Kristina K has a nice little summary of some neat research: Irish Teeth Reveal the Chemical Signature of the Great Famine
Even as carbon isotopes increased, the nitrogen isotopes decreased. Archaeologists use nitrogen isotopes to understand the amount of protein in a diet. If you are a carnivore and eat food high on the food chain, you have a higher nitrogen isotope signature than if you are a vegetarian. The drop in nitrogen isotopes the researchers found in the teeth that occurred the introduction of corn does not track with historical records; there is no known change in the protein that the poor were eating at this time.
The high nitrogen values prior to the introduction of corn don’t suggest these people had a lot of meat protein to eat. Instead, these isotopes most likely indicate that their bodies, starving, were in a sense eating themselves, by recycling their own protein and fat. When the Kilkenny workers started eating corn, their nitrogen values dropped as their bodies were able to use corn for survival.
Can’t say much about the conclusions, but I like the analysis.
Hear The Epic of Gilgamesh Read in the Original Akkadian and Enjoy the Sounds of Mesopotamia
There’s an embedded link to even more there. I like this. Not sure of the accuracy of the pronunciation — I don’t know anything about how they came up with it — but it’s weirdly familiar but different at the same time. Alien.
And for the ladies, here is an artist’s conception of what an ancient Akkadian may have looked like:
Northwest Archaeologists Reset Assumptions About Durability Of Biological Evidence
I like the photo. Another one of those “Pretend like you’re actually doing something” shots.
For some reason I thought they’d already been getting residues from way way back.
Archaeologists have uncovered one of the biggest Maya tombs ever
I probably would have done Maya archaeology if I’d had the chance. Probably would have hated all the bugs though.
Why couldn’t the Romans hold and conquer Scotland?
I always just figured it wasn’t really worth the effort.
A tale of two Neolithics? Investigating the evolution of house societies in Orkney
The traditional understanding of the Neolithic period in Orkney has long been of a game of two halves, with each half represented by completely different cultural packages. The ‘early’ phase, in the 4th millennium BC, was associated with simple, single farmsteads and ‘stalled’ burial cairns (so-called because their interiors are divided into compartments using upright stones projecting from the side walls). They also contain Unstan ware pottery, a shallow, round-bottomed form with decoration limited to a collar below the rim. Sweeping in at the turn of the 3rd millennium BC, the late Neolithic apparently brought with it villages, passage-grave tombs, and flat-bottomed, ornately decorated Grooved ware pottery. With no clear sign of a transition between these two phenomena, it was suggested that this break might represent the arrival of a new group replacing the earlier culture. Recent analysis, however, is presenting a more nuanced picture. New dating evidence confirms an idea originally suggested by Colin Renfrew, blurring the lines between ‘early’ and ‘late’ Neolithic categories.
There’s a similar thing that’s gone on with the Egyptian Neolithic and its relationship to the previous Epipaleolithic (I summarized it here). Control of chronology is really very crucial, which sounds obvious, but too often it’s taken somewhat for granted.
Quinoa helped ancient hunter-gatherers avoid starvation and build a new civilisation
Researchers used ancient artefacts that have been radiocarbon-dated to give an estimate of what was happening to the population at the time, figuring that more people would leave behind more things for archaeologists to find.
They discovered the population in eastern North America nearly doubled about 6,900 years ago and continued rapid growth until 5,200 years ago, shortly before plants were domesticated for the first time in the region about 5,000 years ago.
One of the researchers, Elic Weitzel, an anthropologist at Utah University, said: “We argue that human populations significantly increased prior to plant domestication in eastern North America, suggesting that people are driven to domestication when populations outstrip the supply of wild foods.
The population estimates are probably going to be the most critiqued, since that’s a devilishly difficult thing to get at. But we’re back to the old “population pressure” idea that as in vogue since forever and waxes and wanes in popularity. Likely, some amount of “domestication” was present for a long time but some factor(s) or other were needed to make intensification selectively useful.
UPDATE: Full paper seems to be freely accessible here.
Dark Ages royal palace discovered in Cornwall – in area closely linked to the legend of King Arthur
The mysterious origins of the British archaeological site most often associated with the legend of King Arthur have just become even more mysterious.
Archaeologists have discovered the impressive remains of a probable Dark Age royal palace at Tintagel in Cornwall. It is likely that the one-metre thick walls being unearthed are those of the main residence of the 6th century rulers of an ancient south-west British kingdom, known as Dumnonia.
Scholars have long argued about whether King Arthur actually existed or whether he was in reality a legendary character formed through the conflation of a series of separate historical and mythological figures.
But the discovery by English Heritage-funded archaeologists of a probable Dark Age palace at Tintagel will certainly trigger debate in Arthurian studies circles – because, in medieval tradition, Arthur was said to have been conceived at Tintagel as a result of an illicit union between a British King and the beautiful wife of a local ruler.
That’s actually a pretty good article. I found the amount of luxury trade items from the eastern Med there.
Shannon over at Facebook posted this, a tiny ball of intact yarn from the place.
As you know, Car Lust bit the dust and was completely deleted a few weeks ago. It still exists in some form on some archives site, but mostly it’s gone. Which really irritates the archaeologist in me but that’s another story.
Anyway, we contributors have been batting around whether we should start a new one or hook up with some other site or what. We kind of made some tentative moves at an existing site, but it wasn’t really what we were looking for, so today we finally pulled the trigger and started it: It Rolls.
Yes, the URL does kind of look like iTrolls.
I made a Welcome post so feel free to comment on it. And check back! We will be putting some of our old posts (probably most of them) up as we go so they are not lost again and we can link back to them (which we do frequently).
Oh, and if any international readers out there are or know someone who would like to contribute, especially someone of European origin/extraction, please. . .well, comment here or there. We’re all volunteer so we do it as time permits and that creates downtime sometimes when we’re all busy with other things. The more the merrier!