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This article illustrates preliminary results of the interdisciplinary research project ‘Science for society, society for science at the Site of National Remembrance in Łambinowice’. It presents the material traces of prisoner-of-war, resettlement and forced labour camps that functioned between 1870 and 1946 in Lamsdorf (now Łambinowice, Poland) and explains their modern social significance.
Bronze and Early Iron Age hoards in Poland are the focus of a multi-faceted study combining archival research with laboratory analyses and landscape studies. The diverse dataset is expected to reveal new insights into the phenomenon of metal deposition.
Climate change is often cited in the ‘collapse’ of complex societies and linked to agricultural resilience or lack thereof. In this article, the authors consider how demand affected agricultural strategies as farmers navigated the transformations of the Late Harappan phase (c. 1900–1700 BC) of the Indus tradition. Through the modelling of monocropping/multicropping, low/high yield crops, and supply-driven versus flexible production, various economic, environmental and social demands are explored with reference to the choices of farmers and how these decisions differed regionally, and how they impacted the wider Late Harappan de-urbanisation process. The authors’ archaeobotanical perspective on the Indus contributes to wider understanding of how urban societies and their agricultural bases change over time.
This article presents details of the recent discovery of Palaeolithic cave art in Cova Dones, Valencia. The preliminary results reveal a rich graphic assemblage with features that are unusual for Mediterranean Upper Palaeolithic art and were previously unknown for the Pleistocene in the eastern Iberian coast.
In its early decades, Antiquity regularly featured the subject of linear earthworks that criss-cross the British landscape. Subsequently, however, discussion has been largely relegated to period-specific and local journals. As a result, interpretations of these imposing but often poorly dated earthworks have been drawn in the contrasting research traditions of later prehistory and the early medieval period. Here, the authors propose a comparative dialogue as a means for reinterpreting these landscape features, and as a lens through which to explore social complexity. Combined with advances in archaeometrical dating, this new approach promises to reinvigorate the study of some of Britain's largest archaeological monuments.
Across the Pacific, agricultural systems have used two main complementary cultivation regimes: irrigated farming of wet environments and rain-fed cropping of drylands. These strategies have different productive potential and labour needs, which has structured their temporal and spatial distributions. Although these approaches have been studied a great deal at a general level, there has been less work on the local use and significance of these strategies. Here, the authors evaluate ideal distribution models of agricultural activities in the Punalu‘u valley on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, to assess how habitat suitability changed as a result of infrastructural investment and dynamic environmental, social and demographic change. The results are of relevance for contemporary initiatives to revive Indigenous agricultural systems in Hawai‘i and beyond.
Hedeby was the largest town in the Viking North. Investigations have identified imports at the site from central and northern Scandinavia revealing long-distance connections. The chronology of this trade, however, is unclear. Here, the authors use a typological-biomolecular approach to examine connections during the early Viking Age. The application of ZooMS to an assemblage of antler combs, stylistically dated to the ninth century AD, reveals nearly all were made of reindeer antler. As most craft production waste from Hedeby comprises red deer antler, it is argued that these combs were manufactured elsewhere, perhaps hundreds of kilometres further north. The results have implications for understanding of production and regional connectivity in early medieval Scandinavia.
Palaeoenvironmental data indicate that the climate of south-western Madagascar has changed repeatedly over the past millennium. Combined with socio-political challenges such as warfare and slave raiding, communities continually had to mitigate against risk. Here, the authors apply social network analysis to pottery assemblages from sites on the Velondriake coast to identify intercommunity connectivity and changes over time. The results indicate both continuity of densely connected networks and change in their spatial extent and structure. These network shifts coincided with periods of socio-political and environmental perturbation attested in palaeoclimate data and oral histories. Communities responded to socio-political and environmental risk by reconfiguring social connections and migrating to areas of greater resource availability or political security.
Cantabrian cave art is familiar from photographs reproduced in textbooks, but these two-dimensional images do not capture the irregularities of the rock surfaces on which animals and other designs were painted or engraved. Here, the authors use stereoscopic photography to review the parietal art of La Pasiega cave. By documenting the uneven surfaces of the cave's walls alongside painted and engraved marks, they identify new animal figures and reinterpret others, previously thought to be partial representations, as complete. The results show the positioning of animal figures to make use of concave/convex surfaces and rock edges to define the outlines of animals, reinforcing the need to record and interpret cave art three-dimensionally.
During the Neolithic and Bronze Age, goods and ideas moved between Central Asia and the Chinese Central Plain via north-western China. While the crops, animals and technologies exchanged are well documented, the local and social bases of these interactions are poorly known. Here, the authors use petrographic analysis of ceramic sherds from Gansu Province, China, to document the local production of pottery vessels and their circulation between sites. Individual vessel forms are associated with multiple paste recipes indicating the production of similar products by different communities of practice. It is argued the circulation of these vessels forged inter-community relationships. In aggregate, these local networks underpinned longer-distance exchange between Central and East Asia.
A 3D reconstruction of the principia at Novae (Bulgaria) allows modelling of the inscribed statues, altars and building stones as they used to look. By restoring the inscribed monuments to their original contexts, the model means that Roman military religiosity and its messages can be analysed in the legionary headquarters.
Praia Melão, the largest sugar mill and estate in São Tomé, active from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, is the first archaeological site ever investigated on the island. It embodies the inception of the plantation economic system predicated on the labour of enslaved people and of local resistance.
Cyril Fox's publication The archaeology of the Cambridge region (1923) is celebrated as a milestone in the development of landscape archaeology. Its centenary invites reflection on Fox's approach to landscape and on the development of knowledge about the archaeology of the Cambridge region over the intervening years. Here, the authors compare the evidence available to Fox with the results of three decades of development-led archaeology. The latter have revealed very high numbers of sites, with dense ‘packing’ of settlements in all areas of the landscape; the transformation in knowledge of clayland areas is particularly striking. These high-density pasts have far-reaching implications for the understanding of later prehistoric and Roman-period land-use and social relations.
How did the Roman Empire supply and maintain its frontier garrisons? What was the impact on populations and landscapes of conquered territories? The Feeding the Roman Army in Britain project will answer these questions by establishing how soldiers were provisioned and how frontiers operated as economic as well as militarised zones.
These two handsome volumes stem from the landmark exhibition ‘Idolos: Miradas Milenarias/Ídolos: Olhares Milenares’ (Idols: Millenary Gazes), which assembled an impressive collection of figurines and decorated artefacts from Neolithic and Copper Age Iberia. A total of 270 archaeological artefacts from 27 museums (plus one private collector) were displayed together for the first time, with the aim of bringing current understanding of these artefacts and the communities that made and used them to the general public (statistics can be found here: https://www.museunacionalarqueologia.gov.pt/?p=8813). The exhibition was an ambitious project and initially sparked by conversations between Jorge Soler, Head of Exhibitions at the Archaeological Museum of Alicante (MARQ) and Enrique Baquedano, Director of the Regional Archaeological Museum of Madrid (MAR)—both award-winning museums—and later joined by Primitiva Bueno, Professor at the University of Alcalá de Henares, a leading expert in late prehistoric art in Iberia and António Carvalho, Director of the National Museum of Archaeology of Portugal (NMA). The international exhibition travelled between Alicante (January to July 2020), Madrid (July 2020 to January 2021) and Lisbon (April to October 2021) and was well attended despite subsequent COVID-19 lockdowns (e.g. the exhibition at the MARQ had 29 000 in-person and 60 000 virtual visitors). If you did not have the chance to visit the exhibition, you can still take the NMA virtual tour here: https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=vd8nAmTpg85&play=1&title=1&ts=3&help=0, or here: https://mpembed.com/show/?m=r1G1HjKBeDT.