No, just science. Kennewick man ruling – politics or science?
Native Americans called him “The Ancient One”, while anthropologists speculated he could reveal who first settled the Americas.
Then, for over seven years, the skeleton of Kennewick Man became the subject of a court battle between the two parties, crystallising the debate over who should lay claim to ancient human remains and artefacts.
Last week, a federal appeals court finally granted scientists the right to study the 9200-year-old bones, against the wishes of a group of native American tribes, including the Nez Perce tribe of Idaho and those of the Yakama Indian Nation, who wished to rebury them.
There is really no evidence of political motivation present in the article to suggest the headline. The fact that other old skeletons have since come to light is entirely irrelevant. Other than that, the article provides absolutely no basis for the sensationalist headline.
Cartography in the news Norse Map or German Hoax? Still No Rest for Vinland (Free registration required)
When it surfaced in 1957, it was too good to be true: a purported 15th-century world map depicting an island to the far west labeled Vinilandia Insula — the fabled Vinland — proof positive, it seemed, that Norse explorers had reached North America long before Columbus.
Thanks — but no thanks — the British Museum told the intermediary who offered to sell it to them. It’s a phony.
Later that year, however, New Haven, Conn., book dealer Lawrence Witten bought the map and an accompanying medieval manuscript for his wife, paying $3,500. Soon after, he visited Yale University Library to view a seemingly unrelated manuscript fragment purchased by Thomas E. Marston, the library’s curator of medieval and renaissance literature. Witten asked to borrow it.
Human evolution at the crossroads: Integrating genetics and paleontology
SEATTLE — Advances in genetics during the last decade not only have influenced modern medicine, they also have changed how human evolution is studied, says an anthropologist from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Using her own research on the teeth of baboons as a case in point, Leslea J. Hlusko said that some of the traits considered important to human evolution, such as the thickness of molar enamel, may be too simplistically interpreted by some paleontologists.
Hlusko organized a Monday symposium on human evolution at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She brought together experts who study phylogenetics, ancient DNA, developmental genetics, quantitative genetics and primate evolution so that they could share the same stage to discuss their current work, and where they may be able to go on together in an effort to understand the evolution of our ancestors. The session was discussed Sunday at a news briefing.
Hlusko’s call for an integration of paleontology and genetics is also the focus of a perspective article that will appear online Monday ahead of print publication by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The two camps (geneticists and paleontologists) have feuded a lot over the years but have often come to some accomodation to the benefit of all. Money quote:
“By combining these different data sets with the fossil record, we don’t have to be just paleontologists, or just geneticists. Because selection operates on the genome through our anatomies, it makes better sense to conduct our research with a similarly integrative approach.
Scientists discover lost world
A prehistoric lost world under the North Sea has been mapped by scientists from the University of Birmingham.
The team used earthquake data to devise a 3D reconstruction of the 10,000-year-old plain.
The area, part of a land mass that once joined Britain to northern Europe, disappeared about 8,000 years ago.
The virtual features they have developed include a river the length of the Thames which disappeared when its valley flooded due to glaciers melting.
This is the most exciting and challenging virtual reality project since Virtual Stonehenge.
Professor Bob Stone
Professor Bob Stone, head of the Department of Engineering’s Human Interface Technology Team, said they were working to ensure the visual accuracy of the environment.
British Archaeologists Believe They Have Found Darwin’s Ship
British archaeologists believe they have uncovered the remains of the ship Charles Darwin used to sail across the world.
Marine archaeologist Robert Prescott of Scotland’s University of St. Andrews told London’s Observer newspaper that he is “quietly confident” that the Beagle has been located.
The ship’s fate has been a mystery for more than a century.
Colombians say past in peril
Archeologists, scavengers tussle over burial sites
SANTA MARTA, Colombia — In an impoverished neighborhood of Santa Marta on Colombia’s Caribbean coast, an old man dug under the merciless sun in an abandoned plot of land. A cigarette dangling from his lips, he held up what appeared to be a human bone to the sun for a closer look.
Alberto, hunting for pre-Columbian artifacts to sell on the black market, had found the piece in what probably was an ancient burial ground. He calls himself a “Colombian Indiana Jones.”
“How would Colombia know about these sites and artifacts if we hadn’t found them?” said Alberto, who requested that his full name not be used.
But it’s worse in Iraq, isn’t it?Looters trash Iraq’s archaeological sights
BAGHDAD – Deadly, efficient and dangerous, Iraqi looters are devastating the country’s immense archaeological heritage as the forces of the US-led coalition seek to kick-start an initiative to protect the
country’s cultural treasures.
A maze of footprints, desert churned up by four-wheel vehicles and an imperial city reduced to enormous empty caves.
Such was the evidence of mass robbery seen just weeks ago in the southern province of Diwaniya, nearly a year after the war, coalition officials told AFP.
Road project strikes tomb
A new road project on the outskirts of Volos in central Greece has revealed what appears to be an intact, unplundered Mycenaean royal tomb, a report said yesterday.
The subterranean tholos tomb was found along with four or five small, box-like cist tombs during construction of a new Volos ring road, according to the Ethnos daily.
See, I should give up archaeology and become a construction worker since they always seem to find the cool stuff.
Mesopotamian climate change
Geoscientists are increasingly exploring an interesting trend: Climate change has been affecting human society for thousands of years. At the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in December, one archaeologist presented research that suggests that climate change affected the way cultures developed and collapsed in the cradle of civilization — ancient Mesopotamia — more than 8,000 years ago.
Archaeologists have found evidence for a mass migration from the more temperate northern Mesopotamia to the arid southern region around 6400 B.C. For the previous 1,000 years, people had been cultivating the arable land in northern Mesopotamia, using natural rainwater to supply their crops. So archaeologists have long wondered why the ancient people moved from an area where they could easily farm to begin a much harder life in the south.
SLOAN CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA: Artifacts surprise crew
Under the watchful eyes of tortoises, bobcats and bighorn sheep, a dozen researchers spent the past three months scouring the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area for evidence of ancient civilizations.
They came away with samples from at least 80 prehistoric sites and a host of new questions about how the area was used over the past 1,500 years and by whom.
“I was really shocked by the complexity of the archaeology,” said Stan Rolf, district archaeologist for the Bureau of Land Management. “I didn’t expect to find as much archaeology as we did in the NCA outside of Sloan Canyon.”
One of the biggest surprises was the discovery of pottery shards decorated with the black-on-white designs used by the Ancestral Puebloans, also known as the Anasazi.
This is really a good article describing survey archaeology, how it’s done, and what sort of things they find.