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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5 Oct 2010
Plinian eruptions, and Babylonian poems

At we have a new post that outlines the nature of Plinian volcanic eruptions and their relationship to ignimbrites. Once again the comments are interesting - the idea of melting rock requires first the melting and then the flow - but how can this happen as a result of blast and heat? It won't flow if it has not first melted, a scenario with obvious parallels to volcanism, and lava - and see the response by Dennis Cox.

5 Oct 2010
The riddle of the stones transported by boats

Current World Archaeology October issue, has a news report on the subject of megalithic stones being transported by boat - coracles in fact. Franscesco Benozza of the University of Bologna, whose field of study is the continuity of old words into recent languages as a means of understanding aspects of ancient societies. In the European Archaeologist he reports on research near the Portuguese megalithic site of Almendes where megalithic stones are known as ventrecurgo = belly + boat. In Brittany they are called Bronbag, meaning breast + boat.

5 Oct 2010
Aborigine rock paintings of extinct animals and Neolithic wood working skills in Europe

Current World Archaeology 43 October 2010 issue ... in the World News section there is a report on rock art found in Arnhem Land which depicts two large flightless birds which are supposed to have become extinct in Australia around 40,000 years ago. Either the paintings are that old or science is wrong and the birds didn't disappear until much later - possibly at the end of the Ice Age.

4 Oct 2010
Ptolemy's Germania

Spiegel Online at,518,720513,00.html says researchers have cracked Ptolemy's map of Germania and that settlements existed at a surprising number of towns some 2000 years ago. Anything east of the Rhine is historically obscure and most places are not mentioned in documents until the Middle Ages. According to Tacitus the Germans lived in thatched huts and dug out houses,and fed themselves on a diet of gruel.

4 Oct 2010
Ancient Steppe civilisation

The Daily Mail and the Sunday Times and various other papers have printed a story about the discovery of swastikas and Aryans with the implication, this is where they originated - in southern Siberia? See also  which outlines the story more fully, beginning with the discovery of Bronze Age settlements in Russian and Kazakhstan dating back 3500 to 4000 years ago.

4 Oct 2010
Buried in sand in 3500BC

Another very good archaeological story turned up today, a house that was buried by sand in around 3500BC (calibrated date) - see and assumed to have been overcome in a sandstorm (of all things). A huge wave of water and sand is more likely, the kind of thing that shifts dunes of sand around the bottom of the North Sea.

3 Oct 2010
Early Palaeo-Indian movements

The Wall Street Journal, of all things, has this story at ... in the early Holocene (or even during the Younger Dryas) humans migrated around the Tetons and Absoroka Mtns to tarry in the foothills and the plain that lies beneath the Bighorn and Owl Creek ranges. Near the centre of this basin stands Legend Rock, a cliff face 800 yards long and containing 300 images scattered along its length.

3 Oct 2010
More on archaeology and the younger Dryas boundary event

The University of Arizona at has issued a news report on the 'cold water on the comet hypothesis' paper. They begin by saying the notion of a comet or asteroid striking the earth and wiping out entire species is compelling, but .... they don't think the evidence is there.

3 Oct 2010
Lascaux constellations

BBC News 'online science editor' Dr David Whitehouse, in 2000, reported on the Ice Age prehistoric map of the night sky on the walls of Lascaux, as interpreted by Dr Michael Rappenglueck. Spanish researcher Luz Antequerra Congregeulo, in a doctoral thesis (1992) first suggested an astronomical interpretation of the dots above the shoulder of the bull painting as a depiction of the Pleiades. Qualifying that, the first academic publication of such an idea. Early investigators of the caves also suggested something quite similar.

3 Oct 2010
Sprites on a video clip

At NASA's Space (see link at ) there is a video clip of huge lightning discharges that are striking the ionosphere from thunderstorms below. It says that gigantic jets of lightning play an unknown role in the global flow of electricity around the planet. This is cutting edge science at the moment and amateur astronomers are being asked to contribute.