martes, 15 de septiembre de 2015

Cave of the Angel: Discoveries of a half a million year old Spanish Cave

1/2. Image Credit : Cueva del Ángel
On the 1st of September 2015, archaeologist, Cecilio Barroso sat before local Spanish press at Lucena City Hall to announce the latest discoveries made at a cave in the outskirts of the small town in southern Spain.

The Cave of the Angel Archaeological Project has been going now for twenty years and boasts one of the largest archaeological teams in Spain. As of 2015, over 70 scientists have been involved in the project in various capacities. Each summer brings a new crop of volunteers to the town of Lucena to be a part of an intriguing project. Providing them with experience in the field and the scientists with noteworthy evidence of hominin activity at the cave over the past 500,000 years or so. [...] HeritageDaily 

Siberian cave was home to generations of mysterious ancient humans

1/2. Denisovans occupied Denisova Cave more than once, at least 65,000 years apart. Neandertals slipped in as well, and modern humans were the last to live there. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropolog

In 2010, scientists discovered a new kind of human by sequencing DNA from a girl’s pinky finger found in Denisova Cave in Siberia. Ever since, researchers have wondered when the girl lived, and if her people, called Denisovans, lingered in the cave or just passed through. But the elusive Denisovans left almost no fossil record—only that bit of bone and a handful of teeth—and they came from a site that was notoriously difficult to date.

Now, state-of-the-art DNA analysis on the Denisovan molars and new dates on cave material show that Denisovans occupied the cave surprisingly early and came back repeatedly. The data suggest that the girl lived at least 50,000 years ago and that two other Denisovan individuals died in the cave at least 110,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 170,000 years ago, according to two talks here last week at the meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution. Although the new age estimates have wide margins of error, they help solidify our murky view of Denisovans and provide “really convincing evidence of multiple occupations of the cave,” says paleoanthropologist Fred Spoor of University College London. “You can seriously see it’s a valid species.” [...] Science/AAAS

Entrada relacionada / Related post

Actualización 16-09-15: New DNA tests on ancient Denisovan people 'shows them occupying Altai cave 170,000 years ago'
Prehistoric Siberians lived in Denisova Cave earlier than scientists realised - new claim based on state-of-the-art technology...

Actualización 18-09-15: Nuevas pruebas de ADN demuestran que los Denisovanos ya habitaban el Altái hace 170.000 años | Ancient Origins
... Recientemente, en un reportaje publicado en la edición digital de la revista Science se afirma que los análisis realizados sobre el hueso del dedo y los molares Denisovanos, así como de otros materiales procedentes de la cueva, demuestran que estas antiguas gentes tan poco conocidas ‘habitaron la cueva desde una época sorprendentemente antigua y volvieron repetidamente’.

La joven ‘vivió al menos hace 50.000 años y los otros dos individuos Denisovanos murieron en la cueva como mínimo hace 110.000 años, quizás hace tanto como 170.000 años.’

El informe menciona conversaciones científicas que tuvieron lugar en un encuentro de la Sociedad Europea para el Estudio de la Evolución Humana. En él se advierte acerca del amplio margen de error de las dataciones realizadas, aunque citando al paleoantropólogos Fred Spoor del University College de Londres, se reconoce que los descubrimientos aportan ‘pruebas realmente convincentes de múltiples ocupaciones de la cueva en diferentes épocas’, por lo que los Denísovanos deberían ser considerados una ‘especie válida’...

Earliest evidence for ambush hunting by early humans in the Kenyan Rift

Añadir leyendaS. Reynolds. Credit: Image courtesy of Bournemouth University

Around one million years ago, early humans were skilful at using the landscape features of the Kenyan Rift to ambush and kill their prey, according to new research published in Scientific Reports.

The area was a popular grazing site for larger animals (e.g., giant gelada baboons, elephants, hippopotami and the spotted hyenas) due to its locally high nutrient levels and the presence of an ancient freshwater lake, together with the relative lack of dangerous predators, such as lions.

An interdisciplinary team of anthropologists and earth scientists have shown that animal movements were constrained to particular pathways due to the restrictions imposed by the landscape.

Early humans became adept at predicting these pathways enabling them to ambush large and dangerous animals as evidenced by the butchered remains present at the site, in association with numerous stone tools. [...] ScienceDaily

Actualización 16-09-15: Descubren evidencias de caza con emboscada hace un millón de años
Hace alrededor de un millón de años, los primeros humanos desarrollaron la habilidad de emboscar y matar a sus presas en el paisaje de la región keniana del Rift.

Un nuevo estudio publicado en Scientific Reports, aquel área era un sitio de alimentación común para los animales más grandes (babuínos gigantes, elefantes, hipopótamos o hienas manchadas) debido a altos niveles de nutrientes y la presencia de un antiguo lago de agua dulce, junto con la relativa falta de depredadores peligrosos, tales como leones...

Abertura ao público do Menhir do Patalou

Foto: aportaeajanela

Dia 26 de Setembro, pelas 21:00, em cerimónia pública, será formalmente aberto à fruição dos interessados e turistas o acesso ao Menhir do Patalou, situado junto à estrada que liga Nisa à Barragem da Póvoa. A cerimónia que decorrerá junto ao menhir contará, para além das intervenções protocolares das entidades envolvidas, com uma breve conferência sobre Megalitismo a proferir por Jorge de Oliveira, Arqueólogo e docente da Universidade de Évora, a que se seguirá um concerto pela Orquestra Filarmónica da Banda de Nisa.

O Menhir do Patalou que a partir do dia 27 de Setembro pode ser livremente visitado foi objeto de estudo e reabilitação por parte duma equipa de Arqueologia da Universidade de Évora no âmbito dum protocolo estabelecido com a Câmara Municipal de Nisa. [...] UELine

Findings reveal ancient Chamorro life

3/4. Remains of an ancient Chamorro settlement at Ritidian, discovered last year. (Photo: University of Guam)

Findings at an archaeological site at Ritidian are some of the oldest in the Pacific islands and showcase the life of the Chamorro people over thousands of years in the Marianas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which controls a wildlife refuge at Ritidian, announced in December 2014 the discovery of the previously unknown site....

... Further study took place in June, and the findings were presented as part the University of Guam’s Micronesian Area Research Center (MARC) seminar series in a presentation entitled, “Identifying, Understanding and Protecting Our Heritage Sites” on Wednesday in the UOG CLASS Lecture Hall.

The seminar featured the MARC’s visiting Associate Professor of Archaeology Mike Carson, who has spent more than 10 years researching the historic sites, cultural artifacts and landscapes at Litekyan, also known as Ritidian.

Carson said digging in the area found a site that was more than 3,500 years old. [...]

New excavations studying life in Anatolia 7,000 years ago

3/3. The artifacts such as a bronze wristband, ring, earring and bead shed light on the culture and social life of ancient times.
An archological team excavating a tumulus of the Van Castle revealed new information about the social life and architecture of the region from 7,000 years ago. The team members also focus on findings belong to ancient Urartian civilizations and the Ottomans

More findings around an ancient urban settlement have been unearthed in a tumulus in the northern part of Van Castle during excavations conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. The findings have given researchers more information on a 7,000-year period that includes the history of the ancient Urartians as well as cast a light on the Ottoman era. [...] Daily Sabah

Archaeologists Find 7,500-Year-Old Cult Complex in Bulgaria’s Durankulak Lake

2/5. Photo: TV grab from BNT

A prehistoric cult complex which is about 7,500 years old, i.e. dating to the Chalcolithic, as well as what has been described as “possibly Prehistoric Europe’s largest stone building”, have been discovered by the archaeologists who have resumed the excavations of the Paleolithic and Neolithic settlement on the Big Island in the Durankulak Lake in Bulgaria’s northeastern-most corner.

The excavations of the Paleolithic and Neolithic settlement on the Big Island in Bulgaria’s Durankulak Lake first started in 1970s, with the discovered Paleolithic finds dating back to around 10,000 BC; and a Neolithic settlement dating back to between 5500-5400 BC and 5100-5000 BC.

The settlement, which created what is said to be Europe’s first stone city, belongs to Blatnitsa, the earliest phase of Europe’s Late Neolithic Hamangia-Durankulak Culture (whose remains are found in today’s Black Sea regions of Bulgaria and Romania).

Some of the finds date back to about 10,000 BC, the Paleolithic Age, and there are also numerous finds from all the later periods in Prehistory, and from the Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The Big Island in the Durankulak Lake, a 3.4 square km lagoon, is known as the Lake City or the “European Troy”. [...]

Archaeologists unearthed monumental stone structures in the Carpathians

1/5. View of the northern part of the archaeological excavation in mid-August. Retaining wall from the Early Bronze Age is visible on the cross section of the trench, in the bottom of the trench a line of rocks forming the lowest layer of the wall. Photo by M.S. Przybyła.

The oldest example of stone wall in the history of construction in the Polish lands, more than two and a half thousand years older than Romanesque architecture, has been discovered by archaeologists from Kraków on Zyndram’s Hill in Maszkowice (Małopolska).

Discovery of such significance was unexpected because archaeologists had been studying the archaeological site in Maszkowice since the beginning of the twentieth century. As a result of those excavations they discovered mainly the remains of a settlement inhabited from 1000 to 50 BC. Archaeologists from the Jagiellonian University, led by Dr. Marcin S. Przybyła, appeared in Maszkowice in 2010. Surprise awaited under the remains of the settlement from the late Bronze Age and Iron Age - it turned out that there were relics of a more than a half thousand years older settlement. [...] Science & Scholarship in Poland

Australia. Ancient campfires show early population numbers

RADIO carbon data from prehistoric occupation sites are providing insights into Australia’s fluctuating human population levels tens of thousands of years ago.

ANU archaeologist Alan Williams used radio carbon dating technology to examine charcoal dates from more than 1000 prehistoric campfires and based on this he says populations appear to have increased steadily until 25,000 years ago.

He did this by examining the isotope Carbon 14 (14C), which is absorbed by all living things from the atmosphere.

Their remains then lose the isotope at a steady rate after they die, and Carbon 14 levels provide reliable dates for any organic matter up to about 35,000 years old.

Dr Williams compared these dates with climatic change profiles provided by a recent synthesis of Australia’s palaeoclimate from the OZ-INTIMATE (Australasian INTegration of Ice core, Marine and TErrestial records) project. [...]