• Michael Brass added an answer:
    What is the future of Later Stone Age research in southern Africa?

    For some time now I've been wondering this, especially to do with my work in eastern Botswana and northern South Africa. How can we best serve this field of research? On the one hand, we are seeing a diaspora of research themes. This is positive in one way, but it also shows that at present there is not much of a central topic (I exclude rock art here). We are looking at ethnographic analogy, settlement patterns, forager-farmer relations, technological change and subsistence habits. There is not a single thread tying these together except that we are looking at both the same period in time and techno-complex. Another avenue I see as being pertinent in this field is that of transformation, and specifically in South Africa. We now have a national agenda that seeks to reform society, represent the 'voiceless' and empower communities. Later Stone Age research has the potential to do just this with respect to the region's indigenous hunter-gatherer communities. We can advocate social change through our research, but I don't know if we have fully achieved this. Yes, a balance between working towards scientific enquiry and social agendas should be struck, but are we taking cognisance of national issues in our research? Should we? Can we not use archaeology in this case to innovatively study aspects of hunter-gatherer prehistory by using advanced technologies and tools while also empowering communities and advocating transformation? These questions are part of a review I am currently working on and I would appreciate any thoughts and ideas that you are willing to share

    Michael Brass

    Hi Tim,

    I apologise for the length of delay in replying. San Nixon wrote a good paper a few years back in the Journal of African Archaeology dealing with new approaches to hunter-gatherer archaeology in West Africa, and the benefits. He applied this to a specific test case based upon his Ph.D dissertation.

    You may also like to take a look at the publications list on Kevin MacDonald's UCL profile page.

    I think you need to establish a common methodological approach which is both defendable and flexible. There is good literature on frontier archaeology, how to determine ranges, etc. Perhaps more petrographic work could be done on early pottery to determine where the clays came from?

  • Stefan Wenzel added an answer:
    Can anyone recommend some literature on the residential burials?
    I am working on Early Iron Age at Lower Danube, where in almost completely excavated settlements we have discovered a lot of infra mural burials. For understanding and finding a good explanation of this phenomenon I need to compare it with similar discoveries from different ages and areas.
    Stefan Wenzel

    Dear Sorin-Cristian,

    in the years of study I found the plastered skulls of the PPNB fascinating, which are often found in houses and can be regarded as partial burials:

    Slon V, Sarig R, Hershkovitz I, Khalaily H, Milevski I (2014) The Plastered Skulls from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B Site of Yiftahel (Israel) – A Computed Tomography-Based Analysis. PLoS ONE 9(2): e89242. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089242

    (Three plastered skulls found only near a building, but references for finds in buildings).

    Seated burials under PPNB houses are described here:

    Emma Guerrero, Miquel Molist, Ian Kuijt and Josep Anfruns, Seated Memory: New Insights into Near Eastern Neolithic Mortuary Variability from Tell Halula, Syria. Current Anthropology Vol. 50, No. 3 (June 2009), pp. 379-391

    Best wishes,


    + 1 more attachment

  • Jaime González-Gómez added an answer:
    Has anyone ever seen or published the inhumation of human bones in an inverted urn in the Prehistory of the Amazonian region?

    Some time ago I worked on a secondary funerary context from the Amazonian region in which the human remains were deposited under a funerary pot instead of inside it (very frequent practice). The ceramic pot was complete, the context was not disturbed prior to the archaeological excavation and deposition was intentional. I'd appreciate if you could suggest similar cases in the literature. Thank you for any help.

    Jaime González-Gómez

    Hello Claudia.

    Perhaps this articles can approach to the topic.


  • Yasmani Ceballos added an answer:
    Can someone identify this Jurassic fern?

    This fossil Himenofitales fern was collected several years ago by R. Rojas and myself from a Jurassic pre mid-Oxfordian exposure of the San Cayetano Formation in western Cuba. Any suggestion as to species or genera or distribution in time and space?

    Yasmani Ceballos
    Sometime ago I contacted Sidney Ash, a norteamerican paleobotanist and in his opinion the fossil resembles the Jurassic fern Coniopteris.
  • Catalin Lazar added an answer:
    Does anybody know Lithoglyphus pygmaeus specimens (or ornaments manufactured from this gastropod) discovered in prehistoric sites?

    Does anybody know Lithoglyphus pygmaeus specimens (or ornaments manufactured from this gastropod) discovered in prehistoric sites?

    Catalin Lazar

    Dear Stefan,

    Thanks for your reply. The use of the L. naticoides by the prehistoric communities is well known. Please see one of my previous question from RG and the additional disscusions on that topic.

    However,  my concerns is only about the existence of the L. pygmaeus specimens in the archaeological sites from Paleolithic, Mesolithic or Neolithic.


  • Chun Liu added an answer:
    Are there any fossilized tools in any museums in the world?
    I'm looking for information on prehistoric hominid tools. If you happen to have any photographs to compare with my collections, I would really appreciate it!
    Chun Liu

    Dear Krishnan Umachandran

    Thank you very much for the information. I am interesting in the information about a fossilized tool extremely. But our government blocks my accessing to the website. So I cannot open the webpage.

  • Stefan Wenzel added an answer:
    Does anyone know literature about well excavated tipi rings?

    I'm looking for literature about well excavated tipi rings or other ephemeral dwellings of North American Indians or of Siberian people, preferentially with individually recorded finds.

    Best regards,

    Stefan Wenzel

    Stefan Wenzel

    Dear Alwynne,

    many thanks for this wealth of information!

    Best wishes,


  • Ignacio Soriano added an answer:
    Do you know prehistoric graves of which the season of burial is known?

    I am looking for graves for which the season of burial is known. I am particularly interested in Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age Europe, but will follow up any hints! Season should be documented by botanical remains, pollen, or other scientific evidence.

    Many thanks!

    Ignacio Soriano

    In Catalonia (NE Spain), a collective burial in a variscite (green mineral) mine shaft of Can Tintorer (C14 dated, Middle-Late Neolithic) shows evidence of funerary ritual burning wild olive tree and other plants, related with Autumn-Winter season. These are identified with anthracology. The paper it's in Catalan from the 90' but still really useful.

  • Claudia Cunha added an answer:
    Does anyone know of works on discrete dental morphology of Brazilian archaeological samples?

    Besides Turner's 1980's work on the dental morphology of archaeological series, I've found very little: Huffman's, Bartolomucci (LBG)'s and Neves & Powell's work. Does anyone know of anything else? Thanks

    Claudia Cunha

    Olá Gabriel,

    Caso possas enviar-me artigos vossos agradeceria muito!

    Vou mandar-te meu endereço de email por mensagem aqui.



  • Claudia Cunha added an answer:
    Could anyone suggest bibliographic references for paleopathology of pre colonial (amerindian) populations in the amazonian region?

    Could anyone suggest bibliographic references for paleopathology of pre colonial (amerindian) populations in the amazonian region?

    Claudia Cunha

    Yes, I know her work but it seems paleopathology is not one of her interests.

  • Jubin J. Cheruvelil added an answer:
    Has anyone has experience with commercial residue analysis labs, looking at lipids and other residues from archaeological ceramics?

    I have some ceramics from South Asia I want to quickly assess for potential preservation.

    Jubin J. Cheruvelil

    Kathleen. Michigan State has a lab that performs this service as well. Not commercial, but academic. I can forward you the relevant information, if you have not identified anyone else.

  • Stefan Wenzel added an answer:
    Is there a database of the locations of prehistoric dogs in Britain or even Europe?

    A list of where I can find info on prehistoric dog records would greatly speed up my dissertation, if such a document exists

    Stefan Wenzel


    here is an new paper (published December 22, 2014):

    Marie-Pierre Horard-Herbin, Anne Tresset & Jean-Denis Vigne, Domestication and uses of the dog in western Europe from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age. Animal
    Frontiers, July 2014, Vol. 4., No. 3, 23-31.

    DOI: 10.2527/af.2014-0018

    Best regards,


    • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
      ABSTRACT: PDF at :[-3]=&searchType[-3]=Any&search[-2]=horard&searchFields[-2][Author]=Author&searchType[-2]=Phrase&search[-1]=&searchFields[-1][Title]=Title&searchType[-1]=Phrase&volume=&issue=&year=&first-page=&journal[af]=af&search[0]= This paper reviews the knowledge of the history of the dog in western Europe acquired through archaeozoology. The first part examines the question of domestication of the wolf during the Upper Paleolithic, by highlighting the sometimes contradictory archeological and genetic findings. It also briefly lays out the different controversies regarding the site or sites of domestication of the dog in the world and the presumed dates of this major phenomenon in human history. The second part deals with the evolution of canine morphology from the Paleolithic to the Iron Age, integrating, for example, the latest discoveries regarding domestic coat colors in the Mesolithic. Finally, the presumed and attested uses of dogs throughout European pre- and protohistory are presented, including certain practices that lasted over time.
      No preview · Article · Jun 2014
  • Simone Cagno added an answer:
    How can I compare data between Bruker Tracer III-V+ and Tracer III-SD?

    Has anyone tried converting data obtained with a Bruker Tracer III-V+ pXRF to be comparable to data obtained with the new Tracer III-SD? I'm working on obsidian and I have tried both compressing and expanding the spectrum but the numbers do not even come close to being comparable.

    Simone Cagno

    Dear Kristine, as said before, from the data in the xls I would argue that the conversion (1024 to 2048) has worked, and the data are comparable, although there is only one peak that can be compared (Fe), for which you have good statistics. But anyway, it is probably a good idea to contact Bruker to have further suggestions. 

  • Preslav I. Peev added an answer:
    Does anyone know any analogies from south-eastern European prehistory?

    This zoomorphic figurine - a lion - alabaster made, is a fortuitous find on a chalcolithic tell settlement (Gumelnita, ca. 4000 BC) in Teleorman county, southern Romania. This is a quite unusual representation for this period.

    Preslav I. Peev

    Dear Pavel, OK but now I'm at the excavations and I'll send the scans at the end of week.

  • J.M.Q. Ventura added an answer:
    Can anyone help with bone projectile points of the near eastern PPN and PN?
    I'm looking for evidence for bone projectile points in Neolithic pre-pottery and pottery of the Near East. Can anybody point out relevant literature?
    J.M.Q. Ventura

    Not direct injuries, but some studies on neolithic arrows from central Portugal here

    Sadly only in portuguese.

    Will try to translate it into a more common language, and updated with most recent findings.

  • Catalin Lazar added an answer:
    Does anybody know red ocher beads from neolithic or other prehistoric periods?

    In the summer of 2014, we discovered a new Eneolithic cemetery at Sultana (Romania), and near one of the skeletons we identified a fragment of red ocher bead.

    Does anybody know other similar artefacts from prehistory or other time periods?

    Thanks in advance.

    Catalin Lazar

    Dear Stefan,

    Thank you for the information.

    Best wishes,


  • Julio Miguel Román Punzón added an answer:
    How are the deep "pear-shaped" pits interpreted in the european Neolithic and Eneolithic?

    I am studying an archaeological site (ca 4600-4200 cal BC) where two, up to 2m deep pits were discovered, which are broader towards the bottom and narrower at the level from which they were dug.

    If I remember correctly from some lectures and papers, these are usually interpreted as storage pits. One of the pit from our site (see attached file) had a burnt layer (or several layers) 10cm thick with a lot of charcoal at the bottom. The whole pit was subsequently filled with dirt containing pottery. The fill can be separated into an upper and lower layer (one 70, other 90cm deep), which are separated by a 20-30cm thick layer containing no pottery. This is quite an interesting deposition and would require a lot of attention.

    What is the usual interpretation of pits of such shape? Were they primarily storage pits, used later for other activities such as for firing, disposing of refuse etc? Are there any good comparisons in the European Neolithic and Eneolithic? I am interested in any literature dealing with these pits specifically, but also any good references for how to deal with the deposits in these pits. Any ideas?

    Julio Miguel Román Punzón


    Although the Copper Age, it would be interesting to consult this article, an original proposal:

    Eloísa Bernáldez Sánchez; Esteban García-Viñas; Miguel Gamero-Esteban y María Bernáldez Sánchez, 2014: Campos de compost en la Edad del Cobre del SO de la Península Ibérica. Una nueva propuesta. VI ENCUENTRO DE ARQUEOLOGÍA DEL SUROESTE PENINSULAR, pp. 927-939

  • Julie Hruby added an answer:
    How can we tell the pylos tablets were once only air dried after they have thorougly been baked in the final fire w/o archaeometrical investigation?

    The biscuit baking of clay is to avoid damage during the baking process I understand. Letting clay dry before a first low temp  burning is part of this. I also understand that w/o further examination from just plain sight it is impossible to state whether a piece of clay has been burned once or twice, the highest temperature will leave ist mark and overshadow previous baking. Is that correct? If so, how do we know the Pylos tablets were only air dried and not (half) baked?

    Thank You

    Julie Hruby

    No problem.



  • Thomas J. Loebel added an answer:
    Evidence for functional usage of Manganese dioxyde (MnO2)?
    Within the Mousterian record of western Europe, we have evidence for usage of black pigment made from MnO2 by Neandertals (50 000 years old at Pech-de-l'Azé I for instance). I've been using the analogy with the ethnographic record as well as some preliminary experiments to argue that they might have been used as dye stuff/stain (see Soressi et D'Errico, 2007 as well as Soressi et al 2008). Would anybody know of usage of MnO2 pigment for other purposes than body decoration/symbolic purposes?
    Thomas J. Loebel

    I recommend reading:

    Mandl 1961 Collagenases and Elastases. Advances in Enzymology 23 164-264

    Velo 1984 Ochre as a Medicine: a Suggestion for the Interpretation of the Archaeological Record, Current Anthropology 25(5)674.

    much work has recently been done documenting the functional use of of minerals in the "ochre" family, ie any of those containing iron oxide or iron hydroxide such as hematite, goethite, and liminonites.

  • Pál Sümegi added an answer:
    Does anybody know beads made of Lithoglyphus sp from Neolithic or other prehistoric periods?
    In 2003, we discovered a necklace made of Lithoglyphus sp, in the tell settlement of Sultana-Malu Roşu, Romania. In 2013 we discovered another necklace made of Lithoglyphus sp in grave 74 from cemetery that belonging to the settlement.
    From a chrono-cultural point of view the cemetery and the tell settlement belongs to the Gumelnița culture (ca. 4600–3950 BC) part of the large Eneolithic cultural complex Kodjadermen-Gumelniţa-Karanovo VI from Balkans.
    Does anybody know other beads made of Lithoglyphus sp from prehistory or other time periods?
    Thanks in advance.
    Pál Sümegi

    Yes, I analysed some Late Neolithic jewelleries from Polgár Csőszhalom and Polgár Ferencihát, where the Lithoglypus naticoides shells were used.

  • Nelum Kanthilatha added an answer:
    sediment analysis
    I am doing prehistoric sediment analysis. I would like to share your experience....
    Nelum Kanthilatha

    Thank you very much, Popovici. I want to prove the human behaviours identified already by macroscopic artefacts using sediments.

  • Oliver Nakoinz added an answer:
    What is a good publication on iron age settlement patterns in Pleistocene coversand area's in Lower Saxony?
    I'm writing my thesis on iron age settlement patterns on the Drenthe Plateau in the north of the Netherland. Besides comparisons with other pleistocene covers and area's in the Netherlands I would like to compare it with those in the north of Germany. Since I'm not that well read in German research I would like some help with titles that give an overview of the patterns (preferable in relation to the landscape). I would prefer publications in English, but titles in German are welcome too.
    Oliver Nakoinz

    The book from Ingo Eichfeld might be useful

  • Christine Mcdonnell added an answer:
    Is Canada balsam appropriate to mount permanent microscope slides for ancient starch analysis?
    Does Canada balsam presents any biological contamination? Which resin or other means would be appropriate to mount permanent slides in Archaeobotany?

    Thank you very much.
    Christine Mcdonnell

    Canada balsam is too thick to maneuver on slides so I used immersion oil. Does anyone know the correct citation for Perry on her methodology?

  • Antonio Montelongo Franquiz added an answer:
    What is the evidence for early (initial colonization) access to subterranean freshwater in the Pacific and Southeast Asia?
    I'm looking for early constructions of wells, sumps, etc. or pit features used for agriculture in coastal environments.
    Antonio Montelongo Franquiz

    I'm working on the subject area of ​​the Atlantic Ocean. I think they are first natural deposits offered by nature in a process of initial colonization, then after the settlement and the need for a greater amount of water resources involve building nearshore deposits, mainly wells, especially on islands besides those spaces inside water capacity enough.

  • Chun Liu added an answer:
    Do you think there are some fossilized tools that were judged mistakenly as lithic tools in historic archeology?

    My personal view, hominids could use bones, horns, sticks and so on as tools. Just as these attached in the image.

    + 5 more attachments

    Chun Liu

    the evidences are also overlooked.

    + 2 more attachments

  • Michael Buchwitz added an answer:
    Is there a database/source for dinosaur DNA and/or protein sequences?

    I want to study specific protein sequences to better understand their functional properties. I think that such information from this group of animals may help in this understanding.

    Michael Buchwitz

    See also this recent paper about the persistence of ancient protein molecules (uploaded to RG this week), including examples from dinosaur fossils:

    • Source
      [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
      ABSTRACT: Advances in resolution and sensitivity of analytical techniques have provided novel applications, including the analyses of fossil material. However, the recovery of original proteinaceous components from very old fossil samples (defined as >1 million years (1 Ma) from previously named limits in the literature) is far from trivial. Here, we discuss the challenges to recovery of proteinaceous components from fossils, and the need for new sample preparation techniques, analytical methods, and bioinformatics to optimize and fully utilize the great potential of information locked in the fossil record. We present evidence for survival of original components across geological time, and discuss the potential benefits of recovery, analyses, and interpretation of fossil materials older than 1 Ma, both within and outside of the fields of evolutionary biology.
      Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Analytical Chemistry
  • Jean-Loïc Le Quellec added an answer:
    Is there any data on how humans used cosmetics and body painting during the pre historic time?
    I'm doing research on cosmetics and body painting during the pre historic time (like 100,000 years ago up to 5,000 years ago). I've found some information about using red ochre and decorative shells and related speculation; but apparently I need more data; especially based on cave art or something like that.
    Jean-Loïc Le Quellec
    A good reference for Niola Doha : Simonis, Roberta, Guido Faleschini, & Giancarlo Negro 1994. «Niola Doa, "il luogo delle fanciulle" (Ennedi, Ciad).» Sahara 6: 51-62.

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