понедельник, 5 августа 2019 г.

Tobacco Tumours Tobacco contains over 7000 chemicals; around…


Tobacco Tumours


Tobacco contains over 7000 chemicals; around 70 can cause cancer. It’s no wonder then that the leading cause of lung adenocarcinoma is smoking. Toxic tobacco chemicals cause dangerous genetic mutations in lung cells, particularly in the KRAS gene. However, which lung cells are most prone to form tumours is unclear. Researchers investigated this in a mouse model of lung adenocarcinoma. Mice were genetically manipulated to express fluorescent markers in different lung cell types and were exposed to tobacco chemicals. Micro-CT captured sections through (pictured, top row) and 3D models of (bottom row) their lungs, revealing clear tumours. Fluorescent imaging identified airway epithelial cells as originators of the tumours. Using DNA sequencing, KRAS mutations were identified in these cells as expected. Removing airway epithelial cells before exposing the mice to tobacco chemicals prevented tumour formation. Targeting these cells early on could therefore prevent the progression of this often fatal cancer.


Written by Lux Fatimathas



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CryoSat conquers ice on Arctic lakes


ESA — CRYOSAT Mission logo.


5 August 2019



CryoSat

The rapidly changing climate in the Arctic is not only linked to melting glaciers and declining sea ice, but also to thinning ice on lakes. The presence of lake ice can be easily monitored by imaging sensors and standard satellite observations, but now adding to its list of achievements, CryoSat can be used to measure the thickness of lake ice – another indicator of climate change.


CryoSat, one of ESA’s Earth Explorer satellites, carries the first radar altimeter of its kind. The instrument is traditionally used to determine the thickness of sea ice floating in oceans and to monitor changes in vast ice sheets on land, providing evidence of Earth’s diminishing polar ice.



Great Bear Lake and Great Slave Lake

Lakes in North America’s Arctic and sub-Arctic regions cover between 15% and 40% of the landscape, and play an important role in the region’s climate. They are also a vital resource for both society and an important habitat for aquatic wildlife.


Used as a platform for activities such as fishing, hunting and travel, knowledge of ice thickness is important for assessing safety. Monitoring changes in water volume and levels are also important for the supply of water for domestic, commercial and industrial use.


For the first time, CryoSat’s altimeter has been used to measure the thickness of ice in the Great Slave Lake and the Great Bear Lake, in the Northwest Territory of Canada. Scientists from the University of Alberta and York University have documented their findings in a paper published in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing.



Great Slave Lake

The Great Slave Lake and the Great Bear Lake were chosen for their flat and smooth icy surfaces, and scientists were able to distinguish radar reflections from both ice-free and ice-covered areas. By subtracting the travel times of the radar signals between the ice surface and ice bottom, they were able to measure the thickness of the ice floating on the lake.


The distance between the two reflections increased during winter, representing the seasonal thickening of the lake ice, and were then accurately validated with in situ drill-hole measurements.


Christian Haas from the University of Bremen (formerly at York and Alberta), said, “Thanks to CryoSat, we are able to study seasonal changes and cycles of ice thickness, as well as volume and variability for many other smaller lakes in the sub-Arctic.



Radargram of Great Slave Lake

“Although we have chosen to study the two largest lakes in the region, the same method can be applied to many other smaller lakes.


“In addition to monitoring ice thickness, the method could also be used to retrieve lake water levels and volume throughout winter.”


Jerome Bouffard, CryoSat’s data quality manager, says “We are delighted to see such results coming from CryoSat. Its data can provide key information over multiple surfaces that are critical to scientists’ understanding of the role that ice plays in the Earth system, at both local and global scales.”


Related links:


Retrievals of Lake Ice Thickness using CryoSat: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=7891554


CryoSat: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat


Images, Text, Credits: ESA/Christian Haas/CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO/Figure from Beckers et al. (2017).


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Two weeks of science and Beyond


ESA — Beyond Mission patch.


5 August 2019



ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano’s Beyond mission logo

Over two weeks have flown by since ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was launched to the International Space Station for his second six-month stay in orbit. His arrival, alongside NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan and Roscosmos Soyuz commander Alexander Skvortsov, boosted the Station’s population to six and the crew has been busy ever since – performing a wide range of science in space.



Luca performs GRIP experiment on the International Space Station



With the start of Luca’s Beyond mission on 21 July, and the capture of SpaceX’s Dragon 18 cargo vehicle on 27 July, came a host of new European experiments. We begin with a couple you may recognise from Alexander Gerst’s Horizons mission as Luca re-adapts to his orbital workplace.


Handling weightlessness


When you lift a cup of coffee, you are moving it against gravity. The amount of force you use to lift that cup or move any other object is something you learn as a child but, in the weightlessness of space, it is something astronauts must relearn.


The GRIP experiment studies how the central nervous system controls movements and the forces astronauts use to manipulate objects with their hands. After setting the experiment up in Europe’s Columbus laboratory on 28 July, both Luca and Andrew performed their first Grip sessions last week.



Configuring GRIP

Luca will take part in three GRIP sessions while on the International Space Station. He already performed two sessions on Earth and he will perform another three following his return. During each session, Luca will hold an object equipped with measuring instruments between his right thumb and index finger and carry out a variety of movements.


The results will help researchers understand potential hazards for astronauts as they move between different gravitational environments and improve the design of haptic interfaces used during deep space missions.



Horizons mission – Getting a good GRASP on gravity

GRASP (Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance) is another one you may remember from Alexander’s Horizons mission. Here researchers seek to better understand how the central nervous system integrates information from different senses, such as sight, sound and touch, to coordinate hand movements and determine what role gravity plays. Both Luca and Andrew also performed their first in-space GRASP sessions at the end of last week, wearing virtual reality headsets as they carried out a range of tasks.


The results of GRASP will be helpful in guiding astronauts during spacewalks and developing the most effective ways of controlling robots remotely from space. But they will also help us better treat disorders relating to vertigo, dizziness, balance and spatial orientation on Earth and could help surgeons and other professionals who need to tele-operate equipment.


First glimpse at new experiments


The first new experiment Luca set-up as part of his second mission was NutrISS. Developed by Kaiser Italia for the Italian space agency ASI and ESA, this experiment will periodically assess any changes in Luca’s body weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass during spaceflight, juxtapose this with his diet and better equip medical teams to provide advice for maintaining good health in orbit.



Paolo Nespoli using EveryWear app

Luca will use an app called Everywear to record the results of each measurement session and log his nutritional intake for five consecutive days. Everywear is like the space version of MyFitnessPal and allows astronauts to track their intake by scanning barcodes on the food they eat. The information Luca enters into Everywear will be accessible to his medical team who will look at it in relation to his measurements and provide dietary recommendations.



Luca installs Biorock in the Space Station’s Kubik facility

As well as NutrISS, Luca also set-up Biorock by retrieving experiment containers from the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI) and installing them in the small temperature-controlled Kubik incubators. The University of Edinburgh experiment will continue to run in Kubik, unleashing a microbe on a basalt rock and assessing the biofilm that forms over the rock as the organism grows. Observing the rock-microbe system in space will help researchers understand the potential for biomining on other planetary bodies like asteroids, where new resources could be unearthed.


Looking ahead


There is plenty planned for the crew in the weeks to come, but one highlight is the installation of Rubi (Reference mUltiscale Boiling Investigation). Developed and built by Airbus for ESA, Rubi experiment addresses the fundamentals of the boiling of fluids and will be installed by Luca in the Columbus module this Friday 9 August. It is similar to an experiment recently conducted during ESA’s 71st Parabolic flight campaign to investigate boiling process in altered states of gravity.



Multiscale Boiling

Rubi’s core element is a cell filled with fluid, which can be heated and cooled using electrical voltage. The boiling process will be triggered on a metal-coated glass heater using a laser, while high-resolution cameras record the formation and growth of vapour bubbles in both the visible and infrared spectrum. Findings from this experiment could help the production of more efficient and environmentally friendly household appliances (stoves, radiators) and heat exchangers for industrial manufacturing processes.


We will be communicating more about Rubi in the days to come. You can also follow this experiment on Twitter and stay tuned for the snapshot of Space Station science: https://twitter.com/BoilingRubi


Related links:


Beyond Mission: https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration/International_Space_Station/Beyond_mission_Luca_Parmitano


Horizons mission: http://blogs.esa.int/alexander-gerst/


GRIP experiment: http://blogs.esa.int/alexander-gerst/2018/06/21/deutsch-fingerfertigkeit-im-all/


GRASP (Gravitational References for Sensimotor Performance): http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2018/06/Alexander_Gerst_during_the_Grasp_Experiment


Everywear: http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2017/09/Paolo_using_EveryWear_app


MyFitnessPal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/


Biorock: https://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2019/03/BioRock


Human and Robotic Exploration: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_and_Robotic_Exploration


Images, Videos, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA/Novespace.


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2019 August 5 A Total Solar Eclipse Reflected Image Credit…


2019 August 5


A Total Solar Eclipse Reflected
Image Credit & Copyright: Thierry Legault


Explanation: If you saw a total solar eclipse, would you do a double-take? One astrophotographer did just that – but it took a lake and a bit of planning. Realizing that the eclipse would be low on the horizon, he looked for a suitable place along the thin swath of South America that would see, for a few minutes, the Moon completely block the Sun, both directly and in reflection. The day before totality, he visited a lake called La Cuesta Del Viento (The Slope of the Wind) and, despite its name, found so little wind that the lake looked like a mirror. Perfect. Returning the day of the eclipse, though, there was a strong breeze churning up the water – enough to ruin the eclipse reflection shot. Despair. But wait! Strangely, about an hour before totality, the wind died down. This calmness may have been related to the eclipse itself, because eclipsed ground heats the air less and reduces the amount rising warm air – which can dampen and even change the wind direction. The eclipse came, his tripod and camera were ready, and so was the lake. The featured image of this double-eclipse came from a single exposure lasting just one fifteenth of a second. Soon after totality, the winds returned and the water again became choppy. No matter – this double-image of the 2019 July total solar eclipse had been captured forever.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190805.html


Owl agate mineral from Mexico | #Geology #GeologyPage #Agate…


Owl agate mineral from Mexico | #Geology #GeologyPage #Agate #Mineral


Credit: Classic rock and gem


Geology Page

www.geologypage.com

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0x9A2hAZrJ/?igshid=1xy3r1sv0trkr


Linarite #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral Locality: Blanchard…


Linarite #Geology #GeologyPage #Mineral


Locality: Blanchard Mine, Bingham, Hansonburg District, Socorro Co., New Mexico, USA


Size: 3.1 x 2.2 x 1.9 cm


Photo Copyright © Saphira Minerals


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The hidden satellites of the first massive galaxies and quasars


This animation shows the typical cosmological environment of bright quasars. The quasar host galaxy, which is about ten times smaller than the Milky Way, is continuously fed by a network of filaments that bring in large gas masses. The black hole at the centre continues to grow and powers powerful galactic outflows.(video)


New cosmological simulations targeting the evolution of the first quasars and their host galaxies now follow the effects of radiation from young stars on the interstellar medium. As the international team shows, stellar radiation can alter both the properties of the quasar host galaxy and its satellites, making them more diffuse and less tightly-bound. Satellites are more easily disrupted by the strong tidal forces of the massive central galaxy, which therefore contains a smaller satellite population.


Quasars are some of the brightest objects in the Universe, powered by supermassive black holes as they swallow prodigious amounts of interstellar gas to grow to masses about a billion times that of the Sun. The luminous output of quasars can be so high that they often outshine entire galaxies, remaining within the reach of telescopes out to extreme distances. The most distant quasars currently known lie close to 13 billion light-years away and their light as observed today was emitted when the Universe was only a few hundred million years old, less than 10% its current age. The properties of the galaxies and cosmic environments in which quasars evolve remain very poorly understood, however.


Sophisticated hydrodynamic simulations performed on large supercomputers are able to model key processes ranging from gas cooling, star formation and the production of hot gas through supernova explosions to black hole growth. These `mock’ or simulated Universes can be used to study the evolution of the first quasars lighting up the early Universe. According to these simulations, quasars form at the centre of massive galaxies with stellar masses on the order of 100 billion Suns. The quasar host galaxy, which is about ten times smaller than the Milky Way, is continuously fed by a network of filaments that bring in large gas masses, ensuring sustained star formation and black hole growth in the galactic nucleus, while the quasar launches powerful galactic outflows (see animation). Another key prediction of such simulations is that an anomalously large population of massive satellite galaxies should surround the massive galaxies hosting the first quasars.



Fig. 2 shows the distribution of hot gas in a region hundreds of thousands of light years across around the massive galaxy, in the simulation without stellar radiation (top) and with stellar radiation (bottom). The right-hand panel of Fig. 2 zooms-in on the massive galaxy itself, showing the distribution of stars within the central regions. Here again we can see the effects of stellar radiation, which appears to not only result in a larger, more `puffed-up’ galaxy (bottom) but also in a smaller number of stellar clumps around the galaxy. © MPA


Most previous simulations have excluded the effect of radiation from young stars on interstellar gas, which can potentially alter the properties of both the quasar host galaxy and its satellites. The importance of stellar radiation for the evolution of these massive systems has therefore remained unknown. An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, the Centre de Rechèrche Astrophysique de Lyon (France) and Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea) therefore set out to explore the effect of `switching-on’ stellar radiation on the evolution of a simulated quasar host galaxy. In order to successfully model stellar radiation, it was necessary to perform fully radiation-hydrodynamic, cosmological simulations, or in other words, to model both the hydrodynamic evolution of interstellar and intergalactic gas as well as to model the propagation of radiation from each individual stellar population in the simulation.


Remarkably, the new simulations show that stellar radiation can have significant consequences for the evolution and the structure of massive galaxies such as those hosting the first bright quasars. Stellar radiation has the counter-intuitive effect of reducing the amount of hot gas at cosmic scales. This is because, as stars form, their radiation heats up interstellar gas in their vicinity preventing it from collapsing and forming stars in turn. But since a reduced star formation implies a smaller number of supernova explosions, stellar radiation indirectly results in lower amounts of hot gas. Stellar radiation not only reduces the total number of stars, but also the number of stellar “clumps” around the galaxy (see Fig. 2). Why is that and what is the nature of the stellar clumps that exist in the simulation without stellar radiation but seemingly go away when stellar light is `turned-on’?



Fig. 3 shows a time-sequence of three galaxies that end up as satellites of the massive quasar-host galaxy without (top) and with (bottom) stellar radiation. The satellites are strongly disrupted by tidal forces as they orbit around the massive central but often survive in the form of compact stellar clumps if radiation is neglected, while they are mostly destroyed if stellar radiation is included. © MPA


In order to answer this question, the researchers selected different galaxies within the simulation starting from a time when their virtual Universe was only about 600 million years old and traced them forward in time. They found that many of these galaxies end up as satellites around the massive quasar host galaxy, but that while many satellites survive as they orbit the central galaxy in the simulation without stellar radiation, these same satellites are sometimes completely destroyed in the simulation with stellar radiation.


This means that by preventing star formation, stellar radiation results in less massive galaxies, more vulnerable to destruction by strong tidal forces as they pass close to their massive central galaxy (for example note the evolution of the galaxy shown in green in Fig. 3). Stellar radiation thus indirectly results in the early demise of satellite galaxies around quasar-host galaxies in the early Universe, making them appear to have fewer neighbours than if stellar radiation was neglected. The simulations predict that the galaxies hosting the first quasars should be surrounded by a large number of streams of stripped stellar material, the remnants of destroyed satellites.





Author

Tiago Costa
Postdoc
Phone: 2033
Email: tcosta@mpa-garching.mpg.de
Room: 222



Original Publication


1. Costa, T. et al.

The hidden satellites of the first massive galaxies and quasars

submitted to MNRAS



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Say hello to the Carina Nebula 👋 One of the largest panoramic…


Say hello to the Carina Nebula 👋 


One of the largest panoramic images ever taken with our Hubble Space Telescope’s cameras, this image features a stunning 50-light-year-wide view of the intense central region of the Carina Nebula — a strange stellar nursery. The nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. The Carina Nebula lies within our own galaxy, about 7,500 light-years away. 


At the heart of the nebula is Eta Carinae — a system of two stars. The larger star, Eta Car A, is around 100 times as massive as the Sun and 5 million times as luminous! Stars of this size are extremely rare; our galaxy is home to hundreds of billions of stars, but only tens of them are as massive as Eta Car A.


This view of the Carina Nebula provided astronomers the opportunity to explore the process of star birth at a new level of detail. The hurricane-strength blast of stellar winds and blistering ultraviolet radiation within the cavity are now compressing the surrounding walls of cold hydrogen. This is triggering a second stage of new star formation. Hubble has also enabled scientists to generate 3-D models that reveal never-before-seen features of the interactions between the Eta Carinae star system.


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


Large mosaic with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy’s Trevi

Approximately 50 square metres of well-preserved Roman mosaics featuring a series of marine motifs have re-emerged during the archaeological excavations on the site of Pietrarossa, in the Umbrian municipality of Trevi.











Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi
Credit: Scavi archeologici di Pietrarossa

This is not the first time that remains from the Roman era have surfaced in Trevi. Over the last five years, in fact, another mosaic of about 80 square metres was discovered, again with marine motifs.


Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi

Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi










Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi
Credit: Scavi archeologici di Pietrarossa

The mayor of Trevi, Bernardino Sperandio, explained: «These are very important discoveries, which suggest the presence of a river port on the Clitunno which was navigable at the time. We also found the remains of a building, which was probably an emporium, a clear sign that goods were arriving here.»


Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi










Large mosaic with with polychrome marine motifs uncovered in Italy's Trevi
Credit: Scavi archeologici di Pietrarossa

The excavation campaigns, which have been organised in July for the last five years, cost about 10,000 euros and have so far been financed by the Municipality and the Metelli company of Foligno through the art bonus: «It is hard both to continue the excavations on your own and to start the process of enhancing the Pietrarossa site, which we want to open to visitors. Money is needed.»


Source: Umbria 24 [trsl. TANN, July 31, 2019]



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Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date

In the middle of the Bronze Age, sometime between 2100 and 1500 BC, a group of settlers took up residence on a craggy hill outside what is now the village of Garcinarro, in Spain’s Cuenca province. Around 400 BC, they were sent packing by the Iberians, who in turn were swept aside by the Romans; and they, by the Visigoths. But instead of destroying the evidence of the culture that preceded them, each of these distinct peoples simply built on top of it.











Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
The building sits atop a hill with a sheer cliff protecting it on one side
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]

As a result, as experts point out, this eight-hectare archaeological site known as La Cava is “a series of time capsules.” When archaeologists opened it, they found the largest Iberian building known to date, complete with three rooms more than three meters high.
“There’s nothing like it that we know of, but we’re still investigating,” says Miguel Ángel Valero, professor of ancient history at the University of Castilla-La Mancha. “What we usually find in these kinds of digs are the remains of walls made of stone or adobe, which every now and again rise above a meter high.”


Mar Juzgado, an archaeologist on Valero’s team, adds, “We don’t know what we are going to find at this site, because there is nothing similar to compare it with.”











Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
View of the room divided and leading directly to a cliff with more than 60 metres drop
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
The so-called room C of the building had a dividing wall on which the roof of the building was anchored
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
In the foreground the hearth of the central room of the Iberian building
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
The remains of walls made with stones or adobes rarely exceed the height metre
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]

At the start of this decade, the mayor of Garcinarro at the time, Antonio Fernández Odene, was convinced there was an archaeological treasure to be found on the outskirts of town, and he badgered the authorities about it. His words fell on deaf ears, however, until Valero noticed something odd on the archaeological map – a secret document signaling possible digs in an area. Archaeologists started working here in 2014, and Valero was rewarded with evidence of a mishmash of cultures that had settled strategically at a central spot for north-south communications in the peninsula, up on a cliff more than 60 meters high.
Besides a “unique building” that measures 70 square meters, the complex includes the remains of a Bronze Age settlement, a rampart from that period whose height is yet to be established, and an area covered with hundreds of small holes on a rocky surface, which could have been made for decorative or spiritual purposes. There is also a 70-meter long gallery, which is seven meters deep, dug out of the rock by the pre-Roman settlers, and dozens of coves, which would have been occupied by hermits during the Visigoth era.











Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Archaeologist Mar Jurado inspects the niches that surround the interior of one of the three rooms
of the «singular building» [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Miguel Ángel Valero shows the traces of dwellings from the Iron Age settlement that
was built over the hillock [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Hundreds of cup marks cover a stone area of the La Cava deposit. They were drilled for magical
or decorative purposes [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Valero approaches the end of the 70-metre-long ravine that the Iberians dug into the rock of the hill
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
The professor shows one of the rock-carved basins found inside the ravine
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]

While the archaeologists are still unable to establish the use of the unique building itself, there are a number of theories, one of which is that it served as a temple; another, that it was a space for storage and product handling.
One of the building’s three rooms is itself divided into two areas. The middle room is accessed by a door made from rock that would have had a lintel, while its southern wall had a large recess more than a meter high. It is possible that the lintel was punctuated by holes to allow the sun rays to shine on the alcove, where the Iberians may have placed a divinity figure.











Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Archaeologists have already managed to remove more than one metre of earth from the ravine open on the rock,
the purpose of which is still unknown [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
The director of the excavations, Miguel Ángel Valero, inside one of the Visigothic hermitages
surrounding the La Cava site [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Interior of a Roman cistern located next to the Vega river and the La Cava deposit
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Interior of one of the caves where the hermits prayed during the Visigothic period
[Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]










Spanish archaeologists discover largest Iberian-era building known to date
Visigothic cross carved next to one of the caves inhabited by the hermits in the current
municipality of Garcinarro [Credit: Victor Saina/El Pais]

What is surprising is that the sun would only touch this point at the end of the month of August – some time away from the summer and winter solstices, which would set it apart from all other known sundials. “It’s a mystery because the end of August does not coincide with any agricultural season,” says Valero. “Why would they want to mark this date?”
It is possible that some kind of earthquake led to the lintel falling over the cliff that protects the building on the north side, but the archaeologists are confident they will find it. The rooms are lined with wall recesses and basins, and on the floors it is still possible to detect evidence of hearths and even the imprints of tables. Archaeologists have also come across ceramics, brooches and tools such as hammers and picks from the Iberian era, fragments of terra sigillata tableware from the Roman era, and metal pieces from the Visigoths.



The archaeological treasures from all these periods have survived thanks to the use that shepherds made of the site for their sheep. The mysterious 70-meter gallery, for example, was a decent place to keep dozens of animals. And these animals, with their waste, helped to conserve the remains that the Iberians, Romans and Visigoths had left over a period of 25 centuries.


Author: Vicente G. Olaya; trsl. Heather Galloway | Source: El Pais [August 01, 2019]



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Relay Station Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are crucial relay…


Relay Station


Spiral ganglion neurons (SGNs) are crucial relay stations for signals travelling from our ears to the brain. Located in the cochlea [part of the inner ear], SGN cell bodies (here in green) send auditory information about the world around us to the brain via their axon fibres (in red). Specifically, they relay electrochemical signals created by cochlear hair cells that inform the brain about sound vibrations detected in the environment, which helps both hearing and balance. There are many different SGN sub-categories that help us make sense of the broad range of sounds that we encounter, each with their own structural and molecular properties. This image of SGNs was taken from a recent study looking into the characteristics of different SGN sub-categories in mice. The researchers found that a specific protein affects the molecular features of some SGNs, helping to better understand the role of these neurons within the auditory pathway.


Written by Gaëlle Coullon



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1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland

The burnt remains of human beings have been found in graves that are around 1,400 years old. Archaeologists made the grim discovery in the village of Wolka Prusinowska in the northern region of Masuria, which is known for its lakes.











1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland
Credit: Monika Radzikowska

The four graves also contained a small number of objects. All the bodies were incinerated before being buried. After that, the remains were placed directly in pits in the ground.
It seems that the temperature of the funeral pyre was not too high, given that the bones have survived relatively well for over a thousand years. 


1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland










1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland
Credit: Monika Radzikowska

Two of the bodies were found buried with objects. Fragments of a ceramic cup were found in one of their graves. The traces of fire on it indicate that it was burnt along with the body.
The other grave contained a clasp, along with a dozen or so beads made of spirally-twisted bronze wire. There were also numerous pieces of melted bronze, which appear to be the remains of decorations. The other two graves only contained burnt human remains.


1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland










1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland
Credit: Monika Radzikowska

The Polish archaeologists are not the first to investigate the burial grounds. Around the start of the 20th Century, a Prussian team discovered almost two hundred graves there.
«However, despite extensive research, they failed to determine how big the cemetery was,» said Iwona Lewoc, a PhD student associated with the University of Warsaw’s Institute of Archaeology who has a longstanding interest in Baltic archaeology, who is leading the research with Kamil Niemczak.











1,400-year-old cremation burials found in northeastern Poland
Credit: Monika Radzikowska

In their view, the burial ground was used in the second half of the 6th and 7th Century, when the area was inhabited by descendants of the Baltic population, rather than Slavs.


Following their discovery, the archaeologists hope that anthropological analysis will shed further light on the people in the graves.


Author: Anne Chatham | Source: The First News [July 31, 2019]



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2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed

The excavations of the 73rd excavation season in Empuries have uncovered the top of the cliff that marked the boundary of the area with the bay of the old port harbour of the Greek city. The work completed by this project is part of a new research initiative promoted by the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya, with the aim of studying the old port areas.











2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed
Credit: MAC Empuries

The project has revealed the upper part of the cliff face that defined the limit of the city with the port. The areas in which work has been carried out have allowed the documentation of of structures and spaces that belong to the first occupation of the city centre during the second half of the 6th century BC, as well as other buildings from the Hellenistic and Roman periods.











2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed
Credit: MAC Empuries

Over the course of these three weeks, 27 students from different universities throughout the country, as well as some from Italy and Germany, have participated in the various activities organised as part of the Empuries International Archaeology Course. For the second consecutive year, the activities have revolved around the project of the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya on the installations and the port areas.











2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed
Credit: MAC Empuries

In addition to the work of exploration aimed at reconstructing the ancient coastline of the Greek city, the commencement of new sedimentological surveys is also anticipated which will shed light on the deposition history this area. The excavation work in which the students participated focused on the north end of the city centre in order to document the evolution of urban development in this sector and its connection with the old port.











2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed
Credit: MAC Empuries

Research into some of the graves has likewise shed light on the reuse of this sector as a funerary space during the last two centuries of Roman Empire, after the abandonment of the city centre.











2019 excavations at ancient Greek city of Empuries in Catalonia completed
Credit: MAC Empuries

Meanwhile, the partial removal of sediment that today fills the coastal boundary of the old port has made it possible to visually retrieve the rocky promontory that in some places formed a open small cliff into the sea.


The removal of sediment will continue in future campaigns in order to expose the port’s sea front in order to understand the morphology of the ancient coastal landscape.


Source: Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya — Empuries [trsl. TANN, July 31, 2019]



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