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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

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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!

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.
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Calvin Wells a GP and palaeopathologist whose work continues to be cited. His quirky sense of humour, however, was not to everyone’s taste. Photograph: University of Bradford

An archaeological treasury – the voluminous collection of papers, slides, research notes, recordings, jokey postcards, and miscellaneous bits of long-dead human beings collected by the late Calvin Wells – is to be digitised to make it available in its eccentric entirety to scholars for the first time.

The archive, for which the University of Bradford has won a grant of almost £140,000 from the Wellcome Trust, includes thousands of the “bone reports” for which Wells became famous. The reports were based on boxes of human remains sent by archaeologists to Wells’s home and studied on the kitchen table.

Wells, a Norfolk-based GP is regarded as a founding figure of the discipline of palaeopathology, the study of ancient diseases. Professor Charlotte Roberts, president of the British Association of Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology, said the archive would be invaluable for researchers: “Calvin Wells remains one of the most prolific publishers from the UK in this field today, who studied a diversity of subject matter from artistic representations of disease in the past to mummified remains. In many instances his publications were ‘firsts’ and continue to be cited in our field today.”

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE—Norway is famed for its cod. Catches from the Arctic stock that spawns each year off its northern coast are exported across Europe for staple dishes from British fish and chips to Spanish bacalao stew.

Now, a new study published today in the journal PNAS suggests that some form of this pan-European trade in Norwegian cod may have been taking place for 1,000 years.

Latest research from the universities of Cambridge and Oslo, and the Centre for Baltic and Scandinavian Archaeology in Schleswig, used ancient DNA extracted from the remnants of Viking-age fish suppers.

The study analysed five cod bones dating from between 800 and 1066 AD found in the mud of the former wharves of Haithabu, an early medieval trading port on the Baltic. Haithabu is now a heritage site in modern Germany, but at the time was ruled by the King of the Danes.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

DNA testing of residents of ancient village of Bledington showed genetic heritage spanning 18 locations around the world. Photograph: Simon Pizzey/AncesteryDNA/PA

The residents of the Cotswold village of Bledington were entitled to see themselves as the quintessential English villagers, blessed with a village green, stream, medieval church, Kings Head pub, mention in the Domesday Book, even a Victorian maypole. However, a DNA survey, one of the most comprehensive attempts to capture an entire village, has revealed their surprisingly diverse origins.

The village was classified as white British in ethnic origin from census data, but the saliva samples contributed by almost 120 of the residents – including the pub landlord, a farmer, an artist, a marketing director and the village historian – told another story: not a single individual of those tested was 100% English.

Just 42.5% of their DNA was Anglo-Saxon in origin: other ancestry derived from Europe, from Finland to Spain, the Celtic nations, including Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Native American, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Melanesia.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ‘legitimises autocracy with historical myths’.
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
2017 Anadolu Agency

On the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the historian calls for an end to the trivialisation of the lessons of the past

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther sparked a movement of Reformation that would leave indelible marks on European history. While some have used this anniversary as an opportunity for reflection, and others a chance to heal old wounds, 2017 finds us in an age of intense historical myopia. Breathless news cycles and furious outrage are shrinking our horizons just as they need to widen. Public debate barely remembers the world of last year, “old news”, let alone that of a decade or few ago.

History’s expertise, and most dangerously its perspective, are being lost in our inability to look beyond the here and now. We stumble into crises of finance and inequality with ignorance of economic history, and forget even the recent background to our current politics. We fail to think in the long term and miss a growing environmental catastrophe. We refuse help to millions of refugees by turning away from our own history. As technology and globalisation bring the world closer together, we have narrowed rather than broadened our perspective. With challenges on many fronts, history needs to be at the heart of how we think about our ever-changing world.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The researchers suggest the engravings may have been part of an elaborate post-death ritual carried that culminated in the deceased being eaten. Photograph: Bello et al (2017)
Engraved bones unearthed in a Somerset cave have revealed new evidence of macabre cannibalistic rituals carried out by early humans in Britain.
The latest analysis of the bones, which were first discovered in the 1980s in Gough’s Cave in the Cheddar Gorge, show signs of having been filleted using sophisticated butchery techniques, decorated and gnawed by fellow humans around 15,000 years ago.
Previous investigations of the remains, belonging to a three-year-old child, two adolescents and at least two adults, already pointed to the grisly possibility that the individuals had been eaten by fellow early modern humans.
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Friday mystery object #310 answer

Aug. 11th, 2017 07:00 am
[syndicated profile] zygoma_feed

Posted by PaoloViscardi

Last week I thought it was time for some more bones, so I gave you this specimen from the Dead Zoo to have a go at identifying: There was no scale, the photo is far from ideal and the specimen … Continue reading
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Mary Beard has faced ‘unnecessary insult, misogyny and language of war’ for defending the BBC cartoon.

The classics professor’s naysayers refuse to believe ancient civilisations could have been anything but Caucasian, but there is evidence that proves them wrong.

The wonderful Mary Beard has been sucked into another Twitter row – where she faced, in her words, “unnecessary insult, misogyny and language of war”. This latest tussle has been about her defence (which, as usual, was measured, graceful and – above all – well-informed) of a BBC cartoon showing a Roman British family with a black father. For some people this was infuriating, disgusting: a politically correct piece of anachronistic nonsense, throwing modern multicultural values back on to the past. And yet, as Prof Beard has pointed out, of course it is perfectly possible, even pretty likely, that such families existed in Roman Britain, and an entirely reasonable thing for the BBC cartoon to have posited.

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Spiral Tubes

Aug. 7th, 2017 04:39 pm
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

From Katrin Kania's blog I recently learned that there is a good, publicly available (but short) article on EXARC.net about the use of tiny, spiral bronze tubes to decorate clothing.

In general, though the time frame when such ornaments were used varies widely by region, the countries that have used this technique are those around the Baltic Sea. The article itself may be found here.  

Although the text is brief and general, there are some wonderful photographs accompanying the article of surviving finds with spiral tube decoration, some of which I have not seen elsewhere. This article and its photos are particularly recommended to those interested in Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, or Finnish clothing of the early to late Middle Ages.

More Short Tutorials--Early Period

Aug. 6th, 2017 12:27 pm
[syndicated profile] cathyscostumeblog_feed

Posted by Cathy Raymond

It's no secret to any of my readers that my favorite costume interests lie with the early period, which I think of as from the dawn of humanity until the high Middle Ages.  Today's crop of tutorials consists entirely of projects appropriate to early period costume.
  • From Jenn Culler's blog there are two simple and fun projects.  
    • First, a tutorial on how to make a peplos dress that hangs more appealingly than a pinned sheet of fabric (what's called a "bog dress" in the SCA). The technique is not documentably historical, but also cannot be ruled out on the basis of archaeological finds. 
    • Second, there is a tutorial for making a Bronze Age Dress based upon a design suggested in this article by Karina Grömer, Lise Bender Jørgensen and Helga Rösel-Mautendorfer. The article discusses different ways to recreate the clothing of a woman buried in a Middle Bronze Age grave in Winklarn, Austria.  (Other potential reconstructions of the Winklarn woman's costume are suggested in the article, for those who might be interested.)
  • From opusanglicanum there's a tutorial on how to stitch the acanthus motif from the Mammen find.   
  • From Ragnvaeig's LiveJournal there's a tutorial on how to stitch the linked circles motif from the Oseberg ship find.
  • And, finally, from Anna's blog, Anachronistic and Impulsive, there is good information on how to make ancient Roman garb for both men and woman. Note too the current post where Anna seeks donations because she and her husband are in financial difficulty due to unexpected calls on their savings. 
All of these projects would be good to work on during a hot summer, if it is summer where you live.  Enjoy exploring them!
[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Alexandre Gérard examines one of the apostle statues. Photo: AFP

Scientists in Paris are cracking the mystery of the 12 apostle statues that sat atop the Gothic marvel of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris for five centuries.

Having lost their heads, been pulled from their plinths, smashed and even buried, things are at last looking up for some of the unluckiest statues in Christendom.
   
For five centuries the 12 apostles looked down on the adoring hordes who marvelled at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, arguably the greatest Gothic edifice ever build.
   
Standing between its spectacular stained glass windows -- one of the wonders of the medieval world -- they could have been forgiven for feeling smug having survived the Reformation without a scratch.
   
But the statues were caught in the whirlwind of not just one French revolution but two, and since then history has been less than kind.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Work was in full swing at the building site of the first Hyatt hotel in Bulgaria, in the centre of the capital, Sofia, on Monday, Balkaninsight reported. 

While numerous machines laid concrete and strengthened the foundations of the future 190-room five-star hotel, a team of archaeologists with an excavator was carefully digging a rare find out of the ground.

They recently discovered an ancient Roman tomb – part of the eastern side of the necropolis of the Roman city of Serdica, which lies under Bulgaria’s capital – which could soon be buried under the luxury new hotel.

The same fate has already befallen six other tombs discovered at the construction site in April.
They were recently covered up by the construction company, Tera Tour Service, sparkling public outrage.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Trenches at Larkhill are clearly visible through the chalk backfill. 
Photograph: © WYG/Wessex Archaeology

Vast extent of the fortifications surprises archaeologists who used new technology and the knowledge of local historians

The full extent of the networks of trenches and defensive fortifications built in England during the first world war has been revealed in the first major survey of its kind.

Detailing how resources were concentrated along England’s eastern and southern coasts – where the main thrust by an invading German army was expected to come – the study draws on existing periodicals and local history as well as LiDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) data gleaned from the use of lasers by the Environment Agency to plot the bumps and dips of British topography.

“We are all very aware of the defence of Britain in the second world war, but people don’t tend to think that the same threat was there during the first world war,” said Martin Brown, an archaeologist who led the research for government body Historic England.

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

Belgian archaeologists inspect a 16th century fortification unearthed after tram works in Antwerp, Belgium 
[Credit: Christopher Stern, Reuters]

Archaeologists in Antwerp have spent the last two weeks excavating parts of a six-metre-high (20-foot) fortified wall that was built around the Belgian city 500 years ago.

The ruins were exposed during preparations for a massive infrastructure project on a major boulevard, including tunnels and a new tram line. 

"When we compare to other cities, it was really a monumental and impressive masterpiece already at that time, and still," archaeologist Femke Martens told Reuters, while standing between two unearthed pillars of what was a bridge to the Red Gate.

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[syndicated profile] archaeology_in_eu_feed

Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot


Researchers at the ancient Greek city of Antandrus, located in Turkey's Balıkesir province, have discovered the remains of a woman and a man, as well as numerous artifacts inside a 2,500-year-old sarcophagus, reports said Sunday.

According to a statement by project leader Professor Gürcan Polat from Ege University, the excavations, which started on July 10, shed light to the 5th Century sarcophagus.
"The bones most probably belonged to the people from the same family" Polat said.
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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

She has long eyelashes, a full head of hair - and impressive teeth. Picture: Irina Sharova

Unearthed on the edge of the Arctic, she is the only woman so far found in an otherwise all-male necropolis, buried in a cocoon of copper and fur.

This haunting 12th century woman is a member of an unknown hunting and fishing civilisation that held sway in the far north of Siberia - with surprising links to Persia.

Accidentlally mummified and probably aged around 35, her delicate features are visible, the green tinge on her face being the traces of the pieces of a copper kettle that helped preserve her in her permafrost grave. 

Bronze temple rings were found close to her skull, wrapped inside animal skin - possibly reindeer  - and birch bark that cocooned her. 

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Posted by David Beard MA, FSA, FSA Scot

The Greek quarry dating from the 5th century BC in Marseille is going to be partly classified 
as a Historical Monument [Credit: AFP/Bertrand Langlois]

Discovered by chance during the construction of a building in the center of Marseille, a Greek quarry dating from the 5th century BC will be partly classified.

This represents a first victory for the residents against the French city’s authorities who were planning to build on the historic site, according to a report by French Agency, AFP.

“It’s a great step forward,” exclaimed with a smile a resident of the Sandrine Rolengo district where the quarry was discovered.

Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen, who visited the site recently, decided to protect part of the site.

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