• Name: Paul McLerran
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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Site Q Discovered

For years, beautifully carved Mayan monuments were circulating in the antiquities market, the origins of which were unknown until now. The mysterious site of origin has been pen-named "Site Q", after the Spanish word "que?", or "which" in English. A team of scientists have now discovered the location of the site in the northern Peten region of Guatemala, coinciding with a lesser known ancient royal center called "La Corona". The evidence was found on a carved panel of 140 hieroglyphs. Read the Story

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Rock Art Project Needs Volunteers

The Rock Art Project researchers in Northumberland, U.K., are looking for volunteers to help them record and study hundreds of instances of prehistoric engravings scattered on boulders and stone outcrops across the county. The work will involve the application of a number of methods, including a new 3-D technique. If interested, call Tertia Barnett at (01670) 533076 or e-mail tbarnett@northumberland.org.uk

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Serapeum Way Discovered

A Scottish archaeologist has recently located part of the Serapeum Way, an ancient seven-mile ceremonial burial route that led to the famous Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara. Using geophysical survey equipment, the archaeologist was able to produce an image or map of the route without digging. The next step will surely involve excavation to confirm the find.

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Sunday, September 18, 2005

Stonehenge Mysteries Explored

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Most of us are familiar with the spectacular ring of massive standing stones in England popularly known as Stonehenge. Recent excavations at a related ancient Neolithic site have been shedding new light on the mysteries that surround the structures associated with Stonehenge and those who erected it. The site is Durrington Walls, another circular henge enclosure that is surrounded by an ancient ditch and bank system that is larger still than that of the famous site at Avebury. Excavations have uncovered traces of a causeway leading to the nearby Avon river. Archaeologists are suggesting that these prehistoric people may have ritualistically transported the dead over this causeway to the river, where they were buried or deposited. More to come from these investigations. Read the Story

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Human Brain Still Evolving, Say Scientists

Researchers conducting genetic studies at the University of Chicago are saying that at least two human gene variants that affect the size of the brain have emerged and evolved rapidly in human history. One gene variant emerged approximately 37,000 years ago, corresponding to the dawn of art, religious culture, and music. The other variant emerged about 5,800 years ago, around the time of the beginnings of the Mesopotamian civilization. They maintain that these gene variants were subject to positive natural selection and spread rapidly through human populations, the first variant now present in 70 percent of the world population and the second now present in 30 percent. Moreover, they are suggesting that there are other gene variants yet to be studied that may also be responsible for brain size and development. The studies have clear implications for models of human evolution. Read the Story

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

More Stone Age Tools in South Africa

While construction workers were busy at the building site of a new Cradle of Humankind World Heritage area visitors center near Krugersdorp, South Africa, they happened upon a cache of stone tools that are estimated to be between 500,000 and 1.8 million years old. The material was said to be enough to fill up three boxes. Read the Story

Egyptian Tomb Discovered

A team of Egyptian and U.S. archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old funerary complex near ancient Edfu, about 97 kilometers south of the famous ancient Egyptian city of Luxor. Inside the associated tomb, they uncovered three mummies, along with a ceramic funeral mask and a statue of a cow's head made from flint. Read the Story

Sunday, September 04, 2005

In the Field: Salvaging Fossils

Damage caused by cattle at a World Heritage site could threaten the collection of vital data and evidence needed by scientists investigating human origins. Read the latest dispatch by Louise Leakey from the Koobi Fora Research Project.

Friday, September 02, 2005

What Happened on Easter Island?

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A population scientist has developed a mathematical model that, he maintains, will shed new light on why the society on mysterious Easter Island collapsed. Thus far, the model's application largely explains the nature of the archaeological evidence. Plans are to use the model to analyze and help explain the collapse of the Mayan and Viking populations, as well. Easter Island, located approximately 2,000 miles off the coast of Chile, harbored a relatively advanced society of 10,000 people from 1200 to 1500 A.D. When visited by European explorers in the 18th century, there was little left of the once thriving society. The island is best known for its mysterious monumental stone statues of "Tiki gods" (see above photo). Read the Story