Updates 2022

“Gesucht: der Ort, an dem das Anthropozän beginnt”
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Renn and others from the Anthropocene Working Group discuss the search for the beginning of the Anthropocene with the Süddeutsche Zeitung more
Isotope Data from Medieval Belarus Shows Similar Diets in Rural, Urban Populations
A new study published in PLoS ONE is the first to use stable isotope analysis to study the diets of the inhabitants of modern Belarus during the turbulent socio-political transitions of the 11th to 18th centuries CE more
Exploring the State and Potential of Isotope Analysis in Archaeology
A new editorial in the open access journal Frontiers in Environmental Archaeology explores the ongoing relevance of isotope analyses for exploring human-environment interactions in the past and the novel perspectives these can provide for the present. more
Dogs in Madagascar’s Grasslands Eat Forest-Derived Foods
A new study shows that dogs who spend time in Madagascar’s grasslands typically consume forest-derived foods, including endemic species such as the tenrec. more
Diversity Characterised Diets in the Late Holocene Amazon Basin
A new multidisciplinary study published in PLOS ONE, led by a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute of Geoanthropology, Scientia Consultoria Científica, and Universidade Federal do Pará in Brazil highlights the importance of the use of diverse wild plants and animals, indigenous domesticates, and river resources in different parts of the Amazon Basin. more
A New Open Access Database for the Study of Medieval Europe
A new article in Nature’s Scientific Data presents the CIMA database (Compendium Isotoporum Medii Aevi). CIMA compiles more than 50,000 multi-isotope measurements together with supplemental historical information covering the entirety of the European Middle Ages. more
Association for Environmental Archaeology awards Barbara Huber 2022 AEA Small Research Grant
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History doctoral researcher Barbara Huber is one of seven members of the Association for Environmental Archaeology to win a 2022 AEA Small Research Grant. The grant will help to fund her project titled “Reconstructing olfactory landscapes of ancient Arabia using biomolecular approaches.” more
Ostrich Eggshell Beads From the Kalahari Indicate Regional Connections, Local Innovation in Late Stone Age Southern Africa
A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE provides technological data for a newly described Ostrich Eggshell assemblage dating to roughly 15,000 years ago, comparing this with other contemporaneous assemblages to shed light on social networks in southern Africa. more
 ‘Dietary Depths’: In the Search for Past Hominin Diets New Study Shows How Biochemical Methods Can Yield Important Insights
A publication in the journal Bioscience provides a guide on how to best use stable isotope ratios of single amino acids to determine past hominin dietary behaviors. more
Spread of Black Rats was Linked to Human Historical Events
New research reveals how the black rat colonised Europe in the Roman and Medieval periods more
Marine Mollusc Shells Reveal how Prehistoric Humans Adapted to Intense Climate Change
A new multidisciplinary study reveals the impact and consequences of the ‘8.2 ka event’, the largest abrupt climate change of the Holocene, for prehistoric foragers and marine ecology in Atlantic Europe more
Rice Terracing Facilitated Village Growth in Pericolonial Highland Ifugao, Philippines
A new multidisciplinary paper led by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History combines historical, archaeological, and palaeoecological data into land use models to study the impact of rice agriculture on land-use and demography in the famous Ifugao region of Philippines. more
A New Map of Pleistocene Archaeological Sites in West Africa
A publication in the Journal of Maps synthesizes all well-contextualized Stone Age sites in Sub-Saharan West Africa more
Stone Fruit from the Stone Age: The Earliest Known Olive Use in Africa
A recent study published in the journal Nature Plants examines charcoal and pit fragments to reveal that people were already using olives as food and fuel 100,000 years ago more
Enduring Centers of Human Habitation in Africa Identified
New study identifies regions best suited to persistent human occupation through the last glacial cycle more
Environmental History Meets Public Policy
Our series of learn-and-debate webinars is intended to facilitate the development of public policy that can help us cope with the natural crises of our times. We will provide the environmental history community with the basic understanding of the ways by which science and policy interact, in particular in the European context, helping individuals and groups to engage in the policy making process. more
Pre-Columbian Landscape Management in the Seasonally Dry Forests of Argentina
A team of international researchers, including scholars at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, outline growing evidence of anthropogenic landscapes in the semi-deciduous tropical forest biomes of northwest Argentina. The paper, published in World Archaeology, shows that human societies inhabiting this region during the first millennium AD (about. 1,500-1,000 years ago) established a strategy of ‘overlapping patchworks’ of food production that were able to contend with considerable seasonal variability more
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