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WillSmith456

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The graves were originally excavated in 1969 by a team from Temple University. Decades later, the remains were re-interred by the National Park Service after consultation with the French and Canadian governments.

The excavation project, in 2003, was led by Steven Pendery from the National Park Service's Northeast Region Archaeology Program.

It was during that process of reburial that the team members were at the site discussing Champlain's journal reference to autopsy, said Marcella Sorg, Maine state forensic anthropologist, who was part of the team.
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Sorg said she looked down and noticed the skull with the autopsy cuts that apparently had been overlooked during previous excavations. "It was beautifully done, a very straight cut, and very accurate," she said.

There have been written references suggesting earlier autopsies as Jacques Cartier explored what's now Quebec in the 1500s, but there's no skeletal evidence, said Sorg, who works with the University of Maine's Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

In addition to Sorg, Crist was assisted by his wife Molly Crist, also a professor at Utica College. The other team member was Robert Larocque, physical anthropologist from Universite Laval in Quebec.

St. Croix Island is protected by the National Park Service as part of Saint Croix Island International Historic Site.

Delegates from the United States, Canada and France gathered in 2004 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the settlement.

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WillSmith456

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 9:22pm | IP Logged
Tool Find Suggests Earliest Europeans
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
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Oct. 31, 2006 — Caves in southeastern Italy have yielded evidence of the earliest human settlement in Europe, fueling a long-running debate over when the European continent was first colonized.

Found in soil layers at the site of Pirro Nord in Puglia, the evidence consists of sophisticated tools and a large amount of vertebrate fossils.

Dating of sediment layers showed that the artifacts range from between 1.7 and 1.3 million years old, report Giulio Pavia, a paleontologist at Turin University, and colleagues in a forthcoming issue of the German journal Naturwissenschaften.
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"The artifacts represent the earliest known evidence of human ancestors in Europe. The way they were made reveals rather sophisticated technical abilities, and most likely they were used as tools for chopping and scraping carcasses," Pavia told Discovery News.

The oldest clear record of our human ancestors' journey out of Africa has been found in the Caucasus, which are commonly reckoned as a dividing line between Asia and Europe. Five skulls, dating to 1.8 million years ago were found in Dmanisi, in the Republic of Georgia.

In Asia, 1.6 to 1.7 million-year-old remains in China and 1.8 million-year-old remains in Indonesia, suggest that hominids colonized eastern and southeastern parts of the continent very quickly.

The first colonization of Europe, however, has remained a matter of continuous debate.

Until the mid 1990's, it was widely believed that hominids arrived in Europe around 500,000 years ago, after traveling across the Strait of Gibraltar from northern Africa.

But findings of human remains and tools at various sites in Spain, dating from either 800,000 years ago or 1.2 and 1.3 million years ago, suggested that Europe's colonization occurred much earlier.

"In this context, the very important finding at Pirro represents the first clear data suggesting that the first arrival of humans to Europe was probably contemporaneous to the colonization of Asia at the base of the Early Pleistocene," said Bienvenido Martnez-Navarro, a professor of prehistory at the University of Tarragona, Spain.


According to the Italian researchers, the Pirro discovery would support the theory that hominids arrived into Europe following the route of the Levantine Corridor, a strip of land between Israel and Jordan.

And remains at the Pirro site suggest the hominids likely had an array of species to prey upon.

Fossils of vertebrates unearthed at Pirro revealed that several large mammals as well as various species of birds and reptiles lived in the vast, rolling stretches of Puglia's sun-soaked soil. Dating suggests these creatures lived between 1.7 and 1.3 million years ago.
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"We found fossils belonging to 20 reptile and amphibian species, 47 bird species and more than 40 mammal species, including mammoths, sabetoothed tigers and monkeys," Pavia said.

Martnez-Navarro, a leading expert in faunal and human dispersals out of Africa who was not involved in the study, says the Pirro discovery reignites the debate over the timing of Europe's colonization.

"After this discovery, we can think that when our ancestors arrived to the middle latitudes of the Caucasus, they went to the East but also to the west," he said.

WillSmith456

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 9:22pm | IP Logged
Steamy Pompeii Brothel Opens for Tourism
Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News
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Oct. 27, 2006 — Pompeii's ancient and richly decorated brothel reopened its doors to the public on Friday, following a restoration that repaired the multiple-bedroom structure and cleaned up its sexually graphic frescos.

The Lupanare — so called because "Lupa" for "she-wolf" was the Latin term for a prostitute who would howl to signal customers — is expected to become one of the top destinations among visitors touring the ancient city's ruins.

Pompeii was destroyed nearly 2,000 years ago when a massive eruption of Mount Vesuvius buried the city and the nearby towns of Herculaneum and Stabiae in up to 20 feet of hot ash and pumice.
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The new exhibit, which opened following a yearlong, $253,000 restoration, offers a window into the erotic life that once flourished in the city.

"Opportunities for sexual encounters abounded in Pompeii, but the Lupanare was a unique place," said Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, superintendent of Pompeii. "It was the only building in the city specifically designed to be a brothel. Here prostitution was practiced according to Roman law: prostitutes were not allowed to choose their clients."

The two-story Lupanare was conveniently located in a central location at the junction of two side streets. It consisted of 10 rooms, five on each floor, and a latrine beneath the stairs. Stone beds covered with mattresses accommodated the prostitutes and their clients.

Wealthier clients used the upper floor, which had a separate entrance, a balcony and was richly decorated with frescoes that leave little to the imagination.

Prices were posted outside the building, while the skills and names of the prostitutes were carved on the walls.

According to the graffiti found in the building, women working in the brothel included Myrtis, Callidrome, Cressa, Drauca, Fabia, Faustilla, Felicia, Fortunata, Helpis, Mula, Nica, Restituta, Rusatia and Ianuaria.

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 9:23pm | IP Logged


Each apparently had her own specialty when approaching the world's oldest profession. Myrtis, for example, had a sign outside her room indicating her skills in oral sex.

The various available services were also advertised by a fresco at the top of every doorway. Each depicts a different sexual position.

Graffiti found in the building revealed not only the names of prostitutes — mainly slaves of Greek origin — but also those of their clients.
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Luciana Iacobelli, a lecturer in Pompeian antiquities at Bicocca University in Milan, said the graffiti also surprisingly reveals names of Roman women of various social classes. This suggests it wasn't only women doing the servicing.

"A recent study suggests that also men worked as prostitutes in the Lupanare. Their clients were both women and men," Iacobelli told Naples' daily newspaper, "Il Mattino."

Unearthed in 1862, the Lupanare underwent several restorations. The latest one, which lasted one year, mainly focused on the frescoes, which had begun to fade. Modern sensors have been placed to monitor the humidity in the building as well as the number of visitors.

Unlike the days when it was in full operation, now no more than 10 people at a time will be allowed to enter the ancient brothel.

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 9:28pm | IP Logged
Ancient Footprints Found in Mexico
Ioan Grillo , Associated Press
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Oct. 26, 2006 —A trail of 13 fossilized footprints running through a valley in a desert in northern Mexico could be among the oldest in the Americas, Mexican archeologists said.

The footprints were made by hunter gatherers who are believed to have lived thousands of years ago in the Coahuila valley of Cuatro Cienegas, 190 miles (306 km) south of Eagle Pass, Texas, said archaeologist Yuri de la Rosa Gutierrez of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History.

"We believe (the footprints) are between 10,000 and 15,000 years old," De la Rosa said in a news release Wednesday. "We have evidence of the presence of hunter gatherers in the Coahuila desert more than 10,000 years ago."
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De la Rosa said there have only been initial tests to find the age of the prints and more tests will be carried out both in Mexico and at a laboratory in Bristol in Great Britain.

The oldest discovered footprints in the Western hemisphere are in Chile, and are believed to be 13,000 years old. There are 6,000-year-old footprints in California, Brazil and Nicaragua.

The age of the Mexican footprints, however, is dwarfed by those found in Africa. The oldest known hominid foot marks are in Laetoli, in Tanzania, and are believed to have been made 3.5 million years ago.

The Cuatro Cienegas footprints were discovered in May embedded in a white rock called travertine, according to the news release.

Each footprint is 10 inches (27 cm) long and under an inch (2 cm) deep. They spread over a distance of 30 feet (10 meters).

It is likely they were imprinted in mud and preserved by some rapid change in the environment, said Arturo Gonzalez, director of the Desert Museum, in the Coahuila state capital of Saltillo.

"There must have been a natural phenomenon to rapidly cover them so they were not rubbed out and were perfectly preserved," Gonzalez said.

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 10:10pm | IP Logged
hieves Lead Way to Egypt Tombs
Sierra Millman , Associated Press
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Oct. 23, 2006 —The arrest of tomb robbers led archaeologists to the graves of three royal dentists, protected by a curse and hidden in the desert sands for thousands of years in the shadow of Egypt's most ancient pyramid, officials announced Sunday.

The thieves launched their own dig one summer night two months ago but were apprehended, Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters.

That led archaeologists to the three tombs, one of which included an inscription warning that anyone who violated the sanctity of the grave would be eaten by a crocodile and a snake, Hawass said.
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A towering, painted profile of the chief dentist stares down at passers-by from the wall opposite the inscription.

The tombs date back more than 4,000 years to the 5th Dynasty and were meant to honor a chief dentist and two others who treated the pharaohs and their families, Hawass said.

Their location near the Step Pyramid of King Djoser — believed to be Egypt's oldest pyramid — indicate the respect accorded dentists by Egypt's ancient kings, who "cared about the treatment of their teeth," Hawass said.

Although their services were in demand by the powerful, the dentists likely did not share in their wealth.

The tombs, which did not contain their mummies, were built of mud—brick and limestone, not the pure limestone preferred by ancient Egypt's upper class.

"The whole point of a tomb was to last forever," said Carol Redmount, associate professor of Egyptian archaeology at the University of California at Berkeley. "So you wanted to make it out of materials that would last forever. And mud, brick ... didn't last forever."

During a visit to the site, Hawass pointed out two hieroglyphs — an eye over a tusk — which appear frequently among the neat rows of symbols decorating the tombs. He said those hieroglyphs identify the men as dentists.

The pictorial letters also spell out the names of the chief dentist — Iy Mry — and the other two — Kem Msw and Sekhem Ka. Hawass said the men were not related but must have been partners or colleagues to have been buried together.

Figures covering the pillars in the doorway of the chief dentist's tomb tell archaeologists much about his life and habits, Hawass said.

They depict the chief dentist and his family immersed in daily rituals — playing games, slaughtering animals and presenting offerings to the dead, including the standard 1,000 loaves of bread and 1,000 vases of beer.

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These would "magically provide food and sustenance for the spirit of the dead person for all eternity," Redmount said.

Just around the corner of the doorway is a false door, its face painstakingly inscribed with miniature hieroglyphics. A shallow basin was placed below it.

"That was sort of the interface where the dead person in the tomb would come up and interact with the living," Redmount said.
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The tomb robbers were the first to discover the site two months ago, and began their own dig one summer night, before they were captured and jailed. "We have to thank the thieves," Hawass said.

Although archaeologists have been exploring Egypt's ruins intensively for more than 150 years, Hawass believes only 30 percent of what lies hidden beneath the sands has been uncovered. Excavation continues at Saqqara, he said, and his team expects to find more tombs in the area.

Saqqara, about 12 miles south of Cairo, is one of Egypt's most popular tourist sites and hosts a collection of temples, tombs and funerary complexes.

The Step Pyramid is the forerunner of the more familiar straight—sided pyramids in Giza on the outskirts of Cairo, which were believed to have been built about a century later.

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Posted: 14 December 2006 at 10:16pm | IP Logged
Fossils Show Corals Survived Past Warming
Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News
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Oct. 23, 2006 — A critical reef-building coral that has been thought especially vulnerable to global warming of seas may not be so frail after all.

A new study of past climate effects on the same kinds of corals, now fossilized on land in the Dominican Republic, shows that Acropora cervicornis has done just fine through other warm times and even managed to survive through times when the water was particularly mucky.

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"We had temperatures that were probably just as warm back in the fossil record," said fossil coral researcher Lisa Greer of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Greer and her colleagues studied the thick fossilized reefs of Acropora in the Enriquillo Valley of the Dominican Republic.

"You find nothing but this coral for up to 3,000 years," said Greer of the entire exposure in Enriquillo Valley.

The corals living from 7,300 to 9,500 years ago show geological evidence of enduring severe storms, salinity changes and temperature changes without any noticeable ill effects.

The same coral species, however, has been proclaimed the "canary of the Caribbean" for its alleged vulnerability to warming waters due to climate change, she said. It just doesn't add up.

There are a number of possible explanations for the discrepancy, says Greer.

One is that today's temperature rise is much faster than in the past, which might affect the corals differently than a more gradual warming.

The other is that the "white-band disease," identified as the killer of Acropora coral — and tied by some to global warming — is not new, but happened in the past. This, however, is impossible to tell from fossils, Greer said.

Greer presents the latest geological coral data from their continuing work on Oct. 25 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Philadelphia.



Yet another possibility is that white-band disease is a brand new, emerging disease that may or may not have any connection to climate change, says marine scientist Richard Aronson, an Acropora specialist at the University of South Alabama's Dauphin Island Sea Lab.

"It was the major source of mortality in the Caribbean," said Aronson of the alarming Acropora die-offs since the 1980s. And there's no evidence to suggest it has happened any other time within at least the last 3,000 years, he said.
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The best way to decipher the coral history will be to look as many variables as possible, said Aronson.

"What we should be looking at is a multiplicity of factors," Aronson said, including the fact that Acropora is also spreading to new areas that used to be too cold for the cold-sensitive species. Still, he says, there is a very real danger that if the sea waters get too warm they could indeed kill Acropora and many other heat-sensitive corals.

"If it gets hot enough, it will kill corals," he said.

So regardless of whether global warming is behind white-band disease, climate is a factor — either now or later.

"It's not a hopeless case," said Aronson of the pending climate threats. "One thing we have to get a handle on is climate."

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