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VIDEO: Mixed views on new Glasto headline act

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 11:54
Fans at the Glastonbury festival are getting ready for the first day of music on the main stages - and hoping the weather will not dampen spirits.
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VIDEO: Attenborough gives Obama climate advice

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 11:48
Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough met US President Obama and advised him on the natural world and stopping climate change.
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VIDEO: CalMac ferry strike hits travellers

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 11:10
Travel to the Hebridean and Clyde estuary islands is severely disrupted as members of the RMT union strike in a dispute over jobs and pensions.
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Riverside Exchange – further insights into industrial Sheffield

Wessex Archaeology - Fri, 2015-06-26 10:42

The results of excavations at Riverside Exchange in the centre of Sheffield have just been published in our occasional paper series. Significant evidence of the city’s post-medieval industrial expansion and, in particular, unique remains relating to early steelmaking was revealed. Nothing of the medieval Town Mill survived but the goit which supplied water to the mill remained an important element within the site. Mid-17th-century tanning pits were followed by the Cutlers’ Wheel, built in the mid-18th century to provide a water-powered grinding workshop. Notable assemblages of cutlery, pottery and clay tobacco pipes were recovered. Marshall’s steelworks was established in the mid-1760s, an innovative, integrated works which combined cementation furnaces and the newly developed crucible steel process. The remains of three early cementation furnaces are of national significance and have been preserved in situ. Analysis of two crucibles has provided the earliest evidence for their composition and the Huntsman process, at a time when these were a closely guarded secret. From the 19th century, documentary, map and archaeological evidence combine to give a picture of the development of the Naylor Vickers works, which took over Marshall’s and later became one of Sheffield’s major steelworks. By Pippa Bradley - Quality & Publications Manager 
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VIDEO: GPs 'taking own lives' due to stress

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 09:35
The number of GPs seeking help for work-related stress and mental health problems is increasing, according to the former head of the Royal College of GPs.
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HH: Why 24 Hours yet 60 Minutes?

Heritage Daily - Fri, 2015-06-26 08:20

Welcome to Hidden Histories. In this series, we take a closer look at the world around us and explore the hidden depths of our shared history.

Today we take a look at the clock and explore why there are twenty four hours in a day, yet 60 minutes in an hour?

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VIDEO: Which sun cream offers best protection?

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 07:25
People are putting their health at risk, because they are confused about the labels on sun creams, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society says.
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VIDEO: Wellies or flip-flops at Glastonbury?

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 07:16
Flip flops or wellies this weekend? Louise Lear is here with your Festival forecast
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VIDEO: 'People say things aren't possible'

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 06:58
David Cameron has set out his plans to renegotiate Britain's relationship with Europe during late night talks with European leaders in Brussels.
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VIDEO: 'Still weird' to talk about being gay

BBC test - Fri, 2015-06-26 06:00
Eighteen months after coming out, Tom Daley says he still finds it "weird" when he talks about having a boyfriend.
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A guide to Arts and Crafts venues across the West Midlands and the Cotswolds

24 Hour Museum - Fri, 2015-06-26 00:00
As Compton Verney opens a brace of Arts and Crafts exhibitions and reveals its William Morris-inspired garden, we take a look at the numerous Arts and Crafts you can explore in the West Midlands and Cotswolds.
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Archaeologists begin digging at "incredible" prehistoric hillfort on outskirts of Cardiff

24 Hour Museum - Fri, 2015-06-26 00:00
Archaeologists have spoken of their excitement at returning to Caerau Hillfort, where they aim to double the number of public participants after attracting 2,000 people last year.
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VIDEO: Sir David tells Obama how to save planet

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 22:46
The distinguished broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, has been on a visit to the White House at the personal invitation of President Obama.
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VIDEO: Avengers star Patrick Macnee dies

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 22:30
Actor Patrick Macnee, star of The Avengers TV series, has died in California at the age of 93.
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VIDEO: Cheese and slippers for £4m lotto woman

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 19:03
A retired seamstress who won more than £4m on the Lotto has said her first purchase following her success was a pair of slippers and some cheese.
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VIDEO: 'Lee Rigby revenge' attacker guilty

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 18:48
Zack Davies has been found of guilty of attempted murder after attacking a trainee dentist with a machete and a hammer in north Wales.
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VIDEO: Concern raised over inactive teens

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 18:39
Teenagers should take an hour of exercise a day, but new figures suggest a mere 8% of girls aged 13 to 15 in England are meeting that target.
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VIDEO: 'Life is ace' at Glastonbury

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 16:58
By the time the music starts on Friday morning, 177,000 people are due at Glastonbury festival, a few music fans tell BBC News why the event is so special.
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VIDEO: Corden and Doucet receive honours

BBC test - Thu, 2015-06-25 15:50
Actor James Corden and BBC journalist Lyse Doucet are appointed OBEs in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
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Scarlet macaw skeletons point to early emergence of Pueblo hierarchy

Heritage Daily - Thu, 2015-06-25 15:38
New work on the skeletal remains of scarlet macaws found in an ancient Pueblo settlement indicates that social and political hierarchies may have emerged in the American Southwest earlier than previously thought.

Researchers determined that the macaws, whose brilliant red and blue feathers are highly prized in Pueblo culture, were persistently traded hundreds of miles north from Mesoamerica starting in the early 10th century, at least 150 years before the origin of hierarchy is usually attributed. The findings, published today in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the acquisition and control of macaws, along with other valued items like chocolate and turquoise, may have facilitated the development of hierarchy in the society.

“By directly dating the macaws, we have demonstrated the existence of long-distance networks throughout much of this settlement’s history,” said Adam Watson, a postdoctoral fellow in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology and lead author on the paper. “Our findings suggest that rather than the acquisition of macaws being a side effect of the rise of Chacoan society, there was a causal relationship. The ability to access these trade networks and the ritual power associated with macaws and their feathers may have been important to forming these hierarchies in the first place.”

Archaeologists have known for more than a century that the pre-Hispanic Pueblo people of the American Southwest acquired goods from Mesoamerica, including marine shells from the Gulf of California, raw copper and crafted copper bells from west Mexico, cacao from the Neotropics, and tropical birds. Scarlet macaws (Ara macao) have been recovered from many settlements in the Southwest, particularly at Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico, a major cultural center that was densely occupied between about AD 800 and 1200 and had more than a dozen multi-storied “great houses.” The birds are native to humid forests in tropical America–primarily the Gulf Coast region of Mexico, Central America, and northern sections of South America–so their presence at Chaco Canyon indicates the existence of long-distance procurement networks often characteristic of a complex society. It was traditionally thought that the Pueblo people did not bring these items back to the settlement until AD 1040, the start of an era of rapid architectural expansion called the Chaco florescence.

But new radiocarbon dating of artifacts discovered in the settlement is changing that view.

First excavated by a Museum-led team in 1896, the largest of the Chaco Canyon great houses was Pueblo Bonito, which had about 650 rooms. Among those rooms was one particularly unusual crypt: Room 33, a single small structure in the oldest area of the Pueblo, that contained 14 human bodies along with significant amounts of symbolically important items like turquoise, shell, and flutes. Two of the bodies were buried below a rare wooden floor with the majority of the grave goods, signaling the special treatment of elite individuals at Pueblo Bonito.

“In general, most researchers have argued that emergence of hierarchy, and of extensive trade networks that extended into Mexico, would coincide with what we see as other aspects of the Chaco florescence: roads being built outward from Chaco and the formation of what are called Chaco outliers that mimic the architecture seen in the cultural center,” said Stephen Plog, professor of archaeology at the University of Virginia and a co-author on the paper. “For many years, that was the dominant model.”

But in 2010, radiocarbon dating led by Plog showed that the two burials happened no later than AD 775-875.

“Based on these results, which call into question when the formation of the hierarchy actually began in Chaco, we decided to take another look at the macaws,” Watson said.

Ethnographically, scarlet macaws are particularly significant in Pueblo cosmology, where based on directional association by color (red/orange), they tend to designate southern positions. Ritual use of macaw feathers on prayer sticks, costumes, and masks to communicate prayers to gods is well recorded. The acquisition and control of scarlet macaws was likely the province of social and religious elites.

“Birds are a part of nature, but they are also agents with magical properties that can be put to human use,” said Peter Whiteley, a curator in the Museum’s Division of Anthropology and a co-author on the paper. “Flight or just the appearance of certain birds or the use of their feathers is believed to motivate the fall of rain or snow, as well as the seasons, the sunshine, and the heat.”

The remains of 30 macaws have been found in Pueblo Bonito, including 14 in a single structure: Room 38, which, based on the amount of guano detected on the floor, was likely a sort of aviary. Previous attempts at indirect dating of macaw skeletons concluded that they were obtained during the Chaco florescence, but the accuracy of the methods used, based on associated tree rings and ceramic type frequencies, is questionable. With radiocarbon dating, the researchers examined 14 Pueblo Bonito macaw skeletons that are currently housed in the Museum’s collection.

Direct radiocarbon dating of macaw skeletons found that 12 of the 14 sampled macaws predate the Chaco florescence, with about half of them dating to the late 800s and mid-900s. The acquisition of these birds would have been a formidable task, requiring the removal of fledglings from the nest soon after their birth before traveling between 1,800 and 2,500 kilometers (about 1,120-1,550 miles) on foot back to Chaco.

“We propose that the hierarchical sociopolitical foundation of Chacoan society was established during the initial era of construction of the great houses and that this foundation was reinforced during the late ninth and 10th centuries by the acquisition of scarlet macaws and other cosmologically powerful agents from Mesoamerica,” Plog said. “Sociopolitical hierarchies evolved over the course of nearly two centuries before taking the more visible forms seen in the Chaco florescence. As in many parts of the world, this was a long-term process rather than a brief, abrupt transformation.”

AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

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