The new issue of Antiquity contains a suite of other really interesting papers, making it well worth checking out.
Here's a few of them:
Biancamaria Aranguren, Roberto Becattini, Marta Mariotti Lippi and Anna Revedin
Grinding flour in Upper Palaeolithic Europe (25000 years bp)
The authors have identified starch grains belonging to wild plants on the surface of a stone from the Gravettian hunter-gatherer campsite of Bilancino (Florence, Italy), dated to around 25000bp. The stone can be seen as a grindstone and the starch has been extracted from locally growing edible plants. This evidence can be claimed as implying the making of flour – and presumably some kind of bread – some 15 millennia before the local ‘agricultural revolution’.
Phillip C. Edwards
A 14000 year-old hunter-gatherer's toolkit
A sickle, 21 flint lunates for tipping spears and evidence of the hunted quarry – gazelle bones – lay together by the wall of a Natufian building. The author deduces that these objects were contained in a bag and constituted the versatile working equipment of a hunter-gatherer.
Josephine J. McDonald, Denise Donlon, Judith H. Field, Richard L.K. Fullagar, Joan Brenner Coltrain, Peter Mitchell and Mark Rawson
The first archaeological evidence for death by spearing in Australia
An Aboriginal man done to death on the dunes 4000 years ago was recently discovered during excavations beneath a bus shelter in Narrabeen on Sydney's northern beaches. The presence of backed microliths and the evidence for trauma in the bones showed that he had been killed with stone-tipped spears. Now we know how these backed points were used. A punishment ritual is implied by analogies with contact-period observations made in the eighteenth century AD.
From the perspective of time: hunter-gatherer burials in south-eastern Australia
In this study of the Murray River basin in south-eastern Australia, the author shows that Aboriginal burials are persistently attracted to specific kinds of landscape feature intermittently over long periods of time. Some attributes of burial, like body position, vary from site to site and over much shorter periods; others, like orientation, are even more local, relating only to a specific group of graves. Burial rites are thus sets of variables which may be independent of each other and change at different rates. Far from reflecting cultural arrivals and departures, in south-eastern Australia burial grounds were never formally founded and continually abandoned.
There's also a brief report (available free of charge) by A.P. Derevianko, A.A. Anoykin, V.S. Slavinsky & M.A. Borisov on recent Paleolithic excavations in the Caucasus.
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