New Inca Road

Archaeologists discover previously unknown Inca road in Peru

Lima (Peru), July 13 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has discovered an Inca road in Peru, which was unknown until now and apparently held sacred, leading to the citadel of Machu Picchu.

According to a report in Today’s News, the discovery was made by archaeologists from the Peru National Culture Institute and technicians from Jaume I University in Castellon, Spain.

The Inca road is made of stone masonry approximately 1 meter (3 1/4 feet) wide, with sustaining walls along the way rising some 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 feet) high, according to a communique from the Project Ukhupacha.

Several stretches of the road have collapsed that began at what is now the Wuarqtambo archaeological premises.

They went up Machu Picchu mountain and then came down from the citadel.

According to Fernando Astete Victoria, the director of the Machu Picchu National Historical Sanctuary, there had been evidence of an Inca road to the citadel different from the one that was known, and so its discovery became one of the Ukhupacha Project’s goals.

A large part of Peruvian territory is united by different extensions of a great Inca road leading to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, built high on a ridge and declared a World Heritage Site in 1983.

The archaeologists involved in the project said that this road could have been held sacred, so it was only traveled by spiritual leaders who celebrated religious rites.

The team of experts will carry out another expedition to determine the route and length of the road, since it is apparent that several stretches have been destroyed on the western slope of Machu Picchu mountain. (ANI)

Reprinted from ANI News

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Oldest Musical Instrument

Monday, July 13, 2009

35 000 year old flute oldest instrument ever found

Prehistorian historian Nicholas Conard presents the bone flute from Hohle Fels to journalists in the southern German city of Tuebingen. Stone Age humans may have ripped raw meat from the bone with their teeth but they also played music, according to a study reporting the discovery of a 35,000-year-old flute, the oldest instrument known.

Reprint from YahooNews

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ICEMAN UPDATE

oetzi-01Oetzi’s last days (1/29/2009)
Tags:
humans, mummies, oetzi

Another chapter in a murder case over 5000 years old. New investigations by an LMU research team working together with a Bolzano colleague reconstructed the chronology of the injuries that Oetzi, the glacier man preserved as a frozen mummy, received in his last days. It turns out, for example, that he did in fact only survive the arrow wound in his back for a very short time – a few minutes to a number of hours, but no more – and also definitely received a blow to the back with a blunt object only shortly before his death. In contrast, the cut wound on his hand is some days older. “We are now able to make the first assertions as to the age and chronology of the injuries,” reports Professor Andreas Nerlich, who led the study. “It is now clear that Oetzi endured at least two injuring events in his last days, which may imply two separate attacks. Although the ice mummy has already been studied at great length, there are still new results to be gleaned. The crime surrounding Oetzi is as thrilling as ever!”

It is the oldest ice mummy ever found. Oetzi, the man from the Neolithic Age, is giving science critical information about life more than 5000 years ago, not least from his equipment. His copper axe, for example, reveals that metalworking was already much more advanced in that era than was previously assumed. Yet Oetzi’s body, too, gives us many details as to his diet, state of health – and not least to his murder.

“Some time ago, we detected a deep cut wound on Oetzi’s hand that he must have survived for at least a couple of days,” says Nerlich, head of the Institute of Pathology at Municipal Hospital Munich-Bogenhausen and member of the Medical Faculty of LMU. “Another team at about the same time found an arrow tip in Oetzi’s left armpit. The shaft of the arrow was missing, but there is an entry wound on the back.” It is probable, in that case, that the man died of internal bleeding because the arrow hit a main artery. What was unclear, however, was the age and exact chronology of the injuries.

Now, Nerlich has reconstructed the missing chronology while working together with LMU forensic scientist Dr. Oliver Peschel and Dr. Eduard Egarter-Vigl, head of the Institute for Pathology in Bolzano. According to the new information, Oetzi did in fact only survive the arrow wound for a very short period of time, of no more than a few hours. A few centimeters below the entry wound they detected an additional small discoloration of the skin, which was probably caused by a blow from a blunt object. In both cases, the researchers, using new immunohistochemical detection methods, managed to detect very briefly survived, yet unequivocally fatal bleeding.

Above the spine are more discolorations that are not associated with bleeding. They probably occurred after the man’s death, due to his interment, for example. “Oetzi had only shortly survived the arrow wound and the blow on the back,” Nerlich summarizes. “At least a couple of days before his death, however, he sustained a severe cut wound on his right hand. Over several days, then, Oetzi suffered at least two injuring events – which could point towards two separate attacks.”

Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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NEANDERTHAL DNA

Neanderthal DNA Shows They Rarely Interbred With Us Very Different Humans

Neanderthal DNA For the first time, scientists have sequenced the mitochondrial DNA of a Neanderthal. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, analyzed the genetic material from a 38,000-year-old leg bone found in Croatia and published their findings today in Cell.

The mitochondria are only passed down the female line, so can be used to trace the species back to an ancestral “Eve”, the mother of all Neanderthals. The team analysed the DNA of 13 genes from the Neanderthal mitochondria and found they were distinctly different to modern humans, suggesting Neanderthals never, or rarely, interbred with early humans. The genetic material shows that a Neanderthal “Eve” lived around 660,000 years ago, when the species last shared a common ancestor with humans [Guardian].

It’s difficult to know exactly when one species diverges into two—the sceintists estimated their date by comparing the Neanderthal DNA to that of modern humans, chimps, and bonobos. Starting with the commonly-held idea that chimps and humans diverged six to eight million years ago, and factoring in the rate of mitochondrial DNA evolution, the team dated Neanderthal separation from humans back 660,000 years.

According to John Hawks, a University of Wisconsin-Madison biologist not involved in the study, the work further dispels the idea that modern humans are closely related to Neanderthals. “Comparing the complete mitochondrial DNA genomes of a Neandertal and many recent humans presents a very different picture,” Hawks says. “Humans are all more similar to each other, than any human is to a Neandertal. And in fact the Neandertal sequence is three or more times as different, on average, from us as we are from each other” [Science News].

However, much remains to be learned about Neanderthal DNA: The mitochondrion – a structure often dubbed the cell’s powerhouse – contains a mere 16,565 DNA letters that code for 13 proteins, whereas the nucleus holds more than 3 billion letters that produce more than 20,000 proteins [New Scientist]. Still, study leader Richard Green says he hopes to be well on the way to a complete Neanderthal genome by year.

Reprinted from Discover
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GOBEKLI TEPE – TURKEY

Stone Age Temple May Be Birthplace of Civilization

Monday, November 17, 2008 | FoxNews.com
0_61_gobekli_monolith

One of the T-shaped monoliths in Gobekli Tepe, this one bearing a relief of a fox.

It’s more than twice as old as the Pyramids, or even the written word. When it was built, saber-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths still roamed, and the Ice Age had just ended.

The elaborate temple at Gobekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, is staggeringly ancient: 11,500 years old, from a time just before humans learned to farm grains and domesticate animals.

According to the German archaeologist in charge of excavations at the site, it might be the birthplace of agriculture, of organized religion — of civilization itself.

“This is the first human-built holy place,” Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute says in the November issue of Smithsonian magazine.

Schmidt and his colleagues say no evidence of permanent settlement has been found at the site, although there are remains of butchered animals and edible plants.

However, all of the bones are from wild animals, and all the vegetation from wild plants. That means the massive structure was built by a hunter-gatherer society, not a settled agricultural one.

Yet the three dozen T-shaped standing limestone monoliths arranged around the site are 10 feet high, weigh several tons each and bear detailed, stylized carvings of foxes, scorpions, lions, boars and birds. The builders may not have been farmers, but they weren’t primitive.

Massive amounts of manpower would have been needed to build the site, a logistical problem that may have spurred the builders to begin planting grain and herding wild sheep, Schmidt thinks.

Wild grain ancestral to modern wheat grows nearby, and the site itself is just outside the city of Sanliurfa, known as Edessa to the Crusaders — and which locals say is the Biblical city of Ur, birthplace of Abraham. The Euphrates flows eighty miles to the west, putting Gobekli Tepe smack in the middle of the Fertile Crescent.

“This shows sociocultural changes come first, agriculture comes later,” Stanford archaeologist Ian Hodder tells Smithsonian magazine. “You can make a good case this area is the real origin of complex Neolithic societies.”

Reprinted from Smithsonian Magazine
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