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Upcoming Archaeology Events at UC Berkeley

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Upcoming Events
Updated: 1 hour 10 min ago

Ancient Hunter-Gatherer Explorers on Cyprus: Traversing Land and Sea during the Epipalaeolithic, May 1

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 12:10
Although the Mediterranean islands produced some of the most sophisticated cultures of the ancient world, until recently there was little evidence that these islands were occupied prior to the Neolithic. This perception has radically changed over the past decade. New research indicates that some remote islands, such as Crete and Naxos, may have been occupied by Neanderthals, and certainly by the Epipaleolithic it appears that continental-island voyages were far more common than previously believed. This Mediterranean travel and exploration has wide-ranging implications for both the islands and the adjacent mainland interaction spheres. The Mediterranean island of Cyprus, once thought to be peripheral to regional cultural developments during prehistory, is now at the forefront of research on Late Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherer and Early Neolithic movements and colonization, as well as their associated technological innovations and impacts on shaping newly settled landscapes. We now know, for example, that Cyprus had Late Epipaleolithic hunter-gatherer and Early Neolithic occupations. Evidence for Epipalaeolithic occupation of Cyprus remains limited, however, with only a handful of sites known and only one chronometrically dated. To firmly establish the occupation of Cyprus by Epipalaeolithic hunter-gatherers, this project explores several potential Epipalaeolithic sites along the Tremithos River Valley, including coastal and inland occupations. These hunter-gatherers had knowledgeable and nuanced uses of landscapes, including landscape construction and management, as well as technological innovations, allowing them to leave the mainland and explore new regions across the Mediterranean Sea. This research addresses the associated social contexts for the innovations that allowed for exploration and survival in new environments. Identifying and dating Epipalaeolithic occupations on Cyprus addresses issues of exploration and movement into new territories, moving beyond economic based theories of hunter-gatherer mobility strategies to understand why and how people explore the unknown.

Mammoth Trackers, Bison Hunters, Rock Artists, and Fur Traders: Highlights of Alberta Archaeology, May 15

Wed, 04/17/2019 - 12:10
The archaeology of the Canadian province of Alberta provides important information about the various periods of human habitation in North America. The earliest evidence for cultural activity in Alberta dates to around 13,000 years ago. These people hunted megafauna in an environment that was very different from today’s. Dramatic evidence for these activities was revealed at the site of Wally’s Beach. With the retreat of the glaciers, hunting strategies in the south shifted towards bison. This transition is not well documented in the province, but artifacts recovered from sites like Purple Springs suggest potential for future research. For later periods, Alberta has some of the most dramatic examples of large orchestrated kill sites, such as the UNESCO World Heritage site, Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and the smaller Fincastle site. Ceremonial sites are also present in the province with medicine wheels and effigies found in the open plains and particularly dramatic rock art at Writing-on-Stone / Áísínai’pi provincial park. Further north, in the Boreal forest, interactions between First Nations groups and fur traders have been revealed through excavations at Ft Vermillion and the Boyer River Post, which are some of the earliest such sites in the province. Join Shawn Bubel from the University of Lethbridge in southern Canada as she describes her work at all of these sites throughout Alberta.