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  • June 13, 2011
  • 12:59 AM

If you walk over a bed of hot coals, your mom might be worried about you. It’s science.

by Scicurious in Neurotic Physiology

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  

  • June 12, 2011
  • 10:15 PM

A Small House near Aztec

by teofilo in Gambler's House

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 »

  • June 12, 2011
  • 03:39 PM

New data about Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE).

by Umberto in Up and Down in Moxos

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:/

  • June 11, 2011
  • 09:24 AM

R.I.P. Toshisada Nishida.

by seriousmonkeybusiness in This is Serious Monkey Business

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 »

  • June 10, 2011
  • 10:29 PM

Colin Renfrew Has a Hammer

by teofilo in Gambler's House

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 »

  • June 10, 2011
  • 04:18 PM

Dismembered Cycladic Figurines

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

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:/

A. Selkirk. (2011) Keros: Sanctuary of the Cycladic Figurines. Current World Archaeology. info:/

  • June 10, 2011
  • 01:41 PM

Weiners and War Chiefs

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

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 »

  • June 10, 2011
  • 11:31 AM

Syphilis at Chaco

by teofilo in Gambler's House

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  

  • June 9, 2011
  • 05:14 PM

The Leper Warrior: Persistence of Racial Terminology in Biological Anthropology

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

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:/

K. Killgrove. (2009) Rethinking taxonomies: skeletal variation on the North Carolina coastal plain. Southeastern Archaeology, 28(1), 87-100. info:other/

  • June 8, 2011
  • 09:44 PM

Gould's Straw Man

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

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

  • June 8, 2011
  • 04:27 PM

Crazy Corn Children & Ritual Form

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

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 »

  • June 8, 2011
  • 02:45 PM

Earliest human migrations

by zacharoo in Lawn Chair Anthropology

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  

  • June 7, 2011
  • 04:30 PM

Universal Moral Grammar?

by Kevin Karpiak in Kevin Karpiak's Blog

Does anthropological evidence support the idea of a universal moral grammar?... Read more »

  • June 7, 2011
  • 12:15 PM

"What Have I Done?"—The Nature of Regret

by Krystal D'Costa in Anthropology in Practice

We've all been there—the "Oh, [expletive]" moment. Perhaps the door just shut and your keys are still sitting on the counter. Or you get to the subway/bus stop just as your mass transit mode of choice is pulling away. Perhaps you've left your wallet at home, and there are blue lights flashing in your rear view mirror. Or maybe your expletive moment is a bit darker: a broken promise, a hurt friend, or a damaged relationship through some fault of your own. After all, regret is all about you and........ Read more »

Gilbert DT, Morewedge CK, Risen JL, & Wilson TD. (2004) Looking Forward to Looking Backward: The Misprediction of Regret. Psychological science, 15(5), 346-50. PMID: 15102146  

John Sabini and Maury Silver. (2005) Why Emotion Names and Experiences Don't Neatly Pair. Psychological Inquiry, 16(1), 1-10. info:/

Schlenker, Barry, & Darby, Bruce. (1981) The Use of Apologies in Social Predicaments. Social Psychology Quarterly, 44(3), 271-278. DOI: 10.2307/3033840  

  • June 7, 2011
  • 11:49 AM

Britain's Not Getting More Mentally Ill

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

There's a widespread belief that mental illness is getting more common, or that it has got more common in recent years.A new study in the British Journal of Psychiatry says: no, it's not. They looked at the UK APMS mental health surveys, which were done in 1993, 2000 and 2007. Long-time readers will remember these.The authors of the new paper analyzed the data by birth cohort, i.e. when you were born, and by age at the time of the survey. If mental illness were rising, you'd predict that people ........ Read more »

  • June 6, 2011
  • 04:55 PM

Osteochronology and the Berenstain Bears

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

Actually, Papa Bear, humans are a bit similar to trees.... Read more »

  • June 6, 2011
  • 11:08 AM

Foreign Ideas & Moral Indigestion

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Imagine you are dining at a friend’s home. Your host is excited because she has prepared a special dish for you. When dinner is finally served, you are surprised to see a whole egg on your plate and when you open the egg, you are even more surprised to see this:
That’s balut, a dish of [...]... Read more »

Ritter, Ryan, & Preston, Jesse Lee. (2011) Gross gods and icky atheism: Disgust responses to rejected religious beliefs. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. info:/10.1016/j.jesp.2011.05.006

  • June 6, 2011
  • 06:00 AM

Trench Fever and Plague in 14th Century France

by Michelle Ziegler in Contagions

The Marseille plague group has been suggesting for some time now that human lice could be a major vector of medieval plague. To test their hypothesis the group devised a multiplex PCR screening method to rapidly screen many aDNA samples for seven pathogens that could cause medieval epidemics, including relapsing fever and trench fever transmitted by human lice. ... Read more »

  • June 6, 2011
  • 03:56 AM

Save the Planet by… Becoming a Vegan! Do I really have to?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Veganism – it’s just something for middle-class ‘hippies’ right? Vegans are those tree-hugging, hemp-wearing festival-goers who say ‘man’ far too much. Well perhaps it’s time for a rethink on that stereotype. At least if you care about environment, that is. If you had thought you could do your bit to fight global warming by getting … Continue reading »... Read more »

Gidon Eshel and Pamela A. Marti. (2006) Diet, Energy and Global Warming. Earth Interactions, 10(9), 1-17. DOI: 10.1175/EI167.1  

Fengxia Dong . (2007) Changing Diets in China's Cities: Empirical Fact or Urban Legend?. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. info:/

  • June 4, 2011
  • 04:26 PM

Decoding Frazer’s “Golden Bough”

by Cris Campbell in Genealogy of Religion

Few books in the history of anthropology are better known (but never read) than James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. First published in 1890 (2 volumes), Frazer published a second edition in 1900 (3 volumes), and a rolling third edition between 1911 and 1915 which ballooned to 12 volumes.
Though [...]... Read more »

Ackerman, Robert. (1975) Frazer on Myth and Ritual. Journal of the History of Ideas, 36(1), 115-134. DOI: 10.2307/2709014  

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