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Caves and rockshelters are a key component of the archaeological record but are often regarded as natural places conveniently exploited by human communities. Archaeomorphological study shows however that they are not inert spaces but have frequently been modified by human action, sometimes in ways that imply a strong symbolic significance. In this paper the concept of ‘aménagement’, the re-shaping of a material space or of elements within it, is applied to Chauvet Cave in France and Nawarla Gabarnmang rockshelter in Australia. Deep within Chauvet Cave, fallen blocks were moved into position to augment the natural structure known as The Cactus, while at Nawarla Gabarnmang, blocks were removed from the ceiling and supporting pillars removed and discarded down the talus slope. These are hence not ‘natural’ places, but modified and socially constructed.
Tells famously capture the historical sequences of the earliest farmers—but digging them is not easy. With a depth of strata of 17m at Dikili Tash, the earliest occupation was out of reach of a trench. But our researchers got there by coring, extending the date of the first occupation back 1000 years, and deducing, from small samples, the changing environment and possible connections with Anatolia.
The authors summarise the latest evidence for the introduction of rice cultivation into northern China, and show that it most probably began there in the early seventh millennium BC as a result of influence or migration from the Yangtze Valley.
The authors report a summary of the results of six seasons of excavation at one of the cemeteries of Tell el-Amarna, the celebrated city of the ‘monotheistic’ revolutionary, Akhenaten. The osteology shows a workforce enduring stress and injuries to bone and muscle. The burial rites indicate low investment and personal interpretations as to spiritual meaning. In this exploration of a slice of a whole Egyptian urban society, the contrast between the working lives of the elite and its workforce becomes striking.
The author revisits the celebrated cemetery of the Bronze Age Kerma culture by the third cataract of the Nile and re-examines its monumental tumuli. The presence of daggers and drinking vessels in secondary burials are associated with skeletal remains that can be attributed to fighting men, encouraging their interpretation as members of a warrior elite. Here, on the southern periphery of the Bronze Age world, is an echo of the aggressive aristocracy of Bronze Age Europe.
The thriving study of acoustic archaeology is here applied to an excavated plaza site in Peru, where the authors show that an intimate sound-space was intended, one which featured panpipe music as well as the spoken word. Their method involved the measurement of three sound levels of speech at various distances from the plaza, giving us an easy-to-use mode of on-site investigation, which will surely win wide application. The study also showed a dramatic change from the use of acoustics in a previous period, where sound was canalised in U-shaped temples in order to address large numbers of people.
When did cattle come to South Africa? Radiocarbon dates on a newly found cow horn indicates a time in the early first millennium AD. In a study of the likely context for the advent of cattle herding, the authors favour immigrants moving along a western route through Namibia.
It is a pleasure to present this vivid account of elite tombs on China's Northern Frontier, together with a closely argued case for cultural hybridity within the postcolonial paradigm. This incisive exposition of political interaction on a frontier will resonate with all of us who work with ‘imperial-barbarian’ relations—on any continent.
The study of stable isotopes surviving in human bone is fast becoming a standard response in the analysis of cemeteries. Reviewing the state of the art for Roman Britain, the author shows clear indications of a change in diet (for the better) following the Romanisation of Iron Age Britain—including more seafood, and more nutritional variety in the towns. While samples from the bones report an average of diet over the years leading up to an individual's death, carbon and nitrogen isotope signatures taken from the teeth may have a biographical element—capturing those childhood dinners. In this way migrants have been detected—as in the likely presence of Africans in Roman York. While not unexpected, these results show the increasing power of stable isotopes to comment on populations subject to demographic pressures of every kind.
The authors show that the principal correlates of feasting in Viking Age Iceland were beef and barley, while feasting itself is here the primary instrument of social action. Documentary references, ethnographic analogies, archaeological excavation and biological analyses are woven together to present an exemplary procedure for the recognition of feasting more widely.
This vitally important article sets out the obstacles and opportunities for the protection of archaeological sites and historic buildings in zones of armed conflict. Readers will not need to be told that modern munitions are devastating and sometimes wayward, nor that cultural heritage once destroyed cannot simply be rebuilt. The author makes a vivid case for the role of respect for the past in mitigating hostility and so winning the peace as well as aiding the victory, and guides us through the forest of players. Agencies so numerous, so obscure and so often ineffective might prompt the response ‘a plague on all your acronyms’. All the more important, then, that the author and his associates continue their campaign and are supported by everyone who believes that cultural property has a value that lies beyond sectional interests.
Shallow oval bowls used on the Baltic coast in the Mesolithic have been suggested as oil lamps, burning animal fat. Here researchers confirm the use of four coastal examples as lamps burning blubber—the fat of marine animals, while an inland example burned fat from terrestrial mammals or freshwater aquatics—perhaps eels. The authors use a combination of lipid biomarker and bulk and single-compound carbon isotope analysis to indicate the origin of the residues in these vessels.
The domed stupas are among the most distinctive of South Asia's religious monuments and have been shown to be sensitive indicators for their society. Since arguments for economic and political change depend on accurate dating, and since the stupas are largely composed of brick, the authors here assess the potential for dating building sequences by applying optically stimulated luminescence to brick fabric. As so often, good scientific dates obtained from specimens must be tempered by their context: brick may be replaced or recycled during repair and embellishment. Nevertheless, the method promises important insights by distinguishing different episodes of building, and so writing ‘biographies’ for stupas with different functions.
The author describes a process of systematic integration of aerial and satellite imagery, which has provided a huge increase in the number of known burial mounds in the area where the Danube meets the Black Sea. Careful evaluation of newly acquired and archival imagery from satellites and lower level platforms shows where data is comparable and how visibility varies with imagery type. Excavations to date suggest the majority of the mounds are of Greco-Roman date and associated with the large towns and their road networks. Clusters of barrows exist, hinting at associated settlement aggregation, but a large proportion are single tumuli, raising interesting questions about their social role in this period. Above all, the large numbers revealed by the survey must invite new thoughts on whether, or in what way, the mounds reflect social ranking.
The new generation of aerial photographers is using different wavelengths to sense archaeological features. This is effective but can be expensive. Here the authors use data already collected for environmental management purposes, and evaluate it for archaeological prospection on pasture. They explore the visibility of features in different seasons and their sensitivity to different wavelengths, using principal components analysis to seek out the best combinations. It turns out that this grassland gave up its secrets most readily in January, when nothing much was growing, and overall the method increased the number of known sites by a good margin. This study is of the greatest importance for developing the effective survey of the world's landscape, a quarter of which is under grass.
Reassessment of archives, early publications and the auditing of museum collections have often led to the discovery or rediscovery of long-forgotten specimens (e.g. Hollmann et at. 1986: 330; Fainer & Man-Estier 2011: 506, 520). The combination of initial poor recognition, insufcient scientic analysis and inadequate storage conditions, can cause the loss to science of important archaeological specimens. New analytical techniques may allow reconsideration of previous interpretations (e.g. P illon 2008: 720, 723-24; Hello et aZ. 2011; Higham et aZ. 2011: 522, 524) but in some cases it is the scientific value of a specimen that is not recognised at the moment of its discovery (e.g. Rosendahl et aZ. 2003: 277; Kaagan et aZ. 2011). Particularly revealing examples are those where the specimen found is the first of its kind. This was the case with the first handaxe recognised as manufactured by humans (Gamble & Kruszynski 2009: 468-70) or the rst two sets of Neanderthal fossil remains found respectively at Engis in 1829-30 and Gibraltar in 1848, which were not recognised as an early human species until after the 1856 discovery of _Neanderthal 1 at the Kleine Feldhofer Grotte in the Neander Valley near DUsseldorf, Germany (Stringer & Gamble 1993: 13). Similarly, lack of recognition caused the near loss of an engraved antler from the Magdalenian site of Neschers (France), possibly one of the first examples of Palaeolithic portable art.
The Tea Party, the Arab Spring and the _Occupy movements may seem to have little in common. They respond to very different circumstances, and they are fuelled by very different ideologies. Furthermore, they do not represent homogeneous movements and each of them amalgamates very different groups with very different interests. Stripped of their most obvious traits, however, they share a common dissatisfaction with the nature of power in the present world, and each has opened a debate on the nature and legitimacy of current power structures.
Several recent articles in Antiqui (Barker et al. 201 la; Hung et al. 2011; Spriggs 2011), discuss the validity of, and revise, portrayals of an Austronesian farming-language dispersal across Island Southeast Asia (ISEA) during the mid-Holocene (approximately 4000-3000 years ago) . In conventional portrayals of the Austronesian dispersal hypothesis (e.g. Bellwood 1984/85, 1997, 2002, 2005; Diamond 2001; Diamond & Bellwood 2003) , and its Neolithic variant (e.g. Spriggs 2003, 2007), farmer-voyagers migrated out of Taiwan approximately 4500-4000 cal BP to colonise ISEA from 4000 cal BP (Bellwood 2002) and the Mariana Islands and Palau by c. 3500-3400 cal BP (Hung et al. 201 1). The descendants of these voyagers subsequently established the Lapita Cultural Complex in the Bismarck Archipelago by c. 3470-3250 cal BP (Kirch 1997; Spriggs 1997) and became the foundational cultures across most of the Pacific from c. 3250-3100 cal BP (Kirch 2000; Addison & Matisoo-Smith 2010; dates for Lapita in Denham et al. 2012). A major problem with this historical metanarrative is the absence of substantial archaeological evidence for the contemporaneous spread of farming from Taiwan (Bulbeck 2008; Donohue & Denham 2010; Denham 2011 ).
The earthquake that struck Japan on 11 March 2011, named the Great East Japan Earthquake by the Japanese government, was one of the largest seismic events the world has seen for generations. Akira Matsui reported his experience of visiting the areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami soon afterwards, outlining the initial assessment of damage caused to museums and cultural heritage assets, and the plans for their rescue (Kaner et a/ 2011; Matsui 201 I a). The present contribution reports how far the implementation of these plans has been successful, the prospects for the future, and situates all of this in a broader context of archaeological response to earthquakes.