Who was Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to death?

Pilate consciously misused his power to curry favour

Who was Pontius Pilate, the man who sentenced Jesus to death?As a Catholic schoolboy in 1950s Ireland, Easter was a mixed bag. Yes, we got a week and a half off school, which was never something to be sneezed at. And the days were visibly brightening, indicating the departure of winter. But that was about it. In contrast to Christmas, the lead up to Easter…

Oldest human DNA ever found in Africa uncovered.

Archeological detective work reveals a rare find

Oldest human DNA ever found in Africa uncovered.A University of Alberta anthropologist has uncovered the oldest human DNA yet found in Africa, shedding new light on a period of ancient human history about which little is known. Banting post-doctoral fellow and bioarcheologist Elizabeth Sawchuk found skeletal remains of a middle-aged woman on her first dig in Africa 12 years ago as a…

Buddhist art exhibit gives students experience with museum work

The U of A’s Mactaggart Art Collection helps students contribute to a lasting historical and artistic legacy

Buddhist art exhibit gives students experience with museum workAs a child in South Korea, Sung Eun Cho spent many weekends with her Buddhist grandparents, who brought her along to the temples they visited. The youngster found herself captivated by the ornate beauty of the buildings, richly adorned with traditional images and symbols of the ancient religion. “I was mesmerized by the vivid colours…

Ostrich eggshell beads reveal oldest known social network

Artifacts dating back 50,000 years help us better understand human connections

Ostrich eggshell beads reveal oldest known social networkIt’s one of the most enduring craft traditions in human history, stretching back 50,000 years: tiny donut-shaped beads made from ostrich eggshells. They reveal the oldest social network ever identified, according to a study by Jennifer Miller. The beads probably originated in eastern Africa and spread west and south through the continent as people traded them…

Guidelines help prevent unnecessary destruction of ancient remains

Human remains are considered sacred by many around the world and deserve respect and protection

Guidelines help prevent unnecessary destruction of ancient remainsWhen Elizabeth Sawchuk started getting involved in ancient DNA research as part of her archeological research in Africa, she turned to colleagues for advice on sampling DNA from ancient human remains. As a post-doctoral fellow at Stony Brook University, she felt it was crucial to get it right. “They’re extremely precious,” said Sawchuk, now a Banting post-doctoral…

100-million-year-old crab trapped in amber helps fill evolutionary gap

Oldest non-marine crab ever – and most complete crab fossil known – identified

100-million-year-old crab trapped in amber helps fill evolutionary gapA young crustacean locked in amber 100 million years ago is filling a crucial gap in the puzzle of crab evolution, according to a University of Alberta PhD graduate whose work adds to growing evidence that the crab form is an evolutionary darling. “This crab is telling us a very interesting story about the tree…

Four U of A researchers named to Royal Society of Canada

Innovators in women and children’s health, water safety, nutrition and archeology join ranks

Four U of A researchers named to Royal Society of CanadaWhy some are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease than others, even when taking into account life-modifying factors like smoking and exercise, boils down to developmental aspects that start in the womb, according to a global authority on vascular pathophysiology in the pregnancy complication of pre-eclampsia. “It sets the stage,” said Sandra Davidge, Distinguished University Professor in…

Student helps unearth the story of a 3,000-year-old tragedy

Master’s research reveals clues into the lives of four people who perished in a fire in the late Bronze Age

Student helps unearth the story of a 3,000-year-old tragedyMore than 3,000 years ago, four people were incinerated and crushed in a blazing fire in the south central city of Azekah, Israel. Their remains were trapped in rubble until discovered by Tel Aviv University archeologists in 2012. That’s when Karl Berendt began volunteering at the excavation site as an undergraduate student at the University…

Archeology can play a powerful role for Indigenous rights

New director of U of A institute sees her mission as reimagining the relationship between archeology and Indigenous histories

Métis archeologist Dr. Kisha Supernant views her mission as nothing less than a radical reimagining of her discipline. “Archeology’s history is grounded in settler colonialism – this idea that non-Indigenous people come onto the land and interpret Indigenous history by studying their material,” says the new director of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Prairie and…