Archaeologists do it in holes: Tales from the stratigraphy

Started by Maladict, May 27, 2016, 02:34:49 AM

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viper37

I don't do meditation.  I drink alcohol to relax, like normal people.

If Microsoft Excel decided to stop working overnight, the world would practically end.

Legbiter

QuoteAncient DNA research in the past decade has revealed that European population structure changed dramatically in the prehistoric period (14,000-3,000 years before present, YBP), reflecting the widespread introduction of Neolithic farmer and Bronze Age Steppe ancestries. However, little is known about how population structure changed in the historical period onward (3,000 YBP - present). To address this, we collected whole genomes from 204 individuals from Europe and the Mediterranean, many of which are the first historical period genomes from their region (e.g. Armenia, France). We found that most regions show remarkable inter-individual heterogeneity. Around 8% of historical individuals carry ancestry uncommon in the region where they were sampled, some indicating cross-Mediterranean contacts. Despite this high level of mobility, overall population structure across western Eurasia is relatively stable through the historical period up to the present, mirroring the geographic map. We show that, under standard population genetics models with local panmixia, the observed level of dispersal would lead to a collapse of population structure. Persistent population structure thus suggests a lower effective migration rate than indicated by the observed dispersal. We hypothesize that this phenomenon can be explained by extensive transient dispersal arising from drastically improved transportation networks and the Roman Empire's mobilization of people for trade, labor, and military. This work highlights the utility of ancient DNA in elucidating finer scale human population dynamics in recent history.

Stable population structure in Europe since the Iron Age, despite high mobility

This preprint is a nice example of the explosion of excellent whole-genome sequencing of ancient human remains and how they can shed light on history. All just in the last 7 years.
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Jacob

QuoteThe Black Death was history's most lethal plague. Now scientists say they know where it started

Ancient DNA has identified the earliest victims of the Black Plague in Kyrgyzstan in central Asia

There are few events in human history as ominous — both in name and impact — as the Black Death.

The bubonic plague pandemic made its way across Eurasia and north Africa between 1346 and 1553. It's estimated to have killed up to 200 million people, or 60 per cent of the Earth's entire population at the time.

Now, scientists believe they have pinpointed the origin of the Black Death to a region of present day Kyrgyzstan called Issyk-Kul, once a stopover on the Silk Road trade route in the 14th century.

Its place of origin has been one of the most hotly debated controversies in the history of epidemiology. Philip Slavin, an associate professor of environmental history at Stirling University in Scotland, and part of the research team, told Quirks & Quarks host Bob McDonald there have been a couple of prevailing theories over the past 200 years.

"The Black Death was thought to have originated either in China or in Central Asia," Slavin said. "But one thing in common to those theories was that there was absolutely no way to actually prove those theories without the ancient DNA."

14th century grave markers referred to 'pestilence'

The new study began several years ago when by chance Slavin came across a graveyard in the Lake Issyk-Kul region of present-day Kyrgyzstan. The graveyard had clearly marked and dated gravestones that showed an unusually high number of burials in the years 1338 and 1339.

"What's really remarkable is that some of those tombstones, the inscriptions were actually longer and more detailed than others," Slavin said. "They stated very precisely that the cause of the death of those individuals was 'pestilence.'"

Slavin wanted to investigate further, because these deaths occurred only six or seven years before the Black Death turned up in Europe. He thought there could be a connection. So he and his colleagues looked for ancient DNA from skulls that had been found by archeologists from the graveyard during excavations in the 1880s and 90s.


A gravestone from the medieval cemetery in Kyrgyzstan. Researchers found stones like this with engravings identifying victims of 'pestilence' from 1338 and 1339. (Pier-Giorgio Borbone)

More here, including an audio version: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/quirks/jun-18-black-death-origins-chicken-domestication-the-life-of-a-mastodon-and-more-1.6492059/the-black-death-was-history-s-most-lethal-plague-now-scientists-say-they-know-where-it-started-1.6492062

Legbiter

Cannibalism study: Humans are only modestly nutritious. :(

QuoteThis paper presents a nutritional template that offers a proxy calorie value for the human body. When applied to the Palaeolithic record, the template provides a framework for assessing the dietary value of prehistoric cannibalistic episodes compared to the faunal record. Results show that humans have a comparable nutritional value to those faunal species that match our typical body weight, but significantly lower than a range of fauna often found in association with anthropogenically modified hominin remains.

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep44707
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mongers

#664
Had to attended a museum training day in preparation for the big decant and redevelopment of half of the galleries.
Would have had a slight moan to myself about it's necessity/duration, but amongst the experienced staff and volunteers attending was the archeaologist Julian Richards, so if someone like that with 40 years of professional expertise feels duty bound to attend then the least I can do is also be there.

But man, this is going to be a PITA project, the ceramics are in a bit of a mess and the displayed medieval/drainage* collection is part composed of hundreds of small corroded keys, tokens, knives that need to be dismounted, assessed, catalogued, packed and stored away. :-(


* So called because they were discovered when the original open street sewers in Salisbury were dredged and covered over/replaced. And they were mainly small objects dropped/lost or thrown away into these ancient water channels.
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"

Jacob


Maladict


Josquius

At least you have somewhere secure to store them.
The museum documentation project I've seen in the past....  :ph34r:
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mongers

"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"

mongers

Quote from: Jacob on September 14, 2022, 08:39:15 PMThat's kind of cool to be part of that, though.

I think the only cool part is that a well respect tv archaeologist, Julian Richards, get to design a whole museum gallery room to tell the story of ceramics in Britain from the earliest finds around Stonehenge right up to the present day. Given his enthusiasm for the pots he's dug up over the year, I think it's probably a fitting academic highlight as compared to doing another tv series.

So previously 2 museum galleries filled with either a plush wedgewood collection, which doesn't tell you anything about the county or country or random 'presitge' ceramics from the 15-19th centuries, gets compressed into just one display cabinet.
And all the rest of the gallery if filled with objects showing the cultural, technological and social changes that these objects imply.
"We have it in our power to begin the world over again"

jimmy olsen

It is far better for the truth to tear my flesh to pieces, then for my soul to wander through darkness in eternal damnation.

Jet: So what kind of woman is she? What's Julia like?
Faye: Ordinary. The kind of beautiful, dangerous ordinary that you just can't leave alone.
Jet: I see.
Faye: Like an angel from the underworld. Or a devil from Paradise.
--------------------------------------------
1 Karma Chameleon point

crazy canuck

Very interest - hunter gatherers, keeping small numbers of animals as living meat lockers.
I want you to panic

https://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2019/jan/25/i-want-you-to-panic-16-year-old-greta-thunberg-issues-climate-warning-at-davos-video

"Woke" is now almost exclusively used by those who seek to deride it, those who chafe at the activism from which it sprang. Opponents to the idea are seeking to render it toxic. They use it to stand in for change itself, for evolution, for an accurate assessment of history and society that makes them uncomfortable and deflates their hagiographic view of American history.

grumbler

Quote from: Jacob on June 19, 2022, 11:56:56 PM
QuoteThe bubonic plague pandemic made its way across Eurasia and north Africa between 1346 and 1553. It's estimated to have killed up to 200 million people, or 60 per cent of the Earth's entire population at the time.

I hate it when science writers do this kind of sensationalistic bullshit.  Up to an average of 1 million people per year is not sixty percent of the world's population at the time.   Just stop!  It's not needed.  Let the science speak for science.
The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.   -G'Kar

Bayraktar!

PDH

Quote from: crazy canuck on September 16, 2022, 10:43:04 AMVery interest - hunter gatherers, keeping small numbers of animals as living meat lockers.

Just like how foragers (a better term) used locations with things like einkorn wheat as a part of their scheduled rounds, and improving things slightly over a long time with better water channels and the like.  The co-evolution of human society and animals/plants took a long time but it seems one of the better theories as to how people became saddled with crops and animals that needed to be cared for in a sedentary way...
I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
-Umberto Eco

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"I'm pretty sure my level of depression has nothing to do with how much of a fucking asshole you are."

-CdM

viper37

Well preserved Byzantine mosaic found in Gaza by Palestinian farmers
Link
I don't do meditation.  I drink alcohol to relax, like normal people.

If Microsoft Excel decided to stop working overnight, the world would practically end.