The first hint of this spice trade comes from the findings of valued black peppercorns that were used to fragrance the nostrils of the deceased Pharaoh Ramses II (c. 1200 BC) (Plu 1985). This spice is endemic only to the wet forests of southern India (Asouti & Fuller 2008: 47), and in all likelihood was supplied by hunter-gatherer groups to coastal groups (Morrison 2002).
Monthly Archives: May 2012
Community differentiation is a fundamental topic of the social sciences, and its prehistoric origins in Europe are typically assumed to lie among the complex, densely populated societies that developed millennia after their Neolithic predecessors. Here we present the earliest, statistically significant evidence for such differentiation among the first farmers of Neolithic Europe. By using strontium isotopic data from more than 300 early Neolithic human skeletons, we find significantly less variance in geographic signatures among males than we find among females, and less variance among burials with ground stone adzes than burials without such adzes. From this, in context with other available evidence, we infer differential land use in early Neolithic central Europe within a patrilocal kinship system.
|Western Danubian overlapped with pottery styles
that can be aboriginal or Cardium-derived
(source: Westward Ho!)
|Before and after|
See also: Dispatches from Turtle Island (Andrew has a nice review of some of the wider implications).
The Ardèche or Ardacha region, so-named for a tributary of the Rhône, is one of the most important and older districts of modern human presence in SW Europe. Its importance was underlined with the discovery of the Grôte Chauvet, the cave of lions.
Now another discovery has been made in the same area with a decoration of what seems to be a horse head. The finding actually was made in 2011 by some speleologist but kept secret till it was researched preliminarily.
We found two longhouses from the Neolithic. One of the big houses was rectangular in shape and was about 7,000 years old. The other was trapezoidal and was about 6,500 years old. The only remnants of the buildings that we found were the holes and grooves left by wooden structures, so we know the circumference and have a few relics of the way the houses were divided. We also found a burial that was composed of big ceramic pottery full of pieces of ashes and bones, standing on a big, flat stone. It was covered by a small bowl and two other flat stones. That find is about 3,000 years old. We found another grave in the research area, but it was very disrupted. We can say that it was much older, but that’s all we can say for now.
Source: Archaeology News Network.
|Al Magar horse statue|
The Al-Magar culture, dated to c. 5500-3500 BCE, belongs to a period more humid than today. It has some very beautiful art but, crucially, raises questions on the time and place of the first domestication of horses.
Edited on May 25th (new text in red, removed text slashed out).
|Click to enlarge|
|UP dog with mammoth bone from Premosti|
Domesticating dogs clearly improves humans’ hunting success and
efficiency—whether the game (or the dog) is large or small. The same
must have been true in the Paleolithic. If Neandertals did not have
domestic dogs and anatomically modern humans did, these hunting
companions could have made all the difference in the modern
Update (May 19): Millán mentions in the comments section that there are some studies from a century ago that claim that Neanderthals might have domesticated dogs first:
It is not clear however if these claims can withstand the passing of time, they are after all from the time of Pitdown Man, when Archaeology was still a bit confused and confusing – but also when the pillars of modern Prehistoric understanding were first laid.