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Fri, 07 Oct 2022
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Sherlock

Lake Dwellings and Otzi the Iceman

Lake dwellings, also called pile dwellings or Alpine lake dwellings, are a type of house, and their remains provide a type of archaeological site dear to the hearts of many archaeologists. These houses were built on pilings, at the shores of Alpine lakes, between the Neolithic and Iron Ages of Europe, say 4,000-100 BC.

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© Alfons-Georg Zuelig
Lake Dwelling or Pile Dwelling Reconstruction, Lake Constance Switzerland.
Among other things, lake dwellings represent a lifestyle in which people could exploit a whole range of resources found along the shores of lakes in the Alps, and stay above the water line in changing conditions. Lake dwellers were hunter-gatherer-fishers, but they were also herders of cattle, sheep and pigs, and farmers of wheat, barley, flax and poppies. Because of frequent flooding, lake dwellings only lasted something like 15 years, providing a veritable snapshot of what life was like during the Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages.

People

Why a young virgin must not look a lusty man in the eye... and other compelling lifestyle advice for the Englishwoman of 1740

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© Bloomsbury
Companion: A self-help guide for women of 18th century Britain offers advice on how to fend off the advances of men and was said to be essential reading for 'virgins, wives and widows'
She that listens to wanton discourse has violated her ears.

This stern warning may sound a little severe - but in 1740 it was seen as essential to preserving the honour of many a blushing maiden.

It is among hundreds of pearls of wisdom dispensed in one of Britain's first self-help books, written to help women resist life's temptations.

Grandly titled The Lady's Companion: or an Infallible Guide to the Fair Sex, it features advice on everything from baking to fending off the advances of lusty men.

The rare book, which has just surfaced in a private collection, claims to be essential reading for 'virgins, wives or widows'.

Experts believe it is one of the earliest examples of the modern self-help book - proving that while many things have changed in the last three centuries, we've always had a weakness for so-called 'expert advice'.

Among the gems on offer is a warning to virgins that having impure thoughts is a 'deflowering of the mind'.

Meanwhile wives are advised that their duty to their husbands is 'first to his person, secondly to his reputation; thirdly to his fortune'.

Sherlock

Ancient Humans Were Mixing It Up

University of Arizona's Michael F. Hammer with an ancient hominid fossil.
© M. F. Hammer
University of Arizona's Michael F. Hammer with an ancient hominid fossil.
It is now widely accepted that the species Homo sapiens originated in Africa and eventually spread throughout the world. But did those early humans interbreed with more ancestral forms of the genus Homo, for example Homo erectus, the "upright walking man," Homo habilis, - the "tool-using man" or Homo neanderthalensis, the first artists of cave-painting fame?

Direct studies of ancient DNA from Neanderthal bones suggest interbreeding did occur after anatomically modern humans had migrated from their evolutionary cradle in Africa to the cooler climates of Eurasia, but what had happened in Africa remained a mystery - until now.

In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, or PNAS, a team led by Michael Hammer, an associate professor and research scientist with the UA's Arizona Research Labs, provides evidence that anatomically modern humans were not so unique that they remained separate.

"We found evidence for hybridization between modern humans and archaic forms in Africa. It looks like our lineage has always exchanged genes with their more morphologically diverged neighbors," said Hammer, who also holds appointments in the UA's department ofecology and evolutionary biology, the school of anthropology, the BIO5 Institute and the Arizona Cancer Center.

Sherlock

Archaeologists discover remains of a Roman gladiator school in Austria

British archaeologists were among a team who have discovered the ruins of a Roman gladiator school on the outskirts of the Austrian capital Vienna.

The find, which has been described as 'one in a million' and 'sensational', is one of 100 hundred such schools the Romans built to train the fighters before they were pitted against each other in brutal combat.

The Brits were among an international team of historians, geologists and archaeologists from the Ludwig Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Vienna.

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© AP
Mock-up: A virtual video presentation shows the Roman gladiator school discovered by underground radar on the outskirts of Vienna

Info

1,700-Year-Old Map of Roman Roads Used for Online Journey Planner

Ancient Road
© Alamy
The Tabula Peutingeriana was last updated in the third or fourth century.

A Dutch historian has used a unique 1,700 year old map of Roman roads to create an online journey planner giving the destinations, distances and timings of routes used by ancient travellers in the days of empire.

Routes are based on the Tabula Peutingeriana, a one of a kind chart, which shows an imperial Roman road network, or curses public's, that stretches from Britain to the river Ganges that flows through India and Bangladesh.

The huge map, last updated in the third or fourth century, shows 2,760 towns with lists of distances and destinations on the Roman roads connecting them, all set out on a scroll of parchment almost 23 feet long.

The original version of the Roman route tables was prepared two thousand years ago under the direction of Marcus Agrippa, the statesman, general and son-in-law of Augustus, the first Roman Emperor.

Sherlock

Remains of Australian Outlaw Ned Kelly Identified

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© BBC News
Victoria Attorney General Robert Clark said it was historically very significant while Kelly's great-great-nephew, Leigh Olver, said he felt privileged
The headless remains of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly have been identified, 130 years after he was hanged for murder, officials have said.

His body was dumped into a mass grave, later transferred to another mass grave and again exhumed in 2009.

Although his skull is still missing the body was identified by comparing a DNA sample with that of a relative.

Ned Kelly was seen by many as a cold-blooded killer and others as a folk hero of Irish-Australian resistance.

The bushranger killed three policemen before being captured in Victoria state in 1880 and was hanged for murder at Old Melbourne Jail in November of the same year.

Info

Humans Shaped Stone Axes 1.8 Million Years Ago: Advanced Tool-Making Methods Pushed Back in Time

Stone Tools
© Pierre-Jean Texier, National Center of Scientific Research, France
Early humans were using stone hand axes as far back as 1.8 million years ago.
A new study suggests that Homo erectus, a precursor to modern humans, was using advanced toolmaking methods in East Africa 1.8 million years ago, at least 300,000 years earlier than previously thought. The study, recently published in Nature, raises new questions about where these tall and slender early humans originated and how they developed sophisticated tool-making technology.

Homo erectus appeared about 2 million years ago, and ranged across Asia and Africa before hitting a possible evolutionary dead-end, about 70,000 years ago. Some researchers think Homo erectus evolved in East Africa, where many of the oldest fossils have been found, but the discovery in the 1990s of equally old Homo erectus fossils in the country of Georgia has led others to suggest an Asian origin. The study in Nature does not resolve the debate but adds new complexity. At 1.8 million years ago, Homo erectus in Dmanisi, Georgia was still using simple chopping tools while in West Turkana, Kenya, according to the study, the population had developed hand axes, picks and other innovative tools that anthropologists call "Acheulian."

"The Acheulian tools represent a great technological leap," said study co-author Dennis Kent, a geologist with joint appointments at Rutgers University and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. "Why didn't Homo erectus take these tools with them to Asia?"

Magnify

UK: Iron Age Hill Fort Excavation Reveals "Possible Suburbia"

Size of settlement suggests Ham Hill site was a town rather than a defensive structure, archaeologists believe

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© Ham Hill Archaeology/PA
An archeology excavation at Ham Hill, Somerset has revealed a main road and enclosures with round houses – 'rather like suburbia'.
The most intensive investigation ever undertaken of Britain's largest iron age hill fort is expected to reveal new details of how Britons lived 2,000 years ago - and maybe even that they were almost as suburban as we are.

Stretching across 80 hilltop hectares, behind three miles of ramparts, the fort, at Ham Hill in Somerset, and the outline of its history have been known for many years.

The Durotriges tribe, which lived on the hill, was subdued in AD45 by soldiers of the 2nd Legion under the command of the future emperor Vespasian, but what the Romans found there: a street system lined with houses on their own plots of land, is what archaeologists from Cambridge and Cardiff universities hope to uncover more fully in excavations over the next three summers.

Sherlock

Israel's rebel caves lead down to ancient wonders

Researchers revisit underground network that was used by Jews resisting the Romans

You'll need a headlamp, a tight waistline and no fear of the dark in order to enjoy one of the most extreme, yet lesser known, archaeological wonders of the Holy Land.

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© Baz Ratner / Reuters
A tourist walks inside a columbarium at the Hirbet Madras archaeological site in the foothills of Jerusalem, around the ancient city of Beit Guvrin.
Even with the proper equipment and intestinal fortitude, it is easy to lose your cool when crawling through the expansive ancient tunnel systems dug by Jewish rebels to fight the Roman Empire.

The hundreds of hideouts, ranging from just a few meters deep to seemingly unending labyrinths, are popular among Israeli archaeologists and adventurers. But the subterranean mazes, which date back as early as the first century B.C., are virtually unknown to foreigners.

Even if you go looking for them, as designed, they are easy to miss.

Sherlock

Britain: Terrible secret of Roman brothel finally uncovered

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© Unknown
The rediscovery of infant bones has led to a Hambleden field being identified as the earliest proven site of infanticide in Britain.
An excavation of Yewden Villa at Mill End in 1912 found a number of unusual discoveries, the most startling of which was the remains of 97 newborn babies.

The theory that the villa was used as a Roman brothel has also gained weight after the latest archaeological findings.

A H Cocks, former curator of Buckinghamshire County Museum, noted the discovery but focused on the tonne of pottery that was also found.

The remains of the infants, buried between 150 AD and 200 AD and all the same size, were rediscovered in cigarette boxes at the Aylesbury museum in 2008.

Dr Jill Eyers, director of Chiltern Archaeology, pushed for extensive investigation into the bones, which has confirmed beyond doubt that each baby was killed shortly after birth.