Articles Posted by SunkenCiv

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  • Al Nusra killing of FSA leader tests fragile truce in southern Syria

    12/20/2014 2:39:32 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    The National ^ | Updated: December 17, 2014 | Phil Sands and Suha Maayeh
    A fragile truce was holding on Syria's southern front on Tuesday after Jabhat Al Nusra killed a senior commander in a western-backed rebel group, accusing his faction of being sleeper agents for ISIL. Mousab Ali Qarfan, who also went by the name Mousab Zaytouneh, was a leading figure in the powerful Shuhada Al Yarmouk Brigades. He was killed by the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra in Sahem El Golan, along with three other fighters from his group, on Monday. The Yarmouk Brigades are part of the western-affiliated rebel alliance, still commonly referred to as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), which have been...
  • Former Egyptian antiquities minister faces questions over theft from pyramid

    12/20/2014 1:04:43 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Guardian UK ^ | Wednesday 12 November 2014 | Patrick Kingsley
    In April 2013, the three Germans -- two amateur archaeologists and a film-making accomplice -- crept inside the inner sanctum of the Great Pyramid at Giza, the last the seven wonders of the ancient world to remain relatively intact. The trio, conspiracy theorists Dominique Gorlitz, Stefan Erdmann and Peter Hoefer, wanted to show that the pyramid was not the final resting place of the pharaoh Khufu, as has long been accepted, but was in fact a relic of an even older empire. In an attempt to prove this, they scraped off part of the pyramid's cartouche -- the insignia that...
  • Stonehenge dig finds 6,000-year-old encampment

    12/20/2014 11:21:34 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 37 replies
    BBC ^ | December19, 2014 | unattributed
    Archaeologists working on a site near Stonehenge say they have found an untouched 6,000-year-old encampment which "could rewrite British history". David Jacques, from the University of Buckingham, made the discovery at Blick Mead in October, and said the carbon dating results had just been confirmed. But he also raised concerns about possible damage to the site over plans to build a road tunnel past Stonehenge. The Department of Transport said it would "consult before any building". The Blick Mead site is about 1.5 miles (2.4km) from Stonehenge and archaeologists said "scientifically tested charcoal" dug up from the site had "revealed...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Apollo 11 Landing Site Panorama

    12/20/2014 6:54:38 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 22 replies
    NASA ^ | December 20, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. Taken by Neil Armstrong looking out his window of the Eagle Lunar Module, the frame at the far left (AS11-37-5449) is the first picture taken by a person on another world. Toward the south, thruster nozzles can be seen in the foreground on the left, while at the right, the shadow of the Eagle is visible toward the west. For scale, the...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Reflections on the 1970s

    12/20/2014 6:50:51 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 24 replies
    NASA ^ | December 19, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The 1970s are sometimes ignored by astronomers, like this beautiful grouping of reflection nebulae in Orion - NGC 1977, NGC 1975, and NGC 1973 - usually overlooked in favor of the substantial glow from the nearby stellar nursery better known as the Orion Nebula. Found along Orion's sword just north of the bright Orion Nebula complex, these reflection nebulae are also associated with Orion's giant molecular cloud about 1,500 light-years away, but are dominated by the characteristic blue color of interstellar dust reflecting light from hot young stars. In this sharp color image a portion of the Orion Nebula...
  • Polish family treasure an archaeological sensation in Sweden

    12/19/2014 11:36:36 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 20 replies
    PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland ^ | May 12, 2014 | Daniel Zysk
    A small gold plate belonging to Polish family Sielscy from the Swedish Malmoe turned out to be an archaeological sensation. According to the researchers, it is probably a souvenir from the funeral of the Danish King Harald Bluetooth on the island of Wolin, dated to c. 986 AD. The discovery was made by 11 years old Maja Sielska, who diligently did her school homework about the Middle Ages. While looking through pictures of coins from this period in the textbook and on the Internet, the girl saw a plate with mysterious inscriptions similar to the one she had received from...
  • Unique 7th century silver bowl found in South Holland

    12/19/2014 11:29:59 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | July 2, 2014 | Source: Leiden University
    On an excavation site in Oegstgeest (South Holland), Leiden University archaeologists discovered a silver bowl dating to the first half of the seventh century. The bowl is decorated with gold-plated representations of animals and plants and inlaid with semi-precious stones. The discovery suggests the existence of an Oegstgeest elite with a wide international network. Researchers believe that the bowl, which is 21 centimetres wide and 11 centimetres high, was buried as part of a ritual sacrifice. Such gilded discoveries are extremely rare. This one is exceptional because such bowls were usually made of bronze and were not, as a rule,...
  • Dental plaque reveals key plant in prehistoric Easter Island diet

    12/19/2014 11:22:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 27 replies
    University of Otago ^ | Tuesday, 16 December 2014 | Ms Monica Tromp
    Known to its Polynesian inhabitants as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is thought to have been colonised around the 13th Century and is famed for its mysterious large stone statues or moai. Otago Anatomy PhD student Monica Tromp and Idaho State University’s Dr John Dudgeon have just published new research clearing up their previous puzzling finding that suggested palm may have been a staple plant food for Rapa Nui’s population over several centuries. However, no other line of archaeological or ethnohistoric evidence supports palm having a dietary role on Easter Island; in fact evidence points to the palm becoming extinct soon...
  • Stone tools discovery prompts re-think of African theory

    12/19/2014 11:14:46 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 25 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | September 26, 2014 | unattributed
    The belief that a type of technology known as Levallois – where the flakes and blades of stones were used to make useful products such as hunting weapons was invented in Africa and then spread to other continents as the human population expanded can now be discounted say the researchers. At an archaeological site in Armenia called Nor Geghi 1, the researchers discovered that these types of tools already existed there between 325,000 and 335,000 years ago, suggesting that local populations developed them out of a more basic type of technology, known as biface, which was also found at the...
  • Back to future with Roman architectural concrete

    12/19/2014 2:10:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    Eurekalert! ^ | December 15, 2014 | Lynn Yarris
    No visit to Rome is complete without a visit to the Pantheon, Trajan's Markets, the Colosseum, or the other spectacular examples of ancient Roman concrete monuments that have stood the test of time and the elements for nearly two thousand years... Working at ALS beamline 12.3.2, a superconducting bending magnet X-ray micro-diffraction beamline, the research team studied a reproduction of Roman volcanic ash-lime mortar that had been previously subjected to fracture testing experiments at Cornell University. In the concrete walls of Trajan's Markets, constructed around 110 CE, this mortar binds cobble-sized fragments of tuff and brick. Through observing the mineralogical...
  • Unique entry complex discovered at Herodian Hilltop Palace

    12/19/2014 2:03:42 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Hebrew University of Jerusalem ^ | December 18, 2014 | dovs
    Archaeologists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Institute of Archaeology have discovered a monumental entryway to the Herodian Hilltop Palace at the Herodium National Park. The unique complex was uncovered during excavations by The Herodium Expedition in Memory of Ehud Netzer over the past year, as part of a project to develop the site for tourism. The main feature of the entryway is an impressive corridor with a complex system of arches spanning its width on three separate levels. These arches buttressed the corridor's massive side-walls, allowing the King and his entourage direct passage into the Palace Courtyard. Thanks to...
  • Remains of 8,000-year-old olive oil found in Lower Galilee

    12/19/2014 1:59:07 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    Jerusalem Post ^ | December 17, 2014 | Daniel K. Eisenbud
    The earliest evidence of the use of olive oil in the country, and possibly the entire Middle East, was unearthed at an excavation site in the Lower Galilee, the Antiquities Authority announced Wednesday. The discovery was made after Dr. Ianir Milevski and Nimrod Getzov directed an archeological salvage excavation at Ein Tzipori between 2011 and 2013. The excavation led to research that indicated that olive oil was already being used in the country 8,000 years ago, during the 6th millennium BCE... These tests revealed that the pottery, dating to the Early Chalcolithic period, contained olive oil, the researchers concluded... Of...
  • Massive 2,800-year-old farmhouse found in central Israel

    12/19/2014 1:52:50 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    Times of Israel ^ | December 15, 2014 | Lazar Berman
    Structure in modern Rosh Ha'ayin was used during Assyrian, Persian and Hellenistic periods. Israeli archaeologists uncovered an ancient farmhouse in the area of modern day Rosh Ha'ayin, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday. The structure is believed to be 2,800 years old, and consists of 23 rooms. "The farm, which is extraordinarily well-preserved, extends across an area of 30 meters by 40 meters and was built in the eighth century BCE, the time of the Assyrian conquest," IAA excavation director Amit Shadman said. "Farm houses during this period served as small settlements of sorts whose inhabitants participated in processing agricultural produce....
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- NGC 7331 and Beyond

    12/18/2014 9:13:33 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 17 replies
    NASA ^ | December 18, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog. Since the galaxy's disk is inclined to our line-of-sight, long telescopic exposures often result in an image that evokes a strong sense of depth. The effect is further enhanced in this sharp image from a small telescope by galaxies that lie beyond the gorgeous island...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Geminid Fireball over Mount Balang

    12/18/2014 9:08:45 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | December 17, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This was a sky to remember. While viewing the Geminids meteor shower a few days ago, a bright fireball was captured over Mt. Balang, China with particularly picturesque surroundings. In the foreground, a sea of light clouds slowly floated between dark mountain peaks. In the background, the constellation of Orion shone brightly, with the familiar three stars of Orion's belt visible near the image top right. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, is visible near the image center. The bright fireball flashed for only a fraction of second on the lower right. The source of the fireball...
  • Evidence of Viking/Norse metalworking in Arctic Canada

    12/17/2014 7:39:36 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 23 replies
    Eurekalert! ^ | December 15, 2014 | Dawn Peters
    A small stone container found by archaeologists a half-century ago has now been recognized as further evidence of a Viking or Medieval Norse presence in Arctic Canada during the centuries around 1000 A.D. Researchers reporting in the journal Geoarchaeology discovered that the interior of the container, which was found at an archaeological site on southern Baffin Island, contains fragments of bronze as well as small spherules of glass that form when rock is heated to high temperatures. The object is a crucible for melting bronze, likely in order to cast it into small tools or ornaments. Indigenous peoples of northern...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- W5: Pillars of Star Formation

    12/16/2014 2:05:46 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    NASA ^ | December 16, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How do stars form? Images of the star forming region W5 like those in the infrared by NASA's Wide Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite provide clear clues with indications that massive stars near the center of empty cavities are older than stars near the edges. A likely reason for this is that the older stars in the center are actually triggering the formation of the younger edge stars. The triggered star formation occurs when hot outflowing gas compresses cooler gas into knots dense enough to gravitationally contract into stars. In the featured scientifically-colored infrared image, spectacular pillars, left...
  • Syria conflict: Rebels capture key Idlib army bases

    12/15/2014 9:58:27 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    BBC ^ | 15 December 2014 | unattributed
    Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria and allied rebel groups have taken control of two key army bases in the northern province of Idlib, activists say. Members of al-Nusra Front, supported by those from Jund al-Aqsa, captured Wadi al-Deif base on Monday after launching a fierce offensive on Sunday morning. Ahrar al-Sham later joined their assault on the nearby Hamidiya base. Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had until now managed to repel a number of assaults on the facilities. Situated outside the town of Maarat al-Numan and next to the country's main north-south motorway, they have been surrounded since 2012. A...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Potsdam Gravity Potato

    12/15/2014 3:22:41 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 50 replies
    NASA ^ | December 15, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Why do some places on Earth have higher gravity than others? Sometimes the reason is unknown. To help better understand the Earth's surface, sensitive measurments by the orbiting satellites GRACE and CHAMP were used to create a map of Earth's gravitational field. Since a center for studying this data is in Potsdam, Germany, and since the result makes the Earth look somewhat like a potato, the resulting geoid has been referred to as the Potsdam Gravity Potato. High areas on this map, colored red, indicate areas where gravity is slightly stronger than usual, while in blue areas gravity is...
  • 10 Mysterious Underwater Cities You Haven't Heard Of

    12/14/2014 3:38:25 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 32 replies
    Listverse ^ | August 5, 2013 | Andrew Handley
  • 120-114 BC: The Cimbrian flood and the following Cimbrian war 113-101 BC

    12/14/2014 12:59:31 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 19 replies
    climate4you ^ | before 2014 | unattributed
    The Cimbrian flood (or Cymbrian flood) was a large-scale incursion of the North Sea in the region of the Jutland peninsula (Denmark) in the period 120 to 114 BC, resulting in a permanent change of coastline with much land lost. The flood was caused by one or several very strong storm(s). A high number of people living in the affected area of Jutland drowned, and the flooding apparently set off a migration of the Cimbri tribes previously settled there (Lamb 1991)... The Cimbri were a tribe from Northern Europe, who, together with the Proto-Germanic Teutones and the Ambrones threatened the...
  • Jack FM turkey 'cook or save' vote slammed by Brian May [Queen guitarist]

    12/14/2014 8:59:23 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 21 replies
    BBC ^ | December 11, 2014 | unattributed
    A radio station that asked listeners to vote on whether two turkeys should be killed has been criticised by animal lovers - including Queen guitarist Dr Brian May. And the RSPCA has urged Jack FM to rethink the online vote on whether the turkeys should be cooked or kept alive. The RSPCA said it opposed any practice with the "potential to cause animals pain... in the name of entertainment". Currently, 62% of people have voted to save the turkeys, named Sage and Onion. The Oxfordshire station said if listeners voted to kill the pair in the "cook it or keep...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Molecular Cloud Barnard 68

    12/14/2014 8:07:43 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | December 14, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud. Here, a high concentration of dust and molecular gas absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars. The eerily dark surroundings help make the interiors of molecular clouds some of the coldest and most isolated places in the universe. One of the most notable of these dark absorption nebulae is a cloud toward the constellation Ophiuchus known as Barnard 68, pictured above. That no stars are visible in the center indicates...
  • Quileute Tribe celebrates discovery of historic rock carving

    12/13/2014 6:51:28 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    Seattle Times ^ | December 11, 2014 | Joseph O'Sullivan
    A fisherman stumbled upon a rock carving that appears to show a legendary battle in Quileute mythology... An old petroglyph found by a fisherman in the Calawah River was celebrated with a ceremony by a group of Quileute tribal members before it was moved to the tribal headquarters in La Push. State archaeologists authenticated the carving and think it may date to around or before the mid-1700s... The rock they stumbled upon appears to be a carving that depicts a legendary battle in Quileute mythology, according to tribal and state officials... The rock -- which could weigh up to 1,000...
  • Israel: 7,500-year-old lost Neolithic village discovered off coast of Haifa

    12/13/2014 6:43:11 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    IBTimes ^ | December 10, 2014 | Sanskrity Sinha
    A prehistoric water well hinting at the existence of a thriving Neolithic settlement has been excavated under water at Israel's East Mediterranean coast. The 7,500-year-old water well, currently under five metres of water, was submerged following prehistoric rise in sea level. Maritime archaeologist Ehud Galili of the Israel Antiquities Authority led the excavation at Kfar Samir site in collaboration with experts at Flinders University in South Australia and University of Haifa in Israel. Archaeologists said that the well which was a source of fresh water for the village dwellers was abandoned as the sea level rose. "Water wells are valuable...
  • Israeli cave offers clues about when humans mastered fire

    12/13/2014 6:40:04 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 12 replies
    Science ^ | 12 December 2014 | Nala Rogers
    In layers older than roughly 350,000 years, almost none of the flints are burned. But in every layer after that, many flints show signs of exposure to fire: red or black coloration, cracking, and small round depressions where fragments known as pot lids flaked off from the stone. Wildfires are rare in caves, so the fires that burned the Tabun flints were probably controlled by ancestral humans, according to the authors. The scientists argue that the jump in the frequency of burnt flints represents the time when ancestral humans learned to control fire, either by kindling it or by keeping...
  • The Origin of the Number Zero

    12/13/2014 6:32:47 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 60 replies
    Smithsonian Magazine ^ | December 2014 | Amir Aczel
    Of all the numerals, "0" -- alone in green on the roulette wheel -- is most significant. Unique in representing absolute nothingness, its role as a placeholder gives our number system its power. It enables the numerals to cycle, acquiring different meanings in different locations (compare 3,000,000 and 30). With the exception of the Mayan system, whose zero glyph never left the Americas, ours is the only one known to have a numeral for zero. Babylonians had a mark for nothingness, say some accounts, but treated it primarily as punctuation. Romans and Egyptians had no such numeral either... Found on...
  • Water's role in the rise and fall of the Roman Empire

    12/13/2014 6:19:39 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 39 replies
    Science Daily ^ | December 11, 2014 | European Geosciences Union
    Smart agricultural practices and an extensive grain-trade network enabled the Romans to thrive in the water-limited environment of the Mediterranean, a new study shows. But the stable food supply brought about by these measures promoted population growth and urbanisation, pushing the Empire closer to the limits of its food resources... Brian Dermody, an environmental scientist from Utrecht University, teamed up with hydrologists from the Netherlands and classicists at Stanford University in the US. The researchers wanted to know how the way Romans managed water for agriculture and traded crops contributed to the longevity of their civilisation. They were also curious...
  • Affluence Explains Rise of Moralizing Religions, Suggests Study

    The ascetic and moralizing movements that spawned the world's major religious traditions -- Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity -- all arose around the same time in three different regions... The emergence of world religions, they say, was triggered by the rising standards of living in the great civilizations of Eurasia... It seems almost self-evident today that religion is on the side of spiritual and moral concerns, but that was not always so, Baumard explains. In hunter-gatherer societies and early chiefdoms, for instance, religious tradition focused on rituals, sacrificial offerings, and taboos designed to ward off misfortune and evil. That...
  • Scientists reveal parchment's hidden stories

    12/13/2014 5:59:17 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 15 replies
    Eurekalert ^ | Monday, December 8th, 2014 | Thomas Deane, Trinity College Dublin
    The new technique of analyzing DNA found in ancient parchments can shine a focused light on the development of agriculture across the centuries. Millions of documents stored in archives could provide scientists with the key to tracing agricultural development across the centuries... Amazingly, thanks to increasingly progressive genetic sequencing techniques, the all-important historical tales these documents tell are no longer confined to their texts; now, vital information also comes from the DNA of the parchment on which they are written. Researchers used these state-of-the-art scientific techniques to extract ancient DNA and protein from tiny samples of parchment from documents from...
  • Planned Arizona copper mine would put a hole in Apache archaeology

    12/13/2014 5:43:39 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 34 replies
    Science ^ | 10 December 2014 | Zach Zorich
    A site on Apache Mountain, where Apache warriors plunged to their deaths to avoid the U.S. cavalry, may soon overlook a copper mine. Archaeologists and Native American tribes are protesting language in a Senate bill that would approve a controversial land exchange between the federal government and a copper mining company -- a swap that may put Native American archaeological sites at risk. The bill is needed to fund the U.S. military and is considered likely to pass the Senate as early as today. The company Resolution Copper Mining hopes to exploit rich copper deposits beneath 980 hectares of Arizona's...
  • Turkey's Erdogan lashes out as lira tumbles

    12/13/2014 6:10:44 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    Whirled Nut Daily ^ | December 12, 2014 | Daniel Dombey
    ...its lowest levels against the dollar for almost a year, amid investor nervousness about emerging markets. By evening trade in Istanbul the currency had fallen beyond TL2.30 to the US dollar, more than 1 per cent down on the day and the weakest level since January, when the Turkish central bank moved to increase interest rates -- a dramatic shift in policy that at the time halted a precipitous drop in its value. ...Turkey is far from alone in being affected by strong US economic data that has heightened expectations of a US Federal Reserve interest rate rise and so...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Infrared Visible Andromeda

    12/13/2014 5:49:17 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 4 replies
    NASA ^ | December 13, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This remarkable synthetic color composite image was assembled from archives of visible light and infrared astronomy image data. The field of view spans the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), a massive spiral a mere 2.5 million light-years away. In fact, with over twice the diameter of our own Milky Way, Andromeda is the largest nearby galaxy. Andromeda's population of bright young blue stars lie along its sweeping spiral arms, with the telltale reddish glow of star forming regions traced in space- and ground-based visible light data. But infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, also blended directly into the detailed composite's...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Crystals on Mars

    12/13/2014 5:44:56 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | December 12, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: This extreme close-up, a mosaic from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) on the Curiosity rover, spans a breathtaking 5 centimeters. It captures what appear to be elongated crystal shapes formed by the precipitation of minerals dissolved in water, a likely result of the evaporation of ancient lake or river from the Martian surface. Brushed by a dust removal tool and illuminated by white LEDs, the target rock named Mojave was found on the Pink Cliffs outcrop of the Pahrump Hills at the base of Mount Sharp. The MAHLI images were acquired on Curiosity's sol 809, known on planet...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Moondog Night

    12/11/2014 7:16:15 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 11, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: In this night scene from the early hours of November 14, light from a last quarter Moon illuminates clouds above the mountaintop domes of Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona. Bright Jupiter is just left of the overexposed lunar disk with a streak of camera lens flare immediately to the right, but that's no fireball meteor exploding near the center of the picture. Instead, from the roadside perspective a stunningly bright moondog or paraselene stands directly over Kitt Peaks's WIYN telescope. Analogous to a sundog or parhelion, a paraselene is produced by moonlight refracted through thin, hexagonal, plate-shaped...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Reddening of M71

    12/10/2014 10:07:57 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 2 replies
    NASA ^ | December 10, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Now known to be a globular star cluster at the tender age of 10 billion years, M71 is a mere 13,000 light-years away within the narrow boundaries of the faint constellation Sagitta. Close to the plane of the Milky Way galaxy in planet Earth's sky, its 10,000 or so member stars are gathered into a region about 27 light-years across near the center of this color composite view. In fact, the line-of-sight to M71 passes along the galactic plane through much intervening diffuse interstellar dust. The dust dims starlight and scatters blue light more efficiently, masking the brightness of...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- The Flame Nebula in Visible and Infrared

    12/10/2014 10:04:49 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | December 09, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: What lights up the Flame Nebula? Fifteen hundred light years away towards the constellation of Orion lies a nebula which, from its glow and dark dust lanes, appears, on the left, like a billowing fire. But fire, the rapid acquisition of oxygen, is not what makes this Flame glow. Rather the bright star Alnitak, the easternmost star in the Belt of Orion visible just to the right of the nebula, shines energetic light into the Flame that knocks electrons away from the great clouds of hydrogen gas that reside there. Much of the glow results when the electrons and...
  • Danish Bronze Age glass beads traced to Egypt

    12/09/2014 5:22:24 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 14 replies
    Science Nordic ^ | December 8, 2014 | Jeanette Varberg, Flemming Kaul, Bernard Gratuze, tr by Michael de Laine
    ...The analyses revealed that the glass originate from the same glass workshops in Egypt that supplied the glass that the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun took with him to his grave in 1323 BC... Globalisation in the Bronze Age Twenty-three glass beads from Denmark were analysed using plasma-spectrometry. Without destroying the fragile beads, this technique makes it possible to compare the chemical composition of trace elements in the beads with reference material from Amarna in Egypt and Nippur in Mesopotamia, about 50 km south east of Baghdad in Iraq. The comparison showed that the chemical composition of the two sets of trace...
  • Discoveries of Polish archaeologists in Armenia [Urartu]

    12/09/2014 5:13:35 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    Naukaw Polsce ^ | December 8, 2014 | PAP - Science and Scholarship in Poland
    Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology, University of Warsaw discovered evidence of destruction and capture of the ancient city of Metsamor, one of the most famous archaeological sites in the vicinity of Yerevan. "In the entire area of research we found layers of burning and ash. The city was probably captured by the army of Argishti I, the ruler of Urartu," told PAP Krzysztof Jakubiak, head of the project. Argishti I was the king of Urartu, the biblical Kingdom of Ararat in the Armenian Highlands. During his reign, the boundaries of the state expanded to the Caucasus, the area of...
  • Possible Neanderthal rock engraving in Gorham's Cave

    12/09/2014 5:04:47 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 10 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | September 3, 2014 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    A study of a rock engraving discovered within Gorham's Cave in Gibraltar finds that the cross-hatched impression was likely created by Neanderthals and excluding the possibility of an unintentional or utilitarian origin, would represent Neanderthals' capacity for abstract expression. Previously-discovered cave art has been exclusively attributed to modern humans, who arrived in Western Europe around 40,000 years ago. In July 2012, researchers discovered the abstract pattern engraved in the rock of Gorham's Cave which is located on the southeast face of the Rock of Gibraltar. The cross-hatched pattern was overlain by undisturbed sediment in which Neanderthal artefacts had previously been...
  • Antiquity thieves caught at Cave of Skulls searching for Dead Sea artefacts

    12/09/2014 5:00:40 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 9 replies
    Past Horizons ^ | December 7, 2014 | unattributed
    Members of the Arad Rescue Unit, undergoing early morning routine training, noticed suspicious activity in the northern cliff of Nahal Ze'elim, in the region of the Leopard's Ascent (Judean Desert). After alerting the authorities a group of antiquity thieves searching for Dead Sea scrolls and other potentially valuable artefacts, were caught red-handed. The "The Cave of the Skulls", which is located in the side of a cliff, can only be reached on foot via a narrow goat path on top of rock fall, that passes upright bedrock walls and is extremely precarious. The robbers, who had used climbing gear to...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Wanderers

    12/08/2014 7:53:19 AM PST · by SunkenCiv · 16 replies
    NASA ^ | December 08, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: How far out will humanity explore? If this video's fusion of real space imagery and fictional space visualizations is on the right track, then at least the Solar System. Some of the video's wondrous sequences depict future humans drifting through the rings of Saturn, exploring Jupiter from a nearby spacecraft, and jumping off a high cliff in the low gravity of a moon of Uranus. Although no one can know the future, wandering and exploring beyond boundaries -- both physical and intellectual -- is part of the human spirit and has frequently served humanity well in the past.
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Aurora Shimmer, Meteor Flash

    12/07/2014 9:13:20 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 6 replies
    NASA ^ | December 07, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Northern Lights, aurora borealis, haunted skies over the island of Kvaløya, near Tromsø Norway on 2009 December 13. This 30 second long exposure records their shimmering glow gently lighting the wintery coastal scene. A study in contrasts, it also captures the sudden flash of a fireball meteor from the excellent Geminid meteor shower in 2009 December. Streaking past familiar stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, the trail points back toward the constellation Gemini, off the top of the view. Both aurora and meteors occur in Earth's upper atmosphere at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so, but aurora...
  • Dwindling African tribe may have been most populous group on planet

    12/07/2014 8:52:29 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 29 replies
    Science ^ | 4 December 2014 | Ann Gibbons
    ...for tens of thousands of years, the Khoisan's ancestors were members of "the largest population" on the planet, according to a new study. The Khoisan have long stood apart from other groups within Africa. They look distinct, speak in "click" languages, and have also maintained the greatest genetic diversity known among human populations. Usually, big populations harbor the most diversity. But census counts show that the 100,000 Khoisan speakers in Africa today are far outnumbered by other groups, such as the 45 million Bantu speakers and their 180 million descendants who now speak Swahili and other languages. Researchers have thought...
  • Unearthed: hoard of Roman and Pictish silver found in Aberdeenshire field

    12/07/2014 8:21:58 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 7 replies
    Herald Scotland ^ | Wednesday 3 December 2014 | unattributed
    A hoard of Roman and Pictish silver has been unearthed by archaeologists working in a field in Aberdeenshire. The find, which contains more than 100 pieces including coins and jewellery, has been hailed as the most northern of its kind in Europe. The discovery was made earlier this year by archaeologists from National Museums Scotland and the University of Aberdeen's Northern Picts project at an undisclosed location. It will now become the subject of a programme of research involving detailed analysis and cataloguing through the Glenmorangie Research Project - a three-year sponsorship of National Museums Scotland to support the study...
  • Ancient Celtic offshore Banking [update to 2012 story]

    12/07/2014 7:21:52 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    Guernsey Donkey ^ | August 22, 2014 | Robert
    In June 2012 metal detectorists Reg Mead and Richard Miles uncovered a hoard of a staggering 70,000 late Iron Age and Roman coins. They were searching in Grouville in Jersey when they came across their incredible find that has since turned out to be the largest hoard ever found in the island. The Hoard The coins, which had fused into one solid mass, were found using a deep-scanning metal detector. They were searching the area after Reg and Richard had uncovered a smaller hoard of 120 coins the previous year. As soon as they realised the size of their find,...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Orion Launch

    12/06/2014 1:08:37 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 11 replies
    NASA ^ | December 06, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Headed for two orbits of planet Earth and a splashdown in the Pacific, Orion blazed into the early morning sky on Friday at 7:05am ET. The spacecraft was launched atop a United Launch Aliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Its first voyage into space on an uncrewed flight test, the Orion traveled some 3,600 miles from Earth, about 15 times higher than the orbital altitude of the International Space Station. In fact, Orion traveled farther into space than any spacecraft designed for astronauts since the Apollo missions to the Moon. The Orion...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Milky Way over Moon Valley

    12/06/2014 1:06:04 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 13 replies
    NASA ^ | December 05, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: Our Milky Way Galaxy arcs over a desolate landscape in this fantastic panoramic night skyview. The otherworldly scene looks across the arid, eroded terrain of the Valle de la Luna in the Chilean Atacama desert. Just along the horizon are lights from San Pedro, Chile, as well as the small villages of Socaire and Toconao, and a tortuous road from the city of Calama to San Pedro. Taken on October 18th, the five panel mosaic also features the four galaxies easily visible from our fair planet's dark sky regions. At the far left, satellite galaxies known as the Large...
  • Mastodons Disappeared From Ancient Beringia Before Humans Arrived

    12/04/2014 6:03:43 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 33 replies
    Popular Archaeology ^ | Monday, December 1, 2014 | press releases
    A re-dating of mastodon bones reveals that the extinct mammals, related to the modern day elephant, disappeared from the area during a glacial period more than 50,000 years earlier than previously thought. Existing age estimates of American mastodon fossils indicate that these extinct relatives of elephants lived in the Arctic and Subarctic when the area was covered by ice caps—a chronology that is at odds with what scientists know about the massive animals' preferred habitat: forests and wetlands abundant with leafy food... Over the course of the late Pleistocene, between about 10,000 and 125,000 years ago, the American mastodon (Mammut...
  • Astronomy Picture of the Day -- Plato and the Lunar Alps

    12/04/2014 2:05:05 PM PST · by SunkenCiv · 5 replies
    NASA ^ | December 04, 2014 | (see photo credit)
    Explanation: The dark-floored, 95 kilometer wide crater Plato and sunlit peaks of the lunar Alps (Montes Alpes) are highlighted in this sharp digital snapshot of the Moon's surface. While the Alps of planet Earth were uplifted over millions of years as continental plates slowly collided, the lunar Alps were likely formed by a sudden collision that created the giant impact basin known as the Mare Imbrium or Sea of Rains. The mare's generally smooth, lava-flooded floor is seen below the boardering mountain range. The prominent straight feature cutting through the mountains is the lunar Alpine Valley (Vallis Alpes). Joining the...