General

Bristolians dance under streetlights in six-week digital art show Shadowing

24 Hour Museum - Fri, 2014-11-21 00:00
Artists Jonathan Chomko and Matthew Rosier say Shadowing, their digital artwork in the streetlights around Bristol during September and October, was played 100,000 times.
Categories: General

The search is on the for the lost watercolours of Edward Bawden

24 Hour Museum - Fri, 2014-11-21 00:00
Author James Russell is searching for a series of rare Edward Bawden watercolours which disappeared into private collections after two London shows during the 1930s.
Categories: General

VIDEO: £3bn to fix crumbling Westminster

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 23:17
Taxpayers may have to spend more than £3bn to stop the Palace of Westminster turning into an unusable "ruin", the BBC has learned.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Energy giant unveils shale gas plan

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 22:53
Chemicals giant Ineos announces plans to invest up to £640m in shale gas exploration in the UK, in a bid to become the country's leading fracking firm.
Categories: General

VIDEO: 'I could hear people crying for help'

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 22:01
One of the survivors of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombs, Robyn Tighe, who was 19 at the time, has spoken for the first time.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Parked car brings tram to standstill

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 21:36
A group of bystanders lifts a car out of the way after it blocks the way of a tram.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Town stands up to Islamic radicalism

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 20:34
The BBC's Duncan Kennedy reports from a conference in Slough, where members of the public from teachers to taxi drives have come together to take a stand against Islamic radicalism.
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Prehistoric farming on the ‘roof of the world’

Heritage Daily - Thu, 2014-11-20 20:23
Animal teeth, bones and plant remains have helped researchers from Cambridge, China and America to pinpoint a date for what could be the earliest sustained human habitation at high altitude.

Archaeological discoveries from the ‘roof of the world’ on the Tibetan Plateau indicate that from 3,600 years ago, crop growing and the raising of livestock was taking place year-round at hitherto unprecedented altitudes.

The findings, published today in Science, demonstrate that across 53 archaeological sites spanning 800 miles, there is evidence of sustained farming and human habitation between 2,500 metres above sea level (8,200ft) and 3,400 metres (11,154ft).

Evidence of an intermittent human presence on the Tibetan Plateau has been dated to at least 20,000 years ago, with the first semi-permanent villages established only 5,200 years ago. The presence of crops and livestock at the altitudes discovered by researchers indicates a more sustained human presence than is needed to merely hunt game at such heights.

This shows the modern-day barley harvest in Qinghai, farmed at a height of 3,000 meters above sea level.

Professor Martin Jones, from Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology, and one of the lead researchers on the project, said: “Until now, when and how humans started to live and farm at such extraordinary heights has remained an open question. Our understanding of sustained habitation above 2-3,000m on the Tibetan Plateau has to date been hampered by the scarcity of archaeological data available.

“But our findings show that not only did these farmer-herders conquer unheard of heights in terms of raising livestock and growing crops like barley and millet, but that human expansion into the higher, colder altitudes took place as the continental temperatures were becoming colder.

“Year-round survival at these altitudes must have led to some very challenging conditions indeed – and this poses further, interesting questions for researchers about the adaptation of humans, livestock and crops to life at such dizzying heights.”

Professor Jones hopes more work will now be undertaken to look at genetic resistance in humans to altitude sickness, and genetic response in crop plants in relation to attributes such as grain vernalisation, flowering time response and ultraviolet radiation tolerance – as well as research into the genetic and ethnic identity of the human communities themselves.

Research on the Tibetan Plateau has also raised interesting questions about the timing and introduction of Western crops such as barley and wheat – staples of the so-called ‘Fertile Crescent’. From 4,000-3,600 years ago, this meeting of east and west led to the joining or displacement of traditional North Chinese crops of broomcorn and foxtail millet. The importation of Western cereals enabled human communities to adapt to the harsher conditions of higher altitudes in the Plateau.

In order to ascertain during what period and at what altitude sustained food produced first enabled an enduring human presence, the research group collected artefacts, animal bones and plant remains from 53 sites across the late Yangshao, Majiayao, Qiija, Xindian, Kayue and Nuomuhong cultures.

Cereal grains (foxtail millet, broomcorn millet, barley and wheat) were identified at all 53 sites and animal bones and teeth (from sheep, cattle and pig) were discovered at ten sites. Of the 53 sites, an earlier group (dating from 5,200-3,600 years ago) reached a maximum elevation of 2,527m while a later group of 29 sites (dating from 3,600-2,300 years ago) approached 3,400m in altitude.

Professor Jones believes the Tibetan Plateau research could have wider and further-reaching implications for today’s world in terms of global food security and the possibilities of rebalancing the ‘global diet’; at present heavily, and perhaps unsustainably, swayed in favour of the big three crops of rice, wheat and maize.

He said: “Our current knowledge of agricultural foods emphasises a relatively small number of crops growing in the intensively managed lowlands. The more we learn about the rich ecology of past and present societies, and the wider range of crops they raised in the world’s more challenging environments, the more options we will have for thinking through food security issues in the future.”

University of Cambridge

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Categories: General

VIDEO: Sturgeon becomes Scotland's first minister

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 18:49
The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is sworn in as Scotland's first minister.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Warning over webcam streaming sites

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 18:48
The public is being warned about a Russian website that is streaming live footage from thousands of webcams in people's homes.
Categories: General

Laser from a plane discovers Roman goldmines in Spain

Heritage Daily - Thu, 2014-11-20 15:49
Las Médulas in León is considered to be the largest opencast goldmine of the Roman Empire, but the search for this metal extended many kilometres further south-east to the Erica river valley.

Thanks to a Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) laser system attached to an aircraft, the ancient mining works of the area and the complex hydraulics system used by the Romans in the 1st century BC to extract gold (including channels, reservoirs and a double river diversion) have been discovered.

These are ancient goldmines in the Eria river valley, with channels and reservoirs for exploitation. The model generated with LiDAR data (left)

“The volume of earth exploited is much greater than previously thought and the works performed are impressive, having achieved actual river captures, which makes this valley extremely important in the context of Roman mining in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsula,” as Javier Fernández Lozano, geologist at the University of Salamanca and co-author of this study published in the ‘Journal of Archaeological Science’, tells SINC.

The specialists consider that the systems for the transport and storage of water were copied from those already existing in North Africa, where the Egyptians had been employing them for centuries. Some details of the methodology used appear in texts such as those of the Pliny the Elder, the Roman procurator in charge of overseeing mining in Hispania.

“We have established that the labour that went into extracting the resource until its exhaustion was so intensive that after removing the gold from surface sediments, operations continued until reaching the rocks with the auriferous quartz veins underneath,” explains Fernández Lozano.

The researcher stresses that the real discoverer was the LiDAR technology: “Unlike traditional aerial photography, this airborne laser detection system allows the visualisation of archaeological remains under vegetation cover or intensely ploughed areas”.

From aircraft or drones

These are ancient goldmines in the Eria river valley, with channels and reservoirs for exploitation. The model generated allows these structures to be located on aerial photos (right).

LiDAR comprises a laser sensor which scans the ground from an aircraft or drone with geographical references provided by GPS ground stations. The data obtained is represented by point clouds, which are processed with a piece of software to construct a cartographic model where the forms are identified, such as old reservoirs or channels.

This technology was developed by NASA in the sixties to analyse the retreating sea ice in the Arctic and composition of the oceans. Since then their use has been extended to topography, cadastral mapping, geology and archaeology. According to the authors, the study of Roman mining in the Eria valley is the first piece of ‘geo-archaeology’ performed with LiDAR in Spain.

“Our intention is to continue working with this technique to learn more about mineral mining in the Roman Empire and clear up any mysteries such as why Rome abandoned such a precious resource as gold from one day to the next,” concludes the researcher.

FECYT – Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

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Categories: General

VIDEO: The Bristol bus powered by poo

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 15:09
Britain's first Bio-Bus, nicknamed "the number two," powered by human and food waste has taken to the roads in Bristol.
Categories: General

Anthropologist uncovers issues of gender inequality in archaeology journals

Heritage Daily - Thu, 2014-11-20 14:06
On an archaeology field trip in New Mexico as an undergraduate in 2006, Dana Bardolph noticed something that struck her as an odd gender imbalance: The professor leading the dig was a men, while the graduate assistant and all but two of the 14 undergrads were women.

“And it just got me thinking,” Bardolph recalled. “Is this reflective of the profession as a whole, or is it an anomaly?”

The question stayed with her, and four years ago she decided to search for an answer. Her findings — generated after digging through more than 4,500 peer-reviewed papers in 11 archaeology journals covering a 23-year period — are published in a recent issue of the archaeology journal American Antiquity.

Bardolph, a Ph.D. student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Anthropology, found that female authors are significantly and consistently underrepresented in American archaeology journals. Indeed, although the gender ratio among researchers is roughly equal, in the journals Bardolph surveyed, female authors account for slightly less than 29 percent of articles published.

“I found that there was no significant difference between any of the regions, any of the journals, so it was really a ubiquitous pattern across the study samples,” Bardolph said.

The results, she and researchers familiar with the paper said, have deep implications not just for women in the field but for the direction and substance of archaeology itself. Bardolph argues, based on feminist theory, that the low rates of publication perpetuate a marginalization of female researchers in academia and demonstrate what she called “a pernicious historical bias with regards to the visibility, recognition, presentation and circulation of women’s writing.”

Bardolph’s adviser, Amber VanDerwarker, associate professor of anthropology and director of UCSB’s Integrative Subsistence Laboratory, said the paper has the potential to catalyze a movement toward greater gender equity in publishing and academia. “It is hugely significant because there have been articles here and there that talk about this issue of gender equity in the field,” she said, “and none of the studies has done this much data collection and analysis; this is the first study of this scale looking at publication rates.”

Among the articles surveyed in the major journals, Bardolph found 71.4 percent were lead-authored by men and 28.6 percent by women. The regional journals revealed nearly identical numbers. In addition, the data were consistent over time.

While the data demonstrated a clear gender bias, what they didn’t show is the source, said Bardolph, whose specialty is paleoethnobotany, a study of the relationship between humans and plants in the past.

The journals don’t track submissions by gender, so there’s no way to tell if men are being favored explicitly, she said. Other studies, however, have found that men submit papers far more often than women do, with equal rejection rates among the genders.

Based on her research, Bardolph said she suspects the bias is likely a result of authorial behavior rather than editorial or reviewer bias. Women, she noted, are more likely to take on “nurturing” roles in academia and accept positions in smaller teaching colleges as opposed to large research universities with their more abundant resources.

“When you have grad students you can collaborate with, you publish more than you would if you were doing everything by yourself,” VanDerwarker said. “I spent a few years at a teaching college just struggling to keep up with the publication record.”

Another potential factor Bardolph noted is more subjective: braving the sometimes-brutal journal submission process. The anonymity of peer reviewers occasionally engenders harsh rejections. And archaeology, which has long been dominated by men, is no exception.

“I think it’s highly plausible that the issue of rejection ¾ and whether you do decide to revise and resubmit or discard the manuscript — has a lot to do with confidence issues,” Bardolph said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if that was in fact the case, that perhaps women were revising and resubmitting less often than men.”

For Bardolph, getting academia to acknowledge gender bias is just one step on a long road to equality. “People aren’t really realizing this sort of inequality is still pervasive,” she said. “My real goal is to bring awareness to the issue and to inspire people to delve more deeply into their particular subdisciplines and continue this type of research so we can continue to explore why these inequities perpetuate and think about what we can do about them.”

University of California – Santa Barbara

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A concept born out of the aspirations of a team of journalists, archaeologists and historians to build a credible and sustainable publishing business that will not only provide the public with entertaining articles and up-to-date research, but also to develop career opportunities for all those involved.

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Categories: General

VIDEO: Obesity costs UK £47bn a year

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 13:57
New research suggests that obesity is a greater burden on the UK's economy than armed violence, war and terrorism.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Green Climate Fund cash pledge

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 13:52
Thirty nations meeting in Berlin have pledged $9.3bn (£6bn) for a fund to help developing countries cut emissions and prepare for climate change.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Sturgeon sworn in as first minister

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 11:57
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is formally sworn in as Scotland's first minister in front of senior judges at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.
Categories: General

Thames Archaeology Day

Wessex Archaeology - Thu, 2014-11-20 11:25
London Gateway Port’s German Bomber Flies into
"Thames Archaeology Day"On Saturday 12 October 2014 Graham Scott, Wessex Archaeology Coastal & Marine, gave a talk on the Junkers 88T discovered during dredging work for the new London Gateway Port to a packed public meeting at Southend Museum during their Thames Archaeology Day. Afterwards Graham manned a stand and showed a number of important finds recovered from the World War II aircraft to visitors to the event.  The photograph shows an x-ray of the Luftwaffe first aid kit found amongst the wreckage. This could have been used for makeshift operations – note the hacksaw! A full colour booklet on the discovery, recovery and identification of the aircraft can be obtained from Thurrock Thameside Nature Park Visitor Centre.  
Categories: General

Going, Going, Gone!

Wessex Archaeology - Thu, 2014-11-20 10:51
It will be a full house at the BIM and the ‘ologies Breakfast workshop being run by Wessex Archaeology and Thomson Ecology. This event is now fully subscribed and has a waiting list. However if you are not one of the lucky ones attending a summary of the keynote speakers presentations will be available on our website after the event. Watch this space!   
Categories: General

VIDEO: Stunt biker's loop on Thames barge

BBC test - Thu, 2014-11-20 09:21
Bicycle stunt rider Danny MacAskill's latest challenge took place on the River Thames, as he performed a rarely seen loop-the-loop in front of the London Eye.
Categories: General

Archaeologists in Palaeolithic Kent face race against time to reveal Neanderthal climate

24 Hour Museum - Thu, 2014-11-20 00:00
English Heritage, Natural England and archaeologists from the University of Southampton hope to discover the climate Neanderthals lived in during a project in Ebbsfleet.
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