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Archaeologists discover 7,000-year-old tiger shark-tooth knives in Indonesia

Ancient Shark Tooth
© M.C. LangleyScratches and a ground section on the tip of a shark tooth indicate its use by people 7,000 years ago.
Excavations on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi have yielded an incredible find: two tiger shark teeth that were fashioned into knives and are thought to be approximately 7,000 years old.

Because it offers some of the earliest evidence of shark teeth being used in composite weapons worldwide, this discovery is significant. Until now, the oldest such shark-tooth blades found were less than 5,000 years old.

Attributed to the enigmatic Toalean culture, these blades hint at rituals and warfare from an era before Neolithic farmers reached Indonesia.

These weapons, as reported in the journal Antiquity, are not just older but more advanced than any previously discovered shark-tooth blades, which were at least 2,000 years their junior.

Using a combination of scientific analysis, experimental reproduction, and insights from modern human societies, the Australian and Indonesian scientists deduced that these teeth had been attached to handles, transforming them into blades. They were most likely used during rituals or battles.

Both of these shark teeth artifacts are attributed to the Toalean culture, a group that inhabited southwestern Sulawesi for several millennia. These enigmatic hunter-gatherers inhabited the island before Neolithic farmers from mainland Asia ("Austronesians") spread into Indonesia around 3,500 years ago.

Archaeology

Ancient rock carvings revealed by receding Amazon river waters re-emerge amid drought

rock carvings amazon drought emerge
© Suamy Bedoun/ReutersAncient stone carvings on a rocky point of the Amazon river that were exposed after water levels dropped to record lows near Manaus, Brazil
Human faces and other figures believed to be up to 2,000 years old exposed as Brazil river level hits record low

Human faces and other figures etched in stone up to 2,000 years ago have been revealed on Amazon riverbanks as a historic drought in the Brazilian region has brought water levels to unprecedented lows.

The petroglyphs, which include animals and other natural forms, have been revealed on the shores of the Rio Negro, at an archeological site known as the Ponto das Lajes, or Place of Slabs.

Researchers estimate the markings to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old.

The carvings had previously been sighted during a severe drought in 2010, when the Rio Negro's water levels dropped to 13.63 metres, then an all-time low.

Better Earth

Climate change impacted human population numbers in the Neolithic and Bronze Age, study suggests

bronze age mound
© Johannes Müller, CC-BY 4.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/The Schneiderberg near Baalberge (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany) is a burial mound built in the Neolithic period which was enlarged several times. One extension took place around 2000 BCE and contained a strikingly richly furnished burial. It is one of a whole series of burials of this kind in the region around the Harz Mountains, dating from a period of unfavorable climatic conditions. The linking of data on demographic development with regional climate data and actual archaeological finds in the study provides new insights into the interconnectedness of climate fluctuations and social changes in Central Europe between 5,500 and 3,500 years ago.
Human populations in Neolithic Europe fluctuated with changing climates, according to a study published October 25, 2023 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Ralph Großmann of Kiel University, Germany and colleagues.

The archaeological record is a valuable resource for exploring the relationship between humans and the environment, particularly how each is affected by the other. In this study, researchers examined Central European regions rich in archaeological remains and geologic sources of climate data, using these resources to identify correlations between human population trends and climate change.

The three regions examined are the Circumharz region of central Germany, the Czech Republic/Lower Austria region, and the Northern Alpine Foreland of southern Germany.

Comment: For more on the global cooling that's occurring, see: Also check out SOTT radio's:


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When did humans start burying their dead?

Ancient caves mark the beginning of recorded burial rituals, but there's still so much we don't know about the history of human graves.
Paleolithic ritual burial in France.
© CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty ImagesAn example of a Paleolithic ritual burial in France.
Many cultures around the world choose to honor deceased loved ones through burial. The ceremonies that accompany this ritual are steeped in history and tradition and can vary from culture to culture. But when was the first human burial?

There's no definitive answer because not all burial sites are preserved, let alone discovered and studied. But the earliest evidence so far points to the Middle Paleolithic (around 300,000 to 30,000 years ago).

"By at least 120,000 years ago we have what we believe are deliberately buried human bodies," Mary Stiner, a professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona, told Live Science.

Stiner doesn't rule out the potential for older burials to exist but said the most convincing early examples for modern humans (Homo sapiens) burying their dead come from the Middle Paleolithic. Some controversial research has suggested that extinct human relatives buried their dead around 300,000 years ago in what is now South Africa, but this is disputed in the scientific community.

The earliest known anatomically modern human burials from 120,000 years ago are in caves such as Qafzeh Cave in what is now Israel. There's also evidence of Neanderthal burials in the same caves dating to 115,000 years ago, according to The Australian Museum. Stiner noted that people used caves a lot during the Middle Paleolithic — living, eating and socializing in them.

Blue Planet

Oxford was murder capital of late medieval England, and students were to blame

medieval murder
© British LibraryDetail of a 14th century medieval miniature of Cain killing Abel.
Oxford today is known as a place of learning and elite scholarship. Several hundred years ago, the university town had something of a darker reputation.

A deep dive into historical documents reveals that during the late medieval period in the 14th century CE, Oxford had a per capita murder rate four to five times higher than other high-population hubs like York and London.

And the reason? Bloody students.

Like, quite literally. Newly translated documents list 75 percent of the perpetrators of murders with known background as "clericus", a term most commonly used to describe students or members of the then-recently founded University of Oxford. And 72 percent of the victims were also classed as clericus.

Comment: It's notable that these students would probably have also been considered to be members of the upper class:


Blue Planet

Neanderthals might not be the separate species we always thought, study claims

Neanderthal
© Eunostos/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0A Neanderthal skull.
Stoop-backed, heavy-browed, communicating in ape-like grunts, impressions of the Neanderthal as a simple-minded brute a few steps below modern humans on the evolutionary ladder have endured since their discovery in the mid-19th century.

In spite of the myriad of findings detailing their genetic and cultural similarities, our long-extinct 'cousins' are still all too often exiled into their own species, Homo neanderthalensis.

That categorization is due for a change, according to a team of researchers who have spent the past twenty years digging through layers of dust and grit in the central Portuguese cave site of Gruta da Oliveira.

"More than different species, I would speak of different human forms," says University of Trento archaeologist Diego Angelucci, the lead author of a recent study summarizing decades of research on what was home to families of Neanderthal more than 71,000 years ago.

Comment: One aspect has yet to be disputed is how Neanderthal's lifestyle and tool usage remained relatively static over vast stretches of time, and some of these creative practises may have originated with humans, whom they emulated, which, taken together, reflects on their relative lack of ingenuity when compared to humans. By comparison, the evolution of human's tool technology evolved much more quickly: The Golden Age, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction

It seems that this attempt to equate' Neanderthals with humans seems to have its origins more in the woke ideology that has infected academia, than in the evidence itself. Woke ideology wants to promote ideas where everyone and everything is equal, nothing is superior, and everything is subjective.

Other studies haven't escaped this same bent, such as the recent claim that that, throughout history women hunt in majority of foraging societies, and use a greater variety of weapons and tactics as men, except the archaeological data doesn't support this claim, nor do the practises of current foraging cultures.


Blue Planet

'A Neolithic feat of engineering': Orkney dig reveals ruins of huge tomb with 14 skeletons

orkney
© National Museums ScotlandFourteen skeletons were found in one of six rooms surrounding the main chamber at the site. Clues unearthed more than 100 years ago inspired archeologists to locate the 5,000-year-old site.
The ruins of a 5,000-year-old tomb in a construction that reflects the pinnacle of neolithic engineering in northern Britain has been unearthed in Orkney.

Fourteen articulated skeletons of men, women and children - two positioned as if they were embracing - have been found inside one of six cells or side rooms.

The tomb measures more than 15m in diameter and contains a stone structure accessed through a long passage of around seven metres. The excavation was headed by Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark, senior curator of prehistory (neolithic) at the National Museums Scotland, and Vicki Cummings, professor of neolithic archaeology at Cardiff University.

Comment: See also:


Blue Planet

'Sensational' hoard of Bronze Age jewelry discovered in Switzerland

Bronze Age jewelry
© Thurgau Canton Office of ArchaeologyA Bronze Age jewelry hoard discovered in a field in Güttingen, Switzerland, includes a necklace of spiked discs, amber beads, finger rings and gold spirals.
A hoard of "very rare" Bronze Age jewelry unearthed in Switzerland is described by one expert as a "sensational" discovery.

The hoard includes a necklace made of bronze spiked discs, two finger rings, gold wire spirals and more than 100 tiny amber beads. It also contains several more unusual finds, such as a rock crystal, a beaver tooth, a perforated bear tooth, a bronze arrowhead, a few lumps of polished iron ore, a small ammonite shell and a fossilized shark tooth, among other items.

The hoard, which is thought to date to around 1500 B.C., or roughly 3,500 years ago, was discovered in August by an amateur archaeologist named Franz Zahn in a freshly plowed carrot field in the municipality of Güttingen in northeastern Switzerland.

Zahn immediately reported the find to the canton of Thurgau's Office of Archeology (OA), which arranged for experts to document and recover the artifacts the next day.

Comment: There's research that leads one to believe that this seeming fascination with spirals, and other shapes the predominate in Bronze Age art (and even earlier), may have had something to do with the activity in the skies at the time: The Cosmic Context of Greek Philosophy, Part One

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Info

Amazonian rainforest hides thousands of records of ancient indigenous communities under its forest canopy

Forested landscape of Amazonia
© Hans ter SteegeForested landscape of Amazonia.
The world's most diverse forest, the Amazon, may also host more than 10,000 records of pre-Columbian earthworks (constructed prior to the arrival of Europeans), according to a new study. The new study combines cutting-edge remote sensing technology with archaeological data and advanced statistical modeling to estimate how many earthworks may still be hidden beneath the canopy of the Amazon rainforest and in which locations these structures are most likely to be found.

Conducted by a team of 230 researchers from 156 institutions located in 24 countries across 4 continents, led by Brazilian researchers Vinicius Peripato, a doctoral student in Remote Sensing at Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and Luiz Aragão. "Our study suggests that the Amazon rainforest may not be as pristine as many believe, as when we seek a better understanding of the extent of pre-Columbian human occupation throughout it, we are surprised by a significant number of sites still unknown to the science community", says Vinicius Peripato.
LIDAR Image
© Vinicius PeripatoLiDAR point cloud and the digital terrain beneath the forest with a vertical exaggeration of 2.5 meters. The scale on the right represents the tree's height.

Blue Planet

Neanderthals carried genes acquired from ancient interactions with 'cousins' of modern humans

Ethiopia
© Sarah TishkoffA new collaborative study led by Sarah Tishkoff shows that Neanderthals inherited at least 6% of their genome from a now-extinct lineage of early modern humans. Members of Tishkoff's research team collecting ethnograpgic information from participants in Ethiopia.
Modern humans migrated to Eurasia 75,000 years ago, where they encountered and interbred with Neanderthals. A new study published in the journal Current Biology shows that at this time Neanderthals were already carrying human DNA from a much older encounter with modern humans. The Penn-led research team, including collaborators from Addis Ababa University, the University of Botswana, Fudan University, Hubert Kairuki Memorial University, and the University of Yaoundé, showed that an ancient lineage of modern humans migrated to Eurasia over 250,000 years ago where they interbred with Neanderthals. Over time, these humans died out, leaving a population with predominantly Neanderthal ancestry.

"We found this reflection of ancient interbreeding where genes flowed from ancient modern humans into Neanderthals," says Alexander Platt, a senior research scientist in the Perelman School of Medicine and one of the study's first authors. "This group of individuals left Africa between 250,000 and 270,000 years ago. They were sort of the cousins to all humans alive today, and they were much more like us than Neanderthals."

The team arrived at this conclusion by comparing a Neanderthal genome with a diverse set of genomes from modern indigenous populations in sub-Saharan Africa.


Comment: It may be that this ancient lineage left Africa, but the data doesn't support human origins as coming 'out of Africa': Most human origins theories are not compatible with known fossils


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