Another city under the sea

At September 2nd ... BP aims to drill some exploratory oil wells off the Libyan coast and this has alarmed French archaeologists who are worried about some ancient sites that exist below and at sea level in what was once Cyrenaica and Tripolitania in the Classical period - quite apart from anything that may date from before the Grreks and Romans. For example, the ancient town and harbour of Apollonia is now submerged, under 5m of water.

Near Earth Update - NASA report

This story from NASA (see September 2nd) has popped up all over the blogosphere, with various angles to the headlines. NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed  a lot of new information about near earth objects orbiting in near space - mainly asteroids, or defunct comets. However, the composition of these bodies turns out to be highly varied. Some are dark and dull and others shiny and bright (the Astronomical Journal September issue).

Bronze Age surgeons

New Scientist 2775 August 31st ... the discovery of what looks like a scalpel at an Early Bronze Age settlement at Ikiztepe in Anatolia (dating between 3200-2100BC). The site consisted of single storey houses made of logs of wood with a courtyard and oven in front. The scalpels are thought to have been used for surgery rather than ritual as some skeletons found in a graveyard exhibit evidence of skulls being cut open as if with a surgical instrument.


Associated Press September Ist ... archaeologists have found an Iron Age temple in Jordan believed to date back to the Kingdom of Moab. Figurines and clay vessels have been found but the nature of the rituals has yet to be defined. The interest in the site will arise when evidence of contact with the outside world is found - Assyria, Egypt, the Babylonians etc. It seems Moab was primarily located laong the spine of mountains and hills on the eastern side of the Dead Sea - not far from modern Amman (which presumably has a link with ancient Ammon).

.. and a red comet ...

There is an image of a red comet at September 1st, being Comet Sidling Spring, which is named after the Australian observatory where it was first seen in 2007. It was visible in binoculars until January of this year (2010) and the post goes on to describe the idea of panspermia - the seeding of life by comets. Life on earth seems to have appeared soon after the termination of a massive bombardment event at around 3.8 billion years ago (so it is said).

... and after the diamonds we have red rain ...

At - an interesting post sent in by Gary Gilligan that moves seamlessly into juxtaposition  to the extraterrestrial impact debate - and red rain clearly has analogies with the Biblical Exodus event which was decyphered by Velikovsky as derived from a comet passing relatively close to the earth. The authors of the paper, Rajkumar Gangappa (University of Glamorgan), Chandra Wickramasinghe (Cardiff University), Milton Wainwright (Sheffield University), S.

The Antarctic of the Past

At is a strange title as it gives the impression a paper with a lead author from the British Antarctic Survey was referring to the continent of Antarctica dissected by a waterway - when in fact they were saying no such thing.

Jupiter's radio emissions and dark energy?

An interesting post by Casey Kazan who continues to rattle the cage at and posted on August 31st 'Do Jupiter's radio emissions hint that dark energy may not exist?' ... the cosmic microwave background as tracked by the WMAP satellite shows a pattern of ripples that underpin the idea the universe is composed of dark matter and dark energy. Researchers at Durham Univesity think they have found a flaw in the data - starting with WMAP observations of the planet Jupiter.

A funny looking crater on Mars

At .... Orcus Patera is a mysterious elliptical depression near the equator of Mars, some 380km by 140km in a NNE - SSW direction. It has a rim that rises up 1800m above the surrounding plain while the floor of the depression is some 400 to 600m below the surrounding landscape. It doesn't fit into any currently accepted pattern - impact or volcanic

... yes, there are nano diamonds at the YD boundary event, preserved in ice on Greenland.

This is a paper by Kurbatov, Mayewski, Steffensen, West, the Kennetts, Bunch, and others which can be downloaded free in full text from August 31st. Recommended reading. Basically, a small layer of free nanodiamonds in very high abundances implies an unprecedented influx of extraterrestrial material  that occurred over the last glacial episode. From that layer nanodiamonds and hexagonal diamonds (lonsdaleite) of the order of many times grreater than background levels in adjacent younger and older ice.