What was Silbury Hill built to imitate?

An article in Current Archaeology 293 (July/August 2014) (see also www.archaeology.co.uk) makes the point that Silbury Hill sits at the head of the Kennet River - which joins the Thames at Reading. Although modern maps have the head of the Thames near Lechlade, but might this be regarded as one of several tributaries. It asks, perhaps Neolithic people saw the Kennet as more properly a continuation of the Thames, rather than the long loop that goes by way of Oxford. They go further and say, Silbury Hill was positioned in a special landscape.

What was happening in the years leading up to 1300AD?

At http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/ancient-baby-boom-h... ... the lesson the co-authors have in mind is that over population is supposed to be a problem and the modern world is seriously over populated - in their opinion. They go further as they claim they have found an ancient record of over population that ended in tragedy after a bout of drought - but they are lean on the extent and magnitude of the drought or the possibility of migration by those affected by drought.

Irish mythology

Patrick McCafferty was a speaker at an SIS autumn meeting a few years ago - and came across as somebody to watch. It seems he has teamed up with Dallas Abbot over in the States and they have made a programme for the Smithsonian Channel, a documentary concerning the mysterious history of Ireland in the 6th century AD - go to http://cosmictusk.com/irish_history_myth_comet_asteroid_mccaffferty/

Noctilucent dog outings

Daphne Chappell reports letting the dog out for a jimmy riddle at 1.00am in the morning and looked up at the sky - and saw noctilucent clouds. These are spectacular - please visit www.spaceweathergallery.com

CERN update

At http://phys.org/print323490400.html ... we are back at CERN and the Large Hadron Collider. Not many press releases from CERN recently but they have been upgrading their baby - big time (and fast approaching a new season of experiments). The Higgs Boson particle is the focus of atttention. They have sifted through reams of experimental data  in order to understand the traits and behaviour of the particle. None of it seems capable of explaining dark matter and in addition there is no evidence of supersymmetry.

comets, asteroids, and the solar wind

Comet Pan-STARRS is still out there. It flared up in May and has since gone rather quiet - see latest update http://phys.org/print323672928.html ... so we have something else in August, when it is due to go round the Sun, that might prove interesting from an EU point of view. Mind you, Thunderbolts are getting excited already as they have posted us details of a new model developed by NASA with a view in mind of protecting astronauts - visiting asteroids. The link is at www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/new-nasa-model-gives-glimpse-into-the-invis...

Penguin Tales

Mainstream media with their very serious face expression firmly stuck to the front of their heads have informed the world that penguins are on the verge of a cataclysmic decline as a result of global warming - even though the Antarctic sea ice is greater than it was and the Antarctic ice cap is as sound as it could possibly ever be.

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

You'll get used to the Russian name of this comet as it approaches Mars in October. According to the European Space Agency (ESA) the comet is losing the equivalent of two tumblers of water per second - which is a lot of water vapour (go to www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta)

Greenhouse Venus

There is a discussion ongoing at http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/venus-surface-temp-correctly-p... ... and one commenter has come on and said Venus was born from Jupiter just 6000 years ago. What is the modern view of Carl Sagan's greenhouse Venus - go to link above and join in if you like.

Kurgans in Georgia

At www.livescience.com/46513-ancient-chariot-burial-discovered.html .... in Georgia in the South Caucasus, a chariot burial has been dug up from beneath a kurgan (burial mound). It dates back to the Early Bronze Age, or the second half of the 3rd millennium BC, and there were, in fact, two chariots each with four wooden wheels. Various artefacts were found, even though the tomb was robbed in antiquity.