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Cheon 2017

Bobby K. Cheon & Ying-Yi Hong, Mere experience of low subjective socioeconomic status stimulates appetite and food intake. PNAS 114 (2017), 72–77.

Among social animals, subordinate status or low social rank is associated with increased caloric intake and weight gain. This may reflect an adaptive behavioral pattern that promotes acquisition of caloric resources to compensate for low social resources that may otherwise serve as a buffer against environmental demands. Similarly, diet-related health risks like obesity and diabetes are disproportionately more prevalent among people of low socioeconomic resources. Whereas this relationship may be associated with reduced financial and material resources to support healthier lifestyles, it remains unclear whether the subjective experience of low socioeconomic status may alone be sufficient to stimulate consumption of greater calories. Here we show that the mere feeling of lower socioeconomic status relative to others stimulates appetite and food intake. Across four studies, we found that participants who were experimentally induced to feel low (vs. high or neutral) socioeconomic status subsequently exhibited greater automatic preferences for high-calorie foods (e.g., pizza, hamburgers), as well as intake of greater calories from snack and meal contexts. Moreover, these results were observed even in the absence of differences in access to financial resources. Our results demonstrate that among humans, the experience of low social class may contribute to preferences and behaviors that risk excess energy intake. These findings suggest that psychological and physiological systems regulating appetite may also be sensitive to subjective feelings of deprivation for critical nonfood resources (e.g., social standing). Importantly, efforts to mitigate the socioeconomic gradient in obesity may also need to address the psychological experience of low social status.

Keywords: subjective socioeconomic status | social class | appetite | eating behavior | food preferences

Significance: Lower socioeconomic status (SES) has been linked to increased risk of obesity. This relationship is generally assumed to be a product of low financial resources or greater stress associated with low SES that promotes unhealthy diets and lifestyles. We demonstrate here that the mere subjective experience of being lower in SES relative to others is alone sufficient to causally elicit behaviors that may risk obesity (e.g., preference, selection, and intake of greater calories), independent of actual economic deprivation or stress from being subordinated. Among social species, the physiological/psychological systems regulating hunger may have been adapted to be sensitive to perceived deprivation of critical social, material, and symbolic resources that underlie social class in addition to caloric deprivation.

Schiermeier 2017

Quirin Schiermeier & Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, Institutes lose access to Elsevier journals. nature 541 (2017), 13.

Libraries in Germany, Taiwan and Peru pursue alternative delivery routes after licence negotiations break down.

In Taiwan, more than 75 % of universities, including the country’s top 11 institutions, have joined a boycott against Elsevier, says Yan-Jyi Huang, library director at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST, also known as Taiwan Tech). Elsevier switched to dealing with universities individually. But the NTUST and many others — including Taiwan’s leading research institute, Academia Sinica — each decided to uphold the boycott, from 1 January 2017. In both Taiwan and Germany, affected universities are offering scientists access through inter-library loans.


Finkelstein 2012

Israel Finkelstein & Alexander Fantalkin, Khirbet Qeiyafa, An Unsensational Archaeological and Historical Interpretation. Tel Aviv: Archaeology 39 (2012), 38–63.

The article deals with the finds at the late Iron I settlement of Khirbet Qeiyafa, a site overlooking the Valley of Elah in the Shephelah. It points out the methodological shortcomings in both field work and interpretation of the finds. It then turns to several issues related to the finds: the identity of the inhabitants, their territorial affiliation and the possibility of identifying Khirbet Qeiyafa with sites mentioned in the Bible and in the Shoshenq I list.

Keywords: Khirbet Qeiyafa | Casemate walls | Saul | Shoshenq I | Gob | Gibeon

Finkelstein 2015

Israel Finkelstein, The Wilderness Narrative and Itineraries and the Evolution of the Exodus Tradition. In: Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider & William H. C. Propp (Hrsg.), Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective, Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience. Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences (Cham 2015), 39–53.

This chapter examines the Exodus and wandering tradition from the perspective of the archaeology of several pivotal sites in the desert. It poses the question, “What, how, and when did the biblical authors know about the southern desert?” The answer helps to reconstruct the history of the Exodus-wandering tradition from its vague beginning as salvation-from-Egypt memories in sixteenth to tenth century BCE Canaan, through the involvement of the Northern Kingdom along the desert trade routes in the first half of the eighth century, and the presence of Judahites in the south during the “Assyrian Century,” to the Priestly scribes in post-exilic times.

Garfinkel 2017

Yosef Garfinkel, Saar Ganor & Joseph Baruch Silver, Rejected! Qeiyafa’s Unlikely Second Gate. Biblical Archaeology Review 43 (2017), i, 37–43, 59.

There can be no doubt, however, that Qeiyafa was built according to a single well-designed urban plan. Before the first stone was put in place, it was already clear how the city’s fortifications would look with its two gates. No doubt for this reason—because of its unique two-gated city wall—it was called Sha’arayim—”two gates,” as referred to in the Bible.

Regarding the southern gate, Finkelstein and Fantalkin argue that “the restoration of the gate goes far beyond the actual data uncovered during the excavation: evidence for some of the piers of the gate is lacking; in the eastern wing of the gate the central pier is restored from a wall that blocks the gate’s entryway; and in the western wing the inner (northern) pier does not exist and the central pier is restored from a short stub” (Finkelstein and Fantalkin, “Khirbet Qeiyafa,” p. 46). In fact, however, more than 80 % of the original gate has been preserved, including parts of each of the badly preserved piers.

Rollston 2011

Christopher Rollston, The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon, Methodological Musings and Caveats. Tel Aviv: Archaeology 38 (2011), 67–82.

The Qeiyafa Ostracaon is an important inscription from the late stage of Early Alphabetic. Regarding its language, some have argued that it is written in Hebrew. This article, however, contends that there are no discernable diagnostic features in the ostracon that mandate such a conclusion. Furthermore, the article also emphasizes that the script of this inscription is certainly not Old Hebrew, nor is it the immediate precursor of the Old Hebrew script. Rather the Old Hebrew script derived from Phoenician. Thus, there is some distance between the script of this inscription and the Old Hebrew script. Finally, the article contends that it would be difficult (because of the dearth of data) for grand proposals about statecraft and literacy to be made on the sole basis of this ostracon.

Keywords: Epigraphy | Hebrew | Statecraft | Literacy | Law

Singer-Avitz 2016

Lily Singer-Avitz, Khirbet Qeiyafa, Late Iron Age I in Spite of It All – Once Again. Israel Exploration Journal 66 (2016), 232–244.

The debate regarding the periodical attribution of the Khirbet Qeiyafa pottery assemblage to the Iron Age I or IIA is still ongoing. In a recent issue of this journal, Kang (2015) responded to an earlier article published by me (Singer-Avitz 2012) and attributed this assemblage to a transitional Iron I–IIA period. Despite this conclusion, he suggested that the site’s original dating to the Iron IIA should be maintained. In the current paper, I shall briefly address some of Kang’s statements and discuss the notion of ‘transitional period’.


Bakker 2017

Pepijn Bakker, Peter U. Clark, Nicholas R. Golledge, Andreas Schmittner & Michael E. Weber, Centennial-scale Holocene climate variations amplified by Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge. nature 541 (2017), 72–76.

Proxy-based indicators of past climate change show that current global climate models systematically underestimate Holocene-epoch climate variability on centennial to multi-millennial timescales, with the mismatch increasing for longer periods. Proposed explanations for the discrepancy include ocean–atmosphere coupling that is too weak in models, insufficient energy cascades from smaller to larger spatial and temporal scales, or that global climate models do not consider slow climate feedbacks related to the carbon cycle or interactions between ice sheets and climate. Such interactions, however, are known to have strongly affected centennial- to orbital-scale climate variability during past glaciations, and are likely to be important in future climate change. Here we show that fluctuations in Antarctic Ice Sheet discharge caused by relatively small changes in subsurface ocean temperature can amplify multi-centennial climate variability regionally and globally, suggesting that a dynamic Antarctic Ice Sheet may have driven climate fluctuations during the Holocene. We analysed high-temporal-resolution records of iceberg-rafted debris derived from the Antarctic Ice Sheet, and performed both highspatialresolution ice-sheet modelling of the Antarctic Ice Sheet and multi-millennial global climate model simulations. Ice-sheet responses to decadal-scale ocean forcing appear to be less important, possibly indicating that the future response of the Antarctic Ice Sheet will be governed more by long-term anthropogenic warming combined with multi-centennial natural variability than by annual or decadal climate oscillations.

On the basis of combined observational and modelling evidence we conclude that the AIS was possibly more dynamic during the Holocene and may have had a much more important role in multicentennial Holocene climate variability than previously considered. Ocean–ice sheet interactions can amplify small subsurface ocean temperature variations to produce substantial near- and far-field centennial-to-millennial climate responses. The underestimation of multi-centennial climate variability in global climate models may have important implications for model–data comparisons such as for the past two millennia and for the attribution of observed global warming over the past 150 years to anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions. Moreover, considering that the magnitude of simulated Holocene AIS discharge variability (48 mSv, 2 σ) is similar to the most recent observational estimate of current AIS mass loss rates (2,271 Gt yr-1 or about 72 mSv, over the period 2005–2011), this underestimation could help to explain the mismatch between recent observed Southern Ocean temperature and sea-ice changes and global climate model simulations.

Camenisch 2016

Chantal Camenisch et al., The 1430s: a cold period of extraordinary internal climate variability during the early Spörer Minimum with social and economic impacts in north-western and central Europe. Climate of the Past 12 (2016), 2107–2126.


Chantal Camenisch, Kathrin M. Keller, Melanie Salvisberg, Benjamin Amann, Martin Bauch, Sandro Blumer, Rudolf Brázdil, Stefan Brönnimann, Ulf Büntgen, Bruce M. S. Campbell, Laura Fernández-Donado, Dominik Fleitmann, Rüdiger Glaser, Fidel González-Rouco, Martin Grosjean, Richard C. Hoffmann, Heli Huhtamaa, Fortunat Joos, Andrea Kiss, Old¡rich Kotyza, Flavio Lehner, Jürg Luterbacher, Nicolas Maughan, Raphael Neukom, Theresa Novy, Kathleen Pribyl, Christoph C. Raible, Dirk Riemann, Maximilian Schuh, Philip Slavin, Johannes P. Werner & Oliver Wetter

Changes in climate affected human societies throughout the last millennium. While European cold periods in the 17th and 18th century have been assessed in detail, earlier cold periods received much less attention due to sparse information available. New evidence from proxy archives, historical documentary sources and climate model simulations permit us to provide an interdisciplinary, systematic assessment of an exceptionally cold period in the 15th century. Our assessment includes the role of internal, unforced climate variability and external forcing in shaping extreme climatic conditions and the impacts on and responses of the medieval society in north-western and central Europe.

Climate reconstructions from a multitude of natural and anthropogenic archives indicate that the 1430s were the coldest decade in north-western and central Europe in the 15th century. This decade is characterised by cold winters and average to warm summers resulting in a strong seasonal cycle in temperature. Results from comprehensive climate models indicate consistently that these conditions occurred by chance due to the partly chaotic internal variability within the climate system. External forcing like volcanic eruptions tends to reduce simulated temperature seasonality and cannot explain the reconstructions. The strong seasonal cycle in temperature reduced food production and led to increasing food prices, a subsistence crisis and a famine in parts of Europe. Societies were not prepared to cope with failing markets and interrupted trade routes. In response to the crisis, authorities implemented numerous measures of supply policy and adaptation such as the installation of grain storage capacities to be prepared for future food production shortfalls.

State-of-the-art climate models indicate that this strong seasonality was likely caused by internal, natural variability in the climate system rather than external forcing. Volcanic eruptions lead to a decrease in temperature seasonality and cannot explain the reconstructed climate during the 1430s. There is also no indication that a reduction in solar forcing causes an increase in temperature seasonality.

Finkelstein 2014

Israel Finkelstein & Dafna Langgut, Dry Climate in the Middle Bronze I and Its Impact on Settlement Patterns in the Levant and Beyond, New Pollen Evidence. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73 (2014), 219–234.

The low precipitation that characterized the 2000–1800 BCE interval, evident by new, well-dated highresolution pollen records from the southern Levant (i.e., from the Sea of Galilee and Ze’elim in the Dead Sea), had signiicant impact on settlement patterns in the entire region. During that time—the very late Intermediate Bronze and the Middle Bronze I in terms of archaeology—the 400 mm rainfall isohyet, marking the boundary between the Mediterranean and IranoTuranian vegetation zones, shifted to the north and west. As a result, permanent settlements withdrew from the southernmost margins of Canaan and the population in north-eastern semi-arid zones, such as the Beq’a of Lebanon and to east of the Homs-HamaAleppo line, shrank in size. For this reason, signiicant numbers of people may have moved to “greener” parts of the Levant. Economic advantages may have attracted others to the well-watered Nile Delta. We suggest that the beginning of settlement of Asiatics in the north-eastern Delta is at least partially connected to this dry climate phase in the Levant. Wetter conditions in the Middle Bronze II–III caused the settlement system in the Levant to recover and reexpand in the south, down to the areas of Nahal Besor and the Beer-sheba Valley, and in other steppe zones in the northern Levant. Settlement of Asiatics in the Delta continued and intensiied—this time mainly for economic reasons.


Pearson 2009

Mike Parker Pearson et al., Who was buried at Stonehenge? Antiquity 83 (2009), 23–39.

Mike Parker Pearson, Andrew Chamberlain, Mandy Jay, Peter Marshall, Josh Pollard, Colin Richards, Julian Thomas, Chris Tilley & Kate Welham

Stonehenge continues to surprise us. In this new study of the twentieth-century excavations, together with the precise radiocarbon dating that is now possible, the authors propose that the site started life in the early third millennium cal BC as a cremation cemetery within a circle of upright bluestones. Britain’s most famous monument may therefore have been founded as the burial place of a leading family, possibly from Wales.

Keywords: Britain | Neolithic | Beaker | Stonehenge

The new dates for Stonehenge presented here, together with a re-appraisal of the twentieth-century excavations, support a further revision of the Stonehenge sequence. Rather than starting as a simple earth and timber monument, as is conjectured in the existing models, we argue that Stonehenge was a stone monument and a cremation cemetery from its beginning and continued as such throughout the third millennium cal BC. Within this new scheme the 56 Aubrey Holes belong to the first stage of construction and we propose that they contained Welsh bluestones (Table 1). This outer circle of bluestones was replaced by the inner arc of bluestones (our Stage 2, Cleal et al.’s Phase 3i), after which the sarsen circle and trilithons were erected (our Stage 3, Cleal et al.’s Phase 3ii).

Stonehenge was thus founded as a high status burial ground and continued as such for at least half a millennium.

Stork 2015

Leigh Stork, Systems of Value and the Changing Perception of Metal Commodities, ca. 4000–2600 BC. Journal of Near Eastern Studies 74 (2015), 115–132.

This brief summary of metal use from the LC 2–5 and EB I–II demonstrates that the value associated with metal by the populations of the Upper Euphrates Valley was at irst oriented towards items and ores with a utilitarian, liquid value, and that only later was the sacriicial value of metal items more commonly manipulated by a signiicant proportion of the population. In the LC 2–3, the value of metal was primarily based on its ability to beneit the larger community, a trend that is common to the early use of metal in many societies throughout the world.

Whitley 2002

James Whitley, Too many ancestors. Antiquity 76 (2002), 119–126.

Have ancestors replaces chiefs as the defining entity of prehistory? This provocative view from the Mediterrnnean world may provoke a little debate.

Keywords: ancestors | Madagascar | British prehistory

One of the great claims made by ‘interpretative’ or ‘post-processual’ archaeologists was that their interpretations, being contextual, respected the particularity of the time, people and period they were trying to examine, and were thus a humane alternative to the processual insistence on cross-cultural laws, or the processual habit of classifying societies into types in some grand evolutionary scheme. It is surely one of the ironies of modern archaeology that it is these same ‘interpretative’ or ‘post-processual’ archaeologists, who are now so keen on ancestors, ancestors who are omnipresent and omnicompetent. For these ancestors really can do anything – a spot of legitimation here; a touch of phenemonological meaning there. And they are everywhere: in cursuses, any barrow (whether or not it contains human bone); in the ditches of henges and causewayed enclosures; and in any Atlantic Iron Age house that may have used some stone from nearby chambered tomb.


Battersby 2017

Stephen Battersby, Can humankind escape the tragedy of the commons? PNAS 114 (2017), 7–10.

Selfish resource exploitation threatens societies and livelihoods. But there could be ways for nations and communities to circumvent narrow self-interest in favor of the common good.


Crone 2015

Patricia Crone, Jewish Christianity and The Qur\Alifan, (Part One). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 74 (2015), 225–253.

Those who saw the body of Jesus as a receptacle for the pre-existing being often envisaged this being as having taken up abode in him when he was an adult, usually (but not always) meaning when he was baptized; until then, Jesus had been an ordinary man. They also saw the pre-existing being as remaining distinct from its human host, and as departing when the latter died. “My God, why have you abandoned me?” as Jesus says in Mark (15:34) and Matthew (27:46): this could easily be understood as a complaint about the departure of the spirit that had taken up abode in him. “My power (dynamis), O my power, you have left me behind!” as Jesus exclaims in the Jewish Christian Gospel of Peter. Modern scholars often refer to this idea as “spirit Christology,” meaning the concept of the spirit as the pre-existing Christ that dwelt in the man Jesus.

Modern scholars sometimes react much like Epiphanius. But host Christology was a very old form of Christology, perhaps the oldest recorded. It is combated already in the irst Epistle of John (probably c. 90), and it seems to be espoused in the Gospel of Mark, which “begins with the entrance of the Holy Spirit into Jesus and ends with the Spirit forsaking him on the cross,” as Price nicely puts it, though Mark does tell of the resurrection as well. Mainstream Christians rejected this view of the incarnation as heretical, but it remained characteristic of that stream of Christianity that modern scholars label Gnostic, and also of much Jewish Christianity.

Crone 2016

Patricia Crone, Jewish Christianity and The Qur\Alifan, (Part Two). Journal of Near Eastern Studies 75 (2016), 1–21.

That still leaves the question of how the Messenger had come to be familiar with the docetic doctrine with which the Jewish claim is denied. A common answer is that he had it from the Manichaeans, for by the sixth century they were the only well-known docetists left.

In fact, it is not likely that there are any Manichaean doctrines in the Qur’an at all, for Mani’s thought world was quite alien to the Messenger’s, and on several fundamental points their doctrines were diametrically opposed. The Manichaeans denied that God had created this world; they would have none of Moses and disliked the Old Testament depiction of God as prone to anger and punishment; they did not believe in bodily resurrection, only in spiritual afterlife in conjunction with reincarnation, and they denigrated both marriage and meat-eating. The Qur’an devotes much attention to God’s creation of the world, the punishments He inlicts, the high status of Moses, bodily resurrection, marriage and ritual slaughter, but at no point does he engage in polemics against a Manichaean doctrine. It is scarcely conceivable that the Manichaeans should have been suiciently important in the Messenger’s locality for a doctrine of theirs to be relected in the Qur’an without there being any polemics against what the Messenger would have regarded as their fundamentally misguided and impious beliefs.

The Qur’anic refusal to accept the cruciixion is more likely to have Israelite Christian roots. Annarichos, the Gazan monk who read the Gospel of the Hebrews, tells us that “when he [Jesus] was put on the wood of the cross, his Father saved him from their [the Jews’] hands and brought him up to heaven, beside him in glory.”275 Here we have the same denial that the Jews succeeded in killing Jesus as in the Qur’an, and here too God moves Jesus to heaven, apparently snatching him directly from the cross. Pseudo-Cyril attributes the same doctrine to the Samaritan Isaac whom he claims to have converted to Christianity.

In fact, the Qur’anic Jesus does not have the qualiications for status as the Christian messiah, for as we have seen, he is not born in Bethlehem (see above, no. 14), and three passages implicitly identify him as an Aaronid rather than a member of David’s house (see above, no. 12). Jesus was a strange messiah, then: not of David’s house, not a king in any sense, and not a sacriicial victim who died for our sins either. He was the messiah only in the sense that this is what everyone called him, perhaps already in pre-Islamic Arabia. It is notable that although Jesus is always the messiah in Jewish Christian writings after his union with the heavenly Christ, it is never explained what he will do in that capacity.

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