News

Pinhasi Lab featured on ARTE documentary

HEAS members Ron Pinhasi and Olivia Cheronet were recently featured on an arte documentary series 'Das Steinzeit Menu' in the second episode on 'Als Homo sapiens zum Bauern wurde'   The documentary (in German) can be viewed on the link below until the 24th July 2024.   https://www.arte.tv/de/videos/106261-000-A/das-steinzeit-menue/

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HEAS tribute to Board Member Sabine Ladstätter

It is with profound shock and sadness that we have learned of the passing of our esteemed and highly respected colleague, Sabine Ladstätter. As the head of the Austrian Archaeological Institute and the first female Director of the Ephesos excavations, Sabine was an outstanding archaeologist and a gifted science communicator. Sabine was integral to HEAS as one of the central team leaders in that she shared the HEAS approach of interdisciplinary research. She spearheaded the integration of archaeological sciences methods and approaches with Classical Archaeology. Her contributions have left an indelible mark on Austrian archaeology and touched the lives of everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her, both peers and the public alike. Sabine shared our vision for excellence in archaeological research in Vienna and beyond. We knew her as an enthusiastic, captivating, hardworking, devoted, caring, and down-to-earth colleague. Her passing creates a significant void in Austrian archaeology, both nationally and internationally. Sabine will be deeply missed.   Additional Tributes: https://www.oeaw.ac.at/oeai/medien/newsarchiv/news-detail/das-oeai-trauert-um-sabine-ladstaetter    

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News Allgemein

HEAS board member Martin Steskal appointed as the new director of the Ephesos excavations

The prestigious excavations of the Austrian Archaeological Institute in Ephesos/Türkiye will be led by Martin Steskal from this year. For many years, Steskal has been committed to interdisciplinary research approaches and the establishment of archaeology as an interface between the humanities and sciences. His planned research includes questions on circular economy, resource management, human-environment relationships, production and consumption. He deals with the key question of how the living conditions of an ancient populations can be reconstructed.

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HEAS Member awarded Fellow status at the 35th Annual Meeting of the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society (HBES).

HEAS Member, Bernhard Fink was recently awarded Fellow status at the recent 35th Annual Meeting of the Human Behaviour and Evolution Society (HBES). Fellow status is conferred to members of the Society for sustained outstanding contributions to the study/teaching of evolution and human behaviour, and to the service of the Society. There are currently 7 fellows (2 from Europe). https://www.hbes.com/awards/#toggle-id-3

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Call for Paper for p-XRF conference – deadline on 7th of June

The Call for Papers for the upcoming conference on Methodological Innovations in p-XRF Studies, hosted by the Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science (VIAS) and sponsored by HEAS, closes in just a couple of days on the 7th of June! The conference will provide a platform for presenting cutting-edge methods and strategies for p-XRF data acquisition, processing, and interpretation. We invite 20-minute presentations from all fields utilizing p-XRF, with a focus on practical and software innovations, handling techniques, and new applications across diverse materials. Key details: Abstract Submission Deadline: June 7th, 2024 (max. 250 words) Conference Registration Deadline: August 11th, 2024 Conference Date: September 24th, 2024 Ice-breaker Event: September 23rd, 2024 Location: VIAS and NHM Conference Proceedings: Will be published Participation: Free of charge For more information, please refer to the Conference_pXRF_CfP or visit the conference website: https://vias.univie.ac.at/projekte/conference-methodological-innovations-in-p-xrf-studies/ This conference is being organised by HEAS Member Michaela Schauer  

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HEAS UXO workshop

Workshop on Explosive ordnance identification for archaeologists Archaeological fieldwork often takes place in areas that were the scene of historical conflicts. This increases the probability of encountering explosive ordnance during excavations. It can be assumed that on average 10% of all explosive devices fired in conflicts did not explode. These unexploded ordnance (UXO) pose a risk to the safety of excavating archaeologists. Currently, many lack the necessary awareness and training to identify and properly handle ordnance found during fieldwork. This workshop aims to raise risk awareness and to close knowledge gaps in order to increase safety. Participants should be able to recognise potentially dangerous explosive ordnance, ammunition and ammunition parts during field work and react appropriately. This workshop is funded by the HEAS research network and supported by the Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science, the Institute for Prehistory and Historical Archaeology, and the Austrian Archaeological Institute. Date and location: Saturday June 8th 2024, 9:30 until ca. 15:00, Franz-Klein-Gasse 1, HS7, 1190 Vienna Speaker: Vice-Lieutenant Jürgen Zeitlhofer Workshop language:  German For registrations please email immo.trinks@univie.ac.at   Download flyer  

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HEAS Member Verena Schuenemann Publishes Research on How Leprosy Spread Between Red Squirrels And People in Medieval England

Leprosy is a chronic infectious disease that continues to sicken 200,000 people each year in many places around the world, according to the World Health Organization, spread through close contact over months with someone who has untreated leprosy. But new evidence from archaeological sites in the medieval English city of Winchester reported in Current Biology on May 3, 2024, shows that English red squirrels once served as an important host for the Mycobacterium leprae strains responsible for leprosy in people. The findings may have implications for understanding the spread of leprosy today, including why it has not been successfully eradicated, according to the researchers. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, they also highlight the importance of a collaborative One Health approach for understanding infectious diseases and health outcomes more broadly. One Health refers to an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely linked to the health of animals and the environment.   Read Press Release Link to article

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HEAS Member wins Poster Price

HEAS Member Michelle Haemmerle recently won a poster prize for her work on the 'Monkeypox virus in museum samples of orangutans' at the VDSEE Symposium in the University of Vienna Biology Building (UBB). The publication the poster was based on was published earlier this month.

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HEAS Hosted ‘Archaeology for Kids’ Workshop at the NHM

On the 6th February 2024 HEAS hosted a group of children from children from around Vienna for a workshop on 'Archaeology for Kids' at the HEAS partner the Natural History Museum. The children learnt about the main prehistoric and historical eras with interactive examples of representative sites, monuments, and objects. We hope this hands on experience sparked an interest for the children in ancient cultures and the modern scientific methods used to study them. To learn more about the workshop and other work by Dr. Alexandra Dolea please see her blog post below: https://www.ilovearchaeology.com/post/archaeology-for-kids-workshop

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HEAS Member Martin Fieder publishes new US textbook

HEAS Member Martin Fieder has published a new US textbook on social status, number of children in modern societies, confirming evolutionary assumptions on social status and reproduction. This is the first book to fully examine, from an evolutionary perspective, the relationship between social status and fertility in human societies before, during, and after the demographic transition. In most non-human social species, social status or relative rank in a social group is positively associated with the number of offspring, with high-status individuals typically having more offspring than low-status individuals. Humans, however, appear to be different. As societies have become richer, fertility has fallen to unprecedented lows, with some developed societies now at or below replacement fertility. Within rich societies, women in higher-income families often have fewer children than women in lower-income families. Evolutionary theory suggests that the relationship between social status and fertility is likely to be somewhat different for men and women, so it is important to examine this relationship for men and women separately. When this is done, the positive association between individual SES and fertility is often clear in less developed, pre-transition societies, especially for men. Once the demographic transition begins, it is elite families, and especially the women of elite families, who lead the way in fertility decline. Post-transition, the evidence from a wide range of developed…

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HEAS Member Peter Steier publishes paper on dating Austria’s Lake Neusiedl

The landscape of present-day Austria was shaped by the ice ages, the last of which ended around 10,000 years ago. Modern scientific methods allow us to gain an insight into these processes long before historical records exist. One controversial question to date has been how long Lake Neusiedl has existed. Because there was no reliable evidence, estimates ranged from thousands to millions of years. In a joint endeavour, scientists from four Austrian universities have now succeeded in narrowing down the age of Lake Neusiedl to around 25,000 years. Stephanie Neuhuber from the Institute of Applied Geology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) Vienna, under whose leadership the study was carried out, is surprised by this age, which coincides with the peak of the last ice age, as it was actually particularly dry at that time. The age was determined by radiocarbon dating of carbonate minerals formed in the lake water and deposited in mud on the lake bed. Read more here   Read full paper  

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HEAS Member Verena Schünemann has a new paper in Nature on Prehistoric human remains from South-America helping to uncover the origins of treponemal diseases.

The oldest known genome of a bacterium from a family that causes diseases such as syphilis has been identified in prehistoric human remains from Brazil, a Nature paper reveals. The finding helps to shed light on the origins of this disease group. Closely related but distinct subspecies of Treponema pallidum bacteria cause different types of treponemal disease, such as venereal syphilis and a non-sexually transmitted disease known as bejel. The origins of these diseases are debated: some argue that the syphilis epidemic in late 15th century Europe arose after Columbus’ expeditions introduced the bacteria from the Americas. Previous theories of the emergence of these diseases have been based on studies of ancient bone pathology but definitive evidence to identify the causative subspecies has eluded researchers. Verena Schuenemann and colleagues extracted DNA from four individuals from a nearly 2,000-year-old Brazilian burial site and were able to reconstruct the genomes of T. pallidum bacteria that had infected them. Their analysis revealed that the pathogen responsible was most closely related to the modern species that causes bejel. The finding adds strength to previous suggestions that civilizations in the Americas experienced treponemal infections in pre-Columbian times, and that treponemal disease was already present in the New World at least 500 years before Columbus set sail. The study does not shed light on the emergence…

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HEAS member Muhammad Bilal Sharif successfully completes PhD. Congratulations Dr. Sharif!

We are pleased to share that a HEAS member, Muhammad Bilal Sharif, has successfully completed his PhD under the supervision of Dr. Elmira Mohandesan and Prof. Katrin Schaefer. He defended his thesis "The Threads of Time in Equine Management: A Genetic Exploration of Iron Age and Roman Equids, and New Zealand's Feral Horses" on January 5th, 2024. Congratulations to Dr. Sharif on this remarkable achievement!

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HEAS Virtual Anthropology Group releases free 3D data of Australopithecus afarensis cranium

The virtual reconstruction of the Ethiopian Australopithecus afarensis specimen A.L. 444-2 from Hadar was now released for free use in the digital@rchive of fossil hominoids https://www.virtual-anthropology.com/3d-data/free-data/   The reconstruction was made in the Virtual Anthropology Lab at University of Vienna by Sascha Senck, Stefano Benazzi, Gerhard Weber, and others. It is described in detail in the supplement of “Ledogar, J. A., Senck, S., Villmoare, B. A., Smith, A. L., Weber, G. W., Richmond, B. G., Dechow, P. C., Ross, C. F., Grosse, I. R., Wright, B. W., Wang, Q., Byron, C., Benazzi, S., Carlson, K. J., Carlson, K. B., McIntosh, L. C., Van Casteren, A., & Strait, D. S. (2022). Mechanical compensation in the evolution of the early hominin feeding apparatus [Article]. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 289(1977), Article 20220711. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2022.0711   The surface file of the reconstructed cranium and the endocast are available.

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HEAS member Mathias Mehofer awarded with a EU-H2020-IPERION grant

Congratulations to VIAS-HEAS Member Mathias MEHOFER on being awarded a standalone EU-H2020-IPERION project titled “Hallmetals-Archaeometallurgical analyses on metals from the famous Iron Age cemetery of Hallstatt, Austria. The discovery of the famous cemetery of Hallstatt, Austria, with its rich and spectacular grave goods gave its name to an entire prehistoric culture – the Hallstatt culture (ca. 8th to the 4th cent. BC). These metal objects, which are nowadays housed in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHM), represent a remarkable and, to date unexplored, (archaeometallurgical) pool to examine the wide-ranging exchange connections of the prehistoric salt miners. As a first step, a set of 130 metals (gold and copper based objects) covering the time span of the 8th to the 4th century BC, will be examined for their chemical composition and metal provenance. For the first time, the generated archaeometallurgical database will allow for in-depth analyses of Iron Age metal exchange to the region over vast distances.   Project partners: Priv.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Karina Grömer, Mag. Dr. Georg Tiefengraber, Mag. Daniel Oberndorfer, Conservator-Restorer, Prehistory, Natural History Museum Vienna Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka, CEZA Mannheim, Germany   More information can be found on the following homepage

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HEAS Partner Institution VIAS spearheading p-XRF research for archaeometry

Starting in October 2023, VIAS will host for the next three years the FWF ESPRIT project “Standardising portable X-ray fluorescence for archaeometry” led by early career researcher Michaela Schauer. Having recently completed her award-winning doctoral thesis on Linearband and La Hoguette pottery at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, she will now study p-XRF instruments and the specifics of their application to archaeological material with a focus on understanding the influence of different environmental conditions. An archaeologist by training, she has gained in-depth knowledge by applying this chemical analysis method mainly to pottery and soils in more than 30 projects over the past seven years. During this time she has encountered a wide range of unresolved issues relating to the equipment, its application to ancient ceramics, data processing and interpretation. Her research project focuses on experiments to improve our understanding of the former and to develop solutions to the latter, defining standards for the application of the method. Her results will be discussed within a network of experts who also contribute to the creation of appropriate training programmes for researchers and students interested in the method. She will introduce herself and her research in the HEAS Pecha Kucha Series in the upcoming weeks. Read more

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HEAS Member interviewed for Austria Innovativ Magazine

HEAS Member Karina Grömer was recently interviewed for the Austria Innovativ magazine on her work as a science mediator, experiences of the pandemic and what you should pay attention to as a science ambassador. The print version of this magazine was delivered to all participants at the Forum Alpbach in August 2023 . Read article (in German) here Austria Innovativ_Magazin Forum Alpbach

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HEAS Member Philipp Mitteroecker is the 2023 recipient of the Rohlf Medal for Excellence in Morphometric Methods and Applications 

On October 24, 2023 at Stony Brook University, the seventh Rohlf Medal for Excellence in Morphometric Methods and Applications will be awarded to Philipp Mitteroecker, Professor of Biostatistics and Biometrics in the Department of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Vienna, Austria. Since receiving his Ph.D. in 2007, Mitteroecker's research has spanned a remarkable range of today's biological questions from his broadly biostatistical-morphometric point of view. His contributions combine advances in the foundations of morphometric representations and inferences with applications across a great variety of examples in evolutionary and developmental biology. Recent work incorporates additional types of data (genomics, volume imaging, perceptions of faces) and, lately, one particularly salient bridge between human evolution and public health (the topic of Caesarian section and the "obstetrical dilemma''). His published work, widely cited in the field, and his appearances in broadcast and online media, have broadened the participation of morphometrics in the biological sciences. For these reasons, the committee has selected Professor Phillip Mitteroecker as the 2023 Rohlf Medal Recipient. Stony Brook University Provost's Lecture Series: Philipp Mitteroecker - YouTube

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HEAS Member interviewed for Profil magazine

HEAS Member Barbara Horejs recently gave an interview to Profil magazine on topics ranging from the origin of the gold from Troy, headless bodies found in a Neolithic grave in the Slovakian town of Vráble and what the oldest pizza in the world had as a topping. Full article in German below Best-of der Archäologie: Goldschätze, Mumien, kopflose Skelette (profil.at)

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HEAS Members win Young Investigator Award 2023

Congratulations to HEAS member Laura van der Sluis and HEAS Team Leader Pere Gelabert on being awarded the Young Investigator Award 2023. The Young Investigator Award is an initiative of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Vienna designed to honour young postdoctoral scientists publishing in the top journals of their field. Award recipients are selected based on their publication output.

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Tom Higham new Head of HEAS.

As planned from the beginning, the HEAS leadership is now handed over from Gerhard Weber to Tom Higham from the 1st September 2023. Since its foundation two years ago, the Vienna research network HEAS has developed into a well-known player in the scientific landscape of human evolution and archaeological science.  The University of Vienna, Austrian Academy of Science and the Natural History Museum Vienna have joint forces to study the biological and cultural evolution of humankind in a common framework. Our activities such as Seminar Series, Key Lectures, Seed Grants, Pecha Kucha, Workshops, YouTube channel and others will of course continue to bring together scientists from different disciplines and institutions for joint research efforts.   More information on our YouTube channel here

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Call for papers for journal edited by HEAS Member

HEAS Member Bernhard Fink along with John Manning (Swansea University) will be guest editing  Early Human Development: An International Journal concerned with the Continuity of Fetal and Postnatal Life. The Journal will be published in 2024. The submission deadline is Apr 15, 2024. Biological and Psychological Perspectives on Early Human Development This Special Issue invites contributions on topics of early human development from a biological and/or psychological perspective that advance the understanding of human behaviour, health, and socioeconomic outcomes. It aims to integrate traditional approaches and develop new synergies between biology, medicine, and psychology with a focus on early developmental effects such as hormone action, developmental instability and the role of genetics/epigenetics (including twin research) in social inquiry. An adaptationist perspective is welcome but not mandatory. The Special Issue plans to publish ~10-15 articles, which are typically Original Research Papers reporting new data. Review articles and Commentaries may be solicited by the Editors. More information on submitting here

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HEAS Seed Grants for June 2023 announced

HEAS Head Gerhard Weber today announced funding for three grants for HEAS member under the HEAS Seed Grant scheme. The successful applicants were: Applicant Project Amount Granted Susanna Sawyer, Pere Gelabert, Mareike Stahlschmidt Tissue source determination of ancient DNA in sediment €3.000,00 Laura van der Sluis, Georg Tiefengraber Early Bronze Age clothing bone pins from the Natural History Museum archive €3.000,00 Tom Higham, Emese Végh HUMEVCOL – Human Evolution Beyond Collagen €2.955,47 For more information about the HEAS Seed Grant scheme see here

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New publication on deep learning for population genetics by HEAS member Xin Huang and others

  The journal Nature Reviews Genetics published today a comprehensive review on how deep learning techniques are used in the context of population genetics, such as tasks for inferring demographic histories, identifying population structure and investigating natural selection from high-throughput sequencing data. With increasingly large-scale datasets on genetic diversity, especially for modern and ancient humans, technologies from deep learning are becoming more and more popular for studying evolutionary biology. An overview on this highly dynamic interdisciplinary field is presented in this publication, providing guidelines and discussing future directions. HEAS members Xin Huang and Martin Kuhlwilm led this work, with contributions from HEAS member Aigerim Rymbekova, as well as collaborators in Spain. Click here for more

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Gene flow from an extinct population in gorillas uncovered by HEAS member Martin Kuhlwilm and team

A new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution has discovered gene flow from a previously-unknown extinct gorilla population into eastern gorillas. This result shows that our close relatives experienced an evolutionary history similar to modern humans, who have received gene flow from extinct hominins like Neandertals. In this study, advanced statistical methods including those that use neural networks were used to computationally excavate the signature of a now-extinct gorilla population that contributed to both mountain gorillas and the closely related eastern lowland gorilla subspecies, who live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Up to 3% of the genome of present-day eastern gorillas carries remnants from this ghost population, which separated from the common ancestor of all gorillas more than 3 million years ago. The study was led by HEAS researcher Martin Kuhlwilm and his collaborators Harvinder Pawar and Prof. Tomas Marques-Bonet at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC, Barcelona), with contributions from HEAS members Aigerim Rymbekova, Xin Huang and Sojung Han, as well as an international team. The publication can be found here: Ghost admixture in eastern gorillas. - HEAS Read more Das genetische Erbe unserer ausgestorbenen Ahnen (univie.ac.at) Press Coverage https://www.derstandard.at/story/3000000180861/geisterpopulation-im-erbgut-von-gorillas-aufgespuert https://www.derstandard.de/story/3000000180861/geisterpopulation-im-erbgut-von-gorillas-aufgespuert?ref=rss https://www.krone.at/3071687 https://www.sn.at/panorama/wissen/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich-142716559 https://www.kleinezeitung.at/service/newsticker/chronik/6310429/Gorillas-tragen-DNA-von-ausgestorbenen-Verwandten-in-sich https://www.puls24.at/news/chronik/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich/303700 https://www.vienna.at/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich/8209804 https://www.noen.at/in-ausland/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich-378466000 https://www.vol.at/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich/8209804 https://www.bvz.at/in-ausland/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich-378466000 https://k.at/news/gorillas-tragen-dna-von-ausgestorbenen-verwandten-in-sich/402538409 https://www.vbio.de/aktuelles/details/das-genetische-erbe-unserer-ausgestorbenen-ahnen https://www.myscience.at/news/2023/das_genetische_erbe_unserer_ausgestorbenen_ahnen-2023-univie https://www.drei.at/de/planet-drei/news/aktuell/story.html?uuid=73e3b90c-6ffe-43ba-a821-ad840760807a https://science.apa.at/power-search/7164475450544787115 https://science.apa.at/power-search/6378096686257573758 https://phys.org/news/2023-07-gene-extinct-gorilla-population-eastern.html https://www.technologynetworks.com/tn/news/genetic-heritage-from-a-ghost-population-376914 https://www.miragenews.com/genetic-heritage-of-our-extinct-ancestors-1056006/ https://todayschronic.com/gene-flow-from-an-extinct-gorilla-population-to-eastern-gorillas-discovered/#respond

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HEAS Member interviewed for Nature

HEAS Member Meriam Guellil was recently interviewed for  a Nature feature on the study of the role of ancient microbes in understanding the evolution of past infectious diseases. Read article here: Germs, genes and soil: tales of pathogens past (nature.com) Related article: Ancient tooth DNA reveals how ‘cold sore’ herpes virus has evolved (nature.com)

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Pecha Kucha

HEAS Pecha Kucha

What is a Pecha Kucha? The PechaKucha 20x20 presentation format is a slide show of 20 images, each auto-advancing after 20 seconds. It’s non-stop and you've got 400 seconds to tell your story, with visuals guiding the way. PechaKucha was created in Japan in 2003 by renowned architects, Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham. The word “PechaKucha” is Japanese for “chit chat.” The HEAS Pecha Kucha series is a bi- monthly online meeting of HEAS members. Here are the talks which have taken place so far: Name Topic Doris Nagel MIS 3 Gerhard Weber Why Neanderthals are not essentially a European story Karl Kunst Bones - the other Pots? Peter Steier C-14 from the more technical side Martin Fieder Behavior genetics of social status and group behavior Martin Kuhlwilm Admixture in genomes - how to find it and what it means Michael Doneus Landscape archaeology at the interface between natural science and humanities. Sylvia Kirchengast, Dominik Hagmann The Bioarchaeology of Ovilava/Wels (AUT): Osteoarchaeological and spatio-temporal analysis of Roman and Early Medieval burials from the ‚Gräberfeld Ost‘ Thomas Higham The chronology of the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic: reliable radiocarbon dating using compound specific approaches Alexandra Krenn-Leeb People, their Habitat and Environment from the Neolithic Period to the Bronze Age Harald Wilfing The role of human ecology and old bones.  Synergies or only incompatibilities. Immo Trinks Geophysical archaeological prospection Maria Ivanova-Bieg Pioneer farmers and…

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HEAS Member awarded FWF Grant

Congratulations to HEAS Member Elmira Mohandesan on being awarded a standalone FWF grant for her project titled "Genome-wide Genetic Diversity, Ancestry and Inbreeding in New Zealand Feral Kaimanawa Horses". This grant will also support a PhD Candidate.   More information and application details here

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“Archäologie am Berg”. Public Weekend of Archaeology in Hallstatt in September.

The Natural History Museum Vienna and the Salzwelten Hallstatt invite you to their annual public weekend of archeology on the mountain in Hallstatt:   When: Saturday, September 16 and Sunday, September 17, 2023, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m Location: Around the "Alte Schmiede", the branch of the NHM in Hallstatt The latest results of archaeologists and their related disciplines relating to archeology on the Salzberg are presented at around 15 stands. See the attached program for details. Arch am Berg September 2023_Einladung+Programm_DIGITAL

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New Paper by HEAS Member Tom Maltas

HEAS Member Tom Maltas has recently had a paper published in Scientific Reports on 'Agricultural adaptations to mid-late Holocene climate change in western Türkiye'. Abstract The period around the mid-late Holocene transition (c. 2200 bc) saw major societal developments across the eastern Mediterranean. At the same time, the region experienced a shift to more arid climatic conditions. This included punctuated episodes of rapid climate change such as the ‘4.2 ka event’, which has been implicated in widespread societal ‘collapse’ at the end of the Early Bronze Age. The ways in which societies adapted agricultural production to cope with a drying climate are poorly understood. We begin to rectify this through stable isotope analysis of archaeobotanical remains from the Aegean region of western Türkiye, conducted to reveal changes in agricultural decision making across the mid-late Holocene transition. We find that Bronze Age farmers adapted agricultural production strategies by investing in drought-tolerant cereals cultivated on drier fields with water management strategies redirected towards pulses. Despite this, we find no evidence for pronounced drought stress in cereals grown during the period of the 4.2 ka event. This raises the potential for alternative explanations for societal disruptions visible across the Anatolian Plateau during this time, such as the breakdown of long-distance trade networks. Read full article

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HEAS in the News – oldest plague victims in Austria identified by HEAS Member Katharina Rebay-Salisbury

Within the framework of an interdisciplinary analysis of the Early Bronze Age burials from Drasenhofen, evidence was found for what are currently the oldest plague victims in Austria. The male individuals, who died at the age of 23–30 and 22–27 years, respectively, were buried not far from each other in the north-easternmost and south-easternmost grave of the row cemetery comprising a total of 22 graves. Despite the spatial and temporal proximity, the genetic pathogen analyses detected two different strains of plague bacteria (Yersinia pestis). Thus, it was not one infection that was transmitted within the Bronze Age group, but two independent infection events. In this article, we present the phylogenetic positions of these two Yersinia pestis strains together with other prehistoric, historic and modern plague genomes known so far, discuss biological basics of transmission and possible transmission routes, and attempt a cultural-historical interpretation in comparison with similar anthropological and archaeological contexts.   https://austriaca.at/bronzezeit-pest-in-drasenhofen     Read media coverage below: https://science.orf.at/stories/3219896/   https://www.derstandard.at/story/3000000175379/aelteste-pesttote-oesterreichs-gefunden  

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News Allgemein

HEAS in the News -New Publication by HEAS Member

New publication of Philip R. Nigst and colleagues in the Journal of Paleolithic Archaeology on the results of the new excavations at Korolevo II in Ukraine. The site of Korolevo II in western Ukraine - located in the border area between central and eastern Europe - is mainly known for its Early Upper Palaeolithic assemblage, argued in the past to represent an assemblage at the transition from the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic. Hence, the site holds a potential for a better understanding of the Middle to the Upper Palaeolithic transition and the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans. In this paper we report on our new fieldwork between 2015 and 2017, which provided a new view on the stratigraphy, chronology and archaeological sequence of the site. Read more here   Link to article      

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HEAS Partner Institution New Social Media Accounts

HEAS Partner Institution, the Department of Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology/Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie Wien (IUHA) has new social media accounts. Please follow them for updates on events going on within the Department Twitter: UHAunivienna, https://twitter.com/UHAunivienna Instagram: uhaunivienna, https://www.instagram.com/uhaunivienna/ Facebook: Urgeschichte und Historische Archäologie Wien, https://www.facebook.com/people/Urgeschichte-und-Historische-Arch%C3%A4ologie-Wien/100092946472657/

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New publication by HEAS Member José-Miguel Tejero on prehistioric sound instruments

Sound instruments over 12,000 years old identified as used by the last hunter-gatherers of the Near East to imitate the call of birds of prey An international team of archaeologists and ethnomusicologists led by José-Miguel Tejero (Researcher at the Pinhasi Laboratory of the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Vienna and HEAS Member) and Laurent Davin (CNRS. France) has discovered a unique set of prehistoric sound instruments in the Near East. These objects come from the Eynan-Mallaha archaeological site (Natufian archaeological culture, c. 13,000-9,700 BC) in northern Israel, excavated since 1955 by a Franco-Israeli team. The results of the study of these materials have just been published in the journal Scientific Reports. Link to article   [gallery ids="2519,2522"] [playlist type="video" ids="2517"]      

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