The Guardian reports that a Cambridge University study has revealed that Neanderthals died out due to the invasion of homo sapiens into Europe. The humans coming from Africa were 10x more numerous, causing the indigenous Neanderthal population to be marginalized and pushed into harsher habitats, where they could no longer survive. Paul Mellars, emeritus professor at Cambridge University and head of this research states: “The Neanderthals seem to have retreated initially into more marginal and less attractive regions of the continent and eventually, within a space of at most a hundred thousand years, for their populations to have declined to extinction.” Read the entire article on The Guardian website.
The Ancient Lives Project of Oxford University is looking for volunteers to help transcribe thousands of ancient Greek papyrus pages, found in Egypt. Not only are famous works such as Homer and Plato among the papyri, but also letters, receipts, and other common documents. It’s rather easy to help: You point on a part of the image and klick the appropriate Greek letter on the screen. Have a look and help this project!
The Wall Street Journal has just published a review of Richard Miles’s book Carthage must be destroyed. The book examines the rise and fall of Carthage as a Mediterranean civilization: “Richard Miles draws a very good picture of the peaceful interaction through trade between the Carthaginians and Greeks, and later the Carthaginians and Romans.” You can read the entire review on the WSJ website.
While it was previously thought that humans and neanderthals never mixed, Wired reports that a recent DNA study of both human and neanderthal DNA has revealed the opposite. In non-African humans there is a part of DNA that is neanderthal in origin, which proves that there was human-neanderthal coexistence and reproduction.
A sample of ancient medicinal tablets dated to 130 BC has been DNA-analyzed. The result: Ancient pills consisted of various vegetables and herbs that can be found in any garden. Read below the fold for more details.
The British Museum has just uploaded a video lecture on the Nimrud Ivories, which were acquired by the museum in March 2011. In this lecture, given exclusively for Members, Nigel Tallis, Curator of Middle East, talks about this fascinating collection of over 5000 ivories that was excavated in Iraq between 1949 and 1963 by Sir Max Mallowan. The ivories represent a vital, and currently under-explored, resource for understanding the religion, society, economics and craft traditions of the Assyrian Empire.
Keith Roberts, author of The Origins of Business, Money, and Markets wrote an interesting article on Forbes, comparing changes in ancient Economies to what is happening in the modern world. The article An Investment Strategy Based on Ancient History (a strange title considering its content) is definitely worth a read.