Debating Biology and Culture


Use of medicinal plants by Neanderthals discovered


The Heritage Trust

 
Reconstruction of a Neanderthal in The Neanderthal Museum, Germany. Source Wikipedia.
Image credit Ökologi
 
Writing in TG Daily, Emma Woollacott reports that the examination of food particles trapped in the teeth of Neanderthal remains have –
 
…revealed the human ancestor Australopithecus sediba ate bark – analysis of microscopic bits of food trapped between the teeth – they’ve established that Neanderthals cooked plants, including bitter-tasting ones that have medicinal properties. Until recently, Neanderthals, who disappeared between 30,000 and 24,000 years ago, were thought to be predominantly meat-eaters.
 

Researchers from Spain, the UK and Australia combined pyrolysis gas-chromatography-mass spectrometry with morphological analysis of plant microfossils to identify material trapped in dental calculus – calcified dental plaque – from five Neanderthals from the north Spanish site of El Sidrón.

 
Full articlehere.
 
 

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A closer look at what the Chiseldon cauldrons are made of


British Museum blog

High magnification image of one of the cauldrons

Quanyu Wang, scientist, British Museum

I am a scientist specialising in metalworking technology, particularly in relation to non-precious metals such as iron and copper-alloys. The scientific examination and analysis of the Chiseldon Iron-Age cauldrons is a key aspect of the investigative process as a whole and is crucial in supporting our understanding of them.

For the Chiseldon cauldrons I have been examining the microstructure of the metal under very high magnification in order to see its composition, deduce how it was worked and explore manufacturing techniques. Some of the questions I will be trying to answer include: ‘How were the cauldrons made?’, ‘Were different components from an individual vessel made in the same workshop?’, ‘Were the same parts, such as the iron handles for different vessels, made from the same metal stocks’ and, perhaps the most important question of all; ‘Were the cauldrons made especially for burial or collected together…

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Menai Strait, Anglesey Roman site


Antiquarian's Attic

 ‘Important’ Roman site found at Llanedwen, Anglesey
Archaeological work on the banks of the Menai Strait has revealed evidence of what has been described as “a Roman site of some importance”.
The site at Llanedwen, Anglesey, revealed “an unusual amount of high status material, suggesting a Roman site with links to the military”.

The Gwynedd Archaeological Trust says road works and a honeycomb of buildings were found, but no defensive ditches.
Pottery and coins found were also discovered at the site.
The works at Trefarthen was funded by historic monuments agency Cadw.
Artefacts have yet to be analysed but it is believed they show the military site was in use from the 1st Century shortly after the Roman invasion through to the end of the 4th Century.
The site is located opposite Caernarfon, which is home to  Segontium, a major part of the Roman military presence in Wales.
Dave…

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Choice of Wood in Cremation Pyres


Ship Burial: A Viking Funerary Tradition


Vicious Viking Massacre


Tattoos of 2,500 year old Siberian Princess


These Wooden Ideas

“The ancient mummy of a mysterious young woman, known as the Ukok Princess, is finally returning home to the Altai Republic this month. The Siberian Times has obtained intricate drawings of her remarkable tattoos, and those of two men, possibly warriors, buried near her on the remote Ukok Plateau, now a UNESCO world cultural and natural heritage site, some 2,500 metres up in the Altai Mountains in a border region close to frontiers of Russia with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.”

Reconstruction of a warrior’s tattoos, who was discovered on the same plateau as the ‘Princess’. All drawings of tattoos, here and below, were made by Elena Shumakova, Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science

“They are all believed to be Pazyryk people – a nomadic people described in the 5th century BC by the Greek historian Herodotus – and the colourful body artwork is seen…

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