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The creative millennia: transition to the Neolithic in the central Zagros

»The creative millennia: transition to the Neolithic in the central Zagros« Hojjat Darabi | Austrian Archaeological Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences; Department of Archaeology, Razi University The central Zagros received pioneering research on the emergence of early agricultural and village life by R. Braidwood in 1959-60. However, later shift of research toward the Levant put it in shadow for several decades until recent investigations have once again highlighted its key place in the Neolithization processes in west Asia. Unlike the Levant, where a protracted change from Epipaleolithic to Neolithic is seen, the border line between these two periods is evidently sharp in the central Zagros suggesting unprecedent features appeared in the first two millennia of the Holocene, a pivotal transitional time severely known in the region. Current evidence gained from the sites of Chogha Golan, Sheikhi Abad, Asiab, Ganj Dareh and a few others suggests that, following an environmental improvement at the end of the Younger Dryas, local communities engaged in short-term inhabitations, collective or communal ceremonies, and an increasing reliance on wild progenitors of early domestic plant and animal species. It is assumed that subsequent longer occupation towards sedentary life not only increased population numbers but also resulted in an environmental depression. This seems to have caused people to widen their diet toward low-level food production and subsequently agricultural village…

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HEAS welcomes NHM as a Partner

HEAS is delighted to welcome the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHM) as a new partner in the research network. Gerhard Weber, head of HEAS said “This collaboration will mean that we broaden our expertise and extend our possibilities. We started to bridge between institutions in Vienna (University and Museum), to create an even more effective European hub for human evolution research”      

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Podiumsdiskussion: Seit wann gibt es moderne Menschen und was treibt sie an?

Am 13. Juni 2022 nahm Gerhard Weber, Leiter des HEAS, an einer Podiumsdiskussion im Universitätshauptgebäude der Universität Wien teil. Unser Verhalten hat sich weiterentwickelt: als Mittel zum Überleben. Heute stehen wir kurz davor, mit unserem Verhalten das Überleben zukünftiger Generationen zu gefährden. An der Universität Wien diskutierten Experten aus den unterschiedlichsten Bereichen am Ende unserer aktuellen #SEMESTERFRAGE die Faktoren und Muster, die unser Handeln bestimmen.     Podiumsdiskussion: Seit wann gibt es moderne Menschen und was treibt sie an?    

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HEAS team members from the Dept. of Evolutionary Anthropology have obtained the first ancient DNA data from the Korean Three Kingdoms period. Eight 1,700-year-old ancient Korean genomes have been sequenced.

An international team led by The University of Vienna and the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in collaboration with the National Museum of Korea has successfully sequenced and studied the whole genome of eight 1.700-year-old individuals dated to the Three Kingdoms period of Korea (approx. 57 BC-668 AD). The Team was led by Pere Gelabert and Prof. Ron Pinhasi with Victoria Obbreiter of HEAS together with Prof. Jong Bhak and Asta Blazyte from the UNIST and Prof. Kidong Bae from the National Museum of Korea. These are the first published genomes from this period in Korea and bring key information for the understanding of Korean population history. Links: University of Vienna Website Full article  

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HEAS Member featured in University of Vienna science magazine Rudolphina

Traces of human life are not only found in fossils but also in sediments. In the video, doctoral candidate and HEAS member Victoria Oberreiter explains how she develops new methods to retrieve ancient DNA from "dirt" to get a better insight into our past. "Most people would probably associate sediments with the dirt underneath their feet. But what if I tell you that with my research, we are able to extract ancient human DNA from exactly that source?" Victoria Oberreiter, PhD candidate at the Vienna Doctoral School of Ecology and Evolution, says. Her research focuses on extracting ancient DNA from mineralogical sources.   VIDEO: Heas Member Victoria Oberreiter explains her research  

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A new article has been published by HEAS member Martin Kuhlwilm et al. on the genomic history of chimpanzees.

In this paper, DNA data has been gathered from feces of hundreds of chimpanzee individuals living in Africa. Such genomic data from the wild provides a fine-grained picture of the history of our closest living relatives. During the past tens of thousands of years, differences between regions emerged, but there were also opportunities for gene flow and migration. The local genetic variation can now be used to track the geographic origin of captive and confiscated chimpanzees, which is important for the conservation of threatened species. Read full article

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HEAS Member wins Photography Prize

Congratulations to HEAS member Elmira Mohandesan on winning the first prize of the Photo Contest "Pictures of Life (Sciences)", featuring extraordinary and exciting snapshots of research at the Faculty of Life Sciences. Her photograph "Eat the Wind" (credit: Jan Maree Vodanovich) illustrates New Zealand feral Kaimanawa horses being mustered by helicopter, limiting the population size to protect the native ecosystem, in which several endangered species of plants live. The picture will be displayed in the Dean's office, and Elmira will be presented with a professional print of her photo.

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Poster prize for HEAS member

At the UK Archaeological Science conference 20-22 April 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland, Dr Magdalena Blanz and colleagues won the Runnerup Poster Prize for early career researchers. The poster, titled "Ratios of strontium and barium to calcium as complementary palaeodietary indicators of seaweed consumption", it describes research done by Magdalena and colleagues during her doctoral studies at the University of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland. This research is published now in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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Publication by HEAS member Günther Karl Kunst

HEAS member Günther Karl Kunst  co-authored a paper along with Silvia Radbauer from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Austrian Archaeological Institute et al. "Palaeogenomic analysis of black rat (Rattus rattus) reveals multiple European introductions associated with human economic history" which was published this week in Nature Communications. There is further discussion on the Max Planck website

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New paper on fossils, fish and tropical forests

A new article has been published by HEAS member Katerina Douka et al. on fossils, fish and tropical forests : prehistoric human adaptations on the island frontiers of Oceania. Oceania is a key region for studying human dispersals, adaptations and interactions with other hominin populations. Although archaeological evidence now reveals occupation of the region by approximately 65–45 000 years ago, its human fossil record, which has the best potential to provide direct insights into ecological adaptations and population relationships, has remained much more elusive. Read full article      

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Applications open MCSA postdoctoral fellow programme

The groups for (paleo-)genomics/proteomics at the growing Department for Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Vienna support applications to the MCSA postdoctoral fellow programme. We are searching for motivated candidates with project ideas related to our research interests, to be implemented at this high-level institution. We encourage you to get into contact with us if you are interested in working on the following topics: Ron Pinhasi: ancient DNA, human population history, sediment DNA (https://www.pinhasilab.at/) Verena Schünemann: ancient and historical pathogen genomics, historical RNA (https://www.iem.uzh.ch/en/people/abg/VerenaSchuenemann-.html) Katerina Douka: paleoproteomics, dating, ancient hominins (https://www.katerinadouka.com/) Martin Kuhlwilm: computational admixture genomics in humans and primates (https://admixture.univie.ac.at) More information on implementation and additional support here: https://forschungsservice.univie.ac.at/foerdermoeglichkeiten/msca-pf/ The University of Vienna is an equal-opportunity employer, supports applications from underrepresented groups and minorities and offers generous support for a 3rd year of employment to the 10 top-ranked MSCA European Postdoctoral Fellowships (top 5 female and top 5 male) awarded to the University.

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Venus from Willendorf is from Northern Italy!

Mystery solved about the origin of the 30,000-year-old Venus of Willendorf as new research method shows that the material likely comes from northern Italy The almost 11 cm high figurine from Willendorf is one of the most important examples of early art in Europe. It is made of a rock called "oolite" which is not found in or around Willendorf. A research team led by the anthropologist Gerhard Weber from the University of Vienna and the two geologists Alexander Lukeneder and Mathias Harzhauser...   Read More                            

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“HEAS Kick-off Meeting on 12th November 2021 in UBB”

The Kick-Off Meeting for Heas took place on Friday 12th November in Vienna. The members contributed to a planning session both online and in person which was hosted at the new UBB in the 3rd district. With over 500 years of collective experience in the room, the discussion included joint projects, funding, maintaining momentum, shared resources and strategic priorities for new infrastructure. There was also lively discussion about the planning of network activities for the coming year.

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Georadar in search of the buried remains of Putbus Castle

In the framework of a scientific cooperation between the University of Vienna, Vienna, Institute for Archaeological Science (VIAS), the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics and the new research centre for manor houses around the Baltic  at Greifswald University, the buried foundations of Putbus Castle on the German peninsula of Rügen have been mapped in great detail. Links:read more on www.zeit.de read more on www.ndr.de

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Last terrapins – first turkeys – humans out of place

500 years of building history mirrored by rubble layers, artefacts, bones and documents It started with a rescue excavation of a few weeks in 2004, when the centre of the Nationalpark Donauauen was established in one of the most unique of our Renaissance castles; 17 years later, and coordinated by Nikolaus Hofer from the  Federal Monuments Authority Austria, a team of historians, art historians, archaeologists, stratigraphers and osteologists together assemble a colourful picture, mutually benefitting from each others results; for the first time in Austria, the history of a monumental building could be traced over such a long period - inderdisciplinarity more than an out-dated phrase  

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