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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."

Info

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.
Image
© 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.

Pharoah

Monmouth ruin find could pre-date pyramids

Image
© Media Wales
Archaeologists Paul Davies (left) and Steve Clarke at the site in Monmouth
Archaeologists claim to have unearthed the remnants of a large prehistoric building, which they say could be older than Egypt's pyramids.

Experts said they were mystified by the "unique" find on the site of a housing development in Monmouth.

Monmouth Archaeology, which found the wooden foundations, said they dated to at least the Bronze Age, but could be early Neolithic, about 6,500 years old.

It said the pyramids were built about 4,500 years ago.

Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeology, who has 55 years' experience, claimed nothing like it had been discovered in Britain before and he was checking if something similar had been unearthed on mainland Europe.

He said the structure, possibly a long house, had been built on the edge of a long-lost lake, which has silted up over time.

The building's foundations were made from entire tree trunks, measuring about a metre wide.

Meteor

Meteorite storm that smashed the Earth 12,000 years ago and killed off a prehistoric people

Scientists have found compelling evidence that a meteorite storm hit the earth more than 12,000 years ago, and is likely to have been responsible for the extinction of a prehistoric people and giant animals including mammoths.

Evidence of the meteorite's intense heat was found on two continents. The researchers believe the huge cosmic impact triggered a vicious cold snap, which caused widespread destruction.

The international team found a substance known as melt glass, which forms at temperatures of 1,7000 to 2,200 degrees Celcius and can result from a 'cosmic body' hitting the earth.

extreme_heat
© UCSB
Extreme heat: The meteorite impact caused the 13,000-year-old quartz found in Syria to melt and boil, creating features including burst bubbles and flow textures

Info

Historian: The Turin Shroud is a Fake....and It's One of 40

Not only is the Turin Shroud probably a medieval fake but it is just one of an astonishing 40 so-called burial cloths of Jesus, according to an eminent church historian.

Antonio Lombatti said the false shrouds circulated in the Middle Ages, but most of them were later destroyed.

He said the Turin Shroud itself - showing an image of a bearded man and venerated for centuries as Christ's burial cloth - appears to have originated in Turkey some 1,300 years after the Crucifixion.
Turin Shroud_1
© The Daily Mail, UK
The Turin Shroud was believed to have covered Jesus, but a leading Church historian says it is one of many produced over a thousand years after his death.
Lombatti, of the Università Popolare in Parma, Italy, cited work by a 19th century French historian who had studied surviving medieval documents. 'The Turin Shroud is only one of the many burial cloths which were circulating in the Christian world during the Middle Ages. There were at least 40,' said Lombatti.

'Most of them were destroyed during the French Revolution. Some had images, others had blood-like stains, and others were completely white.'

The Turin Shroud is a linen cloth, about 14ft by 4ft, bearing a front and back view of the image of a bearded, naked man who appears to have been stabbed or tortured. Ever since the detail on the cloth was revealed by negative photography in the late 19th century it has attracted thousands of pilgrims to the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Turin.