, but the exact meaning of the text has remained elusive, as parts are missing and it contains different writing forms.

Researchers at three Swedish universities now suspect the inscriptions are more of an allusion to an impending period of extreme winter, as the person who erected the stone tried to put their child's death into a larger perspective.

"The inscription deals with an anxiety triggered by a son's death and the fear of a new climate crisis similar to the catastrophic one after 536 CE," the authors wrote.

The sixth century crisis is believed to have been caused by a series of volcanic eruptions which dramatically influenced climate with lower average temperatures, ruined crops and ensuing hunger and mass extinctions.

The new interpretation is based on a collaborative approach between researchers from several disciplines, including philology, archaeology and the history of religion.


They take into account a number of events in the author of the text's lifetime, which could "have seemed extremely ominous."

"A powerful solar storm coloured the sky in dramatic shades of red, crop yields suffered from an extremely cold summer, and later a solar eclipse occurred just after sunrise," said Bo Graslund, professor in archaeology at Uppsala University.

"Even one of these events would have been enough to raise fears of another Fimbulwinter," Graslund added referring to a winter lasting three years in Norse mythology, a sign of the coming of Ragnarok.

Per Holmberg et al. The Rök Runestone and the End of the World (  ), Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies (2020)

See also:,2164.msg241226.html#msg241226


Mexico City Gold Was Aztec Loot Spanish Abandoned as They Fled in 1520

A new scientific analysis of a large gold bar found decades ago in downtown Mexico City has confirmed it was part of the plunder Spanish conquistadors abandoned as they beat a temporary retreat from the Aztec capital.


... A fluorescent X-ray chemical analysis was able to pinpoint its creation to 1519-20, according to Inah, which coincides with the time Cortés ordered gold objects stolen from an Aztec treasury to be melted down into bars for easier transport to Europe.

Historical accounts describe Cortés and his men as heavily weighed down by the gold they hoped to take with them as they fled the imperial capital during what is known today as the Sad Night, or Noche Triste, in Spanish.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 12, 2020, 10:13:11 PM
Giant, Mysterious Blobs Are Lurking at the Edge of Earth’s Core


Over the years, better maps kept showing the same bloblike features. One huddles under Africa; the other is beneath the Pacific. They lurk where the planet’s molten iron core meets its rocky mantle, floating like mega-continents in the underworld. Their highest points may measure more than 100 times the height of Everest.


The connection between Hawaii and the Pacific blob might in turn solve another, more widespread puzzle.

Geochemists have long tried to explain why lava from Hawaii and other hot-spot locations such as Samoa, the Galápagos Islands, and Iceland has unique chemical signatures. For example, lava from these hot spots contains a relatively high concentration of helium-3—a primordial relic that predates the origin of the solar system. Scientists have found a similar pattern in neon isotopes, thought to be similarly ancient, and in isotopes of tungsten and xenon, both formed from the radioactive decay of other elements soon after the Earth was born.

In July, a team led by Curtis Williams, a geochemist at the University of California, Davis, published simulations that traced the plumes under hot spots back down through the flowing mantle. They found that these plumes reach all the way to the blobs, and bring unique chemistry up with them. “Whatever part of the mantle [the plumes are] coming from,” said Williams, “it’s really old.”


According to studies led by Trond Torsvik at the University of Oslo, the blobs also seem be linked to about two dozen surface regions called large igneous provinces—places where, at multiple times in Earth’s past, millions of cubic kilometers of lava oozed onto the surface as if through open wounds. Many of these events are themselves linked to mass extinctions like the Great Dying, the largest life-snuffing episode of the past half a billion years.

See link for graphics and the more detailed explanation.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 17, 2020, 10:11:03 PM

This I link to a local cave painting in d-stretch

A normal picture, scroll screen
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 18, 2020, 11:48:26 AM
Diving neaderthals came up before see #71 in this thread.

Free-Diving Neanderthals Gathered Tools From the Seafloor

New evidence suggests Neanderthals gathered clam shells and volcanic rock from the bottom of the Mediterranean, which they fashioned into tools. The work is yet more evidence that Neanderthals often ventured into the water, and it adds to the body of research showing that they were nothing like the unintelligent, uncoordinated clods they’ve long been portrayed to be.


a significant portion of the clam shells were collected as live animals, which required the Neanderthals to wade or even dive in shallow waters. These artefacts date back some 90,000 to 100,000 years to the Middle Paleolithic, predating the arrival of anatomically modern humans to Europe by around 60,000 years.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 19, 2020, 03:28:09 PM
There was a greek monkey mystery but we can cross it of now.  :)

How We Solved the 'Greek Monkey Mystery'

The blue monkeys painted on the walls of Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini are among many animals found in the frescoes of this 3,600-year-old city. Historians have studied the murals for decades since they were unearthed in the 1960s and 1970s on the island, which was once known as Thera. But when we and a team of other primatologists recently examined the paintings, we realised the monkeys could provide a clue that the Bronze Age world was much more globalised than previously thought.

Archaeologists had assumed the monkeys were an African species, with which the Aegean people that built Akrotiri probably came into contact via trade links with Egypt. But we think the paintings actually depict Hanuman langurs, a species from the Indian subcontinent. This suggests the Aegean people, who came from Crete and the Cycladic islands in the Aegean Sea, may have had trade routes that reached over 2,500 miles.

details and picture:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 19, 2020, 03:32:00 PM
Good question...

How Did Humans Boil Water Before the Invention of Pots?


It’s easy to imagine how prehistoric people could have roasted their food. It’s much harder to imagine how they could have boiled it without pottery. But that’s what Langley, who was helping lead a class of master’s students in archaeology, set out to attempt that October morning. Their boiling experiment was part of a course, and it took place at the York Experimental Archaeological Research Centre, a lakeside grove where researchers try to re-create the prehistoric by hafting arrowheads and weaving baskets out of reeds—and, in this case, boiling water. The students divided into groups of two or three, and they set out on this extremely simple yet daunting task


A couple of groups dug pits, filling them with coals and then lining them with either wet clay or a deer hide. Others poured water into birch bark or pig stomachs (procured from a Chinese supermarket). One group hung a deer hide from a tree and started heating small rocks in a fire—a technique inspired by the discovery of fire-cracked rocks in Paleolithic sites. These rocks had split and changed in distinct ways that suggested repeated heating and cooling. Archaeologists think that these stones were heated in fires and then dropped into water for cooking.


Another group was also attempting to boil water inside a deer hide hung directly over a fire—a technique admittedly less grounded in physical evidence from archaeological sites. In 2015, John Speth, a retired anthropologist at the University of Michigan, wrote a paper pointing out that you can actually boil water in a plastic water bottle.  ... YouTube videos and other evidence of people heating water in paper cups, coconut shells, bamboo tubes, wooden bowls, and even leaves. It turns out that as long as the cooking container is filled with water, it does not get hot enough to ignite.


However, ethnographers in the 19th and 20 centuries documented the Celts, Assiniboin, Cree, Ojibwa, and Blackfeet cooking without stones in birch bark, hides, and animal stomachs. These organic materials would have rotted, of course, leaving no artifacts for archaeologists to study.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 19, 2020, 03:58:21 PM
Kassy, The Chumash were a group of Calif. Native Americans who did not use pottery. To boil water they used tar lined basketry and added fire heated small, smooth, round serpentine rocks to boil water or heat their staple food, acorn mush. The ethnographic record, the basketry and the stones are all in archeological collections.
 I have been collecting the stones from my field. The pigs like to pick them up in their mouths and sometimes they end up in the water troughs. I have a collection of them and plan to use them on a batch of acorn mush but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: sidd on January 19, 2020, 08:59:20 PM
Re: The pigs like to pick them up in their mouths

I wonder why. You haven't licked one, have you ?

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on January 20, 2020, 05:34:18 AM
Re: The pigs like to pick them up in their mouths

Pigs are very intelligent and social. Could it be that they observed you picking up stones and wanted to help you?
Perhaps they were licking to see what so special about those stones.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: sidd on January 20, 2020, 08:11:56 AM
I meant licked a stone, not a pig ...

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: KiwiGriff on January 20, 2020, 09:53:18 AM
Hāngi (Māori pronunciation: [ˈhaːŋi]) is a traditional New Zealand Māori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven, called an umu.[1] It is still used for large groups on special occasions.[2]
To "lay a hāngi" or "put down a hāngi" involves digging a pit in the ground, heating stones in the pit with a large fire, placing baskets of food on top of the stones, and covering everything with earth for several hours before uncovering (or lifting) the hāngi.[3]
Prior to colonisation and the introduction of metals and wire, food was laid between bark, large leaves and other vegetation.

The effect is like steaming.
When done well it is very tasty  if somewhat earthy flavored .
Polynesians in the islands also do something very similar called an umu but it is done above ground using banana leaves piled over hot stones.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on January 20, 2020, 11:24:47 AM
@sidd indeed, sorry. In that case they were perhaps helping Bruce in bringing stones from the field.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Bruce Steele on January 20, 2020, 09:44:02 PM
Sidd, The stones are very smooth and have a waxy feel to them. Just a hunch but I think they like the smooth feel of the stones. I like my little experiments so I will boil one awhile and see what rolling one around in my mouth feels like. Most rocks would crack if you heated them and then dropped them in water. Some risk of splashing yourself with boiling water.
 I make metates ,mortars and pestles. No power tools. I usually use a metal hammer and chisel to peck the hole and smooth the edges with a stone pestle that will match the bowl when finished. I made a very big metate without any metal tools. I have been looking at old millstones and one of my projects is making some functional  stone flour mills that can be either human or animal powered. I have mentioned that I think somehow providing for the needs of those who come after the bottleneck is something I think about. Pecking out a stone bowl and pestle isn’t that difficult but it isn’t very good for flour production. A metate works better but still it is a lot of work to even make flour for a few tortillas.
  A stone flour mill that can produce several pounds of flour a day would seem to be something a group of people could use , someday . Anyway they will last and
 even if purely an anachronism they will be pretty to look at.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: KiwiGriff on January 20, 2020, 10:05:51 PM
You need to use igneous rocks if you want to heat them in a fire.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: be cause on January 21, 2020, 12:45:36 AM
some years ago I was helping at a Ayahuasca ceremony. It was to be followed by a sweat lodge but the guy involved wanted the ceremony shortened and to start the sweat early . I said no .. he got  mad so I told him the sweat would not take place . He was determined it would but minutes later he was calling me the devil .. all his hot stones had shattered .. never before .... b.c.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 22, 2020, 06:45:12 PM
Earth's oldest asteroid impact 'may have ended ice age'

Scientists have identified the world's oldest asteroid crater in Australia, adding it may explain how the planet was lifted from an ice age.

The asteroid hit Yarrabubba in Western Australia about 2.2 billion years ago - making the crater about half the age of Earth, researchers say.

Their conclusion was reached by testing minerals found in rocks at the site.


"The age of the [crater] corresponds pretty precisely with the end of a potential global glacial period," Prof Kirkland said.

"So the impact may have had significant changes to our planetary climate."

Using computer modelling, the team calculated that the asteroid struck a kilometres-thick ice sheet covering the Earth. The event would have released huge volumes of water vapour, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.

This could have helped the planet's warming during the Proterozoic era - a stage when oxygen had just appeared in the atmosphere and complex life had not yet formed.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 24, 2020, 10:19:32 AM
The fungal gap in the fossil record has been closed sith some recent finds.
Note the headline is crap because we already knew this from the molecular clock:

New Discovery Proves Fungi Were Around Way Earlier Than Anyone Expected

Mysterious fossils that had been sitting idle for decades in a Belgian museum have just been identified, and they're something wonderful. According to new analysis, these are fungal structures dating between 715 and 810 million years ago - making them some of the earliest fungus specimens ever recorded.

Last year, however, a discovery indicated otherwise. An international team of scientists led by Corentin Loron of the University of Liège in Belgium identified fossils of fungus from Canada, dating back to between 900 million and 1 billion years ago - early in the Neoproterozoic Era. They called the fungus Ourasphaira giraldae.

Now, with a new and more comprehensive array of tests, fossils collected from the Democratic Republic of the Congo many years ago have delivered the surprise discovery of fungus fossils that could be nearly as old. The new fungus has yet to be given a species name.


As we have previously reported, we know fungus was around when the first plants began to emerge around 500-600 million years ago. However, the fungal molecular clock had already suggested these life forms should have been around sooner.

This clock is the mutation rate of biomolecules in DNA, which can be used to determine the evolutionary history of an organism. In the case of fungus, if it had emerged around the same time as plants, its molecular clock would reflect this.

Instead, the DNA of fungus indicated that it made its first appearance over 1 billion years ago. This discrepancy between the fossil record and the molecular clock has been a huge puzzle.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 26, 2020, 11:31:32 AM
Human Ancestors Caused Animal Extinctions Millions of Years Before We Even Arrived


By examining the fossil record in East Africa, biologists have been able to trace a decline in carnivores that correlates with an increase in hominin brain size and vegetation changes - but not with climate or weather changes, as is commonly found.

This, the researchers say, can be interpreted as a connection between hominin activity and carnivore extinctions.

"Our analyses show that the best explanation for the extinction of carnivores in East Africa is … that they are caused by direct competition for food with our extinct ancestors," said computational biologist Daniele Silvestro of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.


"By investigating the African fossils, we can see a drastic reduction in the number of large carnivores, a decrease that started about 4 million years ago," said palaeontologist Lars Werdelin of the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

"About the same time, our ancestors may have started using a new technology to get food called kleptoparasitism."

You probably know kleptoparasitic animals very well. Seagulls, swooping in to nick your chips. Hyenas and lions, which steal each other's kills willy-nilly. The less said about the poor, displaced Australian white ibis the better.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 28, 2020, 03:03:21 PM
More on Neanderthals:

A Siberian cave contains clues about two epic Neandertal treks

Neandertals were epic wanderers.

These ancient hominids took a 3,000- to 4,000-kilometer hike from Eastern Europe to the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia around 60,000 years ago, a new study concludes. The evidence is in their handiwork


Neandertals at sites in what’s now Crimea and the northern Caucasus, just north of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe, and others who occupied Chagyrskaya Cave in southern Siberia crafted comparable stone tools between around 59,000 and 49,000 years ago


That wasn’t the first such journey for our extinct evolutionary relatives. European Neandertals already had migrated into southern Siberia more than 100,000 years ago. But the Neandertals who reached Siberia’s Denisova Cave (SN: 1/30/19) — about 100 kilometers east of Chagyrskaya Cave — made a different type of stone tools, suggesting these Neandertals were part of a separate migration to the region, the researchers say.

For details:

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 30, 2020, 03:16:49 PM
The joys of Lidar but also consequences:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on January 31, 2020, 10:21:23 AM
Previous efforts simply assumed that Africans largely lacked Neanderthal DNA. To get more reliable numbers, Princeton University evolutionary biologist Joshua Akey compared the genome of a Neanderthal from Russia’s Altai region in Siberia, sequenced in 2013, to 2504 modern genomes uploaded to the 1000 Genomes Project, a catalog of genomes from around the world that includes five African subpopulations. The researchers then calculated the probability that each stretch of DNA was inherited from a Neanderthal ancestor.

The researchers found that African individuals on average had significantly more Neanderthal DNA than previously thought—about 17 megabases (Mb) worth, or 0.3% of their genome. They also found signs that a handful of Neanderthal genes may have been selected for after they entered Africans’ genomes, including genes that boost immune function and protect against ultraviolet radiation.


The best fit model for where Africans got all this Neanderthal DNA suggests about half of it came when Europeans—who had Neanderthal DNA from previous matings—migrated back to Africa in the past 20,000 years. The model suggests the rest of the DNA shared by Africans and the Altai Neanderthal might not be Neanderthal at all: Instead, it may be DNA from early modern humans that was simply retained in both Africans and Eurasians—and was picked up by Neanderthals, perhaps when moderns made a failed migration from Africa to the Middle East more than 100,000 years ago.

Akey’s study might help explain another “head scratcher,” says computer biologist Kelley Harris of the University of Washington, Seattle. Studies had suggested East Asians have 20% more Neanderthal DNA than Europeans, she notes. “Europe is where Neanderthal remains are found, so why wouldn’t Europeans have more Neanderthal ancestry than any other group?”

By suggesting that Europeans introduced Neanderthal sequences into Africa, the new study points to an explanation: Researchers previously assumed that Neanderthal sequences shared by Europeans and Africans were modern and subtracted them out. After correcting for that bias, the new study found similar amounts of Neanderthal DNA in Europeans and Asians—51 and 55 Mb, respectively. It’s a “convincing and elegant” explanation, Harris says.


Without knowing exactly what a full Neanderthal genome would look like, or how much of it is in our own bodies, researchers traditionally relied on statistical methods that compare various DNA sequences against a reference point. By assuming our modern genetic heritage flowed with a migrating human population, from west to east, ancestors who remained in Africa established a blank slate as far as Neanderthal genes went.

Using the results of those studies only verified those assumptions further.

With advances in Neanderthal DNA analysis in mind, Chen and her colleagues took a different approach based on what's known as identity by descent (IBD).

Rather than rely on assumed reference points to make comparisons, the team went straight to the Neanderthal's sequenced genome and applied the principle that close family relationships are more likely to have more genetic sequences in common.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 04, 2020, 05:00:30 PM
7,000-year-Old Well is Oldest Wooden Structure Ever Discovered

The well was built by farmers around 5256 B.C., researchers said.

Archaeologists have discovered a 7,000-year-old Neolithic well in eastern Europe, which they believe is the oldest wooden structure in the world.

The square well was built with oak by farmers around 5256 B.C., according to researchers who pinpointed its origin after analyzing the tree rings in the wood, which is the scientific method known as dendrochronology. The well's age makes it the oldest dendrochronologically dated archaeological wooden construction worldwide, according to the researchers in the Czech Republic.

"It is interesting that the corner posts were made of previously felled trunks, namely from the trunk which had been cut in the autumn or winter 5259 B.C. or the winter of early 5258 B.C.," said Michal Rybníček of the Department of Wood Science at Mendel University.

Its design shines a light on technical skills that researchers didn't think Neolithic people possessed.

"The design consists of grooved corner posts with inserted planks. This type of construction reveals advanced technical know-how and, till now, is the only known type from this region and time period," the authors wrote.

According to experts, the well indicates that whoever built it was able to process the surface of felled trunks with utmost precision, given that they only had tools made of stone, bone, horn, or wood.

"The shape of the individual structural elements and tool marks preserved on their surface confirm sophisticated carpentry skills," the authors wrote.
It is the third well from the early Neolithic period found in the Czech Republic in the past four years.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on February 04, 2020, 07:04:28 PM
WOW. What an awesome find.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on February 05, 2020, 12:12:26 AM
It's the same technology they applied to mill pond dams here that were built ~200 years ago. Slotted oak uprights and slats that could be adjusted for water flow.

I've seen it in very early European settlements in North America, (but not at L'Anse aux Meadows).
Strangely I've never seen evidence of similar technology at First Nations sites.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on February 05, 2020, 06:58:09 AM
Boring a permanent hole in the ground for water extraction is a technology of control of nature (supremacy). It is civilisation behaviour I think. It is better, like other lifeforms like us do, to find a stream or lake. That's 'natural'.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 05, 2020, 06:32:28 PM
Neanderthals’ Relatives Climbed an Erupting Volcano 350,000 Years Ago

Roccamonfina volcano, about 60km northwest of Vesuvius, erupted violently around 350,000 years ago. Pyroclastic flows—deadly torrents of hot gas and volcanic ash—raced down the sides of the mountain. But within a few days, a small group of hominins trekked across the layer of ash and pumice that covered the steep mountainside. Recent analysis and some newly identified prints suggest that the intrepid (or reckless) hominins may have been Homo heidelbergensis who lived and hunted near the volcano.

Another layer of ash later covered the slope, sealing away at least 81 tracks until the early 1800s, when erosion revealed them to the local humans. The tracks record where at least five climbers, all with different foot sizes, walked down the steep, ash-covered hillside. One trail zigzags back and forth downhill, and you can easily picture climbers carefully working their way diagonally across the slope. Along another, more curving path, there are still handprints where the climbers reached out to steady themselves, and a slide mark reveals where one climber slipped.

The ash must have been cool enough to walk on but still soft enough to preserve tracks—very detailed ones, in a few cases. According to ichnologist Adolfo Panarello (of University of Cassino and Southern Latium) and his colleagues, that must have happened within a few days of the pyroclastic flow; Roccamonfina may even still have been erupting. In the 1800s, people living around the now-extinct volcano were sure that only the devil could have left those tracks.

... The footprints most likely belong to an evolutionary relative of ours: Homo heidelbergensis, the species that gave rise to Neanderthals around 400,000 years ago.

One of the newly identified prints at the site records a surprising amount of detail about a climber's right foot: the wide heel, the low arch, and the base of the big toe. Overall, Panarello and his colleagues say it looks very similar to the feet of 430,000 year-old H. heidelbergensis fossils from Sima de los Huesos cave in Spain. That lines up with a 2016 study, which found that the short, wide shape of the footprints matched well with the size of fossil feet from H. heidelbergensis elsewhere in Europe.

Around the time of the eruption, some H. heidelbergensis groups already looked a lot like Neanderthals—including the Sima de los Huesos group, whose feet look so much like the Roccamonfina prints. But at the same time, other groups in other parts of Europe still looked more like older hominins: including the 400,000-year-old skull from Ceprano Cave, which is only about 70km (42 miles) from Roccamonfina in northern Italy.

... Archaeologists have found stone tools along the trackways in the same rock layer, and similar tools have turned up at a site nearby, although it’s not clear how old those tools are.

As they climbed the freshly buried slope, they weren't fleeing in terror (it would have been much too late for that anyway). Based on the shape of the impressions and the distance between them, the climbers were actually walking at a fairly leisurely pace.

They may even have been hunting. Hoofprints also dot the rock nearby, and a couple of large canine paw prints also pass close to the human tracks. But unlike at White Sands, New Mexico, the footprints don't show any confrontations between the hominins and their potential prey (or potential rivals). That means we can't say for sure that these hominins ventured onto the volcano in search of a meal.

Adolfo Panarello, On the devil's tracks: unexpected news from the Foresta ichnosite (Roccamonfina volcano, central Italy) (, Journal of Quaternary Science, 2020



Pyroclastic flow. Mega-fauna. Wild Boar. I'm thinking they were up there for an all-you-can-eat 'barbecue' 
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 07, 2020, 06:07:57 PM
Scientists Resurrected a Wrangel Island Mammoth's Mutated Genes

Some 4,000 years ago, a tiny population of woolly mammoths died out on Wrangel Island, a remote Arctic refuge off the coast of Siberia.

They may have been the last of their kind anywhere on Earth.

To learn about the plight of these giant creatures and the forces that contributed to their extinction, scientists have resurrected a Wrangel Island mammoth's mutated genes. The goal of the project was to study whether the genes functioned normally. They did not.

The research builds on evidence suggesting that in their final days, the animals suffered from a medley of genetic defects that may have hindered their development, reproduction and their ability to smell.

The problems may have stemmed from rapid population decline, which can lead to interbreeding among distant relatives and low genetic diversity—trends that may damage a species' ability to purge or limit harmful genetic mutations.

"The key innovation of our paper is that we actually resurrect Wrangel Island mammoth genes to test whether their mutations actually were damaging (most mutations don't actually do anything)," says lead author Vincent Lynch, Ph.D., an evolutionary biologist at the University at Buffalo. "Beyond suggesting that the last mammoths were probably an unhealthy population, it's a cautionary tale for living species threatened with extinction: If their populations stay small, they too may accumulate deleterious mutations that can contribute to their extinction."

The study was published on Feb. 7 in the journal Genome Biology and Evolution.


Erin Fry et al. Functional architecture of deleterious genetic variants in the genome of a Wrangel Island mammoth (, Genome Biology and Evolution (2019).

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 07, 2020, 10:40:53 PM
Scientists Grow Date Palm Plants from 2,000-Year-Old Seeds


Methuselah, Adam, Jonah, Uriel, Boaz, Judith and Hannah—all sat dormant in Judea since biblical times. Now scientists have resurrected them in the hopes of better understanding their vanished lineage

These seven ancient emissaries are date palm plants, now all growing in the southern Israeli community of Ketura. Methuselah came first. He was planted in 2005 from an approximately 2,000-year-old seed found buried under rubble at the ancient fortress of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea.

Since then, he has been joined by the others. As part of a long-term project at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel, scientists hope to breed Judean date palms—a variety that was praised in antiquity for its sweetness, large size, long shelf life, and supposed ability to fight disease, but which went extinct hundreds of years ago when repeated conflict wiped out the date plantations.

The ages of the seven successfully sprouted ancient seeds range from around 2,400 to 1,800 years old. The seeds came from three archeological sites in the Judean desert, including Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.

The resurrected date palms include both female and male trees, and the researchers are hoping that the trees will eventually produce fruit together. However, the new dates may not be the same as what people ate in ancient times, since ancient date growers would probably have cultivated shoots from select female plants, which perished long ago. The plants grown from their daughter seeds may not have the same qualities. Still, they may display some characteristics that have been lost in modern date varieties.

Open Access: Sarah Sallon et al. Origins and insights into the historic Judean date palm based on genetic analysis of germinated ancient seeds and morphometric studies, Science Advances (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on February 08, 2020, 10:36:25 PM
Ancient marine reptile thalattosaur discovery stuns palaeontologists with its 'needle-like' snout (
ABC (Australia)
An iguana-like creature with a needle-sharp snout has been confirmed from a fossilised skeleton as a species of the marine reptile thalattosaur, previously unknown to science, that roamed the coast of what is now Alaska some 200 million years ago.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 11, 2020, 08:26:24 PM
Here is some recent stuff...

Himalayan glacier shows evidence of start of Industrial Revolution


Dasuopu -- at 7,200 meters or 23,600 feet above sea level -- is the highest-altitude site in the world where scientists have obtained a climate record from an ice core. Dasuopu is located on Shishapangma, one of the world's 14 tallest mountains, which are all located in the Himalayas.

For this study, the research team analyzed one core taken from Dasuopu in 1997 for 23 trace metals.

The ice cores operate as a sort of timeline, and show new ice forming in layers on the glacier over time. It is possible for researchers to tell almost the precise year a layer of the glacier formed because of environmental clues like snowfall or other known natural or human-made disasters. The ice the researchers evaluated formed between 1499 and 1992, the team determined. Their goal was to see whether human activity had affected the ice in any way, and, if so, when the effects had begun.

Their analysis showed it had: The team found higher-than-natural levels of a number of toxic metals, including cadmium, chromium, nickel and zinc, in the ice starting at around 1780 -- the very start of the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom. Those metals are all byproducts of burning coal, a key part of industry at the end of the 18th century and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The researchers found that those metals were likely transported by winter winds, which travel around the globe from west to east.

They also believe it is possible that some of the metals, most notably zinc, came from large-scale forest fires, including those used in the 1800s and 1900s to clear trees to make way for farms.

"What happens is at that time, in addition to the Industrial Revolution, the human population exploded and expanded," Gabrielli said. "And so there was a greater need for agricultural fields -- and, typically, the way they got new fields was to burn forests."

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 15, 2020, 12:12:45 PM

Any number of now-extinct human lineages that once existed within Africa may have hybridized with modern humans there as well. However, the sparse nature of the ancient human fossil record in Africa makes it difficult to identify DNA from such "ghost lineages" in modern humans.

Instead of hunting for ancient human fossils across Africa, the scientists looked for genetic traces of ghost lineages in modern Africans. They compared 405 genomes from modern people from West Africa with ones from fossils of Neanderthals and Denisovans, focusing on DNA that stood out from the West African genomes roughly as much as Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA did from modern human genomes overall.

The researchers detected statistical anomalies they suggested were best explained by interbreeding between West Africans and an unknown ancient human lineage whose ancestors diverged from those of modern humans before the split between Neanderthals and modern humans. Four West African groups -- Yoruba in southwestern Nigeria, Esan in southern Nigeria, Gambians in western Gambia, and Mende in Sierra Leone -- may derive 2% to 19% of their DNA from a ghost lineage, the researchers said.


A number of ghost lineage genetic variants were unusually common in the Yoruba and Mende genomes, suggesting they might confer some evolutionary advantages. These included genes involved in tumor suppression, male reproduction and hormone regulation.


The scientists estimated this ghost lineage diverged from the ancestors of Neanderthals and modern humans up to 1.02 million years ago and interbred with the ancestors of modern West Africans from 124,000 years ago up to the present day. "One limitation of our study is that we have mainly sampled present-day West African populations," Sankararaman said. They don't know yet how far the ghost lineage spread across Africa, he said.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 16, 2020, 12:36:00 PM
5,200-Year-Old Grains In Eastern Altai Mountains Redate Trans-Eurasian Crop Exchange


This new study, led by scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, provides details of recently recovered ancient grains from the far northern regions of Inner Asia. Radiocarbon dating shows that the grains include the oldest examples of wheat and barley ever recovered this far north in Asia, pushing back the dates for early farming in the region by at least a millenium. These are also the earliest domesticated plants reported from the northern half of Central Asia, the core of the ancient exchange corridor. This study pulls together sedimentary pollen and ancient wood charcoal data with archaeobotanical remains from the Tiangtian archaeological site in the Chinese Altai Mountains to reveal how humans cultivated crops at such northern latitudes. This study illustrates how adaptable ancient crop plants were to new ecological constraints and how human cultural practices allowed people to survive in unpredictable environments.


this study illustrates that ancient peoples were cultivating these grasses over five and a half thousand kilometers to the northeast of where they originally evolved to grow. In this study, Dr. Xinying Zhou and his colleagues integrate paleoenvironmental proxies to determine how extreme the ecology was around the archaeological cave site of Tangtian more than five millennia ago, at the time of its occupation. The site is located high in the Altai Mountains on a cold,dry landscape today; however, the study shows that the ecological setting around the site was slightly warmer and more humid at the time when people lived in and around this cave.

The slightly warmer regional conditions were likely the result of shifting air masses bringing warmer, wetter air from the south. In addition to early farmers using a specific regional climate pocket to grow crops in North Asia, analysis showed that the crops they grew evolved to survive in such northern regions. The results of this study provide scholars with evidence for when certain evolutionary changes in these grasses occurred, including changes in the programed reliance of day length, which signals to the plant when to flower, and a greater resistance to cold climates.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 21, 2020, 02:44:24 PM
Dozens of ancient Egyptian graves found with rare clay coffins

Archaeologists have discovered 83 graves from ancient Egypt, but the human remains weren't interred in sarcophagi, as is often the case. Rather, the deceased were buried in clay coffins, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

Eighty of the graves date to the civilization of Bhutto, or Lower Egypt, during the first half of the fourth millennium B.C. The burials were found during archaeological excavations in the Dakahlia governorate of northern Egypt, not too far from the Mediterranean Sea.


The Naqada culture is old, even by Egyptian standards, dating to predynastic Egypt during the Chalcolithic era, or Copper Age. The new discovery indicates that many people lived in this area at that time, said Waziri, who suspects that even more graves will be found at the site.

The excavated Naqada III graves contain a trove of artifacts. So far, excavators have discovered handmade pottery, oyster shells, a bowl in the shape of a tilapia and two bowls — one rectangular and one circular — of kohl, a cosmetic that Egyptians painted around their eyes, as well as a kohl plate, Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Sector at the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in the statement.


a handful date to the Hyksos period, or about 1630 to 1523 B.C. These artifacts included ovens and stoves, the remains of mud-brick building foundations and four mud-brick burials
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 21, 2020, 02:54:32 PM
Incredibly Well-Preserved Ice Age Frozen Bird Found In Siberian Permafrost

The bird was discovered by a team of local fossil ivory hunters in the village of Belaya Gora in Yakutia, northern Russia. Realizing they had stumbled across something significant, they passed the specimen onto scientists at the Centre for Palaeogenetics in Sweden.

Reported in the journal Communications Biology, radiocarbon dating revealed that the bird was alive approximately 44,000 to 49,000 years ago. Acting like a refrigerator, the conditions have preserved the bird incredibly well after all these millennia, complete with intact feathers, nails, skin, and soft tissue. Permafrost creates the ideal conditions to preserve organic matter, providing sub-zero temperatures that are low enough to stave off most bacterial and fungal growth that would otherwise decompose the body, but not cold enough to damage the tissues.

The bird's remarkable condition also means it’s a treasure trove for researchers looking to study the genetics of ancient animals. They also managed to extract DNA from the carcass, revealing that the bird was a species of passerine known as a horned lark (Eremophila alpestris). The genetic data showed that the bird was the ancestor of two different subspecies of horned lark, one that today lives in northern Russia and another that inhabits the Mongolian steppe.

“The next step is to sequence the complete genome of this bird. This would allow us to obtain direct estimates of mutation rates but also to further examine the timing and evolution of larks in Eurasia,” Nicolas Dussex, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Palaeogenetics, told IFLScience.

more on
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 22, 2020, 09:59:28 AM
Humans Bred With a Mysterious Archaic Population in Earliest Known Interbreeding Event


700,000 years ago, according to a new study, a population of ancient humans mated with a distinct unknown population that had separated from other human species at least 1 million years prior.

"This continues the story that we've been seeing in studies throughout the past decade: There's lots more interbreeding between lots of human populations than we were aware of ever before," Alan Rogers, an anthropologist and the lead author of the new study, told Business Insider.

"This discovery has pushed the time depth of those interbreedings much further back."


But the interbreeding event that Rogers and his colleagues found was far, far older. In that case, a group of humans who were ancestors of both Neanderthals and Denisovans (the study authors nicknamed them "neandersovans") interbred with their predecessor species about 744,000 years ago.

Those predecessors, in turn, were part of a "superarchaic" group in Eurasia that was between 20,000 and 50,000 people in size.

A major implication of the study, then, is that human populations migrated from Africa to Eurasia three times during our long evolutionary history: once 1.9 million years ago, again 700,000 years ago, and then a final time 50,000 years ago.

The first of these waves involved the "superarchaics." Then the neandersovans followed 700,000 years ago; they likely separated from the modern human lineage before they migrated north, the study said.


Rogers' team's discovery came after they compared publicly available modern human DNA with ancient DNA. The analysis showed at least four watershed moments in which genetic material passed from one human species to another over the past 1 million years.

Three of those moments matched the results of other studies. But the oldest instance was a new find.

In addition to representing the oldest evidence of human interbreeding on record, the finding is also surprising because the two populations that mated were far less closely related than other human groups previously known to have interbred.

Whereas modern humans and Neanderthals had been on separate branches of the evolutionary tree for about 750,000 years when they interbred, the newly discovered population and the neandersovans had been separated for more than 1 million years.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 24, 2020, 06:02:58 PM
One Billion-Year-Old Green Seaweed Fossils Identified, Relative of Modern Land Plants

A photo of a green seaweed fossil dating back 1 billion years. The image was captured using a microscope as the fossil itself is 2 millimeters long, roughly the size of a flea. The dark color of this fossil was created by adding a drop of mineral oil to the rock in which it's embedded, to create contrast.

Virginia Tech paleontologists have made a remarkable discovery in China: 1 billion-year-old micro-fossils of green seaweeds that could be related to the ancestor of the earliest land plants and trees that first developed 450 million years ago.

The micro-fossil seaweeds—a form of algae known as Proterocladus antiquus—are barely visible to the naked eyed at 2 millimeters in length, or roughly the size of a typical flea. Professor Shuhai Xiao said the fossils are the oldest green seaweeds ever found. They were imprinted in rock taken from an area of dry land—formerly ocean—near the city of Dalian in the Liaoning Province of northern China. Previously, the earliest convincing fossil record of green seaweeds were found in rock dated at roughly 800 million years old.

Fossils of red seaweed, which are now common on ocean floors, have been dated as far back as 1.047 billion years old.

A one-billion-year-old multicellular chlorophyte, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on February 25, 2020, 05:36:51 PM
Human Populations Survived the Toba Volcanic Super-Eruption 74,000 Years Ago

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History's Department of Archaeology, together with international partners, have presented evidence that Middle Palaeolithic tool users were present in India before and after the Toba super-eruption 74,000 years ago. The findings support arguments that Homo sapiens was present in South Asia prior to major waves of human expansion 60,000 years ago, and that populations endured climatic and environmental changes.

The Toba super-eruption was one of the largest volcanic events over the last 2 million years, about 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helen's eruption in the 1980s. The eruption occurred 74,000 years ago on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was argued to have ushered in a "volcanic winter" lasting six to 10 years, leading to a 1,000 year-long cooling of the Earth's surface. Theories purported that the volcanic eruption would have led to major catastrophes, including the decimation of hominin populations and mammal populations in Asia, and the near extinction of our own species. The few surviving Homo sapiens in Africa were said to have survived by developing sophisticated social, symbolic and economic strategies that enabled them eventually to re-expand and populate Asia 60,000 years ago in a single, rapid wave along the Indian Ocean coastline. ... The current study provides evidence that Homo sapiens were present in Asia earlier than expected and that the Toba super-eruption wasn't as apocalyptic as believed.

... The current study reports on a unique 80,000 year-long stratigraphic record from the Dhaba site in northern India's Middle Son Valley. Stone tools uncovered at Dhaba in association with the timing of the Toba event provide strong evidence that Middle Palaeolithic tool-using populations were present in India prior to and after 74,000 years ago. Professor J.N. Pal, principal investigator from the University of Allahabad in India notes that "Although Toba ash was first identified in the Son Valley back in the 1980s, until now we did not have associated archaeological evidence, so the Dhaba site fills in a major chronological gap."


Open Access:  Human occupation of northern India spans the Toba super-eruption ~74,000 years ago, Nature Communications
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 25, 2020, 07:27:11 PM
Toba oh Toba.

The so-called Toba bottleneck didn't happen

09 Feb 2018

Chad Yost and colleagues have a long and detailed article in the current Journal of Human Evolution about why the Toba volcanic eruption 74,000 years ago did not drive ancient humans near extinction.

I want to quote the last two paragraphs of this paper, which give a crystal clear discussion, with references, of why there is no evidence for a massive Toba effect on human populations.

4.7. A falsified Toba catastrophe hypothesis
Since the publication of Ambrose (1998), the Toba supereruption and its proposed 6-year-long volcanic winter continues to be cited repeatedly, particularly in introductory paragraphs, as the natural catastrophe that brought humanity to the brink of extinction (human populations reduced to 10,000 individuals). Recent studies have clearly shown that volcanic winter conditions never occurred in East Africa after the eruption (Lane et al., 2013a ; Jackson et al., 2015), and we have shown that there was a very limited vegetation perturbation in the Southern Rift Valley of East Africa after the eruption. Further, we demonstrated the overestimation of SO2 injections in Toba supereruption climate model simulations by one or two orders of magnitude. This overestimation includes the early models of Rampino and Self (1992) that helped to build the volcanic winter model proposed in Ambrose (1998). The hypothesis that Toba triggered the 1000-year GS-20 cold period is also unlikely to be correct given that rapid cooling in the NH actually started a few hundred years before the Toba eruption, not to mention the fact that modeling by Robock et al. (2009) using a 900× Pinatubo SO2 injection failed to initiate NH glaciation.
Numerous genetic analyses have not detected a bottleneck that coincides with the Toba eruption. In fact, if the source population for the OOA expansion suffered a severe bottleneck, there should be a poorer linear fit to the decline of heterozygosity with distance from Africa (Henn et al., 2012). With the advancement of whole genome sequencing, the once elusive 100–50 ka Late Pleistocene human genetic bottleneck is now converging on ∼50 ka (Lippold et al., 2014; Karmin et al., 2015 ; Malaspinas et al., 2016) and is being attributed to an OOA founder effect bottleneck (Mallick et al., 2016) instead of a population reduction bottleneck. Studies focusing on reconstructing population histories are identifying a possible population reducing bottleneck between ∼150 and ∼130 ka (Li and Durbin, 2011 ; Kidd et al., 2012), which coincides with the penultimate ice ace during MIS 6. However, the peak in Ne at ∼150 ka could have also arisen from increased genetic diversity due to population structure involving separation and admixture (Li and Durbin, 2011), which is reasonable to expect during a cooler and drier MIS 6 climate in Africa. The hypothesis that human populations were reduced to 10,000 individuals after the Toba eruption is currently unsupported, as AMH populations were always relatively low, started to decline around 150 ka, and continued to decrease until ∼30 ka (see Discussion above). As paleoenvironmental, archaeological, and genetic research continues to accumulate, it is becoming increasingly hard to find evidence in favor of the Toba catastrophe hypothesis.
There is no question that the Toba eruption was a massive geological event. Investigating this event in earth systems research has always been a valuable idea.

But it has been a massive distraction for archaeologists.

The Toba bottleneck idea came from the initial observation that there might be a coincidence between population expansion times and the Toba eruption, made 20 years ago. But many geneticists (including me) quickly pointed out that the dates of population expansion have little connection to the dates of population contraction, and that effective population size might be orders of magnitude smaller than the actual human population. Even in 20-year-old mitochondrial DNA data, it was clear that a single short bottleneck post-Toba could not account for the pattern of variation found in African populations.

Meanwhile, human populations in the coldest climate zones, like the Neandertals of Europe, never seemed to show any obvious signs of population reduction at the time of the Toba event. Later, it became clear that the archaeological record much closer to Toba, in India and later Sumatra itself, showed no signs of a major interruption caused by the volcano. It also became clear that the aerosols that cool global climate, like sulfur dioxide, did not scale with the volume of rock ejected by the Toba eruption.

Yet this idea remains surprisingly entrenched in the minds of the public and of documentary filmmakers. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Toba feature movie. Worse, it seems to dominate an unusual degree of attention in the minds of paleoclimatologists, and in their grant applications.

This is such an example of the failure to communicate effectively between geneticists, geologists, and paleoclimatologists about the limits of their data. The “coincidence” of these events from genetics and geology was only a small overlap between enormous confidence limits.

More + link to the paper on:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on February 26, 2020, 04:10:44 AM
Thank you Kassy. Very interesting.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on February 29, 2020, 12:21:05 AM
Anthropogenic seed dispersal: Rethinking the origins of plant domestication

Over the past three millennia, selective breeding has dramatically widened the array of plant domestication traits. However, a close look at the archaeobotanical record illustrates a similar suite of linked traits emerging before humans began selectively breeding food crops. A researchers now summarizes all of these early evolutionary responses in plants, arguing that these shared traits evolved in response to human seed-dispersal services.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 05, 2020, 04:02:30 PM
How millets sustained Mongolia's empires

Collaborating with archaeologists from the National University of Mongolia and the Institute of Archaeology in Ulaanbaatar, Dr. Wilkin and her colleagues from the MPI SHH sampled portions of teeth and rib bones from 137 previously excavated individuals. The skeletal fragments were brought back to the ancient isotope lab in Jena, Germany, where researchers extracted bone collagen and dental enamel to examine the ratios of stable nitrogen and carbon isotopes within. With these ratios in hand, scientists were able to reconstruct the diets of people who lived, ate, and died hundreds to thousands of years ago.

Researchers tracked the trends in diet through the millennia, creating a "dietscape" which clearly showed significant differences between the diets of Bronze Age peoples and those who lived during the Xiongnu and Mongol Empires. A typical Bronze Age Mongolian diet was based on milk and meat, and was likely supplemented with small amounts of naturally available plants. Later, during the Xiongnu Empire, human populations displayed a larger range of carbon values, showing that some people remained on the diet common in the Bronze Age, but that many others consumed a high amount of millet-based foods. Interestingly, those living near the imperial heartlands appear to have been consuming more millet-based foods than those further afield, which suggests imperial support for agricultural efforts in the more central political regions. The study also shows an increase in grain consumption and increasing dietary diversity through time, leading up to the well-known Mongolian Empire of the Khans.


The view that everyone in Mongolian history was a nomadic herder has skewed discussions concerning social development in this part of the world. Dr. Wilkin notes that "setting aside our preconceived ideas of what prehistory looked like and examining the archaeological record with modern scientific approaches is forcing us to rewrite entire sections of humanity's past."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 07, 2020, 11:40:23 AM
Researchers find evidence of a cosmic impact that caused destruction of one of the world's earliest human settlements

Before the Taqba Dam impounded the Euphrates River in northern Syria in the 1970s, an archaeological site named Abu Hureyra bore witness to the moment ancient nomadic people first settled down and started cultivating crops. A large mound marks the settlement, which now lies under Lake Assad.

But before the lake formed, archaeologists were able to carefully extract and describe much material, including parts of houses, food and tools—an abundance of evidence that allowed them to identify the transition to agriculture nearly 12,800 years ago. It was one of the most significant events in our Earth's cultural and environmental history.

Abu Hureyra, it turns out, has another story to tell. Found among the cereals and grains and splashed on early building material and animal bones was meltglass, some features of which suggest it was formed at extremely high temperatures—far higher than what humans could achieve at the time—or that could be attributed to fire, lighting or volcanism.

"To help with perspective, such high temperatures would completely melt an automobile in less than a minute," said James Kennett, a UC Santa Barbara emeritus professor of geology. Such intensity, he added, could only have resulted from an extremely violent, high-energy, high-velocity phenomenon, something on the order of a cosmic impact.


Abu Hureyra lies at the easternmost sector of what is known as the Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) strewnfield, which encompasses about 30 other sites in the Americas, Europe and parts of the Middle East. These sites hold evidence of massive burning, including a widespread carbon-rich "black mat" layer that contains millions of nanodiamonds, high concentrations of platinum and tiny metallic spherules formed at very high temperatures. The YDB impact hypothesis has gained more traction in recent years because of many new discoveries, including a very young impact crater beneath the Hiawatha Glacier of the Greenland ice sheet, and high-temperature meltglass and other similar evidence at an archaeological site in Pilauco, located in southern Chile


"A single major asteroid impact would not have caused such widely scattered materials like those discovered at Abu Hureyra," Kennett said. "The largest cometary debris clusters are proposed to be capable of causing thousands of airbursts within a span of minutes across one entire hemisphere of Earth. The YDB hypothesis proposed this mechanism to account for the widely dispersed coeval materials across more than 14,000 kilometers of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Our Abu Hureyra discoveries strongly support a major impact event from such a fragmented comet."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: TerryM on March 07, 2020, 07:22:25 PM
The evidence in favor of the Black Mat Event continues to grow.
Welcome news to those of us that saw what we considered to be incontrovertible evidence at Murray Spring & other sites in the American deserts.

As more of the archeological, geological and paleontological communities converge in their understanding of this event textbooks will need to be rewritten and various theories of punctured equilibrium may find new adherents. Will iridium spikes and magnetic spherules now be tested for whenever sites close to that date are worked?

It's interesting that evidence is being found so far away from Greenland and the Americas. How many cultures, and how many species were decimated or annihilated?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 10, 2020, 12:36:36 PM
This is pretty awesome:

Ancient shell shows days were half-hour shorter 70 million years ago

Earth turned faster at the end of the time of the dinosaurs than it does today, rotating 372 times a year, compared to the current 365, according to a new study of fossil mollusk shells from the late Cretaceous. The new measurement informs models of how the Moon formed and how close to Earth it has been over the 4.5-billion-year history of the Earth-Moon gravitational dance.


The high resolution obtained in the new study combined with the fast growth rate of the ancient bivalves revealed unprecedented detail about how the animal lived and the water conditions it grew in, down to a fraction of a day.

"We have about four to five datapoints per day, and this is something that you almost never get in geological history. We can basically look at a day 70 million years ago. It's pretty amazing," said Niels de Winter, an analytical geochemist at Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the lead author of the new study.


Chemical analysis of the shell indicates ocean temperatures were warmer in the Late Cretaceous than previously appreciated, reaching 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer and exceeding 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter. The summer high temperatures likely approached the physiological limits for mollusks, de Winter said.


The new method focused a laser on small bits of shell, making holes 10 micrometers in diameter, or about as wide as a red blood cell. Trace elements in these tiny samples reveal information about the temperature and chemistry of the water at the time the shell formed. The analysis provided accurate measurements of the width and number of daily growth rings as well as seasonal patterns. The researchers used seasonal variations in the fossilized shell to identify years.

The new study found the composition of the shell changed more over the course of a day than over seasons, or with the cycles of ocean tides. The fine-scale resolution of the daily layers shows the shell grew much faster during the day than at night

"This bivalve had a very strong dependence on this daily cycle, which suggests that it had photosymbionts," de Winter said. "You have the day-night rhythm of the light being recorded in the shell."


De Winter's careful count of the number of daily layers found 372 for each yearly interval. This was not a surprise, because scientists know days were shorter in the past. The result is, however, the most accurate now available for the late Cretaceous, and has a surprising application to modeling the evolution of the Earth-Moon system.


Because in the history of the Moon, 70 million years is a blink in time, de Winter and his colleagues hope to apply their new method to older fossils and catch snapshots of days even deeper in time.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on March 10, 2020, 06:45:01 PM
Amazing and interdisciplinary.
Science at its finest.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 17, 2020, 02:16:44 PM
Tang Dynasty noblewoman buried with her donkeys, for the love of polo

A noblewoman from Imperial China enjoyed playing polo on donkeys so much she had her steeds buried with her so she could keep doing it in the afterlife, archaeologists found. This discovery by a team that includes Fiona Marshall, the James W. and Jean L. Davis Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is published March 17 in the journal Antiquity.

The research provides the first physical evidence of donkey polo in Imperial China, which previously was only known from historical texts. It also sheds light on the role for donkeys in the lives of high status women in that period.

Researchers found donkey bones in the tomb of Cui Shi, a noblewoman who died in 878 AD in Xi’an, China. The presence of work animals in a wealthy woman’s tomb was unexpected, the researchers said.


Polo is thought to have its origins in Iran; however, the sport flourished during the Tang Dynasty, which ruled China from AD 618 to 907. During this time, polo became a favorite sport of the royal and noble families, to the point where an emperor used a polo competition to pick generals. This included Cui Shi’s husband, Bao Gao, who was promoted to general by Emperor Xizong for winning a match.

However, the sport was dangerous when played on large horses, with one emperor killed during a game. As such, some nobles preferred to play Lvju, or donkey polo. Although both forms of polo are mentioned in the historical literature, horse polo is the only form depicted in art and artifacts.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 21, 2020, 04:43:57 PM
Study: Soot From Massive Wildfires Led to Dino-Killing Mass Extinction


As to which factor – the low light or low temperatures – contributed the most to the impact winter and the ensuing mass extinction is a matter of debate. New research published in Geophysical Research Letters attributes the low light – as caused by excessive soot in the atmosphere – as the primary factor. The new paper was co-authored by geoscientist Clay Tabor from the University of Connecticut, and his colleagues from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the US National Center for Atmospheric Research.


Consistent with other research, the models showed that the reduced sunlight caused global cooling at the Earth’s surface. Yes, this cooling was bad, the researchers admit, but not enough to tip the scales towards a mass extinction.

As for the low light impacting on the Earth’s biosphere, that’s another story. According to the models, the soot hung out in the atmosphere for a protracted period of time. And unlike dust and sulfur, soot sucks up the Sun’s life-giving rays like a sponge.

“Based on the properties of soot and its ability to effectively absorb incoming sunlight, it did a very good job at blocking sunlight from reaching the surface,” explained Tabor in a press release. “In comparison to the dust, which didn’t stay in the atmosphere for nearly as long, and the sulfur, which didn’t block as much light, the soot could actually block almost all light from reaching the surface for at least a year.”

Think about that. Our Earth was dark for an entire year.

As a result, photosynthesis on the planet dropped to less than one percent of what it was before the impact. This prevented the growth of organisms at the base of the food web, such as photosynthesising plants, algae, and microorganisms (like phytoplankton). The collapse of the foodweb soon followed, given the importance of these food sources to other animals.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 21, 2020, 05:15:58 PM
And some more good shit.  :)
Also Rat Mittens part 3 (at least)

Unprecedented preservation of fossil feces from the La Brea Tar Pits


Today, a team of researchers from La Brea Tar Pits, the University of Oklahoma and the University of California Irvine report the first coprolites – or fossil feces – ever discovered in an asphaltic – or tar pit – context. These hundreds of fossilized rodent pellets were found during the excavation of a parking garage for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Hancock Park in 2016, which had also yielded the more traditional La Brea fossils, such as extinct mammoths, dire wolves and saber-toothed cats.


Indeed, radiocarbon dates generated at UC Irvine would confirm the pellets were ~50,000 years old.

Rancho La Brea has been associated with the image of big animals getting stuck in “tar pits,” or shallow, sticky asphalt pools, with carnivores attracted en masse by struggling herbivore prey. But these coprolites tell a new story of how fossils can be preserved at Rancho La Brea.

“The intact nature and density of the fossils require a taphonomic explanation other than entrapment. The preservation is more likely the result of an asphalt seep overtaking an existing rodent nest,” noted Karin Rice, preparator at La Brea Tar Pits.

Using a suite of cutting-edge tools, including stable isotope analysis and scanning electron microscopy, the researchers demonstrated that the fecal pellets were associated with beautifully preserved twigs, leaves, and seeds, apparently as part of an intact nest made by a woodrat. Woodrats – also known as packrats – are well-known in the paleontological community for their hoarding behavior that produces massive nests that can be preserved for thousands of years. Slices of plant material from these nests, in turn, represent snapshots of vegetation and climate conditions of the past.

“This nest provides an unparalleled view of what was beneath the feet of Rancho La Brea’s famous megafauna,” Mychajliw said. “And to me, it emphasizes the importance of studying small mammals, too.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 27, 2020, 12:37:03 PM
New Neanderthal seafood evidence:

Neanderthals ate sharks and dolphins

Neanderthals were eating fish, mussels and seals at a site in present-day Portugal, according to a new study.

The research adds to mounting evidence that our evolutionary relatives may have relied on the sea for food just as much as ancient modern humans.

For decades, the ability to gather food from the sea and from rivers was seen as something unique to our own species.

Scientists found evidence for an intensive reliance on seafood at a Neanderthal site in southern Portugal.

Neanderthals living between 106,000 and 86,000 years ago at the cave of Figueira Brava near Setubal were eating mussels, crab, fish - including sharks, eels and sea bream - seabirds, dolphins and seals.

The research team, led by Dr João Zilhão from the University of Barcelona, Spain, found that marine food made up about 50% of the diet of the Figueira Brava Neanderthals. The other half came from terrestrial animals, such as deer, goats, horses, aurochs (ancient wild cattle) and tortoises.

continues on:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on March 31, 2020, 09:16:04 AM
Thomas Becket: Alpine ice sheds light on medieval murder

Ancient air pollution, trapped in ice, reveals new details about life and death in 12th Century Britain.

In a study, scientists have found traces of lead, transported on the winds from British mines that operated in the late 1100s.

Air pollution from lead in this time period was as bad as during the industrial revolution centuries later.

The pollution also sheds light on a notorious murder of the medieval era; the killing of Thomas Becket.


Becket was beheaded in a brutal attack at Canterbury cathedral on 29 December 1170.

Now scientists have found physical evidence of the impact of the dispute between Henry and Becket in a 72-metre-long ice core, retrieved from the Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss-Italian Alps.

In the same way that trees detail their growth in annual rings, so glaciers compact a record of the chemical composition of the air, trapped in bubbles in the yearly build-up of ice.

Analysing the 800 year-old ice using a highly sensitive laser, the scientists were able to see a huge surge in lead in the air and dust captured in the 12th century.

Atmospheric modelling showed that the element was carried by winds from the north west, across the UK, where lead mining and smelting was booming in the late 1100s.

Lead and silver are often mined together and in this period, mines in the Peak District and in Cumbria were among the most productive in Europe.

The researchers were able to match the physical records from the ice with the written tax records of lead and silver production in England.

Lead had many uses in this time, from water pipes to church roofs to stained glass windows.

But production of the metal was clearly linked to political events according to the authors of this latest research.

"In the 1169-70 period, there was a major disagreement between Henry II and Thomas Beckett and that clash manifested itself by the church refusing to work with Henry - and you actually see a fall in that production that year," said Prof Christopher Loveluck, from Nottingham University.

Excommunicated by the Pope in the wake of the murder, Henry's attempt at reconciliation is detailed in the ice core.

"To get himself out of jail with the Pope, Henry promised to endow and build a lot of major monastic institutions very, very quickly," said Prof Loveluck.

"And of course, massive amounts of lead were used for roofing of these major monastic complexes.

"Lead production rapidly expanded as Henry tried to atone for his misdemeanours against the Church."

The researchers say their data is also clear enough to show the clear connections between lead production rising and falling during times of war and between the reigns of different kings in this period between 1170 and 1220.

"The ice core shows precisely when one king died and lead production fell and then rose again with the next monarch," said Prof Loveluck.

"We can see the deaths of King Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and King John there in the ancient ice."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 02, 2020, 02:43:22 AM
Lets put it here.

Traces of ancient rainforest in Antarctica point to a warmer prehistoric world

Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.

Researchers have found evidence of rainforests near the South Pole 90 million years ago, suggesting the climate was exceptionally warm at the time.

A team from the UK and Germany discovered forest soil from the Cretaceous period within 900 km of the South Pole. Their analysis of the preserved roots, pollen and spores shows that the world at that time was a lot warmer than previously thought.

The discovery and analysis were carried out by an international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Germany and including Imperial College London researchers. Their findings are published today in Nature.

Co-author Professor Tina van de Flierdt, from the Department of Earth Science & Engineering at Imperial, said: "The preservation of this 90-million-year-old forest is exceptional, but even more surprising is the world it reveals. Even during months of darkness, swampy temperate rainforests were able to grow close to the South Pole, revealing an even warmer climate than we expected."

The work also suggests that the carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere were higher than expected during the mid-Cretaceous period, 115-80 million years ago, challenging climate models of the period.

The mid-Cretaceous was the heyday of the dinosaurs but was also the warmest period in the past 140 million years, with temperatures in the tropics as high as 35 degrees Celsius and sea level 170 metres higher than today.


The presence of the forest suggests average temperatures were around 12 degrees Celsius and that there was unlikely to be an ice cap at the South Pole at the time.


Johann Klages, from the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, said: "Before our study, the general assumption was that the global carbon dioxide concentration in the Cretaceous was roughly 1000 ppm. But in our model-based experiments, it took concentration levels of 1120 to 1680 ppm to reach the average temperatures back then in the Antarctic."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 04, 2020, 09:39:57 PM
Oldest ever human genetic evidence clarifies dispute over our ancestors

Genetic information from an 800,000-year-old human fossil has been retrieved for the first time. The results shed light on one of the branching points in the human family tree, reaching much further back in time than previously possible.


"Ancient protein analysis provides evidence for a close relationship between Homo antecessor, us (Homo sapiens), Neanderthals, and Denisovans. Our results support the idea that Homo antecessor was a sister group to the group containing Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans," says Frido Welker, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, and first author on the paper.


"Much of what we know so far is based either on the results of ancient DNA analysis, or on observations of the shape and the physical structure of fossils. Because of the chemical degradation of DNA over time, the oldest human DNA retrieved so far is dated at no more than approximately 400,000 years," says Enrico Cappellini, Associate Professor at the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen, and leading author on the paper.

"Now, the analysis of ancient proteins with mass spectrometry, an approach commonly known as palaeoproteomics, allow us to overcome these limits," he adds.


"I am happy that the protein study provides evidence that the Homo antecessor species may be closely related to the last common ancestor of Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, and Denisovans. The features shared by Homo antecessor with these hominins clearly appeared much earlier than previously thought. Homo antecessor would therefore be a basal species of the emerging humanity formed by Neanderthals, Denisovans, and modern humans," adds José María Bermúdez de Castro, Scientific Co-director of the excavations in Atapuerca and co-corresponding author on the paper.

The dental proteome of Homo antecessor (PW)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 08, 2020, 08:04:56 PM
Earliest humans in the Amazon created thousands of 'forest islands' as they tamed wild plants

The earliest human inhabitants of the Amazon created thousands of artificial forest islands as they tamed wild plants to grow food, a new study shows.

The discovery of the mounds is the latest evidence to show the extensive impact people had on the area. From their arrival 10,000 years ago they transformed the landscape when they began cultivating manioc and squash.

This led to the creation of 4,700 of the forest islands in what is now Llanos de Moxos in northern Bolivia, the team has found. This savannah area floods from December to March and is extremely dry from July to October, but the mounds remain above the water level during the rainy season allowing trees to grow on them. The mounds promoted landscape diversity, and show that small-scale communities began to shape the Amazon 8,000 years earlier than previously thought.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 13, 2020, 09:29:46 PM
40,000 year old evidence that Neanderthals wove string


An international team, including researchers from the CNRS, have discovered the first evidence of cord making, dating back more than 40,000 years (1), on a flint fragment from the prehistoric site of Abri du Maras in the south of France (2). Microscopic analysis showed that these remains had been intertwined, proof of their modification by humans. Photographs revealed three bundles of twisted fibres, plied together to create one cord. In addition, spectroscopic analysis revealed that these strands were made of cellulose, probably from coniferous trees.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on April 16, 2020, 06:41:15 PM
Retreat of Norwegian Ice Patch Reveals Lost Viking-Era Artifacts In Mountain Pass

A team of researchers from the Innlandet County Council and NTNU University Museum in Norway and the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has found a large quantity of Viking-era artifacts in a long-lost mountain pass in Southern Norway. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes the location of the pass, explains why it is suddenly revealing artifacts, and outlines what has been found thus far.

The pass was found back in 2011 on Lomseggen Ridge near a receding patch at Lendbreen glacier. Prior research suggested the reason the artifacts were emerging was because the glacier has been shrinking due to global warming. The team canvased the area over the years 2011 to 2015.

The search resulted in the discovery of a host of artifacts, 60 of which have been dated to between the years 300 AD to 1000. Analysis of the artifacts suggested there were two kinds of travelers through the pass—locals and long-distance trekkers. The researchers suggest locals used the pass to travel between summer and winter homes. Some of the artifacts also suggested that the pass was used mostly during the times when it was covered with snow—the very rocky terrain would have made walking or riding horses difficult. Snow would have smoothed the trail, making traversal less difficult.

The researchers found items such as tunics and mittens, along with horse fittings such as shoes and bits. They also found remnants of sleds, and in one case, the remains of a dog with a collar and leash. Thus far, no human remains have been found in the area and such findings appear unlikely due to the short distance of the pass—it is just 700 meters long.

The researchers also found multiple cairns along the pass—rocks piled in such a way as to provide a guidepost, helping travelers navigate the easiest path through. They even found a small shelter, likely for travelers who found themselves in the midst of a sudden snowstorm.


The researchers suggest the pass fell into disuse as economic conditions changed amid colder winters in the 14th century, and then as the bubonic plague led to restricted travel.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 19, 2020, 01:02:26 PM
Arkaim is an archaeological site on the steppe of the Southern Ural near the village of Amursky in Russia.
Arkaim consists of a fortified settlement from the Middle Bronze Age, constructed around 3.8-4000 years ago. Arkaim was a circular stronghold that housed 1,500 to 2,500 inhabitants with concentric bastions, constructed using adobe, a building material made from earth and organic materials.


Arkaim is attributed to the early “hypothetical” Proto-Indo-Iranians who are assumed to have lived in the late 3rd millennium BC, and are often connected with the Sintashta culture of the Eurasian Steppe and the early Andronovo archaeological horizon.


More than twenty other structures built according to similar patterns have been found in a larger area spanning from the southern Urals’ region to the north of Kazakhstan, forming the so-called “Land of Towns”.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: karl dubhe2 on April 20, 2020, 12:20:44 AM
Oldest ever human genetic evidence clarifies dispute over our ancestors

Genetic information from an 800,000-year-old human fossil has been retrieved for the first time. The results shed light on one of the branching points in the human family tree, reaching much further back in time than previously possible.


"Ancient protein analysis provides evidence for a close relationship between Homo antecessor, us (Homo sapiens), Neanderthals, and Denisovans. Our results support the idea that Homo

The dental proteome of Homo antecessor (PW)

Not the oldest DNA, it's a study that talks about the proteins found on ancient teeth.   Sorry, but this story is just bad reporting according to Aron Ra, anyhow.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on April 20, 2020, 04:35:33 PM
Nothing in post #256 states it is the oldest DNA.

Who is this guy anyway?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Mozi on April 20, 2020, 05:00:12 PM
Thanks for posting these articles, I find them very interesting! :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: karl dubhe2 on April 21, 2020, 03:01:29 PM
Nothing in post #256 states it is the oldest DNA.

Who is this guy anyway?

That's a vid by Aron Ra, he's one of the youtubers who's been posting sciency videos.  Did an excellent series on creationism and evolution.    I saw him refer to the story a few days ago, in other versions of the story the dna was stressed as being the oldest ever; 800 k years.   But that wasn't quite right.   

My bad.   I didn't read your story's source, just presumed it was one of the erroneous ones.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on April 21, 2020, 04:45:32 PM
Nothing in post #256 states it is the oldest DNA.

Who is this guy anyway?

So many ways to get a DNA sequence from a protein doesn't sound too believable,  on the other hand it is Nature, so maybe they've used only the conserved nucleid acids in their analysis, which is the minimum requirement for claiming something of translating the proteome back to DNA.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: SteveMDFP on April 21, 2020, 11:20:24 PM
Nothing in post #256 states it is the oldest DNA.

Who is this guy anyway?

So many ways to get a DNA sequence from a protein doesn't sound too believable,  on the other hand it is Nature, so maybe they've used only the conserved nucleid acids in their analysis, which is the minimum requirement for claiming something of translating the proteome back to DNA.

The issue is that a protein is not genetic material.  While a specific sequence of DNA does code for a specific sequence of amino acids, it's not possible to reverse this.  Multiple codons can determine a single amino acid.  See:

The Universal Genetic Code and Non-Canonical Variants (

"Thus 61 codons are available for 20 amino acids, and hence the genetic code is degenerate. In the case of leucine, serine, and arginine, there are as many as six codons, whereas methionine and tryptophan have only one codon."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on April 23, 2020, 06:51:32 AM
Nothing in post #256 states it is the oldest DNA.

Who is this guy anyway?

So many ways to get a DNA sequence from a protein doesn't sound too believable,  on the other hand it is Nature, so maybe they've used only the conserved nucleid acids in their analysis, which is the minimum requirement for claiming something of translating the proteome back to DNA.

The issue is that a protein is not genetic material.  While a specific sequence of DNA does code for a specific sequence of amino acids, it's not possible to reverse this.  Multiple codons can determine a single amino acid.  See:

The Universal Genetic Code and Non-Canonical Variants (

"Thus 61 codons are available for 20 amino acids, and hence the genetic code is degenerate. In the case of leucine, serine, and arginine, there are as many as six codons, whereas methionine and tryptophan have only one codon."

If you get familiar with that you'll notice the first two nucleid acids in a codon stay much the same with the respective amino acids.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on May 11, 2020, 11:20:40 PM

Humans and Neanderthals 'co-existed in Europe for far longer than thought'

Cave objects suggest modern humans and Neanderthals shared continent for several thousand years

Modern humans were present in Europe at least 46,000 years ago, according to new research on objects found in Bulgaria, meaning they overlapped with Neanderthals for far longer than previously thought.

Researchers say remains and tools found at a cave called Bacho Kiro reveal that modern humans and Neanderthals were present at the same time in Europe for several thousand years, giving them ample time for biological and cultural interaction...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on May 13, 2020, 08:47:19 AM
Geometry Guided Construction of Earliest Known Temple, Built 6,000 Years Before Stonehenge

The sprawling 11,500-year-old stone Göbekli Tepe complex in southeastern Anatolia, Turkey, is the earliest known temple in human history and one of the most important discoveries of Neolithic research

Researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Israel Antiquities Authority have now used architectural analysis to discover that geometry informed the layout of Göbekli Tepe's impressive round stone structures and enormous assembly of limestone pillars, which they say were initially planned as a single structure.

Three of the Göbekli Tepe's monumental round structures, the largest of which are 20 meters in diameter, were initially planned as a single project, according to researchers Gil Haklay of the Israel Antiquities Authority, a Ph.D. candidate at Tel Aviv University, and Prof. Avi Gopher of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Civilizations. They used a computer algorithm to trace aspects of the architectural design processes involved in the construction of these enclosures in this early Neolithic site.

... Certain planning capabilities and practices, such as the use of geometry and the formulation of floor plans, were traditionally assumed to have emerged much later than the period during which the Göbekli Tepe was constructed—after hunter-gatherers transformed into food-producing farmers some 10,500 years ago. Notably, one of the characteristics of early farmers is their use of rectangular architecture.

... "Our new research indicates that the methods of architectural planning, abstract design rules and organizational patterns were already being used during this formative period in human history."

Their findings were published in Cambridge Archaeological Journal in May.

Geometric pattern underlying the architectural planning of a complex at Göbekli Tepe. A diagram superimposed over the schematic plan

Gil Haklay et al, Geometry and Architectural Planning at Göbekli Tepe, Turkey, Cambridge Archaeological Journal (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Sigmetnow on May 16, 2020, 03:13:11 AM
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on May 27, 2020, 10:58:17 AM
Dinosaur-Dooming Asteroid Struck Earth at 'Deadliest Possible' Angle

... Drawn from a combination of 3-D numerical impact simulations and geophysical data from the site of the impact, the new models are the first ever fully 3-D simulations to reproduce the whole event—from the initial impact to the moment the final crater, now known as Chicxulub, was formed.

"Our simulations provide compelling evidence that the asteroid struck at a steep angle, perhaps 60 degrees above the horizon, and approached its target from the north-east. We know that this was among the worst-case scenarios for the lethality on impact, because it put more hazardous debris into the upper atmosphere and scattered it everywhere—the very thing that led to a nuclear winter."

The results are published today in Nature Communications.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on May 27, 2020, 05:25:37 PM
Yes that is one really bad hit (good for us though).

Worst possible impact angle and worst possible type of rock to hit too.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on May 28, 2020, 11:01:03 AM
It was also the worst possible place to hit. The composition of the bedrock made the ejection material especially harmful.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on May 29, 2020, 10:56:30 AM
New Research Reveals Cannabis and Frankincense at the Judahite Shrine of Biblical Arad

Analysis of the material on two Iron Age altars discovered at the entrance to the "holy of holies" of a shrine at Tel Arad in the Beer-sheba Valley, Israel, were found to contain Cannabis and Frankincense, according to new article in the journal, Tel Aviv.

Past excavations revealed two superimposed fortresses, dated to the 9th to early 6th centuries BCE, which guarded the southern border of biblical Judah. Highly important Iron Age finds were unearthed, including a well-preserved shrine that was dated to ca. 750-715 BCE.

Two limestone altars (the smaller altar is 40 cm high and about 20 × 20 cm at the top; the larger is about 50 cm high and 30 × 30 cm at the top) were found lying at the entrance to the "holy of holies" of the shrine.

Evidently, they had played an important role in the cult practices of the shrine. An unidentified black solidified organic material was preserved on the altars' surfaces. Past analysis of these materials failed to identify their content and this dark material was recently submitted to organic residue analysis by modern methods.

The study reveals that on the smaller altar cannabis had been mixed with animal dung to facilitate heating, while the larger altar contained traces of frankincense that was mixed with animal fat to promote evaporation.

These unique findings shed new light on cult practices in biblical Judah, suggesting cannabis was used here as a deliberate psychoactive, to stimulate ecstasy as part of cultic ceremonies.

Lead author Eran Arie from The Israel Museum in Jerusalem commented, "This is the first time that cannabis has been identified in the Ancient Near East; Its use in the shrine must have played a central role in the cultic rituals performed there."


Eran Arie et al, Cannabis and Frankincense at the Judahite Shrine of Arad, Tel Aviv (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on May 29, 2020, 12:14:07 PM
Dozens of Prehistoric, Roman and Medieval Sites Discovered by Archaeology Volunteers Working at Home During Lockdown

A probable Iron Age or Roman enclosed settlement (red arrows) and associated field system (blue arrows) revealed by LiDAR data but hidden today beneath woodland

Digging may be on hold due to the pandemic, but the team have found parts of two Roman roads, around 30 prehistoric or Roman large embanked settlement enclosures, around 20 prehistoric burial mounds, as well as the remains of hundreds of medieval farms, field systems and quarries. Those leading the project believe they will make many more discoveries in the coming weeks.

The team, led by Dr. Chris Smart from the University of Exeter and working as part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Understanding Landscapes project, are analysing images derived from LiDAR, or light detection and ranging, data. This laser technology is used during aerial surveys to produce highly detailed topographical maps. Modern vegetation and buildings can be removed, allowing archaeologists to look at the shape of the land surface to find the remains of archaeological earthworks. The data, obtained from the Tellus South West project and the Environment Agency, is being systematically examined and cross-referenced with records of known archaeology and historic maps, meaning the total of new discoveries regularly changes.

When the worst of the pandemic is over the team intend to undertake geophysical surveys at a number of the newly identified sites as part of the Understanding Landscapes project.


Italy Unearths Roman Mosaic After Century-Long Hunt


Archaeologists have discovered an exquisitely preserved Roman mosaic under a vineyard in northern Italy after a century of searching, the local mayor said on Thursday.

The brightly coloured geometric design, partly unearthed outside Negrar di Valpolicella near Verona, is thought to have been part of a villa archaeologists first started looking for in 1922.

"When I saw the mosaic it was very impressive because of the quality, the well-preserved colours, the preservation of the mosaic itself," mayor Roberto Grison told AFP.

Locals have known for years there were Roman artefacts in their part of the famous wine region, a survey and some initial digging a century ago hinted at what lay beneath—and the area of the discovery is called Villa, said Grison.

But until now there had not been any big finds. ...
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 06, 2020, 06:01:01 PM
Archaeologists Discover the Largest, Oldest Maya Monument Yet

The structure, believed to have served as a ceremonial center 3,000 years ago, was discovered in Tabasco, Mexico.


we’re only starting to appreciate how extensive Maya civilization was and how drastically Maya farmers and engineers reworked the Mesoamerican landscape. Over the past few years, lidar surveys have revealed an ancient landscape previously hidden beneath vegetation and features that are too large-scale to recognize from the ground. Aguada Fenix, a newly discovered monument site, is the latter.

“A horizontal construction on this scale is difficult to recognize from the ground level,” wrote University of Arizona archaeologist Takeshi Inomata and his colleagues. The earthen platform is 1.4 kilometers (0.87 miles) long and 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) tall, with raised earthen causeways connecting it to groups of smaller platforms nearby. Based on excavations at the site, it served as a ceremonial center for the Maya.

"This area is developed—it’s not the jungle, Inomata said. "People live there, but this site was not known because it is so flat and huge. It just looks like a natural landscape. But with lidar, it pops up as a very well-planned shape.”


It’s also much older than any other Maya monument, old enough to suggest that the Maya started working together on huge construction projects much earlier than modern archaeologists had suspected. According to radiocarbon dates of charcoal fragments mixed in with the layers of dirt that make up the platform, people started building Aguada Fenix by around 1000 BCE (although Inomata and his colleagues can’t rule out the idea that construction started even earlier).

That came as a surprise, because most of the evidence up to this point seemed to say that around 1000 BCE, people in the Maya Lowlands were just beginning to settle in small villages, where they relied much more heavily on the maize their ancestors had domesticated thousands of years earlier. They also started using pottery. The whole process looked a lot like what archaeologists who study other parts of the world call the Neolithic Revolution—except that the Maya had been farming maize for millennia before they decided to settle down and make a whole lifestyle of it.

As far as we had determined, it took another few centuries, until around 350 BCE, for those early Maya villages to coalesce into the large city-states of the Classic Period. These were political, economic, and ceremonial centers that dominated the surrounding farmland and smaller communities, ruled by elite classes and boasting tall pyramids. Before that, nobody had gotten around to organizing enough labor and resources to start building monuments in the Maya Lowlands—or so we thought.

Aguada Fenix tells a different story. People had been living at the site for some time before construction started; Inomata and his colleagues found pottery, bones, and shells on the rise of bedrock beneath the earthen platform itself, dating to between 1250 and 1050 BCE. By around 1000 BCE, they had started the first phase of building.

and much more:

The mismatch in dating probably comes from them using building only with materials that are not preserved.

This makes quite a big difference. When i visited Delphi they had a reproduction of the ruins from the temples with also the town next to it. The normal houses were not made of stone so you can see nothing of them. Now if you only build huge earthen mounds you will fly under the radar for a  while but luckily we have Lidar now.  :)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on June 09, 2020, 02:50:09 AM
Ground-Penetrating Radar Reveals Entire Ancient Roman City

For the first time ever, archaeologists have used ground-penetrating radar to map an entire city while it’s still beneath the ground.


The researchers were able to document the locations of buildings, monuments, passageways, and even water pipes—all without having to pick up a single hand trowel. In addition to documenting these previously unknown architectural features, the scientists were able to chronicle changes to the city over time and discern unique elements not seen elsewhere in ancient Rome. The new research was published today in the scientific journal Antiquity.

A map of Falerii Novi, created with data from ground-penetrating radar.

Equipped with their radar scans, the archaeologists documented a bath complex, a market, a pair of temples along the periphery, an outdoor theatre, atrium homes, and a shopping area. They also discovered a large public monument consisting of two structures facing each other in a configuration not seen elsewhere in ancient Rome.


“Part of the importance is that our survey is showing us an ordinary Roman town in Italy, not a special town—but it is extremely impressive to see this level of architectural detail across the whole site,” said Millett.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 13, 2020, 08:45:57 PM
Discovery of oldest bow and arrow technology in Eurasia

New archaeological research demonstrates earliest projectile technology in the tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka


The origins of human innovation have traditionally been sought in the grasslands and coasts of Africa or the temperate environments of Europe. More extreme environments, such as the tropical rainforests of Asia, have been largely overlooked, despite their deep history of human occupation. A new study provides the earliest evidence for bow-and-arrow use, and perhaps the making of clothes, outside of Africa ~48-45,000 years ago -in the tropics of Sri Lanka.

The island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, just south of the Indian subcontinent, is home to the earliest fossils of our species, Homo sapiens, in South Asia. It also preserves clear evidence for human occupation and the use of tropical rainforest environments outside of Africa from ~48,000 to 3,000 years ago -- refuting the idea that these supposedly resource-poor environments acted as barriers for migrating Pleistocene humans. The question as to exactly how humans obtained rainforest resources -- including fast-moving food sources like monkeys and squirrels -- remains unresolved.


evidence for the earliest use of bow-and-arrow technologies by humans anywhere outside of Africa. At ~48,000 years old, these tools are earlier than the first similar technology found in Europe. Clear evidence for use on the preserved bone arrowheads shows that they were likely used for hunting difficult-to-catch rainforest prey. Not only that, but the scientists show that other bone tools may have been used for making nets or clothing in tropical settings, dramatically altering traditional assumptions about how certain human innovations were linked with specific environmental requirements.


European cultural products in the form of cave art, amazingly detailed bone carvings, bone tool technologies, and tailored clothing have been frequently held up as the pinnacle of Late Pleistocene human cultural development. There, symbolic and technological innovations have been seen as key survival mechanisms equipping expanding populations to face cold northern climates. Meanwhile, discoveries of older bow-and-arrow technology and artistic or symbolic behaviors in open grassland or coastal settings in Africa have framed 'savannah' and marine environments, respectively, as key drivers behind early hunting and cultural experiments by Pleistocene humans in their evolutionary homeland.


Michelle Langley of Griffith University, the lead author of the new study, is an expert in the study of microscopic traces of tool use and the creation of symbolic material culture in Pleistocene contexts. Applying cutting edge methods to the Fa-Hien Lena material confirmed the researchers' hypothesis. As Langley states, "the fractures on the points indicate damage through high-powered impact -- something usually seen in the use of bow-and-arrow hunting of animals. This evidence is earlier than similar findings in Southeast Asia 32,000 years ago and is currently the earliest clear evidence for bow-and-arrow use beyond the African continent."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on June 14, 2020, 10:05:18 AM
Mixture and migration brought food production to sub-Saharan Africa
  by Max Planck Society

  A Complex Mosaic of Interactions

While the spread of food production led to the gradual replacement of local foragers in most parts of the world, foraging lifeways have persisted in several regions of contemporary Africa among populations such as the San in the south, the Hazda in the east and the Mbuti of the central African rainforest. However, the present study shows that, thousands of years ago, the ancestors of these groups once formed an overlapping genetic cline that stretched across much of eastern and southern Africa.

"We are still at a point where we learn a lot from every individual," Steven Goldstein adds, "the interactions between hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and farmers were more complex even into recent centuries than we previously understood."


To better understand these interactions and their impact on subsistence strategies, the researchers focused their investigations on key groups and regions previously identified as significant contributors to changes in food production: eastern and southern forager groups, eastern African Pastoral Neolithic and Iron Age groups, and Iron Age groups related to present-day Bantu speakers.

  Mixture and migration during the Pastoral Neolithic

Genomic analysis of the six individuals here reported from Kenya's Pastoral Neolithic period (between 4,500 and 1,200 years ago) revealed greater ancestral complexity than previously reported individuals from the same region, supporting previous studies that have proposed early herders migrated south along multiple simultaneous but geographically distinct routes.


"In such a scenario," Dr. Emmanuel Ndiema of the National Museums of Kenya explains, "a single base population in northern Africa may have branched into many as some herding groups moved along the Nile corridor, some through southern Ethiopia, and possibly some through eastern Uganda."

Along the way, migrating pastoralists would have encountered different populations and formed varying inter-community relationships, ultimately resulting in varying integration of diverse ancestries. This model may explain why archeologists observe stark differences in material culture, settlement strategies and burial traditions between Pastoral Neolithic populations whose ancestries are in fact closely related.

  The Iron Age and the Bantu Expansion

Some of the most exciting findings come from the site of Kakapel Rockshelter in western Kenya, where the National Museums of Kenya and the MPI-SHH have teamed up to investigate early farming in the region.

Genomic analysis revealed that the 900-year-old individual had close affinity with Dinka populations, but also showed influence from West-Eurasian or North-African groups, suggesting that the population that this individual represents formed between Pastoral Neolithic-related herders and incoming Nilotic (Nile Valley) agropastoralists—not from a major migration of groups with western African ancestries.

Similar evidence is detected from Botswana, where analysis detected the first archaeogenetic support for the hypotheses that herders from eastern Africa spread to southern Africa before the arrival of Bantu-speaking farmers. Despite raising questions about the uniformity of the Bantu Expansion, the current study documents the arrival of people with Bantu-related ancestry in Botswana during the first millennium CE and their subsequent admixture with eastern African pastoralist and southern African forager populations.

"We identified Bantu-related ancestry in Uganda, western Congo, Tanzania and Kenya, which is consistent with the well-documented genetic homogenization caused by the Bantu expansion," says Stephan Schiffels of the MPI-SHH, "but we also see highly variable patterns of Bantu admixture with regional forager and pastoralist populations in southern Africa."

"While supraregional studies can help reveal population interactions on a continental scale," says Schiffels, "we want to emphasize the importance of regionally focused studies to better understand local patterns of cultural and population changes in the future."
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on June 18, 2020, 03:47:36 AM
First-Degree Incest: Ancient Genomes Uncover Irish Passage Tomb for Dynastic Elite

Archeologists and geneticists, led by those from Trinity College Dublin, have shed new light on the earliest periods of Ireland's human history.

Among their incredible findings is the discovery that the genome of an adult male buried in the heart of the Newgrange passage tomb points to first-degree incest, implying he was among a ruling social elite akin to the similarly inbred Inca god-kings and Egyptian pharaohs.


Older than the pyramids, Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland is world famous for its annual solar alignment where the winter solstice sunrise illuminates its sacred inner chamber in a golden blast of light. However, little is known about who was interred in the heart of this imposing 200,000 ton monument or of the Neolithic society which built it over 5,000 years ago.

"I'd never seen anything like it," said Dr. Lara Cassidy, Trinity, first author of the paper. "We all inherit two copies of the genome, one from our mother and one from our father; well, this individual's copies were extremely similar, a tell-tale sign of close inbreeding. In fact, our analyzes allowed us to confirm that his parents were first-degree relatives."

Matings of this type (e.g. brother-sister unions) are a near universal taboo for entwined cultural and biological reasons. The only confirmed social acceptances of first-degree incest are found among the elites—typically within a deified royal family. By breaking the rules, the elite separates itself from the general population, intensifying hierarchy and legitimizing power. Public ritual and extravagant monumental architecture often co-occur with dynastic incest, to achieve the same ends.

... Remarkably, a local myth resonates with these results and the Newgrange solar phenomenon. First recorded in the 11th century AD, four millennia after construction, the story tells of a builder-king who restarted the daily solar cycle by sleeping with his sister. The Middle Irish place name for the neighboring Dowth passage tomb, Fertae Chuile, is based on this lore and can be translated as 'Hill of Sin'.

A dynastic elite in monumental Neolithic society, Nature (2020)

(... sounds like Cersei and Jaime Lannister getting it on. See Game of Thrones)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on June 18, 2020, 06:42:55 AM
^^ I observe again that supremacy (over other humans in this case because of hierarchy) -> insanity (inbreeding, deified, monuments/obscene constructions)-> destruction

This is from the same brain process as with the much earlier start of supremacy over living nature of which humans should be an integral part -> insanity (conquering, violence, higher technology, hierarchy, civilisation) -> destruction
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on June 22, 2020, 12:37:16 PM
Vast Neolithic Circle of Deep Shafts Found Near Stonehenge

A circle of deep shafts has been discovered near the world heritage site of Stonehenge, to the astonishment of archaeologists, who have described it as the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain.

Four thousand five hundred years ago, the Neolithic peoples who constructed Stonehenge, a masterpiece of engineering, also dug a series of shafts aligned to form a circle spanning 1.2 miles (2km) in diameter. The structure appears to have been a boundary guiding people to a sacred area because Durrington Walls, one of Britain’s largest henge monuments, is located precisely at its centre. The site is 1.9 miles north-east of Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, near Amesbury, Wiltshire.


Prof Vincent Gaffney, a leading archaeologist on the project, said: “This is an unprecedented find of major significance within the UK. Key researchers on Stonehenge and its landscape have been taken aback by the scale of the structure and the fact that it hadn’t been discovered until now so close to Stonehenge.”

He added: “I can’t emphasise enough the effort that would have gone in to digging such large shafts with tools of stone, wood and bone.”

The Durrington Shafts discovery, announced on Monday, is all the more extraordinary because it offers the first evidence that the early inhabitants of Britain, mainly farming communities, had developed a way to count. Constructing something of this size with such careful positioning of its features could only have been done by tracking hundreds of paces.

The shafts are vast, each more than 5 metres deep and 10 metres in diameter. Approximately 20 have been found and there may have been more than 30. About 40% of the circle is no longer available for study as a consequence of modern development.

... As the area around Stonehenge is among the world’s most-studied archaeological landscapes, the discovery is all the more unexpected. Having filled naturally over millennia, the shafts – although enormous – had been dismissed as natural sinkholes and dew ponds. The latest technology – including geophysical prospection, ground-penetrating radar and magnetometry – showed them as geophysical anomalies and revealed their true significance.

Gaffney said: “We are starting to see things we could never see through standard archaeology, things we could not imagine.”


Gaffney, V. et al. A Massive, Late Neolithic Pit Structure associated with Durrington Walls Henge, Internet Archaeology 55 (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: greylib on June 23, 2020, 03:36:41 AM

I grew up near Stonehenge, before it became infested with tourists. At ten years old, I could walk the mile or so to the Stones, and sit there surrounded by silence. Nobody around at all, all the way to the far-distant horizon. Wonderful!

It looks as if they placed the holes by starting at Durrington Walls and walking in a straight line, counting their paces. That would explain why the shape deviates from a perfect circle to the south. The land's flatter; their paces would have been longer; they'd have covered more distance. Quite an impressive piece of counting – maybe they weren't as backward as people think.

Why did they do it? Digging one hole would have meant raising around a thousand tons of chalk (heavier if they were digging clay). They don't seem to have just taken it out of the hole and dumped it – no sign of raised edges. How many barrowloads would that be? (Plus, they didn't have wheelbarrows!) And they didn't just dig one hole. At least forty, the experts say. I'd like it to be 56, to match the number of Aubrey holes circling Stonehenge: (

Some sort of religious thing? That's the easy, obvious answer, so I'm going to reject it. My theory is that they're there for economic and political reasons. The local bosses had gathered a massive workforce to build Stonehenge. Now it was done, so what do you do with the people? You can't just pay them off and tell them to go away. Left to themselves, they'd start some sort of trouble – maybe even a revolution. So give them some make-work. Armies all over the world have been doing it for a long time: dig holes, fill them in, dig them again... maybe the idea's older than anyone thought!
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: wili on June 23, 2020, 04:30:12 AM
Good point about how pacing would actually account for the irregularity. I had thought that maybe they constructed a very, very long rope to get an exact circle. Rope technology is quite old, as I recall. But your account does make good sense.

I used to live near some fairly impressive mounds in Macon, Georgia, US. There were also pits dug around these, but in more irregular patterns, I think, and not as far away.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on June 23, 2020, 08:19:31 AM
Eruption of Alaska's Okmok Volcano Linked to Period of Extreme Cold In Ancient Rome

An international team of scientists and historians has found evidence connecting an unexplained period of extreme cold in ancient Rome with an unlikely source: a massive eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano, located on the opposite side of the Earth.

Alaska's Umnak Island in the Aleutians showing the huge, 10-km wide caldera (upper right) largely created by the 43 BCE Okmok II eruption at the dawn of the Roman Empire.

Around the time of Julius Caesar's death in 44 BCE, written sources describe a period of unusually cold climate, crop failures, famine, disease, and unrest in the Mediterranean Region -impacts that ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Historians have long suspected a volcano to be the cause, but have been unable to pinpoint where or when such an eruption had occurred, or how severe it was.

In a new study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), a research team led by Joe McConnell, Ph.D. of the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev. uses an analysis of tephra (volcanic ash) found in Arctic ice cores to link the period of unexplained extreme climate in the Mediterranean with the caldera-forming eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano in 43 BCE.

The discovery was initially made last year in DRI's Ice Core Laboratory, when McConnell and Swiss researcher Michael Sigl, Ph.D. from the Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of Bern happened upon an unusually well preserved layer of tephra in an ice core sample and decided to investigate.

New measurements were made on ice cores from Greenland and Russia, some of which were drilled in the 1990s and archived in the U.S., Denmark, and Germany. Using these and earlier measurements, they were able to clearly delineate two distinct eruptions—a powerful but short-lived, relatively localized event in early 45 BCE, and a much larger and more widespread event in early 43 BCE with volcanic fallout that lasted more than two years in all the ice core records.

The researchers then conducted a geochemical analysis of the tephra samples from the second eruption found in the ice, matching the tiny shards with those of the Okmok II eruption in Alaska—one of the largest eruptions of the past 2,500 years.


"The tephra match doesn't get any better," said tephra specialist Gill Plunkett, Ph.D. from Queen's University Belfast. "We compared the chemical fingerprint of the tephra found in the ice with tephra from volcanoes thought to have erupted about that time and it was very clear that the source of the 43 BCE fallout in the ice was the Okmok II eruption."

Working with colleagues from the U.K., Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, Alaska, and Yale University in Connecticut, the team of historians and scientists gathered supporting evidence from around the globe, including tree-ring-based climate records from Scandinavia, Austria and California's White Mountains, and climate records from a speleothem (cave formations) from Shihua Cave in northeast China. They then used Earth system modeling to develop a more complete understanding of the timing and magnitude of volcanism during this period and its effects on climate and history.

According to their findings, the two years following the Okmok II eruption were some of the coldest in the Northern Hemisphere in the past 2,500 years, and the decade that followed was the fourth coldest. Climate models suggest that seasonally averaged temperatures may have been as much as 7oC (13oF) below normal during the summer and autumn that followed the 43 BCE eruption of Okmok, with summer precipitation of 50 to 120 percent above normal throughout Southern Europe, and autumn precipitation reaching as high as 400 percent of normal.

"In the Mediterranean region, these wet and extremely cold conditions during the agriculturally important spring through autumn seasons probably reduced crop yields and compounded supply problems during the ongoing political upheavals of the period," said classical archaeologist Andrew Wilson, D.Phil. of the University of Oxford. "These findings lend credibility to reports of cold, famine, food shortage and disease described by ancient sources."

"Particularly striking was the severity of the Nile flood failure at the time of the Okmok eruption, and the famine and disease that was reported in Egyptian sources," added Yale University historian Joe Manning, Ph.D. "The climate effects were a severe shock to an already stressed society at a pivotal moment in history."

Volcanic activity also helps to explain certain unusual atmospheric phenomena that were described by ancient Mediterranean sources around the time of Caesar's assassination and interpreted as signs or omens—things like solar halos, the sun darkening in the sky, or three suns appearing in the sky (a phenomenon now known as a parahelia, or 'sun dog'). However, many of these observations took place prior to the eruption of Okmok II in 43 BCE, and are likely related to a smaller eruption of Mt. Etna in 44 BCE.
parahelia "sun dogs"

Although the study authors acknowledge that many different factors contributed to the fall of the Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom, they believe that the climate effects of the Okmok II eruption played an undeniably large role—and that their discovery helps to fill a knowledge gap about this period of history that has long puzzled archaeologists and ancient historians.


Joseph R. McConnell el al., "Extreme climate after massive eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano in 43 BCE and effects on the late Roman Republic and Ptolemaic Kingdom," PNAS (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on June 23, 2020, 01:27:35 PM
Thanks for posting the updates in this thread.  The last few articles were extremely interesting.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: johnm33 on June 23, 2020, 09:59:42 PM
Stonehenge/Durrington walls henge. Looking at their animation and reading that there were local flintmines i suspect the southern holes may have been moved out of the circle by water introduced by the excavations into old workings causing a collapse and slump southwards. A simple core should show a discontinuity or not.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 26, 2020, 02:26:58 PM
Sledding dogs are far older than previously thought, enabling man to hunt hibernating polar bears

Remains from the Zhokhov island in the East Siberian Arctic show trained sled dogs existed almost 10,000 years ago.


DNA from dog bones from Zhokhov Island indicates that domesticated sled dogs were used by man in the Siberian Arctic at least 9,500 years ago, some 6,500 to 7,500 years earlier than many scientists had believed.

The genome of the Zhokhov dog is directly related to the iconic modern-day Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute and Greenlandic sledge dog, but can also be traced back to Siberian wolves from 33,000 years ago.

‘We were able to conclude that modern sledge dogs and the Zhokhov dog share a common origin in Arctic Siberia more than 9,500 years ago. Until now, we have thought that sledge dogs were only about 3,000 to 2,000 years old’, said lead author Mikkel Sinding, of the Globe Institute, University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

For lots of details see:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 28, 2020, 10:16:10 AM
Old pine trees witness the rewilding in Mediterranean mountain forests in consequence of late-medieval pandemics

Subalpine ecosystems are natural laboratories to study the evolution of global warming, since their dynamics are particularly sensitive to temperature changes. However, the impacts of past pandemics and land-use changes on mountain forest dynamics are still overlooked. An international study based on the establishment date of pine trees shows that a large-scale rewilding occurred after the late-medieval Black Death pandemic and successive pandemics, which led to a profound landscape transformation in southern European mountains. This evidence helps to understand the long-term human legacies on mountain forests.



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

Before the arrival of European colonizers, the Amazonian Indigenous peoples cultivated their food - cassava, corn, pineapple, peppers and squash, among other things. The food of the ancient civilizations of the Amazon also largely consisted of the fruits of palm and Brazilian nut trees. The protection and management of trees across generations have affected the diversity of the rainforest right up until the present time.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on June 29, 2020, 09:35:37 AM
Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

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 marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco plant in an archeological pipe.


Unearthed in central Washington, the Native American pipe also contained residue from N. quadrivalvis, a species of tobacco not currently grown in the region but that is thought to have been widely cultivated in the past. Until now, the use of specific smoking plant mixtures by ancient people in the American Northwest had only been speculated about.


The discovery was made possible by a new metabolomics-based analysis method that can detect thousands of plant compounds or metabolites in residue collected from pipes, bowls and other archeological artifacts. The compounds can then be used to identify which plants were smoked or consumed.

"Not only does it tell you, yes, you found the plant you're interested in, but it also can tell you what else was being smoked," said David Gang, a professor in WSU's Institute of Biological Chemistry and a co-author of the study. "It wouldn't be hyperbole to say that this technology represents a new frontier in archaeo-chemistry."

Previously, the identification of ancient plant residues relied on the detection of a limited number of biomarkers, such as nicotine, anabasine, cotinine and caffeine. Gang said the issue with this approach is while the presence of a biomarker like nicotine shows tobacco was smoked it doesn't distinguish which species it was.


In addition to identifying the first non-tobacco plant smoked in an archaeological pipe, the WSU researchers' work also helps elucidate the complex evolution of tobacco trade in the American Northwest.

Analysis of a second pipe that was used by people living in Central Washington after Euro-American contact revealed the presence of a different tobacco species, N. rustica, which was grown by native peoples on the east coast of what is now the United States.

"Our findings show Native American communities interacted widely with one another within and between ecological regions, including the trade of tobacco seeds and materials," said Shannon Tushingham, an assistant professor of anthropology at WSU and co-author of the study. "The research also casts doubt on the commonly held view that trade tobacco grown by Europeans overtook the use of natively-grown smoke plants after Euro-American contact."

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on July 01, 2020, 09:26:39 PM
Aboriginal Artifacts Reveal First Ancient Underwater Cultural Sites in Australia

In a study published today in PLOS ONE, the ancient underwater sites, at Cape Bruguieres and Flying Foam Passage, provide new evidence of Aboriginal ways of life from when the seabed was dry land, due to lower sea levels, thousands of years ago.

The submerged cultural landscapes represent what is known today as Sea Country to many Indigenous Australians, who have a deep cultural, spiritual and historical connection to these underwater environments.

The dive team mapped 269 artifacts at Cape Bruguieres in shallow water at depths down to 2.4 metres below modern sea level. Radiocarbon dating and analysis of sea-level changes show the site is at least 7000 years old.

The second site at Flying Foam Passage includes an underwater freshwater spring 14 metres below sea level. This site is estimated to be at least 8500 years old. Both sites may be much older as the dates represent minimum ages only; they may be even more ancient.

... "Australia is a massive continent but few people realise that more than 30% of its land mass was drowned by sea-level rise after the last ice age. This means that a huge amount of the archeological evidence documenting the lives of Aboriginal people is now underwater."

"At one point there would have been dry land stretching out 160 km from the current shoreline. That land would have been owned and lived on by generations of Aboriginal people. Our discovery demonstrates that underwater archeological material has survived sea-level rise, and although these sites are located in relatively shallow water, there will likely be more in deeper water offshore" says Chelsea Wiseman from Flinders University who has been working on the DHSC project as part of Ph.D. research.

Benjamin J, O'Leary M, McDonald J, Wiseman C, McCarthy J, Beckett E, et al.  Aboriginal artefacts on the continental shelf reveal ancient drowned cultural landscapes in northwest Australia. PLoS ONE 15(7): e0233912.  (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 01, 2020, 11:41:39 PM
Nice about Australia.
Will a "phoenix" civilization in 10020 AD have archeologists exploring ruins and artifacts of our society left underwater by Sea Level Rise?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 02, 2020, 01:55:09 PM
Nobody knows but we have under researched the continental margins so far.

I don´t know if you could do a lidar type survey with submersibles but that might be an interesting start.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 06, 2020, 06:52:50 PM
Practical archaeology or building a castle with 13 century methods.

I like the threadmills and wood splitting and furniture building and of course also the tools used for building the big thing.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on July 07, 2020, 04:37:52 AM
Thank you kassy. I find that very interesting and have bookmarked it for watching. I like that sort of stuff about old techniques and tools. They had no buttons to press. No machines, all human (& horse) power. These things show me what humans are able of with working together and having deep knowledge and understanding of 'low' technology. I still wonder at the skills necessary to make all the beautiful things I see in old buildings.There is so much knowledge and skill lost.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 07, 2020, 02:05:30 PM
About lost skills, ever hear of the Society of Creative Anachronisms?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on July 09, 2020, 03:35:08 AM
Polynesians, Native Americans Made Contact Before European Arrival, Genetic Study Finds

Through deep genetic analyses, Stanford Medicine scientists and their collaborators have found conclusive scientific evidence of contact between ancient Polynesians and Native Americans from the region that is now Colombia—something that's been hotly contested in the historic and archaeological world for decades.

Before this study was conducted, proponents of Native American and Polynesian interaction reasoned that some common cultural elements, such as a similar word used for a shared agricultural staple, hinted that the two populations had mingled before Europeans settled in South America. Those who disagreed pointed to studies with contrasting conclusions and the fact that the two groups were separated by thousands of miles of open ocean.

This new study is the first to show, through conclusive genetic analyses, that the two groups indeed encountered one another, and did so before Europeans arrived in South America. To conduct the study, Ioannidis and a team of international researchers collected genetic data from more than 800 living Indigenous inhabitants of Colombia and French Polynesia, conducting extensive genetic analyses to find signals of common ancestry. Based on trackable, heritable segments of DNA, the team was able to trace common genetic signatures of Native American and Polynesian DNA back hundreds of years.

... Before the study brought scientific evidence to the debate, the idea that Native Americans and Polynesians had crossed paths originated from a complex—both in its structure and origins—carbohydrate: the sweet potato. It turns out the sweet potato, which was originally domesticated in South and Central America, has also been known to grow in one other place prior to European contact. That place is known as Oceania, which consists of many islands, including Polynesia.

"The sweet potato is native to the Americas, yet it's also found on islands thousands of miles away," Ioannidis said. "On top of that, the word for sweet potato in Polynesian languages appears to be related to the word used in Indigenous American languages in the Andes."

The overlap in culture made some archaeologists and historians think it was not only feasible, but likely, that the potato's arrival in Polynesia was the result of the two peoples mingling.

The researchers believe that the Polynesians landed in what is now Colombia. It is also possible, though less likely due to their coastal travel norms, that one or two ships carrying Native Americans could have sailed off course and run into Polynesia, Ioannidis said.

... Ioannidis' team took a different, big data approach, analyzing the DNA of hundreds of Polynesians and Colombians. Before collecting any samples or conducting genetic analyses, the researchers visited the communities to explain the study, gauge interest in participation and ask for consent. The scientists then collected saliva samples from 807 participants on 17 Polynesian islands and 15 Native American groups along the Pacific coast of the Americas from Mexico to Chile, conducting genetic analyses to look for snippets of DNA that are characteristic of each population and for segments that are "identical by descent," meaning they are inherited from the same ancestor many generations ago.

"We found identical-by-descent segments of Native American ancestry across several Polynesian islands," Ioannidis said. "It was conclusive evidence that there was a single shared contact event." In other words, Polynesians and Native Americans met at one point in history, and during that time people from the two cultures produced children with both Native American and Polynesian DNA. Statistical analyses confirmed the event occurred in the Middle Ages, around A.D. 1200, which is "around the time that these islands were originally being settled by native Polynesians," Ioannidis said. Using computational methods developed as part of Ioannidis' graduate work, the team then localized the source of the Native American DNA to modern-day Colombia.

Native American gene flow into Polynesia predating Easter Island settlement, Nature (2020)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Pmt111500 on July 10, 2020, 04:05:52 PM
A figure of a face found in 1989 in Vantaa, near Helsinki, has finally been dated. While not very old compared to central European finds, this is one of the oldest human figures found in Finland. Dated to about 3500 BC
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on July 14, 2020, 04:01:36 PM
Archaeologists Discover Ancient Horsemanship
A new discovery by Russian and Kazakh archeologists uncovered evidence of horsemanship. The discovery is very valuable, as it is 700 years earlier that was recorded previously.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on July 14, 2020, 04:50:44 PM
Cool stuff.

But when did people learn the art of riding? This question and analysis has always been uneasy. There is evidence of horse domestication as early as two millennia B.C., but “breeding horses” does not mean “riding.” Most likely, the most ancient horse breeders bread them as a status symbol.

I am 100% certain that people were riding them from an early age but without stirrups chariots could be more efficient in battle.

But i bet they rode them as we race anything we can.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on July 15, 2020, 05:37:00 AM
I know riding horses (and using dogs) has been very normal for ages in civilisation and therefore humans can't see it for what it is. Here I give the alien 'outside' perspective:

Take another (baby) mammal from their herd and not for food. Abuse it; control it by force and sit on it, enslave it. Furthermore: Set aside the natural selection process and 'breed' it into something humans prefer because civilisation humans think they know better than nature.
The San Tribes don't ride horses or use dogs

This is a good example of SUPREMACY over other lifeforms.

Take a look at how living nature is doing under our continuing violent domination and control? Are we still sure we know best?
mass extinction and ecosystems collapse

Perhaps domination/supremacy was a wrong idea in hindsight seeing how far it has come now and what's left of
Earth's living nature? Please consider that supremacy is really making insane. It is high time, and still not too late, to change our view on all other lifeforms.

Do you think that humans really are the supreme lifeform such as is deeply embedded in civilisation?
The answer to above question has humongous consequences.

edit: removed last word "Repent!"
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on July 29, 2020, 10:30:00 PM
Mystery Solved: Scientists Trace Source of Stonehenge Boulders

A study published Wednesday found that most of the giant stones—known as sarsens—seem to share a common origin 25 kilometers (16 miles) away in West Woods, an area that teemed with prehistoric activity.

The finding boosts the theory that the megaliths were brought to Stonehenge about the same time: around 2,500 BCE, the monument's second phase of construction, which in turn could be a sign its builders were from a highly organized society.


... Lead author David Nash, a professor of physical geography at the University of Brighton, told AFP he and his team had to devise a novel technique to analyze the sarsens, that stand up to nine meters tall (30 feet) and weigh as much as 30 metric tons.

They first used portable x-rays to analyze the chemical composition of the rocks, which are 99 percent silica but contain traces of several other elements.

"That showed us that most of the stones have a common chemistry, which led us to identify that we're looking for one main source here," said Nash.

Next, they examined two core samples from one of the stones that were obtained during restoration work in 1958 but which then went missing until resurfacing in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

They performed a more sophisticated analysis on these samples using a mass spectrometry device, which detects a bigger range of elements at a higher precision.

The resulting signature was then compared to 20 possible source sites for these sedimentary rocks, with West Woods, Wiltshire found to be the closest match.


Only the 17th century English natural philosopher John Aubrey had previously postulated a link between "Overton Wood," probably a former name for West Woods, and Stonehenge.

Previous work has found that Stonehenge's smaller "bluestones" came from Wales, about 200 kilometers (160 miles) to the west, and the new study says that they and the sarsens were placed at the same time


Just how the early Britons were able to transport the boulders weighing up to 30 tons a distance of 25 kilometers remains unknown—though the prevailing idea is they were dragged along sleds. The site's significance also remains mysterious.

D.J. Nash el al., "Origins of the sarsen megaliths at Stonehenge," Science Advances (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: pikaia on August 23, 2020, 12:47:55 AM
Photo-realistic images of the Roman emperors.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on August 24, 2020, 04:59:15 PM
Massive Stone Structures in Saudi Arabia May Be Some of Oldest Monuments In the World

They number in the hundreds, can be larger than an NFL football field and are found across Saudi Arabia, including on the slope of a volcano. Sprawling stone structures reported in 2017 now appear to be some of the oldest monuments in the world, dating back some 7,000 years, archaeologists now report.

A new study of the mysterious stone structures — once called "gates" but now referred to as "mustatils," the Arabic word for "rectangle" —suggests they were used for rituals; and radiocarbon dating of charcoal found within one of the structures indicates people built it around 5000 B.C., a team of researchers report in an article recently published in the journal The Holocene.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 14, 2020, 08:50:04 PM
Beautifully Preserved Cave Bears Emerge from Siberian Permafrost

Reindeer herders on the Siberian island of Bolshoy Lyakhovsky recently stumbled across the frozen carcass of a cave bear. Nearby, on the Siberian mainland of Yakutia, a tiny, beautifully preserved cave bear cub recently emerged from another patch of melting permafrost. It’s the first time in 15,000 years that humans have come face to face with a cave bear in the flesh—until now, we’ve known the species only from bones, tracks, and abandoned nests.

The Bolshoy Lyakhovsky bear and the Yakutia cub have basically been in an anoxic deep freeze for the last 22,000 to 40,000 years, and their muscles, skin, fur, and organs are well preserved—right to the tips of their noses. That means we get to see what a fully fleshed, furry cave bear actually looked like, but it’s also a treasure trove of information about each bear’s eating habits, its health, its microbiome, and more.

... Most cave bear fossils have been found inside caves, and paleontologists think these bears probably lived in the caves full-time, rather than just popping in for a quick four-month nap. Across Europe and Asia, bears and people probably competed for the same real estate for around 300,000 years; it probably wasn’t much of a contest, though. These lumbering Ice Age giants stood 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high when they reared up on their hind legs, and the largest males weighed up to 600 kilograms (1,320 pounds). That’s about the size of a large polar bear or Kodiak bear today. You wouldn’t want to meet one in a dark cave.

... Finds like the Bolshoy Lyakhovsky bear may actually help ecologists mitigate some of the damage. Several studies in recent years suggest that massive herbivores like mammoths and woolly rhinos acted as “ecosystem engineers” to maintain the grassland steppes on the Pleistocene tundra and to protect the permafrost that’s now melting across much of the Arctic. According to geophysicist and ecologist Sergey Zimov and his colleagues, the animals’ heavy footsteps compacted the permafrost in the winter, keeping it frozen hard enough to withstand more of the summer melting cycle.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on September 15, 2020, 01:40:19 PM
Nice find. Funny last paragraph since they are not really massive herbivores.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on September 15, 2020, 03:41:59 PM
I'm reminded of The Clan of the Cave Bear ( and the other books in the Earth's Children series which my daughters devoured when first published (well, they devoured the first 3 or 4, anyway, as they were published when they were still 'young') and I read last year (entire series).  Author Jean M. Auel certainly indicated these bears were vegetarian.  But now I'm curious ...

Concerning cave bear diet, Wikipedia  (
Although the current prevailing opinion concludes that cave bears were largely herbivorous, and more so than any modern species of the genus Ursus, increasing evidence points to omnivorous diets, based both on regional variability of isotopic composition of bone remains indicative of dietary plasticity, and on a recent re-evaluation of craniodental morphology that places the cave bear squarely among omnivorous modern bear species with respect to its skull and tooth shapes.
Now that we have a 'real' cave bear to study, we'll see what's in its belly.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: nanning on September 15, 2020, 05:59:20 PM
There will be academics who will go wild at the idea of getting its DNA and growing a clone via a live female bear.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on September 20, 2020, 11:15:59 AM
Stone Age Humans Were Sleeping On Comfy Grass Beds 200,000 Years Ago

Living in a cave may not be luxurious, but the ancient inhabitants of southern Africa did their best to make their homes as snug as possible by creating soft beds out of ash and grass. According to a new study in the journal Science, this mixture allowed for a good night’s sleep as it provided soft bedding while also helping to repel insects, and was already in use some 200,000 years ago.

Previously, the oldest known use of plant bedding was from a 77,000-year-old site called Sibudu in South Africa, where researchers discovered layers of sedge interspersed with ash and medicinal plants that they believe were used as rudimentary mattresses. Yet this latest finding pushes back the date of the earliest use of bedding by over 100,000 years.

The discovery was made in Border Cave, which is also located in South Africa and is known to have been occupied intermittently from about 227,000 years ago. Using a range of microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, the study authors were able to identify grass in a layer of white ash that has been dated back to the cave’s early years of human occupation.


This theory is supported by the fact that the researchers were able to identify the remains of camphor leaves among the bedding. Given that this aromatic plant is still used as an insect repellent in East African bedding to this day, the study authors are fairly confident that Border Cave’s earliest tenants were indeed using plants to create comfortable, bug-free sleeping spaces.

While the act of collecting soft leaves to sleep on may not seem all that impressive, the kind of cognitive complexity that is required for this sort of innovation is generally thought to have developed in humans about 100,000 years ago. That this discovery significantly predates that threshold suggests that the potential for a sophisticated material culture was very much present at the dawn of man.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 29, 2020, 06:29:48 PM
New Evidence Suggests It Was Matter Ejected From the Chicxulub Crater That Led to Impact Winter

A team of researchers from the U.S., Australia and the U.K. has found evidence that suggests material thrown into the atmosphere by the asteroid that struck the Earth approximately 66 million years ago, and not massive wildfires, led to a mass extinction event. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the group describes their study of sediment from the Chicxulub crater and other ocean areas and what it showed them.

In this new effort, the researchers suggest that while some of the material in K–Pg boundary records is likely burnt material from massive wildfires, most of it came from material ejected from the crater at the impact site.

The work involved analyzing sediment samples from within the Chicxulub crater and from other ocean sites near the crater. In their analysis, the researchers focused on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which can provide evidence of a source of black carbon. In so doing, they found that the samples came from a fossil source, not from burned material from wildfires. They also found that the characteristics of the PAHs showed they came about due to rapid heating, which, the researchers note, was consistent with rocky material ejected from an impact crater. The researchers also found small amounts of charcoal in the samples, indicating that some small amount of burned biomass had also made its way into the atmosphere. They conclude that the material in the K–Pg boundary records came mainly from material ejected from the crater and not from wildfires.


Shelby L. Lyons et al. Organic matter from the Chicxulub crater exacerbated the K–Pg impact winter, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on September 29, 2020, 08:13:29 PM
New Data On a Volcanic Eruption that Scattered Ash Across Maya Lands

In a recent study, Oxford University archaeologist Victoria Smith and her colleagues used tree rings from a stump caught in a pyroclastic flow, along with data from polar ice cores obtained more than 7,000km (4,300 miles) away. These dated the eruption to 431 CE, the early part of the Maya Classic Period. The date may help future archaeologists and climate researchers better understand the impacts of the eruption on Central America and the rest of the world.

... The Tierra Blanca Joven eruption blasted a plume of ash and dust 45km (28 miles) into the sky. Winds spread the ash over a broad swath of Central America and out over the Pacific Ocean. A dusting of ash even fell across the Maya lowlands, hundreds of kilometers to the north. Some of that ash, along with aerosolized particles of sulfur and other chemicals, made it into the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere, where currents carried them nearly 7,800km to the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica.

Closer to the volcano, the towering plume collapsed under its own weight, sending swift, deadly currents of hot gas, ash, and pumice—pyroclastic flows—racing across the ground for 50km or more. A layer of ash and pumice up to 70m (230 feet) deep choked some of the valleys nearest the volcano, and a layer 2m (6 feet) deep blanketed hundreds of square kilometers of Maya farmland.

With no written accounts and only limited archaeological evidence, we don’t know how many people died, how many homes were leveled, or how much warning people had.

But there’s no question that the eruption was devastating. At around the same time as the Tierra Blanca Joven eruption, ceramics made in El Salvador stop showing up in the archaeological record at Maya sites. “We think the lack of ceramic production in the general area is because people were not there,” Smith told Ars, “as much of it was uninhabitable for many years, and it would have taken decades for the landscape to recover.”


The magnitude and impact of the 431 CE Tierra Blanca Joven eruption of Ilopango, El Salvador, PNAS (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 07, 2020, 07:39:22 PM
Archaeologists unearth remains believed to be of Anglo-Saxon warlord
“We know from later historical sources and bits of archaeology that [this sweep of the Thames that runs through Marlow and Maidenhead] was a kind of borderland. At various periods in the Anglo-Saxon centuries it was contested between neighbouring kingdoms,” Thomas said.

“What this burial suggests is that [this area] had its own identity as a powerful tribal unit before these kingdoms muscled in.”
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on October 16, 2020, 05:11:51 PM
Melting Alpine Glaciers Yield Archaeologic Troves, But Clock Ticking

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 16, 2020, 07:43:02 PM
Three Leather Balls Represent Oldest Evidence of Ancient Eurasian Ball Game
The hair-filled balls were discovered in a 3,000-year-old cemetery in northwestern China.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 17, 2020, 11:45:07 AM
Ruins of Eighth-Century Pagan Temple Found in Norway
The structure—built to honor Norse gods like Thor and Odin—is the first of its kind discovered in the country

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 21, 2020, 01:00:56 PM
Long-Lost Medieval Monastery Discovered Beneath Parking Garage in England
Carmelite friars established Whitefriars in 1270, but the religious site was destroyed during the Protestant Reformation
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 23, 2020, 04:12:40 PM
Impressive Water Purifcation System Found at Ancient Maya City
More than 2,000 years ago in the ancient city of Tikal in northern Guatemala, Maya people apparently utilized a mineral called zeolite to purify their drinking water. The discovery, published in the journal Scientific Reports by anthropologists from the University of Cincinnati, represents the oldest known example of water purification in the Western Hemisphere.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 26, 2020, 11:16:43 AM
Europe's First Industrial Complex Shows the Brilliance of Ancient Engineers
An international team of scientists has reconstructed the hydraulic operations of the 1,900-year-old Barbegal industrial watermill complex in southern France, revealing the subtle brilliance of antiquity's engineers.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on October 27, 2020, 11:53:04 AM
Scientists Reveal What May Be the Largest Flying Bird Ever
Imagine an albatross with a hacksaw for a mouth. Set that strange creature about 50 million years in the past and you’ve got the image of a pelagornithid, a group of ancient avians that included some of the largest flying birds of all time. And now paleontologists have uncovered in that group what may be the largest known flying birds ever, with wingspans of roughly 20 feet.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on October 28, 2020, 09:29:05 PM
Past Extinctions of Homo Species Coincided with Increased Vulnerability to Climatic Change


At least six different Homo species populated the World during the latest Pliocene to the Pleistocene. The extinction of all but one of them is currently shrouded in mystery, and no consistent explanation has yet been advanced, despite the enormous importance of the matter. Here, we use a recently implemented past climate emulator and an extensive fossil database spanning 2,754 archaeological records to model climatic niche evolution in Homo. We find statistically robust evidence that the three Homo species representing terminating, independent lineages, H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis, and H. neanderthalensis, lost a significant portion of their climatic niche space just before extinction, with no corresponding reduction in physical range. This reduction coincides with increased vulnerability to climate change. In the case of Neanderthals, the increased extinction risk was probably exacerbated by competition with H. sapiens. This study suggests that climate change was the primary factor in the extinction of Homo species.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 06, 2020, 07:38:19 PM
Early big-game hunters of the Americas were female, researchers suggest
Challenges age-old 'man-the-hunter' hypothesis


In 2018, during archaeological excavations at a high-altitude site called Wilamaya Patjxa in what is now Peru, researchers found an early burial that contained a hunting toolkit with projectile points and animal-processing tools. The objects accompanying people in death tend to be those that accompanied them in life, researchers said. It was determined that the hunter was likely female based on findings by the team's osteologist, James Watson of The University of Arizona. Watson's sex estimate was later confirmed by dental protein analysis conducted by UC Davis postdoctoral researcher Tammy Buonasera and Glendon Parker, an adjunct associate professor.

Revealing a broader pattern

The surprising discovery of an early female hunter burial led the team to ask whether she was part of a broader pattern of female hunters or merely a one-off. Looking at published records of late Pleistocene and early Holocene burials throughout North and South America, the researchers identified 429 individuals from 107 sites. Of those, 27 individuals were associated with big-game hunting tools -- 11 were female and 15 were male. The sample was sufficient to "warrant the conclusion that female participation in early big-game hunting was likely nontrivial," researchers said. Moreover, the analysis identified the Wilamaya Patjxa female hunter as the earliest hunter burial in the Americas.

Statistical analysis shows that somewhere between 30 to 50 percent of hunters in these populations were female, the study said. This level of participation stands in stark contrast to recent hunter-gatherers, and even farming and capitalist societies, where hunting is a decidedly male activity with low levels of female participation, certainly under 30 percent, Haas explained.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 14, 2020, 01:42:42 PM
Archaeologists in Golan Heights Unearth Fort Dated to Time of Biblical King David
Researchers say the newly discovered site was probably part of the enigmatic Kingdom of Geshur
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: oren on November 16, 2020, 10:12:40 AM
The only problem is that the time of Biblical King David himself has not been determined and verified, while the main bible books were written three hundred years later, with a strong agenda behind them. So the article's title is misleading. (It comes from the source, the IAA, which is to blame).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 16, 2020, 07:56:33 PM
Archaeologists Are Just Beginning to Unearth the Mummies and Secrets of Saqqara
The sheer number of finds now available also opens up fresh possibilities, such as constructing family trees of the people buried at the site. “We can get a sense of them as a community,” says Price. The results might even shed new light on unidentified artifacts excavated centuries ago. “Now we can see visual similarities between these new finds and unprovenanced items in European museums,” he says. Finding matches with orphaned coffins in Europe might enable researchers to link up long-separated family members.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 21, 2020, 11:21:12 PM
Shipwreck Exposed by Erosion on Florida Coast Could Be 200 Years Old
But the discovery also has a dark side: It reflects the growing problem of beach erosion, a natural phenomenon exacerbated by climate change. In a paper published earlier this year in Nature, scientists pointed out that almost half of Earth’s sandy beaches could vanish by the end of the century.
Pat Lee, who lives near the spot where the shipwreck was discovered, tells First Coast News that the ship only became visible due to the massive loss of beach sand in recent years.
“The wreckage there used to be under ten feet of sand,” he says. “In the last three years, we lost it. We lost it all. … It’s very cool to see the shipwreck. It is very disturbing to see the sand leave our beach.”
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 22, 2020, 07:02:13 PM
Pompeii Dig Reveals ‘Almost Perfect’ Remains of Master and His Slave

The bodies of what are thought to be a wealthy man and his slave, believed to have died as they were fleeing the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79, were found during excavations at a villa in the outskirts of the city, Pompeii archaeological park officials said yesterday.

Their remains, for which casts have been created, were discovered in the same location where a stable containing the remains of three harnessed horses were unearthed in 2017.


... like in chess ... at the end of the game, both the King and the pawn end up in the same box.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 25, 2020, 12:18:23 AM
Rock Art In California Cave Was a Visual Guide to Hallucinogenic Plants

At a cave in Southern California, archaeologists recently found centuries-old bundles of hallucinogenic plants tucked into crevices in the low ceiling, near a painting that may depict a flower from the same plant, called datura. The painted images may have been a visual aid to help people understand the rituals they experienced in the cave.

University of Central Lancashire archaeologist David Robinson and his colleagues describe the bundles of leaves and stems tucked into the domed ceiling of California's Pinwheel Cave. The five-armed pinwheel that gives the cave its name is painted in red nearby, attended by a bizarre-looking figure with antennae, eyes pointed in different directions, and a long body. Archaeologists have dubbed it the Transmorph, perhaps because it wouldn’t answer to anything else they tried. Based on radiocarbon dates of the bundles, people placed them in the room’s nooks and crannies over several centuries, from about 1530 to 1890.


That matches the age of charcoal from nearby chambers in the cave, where people left behind traces of more mundane activities: cooking meat, grinding seeds and nuts, and making stone projectile points. Whatever rituals happened in Pinwheel Cave, they weren’t hidden away or separate from everyday life.

Using a technique called mass spectrometry, Robinson and his colleagues studied the chemical composition of four of the bundles and found the compounds scopolamine and atropine—the same chemical mixture that’s found in datura. The Chumash people of California call the plant Momay and see it as the embodiment of a supernatural grandmother figure.

The microscopic examination revealed that the ends of the bundles had been crushed and matted together, and some even had tooth marks still pressed into them. Clearly, people had chewed on these bundles of datura leaves and stems before tucking them away into nooks and crannies in the chamber. That matches historical descriptions of Chumash and Tübatulabal people occasionally eating parts of the datura plant for other rituals. Sometimes the goal might be to heal a physical wound; other times it could be supernatural protection, help finding a lost object or looking into the future, or an extra burst of strength for a hunt.

... Prior to the discovery in Pinwheel Cave, archaeologists hadn’t found any clear evidence that people actually used datura at any of the sites where that artwork was preserved on cave walls or beneath rock shelters. That’s part of what makes the Pinwheel find so interesting. The cave paintings, combined with the datura bundles, suggest that art played a role in some of the rituals in which people used datura for trances and visions.

When a datura bud opens into a flower, its five petals unfold in a spiral that looks almost exactly like the five-armed pinwheel in Pinwheel Cave. And Robinson and colleagues suggest that the Transmorph, with its antennae and its strange bug-like eyes, may actually be a hawkmoth, the insect that does most of the work of pollinating datura plants.

Robinson and his colleagues used portable X-ray fluorescence to study the layers of paint on the ceiling of Pinwheel Cave. They found that the pinwheel—the datura flower, probably—had been repainted and touched up many times over the centuries. Generations of people had maintained it, and generations of people had looked up at it as they chewed bundles of datura and slipped into the world of visions.

Datura quids at Pinwheel Cave, California, provide unambiguous confirmation of the ingestion of hallucinogens at a rock art site, PNAS, (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 26, 2020, 01:27:43 PM
Ireland’s first-ever dinosaur fossils confirmed
The two fossils were discovered by Roger Byrne, a late fossil collector and schoolteacher, who donated them (among many other specimens he’s gathered) to Ulster Museum. Researchers were able to confirm that they hail from the early Jurassic, based on where they were discovered — rocks in Islandmagee, on the east coast of Northern Ireland.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 27, 2020, 08:23:40 PM
6,000 Years of Arrows Emerge From Melting Norwegian Ice Patch

Archaeologists in Norway have discovered dozens of arrows—some dating back 6,000 years—melting out of a 60-acre ice patch in the county’s high mountains.

Viking-age arrow from Langfonne features an iron arrowhead with sinew and birch-bark lashings.

Expeditions to survey the Langfonne ice patch in 2014 and 2016, both particularly warm summers, also revealed copious reindeer bones and antlers, suggesting that hunters used the ice patch over the course of millennia. Their hunting technique stayed the same even as the weapons they used evolved from stone and river shell arrowheads to iron points.

Now the research team is revealing the finds in a paper published today in the journal Holocene. A record-setting total of 68 complete and partial arrows (and five arrowheads) were ultimately discovered by the team on and around the melting ice patch–more than archaeologists have recovered from any other frozen site in the world. Some of the projectiles date to the Neolithic period while the most “recent” finds are from the 14th century A.D. ...

Lars Holger Pilø et al. Interpreting archaeological site-formation processes at a mountain ice patch: A case study from Langfonne, Norway, The Holocene (2020)


Secrets of the ice: unlocking a melting time capsule
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on November 29, 2020, 11:00:55 PM
'Sistine Chapel of the Ancients' Rock Art Discovered In Remote Amazon Forest

... Hailed as “the Sistine Chapel of the ancients”, archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia.

Many of the painting are very high up, some so high they can only be reached by drones.

Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.

These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study.


The site is in the Serranía de la Lindosa, Colombia where, along with the Chiribiquete national park, other rock art had been found. The documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, told the Observer: “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”

The discovery was made last year, but has been kept secret until now as it was filmed for a major Channel 4 series to be screened in December: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.


... “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.

“We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.”


Speculating on whether the paintings had a sacred or other purpose, he said: “It’s interesting to see that many of these large animals appear surrounded by small men with their arms raised, almost worshipping these animals.”


Al-Shamahi added: “One of the most fascinating things was seeing ice age megafauna because that’s a marker of time. I don’t think people realise that the Amazon has shifted in the way it looks. It hasn’t always been this rainforest. When you look at a horse or mastodon in these paintings, of course they weren’t going to live in a forest. They’re too big. Not only are they giving clues about when they were painted by some of the earliest people – that in itself is just mind-boggling – but they are also giving clues about what this very spot might have looked like: more savannah-like.”
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 30, 2020, 02:14:52 AM
Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study.
I hope we will have the ability to study these petroglyphs, including such technology as drones, for multiple generations and not to lose them in a Collapse.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on November 30, 2020, 02:00:59 PM
That looks great. Would be nice if they film it so you can look at them via the net.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on November 30, 2020, 06:14:00 PM
Seemingly Ordinary Fossils May Be Hiding Some Major Clues to the Past
Molecular paleobiologist Jasmina Wiemann has been on the forefront of this exciting research since 2018, co-authoring papers that reveal elements of fossils that cannot be immediately seen with our eyes but can be detected through a series of complex chemical and statistical analyses. Her recent paper, published this summer with Jason Crawford and Derek Briggs, builds upon other, similar research from the past two years. She and her co-authors claim they can determine the chemical signatures of skin, bone, teeth, and eggshell. Even better, they can train anyone else in the field within approximately 20 minutes to find these ancient traces using their techniques. It’s an opportunity they hope will be widely used within museum collections the world over.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 02, 2020, 03:18:48 PM
Storegga Slide: Sediment Cores from Dogger Littoral Suggest Dogger Island Survived Ancient Tsunami

Map showing the Storegga Slide and sites where tsunami deposits have been found; b) ‘Europe's Lost Frontiers’ project coring locations, with ELF001A highlighted

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the U.K. has found evidence that suggests the ancient Dogger Island survived a tsunami approximately 8,150 years ago. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes their analysis of core samples taken from the sea bed where Dogger Island was once located and what they found.

From approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago, the Earth experienced a glacial period—the ice buildup led to falling ocean levels, exposing land around the globe. One of those land areas was a fertile plain located in what is now the southern part of the North Sea—it connected Europe and England and has been named Doggerland. As the planet warmed and the ice melted, Doggerland began to disappear beneath the sea to the extent that by approximately 8,200 years ago, almost all of it was below the sea. The exception was Dogger Island and its surrounding archipelago.

Then, approximately 8,150 years ago, an underwater slide occurred off the coast of what is now modern Norway, which created a tsunami that reached what had once been Doggerland. Prior research had suggested the giant wave inundated Dogger Island and the archipelago and left it permanently underwater. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that much of the island survived the tsunami, which then disappeared many years later due to rising ocean levels.

The work involved collecting core samples from the sea bottom in areas that used to be part of Dogger Island (now called Dogger Littoral) and looking for evidence of the tsunami. The researchers found traces of material pushed around by the tsunami, such as broken shells. But this evidence was only found in low-lying parts of the island. Cores taken from the higher parts of what had once been an island had no such debris, indicating that the tsunami had not washed over the whole island. The researchers suggest that higher elevations of the island survived the tsunami—it was only the lowlands and valleys that were covered. And this suggests the island existed longer than previously thought, possibly impacting the movement of Neolithic farmers from Europe into England.

James Walker et al. A great wave: the Storegga tsunami and the end of Doggerland?, Antiquity (2020).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 02, 2020, 07:02:52 PM
Shaped for the times
Researchers offer new theory on Venus figurines.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on December 02, 2020, 09:54:34 PM
A geologist's view of Doggerland and the Storegga tsunami ( (

... Any Mesolithic people living on what was left of Doggerland would not have survived. But quite possibly they may already have left as the climate cooled substantially
shortly before this catastrophic event.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 07, 2020, 06:39:44 PM
Newly Discovered Ancient Villages Laid Out Like a Clock Face are Further Proof of Human Impact on the Amazon


Remote sensing equipment mounted onto helicopters in south Acre State, Brazil is revealing an ancient landscape of mounded villages built between 1300 and 1700 AD.

The distinctive and consistent arrangement of the circular villages suggests the ancient Acreans had very specific social models for the way they organized their communities, potentially organizing their dwellings to represent the Native American cosmos.

This is further evidence the rainforest has long-been occupied by indigenous communities, whose cultures rose, fell, transformed, and rose again, long before Europeans made an impact in the Americas. The research shows after the abandonment of the large geometrically patterned ceremonial earthworks, around AD 950, a new culture arose with communities living in mounded villages with highly defined concepts of social and architectural space.

The circular mound villages are connected across the wider landscape through paired sunken roads with high banks that radiate from the village circle like the marks of a clock or the rays of the sun. The villages have both minor roads and principal roads, which were deeper and wider with higher banks. Most villages have paired cardinally orientated principal roads, two leaving in a northward direction and two leaving in a southward direction. The survey reveals that the straight roads often connect one village to another, creating a network of communities over many kilometers.

Experts from the UK and South America used a RIEGL VUX-1 UAV Lidar sensor integrated into an MD 500 helicopter to document architectural features below the forest canopy, revealing a more complex and spatially organized landscape than previously thought. Over 35 villages and dozens of roads were documented in the research with many more predicted to still be hidden below the unexplored jungle. The villages were composed of three to 32 mounds arranged in a circle, the diameter of which ranged from 40 m to 153 m with the area enclosed by the central plaza ranging from ~0.12 to 1.8 ha.


Jose Iriarte et al. Geometry by Design: Contribution of Lidar to the Understanding of Settlement Patterns of the Mound Villages in SW Amazonia, Journal of Computer Applications in Archaeology (2020)

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 14, 2020, 01:23:11 PM
Stunning Mosaic Found in England Shows Some Lived in Luxury During ‘Dark Ages’
The discovery of an intricately crafted Roman mosaic might not seem wholly surprising, but archaeologists say there’s something very unusual about the design seen at Chedworth Roman Villa in Gloucestershire, England: It dates to the mid-fifth century A.D., decades after the end of Roman rule in Britain and in the midst of a period popularly dubbed the Dark Ages.
Historians have long thought that early Britons abandoned Roman villas and population centers following the breakdown of the imperial administrative system. But the new find suggests otherwise.
If there is a Deindustrialization Dark Age will there be similar remnants?
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 15, 2020, 10:38:38 PM
Unlikely since mosaics are such an underappreciated art form these days.  :)

The Guardian’s Steven Morris reports that the mosaic reflects a decline in quality compared with fourth-century work found at the same villa and elsewhere in Britain. This may indicate that craftspeople’s skills were eroding at the time. Papworth notes that Roman soldiers and civil servants were either departing Britain or no longer earning wages in cash, leading craft and service industries that depended on their patronage to fall apart.

So this evidence that they retained some part of roman culture for a while or lets say that having a mosaic floor was still a way to stand out.

Do keep in mind that a lot of histories stories are gross simplifications and the dark ages term itself was coined in the renaissance. If you go beyond the big brushes there is so much happening in the medieval dark ages.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 16, 2020, 12:32:27 AM
Giant Aztec skull 'tower' unearthed in Mexico
Archaeologists in Mexico City have discovered 119 human skulls arranged in a "trophy" tower that the Aztecs built about 500 years ago, according to Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 21, 2020, 05:07:43 PM
And a new riddle:

Ancient European Hunters Carved Human Bones Into Weapons

Scientists suggest 10,000-year-old barbed points washed up on Dutch beaches were made for cultural reasons

A s the Ice Age waned, melting glaciers drowned the territory of Doggerland, the ground that once connected Britain and mainland Europe. For more than 8,000 years, distinctive weapons—slender, saw-toothed bone points—made by the land’s last inhabitants rested at the bottom of the North Sea. That was until 21st-century engineers, with mechanical dredgers, began scooping up the seafloor and using the sediments to fortify the shores of the Netherlands. The ongoing work has also, accidentally, brought artifacts and fossils from the depths to the Dutch beaches.

Fossil-hunter hobbyists collected these finds, amassing nearly 1,000 of the jagged bone weapons, known to archaeologists as Mesolithic barbed points. Not only known from the North Sea, barbed points have been found at sites from Ireland to Russia, dating between 8,000 to 11,000 years ago, when the last foragers inhabited Europe before farmers arrived. Mesolithic people likely fastened the points to longer shafts to make arrows, spears and harpoons, key for their hunting and fishing livelihoods. But scholars mostly ignored the barbed points dotting Dutch beaches because they weren’t recovered from systematic digs of proper archaeological sites, like the barbed points found in the U.K. and continental Europe.


Now a team, led by Leiden University archaeologists, has analyzed some of the washed-up weapons, performing molecular measurements to determine which species the barbed points were made from. The scientists mainly wanted to test if this kind of analysis, which depends on proteins surviving in bone, was even possible for artifacts buried underwater for millennia. Not only did the method work, it delivered shocking results: While most of the roughly 10,000-year-old points were made of red deer bone two were fashioned from human skeletons.

“As an expert in this field, I really wasn't expecting that. It's really cool,” says Newcastle University archaeologist Benjamin Elliott, who was not involved in the research. Never before have archaeologists found unambiguous evidence that ancient Europeans carefully crafted human bones into deadly weapons.

The study scientists puzzled over why Mesolithic people used red deer and human skeletons for their weapons. “What’s going on with these points?” says Virginie Sinet-Mathiot, an anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, who worked on the project. “What does it mean?”

Practical or economic concerns seemed unlikely explanations: Other raw materials like antler would have been more readily available and durable. Rather, the researchers concluded that ancient hunters chose these particular bones for symbolic reasons, related to their social or spiritual beliefs.

and much more on:
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tor Bejnar on December 21, 2020, 05:39:45 PM
... most of the roughly 10,000-year-old points were made of red deer bone [and] two were fashioned from human skeletons.
... the researchers concluded that ancient hunters chose these particular bones for symbolic reasons, related to their social or spiritual beliefs.
I imagine red deer bone points were perceived as being "better for hunting red deer" (with gruesome connotations).
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: karl dubhe2 on December 21, 2020, 08:53:48 PM
... most of the roughly 10,000-year-old points were made of red deer bone [and] two were fashioned from human skeletons.
... the researchers concluded that ancient hunters chose these particular bones for symbolic reasons, related to their social or spiritual beliefs.
I imagine red deer bone points were perceived as being "better for hunting red deer" (with gruesome connotations).

I think if we're gonna speculate we should consider that the humans whose bones were used could have been the "great" hunters of their generation; and using the bones was to honour them, and inspire the point to kill the animal they were shot at quickly.    :o 8)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: vox_mundi on December 23, 2020, 10:50:21 PM
Evidence for a Massive Paleo-Tsunami at Ancient Tel Dor, Israel

Underwater excavation, borehole drilling, and modelling suggests a massive paleo-tsunami struck near the ancient settlement of Tel Dor between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago, according to a study published December 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE

In this study, Shtienberg and colleagues describe a large early Holocene tsunami deposit (between 9,910 to 9,290 years ago) in coastal sediments at Tel Dor in northwest Israel, a maritime city-mound occupied from the Middle Bronze II period (2000-1550 BCE) through the Crusader period

Along the coast of the study area, the authors found an abrupt marine shell and sand layer with an age of constraint 9,910 to 9,290 years ago, in the middle of a large ancient wetland layer spanning from 15,000 to 7,800 years ago. The authors estimate the wave capable of depositing seashells and sand in the middle of what was at the time fresh to brackish wetland must have travelled 1.5 to 3.5 km, with a coastal wave height of 16 to 40 m.

For comparison, previously documented tsunami events in the eastern Mediterranean have travelled inland only around 300 m—suggesting the tsunami at Dor was generated by a far stronger mechanism. Local tsunamis tend to arise due to earthquakes in the Dead Sea Fault system and submarine landslides; the authors note that an earthquake contemporary to the Dor paleo-tsunami (dating to around 10,000 years ago) has already been identified using cave damage in the nearby Carmel ridge, suggesting this specific earthquake could have triggered an underwater landslide causing the massive tsunami at Dor.

This paleo-tsunami would have occurred during the Early to Middle Pre-Pottery Neolithic B cultural period of the region (10,700-9,250 years ago 11,700-10,500 cal BP), and potentially wiped out evidence of previous Natufian (12,500-12,000 years ago) and Pre-Pottery Neolithic coastal villages (previous surveys and excavations show a near absence of low-lying coastal villages in this region). The re-appearance of abundant Late Neolithic archaeological sites (ca. 6,000 BCE) along the coast in the years after the Dor tsunami coincides with the resumption of wetland deposition in the Dor core samples and indicates resettlement followed the event—highlighting residents' resilience in the face of massive disruption.

Shtienberg G, Yasur-Landau A, Norris RD, Lazar M, Rittenour TM, Tamberino A, et al.  A Neolithic mega-tsunami event in the eastern Mediterranean: Prehistoric settlement vulnerability along the Carmel coast, Israel. PLoS ONE 15(12): e0243619. (2020)
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 24, 2020, 01:36:35 PM
Researchers Unearth Ritual Bath Dated to Jesus’s Time Near Garden of Gethsemane
Per a statement, researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum uncovered the mikveh, as well as the remains of a 1,500-year-old Byzantine church, near the foot of Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Workers stumbled onto the underground cavity while constructing a visitors’ tunnel for the modern church of Gethsemane, also known as the Church of the Agony or the Church of All Nations.
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: kassy on December 27, 2020, 11:22:34 PM
The aroma of distant worlds
New evidence that spices, fruits from Asia had reached the Mediterranean earlier than thought

Asian spices such as turmeric and fruits like the banana had already reached the Mediterranean more than 3000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought. A team of researchers has shown that even in the Bronze Age, long-distance trade in food was already connecting distant societies.


Working with an international team to analyze food residues in tooth tartar, the LMU archaeologist has found evidence that people in the Levant were already eating turmeric, bananas and even soy in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages. "Exotic spices, fruits and oils from Asia had thus reached the Mediterranean several centuries, in some cases even millennia, earlier than had been previously thought," says Stockhammer. "This is the earliest direct evidence to date of turmeric, banana and soy outside of South and East Asia." It is also direct evidence that as early as the second millennium BCE there was already a flourishing long-distance trade in exotic fruits, spices and oils, which is believed to have connected South Asia and the Levant via Mesopotamia or Egypt. While substantial trade across these regions is amply documented later on, tracing the roots of this nascent globalization has proved to be a stubborn problem. The findings of this study confirm that long-distance trade in culinary goods has connected these distant societies since at least the Bronze Age. People obviously had a great interest in exotic foods from very early on.

For their analyses, Stockhammer's international team examined 16 individuals from the Megiddo and Tel Erani excavations, which are located in present-day Israel. The region in the southern Levant served as an important bridge between the Mediterranean, Asia and Egypt in the 2nd millennium BCE. The aim of the research was to investigate the cuisines of Bronze Age Levantine populations by analyzing traces of food remnants, including ancient proteins and plant microfossils, that have remained preserved in human dental calculus over thousands of years.


Two additional protein findings are particularly remarkable, explains Stockhammer. In one individual's dental calculus from Megiddo, turmeric and soy proteins were found, while in another individual from Tel Erani banana proteins were identified. All three foods are likely to have reached the Levant via South Asia. Bananas were originally domesticated in Southeast Asia, where they had been used since the 5th millennium BCE, and they arrived in West Africa 4000 years later, but little is known about their intervening trade or use. "Our analyses thus provide crucial information on the spread of the banana around the world. No archaeological or written evidence had previously suggested such an early spread into the Mediterranean region," says Stockhammer, although the sudden appearance of banana in West Africa just a few centuries later has hinted that such a trade might have existed. "I find it spectacular that food was exchanged over long distances at such an early point in history."

Stockhammer notes that they cannot rule out the possibility, of course, that one of the individuals spent part of their life in South Asia and consumed the corresponding food only while they were there. Even if the extent to which spices, oils and fruits were imported is not yet known, there is much to indicate that trade was indeed taking place, since there is also other evidence of exotic spices in the Eastern Mediterranean -- Pharaoh Ramses II was buried with peppercorns from India in 1213 BCE. They were found in his nose.

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on December 31, 2020, 03:11:26 PM
Archaeologists in Israel Unearth 3,800-Year-Old Skeleton of Baby Buried in a Jar
Researchers are unsure of the unusual funerary practice’s purpose, but one theory posits that the vessel serves as a symbolic womb
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on January 01, 2021, 06:44:27 PM
Inscription Leads Archaeologists to Tomb of One of the Last Han Emperors
A manufacturing date on a vessel confirmed a Chinese mausoleum’s ties to second-century A.D. ruler Liu Zhi
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on January 04, 2021, 07:13:20 PM
British Bird-Watcher Discovers Trove of 2,000-Year-Old Celtic Coins
The cache dates to the time of warrior queen Boudica’s revolt against the Romans
Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: SteveMDFP on January 06, 2021, 02:19:32 AM
British Bird-Watcher Discovers Trove of 2,000-Year-Old Celtic Coins
The cache dates to the time of warrior queen Boudica’s revolt against the Romans

A brief history of Boudica;

Boudica: The Truth Behind the Legend (

Title: Re: Archaeology/Paleontology news
Post by: Tom_Mazanec on January 14, 2021, 01:31:38 PM
Oldest Known Cave Painting of Animals Discovered
The painting portrays images of the Sulawesi warty pig (Sus celebensis), which is a small (40-85kg) short-legged wild boar endemic to the island.
Dating to at least 45,500 years ago, this cave painting may be the oldest depiction of the animal world, and possibly the earliest figurative art (an image that resembles the thing it is intended to represent), yet uncovered.