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VIDEO: Doubt over serial killer conviction

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 17:03
The foreman of a jury which convicted a serial killer tells the BBC he now believes the Colin Norris is innocent.
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VIDEO: Row over 'major incidents' guidance

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 17:00
NHS bosses have issued guidelines to some hospitals over when they can declare a "major incident", as Chris Mason reports
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VIDEO: Beavers allowed to stay in wild

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 16:50
Beavers living on the River Otter in Devon will be allowed to remain living in the wild, if free of disease.
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VIDEO: What is the wind chill factor?

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 15:07
BBC Weather's Peter Gibbs explains the science of wind chill.
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VIDEO: 'Clowns to the left, jokers to the right'

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 13:36
An MP quotes a Stealers Wheel lyric that he has "clowns to the left and jokers to the right", after clashes at PMQs.
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VIDEO: How beavers can change our rivers

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 11:36
Claire Marshall looks at the impact beavers have on the environment, after a decision to allow a family of wild beavers to stay on the River Otter in Devon.
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VIDEO: Widower reunited with wife's voicemail

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 08:30
Stan Beaton hears a voicemail greeting from his wife, who died of cancer more than 10 years ago, which he thought had been deleted and lost forever.
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Let’s Work Together

Wessex Archaeology - Wed, 2015-01-28 08:29

The snow failed to dampen our spirits – or reduce the attendance – at the Sheffield office’s seminar last week. Despite difficult travelling conditions we welcomed 21 visitors to Sheaf Bank for a full day of presentations and discussions led by Regional Manager Andy Norton and Post-Excavation Manager Andrea Burgess. After removing wellies and waterproofs we began with a fascinating presentation by Dr Paul Baggaley about the use of UAVs (or ‘drones’) in archaeological survey. With standard and near Infra-Red cameras, and a lot of know-how, Paul’s team can produce digital images of whole landscapes from a single day’s survey. Then Jackie McKinley took over to talk about cremation burials. She described how the specialist excavation of these graves can reveal so much about the process of cremation and the way that people were buried. With radiocarbon analysis of cremated bone now possible, the dates of these burials and the grave goods can be refined considerably. After a break Dr Alistair Barclay gave a presentation on radiocarbon dating and Bayesian modelling. Over the last couple of decades, the precision of radiocarbon analysis and the use of Bayesian analysis combine to be able to give us dates to within 100 years, or less in many cases. It is real progress that, even in prehistory, we can begin to understand the duration of settlements in terms of generations. By the end of the session, several people (including Wessex staff) were heard muttering ‘I think I understand Bayesian modelling now…’ Sarah Wyles then led a short but informative discussion about environmental sampling. She described how the inclusion of multiple, small, soil samples in our sampling strategies allow her to look at past environments in much more detail. During an excellent lunch – supplied by Carol’s Catering Service who deserve a special mention for making it through the snow – there were displays and information posters about a range of projects. The afternoon session began with a talk by Laura Joyner about Wessex Archaeology’s Outreach and Education projects. Laura’s presentation included Operation Nightingale and Project Florence, in which heritage and community archaeology were part of a military recovery initiative for injured soldiers. There was great interest in this aspect of Wessex’s work which the audience described as ‘inspiring’. Lorraine Mepham closed the day with a discussion about archiving the results of our excavations and surveys. With Wessex carrying out projects across England, Scotland and Wales, meeting the requirements of so many different museums is no mean feat. Museum storage space is limited and the main challenges for the future will be dealing with digital data and considering the need to select the material that we store. Our aim was to offer informative presentations to fellow heritage professionals and to promote Wessex’s charitable status and outreach projects. We hope that the participants were inspired to consider partnering with us to deliver outreach and education projects across the north. The feedback from the event was very positive. So much so that we are considering running a similar event next year – watch this space. Andrea Burgess – Project Manager, PX Analysis and Reporting  
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VIDEO: Lancashire fracking decision due

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 08:13
Graham Satchell has been following one woman's campaign against fracking in Lancashire.
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VIDEO: Female jihadists 'drawn in online'

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 08:07
The BBC's Frank Gardner speaks to a woman who works with the UK government to tackle the growing problem of women from western Europe going to join Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
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VIDEO: 'Cash incentives stop pregnant smokers'

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 07:07
A trial in Glasgow suggests that pregnant women are more than twice as likely to give up smoking if given financial incentives.
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VIDEO: Warning over asthma diagnosis

BBC test - Wed, 2015-01-28 06:50
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence warns that more than a million adults in the UK may have been wrongly diagnosed with Asthma.
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Henry VIII's gardening manual "shines new light" on King and lost royal garden

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2015-01-28 00:00
Curators at Buckingham Palace believe the King's garden at Whitehall Palace, which was later destroyed by fire, could have been created with the instructions of the world's first gardening manual.
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Waterloo200 website launches with 100 objects and search for Waterloo ancestors

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2015-01-28 00:00
From battered bits of bone and armour to Napoleon's sword and Wellington's boots, the website commemorating the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo launches with 100 iconic objects.
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VIDEO: Residents recall earthquake moments

BBC test - Tue, 2015-01-27 21:51
Regulars at the South Wonston Social Club in Hampshire describe the moment when an earthquake struck.
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VIDEO: UK growth not across the board

BBC test - Tue, 2015-01-27 21:01
The latest GDP figures for the UK suggest there was growth of 2.6% last year, but the rate of growth slowed in the last quarter of 2014.
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VIDEO: Up close: Britain's longest train

BBC test - Tue, 2015-01-27 19:25
A look at Britain's longest train, a ballast cleaner train, which is helping replace old ballast on rail tracks between Norwich and London.
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The world’s oldest known snake fossils: Rolling back the clock by nearly 70 million years

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2015-01-27 16:32
Fossilized remains of four ancient snakes have been dated between 140 and 167 million years old – nearly 70 million years older than the previous record of ancient snake fossils – and are changing the way we think about the origins of snakes, and how and when it happened.

The findings have been published in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications.

“The study explores the idea that evolution within the group called ‘snakes’ is much more complex than previously thought,” says lead author and professor Michael Caldwell in the Faculty of Science at the University of Alberta. “Importantly, there is now a significant knowledge gap to be bridged by future research as no fossils snakes are known from between 140 to 100 million years ago.”

The oldest known snake, from Southern England, near Kirtlington, Eophis underwoodi, is known only from very fragmentary remains and was a small individual, though it is hard to say how old it was at the time it died. The largest snake, Portugalophis lignites, from coal deposits in Portugal, near Guimarota, was a much bigger individual at nearly a meter or more in length. Several of these ancient snakes (Eophis, Portugalophis and Parviraptor) were living in swampy coastal areas on large island chains in western parts of ancient Europe, while the North American species, Diablophis gilmorei, is found in river deposits from some distance inland in Western Colorado.

This new study makes it clear that the sudden appearance of snakes, some 100 million years ago, reflects a gap in the fossil record, not an explosive radiation of early snakes. From 167 to 100 million years ago, some 70 million years, snakes were radiating and evolving towards the elongate, limb-reduced body plan characterizing the now well known, ~100-90 million year old, marine snakes from the West Bank, Lebanon, and Argentina, that still possess small but well developed rear limbs. As is always the case, the distribution of these newer oldest snakes, and the anatomy of the skull and skeletal elements, makes it clear that even older snake fossils are waiting to be found.

“Based on the new evidence and through comparison to living legless lizards that are not snakes,” explains Caldwell, “the paper explores the novel idea that the evolution of the characteristic snake skull and its parts appeared long before snakes lost their legs.”

He adds that the identification of definitive snake skull features reveals that the fossils, previously associated with other non-snake lizard remains, represents a much earlier time frame for the first appearance of snakes. The concept of how snakes originated and evolved needs to be reassessed in light of this new information, and the unique ideas presented in this paper.

University of Alberta

The post The world’s oldest known snake fossils: Rolling back the clock by nearly 70 million years appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

Categories: General

VIDEO: Leaders step up election campaign

BBC test - Tue, 2015-01-27 14:00
It is 100 days to go before the general election on 7 May - and all three parties have stepped up their campaigns, the BBC's Ross Hawking reports.
Categories: General

New tattoos discovered on Oetzi!

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2015-01-27 13:54
With the aid of a non-invasive photographic technique, researchers at the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman have been able to show up all the tattoos on the man who was found preserved in a glacier, and in the process have stumbled upon a previously unknown tattoo on his ribcage.

This tattoo is very difficult to make out with the naked eye because his skin has darkened so much over time. The latest sophisticated photographic technology has now enabled tattoos in deeper skin layers to be identified as well.

Oetzi’s discoverers had already noticed his tattoos on the very day they found him, 19th September 1991. Various studies since then have investigated and itemised these skin marks. But now, using a technique which he developed himself, Marco Samadelli, a scientist at the EURAC-Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, has carried out a complete mapping of all the tattoos on the man from the glacier. They are amongst the oldest documented tattoos in the world.

Overview tattoos of the Iceman (© Marco Samadelli)

Samadelli photographed the mummy’s body from different angles using a multi-spectral procedure which covered the whole range of wavelengths from infrared to ultraviolet. This allowed tattoos deep in the skin layers and which are no longer recognisable to the human eye to be shown up with great precision. The 61 discovered skin markings on Oetzi’s body consist of lines from 0.7 to 4 centimetres in length, mostly arranged in groups of two, three or four parallel lines, and also include two crosses.

The newly discovered tattoos on the lower right-hand side of the ribcage are striking, because the other markings are mostly found on his lower back and the legs between the knee and the foot. On account of the various locations of the tattoos, some researchers suspected that the marks were part of some therapeutic medical treatment, a kind of acupuncture to relieve pain in the joints. The newly discovered tattoos on the ribcage have now reopened the debate about the role of tattoos in prehistoric times. This investigation has given researchers a new piece to add to the jigsaw puzzle when trying to tease out whether prehistoric tattoos had a therapeutic, symbolic or religious significance.

The multi-spectral photographs were shot in the mummy’s specially refrigerated ‘cell’ in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology. “Each shot was taken seven times, using a different wavelength each time. This enabled us to cover the different depths at which the carbon powder used for the tattoos had been deposited. The ultraviolet waves were adequate for the upper skin layers, whilst we resorted to infrared light for the lower layers,” explains Marco Samadelli.

European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano

The post New tattoos discovered on Oetzi! appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

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