Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Early Farming Site In Albania

The problem that I have with founding dates is that they mislead.  The vast majority will be clustered around a date that is late in the formation process simply because of the nature of growth and compounding.  However, it is also reasonable to presume that the active population was capable of doubling every generation as it occupied an empty land.

A single starter village of a couple hundred people can easily be a thousand similar villages in about two centuries.  Thus an early date of say 6500 BC strongly implies that the tool kit arrived perhaps three centuries earlier.

The good news is that the gap does not appear to be large and certainly mirrors American experience in the settling of the USA.  It also swiftly clarifies what happens to indigenous peoples who do not have the tool kit.  They are simply hugely outnumbered and then absorbed.

Again we are seeing this happen in the Americas and the USA in particular.  The pressure of natural inter marriage is unrelenting and pure strains are disappearing before our eyes.  This is not a bad thing although it is broadly and futilely opposed. The truth is that we are all becoming vigorous hybrids.

For that reason the historical integration of first nations into the modern world will become total inside of just a few more generations.  In fact it is mostly complete and that is why the claimed populations are actually quite small.  In Canada an economic incentive exists to claim what are effectively inheritance rights and our population is growing of course and we have several million.

In time all will be proud of the multiple strands of their humanity.

UC Research Reveals One of the Earliest Farming Sites in Europe

by Dawn Fuller

Cincinnati OH (SPX) Apr 18, 2012

University of Cincinnati research is revealing early farming in a former wetlands region that was largely cut off from Western researchers until recently.

The UC collaboration with the Southern Albania Neolithic Archaeological Project (SANAP) will be presented April 20 at the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA).

Susan Allen, a professor in the UC Department of Anthropology who co-directs SANAP, says she and co-director Ilirjan Gjipali of the Albanian Institute ofArchaeology created the project in order to address a gap not only in Albanian archaeology, but in the archaeology in Eastern Europe as a whole, by focusing attention on the initial transition to farming in the region.

Allen was awarded a $191,806 (BCS- 0917960) grant from the National Science Foundation to launch the project in 2010.

"For Albania, there has been a significant gap in documenting the Early Neolithic (EN), the earliest phase of farming in the region," explains Allen.

"While several EN sites were excavated in Albania in the '70s and '80s, plant and animal remains - the keys to exploring early farming - were not recovered from the sites, and sites were not dated with the use of radiocarbon techniques," Allen says.

"At that time (under communist leader Enver Hoxha), Albania was closed to outside collaborations and methodologies that were rapidly developing elsewhere in Europe, such as environmental archaeology and radiocarbon dating.

"The country began forming closer ties with the West following Hoxha's death in 1985 and the fall of communism in 1989, paving the way for international collaborations such as SANAP, which has pushed back the chronology of the Albanian Early Neolithic and helped to reveal how early farmers interacted with the landscape."

The findings show that Vashtemi, located in southeastern Albania, was occupied around 6,500 cal BC, making it one of the earliest farming sites in Europe.

The location of early sites such as Vashtemi near wetland edges suggests that the earliest farmers in Europe preferentially selected such resource-rich settings to establish pioneer farming villages.

During this earliest phase of farming in Europe, farming was on a small scale and employed plant and animal domesticates from the Near East. At Vashtemi, the researchers have found cereal-based agriculture including emmer, einkorn and barley; animals such as pigs, cattle and sheep or goats (the two are hard to tell apart for many bones of the skeleton); and deer, wild pig, rabbit, turtle, several species of fish and eels. What seems evident is that the earliest farmers in the region cast a wide net for food resources, rather than relying primarily on crops and domesticated animals, as is widely assumed.

Allen and Gjipali's research team included graduate and undergraduate students from UC's departments of anthropology and classics. SANAP is an international collaboration with researchers representing the U.S., Spain, France, Greece and Albania.

The Society for American Archaeology is an international organization that is dedicated to the research, interpretation and protection of thearchaeological heritage of the Americas.

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