News 2020

Early Kenyan Herders Relied on Consistency and Connections in Unpredictable Conditions
New research shows that a uniform technical strategy and a regional network for supplying raw materials formed the bases of Elementeitan resilience more
Having a Blast in the Past: Ayushi Nayak Hosts Real Scientists
Every week @realscientists invites a new expert curator to host their Twitter account. Read Ayushi's interview with Real Scientists here. more
Agropastoralists in Central Tibet Chose a Barley-Based Farming System by 3,000 Years Ago
New research pushes this development back roughly 1,000 years and sheds light on motivating factors more
Cereal, Olive & Vine Pollen Reveal Market Integration in Ancient Greece
A new interdisciplinary study indicates agricultural market integration centuries before Roman conquest, suggesting the mechanisms that led to the Anthropocene began much earlier than assumed more
Analysis of Human Teeth Demonstrates Mixture of Fishing, Foraging, and Food Production in Central Africa’s Iron Age Rainforests
In a new paper a multidisciplinary team shows that domesticated millet was incorporated into an ongoing reliance on local fish and forest foods, demonstrating mixed subsistence practices in the rainforests of Central Africa for thousands of years. more
Barbara Huber awarded Add-on Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Life Science from Joachim Herz Foundation
The fellowship program fosters interdisciplinary skills and supports the careers of young scientists more
Sri Lankan Ambassador Visit

Sri Lankan Ambassador Visit

October 08, 2020
Her Excellency Ms. Manori Unambuwe recently visited the Department of Archaeology more
Past Tropical Forest Changes Drove Megafauna and Hominin Extinctions
New biochemical research shows significant turnovers in Southeast Asian environments and animals during the Pleistocene more
Ancient Human Footprints in Saudi Arabia Provide Snapshot of Arabian Ecology 120,000 Years Ago
New archaeological research presents the oldest securely dated evidence for humans in Arabia more
“COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future” – Field Work in the Time of Coronavirus
In a recent paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a group of multidisciplinary authors discuss the future of field-based sciences in a COVID-19 world more
Collapse or Transition to Resilience? Agricultural Practices in Italy after the Fall of Rome
In a new study published in Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, a team of researchers from the Department of Archaeology, MPI-SHH and the University of Pisa reveals changes in the human diet in Tuscany (central Italy) following the fall of the Western Roman Empire. more
Professorship at The University of Malta Awarded to Eleanor Scerri
The Honorary Professorship was awarded in the Department of Classics and Archaeology of The University of Malta, Malta, with which the Pan-African Evolution Research Group already enjoys close collaborative relationships. more
New Neural Network Differentiates Middle and Late Stone Age Toolkits
By analyzing the tool forms that frequently occur together, researchers have developed a neural network that reliably distinguishes between Middle and Later Stone Age assemblages more
Patrick Roberts Made National Geographic 'Explorer'
August 19, 2020 - Dr. Patrick Roberts of the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History has received a National Geographic Explorer grant to further his work investigating the formation and collapse of urban societies in tropical Sri Lanka more
Vast Stone Monuments Constructed in Arabia 7,000 Years Ago
August 17, 2020 - New archaeological research in Saudi Arabia documents hundreds of stone structures interpreted as monumental sites where early pastoralists carried out rituals. more
Analysis of Roopkund Lake Skeletons Makes Nature Communications’ Top 25
August 14, 2020 - The discovery of Mediterranean migrants among the hundreds of skeletons at the Himalayan lake site highlights the power and importance of interdisciplinary, collaborative research more
Characterizing Dietary Niche Segregation at High Resolution
August 11, 2020 - An open access article published in Ecology & Evolution details a new high resolution method for niche characterization using carbon isotope patterns of essential amino acids more
An Iconic Native American Stone Tool Technology Discovered in Arabia
Aug. 5, 2020 - The recovery of distinctive fluted points from both America and Arabia provides one of the best examples of ‘independent invention’ across continents. more
From the First Farmers to the Spanish Empire
July 17, 2020 - 4000 years of plant and animal introductions to the Philippine Archipelago more
Patrick Roberts Made Member of the Young Academy of Europe
July 13, 2020 - The YAE is a pan-European initiative of outstanding young scientists for networking, scientific exchange and science policy more
Mixture and Migration Brought Food Production to sub-Saharan Africa
June 12, 2020 - Ancient DNA documents the population changes of foragers, herders and farmers in central and eastern Africa from the Neolithic to the Iron Age more
Discovery of Oldest Bow and Arrow Technology in Eurasia
June 12, 2020 - New archaeological research demonstrates earliest projectile technology in the tropical rainforests of Sri Lanka more
Conversations in Human Evolution with Professor Michael Petraglia
June 9, 2020 - Professor Michael Petraglia answers questions about current research, discoveries in the field of archaeology, his favorite memory from the field, and much more. more
Ancient Genomes Link Subsistence Change and Human Migration in Northern China
June 1, 2020 - Genetic analysis of 55 ancient individuals finds that genetic changes in Yellow River, West Liao River and Amur River populations correlate with the intensification of farming and the inclusion of a pastoral economy. more
14 Years of Archaeological and Heritage Research in the Iringa Region, Tanzania
Mai 21, 2020 - A new study details 67 sites spanning from the Early Stone Age to the recent past more
Climate Change, Human Migrations and Societal Change in Arabia - Webinar at KAUST by Michael Petraglia
Beads Made of Boa Bones Identified in Lesser Antilles
May 13, 2020 - The first identifications of Boa on Martinique, Basse-Terre and La Désirade islands point to the snake’s significance for pre-Columbian Amerindians more
Cannibalism Helps Invading Invertebrates Survive Severe Conditions
May 07, 2020 - Investing in the future: Researchers show how cannibalism among the invasive comb jelly enables adults to survive severe conditions at the edge of their ecological range. more
Direct Evidence of Late Pleistocene Human Colonization of Isolated Islands Beyond Wallace’s Line
Apr. 29, 2020 - New isotopic study of fossil teeth shows flexible human adaptations to Pleistocene island life through time more
From Food to Grave Good: Exploitation of Monkeys in Java, Indonesia From ca. 10,000 Years Ago
Apr. 20, 2020 - In a new study a team of researchers, including Noel amano from the Department of Archaeology at MPI-SHH, describes the complex human-non-human primate interactions in Java, Indonesia from around 10,000 to 5000 years ago. more
Societal Transformations and Resilience in Arabia Across 12,000 Years of Climate Change
Apr. 6, 2020 - Social, economic and cultural responses to climate change by ancient peoples highlight vulnerabilities of modern societies and the need for sustainable new solutions more
Patrick Roberts Named Member of Global Young Academy
March 31, 2020 - Dr. Roberts is one of two new Germany-based members selected for the prestigious multidisciplinary academy and is the sixth member selected from the Max Planck Society in the history of the organization. more
A New Holocene Climate and Environmental Record for Sri Lanka
March 24, 2020 - New lake records track changes in Indian Ocean Monsoon, showing changing precipitation across 3,000 years more
Submerged Shelf in South African Cape Was Ideal Ecosystem for Pleistocene Homo Sapiens
March 23, 2020 - Using isotope analysis of Pleistocene human prey, researchers show local residence of medium-large mammals in Paleo-Agulhas Plain roughly 150,000 years ago more
Mesolithic Humans Ate More Shellfish Than We Thought
March 18, 2020 - New study conducted in northern Iberia reveals that molluscs contributed significantly more to the diet of Mesolithic peoples living in Atlantic Europe than previously hypothesized. more
How Millets sustained Mongolia’s Empires
March 3, 2020 - Stable isotope analyses reveals dramatic diet diversification at the onset of the steppe’s earliest empires more
5000 year old milk proteins point to the importance of dairying in eastern Eurasia
March 2, 2020 - Recent findings push back estimates of dairying in the eastern Steppe by more than 1700 years, pointing to migration as a potential means of introduction more
Anthropogenic seed dispersal: rethinking the origins of plant domestication
Febr. 27, 2020 - In a new manuscript, Dr. Robert Spengler argues that all of the earliest traits of plant domestication are linked to a mutualistic relationship in which plants recruited humans for seed dispersal. more
Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago
Febr. 25, 2020 - New archaeological work supports the hypothesis that human populations were present in India by 80,000 years ago and that they survived one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the last two million years. more
New Evidence for Rainforest Foraging in Sri Lanka ca. 45,000 years ago
Febr. 7, 2020 - Results of investigations at Kitulgala Beli-lena led by researchers from the Department of Archaeology confirm human occupation of Sri Lanka’s rainforest region as early as ca. 45,000 cal. BP more
Interpretation of past hominin and animal mobility over large-scale distances near Oldupai Gorge is possible
Jan. 23, 2020 - A recent publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science provides landscape-scale strontium isotope data and a proof of concept using animal teeth associated with major palaeoanthropological findings, showing that animal migrants coming far from the Oldupai Gorge region can be identified. This has major implications for the study of past hominin mobility in this important part of East Africa. more
Scythian-era urbanites in the Pontic forest-steppe did not travel far from home
Jan. 23, 2020 - Inhabitants of Bel’sk remained local to the urban complex, with few individuals engaging in long-distance mobility, while engaging in farming and pastoralism. more
How horse riding changed the ancient economies of eastern Eurasia
Jan. 23, 2020 - New study lead by William Taylor and Nicole Boivin of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History provides insights into early pastoral economies and herding transitions in eastern Eurasia. more
Squaring the circle: a coherent reconstruction of the past from multiple lines of evidence
As part of the MPI SHH's Distinguished Lecture Series, come hear on January 30, Professor Manica discuss advances on reconstructing the past of our species by quantitatively combining climatic reconstructions, ecological and palaeontological data, as well as genetics from both modern and ancient genomes. more
A joint Jena University-MPI workshop on the "Science of the Past" and Medieval History
Jan. 9, 2020 - The Paleo-Science & History Group (with the support of the Department of Archaeogenetics) is organising a joint workshop with the Institute of History of the University of Jena (FSU) on the applications of scientific methods to the study of the Middle Ages.
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