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Archaeology: Tracking Buddha’s birthday

Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini

The archeological zone in the sacred garden at Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini.

New research in Nepal may help pinpoint origins of Buddhism

Staff Report

FRISCO — A well-known historical site in Nepal may gain even more significance after archeologists found evidence linking the site of the temple with the birth of Buddha in the sixth century B.C.

Most historical records link Buddhism’s origins with the fifth or sixth century B.C. But according to the researchers working at this site, their findings are the first to link the life of Buddha with a specific century.

The excavations were conducted at the sacred Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini, Nepal, a UNESCO World Heritage site long identified as the birthplace of the Buddha. As the archaeologists dug deeper, they found the remains of a previously unknown sixth-century B.C. timber structure under a series of brick temples. Laid out on the same design as those above it, the timber structure contains an open space in the center that links to the nativity story of the Buddha himself. Continue reading

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Paleo-rivers may have supported trans-Sahara migration


The bone-dry Sahara region of Africa may have once supported three major river systems. Image courtesy NASA/Blue Marble.

Study sheds new light on ancestral human movement patterns leading to colonization of the Mediterranean region

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Scientists have long speculated that humans migrated across the Sahara region of Africa to populate the Mediterranean region, but the exact movement corridor has remained a mystery.

A new study, led by researchers with the University of Hull, shows there may have been three ancient river systems that created a viable route about 100,000 years ago. Continue reading

Alpine settlement ocurred earlier than believed


Research in the southern French Alps show signs of human activity at higher elevations going back 8.000 years.

New study finds signs of human activity at high elevations going back 8,000 years

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The high Alps of Europe may have been settled quite a bit earlier than believed, according to new research by French and British archaeologists. The 14-year study in the Parc National des Écrins in the southern Alps is one of the most detailed archaeological investigations carried out at high altitudes.

The work included the excavation of a series of stone animal enclosures and human dwellings considered some of most complex high altitude Bronze Age structures found anywhere in the Alps. Continue reading

Study eyes pre-Viking settlement in North Atlantic


The Faroe Islands were settled by unknown peoples well before the Viking era of exploration in the North Atlantic.

‘We don’t yet know who these people were or where they came from … ‘

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — New archaeological research shows that the Faroe Islands, about halfway between Norway and Denmark in the North Atlantic, were colonized much earlier than previously believed — and not by the Vikings.

Based on traces of ashes and grains found in excavations, human colonization of the islands occurred in the 4th to 6th centuries AD, at least 300-500 years earlier than previously demonstrated and well before waves of Vikings started sailing widely in the region.

The study raises intriguing new questions about the dispersal of northern European peoples across the Atlantic. Continue reading

New study dates oldest known North American rock art


A CU-Boulder led study helped pinpoint the age of petroglyphs carved into these Nevada boulders. Photo courtesy CU-Boulder.

Meaning of Nevada petroglyphs remain a mystery

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Stone Age North American cave dwellers may have been preoccupied with finding food most of the time, but they still found the time to leave their mark by carving mysterious symbols into prominent boulders.

Now, a University of Colorado Boulder researcher believes he’s discovered the oldest known petroglyphs in the country.

The carvings on a boulder in western Nevada date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago, according to CU-Boulder researcher Larry Benson. Continue reading

Early Spanish fort discovered in North Carolina


At its peak, Spanish colonization stretched the length and breadth of the Americas.

Short-lived settlement offers clues to early colonial history

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — More than a generation before the English established the Jamestown colony in what is now Virginia, early Spanish explorers were roaming the southeastern U.S. and establishing forts as far north as the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.

University of Michigan archaeologists recently discovered the remains of the earliest European fort in the interior of the United States, providing new insight into the early colonial era. The site is located near Morganton in western North Carolina, nearly 300 miles from the Atlantic Coast. Continue reading

Colorado: BLM taking comments on a management plan for the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

After 2 years of stakeholder discussion, feds set to finalize rules for one of Colorado’s newest wilderness areas

Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area

Hiking the canyons of southwestern Colorado’s Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. Photo courtesy BLM.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Along with world-famous national parks and high alpine wilderness areas managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado also harbors some lesser-known, but equally spectacular lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management as National Conservation Lands.

The BLM is currently in the process of taking comments on a draft resource management plan for one of those areas — The 210,012-acre Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, which includes the 66,280-acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, designated in 2009. The plan will provide a framework to guide subsequent management decisions on approximately 210,000 acres administered by the BLM in Delta, Mesa and Montrose counties of western Colorado. Continue reading

Fossil find offers new clues to evolution of dogs


Analysis of  Siberian tooth suggests earlier domestication outside the Middle East

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — After analyzing the DNA from a fossilized dog tooth in southern Siberia, scientists say the tooth belonged to one of the oldest known ancestors of the modern dog, dating back about 33,000 years.

Scientists know that the domestication of dogs predates the beginning of the agricultural er about 10,000 years ago, and they’ve gradually come closer determining when dogs branched off from the wolves they’re descended from.

The new fossil find suggests a more ancient history of dogs outside the Middle East or East Asia, previously thought to be the centers where dogs originated. Continue reading

Morning photo: Some 2012 faves

Through the seasons

North Tenmile Creek trail, Frisco Colorado

Springtime in the Rockies.

FRISCO —With 2012 all but over, it’s time to cull the archives one more time, get rid of images that are just cluttering up the hard drive, and posting a few others that tell the story of Summit County. It’s not easy picking out the “best” images based on technical or artistic criteria, so I just picked some the images that evoked the strongest emotional response as I scrolled through the files

Many of the images in Summit Voice photo essays are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net. It’s a great way to support independent online journalism! Continue reading

U.S. Forest Service report outlines plan for better protection of Native American sacred sites

Tribes say more meaningful collaboration needed


A decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow snowmaking with reclaimed water at the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Area soured the agency’s relationship with Native Americans

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With more than 3,000 miles of contiguous border with American Indian and Alaska Native-owned lands, the U.S. Forest Service wants to work more closely with tribal governments in the protection, respectful interpretation and appropriate access to Indian sacred sites.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary John Vilsack this month released a new report recommending that the agency should take steps to strengthen the partnerships between the agency, tribal governments, and American Indian and Alaska Native communities to help preserve America’s rich native traditions.

According to the report, many tribes have historically managed their forests well and in ways the Forest Service hopes to emulate: “Tribal land management is a testament to the Tribal land ethic, an ethic rooted in traditions, stories, and cultures. Sacred sites … are important facets of that land ethic and a common bond between us,” the report states. The report and related documents are online at this Forest Service website. Continue reading


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