Bronze moulds found in Yen Bai Province

Stone moulds used for metal working were discovered in northern Vietnam.

Bronze moulds from Yen Bai Province. source: Viet Nam Net 20160628
Bronze moulds from Yen Bai Province. source: Viet Nam Net 20160628

Dong Son-era bronze casting moulds found in Yen Bai
Viet Nam Net, 28 June 2016

Axe- and chisel-shaped moulds made of stone dating back to the Dong Son civilisation (about 2,000 – 3,000 years ago) have been discovered in the northern mountainous province of Yen Bai.

The axe-shaped mould is 8.1cm long, 5.1cm wide and 2cm thick, and weighs 120 grammes. Meanwhile, the chisel-shaped one is 11.2cm long, 5.6cm wide and 3.2cm thick, and weighs 360 grammes.

The two stone moulds are being kept at the provincial museum, according to the museum’s Deputy Director Ly Kim Khoa.

He said in early March this year, a farmer found two stone objects with unusual carvings at an eroded section on the Hong (Red) riverbank in Dong An commune, Yen Bai’s Van Yen district. The farmer sent the objects to the museum for examination.

Full story here.

Hints of Vietnam in the palaeolithic emerge from the Central Highlands

Stone tools discovered in the mountains of Central Vietnam suggest the presence of hominids around 800,000 years ago.

Palaeolithic handaxes from central Vietnam. Source: Vietnam Net 20160412
Palaeolithic handaxes from central Vietnam. Source: Vietnam Net 20160412

Vietnam discovers likely most ancient early Paleolithic sites in central region
Xinhua, via Shanghai Daily, 11 April 2016

Traces of Paleolithic age discovered in Vietnam
Vietnam Net, 12 April 2016

Vietnam for the first time discovered early Paleolithic sites inside cultural layer with stone tools and tektites believed to date back 770,000-800,000 years ago, according to Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) on Monday.

This is likely considered the most ancient mark ever-known on the appearance of human and their culture in Vietnam, the VASS said in Hanoi on Friday while announcing on preliminary results of archaeological study in An Khe town of Vietnam’s Central Highlands Gia Lai province.

In 2014, while implementing a ministerial level scientific project, archaeologists discovered five early Paleolithic sites in An Khe town, said Nguyen Gia Doi, Deputy Director of Institute of Archaeology under the VASS.

Full stories here and here.

Stone tools push the human occupation of Sulawesi back by 60,000 years

The discovery of stone tools from Sulawesi date to 118,000 years ago – possibly by the so-called hobbits – predate what is thought to be the earliest arrival of humans into Southeast Asia 50,000 – 60,000 years ago.

Stone tools dating to 118,000 years from Sulawesi. Source: ABC News 20160114
Stone tools dating to 118,000 years from Sulawesi. Source: ABC News 20160114

Earliest hominin occupation of Sulawesi, Indonesia
Gerrit D. van den Bergh, Bo Li, Adam Brumm, Rainer Grün, Dida Yurnaldi, Mark W. Moore, Iwan Kurniawan, Ruly Setiawan, Fachroel Aziz, Richard G. Roberts, Suyono, Michael Storey, Erick Setiabudi & Michael J. Morwood
Nature, doi:10.1038/nature16448

A group of mysterious humans left these tools in Indonesia over 118,000 years ago
Ars Technica, 15 January 2016

Stone tools found on Sulawesi in Indonesia ‘made by ancient humans at least 118,000 years ago
ABC News, 14 January 2016

‘Hobbit’ gets a neighbor: Stone tools hint at archaic human presence
CS Monitor, 14 January 2016

Ancient tools show how mysterious ‘Hobbit’ occupied Indonesian island
Reuters, via Ottowa Sun, 13 January 2016

Sulawesi is the largest and oldest island within Wallacea, a vast zone of oceanic islands separating continental Asia from the Pleistocene landmass of Australia and Papua (Sahul). By one million years ago an unknown hominin lineage had colonized Flores immediately to the south1, and by about 50 thousand years ago, modern humans (Homo sapiens) had crossed to Sahul2, 3. On the basis of position, oceanic currents and biogeographical context, Sulawesi probably played a pivotal part in these dispersals4. Uranium-series dating of speleothem deposits associated with rock art in the limestone karst region of Maros in southwest Sulawesi has revealed that humans were living on the island at least 40 thousand years ago (ref. 5). Here we report new excavations at Talepu in the Walanae Basin northeast of Maros, where in situ stone artefacts associated with fossil remains of megafauna (Bubalus sp., Stegodon and Celebochoerus) have been recovered from stratified deposits that accumulated from before 200 thousand years ago until about 100 thousand years ago. Our findings suggest that Sulawesi, like Flores, was host to a long-established population of archaic hominins, the ancestral origins and taxonomic status of which remain elusive.

Article can be found here.

PhD Opportunity in Stone Artefact Archaeology

PhD opportunity in Australia to study stone artefacts in Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Details below.

FULLY FUNDED PHD OPPORTUNITY IN STONE ARTEFACT ARCHAEOLOGY IN MAINLAND SOUTHEAST ASIA

THE POSITION
Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD position in archaeology, within the Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS), University of Wollongong (UOW). The successful candidate will join a multi-disciplinary project that is seeking to generate new data related to the Late Pleistocene colonisation of Asia and Australasia by modern humans (Homo sapiens) and other archaic hominins present in the region at this time. This forms part of the ARC Australian Future Fellowship project led by Dr Ben Marwick, The archaeology of Thailand and Myanmar: A Strategic Region for Understanding Modern Human Colonization and Interactions Across our Region. This project is linked to Prof Richard ‘Bert’ Roberts’ ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship Out of Asia: unique insights into human evolution and interactions using frontier technologies in archaeological science. To address substantial questions concerning early modern human colonisation and adaptation in mainland Southeast Asia, we are developing a number of innovative archaeological-science techniques, and are assembling a research group with strengths in artefact analysis, geochronology, geoarchaeology, and archaeological chemistry.

The PhD candidate will study stone artefact assemblages to engage with major global and regional archaeological questions relating to the timing and nature of human activity during the Late Pleistocene in Southeast Asia and the wider region. The position will involve overseas fieldwork in Myanmar and an intensive, laboratory-based analytical research program. The candidate will be expected to help develop and apply novel techniques for analysing stone artefacts, and conduct an experimental program.

The candidate will receive a tax-free stipend of AUD 25,849 per year (indexed annually), for three and a half years. Research funding opportunities are available, with candidates encouraged to apply for the various university-wide schemes available at UOW and CAS. For more details, see http://www.uow.edu.au/research/rsc/prospective/index.html

THE INSTITUTION
CAS was established at UOW in 2010 to develop, integrate and apply modern scientific techniques to answer fundamental questions about human evolution and the analysis of material remains of past human life and activities. CAS is affiliated with the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences (SEES), bringing together researchers drawn from the physical, chemical, biological and geological sciences in partnership with science-based archaeologists. This means that there is plenty of scope to interact and collaborate with experts from across the Earth Sciences, and indeed PhD candidates are encouraged to do so.

CAS possesses a world-leading laboratory for archaeological science, equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation for microscopy, compositional analyses and dating. CAS members have produced high-profile publications in the field of archaeological science. We have ongoing collaborations with experts in statistics and other departments at UOW; combined with the departmental expertise, this provides an exciting research environment with many opportunities for collaborative work. For more details about CAS, see http://cas.uow.edu.au/index.html

REQUIREMENTS
Candidates are expected to hold a first class undergraduate degree, preferably Honours (or equivalent), in Archaeology, Archaeological Science, or a related discipline. For US applicants a GPA of 3.8 or higher, and field experience, is expected. Desirable, but not essential details for all applicants, include: authorship of scholarly publications; a relevant post-graduate qualification in Archaeology or a related discipline; prior experience analysing stone artefacts; international fieldwork experience; and CRM/consulting experience.
Applicants will need to show an aptitude for analytical and experimental research, and must be proficient in English. The successful applicant will be fully committed to conducting independent and original scientific research, while also collaborating with others in the CAS team. The PhD candidate will be expected to disseminate this research in peer-reviewed journal articles and conference presentations, as well as in their final PhD thesis. They will be encouraged to undertake training in relevant analytical techniques and must be willing to conduct overseas fieldwork, in sometimes challenging environments.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE
If you are interested in applying for this position and satisfy the above requirements, then please contact Dr Ben Marwick by email to discuss your application and details of the application procedure. The deadline for full applications is 23rd October 2015, and the successful candidate is expected to begin work in early 2016.
Dr Ben Marwick
Senior Research Fellow,
Centre for Archaeological Science (CAS),
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences,
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health,
University of Wollongong,
Wollongong, NSW 2522,
AUSTRALIA
E: bmarwick@uow.edu.au