Publication: Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers

The paper presents secure identifications of beeswax in lipid residues preserved in pottery vessels of Neolithic Old World farmers. The geographical range of bee product exploitation is traced in Neolithic Europe, the Near East and North Africa, providing the palaeoecological range of honeybees during prehistory. It demonstrates that bee products were exploited continuously, and probably extensively in some regions, from at least the seventh millennium.

See: ROFFET-SALQUE, M. et al. 2015. Widespread exploitation of the honeybee by early Neolithic farmers. Nature, 527, 226-230.

Date Posted: 23 Nov 2015
 

Nature explores genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians

Congratulations to all involved, including Professor Ron Pinhasi, UCD School of Archaeology, for the recent publication in Nature of the paper that explores genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians.  

"Ancient DNA makes it possible to observe natural selection directly by analysing samples from populations before, during and after adaptation events. Here we report a genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA, capitalizing on the largest ancient DNA data set yet assembled: 230 West Eurasians who lived between 6500 and 300 bc, including 163 with newly reported data. The new samples include, to our knowledge, the first genome-wide ancient DNA from Anatolian Neolithic farmers, whose genetic material we obtained by extracting from petrous bones, and who we show were members of the population that was the source of Europe’s first farmers. We also report a transect of the steppe region in Samara between 5600 and 300 bc, which allows us to identify admixture into the steppe from at least two external sources. We detect selection at loci associated with diet, pigmentation and immunity, and two independent episodes of selection on height."

MATHIESON, I. et al. 2015. Genome-wide patterns of selection in 230 ancient Eurasians. Nature, advance online publication.

Date Posted: 23 Nov 2015

UCD School of Archaeology is sad to record the death of Professor Vin Davis

It is with sadness that the School acknowledges the recent death (19 November) of Professor Vin Davis, chair and chief petrologist of the Implement Petrology Group and and international leader in implement petrology and stone axe studies (funeral service in York, 7 December 2015). Vin was closely connected with the School through his support and interest in the work of the Irish Stone Axe Project, his active involvement in the North Roe Felsite Project, Shetland and his collaboration with Professor Gabriel Cooney. Vin was a brilliant communicator and teacher, a truly supportive colleague and an inspiring mentor. The School of Archaeology is pleased to announce that the Vin Davis Bursary is being established in the UCD School of Archaeology with the support of the UCD Foundation in the memory of Vin at the request of his family. It celebrates and honours Vin’s life and work and his international leadership and commitment in the field of implement petrology and stone axe studies. This graduate award will be open to suitably qualified students.


Upper Palaeolithic genomes reveal deep roots of modern Eurasians

Congratulations to all involved, including Professor Ron Pinhasi, UCD School of Archaeology, for the recent publication in Nature Communications of the paper that further explores European palaeogenomics .... The paper extends "the scope of European palaeogenomics by sequencing the genomes of Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,300 years old, 1.4-fold coverage) and Mesolithic (9,700 years old, 15.4-fold) males from western Georgia in the Caucasus and a Late Upper Palaeolithic (13,700 years old, 9.5-fold) male from Switzerland."

JONES, E. R. et al. 2015. Upper Palaeolithic genomes reveal deep roots of modern Eurasians. Nature Communications, 6.

Date Posted: 23 Nov 2015

UCD School of Archaeology is sad to record the death of our former colleague Hilary Richardson

The UCD School of Archaeology is sad to record the death of our former colleague Hilary Richardson who passed away aged 85 in the first week of November 2015. Hilary, who retired from UCD in the early 1990s, will be remembered fondly by older generations of former students for the distinctive style of her lectures on Early Medieval insular artwork and its background. Those who sought her assistance individually will remember her overwhelming generosity with her time and expertise.

A Cambridge graduate in Archaeology and Anthropology, where she studied under Glyn Daniel amongst others, she later studied History of Art under the guidance of Françoise Henry at UCD and developed her interests further at the National College of Art in Dublin. On Françoise Henry’s appointment as first head of the Department of the History of European Painting at UCD (coincidentally fifty years ago, in 1965), Hilary became curator of Dr. Henry’s archive in the UCD School of Archaeology. Her research and lectures on manuscript illumination, metalwork decoration and stone carving brought her increasingly into contact with the East Mediterranean and the Caucasus, and in 1985 she was the first holder of the Royal Irish Academy’s exchange fellowship with the former USSR Academy of Sciences.

Hilary Richardson contributed to international conferences and published many papers on her research interests. Today she may be best remembered for her bookIntroduction to Irish High Crosses (with John Scarry), published by Mercier Press, Cork, 1990, and her chapter on Visual Arts and Society in A New History of Ireland, vol. I, Oxford , 2005. Some of her work might be considered traditional by today’s tastes but she represented a strand of scholarship that will be difficult to sustain without her. She was an academic in the truest sense and was still to be seen at the photocopying machines in the Newman Building up to a few months before she died. Hilary was also a gifted artist and illustrator. Her most famous piece of illustration is perhaps the classic development of the decoration on the famous Knowth mace head, first published in volume 112 of the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (1982) as part of the paper she co-authored with George Eogan on his discovery of the mace head in that year.