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Archaeology


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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 23-Oct-2014
Science
Highest altitude archaeological sites in the world explored in the Peruvian Andes
Research conducted at the highest-altitude Pleistocene archaeological sites yet identified in the world sheds new light on the capacity of humans to survive in extreme environments. The findings, to be published in the Oct. 24 edition of the academic journal Science -- co-authored by a team of researchers including University of Calgary archaeologist Sonia Zarrillo -- were taken from sites in the Pucuncho Basin, located in the Southern Peruvian Andes.

Contact: Heath McCoy
hjmccoy@ucalgary.ca
403-220-5089
University of Calgary

Public Release: 23-Oct-2014
British Dental Journal
Roman-Britons had less gum disease than modern Britons
The Roman-British population from c. 200-400 AD appears to have had far less gum disease than we have today, according to a study of skulls at the Natural History Museum led by a King's College London periodontist. The surprise findings provide further evidence that modern habits like smoking can be damaging to oral health.

Contact: Jenny Gimpel
jenny.gimpel@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-4334
King's College London

Public Release: 23-Oct-2014
Science
Highest altitude ice age human occupation documented in Peruvian Andes
In the southern Peruvian Andes, an archaeological team led by researchers at the University of Maine has documented the highest altitude ice age human occupation anywhere in the world -- nearly 4,500 meters above sea level.
Dan and Betty Churchill Exploration Fund, National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program, National Science Foundation

Contact: Margaret Nagle
nagle@maine.edu
207-581-3745
University of Maine

Public Release: 23-Oct-2014
Current Biology
Genomic data support early contact between Easter Island and Americas
People may have been making their way from Easter Island to the Americas well before Dutch commander Jakob Roggeveen arrived in 1722, according to new genomic evidence showing that the Rapanui people living on that most isolated of islands had significant contact with Native American populations hundreds of years earlier. The findings lend the first genetic support for such an early trans-Pacific route between Polynesia and the Americas, a trek of more than 4,000 kilometers.

Contact: Mary Beth O'Leary
moleary@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press

Public Release: 21-Oct-2014
NOAA team discovers 2 vessels from WWII convoy battle off North Carolina
A team of researchers led by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, UNC-Coastal Studies Institute, National Park Service

Contact: Lauren Heesemann
lauren.heesemann@noaa.gov
252-475-5495
NOAA Headquarters

Public Release: 21-Oct-2014
Nature Communications
Ancient Europeans intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture
By analyzing DNA from petrous bones of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices. The scientific team examined nuclear ancient DNA extracted from thirteen individuals from burials from archaeological sites in the Great Hungarian Plain. The skeletons sampled date from 5,700 BC (Early Neolithic) to 800 BC (Iron Age).

Contact: Dominic Martella
dominic.martella@ucd.ie
353-872-959-118
University College Dublin

Public Release: 20-Oct-2014
Arthritis & Rheumatology
Mummy remains refute antiquity of ankylosing spondylitis
Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now a new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, refutes that claim, finding instead a degenerative spinal condition called diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis in royal Egyptian mummies from the 18th to early 20th Dynasties.

Contact: Dawn Peters
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
781-388-8408
Wiley

Public Release: 15-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
Extinct giant kangaroos may have been hop-less
Now extinct giant kangaroos most likely could not hop and used a more rigid body posture to move their hindlimbs one at a time.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 13-Oct-2014
University of Leicester archaeologists discover bronze remains of Iron Age chariot
A team uncovers a matching set of decorated bronze parts from a 2nd or 3rd century BC Celtic chariot at Burrough Hill Iron Age hillfort.

Contact: John Thomas
jst6@le.ac.uk
44-011-625-25038
University of Leicester

Public Release: 9-Oct-2014
Stunning finds from ancient Greek shipwreck
A Greek and international team of divers and archaeologists has retrieved stunning new finds from an ancient Greek ship that sank more than 2,000 years ago off the remote island of Antikythera. The rescued antiquities include tableware, ship components, and a giant bronze spear that would have belonged to a life-sized warrior statue.

Contact: WHOI Media Office
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Public Release: 9-Oct-2014
PLOS ONE
Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests
Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses.

Contact: Stuart Gillespie
s.gillespie@bham.ac.uk
University of Birmingham

Public Release: 8-Oct-2014
Molecular Biology and Evolution
Treasure trove of ancient genomes helps recalibrate the human evolutionary clock
To improve the modeling and reading of the branches on the human tree of life, authors Francois Balloux et al, compiled the most comprehensive DNA set to date, a new treasure trove of 146 ancient (including Neanderthal and Denisovian) and modern human full mitochondrial genomes (amongst a set of 320 available worldwide).

Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
480-258-8972
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)

Public Release: 29-Sep-2014
Naturwissenschaften, The Science of Nature
Tooth serves as evidence of 220-million-year-old attack
At the beginning of the age of dinosaurs, gigantic reptiles -- distant relatives of modern crocodiles -- ruled the earth. Some lived on land and others in water and it was thought they didn't much interact. But a tooth found by a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, researcher in the thigh of one of these ancient animals is challenging this belief.

Contact: Whitney Heins
wheins@utk.edu
865-974-5460
University of Tennessee at Knoxville

Public Release: 29-Sep-2014
Genome Biology and Evolution
Ancient human genome from southern Africa throws light on our origins
The skeleton of a man who lived 2,330 years ago in the southernmost tip of Africa tells us about ourselves as humans, and throws some light on our earliest common genetic ancestry. The man's genome was sequenced and shown to be one of the 'earliest diverged' -- oldest in genetic terms -- found to-date in a region where modern humans are believed to have originated roughly 200,000 years ago.

Contact: Alison Heather
a.heather@garvan.org.uv
61-292-958-128
Garvan Institute of Medical Research

Public Release: 25-Sep-2014
Science
Innovative Stone Age tools were not African invention, say researchers
A new discovery of thousands of Stone Age tools has provided a major insight into human innovation 325,000 years ago and how early technological developments spread across the world, according to research published in the journal Science.
University of Connecticut, UK Natural Environment Research Council, Leakey Foundation, Irish Research Council, University of Winchester

Contact: Paul Teed
paul.teed@rhul.ac.uk
01-784-443-552
Royal Holloway, University of London

Public Release: 25-Sep-2014
Science
Stone Age site challenges old archaeological assumptions about human technology
Analysis of stone artifacts from the excavation of a 300,000 year old site in Armenia shows that new technologies evolved locally, rather than being imported from outside, as previously thought.
University of Connecticut, UK Natural Environment Research Council, L.S.B. Leakey Foundation, Irish Research Council, University of Winchester, UK

Contact: Tim Miller
tim.miller@uconn.edu
860-486-4064
University of Connecticut

Public Release: 24-Sep-2014
Nature
Fossil of multicellular life moves evolutionary needle back 60 million years
Virginia Tech geobiologist Shuhai Xiao and collaborators from the Chinese Academy of Sciences shed new light on multicellular fossils from a time 60 million years before a vast growth spurt of life known as the Cambrian Explosion occurred on Earth.

Contact: Rosaire Bushey
busheyr@vt.edu
540-231-5035
Virginia Tech

Public Release: 18-Sep-2014
New high-resolution satellite image analysis: 5 of 6 Syrian World Heritage sites 'exhibit significant damage'
In war-torn Syria, five of six World Heritage sites now 'exhibit significant damage' and some structures have been 'reduced to rubble,' according to new high-resolution satellite image analysis by the nonprofit, nonpartisan American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Contact: Ginger Pinholster
gpinhols@aaas.org
202-326-6421
American Association for the Advancement of Science

Public Release: 17-Sep-2014
Nature
New branch added to European family tree
Previous work suggested that Europeans descended from two ancestral groups: indigenous hunter-gatherers and early European farmers. This new study shows that there was also a third ancestral group, the Ancient North Eurasians, who contributed genetic material to almost all present-day Europeans. The research also reveals an even older lineage, the Basal Eurasians.
NIH/National Cancer Institute, NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences, NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute

Contact: David Cameron
david_cameron@hms.harvard.edu
617-432-0441
Harvard Medical School

Public Release: 16-Sep-2014
NOAA team reveals forgotten ghost ships off Golden Gate
A team of NOAA researchers today confirmed the discovery just outside San Francisco's Golden Gate strait of the 1910 shipwreck SS Selja and an unidentified early steam tugboat wreck tagged the 'mystery wreck.' The researchers also located the 1863 wreck of the clipper ship Noonday, currently obscured by mud and silt on the ocean floor.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service

Contact: Mary Jane Schramm
maryjane.schramm@noaa.gov
415-561-6622 x205
NOAA Headquarters

Public Release: 15-Sep-2014
The Holocene
The creation of the Vuoksi River preceded a significant cultural shift
The creation of the Vuoksi River and the subsequent rapid decrease in the water level of Lake Saimaa approximately 6,000 years ago revealed thousands of square kilometers of new, fertile land in eastern Finland. A multidisciplinary research project organised by University of Helsinki researchers has studied the role that the decrease in water levels has played in the interaction between nature and humans
Academy of Finland

Contact: Markku Oinonen
markku.j.oinonen@helsinki.fi
358-503-187-302
University of Helsinki

Public Release: 11-Sep-2014
Journal of Geology
Microscopic diamonds suggest cosmic impact responsible for major period of climate change
A new study published in the Journal of Geology provides support for the theory that a cosmic impact event over North America some 13,000 years ago caused a major period of climate change known as the Younger Dryas stadial, or 'Big Freeze.'

Contact: Emily Murphy
emurphy@press.uchicago.edu
773-702-7521
University of Chicago Press Journals

Public Release: 11-Sep-2014
Science
Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus
Scientists today unveiled what appears to be the first truly semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. New fossils of the massive Cretaceous-era predator reveal it adapted to life in the water some 95 million years ago, providing the most compelling evidence to date of a dinosaur able to live and hunt in an aquatic environment.
The National Geographic Society

Contact: Claire Gwatkin Jones
cgjones@ngs.org
202-857-7756
National Geographic Society

Public Release: 9-Sep-2014
British Science Festival 2014
New digital map reveals stunning hidden archaeology of Stonehenge
A host of previously unknown archaeological monuments have been discovered around Stonehenge as part of an unprecedented digital mapping project that will transform our knowledge of this iconic landscape -- including remarkable new findings on the world's largest 'super henge,' Durrington Walls.

Contact: Stuart Gillespie
s.gillespie@bham.ac.uk
University of Birmingham

Public Release: 8-Sep-2014
Enigmatic Viking fortress discovered in Denmark
On fields at Vallø Estate, near Køge, they have discovered traces of a massive Viking fortress built with heavy timbers and earthen embankments. The perfectly circular fortress is similar to the famous so-called 'Trelleborg' fortresses, which were built by King Harald Bluetooth around AD 980.

Contact: Nanna Holm
nh@museerne.dk
45-31-19-06-48
Aarhus University