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Recent interdisciplinary studies, combining scientific techniques such as ancient DNA analysis with humanistic re-evaluations of the transcultural value of bronze, have presented archaeologists with a fresh view of the Bronze Age in Europe. The new research emphasises long-distance connectivities and political decentralisation. 'Bronzisation' is discussed as a type of proto-globalisation. In this Element, Mark Hudson examines whether these approaches can also be applied to East Asia. Focusing primarily on Island East Asia, he analyses trade, maritime interactions and warrior culture in a comparative Eurasian framework. He argues that the international division of labour associated with Bronze Age trade provided an important stimulus to the rise of decentralised complexity in regions peripheral to alluvial states. Building on James Scott's work, the concept of the 'barbarian niche' is proposed as a way to model the longue durée of premodern Eurasian history. This title is also available as open access on Cambridge Core.
Hunter–gatherer occupations of small islands are rare in world prehistory and it is widely accepted that island settlement is facilitated by agriculture. The Ryukyu Islands contradict that understanding on two counts: not only did they have a long history of hunter–gatherer settlement, but they also have a very late date for the onset of agriculture, which only reached the archipelago between the eighth and thirteenth centuries AD. Here, we combine archaeology and linguistics to propose a tripartite model for the spread of agriculture and Ryukyuan languages to the Ryukyu Islands. Employing demographic growth, trade/piracy and the political influence of neighbouring states, this model provides a synthetic yet flexible understanding of farming/language dispersals in the Ryukyus within the complex historical background of medieval East Asia.
Colleges and universities around the world engaged diverse strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Baylor University, a community of ˜22,700 individuals, was 1 of the institutions which resumed and sustained operations. The key strategy was establishment of multidisciplinary teams to develop mitigation strategies and priority areas for action. This population-based team approach along with implementation of a “Swiss Cheese” risk mitigation model allowed small clusters to be rapidly addressed through testing, surveillance, tracing, isolation, and quarantine. These efforts were supported by health protocols including face coverings, social distancing, and compliance monitoring. As a result, activities were sustained from August 1 to December 8, 2020. There were 62,970 COVID-19 tests conducted with 1435 people testing positive for a positivity rate of 2.28%. A total of 1670 COVID-19 cases were identified with 235 self-reports. The mean number of tests per week was 3500 with approximately 80 of these positive (11/d). More than 60 student tracers were trained with over 120 personnel available to contact trace, at a ratio of 1 per 400 university members. The successes and lessons learned provide a framework and pathway for similar institutions to mitigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and sustain operations during a global pandemic.
“Flipped learning” has become increasingly popular in medical education as a means of developing independent learning skills in students. The article by Zheng at al. (2020) highlights the potential utility of this approach in disaster triage training. However, the article also highlights to us some concerns regarding how “flipped learning” may favor certain learners over others in the provision of disaster triage education. Specifically, the article demonstrates the necessity for increased preclassroom preparation when a “flipped classroom” model is used, which inevitably privileges those with a higher ability to engage with self-directed learning. Although such a skill is important to develop in medical education, we fear it may lead to polarized student attainment rather than ensuring a maximum number of students achieve the requisite standard required. More research is consequently needed to inform the most efficacious means of facilitating disaster triage training that supports all students sufficiently, while also helping to nurture their independent learning skills.
While earlier research often saw Altaic as an exception to the farming/language dispersal hypothesis, recent work on millet cultivation in northeast China has led to the proposal that the West Liao basin was the Neolithic homeland of a Transeurasian language family. Here, we examine the archaeolinguistic evidence used to associate millet farming dispersals with Proto-Macro-Koreanic, analysing the identification of population movements in the archaeological record, the role of small-scale cultivation in language dispersals, and Middle–Late Neolithic demography. We conclude that the archaeological evidence is consistent with the arrival and spread of Proto-Macro-Koreanic on the peninsula in association with millet cultivation in the Middle Neolithic. This dispersal of Proto-Macro-Koreanic occurred before an apparent population crash after 3000 BC, which can probably be linked with a Late Neolithic decline affecting many regions across northern Eurasia. We suggest plague (Yersinia pestis) as one possible cause of an apparently simultaneous population decline in Korea and Japan.
This chapter summarises the main themes of the book, placing individual chapters within diverse thematic frameworks. After a brief discussion of the evolution of human violence, it introduces the Palaeolithic and Neolithic beginnings of human violence before examining prehistoric and ancient warfare. This includes considerations of the role of farming in the Neolithic, the more specialised warfare of the Bronze and Iron Ages, the era of classical antiquity and the growing importance of osteoarchaeology in understanding early violence. The discussion then continues with the other themes of the volume: intimate and collective violence; religion, ritual and violence; violence, crime and the state; and representations and constructions of violence.
This chapter examines the origins and early history of violence in the Japanese Islands, focusing on the Jomon (c. 14,500–900 BCE) and Yayoi (c. 900 BCE– 250 CE) periods. For several reasons the Japanese archipelago is a good place to think about links between violence and historical change. It possesses a long sequence of hunter-gatherer settlement that can contribute to ongoing debates over violence and agriculture. Hunter-gatherers in the Japanese Islands display great diversity due to both ecological and historical factors. The fact that many in prehistoric Japan were engaged in plant cultivation, leads us to a third factor: if agriculture was an important stimulus behind organised warfare, then at what point along the continuum between forager cultivation and full-scale farming did violence take on that new mantle? Finally, the position of Japan at the periphery of the East Asian world system offers the opportunity to investigate the role of ‘tribal zone’ and similar colonial processes in contexts very different from those theorised in the existing literature.
The first in a four-volume set, The Cambridge World History of Violence, volume I provides a comprehensive examination of violence in prehistory and the ancient world. Covering the period through to the end of classical antiquity, the chapters take a global perspective spanning sub-Saharan Africa, the Near East, Europe, India, China, Japan and Central America. Unlike many previous works, this book does not focus only on warfare but examines violence as a broader phenomenon. The historical approach complements, and in some cases critiques, previous research on the anthropology and psychology of violence in the human story. Written by a team of contributors who are experts in each of their respective fields, this volume will be of particular interest to anyone fascinated by archaeology and the ancient world.