Monday, March 18, 2019

Archaeologists discovered a flintstone workshop of Neanderthals in the southern Poland; it is approx. 60,000 years old


Researchers discovered a flint workshop of Neanderthals in Pietraszyno (Silesia). According to scientists, it is the first such large workshop in Central Europe that was not located in a cave. So far, researchers have counted 17,000 stone products created 60 thousand years ago.

Neandertals (Homo neanderthalensis) were very close relatives of contemporary man (Homo sapiens). They probably appeared in Poland approximately 300,000 years ago. The oldest stone tools they used, discovered on the Vistula, are over 200,000 years old, and the remains are over 100,000 years old.

"On the bank of the river in Pietraszyno, we discovered an unprecedented amount of flint products - 17,000 - abandoned by Neanderthals approximately 60,000 years ago" - says Dr. Andrzej Wiśniewski from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Wrocław. Since 2018, the researcher has been conducting joint excavations with researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig in the framework of a National Science Centre project. In his opinion, this is the first such large Neandertal workshop discovered in Central Europe that was not located in a cave.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient switch to soft food gave us an overbite—and the ability to pronounce ‘f’s and ‘v’s

An ancient woman from Romania shows an edgeto-edge bite (left). A Bronze Age man from Austria had a slight overbite (right). D. E. BLASI ET AL., SCIENCE, 363, 1192 (2019)

Don't like the F-word? Blame farmers and soft food. When humans switched to processed foods after the spread of agriculture, they put less wear and tear on their teeth. That changed the growth of their jaws, giving adults the overbites normal in children. Within a few thousand years, those slight overbites made it easy for people in farming cultures to fire off sounds like "f" and "v," opening a world of new words.

The newly favored consonants, known as labiodentals, helped spur the diversification of languages in Europe and Asia at least 4000 years ago; they led to such changes as the replacement of the Proto-Indo-European patēr to Old English faeder about 1500 years ago, according to linguist and senior author Balthasar Bickel at the University of Zurich in Switzerland. The paper shows "that a cultural shift can change our biology in such a way that it affects our language," says evolutionary morphologist Noreen Von Cramon-Taubadel of the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York system, who was not part of the study.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient migration transformed Spain's DNA

Bronze Age burials: Iberia saw a dramatic genetic shift during this period
L BENITEZ DE LUGO ENRICH - JOSE LUIS FUENTES SANCH

A migration from Central Europe transformed the genetic make-up of people in Spain during the Bronze Age, a study reveals.

DNA evidence shows the migrants streamed over the Pyrenees, replacing existing male lineages across the region within a space of 400 years.

It remains unclear whether violence played a role or whether a male-centric social structure was more important.

The result comes from the most extensive study of its kind.

Researchers reconstructed the population history of Iberia (modern Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar and Andorra) over 8,000 years - the biggest slice of time tackled by a single ancient DNA study. The region has been a crossroads for different cultures over time.

Read the rest of this article...

Neandertaler und moderne Menschen hatten ähnliche Speisezettel

Knochen aus Spy geben Aufschluss über Ernährung und Mobilität der dortigen Neandertaler. Foto: Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS)

Internationale Studie findet mehr gemeinsame Nahrungsvorlieben als angenommen ‒ Rätselhafte Spuren von Kannibalismus

Neandertaler und der frühe moderne Mensch ernährten sich vermutlich sehr ähnlich: Zu diesem Schluss kommt eine internationale Studie und widerspricht damit der Annahme, die Neandertaler seien ausgestorben, weil ihr Ernährungsspektrum eingeschränkt war. Die Ergebnisse zeigten aber auch, dass moderne Menschen dennoch einen Vorteil hatten, weil sie vermutlich mobiler und besser vernetzt waren, berichtet das Team um Dr. Christoph Wißing von der Universität Tübingen.

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Hominids may have hunted rabbits as far back as 400,000 years ago

BUNNY TRAIL  Fossils from southern European sites indicate that ancient relatives of humans hunted small, fast animals as early as around 400,000 years ago. Ends of rabbit bones (shown) were probably snapped off to remove marrow.

In Europe, Stone Age hominids began adding small, fast animals to their menus much earlier than previously thought, scientists say.

Now-extinct members of the human genus, Homohunted rabbits and, to a lesser extent, hares in southern France and probably other Mediterranean parts of Europe by around 400,000 years ago, researchers report online March 6 in Science Advances. Hunters also bagged larger creatures such as wild goats and deer. The new finding may highlight the flexibility and innovativeness of these ancient relatives of humans.

That dietary shift to smaller animals away from eating primarily large game emerged long before a previously recognized change in ancient humans’ eating habits, concludes a team led by paleoanthropologist Eugène Morin of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada. In the later transition, Stone Age people dramatically broadened what they ate, including a wide variety of small animals, starting around 36,000 years ago.

Read the rest of this article...

Researchers find a piece of Palaeolithic art featuring birds and humans

A tracing of the engraved figures over the stone [Credit: University of Barcelona]

It is not very common to find representations of scenes instead of individual figures in Palaeolithic art, but it is even harder for these figures to be birds instead of mammals such as goats, deer or horses. So far, historians have only found three scenes of Palaeolithic art featuring humans and birds in Europe.

Now, an article published in the journal L'Anthropologie tells how University of Barcelona researchers found -in the site of Hort de la Bequera (Margalef de Montsant, Priorat)-, an artistic piece from 12,500 years ago in which humans and birds try to interact in a pictorial scene with exceptional traits: figures seem to star a narration on hunting and motherhood.

Regarding the Catalan context in particular, this is an important finding regarding the few pieces of Palaeolithic art in Catalonia and it places this territory within the stream of artistic production of the upper Palaeolithic in the Mediterranean.

Read the rest of this article...

Stonehenge was 'hub for Britain's earliest mass parties'

Pigs were the main food at the feasts and were brought from as far away as Scotland and the North East of England to Stonehenge
ENGLISH HERITAGE/PA

Evidence of large-scale prehistoric feasting rituals found at Stonehenge could be the earliest mass celebrations in Britain, say archaeologists.

The study examined 131 pigs' bones at four Late Neolithic sites, Durrington Walls, Marden, Mount Pleasant and West Kennet Palisade Enclosures.

The sites, which served Stonehenge and Avebury, hosted the feasts.

Researchers think guests had to bring meat raised locally to them, resulting in pigs arriving from distant places.

Read the rest of this article...

HABITATS DE L’ÂGE DU BRONZE, SILOS ET RITUELS GAULOIS À FAUX-FRESNAY


À Faux-Fresnay, dans la Marne, une équipe d’archéologues de l’Inrap a découvert des vestiges de deux villages de l’âge du Bronze et de l’âge du Fer qui témoignent d’une importante activité agricole. Des silos où reposent des restes d’animaux interrogent sur des rituels qui auraient impliqué le cheptel. Cette fouille est réalisée en amont de l’aménagement d’un poste électrique par RTE.

Read the rest of this article...

In Europa lebten im frühen Jungpaläolithikum im Schnitt nur 1.500 Menschen


Mit einem an der Universität zu Köln entwickelten Protokoll können die Forscherinnen und Forscher des Sonderforschungsbereiches 806 "Our Way to Europe" rekonstruieren, wie die Besiedlung Europas durch den anatomisch modernen Menschen verlief. Die Daten zeigen, dass die Population der gesamten europäischen Jäger und Sammler in der Zeitspanne von etwa 42.000 bis etwa 33.000 Jahren vor heute – dem sogenannten Aurignacien – durchschnittlich nur etwa 1.500 Personen betrug.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

'Hobbit' human story gets a twist, thanks to thousands of rat bones


The limestone cave of Liang Bua, on the Indonesian island of Flores, is widely known as the hobbit cave, the site where the surprisingly tiny and enormously controversial extinct human relative Homo floresiensis was discovered. But to the scientists who excavate there, the site is known as something else entirely: the rat cave.
“The first time I went to the excavations at Liang Bua, I remember watching the bones coming out of the ground and being amazed at how it was almost all rat,” recalls Matthew Tocheri, the Canada Research Chair in Human Origins at Lakehead University.
Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Neolithic skull found by Thames 'mudlarkers'

The frontal bone was radiocarbon dated to 3,600 BC
MUSEUM OF LONDON

Here's a piece of history pulled from the muddy banks of the River Thames.

It's a skull fragment that is 5,600 years old. It dates to a time long before there was any permanent settlement on the site we now know as London.

Investigations indicate it belonged to a male over the age of 18.

There are older Neolithic remains that have been recovered in the region, but what makes this specimen especially interesting is that it's the earliest ever skull found by "mudlarkers".

If you haven't heard of them before - they're the band of mostly amateur archaeologists who scour the Thames' edges at low tide for objects of intrigue and antiquity. And they're constantly picking up fascinating items - many of which end up in the Museum of London, where this frontal bone will now be displayed from Wednesday.

Read the rest of this article...


Watch the video

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Stonehenge: Archaeologists discover long-lost tools used to build ancient monument

Scientists know the Stonehenge early phase standing stones (the so-called bluestones rather than the later more famous and much larger sarsen stones) come from this and other Pembrokeshire prehistoric quarries – because of chemical identification tests they have carried out on the rocks.
So far, only two quarries have been identified – both on the northern slopes of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, southwest Wales - but geologists, who have studied the Stonehenge bluestones, think it is likely there were at least three or four other quarries that have yet to be found.
The discovery of the tools is likely to rekindle one of archaeology’s biggest debates – how did the builders of Stonehenge transport the bluestones (an estimated 79 of them, each weighing approximately 2 tonnes) from southwest Wales to Salisbury Plain.
Read the rest of this article...

Suspected Neanderthal footprints have been found in Gibraltar


A footprint which could belong to one of the last Neanderthals to walk the Earth has been found in Gibraltar.
Although most Neanderthals died out by around 40,000 years ago, some did survive at the edge of the Iberian peninsular, where stone tools prove they were still alive around 28,000 years ago.
Now researchers at The Gibraltar National Museum, who have spent the last decade studying ancient paths in the sand dunes above Catalan Bay, believe they have discovered the footprint of a teenage Neanderthal who lived around 29,000 years ago.
Read the rest of this article...

Britain’s largest Neolithic house ‘built in Scotland’

The remains of the largest Neolithic hall found in Britain, which was were discovered in Carnoustie, Angus. 
PIC: GUARD Archaeology.

The largest Neolithic house in Britain was built in Scotland around 6,000 years ago, archaeologists have confirmed

Two halls which were used as houses and likely home to large numbers of people have been discovered in Carnoustie, Angus.

The site is far larger and older than previously thought with archaeological work shedding new light on some of Scotland’s earliest communities.

Analysis shows food was processed and consumed in the halls with pottery made and used there.

It is possible that animals were also kept in part of the building.

Read the rest of this article...

Ancient burial site and monument found in England's New Forest

he urns contained cremated human bone and had been placed into small pits 
[Credit: New Forest National Park Authority via BBC]

Archaeologists and volunteers have found an important prehistoric burial site near Beaulieu dating back thousands of years.
A community dig in a field at East End set out to investigate what they thought was a Bronze Age barrow which had been ploughed over and they were thrilled to find four cremation burial urns dating from that period around 3,000 years ago.

But as the excavation progressed further, the evidence began suggesting that the site might have been an important place for even older human activity which Bronze Age settlers then adapted.

New Forest National Park Authority Community Archaeologist James Brown said: ‘We were elated to find the urns – they were inverted in what we originally thought was the ditch around the barrow and one has a decorative band pattern on it that will help us to date them. These urns were domestic pots and contain cremated human bone placed into small pits. So we know this site was a place of memorial for people in the New Forest around 3,000 years ago.

Read the rest of this article...

Pembrokeshire chariot burial finds ruled as treasure

his terret ring would have guided the chariot reins
Parts of an Iron Age chariot found by a metal detectorist have been declared treasure by the Pembrokeshire coroner.
Mike Smith made the discovery in February 2018 on farmland in the south of the county.
The court at Milford Haven heard on Thursday the finds were part of the ritual burial of an entire chariot and that the site is now legally protected.
Mr Smith says the 2,000-year-old finds could be worth a "life-changing" six to seven figure sum.
The nine artefacts are now Crown property and a independent valuation committee will decide on the payment to Mr Smith.

Read the rest of this article...

Mittelalterliche Siedlungsspuren gesucht – 3.000 Jahre altes Grab gefunden


Dynamische Interaktionszone am Nordrand des Kaukasus
Ein internationales Forschungsteam koordiniert von der Eurasien-Abteilung des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (DAI) in Berlin und dem Max-Planck-Institut für Menschheitsgeschichte in Jena (MPI-SHH) konnte erstmals systematische paläogenetische Untersuchungen im Kaukasus durchführen. Die kürzlich erschienene Studie fußt auf den Analysen genomweiter Daten von 45 Individuen aus der Steppen- und der Gebirgszone des Nordkaukasus. Die zwischen 6500 und 3500 Jahre alten Skelette zeigen, dass die genetische Signatur in den nördlichen Bergflanken den Gruppen südlich des Kaukasus ähnelt und dort eine scharfe genetische Grenze zu den Steppengebieten im Norden verläuft. 

Read the rest of this article...

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Stonehenge tunnel: The background to the row

Will tunnel destroy secrets of Stonehenge?

Stonehenge is one of the UK's most popular tourist attractions, drawing 1.5m visitors visitors alone last year. But plans to build a road tunnel nearby to help ease congestion have enraged some archaeologists.

Here is the background to the row.

Why is a tunnel being built?

Visitors to Stonehenge typically arrive there via the A303, a major link road between London and the South West.

However, the single carriageway section of road past the site is a notorious bottleneck, especially in the summer months.

Read the rest of this article...

First ancient DNA from mainland Finland reveals origins of Siberian ancestry in region


New study shows that the genetic makeup of northern Europe traces back to migrations from Siberia that began at least 3,500 years ago and that, as recently as the Iron Age, ancestors of the Saami lived in a larger area of Finland than today.

Researchers from the Max-Planck-Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of Helsinki have analyzed the first ancient DNA from mainland Finland. As described in Nature Communications, ancient DNA was extracted from bones and teeth from a 3,500 year-old burial on the Kola Peninsula, Russia, and a 1,500 year-old water burial in Finland. The results reveal the possible path along which ancient people from Siberia spread to Finland and Northwestern Russia.

Researchers found the earliest evidence of Siberian ancestry in Fennoscandia in a population inhabiting the Kola Peninsula, in Northwestern Russia, dating to around 4,000 years ago. This genetic ancestry then later spread to populations living in Finland. The study also found that people genetically similar to present-day Saami people inhabited areas in much more southern parts of Finland than the Saami today.

Read the rest of this article...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Archaeologists uncover rare Celtic remains

A bronze clothes pin and ceramic object typically found in the 1st century BC.
(Kanton Luzern)

Archaeologists from canton Lucerne have uncovered rare Celtic remains on a construction site in the city of Egolzwil about 35 kilometres from the city of Lucerne. The discovery of a bronze piece of jewellery is considered a particularly exceptional finding.

The fact that Celts once lived in canton Lucerne has been known since sacrificial remains were found on the site of a former lake in the area some time ago. However, this new discovery, reported on Tuesday, is the first traces of settlements that have been found to date, which archaeologists hope can shed light on the history of the Celts in the area.

The excavation uncovered ceramic fragments, remains of burnt houses, and animal bones. A bronze brooch or clothes pin, believed to be a piece of jewellery used to tie clothes such as cloaks and coats, was also uncovered.

Based on the findings, archaeologists believe the settlement dates back to the first century BC.

Read the rest of this article...

World's oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

Archaeologists say the 23-metre vessel has lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years

Archaeologists have found what they believe to be the world’s oldest intact shipwreck at the bottom of the Black Sea where it appears to have lain undisturbed for more than 2,400 years.

The 23-metre (75ft) vessel, thought to be ancient Greek, was discovered with its mast, rudders and rowing benches all present and correct just over a mile below the surface. A lack of oxygen at that depth preserved it, the researchers said.

“A ship surviving intact from the classical world, lying in over 2km of water, is something I would never have believed possible,” said Professor Jon Adams, the principal investigator with the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP), the team that made the find. “This will change our understanding of shipbuilding and seafaring in the ancient world.”

Read the rest of this article...

A14 road workers find woolly mammoth bones

The remains are thought to date back to the last Ice Age

Road workers building a new bypass have unearthed the Ice Age remains of a woolly mammoth and a woolly rhino.

The team, working on improvements to the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon, discovered a number of bones while digging near Fenstanton.

Experts believe the remains, found in what was once an ancient river, could be at least 130,000 years old.

Palaeontologist Dean Lomax said discoveries like this were "exciting" and "quite uncommon".

Read the rest of this article...