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Benvenuti in queste pagine dedicate a scienza ed arte. Amelia Carolina Sparavigna

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Longobard Necropolis near the Asti-Cuneo motorway

The largest Longobard necropolis in Italy, having 760 tombs -  and one of the most important in Europe because being of a specific century, the VII -  emerged at Sant'Albano Stura, during the works for the Asti-Cuneo motorway. A great discovery, because of the many tombs have funerary items. The necropolis was discovered in the spring 2009; just today the supervisor of Archaeological Studies, Egle Micheletto, gives the announcement, a few weeks after the conclusion of  excavations.
 http://torino.repubblica.it/cronaca/2011/07/25/news/una_necropoli_longobarda_negli_scavi_della_asti-cuneo-19567203/

Necropoli longobarda sulla Asti-Cuneo

"La più grande necropoli longobarda in Italia, ricca di 760 tombe, una tra le principali anche in Europa in quanto ascrivibile a un unico secolo, il VII, e’ emersa a Sant’Albano Stura, durante i lavori per l’autostrada Asti-Cuneo. Un ritrovamento eccezionale – anche perché più della metà delle sepolture è dotata di corredi funerari - venuto alla luce a partire dalla primavera 2009, ma di cui la soprintendente ai Beni archeologici Egle Micheletto dà notizia solo ora, a poche settimane dalla conclusione degli scavi"
http://torino.repubblica.it/cronaca/2011/07/25/news/una_necropoli_longobarda_negli_scavi_della_asti-cuneo-19567203/

The decreasing level of Toshka Lakes seen from space

The decreasing level of Toshka Lakes seen from space
by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Dipartimento di Fisica,
Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy
Abstract

Toshka Lakes are lakes recently formed in the Sahara Desert of Egypt, by the water of the Nile, conveyed from the Nasser Lake through a canal in the Toshka Depression. From space, astronauts noticed the growing of a first lake, the easternmost one, in 1998. Then additional lakes  grew in succession due west, the westernmost one between 2000 and 2001. In fact, sources of  precious information on Toshka Lakes are the pictures takes by the crews of space missions and  the satellite imagery. They show that, from 2006, the lakes started shrinking. A set of recent  images displays that the surface of the easternmost lake is strongly reduced.
More
http://arxiv.org/abs/1107.4430

The easternmost of the Toshka Lakes in 2005 (NASA imagery)

 
The same lake in 2011 (NASA imagery, March 31, 2011)


Superposition of the two images. Note the strong decreasing of the surface of the lake. 

Read the detailed discussion at Toshka Lakes  on this blog.


Friday, July 22, 2011

100 años de Machu Picchu

100 años de Machu Picchu a 100 km de indígenas aislados - ConNuestroPeru
"El 24 de julio se celebra el centenario del "descubrimiento" de Machu Picchu, la ciudadela inca en lo alto de los Andes peruanos, por el explorador y académico estadounidense Hiram Bingham. Pero al tiempo que Perú celebra el legado de los indígenas incas, también planea garantizar a las empresas de hidrocarburos el acceso a las tierras de los indígenas aislados en la reserva de Kugapakori-Nahua-Nanti, lo que supondría un riesgo extremo para sus vidas. "
More
100 años de Machu Picchu a 100 km de indígenas aislados

Un reactor que convierte la luz solar en combustible

"Investigadores estadounidenses y suizos han creado un pequeño reactor capaz de producir rápidamente combustible a partir de la luz solar, utilizando para ello agua, dióxido de carbono y óxido de cerio. El proceso es semejante al que utilizan las plantas para crecer y de él da cuenta la revista Science en su última edición. El prototipo ha sido desarrollado por un equipo formado por investigadores del Instituto de Tecnología de California (EE.UU) y de la Escuela Superior Eidgenössische Technische y el Instituto Paul Scherrer de Suiza. Opera captando los rayos del sol y concentrándolas en un cristal de cuarzo, proyectando el haz de luz sobre un óxido de metal conocido como óxido de cerio o cerio."
Desarrollan un reactor que convierte la luz solar en combustible

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shoemaker Impact Structure

"The Shoemaker (formerly Teague) Impact Structure—located in Western Australia in a drainage basin south of the Waldburg Range—presents an other-worldly appearance in this astronaut photograph. The Shoemaker impact site is approximately 30 kilometers (19 miles) in diameter and clearly defined by concentric ring structures formed in sedimentary rocks (brown to dark brown, image center). The rocks were deformed by the impact event approximately 1.63 billion years ago (as reported by the Earth Impact Database). Other age-dating analyses of granitic rocks at the core of the structure call this age into question (Pirajno et al. 2003)."
http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/EarthObservatory/Shoemaker_Impact_Structure.htm
"Beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s, astronauts have taken photographs of the Earth. Our database tracks the locations, supporting data, and digital images for these photographs. We process images coming down from the International Space Station on a daily basis and add them to the 1,101,059 views of the Earth already made accessible on our website."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The gospel according to Judas

The gospel of Jesus's favourite disciple, Judas, was on show before its return to Egypt where it was found 30 years ago. "The fragile codex -- made up of 13 papyrus leaves -- has been restored with a two-million-dollar fund from the National Geographic Society (NGS) and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery. Its most recent owners, the Basel-based Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art (MFAA), will now hand the codex over to the Coptic Museum in Old Cairo. The gospel, written in Coptic in the third or fourth century, is believed to be a translation of an original Greek text belonging to an early Christian sect sometime before AD180. The document offers new insights into the relation between Jesus and Judas, whose betrayal led to his capture and crucifixion. Unlike the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, in which Judas is portrayed as a reviled traitor, the new gospel depicts him as acting on a request by Jesus to hand him over to the Romans."

The first ever ancient Egyptian epigraphy

"Following the relocation of the artefacts, a team from Yale University, the University of Bologna and the Provinciale Hogeschool Limburg, Belgium, has completed the first epigraphic and digital record of a site near Nag El-Hamdulab on the west bank of the Nile, north of Aswan. The site was discovered nearly half a century ago by the famous Egyptian Egyptologist Labib Habachi. Minister of State for Antiquities Zahi Hawass said this new and thorough study has brought to light a previously unknown Early Dynastic cycle of royal images and an early hieroglyphic inscription. This work was carried out by the Aswan-Kom Ombo Archaeological Project (AKAP)..., lead by Maria Carmela Gatto and Antonio Curci, ... Now in its seventh season, the project aims to survey and rescue the archaeology of the region between Aswan and Kom Ombo, in the southern part of Upper Egypt. Gatto said that this group of images and the short inscription—carved around 3200 BCE, at the dawn of the dynastic period—record the earliest depiction of a royal Jubilee complete of all the elements known from later documents: an Egyptian ruler wearing a recognizable crown of Egypt; “the following of Horus”; and the royal court as known it is known to have been in Early Dynastic accounts such as the Palermo Stone."
The first ever ancient Egyptian epigraphy - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cocoons

"...a new finding of ancient wasp cocoons hidden inside the fossilized egg of a titanosaur sauropod.
The research, published July 15 in the journal Palaeontology, suggests the ancient wasps played an important role in certain food webs during the Age of Dinosaurs. The clutch of five eggs ... belonging to a titanosaur (among the largest creatures to ever walk the Earth), was discovered in 1989 in the Patagonia region of Argentina; only recently did scientists discover that one of the broken eggs contained tiny sausage-shaped structures. The size and shape of the structures, which are about an inch long and 0.3 inches wide (2-3 cm by 1 cm), most closely matched cocoons made by some species of modern wasp ...".
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/07/15/scitech/main20079883.shtml

Appelli del Santo Padre per la Somalia e il Corno d'Africa

«Con profonda preoccupazione seguo le notizie provenienti dalla regione del Corno d`Africa e in particolare dalla Somalia, colpita da una gravissima siccità e in seguito, in alcune zone, anche da forti piogge, che stanno causando una catastrofe umanitaria». Lo ha detto papa Benedetto XVI durante l'Angelus da Castel Gandolfo, ricordando le «innumerevoli persone stanno fuggendo da quella tremenda carestia in cerca di cibo e di aiuti».
«Auspico - ha poi detto facendo un appello - che cresca la mobilitazione internazionale per inviare tempestivamente soccorsi a questi nostri fratelli e sorelle già duramente provati, tra cui vi sono tanti bambini. Non manchi a queste popolazioni sofferenti - ha concluso Benedetto XVI - la nostra solidarietà e il concreto sostegno di tutte le persone di buona volontà».
http://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/notizie/2011-07-17/somalia-appello-papa-mobilitazione-143930.shtml?uuid=AaeT6toD
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/angelus/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_ang_20110717_it.html

Biofuel for flights


"Lufthansa, Europe's second-largest airline, became the first carrier in the world to offer regular scheduled flights running on biofuel, with four daily round trips between Hamburg and Frankfurt.
The airline will use a biofuel blend using 50 per cent so- called hydrotreated renewable jet fuel, Lufthansa said. The fuel is made from feedstocks including inedible plants and wood chips. Lufthansa will fly an Airbus A321 on the services." Read more
http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/lufthansa-begins-worlds-first-regular-biofuel-flights-20110718-1hks1.html

Harappa

An interesting problem concerning the development of  writing systems, is the following: where had they first appeared? Probably, writing systems developed independently in at least three places, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Harappa. In places where an agricultural civilization flourished, the passage from the use of symbols to a true writing system was early accomplished. It means that, at certain period in some densely populated area, signs and symbols were eventually used to create a writing system, the more complex society requiring an increase in recording and communication media.


The earliest signs of human activities in India go back to the Palaeolithic Age, roughly between 400,000 and 200,000 B.C. Stone objects and cave paintings from this period have been discovered in many parts of the South Asia. Evidence of domestication of animals, agriculture, permanent village settlements, and wheel-turned pottery, dating from the middle of the sixth millennium B.C., has been found in Sindh and Baluchistan, (both in Pakistan). One of the first great civilizations--with a writing system, urban centers, and a diversified social and economic system--appeared around 3,000 B.C. along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh.
The remains of two major cities - Mohenjo-daro and Harappa - reveal remarkable urban planning, systems of water supply and drainage. Excavations at these sites and later archaeological digs at about seventy other locations in India and Pakistan provide the knowledge of what is now generally known as the Harappan culture (2500-1600 B.C.).
The major cities contained a few large buildings including a citadel, a large bath, flat-roofed brick houses, fortified administrative or religious centers having meeting halls and granaries. Essentially a city culture, Harappa civilization flourished  because it was supported by a solid agricultural production and by the commerce, which included trade with Sumer inMesopotamia. The people made tools and weapons from copper and bronze but not iron. Cotton was woven and dyed for clothing. Wheat, rice, and several vegetables and fruits were cultivated. A number of animals, including the humped bull, were domesticated. The scholars consider the Harappan culture as conservative, because it seems that it remained relatively unchanged for centuries: for instance, when the villages were rebuilt after flooding, the new constructions closely followed the previous ones. Stability seems then  to have been one of the features of this civilization, but it is not yet clear who had the power, whether an aristocracy of priests or the community of traders.
Interesting artifacts of Harappa are steatite seals. These small, flat, squared objects with human or animal motifs provide a picture of the Harappan life. They also have inscriptions generally thought to be in the Harappan script, which has eluded the scholarly attempts at deciphering it. There is a large debate whether these signs represent numbers or are an alphabet. If there is an Harappan alphabet is proto-Dravidian or proto-Sanskrit?
A possible reasons for the decline of civilization of Harappa was the invasions from central and western Asia,  destroyers of Harappan cities. Other causes were several  recurrent floods, earthquakes, the increases of soil salinity and desertification.
Let me compare in  the following figures, a small terracotta elephant head from Harappa and a representation of Ganesha (Museo Arti Orientali, Torino), and a small statue form Mohenjo-Daro with a statue of Parvati.



For more references on the problem of Harappa writing system, see
“Icons and signs for the ancient Harappa”, http://cogprints.org/6179/

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Volcanoes under Antarctic waters

"Scientists from British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered previously unknown volcanoes in the ocean waters around the remote South Sandwich Islands. Using ship-borne sea-floor mapping technology during research cruises onboard the RRSJames Clark Ross, the scientists found 12 volcanoes beneath the sea surface — some up to 3km high. They found 5km diameter craters left by collapsing volcanoes and 7 active volcanoes visible above the sea as a chain of islands."
More http://www.antarctica.ac.uk/press/press_releases/press_release.php?id=1541

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Lady of Introd

Notizia ANSA
Trovato in Valle d'Aosta scheletro donna di 5.000 anni fa. Contemporanea di Oetzi, l'uomo del Similaun, ritrovato nel '91 l confine tra l'Italia e il Tirolo austriaco. E' ora chiamata la Signora di Introd, 16 luglio, 2011.
Found in Valle d'Aosta the skeleton of a woman, lived 5,000 years ago. She was contemporary of Oetzi the Iceman, discovered in '91 at the Italian border with Austria. She is called the "Lady of Introd", July 16, 2011.



"La Stampa" 
http://multimedia.lastampa.it/multimedia/in-italia/lstp/65668/

E' stata soprannominata la "Signora di Introd" e dopo 5000 anni la sua sepoltura è ancora perfetta. Lo scheletro di questa donna ancora misteriosa e ancora senza età, è stata ritrovato all’interno di una tomba ad Introd, paese alpino di poco più di 600 abitanti, non lontano da Aosta. Rannicchiata sul fianco destro e con il capo rivolto a nord ovest, non ha attorno nessun oggetto di corredo funebre. I resti della signora sono già stati trasferiti in laboratorio, dove nei prossimi giorni saranno oggetto di analisi approfondite per determinarne l'età, le abitudini alimentari e la causa di morte. L’Assessore all’Istruzione e Cultura Laurent Viérin esprime“grande soddisfazione per questo importante ritrovamento, unico nel suo genere, che testimonia la ricchezza e la qualità del patrimonio archeologico valdostano e della nostra storia.”

She is the "Lady of Introd" and 5000 years after the burial her skeleton is still perfect. This woman is a mystery and her age has yet to be determined. She was found in a tomb, at Introd, a mountain village with 600 inhabitants, not far from Aosta. Huddled on her right side and with the head facing west, no objects had accompanied her burial place. The remains of the woman have already been transferred in a laboratory, where, over the next few days, it will be determined the age, habits and cause of death. The Head of the Education and Culture Council, Laurent Vierin, told that there is a great satisfaction for this important and unique discovery, demonstrating the abundance and quality of the archaeological heritage of the Aosta Valley.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fotografías de Hiram Bingham en Machu Picchu

La National Geographic Society ha donado un histórico material que muestra a la ciudadela entre 1911 y 1915, perennizada para el mundo en el lente de explorador norteamericano.
Ministerio de cultura exhibe fotografías de Hiram Bingham en Machu Picchu
Source: ConNuestroPeru

santuario arqueológico de Pachacamac

"El Santuario Arqueológico Pachacamac fue declarado como Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación mediante Ley Nº 6634, promulgada el año 1929, y cuenta con plano de delimitación aprobado por Resolución Directoral Nacional N° 085/INC de fecha 19 de enero de 2007.
Las invasiones a los sitios arqueológicos son un delito contra el Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación y son sancionadas con pena de cárcel, de acuerdo a lo estipulado en el Título VIII del Código Penal. "
Ministerio de Cultura alerta sobre posible invasión a santuario arqueológico de Pachacamac
Source: ConNuestroPeru

Desert kites and stone circles

Stone structures in the Syrian Desert - by Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Dipartimento di Fisica,
Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy

Paper published on ARCHAEOGATE http://www.archaeogate.org/
Here I am reporting a part of my paper, with some figures. To read the complete article, visit the link

An arid land, known as the Syrian Desert, is covering a large part of the Middle East, extending from the northern Arabian Peninsula to the eastern Jordan, southern Syria, and western Iraq. In the past, this harsh environment characterized by huge lava fields, the "harraat" [1], was considered as a formidable barrier between Levant and Mesopotamia. This desert possesses two volcanic regions: one is the Jabal al-Druze in As-Suwayda Governorate, the other field is the Harrat Ash Shaam in South Syria, south-east of Damascus [2,3]. When we observe these huge harraat from space, using for instance the Google Maps, we discover that they are crossed by several stone structures, known as "desert kites", which were the Neolithic stone traps for the game. These structures were firstly observed by the pilots of the Royal Air Force in the 1920s, flying over the desert. The pilots named them "kites", because these lines reminded of kites used by children to play [4]. Beside the kites, many stone circles are visible too, as many Stonehenge sites dispersed in the desert landscape. Probably, this harsh environment was friendlier and then quite populated in ancient times.

We usually imagine our ancestors, before they settle down, as people simply hunting and gathering for food, but this is not true. The "desert kites" are the remains of an ancient hunting technique based on stone-walled traps, the construction of which surely involved several people for long times. The desert kites were used to push large herds of animals into some enclosures, or, in the worse case, to fall off from steep cliff edges [4]. The simplest structure of a desert kite has a triangular shape, consisting of two long, low walls built of stones and arranged in a V-shape, like a funnel, ending as a corral. Hunters pushed the game between the walls, trapping then the animals into the end of the structure. It is usually considered that the animals were there slaughtered "en masse" [4-7]. The fauna remains found in these sites are including gazelles, Arabian oryxes and other species that are now rare or driven to extinction in the Levant [4]. A research at the Mesopotamian site of Tell Kuran, found what seems to be a deposit from a mass kill. According to [6], it was the overuse of desert kites a possible cause of extinction of several species.


Fig.1. The wonderful structure of a “desert kite”(Jordan), as it can be observed with Google Maps.



Fig.2: A landscape with desert kites and other stone structures (Jordan). This is an image adapted from the Google Maps. The visibility of marked areas has been adjusted with image processing software.


Fig.3: Desert kites. The images have been adapted from the Google Maps. The visibility of the stone strctures has been adjusted with image processing software.

Typically, a desert kite possesses two, three or more small circular enclosures on the edge of its corral (in Fig.1 a wonderful structure as it can be observed with Google Maps, other examples in Fig.2 and 3). Some ancient rock art images show these hunting traps [8], depicting the role of the 'walls' of the kites. ...
....
As we discussed in the paper on Arabia [11], an interesting fact is necessary to note [8]. In the Khaybar area, Arabia, there are some remains of Neolithic villages very close to the hunting desert kites. Linking the "desert kites" with "human villages" could be a mistake, because wild animals are avoiding places where people live. Since the Khaybar area is full with ancient burial structures, sometimes placed inside the desert kites, a possible conclusion is that these burial mounds are more recent than the desert kites [8]. Because this conclusion is coming from the observation of satellite images, it seems that the satellites, and in particular the Google Maps, can help the archaeological researches providing a portrait of the human collective activities in the early stages of civilization.
Even the Syrian Desert is dispersed with circular stone structures and mounds, sometimes inside or near the desert kites (see Fig.2 for instance). On these earlier human settlements, news was announced last year that Robert Mason, archaeologist of the Royal Ontario Museum, discovered what we can define as a Syrian Stonehenge [12]. The site, near the Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi monastery, is composed by some tombs and stone circles. From the stone tools he found there, it's likely that the structure dates from the Middle East's Neolithic Period, roughly ranging from 8500 BC to 4300 BC. In Western Europe, the first structures built of stone date back approximately to 4500 BC. The Syrian site is then quite older than the European sites. Edward Banning of the University of Toronto says that more fieldwork is necessary because it is possible that the landscape that Robert Mason has identified could be an example, in the Neolithic period, of burial practices out of the settlement, that is, an off-site cemetery [12].
The report in [12] is continuing with a suggestion by Julian Siggers, of the Royal Ontario Museum. Remembering that agriculture spread from the Near East to Europe, he is proposing the possibility that the stone landscapes, that is the creation of stone circles, had travelled with agriculture. On the other hand, Banning is replying that stone structures are found throughout the world and that people in Western Europe could have developed the stone landscapes independently of the people in Middle East. According to Edward Banning, the site studied by Mason is not unique [12,13]. "Archaeologists have detected, via satellite photos, what appear to be cairns and stone circles in other areas, including the deserts of Jordan and Israel. However, he admits that most of these things have not received a lot of archaeological investigation."
....

References
1. In Arabic, the lava fields are the harraat, sing. harrah; before a name, harrat.
2. Jabal al-Druze Volcanic Field in Southern Syria – May 16th, 2010, http://www.eosnap.com/image-of-the-day/jabal-al-druze-volcanic-field-in-southern-syria-may-16th-2010/
3. Global Volcanic Program, Es-Safa, http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/volcano.cfm?vnum=0300-05-
4. Mysterious desert lines were animal traps, Larry O'Hanlon, Apr 20, 2010, http://news.discovery.com/history/desert-lines-hunting-tool-kites.html
5. Desert Kites, Ancient Hunting Technique Desert Kites, K. Kris Hirst, About.com Guide, http://archaeology.about.com/od/dathroughdeterms/qt/Desert-Kites.htm
6. Role of mass-kill hunting strategies in the extirpation of Persian gazelle (Gazella subgutturosa) in the northern Levant, Guy Bar-Oz, Melinda Zeder, Frank Hole, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Early Edition, May 3, 2011, vol. 108, no. 18, 7345-7350, doi:10.1073/pnas.1017647108,
7. Gazelles caught in ancient Syrian 'killing zones', Jonathan Amos, BBC News, 19 April 2011.
8. Khaybar Desert Kites, Vanja Janežic, alsahra.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/khaybar-desert-kites.pdf, see also http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=2146412866
9. The function of "Desert Kites" - Uniting or livestock husbandry? B. Rosen, A. Perevolotsky, Paléorient, Vol.24, Pag. 107-111, 1998.
10. The Desert "Kites" of the Badiyat Esh-Sham and North Arabia, A.V.G. Betts, S. Helms, Paléorient, Vol.13, Pag. 41-67, 1987.
11. Arabia: from craters to stone circles, Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Archaeogate, 19-11-2010, and also, http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.2111
12. Syria's Stonehenge: Neolithic stone circles, alignments and possible tombs discovered, Owen Jarus, Monday, 1 March 2010, The Independent, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/syrias-stonehenge-neolithic-stone-circles-alignments-and-possible-tombs-discovered-1914047.html
13. A web-site, 27 March 2011, http://www.stonepages.com, published the news of a 11,000-year-old settlement unearthed in Syria. A Syrian-French archaeological mission unearthed a small village in the archaeological site of Tel Qarasa in the west of Swaida province dating back to around 11,000 years. The search conducted at the site over the last two years allowed the archaeologists to discover a tiny village of 8 round houses whose inhabitants depended on fishing and growing cereal crops and wild fruits for their living. The Syrian-French mission said the excavations have revealed 522 archaeological sites in al-Lajat region from the ancient historical periods of the 7th millennium BCE, among which was Tel Qarasa.
14. More images at https://sites.google.com/site/syriandesertsatelliteimagery/
15. According to Wikipedia, desert kites and stone circles can be considered as Petroforms.

Fig. 4: A stone circle in Syrian Desert. The images have been adapted from the Google Maps.

Fig. 5: Other stone circles in Syrian Desert. The images have been adapted from the Acme Mapper.

Fig. 6: Stone landscape in Syrian Desert. The images have been adapted from the Google Maps. Note the “dots” that are surrounding the circular complexes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Abusir - from Pliny the Elder to Google Maps

Abusir: from Pliny the Elder to Google Maps
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna, Dipartimento di Fisica, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy

"Abusir, the House of Osiris, is the name given to an Egyptian necropolis of the Old Kingdom period. This site is a part of a huge area, from Giza to Dahshur, rich of archaeological remains and covered by many pyramids. The paper is reporting concisely some archaeological studies on Abusir. We start from the description given by Pliny the Elder and end proposing the use of Google Maps."

Read more


Map of Abusir
In the upper part of the figure, we see an image from Google Maps, obtained after a suitable image processing, showing the Abusir site. In the lower part, a map from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abusir, for comparison. 

An acoustic superlens from a few cans of cola

""Acoustic metamaterial" may sound exotic, but researchers in France have managed to assemble one from a few multipacks of cola cans. Arranged in a grid, the drinks cans act as a superlens for sound, focusing acoustic waves into much smaller regions than their metre-long wavelengths typically allow. The cans act as resonators, directing the volume of the sound to peak in a space just a few centimetres wide, and this heightened precision could improve acoustic-actuator systems."
How to make a superlens from a few cans of cola - physicsworld.com

Wearable Sensors for Remote Healthcare

Using Wearable Sensors for Remote Healthcare Monitoring System
A. P. Abidoye, N. A. Azeez, A. O Adesina, K. K Agbele, H. O. Nyongesa
KEYWORDS: Wireless Sensor Networks, Wireless Body Area Networks, ZigBee/IEEE 802.15.4, PDA, 3G, Medical Server
Recent technological advances in wireless communications and wireless sensor networks have enabled the design of low-cost, intelligent, tiny, and lightweight medical sensor nodes that can be strategically placed on human body, create a wireless body area network (WBAN) to monitor various physiological vital signs for a long period of time and providing real-time feedback to the user and medical staff. WBANs promise to revolutionize health monitoring. In this paper, medical sensors were used to collect physiological data from patients and transmit it to Intelligent Personal digital Assistant (IPDA) using ZigBee/IEEE802.15.4 standard and to medical server using 3G communications. We introduced priority scheduling and data compression into the system to increase transmission rate of physiological critical signals which improve the bandwidth utilization. It also extends the life time of hand-held personal server by reducing power consumption during transmission.

On the journal

Journal of Sensor Technology
ISSN Print: 2161-122X
ISSN Online: 2161-1238
Website: http://www.scirp.org/journal/jst

South Sudan, the newest country

"South Sudan, officially known as The Republic of South Sudan, is a country in East Africa. Its capital and largest city is Juba, located in the southern state of Central Equatoria. The landlocked country is bordered by Ethiopia to the east; Kenya to the southeast; Uganda to the south; the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the southwest; the Central African Republic to the west; and the Sudan to the north. South Sudan includes the vast swamp region of the Sudd formed by the White Nile, locally called the Bahr al Jabal."
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudan
Newest country and football team  too...
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/SPORT/football/07/14/football.sudan.nation.south/

Caligae

A massive statue believed to be that of  Emperor Caligula, sitting on a throne, coming from an illegal dig south of Rome, was unveiled. The statue, broken in several large pieces, was found last January when Finance Police stopped it from being smuggled out of the country. The  "tomb raiders" tried to sell this archaeological treasure on the black market. The statue has feet wearing "caligae": this is why the person shown by the statue is identified as the emperor Caligula. 


The Emperor Caligula. Statue in the Museo Nazionale, Naples.

Caligula's statue will come back home

"La statua dell’imperatore Caligola torna a Nemi. A recuperarla il comando provinciale della Guardia di Finanza di Roma, guidato dal generale Ignazio Gibilaro, nel corso di una più vasta operazione di tutela del patrimonio artistico nazionale. «E' stato recuperato un pezzo di straordinaria bellezza e rinvenuto un sito archeologico finora sconosciuto alla stessa sovrintendenza – ha spiegato Giuseppina Ghini, direttrice del Museo delle Navi dove sarà collocata la statua dopo il suo restauro - Abbiamo sottoposto la statua ad una prima ripulitura, presto inizieremo il restauro ma per ora si sta ancora studiando, analizzando»."
http://www.newnotizie.it/2011/07/13/ritrovata-la-statua-di-caligola-in-trono/
Emperor Caligula's statue is coming back home to Nemi. It was the provincial team of the Guardia di Finanza in Rome, led by General Ignacio Gibilaro, to retrieve it, during an police action to protect the national artistic heritage. According to Giuseppina Ghini, head of the Museum at Nemi,  this staue is a piece of extraordinary beauty, discovered in a previously unknown archaeological site. The statue, after restoration, will be soon bach home in the Museum of Nemi. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Earliest Roman basilica found outside Alexandria - Ahram Online

" At Al-Baron area in Semouha district, south of Alexandria, an Egyptian archaeological mission has discovered several significant monuments and artefacts that will help in the writing of the history of the area.

 During excavations, archaeologists uncovered the earliest Roman civil basilica yet found on top of a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to the three Alexandria deities (Isis, Serapis, Harpocrates) along with a collection of terracotta statues."
Earliest ever civil Roman basilica found outside Alexandria - Greco-Roman - Heritage - Ahram Online

Monday, July 11, 2011

DNA transistor

"Passivated nanopores withstand extreme voltages.
Solid-state nanopores are a core element of next-generation single molecule tools in the field of nanobiotechnology, most prominently in the area of DNA-sequencing technology. Researchers at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center have recently introduced a nanopore-based DNA sequencing platform, which they call a DNA transistor. Thin-film electrodes are integrated into the nanopore device for electrically interacting with translocating DNA. They have now shown that TiN electrodes inside a nanopore can be passivated and completely shielded against electrochemical deterioration even when extreme voltages are applied."

electrochemical impedance spectroscopy

"Functionalized electrochemical impedance spectroscopy device targets personalized medicine.
Rapid, sensitive, accurate, miniaturized and inexpensive biosensors are highly desirable for assisting clinical medical diagnosis. Researchers based at National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan, have developed such a portable bio-sensing platform to detect intermolecular interactions using nanogold-enhanced electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS)."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Objeto en llamas sobre Alemania

"Un objeto volador no identificado cayó en llamas sobre la ciudad de Berlín, Alemania. Una cámara captó el momento preciso en el que se observa al extraño objeto cayendo de manera lenta paro totalmente incendiada."

Vídeo: objeto en llamas cae sobre Alemania

Sandstorm on Phoenix

Phoenix Dusts Off After Giant Sandstorm Whips Through
More http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/07/us/07dust.html

See the video (courtesy: http://www.mikeolbinski.com/ and http://www.krazywake.com/)
Amazing video by two photographers - Mike Olbinski and Blaine Coury - in Arizona.
 A wall of dust is moving on Phoenix in Arizona. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A giant mirage on a Chinese river

'Lost Civilization' Appears Above Chinese River, Published June 27, 2011,  News Corp Australian Papers
"It looks like any other city skyline with skyscrapers, a few mountains and trees -- except it isn't real.
The giant mirage appeared across the skyline in East China earlier this month after heavy rainfall and humid conditions covered the Xin’an River. As mist settled over the river at dusk, tall buildings appeared to rise from nowhere, leading residents in nearby Huanshan City to speculate that the vision may be a "vortex" to a lost civilization."
Egyptology on line resourches
http://egypt.online-resourcen.de/

Royal scenes dated back to Dynasty Zero

The oldest depiction of an Egyptian King wearing the Upper Egyptian crown
“Dr. Maria Carmela Gatto (Director of Aswan-Kom Ombo Archarological Project) made a discovery at Nag el-Hamdulab site (North west of Aswan) of the oldest graffiti shows a King wearing the Upper Egypt headgear(crown) with a group of royal scenes dated back to dynasty zero.” Said Dr. Zahi Hawass. “The find shows many hieroglyphic graffiti and the first drawings shows a complete royal celebration looks exactly like what was known in the different Pharanoic eras, showing the Pharaoh wearing his white crown accompanied by Horus followers or the royal court.”Hawass added."
More on the Dinasty Zero (Naqada III) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naqada_III

More on the Dynasty Zero

"5,200 year-old rock drawings of earliest Ancient Egyptian celebrations unearthed, by Associated Press, Published: July 4 CAIRO — Egypt’s Antiquities Authority says archaeologists have unearthed a 5,200-year-old rock drawing depicting a royal festival during Ancient Egypt’s earliest dynasty. The ministry says the scenes were part of a series of rock drawings featuring hunting, fighting and celebrations along the banks of the Nile River."

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ice Age Art

L’arte più antica d’America trovata su un osso di mammut, LUGLIO 4, 2011. di Aezio
"I ricercatori dello Smithsonian Institution e dell’Università della Florida hanno confermato la veridicità di un misterioso manufatto scoperto in Florida nel 2006: un frammento osseo, di circa 13.000 anni fa, con incisa l’immagine di un mammut o un mastodonte. Questa incisione è l’esempio più antico e l’unico conosciuto di arte dell’era glaciale a raffigurare un Proboscidato nelle Americhe. La ricerca del team è stato pubblicata sul Journal of Archaeological Science
."

" Scientists Reveal a First in Ice Age Art. June 22, 2011. Researchers from the Smithsonian Institution and the University of Florida have announced the discovery of a bone fragment, approximately 13,000 years old, in Florida with an incised image of a mammoth or mastodon. This engraving is the oldest and only known example of Ice Age art to depict a proboscidean (the order of animals with trunks) in the Americas. The team’s research is published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The bone was discovered in Vero Beach, Fla., by James Kennedy, an avocational fossil hunter, who collected the bone and later, while cleaning it, discovered the engraving. Recognizing its potential importance, Kennedy contacted scientists at the University of Florida and the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute and National Museum of Natural History."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Women on the Nile

"The writings of 19th century travellers in Egypt gave momentum to many European adventurers to excavate more, not only of its antiquities, but also of its social, cultural and religious life. Joan Rees' Women on the Nile (published by the American University in Cairo Press) is an excellent survey with illustrations by David Robert, Giovanni Belzoni, W. H. Bartlett, Owen Jones, Edward Lear and many other Western travellers from different walks of life, but all inspired to visit the heart of the Arab world and describe Egypt, its monuments and people."

A far quasar

"A team of European astronomers, including UK astronomers, have discovered a bright quasar that has been beaming light since the Universe was a mere 770 million years old.
The brilliant beacon, named ULAS J1120+0641, is powered by a black hole with a mass two billion times that of the Sun. Located at a redshift – a term relating to astronomical distances – of 7.1, its light has taken 12.9 billion years to reach us. The next most distant quasar is seen at 870 million years after the big bang, or a redshift of 6.4, although gamma ray bursts have been detected at greater distances of 8.6 and 8.2 redshifts."
Most distant quasar shines brightly

List of Egyptian sites

The Ministry of State for Antiquities (MSA) is responsible for hundreds of sites dating to every period of Egypt’s past. Many have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. The web site of MSA is proposing a list of sites organized alphabetically, by region, or by the period to which each site’s main monuments date. http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/SITE_List.htm