Thursday, September 30, 2004

What's? 40,000-year-old axes unearthed

A SYRIAN archaeological team has uncovered two firestone axes dating back 35,000 to 40,000 years and some 6000 BC stone arrowheads.

Mission head Bassam Jamous said he had to dig one metre deep into al-Wadi's cave in western Syria to find the two 8cm almond-shaped axes, used "by ancient Syrians to hunt their prey".

In a telephone interview, Mr Jamous said the arrowheads used for river and land hunting were about 11 centimetres long.

Bone needles used to sew leather, dating back to 6000 BC, were also among the finds, he said. Parts of clay jars for storing liquids and wine, dating back to 5000 to 3000 BC, were also unearthed.

The cave is some 250km northwest of the capital Damascus, near the Mediterranean port city of Tartous.

The 600m-long al-Wadi cave, which contains a Byzantine-era room carved in the rock, is estimated to be hundreds of thousands of years old.

We don't know what a 'firestone' axe is. Acheulean hand axe maybe?

Errrrr, okay Russian Expedition Establishes Exact Location of Ancient Mystical Country Shambala

A Russian expedition headed by a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Yuri Zakharov has established the exact location of the capital of the ancient state of Shambala – the mystical center revered by many religions and philosophers all over the World.

“We saw what no European had ever seen before,” Zakharov claimed.

Speaking at a press conference organized by the Russian Information Agency Novosti, Yuri Zakharov said that the expedition was unique. “Nothing similar has been done before,” the researcher said.

Wicked cool mountain pic though.

'Most recent common ancestor' of all living humans surprisingly recent

In this week's issue of Nature, a Yale mathematician presents models showing that the most recent person who was a direct ancestor of all humans currently alive may have lived just a few thousand years ago.

"While we may not all be 'brothers,' the models suggest we are all hundredth cousins or so," said Joseph T. Chang, professor in the Department of Statistics at Yale University and senior author on the paper.

Chang established the basis of this research in a previous publication with an intentionally simplified model that ignored such complexities as geography and migration. Those precise mathematical results showed that in a world obeying the simplified assumptions, the most recent common ancestor would have lived less than 1,000 years ago. He also introduced the "identical ancestors point," the most recent time -- less than 2,000 years ago in the simplified model -- when each person was an ancestor to all or ancestor to none of the people alive today.

Hmmmmm. Not sure what to make of this. At first blush, we thought "Gawd, this is stupid." Well, we're still not sure what to make of this.

Another mystery. . . . Mystery heads intriguing to the experts

About a hundred people crammed into the Hitchcock Free Academy with the same question in mind: history or hoax?

The discovery of several carved stone heads along Central Massachusetts riverbanks has many people, including an archaeologist from Worcester, wondering.

"Nine years ago, when the first one showed up, most people thought it was a hoax," said Alan F. Smith, a Worcester archaeologist, at a recent presentation offered by the academy and the Opacum Land Trust. "But since, then a lot more have turned up. We've heard about a lot of them."

Can't find any pictures of said heads, unfortunately.

New crack at riddle of Knossos

The Culture Ministry has given the go-ahead for a seismological study that might help provide a scientific answer to one of the most tantalizing questions of Greek archaeology: What caused the collapse of the flourishing Minoan culture on Crete some 3,500 years ago?

Late on Tuesday, the ministry’s Central Archaeological Council agreed to let Greek and international earthquake experts study the ruins of Knossos, the largest of the Bronze Age palatial complexes built by the Minoans.

Scientists will also dig trenches across existing faults in the area of Archanes, a few kilometers to the south, in a bid to record the area’s seismic history. They will not be allowed to excavate in Knossos itself, where no faults are known to exist, but will thoroughly map the area.

The team will be headed by Athanassios Ganas, a remote sensing and geology researcher at the Geodynamic Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.

The destruction of Knossos, around 1450 BC, has been tentatively attributed to an earthquake possibly linked with a vast volcano eruption on the island of Santorini.

That's the whole thing.

More stuff from Iran 7500-year-old Neolithic site discovered in Gilan

Archaeologists recently made the first discovery of a Neolithic Age site in the northern Iranian province of Gilan during the fourth stage of their excavations.

A team of Iranian and Japanese experts currently working at the ancient site has estimated that the Neolithic site is nearly 7500 years old. Jebril Nokandeh, the head of the excavation team, said the site was discovered near the Sefidrud River.