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John Bohannon, Replication effort provokes praise—and `bullying' charges. science 344 (2014), 788–789.
Global network fails to confirm 10 of 27 psychology findings, but some call project an inquisition.
[T]he targeted studies were not a random sample, Nosek says. “They are entirely cherry-picked,” he says, based on the importance of the original study and the feasibility of replicating it. “Our primary aim is to make replication entirely ordinary,” he says, “and move it from a threat to a compliment.”
James S. Cybulski, James Clements & Manu Prakash, Foldscope: Origami-Based Paper Microscope. PLoS ONE 9 (2014), e98781. <DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0098781>.
Here we describe an ultra-low-cost origami-based approach for large-scale manufacturing of microscopes, specifically demonstrating brightfield, darkfield, and fluorescence microscopes. Merging principles of optical design with origami enables high-volume fabrication of microscopes from 2D media. Flexure mechanisms created via folding enable a flat compact design. Structural loops in folded paper provide kinematic constraints as a means for passive self-alignment. This light, rugged instrument can survive harsh field conditions while providing a diversity of imaging capabilities, thus serving wide-ranging applications for cost-effective, portable microscopes in science and education.
Kiju Jung, Sharon Shavitt, Madhu Viswanathan & Joseph M. Hilbe, Female hurricanes are deadlier than male hurricanes. PNAS 111 (2014), 8782–8787.
Do people judge hurricane risks in the context of gender-based expectations? We use more than six decades of death rates from US hurricanes to show that feminine-named hurricanes cause significantly more deaths than do masculine-named hurricanes. Laboratory experiments indicate that this is because hurricane names lead to gender-based expectations about severity and this, in turn, guides respondents' preparedness to take protective action. This finding indicates an unfortunate and unintended consequence of the gendered naming of hurricanes, with important implications for policymakers, media practitioners, and the general public concerning hurricane communication and preparedness.
gender stereotypes | implicit bias | risk perception | natural hazard communication | bounded rationality
Richard A. Klein et al., Investigating Variation in Replicability, A “Many Labs” Replication Project. Social Psychology 45 (2014), 142–152.
Richard A. Klein, Kate A. Ratliff, Michelangelo Vianello, Reginald B. Adams Jr., Stepán Bahník, Michael J. Bernstein, Konrad Bocian, Mark J. Brandt, Beach Brooks, Claudia Chloe Brumbaugh, Zeynep Cemalcilar, Jesse Chandler, Winnee Cheong, William E. Davis, Thierry Devos, Matthew Eisner, Natalia Frankowska, David Furrow, Elisa Maria Galliani, Fred Hasselman, Joshua A. Hicks, James F. Hovermale, S. Jane Hunt, Jeffrey R. Huntsinger, Hans IJzerman, Melissa-Sue John, Jennifer A. Joy-Gaba, Heather Barry Kappes, Lacy E. Krueger, Jaime Kurtz, Carmel A. Levitan, Robyn K. Mallett, Wendy L. Morris, Anthony J. Nelson, Jason A. Nier, Grant Packard, Ronaldo Pilati, Abraham M. Rutchick, Kathleen Schmidt, Jeanine L. Skorinko, Robert Smith, Troy G. Steiner, Justin Storbeck, Lyn M. Van Swol, Donna Thompson, A. E. van `t Veer, Leigh Ann Vaughn, Marek Vranka, Aaron L. Wichman, Julie A. Woodzicka & Brian A. Nosek
Although replication is a central tenet of science, direct replications are rare in psychology. This research tested variation in the replicability of 13 classic and contemporary effects across 36 independent samples totaling 6,344 participants. In the aggregate, 10 effects replicated consistently. One effect – imagined contact reducing prejudice – showed weak support for replicability. And two effects – flag priming influencing conservatism and currency priming influencing system justification – did not replicate. We compared whether the conditions such as lab versus online or US versus international sample predicted effect magnitudes. By and large they did not. The results of this small sample of effects suggest that replicability is more dependent on the effect itself than on the sample and setting used to investigate the effect.
Keywords: replication, reproducibility, generalizability, cross-cultural, variation
Frank van Kolfschooten, Psychologist's defense challenged. science 344 (2014), 957–958.
Yu Xie, “Undemocracy”: inequalities in science. science 344 (2014), 809–810.
Inequality, an intrinsic feature of science, has trended upward in recent years.
William G. Dever, “Will the Real Israel Please Stand Up?”, Archaeology and Israelite Historiography: Part I. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 297 (1995), 61–80.
This article reviews a number of recent histories of ancient Israel, both in terms of general historiographical issues and of their use of archaeological data. The underlying questions may be: (1) “Is it any longer possible to write a history of ancient Israel based on texts alone?” and (2) “What kind of history do we want, or think possible?”
William G. Dever, “Will the Real Israel Please Stand Up?”, Part II: Archaeology and the Religions of Ancient Israel. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 298 (1995), 37–58.
Above all, archaeologists, as partners in dialogue with textual scholars, can help to elucidate “popular” religion. As a working definition, I would suggest that “popular religion” in ancient Israel included: the making and use of images, mostly female; veneration of Asherah, as the Mother Goddess and/or consort of Yahweh; rituals connected with conception, childbirth, and lactation; rites of passage; magic associated with maintenance of hearth and home, as well as security of the family patrimony; private prayer; bonding with others, especially among women; funerary practices, including offerings for the dead; various feasts and festivals; pilgrimages to local shrines; veneration of popular saints; offerings made to the “Queen of Heaven”; mourning for Tammuz; solar and astral cults; some form of the payment of vows (perhaps “sacred prostitution”); and, occasionally, child sacrifice.
It is noteworthy that these aspects of commonly accepted Israelite religion, no doubt originally a legitimate part of “Yahwism,” become anathema under the later prophetic, Deuteronomistic, and Priestly reform movements. Thus they have all but disappeared in the literary tradition of the Hebrew Bible in its present form; they may even have been deliberately suppressed, except in a few passages where the redactors feared tampering too much with texts that had become Scripture. Nevertheless, by “reading between the lines” in the Bible, then by using the ever-increasing body of archaeological data we have to illuminate these texts, we can recover these vital lost dimensions of ancient Israelite religion.
William G. Dever, Archaeology, Ideology, and the Quest for an “Ancient” or “Biblical Israel”. Near Eastern Archaeology 61 (1998), 39–52.
In the field of biblical studies today, journals, magazines, national meetings, international symposia, even the Internet, are awash with heated and often acrimonious discussions: Was there an “ancient” or “biblical” Israel at all? Was there even a “Bible,” and whose is it? Since many of the declarations of the “revisionists” (as the radical scholars often call themselves) seem so absurd to mainstream scholars, and the exchange increasingly descends to the level of personal polemics, it is tempting to dismiss all this as so much “post-modern piffle"-a mere quarrel among academics, one that will soon pass.1 My purpose in writing this article, however, is to argue that we should take the “revisionists” seriously, not so much because their assertions will stand the test of time, or even because their flawed methodology in itself is worrisome. Rather, we must confront the “revisionists” head-on because they are rapidly becoming ideologues; and their ideology poses a threat to biblical studies, to Syro-Palestinian archaeology, to theological and religious studies, to the life of synagogue and church, and even to the political situation in the Middle East.
Avraham Faust & Ehud Weiss, Judah, Philistia, and the Mediterranean World, Reconstructing the Economic System of the Seventh Century b.c.e. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 338 (2005), 71–92.
The seventh century b.c.e. was a period of economic prosperity, for which several lines of evidence for trade and settlement expansion have been found along the coastal plain, in the Judaean desert and the Negev. The discovery of Judahite wheat in Ashkelon, together with other available archaeological evidence of trade and data on the local geographical conditions, enables us to reconstruct the well-integrated economy of the seventh century.
Ashkelon, the site of a huge Mediterranean port, was at the heart of the local economic system. Ashkelon's immediate vicinity was used primarily for the production of the most profitable economic product of the time?wine. The inner coastal plain and the Shephelah, farther to the east and best represented by Ekron, were used mainly for the production of olive oil. Judah and the Negev formed the third and fourth zones of production (for grains and grazing). The growing need for these products was behind Judah's expansion to the previously un-/under-exploited regions of the Judaean desert and the Negev. This complex economic system was peripheral to the Mediterranean economic system of the seventh century, the driving force behind which was Phoenician maritime trade.
Israel Finkelstein, Ethnicity and Origin of the Iron I Settlers in the Highlands of Canaan, Can the Real Israel Stand Up? Biblical Archaeologist 59 (1996), 198–212.
The two thorniest questions regarding the emergence of early Israel involve the interplay between archaeology and ethnicity. The first is related to the formation of the early Israelite ethnicity: can we identify a new ethnic entity in the archaeological record of the highlands in the Iron I? The second: what can we learn from the archaeological record about the origin of the people who settled the hundreds of new Iron I villages in the hill country? In a recent issue of Biblical Archaeologist (1995a) as well as elsewhere (1993: “Will the Real Israel Please Stand Up?”), W. Dever has delved into this thicket of issues. But his reconstruction remains too wedded to the biblical story and too conservative archaeologically. I wish to refute Dever's answers to these questions and offer my own, alternative solutions.
Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Patriarchal Age: Myth or History? Biblical Archaeology Review 21 (1995), ii, 48–57, 88, 90, 92, 94–95.
The Biblical data match objective facts from the ancient world in an almost uncanny way, establishing the general reliability of Biblical time periods.
Much so-called Biblical scholarship is based on guesswork or clever hunches, rather than on a firm frame of reference supported by independent facts. The result has been a neverending swamp of useless controversy and mindless pointscoring against entrenched rival camps. Bluntly, this is no way to do things.
Now, however, there is quietly mounting evidence that the basic inherited outline—from the patriarchs through the Exodus to the Israelites' entry into Canaan, the united monarchy and then the divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the Exile and return—is essentially sound: There is no need whatsoever to “reconstruct” early Hebrew history. Wellhausen's enterprise was an appalling bungle. The same may be said of the work of that bevy of scholars determined to show that the history of Israel until the Exile was simply made up.
Lawrence E. Stager, The Archaeology of the Family in Ancient Israel. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 260 (1985), 1–35.
Longterm trends are examined for the population mass that occupied the central highlands of Palestine during the Iron Age. After 1200 B.C. the landscape of this sparsely populated “frontier” changed as newcomers established hilltop villages, cultivated intermontane valleys, and terraced the slopes. Spatial patterning within villages and certain toponyms were influenced by patrilineal kinship. Heads of household and their lineage mates exercised rights over inheritance and succession in landholding. Inequalities developed within “tribal” Israel long before the monarchy, probably through a process of “lineage capture;” and clientship, with its diadic relationships between superiors and inferiors, became more common. Tensions developed within Israelite society from the interactions of kinship, clientship, and kingship. As the population grew under the monarchy, the highland frontier was effectivell closed, and opportunities for acquiring new land diminished. Thus, many unmarried males had to look elsewhere for patrons and positions. From the ranks of these noble “youths” came recruits for the military, the government, and the priesthood.
C. Mark Eakin, Lamarck was partially right—and that is good for corals. science 344 (2014), 798–799.
Tabletop corals can adapt to changing temperature conditions on shorter time scales than previously thought.
Antonio Pusceddu, Silvia Bianchelli, Jacobo Martín, Pere Puig, Albert Palanques, Pere Masqué & Roberto Danovaro, Chronic and intensive bottom trawling impairs deep-sea biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. PNAS 111 (2014), 8861–8866.
Bottom trawling has many impacts on marine ecosystems, including seafood stock impoverishment, benthos mortality, and sediment resuspension. Historical records of this fishing practice date back to the mid-1300s. Trawling became a widespread practice in the late 19th century, and it is now progressively expanding to greater depths, with the concerns about its sustainability that emerged during the first half of the 20th century now increasing. We show here that compared with untrawled areas, chronically trawled sediments along the continental slope of the north-western Mediterranean Sea are characterized by significant decreases in organic matter content (up to 52 %), slower organic carbon turnover (ca. 37 %), and reduced meiofauna abundance (80 %), biodiversity (50 %), and nematode species richness (25 %). We estimate that the organic carbon removed daily by trawling in the region under scrutiny represents as much as 60–100 % of the input flux. We anticipate that such an impact is causing the degradation of deepsea sedimentary habitats and an infaunal depauperation. With deep-sea trawling currently conducted along most continental margins, we conclude that trawling represents a major threat to the deep seafloor ecosystem at the global scale.
Les Watling, Trawling exerts big impacts on small beasts. PNAS 111 (2014), 8704–8705.
It is well known that the abundance and biomass of small benthic animals, who feed on the relatively high quality organic matter, decreases with water depth. This pattern is reflected in the data on abundance and biomass of meiofauna in the untrawled areas studied by Pusceddu et al. In contrast, their 500-m trawled site was very depauperate in meiofauna, having abundance and biomass values lower even than the 2,000-m site, suggesting that the repeated passage of bottom trawls created a nutrient-poor environment with conditions analogous to sites in much deeper water. This study demonstrates that the small animals of muddy sediments can be impacted by bottom trawling as much or more than the larger, more charismatic, deep-sea corals and sponges and that very likely no habitat will be immune to the impacts of deep-sea bottom trawling.
Ellen Levy-Coffman, A mosaic of people, The Jewish story and a reassessment of the DNA evidence. Journal of Genetic Genealogy 1 (2005), 12–33.
The Jewish community has been the focus of extensive genetic study over the past decade in an attempt to better understand the origins of this group. In particular, those descended from Northwestern and Eastern European Jewish groups, known as “Ashkenazim,” have been the subject of numerous DNA studies examining both the Y chromosome and mitochondrial genetic evidence.
The focus of the present study is to analyze and reassess Ashkenazi results obtained by DNA researchers and synthesize them into a coherent picture of Jewish genetics, interweaving historical evidence in order to obtain a more accurate depiction of the complex genetic history of this group. Many of the DNA studies on Ashkenazim fail to adequately address the complexity of the genetic evidence, in particular, the significant genetic contribution of European and Central Asian peoples in the makeup of the contemporary Ashkenazi population. One important contribution to Ashkenazi DNA appears to have originated with the Khazars, an ancient people of probable Central Asian stock that lived in southern Russia during the 8th-12th centuries CE. Significant inflow of genes from European host populations over the centuries is also supported by the DNA evidence. The present study analyzes not only the Middle Eastern component of Ashkenazi ancestry, but also the genetic contribution from European and Central Asian sources that appear to have had an important impact on Ashkenazi ancestry.
Raffaele Ferrari, Malte F. Jansen, Jess F. Adkins, Andrea Burke, Andrew L. Stewart & Andrew F. Thompson, Antarctic sea ice control on ocean circulation in present and glacial climates. PNAS 111 (2014), 8753–8758.
In the modern climate, the ocean below 2 km is mainly filled by waters sinking into the abyss around Antarctica and in the North Atlantic. Paleoproxies indicate that waters of North Atlantic origin were instead absent below 2 km at the Last Glacial Maximum, resulting in an expansion of the volume occupied by Antarctic origin waters. In this study we show that this rearrangement of deep water masses is dynamically linked to the expansion of summer sea ice around Antarctica. A simple theory further suggests that these deep waters only came to the surface under sea ice, which insulated them from atmospheric forcing, andwere weakly mixedwith overlyingwaters, thus being able to store carbon for long times. This unappreciated link between the expansion of sea ice and the appearance of a voluminous and insulated water mass may help quantify the ocean's role in regulating atmospheric carbon dioxide on glacial– interglacial timescales. Previous studies pointed to many independent changes in ocean physics to account for the observed swings in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Here it is shown that many of these changes are dynamically linked and therefore must co-occur.
carbon cycle | ice age | ocean circulation | paleoceanography | Southern Ocean
Anna Aizer & Janet Currie, The intergenerational transmission of inequality, Maternal disadvantage and health at birth. science 344 (2014), 856–861.
Health at birth is an important predictor of long-term outcomes, including education, income, and disability. Recent evidence suggests that maternal disadvantage leads to worse health at birth through poor health behaviors; exposure to harmful environmental factors; worse access to medical care, including family planning; and worse underlying maternal health. With increasing inequality, those at the bottom of the distribution now face relatively worse economic conditions, but newborn health among the most disadvantaged has actually improved. The most likely explanation is increasing knowledge about determinants of infant health and how to protect it along with public policies that put this knowledge into practice.
David H. Autor, Skills, education, and the rise of earnings inequality among the “other 99 percent”. science 344 (2014), 843–851.
The singular focus of public debate on the “top 1 percent” of households overlooks the component of earnings inequality that is arguably most consequential for the “other 99 percent” of citizens: the dramatic growth in the wage premium associated with higher education and cognitive ability. This Review documents the central role of both the supply and demand for skills in shaping inequality, discusses why skill demands have persistently risen in industrialized countries, and considers the economic value of inequality alongside its potential social costs. I conclude by highlighting the constructive role for public policy in fostering skills formation and preserving economic mobility.
Gilbert Chin, Elizabeth Culotta & Emily Underwood, The Science of Inequality, What the numbers tell us. science 344 (2014), 818–821.
Adrian Cho, Physicists say it's simple. science 344 (2014), 828.
If the poor will always be with us, an analogy to the second law of thermodynamics may explain why.
Johannes Haushofer & Ernst Fehr, On the psychology of poverty. science 344 (2014), 862–867.
Poverty remains one of the most pressing problems facing the world; the mechanisms through which poverty arises and perpetuates itself, however, are not well understood. Here, we examine the evidence for the hypothesis that poverty may have particular psychological consequences that can lead to economic behaviors that make it difficult to escape poverty. The evidence indicates that poverty causes stress and negative affective states which in turn may lead to short-sighted and risk-averse decision-making, possibly by limiting attention and favoring habitual behaviors at the expense of goal-directed ones. Together, these relationships may constitute a feedback loop that contributes to the perpetuation of poverty. We conclude by pointing toward specific gaps in our knowledge and outlining poverty alleviation programs that this mechanism suggests.
Mara Hvistendahl, While emerging economies boom, equality goes bust. science 344 (2014), 832–835.
Eliot Marshall, Tax man's gloomy message: the rich will get richer. science 344 (2014), 826–827.
With a massive database of income tax records, a French superstar challenges conventional wisdom on inequality.
Sounding a “pessimistic note,” Solow reminded Piketty and the audience that the United States “is a country that can't even sustain an inheritance tax.” Piketty anticipated the pessimism. “In 1900,” he said, “most people would have said a progressive income tax would never happen.” But it happened.
Jeffrey Mervis, Tracking who climbs up—and who falls down—the ladder. science 344 (2014), 836–837.
Researchers seek new ways to understand social mobility and opportunity in America.
For all its richness, however, the study also comes with notable limitations. One is that a person's economic profile is still being formed at age 30. Collecting data on them at age 40 would yield “a more accurate assessment,” Solon says. That could happen only if the IRS allows researchers the same access 10 years from now that it gave the Chetty-Saez team.
Charles Murray, Coming Apart, The state of white America 1960–2010. (New York 2012).
Drawing on five decades of statistics and research, Coming Apart demonstrates that a new upper class and a new lower class have diverged so far in core behaviors and values that they barely recognize their underlying American kinship—divergence that has nothing to do with income inequality and that has grown during good economic times and bad.
The top and bottom of white America increasingly live in different cultures, Murray argues, with the powerful upper class living in enclaves surrounded by their own kind, ignorant about life in mainstream America, and the lower class suffering from erosions of family and community life that strike at the heart of the pursuit of happiness. That divergence puts the success of the American project at risk.
Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, Inequality in the long run. science 344 (2014), 838–843.
This Review presents basic facts regarding the long-run evolution of income and wealth inequality in Europe and the United States. Income and wealth inequality was very high a century ago, particularly in Europe, but dropped dramatically in the first half of the 20th century. Income inequality has surged back in the United States since the 1970s so that the United States is much more unequal than Europe today. We discuss possible interpretations and lessons for the future.
Anna Marie Prentiss, Hannah S. Cail & Lisa M. Smith, At the Malthusian ceiling: Subsistence and inequality at Bridge River, British Columbia. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 33 (2014), 34–48.
The Bridge River Village, located in the Middle Fraser Canyon of British Columbia, was established and grew to maximum size during the period of ca. 1800–1100 cal. B.P. Village expansion occurred in two distinct stages resulting in a stepped pattern of demographic growth. We suggest that this could reflect two distinctly different periods, the first (Bridge River 2) a relatively comfortable equilibrium with little subsistence stress; the second (Bridge River 3) a truly Malthusian ceiling associated with reduction in critical subsistence resources, social change, and eventual abandonment. In this paper we explore the interactions between resource productivity, food harvest and storage, animal husbandry, demographic growth, and socio-political change in the late Holocene Middle Fraser Canyon. The study provides us with the opportunity to compare and contrast histories of hunter–gatherer–fisher people with that of other complex hunter–gatherers and agriculturalists on similar demographic scales.
Keywords: Complex hunter–gatherers | British Columbia | Demography | Salmon fishing | Animal husbandry (dogs)
Heather Pringle & Elizabeth Pennisi, The ancient roots of the 1 %. science 344 (2014), 822–825.
Don't blame farming. Inequality got its start among resource-rich hunter-gatherers.
In today's complex world, there's no going back to the egalitarianism of some huntergatherers. And yet studies of prehistory may offer some hope for lessening the grip of the 1 %, Bowles says. As societies move toward knowledge-based economies, wealth increasingly reflects know-how, social skills, and networking—factors that cannot be transmitted across generations as easily as plots of land or stock portfolios, he says. “So I think the long-term possibilities for a more egalitarian future are certainly there.”
Martin Ravallion, Income inequality in the developing world. science 344 (2014), 851–855.
Should income inequality be of concern in developing countries? New data reveal less income inequality in the developing world than 30 years ago. However, this is due to falling inequality between countries. Average inequality within developing countries has been slowly rising, though staying fairly flat since 2000. As a rule, higher rates of growth in average incomes have not put upward pressure on inequality within countries. Growth has generally helped reduce the incidence of absolute poverty, but less so in more unequal countries. High inequality also threatens to stall future progress against poverty by attenuating growth prospects. Perceptions of rising absolute gaps in living standards between the rich and the poor in growing economies are also consistent with the evidence.
Emily Underwood, Can disparities be deadly? science 344 (2014), 829–831.
Controversial research explores whether living in an unequal society can make people sick.
Kawachi suggests that for Americans, their own aspirations may provide the point of comparison. Even though an American born in the bottom fifth of the income distribution has only about an 8 % chance of rising to the top fifth—half the likelihood of a child born in Denmark—more than 90 % of Americans still believe in the American dream, he says, and the collision of their ideal with reality may take a toll on health. “When you work hard on the assumption that we're building a meritocracy, then fail,” the resulting depression and frustration may contribute to the country's high rates of drug abuse, suicide, and violence, he says.
Harald Meller, Der Hortfund von Nebra im Spiegel frühbronzezeitlicher Deponierungssitten. In: 1600 – Kultureller Umbruch im Schatten des Thera-Ausbruchs? 4. Mitteldeutscher Archäologentag vom 14. bis 16. Oktober 2011 in Halle (Saale). Tagungen des Landesmuseums für Vorgeschichte Halle 9 (Halle 2013), 493–526.
Even though it was discovered in the course of clandestine excavations the context of the Nebra Sky Disc can be unambiguously reconstructed as a closed hoard. It was even possible to confirm the original location of the deposition on the Mittelberg near Nebra by archaeological excavation and scientific analyses. The composition of the hoard can be clearly related to older Central German hoarding traditions, but also to the Central European sword hoarding patterns during the 17th and 16th centuries B.C. Particularly close parallels can be seen in the hoards of Trassem (Rhineland) and Apa (Romania). These two cultural currents also affect the shape of the Nebra swords: their blades reflect local styles while the form of their hilts is the result of Carpathian influences.
The hoard of Nebra was deposited around 1600 B.C. marking the close of the Early Bronze Age hoarding custom in Central Germany. At this time the weapons usually accompanied the dead.
The new discovery of a long house which was accompanied by an axe hoard near Dermsdorf (Thuringia) is used to illustrate the hypothesis of the existence of an extremely hierarchical society with effective military organisation which characterised the Central German Unetice culture. Weapons, especially axes were “de-individualised” and distributed to the soldiers, but were also sacrificed. This hierarchical system lasted for at least three centuries, controlling the trade routes north of the Central European Mountains, from the Harz Mountains to Silesia. It breaks down during the second half of the 17th century B.C. and regional centres of power emerge whose leaders demonstrate their status in the new sword graves. Central German communities around 1600 B.C. are consequently not characterised by a social collapse but rather by a radical change in the structure of their social fabric.
Das im Zuge von Raubgrabungen entdeckte Fundensemble um die Himmelsscheibe von Nebra konnte zweifelsfrei als geschlossener Hortfund rekonstruiert werden. Selbst der ursprüngliche Ort der Deponierung auf dem Mittelberg bei Nebra konnte archäologisch und naturwissenschaftlich nachgewiesen werden. Die Zusammensetzung des Hortfundes weist einen deutlichen Bezug zu älteren mitteldeutschen Hortfundmustern, aber auch zu den mitteleuropäischen Schwerthorten des 17./16. Jh. v. Chr. auf. Besonders Parallelen zu den Horten von Trassem und Apa sind augenfällig. Diesen zwei kulturellen Strömungen sind auch die Nebraer Schwerter unterworfen: Ihre Klingen greifen regionale, die Griffe wiederum karpatenländische Einflüsse auf.
Der Hortfund von Nebra steht mit seiner Deponierung um 1600 v. Chr. am Ende der frühbronzezeitlichen Hortsitte in Mitteldeutschland. Zu dieser Zeit wurden die Waffen in der Regel den Toten beigegeben.
Am Beispiel des neu entdeckten Langhauses mit dem Beilhort von Dermsdorf wird für die mitteldeutsche Aunjetitzer Kultur die Hypothese einer stark hierarchisierten Gesellschaft mit effektiver Militärorganisation diskutiert. Die Waffen, vor allem Beile, werden “entindividualisiert”, an die Krieger verteilt, aber auch geopfert. Dieses hierarchische System kontrolliert für zumindest drei Jahrhunderte die Verkehrswege nördlich der Mittelgebirge, vom Harz bis nach Schlesien. Es zerfällt während der zweiten Hälfte des 17. Jh. v. Chr. in regionale Herrschaftsbereiche, deren Machthaber sich in den neuen Schwertgräbern repräsentieren. Um 1600 v. Chr. ist in Mitteldeutschland folglich kein Abbruch, sondern ein Umbruch des Sozialgefüges zu beobachten.
Douglas Baird, Origins of caprine herding. PNAS 111 (2014), 8702–8703.
We can now thus see a quasicontemporary phase of animal herding in the midninth millennium cal B.C. that includes the phenomenon of the transport of a suite of animals to Cyprus (some or many of which may not have been herded). The fact that this is a widespread supraregional, rather than geographically restricted and regional phenomenon, requires distinct forms of explanation; additionally, the particular circumstances of the central Anatolian record will require peculiar sorts of explanation for the appearance of early herded animals.
In this context caprines are integrated closely with household activity in the settlement, and therefore seem likely to be integral to the creation of households and resource accumulation. Caprines would here have been an evident feature of the settlementscape and, like the houses themselves, would testify to the reproductive success of the household, in both biological and social terms. One presumes that the scale of herdkeeping indicated for most of Asikli Level 4, with approximately 50 % of the faunal assemblage on site being caprines and so much dung, was based on strong choices selecting for behaviors that in earlier periods had involved the sporadic taming of these animals (whether that process took place in central Anatolia or elsewhere).
Amy Bogaard, Rüdiger Krause & Hans-Christoph Strien, Towards a social geography of cultivation and plant use in an early farming community, Vaihingen an der Enz, south-west Germany. Antiquity 85 (2011), 395–416.
Through integrated analysis of archaeobotanical and artefactual distributions across a settlement, the authors discover `neighbourhoods' using different cultivation areas in the surrounding landscape. Differences between groups also emerge over the life of the settlement in the use of special plants, such as opium poppy and feathergrass. Spatial configurations of cultivation and plant use map out the shifting social geographies of a Neolithic community.
Keywords: Germany, Vaihingen an der Enz, Neolithic, LBK, agriculture, archaeobotany, plant use, poppy
Miles Corak, Social mobility: Fixed forever? science 344 (2014), 812–813.
The Son Also Rises, Surnames and the History of Social Mobility. Gregory Clark with others. Princeton University Press, 2014. 380 pp.
Claiming that this dynamic applies to society as a whole rather than just to elites, Clark is sensitive to the need for supporting evidence. He repeatedly seeks confirmation that the data are representative of entire populations. Yet at times the data are very local—for example, the use of two specific regions near Shanghai to study of the evolution of status among Chinese surnames.
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