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Heavy mercury contamination at Maya sites reveals a deep historic legacy

The Maya would have had to obtain mercury from far locations, transporting it by foot hundreds of kilometres across present-day Central America.
Tim Maloney

World’s earliest evidence of a successful surgical amputation found in 31,000-year-old grave in Borneo

An astonishing discovery from the oldest known grave in Southeast Asia has revised medical history – the previous known amputation surgery was just 7,000 years ago.
Does a painting from 1400 depict one of Jesus’ torturers as suffering from ‘saddle nose,’ a common effect of syphilis? Detail of an Austrian painting c. 1400 of the Passion of Christ, The Cleveland Museum of Art

Manuscripts and art support archaeological evidence that syphilis was in Europe long before explorers could have brought it home from the Americas

The idea that Europeans brought new diseases to the Americas and returned home with others has been widely accepted. But evidence is mounting that for syphilis this scenario is wrong.
A man identified only as Viktor shows his neighbor’s grave in Bucha, Ukraine. It was too dangerous to go to the cemetery. Jana Cavojska/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

How burying the dead keeps the living human

Ukrainian families’ anguish at not being able to bury their loved ones underscores a deep human need, an anthropologist writes.

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