If you've read any news in the past day, you've seen reports regarding cannibalism in colonial Jamestown. It was known prior that the colonists had undergone a number of starvation years where they were forced to eat foods that they wouldn't normally. The trash pits from the sites hold the remains of animals who aren't normally butchered, including horses, cats, dogs, rats and snakes.
On Thursday, 22 March, the then-Tertiary Education Minister of Australia, Chris Bowen, registered for my new, up-coming MOOC (that’s a Massive Online Open Classroom, if you’ve somehow managed to miss it). Apparently, he’ll be taking the course, ‘Becoming human: Anthropology,’ an introduction to human evolution. By the next morning, Bowen had resigned from the Prime Minister’s cabinet and moved to the government back bench, stepping down from his post overseeing tertiary education…
Homer’s Iliad is one of the most famous works of Bronze Age Greece. Its date and composition, however, is one of the academically controversial. Recently, a group of researchers at the University of Reading applied the same techniques to researching genetic evolution (using the rate of genetic mutation) to the evolution of language. Using this method, they determined that the Iliad was written approximately 762 BCE +/- 50 years; a date consistent with historical theories.
“Languages behave just extraordinarily like genes.It is directly analogous. We tried to document the regularities in linguistic evolution and study Homer’s vocabulary as a way of seeing if language evolves the way we think it does. If so, then we should be able to find a date for Homer.” — Mark Pagel, Ph.D.
To learn more about the process and extensive findings, see the article published at Inside Science, “Geneticists Estimate Publication Date of the ‘Iliad‘” or the paper, published in the Journal of BioEssays.
MEXICO CITY.- Some months ago, a stone where human sacrifices were performed was found as part of the archaeological salvage work that has been made by the Program of Urban Archaeology (PAU) from the Great Temple Museum. Today, thanks to numerous studies, we know that the location where the monolith was discovered was not the place where it had been used 500 years ago. It was removed from its original place back…
Kuddos to my student Matthew who sent me this website. We are on the Mesoamerican section right now in my history course. The ballgame was an integral and pervasive activity throughout Ancient Mesoamerica. It is in their history, religion, and art. It was one of the most socially and ritually important activities in the Ancient Americas.
The website “The Mesoamerican Ballgame” explores the history and significance of the ballgame throughout history. You can explore an interactive timeline, study its history among various cultures, and even see vide of the game being played today! It also includes lesson plans and activities for students of all grade levels.
Interpreting burial status is a difficult thing, however some burials are clearly different from their peers. Often the warrior designation is given to adult males burials found with large amounts of weaponry and exotic goods. This doesn't necessarily indicate a warrior status or that they themselves fought in battle. In some cultures there are obvious examples of males who were too young to be actually warriors found with 'warrior' level artifacts.
There is a place in South America that was once the end of the earth. It lies close to the 41st parallel, where the Maule River empties into the Pacific Ocean, and in the first years of the 16th century it marked the spot at which the Empire of the Incas ended and a strange and unknown world began.
South of the Maule, the Incas thought, lay a land of mystery and darkness. It was a place where the Pacific’s waters chilled and turned from blue to black, and where indigenous peoples struggled to claw the basest of livings from a hostile environment. It was also where the witches lived and evil came from. The Incas called this land “the Place of Seagulls.”…
Paleoanthropologists have long looked to early hominids to answer questions about our own development and evolution. The most famous example is the Australopithecus Lucy, who roamed the African savannah more than 3 million years ago.
Recently, paleoanthropologists have uncovered a fossilized foot close to Lucy’s age but with details resembling an older species of proto-human, Ardi. The find provides scientists with new details and information on the evolution of bipedalism in humans. To learn more about the discovery, see the article in Scientific American.
I would be remiss if I let this story of my college mentor’s, John Gifford, Ph.D., prehistoric excavation closing down due to a shrinking budget. Little Salt Spring in Sarasota County, Florida is an important Paleo-Indian site and on the National Register of Historic Places. Archaeological Investigations over the last 21 years have yielded key information to understanding the peoples who lived in this region thousands of years before Columbus.
The 111 acre sink hole in Central Florida drew Floridians as early as 12,000 years ago. They used the site as a fresh water source but also as a trap for larger game, drowning them in the deep water and then removing the carcass to clean and eat. The material found at the site has been important and only just touched the surface.
Sadly, recently budget evaluations have determined the sites closing and, as such, Dr. Gifford will be retiring his archaeological career at the University of Miami’s Rosenthal School of Marine and Atmosphere Science.
“…because of this, I’m retiring after this semester. The reason I was hired in 1983 was to work at Little Salt Spring. My job was to do underwater research in Little Salt Spring.” — John Gifford, Ph.D.
The closing of the site has sent ripples throughout the archaeological community.
“It’s a rare site. It is one of Florida’s most puzzling and enigmatic archaeological sites. It is significant, based on what has been found there; the rich archaeological evidence of the earliest period of human occupation in Florida. It’s a time period of which we know very little.” Brent Wiseman, Ph.D.
To learn more about the Little Salt Springs excavations and its closing, see the article at Tampa Bay Online.
Vaughan Bell, a clinical psychologist and the main force behind Mind Hacks, spent several years working with Médecins Sans Frontières in Colombia. The MSF (Doctors without Borders) program focused on health in rural areas, particularly those affected by civil combat…