Prehistoric women had stronger arms than today’s elite rowing crews

A new study comparing the bones of Central European women that lived during the first 6,000 years of farming with those of modern athletes has shown that the average prehistoric agricultural woman had stronger upper arms than living female rowing champions.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology say this physical prowess was likely obtained through tilling soil and harvesting crops by hand, as well as the grinding of grain for as much as five hours a day to make flour.

Until now, bioarchaeological investigations of past behaviour have interpreted women’s bones solely through direct comparison to those of men. However, male bones respond to strain in a more visibly dramatic way than female bones.

The Cambridge scientists say this has resulted in the systematic underestimation of the nature and scale of the physical demands borne by women in prehistory.

— source University of Cambridge | Nov 29, 2017

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People have shaped Earth’s ecology for at least 12,000 years, mostly sustainably

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. The research team, from over ten institutions around the world, revealed that the main cause of the current biodiversity crisis is not human destruction of uninhabited wildlands, but rather the appropriation, colonization, and intensified use of lands previously managed sustainably.

The new data overturn earlier reconstructions of global land use history, some of which indicated that most of Earth’s land was uninhabited even as recently as 1500 CE. Further, this new PNAS study supports the argument that an essential way to end Earth’s current biodiversity crisis is to empower the environmental stewardship of Indigenous peoples and local communities across the planet.

“Our work shows that most areas depicted as ‘untouched,’ ‘wild,’ and ‘natural’ are actually areas with long histories of human inhabitation and use,” says UMBC’s Erle Ellis,

— source University of Maryland Baltimore County | Apr 19, 2021

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Milk enabled massive steppe migration

The long-distance migrations of early Bronze Age pastoralists in the Eurasian steppe have captured widespread interest. But the factors behind their remarkable spread have been heavily debated by archaeologists. Now a new study in Nature provides clues regarding a critical component of the herders’ lifestyle that was likely instrumental to their success: dairying.

From the Xiongnu to the Mongols, the pastoralist populations of the Eurasian steppe have long been a source of fascination. Amongst the earliest herding groups in this region were the Yamnaya, Bronze Age pastoralists who began expanding out of the Pontic-Caspian steppe more than 5000 years ago. These Bronze Age migrations resulted in gene flow across vast areas, ultimately linking pastoralist populations in Scandinavia with groups that expanded into Siberia.

Just how and why these pastoralists travelled such extraordinary distances in the Bronze Age has remained a mystery. Now a new study led by researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany has revealed a critical clue and it might come as a surprise. It appears that the Bronze Age migrations coincided with

— source Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History | Sep 15, 2021

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Modi Govt’s Renovation of Jallianwala Bagh Draws Sharp Criticism

The Centre’s renovation work on the historic Jallianwala Bagh site has sparked a massive controversy with historians and opposition politicians criticising it as an “insult” to the martyrs and a bid at erasing history and heritage.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the renovated Jallianwala Bagh complex in Amritsar on August 28. The monument was the nation’s homage to the victims of the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre wherein over thousand unarmed people were killed by British troops.

The British troops led by Col. Reginald Dyer opened fire at a large gathering of people who had assembled to protest against the arrest of freedom fighters Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlu for opposing the Rowlatt Act.

— source | 31 Aug 2021

[this clearly shows the commitment of sangh towards british, even after 100 years. fascists are afraid of history.]

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Female Big-Game Hunter

The discovery of a 9,000-year-old female skeleton buried with what archaeologists call a “big-game hunting kit” in the Andes highlands of Peru has challenged one of the most widely held tenets about ancient hunter gatherers — that males hunted and females gathered. this young woman was a big game hunter, who participated with her people in the pursuit of the vicuña and deer that made up a significant portion of their diet. Reseachers looked at 429 burials in the Americas from about 14,000 to 8,000 years ago and identified 27 individuals whose sex had been determined who were found with big game hunting implements. Eleven were female and 16 were male. females were about 30 to 50 percent of the big game hunters.

— source | Nov. 4, 2020

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Hindutva Attempts To Distort India’s History

Historians need to carefully examine the new curriculum and textbooks for schools to prevent history from being used as political propaganda, eminent historian Romila Thapar said on Thursday evening while attending an online event to celebrate the 90th birthday of another eminent historian, Irfan Habib.

The event, titled ‘In Defence of History’, was attended by Habib, economist Prabhat Patnaik, Indian History Congress (IHC) president Amiya Kumar Bagchi, historian Aditya Mukherjee and CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

During her speech, Thapar said that attempts were being made to legitimise “the currently popular, distorted history to defend political ideology” and that it is time for historians to insist that “it is not authority that is at a premium but reliable evidence and the reading of that evidence.”

“This fantasised history is being projected in multiple ways, through social media, TV channels and glossy magazines, all locations where none are bothered to separate fact from

— source | Snigdhendu Bhattacharya | 13/Aug/2021

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Significant Bronze Age city discovered in Northern Iraq

Archeologists from the Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES) at the University of Tübingen have uncovered a large Bronze Age city not far from the town of Dohuk in northern Iraq. The excavation work has demonstrated that the settlement, which is now home to the small Kurdish village of Bassetki in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan, was established in about 3000 BC and was able to flourish for more than 1200 years. The archeologists also discovered settlement layers dating from the Akkadian Empire period (2340-2200 BC), which is regarded as the first world empire in human history.

Scientists headed by Professor Peter Pfälzner from the University of Tübingen and Dr. Hasan Qasim from the Directorate of Antiquities in Dohuk conducted the excavation work in Bassetki between August and October 2016. As a result, they were able to preempt the construction work on a highway on this land. The former significance of the settlement can be seen from the finds discovered during the excavation work. The city already had a wall running around the upper part of the town from approx. 2700 BC onwards in order to protect

— source University of Tübingen | Nov 4, 2016

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Jamaica’s 1831 Revolt Dealt a Hammer Blow to Colonial Slavery

Tom Zoellner’s book Island on Fire is an important contribution to our understanding of what Saidiya Hartman has described as the “afterlife” of slavery. Zoellner documents in vivid detail the base violence and inhumanity of institutionalised slavery in plantation-era Jamaica. But he also tells a story of irrepressible resistance and self-organisation that generated the slave rebellion of 1831.

It was a mass uprising that became a critical turning point in the demise of a system that had sustained Europe’s empires for centuries. Island on Fire is not light reading. The details recounted by Zoellner, who draws on extensive historical documentation, are often harrowing. However, his storytelling ability makes this history extremely readable, if not less painful.

Suburb of Hell

The author describes white plantation society in colonial Jamaica as “a suburb of Hell,” where “the stultifying class system that reigned back home in England was completely

— source | Abigail Bakan | 18/Jul/2021

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Coronavirus Epidemic Occurred in East Asia 25,000 Years Ago

The genomes of multiple East Asian populations bear the signature of a viral epidemic that occurred approximately 900 generations, or 25,000 years (28 years per generation) ago, according to a new study published in the journal Current Biology.

Throughout the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens, positive natural selection has frequently targeted proteins that physically interact with viruses — e.g., those involved in immunity or used by viruses to hijack the host cellular machinery.

In the millions of years of human evolution, selection has led to the fixation of gene variants encoding virus-interacting proteins (VIPs) at three times the rate observed for other classes of genes.

Strong selection on VIPs has continued in human populations during the past 50,000 years, as evidenced by VIP genes being enriched for adaptive introgressed Neanderthal variants

— source | Enrico de Lazaro | Jun 28, 2021

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