sábado, 30 de agosto de 2014

Stonehenge 'complete circle' evidence found


The parch marks were seen during hot, dry weather in July last year

Evidence that the outer stone circle at Stonehenge was once complete has been found, because a hosepipe used to water the site was not long enough.

Parch marks in the grass, in an area that had not been watered, have revealed places where two "missing" huge sarsen stones may once have stood.

The marks were spotted by an English Heritage steward who alerted archaeologists to their existence.
Previous scientific techniques such as geophysics failed to find any evidence.

Historians have long debated whether Stonehenge was a full or incomplete circle, with some arguing a lack of stones in the south-west quadrant is proof it was never complete.

A scientific paper which adds weight to the "complete" theory has been published in the latest issue of the journal Antiquity.

The parch marks - areas where the grass does not grow as strongly as in other areas during hot, dry weather - were first noticed in July last year.

Susan Greaney, from English Heritage, said the discovery seemed to indicate the positions of missing stones.
"If these stone holes actually held upright stones then we've got a complete circle," she said. [...] bbc.com

viernes, 29 de agosto de 2014

Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on Arctic's Earliest People

The earliest people in the North American Arctic remained isolated from others in the region for millennia before vanishing around 700 years ago, a new genetic analysis shows. The study, published online Thursday, also reveals that today's Inuit and Native Americans of the Arctic are genetically distinct from the region's first settlers.

10.1126/science.1255832

Inuit hunters in the Canadian Arctic have long told stories about a mysterious ancient people known as the Tunit, who once inhabited the far north. Tunit men, they recalled, possessed powerful magic and were strong enough to crush the neck of a walrus and singlehandedly haul the massive carcass home over the ice.  Yet the stories described the Tunit as a reticent people who kept to themselves, avoiding contact with their neighbors.

Many researchers dismissed the tales as pure fiction, but a major new genetic study suggests that parts of these stories were based on actual events.

In a paper to be published Friday in Science, evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev and molecular biologist Maanasa Raghavan, both of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and their colleagues reveal for the first time that the earliest inhabitants of the Canadian Arctic—a group that archaeologists call the Paleo-Eskimos—lived in isolation from their neighbors for nearly 4,000 years, refraining from any mixture with Native Americans to the south or with the ancestors of the modern Inuit.[...] nationalgeographic.com


Actualización: Los primeros humanos del Ártico americano vivieron 4.000 años aislados
Se sabe que los humanos llevan viviendo en el Ártico americano hace 5.000 años. La evidencia arqueológica muestra claramente que una gran variedad de culturas sobrevivió a la dureza del clima en Alaska, Canadá y Groenlandia. A pesar de esto, hay varias preguntas sin respuesta acerca de estas personas: ¿De dónde venían? ¿Cuándo llegaron? ¿Quiénes son sus descendientes? ¿Y quién puede llamarse a sí mismo pueblo indígena del Ártico?

   Ahora podemos responder a algunas de estas preguntas, gracias a un estudio de ADN integral de los habitantes actuales y anteriores de Groenlandia, el Ártico canadiense, Alaska, las Islas Aleutianas y Siberia, llevado a cabo por un equipo internacional dirigido por el Centro de GeoGenetics en el Museo de Historia Natural de Dinamarca, de la Universidad de Copenhague. Los resultados acaban de ser publicados en la revista Science.

   El Ártico de América del Norte fue uno de los últimas grandes regiones en ser poblada por los humanos modernos. Esto ocurrió cuando cruzaron el estrecho de Bering desde Siberia y se extendieron por un nuevo mundo. Mientras que el área ha sido durante mucho tiempo bien documentada por los arqueólogos, poco se sabe de su prehistoria genética.

   En este estudio, los investigadores muestran que el Paleo-Esquimal, que vivió en el Ártico desde hace unos 5.000 años hasta hace aproximadamente 700 años, representó una onda distinta de la migración, separado tanto de los nativos americanos - que cruzaron el estrecho de Bering mucho antes - y los inuit, que vinieron de Siberia varios miles de años después de los Paleo-esquimales.

   "Nuestros estudios genéticos muestran que, en realidad, los Paleo-esquimales - que representan un solo grupo - fueron los primeras humanos en el Ártico, y que sobrevivieron sin contacto con el exterior durante más de 4.000 años", dice el profesor Eske Willerslev

   "Nuestro estudio también muestra que los Paleo-esquimales, después de sobrevivir casi en aislamiento en el duro medio ambiente del Ártico desde hace más de 4.000 años, desaparecieron hace alrededor de 700 años - aproximadamente la misma época en que los antepasados de  los actuales inuit se extendieron hacia el este de Alaska", agrega Raghavan Maanasa, del Centro de GeoGenetics y autor principal del artículo...

jueves, 28 de agosto de 2014

El museo arqueológico de Bocairent realza un ajuar funerario neolítico

Los restos pertenecen a un enterramiento doble hallado de la cueva de la Sarsa cuya antigüedad se sitúa en torno a los 6.000 años


 El museo arqueológico municipal Vicente Casanova de la localidad de Bocairent acaba de reubicar los restos de un ajuar funerario neolítico en un mismo espacio expositivo para dar mayor realce a su importancia histórica.

El trabajo, que ha sido coordinado por la arqueóloga y doctora en Antropología física Isabel Collado con la colaboración de la guía turística de la sala Ana Campello, se ha realizado a lo largo de este mes de agosto tras una fase de inventariado y clasificación que pretende seguir la labor del anterior responsable de la colección, el propio Vicente Casanova, tras su repentina muerte el pasado febrero.

Las piezas expuestas ahora proceden de un enterramiento doble hallado en la cueva de la Sarsa con una antigüedad aproximada de unos 6.000 años.

Así, el depósito funerario está compuesto por materiales lítico, cerámico, óseo y de malacofauna que conforman tanto útiles de la vida cotidiana como elementos para el adorno personal de los habitantes de la época.

En concreto, los objetos agrupados en este espacio del museo son un gran vaso de cerámica cardial impresa; una cuchara, una espátula y tres punzones de hueso; cuatro valvas de conchas (tres Glycymeris sp y una Cardium edule) horadadas en el natis; tres caracolas de mar (Columbella rustica); dos fragmentos de sortija de hueso y cinco piezas de sílex.

Tanto las responsables del Museo arqueológico municipal Vicente Casanova como el Ayuntamiento de Bocairent animan al vecindario a colaborar con la colección si obra en su poder alguna pieza arqueológica de interés mediante su donación o cesión ya que «una de las cosas que más enriquecen a las personas y los pueblos es el conocimiento de su pasado».

Finalmente, desde el Consistorio se mostraron bastante satisfechos de la labor efectuada para seguir colaborando en la difusión del patrimonio recogido en el término municipal. lasprovincias.es / Link 2

Artículo relacionado (2011): El Neolítico antiguo cardial y la Cova de la Sarsa (Bocairent, València). Nuevas perspectivas a partir de su registro funerario.

Grotte ornée du Pont d'Arc : vers un fac-similé




24/06/2014. La grotte Chauvet Pont-d'Arc, en Ardèche, vient d'être inscrite au patrimoine mondial de l'Unesco. Un trésor que le grand public pourra découvrir à partir de 2015 en visitant sa réplique, constituée de fac-similés d'une vingtaine de panneaux : la Caverne du Pont-d'Arc. Gilles Tosello, plasticien préhistorien évoque sa technique de restitution d'une de ces fresques, "le panneau des chevaux"... videotheque.cnrs.fr

Entrada relacionada

Arqueólogos excavan extenso yacimiento neolítico en centro de China

Arqueólogos han excavado en la provincia central china de Henan un extenso asentamiento neolítico que incluye fosos y un cementerio.

El Yacimiento de Shanggangyang cubre una área de 120.000 metros cuadrados y se encuentra en la ribera de un río en Zhengzhou, capital de Henan. Tiene entre 5.000 y 6.000 años de antigüedad y pertenece a la cultura Yangshao, ampliamente conocida por su avanzada tecnología para fabricar cerámica.

El yacimiento cuenta con dos fosos defensivos que rodean tres de sus lados. Los expertos han descubierto restos de tres grandes viviendas, así como 39 tumbas, un elevado número que sugiere que varias generaciones residieron en este asentamiento, explicó el arqueólogo Gao Zanling, un miembro de la Administración de Patrimonio Cultural de Zhengzhou.

"El tamaño y la población del asentamiento, en comparación con otros de la misma era, es bastante grande", explicó Gao a Xinhua.

La excavación del sitio permite vislumbrar la vida en la tribu, que utilizaba hoyos en el suelo para almacenar alimentos o enterrar basura. Los expertos también encontraron diversos utensilios de vajilla, como vasijas, hervidores, tazas y otras herramientas. spanish.china.org.cn

Link 2: Central China unearths large neolithic site / Link 3


Archaeologists in central China's Henan Province have excavated a large neolithic settlement complete with moats and a cemetery.

The Shanggangyang Site covers an area of 120,000 square meters and sits along a river in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan, dating 5,000 to 6,000 years back to the Yangshao culture, which was widely known for its advanced pottery-making technology.

The site features two defensive moats surrounding three sides. Researchers have found relics of three large houses as well as 39 tombs, the large number suggesting several generations resided there, archaeologist Gao Zanling, a member of the Zhengzhou Administration of Cultural Heritage, said.

"The size and population of the settlement, if compared with others in the same era, was pretty large," Gao told Xinhua.

Excavation of the site has offered a glimpse into the life in the tribe, including the use of pits to store food or bury garbage. Researchers also found a variety of crockery wares, including pots, kettles, cups and other tools.

Stone-tipped spears lethal, may indicate early cognitive and social skills


Spears were carefully constructed to measure the same for the controlled experiments. Credit: Jayne Wilkins, Benjamin Schoville, Kyle Brown.

Attaching a stone tip on to a wooden spear shaft was a significant innovation for early modern humans living around 500,000 years ago. However, it was also a costly behavior in terms of time and effort to collect, prepare and assemble the spear. Stone tips break more frequently than wooden spears, requiring more frequent replacement and upkeep, and the fragility of a broken point could necessitate multiple thrusts to an angry animal. So, why did early hunters begin to use stone-tipped spears?

To learn if there was a "wounding" advantage between using a wooden spear or a stone-tipped spear, ASU postdoctoral researcher Jayne Wilkins, doctoral student Benjamin Schoville and coauthor Kyle Brown from the University of Cape Town, conducted controlled experiments using tipped and untipped spear replications, a calibrated crossbow and ballistics gelatin. The experiments looked at the size and shape of the "wound," penetration depth and damage done by extraction of the spear. Wilkins and Schoville are affiliated with the Institute of Human Origins, a research center of the ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change. [...] sciencedaily.com / Link 2

Ancient Arabian Stones Hint at How Humans Migrated Out of Africa

Ancient stone artifacts recently excavated from Saudi Arabia possess similarities to items of about the same age in Africa — a discovery that could provide clues to how humans dispersed out of Africa, researchers say.

Modern humans originated about 200,000 years ago in Africa. However, scientists have long debated when and how the modern human lineage spread out of Africa.

"Understanding how we originated and colonized the world remains one of the most fascinating and enduring questions, because it is our story as humans," said lead study author Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at the University of Bordeaux in France.[...] livescience.com

Related: Unexpected technological heterogeneity in northern Arabia indicates complex Late Pleistocene demography at the gateway to Asia.

Study provides new look at ancient coastline, pathway for early Americans

The first humans who ventured into North America crossed a land bridge from Asia that is now submerged beneath the Bering Sea, and then may have traveled down the West Coast to occupy sites in Oregon and elsewhere as long as 14,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Now a new study has found that the West Coast of North America may have looked vastly different than scientists previously thought, which has implications for understanding how these early Americans made this trek.

The key to this new look at the West Coast landscape is a fresh approach to the region’s sea level history over the last several thousand years. Following the peak of the last ice age about 21,000 years ago, the large continental ice sheets began to retreat, causing sea levels to rise by an average of about 430 feet. When the ice was prominent and sea levels were lower, large expanses of the continental shelf that today are submerged were then exposed.

As the melting progressed and sea levels rose, likely archaeological sites along the coast were submerged.
Most past models have assumed that as the massive North American ice sheets melted, global sea levels rose in concert – a phenomenon known as “the bathtub model.” But the authors of this new study, which was just published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, say sea level rise does not happen uniformly. [...] oregonstate.edu via phys.org

Related: Coastal paleogeography of the California-Oregon-Washington and Bering Sea continental shelves during the Latest Pleistocene and Holocene: Implications for the archaeological record.

martes, 26 de agosto de 2014

Smithsonian ScienceScientists bring Kennewick Man to life in new book



 Nearly 20 years since Kennewick Man was serendipitously discovered along the banks of the Columbia River in Washington State, the scientific saga of his life and legacy is being released. A new book Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton, co-edited by forensic anthropologists Douglas Owsley at the Smithsonian Institution and Richard Jantz at the University of Tennessee, will be published this September by Texas A&M University Press. It provides the most thorough analysis of any Paleoamerican skeleton to date.

1/20. Kennewick Man pelvis. (Chip Clark / NMNH, SI)
The findings reveal key details about Kennewick Man’s identity, including where he lived nearly 9,000 years ago and his approximate age at death, lifestyle and relationship to ancient and modern human populations. However, [...] smithsonianscience.org / Link 2

Brighton archaeologist on Tanzania prehistoric axe dig



 An archaeologist from the University of Brighton is leading a dig in Tanzania in a bid to learn more about the origins of prehistoric handaxes.

James Cole will be joined by researchers from the country, as well as Wales and Gloucestershire, to take samples of sediment around the implements.

The Stone Age tools were used to butcher animals in the Iringa region.

The experts hope to accurately date the site for the first time.

They also hope to determine the age of the axes and learn who made them.

Dr Cole, archaeologist and lecturer at the University of Brighton's School of Environment and Technology, said: "The behaviour of our human ancestors is far more complex than often thought.

"People today use material culture - the clothes we wear, for instance - to tell others something about us.

"It may be possible that these handaxes, apart from their practical use, may have been used by our ancestors to say something about them."

Dr Cole is due to leave for the eight-day dig on Wednesday.

He will be joined by Dr Pastory Bushozi from the University of Dar es Salaam, Dr Martin Bates, from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, and Dr Phillip Toms, from the University of Gloucestershire. bbc.com/