четверг, 24 октября 2019 г.

How the Cat protected the Dog



Amazing dog behavior. He is very short, but cocky. Jumps to the neighboring dogs, a shepherd and a dog, and barks at them, they hide in the corners. I hardly managed to get him to return to the yard. And when he jumped home. That cat came, his friend, and began to hug him with his tail, to protect him from me, and I scolded him for leprosy, that he constantly runs away and scares huge dogs. Kitty felt sorry for his friend and he turned around until the owner became kind.

October 24, 2019

вторник, 22 октября 2019 г.

‘The Bridestones’ Prehistoric Stone Features, Todmorden, Calderdale,...











‘The Bridestones’ Prehistoric Stone Features, Todmorden, Calderdale, 21.10.19.


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‘The House of Rock’ at ‘The Bridestones’ Prehistoric Stone...











‘The House of Rock’ at ‘The Bridestones’ Prehistoric Stone Features, Todmorden, Calderdale, 21.10.19.


Occupied until a few centuries ago, a dwelling was built in the rocks using the space between the larger stones. The remains of the structure were removed in the last few decades.


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понедельник, 21 октября 2019 г.

Modern Melanesians harbour beneficial DNA from archaic hominins

Modern Melanesians harbour beneficial genetic variants that they inherited from archaic Neanderthal and Denisovan hominins, according to a new study published in Science. These genes are not found in many other human populations, the study adds.











Modern Melanesians harbour beneficial DNA from archaic hominins
The magnifying glasses highlight structural differences between the archaic (top) and reference (bottom) genomes.
Neanderthal (red) and Denisovan (blue) haplotypes encompassing large CNVs occur at high frequencies in Melanesians
 (44 and 79%, respectively) but are absent (black) in all non-Melanesians. These CNVs create positively selected
genes (TNFRSF10D1, TNFRSF10D2, and NPIPB16) that are absent from the reference genome
[Credit: PingHsun Hsieh et al. 2019]

The results suggest that large structural variants introgressed from our archaic ancestors may have played an important role in the adaptation of early modern human populations and that they may represent an under-appreciated source of the genetic variation that remains to be characterized in our modern genomes.


As populations of our ancestors migrated out of Africa and into the vast Eurasian continent, they were required to adapt to the wide range of environments they encountered. They also interbred with the archaic hominin ancestors they encountered.


However, the role of genetic exchange between archaic hominin and anatomically modern human populations in adaption and human evolution remains elusive. Genetic surveys with single-nucleotide variants (SNVs) have suggested their involvement in archaic introgression and adaptation.


However, compared to SNVs, copy number variants (CNVs), a larger form of structural variant, are far more likely to be associated with genotype expression and are subject to stronger selective pressure.


Despite this, the adaptive role of introgressed CNVs in human evolution and the genetic variation of modern humans remains unexplored. PingHsun Hsieh performed a genome-wide search for evidence of selective and archaic introgressed CNVs among Melanesian genomes.


The Islanders of Melanesia harbor some of the greatest amounts of archaic human ancestry known. Hsieh et al. discovered hominin-shared, stratified CNVs associated with positive selection in the modern Melanesian genomes.


Furthermore, the results revealed evidence for adaptive CNVs introgression at chromosomes 16p11.2 and 8p21.3, which were derived from Denisovans and Neanderthals, respectively. The results tentatively suggest that CNV introgression from ancestral hominins may have allowed modern humans to adapt to new environments by providing a source of beneficial genetic variation.


Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science [October 17, 2019]



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Study shows ancient Mayas had greater environmental impacts than previously believed

Geographical research conducted by University researchers in Belize found that the ancient Mayan civilization had a greater environmental impact than previously believed.











Study shows ancient Mayas had greater environmental impacts than previously believed
Credit: Barbra Daly/Daily Texan

The Maya were likely responding to environmental hardships, including harsh droughts, when they created expansive wetlands for farming, according to the study.


Timothy Beach, author of the study and leader of the Soils and Geoarchaeology Lab, said the research began in the early 1990s as part of the Programme for Belize Archaeological Project. He said at that time, a multidisciplinary team discovered there was significantly more ancient Mayan settlement in Belize, including canals and wetland fields, than they had previously believed.


“We did 15 to 20 years of slogging through trails doing excavations,” Beach said. “And through that work, we developed a hypothesis that perhaps there’s a lot more of these wetland canals and fields.”


In 2016, Beach said researchers were able to shoot laser pulses through a dense forest canopy and produced a high-resolution recording of the forest floor. He said this technology revealed more of the canal features and the canal system surrounding the fields.


Sheryl Luzzadder-Beach, co-author of the study and professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment, said the more that is discovered about ancient farming, the more that can be understood about the greenhouse gases they produced in the past. She said in addition to the human impact, the research also tells a story about human innovation.


“The ancient Maya adapted fields that had been previously dry-farmed … and built an incredible infrastructure to continue farming,” Luzzadder-Beach said.


The clearing and enlarging of the fields may have come at an environmental cost by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane from land-clearing burning events and farming, a problem that has implications toward the volume of greenhouse gas emissions around the world today, according to a press release from the College of Liberal Arts.


Fred Valdez, co-author of the study and anthropology professor, said looking at the Maya from thousands of years ago helps us understand how humans adapt to a changing environment.


“The general trend worldwide, through all of human history, is that humans are very slow to pay attention to the warning signs and we usually react too late,” Valdez said. “All of those indicators have a lot of valuable information that applies to us today. The catch in that is whether people will pay attention to it.”


Author: Avery Wohleb | Source: The Daily Texan [October 17, 2019]



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Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia

Archaeologists in Croatia have unearthed the fossilised remains of a Roman chariot buried along with two horses as part of a burial ritual.











Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Franjo Sorcik/Novosti

A large burial chamber for an ‘extremely wealthy family’ was found in which the carriage with what appears to be two horses had been lain.
Archaeologists from the City Museum Vinkovci and Institute of Archaeology from Zagreb discovered the Roman carriage on two wheels (known in Latin as a cisium) with horses at the Jankovacka Dubrava site close to the village of Stari Jankovci, near the city of Vinkovci, in eastern Croatia.











Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Franjo Sorcik/Novosti

The discovery is believed to be an example of how those with extreme wealth were sometimes buried along with their horses.


Curator Boris Kratofil explained to local media that the custom of burial under tumuli (an ancient burial mound) was an exceptional burial ritual during the Roman period in the south of the Pannoinan Basin.











Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Franjo Sorcik/Novosti

He said: ‘The custom is associated with extremely wealthy families who have played a prominent role in the administrative, social and economic life of the province of Pannonia.’
The discovery is estimated to be from the third century AD but the team of scientists are working to confirm its age.











Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Franjo Sorcik/Novosti

The director of the Institute of Archaeology Marko Dizdar said that it was a sensational discovery which is unique in Croatia.


He said: ‘After this comes a long process of restoration and conservation of the findings, but also a complete analysis of the findings.











Roman chariot burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Franjo Sorcik/Novosti

‘In a few years we will know a little more about the family whose members were buried in this area 1,800 years ago.


‘We are more interested in the horses themselves, that is, whether they were bred here or came from other parts of the empire, which will tell us more about the importance and wealth of this family.


‘We will achieve this through cooperation with domestic as well as numerous European institutions.’


Author: Milly Vincent | Source: Daily Mail [October 18, 2019]



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New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck

In October 2019 the underwater archaeological research at the legendary Antikythera Shipwreck was re-activated and this time it was carried out by a Greek-only team, led by Dr. Angeliki Simosi, Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Euboea.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

The expedition was extremely successful, despite the adverse weather conditions and the limited duration of the research, which could be characterized as a rescue one. The research operation was supported by the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation with the contribution of the ship “Typhoon”, which was kindly tasked by the Athanasios C. Laskaridis Charitable Foundation to be used during the field operations.
The wreck site was re-identified and re-defined following the last expedition of September 2017. Five sacks of sand were recovered, which had been left on the seabed since the previous excavation period. Their content was carefully sifted by a specialized conservator of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities in the presence of two archaeologists. During this process the conservator collected bones that need to be analyzed, possible olive pits, bronze spikes from the ship and a bronze ring, whose use has not yet been identified.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Additionally, a 110x110x45cm plastic basket, filled with amphora fragments was lifted. Among the findings is an iron stem with a circular end.


An important fact is that among the amphorae bases from the island of Kos, a different type was identified, whose origin is not yet known and needs identification. From the surface of the sea bottom the team recovered three amphorae necks, two of which are of Laboglia 2 type, originating from South Italy, and one is from Kos, as well as a whole amphora from Kos with only one handle missing.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

An impressive finding is a fragment of wood, probably a structural element of the ship, with four bronze spikes. All findings were transported to the conservation laboratory of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities for further processing. During the expedition, the photogrammetric mapping of the wreck site was completed.
Participants from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities included Dr. George Koutsouflakis as a scientific responsible, Head of the Department of Underwater Archaeological Sites, Monuments and Research, Aikaterini Tagonidou, architect-diver, and Chryssa Fouseki, conservator-diver. Their contribution to the expedition’s success was invaluable and for this the Director of the project would like to thank them warmly.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

Of note is the fact that the underwater archaeological research team for the first time included four divers of the Greek Coast Guard, Dimitris Stamoulis, George Lytrivis, Dimitrios Chatziaslan and Athanasios Keitzis. Expert technical divers Alexandros Sotiriou, Nikos Giannoulakis and Athanasios Chronopoulos, as well as two marine archaeologists, Orestis Manousos and Achilles Dionysopoulos also took active part in the operation.


All the research operations were filmed by videographer Michael Tsimperopoulos. The operational director of the expedition was Alexandros Palatianos, Commodore (ret’d) of the Hellenic Navy.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

The Director of the project, underwater archaeologist Dr. Angeliki Simosi, dived with the team and remained on the field throughout the whole research expedition, carried out by a twenty-member team.
It is the first time that a team of this size forms and includes besides the well-trained and experienced deep divers the “Typhoon”, a three-thousand-ton special ship that provided support to the operations. This unique vessel is 72 meters long and 16 meters wide and is equipped with state-of-the-art navigational systems. Its operations platform hosts five large inflatable vessels, that can deploy as needed during the operation.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

With the current scientific mission of October 2019, the first five-year research project has concluded, with the significant contribution of Minister Dr. Lina Mendoni, who supported since the very beginning the two-year effort for the resuming of the research by the project team.


Based on the results of this expedition, preparations for the new five-year research project start right away, beginning May 2020, with the continuation of the excavation at selected positions at the site of the shipwreck, where  indications exist that new impressive findings will come to light.











New findings from the underwater archaeological research at the Antikythera shipwreck
Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture

After the submission of the first five-year excavation report, complete publication of the results will soon follow.


Source: Return to AntiKythera [October 18, 2019]



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Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor

Egypt revealed Saturday a rare trove of 30 ancient wooden coffins that have been well-preserved over millennia in the archaeologically rich Valley of the Kings in Luxor.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

The antiquities ministry officially unveiled the discovery made at Asasif, a necropolis on the west bank of the Nile River, at a press conference against the backdrop of the Hatshepsut Temple.
«This is the first discovery in Asasif by dedicated Egyptian hands, comprised of archaeologists, conservationists and workers,» the head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa al-Waziri, told reporters.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

The 30 ornately decorated coffins of men, women and children were found only a metre (three feet) underground, stacked in two rows. They are believed to belong to family members of high priests.


Waziri explained that excavations of the site in the 19th century had revealed royal tombs, but this latest discovery had yielded a collection of priests’ burials.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

The sarcophagi date back to the 22nd Dynasty, founded around 3,000 years ago in the 10th century BC.


Despite their age, black, green, red and yellow paintings of snakes, birds, lotus flowers and hieroglyphics that cover the coffins are still clearly visible.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

A sealed coffin belonging to a young ancient Egyptian child was incomplete and unpainted.
«We only did remedial first-aid on these well-preserved coffins. They are considered to be in great condition because there were hardly any settlements» around the site, local antiquities ministry restorer Saleh Abdel-Gelil told AFP.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Discoveries of ancient Egyptian relics had slowed after the 2011 Arab Spring revolution that toppled long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak and plunged the country in political turmoil, according to Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany.


Several high-level officials, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, have in recent weeks affirmed Egypt’s stability following rare, small-scale protests in September that drew a heavy-handed response from security forces.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

«Now in Egypt we have more security so we have more foreign nationals. We have more than 250 (archaeological) missions. More work equals more discoveries», he told AFP on the sidelines of the press conference.


At Marsam, a boutique hotel in Luxor, the flurry of archaeological discoveries in recent years has translated into good business and foot traffic.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

«You can say two years ago we noticed a difference. There was less than half the people that we have today,» said Birte Fuchs, a German who manages the Marsam with her husband and local partners. «Tourism is coming back».
This year, over 11 million visitors travelled to Egypt, following a sharp dip in numbers after the revolution.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

Egypt has sought to promote its archaeological heritage and finds in a bid to revive its vital tourism sector, which has suffered due to political insecurity and terror attacks.


However, critics point to archaeological sites and museums suffering from negligence and poor management. But Enany, the minister, remains upbeat.











Egypt unveils trove of ancient coffins excavated in Luxor
Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP

«Some people, we don’t have to mention names, don’t want us to have these discoveries… that impress the world,» said Enany before throngs of tourists, referring to detractors.


«These discoveries are priceless for Egypt’s reputation,» he added.



Sporting his trademark cowboy hat, Egyptologist Zahi Hawass, who has consistently promoted his discoveries to a global audience, was also at Saturday’s unveiling.


He took selfies with tourists who flocked to the coffins.


Author: Farid Farid | Source: AFP [October 19, 2019]



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Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate

An ancient walkway most likely used by pilgrims as they made their way to worship at the Temple Mount has been uncovered in the «City of David» in the Jerusalem Walls National Park.











Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate
View of the foundations of the Western Wall (left) and the retaining wall that abutted it,
built on bedrock (below). To the right are the constructive layers that filled
 the support system [Credit: M. Hagbi, IAA]

In a new study published in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, researchers at the Israel Antiquities Authority detail finding over 100 coins beneath the paving stones that date the street to approximately 31 CE. The finding provides strong evidence that the street was commissioned by Pontius Pilate.


After six years of extensive archaeological excavations, researchers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University have uncovered a 220-meter-long section of an ancient street first discovered by British archaeologists in 1894. The walkway ascends from the Pool of Siloam in the south to the Temple Mount.


Both monuments are hugely significant to followers of Judaism and Christianity. The Temple Mount, located within the Old City of Jerusalem, has been venerated as a holy site for thousands of years. At the time of the street’s construction, it is where Jesus is said to have cured a man’s blindness by sending him to wash in the Siloam Pool.


The excavation revealed over 100 coins trapped beneath paving stones. The latest coins were dated between 17 CE to 31 CE, which provides firm evidence that work began and was completed during the time that Pontius Pilate governed Judea.











Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate
The pavement of the street and the solid foundation that was exposed in a place
where no paving stones were preserved [Credit: A. Peretz, IAA]

«Dating using coins is very exact,» says Dr Donald T. Ariel, an archaeologist and coin expert with the Israel Antiquities Authority, and one of the co-authors of the article. «As some coins have the year in which they were minted on them, what that means is that if a coin with the date 30 CE on it is found beneath the street, the street had to be built in the same year or after that coin had been minted, so any time after 30 CE.»


«However, our study goes further, because statistically, coins minted some 10 years later are the most common coins in Jerusalem, so not having them beneath the street means the street was built before their appearance, in other words only in the time of Pilate.»


The magnificent street — 600 meters long and approximately 8 meters wide — was paved with large stone slabs, as was customary throughout the Roman Empire. The researchers estimate that some 10,000 tons of quarried limestone rock was used in its construction, which would have required considerable skill.


The opulent and grand nature of the street coupled with the fact that it links two of the most important spots in Jerusalem — the Siloam Pool and Temple Mount — is strong evidence that the street acted as a pilgrim’s route.











Archaeologists uncover 2,000-year-old street in Jerusalem built by Pontius Pilate
Location map marking excavation sites [Credit: Drawing: D. Levi, IAA;
printed by permission of the Survey of Israel]

«If this was a simple walkway connecting point A to point B, there would be no need to build such a grand street,» says Dr Joe Uziel and Moran Hagbi, archaeologists at the Israel Antiquities Authority, co-authors of the study. «At its minimum it is 8 meters wide. This, coupled with its finely carved stone and ornate ‘furnishings’ like a stepped podium along the street, all indicate that this was a special street.»


«Part of it may have been to appease the residents of Jerusalem, part of it may have been about the way Jerusalem would fit in the Roman world, and part of it may have been to aggrandize his name through major building projects,» says author Nahshon Szanton.


The paving stones of the street were found hidden beneath layers of rubble, thought to be from when the Romans captured and destroyed the city in 70 CE. The rubble contained weapons such as arrowheads and sling stones, remains of burnt trees, and collapsed stones from the buildings along its edge.


It is possible that he had the street constructed to reduce tensions with the Jewish population. «We can’t know for sure? although all these reasons do find support in the historical documents, and it is likely that it was some combination of the three.»


Source: Taylor & Francis Group [October 20, 2019]



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