Monday, September 21, 2015

5,000-Year-Old Throne Found in Turkey

The remains of a 5,000-year-old adobe basament of a possible “throne” have been unearthed during excavations in Turkey, revealing the origins of the secularization of power and one of the first evidence of the birth of the state system.
Discovered in Aslantepe in the eastern Turkish province of Malatya, the structure consists of an adobe platform, raised by three steps above the floor, on top of which burnt wooden pieces were found.
“The burnt wooden fragments are likely the remains of a chair or throne,” excavation director Marcella Frangipane of La Sapienza University in Rome, told Discovery News.
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Steinzeitliche Miniaturräder aus Holz

Kinderspielzeug, Anschauungsmaterial für Wagenbauer oder rituelle Gegenstände?
Im Olzreuter Ried bei Bad Schussenried in Oberschwaben fanden Archäologen des des Landesamts für Denkmalpflege im Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart zwei gut erhaltene hölzerne Miniaturräder aus dem 3. Jahrtausend v.Chr. Die Funde zeigen, dass in der Jungsteinzeit zwei unterschiedliche Konstruktionsprinzipien für Fuhrwerke bekannt waren.
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Monday, September 14, 2015

Mesolithic site on Skye to be investigated

Archaeologists have described the site as having "huge potential"

Excavations of a Mesolithic site on Skye could give new insights into the lives of some of the island's earliest residents.
Archaeologists believe the location above Staffin Bay has the remains of a house that could be 8,000 years old.
Mesolithic flints have previously been found in an area of eroded grazing land near the site.
Archaeologists will work with Staffin Community Trust and volunteers in making small excavations.
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Neolithic skeleton reveals early history of rickets

Rickets has been identified in a Neolithic skeleton from the Scottish island of Tiree, making it the earliest case of the disease in the UK, according to research announced at the British Science Festival in Bradford.
This is particularly surprising as the disease – caused by Vitamin D deficiency linked to lack of sunlight – is more commonly associated with the urban slums of Victorian Britain than with rural, farming communities, as existed in Neolithic Scotland. The nature of the grave itself – a simple burial rather than a chambered tomb – has raised questions as to how the woman, physically deformed by the disease, may have been treated by her community.
Professor Ian Armit from the University of Bradford explains: “The earliest case of rickets in Britain until now dated from the Roman period, but this discovery takes it back more than 3,000 years. There have been a few possible cases in other parts of the world that are around the same time, but none as clear cut as this. While we can’t say for certain that this is the earliest case in the world, it is definitely very unusual.
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DNA from Neandertal relative may shake up human family tree


In a remarkable technical feat, researchers have sequenced DNA from fossils in Spain that are about 300,000 to 400,000 years old and have found an ancestor—or close relative—of Neandertals. The nuclear DNA, which is the oldest ever sequenced from a member of the human family, may push back the date for the origins of the distinct ancestors of Neandertals and modern humans, according to a presentation here yesterday at the fifth annual meeting of the European Society for the study of human evolution.

Ever since researchers first discovered thousands of bones and teeth from 28 individuals in the mid-1990s from Sima de los Huesos (“pit of bones”), a cave in the Atapuerca Mountains of Spain, they had noted that the fossils looked a lot like primitive Neandertals. The Sima people, who lived before Neandertals, were thought to have emerged in Europe. Yet their teeth, jaws, and large nasal cavities were among the traits that closely resembled those of Neandertals, according to a team led by paleontologist Juan-Luis Arsuaga of the Complutense University of Madrid. As a result, his team classified the fossils as members of Homo heidelbergensis, a species that lived about 600,000 to 250,000 years ago in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Many researchers have thought H. heidelbergensis gave rise to Neandertals and perhaps also to our species, H. sapiens, in the past 400,000 years or so.

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Scientists identify a new ancient ancestor

An international team of scientists, including one from the University of Colorado Denver and another from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, announced the discovery of a new species of hominin, a small creature with a tiny brain that opens the door to a new way of thinking about our ancient ancestors. 

This photo provided by National Geographic from their October 2015 issue shows  a composite skeleton of Homo naledi surrounded by some of the hundreds of  other fossil elements recovered from the Rising Star cave in South Africa,  photographed at the Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of  the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa  [Credit: Robert Clark/National Geographic, Lee Berger/ University of the Witwatersrand via AP] 

The discovery of 15 individuals, consisting of 1,550 bones, represents the largest fossil hominin find on the African continent. 

“We found adults and children in the cave who are members of genus Homo but very different from modern humans,” said CU Denver Associate Professor of Anthropology Charles Musiba, PhD, who took part in a press conference Thursday near the discovery inside the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site outside Johannesburg, South Africa. “They are very petite and have the brain size of chimpanzees. The only thing similar we know of are the so-called ‘hobbits’ of Flores Island in Indonesia.”

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