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Distinctive Iron Age shield gives insight into prehistoric technology

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Republication  from the University of York

Photo credit: University of York

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A unique bark shield, thought to have been constructed with wooden laths during the Iron Age, has provided new insight into the construction and design of prehistoric weaponry.

The only one of its kind ever found in Europe, the shield was found south of Leicester on the Everards Meadows site, in what is believed to have been a livestock watering hole.

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The Growth of the Swedish empire

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This is an interesting map on the Growth of the Swedish empire in 1560-1660. Acquisitions are noted in accordance with the reigns of the respective Swedish kings. Note that in 1560 the Kingdom of Sweden had already
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15th April 2019: Day of grief for France, the EU, Christianity and World Heritage. 20 April: Day of hope and remedy

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Photo credit: Sky News (News.sky.com)

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I waited for a few days for this tribute post on the destruction of a part of Notre Dame (the building’s spire and most of its roof had collapsed, and its upper walls had been severely damaged; extensive damage to the interior was prevented by its stone vaulted ceiling, which largely contained the burning roof as it collapsed). As a European I grieve for this misfortune but I’m also so optimistic about its instauration: Tomorrow, I am sure that the Day of Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (according to the Catholic calendar – I happen to be an Orthodox) will also mark the start of the resurrection and total remedy of Notre Dame.

Taking into account the aspect of engineering, the damages are definitely repairable and that is the fortunate element in this misfortune for France and the EU.

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Genetic data reveal contrasting sex bias in Neolithic and Bronze Age Eurasian migrations

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Republication from PNAS

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Amy Goldberg, Torsten Günther, Noah A. Rosenberg, and Mattias Jakobsson
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Significance

Studies of differing female and male demographic histories on the basis of ancient genomes can provide insight into the social structures and cultural interactions during major events in human prehistory. We consider the sex-specific demography of two of the largest migrations in recent European prehistory. Using genome-wide ancient genetic data from multiple Eurasian populations spanning the last 10,000 years, we find no evidence of sex-biased migrations from Anatolia, despite the shift to patrilocality associated with the spread of farming. In contrast, we infer a massive male-biased migration from the steppe during the late Neolithic and Bronze Age. The contrasting patterns of sex-specific migration during these two migrations suggest that different sociocultural processes drove the two events.

Abstract

Dramatic events in human prehistory, such as the spread of agriculture to Europe from Anatolia and the late Neolithic/Bronze Age migration from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, can be investigated using patterns of genetic variation among the people who lived in those times. In particular, studies of differing female and male demographic histories on the basis of ancient genomes can provide information about complexities of social structures and cultural interactions in prehistoric populations.

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Anatolia as the Source of the European Neolithic Gene Pool

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Republication from Current biology

Anatolia and the Near East have long been recognized as the epicenter of the Neolithic expansion through archaeological evidence. Recent archaeogenetic studies on Neolithic European human remains have shown that the Neolithic expansion in Europe was driven westward and northward by migration from a supposed Near Eastern origin [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. However, this expansion and the establishment of numerous culture complexes in the Aegean and Balkans did not occur until 8,500 before present (BP), over 2,000 years after the initial settlements in the Neolithic core area [6, 7, 8, 9]. We present ancient genome-wide sequence data from 6,700-year-old human remains excavated from a Neolithic context in Kumtepe, located in northwestern Anatolia near the well-known (and younger) site Troy [10]. Kumtepe is one of the settlements that emerged around 7,000 BP, after the initial expansion wave brought Neolithic practices to Europe.

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How Europeans evolved white complexion

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Republication from sciencemag.org

By Ann Gibbons

Approximate Yamna (Yamnaya) culture extent c. 3300–2600 BC.

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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI—Most of us think of Europe as the ancestral home of white people. But a new study shows that pale skin, as well as other traits such as tallness and the ability to digest milk as adults, arrived in most of the continent relatively recently. The work, presented here last week at the 84th annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, offers dramatic evidence of recent evolution in Europe and shows that most modern Europeans don’t look much like those of 8000 years ago.

The origins of Europeans have come into sharp focus in the past year as researchers have sequenced the genomes of ancient populations, rather than only a few individuals. By comparing key parts of the DNA across the genomes of 83 ancient individuals from archaeological sites throughout Europe, the international team of researchers reported earlier this year that Europeans today are a mix of the blending of at least three ancient populations of hunter-gatherers and farmers who moved into Europe in separate migrations over the past 8000 years. The study revealed that a massive migration of Yamnaya herders from the steppes north of the Black Sea may have brought Indo-European languages to Europe about 4500 years ago.

 

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