Sunday, January 01, 2006

NEWS FROM BRITAIN FOR THE NEW YEAR 2006!

Newgrange is that spectacular passage grave in County Meath an hour or so from Dublin, Ireland. At the solstice the sun rays light up the passage and the chamber. To see this phenomena, there is now a lottery! Sad to tell for 2005, the 30 lucky people who won their right to to attend the sun illuminating the central chamber on the shortest day of the year... were disappointed! Cloud cover!

There are exciting archaeological developments at the sleepy fishing port of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England. The discovery of stone tools near the town (home of the camp rock band "the Darkness") shows that ancient human beings (probably Homo heidelbergensis or Homo antecessor) were living in Britain 200,000 years earlier than previously surmsed. Dating techniques prove that the chipped flints were made about 700,000 years ago. This makes Lowestoft Man/Woman the earliest inhabitants of northern Europe. British climate was much warmer 700,000 years ago than it is today. These early humans would have shared the banks of the river with now extinct or confined to Africa animals: hippopotamuses, bears, lions, rhinos, sabre-toothed cats, giant deer, mammoths and elephants. For details, see the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Nature.

Ice age art in Britain! Engravings of a deer and other creatures at Creswell Crags in Derbyshire and dated to at least 12,800 years ago have proved to be genuine Ice Age creations and not modern fakes as some had feared. By analyzing the thin film of stalagmite that has formed over the engravings since they were made, archaeologists have shown that the Creswell art is genuine. Alistair Pike of Bristol University and his colleagues reported the evidence in the Journal Of Archaeological Science 32: 1649-1655.

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