понедельник, 27 августа 2018 г.

tribeshare: Tribe Share Prompt Autumn 2018This is the first challenge prompt for a...


Tribe Share Prompt

Autumn 2018

This is the first challenge prompt for a new creative

sharing blog managed by The Silicon Tribesman. You can submit any form of

creative work such as poetry, prose, scriptwriting, photography, visual art,

sculpture or textile art (as photography), animated work or film. This list is

not exhaustive and you may have other creative ideas!

The Tribe Share blog

looks to provide a common platform for creative works inspired by ancient

history or the natural world.
Please note that unrelated topics, however

interesting, are unlikely to be reblogged or shared.

Your work must be inspired by one or more of the following three prompts:

  1. – Hunter Gatherers in


  2. – Under This Stone

  3. – Of Mice and Mead

Please read the

general guidelines and policies on the Tribeshare Blog site before you submit

any work.

Submissions must be posted first on your site and tagged

with #tribeshareprompt or #tribesharepromptAut18

More general submissions inspired by the themes of ancient

history or the natural world should be tagged with #tribeshare.

The deadline for ALL submissions for this challenge is Friday 12th of October 2018 at Midnight GMT.

Submissions received later than this time will not be considered or


Please note that submissions must not be sent via messaging

or by other means than those outlined.

I will try to ensure that your creative work is reblogged

promptly but please be patient at times. Please also remember that inspiration

does not mean that you must explicitly mention one or more of the prompts in

your work. They are creative springboards, nothing more. Good luck!

Hope you are all up for a challenge!

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Fireball over Adriatic Sea on August 18

IMO Event #3124-2018
IMO Event #3124-2018 recorded by PRISMA Network (Italy) – www.prisma.inaf.it

Over 100 fireball reports from 5 countries

The IMO has received over 100 reports so far about of a fireball event seen above the Adriatic Sea on August 18th, 2018 around 20:55 CEST (18:55 Universal Time). The fireball was seen primarily from Italy but was also reported from France, Croatia, Slovenia and Austria.

If you witnessed this event and/or if you have a video or a photo of this event, please

Submit an Official Fireball Report

Also available in Italian, Slovenian, German and French.

The Italian camera network PRISMA caught the event on at least two cams: one in Capua (Southern Italy) and one in Trieste (near the Slovenian border).


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Meteor Activity Outlook for 25-31 August 2018

Perseids over Joshua Tree National Park, CA – August, 12 2018

© Richard Schneider – Canon EOS 5D Mark III, EF16-35mm f/4L IS USM, ƒ/4.0, 18.0 mm, 30s, ISO800

During this period the moon will reach its full phase on Sunday August 26th. At that time the moon will lie opposite of the sun in the sky and will remain above the horizon all night long. As the week progresses the waning gibbous moon will rise during the late evening hours with the moon severely hampering efforts to see meteor activity during the more active morning hours. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 as seen from mid-northern latitudes and 2 as seen from subtropical southern latitudes (25S). For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 8 for those viewing from mid-northern latitudes and also 6 for those viewing from subtropical southern latitudes (25S). The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brighter meteors will be visible from such locations.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning August 25/26. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies near the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located far below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.

Radiant Positions at 22:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 22:00

Local Summer Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 0100

Local Summer Time

Radiant Positions at 4:00 LST

Radiant Positions at 04:00

Local Summer Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.

Details on each source will continue next week when moonlight will not be such a factor.


RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Summer Time North-South
Anthelions (ANT) 23:00 (345) -06 30 02:00 1 – 1 II
nu Eridanids (NUE) Sep 08 03:18 (050) +01 67 06:00 1 – 1 IV
eta Eridanids (ERI) Aug 11 03:48 (057) -08 65 07:00 1 – 1 IV
Aurigids (AUR) Sep 01 05:36 (084) +39 66 08:00 <1 – <1 II
Daytime zeta Cancrids (ZCA) Sep 03 08:35 (129) +13 42 11:00 <1 – <1 IV

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A persistent heatwave has been lingering over parts of Europe,…

A persistent heatwave has been lingering over parts of Europe, setting record high temperatures and turning typically green landscapes brown.

The United Kingdom experienced its driest first half of summer (June 1 to July 16) on record. 

These images, acquired by our Terra satellite, show the burned landscape of the United Kingdom and northwestern Europe as of July 15, 2018, compared with July 17, 2017. 

Peter Gibson, a postdoctoral researcher at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory, examined how rising global temperatures are linked to regional heatwaves. “If the globe continues to warm, it’s clear we will continue to see events like this increasing in frequency, severity and duration,” Gibson said. “We found that parts of Europe and North America could experience an extra 10 to 15 heatwave days per degree of global warming beyond what we have seen already.”

Read more HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com 

Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers, Museum of East Riding, Hull, 27.8.18.A collection of...

Prehistoric Pottery and Beakers, Museum of East Riding, Hull, 27.8.18.

A collection of prehistoric pottery dating back to 4000 years old.

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Chaotic Blue Comet

Throughout Autumn 2017, Comet C/2016 R2 PanSTARRS has been watched closely as it showed some bizarre behavior. The icy object located beyond the orbit or Mars boasts a chaotic electric Blue tail.

Why is the tail blue? This is the identifier to scientists that the comet is spewing ionized carbon monoxide (CO+). Blue being the tell-tale color.

The comet is very CO rich. This has been confirmed by a study last month by astronomers K. Wierzchos and M. Womack of the University of South Florida used the Arizona Radio Observatory’s 10-m Submillimeter Telescope at Mount Graham. They detected very high levels of CO escaping from the comet’s core. 

Carbon monoxide is very volatile and changes from a solid to a gas in very low temperatures. Therefore, the minute any sunlight reaches any deposits of CO from the comet, it turns in to a gas. This is what has caused the blue tail on Comet C/2016 R2 PanSTARRS.

The comet was discovered on 7 September 2016 by the University of Hawaii’s PanSTARRS telescope. It has an estimated orbital period of 20800 years and a highly eccentric orbit tilted at an angle of 58.2° to the plain of the Solar System. 

The comet already past closest approach to Earth on 23 at a Distance of 2.05AU from the Earth. However the comet is yet to reach closest approach to the Sun. This will occur in May 2018 when it will reach 2.6AU from the Sun. Imaged above on 06 January 2018 by Michael Jäger, the intricate detail and electric blue tail can be clearly seen. A brilliant animation of the comet comprising of 30 shots taken over a 90 minute period was posted to Spaceweather.com.  This intriguing comet is certainly one to watch for imagers… 

The post Chaotic Blue Comet appeared first on Comet Watch.

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2018 August 27 Total Solar Eclipse Shadow from a Balloon Image…

2018 August 27

Total Solar Eclipse Shadow from a Balloon
Image Credit: Kuaray Project, NASA Eclipse Ballooning Project, Brasilia Astronomy Club, Montana State U.

Explanation: Where were you during the Great American Eclipse of 2017? A year ago last week, over 100 million of people in North America went outside to see a partial eclipse of the Sun, while over ten million drove across part of the USA to see the Sun completely disappear behind the Moon – a total solar eclipse. An estimated 88 percent of American adults saw the eclipse either personally or electronically. One of the better photographed events in human history, images from the eclipse included some unusual vistas, such as from balloons floating in the Earth’s stratosphere. About fifty such robotic balloons were launched as part of NASA’s Eclipse Ballooning project. Featured is a frame taken from a 360-degree panoramic video captured by one such balloon set aloft in Idaho by students from Brazil in conjunction with NASA and Montana State University. Pictured, the dark shadow of the Moon was seen crossing the Earth below. Although the total eclipse lasted less than three minutes, many who saw it may remember it for a lifetime. Many North Americans will get a another chance to experience a total solar eclipse in 2024.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180827.html

Cullerlie Stone Circle Walk About Video, Aberdeenshire,…

Cullerlie Stone Circle Walk About Video, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, 17.8.18. (Silent Footage)

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Image of the Week – August 27, 2018CIL:41457 -…

Image of the Week – August 27, 2018

CIL:41457 – http://cellimagelibrary.org/images/41457

Description: Nephrotoma suturalis spermatocyte (crane fly sperm cell) during metaphase in meiosis. Image was captured using a newly developed orientation-independent differential interference contrast technique. Judges’ Special Award for Technical Merit, 2010 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition®. For additional details on the microscopy method see: M.Shribak, J.LaFountain, D.Biggs, S.Inoue, Journal of Biomedical Optics, vol. 13, No.1, 14011 (2008).

Authors: Michael Shribak, James LaFountain 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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The Grey Cairns of Camster, Walk Around Video 1, The Highlands,…

The Grey Cairns of Camster, Walk Around Video 1, The Highlands, Scotland (Silent Footage)

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Drought reveals ancient ‘hunger stones’ in European river

Due to this summer’s drought in Central Europe, boulders known as “hunger stones” are reappearing in the Elbe River.

Drought reveals ancient 'hunger stones' in European river
On of the so called “hunger stones” exposed by the low level of water in the Elbe river
 is seen in Decin, Czech Republic [Credit: AP/Petr David Josek]

The low water levels in the river that begins in the Czech Republic then crosses Germany into the North Sea has exposed stones on the river bed whose appearances in history used to warn people that hard times were coming.
Over a dozen of the hunger stones, chosen to record low water levels, can now be seen in and near the northern Czech town of Decin near the German border.

Drought reveals ancient 'hunger stones' in European river
People visit one of the so called “hunger stones” exposed by the low level of water
in the Elbe river in Decin, Czech Republic [Credit: AP/Petr David Josek]

The oldest water mark visible dates to 1616. That stone, is considered the oldest hydrological landmark in Central Europe, bears a chiseled inscription in German that says: “When you see me, cry.”

Source: The Associated Press [August 23, 2018]



Danish Viking fortresses were designed to fend off other Vikings

After four years, the excavation of the famous Viking fortress, Borgring, is coming to a close and archaeologists can now describe the fortress in a broader perspective: An anti-Viking defence that allowed the Danish King to forge a new, mobile army.

Danish Viking fortresses were designed to fend off other Vikings
Trelleborg is one of the five Viking fortresses in Denmark, built by Harold Bluetooth at the end of the 900s CE
[Credit: National Museum of Denmark]

Four years ago, my colleague Nanna Holm from the Museum Southeast Denmark and I, announced our new discovery: A Viking fortress, known as Borgring, in Lellinge, not far from the Danish capital, Copenhagen.

The news travelled around the world, and since then our excavations have continued to cast new light on the Viking Age.

Thousands of visitors have flocked to the site, which has been open each summer as a living museum. But if you want to visit then you will need to be quick, as this summer will probably be the last year of excavations at Borgring.

Here are some of the most important and surprising discoveries made during the excavations. These finds not only tell us about the history of the fortress, but also about the purpose of these unique, ring fortresses.

A “new” ring fortress?

Borgring is one of five, large ring fortresses from the Viking Age in Denmark. Each of the large fortresses were constructed in a perfect circle and are some of the best known monuments left by the Vikings.

The other fortresses include Trelleborg, Fyrkat, Nonnebakken, and Aggersborg, as well as Borgeby in Southern Sweden. All were built by King Harold Bluetooth who reigned between circa 958 and 987 CE and is best known in Denmark for erecting the Jelling Stone—a large stone with the first written reference to the name “Denmark,” often referred to as Denmark’s birth certificate.

It had been 60 years since archaeologists had discovered such a ring fortress in Denmark when we finally found Borgring. Many doubted that it was indeed a Viking fortress, while others claimed that the fortress had been known about for some time.

Locals remember an officer from the Danish Air force spotting the outline of the fortress in 1970, in aerial photos. He contacted the National Museum of Denmark who investigated the site and concluded that there were no Viking remains. People thus knew about the old earthworks in a field north of Lellinge, but archaeologists did not connect it to Harold Bluetooth’s fortresses.

Discoveries started to turn up

But the critics came around, as the results of the excavations started coming in. Among the most important results, which ScienceNordic has previously written about, are.

1. Carbon-14 dating, which placed the fortress in the early 900s.

2. Later discoveries of a Viking toolbox, buildings, ceramics, and beads and jewellery, indicating activities in the fortress.

In May 2018, Aarhus University together with the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces, held a conference on the Danish Viking Age ring fortresses, which are to be nominated as UNESCO world heritage sites. It was clear that even the researchers who had been sceptical, were no longer in any doubt that Borgring was one of Harold Bluetooth’s fortresses.

A network of fortresses

Since 2016, scientists from Museum Southeast Denmark, the National Museum of Denmark, and Aarhus University, Denmark, have excavated the site, with funding from the A.P. Møller Foundation and Køge Municipality.

Danish Viking fortresses were designed to fend off other Vikings
Ring fortresses (dark blue circles) and other focal points of Harold Bluetooth’s kingdom. The shading indicates proximity
 to medieval churches (red = dense), which gives an indication of the population density shortly after the Viking Age.
Roads (white lines) represent the old network, many of which have existed since the Viking Age
 [Credit: Søren M. Sindbæk/Aarhus University]

We’ve learnt a lot about the fortress’s history, but also about the Viking fortresses in general. The fortresses are impressive enough on their own. But the most unique aspect is that they were constructed as a coordinated project—a network of fortresses across the country.

Many have tried to explain what purpose the network of fortifications served. Here, it’s important to ask the right questions, as the challenge is to find an explanation that best accounts for everything that we know about these fortresses.

Big fortifications, short lifespan

The ring fortresses only existed for a short part of the Viking Age. Two of the best dated fortresses, Fyrkat and Trelleborg, look to have been established between 974 and 981, and finds from the other fortresses suggest a similar date.

No other large fortifications existed in Denmark in the rest of the Viking Age, from the end of the 700s up to 1000s, except for city walls in Hedeby (in modern day Germany), Ribe, and Aarhus.

Chieftains and kings built large halls and farms, but not fortresses.

Four hypotheses for the Viking fortresses

Why did Harold Bluetooth build five fortresses in the 970s? This is the central question that has bothered Viking researchers since the fortresses were first discovered. So far, four main hypotheses have been floated:

1. Training camps for the Viking army that conquered England around the time of Sweyn Forkbeard. This hypothesis was shelved in the 80s, when tree-ring dating revealed that Trelleborg and Fyrkat fortresses were built and used decades before the large attack on England.

2. Fortified centres of royal control built by Harold Bluetooth to subdue the population in the newly united Denmark: This was the dominant hypothesis for many years, but the dates again did not fit. Why would Bluetooth build the fortresses in the later part of his reign, long after he became king around 958 CE, and long after he declared Denmark a Christian country in 963 CE?

3. Military bases during the fight between Bluetooth and his son, Sweyn Forkbeard: Bluetooth’s son rebelled against his father, but if the fortresses were built around 975, this rebellion must have lasted more than a decade across the entire country. Again, it didn’t fit.

4. A result of an extraordinary foreign policy situation: Early in Bluetooth’s reign, a new power was growing from central Europe under King Otto I, who was crowned emperor in 962. Otto’s growing power was probably a crucial factor in Harold Bluetooth’s conversion to Christianity, to avoid becoming Otto’s next target. Many researchers have come to the conclusion, that it was the unique set of challenges posed by this situation that led Harold Bluetooth to construct the fortresses. Let me explain why.

A network to defend against Viking attacks

Otto I died in 973 and was succeeded by his son, Otto II who attacked Danevirke (in what is modern day Germany), upping the threat to Harold Bluetooth’s Denmark, which remained a target for war until Otto II’s death in 983.

Danish Viking fortresses were designed to fend off other Vikings
Archaeologist Nanna Holm excavates burnt posts at Borgring’s east gate. The charred wooden posts give
a clear indication of the fortress construction [Credit: Søren M. Sindbæk/Aarhus University]

These events coincide precisely with activity at the fortresses, and can explain the need for such unusual fortifications.

But a mystery remains: If the threat was from Germany, why were they built so far from the Danish-German border, on the island of Fyn and Zealand, and Skåne in southern Sweden?

In 2014 I put forward another version of this “invasion theory,” together with my colleague Else Roesdahl. We suggested that the acute danger probably came from Otto II, which explained the timing of the fortress construction.

But another factor can explain the distribution of fortresses around the country: The threat from the south left Harold Bluetooth exposed to other threats from elsewhere, specifically from Norway and Sweden, who might try to exploit the king’s weak position.

And so fortresses were established right across the kingdom. They was a coastal defence: Rather than being Viking fortresses, they were actually “anti-Viking” fortresses.

A new theory

It was this hypothesis that led us to discover Borgring. It suggested that Harold Bluetooth must also have had a fortress to protect the east coast of the country, which turned out to be the case.

What we couldn’t explain was, how exactly the fortresses were used as a defence. And this is where the discoveries made at Borgring can shed some new light.

With this in mind, we can propose a new explanation for the fortresses, and a more direct connection between Harold Bluetooth’s fight on the southern borders and his need for coastal defences in the rest of the country.

Built in a hurry

The excavations at Borgring have revealed a fortress built to the same design as Trelleborg and the other ring fortresses. We also see that the fortifications were well planned and completed swiftly.

The landscape was levelled, and the walls were built in a precise circle, with gently sloping sides inside the fortress. The interior is divided into even sections, with four wooden gates placed at exactly 90 degrees to each other.

But then… nothing. There’s no sign of repairs or extensions to the walls, there are only feeble traces of wooden constructions, which could have supported a high wall, and unlike Trelleborg, Fyrkat, and Aggersborg, there are no signs of construction in the interior of the fortress.

But there are traces of a damaging fire in numerous places around the fortress, and deep wheel tracks that suggest long-term use by traffic coming in and out.

A fortress for refugees

How can we explain these features? It is possible that the construction was interrupted prematurely, but in this case we might have expected to see more clear traces of the building process, and we wouldn’t expect to see any later activity.

Danish Viking fortresses were designed to fend off other Vikings
Fire experts from the Danish police fire department assist Søren Sindbæk (right) during the excavation
of the burnt gates [Credit: Søren M. Sindbæk/Aarhus University]

The wheel tracks suggest that Borgring was sufficiently ready for use, even without the construction of actual buildings or dwellings inside.

Looking at the excavation drawings from Trelleborg made in the 1930s, we see that the fortress walls were built up numerous times, with the oldest phase most similar to the walls at Borgring.

And Borgring is not alone: One of the other fortresses, Nonnebakken, does not appear to have any interior buildings either. This suggests, that the primary function of the fortresses was not to house a permanent settlement, but to allow people to flee there for short periods of time.

This function as a place for refugees to seek shelter, points to a new and stronger connection between the fortresses and Harold Bluetooth’s was against Otto II.

Fortresses sent warriors to the southern border

The war with the south meant that Harold needed to call up reinforcements from all of the supporting chieftains to gather warriors along the southern border.

Such an operation was described in the Skaldic poem Vellakla, written as a praise poem to the Norwegian Earl Hakon, a contemporary of Harald Bluetooth. According to the poem, Hakon was summoned to assist Harald’s fighting at the Danevirke.

This left over parts of the country without the warriors who would usually defend them and entirely unprotected. In order to win the war with the south, Bluetooth had to offer some other form of protection to these areas, hence the fortresses.

Placed on top of a fortified wall, it was possible for a poorly armed and untrained person, man or woman, to fight off a well-trained warrior.

If enough people sought refuge in the fortress, then the attackers were unlikely to take it. They could initiate a siege, but time would be against them.

A successful strategy

The fortresses offered protection to locals, in the absence of the warriors who had be called up to protect the south. This allowed locals to withstand Viking attacks, and provided Harold Bluetooth with a mobile army that he could deploy to the German border.

The fortresses were intended to deter potential attackers, by allowing the local population to seek shelter and defend themselves.

Seen this way, the fortresses are no longer a mystery. In fact, they successfully fulfilled their mission.

Harold Bluetooth strengthened his power base

Constructing the ring fortresses, allowed Harold to consolidate his power throughout the kingdom in a way that no other king of Denmark had done before.

The large buildings of Trelleborg suggest that some of the fortresses came in due time to take on a more active role as settlements or perhaps winter camps for warriors. But first and foremost, this network of fortresses allowed the king to exploit his chief military assets, warriors, more effectively.

These warriors did not man the fortresses, which were, on the contrary, a means of protecting the portion of the population who were not warriors.  This was a decisive countermeasure that allowed Harold to defend and win the war in another part of the kingdom.

Excavations at Borgring have revealed new pieces of the puzzle to understand all of Harold Bluetooth’s fortresses.

You can still catch a glimpse of the excavations of the walls and west gate, before this little piece of Viking Age Denmark will be covered by soil and grass once more.

Author: Søren M. Sindbæk | Source: ScienceNordic [August 22, 2018]

This article was originally published on ScienceNordic. Read the original article here.



Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur

An international team of researchers discovered a new species of dinosaur, Xiyunykus pengi, during an expedition to Xinjiang, China. The discovery is the latest stemming from a partnership between the George Washington University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The findings were published in Current Biology along with the description of a second new intermediate species, Bannykus wulatensis.

Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
Xiyunykus bones in the lab before their removal from the rock [Credit: James Clark]

Xiyunykus and Bannykus are both alvarezsaurs, an enigmatic group of dinosaurs that share many characteristics with birds. Their bodies are slender, with a bird-like skull and many small teeth instead of the usual large, sharp cutting teeth of their meat-eating relatives.
“When we described the first well-known alvarezsaur, Mononykus, in 1993, we were amazed at the contrast between its mole-like arms and its roadrunner-like body, but there were few fossils connecting it back to other theropod groups,” James Clark, the Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology at the GW Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, said.

Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
Xiyunykus skeleton linedrawing [Credit: SHI Aijuan]

Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
Bannykus resoration [Credit: SHI Aijuan]

However, alvarezsaurs did not always look this way. Early members of the group had relatively long arms with strong-clawed hands and typical meat-eating teeth. Over time, the alvarezsaurs evolved into dinosaurs with mole-like arms and a single claw. The discovery of the new specimens allowed the researchers to uncover an important shift in how the specialized features of the alvarezsaurs evolved.
“It can be hard to pin down the relationships of highly specialized animals. But fossil species with transitional features, like Xiyunykus and Bannykus, are tremendously helpful because they link bizarre anatomical features to more typical ones,” Jonah Choiniere, an associate professor at Wits University and member of the research team, said.

Rare intermediate fossils give researchers insight into evolution of bird-like dinosaur
Alvarezsaurs restoration [Credit: Vikto Radermacher]

The fossils were discovered during an expedition co-led by Dr. Clark and Xing Xu of the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Xiyunykus pengi is the ninth species of dinosaur identified by the partnership between GW and the academy.

“Our international field teams have been tremendously productive over the years,” Dr. Xu said. “This research showcases just some of our incredible discoveries.”

Source: George Washington University [August 23, 2018]



Grand armoury of the Roman Legions reveals more

Novae was one of the few great Roman legionary fortresses along the empire’s border, forming part of the defences (limes Moesiae) along the Danube in what is today northern Bulgaria. The settlement later expanded into a town in the Roman province Moesia Inferior, later Moesia II. The fortress is one of the few along the limes to have been excavated and now open to the public. At present mainly the central part of the site hae been excavated and restored.

Grand armoury of the Roman Legions reveals more
Excavation site-aerial-view [Credit: Dr. Andrzej-Biernacki, AMU]

The first traces of the monumental stone structure of the armoury of legionary camp housing the Roman soldiers of  Legio I Italica were on recently discovered by AMU archaeologists from the Faculty of Historical Studies  a few years ago by Dr. Elena Klenina and Dr. Andrzej B. Biernacki. Only last year, however, were they able to determine that this structure was in fact an arsenal – armoury. This year’s excavations have yielded more information about the subsequent history of the site.
The structure built by the Roman soldiers was massive, occupying about 1800 square metres. It was constructed during the first half of the second century. Its base consisted of six monumental rectangular pillars arranged in two rows. They were made of precisely matched, hexagonal blocks of limestone. In the opinion of the researchers, it is the largest building yet discovered in all the known legionary camps along the Danube River.

Grand armoury of the Roman Legions reveals more
Excavations at the Novae site [Credit: Dr. Andrzej-Biernacki, AMU]

“At the end of the 4th century the structure was rebuilt and then it also changed its function: instead of military installations, it started to store grain and other foodstuffs necessary to keep the legion stationed here”, said Dr Klenina, head of the International Interdisciplinary Archaeological Expedition “Novae” of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań.
Within the structure archaeologists found numerous artefacts, including over a hundred bronze coins. They were minted in the first quarter of the fourth century AD and a dozen or so coins also date from the times of Emperor Licinius I (308-324 AD).

A limestone sculpture of a head depicting a syncretic deity – Dionysus-Sabazios – was also recovered. According to Dr. Biernacki, an AMU archaeologist who has been involved in work at Novae for many years, the artefact may indicate the arrival of settlers from very distant regions. From an artistic side, the sculpture exhibits distinctly middle-eastern influences with elements of Greek art of the 1st or 2nd centuries AD.

Source: Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań [August 24, 2018]



Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered

Routine conservation work in the Mayan city of Palenque, Chiapas, led to the discovery this week of a trove of archaeological treasures, including a mask believed to depict the Mayan ruler Pakal in his old age.

Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered
The mask was discovered during routine conservation work in the Mayan city of Palenque, Chiapas
[Credit: Héctor Montaño, INAH]

A team of specialists from INAH, the National Institute of Anthropology and History, led by Arnoldo González Cruz, was working on the foundations of House E of the site’s central complex, The Palace, when they discovered a ritual offering.

Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered
The mask believed to depict King Pakal [Credit: Héctor Montaño, INAH]

Small objects including ceramic figurines and flower pots, carved bones, jadeite, flint, mother of pearl and obsidian fragments and bone fragments belonging to several animal species were found along the prize discovery, a stucco mask thought to represent King Pakal.

Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered
Among the artefacts discovered was this vase with incised decoration 
[Credit: Héctor Montaño, INAH]

Given the wrinkled facial features, including a prominent lower lip, the archaeologists believe that the face represents the likeness of the Mayan ruler. If proven true, “it would be the first representation we have of an old Pakal,” said González.

Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered
Restoration work inside the Palace [Credit: Héctor Montaño, INAH]

Offerings like this “are normally related to the end of a period, an architectural renovation or the building of a new edifice,” said the chief archaeologist. “In this case, it looks like it was a renovation.”

Palenque mask believed to represent 7th-century Mayan ruler discovered
Substructure found at The Palace [Credit: Héctor Montaño, INAH]

The House E discovery had a second remarkable object, an ornamental nose plug the likes of which had not been discovered “either in the Mayan area or in Mesoamerica. It is unique,” said González. He added that while the object did not belong to Pakal, it does belong to the epoch in which he lived, the Mayan late classic.

González and his team started a three-year-long conservation and restoration project at Palenque in January, funded by a US $500,000 donation by the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.

Born in 603, Pakal became king at the age of 12 and ruled until his death in 683.

Source: Mexico News Daily [August 25, 2018]



Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria

An Egyptian archaeological team has discovered a cemetery dating back to the Ptolemaic dynasty in Alexandria.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

The team was conducting archaeological testing at a site in Gebel El-Zaytoun, where a fence was to be established, inside workshops of the Railway Authority in the Mediterranean city when they made the discovery.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Dr. Amin Ashmawi, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Department, said that a group of rock-cut tombs, each containing multiple burials, were found. Each group of tombs is entered via a number of steps that lead to a small open hall and rectangular courtyard surrounded by several burial slots.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Dr. Ashmawi also said that the tombs were most likely used over a long period of time and that they belonged to poor individuals. The tombs have coloured layers of mortar with no decoration which reflects the economical status of the deceased buried there.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

The tombs were evidently modified over several generations either to add new internments or to seal others.

Dr. Khalid Abo El-Hamd (General Director of the Alexandria Antiquities Dept.) said that numerous pots and oil lamps, some of which are decorated with animals grazing or nursing their young.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

A number of glass vases, amphorae and circular shaped pottery bearing reliefs of female dancers, were also recovered.

Ptolemaic rock-cut tombs discovered in Alexandria
Credit: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities

Many skeletons discovered were in disarray because of the damage caused to the site during the 1930s when the railway structures were installed and later because of WWII air strikes.

The Ministry of Antiquities has allocated a sum of money to conduct further excavations in the area.

Source: Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities [August 26, 2018]



Get to Know the 9 Astronauts Set to #LaunchAmerica

Our Commercial Crew Program is

working with the American aerospace industry to develop and operate a

new generation of spacecraft to carry astronauts to and from low-Earth orbit!

As we prepare to launch humans from American soil for the first time since the final space shuttle mission in 2011, get to know the astronauts who will fly with Boeing and SpaceX as members of our commercial crew!




Bob Behnken served as Chief of the NASA Astronaut Office from July 2012 to July

2015, where he was responsible for flight assignments, mission preparation, on-orbit

support of International Space Station crews and organization of astronaut

office support for future launch vehicles. Learn more about Bob

Eric Boe



Boe first dreamed of being an astronaut at age 5 after his parents woke him up to

watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps onto the lunar surface. Learn more

about Eric




Josh Cassada  holds a Master of Arts Degree and a Doctorate in Physics with a

specialty in high energy particle physics from the University of Rochester, in

Rochester, New York. He was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013, and his first

spaceflight will be as part of the Commercial Crew Program. Learn more about


Chris Ferguson



Ferguson served as a Navy pilot before becoming a NASA astronaut, and was

commander aboard Atlantis for the final space shuttle flight, as part of the

same crew as Doug Hurley. He retired from NASA in 2011 and has been an integral

part of Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner program. Learn more about Chris




Victor Glover was selected as a NASA astronaut in 2013 while working as a Legislative Fellow in the United States Senate. His first spaceflight will be as part of the Commercial Crew Program. Learn more about Victor. 




Mike Hopkins was a top flight test engineer at the United States Air Force Test

Pilot School. He also studied political science at the Università degli Studi

di Parma in Parma, Italy, in 2005, and became a NASA astronaut in 2009. Learn

more about Mike

Doug Hurley



2009, Doug Hurley was one of the record-breaking 13 people living on the space

station at the same time. In 2011, he served as the pilot on Atlantis during the

final space shuttle mission, delivering supplies and spare parts to the

International Space Station. Now, he will be one of the first people to launch

from the U.S. since that last shuttle mission. Learn more about Doug.

Nicole Mann



Mann is a Naval Aviator and a test pilot in the F/A-18 Hornet. She was selected

as a NASA astronaut in 2013, and her first spaceflight will be as part of the Commercial

Crew Program. Learn more about Nicole.




Suni Williams has completed 7 spacewalks, totaling 50 hours and 40 minutes. She’s

also known for running. In April 2007, Suni ran the first marathon in space,

the Boston Marathon, in 4 hours and 24 minutes. Learn more about Suni.

Boeing and SpaceX are scheduled to complete their crew flight tests in mid-2019 and April 2019, respectively. Once enabled, commercial transportation to and from the

International Space Station will empower more station use, more research time and more

opportunities to understand and overcome the challenges of living in space, which is critical for us to create a sustainable

presence on the Moon and carry out missions deeper into the solar system, including Mars! 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.


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