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Jennifer Couzin-Frankel & Gretchen Vogel, Vaccines may cause rare, Long Covid–like symptoms. science 375 (2022), 364–366. <DOI:10.1126/science.ada0536>.
Researchers probe reports of brain fog, headaches, and blood pressure swings.
Early clinical data point in a similar direction. Research groups have detected unusually high levels of autoantibodies, which can attack the body’s own cells and tissues, in people during and after a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Other vaccinemakers said they take side effects seriously and report them to regulators.
Rui B. Elias et al., Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese? PNAS 119 (2022), e2119218119.
Based on the available information, not denying the possibility of earlier human presence, we argue that there is no solid empirical evidence for a widespread landscape disturbance caused by pre-Portuguese settlers. Additional multidisciplinary work is required to deny the historical records that the islands were occupied by dense native forests in the 15th century. Until more convincing evidence emerges, Norse presence remains an “intriguing possibility”.
Rui B. Elias, Simon E. Connor, Carlos A. Góis-Marques, Hanno Schaefer, Lu\is Silva, Miguel M. Sequeira, Mónica Moura, Paulo A. V. Borges & Rosalina Gabriel
Aris Katzourakis, COVID-19: endemic doesn’t mean harmless. nature 601 (2022), 485.
Rosy assumptions endanger public health — policymakers must act now to shape the years to come.
Kai Kupferschmidt, After Omicron, some scientists foresee ‘a period of quiet’. science 375 (2022), 366–367. <DOI:10.1126/science.ada0537>.
The variant’s modest toll in many countries has led to a sense of optimism. But new surprises are likely.
Pedro M. Raposeiro et al., Multiproxy evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in multiple Azorean lakes before the Portuguese arrival, Reply to Elias et al. PNAS 119 (2022), e2120107119.
As stated in ref. 1, we acknowledge the point raised by Elias et al. that the Portuguese arrival led to more extensive changes in the landscape. Our multiproxy, multisite datasets strongly suggest that people had already occupied the Azores Archipelago and altered the pristine landscape before the official arrival of the Portuguese.
Pedro M. Raposeiro, Armand Hernández, Sergi Pla-Rabes, V\itor Gon\calves, Roberto Bao, Alberto Sáez, Timothy Shanahan, Mario Benavente, Erik J. de Boer, Nora Richter, Verónica Gordon, Helena Marques, Pedro M. Sousa, Mart\in Souto, Miguel G. Matias, Nicole Aguiar, Cátia Pereira, Catarina Ritter, Mar\ia Jesús Rubio, Marina Salcedo, David Vázquez-Loureiro, Olga Margalef, Linda A. Amaral-Zettler, Ana Cristina Costa, Yongsong Huang, Jacqueline F. N. van Leeuwen, Pere Masqué, Ricardo Prego, Ana Carolina Ruiz-Fernández, Joan-Albert Sanchez-Cabeza, Ricardo Trigo & Santiago Giralt
Daniel G. Bradley, Bronze Age genomes reveal migration to Britain. nature 601 (2022), 512–513.
The genomes of hundreds of individuals who lived in Great Britain and in continental Europe during the Bronze Age provide evidence for a migration of people from the continent to southern Britain between 1000 and 875 bc.
Ron Pinhasi, Ian Armit & David Reich et al., Large-scale migration into Britain during the Middle to Late Bronze Age. nature 601 (2022), 588–594.
Present-day people from England and Wales have more ancestry derived from early European farmers (EEF) than did people of the Early Bronze Age1. To understand this, here we generated genome-wide data from 793 individuals, increasing data from the Middle to the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age in Britain by 12-fold, and western and central Europe by 3.5-fold. Between 1000 and 875 bc, EEF ancestry increased in southern Britain (England and Wales) but not northern Britain (Scotland) due to incorporation of migrants who arrived at this time and over previous centuries, and who were genetically most similar to ancient individuals from France. These migrants contributed about half the ancestry of people of England and Wales from the Iron Age, thereby creating a plausible vector for the spread of early Celtic languages into Britain. These patterns are part of a broader trend of EEF ancestry becoming more similar across central and western Europe in the Middle to the Late Bronze Age, coincident with archaeological evidence of intensified cultural exchange2–6. There was comparatively less gene flow from continental Europe during the Iron Age, and the independent genetic trajectory in Britain is also reflected in the rise of the allele conferring lactase persistence to approximately 50 % by this time compared to approximately 7 % in central Europe where it rose rapidly in frequency only a millennium later. This suggests that dairy products were used in qualitatively different ways in Britain and in central Europe over this period.
Israel Finkelstein, Chronology Rejoinders. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 134 (2002), 118–129.
The paper deals with six recent studies which relate to the ongoing debate over the chronology qf the eleventh to the ninth century B.C.E. strata in the Levant and thus to the history of the region in the Iron Age. The paper takes issue with methodological problems relating to the questions of ethnographic comparison in archaeology, interpretation of biblical sources by archaeologists, pottery typology and dating. It offers a different interpretation of the finds at Hazor, Beth-shemesh, Tel Batash, Horbat Rosh Zait, and Bethsaida.
Israel Finkelstein, Saul, Benjamin and the Emergence of “Biblical Israel”, An Alternative View. Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 123 (2011), 348–367.
The article discusses Na’aman’s recent proposal in this journal that the land of Benjamin was part of Judah throughout monarchic and earlier times. I agree with Na’aman that in late monarchic times the land of Benjamin indeed belonged to Judah. But I contend that in previous centuries the region was dominated by the north Israelite polity. I suggest that this territory changed hands at least once – from north to south – in the second half of the 9th century BCE. Against this background the article also discusses Na’aman’s hypothesis regarding the emergence of “biblical Israel”.
Dieser Artikel setzt sich mit Na’amans jüngstem Vorschlag in dieser Zeitschrift auseinander, dass das Land Benjamin in der Königszeit und davor zu Juda gehört hat. Ich stimme mit Na’aman darin überein, dass in der späten Königszeit das Land Benjamin zweifellos zu Juda gehörte. Aber ich vertrete die Ansicht, dass in den vorausgehenden Jahrhunderten diese Region durch das nordisraelitische Gemeinwesen beherrscht worden ist. Ich gehe deshalb davon aus, dass dieses Gebiet den Besitzer wenigstens einmal gewechselt hat: In der zweiten Hälfte des 9. Jh. v. u. Z. von Nord nach Süd. Vor diesem Hintergrund setzt sich der Artikel auch mit Na’amans Hypothese betreffs der Entstehung des “biblischen Israel” auseinander.
Israel Finkelstein, The Historical Reality behind the Genealogical Lists in 1 Chronicles. Journal of Biblical Literature 131 (2012), 65–83.
Assuming that the distribution of the sites mentioned in the lists of genealogies in 1 Chronicles 2–9 reflects a given, genuine moment in history, their date can be verified according to the archaeology of these sites and their distribution compared to what we know about the borders of Judah/Yehud/Judea in the late Iron II, Persian, and Hellenstic periods. The only period that fits both criteria is that of the Hasmonean rule in the second half of the second century b.c.e.
Israel Finkelstein, Geographical and Historical Realities behind the Earliest Layer in the David Story. Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 27 (2013), 131–150.
The article attempts to identify an early Judahite layer in the David narrative in 1-2 Samuel and dates the reality behind it to the period prior to Judah expansion into the southern Hebron Highlands and the Beersheba Valley in the second half of the 9th century BCE. This helps to clarify the territorial and historical situation in the south in the 10th and early 9th centuries BCE. The article delineates the southern extent of the early north Israelite highlands polity, whose hub was in the area of Gibeon-Gibeah, and the territories of the Philistine kingdom of Gath and the desert polity that emerged at that time in the Beer-sheba Valley. It also deals with the role of Sheshonq I in shaping the long-term territorio-political order in southern Canaan.
Keywords: David | Gath | Amalek | Saul | Hebron Hills | Shephelah | Negeb | Apiru | Sheshonq I (Shishak)
Israel Finkelstein, Migration of Israelites into Judah after 720 BCE, An Answer and an Update. Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 127 (2015), 188–206.
In a recent article in this journal Nadav Na’aman dismissed the proposal that a large number of Israelites migrated to Judah after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 720 BCE. Na’aman based his rebuttal on three points: the lack of evidence of a proliferation of Israelite theophoric names in Judah; the demography of the Shephelah between 720 BCE and the Sennacherib campaign in 701 BCE; and observations regarding the growth of Jerusalem in the same time-slot. In this paper I challenge all three observations on both factual and methodological grounds, and emphasize that the Israelites-in-Judah theory provides a compelling explanation for the incorporation of Israelite texts – including those which compete with Judahite traditions or are adverse to the Davidic Dynasty – into the Hebrew Bible. I then take the opportunity to update my views regarding the settlement expansion and demographic growth in Jerusalem in particular and Judah in general in the late 8th and early 7th centuries BCE.
In einem vor Kurzem in dieser Zeitschrift erschienenen Artikel lehnte Nadav Na’aman die These ab, dass nach dem Untergang des Nordreiches im Jahre 720 v. Chr. eine große Zahl an Israeliten nach Juda abgewandert sei. Na’aman begründete seine Zurückweisung mit drei Punkten: Dem Mangel an Belegen für eine Zunahme an theophoren Namen israelitischen Ursprungs in Juda; der Demographie der Schephela zwischen 720 v. Chr. und dem Feldzug Sanheribs im Jahre 701 v. Chr.; und schließlich einigen Beobachtungen hinsichtlich des Wachstums von Jerusalem im selben Zeitraum. Der Beitrag stellt alle drei Beobachtungen sowohl in sachlicher als auch in methodologischer Hinsicht in Frage und hebt hervor, dass die Israeliten-in-Juda-Theorie eine überzeugende Erklärung für die Aufnahme israelitischer Texte in die hebräische Bibel bietet – selbst für jene, die mit judäischen Traditionen in einem spannungsreichen Verhältnis stehen oder sich zur Dynastie der Davididen ablehnend verhalten. Darüber hinaus bietet er eine aktualisierte Darstellung der Ausweitung des Siedlungsraumes und des demographischen Wachstums während des späten achten und des frühen siebten Jahrhunderts v. Chr. in Jerusalem im Speziellen und in Juda im Allgemeinen.
Israel Finkelstein, The Arabah Copper Polity and the Rise of Iron Age Edom, A Bias in Biblical Archaeology? Antiguo Oriente 18 (2020), 11–32.
In a recent article, Erez Ben-Yosef describes an ostensible bias in biblical archaeology—the emphasis on societies that left behind stone-built remains and a disregard for pastoral nomadic-based territorial polity. Ben-Yosef identifies the Iron I-IIA finds from the copper centers at Faynan and Timna as representing an early Edomite, nonsedentary kingdom. Here I deal with three issues: I begin by showing that most of Ben-Yosef’s premises have already been suggested by scholars decades ago. I then turn to what I consider as major shortcomings in his theory. Finally, I present an alternative model for an Iron I-IIA territorial entity in the Arabah and neighboring areas as well as for the rise of the kingdom of Edom.
Keywords: Edom | Arabah | Copper | Faynan | Timna | State Formation | Negev Highlands | Tel Masos
Israel Finkelstein & & Matthew J. Adams, The Megiddo Gates, Outdated Views Versus New Data. Tel Aviv: Archaeology 48 (2021), 208–212.
In a recent article in this journal we presented the results of our 2018 excavations in the area of the six-chambered gate at Megiddo (Finkelstein et al. 2019). Ussishkin (2020) challenged our interpretation, reiterating his past theories regarding the Megiddo gates. Here we present data which negate his views.
Keywords: Megiddo | Iron Age | Megiddo Gates | Gate 2156 | Solomonic gate | Six chambered gate | Stratum VA-IVB | Stratum IVA
Israel Finkelstein & Benjamin Sass, The exceptional concentration of inscriptions at Iron IIA Gath and Rehob and the nature of the alphabet in the ninth century BCE. unknown (2022), preprint, 1–26. <>.
We focus on the remarkable number of stratified alphabetic inscriptions found at Tell – – afi (Gath) and Tel Rehov (location of Rehob) in the late Iron IIA/1 (the first two-thirds of the ninth century, until the destruction of the two cities) and on a new proposal for the nature of their alphabets. The ratio of the Gath and Rehob finds—88 % of all the stratified West Semitic inscriptions from that period—is extraordinary; does it echo the prominence of the two as the largest city-states in the ninth-century southern Levant? Moreover, does such a ratio indicate that Samaria, Damascus, Sidon and Tyre, with no contemporary inscriptions at all, used the alphabet significantly less, or does this archaeological void have another explanation? And how are we to understand the apparent mix at Gath and Rehob of Hebrew-like letterforms on the one hand and Aramaic- or Phoenician-like forms on the other? The paper addresses these outstanding phenomena and further attempts to trace the route of the hieratic signs fornumerals and measures from the alphabet in the Late Bronze Age to the Hebrew alphabet-variant in the eighth century.
Keywords: Alphabet | Aramaic | Gath | Hebrew | special hieratic signs | Phoenicia(n) | Proto-Canaanite | Rehob | Rehov | Tel | afi | Tell – – | supraregional cursive | West Semitic inscriptions.
Robert S. Homsher & Israel Finkelstein, New light on Schumacher’s Südliches Burgtor at Megiddo. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 150 (2018), 296–308.
The Südliches Burgtor is a massive structure that was uncovered by Gottlieb Schumacher on the southern edge of the mound of Megiddo in the early twentieth century. Its vicinity was partially excavated by the Oriental Institute team in the 1930s. Still, the stratigraphic affiliation of the building as well as its date and function remained unclear. Here we present evidence from the southwestern sector of Area Q of the renewed excavations at the site, which shed light on these issues. The Südliches Burgtor was originally built in Stratum VII, probably in its later phase (VIIA), of the Late Bronze III, and continued to be in use until the devastation of the city in Stratum VIA at the end of the late Iron I. The building did not disclose clear evidence of its function, but circumstantial considerations based on finds in Area Q to its east point to possible cultic usage.
Keywords: Megiddo | Schumacher | Südliches Burgtor | Late Bronze III | late Iron I
Céline M. Vidal et al., Age of the oldest known Homo sapiens from eastern Africa. nature 601 (2022), 579–583.
Efforts to date the oldest modern human fossils in eastern Africa, from Omo-Kibish1–3 and Herto4,5 in Ethiopia, have drawn on a variety of chronometric evidence, including 40Ar/39Ar ages of stratigraphically associated tuffs. The ages that are generally reported for these fossils are around 197 thousand years (kyr) for the Kibish Omo I3,6,7, and around 160–155 kyr for the Herto hominins5,8. However, the stratigraphic relationships and tephra correlations that underpin these estimates have been challenged6,8. Here we report geochemical analyses that link the Kamoya’s Hominid Site (KHS) Tuff9, which conclusively overlies the member of the Omo-Kibish Formation that contains Omo I, with a major explosive eruption of Shala volcano in the Main Ethiopian Rift. By dating the proximal deposits of this eruption, we obtain a new minimum age for the Omo fossils of 233 ± 22 kyr. Contrary to previous arguments6,8, we also show that the KHS Tuff does not correlate with another widespread tephra layer, the Waidedo Vitric Tuff, and therefore cannot anchor a minimum age for the Herto fossils. Shifting the age of the oldest known Homo sapiens fossils in eastern Africa to before around 200 thousand years ago is consistent with independent evidence for greater antiquity of the modern human lineage10.
Céline M. Vidal, Christine S. Lane, Asfawossen Asrat, Dan N. Barfod, Darren F. Mark, Emma L. Tomlinson, Amdemichael Zafu Tadesse, Gezahegn Yirgu, Alan Deino, William Hutchison, Aurélien Mounier & Clive Oppenheimer
Michael Marshall, Did a Mega Drought Seed Global Chaos 4,200 Years Ago? nature 601 (2022), 498–501.
People abandoned thriving cities in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and farther afield at about the same time as a decades-long drought gripped parts of the planet.
Many anthropologists argue against this kind of explanation because it neglects societies’ abilities to adapt. In a 2021 study5, environmental historian Dagomar Degroot, at Georgetown University in Washington DC, and his colleagues identified five pathways by which past societies survived climatic crises — for example, switching to meat-rich diets when cereal harvests became unreliable. This means that there is no simple causal relationship between climatic shifts and societal disruption. “It’s very difficult to identify the relationship between an environmental event and a societal effect.”
“We haven’t got mass graves of people who all died of starvation.” The Akkadian people moved towards the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where people had long practised irrigation agriculture.
Gerd Althoff, Die Ottonen, Königsherrschaft ohne Staat. (Stuttgart 32013).
Neil Carlin, A grave matter of ancient kinship in Neolithic Britain. nature 601 (2022), 510–512.
An investigation into the nature of genetic connections between individuals interred in the same chambers of an ancient tomb in Britain about 5,700 years ago sheds light on kinship in an early society.
Chris Fowler, Iñigo Olalde, Sarah Cuthbert & David Reich et al., A high-resolution picture of kinship practices in an Early Neolithic tomb. nature 601 (2022), 584–587.
To explore kinship practices at chambered tombs in Early Neolithic Britain, here we combined archaeological and genetic analyses of 35 individuals who lived about 5,700 years ago and were entombed at Hazleton North long cairn1. Twenty-seven individuals are part of the first extended pedigree reconstructed from ancient DNA, a five-generation family whose many interrelationships provide statistical power to document kinship practices that were invisible without direct genetic data. Patrilineal descent was key in determining who was buried in the tomb, as all 15 intergenerational transmissions were through men. The presence of women who had reproduced with lineage men and the absence of adult lineage daughters suggest virilocal burial and female exogamy. We demonstrate that one male progenitor reproduced with four women: the descendants of two of those women were buried in the same half of the tomb over all generations. This suggests that maternal sub-lineages were grouped into branches whose distinctiveness was recognized during the construction of the tomb. Four men descended from non-lineage fathers and mothers who also reproduced with lineage male individuals, suggesting that some men adopted the children of their reproductive partners by other men into their patriline. Eight individuals were not close biological relatives of the main lineage, raising the possibility that kinship also encompassed social bonds independent of biological relatedness.
Chris Fowler, Iñigo Olalde, Vicki Cummings, Ian Armit, Lindsey Büster, Sarah Cuthbert, Nadin Rohland, Olivia Cheronet, Ron Pinhasi & David Reich
Mary C. Stiner, Natalie D. Munro, Hijlke Buitenhuis, Günes Duru & Mihriban Özbasaran, An endemic pathway to sheep and goat domestication at Asikli Höyük (Central Anatolia, Turkey). PNAS 119 (2022), e2110930119.
Sheep and goats (caprines) were domesticated in Southwest Asia in the early Holocene, but how and in how many places remain open questions. This study investigates the initial conditions and trajectory of caprine domestication at Asikli Höyük, which preserves an unusually high-resolution record of the first 1,000 y of Neolithic existence in Central Anatolia. Our comparative analysis of caprine age and sex structures and related evidence reveals a local domestication process that began around 8400 cal BC. Caprine management at Asikli segued through three viable systems. The earliest mode was embedded within a broad-spectrum foraging economy and directed to live meat storage on a small scale. This was essentially a “catch-and-grow” strategy that involved seasonal capture of wild lambs and kids from the surrounding highlands and raising them several months prior to slaughter within the settlement. The second mode paired modest levels of caprine reproduction on site with continued recruitment of wild infants. The third mode shows the hallmarks of a large-scale herding economy based on a large, reproductively viable captive population but oddly directed to harvesting adult animals, contra to most later Neolithic practices. Wild infant capture likely continued at a low level. The transitions were gradual but, with time, gave rise to early domesticated forms and monumental differences in human labor organization, settlement layout, and waste accumulation. Asikli was an independent center of caprine domestication and thus supports the multiple origins evolutionary model.
Keywords: pre-Pottery Neolithic | sheep and goat management | mortality patterns | zooarchaeology | forager–producer transition
Significance: Sheep and goats (caprines) were domesticated in Southwest Asia, but how and in how many places remain open questions. Our analysis of caprine age and sex structures and related data reveal a local (endemic) domestication process at Asikli Höyük in Central Anatolia. Beginning ca. 10,400 y ago, caprine management segued through a series of viable systems over the next 1,000 y. The earliest stage simply involved capturing wild lambs and kids and growing them on site to supplement a broad-spectrum forager diet. Soon, low-level breeding began within the settlement along with catching and raising wild infants. By the end of the archaeological sequence, large numbers of animals were produced from captive herds, which gave rise to early domesticated forms.
István Czachesz, Christian Beginnings and Cultural Evolution. In: Ronit Nikolsky, István Czachesz, Frederick S. Tappenden & Tamás Biró (Hrsg.), Language, Cognition, and Biblical Exegesis, Interpreting Minds. (London 2019), 162–178.
The success or failure of religious innovations depends on a variety of factors. The reconstruction of historical details alone might or might not allow us to identify the most relevant of them. Instead of relying on alternative narrative reconstructions of the past, in this chapter I described three aspects of the emergence and spread of religious movements that allow for the elaboration of abstract models that explain the respective levels of success that religious traditions achieve. I identiied the structure of social networks as the most important factor, which, in turn, inluenced the generation of memorable ideas and the use of religious elements as symbolic identity markers. In early Christianity, weak social ties enabled large-scale cooperation across geographically and sociologically distant groups and individuals. As a consequence, the social composition and structure of the movement favored the emergence of innovative theological ideas. Some of these ideas functioned as powerful symbolic identity markers, which further enhanced solidarity in cooperative associations of varying sizes between groups. Finally, both memorable ideas and social identity markers found their ways in great numbers into literary compositions.
Emma Marris, A call for governments to save soil. nature 601 (2022), 503–504.
To ensure food security, the world must stop letting fertile soil wash and blow away.
A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet. Jo Handelsman. Yale Univ. Press (2021)
In a chapter on traditional soil-management techniques around the world, Handelsman and Cohen describe deep black “plaggen” soils on Scottish islands, made rich with cattle manure; rice terraces managed for 2,000 years by the Ifugao people in the Philippines; the milpa farming system of the Maya in Latin America, with its 25-year rotation of crops including trees; and compost made of seaweed, shells and plant material by the Maori in New Zealand. Each system yields rich agricultural productivity while maintaining deep banks of carbon-rich, fertile soil. “We know how to do this,” write Handelsman and Cohen.
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