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A few bits that may interest people

24 March 2013

At www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/03/2013/astronomical-alignment… … an attempt to catalogue astronomical alignments at temples in Mesoamerica, 70 per cent of which seem to be focussed on the Sun. The solstice was of interest, but not the equinox, while in some places (highland Maya) the cycles of Venus were important and in one location, the Moon. In addition, it was found the layout of cities and their temple complexes were not chosen randomly but were designed to fit into strict and defined guidelines based on observation of the environment, and the stars.

At www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130321082359.htm … around 1000BC there was an influx of bronze artifacts into the archaeology of Scandinavia – around the same time new kinds of stone monuments appeared, arranged in the shape and form of boats. It seems likely they were built by a maritime people, which were presumably Scandinavian in origin as they have a long tradition of exploiting the resources of the sea. They were part of a network across large parts of northern Europe, right across the Baltic Sea and its islands, with a significant cluster in Sweden, on Gotland. They key was the bronze and its dissemination. The stone ships appear to have been death ships – associated with tombs.

At www.trust.org/alertnet/news/pre-viking-tunic-found-by-glacier-as-warming… … a woollen tunic has been found as a result of melting glaciers in Scandinavia, somewhat similar to melting glaciers in the Alps, the Andes, and Canada and Alaska. Whilst this reflects the fact that it has indeed warmed somewhat in recent decades it also shows that they have melted at other times through history – and there is nothing actually peculiar about modern warming. The tunic was found at an elevation of 6500 feet on what may have been a Roman period trade route (in southern Norway). C14 dating shows it was made at around AD300, in the latter stages of the Roman Warm Period. Why it was discarded is another matter. Other items have also turned up such as a mitten (AD800), an ornate walking stick adn Bronze Age leather shoes, wooden bows and stone arrow heads (used to hunt reindeer), in all around 1600 objects found since 2006.

At http://phys.org/print283141316.html … a new genetic study based on mitochondrial DNA has brought Out of Africa forwards – but the rate of genetic mutation is basically an estimate and other geneticists might disagree. The new study claims it took place between 62 and 95 thousand years ago – but a paper not so long ago claimed it was as far back as 130,000 years ago. The difference in dates also reflects anthropological differences.

The same story is at http://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/ancient-hunter-gath… … with a bit more information, but still the same Current Biology paper. Ten mtDNA genomes were used in the study and from this they claim that pre-LGM were found to be the forebears of post-glacial Mesolithic hunter gatherer populations in Europe. They also used C14 dates of fossil bones (above) to determine the mutation rate. From this they calculated Eve – the first female ancestor of modern humans (as a distinct group as opposed to Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalis). This pristine human ancestor is said to have lived around 160,000 years ago, thereby creating the racially pure line tha subsequently migrated Out of Africa – somewhere between 62 and 95,000 years ago. Significantly, those dates are within general agreement with previous dates for the great event – marching onwards towards Utopia. In other words, previous archaeological and anthropological estimates.


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