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VIDEO: Astronaut sets space challenge

BBC test - Wed, 2014-12-10 12:01
UK astronaut Tim Peake has invited members of the public to suggest digital experiments to be carried out in space.
Categories: General

Evidence of ancient earthquake found in China

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:35
Scientists have found evidence of a powerful earthquake 3,000 years ago in central China, apparently the earliest known in the country's history. The earthquake, which hit an area now part...
Categories: General

Oldest engraving discovered on 500,000-year-old shell

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:34
Homo erectus on Java was already using shells of freshwater mussels as tools half a million years ago, and as a 'canvas' for an engraving. An international team of researchers,...
Categories: General

Auction of Sardinian mother goddess put on hold

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:34
A campaign in Sardinia (Italy) to reclaim a 4,500-year-old pagan idol from a US auction house is gathering pace ahead of its scheduled sale, as Italy steps up the fight...
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Neanderthal bones in Northern France

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:33
At a rescue excavation of an open-air prehistoric site, Tourville-la-Rivière in the Seine Valley of Normandy in northern France, archaeologists were in for a surprise - the discovery of three...
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Iron Age settlement found at a Newcastle mine site

Stonepages - Wed, 2014-12-10 11:32
Archaeologists working for a mining company have uncovered an Iron Age settlement near Newcastle (Tyne and Wear, England). The five-hectare site at the Brenkley Lane Surface Mine has been excavated...
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Archaeologists reveal finds from first survey of Britain's largest First World War airfield

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00
Working in inclement conditions at the aerodrome which was Britain's largest World War I airfield, archaeologists have found anti-bomb glass, copper, nails, pottery and more.
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Conflict, Time, Photography: Tate Modern's powerful portrayal of the lasting effects of war

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00
Working from the time passed since each war portrayed, Tate Modern's huge new exhibition takes Kurt Vonnegut's SlaughterHouse-Five as an initial influence.
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Estorick Collection launches appeal to restore Carlo Carrà Futurist painting Leaving the Theatre

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00
It's been a mainstay of Futurist exhibitions across the globe, but now Carlo Carrà’s 1910 classic, Leaving the Theatre is in need of restoration. The Estorick is launching a modest appeal.
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Axisweb artist of the Month: Abstract painter Julie Umerle on precision, chance and Gerhard Richter

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00
Moving to the UK as a child from Connecticut, Julie Umerle was inspired by Gerhard Richter and is intrigued by mark-making and scale. Her works will be seen across the country into 2015.
Categories: General

Archaeologists reveal finds from first survey of Britain's largest First World War airfield

24 Hour Museum - Wed, 2014-12-10 00:00
Working in inclement conditions at the aerodrome which was Britain's largest World War I airfield, archaeologists have found anti-bomb glass, copper, nails, pottery and more.
Categories: General

VIDEO: Eddie Redmayne: 'Fear galvanizes me'

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 22:47
The world famous physicist Professor Stephen Hawking got the red carpet treatment on Tuesday at the premiere of a film about his life.
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VIDEO: Boris Johnson's singing skills tested

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 19:42
London Mayor Boris Johnson recites the lyrics to Jessie J's song Bang Bang on London radio station Capital FM's breakfast show.
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Ancient balloon-shaped animal fossil unveils new information on Earth’s ancient seas

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-12-09 15:18
‘Nidelric pugio’ named in honour of University of Leicester scientist who passed away earlier this year.

Nidelric pugio fossil dates back half a billion years and teaches us about the diversity of life in Earth’s ancient seas. In life the animal was a ‘balloon’ shape, covered in spines but the squashed fossil resembles a bird’s nest. The fossil has been named in honour of Professor Richard Aldridge from the University of Leicester.

This rare 520 million year old fossil has been discovered in China by an international research team.

The research team behind the discovery was led by Professor Xianguang Hou from the Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology at Yunnan University in China with collaboration from the Universities of Leicester and Oxford.

The fossil, from Chengjiang in southern China, is of a probably ‘chancelloriid’, a group of bizarre, balloon-shaped animals with an outer skeleton of defensive spines. The animal was flattened during the fossilisation process so that it looks like a squashed bird’s nest.

Funded by the National Science Foundation in China and the Royal Society in the UK, the research team named the species Nidelric pugio as a way to honour the late Professor Richard Aldridge, and internationally renowned palaeontologist and keen ornithologist formerly from the University of Leicester’s Department of Geology and a scientist who was a world leader in Chengjiang fossil research.

The name of the fossil has derived from the Latin Nidus, meaning ‘bird’s nest’ or ‘fancied resemblance to’ and alderic, derived from the Old English personal name ‘Aedelic’ – ‘adel’ meaning ‘nobel’ and ‘ric’ meaning ‘a ruler’ – which is a source for the name Aldridge.

Dr. Tom Harvey from the University of Leicester, a co-author of the paper, said: “There is only one fossil of this enigmatic animal after 30 years of collecting by our Chinese colleagues at Chengjiang. It is exceptionally rare, but it shows us just how strange and varied the shapes of early animals could be.

“We are glad the fossil can honour the name of Professor Richard Aldridge, who was a leader in this field and whose research was vital in better understanding the rich tapestry of fossils found at Chengjiang.”

In southern China, rocks 520 million years old in Chengjiang County, Yunna Province generate a diverse array of fossils preserved with traces of their soft anatomy, including their legs, eyes, guts and even brains.

Amongst the array of fossils are many animals that can be related to modern relatives, including distant relatives of anthropods such as crabs and lobsters, a wide variety of worms.

There are also several enigmatic fossils that don’t appear to fit with anything living today, and amongst these are the chancelloriids.

The fossils enable an unprecedented view of life in Earth’s ancient seas.

Tom Hearing, a PhD student from the Department of Geology who is working on the skeletons of Cambrian fossils, added: “We usually only get the broken-up remains of ancient animal skeletons. With this specimen we can see how all the different parts of the skeleton stuck together. It tells us much about how early animals functioned, how they might have interacted with other animals, and how they might have protected themselves from predators.”

Contributing Source: University of Leicester

Header Image Source: Prof Derek J Siveter of Oxford University

The post Ancient balloon-shaped animal fossil unveils new information on Earth’s ancient seas appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

Categories: General

VIDEO: McCann 'witnesses' to be quizzed

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 13:49
Portuguese police are questioning 11 people as part of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007.
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Underwater excavation reveals lost Levantine village

Heritage Daily - Tue, 2014-12-09 13:20
A 7,500-year-old underwater water well that has been partially excavated from a site on Israel’s Mediterranean coast near Haifa will give important insights into the Neolithic society that once lived there.

Dr Benjamin (left) and the Haifa University team clear away mobile sands covering the excavation site. Photo by J. McCarthy.

Flinders University maritime archaeologist Jonathan Benjamin was part of the team that excavated and recorded the site in October under the leadership of Dr Ehud Galili, a world-renowned expert in submerged prehistory and a senior maritime archaeologist at the Israel Antiques Authority and the University of Haifa.

Submerged under five metres of water due to prehistoric sea-level rise, the excavated structure was an important water well that supplied fresh water to the ancient civilisation dated to the pre-pottery Neolithic period that lived on the Kfar Samir site, near Haifa, Israel.

“Water wells are valuable to Neolithic archaeology because once they stopped serving their intended purpose, people used them as big rubbish bins,” Dr Benjamin, a leading expert in prehistoric underwater archaeology, says.

“This is superb for archaeologists because it means we can look through the refuse of prehistoric societies – including animal bones, plant fibres and tools – to see how these ancient civilisations lived, how they hunted and what they ate,” he says.

“At the Kfar Samir site, the water well was probably abandoned when sea levels started to rise and the freshwater became salty so people threw food scraps and animal bones down the well instead.”

After shifting several tonnes of mobile sand covering the well, the team took core samples that are currently being analysed for pollen and sediments. It is hoped the results will shed light on the early Mediterranean diet and trade of the prehistoric village.

“As they were a pre-metal society we expect to find stone tools; perhaps weapons made of flint, and needles made of bone,” Dr Benjamin says.

“We’re also hoping to find organic material such as plant fibers, seeds and evidence of domestic crops such as olive stones that we can date.

“Previous excavations suggest this is likely the world’s oldest olive oil production centre and while it’s too early to tell what we’ve sampled from this small excavation, the preliminary results are promising.”

Using cutting-edge photogrammetry techniques to create a kind of “3D mosaic”, Dr Benjamin is also in the process of generating a 3D model of the well along with fellow collaborator and world-leading expert John McCarthy of Wessex Archaeology (UK).

“We had to take photos in a special way, swimming around the well in a controlled and deliberate manner in order to get full coverage for a high-resolution data set.

“Photogrammetry is not just about creating a pretty picture – for maritime archaeologists it’s a tool that we can use to study the site and make archaeological interpretations. We can spend a few minutes under water, but hours on land analysing the material in very fine detail.

“The technique is not new in theory, but only very recently has the technology caught up to allow us to use it underwater, which we have with exceptional results. This is a wonderful tool for underwater archaeological site recording.”

While the scale of the Neolithic village and its occupants remain a mystery, Dr Benjamin hopes to continue working with Haifa University to unlock more pieces of the puzzle.

“We hope Flinders’ Archaeology Department and University of Haifa will work together in the future to unlock the full history of the site – our relationship is great, the research is world-class and the facilities at the University of Haifa are well equipped for this endeavour.”

The excavation, which was founded by The Honor Frost Foundation, was a joint collaboration effort of Dr Benjamin and Dr Galili and Dr Deborah Cvikel from the University of Haifa.

As part of the two-week expedition, Dr Benjamin and Dr Galili also led field excursions to identify prehistoric sea-level markers during project MEDFLOOD, which is funded by the International Union for Quaternary Science.

“Israel is a great place to look at sea-level change because there are markers from 125,000 years ago on land, when sea levels were higher, but also because sea levels are constantly changing over time there are areas offshore with prehistoric coastal villages buried up to 12 metres deep, and possibly more, older material even deeper offshore.

“For history and archaeology, the Levantine coast is absolutely world-class and it’s contribution to world prehistory simply cannot be ignored.”

Flinders University

The post Underwater excavation reveals lost Levantine village appeared first on HeritageDaily - Heritage & Archaeology News.

Categories: General

VIDEO: Force warned over police kill threat

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 13:19
West Midlands Police says it is "business as usual" after receiving an anonymous warning over officers' safety.
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VIDEO: Dewani leaves South Africa

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:56
Shrien Dewani leaves South Africa after a judge cleared him of the charge of arranging his wife's murder.
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VIDEO: Dewani arrives at Cape Town airport

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 11:13
British businessman Shrien Dewani is believed to be heading to Dubai from South Africa after a judge cleared him of arranging the murder of his wife Anni on their honeymoon.
Categories: General

VIDEO: One killed in M25 collision

BBC test - Tue, 2014-12-09 10:43
One person has died and a number of people have been injured in a multiple vehicle crash on the M25 in Essex.
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