Demystifying the origin of the highly divergent chloroplast sequence found in Mexican archaeological sunflower remains

Sunflower sample

A crop domestication center emerged ~5000 years ago in Eastern North America. Native Americans in this area transformed several wild plant species, including sunflower (Helianthus annuus) into staple crops. Archaeological evidence from Eastern North America and genomic evidence from extant cultivated and wild sunflower supports this narrative, and it was once thought that cultivated sunflower did not reach Mexico until after European colonizers established trade routes.

The Taraco Archaeological Project 2023 field work: Reconstructing Animal, Plant, and Landscape Domestication and Management Processes at the Onset of Agriculture in the Lake Titicaca Basin.

Chiripa community

This past field season was the second of two excavation seasons which focused on the earliest levels at the site of Chiripa. We managed to expose two major areas where the deposits were sitting on sterile and contained early ceramics and other material. The Berkeley team is focusing on studying the early engagement with tubers and chenopods,w th laboratory work ongoing throughout the year.

Excavation and Conservation of the Early Christian Basilica, Sanctuary of Zeus, Ancient Nemea

Nemea Greece

The multi-year project of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology (DAGRS), the Excavation and Conservation of the Early Christian Basilica, at the Sanctuary of Zeus in Ancient Nemea, Greece, continued in 2023. The center and east ends of the 5thc. CE building were investigated including the nave, aisles, and apse, had been excavated in the 1920s and 1960s. We recorded all of the walls and individual blocks by drawing, photographing, and 3D scanning.

Ancient Seafaring Explorers of Cyprus: Coastal Cliffhangers of the Epipalaeolithic

Maher in Cypress.

The recent recognition of Late Epipalaeolithic sites on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus moves the date of early explorers to the island back at least 3000 years, changing our preconceptions about the nature of these first settling communities. Evidence at these early sites suggests that people were bringing plants and animals with them from the mainland (Simmons 1999), creating a sense of home in an unfamiliar landscape.

City life at Classic Maya Palenque, Mexico

Jordan Kobylt

Summer 2022 saw the long-delayed start of the NEH-funded project, "City life at Classic Maya Palenque, Mexico", a collaboration between UC Berkeley Professor Rosemary A. Joyce, Universidad Autonoma de México Professor Rodrigo Liendo, UNLV Assistant Professor Lisa Johnson, and Sapienza University of Roma Marie Curie Fellow Arianna Campiani. The team began excavations using fine-grained methodologies to explore household life in the residential sector of this World Heritage Site, the first systematic effort to understand urban organization and growth there.

Reconstructing Animal, Plant, and Landscape Management Processes at the Onset of Food Production in the Lake Titicaca Basin

Chiripa 2022 Group photo

The Taraco Archaeological Project completed excavations during the summer of 2022 at the Formative site of Chiripa on the shores of Lake Titicaca. The focus was on early occupation seeking early farming evidence.  They encountered these levels under historic hacienda deposits in four units.  We had a great open day where all of the school children visited the laboratory and excavations.  

Ancient Animal Vocabulary


Mesopotamian lexical lists consist of lists of words and lists of signs. Lists of words are often thematically organized, such as a list of birds, or a list of professions. Lists of signs provide each cuneiform sign with pronunciation glosses. Word lists and sign lists belonged to the staple of scribal education. Large numbers of school texts with extracts from lexical lists have been found at almost all sites where cuneiform texts have been unearthed.