Occupy Wall Street plagued by the hierarchy it seeks to destroy-While it is true our ancestors — in their small, nomadic hunter-gathering communities — thrived on co-operation for much of human history, some anthropologists believe these egalitarian political arrangements were unnatural and required massive effort to sustain. Christopher Boehm, a social anthropologist and author of Hierarchy in the Forest, surveyed 50 bands and tribes to see how egalitarian they were, and why.
Neal Rockwell sat down with David Graeber while he was in Montreal last week. They talked about a number of topics from Graeber's book Debt: The First 5000 Years. These ranged from precapitalist economies, to markets which during certain periods have prevented rather than fostered capitalism and to how our contemporary concept of freedom originated from Roman property law and slave ownership.
Coins discovered beneath Jerusalem’s Western Wall prove that Herod the Great did not even come close to completing construction on the Temple Mount compound. The coins, stamped around 17 C.E. with the name of the Roman proconsul Valerius Gratus, were found inside an earlier ritual bath (mikveh) that had been filled in to support the construction of the Temple Mount’s western wall—some two decades after Herod’s death.
Archaeologists have discovered the remains of a medieval church, said to date from some time in the 12th to 14th centuries, and the front gate of the ancient city on the location of today’s Sozopol, on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
In a shallow cave on an island north of Australia, researchers have made a surprising discovery: the 42,000-year-old bones of tuna and sharks that were clearly brought there by human hands. The find, reported online today in Science, provides the strongest evidence yet that people were deep-sea fishing so long ago. And those maritime skills may have allowed the inhabitants of this region to colonize lands far and wide.
Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History announced the discovery at the site of Comalcalco of a brick bearing a fragmentary reference to the end of one era and the beginning of another in the Maya Long Count calendar. “Some have proposed it as another reference to 2012, but I remain rather unconvinced,” said David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin.
Sheep wool, dog hair, and mountain goat hair have been identified in some of the blankets and robes woven by people living on the Pacific Coast of North America before the arrival of Europeans. “Dogs have a long history of interaction with humans, from companionship to guarding and hunting; but raising dogs for fiber production was a unique cultural adaptation in the Pacific Northwest,” said Caroline Solazzo of the University of York.
A report in the current Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice notes looting in 18 states has been perpetrated by methamphetamine addicts. “Archaeological fieldwork has become an increasingly dangerous occupation around the world,” it states.
In Ireland, the skeleton of a young man whose skull had been pierced by an iron arrowhead was found in a shallow grave, near an underground passage dating to the ninth century.