news 2020



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Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 23.12.2020
Ancient DNA shines light on Caribbean prehistory
Ancient DNA shines light on Caribbean prehistory
An international team of scientists reveals the genetic makeup of the people who lived in the Caribbean between about 400 and 3,100 years ago-at once settling several archaeologic and anthropologic debates, illuminating present-day ancestries and reaching startling conclusions about Indigenous population sizes when Caribbean cultures were devastated by European colonialism beginning in the 1490s.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 09.12.2020
New evidence: Neandertals buried their dead
New evidence: Neandertals buried their dead
Was burial of the dead practiced by Neandertals or is it an innovation specific to our species? There are indications in favour of the first hypothesis but some scientists remain sceptical. For the first time in Europe, however, a multi-disciplinary team led by researchers at the CNRS and the Muséum national d'histoire naturelle (France) and the University of the Basque Country (Spain) 1 has demonstrated, using a variety of criteria, that a Neandertal child was buried, probably around 41,000 years ago, at the Ferrassie site (Dordogne).

History / Archeology - Environment - 07.12.2020
Archaeologists Explore Secrets of Neolithic Village off Israel’s Coast
UC San Diego archaeologist and Qualcomm Institute (QI) affiliate Thomas Levy and Assaf Yasur-Landau of the University of Haifa in Haifa, Israel and their teams have completed a combined physical and virtual excavation of a Neolithic underwater settlement off Israel's Carmel coast. The expedition could reveal secrets about prehistoric social evolution, climate and environmental change from more than 8,000 years ago.

History / Archeology - Chemistry - 02.12.2020
African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads
An analysis of archaeological glass beads discovered in sub-Saharan West Africa brings to light the full extent of the region's international trade routes between the 7th and 13th centuries. The origin of glass beads dates back to early ancient times. The chemical composition of the beads and their morphological and technical characteristics can reveal where they come from; this information can then be used to reconstruct the trade channels between glass production areas and the sites where the beads were used at different times.

Art and Design - History / Archeology - 27.11.2020
Operation Night Watch: getting closer to Rembrandt despite distancing
Operation Night Watch: getting closer to Rembrandt despite distancing
The summer of 2019 saw the kick-off of the largest and most multifaceted research project ever to focus on Rembrandt's famous painting The Night Watch. Ever since the museum reopened after its closure earlier this year following coronavirus measures, the team has been working under adapted conditions.

History / Archeology - Campus - 10.11.2020
Hundreds of Copies of Newton’s Principia Found in New Census
In a story of lost and stolen books and scrupulous detective work across continents, a Caltech historian and his former student have unearthed previously uncounted copies of Isaac Newton's groundbreaking science book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica , known more colloquially as the Principia .

History / Archeology - 05.11.2020
Neolithic construction boom led to large-scale mega henges being built across southern Britain
One of the antler picks that were sampled during the research. As these picks were used to dig out the ditches of the henge, they provide a good indication of the date that the monument was constructed. (Credit: Cardiff University) Frantic building activity around 2500 BC resulted in massive ceremonial structures appearing in southern Britain, a study from Cardiff University says.

History / Archeology - Social Sciences - 04.11.2020
Analysis: Did prehistoric women hunt? New research suggests so
For a long time, it was assumed that hunting in prehistoric societies was primarily carried out by men. Now a new study adds to a body of evidence challenging this idea, says Honorary Research Fellow Dr Annemieke Milks (UCL Archaeology). The research reports the discovery of a female body, buried alongside hunting tools, in the Americas some 9,000 years ago.

Earth Sciences - History / Archeology - 28.09.2020
The testimony of trees: how volcanic eruptions shaped 2000 years of world history
Researchers have shown that over the past two thousand years, volcanoes have played a larger role in natural temperature variability than previously thought, and their climatic effects may have contributed to past societal and economic change. Some climate models assume that the effect of volcanoes is punctuated and short.

History / Archeology - Materials Science - 23.09.2020
Chromium steel was first made in ancient Persia
Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study led by UCL. The discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science , was made with the aid of a number of medieval Persian manuscripts, which led the researchers to an archaeological site in Chahak, southern Iran.

Social Sciences - History / Archeology - 18.09.2020
What plants were smoked in pre-colonial North America? Ancient pipes hold clues
In a groundbreaking new study, a University of Chicago researcher used metabolomics-a big-data approach to study small molecules called metabolites-to uncover the relationship between plants and people before and after European colonization of North America. Collaborating with colleagues at Washington State University, UChicago postdoctoral researcher Korey Brownstein used the approach to study the differences between closely related plant species found in ancient pipes.

Social Sciences - History / Archeology - 17.09.2020
Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
Traces of violence on 1700 year old skeletons allow researchers to reconstruct warfare and sacrifices of nomads in Siberia. An international and interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists and specialists in forensics sciences led by Marco Milella from the University of Bern performed a detailed and revealing analysis of the traumas found on the skeletal remains.

Life Sciences - History / Archeology - 16.09.2020
World’s largest ever DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons reveals they weren’t all Scandinavian
Invaders, pirates, warriors - the history books taught us that Vikings were brutal predators who travelled by sea from Scandinavia to pillage and raid their way across Europe and beyond. The results change the perception of who a Viking actually was.

Social Sciences - History / Archeology - 01.09.2020
Radiocarbon dating and CT scans reveal Bronze Age tradition of keeping human remains
Using radiocarbon dating and CT scanning to study ancient bones, researchers have uncovered for the first time a Bronze Age tradition of retaining and curating human remains as relics over several generations. While the findings, led by the University of Bristol and published in the journal Antiquity , may seem eerie or even gruesome by today's convention, they indicate a tangible way of honouring and remembering known individuals between close communities and generations some 4,500 years ago.

History / Archeology - Chemistry - 27.08.2020
Ceramic cooking pots record history of ancient food practices
Analysing three components of ceramic cooking pots - charred remains, inner surface residues and lipids absorbed within the ceramic walls - may help archaeologists uncover detailed timelines of culinary cooking practices used by ancient civilisations. The findings, from a year-long cooking experiment led by the University of California, University of Bristol and the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in Hawaii, are published this week in the journal Scientific Reports .

History / Archeology - Environment - 20.08.2020
Stone tools reveal how island-hopping humans made a living
Stone tools reveal how island-hopping humans made a living
This article written by Dr Shimona Kealy and Distinguished Professor Sue O'Connor was originally published by The Conversation. Prehistoric axes and beads found in caves on a remote Indonesian island suggest this was a crucial staging post for seafaring people who lived in this region as the last ice age was coming to an end.

History / Archeology - Health - 13.08.2020
Syphilis May Have Spread through Europe before Columbus
Syphilis May Have Spread through Europe before Columbus
Columbus brought syphilis to Europe - or did he? A recent study conducted at the University of Zurich now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 12.08.2020
Step change in our ability to unlock secrets of the past with radiocarbon dates
Radiocarbon dating, a technique widely used in archaeology and geoscience, is set to become more accurate than ever after an international team of scientists have shared much-anticipated new calibration curves based on data from ancient trees, lake and ocean sediments, cave deposits and more.

Environment - History / Archeology - 12.08.2020
Researchers unlock secrets of the past with new carbon dating standard
Radiocarbon dating is set to become more accurate than ever after an international team of scientists improved the technique for assessing the age of historical objects. The team of researchers at the Universities of Belfast, Sheffield, Bristol, Glasgow, Oxford, St Andrews and Historic England, plus international colleagues, used measurements from almost 15,000 samples from objects dating back as far as 60,000 years ago, as part of a seven-year project.

Social Sciences - History / Archeology - 12.08.2020
Indigenous banana cultivation dates back over 2,000 years
Indigenous banana cultivation dates back over 2,000 years
ANU Archaeologists have found the earliest evidence of Indigenous communities cultivating bananas in Australia. The evidence of cultivation and plant management dates back 2,145 years and was found at Wagadagam on the tiny island of Mabuyag in the western Torres Strait. The site comprised a series of retaining walls associated with gardening activities along with a network of stone arrangements, shell arrangements, rock art and a mound of dugong bones.
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