Conservation groups seek ban on new fracking around Chaco Canyon

More fracking threatens public health, historic treasures

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Historic ruins at Chaco Canyon, Colorado.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Oil and gas drilling in the vicinity of the treasured Chaco Culture National Historical Park poses an imminent risk to irreplaceable resources, conservation groups said as the moved to block the federal government from approving any more permits.

Continued drilling threatens public health, clean air and water, and Navajo communities in the region, the groups said as they called on a federal judge to issue an injunction on oil and gas development in the Greater Chaco region. Continue reading

Genetics suggest early link between Polynesia and South America

The Rapanui are famous for building giant stone platforms and statues. Credit: Photograph by Natalia Solar Usage Restrictions: Credit Required

The Rapanui are famous for building giant stone platforms and statues. Photograph by Natalia Solar.

Findings may require re-evaluation of how the Americas were colonized by humans

Staff Report

FRISCO — Thor Heyerdahl’s 1947 Kon-Tiki voyage showed that people could have sailed from South America to the South Pacific islands even without modern instrumentation, and now, a new genetic study shows that it might have been a two way street.

Genomic evidence suggests that people may have been traveling from Easter Island to the Americas long before European explorers arrived at the remote oceanic outpost, and that they had significant contact with Native American populations, as early as 1300 AD.

Along with establishing genetic links, the study suggests that historians and anthropologists might need to take a fresh look at some of their most basic ideas about how humans spread around the globe. Continue reading

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

Paleo-rivers may have supported trans-Sahara migration

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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

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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

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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

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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

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