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Irina M Velsko, Katherine A Overmyer, Camilla Speller, Lauren Klaus, Matthew J Collins, Louise Loe, Laurent A F Frantz, Krithivasan Sankaranarayanan, Cecil M Lewis, Juan Bautista Rodriguez Martinez, Eros Chaves, Joshua J Coon, Greger Larson, Christina Warinner
INTRODUCTION: Dental calculus is a mineralized microbial dental plaque biofilm that forms throughout life by precipitation of salivary calcium salts. Successive cycles of dental plaque growth and calcification make it an unusually well-preserved, long-term record of host-microbial interaction in the archaeological record. Recent studies have confirmed the survival of authentic ancient DNA and proteins within historic and prehistoric dental calculus, making it a promising substrate for investigating oral microbiome evolution via direct measurement and comparison of modern and ancient specimens...
2017: Metabolomics: Official Journal of the Metabolomic Society
Claire E Lenehan, Shanan S Tobe, Renee J Smith, Rachel S Popelka-Filcoff
Many archaeological science studies use the concept of "provenance", where the origins of cultural material can be determined through physical or chemical properties that relate back to the origins of the material. Recent studies using DNA profiling of bacteria have been used for the forensic determination of soils, towards determination of geographic origin. This manuscript presents a novel approach to the provenance of archaeological minerals and related materials through the use of 16S rRNA sequencing analysis of microbial DNA...
2017: PloS One
Ioannis N Mammas, Demetrios A Spandidos
Although excavated almost 80 years ago, the infants' 'bone well' of the Athenian Agora in Athens, Greece and its contents were never thoroughly evaluated and published, until only recently, when a re-analysis of the whole excavation findings was performed. The well dates back to the third quarter of the 2nd century BC and contained at least 449 infants. The project, which explored the causes of neonatal mortality, found that one-third of infants' deaths were attributed to neonatal meningitis, based on the presence of bone disposition on the endocranial surface of the studied skulls...
October 2017: Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Yongfeng Zhou, Mélanie Massonnet, Jaleal S Sanjak, Dario Cantu, Brandon S Gaut
We gathered genomic data from grapes (Vitis vinifera ssp. vinifera), a clonally propagated perennial crop, to address three ongoing mysteries about plant domestication. The first is the duration of domestication; archaeological evidence suggests that domestication occurs over millennia, but genetic evidence indicates that it can occur rapidly. We estimated that our wild and cultivated grape samples diverged ∼22,000 years ago and that the cultivated lineage experienced a steady decline in population size (Ne ) thereafter...
October 17, 2017: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Ségolène Vandevelde, Jacques Élie Brochier, Christophe Petit, Ludovic Slimak
Soot marks, witnesses of past human activities, can sometimes be noticed in concretions (speleothem, travertine, carbonated crust, etc.) formed in cavities. We demonstrate here that these deposits, generally ignored in archaeological studies, turned out to be a perfectly suitable material for micro-chronological study of hominin activities in a site. At the Grotte Mandrin (Mediterranean France), thousands of clastic fragments from the rock walls were found in every archaeological level of the shelter. Calcareous crusts containing soot deposits are recorded on some of their surfaces...
November 2017: Journal of Human Evolution
Julien Corny, Manon Galland, Marta Arzarello, Anne-Marie Bacon, Fabrice Demeter, Dominique Grimaud-Hervé, Charles Higham, Hirofumi Matsumura, Lan Cuong Nguyen, Thi Kim Thuy Nguyen, Viet Nguyen, Marc Oxenham, Thongsa Sayavongkhamdy, François Sémah, Laura L Shackelford, Florent Détroit
The population history of anatomically modern humans (AMH) in Southeast Asia (SEA) is a highly debated topic. The impact of sea level variations related to the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and the Neolithic diffusion on past population dispersals are two key issues. We have investigated competing AMH dispersal hypotheses in SEA through the analysis of dental phenotype shape variation on the basis of very large archaeological samples employing two complementary approaches. We first explored the structure of between- and within-group shape variation of permanent human molar crowns...
November 2017: Journal of Human Evolution
Lars Fehren-Schmitz, Catrine L Jarman, Kelly M Harkins, Manfred Kayser, Brian N Popp, Pontus Skoglund
The origins and lifeways of the inhabitants of Rapa Nui (Easter Island), a remote island in the southeast Pacific Ocean, have been debated for generations. Archaeological evidence substantiates the widely accepted view that the island was first settled by people of Polynesian origin, as late as 1200 CE [1-4]. What remains controversial, however, is the nature of events in the island's population history prior to the first historic contact with Europeans in 1722 CE. Purported contact between Rapa Nui and South America is particularly contentious, and recent studies have reported genetic evidence for Native American admixture in present-day indigenous inhabitants of Rapa Nui [5-8]...
October 11, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Ana T Duggan, Alison J T Harris, Stephanie Marciniak, Ingeborg Marshall, Melanie Kuch, Andrew Kitchen, Gabriel Renaud, John Southon, Ben Fuller, Janet Young, Stuart Fiedel, G Brian Golding, Vaughan Grimes, Hendrik Poinar
Situated at the furthest northeastern edge of Canada, the island of Newfoundland (approximately 110,000 km(2)) and Labrador (approximately 295,000 km(2)) today constitute a province characterized by abundant natural resources but low population density. Both landmasses were covered by the Laurentide ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (18,000 years before present [YBP]); after the glacier retreated, ice patches remained on the island until ca. 9,000 calibrated (cal) YBP [1]. Nevertheless, indigenous peoples, whose ancestors had trekked some 5,000 km from the west coast, arrived approximately 10,000 cal YBP in Labrador and ca...
October 10, 2017: Current Biology: CB
Joe Yuichiro Wakano, William Gilpin, Seiji Kadowaki, Marcus W Feldman, Kenichi Aoki
Recent archaeological records no longer support a simple dichotomous characterization of the cultures/behaviors of Neanderthals and modern humans, but indicate much cultural/behavioral variability over time and space. Thus, in modeling the replacement or assimilation of Neanderthals by modern humans, it is of interest to consider cultural dynamics and its relation to demographic change. The ecocultural framework for the competition between hominid species allows their carrying capacities to depend on some measure of the levels of culture they possess...
October 12, 2017: Theoretical Population Biology
Kitti Köhler, Antónia Marcsik, Péter Zádori, Gergely Biro, Tamás Szeniczey, Szilvia Fábián, Gábor Serlegi, Tibor Marton, Helen D Donoghue, Tamás Hajdu
At the Abony-Turjányos dűlő site, located in Central Hungary, a rescue excavation was carried out. More than 400 features were excavated and dated to the Protoboleráz horizon, at the beginning of the Late Copper Age in the Carpathian Basin, between 3780-3650 cal BC. Besides the domestic and economic units, there were two special areas, with nine-nine pits that differed from the other archaeological features of the site. In the northern pit group seven pits contained human remains belonging to 48 individuals...
2017: PloS One
Silvia Bruni, Vittoria Guglielmi, Elena Della Foglia, Marina Castoldi, Giovanna Bagnasco Gianni
A study is presented based on the use of entirely non-destructive spectroscopic techniques to analyze the chemical composition of the painted surface layer of archaeological pottery. This study aims to define both the raw materials and the working technology of ancient potters. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, micro-Raman spectroscopy, visible and near infrared (NIR) diffuse reflection spectroscopy and external reflection Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy were applied to matt-painted bichrome pottery sherds (VIII-VII century B...
October 4, 2017: Spectrochimica Acta. Part A, Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy
A M Bosman, S R Moisik, D Dediu, A Waters-Rist
The primary aim of this paper is to assess patterns of morphological variation in the mandible to investigate changes during the last 500 years in the Netherlands. Three-dimensional geometric morphometrics is used on data collected from adults from three populations living in the Netherlands during three time-periods. Two of these samples come from Dutch archaeological sites (Alkmaar, 1484-1574, n=37; and Middenbeemster, 1829-1866, n=51) and were digitized using a 3D laser scanner. The third is a modern sample obtained from MRI scans of 34 modern Dutch individuals...
August 24, 2017: Homo: Internationale Zeitschrift Für die Vergleichende Forschung Am Menschen
Anil K Pokharia, Rajesh Agnihotri, Shalini Sharma, Sunil Bajpai, Jitendra Nath, R N Kumaran, Bipin Chandra Negi
Archaeological sites hold important clues to complex climate-human relationships of the past. Human settlements in the peripheral zone of Indus culture (Gujarat, western India) are of considerable importance in the assessment of past monsoon-human-subsistence-culture relationships and their survival thresholds against climatic stress exerted by abrupt changes. During the mature phase of Harappan culture between ~4,600-3,900yrsBP, the ~4,100±100yrsBP time slice is widely recognized as one of the major, abrupt arid-events imprinted innumerous well-dated palaeo records...
2017: PloS One
J Eldon Molto, Odile Loreille, Elizabeth K Mallott, Ripan S Malhi, Spence Fast, Jennifer Daniels-Higginbotham, Charla Marshall, Ryan Parr
The curse of ancient Egyptian DNA was lifted by a recent study which sequenced the mitochondrial genomes (mtGenome) of 90 ancient Egyptians from the archaeological site of Abusir el-Meleq. Surprisingly, these ancient inhabitants were more closely related to those from the Near East than to contemporary Egyptians. It has been accepted that the timeless highway of the Nile River seeded Egypt with African genetic influence, well before pre-Dynastic times. Here we report on the successful recovery and analysis of the complete mtGenome from a burial recovered from a remote Romano-Christian cemetery, Kellis 2 (K2)...
October 6, 2017: Genes
Zsolt Pinke, László Ferenczi, Beatrix F Romhányi, József Laszlovszky, Stephen Pow
In their recent article published in the journal Scientific Reports, Büntgen and Di Cosmo have attempted to solve the historical mystery of the sudden Mongol withdrawal from Hungary after a year-long occupation. We cannot share the authors' viewpoint that environmental circumstances contributed to the decision of the Mongols to abandon Hungary since the hypothesis lacks support from environmental, archaeological and historical evidence. Historical source material in particular suggests that the Mongols were able to settle and sustain their herds in Hungary as is clearly stated in a letter by King Bela IV to the pope...
October 5, 2017: Scientific Reports
Megan Gannon
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 6, 2017: Science
M E Prendergast, E M Quintana Morales, A Crowther, M C Horton, N L Boivin
Occupants of coastal and island eastern Africa-now known as the 'Swahili coast'-were involved in long-distance trade with the Indian Ocean world during the later first millennium CE. Such exchanges may be traced via the appearance of non-native animals in the archaeofaunal record; additionally, this record reveals daily culinary practises of the members of trading communities and can thus shed light on subsistence technologies and social organisation. Yet despite the potential contributions of faunal data to Swahili coast archaeology, few detailed zooarchaeological studies have been conducted...
July 2017: Int J Osteoarchaeol
Renata Jacewicz, Andrzej Ossowski, Olgierd Ławrynowicz, Maciej Jędrzejczyk, Adam Prośniak, Katarzyna Bąbol-Pokora, Marta Diepenbroek, Maria Szargut, Grażyna Zielińska, Jarosław Berent
It can be reasonably assumed that remains exhumed in 2012 and 2013 during archaeological explorations conducted in the Lućmierz Forest, an important area on the map of the German Nazi terror in the region of Lodz (Poland), are in fact the remains of a hundred Poles murdered by the Nazis in Zgierz on March 20, 1942. By virtue of a decision of the Polish Institute of National Remembrance's Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against the Polish Nation, the verification of this research hypothesis was entrusted to SIGO (Network for Genetic Identification of Victims) Consortium appointed by virtue of an agreement of December 11, 2015...
2017: Archiwum Medycyny Sa̧dowej i Kryminologii
Hannes Rathmann, Hugo Reyes-Centeno, Silvia Ghirotto, Nicole Creanza, Tsunehiko Hanihara, Katerina Harvati
Dental phenotypic data are often used to reconstruct biological relatedness among past human groups. Teeth are an important data source because they are generally well preserved in the archaeological and fossil record, even when associated skeletal and DNA preservation is poor. Furthermore, tooth form is considered to be highly heritable and selectively neutral; thus, teeth are assumed to be an excellent proxy for neutral genetic data when none are available. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has systematically tested the assumption of genetic neutrality of dental morphological features on a global scale...
October 2, 2017: Scientific Reports
Tristan Krap, Franklin R W van de Goot, Roelof-Jan Oostra, Wilma Duijst, Andrea L Waters-Rist
The colour of thermally altered bone, recovered from archaeological and forensic contexts, is related to the temperature(s) to which it was exposed. As it is heated bone changes in colour from ivory white, to brown and black, to different shades of grey and chalky white. It should be possible to estimate exposure temperature based on visually observable changes in colour. In forensic casework the temperature that human remains have been subjected to can reveal information about the existence and nature of foul play...
August 5, 2017: Legal Medicine
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