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The Fall of Phaethon - Long published field evidence supports Bronze Age Bavarian impact

Rubens-Fall_of_Phaeton.jpg
© Wikimedia Commons
Rubens-Fall_of_Phaeton
The Chiemgau impact in Bavarian Germany stands out as particularly sympathetic crater martyr. The evidence for a euro-apocalypse is sincerely published and well established as a legitimate hypothesis based on decades of meticulous fieldwork, but entirely ignored because it happened relatively recently in geological terms. The coolest thing about the Chiemgau impact is how it supports a most ancient story concerning the god Phaethon, who crossed the sky in a day.
Phaethon appealed to his father, who swore to prove his paternity by giving him whatever he wanted. Phaethon asked to be allowed to drive the chariot of the sun through the heavens for a single day. Helios, bound by his oath, had to let him make the attempt. Phaethon set off but was entirely unable to control the horses of the sun chariot, which came too near to the earth and began to scorch it. To prevent further damage, Zeus hurled a thunderbolt at Phaethon, who fell to the earth at the mouth of the Eridanus, a river later identified as the Po.
Another cool thing for the Tusk is that I first learned the Phaethon myth may represent an actual cosmic event way back in 1995. My original guru — on all this stuff — is old buddy Bob Kobres. His neo-digital worldwide web page back in 95′ opened my eyes to the possibility that ancient myth isn't all just caveman campfire stories. Bob believed that long related tales of 'god's wrestling in the sky' were based on actual observations of physically realistic cosmic impacts.

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New method reveals inherited genes from Neanderthals

Using neural networks, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have developed a new method to search the human genome for beneficial mutations from Neanderthals and other archaic humans. These humans are known to have interbred with modern humans, but the overall fate of the genetic material inherited from them is still largely unknown. Among others, the researchers found previously unreported mutations involved in core pathways in metabolism, blood-related diseases and immunity.
Neanderthal Cave
© Colourbox
Over 40 percent of the Neanderthal genome is thought to have survived in different present-day humans of non-African descent.
Thousands of years ago, archaic humans such as Neanderthals and Denisovans went extinct. But before that, they interbred with the ancestors of present-day humans, who still to this day carry genetic mutations from the extinct species.

Over 40 percent of the Neanderthal genome is thought to have survived in different present-day humans of non-African descent, but spread out so that any individual genome is only composed of up to two percent Neanderthal material. Some human populations also carry genetic material from Denisovans - a mysterious group of archaic humans that may have lived in Eastern Eurasia and Oceania thousands of years ago.

The introduction of beneficial genetic material into our gene pool, a process known as adaptive introgression, often happened because it was advantageous to humans after they expanded across the globe. To name a few examples, scientists believe some of the mutations affected skin development and metabolism. But many mutations are yet still undiscovered.

Now, researchers from GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen have developed a new method using deep learning techniques to search the human genome for undiscovered mutations.

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Research team finds 9,000-year-old stone artifacts in Lake Huron

Underwater Excavation
© The University of Texas at Arlington
An underwater archaeologist from The University of Texas at Arlington is part of a research team studying 9,000-year-old stone tool artifacts discovered in Lake Huron that originated from an obsidian quarry more than 2,000 miles away in central Oregon.

The obsidian flakes from the underwater archaeological site represent the oldest and farthest east confirmed specimens of western obsidian ever found in the continental United States.

"In this case, these tiny obsidian artifacts reveal social connections across North America 9,000 years ago," said Ashley Lemke, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology at UT Arlington. "The artifacts found below the Great Lakes come from a geological source in Oregon, 4,000 kilometers away- — making it one of the longest distances recorded for obsidian artifacts anywhere in the world."

The unique study was a multi-faceted pursuit with divers in the water and researchers in the laboratory from UTA, the University of Michigan, Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area, the University of Missouri Research Reactor Center, the Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory and the University of Georgia. Their combined work, "Central Oregon obsidian from a submerged early Holocene archaeological site beneath Lake Huron," was published last month in the journal PLOS One.

Colosseum

Indecipherable, archaic Iberian writing found on lead plate thought to date to 3rd century BC

Pico de los Ajos in Yátova archaic writing
© Asociación RUVID
A multidisciplinary research team from the University of Valencia (UV), the Prehistory Museum of Valencia (MPV) and the University of Barcelona (UB) has published a study detailing their discovery and interpretation of a lead plate with Iberian writing, the first one obtained in a regulated excavation in Pico de los Ajos (Yátova), one of the most important Iberian sites.

The sheet is inscribed with archaic writing and an unknown theme that has been phonetically transcribed, advancing our knowledge of Iberian culture. Many of the known lead sheets come from looting and not from regulated excavations. The plate represents one of the few and the first from this site to be obtained in an excavation within a known context, both temporal and spatial.

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New research suggests Polynesians discovered Antarctica over 1,300 years ago

Ross Ice Shelf
© A short scan of Māori journeys to Antarctica / Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand
A Māori carving with the Ross Ice Shelf in the background.
A review of literary and oral history suggests Polynesians, and not Europeans, were the first to explore Antarctic waters and possibly even spot the frozen continent itself.

European explorers are typically credited for discovering Antarctica 200 years ago, but new research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand reminds us of a neglected account in which Polynesians are described as sailing through Antarctic waters in the 7th century CE.

This may be news to many people, but it's "a known narrative," as Priscilla Wehi, the lead researcher on the new study and a conservation biologist at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, told the New Zealand Herald. That Polynesians may have visited Antarctic waters so long ago will hardly be a revelation to the Indigenous Māori of New Zealand, as their legends make note of this account.

Indeed, connections between Indigenous peoples and Antarctica "remain poorly documented and acknowledged in the research literature," as the scientists write in their study, adding that the new "paper begins to fill this gap."

To that end, the team, which included researchers from Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (a group representing the Māori people of the southern islands of New Zealand), analyzed literary accounts, oral history, and also representations made on carvings and weavings, to "construct a richer and more inclusive picture of Antarctica's relationship with humanity," as Wehi explained in an press release. In so doing, the team sought to build a "platform on which much wider conversations about New Zealand relationships with Antarctica can be furthered," she added.

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Rare 1181 supernova left behind a 'zombie star' remnant

1181 Supernova
© Universe Today
In 1181 CE, Chinese and Japanese astronomers noticed a "guest star" as bright as Saturn briefly appearing in their night sky. In the thousand years since, astronomers have not been able to pinpoint the origins of that event. New observations have revealed that the "guest star" was a supernova, and a strange one at that. It was a supernova that did not destroy the star, but left behind a zombie that is still shining.

"Guest stars" are what modern astronomers now call novae or supernovae, and the brightness of the event in 1181 CE (described as being as bright as Saturn) and its longevity (visible to the naked eye for 185 days) means that it was almost certainly from a supernova. For decades, a pulsar wind nebula in the same region of the sky was thought to be the remnants of that supernova, but new estimates have placed the age of that nebula to be around 7,000 years old, far too old to account for the records from 1181.

Searching through the archives from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, a team led by astronomers at the University of Hong Kong have found an alternate, and much stranger, possible origin story. Their work recently appeared in the preprint journal arXiv.

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Large residential area discovered at 'German Stonehenge'

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte
© Foto Community Germany
Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic, Early Bronze Age henge monument from the late third millennium BC. The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in the district Salzlandkreis, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

The monument consists of seven rings of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, in which a series of wooden posts were positioned. Archaeologists suggest that Ringheiligtum Pömmelte was an astronomical observatory and ritual centre, serving a similar function to Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England.

Previous excavations discovered the dismembered bodies of children and women in situ, some of whom sustained severe skull trauma and rib fractures near the time of their deaths. It was always assumed that Ringheiligtum Pömmelte was a seasonal ritualistic site, or used to commemorate religious events and funerary rites, with no evidence of permanent occupation within the vicinity.

In the latest series of excavations starting in May 2021, archaeologists discovered two house dwelling, along with 20 ditches and two burials. As the excavations progressed, this led to the discovery of further burial sites and over 80 complete house plans, with a total of 130 dwellings identified.

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The Etruscan Pyramid

Etruscan Pyramid
© Alessio Pellegrini – CC BY 2.0
The so-called Etruscan Pyramid is a megalithic rock-cut monument, located in the Tacchiolo valley near the city of Viterbo, Italy.

The monuments name is owed to its lateral pyramidal shape carved from natural magmatic rock, whilst its construction is probably first attributed to the Rinaldonian Civilisation that preceded the Etruscans. The Rinaldonian Civilisation emerged between 4000-2000 BC, and were highly skilled in working stone to construct complex ceremonial monuments, such as the Poggio Rota Stone Circle in Tuscany.

Other sources still suggest that the pyramid was an Etruscan construction, or was adapted from Rinaldonian construction from around 700 BC to 400 BC, which has some weight as a theory, as there are several other Etruscan ruins in the vicinity.

The Etruscans emerged around 900 BC and established three confederacies of cities, until they were succeeded by the rising Roman Kingdom that spread to dominate the region in the 5th and 4th century BC.

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New insights into survival of ancient peoples in Australia's Western Desert

Western Desert
© W. Boone Law
Land systems of the Western Desert include (A) stony plains, (B) sand plains, (C) sandridge desert and (D) montane desert uplands. These coarse-scale geographical units feature prominently in past ecological and archaeological models of precontact Aboriginal land use. Recent satellite modelling depicts the highly varied suitability of foraging habitats within these arid land systems.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have used more than two decades of satellite-derived environmental data to form hypotheses about the possible foraging habitats of pre-contact Aboriginal peoples living in Australia's Western Desert.

As one of the most arid and geographically remote regions of Australia, the Western Desert has always presented severe challenges for human survival. Yet despite the harsh conditions, Aboriginal peoples have maintained an enduring presence, continuously adapting to environmental variations through complex socioeconomic strategies.

In the study published in Scientific Reports , the researchers used Earth Observation data to model the most suitable habitats for traditional foraging activities, identifying where surface water was most abundant and vegetation was greenest to infer which areas of the landscape past Aboriginal peoples were likely to have utilised. The study also drew on previous research into traditional subsistence and settlement practices, enabling researchers to estimate daily foraging range in proximity to water.

Lead author of the study, Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Wallace Boone Law, says the fine scale of the satellite model developed enabled the team to depict the highly variable nature of environmental and hence potential foraging habitats in the Western Desert.

Treasure Chest

2,500-year-old Bronze Age treasure trove found in Swedish forest by map maker

bronze age treasure
© (Adam Ihse/TT News Agency via AFP)
A Swedish orienteering enthusiast working on a map earlier in April stumbled across a stash of some 50 Bronze Age relics dating back over 2,500 years, authorities said Thursday.

Mainly consisting of ancient jewelry, the find outside the small town of Alingsas in western Sweden represents one of "the most spectacular and largest cache finds" from the Bronze Age ever in the Nordic country, the County Administrative Board said in a statement.

Among the relics, believed to be from the period between 750 and 500 BCE, are some "very well preserved necklaces, chains and needles" made out of bronze.

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