Tag Archives | Anthropology

Early Humans Likely Practiced Ritualistic Cannibalism

CannibalsTo be fair, 30,000 years ago, there were few other recreational activities to occupy one’s spare time. The Archaeology News Network writes:

Archaeologists have found 32,000-year-old human remains in southeastern Europe, which suggest that the earliest humans practiced “mortuary” or “ritual” cannibalism.

The excavated human remains, the oldest known in Europe, were found at a shelter-cave site called Buran-Kaya III in Ukraine and exhibit post-mortem cut marks, the MSNBC reports. “Our observations show a post-mortem treatment of human corpses including the selection of the skull,” said the paleozoologist and archaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, Stephane Pean.

However, Pean said that the treatment of the human bodies, which came with ornaments, did not follow nutritional purposes, rejecting the possibility of dietary cannibalism.

“Observed treatment of the human body, together with the presence of body ornaments, indicates rather a mortuary ritual: either a ritual cannibalism or a specific mortuary practice for secondary disposal,” he described.

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Egyptian Pyramids Found By Infrared Satellite Images

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Not only were pyramids found, but an entire city-scape could be seen, fit with various buildings and roads. Frances Cronin of BBC News reports:

Seventeen lost pyramids are among the buildings identified in a new satellite survey of Egypt.

More than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements were also revealed by looking at infra-red images which show up underground buildings.

Initial excavations have already confirmed some of the findings, including two suspected pyramids.

The work has been pioneered at the University of Alabama at Birmingham by US Egyptologist Dr Sarah Parcak.

She says she was amazed at how much she and her team has found.

“We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the “Aha!” moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we’d found and I couldn’t believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.

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An Outsider’s Firsthand Look At The Aghori And Tantra Traditions

James Curcio

James Curcio

Special guest host James Curcio talks to William Clark about the time he spent in India, covering everything from tabla, the aghori sects of tantra, hinduisim and all points in between.

Over the course of the Immanence of Myth project, James Curcio has had many conversations with mythic artists, intellectuals and professors, and outright mutants who in Hunter’s words are “too weird to live and too rare to die.” Most of these are being written or transcribed in part for the book.

The Gspot: William Clark and Tantra (Or listen to the podcast on Alterati.com)

In the time since, we produced a “Gonzomentary” satyr-play about the modern artist called Clark. This podcast provides a very different look at the character behind the character.

Clark Episode 2: No Money Mo’ Problems

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The Last Free People On Earth

Joanna Eede writes for National Geographic:
Deep in one of the remotest parts of the Brazilian Amazon, in a clearing at the headwaters of the Envira River, an Indian man looks up at an aeroplane. He is surrounded by kapok trees and banana plants, and by the necessities of his life: a thatched hut, its roof made from palm fronds; a plant-fiber basket brimming with ripe pawpaw; a pile of peeled manioc, lying bright-white against the rain forest earth.
The man’s body is painted red from crushed seeds of the annatto shrub, and in his hand...
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World’s Oldest Optical Illusion Found?

Bison or Mammoth?This is interesting. I wonder how they relate to the therianthropes found in cave paintings popularized by Graham Hancock and others. Andrew Howley writes on NatGeo News:

Prehistoric artists were creating mind-bending double images of their own, according to a new paper presented earlier this year at an international convention on rock art research.

The paper’s author, Duncan Caldwell has surveyed the Paleolithic art of several caves in France and discovered a recurring theme that he says can’t be simply accidental. Throughout the cave of Font-de-Gaume, and in examples from other sites as well, drawings and engravings of woolly mammoths and bison often share certain lines or other features, creating overlapping images that can be read first as one animal, then the other. Rarely, if ever, do they do the same with other animals.

While images of horses, deer, extinct cattle, and even rhinos often appear in such caves, and often partially or entirely overlap each other, it is only the mammoth-bison pair that Caldwell found regularly appearing superimposed so exactly.

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New Species Of Human Discovered

Photo: David Reich, et al./Nature

Denisovan tooth. Photo: David Reich, et al./Nature

Unraveling ancient human DNA must be like crack for anthropologists — they just can’t stop! Joe Palca reports for NPR:

DNA taken from a pinkie bone at least 30,000 years old is hinting at the existence of a previously unknown population of ancient humans. It’s just the latest example of how modern genetic techniques are transforming the world of anthropology.

The pinkie bone in question was unearthed in 2008 from what’s called the Denisova Cave.

“The Denisova Cave is in southern Siberia in the Altai Mountains in central Asia,” says David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard Medical School in Boston. “This bone is the bone of a 6- to 7-year-old girl.”

Reich and colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig were able to extract DNA from the pinkie bone and sequence all 3 billion letters of DNA that made up this girl’s genome.

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Climate Change and the 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence

saharasiaMatriarchy.info reviews Dr. James DeMeo’s book SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World:

A new geographical study on the ancient historical origins of human violence and warfare, drawing upon global archaeological and anthropological evidence, has just been published presenting substantial proof that our ancient ancestors were non-violent, and far more social and loving than are most humans today – moreover, the study points to a dramatic climate change in the Old World, the drying up of the vast Sahara and Asian Deserts, with attending famine, starvation and forced migrations which pushed the earliest humans into violent social patterns, a trauma from which we have not yet recovered in over 6000 years.

The study and book, titled SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, by retired professor James DeMeo, Ph.D., is the culmination of years of library and field research on the subject.

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Did Literacy Steal Brain Power From Other Functions?

Warning: Reading this may cause parts of your brain to become powerless. From Ars Technica:

The human brain contains many regions that are specialized for processing specific decisions and sensory inputs. Many of these are shared with our fellow mammals (and, in some cases, all vertebrates), suggesting that they are evolutionarily ancient specializations. But innovations like writing have only been around for a few thousand years, a time span that’s too short relative to human generations to allow for this sort of large evolutionary change. In the absence of specialized capabilities, how has it become possible for such large portions of the population to become literate?

The authors of a paper that will be released by Science today suggest two possible alternatives to explain this widespread literacy. Either reading is similar enough to something that our brains could already do that it’s processed by existing structures, or literacy has “stolen” areas of the brain that used to be involved in other functions.

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Neanderthals May Have Been Destroyed By Climate, Not Homo Sapiens

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

In Graham Hancock’s new book, Entangled, one of the intriguing themes is the so-called “Neanderthal Enigma.” But, while much of the latest research on Homo neanderthalensis is reflected in Entangled, a new study reported in the New York Times suggests that this extinct member of the Homo genus may have met its demise from climate change, not from Homo sapiens:

Homo sapiens may not have pushed Neanderthals to extinction, as some scientists have hypothesized; it may have been the weather that did them in.

Volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago devastated Neanderthals in Western Asia and in Europe, anthropologists report in Current Anthropology.

Naomi Cleghorn, an anthropologist at the University of Texas at Arlington, and colleagues studied a Neanderthal site in the Caucasus Mountains of southwestern Russia. They were able to identify volcanic ash from two separate eruptions that occurred in the area between 45,000 and 40,000 years ago.

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Cyborg Anthropologist Amber Case Interviewed

Klint Finley interviews Amber Case on Technoccult:

What are some of your most interesting recent findings?

Some of my favorite things have been mistakes. For instance, when a middle aged woman thinks that she’s sending a private message to someone she’s been seeing, and in reality she posted on her wall for everyone to see.

Yahoo Answers are amazing. It’s where a lot of very young kids ask each other ridiculous questions — and young kids answer back.

Also, looking at people’s signatures. Not their handwritten ones, but their digital ones. How they compose sentences and where they use capitalization. How they respond to things, etc. It really tells a lot about who they are.

The other thing I like to discover is digital artifacts. There are some digital archeologists and historians who try to keep data alive and in circulation. When one considers it, and Stewart Brand has mentioned this quite a bit … data is very fragile.

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