Rare bone tool artefact revealed

Analysis of a crafted bone point unearthed on Ngarrindjeri country in South Australia is shedding new light on the behaviour and tool use of First Nations Australians, according to a new paper published in the journal Australian Archaeology. The point was crafted out of kangaroo or wallaby bone, and later discarded or lost in the … Continue reading Rare bone tool artefact revealed

Co-evolution of humans and pathogens

Humans have lived through pandemics for centuries, and according to a reconstruction of ancient infectious diseases, pathogens and humans appear to have co-evolved with mutually favourable outcomes before the advent of modern medicine. Evidence from ancient skeletons revealed that over the past 5000 years, prevalence of the major infectious diseases leprosy, tuberculosis and syphilis declined … Continue reading Co-evolution of humans and pathogens

Oldest Australian rock painting

An image of a kangaroo has been identified as Australia’s oldest known rock painting, dated to over 17,000 years old. The two-metre-long kangaroo is painted on the ceiling of a rock shelter on the Unghango clan estate, in Balanggarra country in the north-eastern Kimberley region, WA. A research team led by Damien Finch from the University of … Continue reading Oldest Australian rock painting

Medieval tipples from Islamic Sicily

Chemical residue from grapes has been found inside medieval containers from Islamic Sicily, suggesting there was wine production on the island. A study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, examined amphorae from the 9th to 11thcenturies, and found evidence that the containers had been used to store wine.  The researchers extracted and measured organic … Continue reading Medieval tipples from Islamic Sicily

Koala teeth map history

If you want to know how Adelaide, South Australia, was settled by Europeans, you may need to look at rat and koala teeth. A team of researchers, including members from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide, used an interesting method of mapping Adelaide’s settlement: by looking at the build up of strontium isotope in … Continue reading Koala teeth map history

Neanderthals: Gut stubborn

Humans and Neanderthals could have more in common than just DNA – we also might share the microorganisms in our gut. An international team of scientists led by Marco Candela, from the University of Bologna in Italy, have discovered that the gut microbiota of Neanderthals includes several beneficial microorganisms that also exist in modern humans. To figure … Continue reading Neanderthals: Gut stubborn

Mud shroud

Advanced scientific techniques have revealed a rare painted shell, or carapace, of mud within the wrappings of an Egyptian mummified body, throwing existing knowledge about mummies into question.  It’s the first time this type of ancient body preservation from the dynasty has been discovered, according to Karin Sowada from Sydney’s Macquarie University, who led the … Continue reading Mud shroud

The origins of money

From cowrie shells to native resources and animals, currency in some shape or form has long been a part of human history.  A currency of sorts was first thought to emerge as trade and exchange, with trade being tracked through the archaeological record, starting in the Upper Palaeolithic, when groups of hunters traded the best flint … Continue reading The origins of money

Anthropocene: Lessons from the past

The Anthropocene marks relentless and increasingly grave environmental degradation as the Earth faces tipping points for climate change, biodiversity and survival. To address these ills, scientists say we can learn valuable lessons from the past. “As our planet emerges into a new epoch in which humans dominate the Earth system, it is imperative that societies … Continue reading Anthropocene: Lessons from the past

Oldest cave painting of animals found in Indonesia

The dating of an exceptionally old cave painting of animals that was found recently on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi is reported in our paper published in the journal Science Advances. The painting portrays images of the Sulawesi warty pig (Sus celebensis), which is a small (40-85kg) short-legged wild boar endemic to the island. Dating … Continue reading Oldest cave painting of animals found in Indonesia

People chose the coast during the big chill

Excavations on South Africa’s southeast coast have uncovered evidence of persistent human occupations from the end of the last Ice Age 35,000 years ago. Importantly, the scientists say, this includes the period of the Last Glacial Maximum, which lasted from 26,000 to 19,000 years ago, highlighting the complex transitions that were necessary to survive wide … Continue reading People chose the coast during the big chill

Men hunt and women gather. But not always

Scientists may have to rethink the prevailing view that prehistoric hunting was exclusively the domain of men. The 9000-year-old remains of a young woman have been found buried with a well-stocked big game hunting toolkit at the Wilamaya Patjxa site in Peru, and subsequent analysis of 27 individuals at sites associated with big-game hunting tools … Continue reading Men hunt and women gather. But not always