On March 21st at the Brownwood Park Pavilion, the Department of Anthropology brought archaeology out of the university and into the community as part of the annual Atlanta Science Festival. In “Become an Archaeologist,” children and parents learned about archaeological science, including how to extract DNA, perform chemical residue analysis, and put together artifacts and bones.
Veatch, a graduate student who researches the environmental context of the Late Pleistocene archaeological site Liang Bua in Indonesia, specifically focuses on the rodent remains found in the cave. She remarks on their diversity as a group of mammals helped by the continuity of bones in the cave sequence, which persist over the 190,000-year stretch preserved in the cave.
Read more about the work of Veatch and other researchers in the National Geographic article.
The journal Evolutionary Anthropology is publishing the first overview of prehistoric tool miniaturization, a technology which has been largely overlooked in the stone tool record. The paper, co-authored by current Emory Anthropology post-doc Justin Pargeter, argues that technological miniaturization was a central tendency in hominin technologies going back at least 2.6 million years and may have helped some humans survive climate change during the last period of rapid global climate change.
“Here’s to naps and snoozes.” In his article Todd Pitock summarizes the American culture of sleep and its perceptions of what is considered acceptable and contextualizes it with international examples. He quotes Dr. Worthman who’s research on sleep around the world has shown it as “more flexible and more social” then sleep is considered in the West. Communal sleeping arrangement are more common and can be based on an array of reasons such as comfort or safety, while the West has a tendency to judge sleep by its number of hours spend not being productive.
In a recent publication in the journal Antiquity, Justin Pargeter (a Postdoctoral researcher with Emory University’s Anthropology Department) argues the motivations of prehistoric hunter-gatherers for selecting particular rocks for toolmaking are often explained in too rigidly functional or symbolic terms. By examining the exploitation of crystal quartz at two archaeological sites (Ntloana Tšoana and Sehonghong) in Lesotho, southern Africa, he and his co-author Jamie Hampson (University of Exeter) reveal that stone tool production required a form of engagement unique to crystal quartz’s specific properties (including possibly quartz crystal’s piezoelectric effects). The prefered use of quartz crystals—irrespective of the availability of other rocks for tool production—demonstrates agency and variability in the prehistoric technologies.
Dr. Dietrich Stout is an experimental archeologist at the department of Anthropology where he researches connections between prehistoric stone tool-making, known as knapping, and the human brain. He has set up an online experiment in collaboration with Robert Rein at the German Sport University Cologne. Participants are asked to spend 10 minutes of their time to help deepen our understanding of the relationship between the visual-spatial skills used in knapping and areas of the brain that are involved in language processing. Dr. Stout is hoping to establish whether participants can differentiate size the of stone flakes removed during knapping, and how novice knappers fare in comparison to experts.
At the 2018 American Anthropological Association meeting, graduate student Erik Ringen won the Society for Anthropological Science’s ‘H. Russel Bernard Graduate Student Paper Prize’ for his paper (co-authored with Pavel Duda and Adrian Jaegi) “Daily food sharing in non-industrial societies: effects of subsistence, socioecology, and phylogeny”. Congratulations!
Photo, left to right: Erik Ringen, Stephen Chrisomalis and H. Russell Bernard