Archaeology news

Catalhoyuk

We have further evidence of upheaval and climate change around 6200BC. The world suddenly cooled leading to a period of drier summers (and presumably colder winters) across much of the northern hemisphere. Early farming communities must have been impacted, we are told, but nothing was known about how they coped with change. The conditions were very much like a short dryas episode - lasting 200+ years. Hence, scientists decided to try and find out by looking at the ruins of the city of Catalhoyuk in central Turkey.

Laziness Extinction

From the edge of credulity comes this offering - laziness helped lead to the extinction of Homo erectus (see www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/anu-lhl080918.php ... or is this a bad press release. Researchers at the Australian National University claim Homo erectus went extinct, in part, out of laziness. This is based on archaeological findings from the Early Stone Age. Basically, the claim is they failed to advance tool techniques - which remained pretty basic. In fact, it is mainly random stones that represent all we know of Homo erectus culture.

Submerged Mesolithic sites

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/uoh-aft080718.php ... archaeologists have been searching lakes in SE Finland looking for submerged Mesolithic period sites from the early Holocene period. There are echoes here of the Mesolithic remains on the bottom of the North Sea and under the cliffs of the Solent. During early Holocene the water levels in lakes were much lower than today - across Scandinavia. Later, water levels rose as a result of uneven land uplift.

Medieval Ivory

At https://popular-archaeology.com/article/lost-norse-of-greenland-ivory-tr... ... courtesy of the University of Cambridge. The Viking colonies on Greenland were major settlements by the 12th century and Greenland even had its own bishop. However, later, by early 15th century, the Norse had vanished - leaving behind their ruined houses and farms. At first climate change was blamed as colder weather and sea ice around Iceland made it difficult to cope with sea voyages back and forth to Scandinavia.

Psalms

At www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/ancient-near-eastern-... ... which refers to an article in Biblical Aarchaeology Review, 'Egyptian Papyrus Sheds New Light on Jewish History' ... (July/August 2018 issue BAR). Papyrus Amherst 63 is written in cursive Egyptian demotic script but also combines this with Aramaic. It has only recently been translated and it seems to be a forerunner of Psalm 20 - and two other psamls not in the Bible.

Easter Island Again

Sent in by William. At https://phys.org/print453352412.html ... a new investigation into Easter Island (2300 miles off the coast of Chile). This is where society is supposed to have imploded as a result of over exploitation of natural resources. A new article in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology begs to differ. They say the Jared Diamond theory is over stated as evidence from the carving of the stone heads and their erection appears to have been a joint effort - indicating mutual appreciation of different roles in society.

Aboriginal Genetics

I've put this under archaeology as we don't have a genetics thread. It could equally come under anthropology - accept that we are dealing with the hard sciences (rather than the whimsical) - but see https://phys.org/print452844655.html ... A PNAS study (August 7th 2018) starts off with the premise, or so it would seem, that Aborigines arrived in Australia 50,000 years ago. Why do they do that as archaeologists have been pushing back the date of their arrival further and further back in time?

Budic

In Chris Catling's 'Sherds' column in Current Archaeology (Aug/Sept 2018) he makes a reference to a recent discovery at Tintagel in Cornwall. This is the name of Budic found inscribed on a slate window ledge that appears to have an affinity with the name of Boudicca, This is reminiscent of a tombstone found in Roman Cirencester back in 2015 - 'to the shades of Bodicaeia my wife who lived 27 years'.

Migration Routes

Migration routes into the Americas from Siberia are discussed in a new paper in the journal Science Advances (August, 2018) - see https://phys.org/print453017515.html ... The idea of a land route between the Cordillera ice sheet (along the western mountain ranges) and the main ice sheet (further east) went out of focus a couple of decades ago. It seems it is now back on the agenda and people may have migrated along the coast - and on a route between the ice sheets thought to have covered a good deal of northern America.

Talking Hominins

At https://popular-archaeology.com/article/the-last-hominin-standing .. the last hominin standing - modern humans. This is a useful study and quite interesting but it suffers from certain assumptions. For example, it is assumed the equatorial zone has never shifted - and global topography was little different to that of today. Understandable assumptions one might say - but worth bearing in mind as the authors conclude modern humans differened from other manifestations of humanity by being more adaptable to extreme climates (as in deserts and polar regions).