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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20 Oct 2010
Stone Age (Palaeolithic) flour

At www.nature.com/news/2010/101018/full/news.2010.549.html there is a report on a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (this week) (see doi.10.1073/pnas.1006993107 ) that claims that Palaeolithic people were making flour in Europe as early as 30,000 years ago - from plant grains and roots. The idea that Palaeolithic hunters were almost exclusively meat eaters has always been insecure.

19 Oct 2010
Megalithic Tombs

Another locked in consensus point of view might be about to start rocking at the hinges. I am referring to some of the abstract ideas that have proliferated in archaeology textbooks in recent years regarding the use of the landscape by our ancestors in NW Europe. Very often, long barrows and prehistoric graves seem to occupy high ground - significant ridges or terraces. This has given the impression the intention was to dominate the surrounding landscape, to impress or mark out ownership of the valley or lowland below, and various other ideas, sometimes quite woolly.

17 Oct 2010
The Toba volcano and Out of Africa

New Scientist 17th April, 2010 ... had an interesting story on the so called Toba super volcano which blew its head on what is now Sumatra - 74,000 years ago. Various articles appeared that seemed to suggest it was a massive catastrophic event that almost wiped out humanity from the face of the earth - creating a genetic bottlekneck in Africa. The severity of the Toba eruption was not actually based on reality but on a series of computer simulations.

17 Oct 2010
Dating the Ice Ages

New Scientist 22nd May 2010 had a story on the Hulu cave system near Nanjing in China which contains some very useful stalagmites that have been used to date the Ice Ages - or at least the last four. James Croll, a Scottish self taught physicist, proposed that periodic change in the earth's orbit caused the amount of sunshine reaching the surface of the earth to vary over time. Low sunshine in winter led to snow accumulating. As ice sheets grew the earth reflected more heat back into space amplifying the effects of orbital changes.

16 Oct 2010
Middle East Milk Drinkers

At www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,druck-723310,0.html a German journalist reports on mainly German research that is now claiming that agriculturalists came to Europe during a wave of migration with origins in the Fertile Crescent (the Middle East, Iran, and Anatolia) that basically swept aside the indigenous Mesolithic peoples. However, in all such blanket assertions, there are some noteable problems - completely ignored by the journalist.

16 Oct 2010
Ulster Tomb

The Belfast Telegraph (see www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-reland/maghera-tomb/ ) ... Portal Tombs, a form of dolmen, are only found in Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall, and there has been an archaeological debate on their origins as they seem to appear at the same time as large rectangular long houses.

16 Oct 2010
Solar Flares

At http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/15/new-ideas-total-solar-irradiance-and-flares/ there is a post on a paper concerning solar flares - which are sudden releases of energy from the Sun. They are in some way connected to the magnetic field breaking and reconnecting - it is thought. The temperatures of solar flares can soar to millions of degrees as the particles accelerate - and much of the radiation is emitted as X-rays.

15 Oct 2010
Tayinat Oath Platform in the Holy of Holies

At http://heritage-key.com/blogs/owenjarus/oath-platform-2700-year0old-temple-tayinat/ we have an unusual take on the excavations being currently undertaken at Tayinat, an ancient city of the Amuq Plain, on the banks of the Orontes, and conquered by the Assyrians in 738BC. The Temple in question belongs to the Assyrian era and the oath tablet was discovered on a platform in the most sacred part - the Holy of Holies.

14 Oct 2010
Was the White Horse at Uffington a dog?

No, not so barmy - a vet has suggested it resembles a greyhound or a wolfhound rather than a stylised horse (see www.guardian.co.uk/sciences/2010/oct/12/white-horse-uffington-dog/ ... the argument is based on the long tail and small head, which certainly could be a dog rather than a horse. In addition, it is known that Britain and Ireland were famous for their hunting dogs and they were traded far and wide.

14 Oct 2010
Cosmic Strings are super massive ultra thin cracks in the universe?

Yes, and researchers at the University of Buffalo say they have found indirect proof of their existence. They studied 355 quasars - very bright galaxies with super massive black holes at their centre (said without batting an eye). Quasars emit massive jets of energy and 183 of such jets were seen to line up to form a pair of enormous rings in the sky, suggesting two massive circular structures actually exist - or did exist.