For hundreds of years, Native Americans in the southwestern United States had a prolonged baby boom — which would average out to each woman giving birth to more than six children, a new study finds. That baby streak, however, ended a little before the Spanish colonized the Americas.
"Birthrates were as high, or even higher, than anything we know in the world today," said study co-author Tim Kohler, an archaeologist and anthropologist at Washington State University.
The precolonial baby boom was likely fueled by Native Americans in the region switching from a nomadic, hunter-gathering lifestyle to a settled farming way of life, Kohler said. Read more.
Archaeologists and Native Americans are clashing over Indian remains and artifacts that were excavated during a construction project in the San Francisco Bay Area, but then reburied at an undisclosed location.
Archaeologists say the burial ground and village site in Larkspur held a treasure trove of information about Coast Miwok life and should have been preserved for future study.
But The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which made the decision to remove and rebury the remains and artifacts, say the items belonged to their ancestors, and how they are handled is no one’s business but the tribe’s. Read more.
Genetic and environmental evidence indicates that after the ancestors of Native Americans left Asia, they spent 10,000 years in shrubby lowlands on a broad land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska. Archaeological evidence is lacking because it drowned beneath the Bering Sea when sea levels rose. University of Utah anthropologist Dennis O’Rourke and two colleagues make that argument in the Friday, Feb. 28, issue of the journal Science. They seek to reconcile existing genetic and paleoenvironmental evidence for human habitation on the Bering land bridge — also called Beringia — with an absence of archaeological evidence.
O’Rourke says cumulative evidence indicates the ancestors of Native Americans lived on the Bering land bridge “in the neighborhood of 10,000 years,” from roughly 25,000 years ago until they began moving into the Americas about 15,000 years ago once glacial ice sheets melted and opened migration routes. Read more.
A charity which bought 24 sacred Native American masks at a controversial Paris auction is to return them to the Hopi and Apache tribes in the US.
The US-based Annenberg Foundation said it had spent a total of $530,000 (£322,000; 385,000 euros) at the auction of masks and other artefacts.
Of the 24 masks, 21 will be given to the Hopi Nation in Arizona and three to the San Carlos Apache.
The auction of 70 similar artefacts in April caused an outcry.
The tribes had sought to block their sale and the US embassy had asked for the latest auction to be suspended. Read more.
This Thursday, Americans will gather around groaning tables to consume massive amounts of turkey, gravy, potatoes and stuffing. It’s a tradition the country associates with a Pilgrim feast in the 1600s, but actually, 2013 marks only the 150th anniversary of official Thanksgiving.
The “First Thanksgiving” taught to schoolchildren around the country dates back to 1621, when the Calvinist settlers of Plymouth Colony, better known as the Pilgrims, got together with the Wampanoag tribe for a fall harvest festival.
In fact, harvest festivals date back further than that. Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles got together with Native Americans in St. Augustine, Fla., on Sept. 8, 1565, for a Catholic mass and a feast of thanksgiving, giving Florida a claim to the “first Thanksgiving” title. Read more.
The DNA gleaned from two ancient Siberian skeletons is related to that of modern-day Native Americans and western Eurasians, new research suggests.
The genetic material from the ancient Siberians provides additional evidence that the ancestors of Native Americans made the arduous trek from Siberia across the Bering Strait into the Americas.
But it also reveals there were multiple waves of migrations in Asia around this time, said Mark Hubbe, a biological anthropologist at The Ohio State University who was not involved in the study.
"This brings a new level of complexity to what we think happened in Asia," Hubbe told LiveScience. Read more.
ASHEVILLE — Clues to ages gone by are scattered in forested coves across Western North Carolina.
Often they are stone tools, shards of pottery and other remnants of the lives of Native Americans buried in spots where they gathered.
Some thousands of years old, the items are important to archaeologists who work to piece together the region’s history.
“They tell us about who used to live here and how they lived,” said Rodney Snedeker, forest archaeologist and tribal liaison with the National Forests in North Carolina. “That tells us about human behavior. They also contain a lot of data about environmental changes over time.” Read more.
To an outsider, the Wind River Range of Wyoming does not seem a hospitable place. Glaciers dot the peaks, and snow can fall even in August. But in the thin air above 10,000 feet, archaeologists have discovered a host of sky-high prehistoric villages, including one that may be the oldest mountain settlement in North America.
Researchers will report 13 new Wind River villages in an upcoming issue of The Journal of Archaeological Science, bringing the total number to 19. Such high-altitude settlements are extremely rare in North America, and scientists plan to study plant remains from the villages that may help them understand the prehistoric peoples who moved to the roof of the world. Read more.