New research published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that land use by human societies has reshaped ecology across most of Earth's land for at least 12,000 years. Researchers, from over a dozen institutions around the world, assessed biodiversity in relation to global land use history, revealing that the appropriation, colonization, and intensified use of lands previously managed sustainably is the main cause of the current biodiversity crisis.
A new paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies presents the results of and images from the resuming of the archaeological seasons in the Mons Smaragdus region in the Egyptian Eastern Desert. During the 1990s a team from the "Berenike Project" started to survey the area and conducted the first excavations, focusing on the main site identified, Sikait, where the archaeological seasons resumed in January of 2018 and January 2020.
Researchers compared lake sediment, tree ring data and archaeological evidence to reconstruct a 1,200 history of fire, climate, and human activity of the Fish Lake Plateau, a high-elevation forest in central Utah in the U.S. They found that Indigenous people used small, frequent fires, a practice known as cultural burning, which reduced the risk for large-scale wildfire activity in mountain environments even during periods of drought more extreme and prolonged than today.
To improve climate models, an international team led by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and the University of Glasgow turned to archaeological data. The resulting classification from the project, called LandCover6k, offers a tool the researchers hope might generate better predictions about the planet's future and fill in gaps about its past.
Humans cannot live on protein alone - even for the ancient indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest whose diet was once thought to be almost all salmon. In a new paper, anthropologists argue such a protein-heavy diet would be unsustainable and document the many dietary solutions ancient Pacific Coast people in North America likely employed to avoid "salmon starvation," a toxic and potentially fatal condition brought on by eating too much lean protein.
A new paper urges archaeologists and history professionals to work closely with people who are grappling with racism in public monuments and institutional names in the wake of last year's uprising following the killing of George Floyd. The authors argue that by working with "broad publics who are actively dictating what should be preserved and what should not the field can begin to redress the harm it has perpetuated."
Archaeologists from Washington University in St. Louis excavated around earthen mounds and analyzed sediment cores to test a persistent theory about the collapse of Cahokia, the pre-Columbian Native American city in southwestern Illinois that was once home to more than 15,000 people.
Ancient Egyptians mummified cats, dogs, ibises and other animals, but closer to home in the South American Atacama desert, parrot mummies reveal that between 1100 and 1450 CE, trade from other areas brought parrots and macaws to oasis communities, according to an international and interdisciplinary team.
Medieval and early modern lawyers chose to write on sheepskin parchment because it helped prevent fraud, new analysis suggests.
Archaeologists examined the remains of houses in ancient Maya cities and compared them with other Mesoamerican societies; they found that the societies with the most wealth inequality were also the ones that had governments that concentrated power with a smaller number of people.