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Archive for July, 2009

Ötzi. Photographer: Leopold Dorfer @ Discovery channel news

According to an upcoming study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, the 57 tattoos on Ötzi’s body were made from fireplace soot that contained glittering and colorful precious stone crystals. The findings suggest how prehistoric people were tattooed, and it also supports prior research that his tattoos were associated with acupuncture treatments.

Using optical microscopy and various powerful electron microscopy techniques, Pabst, a professor in the Institute of Cell Biology at the Medical University of Graz, and her colleagues analyzed several of Otzi’s tattoos. Tattoos chosen for this study consist of line markings, as well as a distinctive cross-shaped tattoo on the iceman’s right knee. Magnification of the skin designs revealed the tattoos consisted of soot, likely raked out of a fireplace, along with different silicate crystals, such as quartz and almandine, a type of purple garnet. (more…)

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Yet again, a new side of the debate takes the stage. According to a paper published in Anthropological Science the ‘hobbit,’ or Homo Floresiensis, is a desscendant of the asian form of Homo Erectus. The researchers beleive that the fossils represent a sort of insular dwarfism. The researchers are confident that their analysis of the skull indicates these fossils are a form of Homo Erectus. (more…)

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The professor I had for English Composition II was really caught up on the JFK assasination conspiracy. We watched the Oliver Stone movie ‘JFK’ in class. We read Crossfire: The Plot that Killed Kennedy by conspiracy nut Jim Marrs. Beleive me, for an English class the subject material could have been much more painful. I liked the class. Eventually, I will probably post more papers I wrote for this class. What brought this paper back into memory was all the media attention that Pennsylvanian Sentator Arlen Specter is getting these days for switching political parties, oh you know, to which ever side is going to keep supporting him. Mr Spector co-authored the controversial “single bullet theory,” which suggested the wounds to Kennedy and non-fatal wounds to Texas Governor John Connally were caused by the same bullet.  Most people agree today that the single bullet theory is rediculous. I’ll admit, I did get a little carried away with this paper, but a glimpse into the big world of lies surrounding Kennedy’s murder has that affect on people.

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Underwater exploration seeks evidence of early Americans

100-200 miles off the coast of St. Petersburg,  Florida in the Gulf of Mexico is now 300 feet below water, but it is believed that human occupants once lived there.

“The decision to take their expedition underwater in the first place, Adovasio said, stems from the premise that early Americans probably hugged the American coastline, congregating around freshwater rivers, before heading inland. At that time, much of the world’s water was confined to glaciers, causing ocean levels to be lower and exposing more of the continental shelf. As the earth warmed and water levels rose, evidence of past settlements became submerged.
Dredging and storms have turned up artifacts on the Gulf Coast as well as the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, but Adovasio said this is the first time a group of scientists has staked out a submerged piece of real estate suspected of containing preserved Ice Age beaches and systematically gone in search of early human occupations.”

Read the full article here.

Archeological evidence of human activity found beneath Lake Huron

Yet again more evidence of how much American history has been hidden beneath water.

More than 100 feet deep in Lake Huron, on a wide stoney ridge that 9,000 years ago was a land bridge, University of Michigan researchers have found the first archeological evidence of human activity preserved beneath the Great Lakes. …Without the archeological sites from this intermediate time period, you can’t tell how they got from point A to point B, or Paleo-Indian to Archaic,” O’Shea said. “This is why the discovery of sites preserved beneath the lakes is so significant.

Perhaps more exciting than the hunting structures themselves is the hope they bring that intact settlements are preserved on the lake bottom. These settlements could contain organic artifacts that deteriorate in drier, acidic soils on land.

Read the full article here.

Native Americans descended from a single ancestral group, DNA study confirms:

DNA evidence shows that Native Americans and Greenlanders are more closely related to each other than to any other existing Asian populations, except those that live at the very edge of the Bering Strait.

“For two decades, researchers have been using a growing volume of genetic data to debate whether ancestors of Native Americans emigrated to the New World in one wave or successive waves, or from one ancestral Asian population or a number of different populations.Now, after painstakingly comparing DNA samples from people in dozens of modern-day Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of scientists thinks it can put the matter to rest: Virtually without exception the new evidence supports the single ancestral population theory… The study is published in the May issue of the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.

The team’s work follows up on earlier studies by several of its members who found a unique variant (an allele) of a genetic marker in the DNA of modern-day Native American people. Dubbed the “9-repeat allele,” the variant (which does not have a biological function), occurred in all of the 41 populations that they sampled from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile, as well as in Inuit from Greenland and the Chukchi and Koryak people native to the Asian (western) side of the Bering Strait. Yet this allele was absent in all 54 of the Eurasian, African and Oceanian groups the team sampled.”

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Rewriting Greenland’s immigration history

Princeton geoscientist offers new evidence that meteorite did not wipe out dinosaurs

Princeton geoscientist Gerta Keller

Princeton geoscientist Gerta Keller

Geologist Gerta Keller admits that the layers of iridium so frequently referenced in regards to the dinosaur mass extinction was in fact from a meteor. However, due to the study since 1984 of plant materials and sediments of the region of proposed impact she argues that this didn’t cause the extinction.

“Keller suggests that the massive volcanic eruptions at the Deccan Traps in India may be responsible for the extinction, releasing massive amounts of dust and gases that could have blocked sunlight, altered climate and caused acid rain. The fact that the Chicxulub impact seems to have had no effect on biota, she said, despite its 6-mile-in-diameter size, indicates that even large asteroid impacts may not be as deadly as imagined.”

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Evidence of Clovis-Age Comets

The theory is that a comet impact about 12,900 years ago caused mass extinction of many species in North America, this includes the Clovis peoples. These articles don’t mention that many Anthropologists believe people inhabited America much prior to this, but they do discuss that this may have destroyed the Clovis culture. This needs to be studied further.

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California’s Channel Islands hold evidence of Clovis-age comets

Tiny diamonds on Santa Rosa Island give evidence of cosmic impact

Researchers, led by University of Oregon archaeologist, find pre-Clovis human DNA

Dennis L. Jenkins, University of Oregon archaeologist,

Dennis L. Jenkins, University of Oregon archaeologist,

Evidence doesn’t conclusively say that these people were the ancestors of the Clovis peoples before migrating south and east, but nonetheless it is an important discovery that adds more evidence that the “clovis-first” theory was wrong.

“DNA from dried human excrement recovered from Oregon’s Paisley Caves is the oldest found yet in the New World — dating to 14,300 years ago, some 1,200 years before Clovis culture…“Had the human coprolites at the Paisley Caves not been analyzed for DNA and subjected to rigorous dating methodology,” he added, “the pre-Clovis age of the artifacts recovered with the megafaunal remains could not have been conclusively proven. In other words, the pre-Clovis-aged component of this site could very well have been missed or dismissed by archaeologists.”

Read the full article here

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In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He first discovered the Caribbean.  Leif Eriksson is generally credited with actually having discovered the Northeastern North American continent, or at least the earliest historically recorded European to have been there. A map estimated to have been produced in 1440 has been hotly debated. A detailed account of the battle over whether the map of Vinland was genuine or not can be found on this Ohio State University page, and a large map here. A new report came out today proclaiming the map to be genuine, and in no way a forgery.   (more…)

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A study by Bent Sørensen of the Department of Environmental, Social and Spatial Change at the Roskilde University in Denmark was published in the Journal of Archaeological Sciences just recently. The study titled “Energy use by Eem Neanderthals” discusses how the energy output that a Neanderthal produced to survive during the Eemian interglacial period may just tell us much more about their culture than previously thought.

An analysis of energy use by Neanderthals in Northern Europe during the mild Eem interglacial period is carried out with consideration of the metabolic energy production required for compensating energy losses during sleep, at daily settlement activities and during hunting expeditions, including transport of food from slain animals back to the settlement. Additional energy sources for heat, security and cooking are derived from fireplaces in the open or within shelters such as caves or huts. The analysis leads to insights not available from archaeological findings that are mostly limited to durable items such as those made of stone: Even during the benign Eem period, Neanderthals faced a considerable heat loss problem. Wearing tailored clothes or some similar measure was necessary for survival. An animal skin across the shoulder would not have sufficed to survive even average cold winter temperatures and body cooling by convection caused by wind. Clothes and particularly footwear had to be sewn together tightly in order to prevent intrusion of water or snow. The analysis of hunting activity evolvement in real time further shows that during summer warmth, transport of meat back to the base settlement would not be possible without some technique to avoid that the meat rots. The only likely technique is meat drying at the killing site, which indicates further skills in Neanderthal societies that have not been identified by other routes of investigation.” (more…)

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The first time you read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s 1782 poem ‘Erlkönig‘ your initial reaction is horror. A father racing, for what is assumed to be help for his ill child, only to fail to reach his destination in time and finds his son has died in his arms. It is a very heart breaking poem. The Erlkönig is a supernatural character who is trying to persuade the little boy to follow him, it is presumed that following this figure would lead to worldly death. Many people read this poem as a horror story, just as was my first impression. However, had not the dying been a child, and had he not took his final breath in his fathers arms, would this story be so scary? Doesn’t what the Erlkönig offer sound grand and exciting? Perhaps like heaven to a sick and dying child? Was this supernatural character really trying to hurt him? Or comfort him (in a rather overbearing way I’d admit) during his last minutes? Whatever Erlkönig’s real intentions were, the story is undoubtedly upsetting, and most interpretations view the Erlkönig as a seductive and evil creature.

Der Erlkönig by Albert Sterner

Der Erlkönig by Albert Sterner

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