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History / Archeology - Agronomy / Food Science - 28.06.2022
An Age-Old Story: Farmers against Pests
An Age-Old Story: Farmers against Pests
As early as the Neolithic period, pests posed a threat to agricultural yields, as shown by the remains of mice and insects found in prehistoric wells by a Basel-led archaeological research team. However, there are also indications that people knew how to defend against these pests - for example, by switching to less vulnerable kinds of grain.

Linguistics / Literature - History / Archeology - 24.06.2022
Scientists apply genetic methods to linguistics
Scientists apply genetic methods to linguistics
Scientists have produced a series of maps showing historical migration events, including the migration of mountain farmers native to Upper Valais who began to settle in German-speaking Switzerland in the 13th century, by applying methods from population genetics - but using linguistic data rather than genes.

Architecture - History / Archeology - 22.06.2022
Renovating 19th-century buildings without losing their character
Renovating 19th-century buildings without losing their character
Researcher and architect Catarina Wall Gago has published a guide to renovation best practices, drawing on a study of historic housing in Lisbon, Oporto and Geneva.

History / Archeology - 16.06.2022
Droughts in the sixth century paved the way for Islam
Droughts in the sixth century paved the way for Islam
Extreme dry conditions contributed to the decline of the ancient South Arabian kingdom of Himyar. Researchers from the University of Basel have reported these findings. Combined with political unrest and war, the droughts left behind a region in disarray, thereby creating the conditions on the Arabian peninsula that made possible the spread of the newly emerging religion of Islam.

History / Archeology - 02.03.2022
7,000-year-old grains hints at origin of Swiss pile dwellings
7,000-year-old grains hints at origin of Swiss pile dwellings
There is no other place where so many Neolithic pile dwellings have been uncovered as around the Alps. It is a mystery, however, how this -building boom- came to be. Researchers at the University of Basel have now uncovered new clues, and say that settlers at Lake Varese in northern Italy may have played a leading role.

Architecture - History / Archeology - 07.01.2022
Magnificent complexity of the Alhambra
Magnificent complexity of the Alhambra
Scientists have studied the unique features of the decorative vaulting known as muqarnas in Spain's Alhambra palace and fortress complex. Muqarnas are commonly found in Islamic architecture, yet they are poorly understood by the architectural community and the little data that exist on them have been simplified over time.

History / Archeology - 08.12.2021
2,700-Year-Old Leather Armor Proves Technology Transfer Happened in Antiquity
2,700-Year-Old Leather Armor Proves Technology Transfer Happened in Antiquity
Researchers at the University of Zurich have investigated a unique leather scale armor found in the tomb of a horse rider in Northwest China. Design and construction details of the armor indicate that it originated in the Neo-Assyrian Empire between the 6th and 8th century BCE before being brought to China.

Agronomy / Food Science - History / Archeology - 18.05.2021
Swiss farmers contributed to the domestication of the opium poppy
Swiss farmers contributed to the domestication of the opium poppy
Fields of opium poppies once bloomed where the Zurich Opera House underground garage now stands. Through a new analysis of archaeological seeds, researchers at the University of Basel have been able to bolster the hypothesis that prehistoric farmers throughout the Alps participated in domesticating the opium poppy.

Health - History / Archeology - 08.02.2021
1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences
1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences
In the event of a pandemic, delayed reactions and a decentralized approach by the authorities at the start of a follow-up wave can lead to longer-lasting, more severe and more fatal consequences, researchers from the universities of Zurich and Toronto have found. The interdisciplinary team compared the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 in the Canton of Bern with the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.

Environment - History / Archeology - 25.01.2021
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
Climate change in antiquity: mass emigration due to water scarcity
The absence of monsoon rains at the source of the Nile was the cause of migrations and the demise of entire settlements in the late Roman province of Egypt. This demographic development has been compared with environmental data for the first time by professor of ancient history, Sabine Huebner of the University of Basel - leading to a discovery of climate change and its consequences.

History / Archeology - Chemistry - 02.12.2020
African trade routes sketched out by mediaeval beads
An analysis of archaeological glass beads discovered in sub-Saharan West Africa brings to light the full extent of the region's international trade routes between the 7th and 13th centuries. The origin of glass beads dates back to early ancient times. The chemical composition of the beads and their morphological and technical characteristics can reveal where they come from; this information can then be used to reconstruct the trade channels between glass production areas and the sites where the beads were used at different times.

Social Sciences - History / Archeology - 17.09.2020
Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
Raids and bloody rituals among ancient steppe nomads
Traces of violence on 1700 year old skeletons allow researchers to reconstruct warfare and sacrifices of nomads in Siberia. An international and interdisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists and specialists in forensics sciences led by Marco Milella from the University of Bern performed a detailed and revealing analysis of the traumas found on the skeletal remains.

History / Archeology - Health - 13.08.2020
Syphilis May Have Spread through Europe before Columbus
Syphilis May Have Spread through Europe before Columbus
Columbus brought syphilis to Europe - or did he? A recent study conducted at the University of Zurich now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease.

Materials Science - History / Archeology - 13.11.2019
Finest handwork
Finest handwork
In autumn 2017, the archaeological service of the Canton of Berne was amazed when two private individuals delivered a crusted lump of metal. The bronze hand of PrÍles, decorated with a ribbon of gold, turned out to be the oldest bronze sculpture of a human body part in Central Europe. But where did the metals of the sensational find come from? Empa researchers were involved in the investigation.

Environment - History / Archeology - 24.07.2019
The climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years
The climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years
In contrast to pre-industrial climate fluctuations, current, anthropogenic climate change is occurring across the whole world at the same time. In addition, the speed of global warming is higher than it has been in at least 2,000 years. That's according to two studies from the University of Bern. Many people have a clear picture of the "Little Ice Age" (from approx. 1300 to 1850).

History / Archeology - Innovation - 23.04.2019
Using X-ray technology to clear up an archeological secret
Using X-ray technology to clear up an archeological secret
In an important first, EPFL and Vaud Canton's archeology office used X-ray scanning technology to unlock the mysteries of an extremely rare chainmail shirt dating from Roman times. The results will go on display at the Cantonal Museum of Archeology and History in Lausanne from 26 April to 25 August.

History / Archeology - 13.12.2018
Satellite data expose looting
Satellite data expose looting
Globally archaeological heritage is under threat by looting. The destruction of archaeological sites obliterates the basis for our understanding of ancient cultures and we lose our shared human past. Research at University of Bern shows that satellite data provide a mean to monitor the destruction of archaeological sites.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 26.11.2018
Even the ancient Romans were polluters
Even the ancient Romans were polluters
"We are polluting the rivers and the natural elements, and even ruining the very thing that is essential to life - the air." These words were not spoken by nature conservationists in the 21st century but flowed from the pen of the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder. In fact ancient history researchers agree today that even in Roman times the environment was being polluted - by unfiltered wastewater, the mining of metals such as iron or lead and clear-cutting of the forests.

History / Archeology - 12.07.2018
Mystery of the Basel papyrus solved
Mystery of the Basel papyrus solved
Since the 16th century, Basel has been home to a mysterious papyrus. With mirror writing on both sides, it has puzzled generations of researchers. A research team from the University of Basel has now discovered that it is an unknown medical document from late antiquity. The text was likely written by the famous Roman physician Galen.

Linguistics / Literature - History / Archeology - 09.05.2018
Left unprinted for lack of interest: the largest German dictionary of the 18th century in Basel
Left unprinted for lack of interest: the largest German dictionary of the 18th century in Basel
For 250 years, the extensive set of manuscripts and papers lay unnoticed in the University Library's basement.

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