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Early Bronze Age metropolis

14 October 2019

Not the sort of metropolis of the modern world but a town, or city if you like, with around 6000 inhabitants – dating back to early in the Bronze Age. At https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2019/10/excavations-in-israe… … an urban complex has been uncovered in Israel as a result of road works, said in one source to be the New York of the ancient world. They hype is just that – a headline grabber. Nevertheless, it is a large site for the period and dates to Early Bronze Age IB (late fourth/early third millennium BC). It is surrounded by a fortification wall with residential and public areas, streets and alleys, much like a modern town. Below it is an even older town – dating to the Chalcolithic (contemporary the Pre Dynastic Period in Egypt and the Uruk phase in Sumeria). The roots of this town may go back to 7000 years ago.

The story is also at www.dw.com/en/bronze-age-new-york-discovered-israeli-archaeologists-say/… … which repeats much of the above.

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190926073340.htm … we have 'dishing the dirt on early man cave' – which again is a headline grabber with the meaning as in sifting the dirt from the floor of the Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, a process which has come up with some useful information. Fossil evidence suggests large cave dwelling carnivores were also a feature of the cave complex, competing for space with early humans. Russian and Australian scientists have used modern geoarchaeological techniques to unearth new details. Hyena, wolves and bears shared the caves – intermittently, with early human groups such as the Denisovans and Neanderthals – and even modern humans, across a time span of three glacial/interglacial cycles (or 300,000 years one might say). Denisovans and Neanderthals occupied the site until 40,000 years ago – when they were replaced by modern humans (Palaeolithic man).

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190924161744.htm … fish have been a source of protein and oil in the human diet for many a long day. Archaeologists have looked at traditional fish preparation as employed by 'fisher folk' in Panama and Egypt in order to get a better bearing on fish bones found in archaeological contexts. There is a surprising universality in preparation methods – gutting and filleting for example. This suggests fish preparation methodology is quite similar around the world and goes back deep into the past. More evidence of techniques changing hands and episodes of migration – even along the coastlines.

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190919142344.htm … modern Europeans and Africans in the US are said to display evidence of gene exchange with Native Americans – a not unexpected result. In Europeans the mixture is less than in African Americans which reflects the fact that large numbers of migrants arrived in the 20th century when the Native gene pool had been reduced.

Finally, at www.sci-news.com/archaeology/fa-hien-lena-microliths-07661.html … we have microliths found in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Some of them appear to date back 40,000 years ago (or somewhere between 48,000 and 34,000 years ago). In other words, the boundary between Neanderthals and Denisovans, and modern humans. It may also have been a period of migration – and at least a contraction in population numbers. What is remarkable about this story is that the same microliths remained in use up until 4000 years ago (when newcomers turned up). Microliths are usually associated with composite weapons – and tools. This is the oldest such assemblage found in southern Asia but no doubt more archaeology over time will lead to more updates. They did not use flint however but quartz pebbles – possibly retrieved from rivers and streams.

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