Month: January 2015

Kroum Batchvarov Discoveres 17-th century Shipwreck


Read a report in UConn Today about Kroum Batchvarov and his recent finding.

The Dutch ship Huis de Kreuningen went to her watery grave on March 3, 1677. But until a team led by University of Connecticut professor and maritime archaeologist Kroum Batchvarov found what are believed to be her remains this past summer in the waters of the southern Caribbean, no one knew precisely where that grave was…

Daniel Adler’s publication in Science

Daniel Adler recently published a Science paper entitled, “Early Levallois technology and the Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Southern Caucasus.” Congratulations!

Early Levallois technology and the Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition in the Southern Caucasus

D. S. Adler, K. N. Wilkinson, S. Blockley, D. F. Mark, R. Pinhasi, B. A. Schmidt-Magee, S. Nahapetyan, C. Mallol, F. Berna, P. J. Glauberman, Y. Raczynski-Henk, N. Wales, E. Frahm, O. Jöris, A. MacLeod, V. C. Smith, V. L. Cullen, B. Gasparian

The Lower to Middle Paleolithic transition (~400,000 to 200,000 years ago) is marked by technical, behavioral, and anatomical changes among hominin populations throughout Africa and Eurasia. The replacement of bifacial stone tools, such as handaxes, by tools made on flakes detached from Levallois cores documents the most important conceptual shift in stone tool production strategies since the advent of bifacial technology more than one million years earlier and has been argued to result from the expansion of archaic Homo sapiens out of Africa. Our data from Nor Geghi 1, Armenia, record the earliest synchronic use of bifacial and Levallois technology outside Africa and are consistent with the hypothesis that this transition occurred independently within geographically dispersed, technologically precocious hominin populations with a shared technological ancestry.

Peter Leach’s publication in Science

Congratulations to Peter Leach for his Science paper!

Paleoindian settlement of the high-altitude Peruvian Andes

Kurt Rademaker, Gregory Hodgins, Katherine Moore, Sonia Zarrillo, Christopher Miller, Gordon R. M. Bromley, Peter Leach, David A. Reid, Willy Yépez Álvarez, Daniel H. Sandweiss

Study of human adaptation to extreme environments is important for understanding our cultural and genetic capacity for survival. The Pucuncho Basin in the southern Peruvian Andes contains the highest-altitude Pleistocene archaeological sites yet identified in the world, about 900 meters above confidently dated contemporary sites. The Pucuncho workshop site [4355 meters above sea level (masl)] includes two fishtail projectile points, which date to about 12.8 to 11.5 thousand years ago (ka). Cuncaicha rock shelter (4480 masl) has a robust, well-preserved, and well-dated occupation sequence spanning the past 12.4 thousand years (ky), with 21 dates older than 11.5 ka. Our results demonstrate that despite cold temperatures and low-oxygen conditions, hunter-gatherers colonized extreme high-altitude Andean environments in the Terminal Pleistocene, within about 2 ky of the initial entry of humans to South America.

Interview with Ann Taves

During Fall semester 2015, we conducted an interview with Ann Taves on various topics regarding the cognitive study of religions.

Ann Taves is professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara; past president of the American Academy of Religion and president elect of the International Association for the Cognitive Science of Religion. She is the author of numerous books and articles, including Religious Experience Reconsidered: A Building Block Approach to the Study of Religion and Other Special Things, winner of the 2010 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Fits, Trances, and Visions: Experiencing Religion and Explaining Experience from Wesley to James, inner of the 2000 Association of American Publishers Award for Best Professional/Scholarly Book in Philosophy and Religion. She is currently working on a book entitled Revelatory Events: Unusual Experiences and New Spiritual Paths and supervising the interdisciplinary Religion, Experience, and Mind Lab Group at UCSB.

Watch video here:

Dimitris Xygalatas in Aeon Magazine

Dimitris Xygalatas’s recent piece on ritual suffering in Aeon Magazine:

Trial by fire:
From fire-walking to the ice-bucket challenge, ritual pain and suffering forge intense social bonds

On the Day of Ashura, Shia Muslims around the world gather to mourn the Imam, Husayn ibn Ali, and his defeat in the battle of Karbala (in present-day Iraq) in 680AD. They slash their heads and backs using swords or iron chains with blades until the streets are covered in blood…