AAPBL Blog

25Apr

 

Although it has previously been suggested that people of the Copper Age Europe lived in an idyllic egalitarian society, archeological findings now suggest this period marked the emergence of class-based social structures. Increases in settlement populations and the newfound specialized knowledge of community members during the Copper Age, between 5,000 and 3,500 BC, required a more complex social hierarchy. Before the discovery of copper work most people were generalists, performing all functions required for sustenance. Afterwards, those capable of metal work would have to supply copper tools for the entire community, leaving them little time for much else. The value of specialized knowledge also privileged some community members over others.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   25 April 2011 - 11:53:48

20Apr

Evidence suggests skeletal remains found in a cathedral in Reggio Emilia, Italy may belong to the early-Christian martyr saints Chrysanthus and Daria. In 2008, during renovations of the cathedral, over 300 bones, composing two nearly complete skeletons, were found under the altar. The missing skulls were later found in a cathedral vault, inside a pair of silver and gold busts.

According to legend, the young aristocratic Chrysanthus, recently converted to Christianity, is forced by his father to marry the vestal virgin Daria. His father’s attempt to distract Chrysanthus from his newfound religion is unsuccessful and Chrysanthus manages to convert Daria to Christianity. The pair married, but maintained their celibacy. Together they worked to convert others to Christianity. The Roman Empire viewed both their fruitless marriage and their missionary work as subversive to Roman culture. As punishment, Chrysanthus is imprisoned and Daria is forced into prostitution. Both are spared from these fates by divine intervention. However, for their crimes against the state, the pair is eventually sentenced to death by live burial in Rome. The venerated bones of saints Chrysanthus and Daria are said to have traveled around Italy, ending up in Reggio Emilia c. A.D. 1000.

Ezio Fulcheri, a paleopathologist at the University of Genoa, leads the archeological investigation. Through analysis of the bones, Fulcheri and his team determined the sex of the skeletons, which was later confirmed through DNA testing. The team also determined the approximate ages of the skeletons using bone analysis. The female was most likely in her mid-20s at the time of her death. The male was most likely in his older teenaged years. These ages are congruent with the legend. The condition of the bones suggests that the skeletons belong to members of the aristocratic class. There is a lack of erosion of the bones that show neither participated in strenuous labor. There are also signs of lead poisoning, which only afflicted the Roman elite. A carbon test of ground bone from the skeletons indicates they date to between A.D. 80 and A.D. 340. The execution of Chrysanthus and Daria is believed to be c. A.D. 283.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   20 April 2011 - 17:03:46

11Apr

It has been known that Homo sapiens traveled out of Africa across the Sinai Peninsula, north of the Red Sea, settling in modern-day Israel, about 120,000 years ago. New findings suggest a separate group of Homo sapiens may have migrated out of Africa across the southern Arabian Peninsula even earlier. Stone tools dating between 125,000 and 90,000 years ago have been found at the site of Jebel Faya in the United Arab Emirates. The tools found at this site appear to be manufactured by techniques used by Homo sapiens in East Africa and Northeast Africa. Blades created with the bifacial flaking technique, where pieces of stone are removed from both the top and bottom faces to form the blade, have been found. Another tool called a "foliate" has also been found at the site. These types of instruments have not been found in the early settlements of Homo sapiens to the north of the site.

It is believed that environmental factors were crucial in the migrations of Homo sapiens. From 200,000 to 135,000 years ago, the Arabian Peninsula was very dry, serving as a barrier, preventing Homo sapiens migration. However, between 135,000 and 120,000 years ago, low water level of the Red Sea would have made crossing to the Arabian Peninsula possible. The wetter conditions and mild climate would also have made the peninsula an appealing location to settle. It is believed that the climate of the Arabian Peninsula again became drier around 90,000 years ago. The Homo sapiens settled in Jebel Faya and surrounding areas may have returned to Africa at that time as a result of the less hospitable climate.

0 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   11 April 2011 - 17:02:16

20Jun

You can visit Archaeology & Art Publications during these upcoming events;

Frankfurt Book Fair
15-19 October, 2008
Frankfurt, Germany

Middle East Studies Association Book Exhibit
23-25 November, 2008
Washington, DC

110th AIA & APA Joint Annual Meeting
8-11 January , 2009
Philadelphia, PA

1 Comment  |  Did you know?  |  Link  |   20 June 2009 - 01:00:49

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