[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The Borgring fortress was discovered using airborne laser technology. It was built during the reign of the  Viking king Harald Bluetooth in the 10th century 
[Credit: Goodchild et al./Antiquity 2017]

A rare archaeological discovery has brought to light a historic 10th century Viking fortress to the south of Copenhagen.

The Borgring fortress is an incredibly accurate circular shape, measuring about 150 metres in diameter. It is the first of its kind to be found in Denmark for 60 years. The findings are published in a study in the journal Antiquity.

The structure is one of the Trelleborg-type fortresses that have a distinctive overall shape and internal structure. The earthworks, houses and other structures are meticulously arranged within the fortress. They have V-shaped ditches that are precisely circular, with four gates at the four points of the compass.

The Borgring fortress had been tentatively identified in the 1970s, but the technology was lacking then to verify whether it really was a Trelleborg-type fortress, study author Søren Michael Sindbæk of Aarhus University, told IBTimes UK.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The burial site of a Bronze Age warrior has revealed yet more treasures 
[Credit: SBMA - ARIA SA]

Workers digging the foundations for a new car park have unearthed the burial site of a Bronze Age warrior, revealing a rich source of artefacts including a sword, jewellery and other ornaments. 

The tombs were discovered in Sion, a town in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. The artefacts were dated between 850 and 400 BC – a period when the Bronze Age was giving way to the second Iron Age.

A bronze sword with an ivory pommel was discovered among the remains of an adult male, along with numerous other ornaments, including a razor.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Alesi partially excavated after careful removal of loose sand and rocks with dental picks and brushes. © Isaiah Nengo.

The discovery in Kenya of a remarkably complete fossil ape skull reveals what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like. The find, announced in the scientific journal Nature on August 10th, belongs to an infant that lived about 13 million years ago. The research was done by an international team led by Isaiah Nengo of the Turkana Basin Institute and De Anza College, U.S.A.

Among living primates, humans are most closely related to the apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons. Our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived in Africa 6 to 7 million years ago, and many spectacular fossil finds have revealed how humans evolved since then.

In contrast, little is known about the evolution of the common ancestors of living apes and humans before 10 million years ago. Relevant fossils are scarce, consisting mostly of isolated teeth and partial jaw bones. It has therefore been difficult to find answers to two fundamental questions: Did the common ancestor of living apes and humans originate in Africa, and what did these early ancestors look like?

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Alesi, the skull of the new extinct ape species Nyanzapithecus alesi (KNM-NP 59050)
[Credit: Fred Spoor]

The discovery in Kenya of a remarkably complete fossil ape skull reveals what the common ancestor of all living apes and humans may have looked like. The find, announced in the scientific journal Nature, belongs to an infant that lived about 13 million years ago. The research was done by an international team led by Isaiah Nengo of Stony Brook University-affiliated Turkana Basin Institute and De Anza College, U.S.A.

Among living primates, humans are most closely related to the apes, including chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons. Our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived in Africa 6 to 7 million years ago, and many spectacular fossil finds have revealed how humans evolved since then.

In contrast, little is known about the evolution of the common ancestors of living apes and humans before 10 million years ago. Relevant fossils are scarce, consisting mostly of isolated teeth and partial jaw bones. It has therefore been difficult to find answers to two fundamental questions: Did the common ancestor of living apes and humans originate in Africa, and what did these early ancestors look like?

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oursin: The Delphic Sibyl from the Sistine Chapel (Delphic sibyl)
[personal profile] oursin

Was lately reading something about (male) travellers and those Amazingly Beautiful Women they saw somewhere a long way away after arduous journeying, which might be partly about Exoticising the Other, but also, I think, about there being some place (or time) which is not boring old Here, where things are amazing.

On the, Not Like The Women I Have To Deal With Here And Now In The Present, a friend of mine has a piece somewhere or other (actually I think it's in a volume in which I too am represented) about certain late C19th French (male) intellectuals complaining that women of their day were by no means comparable to the HOTT witty libertine ladies of the Ancien Regime in their salons.

And this led me to the thought that maybe if you are living in it no time is Perfect and Ideal: some may be better than others, for more people, maybe. Just as there were people who found, for them, good lives in times/places that are not usually thought of as utopian eras and most time-travellers would not put on their bucket lists.

Anything close-up and quotidien is, I depose, something the flaws in which you are going to apprehend fairly acutely. Though possibly the upside of that is, that they are the flaws and hindrances that one has developed work-arounds for (see Katharine Whitehorn on the little niggles about one's house that one hardly notices any more but has to warn visitors about).

Friday mystery object #311

Aug. 18th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

This week I have a real mystery object for you, which came in as an enquiry from the bottom of a mine in Ireland that was flooded to the roof with freshwater. It’s earned itself the delightful name of the … Continue reading
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I.e., this week has been mostly getting the new computer to do those things which it ought to do, and leave undone those things which it ought not do -

Among which the most disturbing was the discovery this morning that Thunderbird was marking ALL, yes ALL, incoming mail as Junk and also as Read, fortunately I did discover that this was happening.

There has also been wrestling with getting to be able to talk to the MyCloud as part of my home network rather than via a remote interface connection.

There was the oops, I needed to do a backup of This Thing, That Thing and The Other Thing from the old computer, and having to sort that out.

There is all the finding the passwords and activation codes for things for which I entered a password when I first activated the thing, and never since.

There is also the loss of some things - don't seem to be able to have the little slide-show widget thing of photos on my desktop, chiz - and finding that the new versions of things are Not What We Expect - the new Kobo Desktop App is quite horrid.

But on the whole, we are reasonably satisfied with the New System - its speed in particular is commendable.

However, I am annoyed with Opera, which I was intending using as my secondary browser to avoid Microsoft and Google, but the main thing I wanted a secondary browser for was so that I can log into The Other DW Journal without logging out of this one, but Opera, for some reason I wot not of, insists on autofilling the login screen with the details for this account rather than the other - la, 'tis tedious vexatious.

[syndicated profile] thebrainscoop_feed


Camel Spiders:
Neither Camels, nor Spiders

CAMEL SPIDERS ARE SO. NEAT. Also somewhat terrifying. 

image
image

This is me ^ reacting to Dr. Cushing explaining their, uh… dramatic reproductive behaviors. Apparently my expression is so exaggerated that an anatomy instructor wants to use a gif of it in a class to demonstrate the function of a facial muscle 

and just look at this

image

I mean you can’t say camel spiders aren’t inspiring. 

Watch the other two videos we made in collaboration with the Denver Museum of Nature & Science!

(no subject)

Aug. 17th, 2017 05:37 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] negothick and [personal profile] quiara!

Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.

oursin: The stylised map of the London Underground, overwritten with Tired of London? Tired of Life! (Tired of London? Tired of Life!)
[personal profile] oursin

London garden bridge project collapses in acrimony after £37m spent.

And I can't help wanting to say to Boris J that in Ye Bygone Days when people built follies they did so on their own estates and with their own money (though on reflection this was probably ill-gottens from the Triangle Trade and dodgy dealings in India) and didn't ask the nation to pay for them.

(And aren't there already memorials to Princess Di? How many do we need?)

And, you know, it's a pretty idea and in theory I am there with Thomas Heatherwick that 'London needs new bridges and unexpected new public places': except that that is not a part of London that required Yet Another Bridge, there are so many that taking the boat journey along that stretch of river is more like going into a tunnel.

Also, it was not properly a public space:

a link that would be privately run, would be able set its own rules for access, and would close at night and be available to hire for private events.
Not dissimilar from those gardens in London squares to which access is by residents' key. I do not think that is a definition of 'public' that would have been assented to by those urban planners and reformers creating parks and spaces for the benefit of the inhabitants of the metropolis.

I am also boggled by the suggestion that the river is not already pretty much 'centre-stage' in our great city.

I think Mad William would have had things to say along the lines of

I wander thro' each charter'd street,
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
and whether if crowds flowed over the bridge, so many, common and routine usage would have meant that
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

I might go along on the line suggested by this to comment that what good is a garden bridge if the land lies waste?

(no subject)

Aug. 15th, 2017 09:25 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] jcalanthe and [personal profile] muckefuck!
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

So, farewell then, printer which has been with me some dozen or so years, also previous computer.

Take it away Bessie Smith:

The usual sturm und drang over setting up the new All In One Computer and the printer which purports to be wireless, but refuses to connect thusly: however it will connect by cable.

Though alas, all the USB ports are on one side of the computer, the one away from where the printer has to go (unless I do some major rearranging), but I think I have contrived.

And of course, various other things still to get sorted.

But, getting there, sorta.

Culinary

Aug. 13th, 2017 08:58 pm
oursin: Frontispiece from C17th household manual (Accomplisht Lady)
[personal profile] oursin

Bread during the week: a Standen loaf, v tasty.

Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple with molasses and ginger: using up two bags of flour probably a) rather more wholemeal than strong white b) probably quantities a bit more than usual; also using up ginger so these were quite gingery.

Today's lunch: small whole sea-bream baked in foil with ginger and lime; served with purple crinkle-cut sweet potato fries, garlic roasted sweet-stem cauliflower and bellaverde broccoli, steamed samphire tossed in butter, and padron peppters.

A Theory About Spiral Tubes

Aug. 13th, 2017 01:15 am
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

About a week ago, I passed along a link to an article on EXARC.net about the historical use of tiny bronze spiral tubes as a clothing decoration.

My husband, who reads my blog posts via Google Plus even when they are extremely esoteric, found the idea of decorating one's clothing with woven-in metal bits prone to tarnish intriguing.  "How could you possibly clean them?" he asked me.

I observed that such ornamentation was almost certainly confined to one's best clothing, which would be seldom worn and carefully stored.  But he pointed out that likely over time the rings would tarnish badly, anyway, unless they were carefully cleaned from time to time, and they certainly could not be removed to do so.

For some reason, I remarked that spiral-ornamented garments were made from wool, and that perhaps the natural lanolin in the wool helped prevent tarnishing.

That's when my husband came out with the following theory.

Perhaps the owners of such spiral-laden garments buffed them the spirals, from time-to-time, with lanolined wool fabric or fleece.  Such a coating would be much more likely to protect the tubes from tarnish, and would not damage the fabric to which they were affixed.

The beauty of this theory, to me, is that its plausibility could easily be tested.  Make a garment (or even ornament a sample piece of wool) with spiral tubes.  Brush the tubes with a lanolined cloth, and store.  Make a control garment, or sample, and store it separately, without touching the tubes with lanolin.  Check both at intervals (every 6 months, say, for a year or two), and see whether the lanolin makes a difference to the amount of tarnish on the tubes.

That sounds like a great idea for a short paper.  I should perform the experiment and write it up some time.
oursin: A globe artichoke (artichoke)
[personal profile] oursin

The Long Read in today's Guardian is on 'clean eating' and how problematic, not to say, entirely woo-woo, it is.

However, I think the author misses a trick because, even though she cites to a mid-Victorian food reformer:

In the 1850s, a British chemist called Arthur Hill Hassall became convinced that the whole food supply of London was riddled with toxins and fakery. What’s more, he was right. Hassall had done a series of investigations for the medical journal the Lancet, and found that much of what was for sale as food and drink was not what it seemed: “coffee” made from burnt sugar and chicory; pickles dyed green with poisonous copper colourings
it is claimed:
He started to see poison everywhere, and decided that the answer was to create a set of totally uncontaminated food products. In 1881, he set up his own firm, The Pure Food Company.
He was pretty much right to do so, rather than, as suggested, paranoid. An examination of the annual reports of Medical Officers of Health across London for the period, handily available digitised and searchable online at London's Pulse indicates how extremely yucky food practices in the metropolis could be at the period: food hygiene and contamination was a major concern for MOsH.

I also wonder how many people, and of what demographic, are actually into 'clean eating', given that most people don't even manage their 5 a day (I'm not honestly sure I achieve this every day myself). Well, presumably people with time and resources enough to worry over what they put into their mouths, rather than where the next meal is coming from.

***

And apparently some German politician has been complaining about the decline of the good old German nudist tradition. I remember some years ago at a conference when someone who works on sexuality in the former GDR was talking about the perception among its former citizens of the loss of body positivity of that kind when the Wall fell and exposure to consumerist capitalism happened.

(no subject)

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:45 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] cynthia1960!
oursin: Hedgehog saying boggled hedgehog is boggled (boggled)
[personal profile] oursin

- because that's where I've gone to.

No, really, I am boggled.

So I bit the bullet and ordered a new desktop computer, a new notebook, and a new printer: because I realised that my existing printer, the one that is acting affectingly consumptive, was one that has been doing service for 12+ years and thus I think putting out to grass is the sensible thing to do. And if I'm getting a new printer, and I already had it in mind to get a new desktop, rather than having to faff twice over to get computer and printer to make nice to one another, I might as well combine getting these things and just have a massive getting up to speed with new electronics session.

And My Favoured Retailer did not have the desktop model I wanted so I had to go Elsewhere, but they did have the Yogabook and printer model I wanted: but then it turned out that these come from separate places, and there was some suggestion that the printer might take up to a week to arrive.

But, lo and behold, mirabile dictu: the desktop and the Yogabook arrived pretty much within 5 minutes of one another at a civilised time of day, and the printer at mid-afternoon.

What're the odds, eh?

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