W5 Reflection Post

The top ten discoveries of 2015 vary greatly in their content, yet all have a unique contribution to our archaeological knowledge.  The discovery that I found to be the best of the top ten is the “Tracing Slave Origins” discovery.  This is where a new technique allowed us to identify the ethnic origin of three skeletons found on St. Martin, despite only having sparse DNA fragments available to analyze.  They used the genome of the DNA remains to compare with modern DNA, and found a relation to West African populations.  This indicated that the DNA likely originated from the Cameroon population based upon the time period that the remains are from.  This is such an important discovery because it allows us to use this technique in the future to potentially identify the ethnic origin of any skeletal remains, regardless of where they are found, even with fragmented DNA remains.  Being able to do this would greatly aid archaeologists in future work, and confirm or deny hypothesis that are made.  Although many archaeological projects must draw upon many sources of information to draw conclusions, such as origin, this technique could confirm origin from a single source- skeletal remains.  A close second to this discovery, however, was the finding of Homo naledi, a collection of skeletal remains from South Africa unlike any others seen before.  Our current knowledge of evolution could be greatly impacted from this unique discovery, so it could end up being a very important find.  However, personally, I would want to learn more about thse skeletal remains and exactly what they are before making any definitive conclusions.  Other interesting discoveries included the pretzel remains; I would never have believed that they could have been preserved that long.  Preservation also surprised me in the detail of the Bronze Age Bride’s features, including the brain and skin thanks to an ideal environment for preservation.  It was also interesting to note the technique of identifying her origin by the strontium isotopes in her teeth.  Indeed, skeletal remains can be used for so many different pieces of evidence.  Another interesting technique came in the Cave Art project, and it was apparent just how many different techniques archaeologists use, and the innovation of new techniques.  Last comments that I believed were worth nothing were wondering why that specific bobcat was so special to those people.  Also, as it says in the video, realizing that many archaeological discoveries are made due to planned constructions is interesting to think about; what if we did not have systems in place to preserve these sites and they were simply built over?  So much valuable information would be lost, so it shows the importance of these systems.

One thought on “W5 Reflection Post

  1. I agree with the insight that was made with this discovery, it just goes to show how far our technology is compared to the past and how we can discover new things just by taking a closer look at things such as a skeletal structure and using a technique that allows us to look at an incomplete DNA structure and identify the origin. This sort of discovery can help us with not only tracing the origins of slaves, but other groups as well. It shows that our thirst for knowledge doesn’t really end because there is always something new to discover in this world.

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