Archaeology news

Glucose in Plants

At https://horizon-magazine.eu/article/how-stone-age-humans-unlocked-glucos... ... grinding stones were an evolutionary success story. They allowed people to unlock the energy in plants by making flours. Plants rich in starch helped humans to thrive. Whilst the importance of eating meat has been explored by scientists very little investigation into plant material has been done. One reason for this is that animal bones can hang around a human occupation site for a long time - as long as the soil is not too acidic. Plant remains have a very short shelf life.

Waim

This story is at various blogs and web sites as well as media outlets. Mind you it has got buried underneath the wall to wall news stories on coronavirus but you can read about it at https://phys.org/news/2020-03-artifacts-guinea-neolithic-period.html ... which is derived from https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aay4573 (Science Advances). Agriculture of a kind developed in some parts of New Guinea at least as far back as 7000 years ago - and possibly even further back in time if it is an extension of jungle clearing and the favouring of particular plants.

Hallstatt Plateau

According to the post at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallstatt_plateau ... the Hallstatt Plateau is a term used in archaeology that refers to a flat area in radiocarbon dating (as opposed to calendar dates). The C4 methodology is said to be hampered by this huge plateau - the point where the calibration curve swings away from raw carbon dating. This concerns C14 dates clustering around 2450BP (before present), which always calibrate between 800 and 450BC, no matter the measurement precision involved in the laboratory.

Fine Tuning Radiocarbon Dates

An article in Science Advances (March 18th 2020) is interesting - see https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/12/eaaz1096 .. and https://phys.org/news/2020-03-fine-tuning-radiocarbon-dating-rewrite-anc... ... which promises much but delivers little. Radiocarbon dating was invented in the late 1940s and after improvements over the years it remains the standard method for dating artifacts in archaeology and other disciplines.

Bone Circle

This seems to have been published in the journal Antiquity but various media outlets have spread the news. For example www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/51930545 ... and www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-03/uoe-mbc031220.php ... circles made of the remains of mammoths are fairly common in the Ukaraine and the western Russian plain. Some 70 are known about. The latest one has been dated 20,000 years ago (the height of the Late Glacial Maximum). The bones are said to have an origin in animal graveyards - but little information of these graveyards is supplied.

Assyria and All That

At www.miragenews.com/approaching-ancient-assyria-through-archaeology-leads... ... which is to do with the imperial nature of the Assyrian state. The author actually compares the Assyrian empire to the British empire - in so far as different countries and regions experienced different ways of governance (to blend in with local beliefs and traditions). The post is really a sort of a review of a book, 'The Imperialisation of Assyria: an archaeological approach', Cambridge University Press:2020, by Bledo During. What was the secret of their success, she asks.

Hammam destruction matrix

The Hammam excavations newsletter has revealed some interesting facts about the destruction of the MB city. For example, yesterday they were photographing the remains of two skulls (for documentary purposes) and described them  - or rather, described what was left of them. This was mainly upper dentition. However, it is teeth that are the most rewarding parts of the skull to examine as they may contain DNA and are just the thing for analysis. One of them was 70 per cent complete but missing its lower jaw. The other skull was much more fragmentary but did have its upper jaw.

Older Than

At https://www.gaia.com/article/turkish-archaeologists-find-site-much-older... ... excavations at Boncuklu Tarla (also in SE Turkey) have yielded 11,300 year old mini Gobekli Tepe like structures. It has three well preserved monolithic structures described as resembling those at Gobekli Tepe - but the stelae have no figurative inscriptions (unlike the ones at Gobekli Tepe). What is interesting, however, is that the new site dates just 600 years after the onset of the Younger Dryas event.

Armageddon

At www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00510-w .... archaeology at Megiddo - Biblical Armageddon. The last battle - the last conflagration etc. The mound of the city is SE of Haifa, not far from Nazareth. The mound is composed of 20 cities (built on top of each other, very often after one of them was destroyed in a conflagration). It began life around 5000BC. In other  words, Megiddo has experienced a number of armageddons - and a final one as the mound was abandoned in the 3rd century AD. Why did it become the focal battle of Revelation?

Toba Survival

At https://phys.org/news/2020-02-human-populations-survived-toba-volcanic.html .... human populations survived with little effect, the so called Toba life ending super volcano that erupted 74,000 years ago. Another study on the subject, this time with firm archaeological evidence to back it up. It seems the Toba super volcano was not as devastating as previously allowed - and neither did it cause a human bottleneck. It seems like they may have to look elsewhere for a bottleneck - if one exists.