#Anthropology roundup: “AI-powered archaeology draws out hidden evidence of fire use by early humans

Ancient artifacts first recovered from Israel’s Evron Quarry archaeological site in the mid-1970s were analyzed with advanced computational models revealing evidence of the use of fire (photo courtesy of Evron Quarry Excavation Archive)

Researchers from the University of Toronto, the Weizmann Institute of Science and Hebrew University have identified new evidence of the use of fire by ancient humans at least 800,000 years ago at a site in western Israel.

The discovery, described in a study published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests only the sixth location worldwide of evidence of fire more than half a million years old….


Genomic analysis of ancient remains has shed light on the origins of the black death and offers insights into the coevolution of humans and diseases.

Indigenous Mapmaking, or Bringing a Dead Map to Life

Three people sitting on the floor point to and draw on large white pieces of paper. Another person stands behind them.

 

Two Indigenous Marind clan representatives peruse a map of their customary territories produced by local village members. Sophie Chao

Excerpted from In the Shadow of the Palms: More-Than-Human Becomings in West Papua. © 2022 Duke University Press. Reprinted with permission from Duke University Press.

The book In the Shadow of the Palms tells the story of how one group of people has encountered a plant that has radically upended their forest-based way of life. Over the past several decades, Indigenous Marind in the Indonesian-controlled region of West Papua have seen this introduced plant—oil palm—expand across their customary forests, lands, and territories in the form of industrial plantations.

A red bus is parked under a digital street sign that reads “via downtown” and two smaller street signs, each written in a different language.

 

At a Comic-Con, or comic book convention, in San Diego in 2010, the trolley signs were in Klingon. Doug Kline/The Pop Culture Geek Network/Flickr

This article was originally published at Knowable Magazine and has been republished with Creative Commons.

Most languages develop through centuries of use among groups of people. But some have a different origin: They are invented, from scratch, from one individual’s mind.

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