понедельник, 24 сентября 2018 г.

In a Flap Writhing about like a jellyfish, this artificial…


In a Flap


Writhing about like a jellyfish, this artificial device is made from a bendy material called hydrogel. Tiny circles of gel are ‘etched’ with patterns using ultraviolet light – a form of photolithography which creates areas that respond differently to temperature – repeated blasts of heat cause this gel to wiggle. Knowing how different patterns behave, computer models can predict how complex 3D structures will bend and move – so the tiny jellies (around 10 times smaller than real jellyfish) can be programmed to change and adapt over time. There are similarities with our living tissues, which pulse and flex in repetitive ways to move chemicals around the body. These designs may allow scientists to create replicas of our own mechanics for life-like robotics, or, as hydrogels are often biocompatible, to one day replace or repair the real thing.


Written by John Ankers



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Quartz var Amethyst with Calcite | #Geology #GeologyPage…


Quartz var Amethyst with Calcite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Valisoara (Porkura), Hunedoara Co, Romania, Europe


Dimensions: 6.5 × 6.0 × 4.7 cm


Photo Copyright © Crystal Classics


Geology Page

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https://www.instagram.com/p/BoExT5YFQJ1/?utm_source=ig_tumblr_share&igshid=1g9u6luboy28g


Geology of Lavacicle Caves…


Geology of Lavacicle Caves http://www.geologypage.com/2018/09/geology-of-lavacicle-caves.html


What is Watermelon Tourmaline? How it Formed?…


What is Watermelon Tourmaline? How it Formed? http://www.geologypage.com/2018/09/what-is-watermelon-tourmaline-how-it-formed.html


Native Sulphur with Aragonite | #Geology #GeologyPage…


Native Sulphur with Aragonite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Cozzo Didi Mine, Sicily, Italy.


Dimensions: 4.3 × 3.7 × 3.0 cm


Photo Copyright © Crystal Classics


Geology Page

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Rhodochrosite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality:…


Rhodochrosite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: N’Chwaning Mine, Kuruman, Northern Cape Prov., South Africa


Size: 4.5 x 3 x 2.1 cm


Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals


Geology Page

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Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Berbes,…


Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Berbes, Ribadesella, Asturias, Spain


Size: 6 x 3.5 x 3 cm


Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals


Geology Page

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2018 September 24 Rover 1A Hops on Asteroid Ryugu Image Credit…


2018 September 24


Rover 1A Hops on Asteroid Ryugu
Image Credit & Copyright: ISAS, JAXA, Hayabusa2 Mission


Explanation: Two small robots have begun hopping around the surface of asteroid Ryugu. The rovers, each the size of a small frying pan, move around the low gravity of kilometer-sized 162173 Ryugu by hopping, staying aloft for about 15 minutes and typically landing again several meters away. On Saturday, Rover 1A returned an early picture of its new home world, on the left, during one of its first hops. On Friday, lander MINERVA-II-1 detached from its mothership Hayabusa2, dropped Rovers 1A and 1B, and then landed on Ryugu. Studying Ryugu could tell humanity not only about Ryugu’s surface and interior, but about what materials were available in the early Solar System for the development of life. Two more hopping rovers are planned for release, and Hayabusa2 itself is scheduled to collect a surface sample from Ryugu and return it to Earth for detailed analysis before 2021.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap180924.html


New Glovebox Facility Heads to Space for Biological Research

The Japan Aerospace

Exploration Agency
H-IIB

rocket is zooming toward the International

Space Station
carrying NASA’s Life

Sciences Glovebox
, a state-of-the-art microgravity research

facility.


image


JAXA’s HTV3, taken during Expedition 32



NASA’s Marshall Space

Flight Center
in Huntsville, Alabama, and their partners around the

world are excited to initiate new, high-value biological research in low-Earth

orbit.


The Japanese rocket, hauling the

research facility and other cargo via the HTV-7 transfer vehicle, successfully

lifted off at 1:52 p.m. EDT from Tanegashima Space Center off the coast of

Japan.


image

Its launch marks a first for hauling

bulky equipment to space. Roughly the size of a large fish

tank, the Life Sciences Glovebox comes

in at 26 inches high, 35 inches wide and 24 inches deep, with 15 cubic feet of

available workspace.


image

“The Life Sciences Glovebox

is on its way to the space station to enable a host of biological and

physiological studies, including new research into microgravity’s

long-term impact on the human body
,” said Yancy Young, project manager at Marshall. “This

versatile facility not only will help us better protect human explorers on long

voyages into deep space, but it could aid medical and scientific advances

benefiting the whole world.”


image

Boeing engineers at Marshall modified a

refrigerator-freezer rack to house the core facility, using state-of-the-art,

3D-printing technology to custom design key pieces of the rack to secure the

unit in its protective foam clamshell.


image

NASA is now determining the roster of science

investigations lined up to make use of the facility, beginning as early as late

2018. “We’ve already got more than a dozen glovebox experiments scheduled

in 2019, with many more to follow,” said Chris Butler, payload integration manager for the glovebox at

Marshall.


The Life Sciences Glovebox will

be transferred to a zero-gravity stowage rack in the station’s Kibo

module, where up to two crew members can conduct experiments simultaneously,

overseen in real-time by project researchers on Earth.


Check out more pictures of the

Glovebox HERE!



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


Co-evolution between a ‘parasite gene’ and its host

A Danish research team has delineated a complex symbiosis between a ‘parasitic’ noncoding RNA gene and its protein coding ‘host’ gene in human cells. The study, published in Molecular Cell, reveals how co-evolution of the host gene and parasite gene has shaped a feedback mechanism in which the parasite gene plays a completely new and surprising part as regulator of the host gene protein production. The breakthrough finding opens an entirely new avenue of research in gene expression.











Co-evolution between a 'parasite gene' and its host
Schematic illustration of how two different snoRNA structures impact the expression of the host gene. Left: specific
snoRNA structure obtained when snoRNA proteins bind to the snoRNA. This structure facilitates an alternative
splicing of the RNA, inhibiting the production of protein. Right: Alternative snoRNA structure formed by the
naked snoRNA, which leads to the production of a protein-coding mRNA, ultimately producing protein
[Credit: Soren Lykke-Andersen]

There are many different types of RNAs in human cells that do not have the commonly known function to act as a “recipe” for the production of proteins. These are called non-coding RNAs and normally perform other jobs required for diverse functions and the general health of cells. A group of such RNAs is the so-called small snoRNAs located in the cell nuclei. These RNAs perform an important function as assistants in the production of other types of non-coding RNAs, more specifically the protein-producing factories known as the ribosomes. snoRNAs can guide the folding and maturation of the ribosomes by altering chemical groups in the ribosomal RNA. This job is carried out in collaboration with various proteins that both help the snoRNA find the target RNA, and perform the chemical change at very specific positions.
SnoRNA’s function emerged early in evolution and is found in all archaea and eukaryotic cells. Although their function and structure are preserved throughout evolution, the production of snoRNAs in different cell types is very versatile. In humans, the majority of snoRNA genes are located within highly expressed protein-coding or non-coding host genes, and more precisely in parts of the host genes called introns; elements of the host gene that are excluded during the synthesis of the mature RNA during the process of splicing. This means that the snoRNA production is dependent on expression of the host gene.


The surprising role of a ‘parasite’ gene


When the research team studied such snoRNA host genes, they identified a particular snoRNA, which surprisingly proved to have an alternative snoRNA-based task in the cell. They found that instead of assisting ribosomal production, this snoRNA acts as a sensor and master switch for the expression of the host gene, which encodes a snoRNA-binding protein necessary itself for the action of snoRNAs.


The results support a model where the snoRNA through structural changes can regulate the splicing process of the host gene. At high snoRNA protein levels, the snoRNA structure will lead to an alternative splicing of the host gene’s RNA, which will ultimately prevent further production of snoRNA protein. Conversely, lack of snoRNA proteins will lead to a different snoRNA structure during gene expression, resulting in increased snoRNA protein production.


Hence, the uncovered feedback mechanism ensures a precise coordination between snoRNA protein levels and global snoRNA levels, which ultimately ensures that other vital RNAs can be modified and produced properly.


Misregulation of important non-coding RNAs is often associated with various cancers and disease development, which underscores the need for a deeper understanding of the cell’s strategies to maintain strict levels of functional snoRNA-protein complexes.


In addition, these results strongly demonstrate that snoRNA parasitic genes located in host genes throughout evolution have enabled new and important roles, such as regulation of gene expression. This opens up a whole new research field where other snoRNA-regulated cellular mechanisms may be found.


Source: Aarhus University [September 19, 2018]



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Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age

The Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool as much as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere during the Little Ice Age, but in fact were drier 200 years ago than they are today, according to a new study.











Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age
A coral reef in the northern Red Sea has massive colonies that are used in paleoclimatic research
[Credit: Thomas Felis, MARUM, University of Bremen]

The Little Ice Age was a cool period from around 1450 to 1850. During this time, Europe was very cool and even experienced a “year without a summer” in 1816 due to the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, a volcano in Indonesia. Scientists knew Europe experienced significant cooling during the Little Ice Age because of historical data but were unsure how other parts of the world were affected, such as the Sahara and Arabian deserts.
Humans began installing weather stations around the globe around 1850, which means there were no instruments for scientists to use to analyze climate prior to that time. In the desert, natural archives, like trees that are used to detect historical climate changes, were not available.


In a new study, researchers analyzed a coral from the Red Sea, which lies between the Sahara and Arabian deserts, to reconstruct temperatures and aridity in the two deserts from 1750 to 1850.











Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age
An X-ray image of northern Red Sea coral slab. The skeletal density banding pattern of alternating bands of high
(dark color) and low density (light color) are visible. One year is represented by a low and high density-band pair.
Core diameter is 3.5cm [Credit: Thomas Felis, MARUM, University of Bremen]

Corals offer a natural archive in the surface ocean that documents climate variability, said Thomas Felis, a marine geologist at MARUM, the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen, Germany, and lead author of the new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.


The new study finds the Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool as much as Europe during this period and the deserts were drier than they are today.


Understanding natural climate variability in the past may improve projections of future climate change, especially in the subtropics, according to the study’s authors. Past climate information can give insight into responses of the climate system to large events, such as volcanic eruptions. This insight may aid in producing a more-reliable projection of future climate changes.


Tracking climate


In the new study, the researchers sampled an annually-banded coral of the northern Red Sea, which provides a unique archive of temperature and aridity beyond the observational record.











Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age
Credit: Thomas Felis, MARUM, University of Bremen

These stony corals’ skeletons are made of calcium carbonate, which allows them to build annual bands and incorporate geochemical tracers as they grow. The process is like how trees develop rings as they age. X-rays of coral skeleton slabs show alternating light and dark layers, which are the result of changes in growth rate and differences in skeletal density, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Larger living corals show continuous records of the past 100 to 400 years, and reflect changes in environmental factors.
“These annual bands give us a sort of calendar, so we can count back in time,” Felis said. Analyzing the geochemistry of the bands allows scientists to reconstruct past ocean temperatures and salinity changes, he said.


The new study provided two major findings: The eastern Sahara and Arabian deserts did not cool when most of the Northern Hemisphere did during the Little Ice Age and the deserts were more arid than they are today. The mild temperatures the two deserts experienced were likely a result of changes to atmospheric circulation, according to the authors.











Coral skeletons act as archive of desert conditions from Little Ice Age
Credit: Thomas Felis, MARUM, University of Bremen

“The corals’ geochemistry is an archive for sea surface salinity, and therefore a proxy for evaporation and atmospheric circulation changes,” Felis said. “This paper, and hopefully more papers, will contribute to a tropical network of coral records of temperature and sea surface salinity going back into the Little Ice Age.”
The absence of pronounced cooling in the eastern parts of the Sahara and Arabian deserts during the late Little Ice Age—as indicated by the results of the study—has implications for the detection of the onset of industrial-era warming across these large continental areas, which did not commence prior to the early 20th century, according to the study’s authors.


“Slight changes in climate variability … effects millions of people in the tropics to subtropics,” Felis said. “Therefore, it’s important to really understand more about climate dynamics in timescales which are very relevant for societies.”


Author: Kathryn Cawdrey | Source: American Geophysical Union [September 19, 2018]



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Rare ‘Golden hand’ artefact sparks grave-robbing probe

A criminal complaint has been filed against suspected grave robbers following the find of a unique Bronze Age golden artefact, in the shape of a human hand, in Switzerland.











Rare ‘Golden hand’ artefact sparks grave-robbing probe
Credit: Servizio archeologico del canton Berna

Swiss public television SRF reports that the archaeological office of Bern lodged the complaint after discovering signs of unauthorised digging at the site of the ancient burial site in northwestern Switzerland. One of the two members of the public who made the initial discovery last October told SRF that he had been quizzed by police and that his house had been searched.
Police appear to be investigating whether any artefacts were unlawfully taken from the site. The man denies violating Swiss laws on the preservation of monuments.


The 3,500-year-old golden hand artefact, considered to be an extremely rare archaeological exhibit, was presented to the public on Tuesday. During this summer, archaeologists also dug up a bronze dagger, robe needle and hair spiral along with bones of a human male that date to around 1,500BC to 1,400 BC.











Rare ‘Golden hand’ artefact sparks grave-robbing probe
Credit: Servizio archeologico del canton Berna

It is assumed that the treasure haul belonged to a person of high rank in the Bronze Age. Metals are impossible to carbon date, but the maker of the golden hand used a resin in its construction that could be dated to the same period.
Experts are mystified as to the exact function of the golden hand but assume the hollow artefact would have been attached to a scepter or statue. They also speculate that it might also have signified a god or deity.


It is unclear whether the artefact was made locally, some other region of Europe or even further afield.











Rare ‘Golden hand’ artefact sparks grave-robbing probe
Credit: Servizio archeologico del canton Berna

On presenting the object to the public in canton Bern, archaeologists said it could be the earliest known artefact in the shape of a body part that has so far been discovered.


The ‘Hand from Prêles’ (the region of the Bernese Jura where it was found) will be on temporary exhibition at the Neues Museum in Biel, from September 18 to October 15.


Source: Swissinfo [September 19, 2018]



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Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars

The discovery of a microorganism that gives a candy-pink lagoon in central Spain its startling colour is providing new evidence for how life could survive on a high-salt diet on Mars or Europa. The Laguna de Peña Hueca, part of the Lake Tirez system in La Mancha, has very high concentrations of salt and sulphur and is a good analogue for chloride deposits found in the Southern highlands of Mars and briny water beneath Europa’s icy crust. The results of a study of microorganisms found in the lake will be presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2018 in Berlin by Dr Felipe Gómez.











Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars
The candy-pink Laguna de Peña Hueca derives its colour from the red cells of the salt-loving algae
Dunaliella salina EP-1 [Credit: Europlanet/F Gómez/R Thombre]

Dr Rebecca Thombre and Dr Gómez collected samples of lagoon water and studied the physical characteristics and genetic sequence of the isolated microorganisms. They found that the lagoon’s pink colour derives from the red cells of a sub-genus of the salt-loving algae Dunaliella. This extremophilic algal strain from Laguna de Peña Hueca has been named Dunaliella salina EP-1 after the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure, which funded the study through its transnational access programme.











Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars
The water in the candy-pink Laguna de Peña Hueca derives its colour
from the red cells of the salt-loving algae Dunaliella salina EP-1
[Credit: Europlanet/F Gómez/R Thombre]

“Dunaliella salina EP-1 is one of the most salt-tolerant extremophiles that we’ve found,” said Dr Thombre, of the Department of Biotechnology, at the Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce in Shivajinagar, Pune, India. “Microbes find it difficult to tolerate hypersaline environments because water needed for the cell to function tends to flow out through the cell-membrane into the salty surroundings. The algae survive the conditions at Peña Hueca by producing molecules like glycerol that mimic the external salt concentrations within the cell and counteract water-loss.”











Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars
The water in the candy-pink Laguna de Peña Hueca derives its colour from the red cells of the
salt-loving algae Dunaliella salina EP-1 [Credit: Europlanet/F Gómez/R Thombre]

The cells of Dunaliella algae are used in many countries for the industrial production of carotenoids, ß-carotene, glycerol, bioactives, biofuel and antioxidants, so the strain EP-1 may have applications for a range of biotechnologies.











Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars
Red samples of the salt-loving algae Dunaliella salina EP-1 in a salt crystal
[Credit: Europlanet/F Gómez/R Thombre]

“Considering the commercial and economic significance of this organism, future studies are warranted to gain a complete picture of its physiology, ecology and biotechnological potential,” said Dr Thombre.











Candy-pink lagoon serves up salt-rich diet for potential life on Mars
This extremophilic algal strain from Laguna de Peña Hueca has been named Dunaliella salina EP-1
after the Europlanet 2020 Research Infrastructure [Credit: Europlanet/F Gomez/R Thombre]

The team also identified the halophilic bacteria, Halomonas gomseomensis PLR-1, in a pink rock submerged in the sulphate-rich brine of Peña Hueca. The study of this microorganism may provide vital clues in understanding the role of sulphates in microbial growth and lithopanspermia, the theory that organisms can be transferred in rocks from one planet to another.


“The resilience of extremophiles to the conditions of Mars analogues on Earth demonstrate their potential to thrive in martian soils,” said Dr Gómez of the Centro de Astrobiología, Madrid, Spain. “This has implications for planetary protection, as well as how algae might be used to terraform Mars.”


Source: Europlanet [September 20, 2018]



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First light data for NASA’s Parker Solar Probe

Just over a month into its mission, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has returned first-light data from each of its four instrument suites.











First light data for NASA's Parker Solar Probe
Credit: NASA/Naval Research Laboratory/Parker Solar Probe

These early observations – while not yet examples of the key science observations Parker Solar Probe will take closer to the sun – show that each of the instruments is working well.


The instruments work in tandem to measure the sun’s electric and magnetic fields, particles from the sun and the solar wind, and capture images of the environment around the spacecraft.


This image shows the first-light data from Parker Solar Probe’s WISPR (Wide-field Imager for Solar Probe) instrument suite.


The right side of this image—from WISPR’s inner telescope—has a 40-degree field of view, with its right edge 58.5 degrees from the sun’s center. The bright object slightly to the right of the image’s center is Jupiter.


The left side of the image is from WISPR’s outer telescope, which has a 58-degree field of view and extends to about 160 degrees from the sun. It shows the Milky Way, looking at the galactic center. There is a parallax of about 13 degrees in the apparent position of the sun as viewed from Earth and from Parker Solar Probe.


Source: NASA [September 20, 2018]



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Floor mosaic unearthed in ancient Nysa

Archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Nysa have uncovered a mosaic floor, which is believed to date back to the fourth century. The ancient city in the western Turkish province of Aydın, which was established in the Hellenistic era, was densely populated in the Roman and Byzantine eras and one of the trade routes in ancient times.











Floor mosaic unearthed in ancient Nysa
Credit: AA

So far, the assembly building, agora, forum, market basilica, tunnels and bridges have been unearthed during the works in the ancient city. The works have been carried out in the ancient city by Ankara University since 1990 and supported by the Yaşar Education and Culture Foundation since 1998.











Floor mosaic unearthed in ancient Nysa
Credit: AA

The head of the excavations, Ankara University Archaeology Department academic Associated Professor Hakan Öztaner, said the works were focused on the western side this year, adding that they had found floor mosaics. Öztaner said the structure could date back to the fourth century.











Floor mosaic unearthed in ancient Nysa
Credit: AA

“The structure with a mosaic floor has a 25-metre-long and five-metre-wide big hall. We think the mosaics are related to the bath in the south and a Roman villa in the west. Works will continue in the coming years in these places,” he said.


Source: Hurriyet Daily News [September 20, 2018]



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Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave

Vietnamese archaeologists have announced announced the results of their excavation in the Krong No volcanic cave in Dak Nong Province, in the southwest of the Central Highlands at the tail end of the Truong Son mountain chain.











Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave
Credit: VNExpress

Krong No is a volcanic cave system that has made headlines for its impressive scale and length. The 25-kilometre cave, the longest in Southeast Asia, starts at the Choar volcanic crater and stretches along the Serepok River, ending at Dray Sap waterfall.
In 2017 the general director of the Vietnam Museum of Nature launched an expedition to look for archaeological sites in the Krong No volcanic rocks park which led to the discovery of a series of locations containing prehistoric artefacts.











Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave
Credit: VNExpress

This was the first time prehistoric sites have been found in volcanic caves at the Drap Sap special-use forest. The scientists chose cave C6.1 to begin their excavations. Tens of thousands of artefacts were found in the six-square-metre grotto.
The archaeologists dug to a depth of 1.85 metres and found the remains in eight distinct layers. They also found the remains of mollusks.











Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave
Credit: VNExpress

This was the first time in the Central Highlands evidence connecting prehistoric humans with the sea was found.
Many artefacts were discovered in towns around the cave area. Archaeologists also found the remains of 10 individuals including the complete skeletons of two adults and a four-year-old child.











Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave
Credit: VNExpress

The stratigraphy of the C6.1 Cave extends 1.85 metres below the surface indicating there had been several periods of occupation.
It is the most prolific archaeological site ever to be excavated in the Central Highlands.











Neolithic burials discovered in Vietnam cave
Credit: VNExpress

The artefacts and way of burying the dead are indicative of the Neolithic era dating back to 4,000 – 7,000 years ago the announcement said.


Source: VNExpress [September 20, 2018]



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An iconographic treasure unearthed in Jordan

In northern Jordan, a Roman-era painted tomb has been unearthed by the Department of Antiquities. An extraordinary document of religious, political, and social history that three historians and epigraphists have had an opportunity to examine, and are striving to interpret.











An iconographic treasure unearthed in Jordan
The clearing of the site of Capitolias, with the assistance of Dionysos and other gods 
[Credit: Julien ALIQUOT/HiSoMA 2018]

The archaeologists cannot bless roadwork enough. Especially in Jordan. It’s just that certain thrusts of the mechanical shovel, such as the one in late 2016 at the school entrance in the village of Bayt Ras, in the north of the country, have a knack for unearthing secrets from the depths of the past. In the present case, it is a Roman tomb that was dug into the side of a hill, and whose existence was just revealed by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, after securing access to the site.
“This tomb, which consists of two funerary chambers and contains a very large basalt sarcophagus, is in an excellent state of conservation, even though it appears to have already been ‘visited.’ It is part of a necropolis located to the east of an imposing theater that was recently unearthed,” says with enthusiasm Julien Aliquot, one of the three researchers from the research unit Histoire et sources des mondes antiques (HiSoMA), which had investigated this hypogeum in the spring of 2017 and 2018, as part of two on-site surveys.


“The tomb is located on the site of the ancient city of Capitolias, which was founded in the late first century CE, and was part of the Decapolis, a region that brought together Hellenized cities (provided with Greek-style institutions but belonging to the Roman Empire) in the southeastern area of the Near East, between Damascus and Amman.”


An animated timeline


Many things are remarkable about this subterranean tomb of 52 m2. Let’s start with the impressive number of figures (nearly 260, including gods, humans, and animals) painted on the walls of the largest chamber. Of course other Roman tombs from the Decapolis also offer sumptuous mythological decor, but none of them can hold a candle to this one in terms of iconography. “These teeming figures compose a narrative that is arranged on either side of a central painting, which represents a sacrifice offered by an officiant to the tutelary deities of Capitolias and Caesarea Maritima, the provincial capital of Judaea,” says Aliquot.











An iconographic treasure unearthed in Jordan
Zeus between the two Capitolias Fortunes and Caesarea Maritima 
[Credit: Julien ALIQUOT/HiSoMA 2018]

Whoever entered the tomb, before it was closed, first glimpsed on his left banqueting deities lying on beds, and tasting offerings brought by humans smaller than themselves. Again to the left of the entrance, a second painting with a country landscape shows peasants busy working the earth with the help of oxen, gathering fruit, tending grapevines… The next panel depicts woodcutters chopping down various species of trees with the help of gods, an exceedingly rare subject in Greco-Roman imagery.
No less original, to the right of the entrance, is a large painting illustrating the building of a rampart. “Characters resembling architects or foremen stand alongside laborers who are transporting materials on the backs of camels or donkeys, with stone cutters or masons climbing walls, sometimes resulting in accidents. This precise and picturesque scene of a construction site is followed by the last painting, in which a priest offers another sacrifice in honor of the city’s guardian deities,” explains Aliquot.


Finally, displayed on the ceiling and walls on both sides of the entrance is a more classical composition evoking the Nile and the marine world, in which nymphs ride aquatic animals flanked by cupids, while a central medallion combines signs from the zodiac and the planets around a quadriga.


First Aramaic Comics?


Already unique on account of the abundance and originality of its iconography, this tomb is even more so through the inscriptions that accompany the scenes depicting the construction site. “These 60 or so texts painted in black, some of which we have already deciphered, have the distinctive feature of being written in the local language of Aramaic, while using Greek letters,” says Jean-Baptiste Yon, of the same research unit.











An iconographic treasure unearthed in Jordan
Two stonecutters at work [Credit: Julien ALIQUOT/ HiSoMA 2018]

“This combination of the two primary idioms of the ancient Near East is extremely rare, and will help to better identify the structure and evolution of Aramaic. The inscriptions are actually similar to speech bubbles in comic books, because they describe the activities of the characters, who offer explanations of what they are doing (‘I am cutting (stone),’ ‘Alas for me! I am dead!’), which is also extraordinary.”


The birth of Capitolias


With regard to the meaning of this very rich iconographic and textual arrangement, researchers are inclined to see it as an illustration of the various stages involved in the founding of Capitolias: consultation of the gods on the choice of site during a banquet, clearing of the plot, raising of a wall, thanks offered to the gods after the construction of the city…


“According to our interpretation, there is a very good chance that the figure buried in the tomb is the person who had himself represented while officiating in the sacrifice scene from the central painting, and who consequently was the founder of the city,” comments Pierre-Louis Gatier, of the same research unit. “His name has not yet been identified, although it could be engraved on the lintel of the door, which has not yet been cleared.”



An international consortium of experts was created by the Department of Antiquities of Jordan for the study, conservation, and development of this one-of-a-kind jewel. Under the supervision of the Sustainable Cultural Heritage Through Engagement of Local Communities Project, hosted at Amman by the American Center of Oriental Research, the new Bayt Ras tomb is, among others, mobilizing Claude Vibert-Guigue, a specialist on ancient painting at the research unit Archéologie et philologie d’Orient et d’Occident, and Soizik Bechetoille, an architect at the French Institute for the Near East (Ifpo), in addition to the historians and epigraphists from HiSoMA, as well as two Italian institutes, the Istituto Superiore per la Conservazione ed il Restauro (ISCR) and the Istituto Superiore per la Protezione e la Ricerca Ambientale (ISPRA). The results of this ongoing research will be presented in Florence in January 2019, during the 14th International Conference on the History and Archaeology of Jordan.


Author: Philippe Testard-Vaillant | Source: CNRS Le Journal [September 21, 2018]



TANN



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Projected Delivery Couriers will often try three times to…


Projected Delivery


Couriers will often try three times to deliver our parcels, but cells in tissues and organs can’t afford to wait. They’re constantly exchanging chemical signals – proteins produced in one cell are ‘sent’ to neighbouring cells, but how the delivery happens can be a little mysterious. In these zebrafish cells (artificially coloured red), Wnt proteins (green) help to coordinate development. They travel towards neighbouring cells down long arm-like projections called cytonemes. This cellular courier service is organised by the Wnt proteins themselves, which trigger the growth of the cytonemes. Disruption to this plan leads to delayed messages and serious problems in developing tissues. Researchers have found similar delivery networks at play in embryos and tumours, and understanding the proteins involved could help to deliver (or destroy) these vital messages.


Written by John Ankers



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