Friday, April 28, 2023

Neanderthals Built Boats And Sailed 100,000 Years Ago – Long Before Modern Humans

Jan Bartek - - Maritime history dates back thousands of years, och there is no doubt many ancient civilizations had excellent knowledge of navigation and sailing. Once ancient civilizations understood the value of trading, many maritime routes were established, and spices, gold, silk, and many other items were bought and sold. There is archaeological evidence magnificent ancient ships crossed the oceans, and curious explorers set foot on new lands

Still, modern humans were not the ones who invented the boat. According to a study, the first seafarers were the Neanderthals, who lived from about 400,000 to 40,000 years ago. On islands in the Mediterranean Sea, scientists have examined several artifacts and stone tools uniquely associated with the Neanderthals.

"Archaeological data from the southern Ionian Islands show human habitation since Middle Palaeolithic going back to 110 ka BP yet bathymetry, sea-level changes and the Late Quaternary geology, show that Kefallinia and Zakynthos were insular at that time. Hence, human presence in these islands indicates inter island-mainland seafaring. Seafaring most likely started some time between 110 and 35 ka BP and the seafarers were the Neanderthals. Seafaring was encouraged by the coastal configuration, which offered the right conditions for developing seafaring skills according to the “voyaging nurseries” and “autocatalysis” concepts," the research team writes in a paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Archaeologists Discover Ancient Necropolis Near Parisian Train Station

Researchers uncovered 50 burials dated to roughly the second century C.E.
© Camille Colonna / INRAP

Residents of Lutetia buried their dead at Saint-Jacques between the first and fourth centuries C.E.

Little is known about the Parisii, the ancient Gallic tribe that dwelled on the banks of the Seine some 2,000 years ago. At the time, the French capital that now bears the Parisii’s name was called Lutetia.

Last week, archaeologists unearthed 50 burials that may shed light on funerary traditions in the ancient city that preceded Paris. Discovered just a few feet away from a bustling train station, the graves are believed to be part of the largest known Lutetian burial site, the Saint-Jacques necropolis.

Dominique Garcia, president of the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP), tells Agence France-Presse (AFP) that the finds open “a window into the world of Paris during antiquity.”

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Sunday, April 23, 2023

Who Were the Neanderthals & Why Are They Important to Modern Humans?

Since their discovery in 1856, the Neanderthals have been stereotyped as brutish characters, devoid of the complexities that make modern humans so dynamic and successful. Over the past few decades, research has completely upturned this notion.

Contrary to popular belief, they were a complex and intelligent species that made use of intricate tools and were capable of a wide range of activities that required mental powers of deduction and reasoning that until recently were thought only to reside in our own species.

To the average person, the Neanderthals that lived and died so long ago are not important enough to warrant any meaningful thought. But their relevance today is far more salient than people would expect.

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Monday, April 17, 2023

Archaeologists identify a Palaeolithic bone tool workshop in Spanish cave

Image Credit : Antiquity

A study of a partition made from rocks in the El Mirón Cave has led to archaeologists identifying it as a Palaeolithic bone tool workshop.

El Mirón Cave is a cave system in the upper Asón River valley, located in the Cantabria region of northern Spain.

The cave was first discovered in 1903, leading to a series of excavations over the century revealing evidence of Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer activity, and the discovery of the “Red Lady of El Mirón”, a skeleton from the Upper Palaeolithic which was found coated with ochre, a red iron-based pigment.

In a paper published in the journal Antiquity, researchers from the University of New Mexico (UNM) have suggested that a partition made from rocks in the rear of the cave was actually used for bone tool manufacturing around 20,000-years-ago.

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Thursday, April 13, 2023

Bone fragment reveals humans wore leather clothes 39,000 years ago

This piece of bone from 39,600 years ago has multiple puncture marks on it that seem to have been made by puncturing leather

An analysis of a 39,600-year-old bone containing strange indentations claims it was used as a punch board for making holes in leather, revealing how Homo sapiens in Europe made clothes to help them survive cold climates at that time.

“We do not have much information about clothes because they’re perishable,” says Luc Doyon at the University of Bordeaux, France, who led the study. “They are an early technology we’re in the dark about.”

The bone, from the hip of a large mammal such as a horse or bison, was discovered at a site called Terrasses de la Riera dels Canyars near Barcelona, Spain. It has 28 puncture marks on its flat surface, including a linear sequence of 10 holes about 5 millimetres apart from each other, as well as other holes in more random positions.

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People were using psychedelic drugs in Bronze Age Europe, study finds

Es Càrritx is a grotto on Minorca, an island off the coast of eastern Spain, that's home to a Bronze Age burial site. (Research Group in Mediterranean Social Archaeoecology/Autonomous University of Barcelona)

3,000-year-old human hair — possibly from a shaman — contains traces of mind-altering substances

People have been using mind-altering substances for a long, long time.

While archaeologists and historians have long suspected that people in Bronze Age Europe consumed psychoactive drugs, they now have hard scientific evidence to back it up.

And it's all thanks to several tiny strands of human hair found impeccably preserved in a 3,000-year-old burial site in Spain.

Those hairs, researchers have found, contain traces of three different alkaloid substances that are known to cause altered states of consciousness.

"It was amazing," Rafael Mico, a professor of archeological pre-history at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, told As It Happens host Nil Köksal. "It is the first direct evidence in Europe of the consumption [of psychedelic drugs]."

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Who Was Ötzi the Iceman?


Ötzi the Iceman is the oldest mummy ever found. Learn what scientists now know about the famous ancient human.

In 1991, two German tourists were hiking in the Ötztal Alps — a mountain range shared by Austria and Italy — when they stumbled upon the frozen remains of a dead man. The ice preserved the man so well that his body, clothes and tools never decomposed.

Scientists dubbed him Ötzi the Iceman and began studying the naturally-preserved mummy. They’ve determined he lived more than 5,000 years ago, which makes Ötzi the Iceman the oldest mummy ever found.

Researchers are still studying the mountain mummy, and Ötzi the Iceman continues to unlock answers about what daily life was like thousands of years ago. 

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The Antikythera Mechanism: the mysterious ancient machine that should not exist?

 The Antikythera mechanism is one of the most fascinating and enigmatic artifacts from ancient Greece.

This ancient machine, discovered in the wreckage of a Greek shipwreck, has puzzled historians, archaeologists, and scientists for over a century.

It's a device that is so advanced that it seems to belong in a much later period of human history, and its discovery has raised many questions about the sophistication of ancient Greek technology.

Here, we will explore the mysteries of the Antikythera mechanism, including its purpose, its creators, and the ways in which it has challenged our understanding of ancient technology. 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Evidence of drug use during Bronze Age ritual ceremonies has been discovered in Europe for the first time

View of the entrance of Es Càrritx (upper left); the deposit of Chamber 5 with the tubes containing the human hair placed at the center (upper right, courtesy of Consell Insular de Menorca); plan of the cave and section of the deposit found in chamber 5 (P. Arnau, J. L. Florit, J. Márquez & M. Márquez).

The researchers believe that these substances were likely used as part of ritual ceremonies, and that they may have been ingested orally or smoked. They also suggest that the use of these drugs may have been associated with shamanism or other forms of religious or spiritual practice.

This is the first direct evidence of drug use in Europe during the Bronze Age, and it provides new insights into the beliefs and practices of people during this time period. The study also suggests that the use of psychoactive drugs may have been more widespread in Europe than previously thought.

The researchers hope that their findings will lead to further research into the use of drugs in Bronze Age Europe, and that it will help to shed light on the cultural and religious beliefs of this time period.

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