Arrows give the game away

BBC News August 26th ... archaeologists in South Africa have unearthed stone points dated 64,000 years ago which were probably arrow heads. A microscope revealed traces of blood and bone. They also found traces of a glue - a plant based resin that was possibly used to fasten them to a wooden shaft. The use of bows and arrows as a hunting tool enabled humans to kill from a distance where previously they had used ambush tactics in order to move in with spears at fairly close quarters.

Radio emissions from sun spots

At ... professor Jeongwoo Lee (see also seeks to explain why sun spots are a source of radio emissions because hot electrons gyrate in the coronal magnetic field. As they gyrate they produce an efficient radiation called gyro-resonant emission. This serves as an indicator of the magnetic field and of temperature in the coronae above sun spots.

Shrinking atmosphere

Yes, the atmosphere is shrinking - as a result of low levels of solar radiation - a lack of sun spots. At there is a report on a paper in Geophysical Research Letters from research funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation which sponsors the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) at Boulder, Colorado. It is now thought the Sun's magnetic cylce may vary much more than previously considered possible.

The birth of black holes

At ... a paper in Nature purports to have discovered the origin of the universe's first super massive black hole - by computer simulation of dark matter, stars, gas, and black holes. They were born when early galaxies collided and fused together - quite simple really. However, it is not quite simply simple as it means the old hypothesis that gravity draws small pieces of matter together and these then go on to form large structures is - well, redundant.

Neutrinos and decay rates - ongoing

At --- which is the story that broke a few days ago concerning research that seemed to show a variation in radioactive decay rates on earth - is being reopened after a cascade of criticism. The real shocker is they attributed it to solar neutrinos - and they aren't supposed to react with matter and ar particularly difficult to detect. In fact, they might even not exist.

Archaeology in the Western Desert

At ... Yale University press release. Egyptologists have barely explored the western desert, an expanse the size of Texas, but recently some intrepid archaeologists with links to Yale have been tracking back along old roads crossing the desert, fanning out from Thebes. They have found a lost pharaonic complex with administrative buildings, garrison quarters, and small industries and workshops.

Maya archaeology updates

At August 26th .... it is claimed archaeologists are near to finding out why the Maya abandoned their cities - in the 9th century AD. It was very rapid it seems - pottery and tools were left behin, and grinding stones used to mill corn. The interior of houses appeared to suggest people had left quickly - leaving behind some of their belongings. We know when they went, it continues, as many of them still live in the north or along the coast.

Late Pleistocene Notts

The Independent and the daily Mail August 26th  (see also ....) excavations preceding road widening on the A46 in Nottinghamshire have found Iron Age and Roman remains - and flint tools and flint knapping debris dating back to 11,000BC (shortly before the Younger Dryas event). The A46 at this point follows the line of the Roman road known as the Fosse Way.

A new paper on nanodiamonds at the YD boundary

At we have news of a new paper due to be published by the Journal of Glaciology by Kurbatov, Mayewski and Steffensen et al which presents evidence for a prominent peak in nanodiamonds in a narrow layer of ice in Greenland ice cores that date just prior to the YD boundary event. A direct link to the article will be available in due course.

Digging for Britain; August 26th

BBC 2 'Digging for Britain' 26th August ... looked at various archaeological sites from Creswell Crags to the Beaker people - and surprisingly, they moved around a lot. Unsurpringly, this occurs between 2300 and 2000BC (but you need to read Moe Mandelkehr's articles in SIS journals on what might have been going on then to understand why). However, what caught my attention was the Neolithic farm and various associated buildings.