Babylon's hanging garden: ancient scripts give clue to missing wonder | Science. The whereabouts of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – the fabled Hanging Garden of Babylon – has been one of the great mysteries from antiquity. The inability of archaeologists to find traces of it among Babylon's ancient remains led some even to doubt its existence. Now a British academic has amassed a wealth of textual evidence to show that the garden was instead created at Nineveh, 300 miles from Babylon, in the early 7th century BC. After 18 years of study, Stephanie Dalley of Oxford University has concluded that the garden was built by the Assyrians in the north of Mesopotamia – in modern Iraq – rather than by their great enemies the Babylonians in the south.
She believes her research shows that the feat of engineering and artistry was achieved by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, rather than the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. She was astonished to find Sennacherib's own description of an "unrivalled palace" and a "wonder for all peoples".
The Teotihuacans exhumed their dead and dignified them with make-up. In collaboration with the National University of Mexico, a team of Spanish researchers has analysed for the first time remains of cosmetics in the graves of prehispanic civilisations on the American continent. In the case of the Teotihuacans, these cosmetics were used as part of the after-death ritual to honour their city's most important people. A research team from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Valencia has studied various funerary samples found in urns in the Teotihuacan archaeological site (Mexico) that date from between 200 and 500 AD. The scientists have been researching Mayan wall paintings in Mexico and Guatemala since 2006. Published in the 'Journal of Archaeological Science', this project came about after contact on various occasions with other researchers in the area, namely the National University of Mexico, who wanted to know the composition and function of the cosmetics found in pots.
Flowing trade in Prehispanic Mexico. Hadrian's Auditorium: Ancient Roman Arts Center From 123 AD Discovered (PHOTO) King Louis XVI's Blood Found In Decorative Squash Centuries After Beheading, DNA Study Shows. Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer Published: 01/02/2013 02:17 PM EST More than 200 years ago, France's King Louis XVI was killed (along with his wife, Marie Antoinette) via guillotine, and legend has it someone used a handkerchief to soak up the king's blood, then stored the handkerchief in a gourd.
Now scientists have confirmed that a squash emblazoned with figures from the French Revolution indeed contains the dried blood of the executed king. Scientists matched DNA from the blood with DNA from a detached and mummified head believed to be from a direct ancestor of King Louis XVI, the 16th-century French king Henry IV. The new analysis, which was published Dec. 30 in the journal Forensic Science International, confirmed the identity of both French royals. "We have these two kings scattered in pieces in different places in Europe," said study co-author Carles Lalueza-Fox, a paleogenomics researcher at Pompeu Fabra University in Spain.
Two French kings French King Henry IV's embalmed head. African Princess Carving Found In Sudan Depicts Stylishly Overweight Ancient Royal. Belly Button Bacteria: Biologists Seek Reason For Navel Flora Differences. By Rob Dunn This is a confession. I started out as a respectable sort of ecologist studying rain forests and then at some point my road turned and I ended up where I am today, lost among the belly buttons.
I know how it happened. Two years ago we began to focus much of our lab’s work on engaging the public. One way to make science public is to work with people to study their own lives (see yourwildlife.org). This is just what we did. The idea was simple. We quickly found that peoples’ belly buttons differed in terms of which species live in them. We began to more seriously wonder what explained the differences from one person to the next. We solicited even more involvement—more students to help with research, more petri dishes and, more ideas from participants, and, of course, more belly buttons.
We wanted to engage as many people as we could in the endeavor, but we’d also become really curious about the causes of the differences in belly button bacteria among people. Also on HuffPost: Mass extinction study provides lessons for modern world. The Cretaceous Period of Earth history ended with a mass extinction that wiped out numerous species, most famously the dinosaurs. A new study now finds that the structure of North American ecosystems made the extinction worse than it might have been. Researchers at the University of Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum of Natural History will publish their findings Oct. 29 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The mountain-sized asteroid that left the now-buried Chicxulub impact crater on the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is almost certainly the ultimate cause of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which occurred 65 million years ago. Nevertheless, "Our study suggests that the severity of the mass extinction in North America was greater because of the ecological structure of communities at the time," noted lead author Jonathan Mitchell, a Ph.D. student of UChicago's Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Fuller picture of human expansion from Africa. A new, comprehensive review of humans' anthropological and genetic records gives the most up-to-date story of the "Out of Africa" expansion that occurred about 45,000 to 60,000 years ago. This expansion, detailed by three Stanford geneticists, had a dramatic effect on human genetic diversity, which persists in present-day populations.
As a small group of modern humans migrated out of Africa into Eurasia and the Americas, their genetic diversity was substantially reduced. In studying these migrations, genomic projects haven't fully taken into account the rich archaeological and anthropological data available, and vice versa. This review integrates both sides of the story and provides a foundation that could lead to better understanding of ancient humans and, possibly, genomic and medical advances.
The anthropological information can inform geneticists when they investigate certain genetic changes that emerge over time. Caesar, the Orchid Chief. Turns out the early Romans were wild about orchids. A careful study of ancient artifacts in Italy has pushed back the earliest documented appearance of the showy and highly symbolic flowers in Western art from Renaissance to Roman times. In fact, the researchers say, the orchid's popularity in public art appeared to wilt with the arrival of Christianity, perhaps because of its associations with sexuality. The fanciful shapes and bright colors of orchids have long made them popular with flower fanciers, and today they support a multibillion-dollar global trade. The flowers also have a symbolic value that spans many cultures due to their resemblance to both male and female sexual organs; the flower's scientific name—Orchis—derives from a Greek word for testicles. But while the biology and ecology of orchids has gotten plenty of attention from researchers, there are few studies of its "phytoiconography," or how the flower has been used symbolically in art.
Spot Where Julius Caesar Was Stabbed Discovered. Archaeologists believe they have found the first physical evidence of the spot where Julius Caesar died, according to a new Spanish National Research Council report. Caesar, the head of the Roman Republic, was stabbed to death by a group of rival Roman senators on March 15, 44 B.C, the Ides of March. The assassination is well-covered in classical texts, but until now, researchers had no archaeological evidence of the place where it happened. Now, archaeologists have unearthed a concrete structure nearly 10 feet wide and 6.5 feet tall (3 meters by 2 meters) that may have been erected by Caesar's successor to condemn the assassination.
The structure is at the base of the Curia, or Theater, of Pompey, the spot where classical writers reported the stabbing took place. Classical texts also say that years after the assassination, the Curia was closed and turned into a memorial chapel for Caesar. Humans Broke Off Neanderthal Sex After Discovering Eurasia. Neanderthals apparently last interbred with the ancestors of today's Europeans after modern humans with advanced stone tools expanded out of Africa, researchers say. The last sex between Neanderthals and modern humans likely occurred as recently as 47,000 years ago, the researchers added.
Modern humans once shared the globe with now-departed human lineages, including the Neanderthals, our closest known extinct relatives. Neanderthals had been around for about 30,000 years when modern humans appeared in the fossil record about 200,000 years ago. Neanderthals disappeared about 30,000 year ago. In 2010, scientists completed the first sequence of the Neanderthal genome using DNA extracted from fossils, and an examination of the genetic material suggested that modern humans' ancestors occasionally successfully interbred with Neanderthals. The Neanderthal genome revealed that people outside Africa share more genetic variants with Neanderthals than Africans do. Mummy with Mouthful of Cavities Discovered | Ancient Egyptian Dental Fillings.
Around 2,100 years ago, at a time when Egypt was ruled by a dynasty of Greek kings, a young wealthy man from Thebes was nearing the end of his life. Rather than age, he may have succumbed to a sinus infection caused by a mouthful of cavities and other tooth ailments, according to new research on the man's odd dental filling. Recently published CT scans of his mummified body allowed researchers to reconstruct details of his final days. The man, whose name is unknown, was in his 20s or early 30s, and his teeth were in horrible shape.
He had "numerous" abscesses and cavities, conditions that appear to have resulted, at some point, in a sinus infection, something potentially deadly, the study researchers said. The pain the young man suffered would have been beyond words and drove him to see a dental specialist. CT scans reveal a linen mass that was inserted into a cavity on the mummy's left side between the first and second molars. Reconstructing his story. Chinese Money Tree History Uncovered By Chemistry | Behind the Scenes. This Behind the Scenes article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation. Buried in ancient Chinese tombs, money trees are bronze sculptures believed to provide eternal prosperity in the afterlife. One money tree was crafted in southwest China during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE). Supported by a ceramic base, this rare piece of art stands 52 inches tall and spans 22 inches wide.
Dragons and phoenixes — symbols of longevity — and coins decorate the tree's 16 bronze leaves. The Portland Art Museum acquired the tree as a gift from a private collection. There was little information available about the tree and no documentation as to the time or place of its excavation. The museum partnered with assistant professor of chemistry Tami Lasseter Clare and her team from Portland State University to learn more about the tree and its mysterious past. The benefits of this research are largely educational, Clare said.
Top 10 Reasons Alexander the Great Was, Well ... Great! Archaeologists to mount new expedition to troy. The ruins of ancient Troy will be examined by a cross-disciplinary team of scientists in an expedition led by UW-Madison classics professor William Aylward. Troy, the palatial city of prehistory, sacked by the Greeks through trickery and a fabled wooden horse, will be excavated anew beginning in 2013 by a cross-disciplinary team of archaeologists and other scientists, it was announced today (Monday, Oct. 15). The new expedition will be led by University of Wisconsin-Madison classics Professor William Aylward, an archaeologist with long experience digging in the ruins of classical antiquity, including Troy itself. The new international project at Troy, to be conducted under the auspices of and in cooperation with Turkey's Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, will begin a series of summer-time expeditions beginning in 2013.
"Troy is a touchstone of Western civilization," says Aylward. "Although the site has been excavated in the past, there is much yet to be discovered.