steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra
'Dramatic new discoveries illuminate the lost Indus civilization'

An interesting article about the Indus Valley civilization and climate change.

'Then, at the height of Indus urbanization, when the region's cities were growing the largest they had ever been, climate disaster struck. The life-giving monsoons weakened starting in roughly 2200 BCE. Drought crept into some regions, while others were relatively unaffected. And yet the Indus settlements survived for centuries afterward. Writing in Current Anthropology, the researchers say this is why the story of the Indus region "provides a unique opportunity to understand how an ancient society coped with both diverse and varied ecologies as well as change in the fundamental and underlying environmental parameters."'
ein_myria: (Default)
[personal profile] ein_myria
The milk revolution by Andrew Curry (Nature 500, 20–22 (01 August 2013) doi:10.1038/500020a)
"During the most recent ice age, milk was essentially a toxin to adults because — unlike children — they could not produce the lactase enzyme required to break down lactose, the main sugar in milk. But as farming started to replace hunting and gathering in the Middle East around 11,000 years ago, cattle herders learned how to reduce lactose in dairy products to tolerable levels by fermenting milk to make cheese or yogurt. Several thousand years later, a genetic mutation spread through Europe that gave people the ability to produce lactase — and drink milk — throughout their lives. That adaptation opened up a rich new source of nutrition that could have sustained communities when harvests failed."
ein_myria: (look)
[personal profile] ein_myria
Article Link: Restless Genes by David Dobbs (National Geographic)

“No other mammal moves around like we do,” says Svante Pääbo, a director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, where he uses genetics to study human origins. “We jump borders. We push into new territory even when we have resources where we are. Other animals don’t do this. Other humans either. Neanderthals were around hundreds of thousands of years, but they never spread around the world. In just 50,000 years we covered everything. There’s a kind of madness to it. Sailing out into the ocean, you have no idea what’s on the other side. And now we go to Mars. We never stop. Why?”

TLDR; The 7R gene and human wanderlust.

What do you think?
ein_myria: (look)
[personal profile] ein_myria
17,500-Year-Old Ceramic Figures Unearthed in Croatia by John Shanks
"An international team of archaeologists has uncovered the first evidence of ceramic figurative art in late Upper Paleolithic Europe – from about 17,500 years ago, thousands of years before pottery was commonly used."
steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra
Here is a brief post with lots of pictures on the excavation of the bodies of the famous Easter Island statues.
jeweledeyes: Sailor Venus thinks you're a loser (Radarr oh hell no)
[personal profile] jeweledeyes
I just received this letter from the Archaeological Institute of America and wanted to share it here:

Dear AIA members,

The AIA has learned of two new TV shows that promote treasure hunting to find archaeological objects. National Geographic's "Diggers" airs tonight and Spike TV's "American Diggers" will air next month. Both shows feature metal detectorists and at least one ("American Diggers") emphasizes the commercial value of the found objects. The AIA believes that these shows promote the looting and destruction of archaeological sites.

The AIA has joined several other groups including the SAA, SHA, and RPA in voicing concern about these programs and the negative messages they send about cultural heritage and its recovery. Links to copies of the SAA and SHA letters can be found at the bottom of this letter.

We would like to ask you, our members and archaeology enthusiasts, to send letters and/or e-mails to the companies involved asking them to alter the message of the shows and to provide disclaimers during the airing of the show that makes it clear that what the shows are promoting is unethical and in some instances may even be illegal. We hope that they will engage in a meaningful dialogue with archaeologists about the illicit practices they promote.

Elizabeth Bartman

Voice your Concern

Spike TV
Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, California 90045

Kevin Kay
President, Spike TV
1633 Broadway
New York, New York 10019

Send comments or questions regarding National Geographic Channel television programming:

There are also Facebook Pages where you can comment.
One is a "People against American Diggers" Facebook Page:!/pages/People-against-Spike-TVs-American-Digger/193110227460512

If you would like to add comments to the Spike website, please visit the comments section at the bottom of the following page:

The Spike TV announcement is available at:

See Letters Submitted by the SAA and SHA

SAA Letters:
http ://

SHA Letters:


Cross-posted to [community profile] archaeology_weekly
charamei: (Default)
[personal profile] charamei
People's Daily (English) with pictures
London Metro

I haven't been able to find a decent-length article, probably because they only completed the excavations yesterday (and possibly also because it's China). The People's Daily article has the most pictures. Metro text under the cut:

Remains of horses and chariots found in 3,000-year-old tomb in China )The main thing that strikes me is that the horses look rather small by modern standards! Maybe it's a perspective thing, or perhaps they were simply pony-sized.
ossamenta: (Book store = shiny!)
[personal profile] ossamenta
For those not subscribed to me, just to let you know I wrote a long post on books from the recent Oxbow catalogue. Most are rather expensive (being new and often hardbacks), but hopefully your local library will either buy them, or can make interlibrary loans.
steorra: Part of Saturn in the shade of its rings (Default)
[personal profile] steorra
I have a few questions about prehistoric societies.

I'm under the impression that grain farming and livestock domestication happened around the same time. I'm also under the impression that grain farming usually involves labour animals for ploughing etc. Was there a time and place when grain farming was done without labour animals?

Also, does anyone have any good resources on bronze age technologies? Not just metalworking, but other technologies that were used in bronze age societies.
berangere: (jomon doki)
[personal profile] berangere
Today is the last day of Three Weeks For Dreamwidth. Almost all the prompts of the Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions in Archaeology Project have been answered.
"Almost" means this is not over yet. Here is the second part of the answer to the question from [personal profile] yvi concerning sciences and archaeology.

I would like to know what modern scientific methods (especially to do with molecular Biology, but feel free to mention others) are used in archeology and for what.

Last week I presented the links between archaeology and molecular biology. This post will be an overview of the other sciences used in archaeology. Well, an overview of all the sciences I managed to think about.

This way please, sciency people... )

  These are all the sciences I managed to think about. If someboby wants precisions concerning any field, questions can be asked in the comments, or a prompt can be submitted in the masterpost for the FONSFAQ, that will stay open indefinitely.
  The next prompt, about archaeology of buildings, will be answered during next week, even if Three Weeks For Dreamwidth will the over.

berangere: (anthropo fun)
[personal profile] berangere
This post belongs to the Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions in Archaeology project.

prompt by [personal profile] yvi

I would like to know what modern scientific methods (especially to do with molecular Biology, but feel free to mention others) are used in archeology and for what.

  I will deal now with molecular biology, and will list the others sciences I can think of in another post (that will probably be dating-methods heavy). First, I'd like to make clear that I had to look for the exact definition of 「Molecular Biology」 in wikipedia. I felt that the limits of this science are quite blurry so I am not sure everything that will be dealt with in this article really relates to molecular biology. Let's say I tried to focus on anything related to genes, cells or proteins. Therefore, it is essentially linked to human remains, that are not found in every archaeological excavation. I suppose the techniques can be applied to animal remains either, according to the problematic of the excavation or the study.
  I suppose [personal profile] yvi  is quite familiar with molecular biology, hence the question, but I tried to include really basic explanations for the article to be understandable to people with no scientific background. Note that I am not a biologist and that my explanations may not be particularly good.

Five applications I have frequently encountered )

  Those are the only application of molecular biology I can think of. There may be others that I just forgot. I really hope I got the definition of molecular biology correct.
  Most of those techniques are quite expensive, therefore not systematically used in a domain like archaeology where the lack of funds is so common it has become a feature we are trained to deal with from the beginning of our formation.

berangere: (wadai)
[personal profile] berangere
Someone just told me it is 「Hug-An-Anthropologist Day !」 !
Just turn to your lab neighbour and hug him/her ^___^ !

ossamenta: Weasel skull (Default)
[personal profile] ossamenta
Written as part of the Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions project (itself part of the annual Three Weeks for DreamWidth), for the prompt "I've often wondered how archaeologists determine the sex of a skeleton - I know there are differences in the pelvis, but what else is taken to be a clue? I'm also curious about how accurate it is, and whether anyone's done any studies on that."

Sex estimation of skeletons is one of the fundamental methods of bone analysis, and, yes, lots of studies have been done on that. Essentially, there are three ways of sexing (human) skeletons: shape and relative size of the bones, grave goods associated with a particular sex/gender, and DNA testing. This post is primarily dealing with skeletal sexual characteristics, but the other methods will get a brief mention.

cut for length )
And finally, just remember that it’s always more complicated once you go into the details…

*: cis = having a gender identity that matches the sex one was assigned at birth. Opposite to trans gender.

Cross-posted to [personal profile] ossamenta and [community profile] fonsfaq
berangere: (yajiri)
[personal profile] berangere
We've got two prompts answered so far in our 「Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions about Archaeology」 ! Let's go on today with this one :

prompt by [personal profile] snowynight

What's your favourite and least favourite depiction of archaeology in fiction?

Since this one is asking a more personal point of view comparing to the other prompts, I suggest everybody answers to the question in the comments (or in a new post if you prefer so).

Have a cut here )
berangere: (rizière)
[personal profile] berangere
  Yeah ! Three Weeks For Dreamwidth has begun and it seems I'll be the one beginning the festivities in the archaeological community ! Here is the article written for the first prompt requested in our 「Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions About Archaeology 」 event !

question by [personal profile] trouble

I would really like to learn more about archeology in cities. They're building a new library here and they're letting the archaeologists in to do some work before they start building. What do archaeologists look for, and what's it like with a really short turn around time?

  I will answer to this prompt for France and Japan only. If you have any knowledge of the situation in other countries, please feel free to write another article, in this community or in your own journal.
  Since I know more about French legislation than about Japanese one, I will present the situation in France in the most detailed way possible, and then highlight the differences that can be found in the Japanese system.
  I read a lot of archaeological publications in English, but since English is not my first language, I think I will mess up a few technical words : archaeological concepts are covered by really precise words in French, and I suppose it is the same in English, so please excuse me if I use a synonym to the terms generally used in archaeology.

This way please )

berangere: (Default)
[personal profile] berangere
  Hello Community !
I have been wondering lately what we could do for the "Three Weeks for Dreamwidth" event, and [personal profile] trouble , in the [community profile] history community, pointed to this really interesting project hosted by [personal profile] dingsi : collect -and answer to- frequently, and not so frequently, asked questions about a subject. It started with questions about Germany and now deals with a bunch of various subjects. I may be participating in the French prompt, hosted by [personal profile] snakeling , but I thought we may host one here too !

  So let me introduce you to

Three Weeks for Dreamwidth
Frequently-Or-Not-So-Frequently-Asked-Questions about Archaeology !

  That's easy : you leave a comment here with
- a question you always have wanted to ask about archaology
- a topic you always have wanted to explain to the world.

  It can be anything, as long as it has a link with archaeology. I think even archaeology in fiction works as literature or cinema should be OK. Always wanted to understand C14 dating ? Think that Dreamwidth needs to know about de Han dinasty of China ? Need a bibliography about a certain topic ? Want to know how to determine if a patella is a right one or a left one ? Just propose a prompt.

  Then go read the comments to browse the prompts and reply to the one(s) you would like to answer to, saying you'll propose an answer.

  I'll edit this post with the list of subject proposed and of prompts.
  To make things easier, please use [prompt] and [taken] in the subject of your comment.

  Three Weeks for Dreamwidth will begin on April the 25th, so the entries will have to be posted from this date and for three weeks. You can post your entries in this community to make it a little livelier or/and in your own journal. If you prefer not to post / crosspost to this community, be sure to comment here with the link to your article on your journal, and I'll update this post with a direct link.
  Even if it is supposed to last only three weeks, I'll go on updating this post if people go on proposing answers to the questions asked.

  I really hope this event will be as successful as it seems to be on the other areas concerned !

List of prompts and articles

  legislation : preventive archaeology  requested by [personal profile] trouble 
      ⇒ France and Japan cases, written by [personal profile] berangere 

  archaeometry : the use of other sciences in archaeology, requested by [personal profile] yvi 
     ⇒ archaeology and molecular biology, written by [personal profile] berangere 
     ⇒ archaeology and its use of other sciences, written by [personal profile] berangere 

  archaeology in fiction : favourite and least favourite depiction of archaeology, requested by [personal profile] snowynight 
     ⇒ article waiting for you opinions !

  physical anthropology : sex diagnosis from skeletons, requested by [personal profile] vacillating 
     ⇒ article written by [personal profile] marshtide 
     ⇒ article written by [personal profile] ossamenta 

  physical anthropology and archaeozoology : studying dead things, requested by [personal profile] lilmoka 
     ⇒ article written by [personal profile] marshtide 

  buildings archaeology : the use of archaeology in the study of architecture, requested by [personal profile] sbrackett 

ETA 25th of April :
  A community has been created for the ones who do not want to post their articles on their own journal : [community profile] fonsfaq 
  I think I'll crosspost everything I'll write, for a better accessibility to everyone on Dreamwidth.

berangere: (wadai)
[personal profile] berangere
Hello Community !
  For those of you who live in England and wondered what to do on May the 1st, they organize a NEOLITHIC MARATHON ! Yes, a NEOLITHIC MARATHON !
  First I thought that you would have to run in neolithic attires or maybe you would have to visit the most neolithic sites you can in one day. In fact it's just a cross country marathon but it's between the stone circle of Avebury and Stonehenge !
It seems to be really well organized, here is the website dedicated to the event.

berangere: (yajiri)
[personal profile] berangere
Hello Community !
  I would like to point you at this (in my opinion) quite interesting article about the processing of bamboo tools : review at the Southern Methodist University website.

The title of the article is
Bar-Yosef, O., M.I. Eren, J. Yuan, D. Cohen, and Y. Li. 2011 (In Press)
Were bamboo tools made in prehistoric Southeast Asia? An experimental view from South China. Quaternary International.

  It seems there is a "lack" of stone implements in the prehistoric cultures of Southeast Asia. One theory to explain this lack is that instead of stone tools, prehistoric humans used bamboo tools.
  This study explores if it is possible to create bamboo tools with the resources available in prehistoric times (a.k.a. ... stone tools). And... well, it is possible.

  Here is a film of the process for the ones who would not want to read the article : youtube (I can't embed the video)

  I would like to insist on the fact this study shows that it is possible to make bamboo tools with stone tools, but does not at all prove that the use of bamboo tools is the reason why we do not find a lot of stone tools in Southeast Asia. It even showed that the bamboo tools are less efficient than stone tools in cutting hide. So, if the prehistoric cultures there had the technology to produce stone tools (that are necessary to process bamboo tools) why would they use less efficient bamboo tools instead of the stone tools they had ?
(And I want to make clear that I consider "because bamboo tools are cool" as a perfectly acceptable answer to this question. It would not be the first time humanity chose to use something less efficient just "because it's cool").
  Well, as always, as archaeologists, it seems that once again we may one day find "how". But we will never be able to know "why".


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