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Though not prolific, our prehistoric material both significantly amplifies our knowledge of the prehistory of the study area and informs on wider debates about settlement trends prior to Etruscan urbanization.Palaeolithic finds were very sparse, but the area was occasionally visited by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in the Early Holocene (9700-6200 BC) even though its volcanic soils were heavily wooded. The first farming communities (Earlier Neolithic, c.5500-4500 BC: 10 sites) consisted of small residential units of one or two households. The Later Neolithic (4500-3500 BC: 15 sites) data fit the regional evidence of increasing complexity and social inequality.Site numbers doubled in the Copper Age (3500-2200 BC: 30 sites) and doubled again in the Earlier Bronze Age (2200-1400 BC: 62 sites) but these societies remained small scale, living as individual households or in small clusters. The same rural structure continued into the Later Bronze Age (1400-950 BC: 53 sites) but above it Tuscania’s Colle San Pietro acropolis developed as a nucleated and probably defended hilltop community.The process of nucleation accelerated in the Iron Age (950-700 BC: 16 sites). Tuscania was probably in a subordinate relationship to Tarquinia, one of five ‘super-centres’ that developed into the major Etruscan cities of South Etruria.
Research on Palaeolithic hunter-gatherer diet has focused on the consumption of animals. Evidence for the use of plant foods is comparatively limited but is rapidly expanding. The authors present an analysis of carbonised macro-remains of processed plants from Franchthi Cave in the Aegean Basin and Shanidar Cave in the north-west Zagros Mountains. Microscopic examination of the charred food remains reveals the use of pounded pulses as a common ingredient in cooked plant foods. The results are discussed in the context of the regional archaeobotanical literature, leading the authors to argue that plants with bitter and astringent tastes were key ingredients of Palaeolithic cuisines in South-west Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean.
We describe an ultra-wide-bandwidth, low-frequency receiver recently installed on the Parkes radio telescope. The receiver system provides continuous frequency coverage from 704 to 4032 MHz. For much of the band (
), the system temperature is approximately 22 K and the receiver system remains in a linear regime even in the presence of strong mobile phone transmissions. We discuss the scientific and technical aspects of the new receiver, including its astronomical objectives, as well as the feed, receiver, digitiser, and signal processor design. We describe the pipeline routines that form the archive-ready data products and how those data files can be accessed from the archives. The system performance is quantified, including the system noise and linearity, beam shape, antenna efficiency, polarisation calibration, and timing stability.
Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan became an iconic Palaeolithic site following Ralph Solecki's mid twentieth-century discovery of Neanderthal remains. Solecki argued that some of these individuals had died in rockfalls and—controversially—that others were interred with formal burial rites, including one with flowers. Recent excavations have revealed the articulated upper body of an adult Neanderthal located close to the ‘flower burial’ location—the first articulated Neanderthal discovered in over 25 years. Stratigraphic evidence suggests that the individual was intentionally buried. This new find offers the rare opportunity to investigate Neanderthal mortuary practices utilising modern archaeological techniques.
Recent work has shown early modern human occupation at Jebel Irhoud, Morocco, dating as far back as MIS 9 (337–300 Ka). Such early dates double the period in which modern humans were present in North Africa, with implications for several key debates on modern human origins and subsequent spread. Routes across a ‘Green Sahara’ allowed population movement intermittently from sub-Saharan Africa and across the Saharan region in general. This has implications for the debate about the timing and routes of modern human expansion across and out of Africa, but also has the effect of focusing discussion on the archaeological record of sub-Saharan Africa and even Arabia for evidence of human behaviour and adaptations. This may be unfortunate as the record for much of the vast area of sub-Saharan Africa and Arabia is extremely limited and the more detailed record of the Levantine region is overlooked. Work at the Haua Fteah and in its surrounding region (Cyrenaican Libya) provides an opportunity to investigate how far the Palaeolithic record for this part of North Africa is, in fact, a product of trans-Saharan, North African or Levantine, influences. The genetic evidence suggests the process of modern human expansion out of Africa, and just as importantly within Africa itself, was a complex one that may have involved population movements into and out of North Africa from several different directions. A concentration upon the Green Sahara hypothesis may distract current research from this broader picture.
The present study aimed to identify themes emerging from an inclusive therapeutic recreational camp experience for children with disabilities who attended a 10-day summer camp. Concept mapping was used to analyse the experience of 42 participants. Results emerged with seven themes: Personal Growth; Nurturing Relationships; Non-judgmental Environment and Attitude; Traditional/Classic Camp Fun; Beneficial and Unique Opportunities; Learning/Thinking with Structures and Rules; and Independence and Recognition. Results suggested that children with disabilities experienced positive personal growth and learned new skills from an integrated, therapeutic camp. These children benefited from the social and psychological aspects of the camp experience, as well as the learned skillset and behaviours. Clinical implications and future research directions are also discussed.
We report the results of a successful 7-hour 1.4 GHz Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) experiment using two new stations, ASKAP-29 located in Western Australia and WARK12M located on the North Island of New Zealand. This was the first geodetic VLBI observing session with the participation of these new stations. We have determined the positions of ASKAP-29 and WARK12M. Random errors on position estimates are 150–200 mm for the vertical component and 40–50 mm for the horizontal component. Systematic errors caused by the unmodeled ionosphere path delay may reach 1.3 m for the vertical component.
The paper reports on the fifth (2012) season of fieldwork of the Cyrenaican Prehistory Project. The primary focus of the season was the continuation of the excavation of the prehistoric occupation layers in the Haua Fteah cave. A small trench (Trench U) was cut into Holocene (Neolithic) sediments exposed on the south wall of Charles McBurney's Upper Trench. Below this, the excavation of Trench M was continued, on the southern side of McBurney's Middle Trench. In previous seasons we had excavated Oranian ‘Epipalaeolithic’ layers dating to c. 18,000–10,000 BP (years before the present). In 2012 the excavation continued downwards through Dabban ‘Upper Palaeolithic’ occupation layers, one of which was associated with a post-built structure and likely hearths. There are indications of an occupational hiatus separating the oldest Dabban from the youngest Levallois-Mousterian (Middle Palaeolithic or Middle Stone Age) lithic material. The Deep Sounding excavated by Charles McBurney in 1955 was cleared of backfill to its base, and its south-facing wall was recorded in detail and sampled extensively for materials for dating and palaeoenvironmental reconstruction. McBurney believed that he had reached bedrock at the base of the Deep Sounding, but a small sounding (Trench S) cut into the sediments below this level found further, albeit sparse, evidence for human occupation. Whilst the antiquity of ‘Pre-Aurignacian’ human occupation at the site still needs to be resolved, it seems likely to reach back at least to Marine Isotope Stage 5e, the beginning of the last interglacial (c. 130,000–115,000 BP). Important finds from the 2012 excavations in terms of the behavioural complexity of the human groups using the cave include a possible worked bone point from a Pre-Aurignacian layer and a granite rubbing stone in a Dabban layer from a source over 600 km from the cave.
The paper reports on the fourth (2010) season of fieldwork of the Cyrenaican Prehistory Project, and on further results of analyses of artefacts and organic materials collected in the 2009 season. Ground-based LiDar has provided both an accurate 3D scan of the Haua Fteah cave and information on the cave's morphometry or origins. The excavations in the cave focussed on Middle Palaeolithic or Middle Stone Age ‘Pre-Aurignacian’ layers below the base of the Middle Trench beside the McBurney Deep Sounding (Trench D) and on Final Palaeolithic ‘Oranian’ layers beside the upper part of the Middle Trench (Trench M). Although McBurney referred to the upper part of the Deep Sounding as more or less sterile, the 2010 excavations found evidence for small-scale but regular human presence in the form of stone artefacts and debitage, though given the sedimentary context the latter are unlikely to represent in situ knapping. The excavations of Trench M extended from the basal Capsian layers investigated in 2009 through Oranian layers to the transition with the Dabban Upper Palaeolithic. Some 17,000 lithic pieces have been studied from the Capsian and Oranian layers excavated in Trench M, in an area measuring less than 2 m by 1 m by 1.1 m deep, along with numerous animal bones, molluscs, and macrobotanical remains, as well as occasional shell beads. Preliminary studies of the lithics, bones, molluscs, and plant remains are revealing the changing character of late Pleistocene (Oranian) and early Holocene (Capsian) occupation in the Haua Fteah. Alongside the work in the Haua Fteah, the project continued its assessment of the Quaternary and archaeological sequences of the Cyrenaican coastland and completed a transect survey of surface lithic materials and their landform contexts from the pre-desert across the Gebel Akhdar to the coast, with a new focus on the al-Marj basin. Significant differences are emerging in patterns of Middle Palaeolithic and later hominin occupation and palaeodemography.
The paper reports on the third (2009) season of fieldwork of the Cyrenaican Prehistory Project, and on further results from the analysis of materials collected in the previous (2007 and 2008) fieldwork. Sediments in a 14 m-deep core drilled beside the McBurney trench provide an invaluable overview of the overall stratigraphic sequence, including at depths reached by the 1950s Deep Sounding but not yet investigated by the present project. Sampling of newly-exposed faces of the original excavation trench for dating (14C, ESR, OSL, U-series) and palaeoenvirommental indicators continued. Excavation was begun of sediments assigned to the early Holocene Libyco-Capsian (McBurney's Layer X), and of Pre-Aurignacian layers beside the top of the Deep Sounding. The Libyco-Capsian layers are particularly prolific in lithic debris, shells, and animal bones; preliminary analysis of the lithics suggests a development from Typical to Upper Capsian within the layers excavated in 2009. Geoarchaeological survey along the littoral to the west and east of the Haua Fteah identified complex sequences spanning most of the last interglacial-glacial cycle. Geoarchaeological survey south of the Haua Fteah characterized the major landforms of the Gebel Akhdar mountain and of the pre-desert and desert-edge zones further south, with Late Stone Age (Upper Palaeolithic and Epipalaeolithic) material being found especially on the southern side of the Gebel Akhdar, and Middle Stone Age (Middle Palaeolithic) material in the pre-desert and desert regions. The first suite of 14C dates (from charcoal samples taken in 2007) indicates the use of the Haua Fteah by Oranian hunter-gatherers during the Last Glacial Maximum and in the succeeding millennia, but not in the Younger Dryas cold/dry phase (c. 11,000–10,000 cal. BC), with Libyco-Capsian occupation resuming soon after the beginning of the Holocene c. 9000 cal. BC, suggesting that the cave, and perhaps the Gebel Akhdar in general, have a complex history as refugia for human settlement during the Pleistocene.
The 1950s excavations by Charles McBurney in the great Haua Fteah cave in northeast Libya revealed a deep (14 m) sequence of human occupation going back at least 100,000 years, with evidence for the presence of both Neanderthals and Modern Humans in the Pleistocene, and for Neolithic farmers in the Holocene. In 2007 a renewed programme of archaeological and geomorphological investigation began with the objective of improving understanding of the cave's occupation sequence and, combined with fieldwork in the landscape, of the history of landscape change and human responses to it. The initial season of fieldwork removed the upper c. 4.5 m of backfill in the McBurney trench; established the robustness of the original faces and their suitability for analytical interventions; recorded detailed running sections spanning from the present day to (at least) the Last Glacial Maximum c. 20,000 years ago; and indicated the potential of the surviving archaeology to reveal not just sequence but also activities or ‘taskscapes’ at the site. The geomorphological fieldwork identified rich sequences of later Quaternary deposits (marine, colluvial, alluvial, aeolian) with the potential to provide significant results regarding the history of climate and environment in the region. Archaeological survey around the cave indicates that the variability of the surface lithic evidence appears to reflect real differences in past human behaviour and use of the landscape and not just post-depositional taphonomic processes. Fifty years after the extraordinary pioneering work of McBurney and his colleagues, the new work demonstrates the continued potential of the Haua Fteah's unique occupation sequence and the multi-period ‘human landscapes’ around it to transform understanding of early human societies in North Africa.
The paper describes the initial results from renewed investigations at Niah Cave in Sarawak on the island of Borneo, famous for the discovery in 1958 of the c. 40,000–year old ‘Deep Skull’. The archaeological sequences from the West Mouth and the other entrances of the cave complex investigated by Tom and Barbara Harrisson and other researchers have potential implications for three major debates regarding the prehistory of south-east Asia: the timing of initial settlement by anatomically modern humans; the means by which they subsisted in the late Pleistocene and early Holocene; and the timing, nature, and causation of the transition from foraging to farming. The new project is informing on all three debates. The critical importance of the Niah stratigraphies was commonly identified – including by Tom Harrisson himself – as because the site provided a continuous sequence of occupation over the past 40,000 years. The present project indicates that Niah was first used at least 45,000 years ago, and probably earlier; that the subsequent Pleistocene and Holocene occupations were highly variable in intensity and character; and that in some periods, perhaps of significant duration, the caves may have been more or less abandoned. The cultural sequence that is emerging from the new investigations may be more typical of cave use in tropical rainforests in south-east Asia than the Harrisson model.
The second (2008) season of fieldwork of the Cyrenaican Prehistory Project has significantly advanced understanding of the Haua Fteah stratigraphy and of the archaeology and geomorphology of the landscape in which the cave is located. The excavations of the McBurney backfill have reached a total depth of 7.5 m below the present ground surface, the depth at which two human mandibles were found in the 1950s excavations. Reconnaissance at the Hagfet ed-Dabba established that the sediments associated with the Upper Palaeolithic ‘Dabban’ industry were more or less entirely removed by the McBurney excavation. Exploratory excavations in the Hagfet al-Gama, a coastal cave west of the Haua Fteah, found evidence of Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Hellenistic occupation. The initial results from the study of botanical remains, both macroscopic and microscopic, obtained in the 2007 season at the Haua Fteah confirm the potential of the site to yield a rich suite of materials to inform on climatic and environmental change, and on human activities in the cave.