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Welsh People Could be Most Ancient in UK, DNA Suggests

The Story of Wales
© BBC
A depiction of early man for The Story of Wales series.
Welsh people could lay claim to be the most ancient Britons, according to scientists who have drawn up a genetic map of the British Isles.

Research suggests the Welsh are genetically distinct from the rest of mainland Britain.

Professor Peter Donnelly, of Oxford University, said the Welsh carry DNA which could be traced back to the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago.

The project surveyed 2,000 people in rural areas across Britain.

Participants, as well as their parents and grandparents, had to be born in those areas to be included in the study.

Prof Donnelly, a professor of statistical science at Oxford University and director of the Wellcome Trust centre for human genetics, said DNA samples were analysed at about 500,000 different points.

After comparing statistics, a map was compiled which showed Wales and Cornwall stood out.

Prof Donnelly said: "People from Wales are genetically relatively distinct, they look different genetically from much of the rest of mainland Britain, and actually people in north Wales look relatively distinct from people in south Wales."

While there were traces of migrant groups across the UK, there were fewer in Wales and Cornwall.

He said people from south and north Wales genetically have "fairly large similarities with the ancestry of people from Ireland on the one hand and France on the other, which we think is most likely to be a combination of remnants of very ancient populations who moved across into Britain after the last Ice Age.

"And potentially also, people travelling up the Atlantic coast of France and Spain and settling in Wales many thousands of years ago".
Cow Skull

Mammoth graveyard uncovered in Serbia

© Unknown
The world's first collective graveyard of a herd of mammoths has been discovered at the excavation site for coal in Serbia.

Heavy torrential rain earlier this week exposed the remains of what could be up to six mammoths, at an open pit mine in Kostolac, east of Belgrade not far from a site where two other mammoth remains had been uncovered in recent years.

Miomir Korac, director of the Archeological Project Viminacium, which is named after the Roman provincial capital along the Danube River, said that the discovery came as a complete surprise.

The archeologists were first alerted to one set of giant remains of a mammoth that was damaged by the mining machinery. But then the heavy downpour rinsed away the yellow sand.
Meteor

Catastrophic Termination of the Last Ice Age / Robert Schoch

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Oldest Natural Pearl Found in Arabia

Oldest Pearl
© Ken Walton/CNRS
The oldest pearl in the world.
French researchers have unearthed the oldest natural pearl ever found at a Neolithic site in Arabia, suggesting that pearl oyster fishing first occurred in this region of the world.

Discovered in the Emirate of Umm al Quwain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), the pearl was believed to have originated between 5547 and 5235 BC.

"Gemmologists and jewellers have popularised the idea that the oldest pearl in the world is the 5000-year-old Jomon pearl from Japan. Discoveries made on the shores of south-eastern Arabia show this to be untrue," Vincent Charpentier, Sophie Méry and colleagues at the French Foreign Ministry's archeological mission in the UAE, wrote in the journal Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy.

Some 7,500 years old and 0.07 inches in diameter, the newly discovered pearl is just the last of a series of findings at archeological sites in the Arabian Peninsula.

Over the years, researchers unearthed a total of 101 Neolithic pearls, coming from the large pearl oyster Pinctada margaritifera and from Pinctada radiata, a much smaller, easier to collect species, which provides higher quality pearls.

"The discovery of archaeological pearls demonstrates an ancient fishing tradition that no longer exists today," wrote the researchers.
Holly

Scientists find new evidence supporting John the Baptist bones theory

Saint John Baptist Relics

Scientists have uncovered new evidence that mysterious remains found in an ancient reliquary in a 5th century monastery on Sveti Ivan Island in Bulgaria belong to St John the Baptist.

The remains - small fragments of a skull, bones from a jaw and an arm, and a tooth - were discovered embedded in an altar in the ruins of the ancient monastery, on the island in the Black Sea.

But after the find two years ago was met with universal scepticism Oxford University archaeologists undertook carbon dating tests.

On Thursday, the team announced they have provided scientific evidence to support the extraordinary claim. The findings are to be presented in a documentary to be aired on The National Geographic channel in Britain on Sunday.

The research team dated the right-handed knuckle bone to the first century AD, when John is believed to have lived until his beheading ordered by king Herod.

Scientists from the University of Copenhagen analysed the DNA of the bones, finding they came from a single individual, probably a man, from a family in the modern-day Middle East, where John would have lived.
Palette

Finding Puts Aborigines Among Art's Avant Garde

Rock Art
© The Australian
The remote site in Arnhem Land where the fragment of charcoal rock art, dated to 28,000 years ago, was found is also home to 1000-year-old art on the ceiling of a rock shelter.
Archaeologists at a remote site in southwest Arnhem Land have made a discovery establishing early Australian Aborigines as among the most advanced people in human evolution.

A team led by Bruno David from Monash University has found and firmly dated a fragment of charcoal rock art to 28,000 years ago.

This makes it the oldest painting so far proven by carbon-dating in Australia and among some of the earliest evidence of human painting.

The discovery was made last June but has been dated only recently by experts from New Zealand's University of Waikato radiocarbon laboratory.

The piece was discovered by Bryce Barker from the University of Southern Queensland. "The discovery shows Australian Aboriginal people were responsible for some of the earliest examples of rock art on the planet," Professor Barker said.

France's Chauvet caves were carbon dated to 35,000 years ago. They were known as the world's oldest confirmed rock art sites until last week, when drawings in Spain's El Castillo caves were dated to 40,800 years.

The Bradshaw figurative paintings found throughout the Kimberley are well known internationally, Professor Barker said. "The Bradshaws are often talked about as being the oldest rock art in Australia but the oldest firm date for them is 16,000-17,000 years taken from a wasp nest covering the art."
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Pre-Vedic India Knew About DNA: Indore Scholar

Ancient DNA
© Daily Bhaskar
An Indore-based Vedic scholar has claimed that the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) is not a recent invention of the West but an ancient science traceable in the vestiges of the Mohanjo- Daro of Indus valley civilization. Author of four books on Vedic literature, Dr CP Trivedi has in his latest book claimed presence of DNA science in Vedas. The book "Vedic science vis-a-vis modern science" is going to be published soon.

"I am proud to claim that DNA was first discovered in India more than 18000 years ago. Its description is in the Vedas and figures are on the seals excavated from the Indus valley", avers Dr Trivedi.

Accepted theory about the DNA is that it was first isolated by Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher in 1869. Its double helix structure was first revealed by Watson and Crick in 1953 which is the acceptable structure till date.Dr Trivedi claims that the evidence of the discovery of DNA and the cell division process are visible in the archeological seals and stones of the Mohenjo and Daro settlements.

"The DNA was termed as Tvashta and Vivasvat in Vedas. Its pictorial representation is visible on the seals of the Indus Valley civilization," says Dr Trivedi.According to the scholar, group of tiny seals expresses evolution of the creation from pre-cosmic condition to evolution of man symbolically in chronological order. The pictorial representation on the seals is akin to the detailed structure of DNA and the gene transfer process as depicted in the modern day science, he says.

Dr Trivedi earlier wrote to the prime minister office about his claims on DNA. "The PMO forwarded my request to the department of culture, Government of India. But nothing has happened since then," he rues. Dr Trivedi has presented several papers on evidence of DNA in Vedic interpretations abroad. "I recently presented my paper in Athens and my findings received great appreciation there," said Dr Trivedi.
Cult

Vampire rites still have bite

Vampire rites
© AFP
The 700-year-old skeleton of a man is being displayed at a Sofia museum.

The ancient skeleton of a man, pinned down in his grave in order not to turn into a vampire, piqued interest in Bulgaria this week, where vampire tales and rites still keep their bite even nowadays.

The 700-year-old skeleton, unearthed in the necropolis of a church in the Black Sea town of Sozopol earlier in June, was stabbed in the chest with an iron rod and had his teeth pulled before being put to rest.

Anti-vampirism rituals were behind the find, archaeologists said, making this potential vampire and another one found at his side an instant media hit. "These were most probably intellectuals who outgrew the moral ideas of their 14th century. They were feared and buried outside town walls," their discoverer, archaeologist Dimitar Nedev said.
Palette

A new dating method applied on several cave paintings shows cave art is 20,000 years older than previously thought

spanish cave painting
© Pedro Saura, AAAS
New tests show that crude Spanish cave paintings of a red sphere and handprints are the oldest in the world, so ancient they may not have been by modern man.

Some scientists say they might have even been made by the much-maligned Neanderthals, but others disagree.

Testing the coating of paintings in 11 Spanish caves, researchers found that one is at least 40,800 years old, which is at least 15,000 years older than previously thought. That makes them older than the more famous French cave paintings by thousands of years.

Scientists dated the Spanish cave paintings by measuring the decay of uranium atoms, instead of traditional carbon-dating, according to a report released Thursday by the journal Science. The paintings were first discovered in the 1870s.

The oldest of the paintings is a red sphere from a cave called El Castillo. About 25 outlined handprints in another cave are at least 37,300 years old. Slightly younger paintings include horses.
Pharoah

Newly discovered unlooted burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings

On January 25, 2011, tens of thousands of protestors flooded Cairo's Tahrir Square, demanding the end of President Hosni Mubarak's regime. As the "day of revolt" filled the streets of Cairo and other cities with tear gas and flying stones, a team of archaeologists led by Susanne Bickel of the University of Basel in Switzerland was about to make one of the most significant discoveries in the Valley of the Kings in almost a century.
© University of Basel Kings' Valley Project

A wooden coffin holding the remains of a temple singer sat inside a tomb undisturbed for nearly 3,000 years. It is the first unlooted burial to be found in the Valley of the Kings since 1922.
The valley lies on the west bank of the Nile, opposite what was once Egypt's spiritual center - the city of Thebes, now known as Luxor. The valley was the final resting place of the pharaohs and aristocracy beginning in the New Kingdom period (1539 - 1069 B.C.), when Egyptian wealth and power were at a high point. Dozens of tombs were cut into the valley's walls, but most of them were eventually looted. It was in this place that the Basel team came across what they initially believed to be an unremarkable find.

At the southeastern end of the valley they discovered three sides of a man-made stone rim surrounding an area of about three-and-a-half by five feet. The archaeologists suspected that it was just the top of an abandoned shaft. But, because of the uncertainty created by Egypt's political revolution, they covered the stone rim with an iron door while they informed the authorities and applied for an official permit to excavate.
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