All posts tagged with archaeology

Link: Archaeology of nonhuman tool use

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Scientific American is previewing an article by Michael Haslam from their March issue, “The Other Tool Users”. The article focuses on the use of archaeologic...

Brexit fears affecting U.K. archaeologists

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I have no political position on the impending departure of Britain from the European Union. Nevertheless, I wanted to point to this article in The Guardian t...

The dawn of bread

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Archaeologists working at Shubayqa 1, a site in northeastern Jordan, found tiny fragments of an ancient unleavened bread as they were excavating a hearth. Th...

Link: A deep dive into Cahokia

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Annalee Newitz has a detailed and fascinating story in Ars Technica about the Cahokia site, on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River from St. Louis: “Fi...

Link: Desert kites from ancient hunters

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National Geographic is running a fascinating story about “desert kites”, ancient structures dating to the Iron Age or earlier in Central Asia and the Levant:...

Neandertal stone circles at Bruniquel Cave

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I want to reflect for a moment on the first passage in the recent paper by Jacques Jaubert and colleagues (2016). The paper describes a series of circular st...

Quote: Cowgill on statistical methods

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George Cowgill is an archaeologist with a long interest in promoting the unfortunately rare good use of statistics by archaeologists. He has a paper within t...

A look at early South American sites

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Nature last week carried a great article by Barbara Fraser about the growing research into the earliest peoples of South America: “The first South Americans:...

To fish or not to fish

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This summer I pointed to an article about the FwJj20 locality at Koobi Fora, which provides the earliest known evidence of systematic fish exploitation in th...

Notable: Ballistic study of hafted points

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Notable paper: Wilkins J, Schoville BJ, Brown KS (2014) An Experimental Investigation of the Functional Hypothesis and Evolutionary Advantage of Stone-Tipped...

The fish of Koobi Fora

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A number of papers related to the hominin exploitation of aquatic resources are appearing soon in the Journal of Human Evolution. Two of these in the early o...

Archaeology is not boring!

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Colleen Morgan has a new post at Middle Savagery that may serve as an intervention to those who claim that archaeology isn’t a romantic field: “Stop saying ‘...

Framing big questions in archaeology

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Keith Kintigh and colleagues have a brief report in PNAS this week about “Grand challenges for archaeology”. They summarize a series of conversations and a s...

Evidence of hunting at Olduvai Gorge

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My University of Wisconsin colleague Henry Bunn got some press this weekend for his presentation at the European Society for Human Evolution meeting: “Humans...

LRJ as a transitional industry

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I was reading this morning an interesting paper from last year by Damien Flas Flas:2011, who considered the context of archaeological assemblages grouped as ...

Digging deeper into the earliest Acheulean

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I’ve been ranting on Twitter all day about the new paper on the “earliest Acheulean” by Christopher Lepre and colleagues Lepre:Acheulean:2011, published in N...

India archaeology blog

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On the topic of the archaeology of South Asia, I want to point readers to Sheila Mishra’s blog. She has picked up a number of topics of recent interest, incl...

Best open letter ever

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I so totally wish I’d thought of this first: “An Open Letter To People Who Think They Have Found The Artifact That Will Change Archaeology As We Know It”

SAA Twitter feed curation

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You don’t have to be on Twitter to follow the tweets from the Society for American Archaeology conference in Sacramento. Nicolas Laracuente (@archaeologist) ...

Quote: Adovasio on Clovis

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In John Noble Wilford’s article about the new pre-Clovis archaeological site, Buttermilk Creek, Texas, James Adovasio gets the last word about advocates of t...

Jebel Faya and early-stage reduction

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Simon Armitage and colleagues Armitage:2011 describe archaeological remains from Jebel Faya, in the United Arab Emirates. The assemblages come from a rock sh...

Fishy story from Koobi Fora

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I have to credit a reader for that headline, and for forwarding the paper. It’s another case of the infamous PNAS release policy. The press that came from th...

Genetics and archaeology, 2

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I’ve just received the book, Climate Change in Prehistory: The End of the Reign of Chaos, by William Burroughs. I’ll be reading it and reviewing it during th...

Collapsing reviews

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Nature this week gave Jared Diamond the chance to review two books about archaeology and “collapse” – The Cambridge Companion to the Aegean Bronze Age (which...

Straightening the calibration curve

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Michael Balter reports on a new radiocarbon calibration called INTCAL09. The calibration curve purports to provide a calendar age calibration up to 50,000 ye...

The first Europeans, in Languedoc

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It’s hard to imagine a nicer place for them to have lived 1.57 million years ago. The site is near the village of Lézignan-le-Cèbe, in the lower Hérault vall...

Just ducky

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A week or two ago, I was pointed by a press release to some recent research from Bolomor Cave, Spain, where the levels occupied by early/pre-Neandertals have...

Middle Stone Age bed and breakfast

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On occasion, I point out interesting findings from archaeological chemistry and microscopic study of site formation processes. Last month, I pointed to the a...

Handedness in ancient hominins

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Michael Balter writes about the work of Liverpool archaeologist Natalie Uomini, who is studying the evolution of handedness by experiment and attempting to f...

Plant processing with early Oldowan tools

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Ann Gibbons was at the AAPA meetings early last month, and she reports in the current Science on some of the research. Her article about the use of early Old...

Quote: Otte on lithic analysis

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I happened across this great quote by Marcel Otte, referring to the Bordes-Binford debate among other archaeological donnybrooks:

Baringo blades

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Ann Gibbons writes about half-million-year-old blades from the Kapthurin Formation of East Africa:

Shell instead of stone

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Discovery News has a short article about Australian archaeologist Katherine Szabo’s analyses of tools made of shell instead of stone in Late Pleistocene cont...

Binford blogging

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Lew Binford: What’s the big deal? Hot Cup of Joe explores:

Chaw joins poop in archaeology arsenal

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Well, archaeology is set to receive a once-in-a-generation influx of interest from teenagers drawn to the allure of the past. I mean, from the new Indiana J...

Handaxes from under the North Sea

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In case you needed a reminder that much of the territory occupied by Pleistocene humans is now beneath the waves, just take a look at this press release fro...

Early ochre mining in Southern Africa

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I was reading back through Bednarik's "Concept-mediated marking in the Lower Palaeolithic," for some background on the ochre-shellfish post, and I ran acros...

Taking the "re" out of repatriation

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Writer Rachel D'Oro of the Associated Press reports on the repatriation of human remains from On Your Knees Cave, Prince of Wales Island, Alaska:

How fast to Australia?

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Science's Michael Balter reviews the recent Cambridge conference on "Global Origins and Development of Seafaring". The article begins with a suggestion th...

At last, the death of the Toba bottleneck

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It is no secret that I really don't like the hypothesis that the massive ancient eruption of Mt. Toba, Sumatra, wiped out much of the worldwide human popula...

Ivory mammoth and other art from Vogelherd

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Der Spiegel reports on recent portable art finds at Vogelherd, Germany: The figure of the woolly mammoth is tiny, measuring just 3.7 cm long and weighing...

Pig extinctions in Polynesia

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I happened across an interesting article from last year by Christina Giovas that looks at pigs in Polynesia. People carried pigs with them to most of the is...

Shell beads at three corners of Africa

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Bouzouggar et al. (2007) report on a series of perforated Nassarius shell beads found in a layer dating to ca. 82,000 years ago in Grotte des Pigeons, Moroc...

Nobody but us chickens

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Chickens were brought to South America in Precolumbian times by Polynesians.

Women in human evolution reviewed

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James Adovasio, Olga Soffer and Jake Page have a new book entitled, The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehistory. The authors are wel...

Origami chaine operatoire

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The New Yorker has a nice profile of origami artist (and physicist) Robert J. Lang. My print edition of Discover had a profile of Lang earlier this year, wh...

Chimpanzee archaeology

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Here's a LiveScience story by Heather Whipps, about the discovery of chimpanzee nutcracking stones dating back to 4300 years ago:

More on Kostenki

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John Hoffecker, one of the authors of the Science paper by Anikovich et al., wrote a consideration of some of the points in my two posts of last week (here...

The initial Upper Paleolithic at Kostenki

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In one of those interesting twists of bibliographic fate, before today's announcement about the new dates for the initial Upper Paleolithic at Kostenki, I h...

Early Timor habitation at Jerimalai

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Australia's The Age online has a story by Deborah Smith that gives a short report about excavations at Jerimalai rock shelter, East Timor:

MSA projectile weapons

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Brooks and colleagues (2005) describe evidence for distance weaponry from late MSA contexts in eastern and southern Africa. They discuss the size of points ...

Eemian subsistence patterns

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Gaudzinski (2004) reviewed evidence from four sites from the German Eemian, to see what conclusions could be drawn about Neandertal subsistence. The interes...

Trade in MSA Africa

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I was looking through some MSA literature, and ran across a paper earlier this year by Negash and Shackley (2006) concerning long-distance movement of obsid...

Burins, barometers of typology

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I've been buried in archaeology papers the last couple of weeks, and so I thought I would recommend a few real gems. The first on my list is this paper, tit...

A Neandertal structure

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After the press report earlier this week about Eemian Neandertals hunting elephants in France, we now have a story from Der Spiegel (German) about a Neander...

Radiocarbon fudgery

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I skipped last week's (9/15/2006) Science, and so missed this article by Michael Balter on radiocarbon dating. But some online discussion boards have been t...

Interstratified palimpsests

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Very nearly this time last year, I commented on a paper by Brad Gravina, Paul Mellars, and Christopher Bronk Ramsey concerning the stratigraphy of the Ch&ac...

About those holes…

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We checked the Krapina mollusc shells for holes, since they are here and all. No holes. But most of them probably come from the earlier levels before human ...

Earliest stone tools on Java

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The current Science has meetings reports from the Indo-Pacific Prehistory Association Congress, including this article by Richard Stone about excavations fr...

And then there was Levallois

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Noble and Davidson (1996:200-201) have a great passage on the lack of relevance of the Levallois technique to interpreting ancient cognition. It has an atte...

New news in New World settlement

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Afarensis has a post on Brazilian evidence relating to the origins of Native Americans (via Gene Expression). It's a good summary of recent work by Neves an...

A talent for causing things pain

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Alfredo Coppa and friends have a cool short article in Nature detailing evidence for early tooth drilling in Pakistan:

Acheulean endings

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There is no hard endpoint to the Acheulean; its tool types -- in particular the handaxe -- last well into the MSA/Middle Paleolithic. Here are some notes on...

How monolithic was the Acheulean?

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I'm taking some notes on change and stasis during the Acheulean, and they're not entirely complete, but in the interest of clearing my desktop I'm going to ...

What won't a handaxe do?

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I've had this working paper by Tony Baker on my desktop for awhile, and it has been discussed on some message boards. I wanted to link before I forget. It's...

Mexican footprint media

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The BBC reports on a BBC program covering Silvia Gonzalez and the Cerro Toluquilla "footprints". (I have a roundup of stories from the initial announcement....

Vindija G1 now 32,000 BP

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A paper (PDF) by Tom Higham and colleagues presents a redated chronology for the late Neandertals from Vindija, Croatia. There are two directly dated homini...

Early human habitation in Britain

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Parfitt et al. (2005) report in Nature (subscription) on stone tool debitage from the Cromer Forest-bed Formation of southeastern England, dating to approxi...

Marco Polo, call your office

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So imagine you are digging out a pottery bowl from a 4000-year-old site, you turn it over, and out pops a bowl-shaped cast of dirt with noodles in the botto...

Grotte des Fées de Châtelperron

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Gravina et al. (2005) report on the radiocarbon stratigraphy of Grotte des Fées de Châtelperron, which is the original type site of the Châtelperronia...

The Freudian artifact

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Why is it that the BBC always picks up stories like this one? (via palanthsci)

What happened to the Australian megafauna?

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Australia is well known for its unique animals. It has the most extensive diversity of marsupial mammals found anywhere in the world. Together with nearby N...

Whallon's population model

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Whallon R. 1989. Elements of cultural change in the later Paleolithic. In: Mellars P, Stringer CB, editors, The human revolution: Behavioural and biological ...