The pressures on honeybee (Apis mellifera) populations, resulting from threats by modern pesticides, parasites, predators and diseases, have raised awareness of the economic importance and critical role this insect plays in agricultural societies across the globe. However, the association of humans with A. mellifera predates post-industrial-revolution agriculture, as evidenced by the widespread presence of ancient Egyptian bee iconography dating to the Old Kingdom (approximately 2400 BC). There are also indications of Stone Age people harvesting bee products; for example, honey hunting is interpreted from rock art in a prehistoric Holocene context and a beeswax find in a pre-agriculturalist site. However, when and where the regular association of A. mellifera with agriculturalists emerged is unknown. One of the major products of A. mellifera is beeswax, which is composed of a complex suite of lipids including n-alkanes, n-alkanoic acids and fatty acyl wax esters. The composition is highly constant as it is determined genetically through the insect's biochemistry. Thus, the chemical 'fingerprint' of beeswax provides a reliable basis for detecting this commodity in organic residues preserved at archaeological sites, which we now use to trace the exploitation by humans of A. mellifera temporally and spatially. Here we present secure identifications of beeswax in lipid residues preserved in pottery vessels of Neolithic Old World farmers. The geographical range of bee product exploitation is traced in Neolithic Europe, the Near East and North Africa, providing the palaeoecological range of honeybees during prehistory. Temporally, we demonstrate that bee products were exploited continuously, and probably extensively in some regions, at least from the seventh millennium cal BC, likely fulfilling a variety of technological and cultural functions. The close association of A. mellifera with Neolithic farming communities dates to the early onset of agriculture and may provide evidence for the beginnings of a domestication process.
Aetiology confronts two distinct issues: the determinants of individual cases, and the determinants of incidence rate. If exposure to a necessary agent is homogeneous within a population, then case/control and cohort methods will fail to detect it: they will only identify markers of susceptibility. The corresponding strategies in control are the 'high-risk' approach, which seeks to protect susceptible individuals, and the population approach, which seeks to control the causes of incidence. The two approaches are not usually in competition, but the prior concern should always be to discover and control the causes of incidence.
Increased sedentism during the Holocene has been proposed as a major cause of decreased skeletal robusticity (bone strength relative to body size) in modern humans. When and why declining mobility occurred has profound implications for reconstructing past population history and health, but it has proven difficult to characterize archaeologically. In this study we evaluate temporal trends in relative strength of the upper and lower limb bones in a sample of 1,842 individuals from across Europe extending from the Upper Paleolithic [11,000-33,000 calibrated years (Cal y) B.P.] through the 20th century. A large decline in anteroposterior bending strength of the femur and tibia occurs beginning in the Neolithic (∼4,000-7,000 Cal y B.P.) and continues through the Iron/Roman period (∼2,000 Cal y B.P.), with no subsequent directional change. Declines in mediolateral bending strength of the lower limb bones and strength of the humerus are much smaller and less consistent. Together these results strongly implicate declining mobility as the specific behavioral factor underlying these changes. Mobility levels first declined at the onset of food production, but the transition to a more sedentary lifestyle was gradual, extending through later agricultural intensification. This finding only partially supports models that tie increased sedentism to a relatively abrupt Neolithic Demographic Transition in Europe. The lack of subsequent change in relative bone strength indicates that increasing mechanization and urbanization had only relatively small effects on skeletal robusticity, suggesting that moderate changes in activity level are not sufficient stimuli for bone deposition or resorption.
The aim of this study was to research the associations between noise (ambient and activity noise) and objective metrics of teachers' voices in real working environments, i.e. classrooms.
Thirty-two female and eight male teachers from 14 elementary schools were randomly selected for the study. Ambient noise was measured during breaks in unoccupied classrooms, likewise the noise caused by pupils' activity during lessons. Voice samples were recorded before and after a working day. Voice variables measured were sound pressure level (voice SPL), fundamental frequency (F0), jitter, shimmer, and the tilt of the sound spectrum slope (alpha ratio).
The ambient noise correlated most often with the F0 of males and voice SPL, while activity noise correlated with alpha ratio and perturbation values. Teachers working under louder ambient noise spoke more loudly before work than those working in lower noise levels. Voice variables generally changed less during work among teachers working in loud activity noise than among those working in lower noise levels.
Ambient and activity noises affect teachers' voice use. Under loud ambient noise teachers seem to speak habitually loudly and under loud activity noise levels teachers' ability to react to loading deteriorates.