Daily Dose of Archaeology: 5.0

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This is the 3.32 million-year-old Australopithecus afarensis foot from Dikika, Ethiopia, superimposed over a footprint from a human toddler.
Credit: Jeremy DeSilva
A nearly complete foot from Dikika, Ethiopia and its implications for the ontogeny and function of Australopithecus afarensis | Science Advances A nearly complete foot from Dikika, Ethiopia and its implications for the ontogeny and function of Australopithecus afarensis We analyze a nearly complete, 3.32-million-year-old juvenile foot of A. afarensis (DIK-1-1f). We show that juvenile A. afarensis individuals already had many of the bipedal features found in adult specimens. However, they also had medial cuneiform traits associated with increased hallucal mobility and a more gracile calcaneal tuber, which is unexpected on the basis of known adult morphologies. Selection for traits functionally associated with juvenile pedal grasping may provide a new perspective on their retention in the more terrestrial adult A. afarensis.

The tiny foot, about the size of a human thumb, is part of a nearly complete 3.32-million-year-old skeleton of a young female Australopithecus afarensis discovered in 2002 in the Dikika region of Ethiopia this youngster lived more than 200,000 years before Lucy.
Based on the skeletal structure of the child's foot, specifically, the base of the big toe, the kids probably spent more time in the trees than adults. "If you were living in Africa 3 million years ago without fire, without structures, and without any means of defense, you'd better be able get up in a tree when the sun goes down," added DeSilva. "These findings are critical for understanding the dietary and ecological adaptation of these species and are consistent with our previous research on other parts of the skeleton especially, the shoulder blade," Alemseged noted. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180704151911.htm
 

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the "native" dogs of the Americas aren't. Ancient American dogs almost completely wiped out by arrival of European breeds | University of Cambridge
The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas
Science 06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 81-85
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4776
Comparison of ancient and modern American dog genomes, however, demonstrated that these pre-contact American dogs rapidly disappeared following the arrival of Europeans and left little to no trace in modern American dogs.

Senior lead author Dr Laurent Frantz from Queen Mary University and the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network (Palaeo-BARN) at Oxford said: “It is fascinating that a population of dogs that inhabited many parts of the Americas for thousands of years, and that was an integral part of so many Native American cultures, could have disappeared so rapidly. Their near-total disappearance is likely due to the combined effects of disease, cultural persecution and biological changes starting with the arrival of Europeans.”

we analyzed nuclear data obtained from more than 5000 modern dogs (including American village dogs) genotyped on a 180,000 SNP array (9). We found 7 to 20% PCD ancestry in modern American Arctic dogs (Alaskan huskies, Alaskan malamutes, and Greenland dogs) by using f4 ratios (tables S10 and S11) (3). This result, however,
may reflect ancient population substructure in Arctic dogs rather than genuine admixture (3). Our f4 ratio analysis did not detect a significant admixture signal from PCDs in any modern American dogs of European ancestry (table S10

The majority of modern American dog populations, including 138 village dogs from South America and multiple “native” breeds (e.g., hairless dogs and Catahoulas), possess no detectable traces of PCD ancestry (Fig. 2A, fig. S20, and table S10), though
this analysis may suffer from ascertainment bias
it is very possible that early domestic dogs (such as those found at Goyet, Belgium) didn't leave any "detectable traces of ancestry" in modern dog breeds for a similar reason -- distemper, rabies and a host of other diseases could have wiped out one population while leaving another group with better immunity to leave it's legacy in modern dogs.
 

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the "native" dogs of the Americas aren't. Ancient American dogs almost completely wiped out by arrival of European breeds | University of Cambridge
The evolutionary history of dogs in the Americas
Science 06 Jul 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6397, pp. 81-85
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao4776
Comparison of ancient and modern American dog genomes, however, demonstrated that these pre-contact American dogs rapidly disappeared following the arrival of Europeans and left little to no trace in modern American dogs.

Senior lead author Dr Laurent Frantz from Queen Mary University and the Palaeogenomics & Bio-Archaeology Research Network (Palaeo-BARN) at Oxford said: “It is fascinating that a population of dogs that inhabited many parts of the Americas for thousands of years, and that was an integral part of so many Native American cultures, could have disappeared so rapidly. Their near-total disappearance is likely due to the combined effects of disease, cultural persecution and biological changes starting with the arrival of Europeans.”

we analyzed nuclear data obtained from more than 5000 modern dogs (including American village dogs) genotyped on a 180,000 SNP array (9). We found 7 to 20% PCD ancestry in modern American Arctic dogs (Alaskan huskies, Alaskan malamutes, and Greenland dogs) by using f4 ratios (tables S10 and S11) (3). This result, however,
may reflect ancient population substructure in Arctic dogs rather than genuine admixture (3). Our f4 ratio analysis did not detect a significant admixture signal from PCDs in any modern American dogs of European ancestry (table S10

The majority of modern American dog populations, including 138 village dogs from South America and multiple “native” breeds (e.g., hairless dogs and Catahoulas), possess no detectable traces of PCD ancestry (Fig. 2A, fig. S20, and table S10), though
this analysis may suffer from ascertainment bias
it is very possible that early domestic dogs (such as those found at Goyet, Belgium) didn't leave any "detectable traces of ancestry" in modern dog breeds for a similar reason -- distemper, rabies and a host of other diseases could have wiped out one population while leaving another group with better immunity to leave it's legacy in modern dogs.
 

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https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2018/07/ancient-genome-analyses-reveal-mosaic.html#Gk6J2q5SB7Gj3bGA.97 An international team of scientists, led by geneticists from Trinity College Dublin, have sequenced the genomes from ancient goat bones from areas in the Fertile Crescent where goats were first domesticated around 8,500 BC. They reveal a 10,000-year history of local farmer practices featuring genetic exchange both with the wild and among domesticated herds, and selection by early farmers.
A goat with striking coat color and other features [Credit: Marjan Mashkour]
Research Fellow at Trinity, and joint first author of the paper, Pierpaolo Maisano Delser, said: "Goat domestication was a mosaic rather than a singular process with continuous recruitment from local wild populations. This process generated a distinctive genetic pool which evolved across time and still characterizes the different goat populations of Asia, Europe and Africa today." We found evidence that at least as far back as 8,000 years ago herders were interested in or valued the coat colour of their animals, based on selection signals at pigmentation genes." Furthermore, distinct but parallel patterns of this selection were observed in different early herds, suggesting this was a repeated phenomenon.

There are also indications that these early animals had been selected for liver enzymes that gave better tolerance to new toxins, possibly from fungus growing on fodder, and also production traits such as fertility and size.
 

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Cyprus: Bronze Age Politiko-Troullia seems to have been the predecessor of ancient Tamassos, the seat of a centrally important kingdom during the subsequent Iron Age.

The 2018 archaeological investigations included expanded analysis of archaeological evidence excavated and surveyed between 2004 and 2017. Recent research has revealed extensive evidence of several fascinating features of Bronze Age life in the Troodos hinterland: 1) The remains of deer carcasses indicate large-scale community feasting at Politiko-Troullia on Mesopotamian fallow deer, which were hunted in the nearby oak/pine woodlands. 2) The villagers of Politiko-Troullia mined local copper deposits, and conducted household copper metallurgy, including smelting and casting a variety of copper and bronze tools (e.g., blades, chisels and axe-heads). The settlement was likely abandoned due to substantial erosion (possibly fueled by heavy rains) and the lowering of neighboring Kamaras Creek, after which the village well and water source dried up. https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2018/07/important-finds-at-politiko-troullia.html#9ppIkmcVxF74gbvm.97
 

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An Egyptian archaeological mission from the Supreme Council of Antiquities uncovered an ancient tomb dating back to the Ptolemaic period, during the excavation work carried out to inspect the land of a. alexandrian inhabitant before digging the foundations of his building at Al-Karmili Street in Sidi Gaber district, Alexandria.
Dr. Mostafa Waziri, General Secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced.
He explains that the tomb contains a black granite sarcophagus considered to be the largest to be discovered in Alexandria. It has a height of 185 cm, length 265 cm and width of 165 cm.
Dr. Ayman Ashmawy Head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector said that the tomb was found at a depth of 5 m beneath the surface of the land. It is noted that there is a layer of mortar between the lid and the body of the sarcophagus indicating that it had not been opened since it was closed in antiquity.
An alabaster head of a man was also found and most probably belongs to the owner of the tomb.

Mysterious giant sarcophagus discovered in Egypt | Fox News
 

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https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-018-0394-4 and https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180730120247.htm

A review of archaeological and palaeoenvironmental datasets relating to Middle and Late Pleistocene hominin dispersals within and beyond Africa demonstrates unique environmental settings and adaptations for Homo sapiens relative to other hominins. Our species' ability to occupy diverse and 'extreme' settings around the world stands in stark contrast to the ecological adaptations of other hominin taxa, and may explain how our species became the last surviving hominin on the planet.

In contrast to our ancestors and contemporary relatives, our species not only colonized a diversity of challenging environments, including deserts, tropical rainforests, high altitude settings, and the palaeoarctic, but also specialized in its adaptation to some of these extremes.
some members of the genus Homo (namely Homo erectus) had made it to Spain, Georgia, China, and Indonesia by 1 million years ago. Yet, existing information from fossil animals, ancient plants, and chemical methods all suggest that these groups followed and exploited environmental mosaics of forest and grassland.

It has also been argued that our closest hominin relatives, Homo Neanderthalensis - or the Neanderthals -- were specialized to the occupation of high latitude Eurasia between 250,000 and 40,000 years ago. The base for this includes a face shape potentially adapted to cold temperatures and a hunting focus on large animals such as woolly mammoths. Nevertheless, a review of the evidence led the authors to again conclude that Neanderthals primarily exploited a diversity of forest and grassland habitats, and hunted a diversity of animas, from temperature northern Eurasia to the Mediterranean.

In contrast to these other members of the genus Homo, our species -- Homo sapiens - had expanded to higher-elevation niches than its hominin predecessors and contemporaries by 80-50,000 years ago, and by at least 45,000 years ago was rapidly colonizing a range of palaeoarctic settings and tropical rainforest conditions across Asia, Melanesia, and the Americas. Furthermore, the authors argue that the continued accumulation of better-dated, higher resolution environmental datasets associated with our species' crossing the deserts of northern Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and northwest India, as well as the high elevations of Tibet and the Andes, will further help to determine the degree to which our species demonstrated novel colonizing capacities in entering these regions.
 

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https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com/2018/07/treasure-of-mayan-cave-paintings.html#wKCf0vGdkTMc6T1Y.97

The paintings cover a rock approximately 15 meters (49 feet) long and 5 meters high inside a cave in eastern Yucatan state, which also holds a small sinkhole of blue water.

archaeologist Sergio Grosjean Abimerhi and his team discovered what could be the most important Mayan cave paintings on the Yucatan Peninsula.
“These are not the only cave paintings in the Yucatan, but they’re the most important because they have so many elements: birds, mammals, a cross, geometric figures, human forms including a warrior, as well as hands both negative and positive,” Grosjean, head of the Mexican Institute of Ecology, Science and Culture, told EFE.
 

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https://phys.org/news/2018-07-ancient-greek-music.html

music was ubiquitous in classical Greece, with most of the poetry from around 750BC to 350BC – the songs of Homer, Sappho, and others – composed and performed as sung music, sometimes accompanied by dance. Literary texts provide abundant and highly specific details about the notes, scales, effects, and instruments used. The lyre was a common feature, along with the popular aulos, two double-reed pipes played simultaneously by a single performer so as to sound like two powerful oboes played in concert.
https://youtu.be/xI5BQqgO-oY
 

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