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Kowall 2021

Bernd Kowall et al., Excess mortality due to Covid-19? A comparison of total mortality in 2020 with total mortality in 2016 to 2019 in Germany, Sweden and Spain. PLoS ONE 16 (2021), e255540. <DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0255540>.

In the first approach, the cumulative Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMR) show that in Germany and Sweden there was no or little excess mortality in 2020 (SMR = 0.976 (95 % CI: 0.974–0.978), and 1.030 (1.023– 1.036), respectively), while in Spain the excess mortality was 14.8 % (1.148 (1.144–1.151)). In the second approach, the corresponding SMRs for Germany and Sweden increased to 1.009 (1.007–1.011) and 1.083 (1.076–1.090), respectively, whereas results for Spain were virtually unchanged.

Bernd Kowall, Fabian Standl, Florian Oesterling, Bastian Brune, Marcus Brinkmann, Marcel Dudda, Peter Pflaumer, Karl-Heinz Jöckel & Andreas Stang

Ochs 2021

Christiane Ochs & Sophie-Marie Rotermund, I studied Archaeology – Now my life is in ruins? Archäologische Informationen (2021), preprint, 1–14. <>.

From 1st to 5th of April 2019 the yearly congresses of West- und Süddeutscher Verband für Altertumsforschung e.V. (WSVA) as well as Mittel- und Ostdeutscher Verband für Altertumsforschung e.V. (MOVA) took place in Würzburg. As a part of this convention the Forum Archäologie in Gesellschaft (FAiG) hosted a round table with the theme “Precariat and Self-Exploitation”. The authors were invited as student representatives to talk about their (personal) experiences with those topics.

Keywords: archaeology | academic studies | precariat | self-exploitation | student living and life settings | gender (in)equality

Vom 1. bis 5. April 2019 fanden in Würzburg die Jahrestagungen des West- und Süddeutschen Verbandes für Altertumsforschung e.V. (WSVA) und des Mittel- und Ostdeutschen Verbandes für Altertumsforschung e.V. (MOVA) statt. Als Sektion dieser Zusammenkunft veranstaltete das Forum Archäologie in Gesellschaft (FAiG) einen Round Table zum Thema “Prekariat und Selbstausbeutung”. Die Autorinnen wurden als studentische Vertreterinnen eingeladen, um über ihre (persönlichen) Erfahrungen dazu zu berichten.

Keywords: Archäologie | Studium | Prekariat | Selbstausbeutung | studentische Wohn- und Lebensverhältnisse | Geschlechter(un)gerechtigkeit


Thompson 2021

Tosin Thompson, Burnt seeds show people used tobacco 12,000 years ago. nature 598 (2021), 397–398.

Earliest evidence that hunter-gatherers chewed or smoked the plant has been found at a Stone Age site.


Tassi 2017

Francesca Tassi et al., Genome diversity in the Neolithic Globular Amphorae culture and the spread of Indo-European languages. Proc. Royal Society B 284 (2017), 20171540.

It is unclear whether Indo-European languages in Europe spread from the Pontic steppes in the late Neolithic, or from Anatolia in the Early Neolithic. Under the former hypothesis, people of the Globular Amphorae culture (GAC) would be descended from Eastern ancestors, likely representing the Yamnaya culture. However, nuclear (six individuals typed for 597 573 SNPs) and mitochondrial (11 complete sequences) DNA from the GAC appear closer to those of earlier Neolithic groups than to the DNA of all other populations related to the Pontic steppe migration. Explicit comparisons of alternative demographic models via approximate Bayesian computation confirmed this pattern. These results are not in contrast to Late Neolithic gene flow from the Pontic steppes into Central Europe. However, they add nuance to this model, showing that the eastern affinities of the GAC in the archaeological record reflect cultural influences from other groups from the East, rather than the movement of people.

Francesca Tassi, Stefania Vai, Silvia Ghirotto, Martina Lari, Alessandra Modi, Elena Pilli, Andrea Brunelli, Roberta Rosa Susca, Alicja Budnik, Damian Labuda, Federica Alberti, Carles Lalueza-Fox, David Reich, David Caramelli & Guido Barbujani


Arie 2021

Eran Arie, Revisiting Mount Gerizim, The Foundation of the Sacred Precinct and the Proto-Ionic Capitals. In: Yehiel Zelinger, Orit Peleg-Barkat, Joseph (Joe) Uziel & Yuval Gadot (Hrsg.), New Studies in the Archaeology of Jerusalem and Its Region. Collected Papers 14 (Jerusalem 2021), 39–63.

This new historical reconstruction may reflect on the Judahite-Samaritan conflict. Much was written about the reasons for the endless struggles between the Samaritans and the Judahite returnees to Zion (e.g., Knoppers 2013:135–168; Hensel 2018). However, due to the new dating of the foundation of the Mount Gerizim precinct, a new interpretation may be suggested. While the Judahite exiles saw the destruction of their cultic center in Jerusalem, the Gerizim temple survived the Babylonians. Hence, from 586–515 BCE, Mount Gerizim became the only main Yahwistic temple in the former territory of Israel and Judah. As such, it probably attracted many worshippers who experienced the collapse of the Kingdom of Judah as a major cultic crisis. Its continuous use during the Babylonian period into the Persian period probably made it a threat to the Judahite exiles who returned to Zion and tried to revalidate the cult in Jerusalem.


Campbell-Staton 2021

Shane C. Campbell-Staton et al., Ivory poaching and the rapid evolution of tusklessness in African elephants. science 374 (2021), 483–487.


Understanding the evolutionary consequences of wildlife exploitation is increasingly important as harvesting becomes more efficient. We examined the impacts of ivory poaching during the Mozambican Civil War (1977 to 1992) on the evolution of African savanna elephants (Loxodonta africana) in Gorongosa National Park. Poaching resulted in strong selection that favored tusklessness amid a rapid population decline. Survey data revealed tusk-inheritance patterns consistent with an X chromosome–linked dominant, male-lethal trait. Whole-genome scans implicated two candidate genes with known roles in mammalian tooth development (AMELX and MEP1a), including the formation of enamel, dentin, cementum, and the periodontium. One of these loci (AMELX) is associated with an X-linked dominant, male-lethal syndrome in humans that diminishes the growth of maxillary lateral incisors (homologous to elephant tusks). This study provides evidence for rapid, poaching-mediated selection for the loss of a prominent anatomical trait in a keystone species.

Shane C. Campbell-Staton, Brian J. Arnold, Dominique Gonçalves, Petter Granli, Joyce Poole, Ryan A. Long & Robert M. Pringle

Gibbons 2021

Ann Gibbons, Ancient DNA reveals long-sought homeland of modern horses. science 374 (2021), 384–385.

Bronze Age herders began riding the ancestor of modern horses in the grassy western Eurasian steppe.

Morozova 2020

Irina Morozova & Verena J. Schuenemann et al., New ancient Eastern European Yersinia. Phil. Trans. Royal Society B 375 (2020), 20190569.

Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague, has been prevalent among humans for at least 5000 years, being accountable for several devastating epidemics in history, including the Black Death. Analyses of the genetic diversity of ancient strains of Y. pestis have shed light on the mechanisms of evolution and the spread of plague in Europe. However, many questions regarding the origins of the pathogen and its long persistence in Europe are still unresolved, especially during the late medieval time period. To address this, we present four newly assembled Y. pestis genomes from Eastern Europe (Poland and Southern Russia), dating from the fifteenth to eighteenth century AD. The analysis of polymorphisms in these genomes and their phylogenetic relationships with other ancient and modern Y. pestis strains may suggest several independent introductions of plague into Eastern Europe or its persistence in different reservoirs. Furthermore, with the reconstruction of a partial Y. pestis genome from rat skeletal remains found in a Polish ossuary, we were able to identify a potential animal reservoir in late medieval Europe. Overall, our results add new information concerning Y. pestis transmission and its evolutionary history in Eastern Europe.

This article is part of the theme issue ‘Insights into health and disease from ancient biomolecules’.

Irina Morozova, Artem Kasianov, Sergey Bruskin, Judith Neukamm, Martyna Molak, Elena Batieva, Aleksandra Pudlo, Frank J. Rühli & Verena J. Schuenemann


Dan 1991

Joseph Dan, A Bow to Frumkinian Hasidism. Modern Judaism 11 (1991), 175–193.

The difference between the two Hasidisms is unbridgeable: Beshtian Hasidism emerged and developed within Jewish traditional culture, from which it derived all its values and norms, and throughout its history it not only retained this character, but became often the major power upholding and preserving the complete adherence to traditional Judaism in the 20th century. Frumkinian Hasidism, on the other hand, is the product of the modern, non-traditional Jewish culture. It began to emerge in the moment when a meaningful gulf began to appear between historical Hasidism and large groups of Jews who were drifting away from traditional ways of life. Frumkinian Hasidism continued to develop in the late-19th-century and throughout the 20th century within the framework of the culture of this segment of Judaism, and grew in scope and variety together with this culture. Frumkinian Hasidism is one of the Jewish garments that modern Judaism puts on when trying to integrate completely in modern civilization, while still preserving some aspects of its ancestral Jewish identity.


Juech 2010

Claudia Juech et al., Scenarios for the Future of Technology and International Development. Rockefeller Foundation 2010 , May 18.

Even after the pandemic faded, this more authoritarian control and oversight of citizens and their activities stuck and even intensified. Citizens were more tolerant, and even eager, for top-down direction and oversight, and national leaders had more latitude to impose order in the ways they saw fit.


Joosten 2021

Jan Joosten, How far back in antiquity can we trace the oral tradition of Tiberian Hebrew? unknown (2021), preprint, 1–12. <>.

David Carr has argued recently that classical texts in Antiquity would not simply be copied from ancient manuscripts, but that ancient scribes would memorize them at the same time. A scribe copying the book of Genesis would not come to the mute consonantal text and copy it on the basis of his knowledge of Hebrew: he would know the entire text more or less by heart even before setting out to make a new copy. Oral and written transmission worked together, practically from the moment the work was created (or at least from the moment it became part of the scribal curriculum).

Our evidence does not guarantee that all vocalizations encoded in the Tiberian vowels reflect the time when the texts were created. Homogenization did undoubtedly happen. Our task as critics is to weigh the textual material—vowels as well as consonants—and try to define what is genuine and what is secondary.

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