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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

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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

Study confirms prehistoric cheese-making

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Chunks of Swiss cheese. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Researchers analyze fatty acids extracted from pottery found in northern Europe

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Along with being a choice gourmet item for foodies, cheese has been a staple in many cultures around the world for centuries, as a transportable and digestible dairy product.

New research shows that cheese-making probably pre-dates previous estimates by quite a while. After analyzing fatty acids extracted from unglazed ceramic pottery, scientists say prehistoric people in northern Europe were making cheese as long as 7,000 years ago.

“Before this study, it was not clear that cattle were used for their milk in Northern Europe around 7,000 years ago,” said Mélanie Salque, a PhD student from the University of Bristol and one of the authors of the paper. “However, the presence of the sieves in the ceramic assemblage of the sites was thought to be a proof that milk and even cheese was produced at these sites<” Salque said. “Of course, these sieves could have been used for straining all sorts of things, such as curds from whey, meat from stock or honeycombs from honey. We decided to test the cheese-making hypothesis by analysing the lipids trapped into the ceramic fabric of the sieves,” she said. Continue reading

New find confirms location of Julius Caesar’s assassination

Spanish archaeologists pinpoint a memorial erected by Augustus Caesar

Spanish researchers find memorial at the Curia of Pompey erected by Augustus Caesar.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Rome has always been a nexus of history, art, culture and politics, and now, Spanish researchers they’ve confirmed the exact location where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death on the Ides of March in 44 BC.

A concrete structure of three meters wide and more than two meters high, placed by order of Augustus (adoptive son and successor of Julius Caesar) to condemn the assassination of his father, was  the key for the scientists.

“We always knew that Julius Caesar was killed in the Curia of Pompey on March 15th 44 BC because the classical texts pass on so, but so far no material evidence of this fact, so often depicted in historicist painting and cinema, had been recovered,” said Antonio Monterroso, CSIC researcher from the Institute of History of the Center for Humanities and Social Sciences. Continue reading

President Obama urged to use Antiquities Act to designate SW Colorado’s Chimney Rock as national monument

Chimney Rock, Colorado.

New study shows designation could significant economic benefits for the region

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite early bipartisan support, a bill to designate southwest Colorado’s Chimney Rock as a national monument appears to be stuck in pre-election political gridlock.

Chimney Rock, between Pagosa Springs and Durango, likely was an important settlement and spiritual site in the Chacoan culture.

With local community support for the designation, as well a new report showing the economic benefits of the designation, Democratic Colorado senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, along with Republican Representative Scott Tipton, are asking President Obama to make the designation under the Antiquities Act. Continue reading

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