July 29, 2015

I would think so

Filed under: Battlefield archaeology — acagle @ 7:17 pm

From the ever-fruitful desk of Kristina: Skeletons Of Napoleon’s Soldiers Discovered In Mass Grave Show Signs Of Starvation

Perhaps one of the most miserable campaigns in history.

Misuse of ‘archaeologist’ #13,478

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 7:15 pm

Alaskan Archaeologists Find and Identify New Plesiosaur Species

An Anchorage, Alaska-based fossil collector named Curvin Metzler has recently announced that discovery of fossil bones of an elasmosaur—a type of plesiosaur. Metzler says that this species has very long limbs and necks like paddles, a feature which would have definitely allowed the animal to swim efficiently underwater.

According to University of Alaska Museum of the North earth science curator and marine expert Patrick Druckenmiller, notes, “Picture the mythical Loch Ness monster and you have a pretty good idea what it looked like.”

Not a terribly exciting story but I wanted to point that out.

Hmmmmm. . . .

Filed under: Agriculture — acagle @ 7:09 pm

Archaeologists find possible evidence of earliest human agriculture

According to the researchers, the community at Ohalo II was already exploiting the precursors to domesticated plant types that would become a staple in early agriculture, including emmer wheat, barley, pea, lentil, almond, fig, grape and olive.

Significantly, however, they discovered the presence of two types of weeds in current crop fields: corn cleavers and darnel.

Microscopic examination of the edges of stone blades from the site also found material that may have been transferred during the cutting and harvesting of cereal plants.

That’s kind of what one would expect: probably lots of early fiddlings with domestication and intensive agriculture before it became fixed in the population and expanded from there.

July 28, 2015

Online paper alert

Filed under: Egypt — acagle @ 7:26 pm

The Burial of Nefertiti? (2015)

Downloadable paper.

I drank a lot of beer with Reeves once. No, twice.

Can’t pass up the chicken post

Filed under: Agriculture — acagle @ 7:24 pm

The Ancient City Where People Decided To Eat Chickens

An ancient, abandoned city in Israel has revealed part of the story of how the chicken turned into one of the pillars of the modern Western diet.

The city, now an archaeological site, is called Maresha. It flourished in the Hellenistic period from 400 to 200 BCE.

“The site is located on a trade route between Jerusalem and Egypt,” says Lee Perry-Gal, a doctoral student in the department of archaeology at the University of Haifa. As a result, it was a meeting place of cultures, “like New York City,” she says.

How do we know they weren’t using them for eggs? (I would imagine egg shells would preserve?)

Duh, beer.

Filed under: Agriculture, Theory — acagle @ 7:21 pm

ASU archaeologist uses new methods to explore how humans became farmers

One of the enduring mysteries of the human experience is how and why humans moved from hunting and gathering to farming.

From their beginnings, humans – like other mammals – depended on wild resources for sustenance. Then, between 8,000 and 12,000 years ago, in a transitional event known as the Neolithic Revolution, they began to create and tend to domestic ecosystems in various locations around the world, and agriculture was born.

Despite decades of research into this major human advancement, scientists still don’t know what propelled it.

I dunno, this all sounds rather familiar from back in the 1970s when people were using systems theory to test ethnographic models. Trouble is mainly equifinality: you don’t really know if your model is of the if-and-only-if variety.

July 27, 2015

Busily finding flights. . . .

Filed under: Bodies, bodies everywhere! — acagle @ 7:16 pm

So hectic around here. Actually, hectic anyway, I have three days of Global Health work to finish, then head to Portland for my talk. Plus fieldwork next week. Plus trying to arrange a v-a-c-a-tion (in the summer sun) in three weeks’ time. Yeesh.

Anyway, the faaaaaaabulous Kristina over at PoweredByOsteons posted this link:

Gruesome Find: 100 Bodies Stuffed into Ancient House

The remains of 97 human bodies have been found stuffed into a small 5,000-year-old house in a prehistoric village in northeast China, researchers report in two separate studies.

The bodies of juveniles, young adults and middle-age adults were packed together in the house — smaller than a modern-day squash court — before it burnt down. Anthropologists who studied the remains say a “prehistoric disaster,” possibly an epidemic of some sort, killed these people.

Kind of odd. From the article it seems like some were whole interments and others were partials? That seems odd for an epidemic, you’d think they’d just toss the whole bodies in, unless maybe some were found later after decomposition had already taken place. It’s a poster abstract so there’s no way to see if there is pathology to go along with it. Also odd that there aren’t any old folks there, so hmmmm. . . . . .

July 23, 2015

Modern underwater archaeology

Filed under: Marine archaeology, Underwater archaeology — acagle @ 12:39 pm

Authorities hope to ID remains found in car after 43 years

An autopsy may help write the final page of a 43-year-old mystery that began with the disappearance of a military retiree after investigators pulled a mud-filled car out of a Caldwell County lake Tuesday.

Officials believe it belonged to Amos Shook, a retired Air Force member, who disappeared in 1972, when he was in his 40s.

For more than 43 years, the family of Shook had no idea where their loved one was or what happened to him. After more than four decades, they have some answers.

I’m sure there are many others like this, although cars driving into lakes would generally end up fairly near the shoreline, but to find them you have to know where they went in and even if they went in. We had one around here as well.

Same ones that brought the chickens?

Filed under: Uncategorized — acagle @ 8:56 am

Studies find genetic signature of native Australians in the Americas

The first paper takes the view that it’s a product of a later addition to the already established population in North America, probably brought in by a group that was largely East Asian but had interbred with Australo-Melanesians. Whatever this group was, it appears to have vanished from Siberia and East Asia.

The second paper, however, argues that the Australo-Melanesian DNA couldn’t have gotten to the Amazon undisturbed if it were just randomly being spread through interbreeding. Instead, a distinct population must have taken it there. Because the population is still largely Native American on the DNA level, but contains some DNA distantly related to Australo-Melanesians, its authors argue that this population originated in Asia and came to the Americas via a second migration.

These chickens. Purley speculation on my part.

July 22, 2015

And a quickie. . . . .

Filed under: Underwater archaeology — acagle @ 7:13 pm

Scientists Discover American Revolution-Era Shipwreck off North Carolina Coast

The last great frontier in archaeology. Couple of really stunning photos.

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