Rare Green Galaxies Provide Insight to Ancient Universe

Rare Green Galaxies Provide Insight to Ancient Universe

green galaxy

UCLA astronomers recently discovered that most, if not all early galaxies had a green hue due to their intense heat and special chemistry. “The discovery that young galaxies are so unexpectedly bright [with green light] … will dramatically change and improve the way that we study galaxy formation throughout the history of the universe,” said UCLA physics Professor Matthew Malkan in a statement.

Galaxies normally glow white, with slight variations in color. Galaxies with a lot of hydrogen gas, which signal young galaxies and star formation, can look slightly pink, for instance. Others with red stars can have red, orange or yellow tints.

Green galaxies are much more rare, because they require very specific conditions.

Condition 1:

A supernovae to spawn oxygen formation.

Condition 2:

Stars that burn at around 50,000 degrees Kelvin, approaching temperatures of the hottest known stars in the universe. The hot stars can then ionize the oxygen clouds two times to create a green-glowing O++ “doubly-ionized” cloud in the green light spectrum.

Usually, those stars only exist in very small “dwarf galaxies,” with one of the most common types being “green pea galaxies.”

Malkan and his team pored through the Subaru Deep Field, created by the 8.2 meter (27-foot) Subaru Telescope in Hawaii, and found that all the small galaxies were “surprisingly strong emitters” of green light. Furthermore, the early universe (under 2 billion years old and 70 times more dense than today) is made up mostly from such dwarf galaxies.

What is great is that future spacecraft like the James Webb Space Telescope (launching in 2018), and the WFIRST are equipped with O++ spectrum detectors. The aim is to spot very young galaxies forming their first stars and supernovae, and according to Malkan’s research, they’ll have plenty of targets to check. Malkan stated,”Detecting and studying the intense green glow from the youngest galaxies now looks like our best opportunity for learning how the first galaxies evolved.”

Photo source and reference: Engadget

Ancient Tale of Sun’s Behavior Revealed By Tree Rings

tree ring

What we now know is that the sun has been in the same routine for at least 290 million years, according to research.

On January 9th 2017, it was proposed that Ancient tree rings from the Permian period record a roughly 11-year cycle of wet and dry periods, climate fluctuations caused by the ebbing and flowing of solar activity, in Geology. The discovery would push back the earliest evidence of today’s 11-year solar cycle by tens of millions of years.

YES, TENS OF MILLIONS OF YEARS.

“The sun has apparently been doing what it’s been doing today for a long time,” Nat Gopalswamy, a solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., who was not involved in the study said in Science News.

The sun’s brightness and the frequency of sunspots and solar flares completes one round of waxing and waning every 11 years. These solar changes alter the intensity of sunlight reaching Earth and, some scientists hypothesize, may affect the composition of the stratosphere and rates of cloud formation. Those effects could alter rainfall rates, which in turn influence tree growth.

That is how ancient trees may hold clues to similar cycles from long ago.

In what is now southeast Germany, volcanic eruptions buried an ancient forest under debris roughly 290 million years ago. Paleontologists Ludwig Luthardt and Ronny Rößler of the Natural History Museum in Chemnitz, Germany, identified tree rings in the fossilized remains of the trees.

By measuring the widths of the rings, it showed how much the plants grew each year, so the researchers could discover a cycle in growth rates. The cycle lasted on average 10.62 years. This cycle reflects years-long rises and falls in annual rainfall rates caused by the solar cycle. The cycle’s average length falls within the 10.44-year to 11.16-year length of the sunspot cycle seen over the last few hundred years according to the research.

Are solar and tree ring cycles connected?

While this isn’t certain according to paleoclimatologist Adam Csank of the University of Nevada, Reno, the research can still continue.

Image source and reference: https://www.sciencenews.org/

WTF IS WT1190F?

wt1190f

A group of scientists in a plane caught sight of a mysterious piece of space junk right as it burned up in Earth’s atmosphere above the Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka in November of 2016.

NASA and other space agencies around the world monitor a large percentage of the millions of bits of space debris that orbit the planet, and researchers had been expecting the object — appropriately named WT1190F — to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere when it was first spotted in October.

The International Astronomical Center (IAC) and the United Arab Emirates Space Agency hosted a team of veteran U.S. and German observers of spacecraft reentries to study the reentry of the object, which was approximately 1 meter (about 3 feet) in size. The object burned up on reentry and was not a threat to anyone on Earth due to its low density and small size.

But months, they still aren’t sure what the object actually was. They do have some ideas. The leading theory is that it’s the second stage of a rocket — though they have no idea which rocket.

Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, told Scientific American that this could very likely be a lost piece of space history, returning to haunt us. According to the ESA, 8,500 objects larger than 10 cm orbit the Earth, along with 150,000 objects larger than 1 cm.

 

Image source and reference: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/wt1190f-safely-reenters-earth-s-atmosphere-provides-research-opportunity

 

Possible Life on Saturn’s Moon

enceladus

 

In the fall of 2016, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been exploring Saturn since 2004, got closer than ever to an extraterrestrial ocean on Enceladus, which is one of the planet’s 62 moons. During its daring dive into an icy plume erupting from the moon’s south pole, Cassini sampled the spray to figure out what’s lurking beneath the surface.

“Enceladus is not just an ocean world. It’s a world that might provide a habitable environment for life as we know it,” Cassini program scientist Curt Niebur said at that time.

But even if the ocean material is full of little lifeforms, Cassini or any of us won’t know it. The spacecraft wasn’t built to actually detect life. Its instruments don’t have the ability to parse out sure signs, like DNA, from the icy spray.

Instead, scientists are hoping to learn more about the pH balance and molecular composition of the water. NASA is still analyzing the data from that October flyby. In the best-case scenario, the spacecraft might be able to determine if the small moon’s ocean could be habitable.

Cassini’s mission will end when it runs out of fuel sometime this year, 2017. Until then, the probe will be making its final observations of many of Saturn’s moons.

But is possible for life on Saturn’s Moon?

With a diameter of just 310 miles Enceladus is nevertheless the sixth largest of Saturn’s more than 60 moons, orbiting at a distance of just two planet-widths. Cassini has shown that Enceladus is the source of huge geysers of neutral water-rich gas and ice grains erupting at a rate of 220-660 lbs per second. This makes Enceladus the second most active object, after Jupiter’s moon Io which ejects 2200 lbs per second of sulphur-rich material.

Gravity measurements have shown that there is at least a local and possibly a global ocean under Enceladus’ icy crust, and some of the emitted grains are rich in sodium salt, which indicates the presence of a salty ocean. Now we also discover that some are silicate-rich, and analysis shows that these may have been produced close to hydrothermal vents at temperatures above 194°F. This raises the interesting comparison with hydrothermal vents on Earth, which may have played a role in the origin of life on our planet.

For life as we know it to exist, four key ingredients are important: liquid water; the right chemistry involving the elements carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur; a source of heat; and enough time for life to develop. While we know these conditions exist on Earth, planetary research throughout the solar system shows that it may exist on other objects too, and the details from research pushes Enceladus towards the top of the list.

Image source and Reference: Discover Magazine

 

 

The 8,000-year-old Kazakhstan Puzzle

nasa image

The mysterious earthworks known as the Steppe Geoglyphs are thousands of years in the making. Scattered throughout remote parts of Kazakhstan and only visible from high above, their patterns vary in shapes — from giant rings to swastikas.

There are nearly 300 of these strange works, the oldest of which was constructed at least 8,000 years ago. And no one, including scores of scientists who have studied them, really knows why they’re there. The theory is that they came from an ancient settlement.

Dmitriy Dey, who first spotted them in 2007 on Google Earth — he was looking for ancient pyramids at the time — thinks they may have been built as “horizontal observatories to track the movements of the rising sun,” according to a New York Times interview last year.

The ancient relics are so puzzling that NASA has been working to unravel the mystery. From 430 miles above the Earth, the space agency captured some of the clearest images, which were released in late 2015.

Amateur archaeologist Dmitriy Dey first discovered the geoglyphs in 2007 using Google Earth. Since then, Dey has already discovered 260 forms of the land design, which look like strange versions of crop circles and coming in a variety of shapes.

Another formation, called Ushtogaysky Square, is 810,000 square feet—with each side as long as an aircraft carrier. To make the shape more complex, there is an X shape that runs through the middle of the square.

These formations, however, would seem normal when placed side by side the Turgai Swastika, which, as the name suggests, resembles the infamous swastika. Of course when one thinks of swastika, they think of Nazi Germany, however the swastika is a far more ancient and sacred Vedic Indian symbol that the Nazis repurposed.

All of these formations can be found at the northern region of Kazakhstan, which offered rich hunting grounds for nomadic Stone Age tribes.

Persis B. Clarkson, an archaeologist at the University of Winnipeg, said these geoglyphs are making him and his colleagues rethink what they know about human civilisation.

“The idea that foragers could amass the numbers of people necessary to undertake large-scale projects—like creating the Kazakhstan geoglyphs—has caused archaeologists to deeply rethink the nature and timing of sophisticated large-scale human organisation as one that predates settled and civilised societies,” Clarkson said, as quoted by Gizmodo

Image source and reference: http://www.independent.co.uk/

 

Newly Discovered Dead Sea Cave May Hold Archaeological Treasure

ten-commandments-dss

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls And Why Do They Matter?

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the world’s oldest known biblical manuscripts.   In 1947 scrolls and scroll fragments dating from 150 BC were discovered in a cave by local Bedouin teenagers. They were tending goats near the ancient settlement of Qumran.  One of the boys threw a rock into a hole in the cliff and heard the sound of pottery breaking. He and his friends gained access to the interior of the cave which housed many clay jars, containing leather and papyrus scrolls.

The collection was purchased by an antiquities dealer, who ended up selling them to various people and institutions.  Once it was realized the items were more than 2000 years old, word of the discovery began to travel fast. Bedouin treasure hunters and archaeologists unearthed tens of thousands of additional scroll fragments from 10 nearby caves.  Almost 900 scrolls have now been found.

They Matter Because They Contain Actual History

Many of the scrolls have since been translated and include fragments from every book of the Old Testament except for the book of Esther.  The consistency between the later versions of the Old Testament and these scrolls written a thousand years earlier is striking.  Some of the knowledge in the scrolls is validated by recently excavated archaeological sites and reinforces the belief that the Old Testament contains an actual history of events, and is not purely myth or metaphor.

For instance, the book of Isaiah talks about the Assyrian Palaces, not discovered until 1840.  Isaiah gives a number of historical facts relating to the Assyrians that remarkably confirm the accuracy of Isaiah.

Does that mean the rest of the Old Testament is also a history?  Could the stories of the creation of man, the garden of Eden, the great flood, the Nephilm and the Ark of the Covenant also be true?

digital-dead-sea-scrolls

Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls?

It is believed by most scholars that the scrolls were written by a group of Essene’s living in Qumran. However, new research suggests many of the Dead Sea Scrolls may have originated elsewhere and were written by multiple Jewish groups, some fleeing the circa-A.D. 70 Roman siege that destroyed the legendary Temple in Jerusalem. Could the scrolls could in fact be the lost treasure of the Temple of Jerusalem?  Perhaps.  Perhaps not.

New Discoveries

Since the discovery of the initial ten caves, twenty more caves have been found, most unexcavated. In fact they are at risk of being looted and robbed by treasure hunters.  It is possible that the newly found caves contain more scrolls, coins, treasure, and artifacts that are historically significant.

Archaeologist Dr. Aaron Judkins is heading to Qumran in December 2016 to excavate a new cave as part of a team approved by the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

He writes:

“The discovery of a new cave at Qumran holds promise of being a ancient repository that could contain treasures such as artifacts, coins, and scroll jars with scrolls. Only an excavation to discover what lies beneath the sands of time will enable us to solve this mystery. The Israeli authorities have granted us a permit to excavate at Qumran, the famous site of the community that produced the Dead Sea Scrolls. This is an extraordinary opportunity for me to work with lead archaeologist Dr. Randall Price & archaeologist Bruce Hall…This world renowned site is historically famous, and is where the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls (or DSS) were discovered in 1947 in Qumran. The dig has been given a narrow window from the end of December 2016 into the first weeks of January 2017.”

Judkins is known as the “Maverick Archaeologist”, a nickname he earned for his unconventional thinking and questing for historical truth. Most recently he worked on an expedition and documentary about Noah and the Ark. He has also spent time researching the elongated skulls of Peru and Bolivia, pursuing his passion of forbidden archaeology. He is currently raising funds to support his participation in the Dead Sea Cave project.  Judkins’ fundraising page contains numerous updates and videos about what has been found in the area, and what he hopes to accomplish.

It will be interesting to follow his journey and see what is buried beneath the sands of time. Click “learn more” below to watch his video about the Dead Sea Cave Project!

 

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Ancient Logbook Documenting Great Pyramid’s Construction Unveiled

papyri-on-display

Here, one of the papyri in the ancient logbook, which documented the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza.

A logbook that contains records detailing the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza has been put on public display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

The Great Pyramid of Giza was built in honor of the pharaoh Khufu (reign ca. 2551 B.C.-2528 B.C.) and is the largest of the three pyramids constructed on the Giza plateau in Egypt. Considered a “wonder of the world” by ancient writers, the Great Pyramid was 481 feet (146 meters) tall when it was first constructed. Today it stands 455 feet (138 meters) high.

The logbook was written in hieroglyphic letters on pieces of papyri. Its author was an inspector named Merer, who was “in charge of a team of about 200 men,” archaeologists Pierre Tallet and Gregory Marouard wrote in an article published in 2014 in the journal Near Eastern Archaeology. [In Photos: Inside Egypt’s Great Pyramids]

Tallet and Marouard are leaders of an archaeological team from France and Egypt that discovered the logbook at the Red Sea harbor of Wadi al-Jarfin 2013. It dates back about 4,500 years, making it the oldest papyrus document ever discovered in Egypt.

“Over a period of several months, [the logbook] reports — in [the] form of a timetable with two columns per day — many operations related to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza and the work at the limestone quarries on the opposite bank of the Nile,” Tallet and Marouard wrote.

Merer recorded the logs in the 27th year of Khufu’s reign. His records say that the Great Pyramid was near completion, with much of the remaining work focusing on the construction of the limestone casing that covered the outside of the pyramid, Tallet and Marouard wrote.

The limestone used in this casing, according to the logbook, was quarried at Tura near modern-day Cairo, and was brought to the pyramid site by boat along the Nile River and a system of canals. One boat trip between Tura and the pyramid site took four days to complete, the logbook notes.

The logbook also says that in Khufu’s 27th year, the construction of the Great Pyramid was being overseen by the vizier Ankhaf (also spelled Ankhhaf), the half- brother of Khufu. (A vizier was a high official in ancient Egypt who served the king.)

The papyri also reveal that one of the titles Ankhaf held was “chief for all the works of the king,” Tallet and Marouard wrote in the journal article.

Though the logbook said Ankhaf was in charge during the pharaoh’s 27th year, many scholars believe it’s possible that another person, possibly the vizier Hemiunu, was in charge of pyramid building during the earlier part of Khufu’s reign.

In the press release museum representatives did not specify how long the logbook will be on public display.

 

Source:  LiveScience.com    (07-2016)

Mystery of the Mummy from KV55: Dr. Zahi Hawass

Akhenaten

Akhenaten, Egypt’s first and only monotheistic Pharaoh, has intrigued Egyptologists for centuries. Has the Egyptian Mummy Project finally found his mummy?

The Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile across from the ancient city of Thebes, is famous as the final resting place of the pharaohs of the New Kingdom — Egypt’s “Golden Age.” There are 63 known tombs in the valley, of which 26 belonged to kings. Beginning with the great female pharaoh Hatshepsut, or perhaps her father Thutmose I, almost all of the rulers of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth dynasties built their tombs in this silent valley.

Only one king from this period, Amenhotep IV or Akhenaten, is known to have chosen a different burial site. Akhenaten rejected the worship of Amun, the principal state god of his forefathers, in favor of the sun disk, the Aten. He abandoned Thebes, then the religious capital of Egypt, and moved his government to a virgin site in Middle Egypt known today as El-Amarna; it was near this new capital city that he had his final resting place prepared.

Akhenaten’s tomb is similar in some ways to those built in the Valley of the Kings; it consists of a number of chambers and passages cut deep into the limestone cliffs of a remote valley. It is decorated, however, with unique scenes connected with the worship of the sun-god Aten, and with images of the royal family. Akhenaten’s beautiful wife, Queen Nefertiti, figures prominently in his tomb decorations, as in much of the art of the Amarna period. Although Akhenaten’s tomb at El-Amarna was never completely finished, there is little doubt that the king was buried there.

After Akhenaten’s death, Egypt returned to the worship of the old gods, and the name and image of Akhenaten were erased from his monuments in an effort to wipe out the memory of his ‘heretical’ reign.
In January 1907, the British archaeologist Edward Ayrton discovered another tomb in the Valley of the Kings. This tomb, KV55, is located just to the south of the tomb of Ramesses IX, very close to the famous tomb of Tutankhamun. KV55 is small, uninscribed and undecorated, but despite its simplicity it has great historical value, because it is also connected with the royal family of El-Amarna.

A flight of 21 stairs leads down to the entrance, which Ayrton found blocked with limestone. Although the blocking may have been opened and then resealed in ancient times, the excavators found that it was still stamped with the necropolis seal, a jackal atop nine bows representing the traditional enemies of Egypt. Beyond the entrance lay a corridor, partially filled with pieces of limestone, leading to a rectangular burial chamber containing a gilded and inlaid wooden coffin. Inside this coffin rested a badly decayed mummy, which had been reduced to little more than a skeleton. The lower three quarters of the coffin’s gilded mask had been ripped away and the cartouches (oval rings containing royal names) that once identified the owner were removed, leaving the remains inside both faceless and nameless. The identity of the mummy found in KV55 is one of Egyptology’s most enduring mysteries.

Museum1

The newly renovated Amarna room at the Egyptian museum in Cairo. (Photo by Mohamed Megahed)

The contents of KV55 offer some clues to who the mystery mummy might have been. Although the tomb had been badly damaged over the centuries by floods that periodically inundate the Valley of the Kings, many intriguing artifacts were found inside. Apart from the coffin containing the mysterious mummy, the most spectacular objects were panels from a gilded wooden shrine that had been built to protect the sarcophagus of Queen Tiye, the mother of Akhenaten. Originally, the shrine had borne the name and image of Akhenaten along with that of the queen, but these were erased in ancient times.

Other objects from KV55 included small clay sealings bearing the name of Tiye’s husband Amenhotep III, and Tutankhamun, who may have been her grandson. There were also vessels of stone, glass and pottery, along with a few pieces of jewelry, inscribed with the names of Tiye, Amenhotep III and one of Amenhotep III’s daughters, Princess Sitamun. Four ‘magical bricks’ made of mud were also found in the tomb, stamped with the name of Akhenaten himself. A beautiful set of calcite canopic jars made for Akhenaten’s secondary wife Kiya rested in a niche carved into the southern wall of the burial chamber.

queen-tiye

The Shrine of Queen Tiye. (Photo by Mohamed Megahed)

The cartouches on the coffin might once have held the key to the identity of the KV55 mummy. Even without them, however, many scholars have felt that the remaining inscriptions, which include titles and epithets, might reveal the identity of the coffin’s owner. The great linguist Sir Alan Gardiner argued that the titles showed that the coffin had been made for Akhenaten, and that no one else could have been buried in it. Other scholars, however, have noted that the inscriptions were altered at some point, and it has been suggested that the coffin’s occupant might not be its original owner. The French scholar Georges Daressy thought that it might originally have been made for Queen Tiye, and then altered for Smenkhkare, a mysterious successor of Akhenaten who ruled Egypt for only a short time. Another possibility is that it was made for Smenkhkare during a time when he and Akhenaten ruled together as pharaohs, and then altered when he took the throne as sole ruler.
The mystery of the coffin is made even deeper by the fact that part of it was stolen from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. While its lid is mostly intact, the wood of the lower part had decayed to the point that nothing was left except the gold foil and glass and stone inlay that had covered its surface. The foil and inlay were taken from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, and eventually resurfaced at the Museum of Egyptian Art in Munich, Germany. The foil and inlay were recently returned to Cairo, but there are still rumors that pieces of the gold foil from the coffin are still hidden away in storage, in museums outside of Egypt. I do not understand how any museum could purchase an artifact that they knew had been stolen from another!

Gardiner’s claim that the inscriptions on the coffin could only have referred to Akhenaten, together with the presence of the ‘heretic’ pharaoh’s name on other artifacts in KV55, convinced many scholars that this mysterious king had been brought to Thebes for reburial after his original tomb at El-Amarna was desecrated. The bones belong to a male, with a highly elongated skull. This trait is found in artistic representations of Akhenaten and his family, and can also be seen in the mummy of Tutankhamun, who may have been Akhenaten’s son. In addition, the KV55 mummy shares a blood type with the golden king; studies have indicated that the remains from the Amarna Cache belonged to an individual closely related to Tutankhamun. Taken together, the clues lead to the seemingly inevitable conclusion that the KV55 mummy is Akhenaten.
Most previous forensic studies have concluded that the skeleton belonged to a man who died in his early 20s, or at the latest about 35. Historical sources indicate that Akhenaten must have been well over 30 at his death. The majority of Egyptologists, therefore, are inclined to believe that the KV55 mummy is that of Smenkhkare, who may have been an older brother or even the father of Tutankhamun. The identification of the mummy as Smenkhkare, however, poses problems of its own. Little is known about this short-lived king..

Re-opening the Case
As part of the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ ongoing Egyptian Mummy Project, we decided to CT scan the KV55 skeleton in the hope of discovering new information that might shed light on the debate. Our forensic team has studied a number of mummies, and made many exciting discoveries. Our most recent work resulted in the identification of the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut.

Hawass

Dr. Hawass inspects the KV 55 mummy before its CT scan

When we brought the remains from KV 55 out, it was the first time that I had actually seen them. It was immediately clear to me that the skull and the other bones are in very bad condition. Dr. Hani Abdel Rahman operated the equipment, and our gifted radiologist Dr. Ashraf Selim worked with us to interpret the results.
Our CT scan put Akhenaten squarely back in the running for the identity of the mummy from KV55. Our team was able to determine that the mummy may have been older at death than anyone had previously thought. Dr. Selim noted that the spine showed, in addition to slight scoliosis, significant degenerative changes associated with age. He said that although it is difficult to determine the age of an individual from bones alone, he might put the mummy’s age as high as 60. The jury is still out, but it is certainly tempting to think that Akhenaten has finally been found.

Scan_Comparison

Scans of Tutankhamun’s mummy (left) and the bones from KV 55 seem to show similar elongated shape

Akhenaten, Nefertiti and the Amarna period have received a great deal of attention in recent years. One of the main reasons for this continued interest is that I have requested the loan to Egypt of the head of Nefertiti in the collection of the Egyptian Museum in Berlin. So far, the Berlin museum has not agreed to our request to bring the head to Egypt for three months as part of an exhibition to celebrate the opening in 2010 of the Akhenaten Museum in Minya. I do believe that Egypt’s people have the right to see this beautiful sculpture — a vital part of their heritage and identity — in person.

In the meantime, the wonderful artifacts in the newly renovated Amarna room at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo are reminders of the achievements of this period. The shrine of Queen Tiye and the lid of the coffin from KV55 adorn this gallery. A quartzite bust of Nefertiti, perhaps even more beautiful than the painted limestone bust in Berlin, also offers a glimpse of the splendor of the Amarna age. You can also see the gold foil and inlay from the bottom part of the KV55 coffin, mounted on a plexiglass base to show how they were arranged on the original coffin.

My friend Mark Linz, the head of the American University in Cairo Press, told me that he felt that the renovated Amarna room is amazing and unique, adding that he hopes that it will bring the glory of the Amarna period to life and tell people the story of Akhenaten, the first king to believe in a single god.
The Valley of the Kings still holds many mysteries. This coming year, we will begin DNA studies of the mummy from KV55, along with those of Tutankhamun and others, with hopes that DNA evidence will add even more to our understanding of this period.

We will also embark on the first archaeological expedition in the valley ever to be conducted by an all-Egyptian team. It seems unbelievable that up to this point, every excavation in the Valley of the Kings has been the work of foreign scholars. We are working right now to the north of the tomb of Merenptah, the son and successor of Ramesses II. I truly believe that the tomb of Ramesses VIII may be located in this area. It is possible that even as you read this article, you will hear the announcement of a major discovery in the valley.

There are still more royal tombs yet undiscovered. The tomb of Amenhotep I, for example, is unknown, although it may lie in the area of Deir el-Bahri. There are also many mummies that have never been identified: The remains of Nefertiti, Tutankhamun’s wife Ankhsenamun and many others may still await discovery or identification.
The sand and rocks of the Valley of the Kings hide treasure, both in the form of gold and in the form of information that can help us to reconstruct history. I hope that our new excavations will produce great stories, bringing the thrill of discovery and maybe even tales of the curse of the pharaohs, to the world. I am sure that the Valley of the Kings will reveal some of its mysteries to us — I can feel it, and I can see it in my mind’s eye. Do not laugh… I know that this is true!*

 

Credit: source – http://www.guardians.net/hawass/articles

Also see www.drhawass.com/wp/

Bronze Age Settlement 3000 Years Old (Part 2): ‘Must Farm, UK’ dig site give up more amazing artifacts!

must_box2Archaeologists said they were “thrilled” to find the well-preserved wooden box inside one of the roundhouses

A tiny wooden box with its contents still inside, an intact pot and animal bones are some of the first items unearthed inside a roundhouse at what has been dubbed “Britain’s Pompeii”.

The UK’s “best preserved Bronze Age dwellings”, found at a Cambridgeshire quarry, date from about 1,000-800 BC. They were preserved in silt after falling into a river during a fire. The “delicate task” to uncover the contents has just begun but the finds have been called “amazing artifacts”.

The two or three circular wooden houses uncovered by archaeologists were built on stilts, and formed part of a settlement partially destroyed by fire 3,000 years ago.

must_bones

A cluster of animal and fish bones could have been kitchen waste, archaeologists said

must_sieve

Using a specially-built wet sieving station the team can examine sediment from inside one of the houses and ensure that “even the tiniest vertebrate remains and glass beads” can be recovered

The site, at Must Farm quarry near Whittlesey, has been described as “unique” by David Gibson, from Cambridge Archaeological Unit, which is leading the excavation.

Most Bronze Age sites have no timber remaining, just post-holes – but here, the stilts, roof structure and walls have been unearthed.

must_house_diagram

The diagram shows a roundhouse before and after the fire

It is thought the roof fell in during the fire, covering the contents of the houses. Much would have been preserved as it sank into the Fenland silt. Only a small section of one of the house interiors is being examined as yet.

Bone ‘cluster’

One of the first items found was “a very small, delicate wooden box that is mostly complete”. Archaeologists said they were “thrilled” to discover such a well-preserved artifact. The contents appear to be inside still, but work to examine what those might be will not take place until later.

bucket

A wooden bowl or bucket base together with pottery have been found in the occupation deposit beneath the roof

An intact “fineware” pot and animal bones have also been found, all of which must be “meticulously” cleaned and documented. The “cluster” of fish and animal bones uncovered inside “could have been the kitchen waste of the time,” they said.

must_comp

Archaeologists began looking beneath the roof for the house’s contents (left) after documenting more than 1,000 timber pieces (right)

Although they are in the very early stages of examining the house interior, the quality and quantity of what has been uncovered so far has left archaeologists “very excited”. The site has the “potential for more uncommon household objects including tools, cutlery and even furniture,” they said.

The excavation is being jointly funded by Historic England and quarry owner Forterra. Pompeii, in ancient Rome, was hit by a volcanic eruption in AD 79. Tonnes of ash fell, preserving much of the city for thousands of years.

Bronze Age Europe and Britain

must_artifact

Gold cape discovered in Mold, north Wales – a supreme example of Bronze Age art

  • The Bronze Age in Britain lasted from between 2500 and 2000BC until the use of iron became common, between 800-650BC
  • It came after metalworkers discovered that adding tin to copper produced bronze, used for tools and weaponry which were much more hard-wearing
  • The Greek poems of Homer – though composed later – look back to a time when bronze weapons were used
  • Classic Bronze Age remains include sophisticated axes, precious gold objects, and round burial mounds or “barrows” of which many can still be seen in Britain*

 

Credit:  BBC News    (02-16)

Cambridge Archaeological Unit
UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE