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World's oldest plant-like fossils discovered

(PLOS) Scientists at the Swedish Museum of Natural History have found fossils of 1.6 billion-year-old probable red algae. The spectacular finds, publishing on March 14 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology, indicate that advanced multicellular life evolved much earlier than previously thought.

Huge 4000 year-old dolmen with engravings on ceiling

Archaeologists have recently discovered a mysterious dolmen which contains the first art ever documented in such a structure in the Middle East.

The chemistry of redheads (video)

(American Chemical Society) The thing that sets redheads apart from the crowd is pigmentation. Most humans produce the brown-black eumelanin while redheads have a genetic variant making more reddish pheomelanin. How red hair is produced by redheads' cells might also explain why they have different sensation to pain. Show More Summary

Tourism, Enclosure, and Extractive Industries

About a year ago I submitted a manuscript to a university press that purports to be a tourist guide to the Bakken oil patch. Longtime readers might remember some of the posts here that fed into this project, and while my publisher wanted me to pull down most of the content produce prior to writing… Read More ?

March Pieces Of My Mind #1

A great thing about a cross-country skiing holiday is that you don’t feel any obligation to make good use of the ski-lift money you’ve paid. Because you haven’t. Gene drives. Amazing, potentially scary piece of science news. Insert code to actively edit the next generation’s genome into the current genome. In order to comment on…

Kirkthorpe Weir and Hydropower Station

In 2015 Yorkshire Hydropower Limited and Barn Energy, began the construction of a new low head hydropower station adjacent to the Grade II listed Kirkthorpe Weir and Sluice Gates, on the River Calder, Wakefield. The hydropower scheme...Show More Summary

400,000 year-old fossil hominin cranium discovered in Portugal

An international research team has found the oldest fossil human cranium in Portugal, marking an important contribution to knowledge of human evolution during the middle Pleistocene in Europe and to the origin of the Neanderthals.

Chronicling Budget Cuts: Narrating Institutional Memory in the 21st century

This is the fourth in a series of blog posts thinking about the recent round of budget cuts at the University of North Dakota. Go read part 1, part 2, and part 3 if you find this interesting. One of the little things that working on the Bakken oil boom has taught me is that history is awkwardly situated… Read More ?

Sheffield Witch Flies to New Home

One of the more unusual artefacts that Wessex North inherited from ARCUS was a large wooden sign from a building on Corporation Street in Sheffield, removed during the demolition phase of sites along the ring road. Affectionately known as ‘The Witch’ the sign comprises a silhouette of a witch on a broomstick with the word MAGIC underneath. Show More Summary

Bad news for Greedy Torah Peddlers

Several times on this blog have I referred to Torah scroll peddlers, who claim to be 'saving' these sacred objects from something or other. In very few cases however has there been any information indicating that these entrepreneurs are following the required procedure to bring these items out of the source country. Show More Summary

A Must-read About Heritage Pocketers

This is a must-read:Hardy, S. A. (2017). Quantitative analysis of open-source data on metal detecting for cultural property: Estimation of the scale and intensity of metal detecting and the quantity of metal-detected cultural goods. Cogent Social Sciences, 3(1), 1298397. Show More Summary

Stolen Baghdad Item Turns up in Morocco

It is not clear if this is the item concerned Eric Febvre, 'Après la toile italienne, une œuvre d’art irakienne rare retrouvée au Maroc' LeSite info 10 mars 2017. An item stolen from the Baghdad Museum, during the 2003 invasion of that country by the American troops has surfaced in Morocco. Show More Summary

My Ancestry

Inspired by Karin Bojs’s and Peter Sjölund’s recent book Svenskarna och deras fäder, I’ve looked into my ancestry by means both genetic and genealogical. Here’s a few highlights. Like most Stockholmers, I’m of mixed rural Swedish stock. My great grandpa’s generation contains 16 people born mainly in the 1880s. Only one of them was born…

Finnish cattle and sheep endured harsh conditions in the Middle Ages

The most extensive isotope analysis of archaeological material in Finland revealed a fragment of the history of ancient Finnish cattle: the bones and teeth showed which plants the animals fed on. For thousands of years, the ancestors of today’s Finncattle and Finnsheep survived on scarce nutrition, but actually starved in the Middle Ages in particular.

ADCAEA 'Sands of Time' Gandhara Sculpture

A Gandhara grey Schist Head of a Buddha, ca. 2nd Century AD $6,500 USD This well modeled head, with its youthful Hellenic features and wavy hair [...] must have been part of a major monastic center in the ancient province of Gandhara, in modern-day Pakistan/Afghanistan.[...]Show More Summary

Pink Gang Attack

Antiquities Coalition: 'antiquities looting after a crisis falls into a pattern that repeats itself from Egypt to Iraq': First the pink gangs then the criminals... but then on to the dealers.

The diet of Neanderthals at El Sidrón

Analysis of genetic material preserved in the calcified dental plaque from Neanderthals at El Sidrón in northern Spain, shows that their diet included wild mushrooms, pine nuts and moss, yet no evidence has been found to show they ate meat.

Friday Quick Hits and Varia

This week saw days of almost 50 degrees, nights that dipped below zero, and forty mile per hour winds that shook buildings on campus and toppled trucks. Just three hours west of here, the Empire Builder was stuck in a snow drift for almost three days! So, spring is here in North Dakotaland. But so… Read More ?

Pharaoh Ramses II statue unearthed in Cairo – video

Archaeologists in Cairo believe they have uncovered parts of a temple of Pharaoh Ramses II, including an eight-metre-high statue. The statue could not be identified from its engravings, but since it was found at the entrance to the temple,...Show More Summary

Built on Bones by Brenna Hassett review – have cities been good for humans?

A bioarchaeologist looks at skeletons to find out how people have lived and died, and reveals the paleo diet is all wrong “If cities are so great, why are they full of things that kill us?”, archaeologist Brenna Hassett asks. Her book...Show More Summary

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