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Austrian 'Stonehenge' discovery

Circular ditches
© Wikimedia Commons
Reconstruction of circular ditches at Heldenberg, Lower Austria.
In a sensational find for Austrian archaeologists, aerial photographs taken two years ago on the southern outskirts of the Burgenland town of Rechnitz have revealed the existence of circular trenches dating back to the Neolithic Period.

The mysterious millennia-old sites are currently being surveyed by experts who believe they once served both as a giant calendar and a place for rituals. It appears that circa 5,000 BC there was a large circular area in a field on the southern outskirts of Rechnitz, surrounded by wooden poles. It was only after aerial photographs were taken of the district that remnants of an ancient trench system became visible.

Archaeologist Klaus Löcker told the ORF that the concentric circular trenches - some up to four metres deep - will now be made visible using magnetic measuring techniques.
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Prehistoric plaque reveals early humans ate weeds

Prehistoric gravesite
© Donatella Usai/Centro Studi Sudanesi and Sub-Sahariani (CSSeS)
Researchers studied the dental calculus of skeletons, such as this one of a young man, found at a prehistoric gravesite in central Sudan.
When looking for a meal, prehistoric people in Africa munched on the tuberous roots of weeds such as the purple nutsedge, according to a new study of hardened plaque on samples of ancient teeth.

Researchers examined the dental buildup of 14 people buried at Al Khiday, an archeological site near the Nile River in central Sudan. The skeletons date back to between about 6,700 B.C., when prehistoric people relied on hunting and gathering, to agricultural times, at about the beginning of the first millennium B.C.

The researchers collected samples of the individuals' dental calculus, the hardened grime that forms when plaque accumulates and mineralizes on teeth. Such buildup is fairly common in prehistoric skeletons, the researchers said.

"The oral hygiene activities were not as good as they are today," lead researcher Karen Hardy, a professor of prehistoric archeology at the Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in Spain, told Live Science.

An analysis of the chemical compounds and microfossils in the dental calculus point to the purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus), Hardy said. In the teeth of each of the skeletons, Harder and her colleagues found starch granules that share a chemical composition with nutsedge. A close look at the granules also revealed how these people likely prepared their food: Those from the earlier time period likely ate the plant raw or lightly heated, which would have helped make the roots easier to peel.
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10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs found in India

Ancient Painting_1
© TOI photo by Amit Bhardwaj
One of the ancient rock paintings carved on caves at Charama in Chhattisgarh's Kanker district.
Charama (Chhattisgarh): Chhattisgarh state department of archaeology and culture plans to seek help from Nasa and Isro for research on 10,000-year-old rock paintings depicting aliens and UFOs in Charama region in Kanker district in tribal Bastar region.

According to archaeologist JR Bhagat, these paintings have depicted aliens like those shown in Hollywood and Bollywood flicks. Located about 130km from Raipur, the caves come under village Chandeli and Gotitola.

"The findings suggest that humans in prehistoric times may have seen or imagined beings from other planets which still create curiosity among people and researchers.

Extensive research is needed for further findings. Chhattisgarh presently doesn't have any such expert who could give clarity on the subject," Bhagat told TOI.
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Ancient Celts may have had shiny dental implants

Gold Teeth
© Photo Fun/Shutterstock
Sparkly, gold grills aren't just for Flavor Flav; ancient Celts may have sought out flashy smiles as well. Archaeologists have unearthed a dental implant in a grave in France that dates to the third century B.C.

The implant - an iron pin that may have screwed into the gum to hold a decorative tooth in place - was found in the mouth of a skeleton in a Celtic burial site in La Chêne, France. The tooth was described in the June issue of the journal Antiquity.

Though it's not clear what the false tooth would have been made of, it was likely put in to enhance the owner's smile, said Guillaume Seguin, an archaeologist at Archeosphere in France and co-author of the study.

"In Le Chêne, the replaced tooth is a central maxillary incisor," which is one of the "most visible teeth when you speak or when you smile," Seguin told Live Science in an email. "So there, the intention was probably aesthetic."
Pharoah

Ancient priest's tomb painting discovered near Great Pyramid at Giza

Ancient Tomb
© Maksim Lebedev
A painting discovered in the tomb of a priest, just 1,000 feet (300 meters) from the Great Pyramid at Giza in Egypt depicts scenes of ancient life.
A wall painting, dating back over 4,300 years, has been discovered in a tomb located just east of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The painting shows vivid scenes of life, including boats sailing south on the Nile River, a bird hunting trip in a marsh and a man named Perseneb who's shown with his wife and dog.

While Giza is famous for its pyramids, the site also contains fields of tombs that sprawl to the east and west of the Great Pyramid. These tombs were created for private individuals who held varying degrees of rank and power during the Old Kingdom (2649-2150 B.C.), the age when the Giza pyramids were built. [See Images of the Painting and Giza Tomb]

The new painting was discovered in 2012 by a team from the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which has been excavating these tombs since 1996.
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An 8,000 year-old Norwegian skull has been found with preserved brain matter

Ancient Skull_1
© John Samuelsen via NRK video
Archaeologists in Norway have found an 8,000 year-old skull at a Stone Age site that could very well be of human origin. Remarkably, it contains a grey, clay-like substance thought to be the preserved remains of the brain. If confirmed, it could be one of the oldest human brains ever found.

As The Local reports, the skull was uncovered a the Stokke site in Vestfold, Norway. It's not known whether the skull belongs to an animal or a child. Initial tests date the skull to around 5,900 BC, making it almost 8,000 years old. Experts are being recruited to help the archaeologists confirm the exact origin of the skull.

In addition to the skull, archaeologists have found numerous artifacts and a pit of carbon-rich soil containing bones.
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Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago

Race Wars_4
© The Independent, UK
The skeletons – from the east bank of the Nile in northern Sudan – are from victims of the world’s oldest known relatively large-scale human armed conflict.
Scientists are investigating what may be the oldest identified race war 13,000 years after it raged on the fringes of the Sahara.

French scientists working in collaboration with the British Museum have been examining dozens of skeletons, a majority of whom appear to have been killed by archers using flint-tipped arrows.

The bones - from Jebel Sahaba on the east bank of the Nile in northern Sudan - are from victims of the world's oldest known relatively large-scale human armed conflict.

Over the past two years anthropologists from Bordeaux University have discovered literally dozens of previously undetected arrow impact marks and flint arrow head fragments on and around the bones of the victims.

This is in addition to many arrow heads and impact marks already found embedded in some of the bones during an earlier examination of the skeletons back in the 1960s. The remains - the contents of an entire early cemetery - were found in 1964 by the prominent American archaeologist, Fred Wendorf, but, until the current investigations, had never been examined using more modern, 21 century, technology.
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The mystery of the missing 50,000 Persian army of 524 BC


Herodotus wrote that the disappearance of the 50,000-strong Persian army (illustrated here) could be attributed to a sandstorm. Professor Kaper, however, claims Egyptian rebel leader Petubastis III ambushed them - but this embarrassment was swept under the rug by King Cambyses II
In 524 BC, a Persian army of 50,000 men sent by King Cambyses II marched into the Egyptian desert from Thebes - now known as Luxor. But, after entering the desert, they were never heard from again.

For centuries. it has been presumed they were swallowed by a sandstorm, but now a researcher claims that wasn't the case - and instead they must have been defeated in battle.

In the 5th century BC, Greek historian Herodotus wrote that the disappearance of the army could be attributed to an unfortunate end involving sand dunes.

University of Leiden Egyptologist Professor Olaf Kaper, however, disagrees.'Since the 19th century, people have been looking for this army: amateurs, as well as professional archaeologists,' he said.
Fireball 2

Talisman made from a 9,000 year-old Meteorite found inside prehistoric shaman's hut in Poland


A meteorite fragment from 9,000 years ago has been found by archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology (IAE) in Szczecin, Poland. It's believed humans at the time were aware that it was from out of this world and worshipped it as a magical object
Archaeologists have found a meteorite fragment in a shaman's hut dating back 9,000 years that seems to have been worshipped as a magical object. The talisman was found alongside other objects that were considered sacred at the time including an amulet and a stick made of antler. It's thought it gained this status because the prehistoric stone age humans saw it fall from space, suggesting they may have known it came from another world.

Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology in Szczecin, in north west Poland, found the meteorite fragment inside the caveman house by lake Swidwe in Western Pomerania during excavations.The object was a natural pyrite meteorite fragment, pyrite being an iron sulfide mineral often referred to as fool's gold owing to its yellowish appearance.

This meteorite, which measured eight by 5.3 by 3.5 centimetres (3.1 x 2.1 x 1.4 inches) has a cylindrical shape and was porous, with a corrugated surface on its side.
Cow Skull

Dinosaurs not the primitive ancestors of birds?

Scansoriopteryx
© Stephen A. Czerkas
A skeletal reconstruction of Scansoriopteryx with outlines to indicate the extent of the feathers
Re-examination of birdlike fossil challenges common belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling dinosaurs.

The re-examination of a sparrow-sized fossil from China challenges the commonly held belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. The birdlike fossil is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide, say American researchers Stephen Czerkas of the Dinosaur Museum in Blanding, Utah, and Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina. The study appears in Springer's Journal of Ornithology.

The fossil of the Scansoriopteryx (which means "climbing wing") was found in Inner Mongolia, and is part of an ongoing cooperative study with the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences. It was previously classified as a coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur, from which many experts believe flying dinosaurs and later birds evolved. The research duo used advanced 3D microscopy, high resolution photography and low angle lighting to reveal structures not clearly visible before. These techniques made it possible to interpret the natural contours of the bones. Many ambiguous aspects of the fossil's pelvis, forelimbs, hind limbs, and tail were confirmed, while it was discovered that it had elongated tendons along its tail vertebrae similar to Velociraptor.

Comment: Journal Reference: Stephen A. Czerkas, Alan Feduccia. Jurassic archosaur is a non-dinosaurian bird. Journal of Ornithology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s10336-014-1098-9

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