1,334 results match your criteria archaeological sites

Assessing the degradation of ancient milk proteins through site-specific deamidation patterns.

Sci Rep 2021 Apr 8;11(1):7795. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

BioArCh, Department of Archaeology, University of York, York, UK.

The origins, prevalence and nature of dairying have been long debated by archaeologists. Within the last decade, new advances in high-resolution mass spectrometry have allowed for the direct detection of milk proteins from archaeological remains, including ceramic residues, dental calculus, and preserved dairy products. Proteins recovered from archaeological remains are susceptible to post-excavation and laboratory contamination, a particular concern for ancient dairying studies as milk proteins such as beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) and caseins are potential laboratory contaminants. Read More

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Complexity and sophistication of Early Middle Paleolithic flint tools revealed through use-wear analysis of tools from Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel.

J Hum Evol 2021 Apr 5;154:102955. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, 3498838 Haifa, Israel.

The Early Middle Paleolithic (EMP) is a less-studied phase of the Levantine Middle Paleolithic, attributable to the small number of sites discovered. Drawing on the dense archaeological accumulations at Misliya Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, the present study seeks to trace EMP daily activities and behavioral patterns through the prism of use-wear analysis. The emergence of the laminar and Levallois technologies that form the EMP toolkit is investigated to reveal other dimensions of tool novelties. Read More

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A new addition to the embalmed fauna of ancient Egypt: Güldenstaedt's White-toothed Shrew, Crocidura gueldenstaedtii (Pallas, 1811) (Mammalia: Eulipotyphla: Soricidae).

PLoS One 2021 7;16(4):e0249377. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Archaeology, School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Falcon Necropolis at Quesna in the Nile Delta of Egypt is considered to have been founded by the priest Djedhor, the Saviour, of Athribis (Tell Atrib in modern Benha) at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Period. Recent excavations here have revealed abundant avian remains from mummies dedicated to the ancient Egyptian god Horus Khenty-Khety. Among the few mammal remains from the site are five species of shrews (Eulipotyphla: Soricidae), including some that we identified as Güldenstaedt's White-toothed Shrew, Crocidura gueldenstaedtii (Pallas, 1811). Read More

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Google Earth Engine as Multi-Sensor Open-Source Tool for Supporting the Preservation of Archaeological Areas: The Case Study of Flood and Fire Mapping in Metaponto, Italy.

Sensors (Basel) 2021 Mar 4;21(5). Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis, Italian National Research Council, C.da Santa Loja, Tito Scalo, 85050 Potenza, Italy.

In recent years, the impact of Climate change, anthropogenic and natural hazards (such as earthquakes, landslides, floods, tsunamis, fires) has dramatically increased and adversely affected modern and past human buildings including outstanding cultural properties and UNESCO heritage sites. Research about protection/monitoring of cultural heritage is crucial to preserve our cultural properties and (with them also) our history and identity. This paper is focused on the use of the open-source Google Earth Engine tool herein used to analyze flood and fire events which affected the area of Metaponto (southern Italy), near the homonymous Greek-Roman archaeological site. Read More

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Multi-tissue and multi-isotope (δ C, δ N, δ O and Sr) data for early medieval human and animal palaeoecology.

Ecology 2021 Apr 2:e03349. Epub 2021 Apr 2.

Department of Geological Sciences, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa.

Human isotopic ecology at its core aims to study humans as a part of their environments, as animals within an ecosystem. We are complex animals with complicated foodways and mobility patterns which are hard to address without large multi-faceted data sets. As biomolecular data from archaeological remains proliferates scientists are now at the stage where we are able to collate large bodies of data and undertake complex meta-analyses and address the complexities of human ecology and past socio-environmental dynamics. Read More

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Innovative Homo sapiens behaviours 105,000 years ago in a wetter Kalahari.

Nature 2021 Apr 31;592(7853):248-252. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Human Evolution Research Institute, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.

The archaeological record of Africa provides the earliest evidence for the emergence of the complex symbolic and technological behaviours that characterize Homo sapiens. The coastal setting of many archaeological sites of the Late Pleistocene epoch, and the abundant shellfish remains recovered from them, has led to a dominant narrative in which modern human origins in southern Africa are intrinsically tied to the coast and marine resources, and behavioural innovations in the interior lag behind. However, stratified Late Pleistocene sites with good preservation and robust chronologies are rare in the interior of southern Africa, and the coastal hypothesis therefore remains untested. Read More

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Ancient Xinjiang mitogenomes reveal intense admixture with high genetic diversity.

Sci Adv 2021 Mar 31;7(14). Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Key Laboratory of Vertebrate Evolution and Human Origins, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100044, China.

Xinjiang is a key region in northwestern China, connecting East and West Eurasian populations and cultures for thousands of years. To understand the genetic history of Xinjiang, we sequenced 237 complete ancient human mitochondrial genomes from the Bronze Age through Historical Era (41 archaeological sites). Overall, the Bronze Age Xinjiang populations show high diversity and regional genetic affinities with Steppe and northeastern Asian populations along with a deep ancient Siberian connection for the Tarim Basin Xiaohe individuals. Read More

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A model based on Bayesian confirmation and machine learning algorithms to aid archaeological interpretation by integrating incompatible data.

PLoS One 2021 31;16(3):e0248261. Epub 2021 Mar 31.

Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

The interpretation of archaeological features often requires a combined methodological approach in order to make the most of the material record, particularly from sites where this may be limited. In practice, this requires the consultation of different sources of information in order to cross validate findings and combat issues of ambiguity and equifinality. However, the application of a multiproxy approach often generates incompatible data, and might therefore still provide ambiguous results. Read More

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Environmental evolution, faunal and human occupation since 2 Ma in the Anagni basin, central Italy.

Sci Rep 2021 Mar 29;11(1):7056. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Humanities, University of Trento, Trento, Italy.

We present the study of a composite, yet continuous sedimentary succession covering the time interval spanning 2.6-0.36 Ma in the intramontane basin of Anagni (central Italy) through a dedicated borecore, field surveys, and the review of previous data at the three palaeontological and archaeological sites of Colle Marino, Coste San Giacomo and Fontana Ranuccio. Read More

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Pre-Columbian transregional captive rearing of Amazonian parrots in the Atacama Desert.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Apr;118(15)

Instituto de Alta Investigación, Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile.

The feathers of tropical birds were one of the most significant symbols of economic, social, and sacred status in the pre-Columbian Americas. In the Andes, finely produced clothing and textiles containing multicolored feathers of tropical parrots materialized power, prestige, and distinction and were particularly prized by political and religious elites. Here we report 27 complete or partial remains of macaws and amazon parrots from five archaeological sites in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile to improve our understanding of their taxonomic identity, chronology, cultural context, and mechanisms of acquisition. Read More

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The Method of Local Restriction: in search of potential great ape culture-dependent forms.

Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc 2021 Mar 29. Epub 2021 Mar 29.

Department of Early Prehistory and Quaternary Ecology, Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.

Humans possess a perhaps unique type of culture among primates called cumulative culture. In this type of culture, behavioural forms cumulate changes over time, which increases their complexity and/or efficiency, eventually making these forms culture-dependent. As changes cumulate, culture-dependent forms become causally opaque, preventing the overall behavioural form from being acquired by individuals on their own; in other words, culture-dependent forms must be copied between individuals and across generations. Read More

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Refining the methods for identifying draught cattle in the archaeological record: Lessons from the semi-feral herd at Chillingham Park.

Int J Paleopathol 2021 Mar 24;33:84-93. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT, UK. Electronic address:

Objective: This study--> provides a baseline of pathological and sub-pathological changes in the lower-limb bones of a semi-feral herd of domestic cattle. The purpose is to refine an existing method for identifying the use of cattle for traction using zooarchaeological evidence.

Methods: A published recording system for identifying draught cattle was applied to a sample of 15 individuals from Chillingham Park, Northumberland. Read More

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Statistical inference of earlier origins for the first flaked stone technologies.

J Hum Evol 2021 Mar 24;154:102976. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Hydrobiology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; University of South Bohemia, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecosystem Biology, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

Identifying when hominins first produced Lomekwian, Oldowan, and Acheulean technologies is vital to multiple avenues of human origins research. Yet, like most archaeological endeavors, our understanding is currently only as accurate as the artifacts recovered and the sites identified. Here we use optimal linear estimation (OLE) modelling to identify the portion of the archaeological record not yet discovered, and statistically infer the date of origin of the earliest flaked stone technologies. Read More

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Ancient genomic time transect from the Central Asian Steppe unravels the history of the Scythians.

Sci Adv 2021 Mar 26;7(13). Epub 2021 Mar 26.

Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, 07745 Jena, Germany.

The Scythians were a multitude of horse-warrior nomad cultures dwelling in the Eurasian steppe during the first millennium BCE. Because of the lack of first-hand written records, little is known about the origins and relations among the different cultures. To address these questions, we produced genome-wide data for 111 ancient individuals retrieved from 39 archaeological sites from the first millennia BCE and CE across the Central Asian Steppe. Read More

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Dig out, Dig in! Plant-based diet at the Late Bronze Age copper production site of Prigglitz-Gasteil (Lower Austria) and the relevance of processed foodstuffs for the supply of Alpine Bronze Age miners.

PLoS One 2021 24;16(3):e0248287. Epub 2021 Mar 24.

Department of Archaeologies, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria.

This paper starts from theoretical and methodical considerations about the role of archaeobotanical finds in culinary archaeology, emphasizing the importance of processed cereal preparations as the "missing link" between crop and consumption. These considerations are exemplified by the discussion of abundant new archaeobotanical data from the Late Bronze Age copper mining site of Prigglitz-Gasteil, situated at the easternmost fringe of the Alps. At this site, copper ore mining in opencast mines took place from the 11th until the 9th century BCE (late Urnfield Culture), as well as copper processing (beneficiation, smelting, refining, casting) on artificial terrain terraces. Read More

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Agricultural diversification in West Africa: an archaeobotanical study of the site of Sadia (Dogon Country, Mali).

Archaeol Anthropol Sci 2021 8;13(4):60. Epub 2021 Mar 8.

Laboratoire Archéologie et Peuplement de l'Afrique (APA), Anthropology Unit of the Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, 30 quai Ernest Ansermet, CH-1205 Geneva, Switzerland.

While narratives of the spread of agriculture are central to interpretation of African history, hard evidence of past crops and cultivation practices are still few. This research aims at filling this gap and better understanding the evolution of agriculture and foodways in West Africa. It reports evidence from systematic flotation samples taken at the settlement mounds of Sadia (Mali), dating from 4 phases (phase 0=before first-third century AD; phase 1=mid eighth-tenth c. Read More

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The oldest Homo erectus buried lithic horizon from the Eastern Saharan Africa. EDAR 7 - an Acheulean assemblage with Kombewa method from the Eastern Desert, Sudan.

PLoS One 2021 23;16(3):e0248279. Epub 2021 Mar 23.

Department of Archaeology, Al Neelain University, Khartoum, Sudan.

Although essential for reconstructing hominin behaviour during the Early Palaeolithic, only a handful of Acheulean sites have been dated in the Eastern Sahara region. This is due to the scarcity of sites for this time period and the lack of datable material. However, recent excavations in the Atbara region (Sudan) have provided unique opportunities to analyse and date Acheulean stone tools. Read More

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A West African Middle Stone Age site dated to the beginning of MIS 5: Archaeology, chronology, and paleoenvironment of the Ravin Blanc I (eastern Senegal).

J Hum Evol 2021 Mar 19;154:102952. Epub 2021 Mar 19.

Laboratory of Archaeology and Population in Africa, Anthropology Unit, Department of Genetics and Evolution, University of Geneva, Quai Ernest-Ansermet 30, 1205 Genève, Switzerland.

The Ravin Blanc I archaeological occurrence, dated to MIS 5, provides unprecedented data on the Middle Stone Age (MSA) of West Africa since well-contextualized archaeological sites pre-dating MIS 4/3 are extremely rare for this region. The combined approach on geomorphology, phytolith analysis, and OSL date estimations offers a solid framework for the MSA industry comprised in the Ravin Blanc I sedimentary sequence. The paleoenvironmental reconstruction further emphasizes on the local effects of the global increase in moisture characterizing the beginning of the Upper Pleistocene as well as the later shift to more arid conditions. Read More

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Gravettian hand stencils as sign language formatives.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2021 May 22;376(1824):20200205. Epub 2021 Mar 22.

CNRS, IKER UMR 5478, Aquitaine, France.

Several Upper Palaeolithic archaeological sites from the Gravettian period display hand stencils with missing fingers. On the basis of the stencils that Leroi-Gourhan identified in the cave of Gargas (France) in the late 1960s, we explore the hypothesis that those stencils represent hand signs with deliberate folding of fingers, intentionally projected as a negative figure onto the wall. Through a study of the biomechanics of handshapes, we analyse the articulatory effort required for producing the handshapes under the stencils in the Gargas cave, and show that only handshapes that are articulable in the air can be found among the existing stencils. Read More

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Stabilization of cultural innovations depends on population density: Testing an epidemiological model of cultural evolution against a global dataset of rock art sites and climate-based estimates of ancient population densities.

PLoS One 2021 17;16(3):e0247973. Epub 2021 Mar 17.

Blue Brain Project, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Demographic models of human cultural evolution have high explanatory potential but weak empirical support. Here we use a global dataset of rock art sites and climate and genetics-based estimates of ancient population densities to test a new model based on epidemiological principles. The model focuses on the process whereby a cultural innovation becomes endemic in a population, predicting that this cannot occur unless population density exceeds a critical threshold. Read More

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Ancient DNA reveals the lost domestication history of South American camelids in Northern Chile and across the Andes.

Elife 2021 Mar 16;10. Epub 2021 Mar 16.

The GLOBE Institute, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.

The study of South American camelids and their domestication is a highly debated topic in zooarchaeology. Identifying the domestic species (alpaca and llama) in archaeological sites based solely on morphological data is challenging due to their similarity with respect to their wild ancestors. Using genetic methods also presents challenges due to the hybridization history of the domestic species, which are thought to have extensively hybridized following the Spanish conquest of South America that resulted in camelids slaughtered en masse. Read More

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Dating the megalithic culture of laos: Radiocarbon, optically stimulated luminescence and U/Pb zircon results.

PLoS One 2021 10;16(3):e0247167. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia.

The megalithic jar sites of Laos (often referred to as the Plain of Jars) remain one of Southeast Asia's most mysterious and least understood archaeological cultures. The sites, recently inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage, host hollowed stone jars, up to three metres in height, which appear scattered across the landscape, alone or clustered in groups of up to more than 400. Until now, it has not been possible to estimate when the jars were first placed on the landscape or from where the stone was sourced. Read More

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Genome-wide analysis of nearly all the victims of a 6200 year old massacre.

PLoS One 2021 10;16(3):e0247332. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Paleogenomic and bioanthropological studies of ancient massacres have highlighted sites where the victims were male and plausibly died all in battle, or were executed members of the same family as might be expected from a killing intentionally directed at subsets of a community, or where the massacred individuals were plausibly members of a migrant community in conflict with previously established groups, or where there was evidence that the killing was part of a religious ritual. Here we provide evidence of killing on a massive scale in prehistory that was not directed to a specific family, based on genome-wide ancient DNA for 38 of the 41 documented victims of a 6,200 year old massacre in Potočani, Croatia and combining our results with bioanthropological data. We highlight three results: (i) the majority of individuals were unrelated and instead were a sample of what was clearly a large farming population, (ii) the ancestry of the individuals was homogenous which makes it unlikely that the massacre was linked to the arrival of new genetic ancestry, and (iii) there were approximately equal numbers of males and females. Read More

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Re-evaluating Scythian lifeways: Isotopic analysis of diet and mobility in Iron Age Ukraine.

PLoS One 2021 10;16(3):e0245996. Epub 2021 Mar 10.

Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Department of Archaeology, Stable Isotope Group, Jena, Germany.

The Scythians are frequently presented, in popular and academic thought alike, as highly mobile warrior nomads who posed a great economic risk to growing Mediterranean empires from the Iron Age into the Classical period. Archaeological studies provide evidence of first millennium BCE urbanism in the steppe while historical texts reference steppe agriculture, challenging traditional characterizations of Scythians as nomads. However, there have been few direct studies of the diet and mobility of populations living in the Pontic steppe and forest-steppe during the Scythian era. Read More

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Dating the historical old city walls of Songkhla Thailand using thermoluminescence technique.

Heliyon 2021 Feb 23;7(2):e06166. Epub 2021 Feb 23.

Division of Physics, School of Science, Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat, 80160, Thailand.

The Old Historical Wall, located in Bo Yang, Songkhla Province, Thailand, is an archaeological icon believed to have been constructed during the reign of Rama III, as indicated in the royal archives, around 1837-1840 CE. However, the recorded age is the result of unofficial documentation. The establishment was based on speculation from circumstantial evidence and local stories. Read More

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February 2021

Unveiling an odd fate after death: The isolated Eneolithic cranium discovered in the Marcel Loubens Cave (Bologna, Northern Italy).

PLoS One 2021 3;16(3):e0247306. Epub 2021 Mar 3.

Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum-University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.

An isolated human cranium, dated to the early Eneolithic period, was discovered in 2015 at the top of a vertical shaft in the natural Marcel Loubens gypsum Cave (Bologna area, northern Italy). No other anthropological or archaeological remains were found inside the cave. In other caves of the same area anthropic and funerary use are attested from prehistory to more recent periods. Read More

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Periodontal disease in sheep and cattle: Understanding dental health in past animal populations.

Int J Paleopathol 2021 Feb 27;33:43-54. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 34-36 Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2PG, England, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Objective: To provide a comparative baseline for future studies of oral pathology in domestic livestock and to better understand connections between lesion prevalence and biological context in past animal populations.

Materials: Over 1600 sheep and cattle mandibles recovered from archaeological sites in England between 500 and 1300 CE.

Methods: A comprehensive investigation of periodontal disease was conducted based on four characteristics: dental calculus; periosteal new bone formation; alveolar recession; and ante-mortem tooth loss. Read More

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February 2021

An early dog from southeast Alaska supports a coastal route for the first dog migration into the Americas.

Proc Biol Sci 2021 Feb 24;288(1945):20203103. Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.

The oldest confirmed remains of domestic dogs in North America are from mid-continent archaeological sites dated approximately 9900 calibrated years before present (cal BP). Although this date suggests that dogs may not have arrived alongside the first Native Americans, the timing and routes for the entrance of New World dogs remain uncertain. Here, we present a complete mitochondrial genome of a dog from southeast Alaska, dated to 10 150 ± 260 cal BP. Read More

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February 2021

Bioarchaeology-related studies in the Arabian Gulf: potentialities and shortcomings.

Homo 2021 Mar;72(1):17-32

Sidra Medicine, Research Branch, Doha, Qatar.

Archaeological studies provide a powerful tool to understand the prehistoric societies, especially when combined to cutting-edge morphological and molecular anthropological analyses, allowing reconstructing past population dynamics, admixture events, and socio-cultural changes. Despite the advances achieved in the last decades by archaeological studies worldwide, several regions of the World have been spared from this scientific improvement due to various reasons. The Arabian Gulf represents a unique ground to investigate, being the passageway for human migrations and one of the hypothesized areas in which Neanderthal introgression occurred. Read More

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Modern, archaeological, and paleontological DNA analysis of a human-harvested marine gastropod (Strombus pugilis) from Caribbean Panama.

Mol Ecol Resour 2021 Feb 17. Epub 2021 Feb 17.

Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA.

Although protocols exist for the recovery of ancient DNA from land snail and marine bivalve shells, marine conch shells have yet to be studied from a paleogenomic perspective. We first present reference assemblies for both a 623.7 Mbp nuclear genome and a 15. Read More

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February 2021