Golden Bough

Daily Telgraph February 18th (see online at www.telegraph.co.uk ) ... Italian archaeologists claim to have found a stone enclosure which once protected the legendary 'Golden Bough' of the Aeneas myth. It was discovered while excavating a religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near a volcanic lake 20 miles south of Rome. The enclosure, it is claimed, protected a large cypress or oak tree sacred to the Latins. The tree was central to the tale of Aeneas flight from Troy - and it also symbolised the power of the priest-king.

Further on Tutankhamun DNA

http://pling.livejournal.com February 19th and http://news.discovery.com February 18th ... an overview of what has been found and what is the official position with some sceptical comments from the University of Zurich, University of Pisa and University of York. The DNA suggests Tutankhamun was the son of a mummy found in KV55 and it is assumed this was Akhenaten, and likewise his mother was another mummy (also unidentified in a positive manner). The official mode of death is also open to some doubt.

Cosmic Tusk Update

Further posts on the AGU Meeting. WC Mahaney et al, in Geomorphology 116: Issues 1-2, page 48-57, due out on March 15th 2010, says that a new group of scientists have emerged and are about to publish their findings which appear to support the YD boundary impact event hypothesis. Evidence this time comes from the Andes in NW Venezuela.

Chiefio

www.climategate.com/czechgate-climate-scientists-dump-worlds-second-oldest-record.html John O'Sullivan says a sceptic blogger known as Chiefio - who is in fact computer specialist EM Smith (see earlier posts) claims the Global Historical Climatology Network has cynically dumped the world's second oldest and reliable climate record at Prague for no obvious scientific reason.

Ghana, Carthage, and Tutankhamun

BBC News February 17th ... archaeologists have unearthed dozens of clay figures in Ghana that are thought to shed some light on pre-Islamic society (80 sculptures dating between 600-1200AD). The culture appears to have disappeared when Islam arrived - they either converted to the new religion or were the victims of the slave trade.

Lake Baikal

Daily Galaxy February 17th (www.dailygalaxy.com ) ... Lake Baikal is the oldest, the largest and the deepest lake on the planet. It's reckoned to be 25 million year of age and has a diversity of plant and animal species unknown elsewhere in the world - including the freshwater seal. Many of the unique fish in Baikal resemble deep sea species rather than freshwater ones. There are forests of sponges in the lake that resemble the Caribbean - but it is located in the sub Arctic.

The Vancouver Sun and archaeology stories

Two stories from the Vancouver Sun (see www.vancouversun.com and click on archaeology stories). On December 29th 2009 it was revealed that a study has found what people were eating a 100,000 years ago in southern Africa. Dozens of stone tools found during excavation are the earliest evidence, so far, of human reliance on grain (Julio Mercader of the University of Calgary). The diet of early humans was much more diverse than archaeologists have previously realised. Grains were as much part of their diet as roots, tubers, fruit and berries.

Ice Age Anomalies

Science News February 11th ... coastal caves on the Ballearic Islands just off the coast of Spain (including Majorca) have produced some very surprising evidence of sea level rise and fall during the last Ice Age, a finding that might cast some doubt on just how long such cold spells may actually last, develop, and remain. The theory is that during the Ice Ages immense volumes of water are locked up in land based ice sheets. In that situation sea levels would fall, revealing large areas of what is now the submerged coastal shelf system.

Corals in the Andaman Sea

www.physorg.com February 15th ... corals in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea in the NE part of the Indian Ocean have upset AGW alarmism that claims coral reefs will die out as the oceans become too warm - pointing their finger in particular at the Great Barrier Reef. The findings will be published on February 20th in the Journal of Biogeography.

Medieval High Life

Irish Times at www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0216/1224264553851_pf.html February 16th ... archaeologists in Kilkenny have discovered evidence of medieval abbots living the high life - the remains of roast swan and joints of beef washed down with French wine were found in the house of the Abbot, adjoining the abbey. The monks themselves lived more frugally, a simple more ascetic way of life.