General

VIDEO: Dyson: 'Keep engineers in Britain'

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 17:06
James Dyson tells the BBC it is important to keep engineers in Britain to produce hi-tech exports, as he announces a £1bn investment in research and development.
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VIDEO: Games tech boost for movie planning

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 14:42
Researchers at Abertay University in Dundee look to have given the blockbuster a boost by applying computer games technology to the film industry.
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Another Archive Deposited

Wessex Archaeology - Fri, 2014-11-21 12:10
Our archives team has been busy preparing archives for deposition, and yesterday saw the delivery of a batch to Hampshire Cultural Trust (formerly Hampshire Museums Service). At the request of David Wilson Homes, the landowners, we took selected finds from our site at Marnel Park, Basingstoke, to the Willis Museum in Basingstoke for a photo opportunity. These included pottery, metalwork and shale objects from Romano-British settlement and cremation graves.  Copyright David Wilson Homes Lorraine Mepham and Catherine Coates from WA, and David Allen (right) from Hampshire Cultural Trust, were on hand to show the finds to Simon Kirk (left) of David Wilson Homes. Many photographs were taken, including some of the group arranged around a life-size model of the occupant of a Roman sarcophagus, rather disconcerting as he relates his life story! Thanks to David Wilson Homes, who as well as funding the excavation of Marnel Park and part-funding the publication, which also includes the adjacent site of Merton Rise (available to download from the WA website), have signed the necessary transfer of title, the archive will now be safely curated at the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s store in Winchester.  
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VIDEO: Learning maths the Chinese way

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:59
Around 60 Chinese maths teachers come to Britain, to try to pass on some of the techniques which have helped Chinese pupils come top of global league tables.
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VIDEO: WW1 hero Chavasse twins remembered

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 11:17
The bravery of two World War One brothers is remembered in a production in Lancashire.
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Kent Jones at Large

Wessex Archaeology - Fri, 2014-11-21 10:08
Are you keeping up with Kent Jones?Follow these links to find out how Kent got on in Finds and when he went back to School   
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VIDEO: Bike prototype with global interest

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 08:38
A four-wheeled bike being showcased at the UK Investment Summit is being developed in Swansea with the inventor hoping it will be a "global force"
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VIDEO: 'Bed blockers face legal action'

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 08:08
A hospital is to give so-called "bed blockers" seven days to leave or face possible legal action, saying that too many families are refusing to take elderly relatives home.
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VIDEO: Domestic abuse victims 'turned away'

BBC test - Fri, 2014-11-21 07:02
A leading charity is warning that refuge centres are having to turn a third of people away because of a lack of space.
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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.
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The search is on 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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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