Name of source: PR Newswire
CHICAGO, Jan. 30, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Maya Angelou's Black History Month Special 2013, "Telling Our Stories," features five celebrated guests, Kofi Annan, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Regina Taylor and Oprah Winfrey sharing candid stories about their paths to achievement and their place in the annals of black history. The program is available to all PRI (Public Radio International) affiliated stations and African American Public Radio Consortium stations free of charge. Maya Angelou, a 2011 recipient of the President's Medal of Freedom and civil rights activist appointed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the Northern Coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, brings music, poetry, history and insight to the stories of her guests.
"Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright's pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace," says Angelou.
"AT&T is honored and proud to continue our support of Dr. Maya Angelou's Black History Month Special for a third year," said Jennifer Jones, vice president of Diverse Markets, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "The candid stories that Dr. Angelou's guests share are very inspiring. We encourage consumers to tune in and enjoy these interviews with some of America's most influential individuals."...
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:11
Name of source: ABC News
What would you tell seven astronauts if you knew their space shuttle was crippled on orbit?
It was a question that faced NASA's Mission Control considered after initial suspicions that something might be wrong with the shuttle Columbia as it was making its doomed reentry in 2003.
Wayne Hale, who later became space shuttle program manager, struggled with this question after the deaths of the Columbia crew 10 years ago. Recently he wrote about the debate in his blog, recalling a meeting to discuss the dilemma:
"After one of the MMTs (Mission Management Team) when possible damage to the orbiter was discussed, he (Flight Director Jon Harpold) gave me his opinion: 'You know, there is nothing we can do about damage to the TPS (Thermal Protection System). If it has been damaged it's probably better not to know. I think the crew would rather not know. Don't you think it would be better for them to have a happy successful flight and die unexpectedly during entry than to stay on orbit, knowing that there was nothing to be done, until the air ran out?"...
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:03
Name of source: ScienceDaily
Jan. 30, 2013 — Rebutting a speculative hypothesis that comet explosions changed Earth's climate sufficiently to end the Clovis culture in North America about 13,000 years ago, Sandia lead author Mark Boslough and researchers from 14 academic institutions assert that other explanations must be found for the apparent disappearance.
"There's no plausible mechanism to get airbursts over an entire continent," said Boslough, a physicist. "For this and other reasons, we conclude that the impact hypothesis is, unfortunately, bogus."
In a December 2012 American Geophysical Union monograph, first available in January, the researchers point out that no appropriately sized impact craters from that time period have been discovered, nor have any unambiguously "shocked" materials been found....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 17:02
Name of source: University of Texas
AUSTIN, Texas — For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether.
According to new anthropological research from The University of Texas at Austin, Wichita State University and Washington State University, the answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.
Using ancient DNA (aDNA) sampling, Jaime Mata-Míguez, an anthropology graduate student and lead author of the study, tracked the biological comings and goings of the Otomí people following the incorporation of Xaltocan into the Aztec empire. The study, published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the first to provide genetic evidence for the anthropological cold case....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 16:58
Name of source: NYT
DARIEN, Ga. — Residents of a tiny barrier island in Georgia on Tuesday won a temporary reprieve from property tax increases that they feared would drive them from their historic community.
Taxes rose by as much as 1,000 percent last year on Sapelo Island, where the country’s largest population of Geechees lives. Sometimes called the Gullahs, the Creole-speaking descendants of African slaves have lived on the island and along the coast of the Southeast for more than two centuries.
McIntosh County officials say their land has long been undervalued. But on Tuesday, the county’s Board of Equalization sided with the residents and ordered a reassessment of their property....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 11:10
Journalism is meant to be the first draft of history, and newspaper articles fit that mold nicely, fading into the archives. But books are not so neat.
The digitization of books has facilitated the rerelease of a spate of nonfiction works years or decades after their initial publication, and in some cases the common interpretation of their subject matter has evolved or changed significantly.
Melville House confronted this situation with its decision to reissue in December a 1964 book by A. M. Rosenthal, “Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case.” The book was originally released just months after the murder in March 1964 of 28-year-old Catherine Genovese, known as Kitty, who at around 3 a.m. was returning from her job at a tavern to her apartment in Kew Gardens, Queens, when she was assaulted, stabbed to death and then raped by a psychotic killer....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:51
LOS ANGELES — During a 1960s renaissance, California’s public university system came to be seen as a model for the rest of the country and an economic engine for the state. Seven new campuses opened, statewide enrollment doubled, and state spending on higher education more than doubled. The man widely credited with the ascendance was Gov. Edmund G. Brown, known as Pat....
Last year, he told voters that a tax increase was the only way to avoid more years of drastic cuts. Now, with the tax increase approved and universities anticipating more money from the state for the first time in years, the second Governor Brown is a man eager to take an active role in shaping the University of California and California State University systems.
Governor Brown holds a position on the board of trustees for both Cal State and UC. Since November, he has attended every meeting of both boards, asking about everything from dormitories to private donations and federal student loans. He is twisting arms on issues he has long held dear, like slashing executive pay and increasing teaching requirements for professors — ideas that have long been met with considerable resistance from academia. But Mr. Brown, himself a graduate of University of California, Berkeley, has never been a man to shrink from a debate....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:49
MEXICO CITY — A Guatemalan judge on Monday ordered Efraín Rios Montt, the former dictator, and his intelligence chief to stand trial on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in connection with the massacres of villagers in remote highlands three decades ago.
The ruling clears the way for a public trial for Mr. Rios Montt, a former general who ruled Guatemala for 17 months in 1982 and 1983 during the bloodiest period of the country’s long-running civil war. It is a stunning decision for Guatemala, where the military still wields significant power behind the scenes and the country’s elected governments have struggled to build democratic institutions....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:46
PARIS – The Hôtel Ritz Paris, famous for its bar, its swimming pool and its assignations, had a treasure hiding in plain sight, an exceptional painting that had been hanging on a wall for decades without anyone paying it the least attention.
With the hotel shut for renovation, the auction house Christie’s announced this week that art experts had decided that the long-ignored canvas was by Charles Le Brun, one of the masters of 17th-century French painting, and that it would be put it up for auction....
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 12:59
ROME (AP) — Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of Italy praised the Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini for having been a good leader in many respects, despite his responsibility for anti-Jewish laws, immediately prompting expressions of outrage on Sunday as Europeans held Holocaust remembrances.
Mr. Berlusconi also defended the dictator for allying himself with Hitler, saying that Mussolini probably reasoned that it would be better to be on what he thought would be the winning side.
Mr. Berlusconi, whose conservative coalition is second in voter surveys ahead of next month’s elections, spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan on Sunday to commemorate the Holocaust....
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 12:49
One hundred years ago, on Feb. 2, 1913, the doors to Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public, after 10 years of construction and at a cost of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars. The terminal was a product of local politics, bold architecture, brutal flexing of corporate muscle and visionary engineering. No other building embodies New York’s ascent as vividly as Grand Central. Here, the tale of its birth, excerpted from “Grand Central: How a Train Station Transformed America,” by Sam Roberts, the urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times, to be published later this month by Grand Central Publishing.
The idea for the new Grand Central Terminal came to William J. Wilgus “in a flash of light,” he recalled decades later. “It was the most daring idea that ever occurred to me,” he said.
Wilgus, the New York Central Railroad’s chief engineer since 1899, had supervised the costly renovation of Grand Central Depot just a few years before. Born in Buffalo in 1865, he studied for two years under a local civil engineer and later took a Cornell correspondence course in drafting. His creativity and expertise propelled him through the ranks of various railroads and finally to the New York Central.
A fatal 1902 crash, in which the morning local from White Plains had slammed into the rear car of a Danbury, Conn., train stopped on the tracks of the Park Avenue Tunnel, killing 15 passengers instantaneously, had convinced Wilgus that it was no longer possible to run a chaotic railroad yard two avenue blocks wide in what was becoming the very heart of the nation’s largest city....
Sunday, January 27, 2013 - 19:16
Senators will still be able to talk and talk and talk, though for not quite as long as they have grown accustomed to. Legislation will still be mired in mucky procedural delays, though there will be fewer of them to exploit. And there is a glimmer of hope that rank-and-file senators will actually be able to do what they were elected to do: shape legislation.
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 12:47
BERLIN — France and Germany recently issued a joint postage stamp as part of a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, the landmark agreement between the two former enemies.
The stamp is identical, except for one telling difference. In each country, it bears a picture of a man and woman, side by side, peering through lenses colored in blue-white-red and black-red-gold. But the French stamp costs 80 euro cents, while its German twin sells for only 75.
In a year loaded with symbolic gestures and 4,000 commemorative events, including Tuesday’s joint session of Parliament, joint cabinet dinner and a concert, that 5-cent disparity is a reminder that despite the decades of friendship and enormous day-to-day cooperation, significant, often devilish, differences persist.
De Gaulle once described Europe as “a coach with horses, with Germany the horse and France the coachman.” Since he signed the treaty with the German chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1963, successive governments in both countries have struggled to overcome, or overlook, what divides them....
Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 18:31
BERLIN — A report about child sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church in Germany, based on victim accounts and released by the church this week, showed that priests carefully planned their assaults and frequently abused the same children repeatedly for years.
The report, compiled from information collected from victims and other witnesses who called a hot line run by the church from 2010 until the end of last year, includes the ages of the victims, the locations of the assaults and the repercussions they have suffered since. The accounts were provided in 8,500 calls to the hot line; they are not representative of abuse cases over all and cannot be individually verified. The church said the report contained information from 1,824 people, of whom 1,165 described themselves as victims.
Germany’s bishops have vowed a thorough and impartial investigation into the abuse. Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, who is looking into abuse cases for the German Bishops’ Conference, told reporters after the report was released on Thursday that it served as an example of that intention...
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 17:37
Name of source: AP
WARSAW, Poland — It was the place where Jewish women did their ritual bathing. It was a tuberculosis clinic. It survived the German onslaught and became a gathering point for Holocaust survivors.
Now “the white building,” the headquarters of the Jewish community and one of the few surviving remnants of the infamous Warsaw Ghetto, could be torn down to make way for a multistory tower that would fit seamlessly into a modern city skyline.
The building’s fate will soon be determined by the Culture Ministry, which has been asked by advocates of historic preservation to declare it a historical monument, a classification that would ban its destruction. It’s not yet clear how officials will decide, though previous rulings by other state offices had declared the building not worth saving. Now those for and against destroying the old building are anxiously awaiting a verdict....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:43
HACKENSACK, N.J. — Four years ago, noticing plaques at the county courthouse commemorating slavery, the Holocaust and other atrocities, Korean-American community leader Chejin Park struck upon the idea of adding a tribute to the “comfort women” of World War II.
To his surprise, the seemingly small, local gesture — to honor the more than 200,000 mostly Korean and Chinese women forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers — would make a tiny northern New Jersey town a flashpoint in an international controversy.
Local officials would rebuff a request by Japanese officials to take down the first plaque put up just over two years ago in the town of Palisades Park, a square-mile borough outside New York where a majority of residents are of Korean descent....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:42
RICHMOND, Va. — A humble 5-cent coin with a storied past is headed to auction and bidding expected to top $2 million a century after it was mysteriously minted.
The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is one of only five known to exist, but it’s the coin’s back story that adds to its cachet: It was surreptitiously and illegally cast, discovered in a car wreck that killed its owner, declared a fake, forgotten in a closet for decades and then found to be the real deal.
It all adds up to an expected sale of $2.5 million or more when it goes on the auction block April 25 in suburban Chicago....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:13
SEVARE, Mali — Timbuktu, the fabled desert city where retreating Muslim extremists destroyed ancient manuscripts, was a center of Islamic learning hundreds of years before Columbus landed in the Americas.
It is not known how many of the priceless documents were destroyed by al Qaida-linked fighters who set ablaze a state-of-the-art library built with South African funding to conserve the brittle, camel-hide bound manuscripts from the harshness of the Sahara Desert climate and preserve them so researchers can study them.
News of the destruction came Monday from the mayor of Timbuktu. With its Islamic treasures and centuries-old mud-walled buildings including an iconic mosque, Timbuktu is a U.N.-designated World Heritage Site....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:11
Name of source: WaPo
JOHANNESBURG — Islamist extremists damaged or stole only a limited number of manuscripts in Timbuktu in Mali before they fled the fabled desert city, a South African university said Wednesday.
People in the north Malian city who have knowledge of the documents reported that there was no malicious destruction of any library or collection, said the University of Cape Town, which helped fund a state-of-the-art library to house manuscripts.
“The custodians of the libraries worked quietly throughout the rebel occupation of Timbuktu to ensure the safety of their materials,” said the university. Islamist rebels have been in control of Timbuktu for nearly 10 months....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:40
LONDON — What does it mean to be British? Monarchs, Margaret Thatcher and Monty Python are all important parts of the nation’s heritage, according to a new guide for immigrants introduced Monday.
The government is revising the “Life in the U.K.” handbook and test taken by those seeking to become British citizens or settle here permanently.
While the previous version — created under the former Labour government — included some practical questions about daily life, the emphasis is now firmly on British history and culture. There are questions on sports, music and historical figures from William Shakespeare to Winston Churchill....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:33
As a pathologist, Michael Zimmerman was familiar with dead bodies, but when he was asked to autopsy a mummy for the first time, he wasn’t sure what to expect. There were a dozen layers of wrapping, which he peeled off one at a time, “like Chinese boxes,” he said. When he finished, he found the body was dark brown and hard. “It smelled like old books.”
That was more than 30 years ago. Now, having dissected and CT-scanned mummies from all over the world — some ancient and some just two or three centuries old — Zimmerman has begun drawing conclusions about health and disease in past eras. His work and that of other so-called paleopathologists is starting to challenge assumptions about which diseases are caused by modern lifestyles and which ones are as ancient as the pharaohs....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:17
LONDON — One European queen has announced her retirement. Any chance Europe’s most famous queen — Elizabeth II of Britain — might join her?
Not likely, experts say....
Author Robert Lacey, who has written several books about the British monarchy, said Beatrix’s decision would likely firm up Elizabeth’s resolve.
“It would reinforce her feeling that the Dutch don’t know what monarchy is about, and that she should go on forever,” he said. “The crown is a job for life in the British system.”...
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:07
LAGOS, Nigeria — At 16, Isaac Fadoyebo ran away from his home in southwest Nigeria and signed up to fight for Britain in World War II, a decision made from youthful exuberance that saw him sent to Burma to fight and nearly die.
Courage and luck kept him alive behind enemy lines as local farmers protected him for months until the British broke through and found him. When he returned home to Nigeria, his story and those of his fellow veterans largely fell away from the public’s mind as independence swept through the country and a devastating civil war and political unrest later followed.
Fadoyebo, who died in November at the age of 86, represents one of the last so-called “Burma Boys” in West and East Africa. On Thursday, his family and friends gathered for a final worship service and celebration of his life, as new attention has been paid to his sacrifices and those of other Africans drawn into the fighting....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 18:28
WASHINGTON — From Jimmy Stewart’s fictional all-night talkathon to real-life dramas over World War I and civil rights, the Senate’s filibuster has played a notable — sometimes reviled — role in the nation’s history. Now the slow-moving, famously deliberative chamber is on the verge of dialing it back — modestly.
Filibusters are procedural delays that outnumbered lawmakers use to try killing bills and nominations. But they seldom look like the speech delivered by the exhausted, devoted senator portrayed by Stewart in the film, “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”
In fact, the Senate has more filibusters than ever these days. But you’d hardly know it by watching the chamber on C-SPAN television....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 18:22
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
The Volgograd city council voted to use the name Stalingrad at city events on six commemorative days including February 2, the day Nazi forces fully surrendered to Soviet troops and May 9, Victory Day, Russian news agencies reported.
The decision was made "based on the many requests of Second World War participants," said Sergei Zabednov, quoted by the city parliament's press service.
"Deputies have taken a decision to establish the name 'hero-city Stalingrad' as a symbol of Volgograd. We will be able to use this symbol officially in our speeches and reports and at mass events," Zabednov said....
Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 10:36
It finally proved what the Dorset pensioner had long suspected – that his parents and grandmother perished in the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz nearly seven decades ago.
Mr Grenville and his sister were among 10,000 Jewish children evacuated from Germany to Britain before the war as part of the Kindertransport refugee mission.
They knew their parents Jacob and Klara Greilsamer and grandmother Sara Ottenheimer had been sent to an internment camp in Czechoslovakia and had been able to exchange brief messages with them via the Red Cross....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 10:51
It was perhaps one of the most hazardous roles of the First World War – acting as bait for German submarines.
But that was exactly the job of HMS Stock Force, one of the Royal Navy’s top secret “Q-ships” or “Mystery Ships” – specially adapted decoy vessels with concealed guns, which lured U-boats to the surface and then engaged them in a deadly duel.
The Stock Force was sunk in just such a clash, in what became one of the war’s most celebrated naval encounters, which led to its captain, Lieutenant Harold Auten, receiving the Victoria Cross, and inspired an early action film....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 10:50
Name of source: Philadelphia Inquirer
A 14-year battle over the fate of a modern structure at the heart of Gettysburg National Military Park is over.
The National Park Service said Thursday that it would begin demolishing the Cyclorama building as soon as February, clearing the site ahead of the 150th anniversary commemoration of the battle.
The site will be restored to its 1863 appearance, complete with a period apple orchard and replicas of the wood fences that once crisscrossed the fields, park spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. The massive painting that the building once housed has been separately preserved....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 18:26
Name of source: BBC News
Marine archaeologists working on a wreck off the coast of Sicily have discovered five large cannon from a British ship, believed to have sunk in a major battle with Spanish galleons.
The team searching waters near the city of Syracuse said the "exceptional" find dates back to the Battle of Cape Passaro in the early 1700s.
Pictures taken by divers show the cannon were barely covered by sand....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:35
Name of source: The Post and Courier (SC)
For nearly 150 years, the story of the Hunley’s attack on the USS Housatonic has been Civil War legend.
And it has been wrong.
Scientists have discovered a piece of the Confederate submarine’s torpedo still attached to its spar, debunking eyewitness accounts that the Hunley was nearly 100 feet away from the explosion that sent a Union blockade ship to the bottom of the sea off Charleston in 1864....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:32
Name of source: The New Scientist
Twenty-six thousand years ago in the Czech Republic, one of our ice-age ancestors selected a hunk of mammoth ivory and carved this enigmatic portrait of a woman - the oldest ever found. By looking at artefacts like this as works of art, rather than archaeological finds, a new exhibition at the British Museum in London hopes to help us see them and their creators with new eyes.
Human ancestors date back millions of years, but the earliest evidence of the human mind producing symbolic imagery as a form of creative expression cannot be much older than 100,000 years. That evidence comes from Africa: this exhibition explores the later dawning of representative art in Europe and shows that even before the remarkable paintings of the Lascaux cave, France, humans were able to make work as subtle as the expressive face above....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:16
Name of source: Italy Magazine
An American classics professor has uncovered ancient grape seeds that could provide insight into Roman Chianti vineyards.
One of the world’s authorities on the Etruscans, Nancy Thomson de Grummond is the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics and Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University. She unearthed 150 waterlogged grape seeds during a dig in Cetamura del Chianti, an ancient hilltop located in the heart of the Chianti district of Tuscany near Siena, during the summer of 2012.
De Grummond serves as project director of archaeological excavations at Cetamura del Chianti, which is in an area once inhabited by the Etruscans and then the Ancient Romans. Faculty and students of Florida State University have conducted research at the archaeological site since it opened in 1973....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:14
Name of source: World Archaeology
The mystery of what happened to Greenland’s Norse population is one step closer to being solved, as new evidence suggests that the colony did not die out because its inhabitants were unable to adapt to their new environment.
The first Viking settlers arrived in c.AD 1000, and over time their population swelled to around 3,000 people. By the 15th century, however, they had vanished, with no explanation provided by contemporary written sources. This disappearance has long been debated by archaeologists, with some suggesting that the farming communities were defeated by climate change, which made it difficult to cultivate cereal crops for bread and beer, and limited wild plant resources....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:10
Name of source: Past Horizons
Mexican archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) recently located and recorded a rock panel covered in petroglyphs that may have been carved between 850 and 1350 CE.
The site named “Cantil de las animas” [Ledge of Souls] is near the town of Jesus Maria Cortes in Tepic, Nayarit, Western Mexico.
The carved symbolic representations, which are attributed to the ancient Aztlan culture, were located in a new archaeological zone within the region’s mountainous zone, and they cover a south facing surface of vertical rock about 4 metres long and 2 metres high....
Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 11:08
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
Islamist insurgents retreating from the ancient Saharan city of Timbuktu have set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless ancient manuscripts, some dating back to the 13th century, in what the town's mayor described as a "devastating blow" to world heritage.
Hallé Ousmani Cissé told the Guardian that al-Qaida-allied fighters on Saturday torched two buildings where the manuscripts were being kept. They also burned down the town hall and governor's office, and shot dead a man who was celebrating the arrival of the French military.
French troops and the Malian army reached the gates of Timbuktu on Saturday and secured the town's airport. But they appear to have got there too late to save the leather-bound manuscripts, which were a unique record of sub-Saharan Africa's medieval history....
Monday, January 28, 2013 - 11:30
Name of source: Time Magazine
When archaeologists announced the discovery of the tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus in Rome in 2008, the find was heralded as the most important in decades. Built in the shape of a temple, with tall fluted columns and an intricately carved sarcophagus, it was the final resting place for the Roman general who served as inspiration for Russell Crowe‘s character in the movie Gladiator, unearthed a the site of a planned housing project some 1,800 years after its construction.
In contrast, the December 2012 announcement regarding the tomb was much more muted. Italy’s cash-strapped ministry of culture declared it was unable to find the several million euros that would be required to protect the ruins and turn them into a tourist attraction. Instead, the Gladiator’s Tomb, as the site has come to be known, would likely have to be buried once again....
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 15:24
Name of source: Trent University
Archaeologists from Trent University have discovered a rare jade artefact, one of the first of its kind to be found in an archaeological dig, while excavating the ancient Maya city of Ka’Kabish in Belize.
The six centimetre jade object, known as an Olmec spoon, was unearthed in June 2012 from a 2,700 year old grave beneath the Ka’Kabish plaza along with 16 other jade artefacts. Similar objects have been recovered in Mesoamerica, but this is one of the first times an Olmec spoon has been found in a secure archaeological site....
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 15:22
Name of source: Science (magazine)
Europeans raced across oceans and continents during the Age of Exploration in search of territory and riches. But when they reached the South Pacific, they found they had been beaten there by a more humble traveler: the sweet potato. Now, a new study suggests that the plant's genetics may be the key to unraveling another great age of exploration, one that predated European expansion by several hundred years and remains an anthropological enigma.
Humans domesticated the sweet potato in the Peruvian highlands about 8000 years ago, and previous generations of scholars believed that Spanish and Portuguese explorers introduced the crop to Southeast Asia and the Pacific beginning in the 16th century. But in recent years, archaeologists and linguists have accumulated evidence supporting another hypothesis: Premodern Polynesian sailors navigated their sophisticated ships all the way to the west coast of South America and brought the sweet potato back home with them. The oldest carbonized sample of the crop found by archaeologists in the Pacific dates to about 1000 C.E.—nearly 500 years before Columbus's first voyage. What's more, the word for "sweet potato" in many Polynesian languages closely resembles the Quechua word for the plant....
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 15:20
They were humble farmers who grew corn and dwelt in subterranean pit houses. But the people who lived 1200 years ago in a Utah village known as Site 13, near Canyonlands National Park in Utah, seem to have had at least one indulgence: chocolate. Researchers report that half a dozen bowls excavated from the area contain traces of chocolate, the earliest known in North America. The finding implies that by the end of the 8th century C.E., cacao beans, which grow only in the tropics, were being imported to Utah from orchards thousands of kilometers away.
The discovery could force archaeologists to rethink the widely held view that the early people of the northern Southwest, who would go on to build enormous masonry "great houses" at New Mexico's Chaco Canyon and create fine pottery, had little interaction with their neighbors in Mesoamerica. Other scientists are intrigued by the new claim, but also skeptical....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 18:58
Name of source: Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
A team of researchers led by the UAB has found the first ancient remains of a calcified ovarian teratoma, in the pelvis of the skeleton of a woman from the Roman era. The find confirms the presence in antiquity of this type of tumour - formed by the remains of tissues or organs, which are difficult to locate during the examination of ancient remains. Inside the small round mass, four teeth and a small piece of bone were found.
Teratomas are usually benign and contain remains of organic material, such as hair, teeth, bones and other tissues. There are no references in the literature to ovarian teratomas in ancient remains like those found in this study, led by the researcher Núria Armentano of the Biological Anthropology Unit of the UAB and published in the International Journal of Paleopathology....
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 15:18
Name of source: Yahoo News
It’s not too soon to start talking about the next presidential inauguration in 2017, and why the historical re-election trends favor the Republicans.
Andrew Jackson.Maybe Hillary Clinton, the current very-early front-runner for the Democratic nomination, can break the struggles that Democrats have had trying to win a presidential election after its candidate (or his legal successor) won two prior elections.
That’s only happened twice since 1828 for the Democrats, when the modern two-party era started in earnest. In 1836, the Democratic Vice President Martin Van Buren succeeded Andrew Jackson by defeating four Whig candidates, while President Franklin D. Roosevelt succeeded himself in 1940 by running for an unprecedented third term....
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 14:32
Mexico City, Jan 23 (IANS/EFE) Mexican archaeologists have discovered in the western state of Nayarit a series of petroglyphs estimated to have been carved between 850 and 1350 A.D., the National Anthropology and History Institute, or INAH, said.
The bas relief carvings have a symbolic character and are attributed to ancient groups from the Aztatlan cultural complex, and they were found at a site called "Cantil de las animas" (Cliff of the souls), in the mountainous portion of Nayarit's southern high plateau, an area where archaeological finds have been practically unknown....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 19:08
Name of source: NBC News
Dave Powers, the man widely considered to be John F. Kennedy’s best friend, kept several of the Kennedys’ photos and personal artifacts over the years. They were discovered recently at Powers’ home, and will be put up for auction next month.
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 01:01
Name of source: CBS
Life Magazine dug into its archives and published rare color photographs from World War II on the day before and after D-Day.
Friday, January 25, 2013 - 00:49
Name of source: Phys.org
(Phys.org)—By looking at someone's shoes, you can tell a lot about the person wearing them. That old adage certainly rings true when looking at children's shoes from ancient Rome. Just ask Elizabeth Greene, a Classics professor, who, at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America this month, presented research showing children of Roman military families wore footwear that reflected their social status.
"For a really long time, until the 1990s, really, no one thought about or studied families in the Roman army because soldiers weren't legally allowed to marry," Greene said.
"It was a bastion of masculinity – this masculine, male-dominated environment and no one placed women and children there. But when you look at the material and historical record, there's a lot of evidence of women and children there. One piece of evidence is these children's shoes, and we have shoes from the very beginning," she said....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 19:10
Name of source: PastHorizon
Detailed examination of samples of ancient DNA has revealed the genetic makeup of humans living circa 40,000 years ago in an area near what is now Beijing in China.
An international team of researchers including Svante Pääbo and Qiaomei Fu of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have sequenced nuclear and mitochondrial DNA extracted from the leg of an early modern human from Tianyuan Cave near Beijing.
Analyses of DNA recovered from the leg bones showed that the Tianyuan human shared a common origin with present-day Asians and Native Americans. In addition, the researchers found the proportion of Neanderthal and Denisovan-DNA in this early modern human is no higher than in current populations living in this region today....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 19:03
Name of source: Fox News
Archaeologists may have uncovered the skeleton of the lost English king Richard III. But if they have, what should be done with the remains?
That question is causing contention among Richard III enthusiasts, according to a new report in the Wall Street Journal. The University of Leicester, which is overseeing the excavation and analysis of the remains, has jurisdiction over the remains, but various societies dedicated to the king have their own opinions.
Two groups, the U.S.-based Richard III Foundation and the Society of Friends of Richard III based in York, England, argue that the remains should be reburied in York, because Richard III was fond of that city, the Journal reported. The Richard III Society, which has been involved with the archaeological dig in Leicester that uncovered the remains, is officially neutral — a stance which itself has triggered anger....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 13:44
The remains of Yugoslavia's last king — Peter II Karadjordjevic, who died in the U.S. in 1970 — were flown back to Serbia in a solemn ceremony on Tuesday, despite protests by some Serb royalists in America.
The former king fled the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia at the start of World War II and never returned because Communists took over at the end of the war. He died in exile at the age of 47 and was buried at a Serbian Orthodox Church monastery in Libertyville, Illinois — the only European monarch laid to rest on U.S. soil.
His son — Crown Prince Alexander, who lives in Belgrade — wanted the remains returned to Serbia. That reportedly upset some Serbian-American groups, who claimed the remains were being secretly exhumed and that before the king had died he asked to remain buried in the United States....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 13:43
Name of source: Discovery News
Italian researchers have unearthed a marble benchmark which was once used to measure the shape of Earth in the 19th century.
Called Benchmark B, the marker was found near the town of Frattocchie along one of the earliest Roman roads which links the Eternal City to the southern city of Brindisi.
Placed there by Father Angelo Secchi (1818-1878), a pioneer of astrophysics, the marker consisted of a small travertine slab with a metallic plate in the middle. The plate featured a hole at its center....
Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 13:38
Name of source: WSJ
Postwar Japan has, by and large, been insulated from the type of terror that has afflicted the U.S. and Europe. In recent history, the crisis that resulted in the largest number of Japanese casualties was the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on New York. On that day, 24 Japanese citizens died, including a number of bank employees working at World Trade Center offices.
Here’s a brief history of such incidents:
Sept. 28, 1977: Five members of Japanese Red Army hijack Japan Airlines plane in Indian airspace with 156 people aboard. All hostages released after Japanese prime minister accepts demands for $6 million and release of imprisoned comrades, illustrating Tokyo’s preference for negotiation.
Aug. 2, 1990: Baghdad starts detaining Japanese and Westerners to deter U.S.-led attacks after invasion of Kuwait. Former pro wrestler and member of Japan’s parliament Antonio Inoki helps negotiate release of all 41 Japanese “human shields” through talks with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein....
Tuesday, January 22, 2013 - 17:41