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This research aims to explore the submerged landscapes of the Pilbara of western Australia, using predictive archaeological modelling, airborne LiDAR, marine acoustics, coring and diver survey. It includes excavation and geophysical investigation of a submerged shell midden in Denmark to establish guidelines for the underwater discovery of such sites elsewhere.
The role played by the Arabian Peninsula in hominin dispersals out of Africa has long been debated. The DISPERSE Project has focused on south-western Arabia as a possible centre of hominin settlement and a primary stepping-stone for such dispersals. This work has led to the recent discovery, at Wadi Dabsa, of an exceptional assemblage of over 1000 lithic artefacts, including the first known giant handaxe from the Arabian Peninsula. The site and its associated artefacts provide important new evidence for hominin dispersals out of Africa, and give further insight into the giant handaxe phenomenon present within the Acheulean stone tool industry.
We have developed an easy-to-use, mouse-driven program for the interactive fitting of interstellar absorption lines in high-resolution astronomical spectra. The program, Xvoigt, gives values for the column density and velocity dispersion of the absorbing clouds. It runs under the popular X Window system available on most workstations, and offers significant enhancements over existing profile-fitting software. Xvoigt can be an important adjunct to automatic programs for fitting absorption lines in low to moderate signal-to-noise QSO or other spectra, and is ideal for demonstrating the details and difficulties of absorption line analysis.
Why did humans walk upright? Previous models based on adaptations to forest or savannah are challenged here in favour of physical incentives presented by steep rugged terrain—the kind of tectonically varied landscape that has produced early hominin remains. “Scrambler man” pursued his prey up hill and down dale and in so doing became that agile, sprinting, enduring, grasping, jumping two-legged athlete that we know today.
The activities of hunter-gatherers are often captured in rockshelters, but here the authors present a study of a riverside settlement outside one, with a rich sequence from 1300 BC to AD 800. Thanks to frequent flooding, periods of occupation were sealed and could be examined in situ. The phytolith and faunal record, especially fish, chronicle changing climate and patterns of subsistence, emphasising that the story here is no predictable one-way journey from hunter-gatherer to farmer. Right up to the period of the famous nineteenth-century rock paintings in the surrounding Maloti-Drakensberg region, adaptation was dynamic and historically contingent.
The authors propose a new model for the origins of humans and their ecological adaptation. The evolutionary stimulus lies not in the savannah but in broken, hilly rough country where the early hominins could hunt and hide. Such ‘roughness’, generated by tectonic and volcanic movement characterises not only the African rift valley but probably the whole route of early hominin dispersal.
This short paper is offered as a postscript to ‘Victorian excavation methodology: the Society of Antiquaries at Silchester in 1893’ which reported on the discovery of material discarded by the excavators in 1893. During 2004 further material was found in the form of the remains of a stove, possibly dating from the winter excavations of the mid-1860s.
Thirty years ago, the finding of a single hand-axe in Greece was remarkable enough to have its own note in ANTIQUITY. A recent conference is occasion to review the regional picture, now broad as well as deep enough for patterns to emerge which look more like early prehistoric realities than the chance consequence of where the pioneers have been looking.
Tectonic movements – continuously re-moulding the surface of the earth over the inexorable activity of underlying plate motions – are rarely taken into account when assessing landscape change, except as an exotic hazard to human life or a temporary disruption in longer-term trends. Active tectonics also create and sustain landscapes that can be beneficial to human survival. The tectonic history of northwest Greece shows Palaeolithic sites located to take advantage of tectonically created features at both local and regional scales.
Klithi is a rockshelter in the lower reaches of the Voidomatis gorge, near the village of Klithonia in Epirus. Excavations in progress since 1983 have revealed evidence of a late Upper Palaeolithic occupation dated between 16,000 BP and 10,000 BP, with rich microlithic stone tool industries and faunal assemblages dominated by chamois and ibex. The excavations have been accompanied by wider investigations of the local and regional palaeoenvironment and reexamination of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic sites excavated by Eric Higgs in the 1960s, notably Kokkinopilos, Asprochaliko, and Kastritsa. This paper presents some of the detailed results of the Klithi excavations and sets the results within the wider context of the global issues which inform the study of Palaeolithic archaeology, the Palaeolithic of Greece as a whole, and the regional picture of Palaeolithic settlement in Epirus.
How many excavators of deep palaeolithic sites, especially in caves or rock-shelters, dig with any clear knowledge of how deep the deposits they are working in actually are, or of the ages of the lower portions? Here an alternative is offered to the traditional approach by a ‘deep sounding’ of conventional excavation. A crucial element to the strategy at Klithi is the possibility of carbon-dating, by accelerator, samples of the small size commonly obtained from a drilled core.