Sunlight and Holes in Tombs and Monuments - The National (Arab Emirates) ... has a piece on the period before monotheistic religions took root - an era of different gods with many names, shapes, and sizes. The role of the Sun in the ancient Arab world was apparently very important as inside small ancient beehive shape buildings (tombs) a single ray of sunshine crept in through a smallish opening - and lit the interior for a couple of hours (each day).

Potbelly Hill

Newsweek, February 19th have run an article on the enigmatic monument unearthed in SE Anatolia dating back to 9500BC - the very beginnings of the Holocene (see ). On what is a softly rounded hill in the foothills of the Taurus, the mountains rising at it's rear, it's face towards Syria in the south and the Plain of Harran to the SE.

Permafrost February 17th ... the southern limits of the permafrost zone, frozen ground, is now said to be 130km further north than it was 50 years ago. This actually applies to the area studied, the James Bay locale. It is being predicted that permafrost will disappear in the near future - releasing dangerous amounts of methane. However, although AGW is fingered the researchers admit a lack of long term climatic data in the region and in fact the study involves just the last 20 years - not the 50 years in the blurb.


Science News Febnruary 17th (see ) ... new X Ray findings appear to blow a hole in the leading model for the origin of stellar explosions - type 1a supernova events. Astronomers routinely use these very bright events to measure dark energy. The Nature article won't change the interpretation of dark energy but a new understanding is required of supernovae.

Another Catastrophe

Science Daily February 17th ... a Nature Geoscience paper on the Carbon Cycle before humans has found that 100 million years ago there were large changes as a result of a massive amount of volcanic activity that introduced carbon dioxide and sulphur into the atmosphere. At the same time one third of marine life died out - which they suggest was due to a drop in oxygen levels in the oceans.

Golden Bough

Daily Telgraph February 18th (see online at ) ... 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 February 19th and 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 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.