Archaeology

Category archives for Archaeology

You’ve heard to story. I’m here to give you a little context. But in case you haven’t heard the story, this is from the press release which is, so far, the only information generally available: New finds of fossils and stone tools from the archaeological site of Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, push back the origins of…

A claim is being made, in a recent issue of Nature Magazine, that humans were active in the vicinity of San Diego well over 100,000 years before archaeologists think humans were even in the New World. Most commentary on this claim dismisses it out of hand, but out of hand rejections are no better than…

This is a great cartoon by Randall Munroe that makes a very important point very effectively. Spread it around, love it, learn from it. Here is an excellent video walkthrough of the cartoon, discussing its value as a communication tool. But do ignore the details of the prehistory because the cartoonist has fallen into the…

There is a new paper in Science linking genetic variation in people living in Greenland with long term selection for managing a marine-oriented diet, affecting stature, weight, and probably, physiological processing of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). The vast majority of the variation we seen in stature (height) among humans is not genetic. That is…

OK, I admit the title of this post is possibly a bit extreme but I could not resist the symmetry. Here, I refer to both ends of civilization, the start and the finish. I’d like to talk about a recent review published in Science, titled “Systems integration for global sustainability” written by my colleague Peter…

Greenpeace names names

You’ll recall that a while back, Greenpeace activists entered a restricted zone in Peru, where the Nasca Lines are preserved, and messed with that important archaeological site. I wrote about it here. At the time, the individuals who had carried out this unthinkable act managed to drift off into obscurity, and Greenpeace seemed unwilling to…

The archaeology of some Polish vampires

Apotropaic magic is designed to ward off or control evil. In vampire fiction, as well as in real life in cultures that include a belief in vampires, apotropaic objects might be crucifixes, cloves of garlic, etc. Apotropaic methods are known to have been used in burials. In the photograph above, a sickle blade has been…

I’m thinking it will be the food you eat that gets you. Here’s why. Humans eat a wide variety of foods; as a species, the diversity of species we eat is greater than any other animal by a very large margin, with the only quirky exception being the animals that we take along with us,…

Being a Voyeur of Religion, Politely

This is a post I wrote elsewhere, a while ago, and just realized was never put on this blog, so here it is. I thought of this post and the topic because of the recent data of the Ms Jesus Scroll, which does indeed appear to be old. But they are still arguing about it,…

Dean Snow was one of my two advisors in undergraduate school. I have fond memories of all six months of college. But that’s another story. Anyway, several years ago, Dean got wind of the research showing that humans exhibit sexual dimorphism in the ratios of the middle digits of the hand. It is believed that…