I mentioned earlier that there was a new paper out on chocolate at Chaco that I needed to read. I read it today, and it’s quite interesting. One of the most interesting things about it is that it’s by a different group of researchers than the first one and uses somewhat different methods. As far [...]... Read more »
Washburn, D., Washburn, W., & Shipkova, P. (2011) The prehistoric drug trade: widespread consumption of cacao in Ancestral Pueblo and Hohokam communities in the American Southwest. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(7), 1634-1640. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2011.02.029
What does it mean to be monogamous?Sexual exclusivity between two partners?
A two-party partnership, characterized by cooperation where resources are shared and children are produced?
A genetic commitment to producing offspring with a single partner?
A social system in which only two people are contracted to marriage at a time?
Or is it perhaps some combination of these four?
For some people, establishing yourself in an exclusively committed relationship where you wake up next to the same perso........ Read more »
If you have ever suffered through an episode of “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel, you might believe that every megalithic structure in the world was constructed by extraterrestrials:
Apparently inspired by the show, one credulous soul posted this question over at Answers.com: “Can scientists prove that Stonehenge was not built by ancient astronauts?” The pithy [...]... Read more »
Two articles published last month in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology are starting to greatly complicate bioarchaeologists' use and interpretation of stable oxygen isotope ratios in an attempt to understand migration and mobility in the past. Science is constantly progressing, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest research. The real challenge for me, though, is in interpreting the isotope analyses I have done on populations from Imperial Rome - first becau........ Read more »
Bianucci, R., Mattutino, G., Lallo, R., Charlier, P., Jouin-Spriet, H., Peluso, A., Higham, T., Torre, C., & Rabino Massa, E. (2008) Immunological evidence of Plasmodium falciparum infection in an Egyptian child mummy from the Early Dynastic Period. Journal of Archaeological Science, 35(7), 1880-1885. DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2007.11.019
Pollard AM, Pellegrini M, & Lee-Thorp JA. (2011) Technical note: Some observations on the conversion of dental enamel δ(18) o(p) values to δ(18) o(w) to determine human mobility. American journal of physical anthropology. PMID: 21541927
Prowse TL, Schwarcz HP, Garnsey P, Knyf M, Macchiarelli R, & Bondioli L. (2007) Isotopic evidence for age-related immigration to imperial Rome. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 132(4), 510-9. PMID: 17205550
Reitsema LJ, & Crews DE. (2011) Brief communication: Oxygen isotopes as a biomarker for sickle-cell disease? Results from transgenic mice expressing human hemoglobin S genes. American journal of physical anthropology. PMID: 21541922
Recent excavations in a sewer at Herculaneum uncovered a massive deposit of, well, poop. What can feces tell us about the ancient Romans' diet, diseases, and medicine?... Read more »
S.C. Bisel. (1988) Nutrition in first-century Herculaneum. Anthropologie, 26(1), 61-66. info:/
Capasso L. (2002) Bacteria in two-millennia-old cheese, and related epizoonoses in Roman populations. The Journal of infection, 45(2), 122-7. PMID: 12217720
Capasso, L. (2007) Infectious diseases and eating habits at Herculaneum (1st century AD, southern Italy). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 17(4), 350-357. DOI: 10.1002/oa.906
By Greg Downey
As any fan of the adventures of Daredevil, being blind in comic books can give you superpowers. Matt Murdoch was blinded by a radioactive accident that he befell because he tried to save a blind pedestrian from the truck carrying the waste (ah, the irony…). Murdoch developed a kind of ‘radar’ sense that allowed him to prowl Hell’s Kitchen, rooting out the miscreants and lowlifes who, like the blind Man Without Fear, preferred to lurk in the dark.
Although his personal li........ Read more »
COTZIN M, & DALLENBACH KM. (1950) "Facial vision:" the role of pitch and loudness in the perception of obstacles by the blind. The American journal of psychology, 63(4), 485-515. PMID: 14790019
Kellogg, W. (1962) Sonar System of the Blind: New research measures their accuracy in detecting the texture, size, and distance of objects "by ear.". Science, 137(3528), 399-404. DOI: 10.1126/science.137.3528.399
Merabet, L., & Pascual-Leone, A. (2009) Neural reorganization following sensory loss: the opportunity of change. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(1), 44-52. DOI: 10.1038/nrn2758
Rosenblum, L., Gordon, M., & Jarquin, L. (2000) Echolocating Distance by Moving and Stationary Listeners. Ecological Psychology, 12(3), 181-206. DOI: 10.1207/S15326969ECO1203_1
Schenkman, B., & Nilsson, M. (2010) Human echolocation: Blind and sighted persons’ ability to detect sounds recorded in the presence of a reflecting object. Perception, 39(4), 483-501. DOI: 10.1068/p6473
Stroffregen, T., & Pittenger, J. (1995) Human Echolocation as a Basic Form of Perception and Action. Ecological Psychology, 7(3), 181-216. DOI: 10.1207/s15326969eco0703_2
Thaler, L., Arnott, S., & Goodale, M. (2011) Neural Correlates of Natural Human Echolocation in Early and Late Blind Echolocation Experts. PLoS ONE, 6(5). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020162
WORCHEL P, & DALLENBACH KM. (1947) Facial vision; perception of obstacles by the deaf-blind. The American journal of psychology, 60(4), 502-53. PMID: 20273385
Many recent interpretations of Chaco Canyon see it as a site of pilgrimage, and this is often specifically seen as taking the form of regular region-wide ritual events involving communal feasting, construction work on the massive buildings in the canyon, trade involving various mundane and exotic items, and ritual breakage of pottery and deposition of [...]... Read more »
Wills, W. (2001) Ritual and Mound Formation during the Bonito Phase in Chaco Canyon. American Antiquity, 66(3), 433. DOI: 10.2307/2694243
Sci has to say she’d have LOVED to take the data for this study. Get to go to Spain, hang out, put some heart monitors on people and watch some fire walking…sounds like a good time. Much more glamorous than my own daily life in the lab. Can I get a little glamour around here? [...]... Read more »
Konvalinka, I., Xygalatas, D., Bulbulia, J., Schjodt, U., Jegindo, E., Wallot, S., Van Orden, G., & Roepstorff, A. (2011) Synchronized arousal between performers and related spectators in a fire-walking ritual. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(20), 8514-8519. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016955108
In July 1914 Earl Morris, the pioneering Southwestern archaeologist who would later become famous for his excavations at Aztec and other sites in the region, happened to visit one Eudoro Córdoba, who owned a farm on the Animas River a short distance upstream of the major ruins at Aztec. On his mantelpiece were various artifacts [...]... Read more »
Morris, E. (1915) The Excavation of a Ruin near Aztec, San Juan County, new Mexico. American Anthropologist, 17(4), 666-684. DOI: 10.1525/aa.1915.17.4.02a00040
The Journal of Archaeological Science has just published a new study on ADE. The study, of Birk et al. is entitled: “Faeces deposition on Amazonian Anthrosols as assessed from 5b-stanols”. I have just read it and this is my very first impression:The new data are extremely interesting. The authors look at the presence of coprostanol (a marker for faeces) in Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE). They have found a clear change in the index used to asses different sources of stanols, when comparing sample........ Read more »
Jago Jonathan Birka, Wenceslau Geraldes Teixeirab, Eduardo Góes Nevesc, & Bruno Glaser. (2011) Faeces deposition on Amazonian Anthrosols as assessed from 5β-stanols. Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(6), 1209-1220. info:/doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2010.12.015
On June 7th, 2011, one of the world's pioneering primatologists, Toshisada Nishida, passed away at age 70. A look back at his career and his accomplishments.... Read more »
NISHIDA, T. (1973) The ant-gathering behaviour by the use of tools among wild chimpanzees of the Mahali Mountains. Journal of Human Evolution, 2(5), 357-370. DOI: 10.1016/0047-2484(73)90016-X
Nishida, T. (1976) The Bark-Eating Habits in Primates, with Special Reference to Their Status in the Diet of Wild Chimpanzees. Folia Primatologica, 25(4), 277-287. DOI: 10.1159/000155720
Kristina Killgrove has an interesting post on the numerous broken Cycladic figurines on the Greek island of Keros that have been documented over the past few years by the prominent British archaeologist Colin Renfrew. Renfrew’s interpretation seems to be that these figurines were deliberately broken in various Cycladic communities, then deliberately brought to Keros to [...]... Read more »
Renfrew, C. (2001) Production and Consumption in a Sacred Economy: The Material Correlates of High Devotional Expression at Chaco Canyon. American Antiquity, 66(1), 14. DOI: 10.2307/2694314
On the six-square-mile island of Keros, a part of the Cycladic island chain of the Aegean Sea, thousands of broken sculptures and pottery dating to about 2,500 BC have been discovered since archaeologist Colin Renfrew started excavating there in the 1960s. The caches of broken figurines are especially interesting, as archaeologists have been unable to find joins - pieces that fit together:
2500-year-old Broken Cycladic Figurines from Keros
(credit: Cambridge University via The Guardian)........ Read more »
G. Papamichelakis, & C. Renfrew. (2010) Hearsay about the "Keros Hoard". American Journal of Archaeology, 114(1), 181-185. info:/http://www.atypon-link.com/AIA/doi/abs/10.3764/aja.114.1.181
A. Selkirk. (2011) Keros: Sanctuary of the Cycladic Figurines. Current World Archaeology. info:/http://www.world-archaeology.com/features/keros-sanctuary-of-the-cycladic-figurines/
By most accounts, Anthony Weiner thinks highly of himself. Filled with bravado, Weiner considers himself to be a political warrior. Regaling one 17 year old girl with stories about congressional battles, he likened himself to Superman: “I came back strong. Large. In charge. Tights and cape shit.” Weiner even took cape-less photos of his pecs [...]... Read more »
Moore, J. (1990) The Reproductive Success of Cheyenne War Chiefs: A Contrary Case to Chagnon's Yanomamo. Current Anthropology, 31(3), 322. DOI: 10.1086/203846
There’s a persistent archaeological meme about there being a “lack of burials” at Chaco Canyon. The idea is that not nearly enough burials have been found there to account for the size and magnificence of the architecture, so something odd is going on. This has been interpreted in various ways and used as support for [...]... Read more »
Marden, K., & Ortner, D. (2011) A case of treponematosis from pre-Columbian Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, 21(1), 19-31. DOI: 10.1002/oa.1103
A few months ago, the news media carried a story about "Bones of Leper Warrior found in Medieval Cemetery" in central Italy. The publication by Mauro Rubini and Paola Zaio was in early view at the time and was just published in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science (see citation below). I noticed that Katy Meyers blogged about it today over at Bones Don't Lie, but I'm afraid I can't be as charitable as she is in pointing out the flaws.
8th c Avar Warrior
(credit: Wiki........ Read more »
M. Rubini, & P. Zaio. (2011) Warriors from the East. Skeletal evidence of warfare from a Lombard-Avar cemetery in central Italy (Campochiaro, Molise, 6th-8th century AD). Journal of Archaeological Science, 38(7), 1551-1559. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2011.02.020
K. Killgrove. (2009) Rethinking taxonomies: skeletal variation on the North Carolina coastal plain. Southeastern Archaeology, 28(1), 87-100. info:other/
Stephen Jay Gould famously argued in his best-known work, The Mismeasure of Man, that Samuel Morton unconsciously manipulated his data on cranial capacity in different populations to fit his own preconceived, racist notions about human variation. Gould undertook a reanalysis of Morton's data and leveled a variety of accusations against Morton: he incorrectly measured skulls, made mathematical errors, picked and chose his sample populations, and didn't report all of the data he collected. I w........ Read more »
J.E. Lewis, D. DeGusta, M.R. Meyer, J.M. Monge, A.E. Mann, & R.L. Holloway. (2011) The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias. PLoS Biology, 9(6). info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001071
In 1977, Stephen King published his short story “Children of the Corn” in Penthouse. Seven years later, movie audiences across the nation were horrified by the ritual doings of small town Nebraska kids who worshiped something malevolent in the corn.
It surely was no coincidence that later in the year, Nebraska experienced a sharp drop in [...]... Read more »
Atkinson, Quentin D., & Whitehouse, Harvey. (2011) The Cultural Morphospace of Ritual Form: Examining Modes of Religiosity Cross-Culturally. Evolution and Human Behavior, 32(1), 50-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.09.002
One of my favorite paleoanthropological sites is Dmanisi, in the Republic of Georgia. It is the oldest securely dated hominid site outside Africa (just under 1.85 million years ago), and the hominids found there display a neat mix of primitive Homo habilis and derived H. erectus features. I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to excavate at Dmanisi last year, and to return to Georgia (lamazi Sakartvelo! [I hope I translated that correctly]) for more fieldwork next month.
Recently, ........ Read more »
Ferring R, Oms O, Agustí J, Berna F, Nioradze M, Shelia T, Tappen M, Vekua A, Zhvania D, & Lordkipanidze D. (2011) Earliest human occupations at Dmanisi (Georgian Caucasus) dated to 1.85-1.78 Ma. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21646521
Does anthropological evidence support the idea of a universal moral grammar?... Read more »
Saba Mahmood. (2001) Feminist Theory, Embodiment, and the Docile Agent: Some Reflections on the Egyptian Islamic Revival. Cultural Anthropology, 16(2), 202-236. DOI: 10.1525/can.2001.16.2.202
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