пятница, 24 января 2020 г.

Chester's Roman wall collapses after digging work


Part of Chester's historical city walls has collapsed after digging work by developers. Cheshire West and Chester Council said a section of the wall fell on Thursday evening, causing the development to be suspended.

Chester's Roman wall collapses after digging work
The collapsed wall [Credit: TomLovesLife]
"Early indications appear to show that earth was removed from the bottom of the city walls," a spokesman said.

Chester MP Chris Matheson claimed the developers had received safety warnings about digging so close to the wall.

Chester is the only city in Britain that retains the full circuit of its ancient defensive walls. The city walls, parts of which are almost 2,000 years old, are the oldest, longest and most complete in Britain, according to Visit Cheshire.

Developer MJW Group was granted planning permission for new luxury apartments in the city in April.


"I am appalled that the company carrying out development on this site has not exercised the care and diligence that we expect to see in such close proximity to this iconic ancient monument," Mr Matheson said.

MJW Group has been contacted by the BBC for a comment.

The collapse took place behind Newgate Street near to the walkway leading from the Grosvenor Shopping Centre.

A council spokesman said: "A section of Chester's city walls collapsed last night after excavations being carried out by a private developer, working alongside the historic structure, compromised the integrity of the ancient monument. The removal of too much earth exposed a section of bare foundations."


Councillor Karen Shore, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, highways and strategic transport, said the council was taking the collapse "very seriously" and would ensure a thorough investigation was carried out.

"I am thankful that no-one has been hurt as a result of this collapse and our priority will continue to be public safety," she said.

The collapse is close to the site of another collapse which happened almost 12 years ago.

A team of surveyors, engineers and archaeologists investigated after a 30m section of the wall came down in April 2008.

Source: BBC News Website [January 17, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens


The exhibition showcases the finds from the Mycenaean tholos tomb at Agia Thekla on Tenos, a rare funerary monument in the entire Aegean, which was excavated by Georgios Despinis in 1979. Burial place of members of an “aristocratic” clan, the Agia Thekla tholos tomb is one of only three such Mycenaean tombs known in the Cyclades.

'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Clay model of a chariot from the Sanctuary of Phylakopi in Milos
(2nd half of 12th century BC)
 [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
The precious objects recovered from it reflect the high cultural level of the period and enhance aspects of the Mycenaean Civilization, which can be rightly considered one of the most splendid civilizations in the history of Europe.


Displayed too are antiquities from other important prehistoric sites in the Aegean, specifically from Naxos, Delos, Mykonos, Paros, Melos, Siphnos, Thera and Kea, thus offering visitors a fuller picture of the nature and importance of Mycenaean Civilization in the Cyclades.

'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Bovine figurine from Phylakopi in Milos from the Sanctuary of Phylakopi
in Milos (13th century BC)
 [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Hydra with plastic snakes (12th / early 11th century BC) from the Apollo cemetery
in Naxos (12th/early 11th century BC) 
[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
False amphora with octopus depicting the Kamini cemetery
in Naxos (12th/early 11th century BC) 
[Credit: Ephorate
of Antiquities of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]


'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Small gold beads some of which are in the form of a pomegranate from the Cemetery 
of Kaminio in Naxos (12th/early 11th century BC)[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
 of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Clay figurine of a male figure from the Sanctuary of Phylakopi
 in Milos (12th century BC) 
[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
 of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Figurine of a female figure ("Lady of Phylakopi") from the Sanctuary
of Phylakopi in Milos (about the middle of the 14th century BC)
[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Ivory warrior tile from Artemisio, Delos (14th-13th century BC)
[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]


'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Head of a statue of a male figure from Grotas, Naxos (14th century BC)
[Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Gold leaf plate with representation of a small child from the Cemetery of Kaminio
in Naxos (12th/early 11th century BC) [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
The narrative is structured in units that shed light on basic human activities, such as everyday life, worship, war, funerary customs.

'From Homer’s World: Tenos and the Cyclades in the Mycenaean Age' at the Benaki Museum, Athens
Mycenaean tholos tomb at Agia Thekla on Tenos [Credit: Ephorate of Antiquities
of the Cyclades, K. Xenikakis]
Selected objects, representative items of pottery, metalwork, the minor arts, figurine-modelling and jewellery-making, reveal facets of the remarkable cultural heritage of the Mycenaeans, who were source of inspiration for the pinnacles of world literature, the Iliad and the Odyssey.

The exhibition will remain open until 08/03/2020.

Source: Benaki Museum [October 30, 2019]



* This article was originally published here

Roman coin found in northern Norway may redraw historic trade map


The Roman coin was found only 15 centimetres deep in the soil; it dates back to the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius and is the northernmost find of its kind, signalling that trade contacts in the area date back to the Iron Age.

Roman coin found in northern Norway may redraw historic trade map
This Roman coin dates from the time of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD)
[Credit: Caroline Fredriksen]
In just a few days, hobby archaeologist Ben-Harry Johansen found a 2,000-year-old coin and a richly decorated 1,000-year-old Viking sword at Våg in the municipality of Dønna on the Helgeland coast, national broadcaster NRK reported.

“The coin lay only 15 centimetres into the earth, in the so-called plough layer, where people with metal detectors are allowed to search,” Ben-Harry Johansen recalled with excitement.

Researchers described finds of this calibre as extremely rare, especially at the amateur level.


According to Caroline Fredriksen, a research fellow at the Department of Archaeology and Cultural History at the Science Museum at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, both the coin and the sword are very important finds.

“The sword is special because it has decor with silver and copper inlay. Most people did not possess such great swords in the Viking Age. And the coin is the northernmost Roman coin we have found in Norway,” Fredriksen told NRK.

Ben-Harry Johansen's coin dates back to the time of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius (121-180 AD), according to Fredriksen. Marcus Aurelius, also a Stoic philosopher, ruled from 161 to 180 and was the last of the “Five Good Emperors”, as well as the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire.

Roman coin found in northern Norway may redraw historic trade map
The Viking sword found on Dønna is about 1000 years old, made of iron and has rich
ornaments in silver and copper [Credit: Caroline Fredriksen, NTNU]
“This finding suggests that Dønna had international contacts as early as the Iron Age. The findings show that Nordland was part of the Iron Age trade network,” Fredriksen concluded.

According to the research, metal detectors used for hobby purposes are becoming increasingly trendy in Norway, and the metal search associations are reporting increasing interest. This is reflected in the the number of historical discoveries that increased dramatically over the past decade. This, in turn, has raised objections from a number of professionals, as well as the police.


“In Norway, metal searching is legal, as long as you follow the Cultural Heritage Act, and are complying with the the guidelines for private metal searching,” Frederiksen explained, suggesting that there are arguments to be made for and against hobby archaeology.

37-year-old Ben-Harry Johansen and his friends go on trips with metal detectors as often as they can, but they say it's a time-consuming hobby. Still, he has found several objects of interest, including a silver bracelet, an axe and a lead cross with a runic inscription.

“I am interested in history, and there has been great activity by Vikings here on the island. Here, among other things, there is a boat tomb and several burial mounds, which I find interesting,” Johansen said. “As in Dønna, for example, where the objects found can say something about the wealth and social status of the place, but also who the people here were in contact with”.

Source: Sputnik News [January 20, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

2020 January 24 Into the Shadow Image Credit & Copyright:...



2020 January 24

Into the Shadow
Image Credit & Copyright: Laszlo Francsics

Explanation: On January 21, 2019 moonwatchers on planet Earth saw a total lunar eclipse. In 35 frames this composite image follows the Moon that night as it crossed into Earth’s dark umbral shadow. Taken 3 minutes apart, they almost melt together in a continuous screen that captures the dark colors within the shadow itself and the northern curve of the shadow’s edge. Sunlight scattered by the atmosphere into the shadow causes the lunar surface to appear reddened during totality (left), but close to the umbra’s edge, the limb of the eclipsed Moon shows a remarkable blue hue. The blue eclipsed moonlight originates as rays of sunlight pass through layers high in Earth’s upper stratosphere, colored by ozone that scatters red light and transmits blue. The Moon’s next crossing into Earth’s umbral shadow, will be on May 26, 2021.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap200124.html



* This article was originally published here

Cross Slab Fragments (9th and 10th Century CE), The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December...

Cross Slab Fragments (9th and 10th Century CE), The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Triple Copper Age burial discovered in Croatia


While excavating one of the trenches in the highest part of Kovači in 2019, we discovered a triple Copper Age (?) burial, possibly dating to the period of Kostolac Culture (3250-3000 BCE). Burials of this kind are extremely rare in Croatia and this seems to be the earliest one (other similar examples are known from the famous site of Vučedol, but are connected to the later layers of Vučedol culture).

Triple Copper Age burial discovered in Croatia
Credit: Lovas Archaeological Project
The burial was discovered in almost completely sterile soil above the bedrock, with no traces of a grave pit. Three individuals were buried together and numbered from 1 to 3 (left to right in the above photo).

The bodies of Individuals 1 and 3 were positioned in the same way. They were on their backs, but with their legs leaning to the right, as if they were stepping forward. Their arms were bent in the elbows and pulled to their chests.

Their faces were probably facing east. Individual 1 was a 20-30-year-old female and Individual 3 a 25-35-year-old male. The individual in the middle (Individual 2) was a female between 30 and 40 years of age. She was facing the ground.


Her legs were entangled with the legs of the female on her left, while her right arm was crossed with the right arm of the male individual on her right. Her left arm was extended towards the right and exhibited evidence of severe trauma, possibly caused by beating.

The grave was found almost empty. Only a few sherds and a shell were recovered from the soil surrounding the burials, but they were probably part of the fill of the grave pit (despite the fact that it was not possible to define one). The only burial gift might be a large fragment of a Kostolac culture vessel, which was found below the spine of Individual 1.

The position of the sherd within the grave suggests that it was deposited there at the same time as the deceased individuals and gives us a terminus ante quem non for this grave, but the exact date of this grave could not be determined with certainty.

Another sherd, which joins the one discovered below the spine of Individual 1, was found just above the grave on the border between the sterile layer in which the skeletons were buried and the Bronze Age layer above it.


It is plausible that the sherd discovered in association with the Bronze Age layer came from the destroyed upper layers of the graves. A certain level of disturbance is clear from the fact that the left leg of Individual 2 is missing, as it was destroyed in a later period, but not after the Middle Bronze Age.

However, we are positive that the two sherds were not deposited in the grave in the form of a complete vessel, as Individual 1 was deposited on top of one of the sherds. Therefore, the vessel must have been fragmented before it was deposited in the grave.

Alternatively, both sherds could have originated from the Copper Age layers which were disturbed during the Middle Bronze Age. One of the sherds might have been deposited in the grave together with the fill of the grave, while the other might have remained mixed with the rest of the Middle Bronze Age material.

This could suggest that the grave should be dated to the Middle Bronze Age, but since the grave was covered with Middle Bronze Age layers, this is the latest possible date. The future C14 dating should provide us with the date for the grave.

Source: Lovas Archaeological Project [January 20, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Model Reconstruction of Bronze Age Settlement, Great Orme Prehistoric Copper Mine, Llandudno, North...

Model Reconstruction of Bronze Age Settlement, Great Orme Prehistoric Copper Mine, Llandudno, North Wales.



* This article was originally published here

4,500-year-old baby bottles discovered in eastern Turkey


Archaeologists have discovered ancient baby bottles dating back to 2500 B.C. during excavations at Norik Mound in Turkey's eastern Bingöl province.

4,500-year-old baby bottles discovered in eastern Turkey
Credit: IHA
The discovery was made at the early Bronze Age settlement in Murat village in Bingöl's Solhan district, Ihlas News Agency (IHA) reported Sunday. Archaeologists found three artifacts with spouts identified as baby bottles made out of clay. The bottles had single handles and could hold approximately 50 to 150 milligrams of liquid, the report said.


The excavations were carried out under the coordination of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Elazığ Museum Director Ziya Kılınç and with the consultation of Fırat University's Archaeology Department Dean Abdulkadir Özdemir. Kılınç noted that archaeologists had successfully unearthed 46 sections of the 100-square-meter settlement.

4,500-year-old baby bottles discovered in eastern Turkey
Credit: IHA
"All objects found in the settlement were transferred to our museum after being recorded," Kılınç said, adding that they had identified 124 objects in total. He continued by saying that the oldest artifacts had only been unearthed after archaeologists finally reached the lowest layer of the mound.


Kılınç noted that the baby bottles constituted the most interesting find, adding that similar bottles dating back 2,000 years had been discovered two years ago in the western province of Çanakkale. He referred to the rare artifacts as "valuable items" for the Elazığ Museum.

4,500-year-old baby bottles discovered in eastern Turkey
Credit: IHA
Around 600 artifacts from various periods discovered at the mound have been added to the museum inventory in total, according to Kılınç, who noted the unearthing of a total of five different layers from the Middle Byzantine period, the Islamic era, the time of the Urartian civilization, the Iron Age and the early Bronze Age.

Kılınç praised the archaeologists for their meticulous work in excavating these ancient artifacts and ensuring their transfer to the museum with minimal damage.

The excavations in Bingöl were initially launched in April 2019. Archaeologists previously unearthed samples of grain at the site, which showed that the mound was the earliest agricultural settlement in the area.

Source: Daily Sabah [January 13, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Supermassive Influence

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Seth

This peculiar galaxy, beautifully streaked with tendrils of reddish dust, is captured here in wonderful detail by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

The galaxy is known as NGC 1022, and is officially classified as a barred spiral galaxy. You can just about make out the bar of stars in the centre of the galaxy in this image, with swirling arms emerging from its ends. This bar is much less prominent than in some of the galaxy’s barred cousins and gives the galaxy a rather squat appearance; but the lanes of dust that swirl throughout its disc ensure it is no less beautiful. 

Hubble observed this image as part of a study into one of the Universe’s most notorious residents: black holes. These are fundamental components of galaxies, and are thought to lurk at the hearts of many — if not all — spirals. In fact, they may have quite a large influence over their cosmic homes. Studies suggest that the mass of the black hole sitting at a galaxy’s centre is linked with the larger-scale properties of the galaxy itself. However, in order to learn more, we need observational data of a wider and more diverse range of galaxies — something Hubble’s study aims to provide.






* This article was originally published here

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland


Archaeologists in Poland were stunned to discover the skeletal remains of four Scandinavian warriors many hundreds of miles from their homeland.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Two of the graves containing the remains of Scandinavian warriors
[Credit: Z. Ratajczyk, PAP]
The 11th-century remains were discovered at a peculiar burial site dubbed by the archaeologists a death house. A chemical and genetic analysis of the remains found the four men were from Scandinavia, most likely from Denmark.


According to Dr Sławomir Wadyl of the Gdańsk Archeological Museum, the warriors were buried alongside a plethora of trinkets and armaments.

The archaeologist told the Polish Press Agency (PAP): “In the central part of the cemetery, there were four very well-equipped chamber graves.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Artistic reconstruction of one of the graves in the central part of the cemetery
[Credit: K. Patalon, PAP]
"Men, probably warriors, were buried in them as evidenced by weapons and equestrian equipment laid together with them."

The four warriors were unearthed in the village of Ciepłe in Eastern Pomerania or Pomorze Wschodnie, northern Poland.

The Danish warriors would have been buried during the Piast dynasty – the first Polish dynasty to rule from the 10th century to the end of the 14th century.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Equipment from one of the graves excavated in 1900.
After La Baume [Credit: PAP]
Dr Wadyl said: "It turned out that all of the dead buried in the central part of the cemetery were not from the Piast State, but from Scandinavia, most likely from Denmark."


The warriors were buried within a larger necropolis, dating back to the Polish King Bolesław Chrobry or Bolesław the Brave I. Alongside them, the archaeologists uncovered a treasure-trove of weapons such as decorative swords and spears.

Evidence suggests the four men were skilled horse riders, due to the buckles, stirrups and spurs found next to their bodies. The archaeologists also uncovered old coins, metal trinkets, combs, pots and even the remains of animals.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Z-type sword from the grave in the central part of the cemetery
[Credit: J. Szmit, PAP]
The burial site itself is interesting because it is more typical of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia. The warriors were laid to rest in wooden chambers measuring about 11.5ft by 6.5ft (3.5m by 2m). The chambers were built much like a log cabin, with intersecting planks or logs of wood stacked on top of one another.

Dr Wadyl said: "It was one of the more popular house building methods at the time, so you could say they were a 'death house'."

In another part of the cemetery, the archaeologists found another different but equally intriguing burial method. The archaeologists unearthed two large coffins laid to rest inside of a chamber built from vertical, sharpened poles forced into the ground.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Spur found in one of the graves [Credit: K. Odya, PAP]
Dr Wadyl said: |These are the biggest chests of their kind that we know of in Poland’s territories at this time."


The collection of burial sites was likely surrounded by some form of fencing or a wooden palisade.

Dr Wadyl believes the Danish warriors were likely part of the local elite due to their elaborate and flashy burials.

Scandinavian warrior graves unearthed in Poland
Reconstruction of a stirrup found in one of the graves
[Credit: K. Patalon, PAP]
He said:"Those buried in the central part of the cement ray represented the social elite of the time, as evidenced by the monumental character of their graves and rich furnishings. They probably belonged to a group of elite riders but their role was probably was not limited to the function of warriors"

The archaeologist also thinks the men collected taxes from the local populace due to a set of weights found next to two of the dead.

Author: Sebastian Kettley | Source: Express [January 20, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Prehistoric Bangles and Beads, The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.

Prehistoric Bangles and Beads, The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



* This article was originally published here

New dinosaur discovered in China shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds


A new species of feathered dinosaur has been discovered in China, and described by American and Chinese authors and published today in the journal, The Anatomical Record.

New dinosaur discovered in China shows dinosaurs grew up differently from birds
Wulong bohaiensis. The skeleton described in the new paper is remarkably complete. The name means "Dancing Dragon"
 in Chinese and was named in part to reference its active pose [Credit: Ashley Poust]
The one-of-a-kind specimen offers a window into what the earth was like 120 million years ago. The fossil preserves feathers and bones that provide new information about how dinosaurs grew and how they differed from birds.

"The new dinosaur fits in with an incredible radiation of feathered, winged animals that are closely related to the origin of birds," said Dr. Ashley Poust, who analyzed the specimens while he was a student at Montana State University and during his time as a Ph.D. student at University of California, Berkeley. Poust is now postdoctoral researcher at the San Diego Natural History Museum.


"Studying specimens like this not only shows us the sometimes-surprising paths that ancient life has taken, but also allows us to test ideas about how important bird characteristics, including flight, arose in the distant past."

Scientists named the dinosaur Wulong bohaiensis. Wulong is Chinese for "the dancing dragon" and references the position of the beautifully articulated specimen.

About the Discovery

The specimen was found more than a decade ago by a farmer in China, in the fossil-rich Jehol Province, and since then has been housed in the collection of The Dalian Natural History Museum in Liaoning, a northeastern Chinese province bordering North Korea and the Yellow Sea. The skeletal bones were analyzed by Poust alongside his advisor Dr. David Varricchio from Montana State University while Poust was a student there.

Larger than a common crow and smaller than a raven, but with a long, bony tail which would have doubled its length, Wulong bohaiensis had a narrow face filled with sharp teeth. Its bones were thin and small, and the animal was covered with feathers, including a wing-like array on both its arms and legs and two long plumes at the end of its tail.

This animal is one of the earliest relatives of Velociraptor, the famous dromaeosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived approximately 75 million years ago. Wulong's closest well-known relative would have been Microraptor, a genus of small, four-winged paravian dinosaurs.


The discovery is significant not only because it describes a dinosaur that is new to science, but also because it shows connection between birds and dinosaurs.

"The specimen has feathers on its limbs and tail that we associate with adult birds, but it had other features that made us think it was a juvenile," said Poust. To understand this contradiction, the scientists cut up several bones of the new dinosaur to examine under a microscope. This technique, called bone histology, is becoming a regular part of the paleontology toolbox, but it's still sometimes difficult to convince museums to let a researcher remove part of a nice skeleton. "Thankfully, our coauthors at the Dalian Natural History Museum were really forward thinking and allowed us to apply these techniques, not only to Wulong, but also to another dinosaur, a close relative that looked more adult called Sinornithosaurus."

The bones showed that the new dinosaur was a juvenile. This means that at least some dinosaurs were getting very mature looking feathers well before they were done growing. Birds grow up very fast and often don't get their adult plumage until well after they are full sized. Showy feathers, especially those used for mating, are particularly delayed. And yet here was an immature dinosaur with two long feathers extending beyond the tip of the tail.

"Either the young dinosaurs needed these tail feathers for some function we don't know about, or they were growing their feathers really differently from most living birds," explained Poust.


An additional surprise came from the second dinosaur the scientists sampled; Sinornithosaurus wasn't done growing either. The bone tissue was that of an actively growing animal and it lacked an External Fundamental System: a structure on the outside of the bone that vertebrates form when they're full size. "Here was an animal that was large and had adult looking bones: we thought it was going to be mature, but histology proved that idea wrong. It was older than Wulong, but seems to have been still growing. Researchers need to be really careful about determining whether a specimen is adult or not. Until we learn a lot more, histology is really the most dependable way."

In spite of these cautions, Poust says there is a lot more to learn about dinosaurs.

"We're talking about animals that lived twice as long ago as T. rex, so it's pretty amazing how well preserved they are. It's really very exciting to see inside these animals for the first time."

About the Jehol Biota

The area in which the specimen was found is one of the richest fossil deposits in the world. The Jehol biota is known for the incredible variety of animals that were alive at the time. It is also one of the earliest bird-rich environments, where birds, bird-like dinosaurs, and pterosaurs all shared the same habitat.

"There was a lot of flying, gliding, and flapping around these ancient lakes," says Poust. "As we continue to discover more about the diversity of these small animals it becomes interesting how they all might have fit into the ecosystem." Other important changes were happening at the same time in the Early Cretaceous, including the spread of flowering plants. "It was an alien world, but with some of the earliest feathers and earliest flowers, it would have been a pretty one."

Source: San Diego Natural History Museum [January 15, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Prehistoric Carved Stone Slab, The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.

Prehistoric Carved Stone Slab, The National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, December 2019.



* This article was originally published here

Astronomers Discover Class of Strange Objects Near Our Galaxy’s Enormous Black Hole

Artist’s impression of g objects, with the reddish centers, orbiting the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy. the black hole is represented as a dark sphere inside a white ring (above the middle of the rendering). Credit: Jack Ciurlo

Maunakea, Hawaii – Astronomers from UCLA and W. M. Keck Observatory have discovered four more bizarre objects at the center of our galaxy, not far from the supermassive black hole called Sagittarius A*, that are now forming a class of their own.

The study, which is part of UCLA’s Galactic Center Orbits Initiative, consists of 13 years of data taken from Keck Observatory on Maunakea in Hawaii; the results published online today in the journal Nature.

“These objects look like gas but behave like stars,” said co-author Andrea Ghez, UCLA’s Lauren B. Leichtman and Arthur E. Levine Professor of Astrophysics and director of the UCLA Galactic Center Group.

This new class of objects, called G objects, look compact most of the time and stretch out when their orbits bring them closest to the black hole. Their orbits range from about 100 to 1,000 years, said lead author Anna Ciurlo, a UCLA postdoctoral researcher.

Ciurlo led the study while participating in Keck Observatory’s Visiting Scholars Program and labeled the four new objects G3, G4, G5 and G6. This set is in addition to the first pair of G objects found near the Galactic Center; G1 was discovered by Ghez’s research group in 2005, followed by G2, which was discovered by astronomers in Germany in 2012.

“The fact that there now several of these objects observed near the  black hole means that they are, most likely, part of a common population,” said co-author Randy Campbell, science operations lead at Keck Observatory.

The researchers have determined orbits for each of the newly discovered G objects. While G1 and G2 have similar orbits, G3, G4, G5, and G6 all have very different orbits.

Ghez and her research team believe that G2 is most likely two stars that had been orbiting the black hole in tandem and merged into an extremely large star, cloaked in unusually thick gas and dust.

“At the time of closest approach, G2 had a really strange signature,” Ghez said. “We had seen it before, but it didn’t look too peculiar until it got close to the black hole and became elongated, and much of its gas was torn apart. It went from being a pretty innocuous object when it was far from the black hole to one that was really stretched out and distorted at its closest approach and lost its outer shell, and now it’s getting more compact again.”

Orbits of the G objects at the center of our galaxy, with the supermassive black hole marked with a white cross. Stars, gas, and dust are in the background. Credit: Anna Ciurlo, Tuan Do/UCLA Galactic Center Group

“One of the things that has gotten everyone excited about the G objects is that the stuff that gets pulled off of them by tidal forces as they sweep by the central black hole must inevitably fall into the black hole,” said co-author Mark Morris, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. “When that happens, it might be able to produce an impressive fireworks show since the material eaten by the black hole will heat up and emit copious radiation before it disappears across the event horizon.”

Ghez believes all six objects were binary stars — a system of two stars orbiting each other — that merged because of the strong gravitational force of the supermassive black hole. The merging of two stars takes more than 1 million years to complete, Ghez said.

“Mergers of stars may be happening in the universe more often than we thought, and likely are quite common,” Ghez said. “Black holes may be driving binary stars to merge. It’s possible that many of the stars we’ve been watching and not understanding may be the end product of mergers that are calm now. We are learning how galaxies and black holes evolve. The way binary stars interact with each other and with the black hole is very different from how single stars interact with other single stars and with the black hole.”

Ciurlo noted that while the gas from G2’s outer shell got stretched dramatically, its dust inside the gas did not get stretched much. “Something must have kept it compact and enabled it to survive its encounter with the black hole,” Ciurlo said. “This is evidence for a stellar object inside G2.”

“The unique dataset that Professor Ghez’s group has gathered during more than 20 years is what allowed us to make this discovery,” Ciurlo said. “We now have a population of ‘G’ objects, so it is not a matter of explaining a ‘one-time event’ like G2.”

The researchers made the observations using powerful technology that Ghez helped pioneer at Keck Observatory called adaptive optics (AO), which corrects the distorting effects of the Earth’s atmosphere in real time. AO, combined with Keck Observatory’s OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS), allowed the team to obtain spectroscopic measurements of the Galactic Center’s gas dynamics.

“The challenge was trying distinguish G objects from a crowded cluster of stars,” said Campbell. “Because their spectra are different from standard stars, we were able to separate them using a tool called the OSIRIS-Volume Display, or OsrsVol.”

The OsrsVol software Campbell developed produces a 3-D spectral data cube that consists of two spatial dimensions plus a wavelength dimension that contains velocity information. This allowed the team to clearly isolate the G-objects and track their movement to see how they behaved around the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole.

In September 2019, Ghez’s team reported that the black hole is getting hungrier and it is unclear why. The stretching of G2 in 2014 appeared to pull off gas that may recently have been swallowed by the black hole, said co-author Tuan Do, a UCLA research scientist and deputy director of the Galactic Center Group.

The research is funded by the National Science Foundation, W. M. Keck Foundation, Keck Visiting Scholars Program, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation, Lauren Leichtman and Arthur Levine, Jim and Lori Keir, and Howard and Astrid Preston.



About Adaptive Optics

W. M. Keck Observatory is a distinguished leader in the field of adaptive optics (AO), a breakthrough technology that removes the distortions caused by the turbulence in the Earth’s atmosphere. Keck Observatory pioneered the astronomical use of both natural guide star (NGS) and laser guide star adaptive optics (LGS AO) and current systems now deliver images three to four times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope at near-infrared wavelengths. AO has imaged the four massive planets orbiting the star HR8799, measured the mass of the giant black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy, discovered new supernovae in distant galaxies, and identified the specific stars that were their progenitors. Support for this technology was generously provided by the Bob and Renee Parsons Foundation, Change Happens Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation, NASA, NSF, and W. M. Keck Foundation.

About OSIRIS

The OH-Suppressing Infrared Imaging Spectrograph (OSIRIS) is one of W. M. Keck Observatory’s “integral field spectrographs.” The instrument works behind the adaptive optics system, and uses an array of lenslets to sample a small rectangular patch of the sky at resolutions approaching the diffraction limit of the 10-meter Keck Telescope. OSIRIS records an infrared spectrum at each point within the patch in a single exposure, greatly enhancing its efficiency and precision when observing small objects such as distant galaxies. It is used to characterize the dynamics and composition of early stages of galaxy formation. Support for this technology was generously provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation and the National Science Foundation.

About W. M. Keck Observatory

The W. M. Keck Observatory telescopes are among the most scientifically productive on Earth. The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes on the summit of Maunakea on the Island of Hawaii feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrometers, and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

Some of the data presented herein were obtained at Keck Observatory, which is a private 501(c) 3 non-profit organization operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.

The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the Native Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain.




* This article was originally published here

Grave of elite Bronze Age man from Poland reconstructed


A new 3D rendering of a 2,000-year-old aristocrat’s grave shows how the tribes inhabiting the Malopolska region buried their elites.

Grave of elite Bronze-Age man from Poland reconstructed
The mysterious prince, although in fact he was not a member of royalty, but a local elite, was about 20-30 years old
and massively built, according to the preserved bones. Unlike the other burials around it, the body wasn’t burnt
[Credit: M. Podsiadlo]
The richly-equipped kurgan, one of only a dozen in Poland, is known as the prince’s grave, due to the evident high standing of the man laid to rest there and the site’s monumental form.

The burial ground in Szarbia, near Krakow, was discovered in 1997 in fields by researchers from the Archaeological Museum in Krakow, led by Ryszard Naglik.


The excavations carried out until 2001 yielded incredible results. The archaeologists uncovered two burial sites, one from 2,000 years ago and one from 5,000 years ago.

The rich soil of the region was farmed as early as neolithic times and up to the bronze age.

Grave of elite Bronze-Age man from Poland reconstructed
The monumental tomb had a diameter of 17 meters and was surrounded by a trench,
separating it from the rest of the necropolis [Credit: M. Podsiadlo]
Naglik, who recently published the results of the research in Szarbia, told PAP: “Our special attention was drawn to the extensive kurgan, which was located within the younger necropolis. A representative of the local elite was buried in it.”

The monumental tomb had a diameter of 17 meters and was surrounded by a trench, separating it from the rest of the necropolis.


According to Naglik, similar structures appeared in Central Europe in the early Roman period (about 2,000 years ago). However, there weren’t many of them.

The mysterious prince, although in fact he was not a member of royalty, but a local elite, was about 20-30 years old and massively built, according to the preserved bones. Unlike the other burials around it, the body wasn’t burnt.

Grave of elite Bronze-Age man from Poland reconstructed
The kurgan was robbed and destroyed possibly only decades after its constructions
[Credit: Ryszard Naglik]
Unfortunately, the kurgan was robbed and destroyed possibly only decades after its constructions. Only some of its riches have survived.

Among them were shears, a needle, a knife, elements of the prince’s clothing, such as fragments of a belt with a buckle styled in Roman way (they could have possibly came from there).


Naglik pointed out, that the shears weren’t iron, as is usually the case in graves from that period, but bronze.

"Bronze wasn’t better than iron. It didn’t increase their effectiveness. It only indicated that the deceased could afford a tool from a more rare and valuable alloy," he explained. The metal could indicate, that the shears were used in a more ritualistic manner.

Grave of elite Bronze-Age man from Poland reconstructed
A pair of shears found at the site weren’t made of iron, as is usually the case in graves
from that period, but bronze [Credit: Ryszard Naglik]
Another curious finding was a bear claw, possibly left from the entire fur on which the prince was placed.

"This finding contributed as one of the elements one of the discovered tomb’s reconstruction - the deceased lies on the bear's skin,” Naglik added.

Author: Joanna Jasinska | Source: The First News [January 17, 2020]



* This article was originally published here

Featured

UFO sighting in Odessa UA НЛО шар плазмы UFO sighting in Odessa UA, white orb An unusual-looking object appeared suddenly in the sky at...

Popular