This blog attempts to share new historical information when it appears in other media. Its contents are linked to an understanding of how history is a 'live' subject which undergoes constant historical analysis, explanation and interpretation when new sources and perspectives are shared.
Twenty-five years after the fall of the USSR, many people struggling to find a home and a job in the former Soviet republic of Georgia have made their home in abandoned buildings.
Some are refugees from Abkhazia, a Georgian region which fought a war of secession in 1992-93. A quarter of a million people were internally displaced in the conflict. Others became homeless after simply falling on hard times.
Approximately 400 are living in harsh conditions in an abandoned Soviet-era military hospital in the capital, Tbilisi. Photographer Jacob Borden captured what life is like for these people living on the margins of society.
Maia Daiauri, aged 45, works to turn one of the rooms in the former hospital into a liveable space. All of the occupied rooms have windows, and almost all of the residents have a small gas canister and burner to cook on. Most rooms have small wood-burning stoves, used as heaters in the winter. Those who do not have access to heating or plumbing share with their neighbours. There is a strong sense of community. As one resident says: "We don't have much, all we have is each other."
The derelict hospital is unsafe, and utilities such as electricity are diverted through a patchwork of wires and pipes, while raw sewage often trickles down walls because of broken plumbing. In 2015, a young boy died in a fire caused by faulty wiring.
About 80 children live in the building and the majority are under six years old, like Nikoloz Beriashuili, aged two, who sleeps in the same room as his mother, father and sister. Some of the children who live in the building skip school, saying they do not find it useful. Older children who have also dropped out of school often take care of their younger siblings.
Most of the residents rely on state benefits. They prefer to spend the 300 Lari (£97.99) they receive each month on food, rather than use it to rent poor-quality housing, and they avoid taking official jobs for fear of losing this cash lifeline.
A Soviet-era car sits in a parking lot outside the building. Some older residents remember the communist era with nostalgia, as they say they had homes, jobs and stability then. Most are embittered and feel they have been left behind by Georgia's shift to a market economy.
Matiko Pirtskhulava, aged 46, stands in her two-room unit. She lives alone while her two teenage children attend a seminary. In the building there are many women who live by themselves or with children, some have been widowed and subsequently left homeless.
The residents do their best to improve the building and make the rooms they live in comfortable. Wallpaper and flooring scavenged from the neighbourhood are used to transform the concrete rooms into a home. A large conch shell provides shelter for a solitary minnow in the fish tank of one bedroom.
There are approximately 150 families living in the building. Marium Gabisonia, aged seven, shares a room with her sister and plays childhood games like tag in the corridors of the former hospital.
Ia Ochiauri, 42, a mother of two, lives with her husband and his brother, doing odd jobs to get by.
Matiko Pirtskhulava, aged 46, says: "I do not feel like I am a part of [Georgian] society." Many residents feel they have been overlooked by modern society, and watch while the echoes of Georgia's past crumble before their eyes.
All photographs by Jacob Borden. Additional reporting by Tbel Abuseridze.
An additional piece of evidence recently came from traces of Homo sapiens DNA in a female Neanderthal from Siberia's Altai mountains. The analysis suggested that modern humans and Neanderthals had begun mixing around 100,000 years ago - presumably outside Africa.
In order to reconcile this evidence with the genetic data from living populations, the prevailing view advanced by scientists was of a wave of pioneer settlement that ended in extinction.
But the latest results suggest some descendents of these trailblazers survived long enough to get swept up in the later, ultimately more successful migration that led to the settling of Oceania.
"The first instance when we thought we were seeing something was when we used a technique called MSMC, which allows you to look at split times of populations," said co-author Dr Mait Metspalu, director of the Estonian Biocentre in Tartu, told BBC News.
His colleague and first author Dr Luca Pagani, also from the Estonian Biocentre, added: "All the other Eurasians we had were very homogenous in their split times from Africans.
"This suggests most Eurasians diverged from Africans in a single event... about 75,000 years ago, while the Papuan split was more ancient - about 90,000 years ago. So we thought there must be something going on."
It was already known that Papuans, along with other populations from Oceania and Asia, derive a few per cent of their ancestry from Denisovans, an enigmatic sister group to the Neanderthals.
The researchers tried to remove this component, but were left with a third chunk of the genome which was different from the Denisovan segment and the overwhelming majority which represents the main out of Africa migration 60,000 years ago.
"This third component had intermediate properties which we concluded must have originated as an independent expansion out of Africa about 120,000 years ago," Dr Pagani told BBC News.
"We believe this makes up at least 2% of the genome of modern Papuans."
In a separate paper in the same edition of Nature, Prof David Reich and Swapan Mallick, both from Harvard Medical School, along with colleagues analysed 300 genomes from 142 different populations around the world.
They found no evidence of substantial ancestry from an early African exodus in Papuans and other related populations such as indigenous Australians. They conclude that, if the genetic legacy of such a migration survives in these populations, it can't comprise more than a few per cent of their genomes.
A similar conclusion is reached in a third study on the genomes of indigenous Australian by the University of Copenhagen's Eske Willerslev and Anna-Sapfo Malaspinas, along with colleagues.
Commenting on the Reich Lab study, Dr Metspalu told BBC News: "They do not detect an early Out of Africa, but they also do not reject it as long as it is just a few per cent in modern humans."
Dr Pagani added: "All three papers all reach the same conclusions. That in Eurasians and also Papuans - the majority of their genomes come from the same major migration."
Prof Chris Stringer, from London's Natural History Museum, who was not involved with the genomic studies, commented: "The papers led by Mallick and by Malaspinas favour a single exit from Africa less than 80,000 years ago giving rise to all extant non-Africans, while that led by Pagani favours an additional and earlier exit more than 100,000 years ago, traces of which they claim can still be found in Australasians.
"Unfortunately, the signs of past interbreeding with a Denisovan-like archaic population which are found at a level of about 4% in extant Australasians, according to the Malaspinas paper, complicate interpretations, as well as the possibility that there may have been yet other ancient interbreedings which are so far poorly understood."
The Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman temple in Toa Payoh can trace its roots to the 1860s, when it was a resting spot in the Orchard area for Indian plantation workers and dhobis (washermen). It then evolved into a place for Hindus to pray and sing devotional songs.
This nugget of historical information, part of the Toa Payoh heritage trail, is one of thousands that online users can uncover in a new Web portal launched by the National Heritage Board (NHB) yesterday.
Called Roots.sg, the site is a mammoth repository of information on more than 120,000 cultural treasures and historical artefacts from the national collection.
It also includes 85 heritage trails, 72 national monuments, and about 1,000 heritage resources such as research papers and activity sheets.
The portal "presents heritage resources in a much more dynamic manner", Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng told Parliament. "Whether you are a serious researcher, or just a curious young student, Roots.sg will provide a new dimension for you to explore and learn more about our history and heritage," he added.
Produced by NHB's digital team, it was budgeted in 2014 as part of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth's digital engagement strategy. It took seven months and cost about $400,000 to piece together. It is targeted at educators and the general public.
The senior manager of NHB's digital team, Mr Shaun Wong, said the portal is one way to better showcase the historic gems under its care. For instance, the team wove an early 19th-century painting from Tanjore, South India, of a dhobi and his wife, into the write-up of the Sri Vairavimada Kaliamman temple.
NHB's existing website, which draws about 300,000 views annually, will now be its corporate site.
Overall, the board chalked up a digital reach of more than 3.07 million views across its digital platforms, including its museum websites and social platforms, last year.
During the debate on the ministry's budget, Mr Chen Show Mao (Aljunied GRC) raised the importance of implementing heritage impact assessments. Minister Grace Fu said NHB adopts a "calibrated and sensitive approach" to balance heritage preservation and development needs. The assessment frameworks of several countries were studied but these were not fully applicable to Singapore, she added.
"We have decided not to adopt such frameworks wholesale at this point of time, but to evolve an approach suited to our local context."
She also said NHB will be able to identify Singapore's heritage assets and better advise on their historical significance when the nationwide survey on the country's tangible heritage is done by mid-2017.
World's oldest fish hooks found in Japanese island cave
Archaeologists have found the world's oldest fish hooks in a cave on the Japanese island of Okinawa.
The pair, dating from about 23,000 years ago, were carved from sea snail shells and found with other ancient relics, according to a paper.
It is thought humans inhabited the island from at least 30,000 years ago, surviving despite scarce resources.
The findings suggest a wider use of advanced maritime technology in that era than previously thought.
Modern humans first moved to offshore islands some 50,000 years ago.
While fishing has been essential for early humans to spread around the planet, it is unclear how the technology evolved, with evidence limited to sites in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
"The new evidence demonstrates a geographically wider distribution of early maritime technology that extended north to the mid-latitude areas along the western Pacific coast," according to the National Academy of Sciences.
The fish hooks predate ones found in Timor, thought to be at least 16,000 years old, and Papua New Guinea, from at least 18,000 years ago.
Also found in the cave were two partially carved fish hooks, tools, beads and food debris.
The paper's authors even suggest that those who visited the cave did so seasonally, when certain species of crab were at their "most delicious".