Wiener Laboratory

Athens, Greece

Wiener Laboratory

Athens, Greece
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Harvati K.,University of Tübingen | Darlas A.,Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology and Speleology of Northern Greece | Bailey S.E.,New York University | Bailey S.E.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2013

The Kalamakia cave, a Middle Paleolithic site on the western coast of the Mani peninsula, Greece, was excavated in 1993-2006 by an interdisciplinary team from the Ephoreia of Paleoanthropology and Speleology (Greek Ministry of Culture) and the Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle (Paris). The site is dated to between ca. 100,000 and >39,000 years BP (Before Present) and has yielded Mousterian lithics, a rich fauna, and human remains from several layers. The latter include 10 isolated teeth, a cranial fragment and three postcranial elements. The remains represent at least eight individuals, two of them subadults, and show both carnivore and anthropogenic modifications. They can be identified as Neanderthal on the basis of diagnostic morphology on most specimens. A diet similar to that of Neanderthals from mixed habitat is suggested by our analysis of dental wear (occlusal fingerprint analysis) and microwear (occlusal texture microwear analysis), in agreement with the faunal and palynological analyses of the site. These new fossils significantly expand the Neanderthal sample known from Greece. Together with the human specimens from Lakonis and Apidima, the Kalamakia human remains add to the growing evidence of a strong Neanderthal presence in the Mani region during the Late Pleistocene. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Moraitis K.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Zorba E.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Eliopoulos C.,Liverpool John Moores University | Fox S.C.,Wiener Laboratory
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2014

The accurate age estimation of adults is an important step in the construction of the biological profile of skeletonized remains. The auricular surface of the ilium as it was developed in 1985 by Lovejoy et al., is one of the methods employed for age estimation. This study presents the results of a blind test of the revised auricular surface aging method developed by Buckberry and Chamberlain. A sample of 120 individuals from the Athens Collection was used to test this revised aging technique. Almost all features and composite score were positively correlated with known age-at-death. The calculation of bias demonstrated no obvious trend for either overestimation or underestimation of age when all individuals were pooled together. Inaccuracy showed that absolute errors of estimated ages against known ages are substantial. The data generated from this study suggest that the revised method can be reliable for age estimation on a modern European population. © 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Fox S.C.,Wiener Laboratory | Eliopoulos C.,Liverpool John Moores University | Moutafi I.,University of Sheffield | Manolis S.K.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Journal of Forensic Sciences | Year: 2011

A simple technique for imaging the human skeleton with a flatbed scanner is presented using the auricular surface of the ilium as an example. A flatbed scanner with resolution capabilities of 600 dpi or greater allows for images of human bones. The auricular surface of the ilium was selected to demonstrate this technique as it is a fairly three-dimensional area that can be difficult to record photographically. Fifty left ilia of various ages at death from the Athens Collection were selected from which three observers (SCF, CE, and IM) scored the morphology of the auricular surface using a well-established aging method. Observations were taken of the dry bone, of digital photographs of the bone, and of scanned images of the bone, and in that sequence. Results indicate that scores of scanned images are equivalent or better than digital images of the same ilia. This technique allows for sharing data electronically with ease. © 2010 American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

Elizabeth S.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Tatiana T.,Wiener Laboratory | Nellie P.-C.,University of Cambridge
Archaeofauna | Year: 2013

The identification of burnt bones in archaeological sites is important as it provides evidence of human-processing activities and fire-related episodes. Past zooarchaeological analyses of burnt fish and mammal bones were mostly based on macroscopic features, such as bone color and structure, and microscopic features, such as crystaliinity. Such studies, however, have shown that black coloring of bones can be caused not only by burning, but also by natural mineral staining. Therefore, it is essential to develop analytical techniques for the identification of burnt bones. This paper presents preliminary results from an interdisciplinary study on the possible causes of the «black-colored bones» recovered at the Neolithic lakeside settlement of Dispilio, Greece (5500-3500 B.C.). The frequent occurrence of charcoal and burnt cultural remains in the lower layers of the deposit suggested that the first village was destroyed by fire, followed by a period of site abandonment. Nevertheless, although fish bones are often reddish/black in color in archaeological deposits, macroscopic examination of these remains suggested that less than 6% were burnt and that their coloring was caused by waterlogged depositional conditions. These observations are of great significance in reassessing the nature of the so-called «destruction level». Selected fish bones were examined through Optical and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), X-ray Microanalysis (EDXA), and Infrared Spectroscopy (IR). The alterations observed on fish bone histology, mineralogy, chemistry, and crystaliinity due to diagenesis and/or possible burning are presented and their correlation to the archaeological context discussed.

Papayiannis K.,National and Kapodistrian University of Athens | Papayiannis K.,Wiener Laboratory
Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments | Year: 2012

The present paper deals with small mammal cranial and postcranial remains from two Bronze Age archaeological sites on Crete, Greece: Mochlos on Eastern Crete and Khania on Western Crete. The endemic Pleistocene species Mus minotaurus and Crocidura zimmermanni were identified in skeletal material from archaeological excavations under the modern city of Khania, while M. musculus domesticus and C. cf. suaveolens were identified in skeletal material from archaeological excavations in the Minoan town of Mochlos. Other identified species include Suncus etruscus and Apodemus sylvaticus/flavicollis. Issues of island biodiversity changes between Pleistocene and Holocene as well as the dates of appearance of the various large and small mammals on Crete are discussed. New dates for the introduction of new micromammal species by modern humans are proposed. The non-endemic species, C. cf. suaveolens, and especially the house mouse, M. musculus domesticus, indicate accidental introduction by humans from the eastern Mediterranean and competition with the endemic ones that led to extinction of M. minotaurus and a radical change of the micromammal zoogeography of Crete. © Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer 2012.

PubMed | Rovira i Virgili University, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Wiener Laboratory and University of Rouen
Type: Historical Article | Journal: Homo : internationale Zeitschrift fur die vergleichende Forschung am Menschen | Year: 2016

In humans, physical activity is an important regulator of bone size. Furthermore, hand bones have been proposed as a potential avenue for assessing patterns of manual activity. However, there are very few studies presenting a metric comparison of proximal hand phalanges among different populations. Moreover, an osteoarchaeological approach to the manual activities performed by an ancient population is yet to be made. In this framework, this study aims at assessing and interpreting the metric variation in these bones between a documented modern Greek sample (20th century) and a Hellenistic sample from Demetrias (3rd-1st century BCE), in terms of size and sexual dimorphism. Ancient males were significantly larger than females for ten phalangeal measurements out of 35. Even though the degree of sexual dimorphism was lower in the Hellenistic material (the maximum sexual dimorphism observed - 12.46%) than in modern sample (the maximum observed - 21.19%), the ranking of rays and bone parts by sexual dimorphism was similar in both populations. No metric difference was observed between modern and ancient males, whereas ancient females were larger than modern females in seven dimensions (the maximum variation observed was 11.58%), which involved the bases and midshafts of phalanges. Given that these dimensions are affected by the degree of muscular recruitment for the formation of various hand grips, it is suggested that ancient females were involved in manual activities of greater grasping variance than modern females. Indeed, the historical and archaeological sources suggest that sexual distribution of labour in the Hellenistic society seems to explain the differences estimated between the sexes and the two populations under study.

El Zaatari S.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology | El Zaatari S.,Wiener Laboratory | Grine F.E.,State University of New York at Stony Brook | Ungar P.S.,University of Arkansas | Hublin J.-J.,Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2011

In the late Middle and early Late Pleistocene, Neandertals inhabited a wide variety of ecological zones across western Eurasia during both glacial and interglacial times. To elucidate the still poorly understood effects of climatic change on Neandertal subsistence patterns, this study employs dental microwear texture analysis to reconstruct the diets of Neandertal individuals from various sites across their wide temporal and geographic ranges. The results of this study reveal environmentally-driven differences in the diets of Neandertal groups. Significant differences in microwear signatures, correlated with paleoecological conditions, were found among Neandertal groups that lived in open, mixed, and wooded environments. In comparison to recent hunter-gatherer populations with known, yet diverse diets, the occlusal molar microwear signatures of all the Neandertal groups indicate that their diet consisted predominantly of meat. However, the results of this study suggest that plant foods did form an important part of the diet of at least some Neandertal groups (i.e., those that lived in mixed and wooded habitats). Overall, the proportion of plant foods in the Neandertal diet appears to have increased with the increase in tree cover. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Bernal-Casasola D.,University of Cádiz | Gardeisen A.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Morgenstern P.,Deutsches Archaologisches Institute | Horwitz L.K.,Hebrew University of Jerusalem | And 3 more authors.
Antiquity | Year: 2016

Despite a general paucity of archaeological, archaeozoological and iconographic evidence from the Upper Palaeolithic through to Late Antiquity, the corpus of whalebone finds in the Mediterranean region indicates that some level of interaction between humans and whales did indeed occur. A concentration of finds from Roman contexts suggests more active interventions in this period, especially around the Western Mediterranean and the Strait of Gibraltar - a 'cetacean hotspot'. Whale vertebrae or scapulae were sometimes fashioned into portable chopping boards, identified from cut-marks made by fishermen or craftsmen, but whale meat and blubber may have been less important owing to abundant alternative food and fuel sources. © Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd, 2016.

Nikita E.,University of Cambridge | Nikita E.,Wiener Laboratory | Mattingly D.,University of Leicester | Lahr M.M.,University of Cambridge
HOMO- Journal of Comparative Human Biology | Year: 2014

The present paper examines dental diseases and linear enamel hypoplasia among the Garamantes, a Late Holocene Saharan population, and aims to draw conclusions about nutrition and adaptation to a hyper-arid environment. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Garamantian diet included animal protein and local, Mediterranean and Near Eastern plants. Moreoever, although the Garamantes had developed urban centres, the size of these was not large enough to allow for particularly unhygienic conditions to appear. The above archaeological findings were partly corroborated by the current bioarchaeological study. At an intra-population level, the Garamantes showed limited sex differences in dental disease prevalence, while all dental conditions increased in frequency with age, as expected. At an inter-population level, the frequency of all dental conditions was comparable to that found among other North African groups, with the exception of ante-mortem tooth loss. The low frequency of most dental conditions is an indication that the Garamantian diet was overall balanced, while the high frequency of ante-mortem tooth loss may be related to factors such as oral hygiene, food preparation or eating mode, which cannot be controlled for osteologically. Finally, the low frequency of enamel hypoplasia suggests either that the Sahara did not inflict particular stresses on the population, or, more likely, that the Garamantes had developed effective mechanisms for coping with their natural environment. © 2014 Elsevier GmbH.

Nikita E.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Nikita E.,Wiener Laboratory
American Journal of Physical Anthropology | Year: 2014

The current article explores whether the application of generalized linear models (GLM) and generalized estimating equations (GEE) can be used in place of conventional statistical analyses in the study of ordinal data that code an underlying continuous variable, like entheseal changes. The analysis of artificial data and ordinal data expressing entheseal changes in archaeological North African populations gave the following results. Parametric and nonparametric tests give convergent results particularly for P values <0.1, irrespective of whether the underlying variable is normally distributed or not under the condition that the samples involved in the tests exhibit approximately equal sizes. If this prerequisite is valid and provided that the samples are of equal variances, analysis of covariance may be adopted. GLM are not subject to constraints and give results that converge to those obtained from all nonparametric tests. Therefore, they can be used instead of traditional tests as they give the same amount of information as them, but with the advantage of allowing the study of the simultaneous impact of multiple predictors and their interactions and the modeling of the experimental data. However, GLM should be replaced by GEE for the study of bilateral asymmetry and in general when paired samples are tested, because GEE are appropriate for correlated data. Am J Phys Anthropol 153:473-483, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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