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Davide Castelvecchi, The ‘Spookiness’ of Quantum Physics Could Be Incalculable. nature 577 (2020), 461–462.
Proof at the nexus of pure mathematics and algorithms puts ‘quantum weirdness’ on a new level.
Lila Westreich, A refreshing change. science 367 (2020), 222.
Midway through grad school, a friend asked me to volunteer as a barback—a bartender’s assistant—at the opening gala for a film festival. I was hesitant at first, having never worked behind a bar. But I said yes, lured by the offer of free tickets to the festival. I spent an evening running around like a chicken with its head cut off: slicing fruit, replacing liquor bottles, and doing other menial tasks. By the end of the night, I was tired and sweaty and I’d dropped an expensive bottle of vodka. But I felt incredible—in awe of how much fun I had—and I went home and slept better than I had in years. The event forced me to reflect on what brings me happiness and a clear state of mind. It was a turning point in my grad school experience.
Boris Brasseur, A younger “earliest human migration” to Southeast Asia. science 367 (2020), 147–148.
New dating suggests that hominids arrived at the Sangiran dome later than had been thought.
Yousuke Kaifu et al., Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia, Testing the bamboo raft hypothesis. Antiquity 93 (2019), 1424–1441.
The earliest colonisation of oceanic islands by Homo sapiens occurred 50 000–30 000 years ago in the Western Pacific, yet how this was achieved remains a matter of debate. With a focus on East Asia, the research presented here tests the hypothesis that bamboo rafts were used for these early maritime migrations. The authors review the evidence for Palaeolithic seafaring in East Asia as the context for an experimental archaeology project to build two bamboo watercraft. Sea trials demonstrate the unsuitability of bamboo, at least in East Asia, indicating that more sophisticated and durable vessels would have been required to traverse the Kuroshio Current.
Keywords: East Asia | Late Pleistocene | bamboo raft | watercraft | maritime migration
Yousuke Kaifu, Chih-hsing Lin, Akira Goto, Nobuyuki Ikeya, Masahisa Yamada, Wei-Chuan Chiang, Masaki Fujita, Koji Hara, Toiora Hawira, Kuo-en Huang, Chih-huei Huang, Yoshimi Kubota, Chiung-hsi Liu, Kumino Miura, Yasumasa Miyazawa, Osamu Monden, Minoru Muramatsu, Yunkai Sung, Katsuaki Suzuki, Nobuyuki Tanaka, Cheng-hwa Tsang, Saki Uchida & Pi-ling Wen
Shuji Matsu’ura et al., Age control of the first appearance datum for Javanese Homo erectus in the Sangiran area. science 367 (2020), 210–214.
The chronology of the World Heritage Site of Sangiran in Indonesia is crucial for the understanding of human dispersals and settlement in Asia in the Early Pleistocene (before 780,000 years ago). It has been controversial, however, especially regarding the timing of the earliest hominin migration into the Sangiran region. We use a method of combining fission-track and uranium-lead dating and present key ages to calibrate the lower (older) Sangiran hominin-bearing horizons. We conclude that the first appearance datum for the Sangiran hominins is most likely 1.3 million years ago and less than 1.5 million years ago, which is markedly later than the dates that have been widely accepted for the past two decades.
Shuji Matsu’ura, Megumi Kondo, Tohru Danhara, Shuhei Sakata, Hideki Iwano, Takafumi Hirata, Iwan Kurniawan, Erick Setiyabudi, Yoshihiro Takeshita, Masayuki Hyodo, Ikuko Kitaba, Masafumi Sudo, Yugo Danhara & Fachroel Aziz
Shua Kisilevitz & Oded Lipschits, Another Temple in Judah! The Tale of Tel Moza. Biblical Archaeology Review 46 (2020), i, 40–49.
How did this temple operate successfully in the shadow of the Jerusalem Temple throughout its entire lifespan, especially when the Bible makes no mention of any such temple and, moreover, says all other shrines were destroyed? All we know so far is that when it was constructed, the Moza temple was likely the undertaking of a local group, but by the Iron IIB period, it was clearly under Judahite rule and must therefore have been royally sanctioned by the realm. The rest remains to be discovered.
Robert Miller (Hrsg.), The complete Gospels, Annotated scholars version. (Sonoma 21994).
The Complete Gospels includes all twenty of the known gospels from the early Christian era, clearly presented for the scholar, student and general reader alike. The new Scholars Version translation captures the full spirit and vitality of the original texts.
Hershel Shanks, Ancient Jerusalem, The Village, the Town, the City. Biblical Archaeology Review 42 (2016), iii, 51–53.
However you cut it, Jerusalem was a tiny place in ancient times. Yet it played a major role in the march of history.
Ioannis Liritzis, The dating of ancient metals, Review and a possible application of the 226Ra/230Th method (a tutorial). Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 6 (2006), ii, 77–91.
Page numbers are for the final version, not the preliminary copy.
Based on the known U-disequilibrium decay law whereof several dating methods have been devised (e.g. in dating speleothems, paintings, shells) a novel idea of dating ancient metals is presented based on the Radium-226 separation from metal during the smelting process. 226Ra is gone with slag and its products, while in metal it grows from remaining traces of 238U. Within about 8,000 years the growth reaches equilibrium which sets the upper limit to the method. A review of indirect dating methods of metallurgical remains is outlined, while the advantages and limitations of the novel method is discussed in connection to these metallurgical activities based on preliminary isotopic data.
Keywords: uranium | isotopes | dating | metals | alpha counting | radioactive | Radium-226 | ores | bronzes.
Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Johannes Müller & Martin Furholt et al., A new approach to the temporal significance of house orientations in European Early Neolithic settlements. PLoS ONE 15 (2020), e226082. <DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0226082>.
This paper shows that local differences in house orientation in settlements from the Early Neolithic in Central Europe reflect a regular chronological trajectory based on Bayesian calibration of 14C-series. This can be used to extrapolate the dating of large-scale settlement plans derived from, among other methods, geophysical surveys. In the southwest Slovakian settlement of Vráble, we observed a progressive counter-clockwise rotation in house orientation from roughly 32° to 4° over a 300 year period. A survey of published and dated village plans from other LBK regions confirms that this counter-clockwise rotation per settlement is a wider Central European trend. We explain this observation as an unintentional, unconscious but systematic leftward deviation in the house builders’ cardinal orientation, which has been termed “pseudoneglect” in studies of human perception. This means that whenever houses were intended to be oriented towards a specific direction and be parallel to each other, there was an error in perception causing slight counter-clockwise rotation. This observation is used as a basis to reconstruct dynamics of Early Neolithic settlement in the Slovakian Zitava valley, showing a rapid colonization, followed by increased agglomeration into large villages consisting of strongly autonomous farmsteads.
Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Johannes Müller, Ivan Cheben, Wiebke Mainusch, Knut Rassmann, Wolfgang Rabbel, Erica Corradini & Martin Furholt
Silvia Prell & Lorenz Rahmstorf, Im Jenseits Handel betreiben – Areal A/I in Tell el-Dab\Ayna / Avaris, Die hyksoszeitlichen Schichten und ein reich ausgestattetes Grab mit Feingewichten. In: Manfred Bietak & Silvia Prell (Hrsg.), The Enigma of the Hyksos Volume I, ASOR Conference Boston 2017 – ICAANE Conference Munich 2018 – Collected Papers. CAENL Contributions to the Archaeology of Egypt, Nubia and the Levant 9 (Wiesbaden 2019), 165–197.
Balance weights have not received much attention within the archaeology of ancient Egypt. Weights dating from the Middle Kingdom are mainly lat and rectangular; the common unit is called dbn and weighs c. 13–14 grams. The metrological system changed in the New Kingdom to a dbn of c. 90–95 grams, subdivided into ten qdt. Not only the system but also shape and material were subject to change as weights dating to the New Kingdom are often sphendonoids and frequently consist of dark iron oxide as a distinctive material, not used in Egypt for weights before the Second Intermediate Period. As such shapes and material were common for weights in Syria and Mesopotamia since the Early Bronze Age, it is a likely hypothesis that the fundamental change in Egypt can be linked to the rule of the Hyksos. This assumption is further supported by the fact that the dbn of the New Kingdom, divided by twelve, corresponds with the ‘Syrian shekel’ of c. 9–9.5 g. This weight unit was widely used in the eastern Mediterranean and facilitated international trade in the Late Bronze Age. Excavations at Tell el-Dab’a/Avaris produced about 50 weights dating to the Second Intermediate Period and the early New Kingdom. They are made of iron oxide, are often sphendonoids and conirm the use of shekel weighing system, both ‘Syrian’ and ‘Mesopotamian’ (c. 8.1–8.5 grams). One assemblage, consisting of two sets of weights, derived from a richly furnished tomb in Area A/I, dating to the Hyksos period (Stratum D/3, Middle Bronze Age IIB–C). As the tombs of this area remained unpublished, they are introduced entirely within the scope of this article. The weights from Tell el-Dab’a contribute to the understanding of the time of the Hyksos as a period in which many innovations reached Egypt from the east, and consisted not only of tools for warfare (e.g., chariot, composite bow), but also of tools for trade.
Nasr Hamid Abu Zaid, Gottes Menschenwort, Für ein humanistisches Verständnis des Koran. Georges-Anawati-Stiftung, Modernes Denken in der islamischen Welt 3 (Freiburg 2009).
Mohammad Hashim Kamali, Law and Ethics in Islam, The role of the maqasid. In: Kari Vogt, Lena Larsen & Christian Moe (Hrsg.), New Directions in Islamic Thought, Exploring Reform and Muslim Tradition. (London 2009), 23–46.
Lorenz Müller, Islam und Menschenrechte, Sunnitische Muslime zwischen Islamismus, Säkularismus und Modernismus. Mitteilungen des Deutschen Orient-Instituts 54 (Hamburg 1996).
Mathias Rohe, Das islamische Recht, Geschichte und Gegenwart. (München 2009).
Carsten Wilke, Den Talmud und den Kant, Rabbinerausbildung an der Schwelle zur Moderne. NETIVA – Studien des Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Instituts (Hildesheim 2003).
Noch zur Aufklärungszeit blühte ein vielgestaltiges rabbinisches Hochschulwesen in den deutschen Staaten: Ihren besonderen, jahrhundertealten Bildungsidealen verpflichtet, musste sich diese talmudische Gelehrtenrepublik der ihr nun abverlangten Anpassung an die herrschende idealistische Theologie verweigern. Ein Wahnsinniger nur oder ein Genie, so urteilte 1808 einer ihrer wenigen christlichen Verteidiger, könnte zugleich “morgenländische und abendländische Philosophie studieren, den Talmud und den Kant, den Fichte wie den Schelling”. An den unvereinbaren Ansprüchen von Staatspolitikern, Religionsreformern und Traditionalisten scheiterten die Projekte zu “zeitgemäßen” Ausbildungsstätten. So mussten die jüdischen Studentenkreise der Romantik und des Vormärz jene für unmöglich gehaltene Synthese aus dem disparaten Erbe ihrer talmudischen und akademischen Mentoren selbst entwickeln und erproben. Die Entstehung der rivalisierenden Modelle moderner rabbinischer Wissenschaft, die diese institutions- und ideengeschichtliche Studie verfolgt, beginnt inmitten der alten Talmudhochschulen und führt durch ein beispielloses kulturelles Laboratorium zu den Anfängen des Jüdisch-Theologischen Seminars, das 1854 in Breslau gegründet wurde.
David S. Anderson, “I Don’t Believe, I Know”, The Faith of Modern Pseudoarchaeology. SAA Archaeological Record 19 (2019), v, 31–34.
Roughly half of all Americans believe that members of our profession are lying to them or are too blind to see the truth. Debunking pseudoarchaeological claims is not a waste of time, but necessary work in which all archaeologists should be engaging. We cannot simply state that “ancient aliens aren’t real”; instead, we must be ready and able at a moment’s notice to demonstrate how we know such claims are wrong.
We will not reach the public by publishing articles in esteemed peer-reviewed journals locked behind paywalls or by writing prohibitively expensive books published by academic presses. Public engagement needs to be a central value to our profession, including not only public lectures but outreach in new media outlets. We need to recognize that archaeologists have lost a lot of ground when it comes to the public trust. Rates of belief in pseudoarchaeological claims, as well as other pseudoscience claims, will only start to fall with a considerable investment on our part. Together we must take the necessary steps forward to build a sustained campaign of public outreach that elevates archaeological research and reclaims the amazing reality of human heritage.
Emma Baysal, Will the real specialist please stand up? Characterising early craft specialisation, a comparative approach for Neolithic Anatolia. Documenta Praehistorica 40 (2013), 233–246.
The Neolithic period saw changes in production practices and the roles of individuals that were important in the development of increasing social differentiation. Although there is evidence of specialised manufacturing in Neolithic Anatolia, the dynamics of changing production and accompanying social effects have not been characterised. This article looks at how specialisation might be defined and identified in the Neolithic period in Anatolia using the results of recent theoretical debates as a starting point. It addresses the possibility of comparing the various forms taken by early non-institutionalised specialisations and argues the importance of considering this subject as a major element in emerging social complexities.
Keywords: craft specialisation | Anatolia | Neolithic | beads | chipped stone | social structure
Lewis R. Binford, Dimensional Analysis of Behavior and Site Structure, Learning from an Eskimo Hunting Stand. American Antiquity 43 (1978), 330–361.
Detailed behavioral observations permitted the dimensional analysis of formation processes operative on the Mask site, a Nunamiut Eskimo hunting stand. Activity structure, technological organization, disposal mode, and spatial organization were all seen as behavioral dimensions that could each vary, altering the patterns of assemblage content and spatial disposition at an archaeological site.
These ethnoarchaeological experiences were then contrasted with those recently reported by John Yellen (1977], and a critical evaluation of his “conclusions” was conducted from the perspective of the Eskimo experience. It was pointed out that basic differences in philosophy and approach to research largely conditioned the contrasting character of the conclusions drawn from the different experiences.
Michael J. Harrower et al., Beta Samati, Discovery and excavation of an Aksumite town. Antiquity 93 (2019), 1534–1552.
The Empire of Aksum was one of Africa’s most influential ancient civilisations. Traditionally, most archaeological fieldwork has focused on the capital city of Aksum, but recent research at the site of Beta Samati has investigated a contemporaneous trade and religious centre located between Aksumand the Red Sea.The authors outline the discovery of the site and present important finds from the initial excavations, including an early basilica, inscriptions and a gold intaglio ring. From daily life and ritual praxis to international trade, this work illuminates the role of Beta Samati as an administrative centre and its significance within the wider Aksumite world.
Keywords: Africa | Ethiopia | Aksum | ancient trade | ancient states
Michael J. Harrower, Ioana A. Dumitru, Cinzia Perlingieri, Smiti Nathan, Kifle Zerue, Jessica L. Lamont, Alessandro Bausi, Jennifer L. Swerida, Jacob L. Bongers, Helina S. Woldekiros, Laurel A. Poolman, Christie M. Pohl, Steven A. Brandt & Elizabeth A. Peterson
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