In The News

Welcome to our "In the News" page, featuring summaries of Internet news, relevant to Catastrophism and Ancient History.

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16 Oct 2010
Ulster Tomb

The Belfast Telegraph (see ) ... Portal Tombs, a form of dolmen, are only found in Ireland, Wales, and Cornwall, and there has been an archaeological debate on their origins as they seem to appear at the same time as large rectangular long houses.

16 Oct 2010
Solar Flares

At there is a post on a paper concerning solar flares - which are sudden releases of energy from the Sun. They are in some way connected to the magnetic field breaking and reconnecting - it is thought. The temperatures of solar flares can soar to millions of degrees as the particles accelerate - and much of the radiation is emitted as X-rays.

15 Oct 2010
Tayinat Oath Platform in the Holy of Holies

At we have an unusual take on the excavations being currently undertaken at Tayinat, an ancient city of the Amuq Plain, on the banks of the Orontes, and conquered by the Assyrians in 738BC. The Temple in question belongs to the Assyrian era and the oath tablet was discovered on a platform in the most sacred part - the Holy of Holies.

14 Oct 2010
Was the White Horse at Uffington a dog?

No, not so barmy - a vet has suggested it resembles a greyhound or a wolfhound rather than a stylised horse (see ... the argument is based on the long tail and small head, which certainly could be a dog rather than a horse. In addition, it is known that Britain and Ireland were famous for their hunting dogs and they were traded far and wide.

14 Oct 2010
Cosmic Strings are super massive ultra thin cracks in the universe?

Yes, and researchers at the University of Buffalo say they have found indirect proof of their existence. They studied 355 quasars - very bright galaxies with super massive black holes at their centre (said without batting an eye). Quasars emit massive jets of energy and 183 of such jets were seen to line up to form a pair of enormous rings in the sky, suggesting two massive circular structures actually exist - or did exist.

14 Oct 2010
Asteroid Phaethon

Asteroid 3200 Phaethon sometimes acts just like a comet - it light up the night sky with meteor showers. However, most of the time it behaves like an asteroid - a piece of rock orbiting in space. University of Central Florida (see October 13th ... scientists have been doing a bit of telescope gazing and a spot of mathematical modelling and they think they have found significant similarities between it and another asteroid, a big one in the asteroid belt, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. This one is known as Pallas.

13 Oct 2010
Oscillating Sea Levels

At is a report going back to March 2000 on the study of fossil tube worm holes that have been C14 dated (in Australia) and they show that, for example, around 2000BC, sea levels were some 2m higher than modern ones. Indeed, sea levels appear to have risen and fallen on a number of occasions in the last 6000 years. Similar evidence to support the research came from South Africa, Brazil, South Carolina, and New Caledonia.

13 Oct 2010
Bronze Age Caucasus

High in the Caucasus Mountains of Russia a previously unknown Bronze Age civilisation has been discovered - dating back to the 16th and 14th centuries BC. The sites are spread over 60 miles between the Kuban River and Nalchik in the east (see - and it is probably connected to the Kuban civilisation which was discovered over a hundred years ago - but slightly later in date.

12 Oct 2010
Black Death

At ... scientists in Germany have examined the skeletons of plague victims, testing their DNA and analysing protein, and they say they have proved the Black Death was caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis which occurs as pathogens. Skeletons of plague victims were examined in England, France, Germany, Italy and Holland. The next goal is to find the exact route of transmission - how did it get here.

9 Oct 2010
Update on the Sun from yesterday

At Nigel Calder has a post on the Nature paper (see yesterday) about the Sun - and he is like a lot of other commenters, critical of the paper. As co-author, with Henrik Svensmark, of the Chilling Stars, he makes the point the author of the paper has never gone along with the Svensmark hypothesis concerning cosmic rays governing low cloud cover, and has refused to focus on ultra-violet light from the Sun, which does vary more than visible light.