In The News

Welcome to our "In the News" page, featuring summaries of Internet news, relevant to Catastrophism and Ancient History.

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12 Jul 2010
Zahi Hawass and C14 dating methodology

See ... Zahi Hawass, commenting on the new Bayesian C14 dates as reported on In the News June 18th (as published in Science). He says carbon 14 has a margin of error of 100 years. In order to date Egyptian dynasties we need specific dates, C14 should not be used to make changes to the chronology of ancient Egypt, not even as a helpful addition. We can use geoarchaeology, DNA, laser scanning - but carbon dating is unclear.

12 Jul 2010

At July 10th ... we have a story about the birth of Aphrodite but rather than rising up out of the foam of the sea she appears to have merged out of a fiery furnace - in this instance, Aprhodite of myth (a goddess figure) is equated with the planet Venus. Hence, the story is really about discoveries made by the 'Venus Express' of the atmosphere of that planet. In addition, it concerns the Russian Venura class landing vehicles that revealed a rock strewn and sandy terrain - with a surface temperature of 500 degrees.

9 Jul 2010
shrinking protons

a paper in Nature July 8th (see ) indicates protons are smaller than previously thought - by some 4 per cent. This doesn't sound a big deal, you might think, but scientists say this could have 'enormous implications' and 'something is 'drastically wrong'. It could be there is something amiss with quantum electro-dynamics, the theory of how light and matter interact by incorporating Einstein's special relativity into quantum mechanics (see also pre-publication news report on In the News last week).

9 Jul 2010
Plant genes is a story about how it is thought the wild grass teosinte developed into corn (maize). Experiments in domestication have shown it is possible that domestic plants took fewer than 20 generations to take place - a very short space of time. This appears to contradict the archaeology and this article is a bit of a fight-back by palaeo-botanists against geneticists.

8 Jul 2010
Hoard of Roman Coins in a field in Somerset

Some 52,500 bronze and silver coins dating from the 3rd century AD have been  found by a hobby metal detectorist in a field near Frome in the West Country. It is the largest single hoard ever found in Britain - and they all date between 253-293AD. A Roman road ran nearby but there is no trace, as yet, of a villa or settlement, so it is a bit puzzling. Archaeologists said that hoards are usually buried at times of invasion and civil unrest - the Irish and Saxon raids of the 5th century might be a more fitting time.

8 Jul 2010
Roman Galilee

At - archaeologists exploring the Galilee region in the Roman period have found a synagogue which is being dated to around 400AD.

8 Jul 2010
British Oldies

The Guardian July 7th (see is a story about flint tools found on a beach at Happisburgh in Norfolk that are said to be some 840,000 to 950,000 years of age, based on dating the geology (or sediments). The tools according to Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum, are mint fresh and exceptionally sharp - which suggests they have not moved very far from where they were left - if at all.

7 Jul 2010
Neanderthal diet

We often hear about the Neanderthal diet - lots of meat. They hunted mammoths using only wooden spears - and approached near enough to get a shot into a vital spot - but is this picture true? A study in Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia repeats the same old stereo-type, prompted by some Russian research on an arm-bone of a Neanderthal that had lived some 100,000 years ago.

6 Jul 2010
exhibition in Oxford

There is an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford on 'The Lost World of Old Europe' - basically, Europe between 6000 and 3000BC, the Climatic Optimum (or a period of history sandwiched between two events). Various objects from the Danube civilisation and the Balkans will be on display, including from the Varna civilisation. There is evidence of widespread trade from northern France, Germany and Denmark, across central and eastern Europe into South Russia, and the artifacts reflect this situation. Exhibition from now until August 15th.

6 Jul 2010
Greek Fire June 28th ... Greek inventor Archimedes is said to have used mirrors to burn the ships of an attacking Roman fleet advancing on Syracuse. The story comes from the medieval period and appears to be an attempt, at that time, to try and understand what Archimedes did. New research has suggested he may have used steam cannons and fiery cannonballs, instead of mirrors (a process that is too slow). The battle took place between 214 and 212BC but no contemporary Greek or Roman source mentions a device involving mirrors.