Category archives: Humanities & Social Sciences

Archaeology in West Africa could rewrite the textbooks on human evolution

Archaeology in West Africa could rewrite the textbooks on human evolution

AnthropologyArchaeology

By Invited Researcher

Our species, Homo sapiens, rose in Africa some 300,000 years ago. The objects that early humans made and used, known as the Middle Stone Age material culture, are found throughout much of Africa and include a vast range of innovations. Among them are bow and arrow technology, specialised tool forms, the long-distance transport of objects […]

Horses can recognise themselves in a mirror

Horses can recognise themselves in a mirror

EthologyNeurosciencePhilosophy of science

By Invited Researcher

If you ask people to list the most intelligent animals, they’ll name a few usual suspects. Chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants are often mentioned, as are crows, dogs and occasionally pigs. Horses don’t usually get a look in. So it might come as a surprise that horses possess an unusual skill, widely considered an indicator of […]

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (9):  Epicurus’ vessel and the origin of empiricism

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (9): Epicurus’ vessel and the origin of empiricism

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

One fascinating, as well as disconcerting fact about the evolution of Greek thought about science is that, almost immediately after the end of the ‘Classical’ period of philosophy, and particularly after Aristotle’s founding work on both philosophy and science, these two activities seemed to follow two radically separate courses. Actually, Greek science achieved its peak […]

Stonehenge first stood in Wales: how archaeologists proved parts of the 5,000 year-old stone circle were imported

Stonehenge first stood in Wales: how archaeologists proved parts of the 5,000 year-old stone circle were imported

Archaeology

By Invited Researcher

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose History of the Kings of Britain was written in 1136, the mysterious monoliths at Stonehenge were first spirited there by the wizard Merlin, whose army stole them from a mythical Irish stone circle called the Giants’ Dance. Centuries before the development of rudimentary geology, Geoffrey’s exotic theory – that […]

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (8):  In search of the first principles

The ‘prehistory’ of philosophy of science (8): In search of the first principles

Philosophy of science

By Jesús Zamora Bonilla

Besides being one of the main pioneers of scientific thought, Aristotle is the author of the work that can unquestionably be considered the first book explicitly and exclusively devoted to what we can call ‘philosophy of science’. This small book is known by the rather insipid name of Posterior Analytics (Ἀναλυτικὰ ὑστέρων), though, as in […]

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

Exploring the Indian Ocean as a rich archive of history – above and below the water line

GeosciencesHistory

By Invited Researcher

Isabel Hofmeyr, University of the Witwatersrand and Charne Lavery, University of Pretoria On many beaches around the Indian Ocean, keen observers may spot bits of broken pottery. Washed smooth by the ocean, these shards are in all likelihood hundreds of years old, from centres of ceramic production like the Middle Eastern Abbasid caliphate and the […]