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Sherlock

Norwegian petroglyphs found beneath burial mounds

Image
© Unknown
It looked to be a routine excavation of what was thought to be a burial mound. But beneath the mound, archaeologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology's Museum of Natural History and Archaeology found something more: unusual Bronze Age petroglyphs. 

"We believe these are very special in a Norwegian context," says museum researcher and project manager Anne Haug.

The excavation in Stjordal, just north of Trondheim, was necessitated by the expansion of a gravel pit. Given that project archaeologists didn't anticipate that the dig would be very complicated, the museum researchers dedicated just three weeks to the effort.

Petroglyphs under a cremation site

Then came the surprises. First, it turned out that mound builders had used an existing hill as a starting point - which of course saved them time and effort. The hill itself made the burial mound even larger and more monumental than it might have otherwise been.

But researchers suspected there might be another reason for the choice of the hilltop when they uncovered the remains of two cremations, or rather a fire layer that also contained bits of bone. Underneath they found many petroglyphs, including eight drawings showing the soles of feet, with cross hatching. There were also five shallow depressions, Haug says.

Two boat drawings and several other drawings of feet soles with toes were also found just south of the burial mound.

Sherlock

Was the Fox Prehistoric Man's Best Friend?

Foxes and humans
© PhysOrg.com
Was the fox prehistoric man's best friend?
Early humans may have preferred the fox to the dog as an animal companion, new archaeological findings suggest.

Researchers analysing remains at a prehistoric burial ground in Jordan have uncovered a grave in which a fox was buried with a human, before part of it was then transferred to an adjacent grave.

The University of Cambridge-led team believes that the unprecedented case points to some sort of emotional attachment between human and fox. Their paper, published today, suggests that the fox may have been kept as a pet and was being buried to accompany its master, or mistress, to the afterlife.

If so, it marks the first known burial of its kind and suggests that long before we began to hunt foxes using dogs, our ancestors were keeping them as pets - and doing so earlier than their canine relatives.

The cemetery, at Uyun-al-Hammam, in northern Jordan, is about 16,500 years old, which makes the grave 4,000 years older than the earliest known human-dog burial and 7,000 years earlier than anything similar here involving a fox.

Cloud Lightning

The Huangshang Mountains: Electrically Formed?

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© Garry Maxfield
"Carved by the Gods."
Scientists tell us that Earth's geology has been shaped over million of years.

Millions of years might actually be involved in forming the topography we see. But if that is the case, then there are anomalies that occasionally surface. For example, there appear to be eyewitness accounts in myths and legends that refer to massive geological processes.

Rather than the slow processes of plate tectonics, wind, and weather there is another process that can cause exactly the same events but in an almost instantaneous period: electric discharge, or "spark machining." Electric currents might once have flowed through Earth's conductive strata with energies like nothing we know today.

Evidence can be found on Earth and throughout the Solar System.

Pharoah

Canyonitis: Seeing evidence of ancient Egypt in the Grand Canyon

Is there, within the Grand Canyon, an enigmatic system of tunnels that is evidence of an ancient Egyptian voyage to America? Is it all bogus? Or is the truth most likely somewhere in between?
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On April 5, 1909, a front page story in the Arizona Gazette reported on an archaeological expedition in the heart of the Grand Canyon funded by the Smithsonian Institute, which had resulted in the discovery of Egyptian artefacts. April 5 is close to April 1 - but then not quite... so perhaps the story could be true?

Nothing since has been heard of this discovery. Today, over five million tourists visit the Grand Canyon each year. You would thus expect that if anything was hidden in the canyons, it would thus since long have been uncovered. However, most tourists only spend around 3 hours of time at the canyon, usually visiting the legendary South Rim view around mile 89, where most of the best and oldest tourist facilities are located. Furthermore, some have said that the entire discovery has since become the centre of a major cover-up, apparently in an effort to maintain the old status quo, which is that the ancient Egyptians never ventured outside of the tranquil waters of the river Nile.

The original story goes that the team found an underground network of tunnels, high above the Colorado River, containing various ancient artefacts, statues and even mummies. A major discovery, no doubt about it. Impossible to slip off the archaeological radar. Still, the Smithsonian Institute will report it has no records on the subject. So what happened? To find out, there is only one guide: the article itself. Though the article was anonymous, it did identify some of the archaeologists involved: "under the direction of Prof. S. A. Jordan", with Smithsonian-backed adventurer G. E. Kinkaid, who then relates his findings.

Palette

Coming at you in 3D: Legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog brings paleolithic cave to life

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© IFC Films/History Channel
Brought to life: The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave in southern France is now the subject of a 3D documentary by filmmaker Werner Herzog called Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Covered in ancient dots and lines, it's thought to be where man made his first attempts to write.

Since its (re)discovery in 1994, the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave in southern France has offered scientists a veritable treasure trove of perfectly preserved paintings.

Alongside these are and evidence of attempts at communication 30,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Now the long-abandoned underground enclosure is the subject of a 3D documentary by German filmmaker Werner Herzog, called Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.

Among the riches on offer is a chamber full of painted monsters 400metres below the surface, where a mixture of carbon dioxide and radon gas leads to hallucinations.

It is here that the paintings start to become a strange, so strange in fact that scientists think heading down to the chamber may have formed part of a ritual for prehistoric man.

Alongside the paintings lie drawings of dots and lines that had previously been dismissed as little more than doodles.

Info

Stone Tools Discovered in Arabia Force Archaeologists to Rethink Human History

Stone Tools
© AAAS/Science/PA
Stone hand axes belonging to humans who lived in Arabia more than 100,000 years ago.

A spectacular haul of stone tools discovered beneath a collapsed rock shelter in southern Arabia has forced a major rethink of the story of human migration out of Africa. The collection of hand axes and other tools shaped to cut, pierce and scrape bear the hallmarks of early human workmanship, but date from 125,000 years ago, around 55,000 years before our ancestors were thought to have left the continent.

The artefacts, uncovered in the United Arab Emirates, point to a much earlier dispersal of ancient humans, who probably cut across from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian peninsula via a shallow channel in the Red Sea that became passable at the end of an ice age. Once established, these early pioneers may have pushed on across the Persian Gulf, perhaps reaching as far as India, Indonesia and eventually Australia.

Michael Petraglia, an archaeologist at Oxford University who was not involved in the work, told the Science journal: "This is really quite spectacular. It breaks the back of the current consensus view."

Anatomically modern humans - those that resemble people alive today - evolved in Africa about 200,000 years ago. Until now, most archaeological evidence has supported an exodus from Africa, or several waves of migration, along the Mediterranean coast or the Arabian shoreline between 80,000 and 60,000 years ago.

A team led by Hans-Peter Uerpmann at the University of Tübingen in Germany uncovered the latest stone tools while excavating sediments at the base of a collapsed overhang set in a limestone mountain called Jebel Faya, about 35 miles (55km) from the Persian Gulf coast. Previous excavations at the site have found artefacts from the iron, bronze and neolithic periods, evidence that the rocky formation has provided millennia of natural shelter for humans.

Info

Scientists Discover Ancient Ras Al Khaimah Caves

Dr. Nadja Zupan Hajna
© Charles Crowell for The National
Dr. Nadja Zupan Hajna of the Karst Research Institute from Slovenia with crystals found as part of a cave system at the site of a cave in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011.

Six of the world's leading experts from Slovenia's Karst Institute and UAE University have discovered the remnants of an cave network that may have existed millions of years ago.

The cave is thought to predate the surrounding wadi and should provide clues about the UAE's former climate, geography and water.

The discovery happened by chance at the beginning of the week when they asked for help from a young man, known to them only as Talal, when they were lost in Wadi Haqil.

"Just by chance we asked him if he knew if there was a cave in the area," said Dr Asma al Ketbi, the head of the Emirates Geographic Society and a geography professor at UAE University, at the site yesterday. "At first he said 'no', and then he just brought us to this cave."

The dark chamber contained little more than a few startled pigeons, but in the mountainside above they found shining strips of crystal green embedded in the limestone.

The rock holds the remains of a hydrothermic cave network of thousands of channels covered in crystal walls five to 10 centimetres thick, with at least one chamber measuring more than seven metres in diameter.

Cow Skull

California Desert: The mysterious Blythe Intaglios

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© Unknown
The Blythe Intaglios are a group of gigantic earth figures found on the ground near Blythe, CA. These intaglios are east of the Big Maria Mountains, about 15 miles north of Blythe - just west of Highway 95 near the Colorado River. The intaglios are best viewed from the air, and that is exactly how they were discovered. In 1932, local pilot George Palmer was flying over the Colorado River into Blythe when he accidentally spotted the formations below him.

Intaglios are gigantic human, animal and geometric figures on the ground surface. There are over 300 intaglios in the American Southwest and adjacent Mexico. The best known of these mysterious figures are the Blythe Intaglios. The ground drawings are situated on two low mesas or terraces. There are several figures in three locations. The figures include two large humans, a feline and a concentric circle and a spiral. The largest human figure measures 171 feet from head to toe.

Cow Skull

Russia court confiscates 3 tonnes of mammoth tusks

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© Unknown
Russian authorities have confiscated three tonnes of mammoth tusks from a criminal gang which tried to smuggle them out of the country.

The court office of the northern city of St. Petersburg said on Thursday that it had confiscated some 64 full and 14 reconstructed tusks, but would not say when.

A small group of criminals has been involved in smuggling tusks and bones from the extinct beasts across Russia's borders since 2004, the court said in a press release.

The court said that the tusks come from a species of mammoth that once inhabited the Siberian Sakha Republic, also known as Yakutia. The tusks have survived thousands of years in the permafrost that covers vast part of the region.

Hardhat

Bosnia: Convincing Evidence for largest Pyramid on Earth (so far)

At the Megalithomania Conference of 2008 Dr. Osmanagić presented convincing evidence for a 220 meter tall pyramid in Bosnia, which would make it the largest pyramid on earth. Seismologic measurements by several European scientific institutes, perfect geometry and alignment at the sun and Earth's north pole as well as numerous excavations and artifacts point to an artificial creation of this structure.