When Did Humans Begin Hurling Spears?
Archaeologists have long debated when early humans began hurling stone-tipped spears and darts at large prey. By throwing a spear, instead of thrusting it, humans could hunt buffalo and other dangerous game from a safe distance, with less risk of a goring or mauling. But direct evidence of this hunting technique in early sites has been lacking. A new study of impact marks on the bones of ancient prey shows that such sophisticated killing techniques go back at least 90,000 years ago in Africa and offers a new method of determining how prehistoric hunters made their kills.
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Archaeologist Corey O’Driscoll of South East Archaeology in Canberra became interested in the traces left by hurled spears after reading studies of the wounds that medieval weapons inflicted on humans. In preliminary work, European archaeologists had fired reproductions of Upper Paleolithic points made of antler at the carcasses of oxen and deer, then studied the marks that they left on the bones. But many archaeologists remained unconvinced by the findings, seeing little clear difference between projectile marks and cut marks from butchering.
I like the study due to its experimental and controlled nature. OTOH, you’d have to probably have a wider array of thrusting and impact data to nail it down really well.
Boys Killed Pets to Become Warriors in Early Russia
At first, archaeologists Dorcas Brown and David Anthony were deeply puzzled. While excavating the Bronze Age site of Krasnosamarkskoe in Russia’s Volga region, they unearthed the bones of at least 51 dogs and 7 wolves. All the animals had died during the winter months, judging from the telltale banding pattern on their teeth, and all were subsequently skinned, dismembered, burned, and chopped with an ax.
Moreover, the butcher had worked in a precise, standardized way, chopping the dogs’ snouts into three pieces and their skulls into geometrically shaped fragments just an inch or so in size. “It was very strange,” says Anthony.
To him and Brown, both of whom teach at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, the skilled and standardized method of butchering the dogs pointed to some sort of ritual. Pam Crabtree, an archaeozoologist at New York University, who was not a member of the team, agrees. She notes that the butchery pattern was entirely different from those used in prehistoric Europe and other parts of the world for slicing off dog meat to eat.
Well, it’s a nice hypothesis anyway. Doesn’t seem like simple butchering although it all seems to have taken place in winter months.
The world’s first archaeology dog Migaloo sniffs out ancient bones
Move over Indiana Jones, there is a new dog in town.
Meet Migaloo the wonder-pup who can sniff out 600-year-old bones more than 2m underground with her sharp sense of smell and keen eye for adventure.
The three-year-old black labrador mix has been hailed as the first archaeology dog in the world.
We wuz there first.
The mysterious Dr Glidden: Callous actions of archaeologist who raided hundreds of Native American graves to set up macabre museum remembered in California
The Catalina Island Museum has opened an exhibit dedicated to a notorious Native American grave robber who presided over an ‘Indian museum’ built out of the bones he recovered from the burial grounds.
‘The Strange and Mysterious Case of Dr. Glidden’ delves into the colorful and mysterious past of amateur archaeologist Ralph Glidden – hoping to shed light on a gruesome period in the Californian islands history.
The no-holds-barred exhibit features an introduction that says he, through his unscientific plundering, disregarded ‘the sanctity of human remains’ and inflicted ‘near-permanent damage’ on research into local Native American life.
The article’s author tries to paint Glidden like some sort of monster, all the while acknowledging that what he was doing wasn’t particularly out of the ordinary at the time. Interesting though, I’ve never heard of him.
Walking with dinosaurs? Archaeologist says its wrong to bring extinct animals back to life
TV presenter and professor Alice Roberts has argued people should “grapple with” the issue of bringing Ice Age animals back from the dead.
“We are, quite seriously, on the brink of being able to do this, so it’s quite an important question for people to start grappling with,” she told the Radio Times.
Japanese scientists have already extracted the bone marrow from woolly mammoth remains found in Siberia to look at the DNA with a view to resurrecting a mammoth, she said.
“It is within our grasp, which is such an extraordinary thing to think about.”
Not a really in-depth article, but not really going to one side or the other. I keep wondering if I’ll be around to see the first extinct animal brought back to life. I am guessing not, as I think it will take a long time to work out the kinks and bring a truly cloned critter back that doesn’t have all sorts of problems. She’s got a point regarding what to do with a whole herd of mammoth, whether we should try repopulating Siberia with the damn things. Though frankly, I’m all for it.
Bulldozers destroy 3,200-year-old Mayan pyramid in Belize
Bulldozers and backhoes have essentially destroyed one of Belize’s largest Mayan pyramids, which survived millennia of storms, rain and wind only to succumb to a construction company seeking gravel for road fill.
The head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology says the destruction was detected late last week, and only a small portion of the center of the pyramid mound was left standing, according to the Associated Press. 7Newsbelize.com, the website for TV channel 7 in the small Caribbean country, accompanied a handful of archaeologists to the site recent.
That just seems to weird to be real.
Lost streets of Britain’s Atlantis Dunwich revealed
A professor from University of Southampton has carried out the most detailed analysis ever of the archaeological remains of the lost medieval town of Dunwich, dubbed “Britain’s Atlantis”.
Funded and supported by English Heritage, and using advanced underwater imaging techniques, the project led by Professor David Sear of Geography and Environment has produced the most accurate map to date of the town’s streets, boundaries and major buildings, and revealed new ruins on the seabed.
Professor Sear worked with a team from the University’s GeoData Institute; the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; Wessex Archaeology; and local divers from North Sea Recovery and Learn Scuba.
All Europeans are related if you go back just 1,000 years, scientists say
A genetic survey concludes that all Europeans living today are related to the same set of ancestors who lived 1,000 years ago. And you wouldn’t have to go back much further to find that everyone in the world is related to each other.
“We find it remarkable because it’s counterintuitive to us,” Graham Coop, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Davis, told NBC News. “But it’s not totally unexpected, based on genetic analysis.”
It’s genealogical not strictly genetic ancestors. Some interesting observations in there. They speculate that Italians are very diverse because of ” a long history of distinct cultures in that region” although I might posit it as a result of the Roman empire bringing in people from all over the Eurasian continent.
Was about to point out this article for confusing ‘archaeologist’ and ‘paleontologist’ as the original first sentence read:
Archaeologists have uncovered a new species of bone-headed dinosaur.
As noted in the comments, others noticed and it was changed.
The biggest wonder about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? They weren’t in Babylon
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, weren’t in Babylon at all – but were instead located 300 miles to the north in Babylon’s greatest rival Nineveh, according to a leading Oxford-based historian.
After more than 20 years of research, Dr. Stephanie Dalley, of Oxford University’s Oriental Institute, has finally pieced together enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the famed gardens were built in Nineveh by the great Assyrian ruler Sennacherib – and not, as historians have always thought, by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
I dunno, it still seems pretty circumstantial to me, although the case for Neneveh looks compelling. The Guardian piece says that large aqueduct systems have been discovered archaeologically. Perhaps many of these places had large complex gardens as something of a status symbol in a largely arid environment and they were generally ascribed to “Babylon”. Doesn’t mean that Nineveh didn’t have a large garden, but perhaps not the only one.