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Fertilisers, the common wood ivy, and the resurrection of the Claude Schaeffer opus

27 April 2013

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/uog-nei042613.php … the study of a Neolithic community at Karleby in Sweden has come up with some interesting results after scientists from the University of Gothenberg analysed samples taken from the soil. They were looking for clues on diet but what they found was apparently evidence for the use of nitrogen as a fertiliser to enhance the growth of wheat and barley crops. However, as the site goes back deep into the third millennium BC might the nitrogen have another point of origin?

Its well known that woodland ivy is an autumn source of nectar for various insects, including bees, and birds are attracted to it as well. Common wood ivy is an important part of northern European ecology and many people have it growing in their gardens – not always as an invited guest. At http://phys.org/print286180062.html … we learn that a paper in the journal Insect Conservation and Diversity (April 26th, 2013) has explored the role of ivy as far as honey bees are concerned. This hard to get rid of wild plant is apparently beneficial as it provides nectar very late in the season, providing bees with that extra bit of energy in order to survive the winter months of inactivity. The flowers of ivy are very hard to see – unless eyeballed at close range. They appear in the autumn and include a scent to attract insects in general and not just bees.

Finally, at www.livescience.com/28969-earthquake-ended-mycenaean-culture.html … we learn that researchers have investigated the possibility that earthquakes were responsible for the mysterious demise of the Mycenaean Greeks at the end of the Late Bronze Age. It is 65 years since Claude Schaeffer first posed this idea so it has taken mainstream a long time to catch up with him – and only partially so as they are not exploring earthquakes in contemporary Anatolia and the Levant at the same point in time. However, small beginnings are not to be sniffed at and if it is firmly resolved that earthquakes did indeed play a role in the collapse of the Mycenaeans and then we might suppose those findings will be reapplied elsewhere at the end of the Late Bronze era. 

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