- There will be a two-week dig in the Middle and Early Upper Paleolithic levels of Kent's Cavern, UK, starting at the end of March, and then another excavation in September 2009. Why is Kent's Cavern important? It has yielded the only potential EUP human remains in the UK, and debate continues to rage as to whether that mandible fragment belonged to a Neanderthal or anatomically modern human. Check out what John Hawks has to say about it.
- Excavations at the site of Bukit Bunuh in Malaysia have yielded a handaxe that has been tentatively dated to 1.83 million years BP by fission track dating. The excavators are interpreting this as evidence that Homo erectus was in Southeast Asia by that time.
- And finally, a short tantalizing blurb about the fact that an extensive set of Ardipithecus ramidus kaddaba remains (including a 'toe bone' allegedly indicative of bipedal posture) have been recovered in deposits dating to almost 5.2-5.8 million years BP. The investigators take this to show that bipedalism evolved very shortly after the chimp-human lines split. No indication is provided as to whether these are brand new specimens, or some older finds that are only now being published.
In other important news, Inside Higher Ed has a feature on the closing of the research section (18 world-renowned researchers laid off) at the UPenn Museum of Archaeology (which I mentioned in yesterday's Four Stone Hearth), and how that fits into a broader trend of universities closing sundry museums as a way to save or make money. The piece also refers to the closing of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University as another indicator of this trend, usually explained as a response to the 'extraordinary times' we're living through. Hm.