Archaeology

The oldest higher true crabs (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura): insights from the Early Cretaceous of the Americas
Despite the extensive fossil record of higher crabs (Eubrachyura) from Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic rocks worldwide, their Early Cretaceous occurrences are scarce and fragmentary, obscuring our understanding of their early evolution. Until now, representatives of only two families of eubrachyuran-like crabs were known from the Early Cretaceous: Componocancridae and Tepexicarcinidae fam. nov., b...


A partial skeleton of the eomyid Eomyodon volkeri Engesser, 1987 (Mammalia: Rodentia) from the late Oligocene Fossil-Lagerstätte of Enspel, Germany
A partial skeleton of a young adult Eomyodon volkeri from the late Oligocene of Enspel (MP 28) represents the first of this genus, which was previously known only from isolated teeth at this locality. The specimen was split in two slabs upon discovery, and both parts were transferred to an artificial plastic matrix. Soft parts are preserved in the partial skeleton which comprises most of the sk...
Adapt or Die: Three Case Studies in Which the Failure to Adopt Advances from Other Fields has Compromised Paleopathology
Over the past several decades, the field of paleopathology has rapidly advanced, but a continuing delay in incorporating scientific advances and a lack of methodological rigor hinder its progress. Inconsistencies in the presentation of data, the persistent use of non-standardized criteria and non-specific skeletal lesions to diagnose diseases, and the misuse of or delay in adopting critical, re...


Chronology of the Middle Palaeolithic open-air site of Combe Brune 2 (Dordogne, France): a multi luminescence dating approach
The Bergerac region of south-western France is well known for its wealth of Middle Palaeolithic open-air sites. However, their chronology remains poorly understood due to the complexity of the deposits and difficulties applying radiometric dating techniques. Combe Brune 2, excavated in 2006 and 2007 by the INRAP (Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives), comprises a substan...
From Ethnographical Subjects to Archaeological Objects: Pierre Loti on Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
In 1872 French sailor Pierre Loti visited the desolate Pacific island of Rapa Nui. Descriptions in his diary and drawings were published and received great public interest. Here were all the ingredients  to satisfy nineteenth century ideas of the exotic: remote, tropical, cannibal inhabited, strange rituals and frenzied dancing, and in addition – the ruins of an ancient and unknown civilisat...


An ancient Arabian zodiac. The constellations in the Safaitic inscriptions, Part I
This contribution identifies a previously unrecognised mode of reckoning time in the inscriptions-the stars. Twelve zodiacal constellations are identified, along with the constellations Orion and the Pleiades.
Nabataean or not? The ancient necropolis of Dumat. First stage: a reassessment of al-Dayel's excavations
Two reports on excavations carried out in 1985–1986 by archaeologist Khaled Abdulaziz al-Dayel and published in the journal Atlal (1988, 1986) have revealed the existence of ‘Hellenistic tombs’ in the Dūmat al-Jandal oasis (ancient Adummatu/Dumat/Dumata) in northern Saudi Arabia. Although attributed more precisely to the Nabataeans by Khalil al-Muaikel (1994), these tombs nevertheless ap...

Late pre-Islamic burials at Mleiha, Emirate of Sharjah (UAE)
The history of two monumental grave buildings (nos. 4 and 5), excavated in area P of the late pre-Islamic city of Mleiha, has been studied in detail. Like all other tombs excavated up to the present day in Mleiha, their chambers had been emptied in ancient times. They were found devoid of human remains and grave-goods. In the upper parts of the grave fills, however, skeletal remains were encoun...
The Farasan Islands, Saudi Arabia: towards a chronology of settlement
An archaeological survey of Saudi Arabia's Farasan Islands in May 2010 recorded a broad range of sites that have not previously been documented. The survey concentrated on Greater Farasan and Segid islands, and comprised a rapid recording of sites shown to the authors by representatives of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities. The sites were photographed, their positions logged, ske...

Were-Jaguars and Crocodilians: A Need to Redefine
The general consensus amongst scholars is that anthropomorphic and zoomorphic Formative art, usually associated with the Olmecs but extending to post-Columbian civilisations, are depictions of humans and/or jaguars known as were-jaguars (De La Fuente 2000: 258). More recently, there has been discussion concerning what is actually being depicted through this Mesoamerican art form. In this paper,...
Geometric morphometric analysis applied to theropod tracks from the Lower Cretaceous (Berriasian) of Spain
Geometric morphometric methods applied to theropod tracks from the Huérteles Formation (Berriasian, Spain) are here shown to be invaluable for drawing comparisons between theropod tracks with different preservation modes (true tracks, shallow undertracks and natural casts) or differing in the preservation of anatomical features (e.g. digital pads). Principal components analysis and thin-plate ...

Biometry of Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian–Maastrichtian) coccoliths – a record of long-term stability and interspecies size shifts
Biometric measurements of Mesozoic coccoliths (coccolith length and width) have been used in short-term biostratigraphic, taxonomic and palaeoecologic studies, but until now, not over longer time scales. Here, we present a long time-series study (∼30million years) for the Upper Cretaceous, which aims to identify broad trends in coccolith size and to understand the factors governing coccolith ...
Comparison of analytical techniques for analysis of archaeological bronze
While many analyses of archaeological bronzes have been reported in the literature, in practice it is very difficult to compare them. To assess the present status of the chemical analysis of bronze two ancient objects—a flat axe (arsenic bronze) and a sickle (tin bronze)—were cut into pieces weighing about 2 g each and were distributed to 11 laboratories. The participants used the followi...
The Provenance of Historical Gunpowder from South-Western Japan: A Stable Isotopic Approach
Stable isotopic analysis was undertaken for the gunpowder ingredients from crude saltpetre and propellants from several types of gun that prevailed during the late 19th century in south-western Japan. Stable isotopic signatures for δ15Nsaltpetre nitrogen, δ34Snative sulphur and δ13Ccharcoal carbon in crude saltpetre, gunpowder magazines bearing the trademark of mills from southern Scotland a...
On the sensitivity of the simulated European Neolithic transition to climate extremes
Was the spread of agropastoralism from the Fertile Crescent throughout Europe influenced by extreme climate events, or was it independent of climate? We here generate idealized climate events using palaeoclimate records. In a mathematical model of regional sociocultural development, these events disturb the subsistence base of simulated forager and farmer societies. We evaluate the regional sim...