Guatemala  GUATEMALA 23/11/2020

The ritual significance of a classic Maya sweat bath in Guatemala

An unusual offering in an abandoned and unique-looking structure revealed new evidence of the role it played in the community

Sweat baths have a long history of use in Mesoamerica. Commonly used by midwives in postpartum and perinatal care in contemporary Maya communities, these structures are viewed as grandmother figures, a pattern that can also be traced to earlier periods of history. At the site of Xultun, Guatemala, a Classic Maya sweat bath with an unusual collection of artifacts led archaeologists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Archaeology Program at Boston University and other collaborating institutions to gather new evidence of these beliefs and an early example of the related ritual practices.

 
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Panama  PANAMÁ 21/10/2020

Unequal migration across the land-bridge millions of years ago

The disproportionate extinction of South American mammals when the Americas collided is still evident today

 

When the Isthmus of Panama rose from the sea to connect North and South America millions of years ago, mammals could cross the bridge in both directions. But the result of this massive migration—a large proportion of mammals with North American origins in South America, but not the other way around—has long puzzled paleontologists. To explore the origins of this drastic asymmetry, researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Gothenburg Global Biodiversity Centre and collaborating institutions analyzed fossil data from the two continents.

 
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Perú  CUSCO 08/09/2020

Fossil trees on Peru’s Central Andean Plateau tell a tale of dramatic environmental change

The anatomy of fossil plants growing in the Andean Altiplano region 10 million years ago calls current paleoclimate models into question, suggesting that the area was more humid than models predict

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Spain  GRANADA 04/08/2020

The first European populations were capable of adapting to climate change and new habitats 1.4 million years ago

The research is based on the study of amphibians and reptiles revealed from recent excavation campaigns in the Orce Archeological Zone

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Cuba  CUBA 22/07/2020

Unprecedented 3D reconstruction of pre-Columbian crania from the Caribbean and South America

Exceptional collection from the Anthropological Museum Montané in Cuba has been used to promote cultural heritage research and socialization

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Panama  PANAMÁ 16/07/2020

The trace of suffering, in the bones

Human remains used to be considered a nuisance in archaeological excavations. Today they are considered a valuable source of information to understand the ways of life of prehistoric populations and their conditions

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Spain  MADRID 14/07/2020

Research at Spanish universities improves in competitiveness

Report about university research, development, and innovation (R&D&I) from the IUNE Observatory 2020

Scientific publications by university lecturers have increased by almost 7% in the past year and there is improved competitiveness for obtaining European scientific projects, since their number has increased almost 5% while projects from the Spanish national R & D + i plan decreased 1.4% during the same period. These are some of the conclusions drawn from the IUNE Observatory’s most recent annual report, produced by the 4U Alliance (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, and Universidad Pompeu Fabra).

 
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Spain  MADRID 19/06/2020

A research study examines the image of Madrid as a film location

Carried out by the UC3M Geocine Group

A Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) research project has analyzed aspects of the relation between the geographic and cinematographic space in audiovisual productions filmed in the Madrid Regional Community, aimed at drawing attention to how it has changed over time and highlighting the capital´s image as a setting in film productions.

 
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Cuba  CUBA 05/06/2020

Ancient genomic insights into the early peopling of the Caribbean

New study reveals multiple waves of settlement and connections to the American mainland

The Caribbean was one of the last regions of the Americas to be settled by humans. Now, a new study published in the journal Science sheds new light on how the islands were settled thousands of years ago.

 
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Guatemala  GUATEMALA 28/05/2020

What animal bones tell us about the rise and fall of the Maya in Guatemala

Tens of thousands of tiny bone fragments reveal eating habits, ceremonial practices and the development of animal domestication during more than 2000 years of history

More than 35,000 bone and shell fragments from a Maya settlement in Ceibal, Guatemala tell the tale of animal use through the ups and downs of a great civilization according to a new report in the journal PLOS One by Ashley Sharpe, staff archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, with colleagues from the University of Arizona, the University of Ibaraki, Japan and Guatemala’s Institute of Anthropology and History and Universidad de San Carlos.

 
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Brazil  BRASIL 12/05/2020

Demographic expansion of several Amazonian archaeological cultures by computer simulation

The study uses simulation techniques and shows that some cultural expansions from Amazonia during the late Holocene may have arisen from similar demographic processes to the Neolithic in Eurasia

Expansions by groups of humans were common during prehistoric times, after the adoption of agriculture. Among other factors, this is due to population growth of farmers which was greater than of that hunter-gatherers. We can find one example of this during the Neolithic period, when farming was introduced to Europe by migrations from the Middle East.

 
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Brazil  BRASIL 28/04/2020

Poor Amazonians go hungry despite living in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth

Massive seasonal floods mean many ribeirinhos, a marginalised social group who live alongside rivers in Brazil's Amazonian floodplain forests, struggle to catch enough fish to eat and can go hungry

Poorer rural Amazonians are going hungry despite living in one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet - a new study reveals. Massive seasonal floods mean many ribeirinhos, a marginalised social group who live alongside rivers in Brazil's Amazonian floodplain forests, struggle to catch enough fish to eat and can go hungry.

 
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Mexico  YUCATÁN 24/04/2020

Examining heart extractions in ancient Mesoamerica

New findings on procedures and meanings of human heart sacrifices in Mesoamerica

Sacrificial rituals featuring human heart extraction were a prevalent religious practice throughout ancient Mesoamerican societies. Intended as a means of appeasing and honoring certain deities, sacrifices served as acts of power and intimidation as well as demonstrations of devotion and gratitude. Human sacrifices were highly structured, complex rituals performed by elite members of society, and the ceremonies included a myriad of procedures imbued with symbolic significance.

 
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Spain  MADRID 30/03/2020

A research looks at the effects of the "based on true events" formula

This formula is used in audiovisual fiction, among other things, to short-circuit the critical and interpretative distance with the story being told, to generate a false sense of discursive transparency

The formula "based on true events" and similar ones are used in audiovisual fiction, among other things, to short-circuit the critical and interpretative distance with the story being told, to generate a false sense of discursive transparency and to create simulations of factuality in the rhetorical and stereotyped space of an audiovisual discourse that hides its political dimension by appealing to "facts". These are the conclusions of a study carried out by a researcher from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) that analyses the political dimension of this kind of expression used massively in TV series and fiction films.

 
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Mexico  MÉXICO 25/02/2020

Modern technology reveals old secrets about the great, white Maya road

Using lidar technology to peer through thick vegetation, researchers are learning more about the longest road from ancient Maya civilization

Did a powerful queen of Cobá, one of the greatest cities of the ancient Maya world, build the longest Maya road to invade a smaller, isolated neighbor and gain a foothold against the emerging Chichén Itzá empire? The question has long intrigued Traci Ardren, archaeologist and University of Miami professor of anthropology. Now, she and fellow scholars may be a step closer to an answer, after conducting the first lidar study of the 100-kilometer stone highway that connected the ancient cities of Cobá and Yaxuná on the Yucatan Peninsula 13 centuries ago.

 
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Spain  MADRID 24/02/2020

A study of economic compensation for victims of sexual violence in Europe

FAIRCOM project lead by UC3M

A study carried out by researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) analyses the efficiency of the Spanish system of economically compensating the victims of sexual violence. This work has been undertaken within the framework of FAIRCOM, a European project coordinated by the UC3M.

 
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Panama  PANAMÁ 14/01/2020

A bee’s-eye-view of Panama in the late 1800’s

Bees and their pollen reveal the environment of the first Cathedral on the American mainland, as do photos by preeminent landscape photographer, Eadweard Muybridge

In anticipation of Pope Francis’ 2018 visit to Panama, restoration workers discovered brittle, brown clusters—miniature chambers covered with gold leaf and paint—above the columns in the altarpiece of Santa Maria la Antigua Basilica Cathedral. Scientists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) identified the clusters as orchid bee nests. Pollen from the nests, and 19th century photos of the city from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, provide complementary views of the crossroads of the continent just after the California gold rush and before the building of the Panama Canal.

 
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Spain  MADRID 11/11/2019

RIVERS analyses the relationship between water and the human rights of indigenous people

ERC Grant H2020 Research project of the UC3M

To produce innovative knowledge of human rights in relation to the different indigenous ways of conceiving water. This is the objective of RIVERS, a Starting Grant scientific project by the European Research Council (ERC) that has been presented today at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) which intends to analyse the following issue: To what extent can the international law of human rights tackle the plurilegal realities of water?

 
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Brazil  BRASIL 17/10/2019

Brazilian capuchin monkeys stone use may show similarities with earlier hominin activities

An international team investigate primates looking for clues about hominin technological development and to learn more about the use of pounding stones by Homo antecessor

Fossils and stone tools are key findings unearthed at any archaeological site focused on human evolution studies, however, behavior does not fossilize, and it is not possible to observe hominins using their tools. Thus, primatology plays an important role, as the study of modern primates can help us to understand the behavior of the earliest human populations. In this context, an international research team is focused on the analysis of capuchin monkeys from Serra da Capivara, in Brazil. The main goal is to investigate the use-wear marks developed on the stone tools used by these monkeys and build a theoretical model that could help to understand the emergence of hominin behavior.

 
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Panama  PANAMÁ 12/08/2019

White-tailed deer were predominant in pre-Columbian Panama feasts

An analysis of deer remains in refuse piles at the Sitio Sierra archaeological site revealed signs of “feasting behavior” associated with this animal

In pre-Columbian times, the white-tailed deer was among the most abundant and frequently consumed mammals in Panama. It was also an icon, represented on thousands of clay vessels. Through an analysis of deer remains in refuse piles at the Sitio Sierra archaeological site, researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) discovered signs of “feasting behavior” associated with this animal.

 
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