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TOPIC: Hunter gatherers


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Palaeolithic diet
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Here's one diet plan even you assiduous fad followers have probably never heard about: the "Palaeolithic" diet. As the name implies, this diet essentially consists of foods that were regularly consumed by our Stone Age forbears and includes such staples as root vegetables, lean meat, nuts and eggs. Perhaps not surprisingly, given its simplicity and variety, this diet was found to yield significant health benefits in a recent study conducted in Sweden.

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RE: Hunter gatherers
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Animal Bones and Flint Tools Found in Archaeological Site in Palmyra
The Syrian-Swiss archaeological expedition started work for this season in Bir al-Hamel in the Palmyra semi-desert.
According to the Swiss expedition director, this site which dates back to 1 million years BC is one of the oldest civilization sites in Syria, composed of several layers of earth stacked one over the other and are 30 meters high.
The site contains flint artefacts and bones of animals that used to inhabit the region such as the camel, the gazelle and the elephant, in addition to human bones from the period when humans lived on hunting and gathering and resided in caves and straw tents.

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Our earliest ancestors gave up hunter-gathering and took to a settled life up to 400,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to controversial research.
The accepted timescale of Mans evolution is being challenged by a German archaeologist who claims to have found evidence that Homo erectus mankinds early ancestor, who migrated from Africa to Asia and Europe began living in settled communities long before the accepted time of 10,000 years ago.
The point at which settlement actually took place is the first critical stage in humanitys cultural development.
Helmut Ziegert, of the Institute of Archaeology at Hamburg University, says that the evidence can be found at excavated sites in North and East Africa, in the remains of stone huts and tools created by upright man for fishing and butchery.
Professor Ziegert claims that the thousands of blades, scrapers, hand axes and other tools found at sites such as Budrinna, on the shore of the extinct Lake Fezzan in southwest Libya, and at Melka Konture, along the River Awash in Ethiopia, provide evidence of organised societies.

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The Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) Saturday reported the discovery of new sites with archaeological finds in Al-Ruways in the western region and the relics are said to date back to the late Miocene age.
In a statement, ADACH Muhammad Khalaf Al-Mazrouie said the ADACH also found a site dating back to the Neolithic age (New Stone Age), the first discovery of items dating to this period of history.
Among the items discovered are three spears of superior craftsmanship which were all found in the same location and all date back to a hunter's post on high ground overlooking Sabkhat Matti, a huge, sterile salt flat in the western region of the UAE spreading into Saudi Arabia.
The statement said this indicates that the inhabitants of this area in the Neolithic age chose the high ground as a strategic position and monitoring post over 7,000 years ago.

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In the Stone Age, prehistoric peoples created weapons by making stone projectile points and affixing them to arrow and spear shafts. Until now, no one has researched the technological advantage or disadvantage of the arrowhead to prehistoric culture.
With the help of Discovery Channel MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage, two University of Wyoming archaeologists pledged to find out about the arrowheads significance to ancient cultures.
Nicole Waguespack and Todd Surovell, both in the UW Department of Anthropology, a few years ago began to question the purpose of arrowheads. The objects had long been accepted in their profession as an important component of prehistoric weaponry.
The concept that projectile points were used to advance hunting has been perpetuated throughout history, but wasn't based on any meaningful evidence, according to the UW researchers.

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Human sacrifice
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Europe's prehistoric hunter-gatherers may have practiced human sacrifice, a new study claims.
Investigating a collection of graves from the Upper Palaeolithic (about 26,000 to 8,000 BC), archaeologists found several that contained pairs or even groups of people with rich burial offerings and decoration. Many of the remains were young or had deformities, such as dwarfism.
The diversity of the individuals buried together and the special treatment they received could be a sign of ritual killing, said Vincenzo Formicola of the University of Pisa, Italy.

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Hunter gatherers
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Evidence from ancient European graves raises questions about ritual human sacrifice
A fascinating new paper from the June issue of Current Anthropology explores ancient multiple graves and raises the possibility that hunter gatherers in what is now Europe may have practiced ritual human sacrifice. This practice well-known in large, stratified societies supports data emerging from different lines of research that the level of social complexity reached in the distant past by groups of hunter gatherers was well beyond that of many more recent small bands of modern foragers.
Due to their number, state of preservation, richness, and variety of associated grave goods, burials from the Upper Palaeolithic (26,000-8,000 BC) represent an important source of information on ideological beliefs that may have influenced funerary behaviour. In an analysis of the European record, Vincenzo Formicola (University of Pisa, Italy) points to a high frequency of multiple burials, commonly attributed to simultaneous death due to natural disaster or disease.
However, a look at grave composition reveals that some of the multiple burials may have been selective. Not only do the skeletons in these graves vary by sex and age, but the most spectacular sites also include a severely deformed individual with a pathological condition that would have been apparent since birth, for example, dwarfism or congenital bowing of the bones.
These multiple graves are also richly ornamented and in choice locales. For example, the remains of an adolescent dwarf in Romito Cave (Calabria, Italy) lie next to a female skeleton under an elaborate engraving of a bull. In the Sunghir double burial (Russia), the skeletons of a pre-teen boy and girl are surrounded by ivory objects including about 5,000 beads, each of which may have taken an hour to make.

"These findings point to the possibility that human sacrifices were part of the ritual activity of these populations and provide clues on the complexity and symbolism pervading Upper Palaeolithic societies as well as on the perception of "diversity" and its links to magical-religious beliefs. These individuals may have been feared, hated, or revered . . . we do not know whether this adolescent received special burial treatment in spite of being a dwarf or precisely because he was a dwarf" - Vincenzo Formicola.

Source: University of Chicago

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