понедельник, 30 июля 2018 г.

Stellar Corpse Reveals Origin of Radioactive Molecules

Radioactive molecules in the remains of a stellar collision

Artist’s impression of stellar collision

The position of Nova Vul 1670 in the constellation of Vulpecula 

Wide-field view of the sky around Nova Vul 1670

Observations using ALMA find radioactive isotope aluminium-26 from the remnant CK Vulpeculae

Astronomers using ALMA and NOEMA have made the first definitive detection of a radioactive molecule in interstellar space. The radioactive part of the molecule is an isotope of aluminium. The observations reveal that the isotope was dispersed into space after the collision of two stars, that left behind a remnant known as CK Vulpeculae. This is the first time that a direct observation has been made of this element from a known source. Previous identifications of this isotope have come from the detection of gamma rays, but their precise origin had been unknown.

The team, led by Tomasz Kamiński (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, USA), used the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) and the NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) to detect a source of the radioactive isotope aluminium-26. The source, known as CK Vulpeculae, was first seen in 1670 and at the time it appeared to observers as a bright, red “new star”. Though initially visible with the naked eye, it quickly faded and now requires powerful telescopes to see the remains of this merger, a dim central star surrounded by a halo of glowing material flowing away from it.

348 years after the initial event was observed, the remains of this explosive stellar merger have led to the clear and convincing signature of a radioactive version of aluminum, known as aluminium-26. This is the first unstable radioactive molecule definitively detected outside of the Solar System. Unstable isotopes have an excess of nuclear energy and eventually decay into a stable form.

This first observation of this isotope in a star-like object is also important in the broader context of galactic chemical evolution,” notes Kamiński. “This is the first time an active producer of the radioactive nuclide aluminum-26 has been directly identified.

Kamiński and his team detected the unique spectral signature of molecules made up of aluminum-26 and fluorine (26AlF) in the debris surrounding CK Vulpeculae, which is about 2000 light-years from Earth. As these molecules spin and tumble through space, they emit a distinctive fingerprint of millimetre-wavelength light, a process known as rotational transition. Astronomers consider this the “gold standard” for detections of molecules [1].

The observation of this particular isotope provides fresh insights into the merger process that created CK Vulpeculae. It also demonstrates that the deep, dense, inner layers of a star, where heavy elements and radioactive isotopes are forged, can be churned up and cast into space by stellar collisions.

We are observing the guts of a star torn apart three centuries ago by a collision,” remarked Kamiński.

The astronomers also determined that the two stars that merged were of relatively low mass, one being a red giant star with a mass somewhere between 0.8 and 2.5 times that of our Sun.

Being radioactive, aluminium-26 will decay to become more stable and in this process one of the protons in the nucleus decays into a neutron. During this process, the excited nucleus emits a photon with very high energy, which we observe as a gamma ray [2].

Previously, detections of gamma ray emission have shown that around two solar masses of aluminium-26 are present across the Milky Way, but the process that created the radioactive atoms was unknown. Furthermore, owing to the way that gamma rays are detected, their precise origin was also largely unknown. With these new measurements, astronomers have definitively detected for the first time an unstable radioisotope in a molecule outside of our Solar System.

At the same time, however, the team have concluded that the production of aluminium-26 by objects similar to CK Vulpeculae is unlikely to be the major source of aluminium-26 in the Milky Way. The mass of aluminium-26 in CK Vulpeculae is roughly a quarter of the mass of Pluto, and given that these events are so rare, it is highly unlikely that they are the sole producers of the isotope in the Milky Way galaxy. This leaves the door open for further studies into these radioactive molecules.


[1] The characteristic molecular fingerprints are usually taken from laboratory experiments. In the case of 26AlF, this method is not applicable because 26-aluminium is not present on Earth. Laboratory astrophysicists from the University of Kassel/Germany therefore used the fingerprint data of stable and abundant 27AlF molecules to derive accurate data for the rare 26AlF molecule.

[2] Aluminium-26 contains 13 protons and 13 neutrons in its nucleus (one neutron fewer than the stable isotope, aluminium-27). When it decays aluminium-26 becomes magnesium-26, a completely different element.

More Information

This research was presented in the paper, Astronomical detection of a radioactive molecule 26AlF in a remnant of an ancient explosion, which will appear in Nature Astronomy.

The team is composed of Tomasz Kamiński (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA), Romuald Tylenda (N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Warsaw, Poland), Karl M. Menten (Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn, Germany), Amanda Karakas (Monash Centre for Astrophysics, Melbourne, Australia), Jan Martin Winters (IRAM, Grenoble, France), Alexander A. Breier (Laborastrophysik, Universität Kassel, Germany), Ka Tat Wong (Monash Centre for Astrophysics, Melbourne, Australia), Thomas F. Giesen (Laborastrophysik, Universität Kassel, Germany) and Nimesh A. Patel (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA).

ESO is the foremost intergovernmental astronomy organisation in Europe and the world’s most productive ground-based astronomical observatory by far. It has 15 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, along with the host state of Chile and with Australia as a strategic partner. ESO carries out an ambitious programme focused on the design, construction and operation of powerful ground-based observing facilities enabling astronomers to make important scientific discoveries. ESO also plays a leading role in promoting and organising cooperation in astronomical research. ESO operates three unique world-class observing sites in Chile: La Silla, Paranal and Chajnantor. At Paranal, ESO operates the Very Large Telescope and its world-leading Very Large Telescope Interferometer as well as two survey telescopes, VISTA working in the infrared and the visible-light VLT Survey Telescope. ESO is also a major partner in two facilities on Chajnantor, APEX and ALMA, the largest astronomical project in existence. And on Cerro Armazones, close to Paranal, ESO is building the 39-metre Extremely Large Telescope, the ELT, which will become “the world’s biggest eye on the sky”.



Tomasz Kamiński
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Calum Turner
ESO Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6670

Source: ESO/News

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HiPOD (30 July 2018): The Bedforms, They are A-Changin’   This…

HiPOD (30 July 2018): The Bedforms, They are A-Changin’

   This is in Zephyria Planum. (304 km above the surface. Black and white is less than 5 km across; enhanced color is less than 1 km.)

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


Prehistoric Metalworking Reconstructions, Doncaster Museum and…

Prehistoric Metalworking Reconstructions, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Yorkshire, 29.7.18.

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Plant Power Affecting over 320 million people worldwide, Type…

Plant Power

Affecting over 320 million people worldwide, Type 2 diabetes is a globally-significant condition characterised by high blood glucose levels. Current drugs operate by inhibiting enzymes that break down sugar chains into glucose units, but this can cause unpleasant side-effects, from flatulence to diarrhoea. Searching for a solution led to the discovery of montbretin A (MbA), a compound found in the bulbs, or corms, of the widespread African flowering plant montbretia (pictured). Tests found that MbA blocks another enzyme, known as HPA, to decrease blood glucose without the side-effects. Researchers are now investigating how montbretia plants make MbA, to seek out ways of mass-producing it for the pharmaceutical industry. Recent work identified the enzymes required to produce some intermediate compounds on the pathway towards MbA, including mini-MbA, which also inhibits HPA. Introducing the required genes from montbretia enabled the synthesis of mini-MbA in transformed tobacco plants, a first step towards larger-scale production.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

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Prehistoric Pottery, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Yorkshire,…

Prehistoric Pottery, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Yorkshire, 29.7.18.

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Rock Art Design, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Yorkshire,…

Rock Art Design, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Yorkshire, 29.7.18.

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2018 July 30 Lunar Eclipse over Rio Image Credit: Carlos…

2018 July 30

Lunar Eclipse over Rio
Image Credit: Carlos ‘Kiko’ Fairbairn

Explanation: Moonrise doesn’t usually look this interesting. For one thing, the full moon is not usually this dark – but last Friday the moon rose here as it simultaneously passed through the shadow of the Earth. For another thing, the Moon does not usually look this red – but last Friday it was slightly illuminated by red sunlight preferentially refracted through the Earth’s atmosphere. Next, the Moon doesn’t usually rise next to a planet, but since Mars was also coincidently nearly opposite the Sun, the red planet was visible to the full moon’s upper right. Finally, from the vantage point of most people, the Moon does not usually rise over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Last Friday’s sunset eclipse, however, specifically its remarkable Micro Blood Moon Total Lunar Eclipse, was captured from Rio’s Botofogo Beach, along with an unusually large crowd of interested onlookers.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180730.html


Galaxy outskirts likely hunting grounds for dying massive stars and black holes

Findings from a Rochester Institute of Technology study provide further evidence that the outskirts of spiral galaxies host massive black holes. These overlooked regions are new places to observe gravitational waves created when the massive bodies collide, the authors report.

Galaxy outskirts likely hunting grounds for dying massive stars and black holes
This Chandra X-ray photograph shows Cassiopeia A, the youngest supernova remnant in the Milky Way
[Credit: NASA/CXC/MIT/UMass Amherst/M.D.Stage et al.]

The study winds back time on massive black holes by analyzing their visible precursors–supernovae with collapsing cores. The slow decay of these massive stars creates bright signatures in the electromagnetic spectrum before stellar evolution ends in black holes.

Using data from the Lick Observatory Supernova Search, a survey of nearby galaxies, the team compared the supernovae rate in outer spiral galaxies with that of known hosts–dwarf/satellite galaxies–and found comparable numbers for typical spiral outskirts and typical dwarf galaxies, roughly two core-collapse supernovae per millennium.

Low levels of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium found in dwarf/satellite galaxies create favorable conditions for massive black holes to form and create binary pairs. A similar galactic environment in the outer disks of spiral galaxies also creates likely hunting grounds for massive black holes, said Sukanya Chakrabarti, lead author and assistant professor in the RIT School of Physics and Astronomy.

“If these core-collapse supernovae are the predecessors to the binary black holes detected by LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory), then what we’ve found is a reliable method of identifying the host galaxies of LIGO sources,” said Chakrabarti. “Because these black holes have an electromagnetic counterpart at an earlier stage in their life, we can pinpoint their location in the sky and watch for massive black holes.”

The study’s findings complement Chakrabarti’s 2017 study, which showed that the outer parts of spiral galaxies could contribute to LIGO detection rates. The regions form stars at a comparable rate to dwarf galaxies and are low in heavy element content, creating a conducive home for massive black holes. The current study isolates potential candidates within these favorable galactic environments.

“We see now that these are both important contributors,” Chakrabarti said. “The next step is to do deeper surveys to see if we can improve the rate.”

Co-author Brennan Dell, a recent graduate from RIT’s computer science program, analyzed the data with Chakrabarti during his undergraduate co-op.

“This work may help us determine which galaxies to be on the lookout for electromagnetic counterparts of massive black holes,” Dell said.

The study, “Supernova Rate beyond the Optical Radius,” will appear in an upcoming issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.




Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Xianghuapu…

Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Xianghuapu Mine (Maiwan Mine), Xianghualing Sn-polymetallic ore field, Linwu Co., Chenzhou Prefecture, Hunan Province, China

Dimensions: 9.3 × 6.3 × 4.0 cm

Photo Copyright © Crystal Classics

Geology Page



Carminite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Clara…

Carminite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Clara Mine, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Size: 1.2 × 2.3 × 1.2 cm

Photo Copyright © Mintreasure /e-rocks.com

Geology Page



Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Clara…

Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral

Locality: Clara Mine, Wolfach, Black Forest, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Size: 5.7 × 5.7 × 4.2 cm

Photo Copyright © Viamineralia /e-rocks.com

Geology Page



Pair of 2s? Well I’ve got a Paramecium. Image of the Week – July…

Pair of 2s? Well I’ve got a Paramecium. Image of the Week – July 30, 2018

CIL:41402 http://www.cellimagelibrary.org/images/41402

Description: Differential interference contrast image of a Paramecium (unicellular ciliate protozoa) surface. The image shows three water vacuoles contracting. Specimen observed at 100x. Judges’ Special Award for Technical Merit, 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®.

Authors: Norman Shedlo and 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®

Licensing: Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives: This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives License

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Prehistoric Tools and Food, Doncaster Museum and Gallery,…

Prehistoric Tools and Food, Doncaster Museum and Gallery, Doncaster, Yorkshire, 29.7.18.

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Black holes really just ever-growing balls of string

Black holes aren’t surrounded by a burning ring of fire after all, suggests new research. Some physicists have believed in a “firewall” around the perimeter of a black hole that would incinerate anything sucked into its powerful gravitational pull.

Black holes really just ever-growing balls of string

Credit: Ohio State University

But a team from The Ohio State University has calculated an explanation of what would happen if an electron fell into a typical black hole, with a mass as big as the sun.

“The probability of the electron hitting a photon from the radiation and burning up is negligible, dropping even further if one considers larger black holes known to exist in space,” said Samir Mathur, a professor of physics at Ohio State. The study appears in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

The new study builds on previous work from 2004 led by Mathur that theorized that black holes are basically like giant, messy balls of yarn — “fuzzballs” that gather more and more heft as new objects are sucked in. That theory, Mathur said, resolved the famous black hole “information paradox” outlined by Steven Hawking in 1975. Hawking’s research had concluded that particles entering a black hole can never leave. But that ran counter to the laws of quantum mechanics, creating the paradox.

The firewall argument emerged in 2012, when four physicists from the University of California, Santa Barbara argued that any object like a fuzzball would have to be surrounded by a ring of fire that will burn any object before it could reach the fuzzball’s surface.

“What we’ve shown in this new study is a flaw in the firewall argument,” Mathur said.

Credit: Ohio State University

Black holes are places in space with such immense gravitational pull that not even light can escape once it’s captured. Their powerful pull condenses any matter black holes draw in. They are invisible, but scientists have established that black holes can range from tiny to huge, estimations that are based on the behavior of stars and gas surrounding the black hole.

After months of mathematical machinations, Mathur and his team arrived at their by-the-numbers explanation to support their theory discounting the firewall. It’s built on string theory, the scientific notion that the universe is composed of subatomic string-like tubes of energy. The belief is rooted in the marriage of quantum mechanics (which concerns itself with the mathematics of subatomic particles) and Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Mathur has always counted himself among those scientists who are firewall skeptics.

“The question is ‘Where does the black hole grab you?’ We think that as a person approaches the horizon, the fuzzball surface grows to meet it before it has a chance to reach the hottest part of the radiation, and this is a crucial finding in this new physics paper that invalidates the firewall argument,” he said.

“Once a person falling into the black hole is tangled up in strings, there’s no easy way to decide what he will feel.

“The firewall argument had seemed like a quick way to prove that something falling through the horizon burns up. But we now see that there cannot be any such quick argument; what happens can only be decided by detailed calculations in string theory,” Mathur said.

Author: Misti Crane | Source: Ohio State University [July 26, 2018]




Researchers discover thin gap on stellar family portrait

A thin gap has been discovered on the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram (HRD), the most fundamental of all maps in stellar astronomy, a finding that provides new information about the interior structures of low mass stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, according to a study led by astronomers at Georgia State University.

Researchers discover thin gap on stellar family portrait
The European Space Agency’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star map of our galaxy to date
[Credit: Satellite: GaiaCopyright: ESA/Gaia/DPAC]

Just as a graph can be made of people with different heights and weights, astronomers compare stars using their luminosities and temperatures. The HRD is a “family portrait” of the stars in the Galaxy, where stars such as the Sun, Altair, Alpha Centauri, Betelgeuse, the north star Polaris and Sirius can be compared. The newly discovered gap cuts diagonally across the HRD and indicates where a crucial internal change occurs in the structures of stars. The gap outlines where stars transition from being larger and mostly convective with a thin radiative layer to being smaller and fully convective.

Radiation and convection are two ways to transfer energy from inside a star to its surface. Radiation transfers energy through space, and convection is the transfer of energy from one place to another by the movement of fluid.

The researchers estimate that stars above the gap contain more than about one-third the mass of the Sun, and those below have less mass. Because different types of stars have different masses, this feature reveals where different types of interior structures are on the HRD. The gap occurs in the middle of the region of “red dwarf” stars, which are much smaller and cooler than the Sun, but compose three of every four stars in the solar neighborhood.

“We were pretty excited to see this result, and it provides us new insights to the structures and evolution of stars,” said Dr. Wei-Chun Jao, first author of the study and a staff astronomer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State.

In 2013, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Gaia spacecraft to make a census of the stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and to create a three-dimensional map. In April 2018, the ESA released results of this mission, revealing an unprecedented map of more than one billion stars in the Galaxy, a 10,000-fold increase in the number of stars with accurate distances. The research team led by Georgia State plotted nearly 250,000 of the closest stars in the Gaia data on the HRD to reveal the gap. Georgia State’s researchers have studied the distances to nearby stars for years, which enabled them to interpret the results and notice this thin gap.

The team is now working to pinpoint why the gap is present. Using results from a theoretical computer model that simulates the activity inside the stars, it appears the gap is caused by a slight shrinking in size if a star is convective all the way through.

The findings are published in the journal The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Author: Latina Emerson | Source: Georgia State University [July 26, 2018]




Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv

A “monumental” Roman era tomb from the 3rd century CE has been discovered by archaeologists excavating the Maltepe Burial Mound near the town of Manole, outside of the city of Plovdiv, in Southern Bulgaria.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
This is what the Maltepe burial mound looked like in 2017 [Credit: Maltepe Open-air Museum Project]

The tomb, located under the Maltepe mound, one of the largest of its kind on the Balkan peninsula at 26 metres high, at a depth of five metres, has a square base of seven metres on each side and is about five metres tall, according to the results of tomographic scans.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
The Maltepe burial at an earlier stage of excavation [Credit: Maltepe Open-air Museum Project]

It appears to be similar, if not identical, in size and layout to the tomb of Roman emperor Carinus, buried in the town of Viminacium in present-day Serbia, after his death in battle against Diocletian in 285 CE.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
A view of the already excavated top of the Maltepe burial mound [Credit: bTV]

The tomb under Maltepe burial mound is believed to date to the same period, the third century CE, judging by the pottery shards and several coins found on the site during excavations last summer.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
The flat roof of the Roman era tomb has been exposed by the archaeologists at about 5 metres
beneath what was the Maltepe burial mound’s top 
[Credit: bTV]

Roman-era tombs are rare in Bulgaria, according to lead archaeologist on the Maltepe excavations and head of the Plovdiv archaeological museum, Kostadin Kisyov. The territory of modern Bulgaria was fully conquered by Rome in the first century CE and became an imperial province in 45 CE.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
Five 3rd century AD bronze Roman coins found during the excavations
of the tomb’s roof 
[Credit: bTV]

The tomb’s close location to Plovdiv, Greek Phillippopolis, has led archaeologists to believe that the tomb holds the remains of a local noble, either Thracian or Roman.

Bulgarian archaeologists excavate large 3rd century Roman burial mound near Plovdiv
Pottery fragments discovered so far during the excavations of the top
of the Maltepe burial mound 
[Credit: bTV]

“One of the most characteristic indicators that the tomb is most likely linked to a Thracian dignitary is its location inside a burial mound,” Kisyov told BNT. Leaving coins and pottery on top of tombs was also part of Thracian burial rituals, he said.

The excavations have reached the ceiling of the tomb and archaeologists were looking for a way in, he said. Part of the ceiling appeared to have been damaged by treasure hunters in the past.

Source: The Sofia Globe [July 26, 2018]




Mysterious decorations discovered on bones of woman buried 4,500 years ago

Unique decorations including parallel lines covered the bones of a young woman buried 4,500 years ago in a barrow over the central Dniester (today`s Ukraine). According to scientists, the markings were made after death and the process of body decomposition.

Mysterious decorations discovered on bones of woman buried 4,500 years ago
Credit: Danuta Żurkiewicz/Adam Mickiewicz University

A few years ago, a Polish-Ukrainian team of archaeologists in Porohy on the central Dniester (Ukraine) examined a set of mounds. In one of them rested a young woman aged 25-30.

“While drawing and photographing the burial, our attention was drawn to regular patterns, such as parallel lines visible on both elbow bones. At first, we approached the discovery with caution – maybe the traces were left by animals, we wondered”, says Danuta Żurkiewicz from the Institute of Archaeology, Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, who prepared an article on the decorations.

Mysterious decorations discovered on bones of woman buried 4,500 years ago
Credit: Danuta Żurkiewicz/Adam Mickiewicz University

Only the recent analyses carried out with funds from the National Program for the Development of Humanities by experts from the Faculty of Chemistry of Adam Mickiewicz University and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Poznań University of Medical Science shed light on this issue. According to Żurkiewicz, the patterns are clearly man-made. A black substance was used – probably similar to tar obtained from wood, scientists suggest.

“It is surprising that the procedure of decorating the bones had to be done after death and the process of body decomposition. This is clearly indicated by the location of the decoration on the bone surface and the way dye was applied”, the archaeologist says. In her opinion, the recent finding proves how complicated funeral rituals were millennia ago.

Mysterious decorations discovered on bones of woman buried 4,500 years ago
Credit: Danuta Żurkiewicz/Adam Mickiewicz University

“Some time after the woman`s death the grave was reopened, bone decoration was performed and the bones were re-arranged in anatomical order”, the researcher explains.

According to Żurkiewicz, this discovery is unique – so far, no comparable custom among other prehistoric communities in Europe has been recorded. “Until now, the few similar discoveries have been interpreted as remnants of tattoos, but none of them have been analysed using so many modern methods, which is why they can not be confirmed with full confidence”, she adds.

Mysterious decorations discovered on bones of woman buried 4,500 years ago
Credit: Danuta Żurkiewicz/Adam Mickiewicz University

The community living in the middle Dniester region approx. 4,500 years ago was engaged in nomadic shepherding – carts were used for longer distances. As a result, no permanent settlements were built, which is reflected in the lack of discoveries of houses from this period. In contrast, in the case of cemeteries – monumental burial mounds were made and played an important role in the life of contemporary communities.

“However, women were rarely buried in them. The deceased, whose bones were covered with patterns, had to be an important member of the community”, Żurkiewicz believes.

The team’s research will be published in the upcoming issue of Baltic-Pontic Studies, available in August.

Author: Szymon Zdziebłowski | Source: PAP – Science in Poland [July 26, 2018]





https://t.co/hvL60wwELQ — XissUFOtoday Space (@xufospace) August 3, 2021 Жаждущий ежик наслаждается пресной водой после нескольких дней в о...