VIDEO: Bus crash driver 'had passed medical'

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 19:06
Police confirm the driver of a bus which smashed into a supermarket killing two people was a 77-year-old man, who had passed a compulsory medical check.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Church inquiry into abuse 'cover up'

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 19:02
The Church of England announces an independent inquiry into allegations of a cover up of sexual abuse in the church.
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VIDEO: German donor meets transplant girl

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 18:45
A donor from Germany who was a perfect match for a girl whose life was saved by a bone marrow transplant has come to Warwickshire to meet her.
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VIDEO: May pays tribute to dead officer

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 15:24
Home Secretary Theresa May pays tribute to PC David Phillips, who was struck and killed by a stolen car in Merseyside.
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VIDEO: Evans rape conviction goes to appeal

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 15:03
Wales football international Ched Evans is to have his rape conviction reviewed by the Court of Appeal.
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VIDEO: Plastic bag charge 'first world problem'

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 14:47
Shoppers in England react to the new plastic bag charge with humour but some see it as a very serious problem.
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Sherford Archaeological Open Day

Wessex Archaeology - Mon, 2015-10-05 14:28

On Saturday 3rd October 2015 Wessex Archaeology held an open day at the Sherford New Community site in Devon. The day was a real success with over 860 people attending.  The event provided the opportunity for the local community to come and see the progress of the archaeological work and to speak to those involved in the excavation. As well as Wessex staff being on hand, there were members of Devon County Council and AECOM archaeological consultants participating in the event. There were displays relating to the works and archaeology in general as well as activities for the young visitors. We had a large number of children attend and enjoy the day; the sand pit excavations indicated we have many future archaeologists in the making. 

The event demonstrated the popularity of local archaeology and the value of engaging with the local community. The value came from people being able to see and better understand the work happening in their local community, which in turn enabled people to develop a greater sense of place and understanding of heritage.  Overall it was an enjoyable, well managed and engaging day and we thank all of those who attended. By Rachel Brown, Community and Education Officer To find out more about this site follow this link.Plymouth Herald Link 1Plymouth Herald Link 2    
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VIDEO: Footage of trawler fire released

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 13:55
Coastguards released video footage of a fire on board a trawler off the Aberdeenshire coast.
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VIDEO: Shoppers react to plastic bag charge

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 11:47
Supermarket shoppers give their verdict on having to pay 5p for plastic bags, as England becomes the last part of the UK to start charging for bags.
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VIDEO: Plastic bag charge: The Scottish experience

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 08:21
England becomes the last nation of the UK to introduce a charge for plastic carrier bags. But how have Scots fared since charging was brought in there in 2014?
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VIDEO: Osborne: 'Disaster' to stop building

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 07:45
Chancellor George Osborne says it would be a "disaster" for the UK to stop building infrastructure projects.
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VIDEO: Dapper Laughs: 'It was heartbreaking'

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 03:00
Comedian Daniel O'Reilly, known as Dapper Laughs, has been speaking to Stephen Nolan.
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VIDEO: How plastic may end up in your food

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:13
Biologist Dr Pennie Lindeque from Plymouth Marine Laboratory explains how plastics in the marine environment get into the food chain.
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VIDEO: 'The Black Museum' of crime

BBC test - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:09
Evidence and artefacts from some of the most notorious crimes ever committed are going on public display for the first time.
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Neil Brownsword gets Re-Apprenticed at the British Ceramics Biennial

24 Hour Museum - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:00
The artisans of the factory floor are celebrated by Neil Brownsword at the British Ceramics Biennial as he re-apprentices himself to a flower maker, master engraver and painter.
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Search for World War Two Spitfire, crashed by pilot during routine flight in 1940, begins in Cambridgeshire

24 Hour Museum - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:00
A week-long excavation to unearth a Mark 1 Spitfire which crashed on a routine training flight during the Second World War has begun on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Categories: General

Neil Brownsword gets re-apprenticed at the British Ceramics Biennial

24 Hour Museum - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:00
The artisans of the factory floor are celebrated by Neil Brownsword at the British Ceramics Biennial as he re-apprentices himself to a flower maker, master engraver and painter.
Categories: General

Archaeologists begin "exciting" search for ancient settlement beneath Durham village

24 Hour Museum - Mon, 2015-10-05 00:00
Drone pictures are likely to have identified a settlement established long before Brignall, a village first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and held by Edwin, Earl of Mercia, before the Norman Conquest.
Categories: General

VIDEO: PM: Tax credit cuts will go ahead

BBC test - Sun, 2015-10-04 22:24
Cuts to in-work tax credits will go ahead, Prime Minister David Cameron has said, despite calls from within his own party to think again.
Categories: General

Using Ancient DNA, Researchers Unravel the Mystery of Machu Picchu

Heritage Daily - Sun, 2015-10-04 20:26
Dramatically perched on an Andes mountain ridge some 8,000 feet above sea level in Peru, Machu Picchu is a visual wonder and a technical masterpiece.

“It is breathtaking,” said Brenda Bradley, an associate professor of anthropology at the George Washington University.

The Inca built the site’s 15th-century ruins without mortar, fitting the blocks of stone so tightly together that you still cannot fit a piece of paper between them. The design included steeped, agricultural terraces to boost planting space and protect against flooding.

But despite its distinction as one of the most iconic and important archeological sites in the world, the origins of Machu Picchu remain a mystery. The Inca left no record of why they built the site or how they used it before it was abandoned in the early 16th century.

“There is a longstanding debate about what the function of Machu Picchu was because it is so unique and unusual as an Inca site,” Dr. Bradley said. “It is too big to be a local settlement. And it’s too small and not the right structure to have been an administrative center for the Inca Empire.”

Now, Dr. Bradley and a team of researchers will be the first to analyze the genomes of the skeletal remains from more than 170 individuals buried at the site. The team’s other members include Lars Fehren-Schmitz from the University of California, Santa Cruz and Yale University’s Richard Burger and Lucy Salazar.

By sequencing the skeletons’ ancient DNA, the researchers hope to better understand the functional role of Machu Picchu and its residents, as well as patterns of diversity, migration and labor diaspora in the Inca Empire—the largest in pre-Columbian America.

Yale explorer Hiram Bingham launched a study of the “lost city of the Incas” in the summer of 1911. His work included excavating Machu Picchu and bringing human bones and other objects, like ceramics and jewelry, back with him to the United States.

The artifacts remained at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven until 2012, when, after years of negotiations, the bones and relics were sent back to Peru. The Peru-Yale University International Center for the Study of Machu Picchu and Inca Culture houses the bones and relics. The museum, in Cusco about 45 miles from Machu Picchu, is open to the public and includes more than 360 items from Dr. Bingham’s original excavation.

Before returning the skeletons to their home country, Dr. Bradley—who was a Yale faculty member at the time—and her colleagues scrambled to collect DNA samples from the ancient bones.

Next, with a recent National Science Foundation grant, the researchers will use cutting-edge methods to sequence nuclear, mitochondrial and Y-chromosome DNA from the samples. Dr. Fehren-Schmitz will conduct the initial analysis, and Dr. Bradley will attempt to replicate the results in her lab.

“With ancient human DNA, you always have to worry about contamination,” Dr. Bradley said. “If you replicate the experiment in a different lab with different researchers, and you find the same results, that is the gold standard.”

The researchers will then compare the results of the genetic analysis with previous data from Machu Picchu in order to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the site.

The prevailing hypothesis among researchers is that Machu Picchu was a so-called “royal retreat”—akin to what Camp David is for the White House—where Inca Emperor Pachacuti would have visited and held diplomatic meetings, Dr. Bradley explained. The archeology indicates that people who resided there were likely crafts specialists brought in from locations throughout the empire to work at the site.

“They were probably very skilled people who came from far and wide to play very specific roles. That’s what we predict,” she said. “We can now look at the DNA to see if that is true.”

The genetic analysis will test this hypothesis by showing the relationships among the ancient people, whether they are from the same ancestral lines and locations, said Dr. Fehren-Schmitz, who has analyzed the genomes of many different populations throughout South America. This information also will help to put Machu Picchu in the context of the larger Inca Empire.

“I’m interested in local processes and how increases in social complexity and social change influence genetic diversity,” he said. “One thing that makes Machu Picchu so interesting is the idea that actually the population buried there doesn’t reflect just a local population.”

The researchers said the wealth of genomic data they plan to collect also would provide an interesting look at how colonialism affected people living in the Andes. Since the skeletons from Machu Picchu represent a pre-Spanish conquest population, they can compare those genetics to post-colonial DNA.

“Colonialism introduced disease and likely wiped out a lot of genetic diversity,” Dr. Bradley said. “This is a chance to look at genetic diversity before that happened.”


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