News

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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Primate diversity studies with a contribution of HEAS member Martin Kuhlwilm

Several studies on primate genomic variation have now been published in the journal Science. An international consortium of researchers generated and studied high-quality genomes from 233 primate species to gain insights into their evolution, and open new perspectives in conservation biology and human variation related to health. HEAS member Martin Kuhlwilm contributed to these studies, refining a catalog of human-specific changes in the genome. Many recent genetic changes in humans turn out not to be unique to us, but shared with other species. Genetic changes that might make us human seem to be more rare. Studying our living relatives improves how we understand our own species. The publications can be found here: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abn7829 https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abn8197 https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abn8153   University of Vienna Press Release         FINAL Embargoed INTERNATIONAL Press Release Primates IBE_UPF https://www.derstandard.de/story/3000000172769/was-der-genomvergleich-von-menschen-mit-affen-bringt?ref=rss https://www.diepresse.com/6295230/affen-erbgut-zeigt-was-uns-krank-macht   https://www.vbio.de/aktuelles/details/erbgut-von-primaten-als-schluessel-zur-menschlichen-gesundheit https://biermann-medizin.de/erbgut-von-primaten-als-schluessel-zur-menschlichen-gesundheit/  

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HEAS Partner Event – The Gold Treasure of Ebreichsdorf – Natural History Museum Vienna

In August 2023, the Late Bronze Age gold finds from Ebreichsdorf, Austria, will be donated to the Natural History Museum Vienna by the Austrian Federal Railways. Within this framework, a conference on prehistoric gold finds will take place at the NHM on August 18-20, 2023. It would be nice to welcome you at this. Below you will find the program and the registration form for participation. Please send in the registrations by 15st June 2023 here   Ahead of the symposium, the Federal Monuments Authority Austria hosts their annual expert round table on the topic "Finds – Reports – Treasures. Archaeological preservation of monuments in the pandemic years" at Mauerbach, Lower Austria, on Thursday, 17th August 2023. Contact for the expert talk Eva Steigberger    With best regards from the Natural History Museum Vienna Karina Grömer Alexandra Krenn-Leeb Michaela Binder Einladung zum Internationalen Symposium The Gold Treasure of Ebreichsdorf Registration Save the date  

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HEAS Seed Grants Awarded

The recipients of the February 2023 HEAS Seed Grants are: Applicant Round Project Amount Granted Victoria Oberreiter and Florian Exler February 2023 Analyzing Altamira: The first aDNA analyses of the renowned cave paintings from northern Spain €3.000,00 Annette Oertle, Katerina Douka, Frank Zachos February 2023 Using museum collections for ZooMS marker development of New Guinea taxa €3.000,00 Dominik Hagmann, Sylvia Kirchengast February 2023 Undiscovered Ancient Deathscapes“: Archaeothanatological Analysis Of Roman and Early Medieval Inhumations from Cemeteries in the Southeastern Upper Danube River Basin (sUDRB) during the Roman Climate Optimum (RCO) and Late Antique Little Ice Age (LALIA) €3.000,00 Olivia Cheronet, Maria Teschler-Nicola, Daniel Fernandes, Adrian Daly February 2023 Confirmation of the presence of Mucopolysaccharidosis in the Medieval population of Pottenbrunn (Lower Austria) €3.000,00 Richard Kimber, Susanna Sawyer,Florian Exler February 2023 A density separation approach for improved ancient DNA yields from sediments €3.000,00 Due to due to the positive development in terms of quality and available budget, we were able to grant 5 proposals in this round For more information about the HEAS Seed Grants please see here

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Blog Posts

A Bell Beaker workshop in Vienna

Blog post by Eve Derenne and Karina Grömer On March 21, 2023, members of two partner institutions from the HEAS network — the Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science and the Natural History Museum Vienna — co-organised a workshop titled ‘Interweaving Bell Beaker decorative motifs and textile patterns: Exploring technical and symbolic productions during the third millennium BCE in Europe’. The idea for this workshop emerged in September 2022, when Priv.-Doz. Dr. Karina Grömer (Head of the Prehistory Department at the NHM) and Dr. Eve Derenne (postdoctoral fellow, VIAS) met by chance in Hallstatt during a science communication event, the ‘Archäologie am Berg’ day. The conversation regarding the reconstruction of Bronze and Iron Age textiles shifted to the subject of Bell Beakers, a crucial component of SEASCAPES, the project currently occupying Eve's time in Vienna. The intricate motifs found on both Bell Beaker pottery and anthropomorphic stelae have often been compared to textile patterns, but few if any publications have really substantiated that claim. Several aspects of this topic have also remained unexplored, such as the weaving or fiber working methods used to produce these repeated geometric patterns, and whether these techniques were already established by the third millennium BCE. This lively discussion ultimately resulted in an agreement to hold a workshop that would bring together experts from both fields, with…

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Jobs

Ph.D. position at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Vienna

Ph.D. position at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Vienna The position A 3-year Ph.D. position (FWF salary conditions) at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology of the University of Vienna in Peleogenomics. The Ph.D. candidate will work in the Paleogenomics lab directed by Ron Pinhasi, which has all the state-of-art facilities, in the FWF-funded project “ Social Genomics in Late Antique and Early-Medieval Societies” led by Pere Gelabert. Planned analyses for the Ph.D. candidate● Paleogenomics of ancient individuals● Sequencing and studying of pathogen DNA● Sequencing and studying of dental calculus (microbiome and food residues)   For more information and application details please see the document below: Ph.D. position at the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology

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New Publication by HEAS Head Gerhard Weber

The new paper “Quantum Leaps in Human Biocultural Evolution and the Relationship to Cranial Capacity” published in Life 2023, 13 by HEAS Head Gerhard Weber bridges between the domains of biological anthropology and archaeology. The evolution of the genus Homo can only be understood by considering both of the inheritance systems that interact to shape human nature: biology and culture. While growing intellectual abilities are a key factor of human evolution, they are rarely contrasted with cultural progress. Cranial capacity data of 193 hominin fossils from the last seven million years and artefacts of increasing number and complexity in the archaeological record are used to demonstrate the concordant progression of brain-size increase and cultural development, starting approximately two million years ago. Our biocultural evolution shows a number of quantum leaps along the time axis applying to both domains. At first, humans left the canonical evolutionary pathway, which pertains to all other organisms, by enhancing their fitness using sophisticated tools and fire; secondly, they turned into a symbolic species; and finally, humanity now faces a new challenge: “intentional evolution”. Chronologically, these quantum leaps correspond to cranial capacity data used here as a proxy for cognitive performance. This contribution tries to demonstrate this parallel development and argues for a simple and generalized model of human biocultural evolution. An extrapolation of the model into the…

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Call for Papers – Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d’Anthropologie de Paris

Dear Colleagues, It is our pleasure to invite you to submit your contributions to Bulletins et Mémoires de la Société d'Anthropologie de Paris (BMSAP; published by OpenEditions, Diamond Open Access = free for authors and readers). We wish to regroup in two special issues of the BMSAP to be published in 2024, under the format "note" (no more than 30,000 characters including spaces) in English or in French (see "author guidelines" in copy), contributions based on original data or reviews in the specific fields related to the two following topics (see below for more details): - "Invasive, micro-invasive and non-invasive analysis of anthropobiological remains. How and why?" - "Current views on women in past societies: social constructions, biocultural perspectives and archaeo-anthropological insights" If you are interested in participating to these special issues of the BMSAP, please let us know by April 30th, 2023. Feel free to circulate this call to colleagues who might be interested to participate to this special issue. All manuscripts will have to be submitted to: redacchef@sapweb.fr, preferentially before June 30th, 2023. Please specify in the subject of the submission message: "Note Session" + the topic. We thank you for your interest in this editorial project and remain at your disposal for any additional information. Yours sincerely, For the Editorial Committee of the BMSAP, Anne Le Maître…

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2023 CALL FOR NOMINATIONS – The Rohlf Medal

The Rohlf Medal for Excellence in Morphometric Methods and Applications was established in 2006 by the family and friends of F. James Rohlf to mark his 70th birthday. He has been a longtime Stony Brook University faculty member and is currently Emeritus Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution, and Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology.   Recipients of the Rohlf Medal will be recognized for excellence in their sustained body of work on the development of new morphometric methods or for their applications in the biomedical sciences, including evolutionary biology, population biology, physical anthropology, and medicine. The term “morphometrics” is intended to include high-dimensional pattern analysis of biological form, especially those methods that analyze shape in a comprehensive way, or of covariation of shape with other variables. Additional details may be found on the Rohlf Medal website: https://tinyurl.com/RohlfMedalNom.   Nominations may be made either by the nominee himself/herself or by a colleague. Nominations consist of a letter making the case for the nominee for the 2023 award. Nominees under full consideration by the committee may then be asked to provide additional materials as described on the website: https://tinyurl.com/RohlfMedalNom. Nominations must be submitted to that website by June 15, 2023.   The successful candidate will receive the Rohlf Medal and a cash prize at Stony Brook University,…

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HEAS Head Gerhard Weber’s article on ‘The microstructure and the origin of the Venus from Willendorf’ is in the Top 100 Scientific Reports papers published in 2022.

Gerhard Weber's article on 'The microstructure and the origin of the Venus from Willendorf ' is in the Top 100 Scientific Reports papers published in 2022. 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 as well as the prehistorian Walpurga Antl-Weiser from the Natural History Museum Vienna have now found out with the help of high-resolution tomographic images that the material from which the Venus was carved likely comes from northern Italy. This sheds new light on the remarkable mobility of the first modern humans south and north of the Alps.   Link to full article

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Jobs

POSTDOC POSITION (F/M/X) in Prehistoric Archaeology

The Austrian Archaeological Institute, Department for Prehistory & West Asian/Northeast African Archaeology (OeAI) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OeAW), Austria’s leading non-university research and science institution, is offering a POSTDOC POSITION (F/M/X) in Prehistoric Archaeology (full-time, 36h per week) The successful candidate will be part of Katharina Rebay-Salisbury’s research group “Prehistoric Identities”. The research group embarks on a new way of identity research that discusses contextual information on equal footing with bioarchaeological data. “Prehistoric Identities” emerge from the interaction between humans, animals, plants, material culture and landscapes. Current research topics are sex and gender, kinship, marriage patterns and genetic inheritance, as well as foodways, mobility, migration and the experience of being foreign. Case studies from Austria and neighbouring countries form the foundation of a contextualization of these themes within European prehistory. For more information, please click here

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