News from the Department of Archaeology

Patrick Roberts and Robert Spengler of the Department of Archaeology discuss the role Jena played on the career and ideas of Alexander von Humboldt and the development of the disciplines of Ecology, Climate Science, and Evolutionary Biology. They highlight how this legacy can still be seen in new research in Jena focused on human interactions with the natural world and our planet's changing environments and species. Read the full article here:

Celebrating Humboldt's long legacy in Jena

Patrick Roberts and Robert Spengler of the Department of Archaeology discuss the role Jena played on the career and ideas of Alexander von Humboldt and the development of the disciplines of Ecology, Climate Science, and Evolutionary Biology. They highlight how this legacy can still be seen in new research in Jena focused on human interactions with the natural world and our planet's changing environments and species. Read the full article here: [more]
The highly competitive grants will allow the recipients to fund research groups on their projects "PANTROPOCENE: Finding a Pre-industrial, Pan-tropical 'Anthropocene'", "MICROSCOPE: Zooming into the Population History of Iron Age Europe with Rare Genetic Variants", and "FEDD: Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal".

Patrick Roberts, Stephan Schiffels, and Robert Spengler awarded ERC Starting Grants

The highly competitive grants will allow the recipients to fund research groups on their projects "PANTROPOCENE: Finding a Pre-industrial, Pan-tropical 'Anthropocene'", "MICROSCOPE: Zooming into the Population History of Iron Age Europe with Rare Genetic Variants", and "FEDD: Fruits of Eurasia: Domestication and Dispersal". [more]
Oshan Wedage, a PhD researcher at the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, has received one of the most prestigious scientific awards in his home country, Sri Lanka.

Oshan Wedage receives Sri Lankan President's Award for Scientific Research

Oshan Wedage, a PhD researcher at the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, has received one of the most prestigious scientific awards in his home country, Sri Lanka. [more]
Humans caused significant environmental change around the globe by about 3,000-4,000 years ago, much earlier than prior estimates, as revealed by a new international study.

Archaeological assessment reveals Earth’s early transformation through land use

Humans caused significant environmental change around the globe by about 3,000-4,000 years ago, much earlier than prior estimates, as revealed by a new international study. [more]
The lake was thought to be the site of an ancient catastrophic event that left several hundred people dead, but the first ancient whole genome data from India shows that diverse groups of people died at the lake in multiple events approximately 1000 years apart.

Biomolecular analyses of Roopkund skeletons show Mediterranean migrants in Indian Himalayas

The lake was thought to be the site of an ancient catastrophic event that left several hundred people dead, but the first ancient whole genome data from India shows that diverse groups of people died at the lake in multiple events approximately 1000 years apart. [more]
When and how did Homo sapiens succeed in inhabiting Mongolia and adapting to the sometimes extreme environmental conditions? The video shows the work of the archaeologists on site and gives an insight into how the laboratory succeeds in drawing an ever more differentiated and complete picture of the human past from the samples obtained.

New Video: Mongolia Field Work and the Report of the Govi-Altai Cave and Palaeolake Survey

When and how did Homo sapiens succeed in inhabiting Mongolia and adapting to the sometimes extreme environmental conditions? The video shows the work of the archaeologists on site and gives an insight into how the laboratory succeeds in drawing an ever more differentiated and complete picture of the human past from the samples obtained. [more]
Stable isotope analysis of mollusc reveals that humans seasonally foraged taxa on basis of meat yields in Mesolithic northern Iberia

Seasonal Seafood in the Mesolithic: New study reveals humans foraged molluscs in winter for better meat returns

Stable isotope analysis of mollusc reveals that humans seasonally foraged taxa on basis of meat yields in Mesolithic northern Iberia

[more]
All of the plants on our kitchen tables have a long and mysterious history. Many of them can trace part of their ancestry back to the ancient Silk Road trade routes. New archaeobotanical data is illustrating how the domestication and dispersal process for the plants unfolded, as presented in Dr. Spengler’s new book.

New book "Fruit from the Sands: The Silk Road Origins of the Foods We Eat" by Dr. Robert N. Spengler III

July 25, 2019

All of the plants on our kitchen tables have a long and mysterious history. Many of them can trace part of their ancestry back to the ancient Silk Road trade routes. New archaeobotanical data is illustrating how the domestication and dispersal process for the plants unfolded, as presented in Dr. Spengler’s new book. [more]
The Department of Archaeology is proud to extend our congratulations to Dr. Jillian Swift who has recently started a position as Archaeologist at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai’i in the United States.

Another Department of Archaeology post-doc officially starts a museum research position in the United States of America

The Department of Archaeology is proud to extend our congratulations to Dr. Jillian Swift who has recently started a position as Archaeologist at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawai’i in the United States. [more]
Professor Michael Petraglia is a new affiliate of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  As one of his first teaching assignments he gave a week-long course to one hundred Ph.D. and Master’s level students entitled: "Human Evolution and Climate Change".

Michael Petraglia affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Professor Michael Petraglia is a new affiliate of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  As one of his first teaching assignments he gave a week-long course to one hundred Ph.D. and Master’s level students entitled: "Human Evolution and Climate Change". [more]
The Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) was established in 2013 by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain.

Eleanor Scerri elected a member of Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Arab-German Young Academy of Sciences and Humanities (AGYA) was established in 2013 by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Arabian Gulf University in Bahrain. [more]
The ancestral relatives of millets and other small-seeded crops originally evolved to be dispersed by megafaunal grazers of the Pleistocene and earlier epochs, and in some cases later came to rely on pastoral herds to disperse their seeds.

Grazing Animals Drove Domestication of Grain Crops

The ancestral relatives of millets and other small-seeded crops originally evolved to be dispersed by megafaunal grazers of the Pleistocene and earlier epochs, and in some cases later came to rely on pastoral herds to disperse their seeds.

[more]
The Department of Archaeology is proud to announce that three of its current postdoctoral researchers have been awarded tenure track professorships in the United States.

Three Department of Archaeology post-docs win tenure-track positions in the United States

The Department of Archaeology is proud to announce that three of its current postdoctoral researchers have been awarded tenure track professorships in the United States. [more]
A chemical residue study of incense burners from ancient burials at high elevations in the Pamir Mountains of western China has revealed psychoactive cannabinoids. This study provides some of the earliest clear evidence for the use of cannabis for its psychoactive compounds, and the awareness of higher THC-producing varieties of the plant.

The Origins of Cannabis Smoking: Marijuana Use in the First Millennium BC

A chemical residue study of incense burners from ancient burials at high elevations in the Pamir Mountains of western China has revealed psychoactive cannabinoids. This study provides some of the earliest clear evidence for the use of cannabis for its psychoactive compounds, and the awareness of higher THC-producing varieties of the plant. [more]
In examining prehistoric coastal sites on the Arabian Peninsula, researchers found that even large sites have been affected by coastal erosion due to sea-level rise.  Past studies of the diet of coastal populations may now need to be reevaluated given the potential underestimation of shellfish use.

Rising sea levels have destroyed evidence of shell middens at many prehistoric coastal sites

In examining prehistoric coastal sites on the Arabian Peninsula, researchers found that even large sites have been affected by coastal erosion due to sea-level rise.  Past studies of the diet of coastal populations may now need to be reevaluated given the potential underestimation of shellfish use. [more]
Strengthening of political networks coincided with the intensification of agricultural production, resulting in the widespread adoption of millet by populations across Eurasia.

Dramatic change in ancient pastoralist diets associated with expansion of political networks across the Eurasian steppe

Strengthening of political networks coincided with the intensification of agricultural production, resulting in the widespread adoption of millet by populations across Eurasia. [more]
Article and radio interview (in German) on Deutschlandfunk on sustainability and the balance between humans and their environment, including Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

"Can sustainability ensure survival?"

Article and radio interview (in German) on Deutschlandfunk on sustainability and the balance between humans and their environment, including Patrick Roberts of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. [more]
New article suggests wetter climates may have allowed Homo sapiens to expand across the deserts of Central Asia by 50-30,000 years ago.

Humans used northern migration routes to reach eastern Asia

New article suggests wetter climates may have allowed Homo sapiens to expand across the deserts of Central Asia by 50-30,000 years ago. [more]
Apples originally evolved in the wild to entice ancient megafauna to disperse their seeds. More recently, humans began spreading the trees along the Silk Road with other familiar crops. Dispersing the apple trees led to their domestication.

Exploring the Origins of the Apple

Apples originally evolved in the wild to entice ancient megafauna to disperse their seeds. More recently, humans began spreading the trees along the Silk Road with other familiar crops. Dispersing the apple trees led to their domestication. [more]
Date & Time: Jun. 6, 2019, 14:00Speaker: Huw GroucuttMax Planck Research Group Extreme EventsPlease note the location: MPI for Biogeochemistry, Jena

Extreme events in biological, societal and earth systems

Date & Time: Jun. 6, 2019, 14:00
Speaker: Huw Groucutt
Max Planck Research Group Extreme Events
Please note the location: MPI for Biogeochemistry, Jena [more]
Date: May 9-10, 2019Room: Villa V14Host: Department of Archaeology

DA Workshop: New Frontiers in Anthropocene Archaeology

Date: May 9-10, 2019
Room: Villa V14
Host: Department of Archaeology [more]
Date & Time: May 3, 2019, 13:30Speaker: Prof. Fiona Marshall, Washington University in St. LouisRoom: Villa V14Host: Department of Archaeology

Distinguished Lecture by Prof. Fiona Marshall: "Ancient herders enriched and restructured African grasslands"

Date & Time: May 3, 2019, 13:30
Speaker: Prof. Fiona Marshall, Washington University in St. Louis
Room: Villa V14
Host: Department of Archaeology [more]
The award, given annually to recognize the highest level of academic excellence among doctoral students, honors the late Tom L. Popejoy, former President of the University of New Mexico.

William Taylor awarded Popejoy Dissertation Prize by University of New Mexico

The award, given annually to recognize the highest level of academic excellence among doctoral students, honors the late Tom L. Popejoy, former President of the University of New Mexico. [more]
Date: May 2-3, 2019Room: Villa V14Host: Department of Archaeology

DA Workshop: Food Security in Flux: Archaeological Methods for Economic Sustainability

Date: May 2-3, 2019
Room: Villa V14
Host: Department of Archaeology [more]
New study shows that tropical trees act as a living record of past human activity in the Amazon.

Human history through tree rings: Trees in Amazonia reveal pre-colonial human disturbance

New study shows that tropical trees act as a living record of past human activity in the Amazon. [more]
Many thanks to all of the participants of the 2019 International Application of Archaeological Science Workshop for making this such a successful event! Watch the video at the link for a review of this year's training program. We look forward to next year!

Thank you to the 2019 International Application of Archaeological Science Workshop participants!

Many thanks to all of the participants of the 2019 International Application of Archaeological Science Workshop for making this such a successful event! Watch the video at the link for a review of this year's training program. We look forward to next year! [more]
Dr. Patrick Roberts and Prof. Michael Petraglia of the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History feature in this month’s issue of GEO for their work on Homo sapiens’ adaptations and migration routes out of Africa.

Department of Archaeology featured in Germany’s prestigious GEO Magazine

Dr. Patrick Roberts and Prof. Michael Petraglia of the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History feature in this month’s issue of GEO for their work on Homo sapiens’ adaptations and migration routes out of Africa. [more]
PS&H (formerly ByzRes), the Department of Archaeology and Princeton University co-host annual Climate Change and History Research Initiative (CCHRI) 2019 Colloquium, which aims to bring together for the first time interdisciplinary projects on climate and environmental change that work on two different “human pasts”: history and prehistory.

Resilience, environmental change and society - Perspectives from History and Prehistory

PS&H (formerly ByzRes), the Department of Archaeology and Princeton University co-host annual Climate Change and History Research Initiative (CCHRI) 2019 Colloquium, which aims to bring together for the first time interdisciplinary projects on climate and environmental change that work on two different “human pasts”: history and prehistory. [more]
Researchers from four world-renowned institutions meet at the ancient city of Cahokia to discuss the factors that led to the Anthropocene.

Workshop: Anthropocene. Archaeology of the Present

Researchers from four world-renowned institutions meet at the ancient city of Cahokia to discuss the factors that led to the Anthropocene. [more]
Refined techniques for laser imaging of shell growth rings are tapping into previously hidden data of marine climate change. By examining human and ecological responses to those changes, researchers can learn more about what to expect from climate change in the future.

Vast record of past climate fluctuations now available thanks to laser imaging of shells

Refined techniques for laser imaging of shell growth rings are tapping into previously hidden data of marine climate change. By examining human and ecological responses to those changes, researchers can learn more about what to expect from climate change in the future. [more]
New study provides direct evidence for the hunting of tree-dwelling monkeys and other small mammals by Homo sapiens 45,000 years ago in the rainforest of Sri Lanka.

The Monkey Hunters: Humans colonize South Asian rainforest by hunting primates

New study provides direct evidence for the hunting of tree-dwelling monkeys and other small mammals by Homo sapiens 45,000 years ago in the rainforest of Sri Lanka. [more]
Date & Time: 27 February 2019, 3pmSpeaker: Sabine ReinholdRoom: Villa V14Host: Department of Archeology

Distinguished Lecture by Sabine Reinhold: "Bridging Eurasia and the Near East - Recent developments in the archaeology of the Caucasus"

Date & Time: 27 February 2019, 3pm
Speaker: Sabine Reinhold
Room: Villa V14
Host: Department of Archeology [more]
Participants from around the world will attend to learn about the latest cutting-edge techniques in archaeological science.Date: 20-31 March 2019Host: Department of Archaeology

International Applications of Archaeological Sciences 2019

Participants from around the world will attend to learn about the latest cutting-edge techniques in archaeological science.
Date: 20-31 March 2019
Host: Department of Archaeology

[more]
The joint project, which includes MPI-SHH researchers William Taylor and Nils Vanwezer, explores Mongolia’s earliest prehistory, from the Paleolithic through the first pastoral peoples of the Bronze Age.

"Mongolian-American Joint Northern Mongolian Archaeology Project" wins Research Project of the Year at the Mongolian Archaeology Conference 2018

The joint project, which includes MPI-SHH researchers William Taylor and Nils Vanwezer, explores Mongolia’s earliest prehistory, from the Paleolithic through the first pastoral peoples of the Bronze Age. [more]
In a new video from Latest Thinking, Michael Petraglia describes his research, which includes the use of satellite imagery to identify ancient rivers and lakes in present-day desert regions, and demonstrates that modern humans emerged from Africa much earlier than previously thought.

"What New Insights Can Archeology Provide Into Homo sapiens’ Emergence from Africa?"

In a new video from Latest Thinking, Michael Petraglia describes his research, which includes the use of satellite imagery to identify ancient rivers and lakes in present-day desert regions, and demonstrates that modern humans emerged from Africa much earlier than previously thought. [more]
Date: 18-20 February 2019Location: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, BerlinOrganized by the Department of Archaeology

DA Workshop: Global Markers of the Anthropocene

Date: 18-20 February 2019
Location: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Organized by the Department of Archaeology

[more]
For a long time the tropical forest has been assumed to represent an environment inhospitable to humans. In a new video by Latest Thinking Patrick Roberts explains why he challenges this view.

What Can We Learn from Studying Homo sapiens’ First Moves into Tropical Forests?

For a long time the tropical forest has been assumed to represent an environment inhospitable to humans. In a new video by Latest Thinking Patrick Roberts explains why he challenges this view. [more]
More than 150 new dates provide the first robust chronology for Denisova Cave, the only site in the world known to have been occupied by both Neanderthals, Denisovans, and later by modern humans.

New studies reveal deep history of Denisovans and Neanderthals in southern Siberia

More than 150 new dates provide the first robust chronology for Denisova Cave, the only site in the world known to have been occupied by both Neanderthals, Denisovans, and later by modern humans. [more]
Date & Time: February 6, 2019, 16:00Speaker: Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati-PapatheodorouRoom: Villa V14Host: Department of Archaeology

Distinguished Lecture by Katerina Harvati-Papatheodorou: "Neanderthals and early modern humans: New results from the lab and field"

Date & Time: February 6, 2019, 16:00
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Katerina Harvati-Papatheodorou
Room: Villa V14
Host: Department of Archaeology [more]
New review compares the regional adaptations of humans and those of other hominin species to add support to the argument that our species is ecologically unique.

Humans colonized diverse environments in Southeast Asia and Oceania during the Pleistocene

New review compares the regional adaptations of humans and those of other hominin species to add support to the argument that our species is ecologically unique. [more]
The Honorary Professorships were awarded in the School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Australia, with which the Department of Archaeology already enjoys close collaborative relationships.

Professorships at The University of Queensland Awarded to Nicole Boivin and Michael Petraglia

The Honorary Professorships were awarded in the School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, Australia, with which the Department of Archaeology already enjoys close collaborative relationships. [more]
This new text is the first to bring together evidence for the nature of human interactions with tropical forests on a global scale, from the emergence of hominins in the tropical forests of Africa to modern conservation issues.

New book "Tropical Forests in Prehistory, History, and Modernity" reveals long-term human use and habitation of critically endangered habitats

This new text is the first to bring together evidence for the nature of human interactions with tropical forests on a global scale, from the emergence of hominins in the tropical forests of Africa to modern conservation issues. [more]
 
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