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Haaland 2002

Gunnar Haaland, Randi Haaland & Suman Rijai, The Social Life of Iron, A Cross-Cultural Study of Technological, Symbolic, and Social Aspects of Iron Making. Anthropos 97 (2002), 35–54.

Activities and tools connected with iron almost everywhere seem to be symbolically loaded. On one hand there seems to be striking cross-cultural similarities in symbolism constructed around the smelting process in the furnace. On the other hand this symbolism contrasts dramatically with the one constructed around the forging process in the smithy. Iron symbolism is ambiguous as it may be associated with contrasting ideas – destruction versus production, death versus birth, male versus female. By exploring three case studies (Fur, Fipa, and Nepal), we shall search for conditions underlying universal similarities as well as culture specific variations in iron symbolism.

Keywords: Sudan | Tanzania | Nepal | Fur | Fipa | blacksmiths | caste | iron symbolism

An important thing to note is that the kind of symbolism that is “good to spin” around the smelting “station” (the furnace) in the trajectory of iron, is different from the kind of symbolism that is good to spin around the forging “station” (the smithy). Smelting as we have seen in the three cases is hedged in by restrictions – taboos and protection against the evil eye – that serve to surround it with a certain amount of secrecy or separateness. The most fundamental feature of the concrete processes taking place in the furnace is their transformative character, and the most striking feature of the objects and activities involved in this transformation is their potential to evoke association of sexual intercourse and gender imagery.

We think that one reason for the emphasis people in African societies have given to furnace imagery may just be that initiations play such a large role in production of status structures and that this imagery so convincingly can be applied in rituals establishing individual’s position in these structures.

As opposed to the smelting, activities in the smithy are not hedged in by restrictions on observations. People can see how the blacksmith by his own activity creates a useful orderly shape out of an amorphous mass (the bloom), while the transformations taking place inside the furnace are hidden from the human eye. Smithy imagery of course is a very apt way of communicating the idea of the importance of the king in creating social order – the king as forging orderly social life out an amorphous mass of individuals.


Goldberg 2017

Amy Goldberg, Torsten Günther, Noah A. Rosenberg & Mattias Jakobsson, Robust model-based inference of male-biased admixture during Bronze Age migration from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, Reply to Lazaridis and Reich. PNAS 114 (2017), E3875–E3877.

We conclude that our inference of male-biased Pontic – Caspian Steppe migration, seen using ADMIXTURE, STRUCTURE, mechanistic simulations, and X/autosomal FST, is robust. Our analysis further illuminates the impact of small haploid reference samples on ADMIXTURE; we look forward to refining sex-specific migration estimates as larger, higher-coverage ancient samples become available.

Lazaridis 2017

Iosif Lazaridis & David Reich, Failure to replicate a genetic signal for sex bias in the steppe migration into central Europe. PNAS 114 (2017), E3873–E3874.

Supervised ADMIXTURE predicts real ancestry poorly in this setting (Fig. 1B). The estimation error (estimated – real ancestry) is strongly correlated (r = 0.91) with the estimated SP ancestry, allowing us to predict it by a regression (Fig. 1C), which indicates upward bias for high SP ancestry estimates and downward bias for low ones.

Traunmüller 2017

S. Traunmüller, A ‘Mycenean Spring’ c. 1200 BC? The end of the palaces in the light of the ‘Arab Revolution’. unknown (2017), preprint, 1–32.

The end of the Bronze Age palatial society in Mycenean Greece still is one of the most debated problems in Aegean prehistory. Numerous attempts to explain the disturbances in the eastern Mediterranean around 1200 BC have been put forward, none of which has been able to gain comprehensive acceptance among scholars. The present article does by no means claim to offer such an explanation but merely tries to engage the question of the destruction of the Mycenean palaces by putting an emphasis on a ‘human factor’. Inspired by the events of the so called ‘Arab Revolution’ a tentative comparison of the socio-political situation in Mycenean Greece and modern Arab countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya shall be discussed here in order to possibly retrieve information on the downfall of the palaces. With all due awareness of the problems and hazards of such a cognitive endeavour, it ought to be regarded as what it is meant to be: simply a play of thoughts.

Keywords: Mycenean palaces | collapse | cognitive approach | human factor

Wade 2017

Lizzie Wade, Claim of very early humans in Americas shocks researchers, Skepticism greets report of smashed mastodon bones. science 356 (2017), 361.

Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada in Reno, notes that “the features of the broken bones … are also produced when heavy construction equipment crushes buried bones.” Author and site excavator Thomas Deméré, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, says the team carefully excavated 50 square meters beginning in 1992, and the bones described in the paper were “deeply buried. … There was no equipment damage to the heart of the site.”

Wade 2017

Lizzie Wade, DNA from cave soil reveals ancient human occupants, Technique may help open a new era in paleoanthropology. science 356 (2017), 363.

Stringer suspects ancient human DNA from sediments could also help resolve whether certain controversial stone tool technologies, such as the Uluzzian found in Italy, were made by modern humans or Neandertals.


Lazzari 2017

Marisa Lazzari et al., Compositional data supports decentralized model of production and circulation of artifacts in the pre-Columbian south-central Andes. PNAS 114 (2017), E3917–E3926.

Marisa Lazzari, Lucas Pereyra Domingorena, Wesley D. Stoner, María Cristina Scattolin, María Alejandra Korstanje & Michael D. Glascock

The circulation and exchange of goods and resources at various scales have long been considered central to the understanding of complex societies, and the Andes have provided a fertile ground for investigating this process. However, long-standing archaeological emphasis on typological analysis, although helpful to hypothesize the direction of contacts, has left important aspects of ancient exchange open to speculation. To improve understanding of ancient exchange practices and their potential role in structuring alliances, we examine material exchanges in northwest Argentina (part of the south-central Andes) during 400 BC to AD 1000 (part of the regional Formative Period), with a multianalytical approach (petrography, instrumental neutron activation analysis, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry) to artifacts previously studied separately. We assess the standard centralized model of interaction vs. a decentralized model through the largest provenance database available to date in the region. The results show: (i) intervalley heterogeneity of clays and fabrics for ordinary wares; (ii) intervalley homogeneity of clays and fabrics for a wide range of decoratedwares (e.g., painted Ciénaga); (iii) selective circulation of two distinct polychrome wares (Vaquerías and Condorhuasi); (iv) generalized access to obsidian from one major source and various minor sources; and (v) selective circulation of volcanic rock tools from a single source. These trends reflect the multiple and conflicting demands experienced by people in small-scale societies, which may be difficult to capitalize by aspiring elites. The study undermines centralized narratives of exchange for this period, offering a new platform for understanding ancient exchange based on actual material transfers, both in the Andes and beyond.

Keywords: south-central Andes | archaeology | exchange | complexity | compositional

Significance: The exchange of goods is a key factor in the development of complex societies. The Andes have provided a fertile ground for investigating this process, yet the long-standing emphasis on qualitative assessments of artifact similarities has left important aspects of ancient exchange open to speculation. Through a multianalytical and multimaterial approach we examine regional connections in Formative Period northwest Argentina. The results unveil a far more multifaceted, decentralized network than previously thought, challenging standard approaches that have favored centralized patterns of regional interaction. The study opens avenues for investigating the dynamic interaction between local and regional networks in small-scale societies through actual material transfers, both in the Andes and beyond.


Eckert 2003

Jörg Eckert, Ursula Eisenhauer & Andreas Zimmermann (Hrsg.), Archäologische Perspektiven. Analysen und Interpretationen im Wandel, Festschrift für Jens Lüning zum 65. Geburtstag. Internationale Archäologie – Studia honoraria 20 (Rahden Westf. 2003).


Garfinkel 2017

Yosef Garfinkel, Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Shephelah, Data and Interpretations. In: S. Schroer & S. Münger (Hrsg.), Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Shephelah, Colloquium of the Swiss Society for Ancient Near Eastern Studies, University of Bern, September 6, 2014. Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 282 (Fribourg 2017), 5–59.

The location of Khirbet Qeiyafa and the data uncovered clearly demonstrate that it was a Judean city rather than a Canaanite or Philistine one. Nor did it belong to the northern Kingdom of Israel. The new data and the radiometric dating support the biblical narrative about state formation in Judah. The archaeological data and the biblical text both indicate that a new social organization developed in Judah in the late 11th century BCE. There is no circular reasoning here, as the site of Khirbet Qeiyafa is dated radiometrically and its ethnic identification is based on the archaeological data. On the other hand, in the biblical tradition this period is the era of King David. This narrative, like any historical narrative, suffers from various shortcomings but can no longer be rejected out of hand. In the late 11th century BCE a small kingdom, the Kingdom of Judah, began to develop in the hills of Jerusalem and Hebron. Its founding father was David. The main scientific challenge is not to overlook this political entity, but to investigate it, in order to achieve better understanding of its formation and development over time.

Garfinkel 2017

Yosef Garfinkel, The Iron Age City of Khirbet Qeiyafa. In: Oded Lipschits & Aren M. Maeir (Hrsg.), The Shephelah during the Iron Age, Recent Archaeological Studies. (Winona Lake 2017), 115–131.

1. The site was built according to the typical Judean urban plan, a plan that is not found in any city in the Kingdom of Israel.

2. There are nearly 700 impressed jar handles, a typically Judean administrative device. Impressed jar handles are not found in the Kingdom of Israel in meaningful quantities.

3. The site did not yield the igurines that are characteristic of sites in the Kingdom of Israel in this period.

4. Five early alphabetic (Proto-Canaanite) inscriptions are known today from the tenth century BCE: three from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Beth-Shemesh, and one from Jerusalem. These sites are located in the core area of Judah. Not a single inscription of this kind has been found in sites of the Kingdom of Israel.

5. The dominance of iron tools in the assemblage of metal objects is characteristic of Judean sites; in the Kingdom of Israel, bronze was dominant at this time.

6. The site’s location in the Elah Valley on the main road from the Philistine centers of Ashdod and Ashkelon to Jerusalem had no geopolitical importance for the Kingdom of Israel. In order to defend its supposed territory from Philistine attacks, the northern kingdom would have needed to build fortiied cities in the Sorek and Ayalon Valleys.

Ockinga 2011

Boyo Ockinga, Hatshepsut’s Appointment as Crown Prince and the Egyptian Background to Isaiah 9: 5. In: S. Bar, D. Kahn & J. J. Shirley (Hrsg.), Egypt, Canaan and Israel: History, Imperialism, Ideology, and Literature, Proceedings of a Conference at the University of Haifa, 3–7 May 2009. Culture and History of the Ancient Near East 52 (Leiden 2011), 252–267.

A possible Egyptian background to Isaiah 9:5 is reviewed in the light of a text from Deir el-Bahari in which Thutmose I announces to his courtiers and to the people that Hatshepsut will be his heir. Only four of Hatshepsut’s names are proclaimed, since she already bore the fifth name, her nomen Hatshepsut, given to her at birth. The text does not link her nomen with the Son of Re title, since only the reigning king could be defined as Re’s son. This assessment of the Hatshepsut text also supports the interpretation that the Isaiah text, which has the same sequence of events, refers to the proclamation of a crown prince rather than to an accession to the throne. It is further argued that the understanding of the nature of the Egyptian king’s relationship to the deity in the New Kingdom would not have precluded it from serving as a model for Israelite kingship.

Biologie Mathematik

Thompson 2017

Faye J. Thompson et al., Explaining negative kin discrimination in a cooperative mammal society. PNAS 114 (2017), 5207–5212.


Faye J. Thompson, Michael A. Cant, Harry H. Marshall, Emma I. K. Vitikainen, Jennifer L. Sanderson, Hazel J. Nichols, Jason S. Gilchrist, Matthew B. V. Bell, Andrew J. Young, Sarah J. Hodge & Rufus A. Johnstone

Kin selection theory predicts that, where kin discrimination is possible, animals should typically act more favorably toward closer genetic relatives and direct aggression toward less closely related individuals. Contrary to this prediction, we present data from an 18-y study of wild banded mongooses, Mungos mungo, showing that females that are more closely related to dominant individuals are specifically targeted for forcible eviction from the group, often suffering severe injury, and sometimes death, as a result. This pattern cannot be explained by inbreeding avoidance or as a response to more intense local competition among kin. Instead, we use game theory to show that such negative kin discrimination can be explained by selection for unrelated targets to invest more effort in resisting eviction. Consistent with our model, negative kin discrimination is restricted to eviction attempts of older females capable of resistance; dominants exhibit no kin discrimination when attempting to evict younger females, nor do they discriminate between more closely or less closely related young when carrying out infanticidal attacks on vulnerable infants who cannot defend themselves. We suggest that in contexts where recipients of selfish acts are capable of resistance, the usual prediction of positive kin discrimination can be reversed. Kin selection theory, as an explanation for social behavior, can benefit from much greater exploration of sequential social interactions.

Keywords: kin selection | kin discrimination | conflict | cooperation | eviction

Significance: Kin selection theory predicts that animals will direct altruism toward closer genetic relatives and aggression toward more distantly related individuals. Our 18-y study of wild banded mongooses reveals that, unusually, dominant individuals target females who are more closely related to them for violent eviction from the group. This puzzling result can be explained by selection for unrelated individuals to resist eviction and for related individuals to submit more easily. In support of this idea, we show that kin are targeted for aggression only when individuals are capable of resisting. Our results suggest that, where potential victims can oppose aggression, the usual predictions of kin selection theory can be reversed.


Taylor 2017

William Timothy Treal Taylor et al., A Bayesian chronology for early domestic horse use in the Eastern Steppe. Journal of Archaeological Science 81 (2017), 49–58.

JAS081-0049-Supplement1.pdf, JAS081-0049-Supplement2.pdf

William Timothy Treal Taylor, Burentogtokh Jargalan, K. Bryce Lowry, Julia Clark, Tumurbaatar Tuvshinjargal & Jamsranjav Bayarsaikhan

Archaeological horse remains from Mongolia’s late Bronze Age Deer Stone-Khirigsuur (DSK) culture present some of the oldest direct radiocarbon dates for horses in northeast Asia, hinting at an important link between late Bronze Age social developments and the adoption or innovation of horse transport in the region. However, wide error ranges and imprecision associated with calibrated radiocarbon dates obscure the chronology of early domestic horse use in Mongolia and make it difficult to evaluate the role of processes like environmental change, economic interactions, or technological development in the formation of mobile pastoral societies. Using a large sample of new and published radiocarbon dates, this study presents a Bayesian chronological model for the initiation of domestic horse sacrifice at DSK culture sites in Mongolia. Results reveal the rapid spread of horse ritual over a large portion of the Eastern Steppe circa 1200 BCE, concurrent with the first appearance of draught horses in China during the late Shang dynasty. These results suggest that key late Bronze Age cultural transformations – specifically the adoption of mobile pastoralism and early horseback riding – took place during a period of climate amelioration, and may be linked to the expansion of horses into other areas of East Asia.

Keywords: horse domestication | Pastoralism | Bayesian modeling


Gebhard 2014

Rupert Gebhard, Rüdiger Krause, Astrid Röpke & Vanessa Bähr, Das Gold von Bernstorf, Authentizität und Kontext in der mittleren Bronzezeit Europas. In: Harald Meller, Roberto Risch & Ernst Pernicka (Hrsg.), Metalle der Macht – Frühes Gold und Silber, 6. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag vom 17. bis 19. Oktober 2013 in Halle (Saale). Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle 11 (Halle 2014), 761–776.

Fifteen years ago exceptional pieces of jewellery, made from sheet gold, had been discovered on the Bernstorfer Hill near Kranzberg in Upper Bavaria. Together with amber objects, engraved with images and characters and unearthed only two years later, they generated great astonishment in Bronze Age studies. Unfortunately, as with many of such extraordinary finds, some have erroneously considered them as forgery. Their find spot lies within a fortified site, constructed in the middle Bronze Age around 1340 BC. The fortification and associated finds have thrown up many questions, which are being addressed step-by-step since 2o1o in a joint project by the Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main and the Bavarian State Archaeological Collection Munich, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Key aspects of the project are a review of the settlement history of the Bernstorfer Hill, an appraisal of its cultural integration within the regional settlement structure as well as an assessment of supra-regional relations via detailed analysis and discussion of all finds and findings; specifically, however, of the gold and amber finds.

Vor nunmehr 15 Jahren wurden auf dem Bernstorfer Berg bei Kranzberg in Oberbayern exzeptionelle Schmuckstücke aus Goldblech gefunden. Zusammen mit den zwei Jahre später zutage gekommenen Bernsteinen mit Bild- und Schriftzeichen, lösten sie in der Bronzezeitforschung große Verwunderung aus und wurden, wie bei vergleichbaren Entdeckungen zuvor, bis heute von vielen irrtümlich als Fälschungen bezeichnet. Ihr Fundort liegt in einer großen Befestigungsanlage, die in der mittleren Bronzezeit um 1340 v. Chr. errichtet wurde. Die Befestigung und ihre Funde werfen viele Fragen auf, die seit 2010 in einem durch die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) geförderten Forschungsprojekt der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main und der Archäologischen Staatssammlung in München Schritt für Schritt gelöst werden. Kernthemen des Projektes sind dabei die Aufarbeitung der Besiedlungsgeschichte des Bernstorfer Berges, die Klärung seiner kulturellen Einbindung in das regionale Siedlungsgefüge wie auch die Beurteilung überregionaler Zusammenhänge durch eine detaillierte Analyse und Diskussion aller Funde und Befunde, insbesondere jedoch der Gold- und Bernsteinfunde.


Levine 1981

Lee Levine (Hrsg.), Ancient synagogues revealed. (Jerusalem 1981).


Dugatkin 2017

Lee Alan Dugatkin, Long reach of inclusive fitness. PNAS 114 (2017), 5067–5068.

Thompson et al. used evolutionary game theory, a mathematical technique used when the fitness of an individual depends not just on its own action but also on the actions of those individuals with whom it interacts. An appealing aspect of their model is its elegant simplicity. Suppose that an individual is capable of resisting a selfish act directed at it from one its neighbors, and that such resistance guarantees that the perpetrator will fail but comes at a cost to the resistor. When the perpetrator and resistor are genetic relatives, the resistor receives some indirect benefits when its kin, the perpetrator, succeeds in its act of selfishness. The more related the individuals are, the greater is that indirect benefit, and the upshot is that when the resistor is less related to the perpetrator, it is more likely to resist.


Birney 2007

Kathleen Jeanne Birney, Sea Peoples or Syrian Peddlers? The Late Bronze – Iron I Aegean Presence in Syria and Cilicia. Dissertation, Harvard University (Cambridge 2007).

To date, a great deal of attention has been focused on the Aegean presence in the Near East during the pivotal point of transition between the Late Bronze and Iron Ages. Traditional theories advocating a mass immigration of the ‘Sea Peoples’ into Cyprus and the southern Levant have been borne out by evidence for a pervasive, intrusive population of Aegean origins in these regions. Circumstances in the northern Levant during this transition remain considerably more opaque. Scholarly emphasis has been upon coastal areas and particularly focused upon evidence for destructions; moreover, labyrinthine terminology has added to the difficulties in ascertaining whether and which vessels of Mycenaean origin can be identified in a northern milieu.

Drawing upon published sites, multiple surveys and unpublished collections, this study gathers all of the evidence for Iron Age Mycenaean-style pottery currently known in Cilicia and Syria. The Iron Age wares are presented alongside data for imported assemblages at these sites (where present), and provided with brief archaeological context. In addition, we present herein a detailed analysis of the unpublished Mycenaean-style collections from the ‘Amuq sites of Chatal Hüyük and Tell Judeideh in the Syrian interior. The ceramic evidence is paired with a brief examination of the features of Aegean and Anatolian material culture appearing also during this horizon in the northern Levant. In light of the distributive patterns of the Mycenaean-style wares, their morphology and decorative repertoires, and additional evidence of intrusive cultural elements, we explore throughout the validity of both Sea Peoples’ migration and Sherratt’s mercantilist hypothesis as possible mechanisms for the appearance of Mycenaean-style pottery in the Iron Age northern Levant.

Conclusion The preceding study has tested the limits of Sherratt’s ‘mercantilist theory’ in the northern Levant, and found it sorely wanting. Even the most basic of her criteria cannot be met. Instead, the diverse assemblages of Mycenaean-style pottery which sprang up in Cilicia and Syria during the transition between the Late Bronze and Iron Ages, in company with the evidence of Aegean and Anatolian domestic elements, can be nothing other than evidence for the arrival of immigrants from these regions.


Cherry 2015

John F. Cherry & Thomas P. Leppard, Experimental archaeology and the earliest seagoing, The limitations of inference. World Archaeology 47 (2015), 740–755.

Experimental voyaging, of the type made famous by the Kon-Tiki and the Hokule’a, is often considered to provide a means of modelling the performance of ancient seacraft, a relevant variable if we are to understand patterning in prehistoric island colonization and maritime interaction. Recently, in order to bolster claims otherwise dependent on contentious data, some proponents who argue for maritime colonisation as an evolutionarily ancient behaviour have suggested that such experiments provide corroborating evidence for deliberate seagoing by archaic hominins. Here, we examine the epistemological foundation for these claims, and in particular what constitutes the basis for building good analogues in archaeological reasoning and the limitations of inferences drawn from them. We stress the importance of not conating possibilities with probabilities, and caution against an unwarranted uniformitarianism in making assumptions regarding the cognitive, social, behavioural and technological contexts of archaic and modern humans.

Keywords: Experimental archaeology | seacraft | hominin dispersal | Palaeolithic | analogical reasoning.

Lindsay 2017

Jamie Lindsay & Peter Boyle, The conceptual penis as a social construct. Cogent Social Sciences 3 (2017), 1330439.

Anatomical penises may exist, but as pre-operative transgendered women also have anatomical penises, the penis vis-à-vis maleness is an incoherent construct. We argue that the conceptual penis is better understood not as an anatomical organ but as a social construct isomorphic to performative toxic masculinity. Through detailed poststructuralist discursive criticism and the example of climate change, this paper will challenge the prevailing and damaging social trope that penises are best understood as the male sexual organ and reassign it a more fitting role as a type of masculine performance.

Subjects: Gender Studies – Soc Sci | Postmodernism of Cultural Theory | Feminism

Keywords: penis | feminism | machismo braggadocio | masculinity | climate change

At best, climate change is genuinely an example of hyper-patriarchal society metaphorically manspreading into the global ecosystem. One practical recommendation that follows from this analysis is that climate change research would be better served by a change in how we engage in the discourses of politics and science, avoiding the hypermasculine penis-centric take whenever possible.

Thomas 2017

Kaitlyn A. Thomas et al., Explaining the origin of fluting in North American Pleistocene weaponry. Journal of Archaeological Science 81 (2017), 23–30.


Kaitlyn A. Thomas, Brett A. Story, , Metin I. Eren, Briggs Buchanan, Brian N. Andrews, Michael J. O’Brien & David J. Meltzer

Clovis groups, the first widely successful colonizers of North America, had a distinctive technology, whereby manufacturers removed flakes to thin the bases of their stone projectile points, creating “flutes.” That process is challenging to learn and costly to implement, yet was used continent-wide. It has long been debated whether fluting conferred any adaptive benefit. We compared standardized models of fluted and unfluted points: analytically, by way of static, linear finite element modeling and discrete, deteriorating spring modeling; and experimentally, by way of displacement-controlled axial-compression tests. We found evidence that the fluted-point base acts as a “shock absorber,” increasing point robustness and ability to withstand physical stress via stress redistribution and damage relocation. This structural gain in point resilience would have provided a selective advantage to foragers on a largely unfamiliar landscape, who were ranging far from known stone sources and in need of longer-lasting, reliable, and maintainable weaponry.

Keywords: Stone tools | Clovis | Peopling of the Americas | Colonization | Fluting | Projectile technology | Experimental archaeology

Wendt 2003

Karl Peter Wendt, Methodisches aus der westafrikanischen Savanne – Ein Anwendungsbeispiel aus dem Nordosten Nigerias für den Einsatz der Faktoren- und Diskriminanzanlayse zur typologischen Gliederung von Keramikinventaren. In: Jörg Eckert, Ursula Eisenhauer & Andreas Zimmermann (Hrsg.), Archäologische Perspektiven. Analysen und Interpretationen im Wandel, Festschrift für Jens Lüning zum 65. Geburtstag. Internationale Archäologie – Studia honoraria 20 (Rahden Westf. 2003), 131–147.

Wie die Beispiele belegen, zeigt die Aufnahme der Profildaten nach dem von C. Frirdich eingeführten System mehrere Vorteile. Es stellt minimale Anforderungen an den Erhaltungsgrad der Gefäße und erlaubt dadurch die Aufnahme von Siedlungsinventaren. Die Aufteilung der Profilverläufe in Winkel und Distanzen erlaubt eine weitgehende Trennung von Proportion und Form. Das System ist flexibel (Veränderung der Gradabstände für die Strahlen) und kann dadurch den Wünschen des Bearbeiters oder den Erfordernissen des zu bearbeitenden Materials entsprechend auf feinere oder gröbere Profilaufnahmen umgestellt werden. Es ist ein offenes System, das heißt, es können zusätzliche Messungen, wie die markanter Punkte oder Umbrüche, bei Bedarf integriert werden. Es liefert Daten, die keiner Umwandlung bedürfen, um einer statistischen Analyse zugeführt zu werden. Ein letzter Vorteil dieses Aufnahmesystems, der nicht unerwähnt bleiben soll, liegt in der praktikablen Anwendung. Als Minimum für die praktische Aufnahme reichen die Zeichnungen der Gefäße, ein Schema mit Strahlen auf durchsichtiger Folie, ein Lineal und etwas zu schreiben. Es ist also auch unter widrigen Umständen, die keine durch EDV gestützte Erfassung erlauben, anzuwenden.

Aufgeschlossen für neue Methoden hat der Jubilar wesentlich zur Entwicklung und Verbreitung EDV-gestützter Systeme zur Aufnahme und Auswertung beigetragen. In dem eher konservativen Fach der Ur- und Frühgeschichte ist er eine der Ausnahmen, die dem Verfasser dieses Beitrages in seiner Zeit am Frankfurter Institut für Vor- und Frühgeschichte und darüber hinaus Antrieb und Stütze war.


Discamps 2017

Emmanuel Discamps & Jean-Philippe Faivre, Substantial biases affecting Combe-Grenal faunal record cast doubts on previous models of Neanderthal subsistence and environmental context. Journal of Archaeological Science 81 (2017), 128–132.

This short contribution presents faunal data from new fieldwork at the Middle Palaeolithic site of Combe-Grenal (Dordogne, France). This important sequence continues to serve as both a reference sequence to which otherWestern European Middle Palaeolithic sites are often compared and the basis of several models of Neanderthal subsistence and environmental context. However, several researchers have highlighted the likelihood that skeletal part profiles were biased as a consequence of the incomplete recovery methods used during previous excavations at Combe-Grenal. A comparison of faunal remains recovered during new excavations with data from the original collections allows recovery bias induced by previous excavation protocols to be quantified. The unreliability of the original skeletal part profiles is confirmed by our study, while, more importantly and unexpectedly, radical biases in species frequencies were equally identified. These results cast doubts on several interpretive models held to account for variability in Mousterian industries, the evolution of Neanderthal hunting strategies, as well as Pleistocene environmental changes. Furthermore, Combe-Grenal provides an instructive example to archaeologists working on sites with less than ideal recovery methods of faunal material. In such cases, recovery biases may be so substantial than even basic faunal data, such as species lists, prove unreliable.

Keywords: Zooarchaeology | Middle palaeolithic | Neanderthal | Excavation | Palaeoenvironment

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