воскресенье, 11 ноября 2018 г.

Rocket Lab – It’s Business Time Launch



Rocket Lab – It’s Business Time Mission 3 patch / Irvine CubeSat Stem Program 01 patch.


Nov. 11, 2018



It’s Business Time lift-off 11 November 2018

Rocket Lab successfully launched ‘It’s Business Time’ at 16:50 NZDT (03:50 UTC), Sunday 11th November.



It’s Business Time Launch – 11/11/2018

Rocket Lab reaches orbit again, deploys more satellites


Rocket Lab has continued the success of its 2018 orbital launch program with the launch of seven payloads to orbit today. The mission, named ‘It’s Business Time,’ marks Rocket Lab’s second successful orbital launch and deployment of customer satellites.



NABEO drag sail technology demonstrator

Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle lifted-off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 16:50 on 11 November NZDT (03:50 UTC). After first reaching orbit on Electron’s second stage, the Curie kick stage successfully separated and circularized its orbit before deploying six satellites for customers Spire Global, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, Fleet Space Technologies and the Irvine CubeSat Stem Program. Curie also carried NABEO, a drag sail technology demonstrator, designed and built by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH, to passively de-orbit inactive small satellites and reduce space junk.



Fleet Space Technologies nanosatellite

Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck says the mission marks a new era in access to space.


“The world is waking up to the new normal. With the Electron launch vehicle, rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites,” says Beck.



Tyvak Nano-Satellite

“We’re thrilled to be leading the small satellite launch industry by reaching orbit a second time and deploying  more payloads. The team carried out a flawless flight with incredibly precise orbital insertion. ” he says.


Rocket Lab is poised for high-frequency launches in 2019 thanks to production facilities that enable rapid mass Electron production, as well as a private launch complex licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.



Rocket Lab’s Electron on the company’s New Zealand launchpad

“With two orbital launches down for 2018, we’re not resting on our laurels. We have a burgeoning customer manifest, so we’re moving onto the next mission within a few weeks – the incredibly exciting ELaNa 19 mission for NASA in December.”


Related links:


Spire Global: https://spire.com/


Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems: http://www.tyvak.com/


CubeSat Stem Program: https://www.irvinecubesat.org/


NABEO: http://www.hps-gmbh.com/en/portfolio/subsystems/deployable-dragsails-adeo/


Fleet Space Technologies: https://www.fleet.space/


Rocket Lab: https://www.rocketlabusa.com/


Images, Video, Text, Credits: Rocket Lab/Günter Space Page/FST/Tyvak.


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Europol foils cultural goods gang, seizes 30,000 artefacts

Spanish and Bulgarian police arrested 13 people and seized 30,000 artefacts, including forged coins and ancient Greek ceramics, in a joint operation that targeted a cultural goods trafficking gang, Europol said on Monday.











Europol foils cultural goods gang, seizes 30,000 artefacts
Some of the artefacts seized during Operation Sardica [Credit: Guardia Civil]

Officers searched 17 houses and seized 180,000 euros (US$205,000), forged coins, ceramics, Roman statues, helmets, urns, lamps, rings, amulets, buckles, arrowheads and spears.


The cultural items, which are sold on popular auction websites, included treasures stolen from archaeological sites in Bulgaria as well as forged goods meant to look like historical discoveries.


The criminal gang had been operating mainly from Spain and illegally excavated and trafficked cultural goods besides manufacturing forged archeological items. They set up fake user profiles on auction websites and overbid on the items among themselves to get a higher price. Nine of the suspects were arrested in Spain and four in Bulgaria.


Police also seized machinery the gang used to create the fake items, such as wedges used to make the forged coins.


Operation Sardica was run by the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Bulgarian Criminal Police with the support of Europol.


“The smooth coordination and exchange of information were instrumental in the success of this investigation,” Europol said in a press release. “Europol brought together the different involved police forces to help them connect the dots between their own national investigations and provided analytical support before and during the action day.”


Credit: OCCRP [November 07, 2018]



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New research shows Gauls embalmed the severed heads of their enemies

They were fearsome warriors who cut off the heads of their enemies and displayed them for all to see, bringing them back from battle hanging around their horses’ necks. But now research has confirmed that the Gauls did not merely sever the heads of their foes, they appear to have embalmed them to boot.











New research shows Gauls embalmed the severed heads of their enemies
Experts found traces of conifer resins on ancient skulls at Le Cailar iron age site in France,
supporting texts saying heads were embalmed [Credit: Salma Ghezal et al. 2018]

Experts say they have found traces of conifer resins on the remains of skulls discovered at the iron age settlement of Le Cailar in the south of France – a discovery they say backs up ancient reports that the Celtic Gauls preserved their grisly trophies.


“In fact the ancient texts told about us the head [being] embalmed with cedar oil … thanks to our chemical analysis we know that this information is right,” said Réjane Roure, co-author of the study from Paul Valéry University of Montpellier.


Previous finds at other sites have included a sculpture of a mounted warrior, not only with sword and spear but a head slung around the neck of the horse, while the gruesome practice is also noted in a number of ancient texts, and supported by discoveries of human skulls with marks of decapitation, and even nails inside them. However, whether the Gauls did indeed embalm the severed heads was less clear.


Writing in the Journal of Archaeological Science, Roure and colleagues describe how they analysed human skulls found with weapons in an area of Le Cailar where they would have been widely visible – suggesting they would have been on display. The team took samples from 11 human skull fragments, noting many of the skulls showed cut marks of decapitation and signs that hint at the removal of the brain. They also tested five bones from animals found in the same area.


The analysis revealed traces of a host of substances on the human fragments, including fatty acids and cholesterol, much of which the team say are characteristic of degraded human, plant or animal fats. The animal bones also showed traces of cholesterol.


However the team found that six of the eleven human skull fragments bore traces of substances called diterpenoids – telltale signs that the bones had been in contact with conifer resin. Such traces were not found on the animal bones.


The researchers say the findings add weight to ancient reports that, after severing the heads of their enemies, Celtic tribes embalmed them – pointing to ancient Greek writers Strabo and Diodorus of Sicily who both record that a Greek called Poseidonios claimed to have seen such sights in Gaul. While these texts note that cedar oil was used, the team say it might have been a resin with a similar smell, as it is not clear if cedar trees were growing in the area in the third century BC.


Roure said the purpose of the preservation might have been to make sure the face and features of the enemy remained on show. “The ancient texts said only the most powerful enemies and the most important enemies were embalmed – maybe that was to be able to say ‘see that face, it was some big warrior’,” she said. She added the texts also said that the Gauls never gave back such heads “even for an equal weight of gold”. “We think that means sometimes some people tried to buy the heads,” said Roure.


The authors say it is not clear exactly how the embalming process was carried out, but that the heads might have been dipped in the resin, or it could have been poured over them, and might have been applied more than once as time went on. It is also unclear whether the process was also carried out on revered locals, or was reserved solely for enemies.


Dr Rachel Pope, an expert in European prehistory at the University of Liverpool who was not involved in the study, said the research was exciting.


“We knew from statues that the display of human heads was popular in Mediterranean France – akin to a broader tradition at this time involving the display of weapons. The evidence now, from this site, is that human heads were indeed embalmed,” she said. “Now we have the science that supports earlier archaeology, as well as a greater understanding of where the classical texts and the archaeology meet.”


Author: Nicola Davis | Source: The Guardian [November 07, 2018]



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Egypt struggles to restore Cairo’s historic heart

Workers perched on scaffolding delicately repair Cairo’s 13th-century al-Zahir Baybars mosque, a vital restoration project in the Egyptian capital’s neglected Islamic quarter.











Egypt struggles to restore Cairo's historic heart
Work on Cairo’s 13th-century al-Zahir Baybars mosque in the neglected Islamic quarter resumed last month
 after being halted during the turmoil that followed the ouster of the dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011
[Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]

Halted by the popular protests that toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011 and the ensuing political and economic turmoil which enveloped the country, restorative work on the Mamluk-era mosque picked back up last month.


On the other side of the quarter, similar work on the 14th century al-Maridani mosque has just begun.


The capital’s Islamic quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 often referred to as historic Cairo, boasts some 600 listed monuments.


But the task to patch up decades of dilapidation is immense, and Egyptian authorities are struggling to come up with the cash after unrest and jihadist attacks have driven away tourists and slashed crucial income.


Islamic Cairo is packed with ornate monuments, mosques and mausoleums, and its narrow streets are punctuated with trinket shops, cafes and traditional old homes — an urban fabric layered in centuries of history.


For Luis Monreal, head of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture, refurbishing the area is a never-ending project.


“It’s like painting an aircraft carrier: when you finish one side, you have to start over again on the other,” he said.











Egypt struggles to restore Cairo's historic heart
Islamic Cairo is packed with ornate monuments, mosques and mausoleums, and its narrow streets are punctuated
with trinket shops, cafes and traditional old homes — an urban fabric layered in centuries of history
[Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]

Part of the Aga Khan Foundation, his outfit has been working on restoration projects in the area since the early 2000s.


In the immediate aftermath of Mubarak’s 2011 fall, many of the area’s squat traditional buildings were torn down and replaced with structures of six to eight floors.


Meanwhile, rampant theft saw centuries-old objects disappear from mosques.


And even if looting and illegal construction have since decreased, according to authorities, the historic heart of Egypt’s teeming capital of 20 million is still choked with pollution, its streets cluttered with rubbish.
UNESCO has warned several times in recent years of increasing degradation in historic Cairo, raising the alarm as it has for many other heritage cities across the globe.


In 2017, its World Heritage Committee urged Egyptian authorities “to take all needed measures to halt the rapid deterioration” of sites across the quarter.


In an October visit to monitor new restoration work, Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany highlighted budget issues as one of the central challenges facing the district.


“It’s always said that Islamic antiquities are in bad condition. It’s a fact,” he said, adding that failing sewers and monuments in residential areas had also created issues.











Egypt struggles to restore Cairo's historic heart
While tourism has picked up since it dropped in 2011, the 8.2 million people that visited Egypt
in 2017 are still far behind the country’s 14.7 million visitors in the year before the uprising
[Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]

The antiquities ministry is fed by revenues generated at Egypt’s wealth of historic monuments.


And while tourism has picked up since it dropped in 2011, the 8.2 million people that visited Egypt in 2017 are still far behind the country’s 14.7 million visitors in the year before the uprising.


With earnings from the sites down, much of the restoration work has been dependent on foreign funding.


Kazakhstan is putting up 4.8 million euros ($5.5 million) to finance work on the Baybars mosque.


Meanwhile, the European Union is contributing 1.2 million euros for the al-Maridani mosque, in tandem with the Aga Khan Foundation which has put forward 133,000 euros.


From his renovated home in historic Cairo, architect Alaa al-Habashi said time was of the essence in the push to preserve the area.


“It cannot wait… if we want to stay on the World Heritage List there is not a minute to lose,” he said.


The only way to effectively combat the decay, he said, was “to get citizens involved”.











Egypt struggles to restore Cairo's historic heart
A project designed by the Aga Khan Foundation for the al-Maridani mosque includes the creation of
a touristic route through the neighbourhood and training for residents on accommodating tourists
[Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP]

From his 16th-century home, known as Bayt Yakan, Habashi runs an art collective and organises conferences around the “revitalisation of the historic city”.


The Aga Khan Foundation has designed a similar project, although on a much bigger scale, around the al-Maridani mosque.


It includes the creation of a touristic route through the neighbourhood and training for residents on accommodating tourists.


“This will generate economic activity, tourism… but the project also has a social dimension,” said Ibrahim Laafia, head of cooperation with the EU’s delegation to Egypt.


But good work often runs up against bureaucratic hurdles.


All projects have to navigate the labyrinthine overlap of jurisdictions between local authorities in Cairo and the ministries of antiquities, tourism, housing and religious endowments.



In 2015, Cairo authorities created the governorate’s first department for the preservation of antiquities.


Its director, Riham Arram, said that while the city is making slow progress, preserving its history is still “a big challenge”.


“We have not managed to do everything. It’s true that there is still illegal construction… but we will continue,” she said, explaining reforms could increase fines for unlawful building.


“Now security has stabilised, the country is stable,” she said.


Author: Emmanuel Parisse | Source: AFP [November 07, 2018]



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High number of deformities found in Pleistocene people

Analysis of remains from 66 ancient humans reveals that they suffered from an astonishing number of physical deformities, research reveals.











High number of deformities found in Pleistocene people
Examples of developmental abnormalities in Pleistocene people. Left to right: the Tianyuan 1, Sunghir 3 and Dolní
Vĕstonice 15 abnormal femora, Center, top to bottom: the Palomas 23 mandibular “flange”, the Rochereil 3 cranial lacuna,
 the long Sunghir 1 clavicle, the Malarnaud 1 incisor agenesis. Right, top to bottom: the Shanidar 1 sacral hiatus,
the Pataud 1 polygenesis, and the Dolní Vĕstonice 16 cleft palate [Credit: Erik Trinkaus]

Anthropologist Erik Trinkaus from Washington University in St Louis, US, compiled examination records for two Late Pleistocene infants, six children, four juveniles, six adolescents, 30 prime age adults, and eight older adults, from several archaeological sites around the world.


He discovered that all up they showed evidence of 75 skeletal or dental abnormalities. Based on rates of similar disorders in modern human populations, Trinkaus finds the probability that the total is merely an artefact of comparatively small sample size to be “vanishingly small”.


In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the author says that there is no single factor that could plausibly account for the high number of deformities.


“A substantial number of these abnormalities reflect abnormal or anomalous developmental processes, whether as a result of genetic variants altering developmental processes or as the products of environmental or behavioural stress patterns altering expected developmental patterns,” he writes.


The deformities found included soft bones caused by the blood disorder hypophosphatemia, hydrocephaly, dwarfism, abnormal bone growth, and a wide variety of skull, jaw and dental problems.


Trinkaus is at pains to stress that finding evidence of disfigurements is not itself unexpected in people who died more than 11,000 years ago. The sheer number of them, however, most definitely is.


“Some of these developmental abnormalities are unusual but not exceptional in recent human samples, and thus it would not be surprising to find examples of them in the … human paleontological record,” he writes.


“However, other abnormalities are extremely rare in recent human populations, and the probability of finding such a case in the fossil record would be extraordinary.”
He notes that based on their occurrence in modern populations, the chance of finding evidence of the more common abnormalities would be something like 5%, and the chance of finding the rare ones as little as 0.0001%. The chances of finding them in combination, or collectively in evidence in every set of remains to date uncovered and reliably dated, is astronomical.


“The multiplicative cumulative probability of finding the 75 developmental abnormalities is vanishingly small,” he writes.


He acknowledges, however, that 66 sets of remains constitutes in itself the merest fraction of the people who lived and died in the late Pleistocene and that a fuller understanding of the frequency of deformities will not be gained until many more skeletons are discovered.


On the current evidence, however, he advances some possible reasons to account for his findings – after first dismissing the idea of sample bias, on the not unreasonable grounds that there is no evidence that people with deformities received different types of burials which might have increased the chances that they would eventually be discovered.


“The abundance of developmental abnormalities among Pleistocene humans may have been enhanced by the generally high levels of stress evident among these foraging populations,” he writes.


He also tentatively suggests inbreeding – consanguinity, as he terms it – as a factor. Some abnormalities, he notes, are inherited conditions, and the chances of them being expressed would have greatly increased if breeding occurred among closely related individuals.


With the extent of deformities only recently becoming obvious as a result of increasingly sophisticated examination methods, the reasons why our distant ancestors were such a damaged bunch remain unclear.


“Some of these developmental deficiencies are unexceptional from a recent human perspective, although finding multiple cases of them within and across samples and time periods suggests elevated levels of these more common patterns,” writes Trinkaus.


“However, one-quarter of the cases are rare (some extremely so) in extant human samples, and an additional one-fifth of the cases defy proper diagnosis.”


Author: Andrew Masterson | Source: Cosmos Magazine [November 07, 2018]



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Ancient ceremonial complexes revealed in Atacama Desert

Ancient ceremonial complexes discovered in the world’s driest desert suggest such places flourished thousands of years ago in what is now the Atacama Desert in Chile.











Ancient ceremonial complexes revealed in Atacama Desert
The 3,200-year-old ceremonial site held these infant burials: (black arrow) one holding a gold plaque
and another holding a gold-plated vulture head with malachite eyes and crest (white arrow)
[Credit: copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd]

A team of archaeologists has concluded that two archaeological sites located less than 0.62 miles (1 kilometer) apart were both used for ceremonial purposes, wrote archaeology professors Catherine Perlès, from the Université Paris Nanterre; and Lautaro Nuñez, from the Universidad Católica del Norte in Chile.
To survive the harsh conditions of the arid Atacama Desert, the people who lived there made use of what scientists call eco-refuges — places that had enough water, animal and plant life to support humans, said Perlès and Nuñez in their paper. People living in nearby eco-refuges appear to have come together to build the two sites, with construction possibly being organized by religious leaders, said Perlès and Nuñez in a paper published in the journal Antiquity.


The most impressive of the two sites flourished between 1200 B.C. and 500 B.C. Last excavated in 2015, the site includes massive stone monuments, infant burials and offerings of gold and other exotic materials from the Amazonian and the Pacific regions, Perlès and Nuñez wrote. They noted that the remains of 28 infants, some of whom were buried with rich grave goods, were also found there.











Ancient ceremonial complexes revealed in Atacama Desert
The 5,000-year-old site in the Atacama Desert held a ceremonial complex built with these vertical stones
[Credit: copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd]

At two of the burials, archaeologists discovered elaborately decorated gold pendants; at another burial, they found a gold-plated wooden vulture head with inlaid green malachite eyes and crest, dating back to between 690 B.C. and 540 B.C., according to the paper.


“Numerous mortars and grinding slabs attest to the intense preparation of pigments, foodstuffs and beverages, as well as hallucinogens made from the seeds of cebil (Anadenanthera sp.) and maize (Zea mays), both imported from the lowlands of north-east Argentina,” Perlès and Nuñez wrote.


The second site was last excavated in 1985 and, at the time, was believed to be a settlement. However, when Perlès and Nuñez re-evaluated the remains, they concluded that it was a ceremonial complex that was built 5,000 years ago, they wrote.


Their investigation revealed that none of the structures would have been used as houses and that the architecture is similar to that of the other Atacama site. “At both sites, the structures are built with large vertical and capping slabs, up to 1.5m [5 feet] in height,” Perlès and Nuñez wrote. Additionally, “a high proportion of the mortars and grinding stones from both sites are associated with deposits of red pigment,” which would have had a ceremonial use, they wrote.


While both researchers are convinced that the 5,000-year-old site was used for ceremonial purposes, exactly what ceremonies occurred is unclear. “This is a prehistoric site, we have no texts to tell us what kind of ceremonies were taking place,” Perlès told Live Science.


Author: Owen Jarus | Source: Live Science [November 08, 2018]



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Restoration continues for Florence’s Neptune Fountain

Nine bronze statues, depicting nymphs, fauns and satyrs, were removed with a crane from the Neptune Fountain in Florence’s piazza della Signoria and taken to a workshop in via Livorno, where they will be restored by Ires e Nicola Salvioli Restauri.











Restoration continues for Florence's Neptune Fountain
One of the Neptune Fountain’s bronze statues being removed for restoration
in Florence’s piazza della Signoria [Credit: Comune di Firenze]

Work on the fountain began in February 2017, using funds donated by the Salvatore Ferragamo fashion house, which is providing 1.5 million euro throughout the project.
The bronze statues will be restored not only on the outside but on the inside as well, which has deteriorated substantially due to water and atmospheric agents.



In 1559, Cosimo I de’ Medici held a competition for the creation of the city’s first public fountain, with Bartolomeo Ammannati and his Neptune design eventually taking the prize, judged the best for its clear exaltation of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany’s glorious seafaring achievements.
The sculpture was completed in 1565 and inaugurated for the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici and the Grand Duchess Giovanna d’Austria on December 10 of that year.


Close observers might notice that Ammannati used Cosimo I’s features to depict the strapping Neptune rising above the other figures.


Source: The Florentine [November 08, 2018]



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The story of the earliest wine

Here’s an interesting YouTube video about the origin and spread of wine making. Many of you might also appreciate the discussion about the Kura-Araxes Culture (about 26 minutes into the presentation)…



See also…
A potentially violent end to the Kura-Araxes Culture (Alizadeh et al. 2018)
How relevant is Arslantepe to the PIE homeland debate?
Likely Yamnaya incursion(s) into Northwestern Iran

Source


Fantastic Neuroplastic The buzzword…


Fantastic Neuroplastic


The buzzword ’neuroplasticity’ defines our brain’s ability to change continuously, which allows us to remember, learn and adapt. It’s thought that our memories form when the neurons which relay electrical information develop stronger connections to create a meaningful network. These connections, called synapses, can be strengthened or weakened by molecular activity. Researchers investigated these seemingly opposing ways that neuroplasticity can manifest. They focused on spine-like structures found at synapses along the surface of neurons, and which can change size in response to changing connection strength. Contrary to expectations, the team showed that both weakening and strengthening of synapses can happen together. Here, these spines look like dots (blue) adorning the branches of a neuron (white) within a mouse’s hippocampus, a key structure for learning. Individual spines were identified with a high resolution, state-of-the-art laser technology called two-photon excitation microscopy.


Written by Deborah Oakley



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2018 November 11 Astronaut Exploring: An Apollo 15 Panorama…


2018 November 11


Astronaut Exploring: An Apollo 15 Panorama
Image Credit & Copyright: NASA, USGS, Apollo 15 Crew


Explanation: What would it be like to explore the Moon? NASA’s Apollo missions gave humans just this chance in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In particular, the Apollo 15 mission was dedicated to better understanding the surface of the Moon by exploring mountains, valleys, maria, and highlands. Astronauts David Scott and James Irwin spent nearly three days on the Moon while Alfred Worden orbited above in the Command Module. The mission, which blasted off from Earth on 1971 July 26, was the first to deploy a Lunar Roving Vehicle. Pictured in this digitally stitched mosaic panorama, David Scott, exploring his surroundings, examines a boulder in front of the summit of Mt. Hadley Delta. The shadow of James Irwin is visible to the right, while scrolling to the right will reveal a well-lit and diverse lunar terrain. The Apollo 15 mission returned about 76 kilograms of moon rocks for detailed study. In the future, NASA and other space agencies plan to continue to lead humanity’s exploration of the Moon, Mars, and beyond.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap181111.html


Second Century Bronze Temple Jug, Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle and Cumbria,...





Second Century Bronze Temple Jug, Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle and Cumbria, 4.11.18.


The handle of this jug has a number of images relating to Roman sacrifice. At the base, a soldier and a priest prepare to sacrifice a pig. Above this an offering is being poured onto an altar. The upper two images are worn with use. This decoration suggests the jug was owned by a temple and a gift from a wealthy worshipper.


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HiPOD (10 November 2018): Bedrock in Ladon Valles Basin    – 263…



HiPOD (10 November 2018): Bedrock in Ladon Valles Basin 


   – 263 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 Pottery and Funerary Ware, Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle,...







Prehistoric Pottery and Funerary Ware, Tullie House Museum and Gallery, Carlisle, Cumbria, 4.11.18.


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Light Painting at Doll Tor Stone Circle, Derbyshire, 10.11.18.






Light Painting at Doll Tor Stone Circle, Derbyshire, 10.11.18.


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