[John is slowly recovering from an accident at home and is unable to help me update the news pages at present. I am unable to update them myself for April 2017 as I am travelling abroad.
Any updates will be late and we apologise to visitors for the inconvenience - Polly]
Detailed analysis of belt buckles unearthed by a Soviet tractor driver in the modern day Republic of Khakassia proves the existence of a distinct dragon on the territory of modern Russia, according to experts.
The mythical creature is seen as distinct from other dragons, notably those famous in China.
'In China of that time, which was Han era, a set image of a dragon, later one the main symbols of the national identity, did not yet exist. Yet the same period in Siberia we have a formed composition of dragon images in a typical serpentine pose', said Andrei Borodovsky, a researcher from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, part of the Siberian branch of Russian Academy of Sciences
'Although at the end of the first millennium BC the territory of South Siberia was under very strong Chinese influence, the buckles depicting the Iyussky dragon were most likely were produced locally.
They were original, and not copies. It was an independent development of the image.'
'The dragon's figure is a symbol that allows us to say that Siberia has always had a set of particular, specific features as a cultural area.' "
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[This is really is an amazing discovery in Siberia. The story, which is well worth reading in full, is accompanied by many hi-res images of the belt buckles, other artifacts and a map - Ed.]
30,000 years back, as the Lake Mungo finds suggested?
49,000 as indicated by Giles Hamm’s discovery, published last year?
Or even further back?
A revolution in understanding is underway: of genetics, dating, and analysis of human behaviour.
The Science Show brings it all together and traces the history of the first Australians."
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[Well done ABC Radio National! This is an incredible piece of detective work based on the researches of many people over many years. The images are good and explain the transcript of the interviews, which should be read in full to appreciate this amazing work - Ed.]
Lake spillover is inferred to have caused breaching of a rock ridge at the Dover Strait, although this hypothesis remains untested.
Here we show that opening of the Strait involved at least two major episodes of erosion.
Sub-bottom records reveal a remarkable set of sediment-infilled depressions that are deeply incised into bedrock that we interpret as giant plunge pools.
These support a model of initial erosion of the Dover Strait by lake overspill, plunge pool erosion by waterfalls and subsequent dam breaching.
Cross-cutting of these landforms by a prominent bedrock-eroded valley that is characterized by features associated with catastrophic flooding indicates final breaching of the Strait by high-magnitude flows.
These events set-up conditions for island Britain during sea-level highstands and caused large-scale re-routing of NW European drainage."
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[Some may regard this as a bit technical, but it's the clearest picture we have so far of the events that led to the separation of Britain from continental Europe, and it's well worth reading the full paper to see the many diagrams and fuller explanations - Ed.]
"The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project" Cardiff/Athens Universites (Cymru/Greece)
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal "Nature" published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon - as seen from the Earth: - Ed]