Saturday, January 31, 2015

Google Earth Pro Is Now Available For Free

Today Google GOOGL +4.85% has announced that Google Earth Pro is now available for free. Google Earth Pro used to cost $399 per year. Google Earth is a geospatial software application that displays a virtual globe, which offers the ability to analyze and capture geographical data. Google Earth was created after Google acquired CIA-funded Keyhole Inc. in 2004. Under Keyhole, the application was known as EarthViewer 3D. The Google Earth desktop client hit the billion download mark in October 2011.
There are several differences between the free version of Google Earth and Google Earth Pro. The free version of Google Earth lets you print screen resolution images, whereas Google Earth Pro offers premium high resolution photos. The free version of Google Earth requires you to manually geo-locate geographic information system (GIS) images, but Google Earth Pro helps you automatically find them. And the free version of Google Earth only allows you to import image files that are up to a max texture size, but Google Earth Pro offers Super Image Overlays that are more than the max texture size.
Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Anthropology: Ancient skull from Galilee cave offers clues to the first modern Europeans

Interior of the Manot Cave in Israel's Galilee, where a 55,000-year-old skull sheds new light on human migration patterns.

The discovery of a 55,000-year-old partial skull in Northern Israel provides new insights into the migration of modern humans out of Africa. The rare find is reported in the journal Nature this week by an international team of Israeli, North American and European researchers.

A key event in human evolution was the expansion of modern humans of African origin across Eurasia, replacing all other forms of hominin (humans and their predecessors), around 40,000-60,000 years ago. However, due to the scarcity of human fossils from this period, these ancestors of all present-day non-African modern populations have largely remained a mystery.
Now, researchers describe a partial skull that dates to around 55,000, which was found at Manot Cave in Israel's Western Galilee. 
Read the rest of this article...

Skull discovery suggests location where humans first had sex with Neanderthals

Views of the human skull, with missing jaw, found in western Galilee, northern Isreal and estimated at 55,000 years old. Photograph: Tel Aviv University and University of Vienna

An ancient skull found in a cave in northern Israel has cast light on the migration of modern humans out of Africa and the dawn of humanity’s colonisation of the world.
For most palaeontologists that might be enough for a single fossil, but the braincase has offered much more: a likely location where the first prehistoric trysts resulted in modern humans having sex with their heavy-browed Neanderthal cousins.
Discovered in a cave in western Galilee, the partial skull belonged to an individual, probably a woman, who lived and died in the region about 55,000 years ago, placing modern humans there and then for the first time ever.
Read the rest of this article...

Found in Spain: traces of Hannibal's troops

Spanish archaeology students have discovered a 2,200-year-old moat in what is now the Catalan town of Valls, filled with objects providing evidence of the presence of troops of the Carthaginian general Hannibal in the area.

The moat, which surrounded the Iberian town of Vilar de Vals, contained coins and lead projectiles, researchers said in a statement.

It is estimated the moat could have had a width of 40 metres (131 feet), a depth of five metres, and a length of nearly half a kilometre.

Read the rest of this article...

Up Helly Aa, longship burning festival – in pictures

Hundreds of costumed people carried flaming torches as they took to the streets of Shetland, in Scotland, during the annual Up Helly Aa festival to celebrate the island’s Norse heritage

Read the rest of this article...

Archaeologists Excavate Pre-Roman Burials in Spain

Pintia, Spain—At an archaeological site in north central Spain, an archaeological team has been uncovering prolific finds that testify to a civilization that occupied a region of Spain long before the Romans arrived and conquered. The archaeological area measures about 125 hectares and contains the remains of human occupation spanning more than 1,000 years. Recently, archaeologists have recovered numerous artifacts from 2,500-year-old burials, particularly cremation tombs, that have provided a window on the Vaccean culture, an Iron Age people who lived and thrived in the area for several centuries BC, before the arrival of the Romans.

Read the rest of this article...

Scan finds new tattoos on 5300-year-old Iceman

A new study has used advanced imaging techniques to identify previously unknown tattoos on the ribcage of the 5300-year old man known as Ötzi, bringing his total number of tattoos to 61.
But first, some context
In September of 1991 hikers in the Ötzal Alps along the border of Austria and Italy happened upon the mummified corpse who became an archaeological celebrity. After Ötzi died at the hands of unknown attackers one late spring or early summer around 3500 BC, his body and belongings were left in a small gully where they were entombed beneath an alpine glacier. A combination of glacial meltwater and extreme cold resulted in natural mummification of his body.
Read the rest of this article...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Scientists use X-rays to decipher charred Vesuvius scrolls

David Blank, professor of Classics from University of California, left, uses his laptop computer as he studies an ancient papyrus at the Naples' National Library, Italy Photo: AP

The contents of hundreds of papyrus scrolls that were turned into charcoal during the eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD - one of the great natural disasters of antiquity - have long remained a mystery. That soon may change.
Scientists said on Tuesday a sophisticated form of X-ray technology has enabled them to decipher some of the writing in the charred scrolls from a library once housed in a sumptuous villa in ancient Herculaneum, a city that overlooked the Bay of Naples.
The library was part of what's called the Villa of the Papyri, which may have belonged to Julius Caesar's father-in-law. Other libraries from antiquity have been discovered but this is the only one that had its scrolls still present.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, January 23, 2015

X-ray technique reads burnt Vesuvius scroll

For the first time, words have been read from a burnt, rolled-up scroll buried by Mount Vesuvius in AD79.
The scrolls of Herculaneum, the only classical library still in existence, were blasted by volcanic gas hotter than 300C and are desperately fragile.
Deep inside one scroll, physicists distinguished the ink from the paper using a 3D X-ray imaging technique sometimes used in breast scans.
They believe that other scrolls could also be deciphered without unrolling.
Read the rest of this article...

Maybe Early Humans Weren't The First To Get A Good Grip

An example of a human precision grip — grasping a first metacarpal from the thumb of a specimen of Australopithecus africanus that's thought to be 2 to 3 million years old.

The special tool-wielding power of human hands may go back further in evolutionary history than scientists have thought.
That's according to a new study of hand bones from an early relative of humans calledAustralopithecus africanus. Researchers used a powerful X-ray technique to scan the interior of the bones, and they detected a telltale structure that's associated with a forceful precision grip.
"It's clear evidence that these australopiths were using their hands and using grips that are very consistent with what modern humans did and what our recent relatives like Neanderthals did," says Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, in the United Kingdom. He was part of the team that published the new work online Thursday in Science.
Read the rest of this article...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Hinkley Point C excavations unearth bones from the Dark Ages

The burials date from the 7th Century

A Dark Ages cemetery and more than 100 burials has been unearthed at the site of a new nuclear power station.
The discovery is one of many by archaeologists who have spent years excavating ground where Hinkley Point C is being built in Somerset.
Flint tools dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods and Roman building remains were also found.
All the results of the dig, which began in 2012, are being revealed in an exhibition at the Museum of Somerset.
Read the rest of this article...

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers (Online Course)

Vikings: Raiders, Traders and Settlers (Online Course)

Mon 26 Jan to Fri 17 Apr 2015

University of Oxford 

Department of Continuing Education

Further details...

Excavation plans for Exeter's Roman Baths

A set of "internationally significant" Roman Baths which lay hidden for almost 2,000 years could be opened to the public in a restoration project announced by Exeter Cathedral. 

The Roman Baths were discovered in 1971 after excavating  a Saxon burial ground [Credit: Exter Cathedral] 

The site was discovered in 1971 but due to a lack of funds was reburied under the cathedral green to protect it. 

A bid for £8.7m has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). 

Roman archaeology specialist Dr Martin Pitts said the site "is of major significance". 

Read the rest of this article...

Stone Age artefacts found in Norway's melting glaciers

Around 7,000 years ago the Earth was enjoying a warm climate. Now glaciers and patches of perennial ice in the high mountains of Southern Norway have started to melt again, revealing ancient layers. 

A small knife with a wooden handle, probably from the Iron Age, was one of the  treasures found by archaeologists at the glacier Lendbreen in Oppland County,  Norway during the 2014 summer season [Credit: Oppland County] 

“Actually we should be slowly approaching a new ice age. But in the past 20 years we have witnessed artefacts turning up in summer from increasingly deeper layers of the glaciers,” says Lars Pilø. 

He is an archaeologist working for Oppland County, and has for many years done fieldwork in glaciers and ice patches, finding things our ancestors discarded or lost.

Read the rest of this article...

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Excavation plans for Exeter's Roman Baths

The Roman Baths were discovered in 1971 after excavating a Saxon burial ground

A set of "internationally significant" Roman Baths which lay hidden for almost 2,000 years could be opened to the public in a restoration project announced by Exeter Cathedral.
The site was discovered in 1971 but due to a lack of funds was reburied under the cathedral green to protect it.
A bid for £8.7m has now been submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Roman archaeology specialist Dr Martin Pitts said the site "is of major significance".
Read the rest of this article...

Viking blacksmith found buried with his tools

A well-stocked grave of a blacksmith from the Viking Age is one of the best finds in Norway last year, according to Norwegian archeologists. 

This was one of the tools found in the blacksmith's grave. The archeologists think  his contemporaries wanted to show how talented and versatile the blacksmith  was in his craft [Credit: Howell Roberts/University Museum of Bergen] 

Leif Arne Nordheim, who lives in Sogndalsdalen on Norway’s west coast, decided to do something about some flagstones in his garden that irritatingly refused to lie flat. When he removed the stones he caught sight of something made of iron. 

Brushing some of the objects off, he recognised them as a blacksmith’s hammer and tongs. 

Nordheim contacted the regional culture authorities but had not dreamed that the artefacts dated back to the early Viking Age.

Read the rest of this article...

Mysterious medieval fortifications buried in Poland detected with advanced imaging technology

Archaeologists have discovered evidence of unknown medieval fortifications which may indicate the presence of Hussite clashes near a small village in Poland.
Discovered buried in wooded foothills near the village of Bieździadka in south-eastern Poland, the site was examined by archaeologists Joanna Pilszyk and Piotr Szmyd. Based on the report fromScience and Scholarship in Poland (PAP), the fortifications were discovered underground using sophisticated laser detection and aerial mapping.
The fort is to have sat on top of a plateau with steep sides, the sheer slope and height of over two meters (6.5 feet) naturally protecting the stronghold. Moats were believed to surround the site, and high fences or palisades are likely to have run along the perimeter. The age of the fort is not known, but researchers say it was probably built during the Middle Ages.
Read the rest of this article...

Friday, January 16, 2015

Bronze figure of Silenus found on Danish island

A bronze figure representing the Greek figure Silenus, from the time of Rome's first emperor, Augustus, has been found on the south-eastern Danish island of Falster. 

The 4.5 cm tall Roman bronze figure represents Silenus, a mythological creature based  on the Greek figure of the same name. The bronze figure was found recently on the  island of Falster and can be dated back to the time of the Roman emperor. Augustus. It is unknown how the figure ended up on a Danish island  [Credit: National Museum of Denmark] 

This find suggests that there was close contact between the Roman empire and Scandinavia, before and after the emperor's reign. 

A Roman on Falster 

The tiny bronze figure represents an elderly, bearded, balding man with thick lips and a plump nose. The find, just 4.5 cm tall, was found using a metal detector.

Read the rest of this article...

Stone Age man wasn't necessarily more advanced than the Neanderthals

A multi-purpose bone tool dating from the Neanderthal era has been discovered by University of Montreal researchers, throwing into question our current understanding of the evolution of human behaviour. It was found at an archaeological site in France. "This is the first time a multi-purpose bone tool from this period has been discovered. It proves that Neanderthals were able to understand the mechanical properties of bone and knew how to use it to make tools, abilities usually attributed to our species, Homo sapiens," said Luc Doyon of the university's Department of Anthropology, who participated in the digs. Neanderthals lived in Europe and western Asia in the Middle Paleolithic between around 250,000 to 28,000 years ago. Homo sapiens is the scientific term for modern man.
The production of bone tools by Neanderthals is open to debate. For much of the twentieth century, prehistoric experts were reluctant to recognize the ability of this species to incorporate materials like bone into their technological know-how and likewise their ability to master the techniques needed to work bone. However, over the past two decades, many clues indicate the use of hard materials from animals by Neanderthals. "Our discovery is an additional indicator of bone work by Neanderthals and helps put into question the linear view of the evolution of human behaviour," Doyon said.
Read the rest of this article...

"Extremely lucky" archaeologists find evidence of 15th century settlement near Northern Irish castle

Scientific dating leads archaeologists to "extremely exciting" early settlement near ruined 13th century castle

A post-excavation shot of the late 15th or early 16th century structure found near Dunluce Castle, showing the doorway in the corner

Archaeologists searching for a lost 17th century town say the remains of a fireplace, found in a field near a medieval Irish coastal castle, was part of a previously unknown settlement which could have been established 200 years earlier.

Radiocarbon dating from the clay floor of a structure, discovered by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, suggests an earlier community could have lived in Dunluce during the late 15th and 16th centuries.

Read the rest of this article...

Recreating the ancient Greek drinking game Kottabos

Years before beer pong was invented, the ancient Greeks played kottabos to pass the time at symposia (drinking parties) where privileged men reclined on cushion couches and played the game that is found illustrated on ancient artworks. Women of fine society didn’t attend symposia but hetaires (courtesans) played the sloppy game where winners received all sorts of prizes, such as sweets and even sexual favours. 

Banqueter playing the kottabos game; kalos inscription in the name of Leagros.  Side A of the neck of an Attic red-figure neck-amphora, ca. 510 BC. From Vulci  [Credit: Marie-Lan Nguyen/WikiCommons] 

Assistant Art History Professor Heather Sharpe of West Chester University in Pennsylvania tried to recreate the game with her students. It wasn’t as easy as it appears “because we do have these illustrations of it, but they only show one part of the game – where individuals are about to flick some dregs at a target.”

Read the rest of this article...

Parasiteneier aus der Keltenzeit in Basel gefunden

Ei eines Spulwurms (Ascaris sp.) mit der typischen gewellten Membran. Foto: IPNA

In Proben aus der früheren keltischen Siedlung «Basel-Gasfabrik» sind Archäologen der Universität Basel bei Laboranalysen auf Eier von Darmparasiten gestossen – und schliessen damit auf eine mangelhafte Hygiene der damaligen Bevölkerung. Mittels spezieller Methoden der Geoarchäologie fanden sie drei verschiedene Parasitenarten, wie sie in der Fachzeitschrift «Journal of Archaeological Science» berichten.

Read the rest of this article...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Viking Artefacts

Viking Artefacts is an interesting blog run by Thomas Kamphaus.

He describes his interest as follows: 

"Why interested in vikings ?"

Well, I guess every man approching it's 40-ies has a right for developing a strange hobby. It thrills me more than the collecting of sugar sackets. 

Seriously: I have always been attached to history, and in general the period from 500 - 1200. The Frankish/merovingian period and then the viking period. Collecting artefacts just have seemed to pop up out of the blue . The viking craftmanship in several to considered styles I find very acctractive. Compared to the number of Roman artefacts p.e. the vikings - although excavated intensively the last 25/35 years - always stayed a sort of elusive and mysterious to us what sets them apart of other cultures.

You can find the blog here...

Monday, January 12, 2015

Mid-Norway Vikings among the first to sail to British Isles

Circular brooch from a woman’s grave in Nes, Bjung municipality. (Photo: Per Fredriksen, NTNU University Museum)

Archaeological findings show that Vikings from mid- and western Norway were among the first to make the trip to the British Isles.

Vikings living in Trøndelag, a region in the middle part of Norway, were among the first in Scandinavia to travel west. A new analysis of burial sites in Trøndelag from the year 800 and later undertaken by researchers at the NTNU University Museum is giving us a clearer image of who decided to stay in Norway, and who left to travel to the British Isles.
The burials sites examined contained a lot more foreign artefacts than previously believed, many of which coincide the first known Viking raids in Lindisfarne, England in 793.
Read the rest of this article...

Ancient Roman fort designed for celestial show

The gateways of an ancient Roman fort in Britain are roughly aligned with the light from the sun during the summer and winter solstices a design that would have resulted in a striking scene on the shortest and longest days of the year, a researcher says. 

The fort was constructed during the rule of Roman Emperor Hadrian (reign A.D. 117-138).  It was part of a system of fortifications that protected the frontier of Roman Britain  [Credit: (Richard Semik) |] 

The fort had four gateways facing one another. During the summer solstice, the sun would rise in alignment with the fort's northeastern and southwestern gates, and set in alignment with its northwestern and southeastern gates, the researcher reported in the new study. 

During the winter solstice, the sun would rise in line with the fort's southeastern and northwestern gates, and set in line with the fort's southwestern and northeastern gates.

Read the rest of this article...

Archéologie du château de Rodemack, la place-forte aux trois frontières

Les archéologues de l’Inrap fouillent le château de Rodemack, sur prescription de l’État (Drac Lorraine), dans le cadre de sa réhabilitation par la Communauté de communes de Cattenom et environs. Après une opération de quatre mois en 2013, cette seconde campagne de fouille qui démarre, durera jusqu’en octobre 2014. Elle concerne plusieurs zones du château, rénové au XIXe siècle, notamment son noyau originel des XIIe-XIIIe siècles, sur une emprise de 7 500 m2. Place-forte très convoitée, le château de Rodemack est implanté près de trois frontières, celles du duché du Luxembourg, des pays germaniques et du duché de Lorraine. L’archéologie permet de renouveler son histoire et de retracer notamment son riche passé militaire. 

Read the rest of this article...


a Lecture by
Michael Duigan
7.00 pm, Friday, 16th January

Activity Space 1, Clore Learning Centre
Museum of London, London Wall EC2Y 5HN


Would you be beautiful in the ancient world?

In ancient Greece the rules of beauty were all important. Things were good for men who were buff and glossy. And for women, fuller-figured redheads were in favour - but they had to contend with an ominous undercurrent, historian Bettany Hughes explains.
A full-lipped, cheek-chiselled man in Ancient Greece knew two things - that his beauty was a blessing (a gift of the gods no less) and that his perfect exterior hid an inner perfection. For the Greeks a beautiful body was considered direct evidence of a beautiful mind. They even had a word for it - kaloskagathos - which meant being gorgeous to look at, and hence being a good person.
Read the rest of this article...