Formal disposal of the dead is widely practised today, but this has not always been the case; among prehistoric societies so few burials are encountered that it appears to have been the exception rather than the rule. When did ‘formal’ burial and cremation become generalised? What significance did this have for the development of religious belief and human self-awareness? A new project funded by the John Templeton Foundation is being undertaken by an inter-disciplinary team from Durham University. The project which started in October 2012 involves a team of specialists; Principal Investigator Chris Scarre (prehistory of western Europe) and Co-Investigators Professors Graham Philip (Levant), Charlotte Roberts (skeletal analysis) and Douglas Davies (anthropologist and theologian), as well as an international Board of Advisors. Two post-doctoral researchers are also working on the project: Dr. Jennie Bradbury (Levant) and Dr. Mandy Jay (Britain). The project aims to provide a new understanding of the emergence of religious belief and self-awareness over the past 12,000 years. It is examining archaeological data from across two regions (Britain and the Levant) in order to explore the temporal, social and economic contexts of changing relationships between human socio-religious beliefs and concepts of the body and the afterlife.
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This is to accommodate Yom Kippur.
Eugenie C. Scott’s journey to the front lines of the evolution wars began in 1974, when James Gavan, a physical anthropologist at the University of Missouri, accepted an invitation to debate Duane Gish, a biochemist and a leader in the creationist movement.
The 20th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Bioarcheology and Forensic Anthropology Association will be hosted by the Graduate Students of Anthropology Association at The Ohio State University on November 8-10. Pre-registration and abstract submission is open until October 11th. Registration rates increase after October 11th.
Nominations are now being accepted for several awards listed below. Nominations will be accepted until 11:59pm EDT, Monday, September 30 2013.
20% discount for AAPA members. Most courses meet in Spain.
This field course, hosted by the La Suerte Biological Field Station, Costa Rica, will run from July 1st to July 27th, 2013. It will be taught by Dr. Christopher Schmitt (Postdoctoral Scholar with the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics, UCLA).
The Black Death was one of the most destructive epidemics in history. Assistant Professor Sharon DeWitte at the University of South Carolina has been examining temporal changes in plague mortality patterns and the effects of the Black Death on the demographic and health conditions of surviving populations as a model for understanding the human response to emerging diseases. Funded by a 2012 AAPA Professional Development Grant, DeWitte collected paleodemographic data from several medieval London cemeteries. Among a number of interesting findings, DeWitte reports greater longevity combined with an increased frequency of periosteal lesions in the post-Black Death sample. DeWitte suggests that enhanced survival but relatively poor skeletal health at later adult ages might account for the post-Black Death pattern, a trend observed in living populations where improvements in mortality and longevity are often associated with declines in health status later in life. DeWitte is continuing her work on the health and demographic effects of the Black Death, having successfully turned her AAPA Professional Development Grant into a National Science Foundation award funded jointly by Biological Anthropology and Cultural Anthropology. Congratulations Professor DeWitte!