Justin Pargeter’s research on miniaturized tools is featured in Emory News

Justin Pargeter’s research on miniaturized tools is featured in Emory News

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.

Carol Worthman’s research on sleep is cited in Aeon article

Carol Worthman’s research on sleep is cited in Aeon article

“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.

 

 

 

Douglas Falen (92C) publishes new book on African Science

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Douglas Falen (C’92) is a cultural anthropologist at nearby Agnes Scott College in Decatur. His new ethnography, African Science: Witchcraft, Vodun, and Healing in Southern Benin (University of Wisconsin Press) examines the ways that Benin’s occult world blends notions of magic, science, and religion. In emphasizing the moral ambivalence of human acts, Beninois people compare African witchcraft to western technology, known as “white people’s witchcraft.” The books explains how “witchcraft”  becomes a universal, all-encompassing term that allows Beninois people to incorporate foreign religions and esoteric traditions, including Hindu mysticism and Freemasonry, into a single category.Falen.AfricanScience.c.jpg

Dr. Justin Pargeter publishes research on prehistoric toolmaking

Dr. Justin Pargeter publishes research on prehistoric toolmaking

In a recent publication in the journal AntiquityJustin 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.

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Calling all knappers – Dr. Stout studies the connection between ancient stone tool-making and the human brain

Calling all knappers – Dr. Stout studies the connection between ancient stone tool-making and the human brain

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.

Read more about this on eScienceCommons and Dr. Stout’s website.