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Archaeology


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Key: Meeting Journal Funder
Public Release: 28-Aug-2014
Antiquity
Ancient metal workers were not slaves but highly regarded craftsmen
In the course of ongoing excavations at Timna Valley, Tel Aviv University archaeologists analyzed remnants of food eaten by copper smelters 3,000 years ago. This analysis indicates that the laborers operating the furnaces were in fact skilled craftsmen who enjoyed high social status and adulation. They believe their discovery may have ramifications for similar sites across the region.

Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Public Release: 28-Aug-2014
Science
New DNA study unravels the settlement history of the New World Arctic
A new DNA study unravels the settlement history of the New World Arctic.

Contact: Eske Willerslev
ewillerslev@snm.ku.dk
0045-28-75-13-09
University of Copenhagen

Public Release: 27-Aug-2014
Nature
Walking fish reveal how our ancestors evolved onto land
About 400 million years ago a group of fish began exploring land and evolved into tetrapods -- today's amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. But just how these ancient fish used their fishy bodies and fins in a terrestrial environment and what evolutionary processes were at play remain scientific mysteries.

Contact: Cynthia Lee
cynthia.lee@mcgill.ca
514-398-6754
McGill University

Public Release: 27-Aug-2014
PLOS ONE
Stone-tipped spears lethal, may indicate early cognitive and social skills
Attaching a stone tip on to a wooden spear shaft was a significant innovation for early modern humans living around 500,000 years ago. However, it was also a costly behavior in terms of time and effort to collect, prepare and assemble the spear. Arizona State University and University of Cape Town researchers conducted controlled experiments to learn if there was a 'wounding' advantage between using a wooden spear or a stone-tipped spear.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Contact: Benjamin Schoville
benjamin.schoville@asu.edu
27-076-136-4669
Arizona State University

Public Release: 27-Aug-2014
PLOS ONE
Bronze Age wine cellar found
A Bronze Age palace excavation reveals an ancient wine cellar, according to a study published Aug. 27, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Andrew Koh from Brandeis University and colleagues.
Brandeis University, University of Haifa, George Washington University, National Geographic Society, Israel Science Foundation, Institute for Aegean Prehistory, Bronfman Philanthropies

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 27-Aug-2014
PLOS ONE
Stone-tipped spears more damaging than sharpened wooden spears
Experimental comparison may show that stone-tipped spears do not penetrate as deep, but may still cause more damage, than sharpened wooden spears.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 25-Aug-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
SA's Taung Child's skull and brain not human-like in expansion
By subjecting the skull of the first australopith discovered to the latest technologies in the Wits University Microfocus X-ray Computed Tomography facility, researchers are now casting doubt on theories that Australopithecus africanus shows the same cranial adaptations found in modern human infants and toddlers.

Contact: Kristian Carlson
Kristian.Carlson@wits.ac.za
27-117-176-681
University of the Witwatersrand

Public Release: 20-Aug-2014
Nature
New research shows seals and sea lions likely spread tuberculosis to humans
Scientists who study tuberculosis have long debated its origins. New research shows that tuberculosis likely spread from humans in Africa to seals and sea lions that brought the disease to South America and transmitted it to Native people there before Europeans landed on the continent.
National Science Foundation, European Research Council, Smithsonian Institution, Swiss National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Wenner-Gren Foundation, Wellcome Trust

Contact: Julie Newberg
480-727-3116
Arizona State University

Public Release: 20-Aug-2014
PLOS ONE
Paleolithic 'escargot'
Paleolithic inhabitants of modern-day Spain may have eaten snails 10,000 years earlier than their Mediterranean neighbors.

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS

Public Release: 16-Aug-2014
Journal of Archaeological Science
Bone chemistry reveals royal lifestyle of Richard III
A recent study by the British Geological Survey, in association with researchers at the University of Leicester, has delved into the bone and tooth chemistry of King Richard III and uncovered fascinating new details about the life and diet of Britain's last Plantagenet king. This forensic study will feature in a documentary, 'Richard III: The New Evidence,' airing on Channel 4 on Sunday, Aug. 17, at 9 p.m.

Contact: Sacha Boucherie
s.boucherie@elsevier.com
31-204-853-564
Elsevier

Public Release: 13-Aug-2014
PLOS ONE
Embalming study 'rewrites' key chapter in Egyptian history
Researchers from the Universities of York, Macquarie and Oxford have discovered new evidence to suggest that the origins of mummification started in ancient Egypt 1,500 years earlier than previously thought.

Contact: Caron Lett
caron.lett@york.ac.uk
44-019-043-22029
University of York

Public Release: 11-Aug-2014
Geology
Western Wall weathering: Extreme erosion explained
Hebrew University researchers investigating erosion at Jerusalem's Western Wall found that limestone with very small crystals eroded up to 100 times faster and had sometimes receded by tens of centimeters, potentially weakening the wall's structure. The researchers described an accelerated erosion process causing some rocks to become more weathered than others, and showed that chemo-mechanical erosion extends down to the tiny micron scale. The findings could help guide preservation techniques at cultural heritage sites worldwide.
Israel Science Foundation

Contact: Dov Smith
dovs@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82844
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Public Release: 8-Aug-2014
Science
Ancient shellfish remains rewrite 10,000-year history of El Nino cycles
Piles of ancient shells provide the first reliable long-term record for the powerful driver of year-to-year climate changes. Results show that the El Niņos 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as they are today.
National Science Foundation, NOAA, French National Research Agency

Contact: Hannah Hickey
206-543-2580
University of Washington

Public Release: 7-Aug-2014
Excavation of ancient well yields insight into Etruscan, Roman and medieval times
During a four-year excavation of an Etruscan well at the ancient Italian settlement of Cetamura del Chianti, a team led by a Florida State University archaeologist and art historian unearthed artifacts spanning more than 15 centuries of Etruscan, Roman and medieval civilization in Tuscany.

Contact: Nancy de Grummond
ndegrummond@fsu.edu
850-644-0303
Florida State University

Public Release: 4-Aug-2014
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Flores bones show features of Down syndrome, not a new 'hobbit' human
In October 2004, excavation of fragmentary skeletal remains from the island of Flores in Indonesia yielded what was called 'the most important find in human evolution for 100 years.' Its discoverers dubbed the find Homo floresiensis, a name suggesting a previously unknown species of human.

Contact: Dave Pacchioli
dap1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State

Public Release: 4-Aug-2014
American Antiquity
WSU researchers see violent era in ancient Southwest
In numbers terms, the 20th Century was the most violent in history, with civil war, purges and two World Wars killing as many as 200 million people. But on a per-capita basis, Tim Kohler has documented a particularly bloody period more than eight centuries ago. Between 1140 and 1180, in the central Mesa Verde of southwest Colorado, four relatively peaceful centuries of pueblo living devolved into several decades of violence.
National Science Foundation

Contact: Tim Kohler
tako@wsu.edu
509-335-2698
Washington State University

Public Release: 1-Aug-2014
Current Anthropology
Society bloomed with gentler personalities and more feminine faces
A Duke University study finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming. Heavy brows were out, rounder heads were in. Technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative temperament by dialing back aggression with lower testosterone levels.
National Science Foundation, Leakey Foundation, University of Iowa/Orthodontics Department

Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University

Public Release: 1-Aug-2014
Chinese Science Bulletin
Scientists solve 2,000-year-old mystery of the binding media in China's polychrome Terracotta Army
The sculpted Terracotta Warriors positioned to protect the afterlife palaces of China's First Emperor Qin Shihuang (259-210 B.C.) were originally painted to resemble their real-life counterparts: Qin's imperial guards. Since this army was unearthed, scientists have been puzzled over what type of binding medium was used in painting these polychromatic soldiers. Now researchers in Xi'an have identified the binding material using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry.
National Key Technology R&D Program, China

Contact: Hongtao Yan
htyan@nwu.edu.cn
Science China Press

Public Release: 31-Jul-2014
Science of the Total Environment
Lead in teeth can tell a body's tale, UF study finds
Your teeth can tell stories about you, and not just that you always forget to floss.

Contact: George Kamenov
kamenov@ufl.edu
352-846-3955
University of Florida

Public Release: 31-Jul-2014
Science
Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds
A new study led by an Adelaide scientist has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs -- the theropods -- evolved into agile flyers: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, for over 50 million years.

Contact: Mike Lee
mike.lee@samuseum.sa.gov.au
61-407-685-921
University of Adelaide

Public Release: 30-Jul-2014
ZooKeys
Decades-old amber collection offers new views of a lost world
Scientists are searching through a massive collection of 20-million-year-old amber found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago, and the effort is yielding fresh insights into ancient tropical insects and the world they inhabited. (Includes a video about the work narrated by David Attenborough.)
National Science Foundation

Contact: Diana Yates
diya@illinois.edu
217-333-5802
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Public Release: 29-Jul-2014
Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Prehistoric dairy farming at the extremes
Finland's love of milk has been traced back to 2500 BC thanks to high-tech techniques to analyze residues preserved in fragments of ancient pots.
Finnish Cultural Foundation, Natural Environment Research Council

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
University of Bristol

Public Release: 29-Jul-2014
Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge
Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland after losing a major engagement in the era around the birth of Christ. Work has continued in the area since then and archaeologists and experts from Aarhus University, Skanderborg Museum and Moesgaard Museum have now made sensational new findings.
Carlsberg Foundation

Contact: Mads Kähler Holst
mads.holst@cas.au.dk
45-22-99-49-15
Aarhus University

Public Release: 25-Jul-2014
99th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America
Fire ecology manipulation by California native cultures
Before the colonial era, 100,000s of people lived on the land now called California, and many of their cultures manipulated fire to control the availability of plants they used for food, fuel, tools, and ritual. Contemporary tribes continue to use fire to maintain desired habitat and natural resources.

Contact: Liza Lester
llester@esa.org
202-833-8773 x211
Ecological Society of America

Public Release: 25-Jul-2014
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it
Researchers defined parameters that estimate the speed of regression of a native language when replaced by one of its neighbouring languages. The study focused on the case of Welsh. The results of the research were included in an article published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface.

Contact: Neus Isern
Neus.isern@uab.cat
34-935-813-301
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona