AMHERST — A high-altitude Peruvian rock shelter, Mayan ruins and caves in France are among the sites around the world where a three-wheeled device resembling an oversized tricycle has revealed what lurks below the ground’s surface.
While the lawn of the Amherst Historical Museum on Amity Street may not be the most unusual place that Peter Leach has brought his ground-penetrating radar, it was where the doctoral student in anthropology at the University of Connecticut spent his day on Monday. “The idea is to use this to figure out how the entire property is laid out, slicing back through time,” Leach said. Making 50-centimeter-wide swaths over much of the ¾-acre property, Leach began the process of discovering what might be hidden up to 6 feet underground, without the need to put any shovels in the lawns and gardens surrounding the mid-18th-century building…
The Late Middle Pleistocene (130,000–425,000years ago) was a period of profound biological and behavioral change among ancient humans that witnessed the evolution of our species, Homo sapiens in Africa and our close cousins the Neanderthals in Eurasia. These biological changes were accompanied by important changes in stone tool technology, most notably the gradual replacement of large cutting tools and hand axes by tools produced by an innovative flaking method. During 2008 and 2009, Dr. Adler and his team excavated over 3,000 artifacts produced by both methods. These artifacts chart the earliest transition from the Lower Palaeolithic to the Middle Palaeolithic between 325,000–335,000 years ago. These results are significant because they support the idea that changes in human technology resulted from a common technological ancestry rather than the expansion from Africa of a particular human species armed with a new innovative technology.
The Connecticut State Museum of Natural History, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UConn, presents “Ancient Human Evolution During the Late Middle Pleistocene in Armenia,” a lecture by Dr. Daniel Adler, UConn Department of Anthropology. The lecture will be held at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History on the UConn Storrs Campus, Sunday, December 6, at 1 pm.
This program is free and advanced registration is not required. For more information, contact: Natural History Museum at 860.486.4460