Kurt W. Alt

Kurt W. Alt
Danube Private University · Center of Natural and Cultural Human History

Prof. Dr.

About

794
Publications
302,217
Reads
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14,199
Citations
Citations since 2016
219 Research Items
10132 Citations
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Introduction
Professor at the DPU in Krems, Austria. Visiting Professor/Laboratory facilities at the Basel University, Switzerland. Scientific Advisor at the State Office for Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt, Halle. Prof. em. at the University of Mainz. Working at the fields of Human Evolution, Biological anthropology, Molecular and biogeochemical anthropology, Dental and forensic anthropology, Evolutionary medicine.
Additional affiliations
July 2014 - December 2016
University of Freiburg
Position
  • Guest Professor
July 2014 - present
Danube Private University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Specialist for Biological Anthropology, Dental Anthropology, Human Evolution, Dental Forensics, Bioarchaeology, Evolutionary Medicine
January 2014 - present
Universitätsspital Basel
Position
  • Visiting professor / laboratory facilities

Publications

Publications (794)
Article
Full-text available
We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000-3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost four hundred thousand polymorphisms. Enrichment of these positions decreases the sequencing required for genome-wide ancient DNA analysis by a median of around 250-fold, allowing us to study an order...
Article
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Ancient DNA makes it possible to observe natural selection directly by analysing samples from populations before, during and after adaptation events. Here we report a genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA, capitalizing on the largest ancient DNA data set yet assembled: 230 West Eurasians who lived between 6500 and 300 bc, including 163 w...
Article
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In 2005 to 2007 45 skeletons of adults and subadults were excavated at the Lombard period cemetery at Szólád (6th century A.D.), Hungary. Embedded into the well-recorded historical context, the article presents the results obtained by an integrative investigation including anthropological, molecular genetic and isotopic (δ15N, δ13C, 87Sr/86Sr) anal...
Article
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Investigation of human diet during the Neolithic has often been limited to a few archaeological cultures or single sites. In order to provide insight into the development of human food consumption and husbandry strategies, our study explores bone collagen carbon and nitrogen isotope data from 466 human and 105 faunal individuals from 26 sites in ce...
Article
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The Helmsdorf “princely” tomb, excavated at the beginning of the twentieth century, is one of the most important archaeological discoveries dating from the Early Bronze Age in central Germany. In addition to the burial inventory, which points to an elevated social position of the deceased, a number of highly fragmented skeletal remains were preserv...
Article
Full-text available
Anyone who wants to understand the biological nature of humans and their special characteristics must look far back into evolutionary history. Today’s way of life is drastically different from that of our ancestors. For almost 99% of human history, gathering and hunting have been the basis of nutrition. It was not until about 12,000 years ago that...
Article
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Age‐mimicry is a well‐known phenomenon in the application of osteological age‐estimation methods. Age‐mimicry refers to the fact that predicting age‐at‐death from a specific trait (age indicator) based on the relation observed in a specific reference sample implies that age estimates to some degree reflect the age structure of the reference sample....
Article
Being able to digest milk sugar beyond the age of weaning is a rather new trait in humans. The calculated age of the responsible mutations largely coincides with the introduction of dairy farming. Recent European populations exhibit a gradient of high levels of lactose tolerance in the north and lower numbers in the south. Lactase persistence is be...
Article
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Plaque control is one of the most recommended approaches in the prevention and therapy of caries and periodontal diseases. However, although most individuals in industrialized countries already perform daily oral hygiene, caries and periodontal diseases still are the most common diseases of mankind. This raises the question of whether plaque contro...
Article
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Human expansion in the course of the Neolithic transition in western Eurasia has been one of the major topics in ancient DNA (aDNA) research in the last ten years. Multiple studies have shown that the spread of agriculture and animal husbandry from the Near East across Europe was accompanied by large-scale human expansions. Moreover, changes in sub...
Article
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Dental health is closely linked to an individual’s health and diet. This bioarcheological study presents dental caries and stable isotope data obtained from prehistoric individuals (n = 101) from three Early Neolithic sites (c. 5500-4800 BCE) in central Germany. Dental caries and ante-mortem tooth loss (AMTL) were recorded and related to life histo...
Book
Full-text available
Esssentials of Dental Medicine Almost seven years ago, I was finishing the last pages of the book Essentials of Dental Medicine, which was published in Croatian language in 2015 by Naklada Slap. Then I wondered how readers and students would accept a book that, with its scope and content, goes beyond the borders of ordinary dental student literatur...
Article
Background Tooth cementum covers the surface of the root dentine and is produced and laid down in thin layers continuously throughout life. Functionally, different types of tooth cementum can be distinguished, which can be roughly divided into acellular (primary cementum) and cellular (secondary cementum) forms. One main type is acellular extrinsic...
Article
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The emerging Bronze Age (BA) of southeastern Iberia saw marked social changes. Late Copper Age (CA) settlements were abandoned in favor of hilltop sites, and collective graves were largely replaced by single or double burials with often distinctive grave goods indirectly reflecting a hierarchical social organization, as exemplified by the BA El Arg...
Article
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Objectives Ancient DNA provides an opportunity to separate the genetic and environmental bases of complex traits by allowing direct estimation of genetic values in ancient individuals. Here, we test whether genetic scores for height in ancient individuals are predictive of their actual height, as inferred from skeletal remains. We estimate the cont...
Article
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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been infecting humans for millennia and remains a global health problem, but its past diversity and dispersal routes are largely unknown. We generated HBV genomic data from 137 Eurasians and Native Americans dated between ~10,500 and ~400 years ago. We date the most recent common ancestor of all HBV lineages to between ~...
Article
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Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance polymath, is still recognized today — above all for his oil paintings and mechanical inventions. His anatomical studies have attracted less attention, even though he devoted over 30 years of his life to them. This paper outlines Leonardo’s career and research methods and focuses on the importance of his medical im...
Article
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Strontium isotope analysis has recently proven to be a useful tool to elucidate population movements and subsistence strategies in ecological and archaeological sciences. The interpretation depends on the size, type, availability, and preservation of the sample and the reliability of the produced strontium isotope baseline. However, collecting quan...
Conference Paper
Microtomography (μCT) has become indispensable for imaging unique objects. We investigated a historic case of a ‘beaten-copper’ cranium from around 5,000 BCE discovered at the site of Els Trocs in the Spanish pyrenees. The skull of an approximately five-year-old child (ET1/CET1) shows distinct impressions of the cerebral convolutions (gyri cerebri)...
Article
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Objectives This paper aims to systematically investigate the value of combining traits from different anatomical regions in osteological sexing by contrasting the utility of single traits and established scores with those of ensembles of traits from single or multiple anatomical regions, allowing metric and morphological traits to be combined. The...
Article
Background The prevalence of hard tissue formations in the dental pulp varies considerably. Beside ageing processes and irritations of the dental pulp, etiological associations with cardiovascular disease and dietary habits have been discussed, which are of particular research interest. The aim of this pilot study is to provide new insights on stru...
Article
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Sheep remains constitute the main archaeozoological evidence for the presence of Early Neolithic human groups in the highlands of the Southern Pyrenees but understanding the role of herding activities in the Neolithisation process of this mountain ecosystem calls for the analysis of large and well-dated faunal assemblages. Cova de Els Trocs (Bisaur...
Chapter
As efforts to recognise the Anthropocene as a new epoch of geological time are mounting, the controversial debate about the time of its beginning continues. Here, we suggest the term Palaeoanthropocene for the period between the first, barely recognizable, anthropogenic environmental changes and the industrial revolution when anthropogenically indu...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Abstract: The archaeological research at Els Trocs cave is a good example of a successful transdisciplinary project. Together with a great team of specialists in different areas of knowledge, we present an update of our research process. The site is a cave that was occupied for more than two millennia, from the Early Neolithic (the end of the 6th m...
Article
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The complexity of Neolithic population movements and their interpretation through material culture have been the subject of archaeological research for decades. One of the dominant narratives proposes that groups from the Starčevo-Kö rö s-Criş complex spread from the central towards the northern Balkans in the Early Neolithic and eventually brought...
Book
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There is almost no phenomenon as difficult to identify in the archaeological record as ritual violence. Yet we know that violence and rituals are fundamental historical forces that have not only radically altered societies, but also ›regulated‹ them over long periods of time. They have thus contributed as much to the establishment of accepted socia...
Article
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The flanks of the Caucasus Mountains and the steppe landscape to their north offered highly productive grasslands for Bronze Age herders and their flocks of sheep, goat, and cattle. While the archaeological evidence points to a largely pastoral lifestyle, knowledge regarding the general composition of human diets and their variation across landscap...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
At first sight, the Carpathian Basin appears to be a closed, homogeneous space, characterised by a vast plain and framed by the Carpathian Mountains. This is how it is mostly passed on in archaeological science. But on closer inspection, the uniformity dissolves into a complex heterogeneity, which does not simplify a supra-regional understanding of...
Article
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Seated positions are extraordinarily exceptional in prehistoric graves and despite the increasing number of new cases its social meaning remains uncertain. This paper presents a new finding of a Bronze Age seated burial discovered in the prehistoric cemetery of Humanejos (Parla). Such a unique burial is carefully analyzed in the context of the IInd...
Article
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A variety of interdisciplinary research on mobility and migration patterns in Neolithic Hungary has recently contributed to the explanatory models of the Neolithisation across Europe. Most of these models were based on a combination of the spatial distribution of material culture or bioarchaeological and genetic analyses to determine large-scale mi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Abstract: (Survival of dual Hunter-Gatherer ancestry in the Iberian Peninsula): The Iberian Peninsula conformed a periglacial refugium for Pleistocene hunter-gatherers (HG) during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) which served as a potential source for the re-peopling of northern latitudes. After 14,000 years ago, the genetic signature was dominated b...
Article
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Starting from 12,000 years ago in the Middle East, the Neolithic lifestyle spread across Europe via separate continental and Mediterranean routes. Genomes from early European farmers have shown a clear Near Eastern/Anatolian genetic affinity with limited contribution from hunter-gatherers. However, no genomic data are available from modern-day Fran...
Article
Full-text available
The El Argar society of the Bronze Age in the southeast of the Iberian Peninsula (2200–1550 cal BCE) was among the first complex societies in Europe. Its economy was based on cereal cultivation and metallurgy, it was organized hierarchically, and successively expanded its territory. Most of the monumentally fortified settlements lay on steeply slop...
Article
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Violence seems deeply rooted in human nature and an endemic potential for such is today frequently associated with differing ethnic, religious or socio-economic backgrounds. Ethnic nepotism is believed to be one of the main causes of inter-group violence in multi-ethnic societies. At the site of Els Trocs in the Spanish Pyrenees, rivalling groups o...
Chapter
Full-text available
The paper is based on findings and finds from the Middle Copper Age Balaton-Lasinja culture were discovered at Keszthely-Fenékpuszta, Pusztaszentegyháza site in June, 2000. Based on the results of archaeological, anthropological, and ancient DNA analyses these pits can be evaluated as archaeological records for a previously unknown secondary mortua...