A new PLOS One article documents the carcasses of a whale shark and three rays found at a depths over 1,200 meter, providing a rare opportunity to learn about deep water taphonomic processes and the biotic communities that live off of these food falls.
No collections or measurements could be made, but they have photos and videos.
Higgs ND, Gates AR, Jones DOB (2014) Fish Food in the Deep Sea: Revisiting the Role of Large Food-Falls. PLoS ONE 9(5): e96016. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0096016
See a summary of the article at Live Science.
Here’s a photo showing part of the interior of the house in the Lamoka diorama at the New York State Museum. The lodge itself is based on Ritchie’s interpretation of the numerous post molds and features he described as floors at the site, as detailed in his book The Archaeology of New York State. The contents of the interior of the lodge are more speculative. Some items are based on actual artifacts found at the site, like the antlers seen hanging from one of the wooden supports. Others are undoubtedly inferred from more recent Native Americans, ethnographic hunter-gatherers, and other archaeological evidence. The textiles in particular are beautifully done.
Especially interesting is the bow seen hanging on the left side of the photo. Most archaeologists would probably doubt that bows and arrows were used during the Late Archaic in New York. Instead, atlatls (spear throwers) are considered the primary projectile weapon of the time (although bannerstones/atlatl weights are rare to nonexistent at Lamoka). The issue is unresolved however, and several archaeologists have argued for the presence of bows and arrows by this time period (see, for example, Evidence for Bow and Arrow Use in the Small Point Late Archaic of Southwestern Ontario
by Kristen Snarey and Christopher Ellis).
Always love seeing the life-size diorama of the Lamoka Lake site, representing the Archaic Period, at the New York State Museum in Albany. Based, of course, on Ritchie’s excavations at the site, the man in the center is wearing one of the enigmatic antler pendants from the site as, yes, a pendant. He also has a bone-handled knife at his waist, is carrying a fishing net with netsinkers, and wears a shell bead necklace (Ritchie actually thought the shell beads found at the site were associated with the later Woodland occupation). In the background, you can see a fish weir across the narrow channel between the two lakes (there is no direct evidence for weirs at the site) and fish drying racks (some post molds from the site were interpreted this way).
The always fascinating Mark Raymond Harrington modeling his exploring outfit for Museum Service, the bulletin of the Rochester Municipal Museum.
Mr. Harrington, soon after his academic work at Ann Arbor and Columbia began to explore the out-of-the-way places of America and has been remarkably successful.
Ed Curtin has posted a brief summary of some of the papers presented at the recent NYSAA meeting on his Fieldnotes blog.
The journal Assemblage has just published the Proceedings of the Postgraduate Zooarchaeology Forum held at the University of Sheffield in 2012. All eight papers can be freely downloaded at the Assemblage website.
All but one of the papers deal with Old World assemblages. The exception is Sofia Tecce’s analysis of animal bones from Estancia Pueyrredón 2 in Argentina. This hunter-gatherer site dates to between 4,900-3,500 BP (yes, roughly the same time period as the Lamoka Lake site). The faunal assemblage is dominated by guanaco (although there are also a lot of unidentified rodents) and Tecce present a pretty comprehensive taphonomic analysis of the guanaco bones.
Publication of these papers is notable for another reason. As the editors, Lizzie Wright and Angela Trentacoste point out, the organizers
…had no funding for this conference, but charged our participants just £10, in the knowledge that many postgraduates are limited by financial constraints. The Sheffield Zooarchaeology team hosted (sometimes multiple) participants in their homes. It is worth mentioning the real lack of opportunities for funding an event such as this – postgraduate conference funding was cut by the Arts and Humanties Research Council in recent years, and The University of Sheffield had no appropriate money that we could apply for. This is a real problem when postgraduates often have little funding themselves.
A recent editorial in PLOS Biology is asking, but not really answering, some important questions:
A brief summary of known prehistoric records of Ectopistes in West Virginia has been posted in the Passenger Pigeon Archaeology section. There must be more sites out there with these bird bones – where are they?
Their appearance and disappearance is at very irregular and uncertain intervals
James E. DeKay on the “wild pigeon” in Zoology of New-York, or the New-York fauna; comprising detailed descriptions of all the animals hitherto observed within the state of new-york, with brief notices of those occasionally found near its borders, and accompanied by appropriate illustrations. Part II Birds. Carroll and Cook, Albany, NY. 1844, p. 197.
Mauricio Anton’s artwork of the Olduvai Gorge landscape, not quite two million years ago:
Olduvai Bed 1 Layer by Layer