How Seeing Snakes in the Grass Helped Primates to Evolve

Vision is a window onto the world, its qualities determined by natural selection. Evolution has favoured the modification and expansion of primate vision. Compared with other mammals, primates have, for example, greater depth perception from having forward-facing eyes with extensively overlapping visual fields, sharper visual acuity, more areas in the brain that are involved with[…]

Lucy’s Shattered Bones: Our Ancestors Lived a Dangerous Life in Trees

Humans stand out among all the mammals as being the only species to totter about on two feet. We are the bipedal apes. A ground breaking study of the bones of a 3.2 million year old human ancestor (‘Lucy’) revealed that she died from the crushing impact of a fall from high in the trees. This exciting[…]

The Prehistoric Origins and Historic Growth of the Silk Road

The Silk Road provided a conduit not only for silk, but also offered a very important path for cultural, religious and technological transmission. Introduction The Silk Road was an extensive interconnected network of trade routes across the Asian continent connecting East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean world, including North Africa and Europe. These trade routes enabled[…]

The History, Burials, and Artifacts of the Bronze Age Wadi Suq

The Wadi Suq culture defines human settlement in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in the period from 2,000 to 1,300 BCE. Introduction Wadi Suq takes its name from a wadi, or waterway, East of Sohar in Oman and follows on from the Umm al-Nar culture. Although archaeologists have traditionally tended to view the differences in human settlements and[…]

The Bronze Age Culture of Umm an-Nār

Umm an-Nār in the area of modern-day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman. Introduction Umm al-Nar (Arabic: أُمّ الـنَّـار‎, translit. Umm an-Nār, lit. ‘Mother of the Fire’) is the name given to a Bronze age culture that existed around 2600-2000 BCE in the area of modern-day United Arab Emirates and Northern Oman. The etymology derives from the island of the same name which lies adjacent[…]

Sewing Needles Reveal the Prehistoric Roots of Fashion

Humans have crafted garments for more than 40,000 years—and prehistoric tools suggest that warmth wasn’t their only concern. By Jacob Pagano The Inya River in southwestern Siberia winds through a landscape of striking seasonal changes. In the summer, crystal clear waters lap below alpine forests. As winter approaches, the river freezes, fierce snowstorms shroud the[…]

The Significance of the Earliest Beads

A key requisite for the use and appreciation of all beads and pendants is a level of hominin self-awareness that essentially expresses full cognitive modernity. Abstract This paper attempts to explore beyond the predictable and banal archaeological explanations relating to early beads and pendants. It recounts replication experiments to establish aspects of technology so as[…]

Animal Skin Artifacts from the Bronze Age Salt Mines of Hallstatt

The social context of cloth from the Neolithic to Bronze Age as seen in the Hallstatt prehistoric animal skin artifacts. Introduction My PhD research focused on the social context of cloth from the Neolithic to Bronze Age with case studies from the Alpine area. One aspect of this is the interrelationship of the technologies used[…]

2018 Was a Bumper Year for Prehistoric Archaeological Finds in Modern Crop Fields

A hot summer revealed a hidden history beneath the dried-out fields – but only when seen from the air. For an aerial archaeologist 2018 was a bumper year. The long, hot summer revealed ancient landscapes not visible from ground level, but easily recognised in fields of growing crops from the air. The principle behind the[…]

How We Discovered That Europeans Used Cattle 8,000 Years Ago

The use of animals for their renewable products greatly increased human capabilities in prehistory. The use of animals for their renewable products greatly increased human capabilities in prehistory. Secondary products – or anything that can be gleaned from a domestic animal repeatedly over its lifetime – expanded the capabilities of ancient human societies. They helped[…]

Baltic Hunter-Gatherer Adoption of Agriculture

Ancient DNA analyses show that – unlike elsewhere in Europe – farmers from the Near East did not overtake hunter-gatherer populations in the Baltic. The findings also suggest that the Balto-Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family originated in the Steppe grasslands of the East. New research indicates that Baltic hunter-gatherers were not swamped by[…]

What’s in a Name?: The Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Early Homo

Hominin systematics, encompassing both taxonomy and phylogeny, has significant implications for how the evolution of species and traits are understood and communicated. Abstract Hominin systematics, encompassing both taxonomy and phylogeny (Strait, 2013), has significant implications for how the evolution of species and traits are understood and communicated. Following a recent influx of fossils (e.g., Brown et[…]

Ancient DNA Changes Everything We Know about the Evolution of Elephants

DNA studies reveal that African elephants belong to a very successful and widespread family. For a long time, zoologists assumed that there were only two species of elephant: one Asian and one African. Then genetic analyses suggested that the African Elephant could be divided into two distinct species, the African Forest and African Savannah elephants. Now[…]

A Prehistory of Southeastern Europe

By one interpretation of the historiography criterion, Southeastern Europe enters protohistory only with Homer. At any rate, the period ends before Herodotus in the 5th century BCE. Introduction The prehistory of Southeastern Europe, defined roughly as the territory of the wider Balkan peninsula (including the territories of the modern countries of Albania, Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia, Romania, Bulgaria, and European Turkey) covers the period from the Upper[…]

Megalithism and Tribal Ritualism: A Passage through the Kurumbas of Attappadi

Analyzing the existence of Megalithic traits as a living tradition among the Kurumba tribe of Attappadi. Abstract The study of mortuary practices of Megalithic communities and its use as the basis for reconstructing the past society is unique in archaeology as it represents the direct and purposeful culmination of conscious behavior of the followers of[…]

Quests for Fire: Neanderthals and Science Fiction

By 1914, paleoanthropology recognized five species of human ancestors, two sub-species, and the tangible evidence of humanity’s antiquity proved utterly captivating. The Quest Begins: Neanderthals Meet Science Fiction In 1856, workers at a limestone quarry in the Neander Valley of Germany turned over a curious set of skeletal remains to a local amateur naturalist, Johann[…]

An Overview of Prehistoric to Medieval China

The development of Chinese culture as it is still known today, via the Hundred Schools of Thought, pre-Imperialism and the formation of a unified China. Prehistory During the long Paleolithic period, bands of predatory hunter-gatherers lived in what is now China. Homo erectus, an extinct species closely related to modern humans, or Homo sapiens, appeared[…]