Public release date: 10-Mar-2005
Contact: Samantha Martin
University of Liverpool
Fractured leg bone not the end of Tutankhamen mystery
Robert Connolly, Senior Lecturer in Physical Anthropology from the University's Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Biology, is working with the Egyptian authorities to analyse recent findings from a CT scan of the mummy and has been asked to comment on suggestions by scientists that Tutankhamen died as a result of an infection following an injury to the femur bone.
Mr Connolly has re-analysed the original X-rays of the leg taken by Professor Ronald Harrison in 1968 and has found no evidence, such as the involvement of soft tissue, to suggest that the fracture in the femur bone became infected.
Mr Connolly adds: "It's possible Tutankhamen's leg injury could have been sustained in an accident. There are remarkable similarities between his ribcage injuries and those of a British mummy - St Bees Man in Cumbria - who sustained fatal damage to his chest in a jousting accident. It is therefore highly possible that the King could have died as a result of a chariot or sporting accident, or even at war.
"Another possibility is that the leg bone was broken during the 1925 autopsy, during which the mummy was sawn in half, just below the rib cage, for no apparent medical or scientific reason. It is possible that damage to both the leg bone and the ribs was done at the same time, in an attempt by scientists to find hidden gold in the cavities of the body."
The original X-rays also revealed fragments of bone in the skull, which led many to believe the King could have been murdered by a blow to the head. Mr Connolly, however, found that the bone had been dislodged from the top of the neck and not the skull as previously thought.
He continues: "It is possible that the vertebrae could have been broken when Egyptian priests removed the brain. We believe there was a substantial delay between death and mummification, during which time the brain would have liquefied. The priests have almost certainly drained the brain through the base of the skull rather than removing it in the traditional way via the nose.
"However, the bone was not caught in the resin that the priests used to preserve the body, suggesting that the bone was not broken during mummification. It is more likely that it was dislodged in the 1925 autopsy, as scientists searched for possible treasures hidden inside the skull."
Mr Connolly has also conducted an analysis of Lindow Man - the body found in a peat bog in Lindow Marsh, Cheshire, in 1984, which is now on display at the British Museum.
Notes to editors
1. Please contact Samantha Martin on the number below if you would like to interview Robert Connolly and film the original 1968 X-rays, held at the University of Liverpool.
2. The University of Liverpool is one of the UK's leading research institutions with a prodigious spread of expertise - from the humanities and social sciences to engineering, science, veterinary science and medicine. It attracts collaborative and contract research commissions from a wide range of national and international organisations - commissions valued at more than £80 million annually.
No Sign Tutankhamun Murdered But Mystery Unsolved
Tue Mar 8, 2005 12:20 PM GMT
By Amena Bakr
CAIRO (Reuters) - A three-dimensional X-ray scan of Tutankhamun's mummy found no evidence to support theories he was murdered but failed to solve the 3,000-year-old mystery of how the young Egyptian pharaoh died.
Some members of the investigative team say he may have died from an infected thigh wound, but others doubt this, saying that injury may have been inflicted later by archaeologists, according to the team's five-page report released on Tuesday.
Either way, the team's chairman says the case should now be closed and the tomb of the king who died in 1352 BC, aged about 19, should not be disturbed again.
Some historians have speculated the ruler was murdered, based on his young age and the turbulent political and religious circumstances during that period of Egyptian history.
"We don't know how the king died, but we are now sure that it was not murder. Maybe he died on his own," said Zahi Hawas, chairman of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities.
"The case is closed. We should not disturb the king any more," he told Reuters after the report came out.
"There is no evidence that the young king was murdered," said a press release attached to the report.
The report said some but not all of the eight team members suggested he may have died after a serious accident in which he broke his thigh, leaving an open wound which became infected.
"Although the break itself would not have been life-threatening, infection might have set in," the report said, citing those members of the team. The others disagreed.
Tutankhamun came to the throne shortly after the death of Akhenaten, the maverick pharaoh who abandoned most of Egypt's old gods and tried to imposed a monotheistic religion based on worship of the Aten, the disc of the sun.
During Tutankhamun's reign, which lasted about 10 years, advocates of the old religion were regaining control of the country, turning their back on Akhenaten's innovations.
The report said the CT scan performed in January found no evidence of a blow to the back of Tutankhamun's head and no other evidence of foul play.
They found that Tutankhamun had a bent spine and an elongated skull but they ruled out pathological causes. They believe the shape of the skull to be a normal variation and the spine resulted from the way the embalmers positioned the body.
"Judging from his bones, the king was generally in good health ... There are no signs of malnutrition or infectious disease during childhood," the report added.
Addressing the murder theory, the report noted that the king had two bone fragments loose in his skull. But it adds: "These cannot possibly have come from an injury from before death, as they would have become stuck in the embalming material."
The team believes the fragments were broken during the embalming process or by the team led by British archaeologist Howard Carter, who discovered Tutankhamun's intact tomb in the Valley of the Kings in southern Egypt in 1922.
Advocates of the broken thigh theory noted that there was embalming material inside the thigh wound and no obvious evidence that the wound healed, suggesting the fracture took place only days before death.
But other members of the team said the fracture was the work of Carter's team when they removed the mummy from the coffin. "They argue that if such a fracture had been suffered in life, there would have been evidence for hemorrhage or hematoma present in the CT scan. They believe the embalming liquid was pushed into the fracture by Carter's team," the report said.
The team thinks it has found Tutankhamun's penis, which was present in the 1920s but had gone missing by the time of an examination in 1968. "Although they cannot be certain, the team believes that they have located (it) ... loose in the sand around the king's body," the report said.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.
All domestic pigs in Europe are descended from European wild boar
Pigs were domesticated independently at least seven times around the globe, a new study has found.
The discovery was made by linking the DNA of tame porkers with their wild relatives, Science magazine reports.
Researchers found farmed pigs in several locations were closely related to wild boar in the same region, suggesting local domestication.
This challenges the notion that boar were tamed just twice before being transported throughout the world.
"Many archaeologists have assumed the pig was domesticated in no more than two areas of the world, the Near East and the Far East, but our findings turn this theory on its head," said Keith Dobney, of the University of Durham, UK.
"Our study shows that domestication also occurred independently in Central Europe, Italy, Northern India, South East Asia and maybe even Island South East Asia."
Archaeological evidence suggests the pig was first domesticated 9,000 years ago in Eastern Turkey. They were also domesticated in China at around the same time.
This forces the question about the origins of domestication across all animals
Greger Larson, Oxford University
Until now, archaeologists generally assumed that after their initial domestication in these two locations, tame pigs were transported - through trade and human migration - around the world.
In many ways, this is the simplest explanation: as farming methods spread during the Neolithic Age, new innovations and domestic animals were thought to have been passed through the human population.
But it seems the truth is a little more far fetched. Instead of importing tame pigs, people from several different countries domesticated the animals themselves.
"There is definitely something a bit weird about it," said co-author Greger Larson, of Oxford University, UK. "Maybe people really didn't bring pigs with them during the agricultural sweep as part of the Neolithic.
"Maybe instead of bringing pigs with them they were domesticating wild boar only."
However, because the researchers have not been able to date the recently discovered centres of domestication, it is unclear whether the idea of taming pigs was had independently, or whether it was transferred between communities.
The team found that all domestic pigs in Europe are descended from European wild boar - and not Near Eastern boar - which means farmers travelling west from Turkey were not bringing significant numbers of pigs with them.
But that does not mean they did not bring the good idea of pig domestication with them.
Nonetheless, it raises questions about the process of animal domestication, and the spread of agricultural ideas.
"Domestication probably isn't just one guy having an ingenious idea and looking at a wild boar and saying, 'I can get a domestic pig out of that'," Dr Larson said. "It could be that domestication is almost a natural consequence of people settling down to farm.
"These findings are forcing the question about the origins of domestication across all animals."
Tuesday 8 March 2005 12:40
Maritime And Coastguard Agency (National)
DEVON DIVERS FIND 3,000 YEAR OLD BRONZE AGE ARTEFACTS ON SHIPWRECK SITE
A group of divers have discovered a submerged hoard of Bronze Age artefacts off Salcombe, Devon. The find includes swords and rapiers, palstave axe heads, an adze, a cauldron handle, and a gold bracelet.
The artefacts have been reported to English Heritage and declared to the Receiver of Wreck at the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, as it is believed that these relics come from an ancient shipwreck. The artefacts are currently being studied at the British Museum, which also holds the finds from the nearby 'Moor Sands' Bronze Age wreck site.
The South West Maritime Archaeology Group (SWMAG) had been diving under licence from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, on the shipwreck known as the Salcombe Cannon site last summer, (where they discovered a hoard of gold coins in 1995), when they found evidence of a far older wreck.
The new site falls within the protected area of the Salcombe Cannon shipwreck site, which is designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. This means that this area is already protected from unauthorised and illegal diving.
The finds from 'Moor Sands' and the new site belong to exactly the same phase of the Bronze Age, dating to around the 13th century BC, and archaeologists are wondering if they all came from the same vessel.
The find is dominated by the blades of swords and rapiers, but axes, tools and ornaments are also present. The swords are amongst the earliest found in north-west Europe. Some of the objects are of north French origin and are types which are rare in this country. The Bronze Age was a time of considerable trade in metals, right across Europe but it is exceptional to find material which has actually been caught in transit.
Sophia Exelby, the Receiver of Wreck said, "This is a very exciting find which shows the breadth of information which is available from shipwreck sites. We are now working to ensure that these unusual artefacts are given a good home, where their historical value can be appreciated by everyone."
Stuart Needham, Curator of European Bronze Age collections at the British Museum said: "The evidence from Salcombe and other rare sites, such as that at Langdon Bay, help us to build up a picture of object movements, the organisation of trade and the character of seafaring."
A spokesperson for the SWMAG said: "this exciting new discovery has really been a team effort and we are now working with the Receiver of Wreck and English Heritage to ensure that these important artefacts are put on permanent display to the public."
English Heritage and SWMAG are planning a research-led field season in 2005 in order to try to answer some of the questions about the site which this remarkable collection of artefacts has raised.
* It is a legal requirement that all recovered wreck is reported to the Receiver of Wreck. The Receiver of Wreck is responsible for the administration of that part of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995, which deals with wreck and salvage. If you find wreck you should contact the Receiver of Wreck on 02380 329 474 or via email at email@example.com.
* 56 historic wreck sites around the UK are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. These include Holland No.5, first British-built experimental submarine launched in 1902 and sunk in 1912, the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's famous flagship and HMS Colossus, one of Nelson's fleet wrecked in the Isles of Scilly carrying antiquities belonging to Lord Hamilton. Under the Act a licence is required to visit, survey, recover artefacts from, or excavate any of these sites. It is illegal to dive on a protected wreck site without a licence.
* Artefacts from wrecks which are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, must still be reported to the Receiver, even if they were recovered under licence.
* English Heritage manages all the historic wreck sites in English waters designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. English Heritage is the Government's advisor on all aspects of the historic environment in England.
* The South West Maritime Archaeology Group has been involved in underwater archaeology for the last 15 years, and has made a number of significant finds during this time. These include the Erme Estuary site, where tin ingots of as yet unknown date were discovered, the Salcombe Cannon site, which yielded the largest collection of 17th Century Moroccan gold coins in Europe together with numerous other artefacts including jewellery and personal effects, and most recently, Bronze Age artefacts in an area close to the Salcombe Cannon site. SWMAG includes divers from Devon, Northampton and Wolverhampton.
* Two of the other rare examples of Bronze Age wreck sites with cargoes from this period include the Langdon Bay Protected Wreck site in Kent and the Ulu Burun shipwreck discovered off the Turkish coast in the Eastern Mediterranean. These sites demonstrate trading and merchant sailing activity across Europe during this period, however, they also highlight how little is known about the nature of that trade, and about the people and places involved. Whilst the results of European trade, travel and communication, the metal objects and goods originating from other parts of Europe, are visible in the archaeological record of English Bronze Age burial and settlement sites, evidence of the trade itself, the traders and their lives is remarkably rare.
* The Langdon Bay Bronze Age finds from The British Museum are currently on display in the Bronze Age Boat Gallery of the Dover Museum alongside the Dover Bronze Age Boat, dated to c.1600BC.
Press releases and further information about the Agency is available on the Web at http://www.mcga.gov.uk
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Thursday March 10, 2005
The centuries-long tussle for prestige between England and Scotland may be about to end in victory for the clans, with new archaeological evidence suggesting that the first national leader of the British Isles was a Scot.
The remains of a mysterious figure found in an Iron Age chariot burial under the A1M motorway was of "exceptional significance" according to academics, who have also unearthed the leftovers of one of Britain's biggest feasts at his funeral site in Yorkshire.
Decorated with jewellery and finely wrought harness and chariot gear, the 2,400-year-old grave is thought to have been a rallying-point for Britain's tribes 500 years later when the Romans moved north. Some 300 young cattle from all over the country were brought to Ferrybridge to feed an assembly running into thousands not far from where a Little Chef now stands.
"We have much more to find out, but this is an excavation full of surprises," said Angela Boyle of Oxford Archaeology, whose specialists rescued the remains from the £245m upgrading of the junction between the A1M and the trans-Pennine M62. The slender man, who was in his 30s or 40s, 5ft 9in tall with excellent teeth, was initially thought to be a local warrior, and the cattle remains traces of a ceremony to mark his burial.
"But high strontium in his bones shows that he was not from Yorkshire, but almost certainly from the Scottish highlands," said Ms Boyle. "And the cattle remains date from the first century AD when the Romans were establishing themselves here.
"The evidence suggests that the site of the burial may have been venerated for all those years after his death - and then became a place for the tribes to rally and perhaps remember a great national leader of the past."
Other finds, including ceremonial sites and a drovers' road, have pointed to more centralised organisation than had previously been thought. Road excavations, encouraged by the Highways Agency, have been influential because of the age of routes such as the A1 Great North Road from London to Edinburgh.
David Jamieson, junior minister for roads, said: "The quality of the Iron Age remains found during this dig is quite outstanding and is attracting attention from around the world."
Ms Boyle said that the delicate iron wheels, jewellery and bones were in "an unparalleled state of preservation" and more discoveries could be expected.
Chariot burials are unique to the middle Iron Age (500-100BC) and only 19 others have been found in Britain - all of them in Yorkshire apart from one near Edinburgh. The only comparable feast was held near Northampton in the Bronze Age (2,500-750BC) where the discovery of mounds of pips pointed to a pudding course absent at Ferrybridge.
By Paul Stokes
An ancient British warrior leader found buried in his chariot beside the A1 in west Yorkshire probably originated from Scandinavia or the Scottish Highlands.
Experts have been unable to establish how the slim, 5ft 9in tall man met his death 2,400 years ago when he was 30 to 40 years old.
But the find has opened the possibility that the site at Ferrybridge may have been of great significance to ancient Britons, perhaps the venue for a mass rally. Unusually for the time, the man had good teeth and his skeletal remains showed no evidence of wounding or long-term illness.
He had been laid on the chariot, which was buried intact. Many of its metal fittings were well preserved when it was discovered during road improvements.
A brooch and horse harness were among bronze and iron objects also identified by analysts at the University of Bradford and the Highways Agency's specialist contractor, Oxford Archaeology. The finds were made during excavations in December 2003 for a £245 million scheme to upgrade the A1 motorway.
At first it was believed that a huge number of cattle found in a ditch around the burial site may have been the remains of a huge banquet to commemorate the man's funeral.
But tests have shown that the chariot burial took place at the beginning of the 4th century BC, while the cattle, which came from different regions, were deposited in the Roman period, the second century AD.
Angela Boyle, the head of burial archaeology at Oxford Archaeology, who led the site excavation, said: "It could be some massive affirmation of their identity at a location which had tremendous significance in their culture.
"This site at Ferrybridge would have been venerated for generations. It had been used for burials for thousands of years, there is a henge close by and there is evidence of some building, perhaps a shrine, close to the burial site.
"The burial mound of this warrior would have been visible for some distance and perhaps his life story was etched in the history of the people as a great leader.
"We know the Romans were not far away at this time, changing the only world these people would have known. It might have been a gathering of people at the grave of a revered leader from their history, calling for guidance or support in the face of the invasion.
"It might also have been a council of war, but we know there was little resistance in this area to the Roman colonisation."
Chariot burials were reserved for people of high status. Only 20 have previously been unearthed, with one in Edinburgh and the rest in east Yorkshire.
Strontium testing showed that the man originally came from either Scandinavia or the Highlands while the burials had previously been linked to the Paris tribe, who colonised the area from northern France.
Dr Janet Montgomery, a research fellow at Bradford University, said: "For some reason these people came together here in their thousands. Our tests show that these animals came from different herds raised in different places.
"These beasts were driven here and slaughtered for a great feast."
Ancient chariot burial in Yorkshire may have contained leader of national significance, say archaeologists
HE could have been an Iron Age warrior monarch, equal in legendary status to King Arthur.
Buried with full honours in Yorkshire, his final resting place became a shrine to the nation.
And the man whose remains and chariot were discovered while digging roadworks in West Yorkshire could have been so revered that thousands visited his grave 400 years after his death to stage a feast in his honour – and to show the invading Romans that they would never be cowed.
Archaeologists from Bradford who are now studying the astonishing find of a skeleton buried with an intact chariot believe his grave may have became a focus for national pride still remembered during the Roman colonisation.
Angela Boyle, who led the excavation, said it was astonishing.
"It flies in the face of all our theories. The preservation of all the elements was particularly excellent. It's hugely significant."
The Iron Age warrior, thought to have died while in his 30s, was buried in the fourth century BC wearing a red glass brooch and an intact chariot complete with iron wheels and harness.
But it was the ditch around the burial site that threw up the oddest find — the bones of more than 300 cattle from all over Britain, slaughtered all at the same time, more than 400 years later.
Isotope analysis of the bones at the University of Bradford showed they were not from one herd but from all over Britain, including the Scottish Highlands.
It is thought thousands of people travelled for hundreds of miles bringing their cattle with them for the feast, which was held after the Roman invasion.
Ms Boyle, of Oxford Archaeology, said: "We were very surprised when we obtained radiocarbon dates and found they were from the first century AD. There's also evidence of a wooden shrine nearby.
"At that time, there was increasing Romanisation in the area. This feast may have been a re-assertion of their rights of ownership and identity.
"We don't know if they remembered the person who was buried there, but there would have been a mound over the chariot, it would have been visible and its identity known."
She added: "The area around contains a lot of quite significant burial mounds so it would appear that that area was of huge significance for several thousand years."
Studies of strontium isotopes in the warrior's teeth threw up another surprise – he was not local to the area.
Levels of the isotope are deposited in teeth as they form through childhood depending on the amount of strontium in the earth, where food is grown.
The charioteer's strontium levels show he was from the Scottish Highlands or possibly Scandinavia.
He could have moved to Yorkshire after childhood, or he may have been brought after death to be buried at this sacred site.
He was granted every honour, being buried with a prestigious chariot with iron tyres and with a huge red glass brooch pinning his cloak.
But close examination of the chariot revealed a few corners may have been cut in his burial rites – the chariot appears to have been assembled from spare parts which didn't quite match.
And part of the harness wasn't made of more expensive iron, but instead from cheap clay, covered with copper to make it glint.
The find was made at Ferrybridge during roadworks to upgrade the A1. It is only the second intact chariot burial ever found, and the only one in West Yorkshire.
Nineteen others have been discovered in the UK, mostly in Wetwang, East Yorkshire, with one found in Newbridge, near Edinburgh.
The burial tradition was widely practised by the Arras culture in the Yorkshire Wolds, and may have originated in central Europe.
The dig, undertaken by specialist contractor Oxford Archaeology, and post-excavation analysis by the University of Bradford, was funded by the Highways Agency.
10 March 2005
GRAEME SMITH March 11 2005
IT is a bold claim, and will not be universally accepted, but it will generate publicity. Councillors in Angus yesterday decided to adopt the logo of "Scotland's birthplace".
Members of the SNP-controlled authority made the decision on the basis of a leading historian's opinion that the claim is perfectly valid.
Now the boast "Angus – Scotland's birthplace" will be used on road signs, a website, and on all the marketing material of the "Angus Ahead" campaign to encourage civic pride, and promote tourism and investment.
There had been considerable doubt expressed about using the "Scotland's birthplace" strapline in the Angus Ahead campaign and the matter has been under discussion for many months.
At a branding workshop 15 months ago, it came second in the voting to "Angus Naturally", but left "Inspirational Angus" trailing in its wake. Finally, backing from a panel of business, tourism, youth and community leaders, and the seal of approval from Professor Ted Cowan, of Glasgow University, persuaded the councillors.
Professor Cowan stated: "Arguably nowhere in the country can claim this appellation with total or convincing accuracy. Argyll is often credited with being the nation's 'heartland' or 'cradle'.
"Glen Trool in Galloway is dubbed as 'The Cradle of Scottish Independence' because it was the site of Robert Bruce's first victory over the English in 1307 in what was really more of a skirmish rather than a battle.
"Both Newstead, near Melrose, and Meigle claim to be the oldest places in Scotland, while others would argue for Fortingall or, with greater archaeological support, Skara Brae in Orkney.
"But of course none of these places were in Scotland proper when they first came into being, and so would not rate according to the argument . . . that if any place in Scotland can claim to be the kingdom's birthplace, it must be Forteviot or Scone."
Professor Cowan added: "As it happens, both of the last mentioned were in the province of Angus in Pictish times and in the ninth century both places were in the kingdom of Alba."
He goes on to give three primary reasons which he believes justifies the claim.
Firstly, Angus was the setting for a battle of tremendous significance which is said to have blocked Anglian/Northumbrian/English expansion to the north at a crucial historic moment.
Had they been victorious on that occasion, it is possible that Pictland would have become English and the later merging of the Picts and the Scots into the nascent kingdom of the Scots would never have taken place.
He said that perhaps Angus's main title to Scotland's birthplace derives from the historical fact that it was part of the heartland of the kingdom of the Picts.
In the mid-ninth century, Kenneth MacAlpin, king of Dalriada, moved eastwards into Pictland and established a new entity known as the kingdom of the Picts and the Scots, and most historians agree that the beginnings of the Scottish nation can be traced from this.
The third main claim to the title is that Scotland's birthplace derives from the Arbroath Declaration which, in the past 20 years, has become associated with Tartan Day.
On April 6, 1320, the declaration of Arbroath was signed and bore the seals of 38 Scottish Lords. Sent to the Pope, it urged him to set aside English claims on Scotland and proclaim the nation as its own country.
Professor Cowan said his report was intended to provide plausible arguments to justify a claim being used in a metaphorical, rather than strictly historical, sense.
He remained confident that the case for adopting it was quite convincing.
David Selfridge, convener of the infrastructure services committee, which approved the move, said: "The purpose of this is to promote Angus and although there is a lot of controversy, there is controversy over many other straplines.
"Perth and Kinross claims to be the 'heart of Scotland' which I am told is actually Callander, which has nothing at all to do with Perth and Kinross. There is no difference between Angus's attempt to get a punchy strapline and any other council in Scotland.
"Professor Cowan's report says 'go ahead'. I also understand Stirling is considering a similar claim and I am glad it has gone through so we make them think twice. We want to be first, that is the bottom line."
Europa Nostra throws weight behind Allianoi
Wednesday, March 9, 2005
The ancient Hellenistic city in Bergama is in danger of being submerged and lost forever to the waters of Yortanlı Dam
ANKARA- Turkish Daily News
The Pan-European Federation for Heritage, Europa Nostra, asked for Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül's help in saving the ancient city of Allianoi from being flooded by Yortanlı Dam, which is to begin operation in November.
Europa Nostra Executive President Otto von der Gablentz and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, the European Council and UNESCO wrote a letter to Gül and asked for help in rescuing Allianoi and its Roman baths. Gablentz said Gül should fight to save these ruins and that they should remain for future generations to see. The letter, dated March 1, 2005, also said it was unusual to see Roman thermal springs of such splendor outside areas of Roman habitation and that this Roman bath was historically important.
The flooding to be caused by the dam would constitute a great loss to Turkey's historical legacy and also deprive the country of tourism. If no solution is found, Allianoi will be submerged and lost forever under the waters of Yortanlı Dam.
Situated near Bergama at the Paşa Thermal Spa, Allianoi was founded during the Hellenic period and was transformed by Roman Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138). Dr. Ahmet Yaraş and his staff discovered the ancient city Allainoi during construction of the state waterworks dam in 1995.
What is Europa Nostra?
With headquarters in Holland, Europa Nostra is a non-profit, pan-European umbrella organization consisting of more than 200 NGOs involved in preserving heritage sites. It was created in 1963, later merging with the International Castles Institute in 1991.
The main aims of Europa Nostra are the protection and enhancement of the European architectural and natural heritage as well as the encouragement of high standards of architecture in town and country planning. Europa Nostra also oversees the bestowal of the European Nostra Award.
More research needed on Delhi Iron Pillar: experts:
[India News]: New Delhi, Mar 13 : The Delhi Iron Pillar, which has withstood corrosion for over 1,600 years, continues to attract the attention of archaeologists and scientists who want to undertake a systematic study to unfold the secret behind its strength.
A panel of scientists from across the country has recommended that the Government allow research on the pillar, a symbol of Indian metallurgical excellence, to ascertain its age, as well as for conservation of its underground part and the passive film that has preserved it through the ages.
"The Archaeological Survey of India has agreed to allow the use of well-established non-invasive techniques to ascertain as to when was the pillar built and its material aspects. But the efficacy of the techniques should be established by testing other ancient iron objects such as Iron Pillar at Dhar and Iron Beams at Konark," Director, Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Dr Baldev Raj, who was a member of the panel that made the recommendations, said.
The panel had gathered here to review the status of scientific research on the pillar and make recommendations to the Government to initiate systematic scientific studies to gain more information about it.
Earlier studies, beginning in 1961, have thrown some light on the composition and the microstructure of the "rustless wonder", but difference versions exist on the scientific dating of the pillar, Professor R Balasubramaniam, a scientist at IIT Kanpur who has conducted extensive research on the pillar, said. PTI
Public release date: 9-Mar-2005
Contact: Dr. William (Bill) Patterson
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
Ancient Icelandic sagas may be full of treachery, death and destruction, but the real villain behind all the foment could well have been climate change. According to a Canadian scientist, there's a direct link between changes in regional temperatures and the thematic content of the sagas.
The research is based on newly reconstructed temperature records gained from ocean sediment cores collected off the coast of Vestfirdir, the northwest peninsula of Iceland by scientists from the University of Colorado. Analysis of mollusc shells within these cores has provided an astounding, almost weekly, record of temperature changes in the region.
"The difficult social periods in the sagas and other histories correspond to periods when cooler winters were coupled with what were some of the coldest summers of the last 2,000 years," says Dr. William Patterson, an associate professor of geology at the University of Saskatchewan who is leading the research linking seasonal climate change and Norse sagas.
The new temperature record was gleaned from microscopically thin layers cut from the mollusc's growth rings, each layer representing a few days in the animal's submarine life. The layers were powdered and the oxygen and carbon isotope values measured to create a record of environmental stresses, that were primarily due to temperature, on the Icelanders.
The results of the research, funded by NSERC and the U.S. National Science Foundation, show that in Iceland during what's known as the Little Ice Age from about 1350 A.D. to 1850 A.D., there was an increase in what is termed "seasonality," with cooler winters, colder summers and increased temperature variability. On the other hand, temperatures were highest at 80 B.C., 850 A.D. (during Viking settlement), and during the 1740s.
These changes had a profound impact on early Icelanders, and they continue to have an impact today. A one-degree drop in average summer temperatures can result in a 15-per cent drop in crop yields.
"The sensitivity of these people living in this marginal environment is readily apparent when you reconstruct the temperature variation," says Dr. Patterson. "Prior to this research we could speculate that temperature was a cause, but now we can say there's a good correlation between summer temperatures and the social situation."
Dr. Patterson says the Norse sagas provide numerous points for climatological analysis and comparison. One of the early sagas (Egils saga Skallagrímssonar) provides clues to the climate of Norway and Iceland from 850 to 1000 A.D. Other sagas such as Edda depict the Ragnarok, a pagan tale of the twilight of the ancient gods, that starts with the fimbulvinter (mighty winter) in which much is destroyed during a period of many years without summer, heroes and even families turn against and kill each other, and the world is ruined. Though Edda was written in the 1200s by Snorri Sturluson, it is thought to represent a previous cold period in northern Europe about 2,800 years ago. Other less stylized records from the Middle Ages and later are easier to interpret in terms of the climate-society connection, says Dr. Patterson.
The findings are part of a larger research project that will document changes in North Atlantic temperatures over the past 16,000 years. This type of information is critical for the validation of existing climate change models.
Contact: Dr. William (Bill) Patterson (306) 966-5691 (office); (306) 717 7177 (cell phone); or Bill.Patterson@usask.ca.
Dr. Patterson's research results will be presented as part of the 35th Annual International Arctic Workshop at the University of Alberta on Thursday, March 10, at 2:00 p.m. Quantitative reconstructions of near-shore environments over the last 2000 years in Vestfirdir, NW Iceland: evidence from high-resolution stable isotope analyses of molluscs will be presented by Kristin Dietrich, the M.Sc. student doing the micromilling analysis.
Get an overview of all the research being presented at the conference and schedule at https://arcticworkshop.onware.ca:443/prothos/onware.x/conf/000000982/index.p?!=public=11097957385686=1=27357566 (Note: Select abstracts from the top of the page to view the abstracts.)
MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ARCTIC RESEARCH CONFERENCE THIS WEEK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALBERTA
More than a hundred leading Arctic researchers from Canada, the United States and Europe will gather in Edmonton this week for one of North America's major northern research conferences.
The 35th Annual International Arctic Workshop is hosted by Dr. John England, the NSERC Northern Chair at the University of Alberta, the Canadian Circumpolar Institute (CCI), and the University of Alberta's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.
From its origins as an informal annual meeting at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Arctic Workshop has grown into an international meeting hosted by academic institutions worldwide.
"Canada has sovereignty over the largest area of tundra in the world, and has expansive northern marine coastlines and waters," says Dr. England. "So we are a major northern nation and the international community is interested in the scientific questions associated with that environment as well as the economic potential that it offers with its resources and potential transportation routes."
Wednesday, March 9, 5:00 p.m. to Saturday, March 12, 6:00 p.m.
Timms Centre for the Arts
University of Alberta
Conference press release and tip sheets: http://www.science.ualberta.ca/news.cfm?story=34307
Contact: Dr. John England (Cell phone during conference only) (780) 717-7495.
Office number (780) 492-5673 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Rose sank off Portsmouth in 1545 in front of Henry VIII
A campaign has been launched to find funding to build a permanent home for the Mary Rose.
The historic wreck is housed at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth, along with various Tudor artefacts.
Most of Henry VIII's flagship was raised from the Solent in 1982 after 437 years under the sea.
Mary Rose Trust says the existing museum needs to be replaced and has unveiled plans for a £20m development plan for the site.
It is hoped the project will be finished by 2011 - the 500th anniversary of the maiden voyage of the Mary Rose.
The trust is hoping to receive substantial funding from the national lottery but will also need to raise more than £1m from local businesses through its "Because She's Ours" campaign.
John Lippiett , the trust's chief executive, said: "Nowhere else in the country is better placed to tell this amazing story.
"She is a Portsmouth ship and we hope that the people and businesses of Portsmouth and the South East will really support the appeal - 'Because She's Ours'."
Since 1982 more than six and a half million people have visited the museum.