Soon druids, pagans, hippies, and assorted hangers-on will gather at Britain’s world-famous neolithic Stonehenge site to mark the fall equinox, the point when summer ends and the days begin to shorten. But what will they be celebrating, and what is Stonehenge even for, anyway? Here’s what you need to know.
At the time of the autumn equinox, there are equal hours of light and dark. It is a time of balance, and while summer is ending, the winter is approaching. This is a season in which farmers are harvesting their fall crops, gardens are beginning to die, and the earth gets a bit cooler each day. Let’s look at some of the ways that this second harvest holiday has been honored around the world for centuries.
The Mississippian culture is what archaeologists call the pre-Columbian horticulturalists who lived in the midwestern and southeastern United States between about AD 1000-1550. Mississippian sites have been identified within the river valleys of nearly a third of what is today the United States, including an area centered in Illinois but found as far south as the Florida panhandle, west as Oklahoma, north as Minnesota, and east as Ohio.
Studies of craters in the Baltics (Estonia) are giving insights into the many impacts that have peppered the Earth over its long history. In southeastern Estonia, scientists have dated charcoal from trees destroyed in an impact to prove a common origin for two small craters, named Illumetsa. A third submarine crater located on the seabed in the Gulf of Finland has been measured and dated with precision.
Article explains in depth the Beringian Standstill Hypothesis, also known as the Beringian Incubation Model (BIM), which proposes that the people who would eventually colonize the Americas spent between ten to twenty thousand years stranded on the Bering Land Bridge (BLB), the now-submerged plain beneath the Bering Sea called Beringia.
Remote Saharan dust influences the earth’s radiation budget and tropical North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere temperature variability that might even attenuate hurricane activity. In a new research study, an international team of geoscientists reconstructed the history of Saharan dust storms during the last 12,000 years.
Hubble observations show the object with a comet-like tail is actually two asteroids roughly the same mass and size as each other, orbiting each other at a distance of 60 miles. According to experts, the pair has likely existed as a binary system for roughly 5,000 years, after breaking up as a result of fast rotation.
The Andes, with its remote habitats, are not exactly unexplored. How could a common tree that can easily reach 100 feet in height, with a broad canopy, and some weird characteristics including slime-secreting sheathing stipules (small leaflike appendages at the base of the leaf stalk), remain unknown all this time? Incadendron esseri trees live off the beaten track, in a narrow band of the mountain cloud forest of Ecuador and Peru between 1,000 and 2,400 meters’ elevation.
Resting beneath the 1,000-foot cliffs of Scotland’s Aonach’s Beag mountain range, The Sphinx, one of the country’s proudest snowcaps, is on its deathbed. The Sphinx, which dwells between the higher points of the Garbh Choire Mor in the Cairngorms, is not only Scotland’s oldest snow patch, but is typically its most vigorous.
A remote cave in Eastern Turkmenistan was found to shelter a marvelous cave-adapted inhabitant that turned out to represent a species and genus new to science. This new troglodyte is the first of its order from Central Asia, and the first strictly subterranean terrestrial creature recorded in the country.
The Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project has been scouring the sea bed with primary focus of carrying out geophysical surveys, but 60 ancient shipwrecks have also been found, perfectly preserved due to lack of oxygen in the Black Sea’s deadzone. The galleys hail from the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, with some ships dating back 2,500 years.
The Native American Church (NAC) teaches a combination of Christianity and traditional Native American beliefs. As such, its practices can vary significantly from tribe to tribe, as indigenous practices vary widely across the Americas. Among those practices is the use of peyote in ceremonies. Before we understand why and how it’s used, it’s important to understand the Church itself. The NAC originally formed in the state of Oklahoma. It continues to primarily operate in the United States, particularly in the western states, as well as in parts of Canada. The term “Native American Church” does not apply to those Native Americans who solely follow traditional tribal beliefs, nor does it apply to Native Americans who are entirely Christian.
Review by Current Archaeology states that this brisk and fluent volume provides, as promised, an up-to-date account of the prehistory of Wiltshire. It is greatly aided by its authors’ involvement in so many of the key prehistoric research projects in the region over the last few decades.
Meat has been a crucial part of our diet for millions of years. However, feeding a meat-heavy Paleo diet is far from easy. It was likely even harder for earlier human species, whose most advanced equipment would have been a sharp rock, to kill a big mammal. It’s long been thought that ancient humans relied heavily on scavenging. This raises the obvious question: how picky were they when it came to these leftovers? It turns out that putrid food can be surprisingly beneficial. A review of the evidence suggests not only could it form a key part of the hominin Paleo diet; it actually did.
The ‘sleeping’ supervolcano Campi Flegri near the city of Naples, Italy, is ‘becoming more dangerous’ researchers have said. Researchers used seismological techniques to pinpoint the magma source which may help work out the risk of future eruptions. The volcano last erupted in 1538, and 500,000 people now live inside or near the volcano’s caldera.
Following are some of the key nature goddesses from different cultures. The list is not meant to be inclusive of every such goddess, but to represent a range of the nature goddesses, including some who are quite well known and some who are less known. The list is roughly divided into some categories, but these don’t fit all cultures particularly well, and there is overlap in the forces goddesses were associated with.