I am getting updated with a rather long backlog, so I will speed things up placing here in nearly telegraphic style the informative snippets that require less work. This does not mean that they are less interesting, not at all, just that I have to adapt to that elusive quality of time...
Toba supervolcano only had short-term climate effect → BBC.
Research on Lake Malawi's sediments shows that the climate-change effect of the catastrophic eruption was limited. Droughts previously believed to be from that period have been revised to be from at least 10,000 years before, corresponding to the end of the Abbassia Pluvial rather than to Toba super-eruption.
Sunduki (Khakassia), here there are what are surely the oldest rock art of Northern Asia, representing people hunting or interacting among them, which are from just centuries ago, however other petroglyphs are apparently much older like this horse:
Prof. Vitaly Larichev (Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Russian Academy of Sciences) has detected a whole astronomical structure implemented in the landscape.
He claims to have found 'numerous ancient solar and lunar observatories around Sunduki'.
'This square pattern of stones on the ground shows you the place', he told visiting author Kira Van Deusen. 'I knew there would be an orientation point, but we had to search through the grass for a long time to find it.
'Now look up to the top of that ridge. You see a place where there is a crack between the rocks? If you were here on the summer solstice, you would see the sun rise right there. Or you would if you were here 2,000 years so. Now the timing is slightly differen'.
High on one cliff wall is a rock engraving showing dragon heads in one direction, and snake heads in the other.
'If the sun were shining, we could tell the time,' he said. 'In the morning the shadow moves along the snake's body from his head to his tail, and in the afternoon it comes from the other direction along the dragon.
'From the same observation point you can determine true north and south by sighting along the mountains'.
Vietnam: early cemetery dug in Thahn Hoa → Australian National University.
Some 140 human remains of all ages have been unearthed at the site of Con Co Ngua, estimated to be 6-4000 years old. Cemeteries of this size and age were previously unknown in the region. The site has also revealed a dearth of artifacts.
The people were buried in fetal position with meat cuts of buffalo or deer.
India: 4000 y.o. stone tools unearthed in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh, Narmada river) → India Today.
- Some of them are decorated with aquatic animals.
- 150x200 m. mound in Birjakhedi
- Terracotta game pieces
- Pottery (incl. jars, pots, dishes)
- Stone and ivory beads
Bell Beaker rich lady's burial unearthed in Berkshire (England) → Wessex Archaeology.
The middle-aged woman wore a necklace of tubular golden beads, amber buttons on her clothes and a possible lignite bracelet. She was accompanied by a bell-shaped beaker of the "corded" type (oldest and roughest variant, of likely Central European inception).
The chemical signature of the gold beads is coherent with deposits from Southern Britain and SE Ireland.
Giza pyramid construction's logistics revealed → Live Science.
Caesar beat the Gauls.Was there not even a cook in his army?
Bertolt Brecht (A Worker reads History)
Now we know that at the very least the famed early pharaohs Khafra, Khufu and Menkaure, who ordered the massive pyramids of Giza to be built as their tombs did have some cooks in charge of feeding the many workers who actually built them, stone by stone.
These workers were housed in a village some 400 meters south of the Sphinx, known as Heit el-Ghurab. In this place archaeologists have found a cemetery, a corral with apparent slaughter areas and piles of animal bones. Based on these, researchers estimate that more than 2,000 kilograms of meat were eaten every day during the construction of Menkaure's pyramid, the last and smallest one of the three geometric mounds.
The figures estimated for such a logistic operation border disbelief: 22,000 cows, 55,000 sheep and goats, 1200 km² of grazing land (roughly the size of Los Angeles or 5% of the Nile Delta), some 3500 herders (adding up to almost 20,000 people if we include their families).
A curious detail is that most of the beef was destined to the building of the overseers, while the common workers were mostly fed sheep or goat instead. Another settlement to the East of apparently local farmers ate most of the pork. There were also temporary tent camps closer to the pyramids.
Late Indus Valley Civilization was overcome by violence → National Geographic.
|Harappa (CC by Shephali11011)|
The Late Indus Valley Civilization (Cemetery H cultural layer, usually attributed to the Indoeuropean invasions) was, unlike in previous periods, quite violent, new evidence highlights.
The evidence from the bones also highlights the arrival of many non-local men, who apparently married local women. But the most shocking element is the striking evidence of widespread violence:
The skull of a child between four and six years old was cracked and crushed by blows from a club-like weapon. An adult woman was beaten so badly—with extreme force, according to researchers—that her skull caved in. A middle-aged man had a broken nose as well as damage to his forehead inflicted by a sharp-edged, heavy implement. Of the 18 skulls examined from this time period, nearly half showed serious injuries from violence ...
Gaming pieces of Melton Mowbray (England) → Science Daily.
Excavation of a hillfort at Burrough Hill revealed ancient gaming pieces, among other materials.
|(CC by P.A. Salguero Quiles)|
The tomb has an access gate and is estimated to be from the 5th or 4th centuries BCE (Iberian culture) and, unlike most burials of the time, the corpse was not incinerated.
The finding highlights the need for further archaeological work in all the hill but the severe budgetary cuts threaten this development.
Baza (Granada) hosts a dedicated archaeological museum inaugurated in 2011.
Tocharian mummy buried with marijuana hoard → Paleorama[es].
Some 800 grams of the psychedelic plant, including seeds, were found at the burial place of a Tocharian man, presumably a shaman, at Yanghai (Uyghuristan), belonging to the Gushi culture and dated to at least 2700 years ago. The plant belongs to a cultivated variety.
Some of the oldest cannabis evidence are also from that area (Pazyrk culture c. 2500 years ago) and also from Nepal (Mustang, similar dates). Later in Southern Central Asia it was used in combination with opium and ephedra, from where soon migrated to South Asia and many other parts of Eurasia.
New device radically reduces costs and time in DNA extraction → Science Daily.
Researchers from the University of Washington and NanoFacture Inc. have developed a device, which looks like a kitchen appliance, able to extract DNA from tissues (like saliva or blood) in minutes at low cost and without using the toxic chemicals habitual in the field.
The prototype is designed for four samples but can be scaled for the lab standard of 96 samples at once.