Tag: archaeology religious study program

Video available on human ancestry discovery

Video available on human ancestry discovery

Lee Berger, FI’13, who is an ECWG member, made headline news in September 2015 when he announced the discovery in South Africa of a new early human-like species Homo naledi.

Berger gave ECWG members and their guests a preview of all of this in his Dec. 7, 2013 talk at an ECWG dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

A DVD of this talk is one of the many available from the ECWG list of videos on the ECWG Videos page.  This talk includes a great deal of information on how Berger and his colleagues discovered the fossils. Among other things, he explains why slim, woman scientists were needed for the project’s success.

The treasure trove of fossils from at least 15 skeletons around 2 million years old was the cover story for the October 2015 National Geographic Magazine and the subject of a 60 Minutes show. This exciting discovery and collaboration with many international scientists appeared as a feature story around the world including the front page of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

It’s still being widely discussed in scientific journals and magazines.

April ECWG dinner talk on archaeobotany

April ECWG dinner talk on archaeobotany

Linda Perry spoke on “Archaeobotany: What Used to be for Dinner” beginning at the ECWG’s April 20 dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington.

Archaeobotany is the study of remains of plants from the distant past. The science is the source of what we know about ancient environments and how humans in the distant past acquired food.

Linda Perry

The science allows us to understand topics as diverse as the diet of Neanderthals, the first beer brewery, and the large-scale modification of landscapes to create fields to feed cities.

Perry discussed the basic tenets of archaeobotanical methods using examples of ancient human interactions with the plant world ranging from the origins of agriculture in the Cradle of Western and Middle Eastern Civilization in Mesopotamia to the development of complex states and empires in the Americas.

She is a Fulbright Senior Specialist in archaeobotany and a former Smithsonian Fellow. She holds degrees in biology, botany, and anthropology, and is best known for her groundbreaking work on the identification of archaeological chile peppers in the Neotropics with her discovery of a diagnostic microfossil.

Perry’s work has taken her to six of the seven continents, and the sites she has studied date from more than 14,000 years ago to the late 19th century. Her current projects include work in the Brazilian Amazon, the north plain of China, and the coastal plain of Texas.

News Briefs 1st Quarter 2011

News Briefs 1st Quarter 2011

Robert Hyman, LF ’93 has won won fifth prize in the CR+EW category in The World’s Rarest Birds photo competition for his photo of the critically endangered Honduran Emerald Hummingbird.

Robert Hyman's prize-winning photo

His photo was one selected as a winner from among 2000 entries, in The World’s Rarest Birds Photo Competition. The competition raises awareness of the rarest birds of the world and helps support their conservation through BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions Program.  Hyman’s photo has also been featured in The Mail, Telegraph and Metro newspapers in London, the French publication Natures et Animaux and on National Geographic’s web site. The World’s Rarest Birds book based on the competition will be published in 2012.

Elise Larsen, who received an ECWG Exploration and Field Research Grant  in 2010, reported on her work studying changes in the Mount St. Helens bird community following the catastrophic eruption of 1980 at the April 16, 2011 Cosmos Club dinner. She is a PhD  degree candidate at the University of Maryland, working in the Fagan Lab. Full story

ECWG member Frank R. Power MN ’93 discussed the colorful life of  Roy Chapman Andrews (1884 – 1960) during a brunch Sunday, March 6 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chevy Chase. Full story

Wade Davis, Hon ‘87, spoke on “The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World” at the  Jan. 15, 2011 ECWG Dinner at the Cosmos Club. Full story

Sarah K. Yeomans FN ’07 spoke on “Medicine in the Ancient World: What we have learned from archaeology” at The Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday Feb. 12, 2011.  Full story

ECWG board members elected at the ECWG annual meeting and dinner on December 4, 2010 were: Louise Burke MN ’86, Norman Cherkis FN ’91, Frank Power MN ’93, John C. Williams FN ’03, and Arnella Trent MN ’10.

Emory Kristof speaking at the December dinner. Don Gerson photo

Emory Kristof FN ’87, a highly renowned National Geographic photographer who is a pioneer in submersible and remotely operated vehicles, spoke at the December 4, 2010 dinner. He recounted his adventures as the designer of the innovative camera system and participation in the Titanic discovery and other famous historic wrecks.  He regaled the audience with tales and spectacular photos of unknown underwater animals and the deep sea hydrothermal vents discovered on his expeditions.

Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues FN ’09, Senior Scientist and Curator in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, received the prestigious Humboldt Research Award for 2011-2012.  Given by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to internationally renowned scientists and scholars, this award will provide support for him to concentrate on finishing research on his specialty of early Triassic dinosaurs.

Lew Toulmin MN ’04 and Robert Hyman LF ’93 were highlighted in a feature article in the September issue of Smithsonian Air and Space Magazine as co-founders of the Missing Aircraft Search Team (MAST).  The piece described the history of MAST beginning with the search for Steve Fossett MED ’92, and focusing on the recent underwater search for Gertrude Tompkins, the last missing WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) of WWII.  The piece described scientific and technological developments in the field science of search and rescue/recovery.

Lee Talbot in his red Ginnetta prepares to pass a Ford Escort to finish 2nd at Circuit Mont Tremblant, Quebec, on Sept. 25, 2010. Darlene Shields photo.

Explorers Club Medalist Dr. Lee Talbot MED ’57 received the 2010 Driver of the Year award from the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association, the premier organizer and sponsor of vintage racing.  Lee is the oldest driver in this category and has been professionally racing for 62 years.  This year he won 7 races and finished 2nd in two others.  The award is presented to the outstanding vintage racer who has achieved the goals of safety, consciousness, sportsmanship, and consistent performance.

Bob Atwater LF ’05 and Shellie Howard AN ’10 attended a week long survival course sponsored by BOSS (Boulder Outdoor Survival School) in Boulder, Utah.  This tough survival course taught creating friction fire with only sage wood, obtaining drinkable water from cow dung, sleeping through very cold nights without a tent or blankets, and many other related survival techniques.  Fortunately they both made it back and are still speaking to each other!

Archaeologist discusses ancient medicine

Archaeologist discusses ancient medicine

Sarah K. Yeomans FN ’07 spoke on “Medicine in the Ancient World: What we have learned from archaeology” at The Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday Feb. 12, 2011.

Sarah Yeomans, speaking at the ECWG dinner on Feb. 12, 2011. Photo by Darlene Shields

Life in the ancient world was risky business. The perils of war, disease, famine and childbirth are a just a few examples of circumstances that contributed to a much lower average lifespan in the ancient world than we have now.

People in antiquity were no less concerned about the prevention and cure of maladies than they are now, however, and entire cults, sanctuaries and professions dedicated to health dotted the spiritual, physical and professional landscapes of the ancient world.

In her talk, Yeomans discussed what ancient cultures did to combat disease and injury, and noted that some of their methods are not too different from today’s.

Yeomans teaches archaeology in the University of West Virginia’s Religious Studies Program and is also Director of Education Programs for the Biblical Archaeology Society.