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Remote sensing data shows impact of sea level on Gulf

April 12, 2010

Members of the Qatar Natural History Group went on a trip into the remote past on Wednesday evening. Dr Richard Cuttler, director of a team of archaeologists from the University of Birmingham, UK, now working with the Qatar Museums Authority on a project using remote sensing data, demonstrated how much the Gulf region has changed since early man first came into the area, and its impact on human life.

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Roman Emperor Octavian Augustus Named as Egyptian Pharaoh on Philae Victory Stele

April 5, 2010

A new translation of a Roman victory stele, erected in April 29 BC, shows Octavian Augustus’s name inscribed in a cartouche (an oblong enclosure that surrounds a pharaoh’s name) – an honour normally reserved for an Egyptian pharaoh.

Octavian’s forces defeated Cleopatra and Mark Antony at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.  His forces captured Alexandria soon afterwards and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30 BC, marking the end of Egyptian rule.

Historians believe that although Octavian ruled Egypt after the death of Cleopatra, he was never actually crowned as an Egyptian pharaoh.

The stele was erected at a time when Octavian was still paying lip service to restoring the Roman Republic. He would not be named “Augustus” by the Roman Senate until 27 BC. In the years following that, he would gradually acquire more power.

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New Written Language of Ancient Scotland Discovered

April 2, 2010

Once thought to be rock art, carved depictions of soldiers, horses and other figures are in fact part of a written language dating back to the Iron Age.

The ancestors of modern Scottish people left behind mysterious, carved stones that new research has just determined contain the written language of the Picts, an Iron Age society that existed in Scotland from 300 to 843.

The highly stylized rock engravings, found on what are known as the Pictish Stones, had once been thought to be rock art or tied to heraldry. The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, instead concludes that the engravings represent the long lost language of the Picts, a confederation of Celtic tribes that lived in modern-day eastern and northern Scotland.

“We know that the Picts had a spoken language to complement the writing of the symbols, as Bede (a monk and historian who died in 735) writes that there are four languages in Britain in this time: British, Pictish, Scottish and English,” lead author Rob Lee told Discovery News.

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Greenland Vikings ‘had Celtic blood’

March 21, 2010

Norsemen who settled in southern Greenland carried more Celtic than Nordic blood – but they were still decidedly Scandinavian

An analysis of DNA from a Viking gravesite near a 1000 year-old church in southern Greenland shows that those buried there had strong Celtic bloodlines, reported science website Videnskab.dk.

The analysis – performed by Danish researchers on bones from skeletons found during excavations in south Greenland – revealed that the settlers’ Nordic blood was mixed with Celtic blood, probably originating from the British Isles.

Danish archaeologists are currently conducting the first regional study of southern Greenland’s original settlers, whose colonies date back to the year 985. The skeletons disinterred outside the old church also date back to just a few years after that period.

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How Native American houses are located

March 13, 2010

A common characteristic of the mounds and villages constructed by Native Americans prior to the time of the Sweet Potato Village is that very little remains of the buildings. Even when Europeans began colonizing North America, most indigenous peoples of North America outside the Southwest and Southeast still framed their homes with saplings. Saplings were much easier to cut with stone tools and were transportable. Often all that archaeologists find at such sites are hearths and the detritus of daily living.  Archaeologists assume there was once a hut or teepee, where now there is only a hearth.

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Ancient Tribal Meeting Ground Found in Australia

March 12, 2010

Australian archaeologists have uncovered what they believe to be the world’s southernmost site of early human life, a 40,000-year-old tribal meeting ground, an Aboriginal leader said Wednesday.

The site appears to have been the last place of refuge for Aboriginal tribes from the cannon fire of Australia’s first white settlers, said Michael Mansell of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.

The find came during an archaeological survey ahead of roadwork near Tasmania’s Derwent River and soil dating had established the age of the artifacts found there.

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Pompeii to Offer Live Excavation Experience

March 2, 2010

Visitors to Pompeii will be able to experience a live dig next month in the ancient Roman town that was buried in Mount Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption in 79 A.D.

The site of the open-door excavation is the so-called House of the Chaste Lovers, a building that came to light in 1987 but which has always been closed to the public.

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