Mars and Venus

At we have on Sept 24th 'More Martian Enigmas'  which concerns, among other things, those strange hematite spherules nicknamed blueberries by some wag at NASA who likes his muffins with the wrinkled variety. They were discovered by the Mars Exploration Rovers and have yet to be explained. There are also 'vast fields of iron oxide dust' gathered into dune like shapes that lie of top of quartzite slabs of rock - or more practically, on top of the surface.

Comets and the Bronze Age collapse

George Howard, at September 26th ... has posted an article by Bob Kobres that acknowledges it is based on an artilce published by SIS in C&C Workshop 1992:1. This version has some additional images. One interesting point made by Kobres comes from Martin Brennan's The Stars and the Stones (Thames and Hudson: 1984) (reviewed by SIS a number of years ago) and concerns Tara, a ritual complex of the gods 10 SW of Newgrange.

Saturn, Venus, and the Sun

At for a NASA story, images, and a video clip of Saturn's shimmering aurora over a two day period ( and )


In a scientific article published in May 2010, The Nordic Journal of Architectural Research, an architect claims to have unlocked how the Egyptians constructed the pyramids - by locating the apex point and then working inwards (see )

A Viking Mystery

David Keys, in the Smithsonian magazine (see Sept 24th), the October issue, has a report on the archaeology discovered beneath an Oxford College when the foundations for new student housing were being dug out. An earthwork enclosure, or henge, some 400m in diameter was found but for some reason it is called a temple or a religious complex. Various pits with sherds of broken pottery and food debris suggest that much later the site was used as a rubbish dump.

Fishing the Mesolithic way

This story comes from the Irish Times Sept 23rd ... an archaeologist happened to be out walking and came across some weirs and dams constructed to trap smelt on Connemara's Errislannan peninsular (see ). He looked at what appeared to be a series of stone ponds, channels and dams that linked the bay to several inner lagoons, as if channelling the fish into them.

Einstein and Gravity

At Sept 24th ... there is a post on General Relativity and Einstein which is a favourite theme of Nigel Calder. In the current issue of Science magazine James Chin-Wen Chou et al detected the well known effects of relativity on the rate of time passing  and at the scale of ordinary human activities. Chou's team used laser light in a pair of aluminium-27 optical clocks to show that time can pass more slowly via the effect of motion on time.

Archaeological Chronology in eastern and central Europe

See ... this post, by Lolita Nikolova, is basically about prehistoric culture - and its spread. In this context, the route of the spread, from A to B, or from B to A.

An older universe?

At September 20th Casey Kazan stirs the pot by asking, could the universe be older than cosmologists think? More powerful telescopes are upsetting the standard textbook theories - there are seeming contradictions. On of them is the discoveryof a large elliptical galaxy that is very distant and dated, by rred shift analysis, to something like 10 billion years ago.

Neanderthals killed off by volcanoes?

At  and as reported elsewhere, a paper in the October issue of Current Anthropology suggests that volcanic eruptions in the Caucasus and Italy coincided with the demise of the Neanderthals. Pollen and ash was analysed in sediment layers dated from around 40,000 years ago. A sterile layer was found.