Ads 468x60px

miercuri, 10 octombrie 2012

Return to Antikythera: Divers revisit wreck where ancient computer found

In 1900, Greek sponge divers stumbled across "a pile of dead, naked women" on the seabed near the tiny island of Antikythera. It turned out the figures were not corpses but bronze and marble statues, part of a cargo of stolen Greek treasure that was lost when the Roman ship carrying them sank two thousand years ago on the island's treacherous rocks.

It was the first marine wreck to be studied by archaeologists, and yielded the greatest haul of ancient treasure that had ever been found. Yet the salvage project – carried out in treacherous conditions with desperately crude equipment – was never completed. So this month, armed with the latest diving technology, scientists are going back.

The Unsolved Mystery of the Tunnels at Baiae

There is nothing remotely Elysian about the Phlegræan Fields, which lie on the north shore of the Bay of Naples; nothing sylvan, nothing green. The Fields are part of the caldera of a volcano that is the twin of Mount Vesuvius, a few miles to the east, the destroyer of Pompeii. The volcano is still active–it last erupted in 1538, and once possessed a crater that measured eight miles across–but most of it is underwater now.  The portion that is still accessible on land consists of a barren, rubble-strewn plateau. Fire bursts from the rocks in places, and clouds of sulfurous gas snake out of vents leading up from deep underground.

The Fields, in short, are hellish, and it is no surprise that in Greek and Roman myth they were associated with all manner of strange tales. Most interesting, perhaps, is the legend of the Cumæan sibyl, who took her name from the nearby town of Cumæ, a Greek colony dating to about 500 B.C.– a time when the Etruscans still held sway much of central Italy and Rome was nothing but a city-state ruled over by a line of tyrannical kings.

La Bastida unearths 4,200-year-old fortification, unique in continental Europe

Similar characteristics have not been observed in other constructions of the Bronze Age, with three-metre thick walls, square towers originally measuring up to seven metres, a monumental entrance and an ogival arched postern gate; a fully conserved architectural element unique in Europe in that period.

The wall protected a city measuring 4 hectares located on top of a hill. With architectural elements reminiscent of people with Eastern styled military skills, its model is typical of ancient civilisations of the Mediterranean, such as the second city of Troy.

Archaeologists Explore Two Mysterious Caves Near the Dead Sea

Hidden within desert desolation near the Dead Sea region of Ein Gedi, Israel, are two caves that at least one archaeologist suggests may possibly contain what remains of the lost archive of the Jewish Second Temple. The famous temple became one of King Herod's greatest architectural achievements and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. at the time of the First Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire.

Led by Dr. Haim Cohen, a team plans to continue excavating a cave known as "Cave 27", a cave where Cohen had previously conducted excavations in 2003 under the auspices of Haifa University and again in 2006, as well as exploratory investigations of a sealed cave discovered by Cohen during a 2007 survey. 

First Ever Etruscan Pyramids Found in Italy

The first ever Etruscan pyramids have been located underneath a wine cellar in the city of Orvieto in central Italy, according to a team of U.S. and Italian archaeologists.

Carved into the rock of the tufa plateau --a sedimentary area that is a result of volcanic activity -- on which the city stands, the subterranean structures were largely filled. Only the top-most modern layer was visible.

"Within this upper section, which had been modified in modern times and was used as a wine cellar, we noticed a series of ancient stairs carved into the wall. They were clearly of Etruscan construction," David B. George of the Department of Classics at Saint Anselm, told Discovery News.

Sky Caves of Nepal

The skull, a human skull, was perched atop a crumbly boulder in the remote northern reaches of the Nepalese district of Mustang. Pete Athans, the leader of an interdisciplinary team of mountaineers and archaeologists, stepped into his harness and tied himself to a rope. He scrambled up the 20-foot boulder, belayed by another climber, Ted Hesser.

When he reached the skull, he pulled on blue latex gloves to prevent his DNA from contaminating the find, and gradually removed it from the rubble. Athans was almost certainly the first person to hold this skull in 1,500 years. Dirt spilled from the eye cavities. He placed it in a padded red bag and lowered it to three scientists waiting below: Mark Aldenderfer of the University of California, Merced; Jacqueline Eng of Western Michigan University; and Mohan Singh Lama of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology.

ESA satellites looking deeper into sea ice

This year, satellites saw the extent of Arctic sea ice hit a record low since measurements began in the 1970s. ESA's SMOS and CryoSat satellites are now taking a deeper look by measuring the volume of the sea-ice cover.

Measurements from ESA's Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission show that ice has thinned significantly in the seasonal ice zones, with extensive areas less than half a metre thick.

Sea ice has a large influence on the heat exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere. The heat flux can change depending on the sea-ice thickness and the air temperature. Sea ice is also affecting atmospheric circulation at mid-latitudes.

Subfinanţarea ştiinţei şi economia

Reducerea investiţiilor în cercetare şi dezvoltare, cu un procent de circa 8,4% de acum şi până în 2017, reducere care nu au ar fi trebuit să aibă loc vreodată, ar putea afecta zonele cheie ale ştiinţei. Nu e bine nici pentru ştiinţă, nici pentru economie.

Creşterea economiei este determinată de progresele în domeniul ştiinţei şi tehnologiei. Într-un moment când finanţarea federală a cercetării şi dezvoltării a scăzut deja cu 10 la sută în dolari reali din 2010, reducerile de cheltuieli făcute fără discernământ ar putea bloca în continuare studii esenţiale, cu impact potenţial asupra cercetării medicale, siguranţei alimentare, independenţei energetice, securităţii naţionale, precum şi eforturile de a lupta cu schimbările climatice. Există puţine aspecte ale vieţii moderne, care nu sunt atinse de ştiinţă, aşa că rolul federal în promovarea cercetării inovatoare în diverse domenii, nu trebuie să fie compromisă.