March 1st, 2009

wandering in the trees

2,500-year-old writing found on stone tablets in Portugal

Experts aim to decipher ancient script

ALMODOVAR, Portugal - When archaeologists on a dig in southern Portugal last year flipped over a heavy chunk of slate and saw writing not used for more than 2,500 years, they were elated.

The enigmatic pattern of inscribed symbols curled symmetrically around the upper part of the rough-edged, yellowish stone tablet and coiled into the middle in a decorative style typical of an extinct Iberian language called Southwest Script.

"We didn't break into applause, but almost," says Amilcar Guerra, a University of Lisbon lecturer overseeing the excavation. "It's an extraordinary thing."

x-posted to linguists

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cracks: no promises

Ancient Camel Butchered in Colorado, Stone Tools Show?

Published in National Geographic on 27 February 2009.

"Humans may have hunted down Ice Age camels 13,000 years ago on what are now the streets of Boulder, Colorado, a new analysis of ancient tools suggests.

Blood residue on stone blades found recently in a Boulder resident's backyard could be the first evidence that the implements were used to butcher horses and American camels."

The article can be found here.

The WHOLE of 'Sita Sings The Blues' is now available online!

Not sure whether you guys will be interested in this. (Who am I kidding? EVERYONE will be interested in this.) But if you've got any interest in anthropology of religion, I think this ought to be pretty relevant.

While previously all you could find were four short clips on youtube, the entirity of the finished 'Sita Sings The Blues' is now available here:


The actual animation doesn't start until about 6 minutes in. The story of Ramayana doesn't begin until 7 munutes and that's where it starts getting fun (though the intro does look damn shiny too).

As you can imagine from the title, the point of this animation is to emphasis Sita's part of the story, since she is normally seen as a bit player and rather undermined. 11 minutes in the awesome animation you might know from Youtube starts up. Oh my goodness it's so cool!

So anyway, I understand that this is only online for a limited time - so check it out now you fool!

Cross-posted to my own journal and all over the blooming place.
rose & 10 hands

Fungus Threatens Ancient French Cave Art

Fungus Threatens Ancient French Cave Art

Feb. 27, 2009 -- Geologists, biologists and other scientists convened Thursday in Paris to discuss how to stop the spread of fungus stains -- aggravated by global warming -- that threaten France's prehistoric Lascaux cave drawings.

Black stains have spread across the cave's prehistoric murals of bulls, felines and other images, and scientists have been hard-pressed to halt the fungal creep.

Marc Gaulthier, who heads the Lascaux Caves International Scientific Committee, said the challenges facing the group are vast and global warming now poses an added problem.

"All of Lascaux's problems have always been linked to the cave's climatization, meaning the equilibrium of air inside the cave," Gaulthier told reporters at a news conference before the symposium. Now, rising temperatures have complicated matters by stopping air from circulating inside the caverns, he said.

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