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Britain's prehistoric catastrophe revealed: How 90% of the neolithic population vanished in just 300 years
Ancient Britons may have been nearly wiped out by bubonic plague brought by newcomers to the island

The great 20-30 tonne stones of Stonehenge were erected by Neolithic farmers whose ancestors had lived in Britain for at least the previous 1,500 years – and new genetic research on 51 skeletons from all over Neolithic Britain has now revealed that during the whole of the Neolithic era, the country was inhabited mainly by olive-skinned, dark-haired Mediterranean-looking people.

But some 300 to 500 years after the main phase of Stonehenge was built, that mainly Mediterranean-looking British Neolithic-originating element of the population had declined from almost 100 percent to just 10 per cent of the population.
anthropology  Britain  history  immigration  bacteriology 
1 hour ago by campylobacter
Were Indigenous Australians the world's first bakers?
The Gurandgi Munjie group is revitalising native crops once cultivated by Aboriginal Australians, baking new breads with forgotten flours.

“That puts Australian baking way beyond anything that’s ever happened anywhere else in the world,” says author Bruce Pascoe. He’s talking about 36,000-year-old grindstones discovered in New South Wales, used by Aboriginal Australians to turn seeds into flours for baking. That’s well ahead of other civilisations that started baking early on, like the Egyptians, who began making bread around 17,000 BC.
food  anthropology  archaeology  history 
1 hour ago by campylobacter
Archaeologists find world's oldest bread and new evidence of sophisticated cooking dating back 14,000 years
The entire process of bread-making was (and indeed still sometimes is) nutritionally relatively uneconomic. Harvesting wild cereals, separating the seeds, grinding them, making the dough, flattening the dough and cooking it was an energy and time consuming activity which would not, on consumption, have produced a net energy gain for the people of Shubayqa 1.

The Shubayqa discovery may well therefore represent a profound change in human eating practice – away from the purely nutritionally utilitarian and towards a more culturally, socially and perhaps ideologically determined culinary tradition that is the norm throughout most of the world today.
food  anthropology  history  archaeology 
1 hour ago by campylobacter
Hunter Gatherer Inequality - Why Envy Might Be Good for Us - SAPIENS
This research also demonstrated how the Ju/’hoansi’s “fierce egalitarianism” underwrote their affluence. For it was their egalitarianism that ensured that no one bothered accumulating wealth and simultaneously enabled limited resources to flow organically through communities, helping to ensure that even in times of episodic scarcity everyone got more or less enough.
economics  anthropology  interesting 
15 hours ago by tobym
At this field school, students dig into the past - literally | Science Museum of Minnesota News | July 17, 2018
Students from Macalester College and the University of Minnesota joined Macalester Anthropology professor Scott Legge and Science Museum archaeology curator Ed Fleming on a summer archaeology field school experience. The primary excavations took place at Macalester's Ordway Field Station.
macnews  macfaculty  Anthropology  SpringLake  Dakota  KatharineOrdwayNaturalHistoryStudyArea  MacStudents  piper 
17 hours ago by macalestercollege
U.S. best-seller author introduces book on Genghis Khan | Vietnam News | July 18, 2018..
Jack Weatherford, professor emeritus, Anthropology, went to Vietnam to introduce the Vietnamese version of his book "Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World."
macnews  macfaculty  GenghisKhanandtheMakingoftheModernWorld  Anthropology  piper 
22 hours ago by macalestercollege
The American Academic Mistaken for a Spy | The New Republic
"MY LIFE AS A SPY: INVESTIGATIONS IN A SECRET POLICE FILE by Katherine VerderyDuke University Press Books, 344 pp., $27.95"
book  review  cold-war  history  anthropology  spying 
yesterday by tsuomela
Here be Witchcraft
apotropaic marks are found in the timber houses of New World settlers in America and Australia.
architecture  history  magic  culture  anthropology 
yesterday by teffalump
African Multiregionalism: The New Story of Human Origins
Yes, we evolved from ancestral hominids in Africa, but we did it in a complicated fashion—one that involves the entire continent.

Consider the ancient human fossils from a Moroccan cave called Jebel Irhoud, which were described just last year. These 315,000-year-old bones are the oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens. They not only pushed back the proposed dawn of our species, but they added northwest Africa to the list of possible origin sites. They also had an odd combination of features, combining the flat faces of modern humans with the elongated skulls of ancient species like Homo erectus. From the front, they could have passed for us; from the side, they would have stood out.

Fossils from all over Africa have modern and ancient traits in varied combinations, including the 260,000-year-old Florisbad skull from South Africa; the 195,000-year-old remains from Omo Kibish in Ethiopia; and the 160,000-year-old Herto skull, also from Ethiopia. Some scientists have argued that these remains represent different subspecies of Homo sapiens, or different species altogether.

But perhaps they really were all Homo sapiens, and our species simply used to be far more diverse than we currently are. “If you look at skulls, you’ll see different features of modern humans arising in different locations at different times,” says Eleanor Scerri, an archaeologist at the University of Oxford. And the reason for that, she says, is that “we’re a species with multiple African origins.

They’re arguing that Homo sapiens emerged from an ancestral hominid that was itself widespread through Africa, and had already separated into lots of isolated populations. We evolved within these groups, which occasionally mated with each other, and perhaps with other contemporaneous hominids like Homo naledi.

The best metaphor for this isn’t a tree. It’s a braided river—a group of streams that are all part of the same system, but that weave into and out of each other.

There’s one large potential problem with the African multiregionalism story. Genetic studies of today’s African populations suggest that they diverged from one another between 100,000 and 150,000 years ago—far later than the early, continent-wide origin suggested by the bones and tools. That deep and broad origin might be right, “but, it’s not something that we geneticists have formally tested,” says Brenna Henn from UC Davis, who is an author on the new paper. “We have discussed ways of doing that, but there’s no published paper yet saying that there is deep population structure in Africa.”
evolution  anthropology  africa 
6 days ago by campylobacter
Bruce Pascoe says we’ve got our story all wrong
Indigenous historian Bruce Pascoe has spent years looking through these incredible accounts and found the first white settlers documented how Aboriginal people built homes, villages, parks, dams and wells, selected seeds for harvesting, ploughed fields, irrigated crops and preserved food in vessels.

He says Aboriginal people were the first culture on earth to bake, evidenced by unearthed grindstones from 30,000 years ago, meaning Aussies beat the ancient Egyptians by more than 15,000 years.

He says much of this complex civilisation had been wiped out by 1860, as the land was torn up by Europeans, buildings burned down and their occupants killed by warfare, murder and disease.

When this ancient infrastructure was destroyed, Mr Pascoe believes it became convenient for settlers to perpetuate the myth that the nation’s first people were incapable of organising a coherent and sophisticated society. He believes this, in their minds, legitimised their reason for being there.
australia  history  racism  colonialism  anthropology 
6 days ago by campylobacter

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