Photo Album

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Way back Wednesday

Today i will be looking at:

An excavation in the Kruger National Park 2009 

Lunch Time relaxing :)

The Beautiful View

Group Photo
(I'm on the right in the black shirt)

Hope you enjoyed my Way Back Wednesday!

How big monument stones were moved!

How did ancient people move stones like those at Stonehenge?

A fascinating article in Science Daily has come to my attention.

"ScienceDaily (Nov. 30, 2010) — A revolutionary new idea on the movement of big monument stones like those at Stonehenge has been put forward by an archaeology student at the University of Exeter." (Source)

Undergraduate Andrew Young tested his theory that carved stone balls found close to sites with Neolithic monuments must of had a purpose.

Long story short, they made a wooden track with a groove. Put the balls in the groove. And had a flat piece of wood with concrete slabs that simulate the weight of these monuments on it.

The platform with these concrete slabs moved with ease!

Neolithic people might not have used this method, but it possible.

Have a look at the rest of the article here, and a picture of the study:

Monday, November 29, 2010

The funnies of everyday Archaeology

To protect the site and people involved I won't say where what or how.

But while sorting animal bones from a site, we came across this bag. So I made it into a motivational and thought I’d share :)


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Funny Friday

3000 year old seeds / Ice Age ecosystem

3000 year old seeds found  

Archaeologists found many well-preserved fruit and vegetable seeds, including almonds and melon seeds, from more than 3,000 years ago — some even look like new seeds — according to the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology on Nov. 20. (Source)
It is suggested that people from the Zhou Dynasty had storage units that were capable of keeping things fresh. 500 almonds, 10 prunus seeds, 150 Cucurbitaceae seeds, 108 unbroken and 839 half broken seeds have been found.
"The inner walls under the covers were evenly smeared with cob of two to three centimeters, and then were dried. With the four angles as the boundary line, there are two layers of soil in the pit, with the upper layer being light brown soil and the lower layer being yellow-gray soil. The upper layer soil is loose and contains a few processed stone drills, animal bones and potteries. The lower layer soil is compact but has obviously less amount of soil and a large number of plant seeds can be seen with naked eyes." (Source)


 Ice Age ecosystem found near Snowmass

DENVER — Back at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, crews that spent a month of frenzied fossil discovery at a 130,000-year-old muddy lake bed near Snowmass Village are finding their Ice Age treasure even more magnificent than previously revealed. (Source)

Museum workers — 67 individuals — recovered more than 500 bones representing eight to 10 American mastodons, four Columbian mammoths, four Ice Age bison, two deer, Colorado's first-ever Jefferson's ground sloth, several smaller animal species and hundreds of pounds of plant material. (Source)
Look at these amazing pictures:
More on this:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cancer in Ancient Egypt / Ancient champagne

Cancer did occur in Ancient Egypt

A Manchester United Egyptologist has recently stated that cancer did occur in ancient Egypt. One of the researchers working on this study has evidence of a handful of tumors in ancient human remains. However cancer was rare in antiquity.

More on this:

Ancient bubbly 

Bottles of champagne have been popped open in Finland, after nearly 200 years under water. Experts and enthusiasts gathered at an event in Mariehamn to grab a glass of the ancient bubbly which was rescued from a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea. (Source)
The vintage treasure included bottles of both Veuve Clicquot and the now defunct Juglar brands of champagne. Swedish wine connoisseaur Richard Juhlin had the honour of taking the first sip, which he described as 'wonderful.' (Source)

He noted that after nearly 200 years beneath the ocean the bubbly had lost its fizz, but not its flavour. The expert found hints of chanterelles, honey, orange and peach in the Juglar, and linden blossoms and lime peels in the Veuve Clicquot. (Source)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

What Old Arrowheads Tell Us

What Old Arrowheads Tell Us about the Origins of Modern Thinking
by Heather Pringle

Photo of archaeologist Marlize Lombard at Sibudu Cave

A recent study that two archaeologists completed on a collection of 64,000-year-old stone tools from Sibudu Cave, a site perched on a forested cliff some 40 kilometers north of Durban, South Africa tell us about the origins of modern human behavior

"The Great Leap Forward" as it is known is said to be around 40,000 to 50,000 years ago when Homo sapiens started to show accomplishments in art, jewelry etc.
Dissenting archaeologists, however, suggested that the transition to behavioral modernity was a gradual affair unfolding over hundreds of thousands of years.  And recently evidence of a slow transition has accumulated. At Blombos Cave in South Africa, for example,  archaeologists found 75,000-year-old shell beads,  80,000 year-old bone tools,  as well as possible evidence of fishing—all indicators pointing to modern thinking and behavior. (source)

Now Lombard and Phillipson have come up with superb evidence of a much more sophisticated human behavior—the making of bows and arrows– 64,000 years ago.  Examining a collection of artifacts, largely from Sibudu Cave, the pair measured the 79 small stone points to see whether they fit into the range of arrowheads.  They did.  Then they looked for characteristic signs of impact damage, analyzed microresidues along the edges for traces of animal tissue,  and tested the backings for plant resins used to haft them. Everything pointed clearly to their use as arrowheads. (source)

Lastly, the two researchers drew up a list of the technologies early humans needed in order to make bows and arrows.  These ranged from the ability to make long strong cords and formal knots to the skill of harnessing the latent energy in flexed wood.  Early modern humans, concluded Lombard and Phillipson,  could be shown to possess nearly all of these in South Africa by 64,000 years ago.
I’m now convinced that bow-and-arrow hunting humans roamed the shadowy forests of South Africa 64,000 years ago–thousands of years before the proposed Great Leap Forward. God, it seems, really is in the details. (source)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Road lined with Sphinxes found / Ancient people more promiscuous?

Sphinx road found in Egypt

A sphinx-lined road (consisting of 12 sphinxes) has been found by Egyptian archaeologists in Luxor. It is said to have led to the temple of Mut.

Most of the sphinxes don't have their heads, and the name Nectabo 1 is inscribed on them. Most of them date back to 362 BC.

"This discovery marks the first time that archaeology has revealed this route, which is mentioned in many ancient texts," the statement said.

Read more: 

Were Neanderthals More Promiscuous Than Modern Humans?

A study at the universities of Liverpool and Oxford using fossil finger bones suggest that Neanderthals were more promiscuous than humans today.
The team found that the fossil finger ratios of Neanderthals, and early members of the human species, were lower than most living humans, which suggests that they had been exposed to high levels of prenatal androgens. This indicates that early humans were likely to be more competitive and promiscuous than people today. (Source)
To find out more you will have to read the article, as it gets a bit technical!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Complete Mammoth Skeleton / Origins of First European Farmers

Complete Mammoth Skeleton found

It looks like a discovery in Lea County, N.M., could be a complete mammoth skeleton. The mammoth was found Delbert Sanderson, who saw the femur bone fossil sticking up out of the ground.

The New Mexico Natural History Museum Executive Director Calvin Smith said: “It is a major discovery,” “We usually find pieces and parts, but if this is a complete skeleton, it is very important.” “It is a significant find and one that deserves a lot of attention,” “If we are on the bottom of it, we are through, if we are on the top of it, we have another year’s work.” (Source)

So far  a femur, tibia, fibula and a carpal has been found

More on this:

DNA Reveals Origins of First European Farmers

A team of international researchers led by ancient DNA experts from the University of Adelaide has resolved the longstanding issue of the origins of the people who introduced farming to Europe some 8000 years ago. (Source)

A detailed genetic study of one of the first farming communities in Europe, from central Germany, reveals marked similarities with populations living in the Ancient Near East (modern-day Turkey, Iraq and other countries) rather than those from Europe. (Source)

Project leader Professor Alan Cooper, Director of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, says: "This overturns current thinking, which accepts that the first European farming populations were constructed largely from existing populations of hunter-gatherers, who had either rapidly learned to farm or interbred with the invaders." (Source)

The results of the study have been published today in the online peer-reviewed science journal PLoS Biology. (Source)

"We have finally resolved the question of who the first farmers in Europe were -- invaders with revolutionary new ideas, rather than populations of Stone Age hunter-gatherers who already existed in the area," says lead author Dr Wolfgang Haak, Senior Research Associate with ACAD at the University of Adelaide. (Source)

"We've been able to apply new, high-precision ancient DNA methods to create a detailed genetic picture of this ancient farming population, and reveal that it was radically different to the nomadic populations already present in Europe. (Source)

"We have also been able to use genetic signatures to identify a potential route from the Near East and Anatolia, where farming evolved around 11,000 years ago, via south-eastern Europe and the Carpathian Basin (today's Hungary) into Central Europe," Dr Haak says. (Source)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bison Skull found / Pompeii could collapse

Ice Age bison skull found


A 250 pound bison skull has been found by a construction crew outside Snowmass Village. The skull is twice the size of a modern bison with the span of the horns more than 6 feet.

Other specimens have been found at the same dig site and include a Columbian mammoth, American mastodon and an Ice Age deer.

More articles:

Pompeii could collapse

Italy's culture minister said that more buildings inside Pompeii could collapse. This comes after a 2 000 year old house disintegrated.

So many buildings need restoration that damage is inevitable said Daniela Leone, a spokeswoman for Pompeii's archaeological superintendence.
More on this:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Way back Wednesday

Today i will be looking at The Tower known as the "Ka'bah of Zoroaster"

This magnification structure is called "Ka'ba-ye Zardosht" because popular imagination wrongly interpreted it as a fire temple. This tower was built during the Achaemenid period.

It can be found opposite the rock-cut tomb attributed to Darius II.

The structure has a square base and stands on a three-stepped platform. Its lower half is solid and the upper is formed as a chamber (5 meters high) provided with one door in the north wall reached by a 30-stepped staircase the upper section of which has been destroyed the roof is made up of four huge blocks, and various rectangular niches formed of black stone set into the whitish walls give the structure the appearance of a three-story tower with many "blind windows."

Hope you enjoyed my Way Back Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oxygen impacts on Insects / T-Rex Cannibal?

Giant Dragonfly experiment with oxygen 

"ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2010) — The giant dragonflies of ancient Earth with wingspans of up to 70 centimeters (28 inches) are generally attributed to higher oxygen atmospheric levels in the atmosphere in the past. New experiments in raising modern insects in various oxygen-enriched atmospheres have confirmed that dragonflies grow bigger with more oxygen, or hyperoxia." (Source)

"Our main interest is in how paleo-oxygen levels would have influenced the evolution of insects," said John VandenBrooks of Arizona State University in Tempe. To do that they decided to look at the plasticity of modern insects raised in different oxygen concentrations. The team raised cockroaches, dragonflies, grasshoppers, meal worms, beetles and other insects in atmospheres containing different amounts of oxygen to see if there were any effects. (Source)

One result was that dragonflies grew faster into bigger adults in hyperoxia. However, cockroaches grew slower and did not become larger adults. In all, ten out of twelve kinds of insects studied decreased in size in lower oxygen atmospheres. But there were varied responses when they were placed into an enriched oxygen atmosphere. VandenBrooks is presenting the results of the work Nov. 1 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver. (Source)

"There have been a lot of hypotheses about the impact of oxygen on evolution of animals, but nobody has really tested them," said VandenBrooks. "So we have used a two-pronged approach: 1) study modern insects in varying oxygen levels and 2) study fossil insects and understand changes in the past in light of these results." (Source)
For more on this interesting subject:

Was T-Rex and Cannibal?

A few dozen T. rex bones have been looked at by a Yale University paleontologist. He found three foot bones and one arm bone that showed evidence of T. rex bite marks.
"It's surprising how frequent it appears to have been. We're not exactly sure what that means," Nick Longrich said in a Yale news release. (Source)

"Modern big carnivores do this all the time. It's a convenient way to take out the competition and get a bit of food at the same time," Longrich said. (Source)

"These animals were some of the largest terrestrial carnivores of all time, and the way they approached eating was fundamentally different from modern species. There's a big mystery around what and how they ate, and this research helps to uncover one piece of the puzzle," Longrich said. (Source)
More Articles: