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Imperial Rome urban plans

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Site plans of ancient Rome including a site plan of the early settlements on the Seven Hills, a plan of the Capitoline (Platner), and  two general plans of the Imperial city.
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Have humanity always gone to war?

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Republished from the conversation

Two victims from Jebel Sahaba. The pencils mark weapon fragments.
Image from the Wendorf Archive, Used under a creative commons license.

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PhD in Ecological Systems of Cooperation, UCL

 

The question of whether warfare is encoded in our genes, or appeared as a result of civilisation, has long fascinated anyone trying to get to grips with human society. Might a willingness to fight neighbouring groups have provided our ancestors with an evolutionary advantage? With conflicts raging across the globe, these questions have implications for understanding our past, and perhaps our future as well.

The Enlightenment philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau had different visions of prehistory. Hobbes saw humanity’s earliest days as dominated by fear and warfare, whereas Rousseau thought that, without the influence of civilisation, humans would be at peace and in harmony with nature.

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Aegean Koine: the Minoan phase ca. 2200-1400 BCE

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The Minoan phase of the Aegean Koine (economic and socio-cultural “Commonwealth”) in this excellent German map. Note the colonies of the Minoans on the nearby islands and their influence on the mainland.
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Extensive West Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent revealed

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Reoublication from Science mag

Characterizing genetic diversity in Africa is a crucial step for most analyses reconstructing the evolutionary history of anatomically modern humans. However, historic migrations from Eurasia into Africa have affected many contemporary populations, confounding inferences. Here, we present a 12.5x coverage ancient genome of an Ethiopian male (‘Mota’) who lived approximately 4,500 years ago. We use this genome to demonstrate that the Eurasian backflow into Africa came from a population closely related to Early Neolithic farmers, who had colonized Europe 4,000 years earlier.

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Militaty architecture: Fortification plans by S. Fernández de Medrano, 1677

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As many of the readers will surely have guessed, militaty architecture and even more, Renaissance militaty architecture, is among my favourite pursuits. These plans on the construction of the characteristic bastion fortifications, belong to the treatise “Rudimentos Geométricos y Militares” by the Spanish engineer Sebastián Fernández de Medrano, printed in 1677 at Brussels. Spanish and Italian engineers at the service of the Spanish crown were among the best in the world at that time.
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Μία περίπτωση ελληνικής επιρροής στο αρχαίο ιβηρικό οπλοστάσιο: κελτιβηρικό κράνος χαλκιδικού τύπου

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στη σύζυγο μου Νέλλη, για την έμπνευση και την ενθάρρυνση που μου προσφέρει

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Η κελτιβηρική περικεφαλαία χαλκιδικού τύπου

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Π. Δεληγιάννης

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Για την ακρίβεια, αυτό το κείμενο αφορά ένα αντικείμενο με το οποίο ασχολούμαι στη μελέτη μου: The Greek influence on the weaponry and armoury of the Iberians, Turdetani and other ancient peoples of the Iberian Peninsula.

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Οι σχέσεις των Ελλήνων θαλασσοπόρων με την Ιβηρική Χερσόνησο υπήρξαν πανάρχαιες, ήδη από την εποχή του Μινωικού και του Μυκηναϊκού πολιτισμών, αν και ήταν περιορισμένες. Μετά την κατάρρευση του Μυκηναϊκού κόσμου και γενικά του κόσμου της Ανατολικής Μεσογείου λόγω της οικονομικής κατάρρευσης και των εισβολών των Λαών της Θάλασσας (13ος-12ος αιώνες π.Χ.), οι σχέσεις των Ελλήνων με τους λαούς της Ιβηρικής διακόπηκαν για αρκετούς αιώνες, έως την Αρχαϊκή Περίοδο (700-479 π.Χ.). Τότε, Ελληνες θαλασσοπόροι από τη Σάμο, τη Φώκαια, τη γειτονική Μασσαλία και άλλες πόλεις, ανακάλυψαν πάλι την Ιβηρική Χερσόνησο και αποκατέστησαν τις εμπορικές σχέσεις με τους λαούς της. Κυρίως η Φώκαια και η θυγατέρα της, Μασσαλία, πρωτοστάτησαν στην ίδρυση ελληνικών αποικιών στις ανατολικές ακτές της Ισπανίας, δηλαδή στην αρχαία εθνική περιοχή των Ιβήρων. Παρότι παλαιότερα θεωρείτο ότι οι Ιβηρες ήταν η μεγαλύτερη εθνική ομάδα της χερσονήσου, τις τελευταίες πέντε δεκαετίες διαπιστώθηκε ότι συνιστούσαν ένα περιορισμένο ποσοστό του πληθυσμού της το οποίο κατοικούσε στη βορειοανατολική ακτή της Ισπανίας. Οι σύγχρονοι Καταλανοί είναι οι βασικοί απόγονοι των Ιβήρων.

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Delphi, Apollo’s Sanctuary: Architecture

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Το my wife Nelly, my inspiration and guiding light of my life.

Temple of Athena Pronaea at Delphi
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Some digital and artwork architectural reconstructions of temples in Apollo’s Sanctuary at Delphi, Phokis (Central Greece).

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Andronovo culture heavy charioteer warrior c. 1500 BC

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Image copyright: A.I. Solovyev

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This is another rare representation by the Russian archaeologist A.I. Solovyev, of a heavy charioteer warrior of the Indoeuropean Andronovo culture (2nd millennium BC) which flourished mainly in western Siberia and Kazakhstan, although the first archaeological evidence of this civilisation comes from a small area southwest of Krasnoyarsk. Its southern varieties were extended to modern Uzbekistan, Kirghizistan and Turkmenistan. Minusinsk Basin is specifically a region were the Andronovo culture evolved considerably.

The Andronovo culture, named after the homonymous modern village, was the cradle of the Proto-Indo-Iranian IE group which later was divided to the Indo-Aryan and the Iranian subgroup. The Proto-Indo-Aryans gradually invaded and settled in the larger part of the Indian subcontinent although some of their tribes moved to the west, to the Zagros Mountains and the Black Sea steppes. The Proto-Iranians were divided into two branches. The southern branch – archaeologically represented along with the Indo-Aryans by Neo-Andronovo varieties and the Srubnaya culture – gradually invaded and settled in the regions of modern Iran, Afghanistan, western Pakistan, Tajikistan and the Zagros Mountains area, becoming the ancestors of the Sogdians, Medes, Persians, Bactrians and many other ancient peoples. The northern Iranian branch – archaeologically represented by the Karasuk culture being a local variety of the Andronovo– became the ancestors of the numerous Saka, Scythian and Sarmatian tribes.

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Earliest unequivocally modern humans in southern China

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Republication from nature.com

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Location of the Daoxian site. Late Middle Pleistocene and Late Pleistocene localities with human remains that have been included in the morphological and/or metric comparison with Daoxian are also marked on the map. 2: Tianyuan Cave;

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The hominin record from southern Asia for the early Late Pleistocene epoch is scarce. Well-dated and well-preserved fossils older than ~45,000 years that can be unequivocally attributed to Homo sapiens are lacking1, 2, 3, 4. Here we present evidence from the newly excavated Fuyan Cave in Daoxian (southern China). This site has provided 47 human teeth dated to more than 80,000 years old, and with an inferred maximum age of 120,000 years. The morphological and metric assessment of this sample supports its unequivocal assignment to H. sapiens. The Daoxian sample is more derived than any other anatomically modern humans, resembling middle-to-late Late Pleistocene specimens and even contemporary humans. Our study shows that fully modern morphologies were present in southern China 30,000–70,000 years earlier than in the Levant and Europe5, 6, 7. Our data fill a chronological and geographical gap that is relevant for understanding when H. sapiens first appeared in southern Asia.

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Ten Must See Iron Age Hill Forts In Britain

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Republication from heritagedaily

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A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement

A hill fort is a type of earthworks used as a fortified refuge or defended settlement, located to exploit a rise in elevation for defensive advantage.

The fortification usually follows the contours of a hill, consisting of one or more lines of earthworks, with stockades or defensive walls, and external ditches. Hill forts developed in the Late Bronze and Early Iron Age, roughly the start of the first millennium BC, and were in use by the ancient Britons until the Roman conquest. There are around 3,300 structures that can be classed as hillforts or similar “defended enclosures” within Britain, all worthy of considering. The following list represents ten of the most impressive examples.

1 : Maiden Castle, Dorset

Maiden Castle is an Iron Age hill fort 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) south west of Dorchester, in the English county of Dorset. The name Maiden Castle may be a modern construction meaning that the hill fort looks impregnable, or it could derive from the British Celtic mai-dun, meaning a “great hill.”

The earliest archaeological evidence of human activity on the site consists of a Neolithic causeway enclosure and bank barrow. In about 1800 BC, during the Bronze Age, the site was used for growing crops before being abandoned. Maiden Castle itself was built in about 600 BC; the early phase was a simple and unremarkable site, similar to many other hill forts in Britain and covering 6.4 hectares (16 acres). Around 450 BC it underwent major expansion, during which the enclosed area was nearly tripled in size to 19 ha (47 acres), making it the largest hill fort in Britain and by some definitions the largest in Europe

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Image Credit : Google Earth

 

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The expansion of Roman rule in Asia Minor

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The expansion of Roman rule in Asia Minor from Shepherd’s Atlas of World History.

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