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Brady B.,University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture

The constellation images with their historically persistent nature and adaptability fulfil many contemporary definitions of culture. From the earliest Elamite seals of the fourth millennium to the list-maps in the first century CE through Ptolemy's Almagest, the constellation images became established in Western cultures. With the invention of printing and the age of the great star atlases from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, the constellation images continued to display cultural resistance by cartographers to Gothicise, Christianise, politicise or simply remove them. This resilience has shown that the constellation images are in fact a living gallery of human history with images ranging from the Palaeolithic to the modern world. Furthermore, with their acceptance across a diversity of people and nations, the constellation images today have come to represent a form of world culture, in that they constitute a culture of humanity that is not linked by tribes, clans, nations, religions, or languages. © Equinox Publishing Ltd 2013. Source

Russell T.,University of Witwatersrand | Silva F.,University College London | Silva F.,University of Wales Trinity Saint David | Steele J.,University of Witwatersrand | Steele J.,University College London

We use archaeological data and spatial methods to reconstruct the dispersal of farming into areas of sub-Saharan Africa now occupied by Bantu language speakers, and introduce a new large-scale radiocarbon database and a new suite of spatial modelling techniques. We also introduce a method of estimating phylogeographic relationships from archaeologically-modelled dispersal maps, with results produced in a format that enables comparison with linguistic and genetic phylogenies. Several hypotheses are explored. The 'deep split' hypothesis suggests that an early-branching eastern Bantu stream spread around the northern boundary of the equatorial rainforest, but recent linguistic and genetic work tends not to support this. An alternative riverine/littoral hypothesis suggests that rivers and coastlines facilitated the migration of the first farmers/horticulturalists, with some extending this to include rivers through the rainforest as conduits to East Africa. More recently, research has shown that a grassland corridor opened through the rainforest at around 3000-2500 BP, and the possible effect of this on migrating populations is also explored. Our results indicate that rivers and coasts were important dispersal corridors, but do not resolve the debate about a 'Deep Split'. Future work should focus on improving the size, quality and geographical coverage of the archaeological 14C database; on augmenting the information base to establish descent relationships between archaeological sites and regions based on shared material cultural traits; and on refining the associated physical geographical reconstructions of changing land cover. © 2014 Russell et al. Source

Henty L.,University of Wales Trinity Saint David
Journal of Physics: Conference Series

For historical reasons archaeoastronomy and archaeology differ in their approach to prehistoric monuments and this has created a divide between the disciplines which adopt seemingly incompatible methodologies. The reasons behind the impasse will be explored to show how these different approaches gave rise to their respective methods. Archaeology investigations tend to concentrate on single site analysis whereas archaeoastronomical surveys tend to be data driven from the examination of a large number of similar sets. A comparison will be made between traditional archaeoastronomical data gathering and an emerging methodology which looks at sites on a small scale and combines archaeology and astronomy. Silva's recent research in Portugal and this author's survey in Scotland have explored this methodology and termed it skyscape archaeology. This paper argues that this type of phenomenological skyscape archaeology offers an alternative to large scale statistical studies which analyse astronomical data obtained from a large number of superficially similar archaeological sites. © Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd. Source

Lowe J.,Royal Holloway, University of London | Walker M.,University of Wales Trinity Saint David | Walker M.,Aberystwyth University
Journal of Quaternary Science

Over the last 50 years, there have been significant developments in the range and sophistication of the chronological tools now available to Quaternary scientists. Notable milestones include the introduction of new methods (e.g. optically stimulated luminescence, cosmogenic radionuclide dating, ice-layer counting, molecular 'clocks') and the refinement of established techniques (e.g. accelerator mass spectrometry 14C dating, 14C calibration, high-precision uranium-series dating, argon-argon dating, cryptotephra analysis). Developing new techniques and methodologies for measuring Quaternary time is not an end in itself, however: it is stimulated by a parallel need, which is a deeper understanding of the mode, pattern and rates of environmental processes, and how different processes inter-connect. Here we review some of the important limitations that continue to constrain our ability to provide coherent chronologies for Quaternary environmental reconstructions at both millennial and sub-millennial timescales. We focus our discussion on two unique stratigraphic templates: first, the marine oxygen isotope sequence that spans the full Quaternary period; and, second, the Greenland ice-core record, which provides a basis for dating environmental changes through the last glacial cycle. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Source

Nayling N.,University of Wales Trinity Saint David | Jones T.,Newport Medieval Ship Project
International Journal of Nautical Archaeology

The Newport Ship is the most substantial late medieval vessel excavated and recovered in Britain in recent years. It was abandoned after extensive salvage, possibly following attempts at repairs to the hull. More than 23m of the clinker-built ship were recovered, along with significant artefact and environmental assemblages. Finds point to strong Iberian connections during the active life of the ship, which arrived in Newport in the Severn Estuary, after the spring of AD 1468. The dismantling and recovery of the ship has enabled detailed recording using innovative 3D digital techniques and approaches to hypothetical reconstruction. Publication includes a digital archive hosted by the Archaeological Data Service, a substantial report and this article. © 2013 The Nautical Archaeology Society. Source

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