Remember something about how at one points, humans were almost wiped out, with just 10,000 survivors of some great cataclysm? Maybe you even remember that the culprit has been named as the Toba Supervolcano's eruption about 74,000 years ago. But archaeological evidence is suggesting the cataclysm was not as bad as it was previously believed -- because human's material culture in Africa and Asia in the form of stone tools -- show continuity not disruption. And a recent excavation and analysis of an ancient and "unchanging" stone tool industry, uncovered at Dhaba in northern India, suggests instead that humans have been present in the Middle Son Valley for roughly 80,000 years, both before and after the Toba eruption. This just adds more support to the idea that the Toba Supervolcano was still a major event, but perhaps not the world-ender people had thought.
A new study suggests that Sardinians experienced less genetic turnover than populations living in mainland Europe. When large-scale migration is thought to have occurred during the Bronze Age in Europe, Sardinia's population remained in place. An international team of scientists analyzed the genomes of 70 Sardinians whose remains were recovered from more than 20 archaeological sites spanning a period of about 6,000 years. The scientists then compared the Sardinian DNA to DNA collected from other ancient and modern peoples. The researchers determined that Neolithic Sardinians were closely related to their contemporaries in mainland Europe. Sardinian genetic ancestry remained stable through 900 BCE, although a new style of stone towers did appear on the island in this century. The 900s BCE are important because that is when major population movements occurred in Europe. But they apparently did not impact Sardinia as much.
The DNA supported later population movement on the island, such as the arrival of the Phoenicians from what is now Lebanon, and the Punics, from what is now Tunisia, as early as 500 BCE During the Roman and medieval periods, the scientists also found evidence of migration to the island from Italy and Spain.
The Gunditjmara have been building an eel-farming system at the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape for more than 6,000 years. Their aquaculture allowed them to build settled villages in the area, thousands of years before European colonization. Not very different from how prehistoric peoples along the South American west coast relied on seafood to support settlements in the middle of the Atacama Desert. Read more about what wildfires revealed about the Budj Bim here
Sure, most of us know that Europe became near-uninhabitable. But check out China, which was mainly steppe/tundra! And New Zealand's northern island had a rainforest! What catches your eye?
A small hoard of artifacts have been discovered underneath the central plaza at Paso del Macho in northern Yucatan. The cache may have been put there as an offering when the Maya settlement was founded between 900 and 800 BCE. And the inhabitants were trying to make sure they succeeded in their new home: the artifacts are some of the earliest evidence of Maya fertility rituals to encourage crop growth and rainfall. There are a number of artifacts symbolizing maize sprouting from the underworld and several pots painted with fertility images, plus spoons, clamshell pendants, and a large plaque.
Built more than 3,000 years ago, Abu Simbel contains two temples, carved into a mountainside. The larger of the two temples contains four colossal statues of a seated pharaoh Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) at its entrance, each about 69 feet (21 meters) tall. About 3,300 years later, when the Aswan Dam was to be built to control the flooding of the Nile River, the temples were threatened. Their location would be beneath the water of the lake created by the dam. UNESCO stepped in to save Abu Simbel and many more ancient Egyptian sites by disassembling and reassembling them, very carefully, above the waterline. Click through the image gallery to see photographs of the historic move.
This is a cooking vessel from Japan dating back to 2,500 BCE! Archaeologists call this kind of vessel “fire-flame,” ka’en in Japanese, because their tops resemble flames. No one knows why the design was created, or what it actually represents. Pots like this were used by making holes in the ground, starting fires in the holes, then placing the pots onto the fires in the holes. As a result, bottoms often deteriorated and this particular vessel's bottom is a replacement.
For the first time, scientists used 5,700-year-old saliva from a piece of chewed pitch to sequence the complete human genome of an ancient hunter gatherer. Plus the world of microbes that lived inside her. What they found was enough to make a guess about what she looked like, too. Read full National Geographic article here
When the woman was buried about 2,200 years ago, she was dressed a fine woolen dress and shawl, sheepskin coat, and a necklace made of glass and amber beads. Her relatively high status is further evidenced by the bronze bracelets and bronze belt clasp she wore. In two years of studying her remains, archaeologists have concluded that she was about 40 when she died and was born and raised in the Limmat Valley that houses Zurich. She had done little if any manual labor. And she had a huge sweet tooth (based on the state of her teeth).
The woman's remains were found buried about 260 feet (80 meters) from the grave of a Celtic man found in 1903. Even more exciting, the man was buried in the same decade as the lady. They may have known each other when alive!