Sudden cooling may have hastened decline of Eastern Roman empire
After a careful scrutiny of tree-ring records, scientists say they may have identified a link between a sudden shift in climate and geopolitical upheaval about 1,500 years ago.
The sudden drop in temperatures in the northern hemisphere followed a trio of large volcanic eruptions in the years 536, 540 and 547 AD, when sulphate aerosols emitted by the volcanoes may have cooled the atmosphere by blocking sunlight.
Within five years of the onset of what the scientists have dubbed the “Late Antique Little Ice Age,” he Justinian plague pandemic swept through the Mediterranean between 541 and 543 AD, striking Constantinople and killing millions of people in the following centuries. The authors suggest these events may have contributed to the decline of the eastern Roman Empire. Continue reading “Can climate change the course of history?”→
All factions in civil war involved in destroying world heritage treasures
It’s not just ISIS that’s looting and desecrating important historic cultural sites in Syria — all the factions involved in the devastating conflict have been involved in the destruction of archaeological treasures, according to Dartmouth scholars who used satellite images and other data to catalog the destruction.
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 “Early Spanish fort discovered in North Carolina”→
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 “Study confirms prehistoric cheese-making”→
Research project yields new clues to origins of megalithic circle
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A 10-year research project into the origins of Stonehenge has concluded that the famous array of stones was built as a monument to mark the growing unification of culture in Britain at the end of the Stone Age.
The stones may have symbolized the ancestors of different groups of earliest farming communities in Britain, with some stones coming from southern England and others from west Wales.
Previous theories have suggested the great stone circle was used as a prehistoric observatory, a sun temple, a place of healing, or a temple of the ancient druids. But research teams from the universities of Sheffield, Manchester, Southampton, Bournemouth and University College London — collectively called the Stonehenge Riverside Project — rejected those theories after studying not just the stones themselves, but also the wider social and economic context of the monument’s main stages of construction around 3,000 BC and 2,500 BC. Continue reading “The mystery of Stonehenge … solved?”→
Nation’s first commercial canal now a Superfund site
Story and photos by Garrett Palm
The Gowanus Canalwas a major shipping hub for most of its existence. Before the dredging was completed in 1869 the canal was a series of tidal inlets into the saltwater marshes of South Brooklyn. Sulfur producers, soap manufacturers, gas plants, paint manufacturers, tanneries, and the first chemical fertilizer manufacturers were some of the industries that used the canal. Continue reading “Morning photo: Explore the Brooklyn ‘backcountry’”→