|31.10.2014||Susan Mentzer and Britt M. Starkovich|
Title: Scientific Analysis and Continuity of Cult at the Sanctuary of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion
Abstract: The Sanctuary of Zeus on Mt. Lykaion (Peloponnese, Greece) is a well-known sacred site in the ancient Greek world. Recent archaeological work focused in part on the mountaintop “Ash Altar.” There, excavators uncovered an abundance of items that were deposited by people as offerings, including ceramics, bronze objects, food, and burned animal bones. This talk offers zooarchaeological and geoarchaeological perspectives on the human activities that led to the formation of the feature. Analyses of species representation and body parts of sacrificed animals indicates that there is a remarkable continuity of ritual activities at the site, spanning from the early Mycenaean through late Classical period. The sediment associated with these activities, which is rich is ashes, charcoal, burned bone, and fire-cracked rock, is almost entirely derived from combustion. Multiple high-resolution radiocarbon dates from near the bottom of the archaeological sequence place the beginning of the practice before 1300 BCE, which is considerably earlier than was previously expected. Geoarchaeological analyses indicate that the first burning activities were likely episodic, as greater amounts of geogenic sediment are present here, and ashes have been impacted by surface exposure. Offerings at the very base of the sequence are quite different in character, and also date to the early Mycenaean period. This brings up the possibility that ritual animal sacrifice might have originated locally, or was quickly adopted by people already using the site for ritual purposes.
|14.11.2014||Dr. Tom Rein|
Title: The correspondence between limb skeletal shape and suspensory locomotion: Implications for interpreting the primate fossil record
|21.11.2014||Mirjana Roksandic (University of Winnipeg)|
Title: The early migrations in the Caribbean
David Reich 1,2,3 and Nick Patterson 2,3
Title: Ancient DNA points to the Eurasian steppe as a proximate source for Indo-European migrations into Europe
|09.01.2015||Dr. Jason T. Herrmann Institut für die Kulturen des Alten Orients Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen|
Title: Structural Variation in Middle Woodland (~2200-1550 BP) Mounds in the
Abstract: Archaeologists from the Center for American Archeology (CAA) in
|23.1.2015||David K. Wright (Seoul National University)|
|Title: Legacies of stone: Archival and field approaches toward understanding human paleodemography in northern Kenya |
Abstract: As the country’s central repository of cultural artifacts, the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) possesses one of the deepest chronological records of human evolution in the world. However, the vast majority of the collection was curated before the advent of computer technology and large swaths remain unpublished and inaccessible to all but a few researchers. Recently, progress has been made on converting the NMK collections into a digital format. Combined with geoarchaeological investigations reconstructing the paleohydrology of Lake Turkana, a clearer picture is emerging of the cultural processes at work in the region throughout the Holocene. This talk will explore how humans seem to have responded to the rather erratic position of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Congo Air Boundary during the African Humid Period and during its protracted termination phase in contrast to what came afterward. Although humans respond non-linearly to climate, cultural patterns of movement and subsistence are better contextualized within robust paleoclimatic models afforded by high-resolution datasets. Georeferenced archival data reveal previously undetected patterns of culture change against the backdrop of profound oscillations in lake levels over the last 12,000 years. The eventual goal is to complete the digitization of the NMK by 2019 so that it will be possible to analyze such datasets deep into the Pleistocene across the entire country of Kenya.
Title: Identifying plant domestication at the aceramic Neolithic site of Chogha Golan (Iran)
Abstract: Reconstructing the domestication process of cereals is a basic requirement for the understanding of the Early Neolithic in the Near East and how agriculture emerged. Although there is general agreement on the criteria of differentiating wild from domesticated cereals, their application to material from aceramic Neolithic sites is problematic for reasons of preservation and diversity of early transitional chaff remains. In the present study we established an identification key for the distinction of wild and domestic emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum subsp. dicoccoides/dicoccum). General morphological analyses as well as experimental charring and measurements on wild and domestic emmer from the Fertile Crescent were conducted to track the main features that distinguish the two forms. Wild emmer can be differentiated from domestic emmer using longitudinal sections through rachises. The scar morphology of wild emmer specimens with a rough upper abscission scar is distinct from domestic emmer. In addition, two of the measuring tracks distinguish between domestic emmer and its progenitor. These results were applied to archaeological specimens from the aceramic Neolithic site of Chogha Golan (Ilam Province, Iran), which was excavated in 2009 and 2010 by a team of the Tübingen Iranian Stone Age Research Project. The carbonized emmer remains dating to about 9,800 cal. BP. include domestic-type rachises, indicating the beginnings of farming at the site. Several wild taxa contribute to the spectrum of used plants, implying continued gathering activities or the cultivation of wild plants as well.
Title: Genetic investigation of Paleolithic and Mesolithic human remains from the Swabian Jura (South-West Germany)Abstract: In the present study hybridization capture in combination with high-throughput sequencing technologies is applied to reconstruct complete or almost complete mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs) of prehistoric human remains from several archaeological sites in the Swabian Jura. Various stringency criteria are applied in order to reduce the impact of modern human contamination potentially present in the analyzed samples. The authenticated mtDNAs are used to assess phylogenetic relationships and molecular ages of Middle Paleolithic, Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic ancient human remains.
A first study examines a right hominin femur shaft with archaic morphology that was excavated in 1937 from the cave of Hohlenstein-Stadel and assigned to a Middle Paleolithic layer called Black Mousterian. The attempt to directly radiocarbon date the specimen resulted in inconsistent outcomes. Here we present genetic and isotopic analyses of the femur shaft as well as related faunal remains that suggest an age of the human femur older than previously assumed and provide insights into genetic changes of Neandertal populations through time.
A second study focuses on analyses of Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic anatomically modern human (AMH) mtDNAs. European mitochondrial genome variation during Paleolithic and Mesolithic time is currently poorly understood as only a limited number of individuals from those periods have been genetically analyzed and those suggest genetic continuity between hunter-gatherer populations across Europe. In this study ten newly reconstructed AMH mitochondrial genomes from the Swabian Jura are co-analyzed with previously published ancient and modern complete mtDNA sequences and used to address.