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  • Originally published 02/20/2014

    Fascism, Russia, and Ukraine

    The Ukrainian government is telling itself that its opponents are Jews and us that its opponents are Nazis.

  • Originally published 02/20/2014

    Will Ukraine Break Apart?

    In Ukraine’s two decades as an independent state, the prospect of disintegration has never looked so real.

  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Neanderthals may have made tools from bone

    Adding to the accumulating evidence that Neanderthals were more sophisticated than previously thought, scientists in Europe said that they had unearthed strong evidence that the early hominins — often typecast as brutish, club-lugging ape-men — fashioned their own specialized bone tools.In a report published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, archaeologists described the discovery of four fragments of bone tools known as lissoirs at two Neanderthal sites in southwest France.The implements are the oldest specialized bone tools found in Europe, said study lead author Marie Soressi, an archaeologist from Leiden University in the Netherlands....

  • Originally published 08/12/2013

    Scientists have found new evidence to show how early humans migrated into Europe

    Humans originated in Africa. But what route did they take as they began to disperse around the world 60,000 years ago? A new professor at the University of Huddersfield has played a key role in finding the answer to one of the most fundamental questions in the history of mankind.Professor Richards, who moved to Huddersfield from the University of Leeds, is a pioneer in the field -- one of just two professors of archaeogenetics in the world. He uses DNA evidence to study human origins, comparing data from modern samples across the world and occasionally to that which can be obtained from ancient sources such as skeletal remains and fossilised teeth. It leads to a vivid picture of the migration patterns of humankind and the origins of civilisation....

  • Originally published 07/18/2013

    Europe's first farmers used manure 8,000 years ago

    A new study says Europe's first farmers used far more sophisticated practices than was previously thought. A research team led by the University of Oxford has found that Neolithic farmers manured and watered their crops as early as 6,000 BC.It had always been assumed that manure wasn't used as a fertiliser until Iron Age and Roman times. However, this new research shows that enriched levels of nitrogen-15, a stable isotope abundant in manure, have been found in the charred cereal grains and pulse seeds taken from 13 Neolithic sites around Europe. The findings are published in the early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study suggests that Neolithic farmers used the dung from their herds of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs as a slow release fertiliser for crops....

  • Originally published 06/26/2013

    Giles MacDonogh: What Happened to Europe?

    Giles MacDonogh is the author of several books on European history, including “After the Reich.” He is currently working on “Hitler’s Germany: A Social History of the Third Reich.”It all looked like a pretty good idea in 1951: A world war had come to an end only six years earlier and a cold one followed in its wake. Old enemies were about to become new friends.The first step was barter. Instead of milking the defeated nation’s resources — the ancient way of war — they could be shared: You have coal, we have steel; we’ll swap. This fair trade was at the heart of the Treaty of Paris, the beginning of the European Coal and Steel Community, the seed that became the mighty European Union....It has now been 68 years since the end of World War II, and in Western and Central Europe at least, peace has reigned for the longest period in modern history — trouncing the calm that ran from Waterloo to the Crimean War by nearly two decades.It would be a pity to forget a century of good, hard work or the 60 years we have spent burying our differences and throw it all away at the toss of a coin.

  • Originally published 06/07/2013

    Victor Davis Hanson: The Stagnant Mediterranean

    Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His new book, The Savior Generals, is just out from Bloomsbury Books. You can reach him by e-mailing author@victorhanson.com.From the heights of Gibraltar you can see Africa about nine miles away to the south — and gaze eastward on the seemingly endless Mediterranean, which stretches 2,400 miles to Asia. Mare Nostrum, “our sea,” the Romans called the deep blue waters that allowed Rome to unite Asia, Africa, and Europe for half a millennium under a single, prosperous, globalized civilization.

  • Originally published 05/14/2013

    Making of Europe unlocked by DNA

    A study of remains from Central Europe suggests the foundations of the modern gene pool were laid down between 4,000 and 2,000 BC - in Neolithic times.These changes were likely brought about by the rapid growth and movement of some populations.The work by an international team is published in Nature Communications.Decades of study of the DNA patterns of modern Europeans suggests two major events in prehistory significantly affected the continent's genetic landscape: its initial peopling by hunter-gatherers in Palaeolithic times (35,000 years ago) and a wave of migration by Near Eastern farmers some 6,000 years ago. (in the early Neolithic)...

  • Originally published 05/09/2013

    History changes course in Pacific

    PRE-EUROPEAN history could be taught at some Pacific universities for the first time ever if plans devised by local history academics come to pass.The collaboration between academics led by Max Quanchi and Morgan Tuimaleali’ifano aims to produce a Pacific-wide undergraduate history course to be taught at universities from Papua New Guinea to New Caledonia, Samoa and French Polynesia....

  • Originally published 05/06/2013

    European and Asian languages traced back to single mother tongue

    Languages spoken by billions of people across Europe and Asia are descended from an ancient tongue uttered in southern Europe at the end of the last ice age, according to research.The claim, by scientists in Britain, points to a common origin for vocabularies as varied as English and Urdu, Japanese and Itelmen, a language spoken along the north-eastern edge of Russia.The ancestral language, spoken at least 15,000 years ago, gave rise to seven more that formed an ancient Eurasiatic "superfamily", the researchers say. These in turn split into languages now spoken all over Eurasia, from Portugal to Siberia."Everybody in Eurasia can trace their linguistic ancestry back to a group, or groups, of people living around 15,000 years ago, probably in southern Europe, as the ice sheets were retreating," said Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at Reading University....

  • Originally published 04/15/2013

    Maya Long Count calendar and European calendar linked using carbon-14 dating

    The Maya are famous for their complex, intertwined calendric systems, and now one calendar, the Maya Long Count, is empirically calibrated to the modern European calendar, according to an international team of researchers. "The Long Count calendar fell into disuse before European contact in the Maya area," said Douglas J. Kennett, professor of environmental archaeology, Penn State. "Methods of tying the Long Count to the modern European calendar used known historical and astronomical events, but when looking at how climate affects the rise and fall of the Maya, I began to question how accurately the two calendars correlated using those methods."...

  • Originally published 04/05/2013

    The Chaotic and Bloody Aftermath of WWII in Europe

    On May 8, 1945, Germany surrendered to the Allies and the Second World War in Europe ended officially. But in reality, the war continued in various guises for several years.British author and historian Keith Lowe details the cruel aftermath of the war in his acclaimed book Savage Continent: Europe in the Aftermath of World War II (St. Martin’s Press). His  careful study of the postwar years in Europe reveals widespread anarchy, famine, crime, pestilence and violent conflict, with millions of uprooted people wandering the ruined lands. Often, Mr. Lowe writes, the bloody conflicts were a continuation of the war that had left 30 million dead and destroyed the infrastructure of most of the warring nations, including political institutions, law enforcement, transportation, media and social services. 

  • Originally published 04/01/2013

    Cologne Archeological Dig Revives Ancient Jewish Heritage

    After long being sidelined for Roman excavations, an archaeological dig in western Germany has unearthed myriad traces of daily life in one of Europe's oldest and largest Jewish communities. From ceramic dishes and tools to toys, animal bones and jewelry, some 250,000 artifacts have so far shed light on various periods in 2,000 years of the city of Cologne's history, the AFP news agency reported....

  • Originally published 03/25/2013

    Earliest evidence of wine-making in Europe

    Elements for the various activities that were taking place in a Neolithic household were presented during the annual conference for the archaeological works in Macedonia and Thrace, currently in progress in Thessaloniki.Dr. Chaido Koukouli-Chrysanthaki (Director Emerita for Antiquities, Kavala), Dr Pascal Darque (Research Director at CNRS, France, Archaeology and Science of Antiquity, Nanterre), Dr. Dimitra Malamidou (Archaeologist 18th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities), Dr Zoϊ Tsirtsoni (Researcher, CNRS France, Archaeology and Science of Antiquity) and Dr. Tania Valamoti (Assistant Professor, Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Therssaloniki) will present new evidence on Dikili Tash’s “House 1”....

  • Originally published 03/22/2013

    Stone Ships Show Signs of Maritime Network in Baltic Sea Region 3,000 Years Ago

    In the middle of the Bronze Age, around 1000 BC, the amount of metal objects increased dramatically in the Baltic Sea region. Around the same time, a new type of stone monument, arranged in the form of ships, started to appear along the coasts. New research from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden shows that the stone ships were built by maritime groups....

  • Originally published 03/20/2013

    Interview: British Historian Timothy Garton Ash On Europe's Future

    British writer and historian Timothy Garton Ash was in Brussels on March 16 to take part in the German Marshall Fund's annual forum of influential North American and European political, corporate, and intellectual leaders to discuss Euro-Atlantic issues. He spoke to RFE/RL correspondent Rikard Jozwiak about the future of Europe. RFE/RL: Does it still make sense for the European Union to push for further eastern enlargement? Timothy Garton Ash: It is essential. Strategically, for the future of the European Union, with a dwindling share of world population and the world economy, and bad demography, certainly in Western Europe, we need further enlargement, including in my view Ukraine and Turkey, which are the two big ones....

  • Originally published 03/06/2013

    Sunstone Unearthed From Shipwreck

    In 1592, a British ship sank near the island of Alderney in the English Channel carrying an odd piece of cargo: a small, angular crystal. Though cloudy and scuffed up from 4 centuries at the bottom of the sea, its precise geometry and proximity to the ship's navigation equipment caught the eye of a diver exploring the wreckage. Once it was brought back to land, a few European scientists began to suspect the mysterious object might be a calcite crystal, which they believe Vikings and other European seafarers used to navigate before the introduction of the magnetic compass....

  • Originally published 02/20/2013

    Will the study of archaeology soon become a thing of the past?

    Finding Richard III (on the premises of Leicester social services no less) is testament to the ingenuity of archaeologists. Weaving together findings from historical analysis of texts with scientific analysis of the skeleton and the site, they have made an overwhelming case that these are the remains of the king....

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Serbian cave produces oldest human ancestor in this part of Europe

    A fragment of lower jaw recovered from a Serbian cave has now been dated as the oldest hominin ancestor found in this part of Europe. The fossil was dated to between 397,000 and 525,000 years old, a time when distinctly Neanderthal traits began to appear in Europe. The evolution of these traits was strongly influenced by periodic isolation of groups of individuals, caused by glacial episodes. According to research published in February 2012 in the open access journal PLoS ONE, the individual probably evolved under different conditions than populations who inhabited more western parts of the continent during the same time frame....

  • Originally published 02/13/2013

    Isotopic data show farming arrived in Europe with migrants

    For decades, archaeologists have debated how farming spread to Stone Age Europe, setting the stage for the rise of Western civilization. Now, new data gleaned from the teeth of prehistoric farmers and the hunter-gatherers with whom they briefly overlapped shows that agriculture was introduced to Central Europe from the Near East by colonizers who brought farming technology with them....

  • Originally published 01/16/2013

    David A. Bell: The War in Mali is a Reminder of France's Grand Malaise

    David A. Bell is Professor of History at Princeton University. Born in New York City in 1961, he received his A.B. from Harvard and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton.It remains to be seen whether France's military intervention in Mali will be considered a military success, but it already seems possible to count it a political one. The war has earned support from across the French political spectrum, President François Hollande has garnered acclaim for his leadership, and the French public broadly supports the country's stated humanitarian mission. The intervention recalls the days when “la grande nation” laid claim to an ambitious international role, particularly within its former colonial empire.But in today's France, this portrait of unity and resolve is actually something of an aberration. Far from expressing a confident sense of mission, the French public has recently been more inclined to a sense of decline, malaise, paralysis and crisis. And it is at least partially justified.