By gum! Scientists find new 110-million-year-old treasure
During the analysis, scientists from the University of Portsmouth, examining fossilized leaves of the Welwitschiophyllum plant found in the Crato Formation in Brazil, have discovered a remarkable new treasure- the first fossil plant gum on record- ‘Welwitschiophyllum.’
Researchers have noticed that thin amber-colored bands locked inside some of the fossilized leaves. The beautiful, amber-like material has been discovered in 110 million-year-old fossilized leaves.
Unlike amber, which is made from fossilized plant resin, this newly discovered material is made from fossilized plant gum.
A wide variety of vascular plants produce fluid exudates e.g., resins and gums, with each group differing in chemical definitions.
Due to similarity in physical appearance, distinguishing exudates based on chemistry is vital; for example, gums and resins are visually similar, resulting in these terms being used interchangeably.
The study was conducted in collaboration between the University of Portsmouth, the University of Vienna (with amber expert Dr. Leyla Seyfullah), and the British Library (with FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) specialist Dr. Paul Garside).
University of Portsmouth Ph.D. student Emily Roberts said, “This discovery overturns the basic assumption that plant gums cannot be preserved in the fossil record. It has opened our eyes to the fact that other plant chemicals may also be preserved—we can no longer make assumptions.
When we first tested the gum, I was astonished that we were confirming something that was thought to be impossible—it just goes to show that fossil plants can surprise us.”
According to the study, the Welwitschiophyllum plant is considered to be related to one of the oldest and most enigmatic plants in existence.
Remarkably, a considered relative of this plant is still growing today, Welwitschia is the sole survivor of this lineage and is now found only in the Namib Desert in Namibia and Southern Angola.
Co-author Professor David Martill, of the School of the Environmental Geography and Geosciences at the University of Portsmouth, said: “Emily has not only discovered something ground-breaking about plant gum but perhaps, even more, astonishing her findings confirm that the Welwitschia plant found in Africa today produces a gum similar to a plant growing 110 million years ago in Brazil.
Welwitschia is one of life’s survivors, thriving in one of the harshest environments on earth for over 120 million years.
This discovery is fascinating, especially when put into the context of these two continents of Africa and South America, being one during the Cretaceous period.”
Scientists suggest there is still much to be learned and that future work should focus on how this preserved gum has survived 110 million years.
A stunning 14th-century medieval chapel is uncovered in County Durham, England
Archaeologists have really found considered one of medieval Britain’s most vital architectural works of arts– the long-lost church of north England’s only medieval leaders– the Prince-Bishops of Durham.
The precise space of the large 40- meter lengthy baronial church was unidentified for tons of years. Now archaeologists from Durham College in addition to a neighborhood historic activity have really found the church’s long-lost stays.
A lot, they’ve really found ultra-fine stonework from the church wall surfaces, a fragile rock rising from the ceiling, items of rock columns, beautiful discolored glass in addition to the church’s distinct black plaster flooring.
The locates have really allowed them to recreate an image of what the fantastic church will surely have resembled within the later middle ages The archaeologists have really likewise uncovered part of the enamel in addition to copper sacred dish utilized to carry the communion bread all through options held there by the Prince-Bishops within the 14th century.
They’ve really likewise found an image of a stooping monk– regarded as north-east England’s hottest medieval non-secular chief, St Cuthbert (whose vital temple continues to be in Durham Cathedral). It is without doubt one of the extraordinarily couple of medieval photographs of him ever earlier than found.
Larger than the Royal Chapel at Westminster (St Stephen’s in parliament) in addition to virtually as massive as St George’s Chapel, Windsor, it was developed by the Bishop in addition to Earl Palatine of Durham as part of his main out-of- group baronial citadel within the late 13th century.
So efficient was its contractor, Prince-Bishop Bek, that considered one of his distinguished authorities flaunted that there have been 2 majesties in England– the King in addition to the prince-bishop.
However in the end, three in addition to a fifty % centuries in a while, the fantastic baronial church, at Auckland Fortress, County Durham, was deliberately ruined with massive quantities of gunpowder by yet another megalomaniac– a callous anti-royalist that hungered for outright energy, detested the well-known church in addition to despised all diocesans.
The ultra-intolerant extremist was Sir Arthur Hesilrige, an aged legislator military chief that was one of many arch-republicans that, in 1649, approved King Charles I’s fatality warrant.
The church in addition to the citadel it developed part of had really remained in pro-royalist arms– in addition to had really been confiscated by parliament in addition to marketed to Hesilrige, the simplest republican politician in north-east England, known as, of a scriptural dangerous man, the “Nimrod of the North” by his challengers.
As an extreme Puritan, he despised the Church of England– in addition to maltreated its clergy, on one celebration kicking out a vicar in addition to his family from their home within the middle of the night, tossing their private belongings proper into the neighborhood graveyard.
Certainly, considered one of Civil Struggle England’s main left-wing democrats, John Lilburne, chief of the ultra-egalitarian Levellers, charged him of“traitorously subverting the elemental liberties of England and exercising an arbitrary and tyrannical authority over and above the regulation”
Hesilrige’s conduct– together with his procurement in addition to the purposeful injury of the church– is politically vital in English background since, along with comparable habits by varied different main Cromwellians, it aided fatally problem the rationale of republicanism in addition to therefore aided in its failure in addition to the restore of the monarchy.
Stained glass from the long-lost baronial church. This piece reveals a pelican pecking her very personal bust– a typical Christian signal standing for Christ’s self-sacrifice. (Durham College utilized with authorization of the Auckland Venture). The exploration of the church is of appreciable worth by way of the background of north England
“For hundreds of years it has been one of many nice misplaced buildings of medieval England,” said one of many essential archaeologists related to the excavation, John Castling, archaeology in addition to social background supervisor on the Auckland Venture, which has the citadel.
“Our excavation of this big chapel has shed extra mild on the immense energy and wealth of the Prince-Bishops of Durham – and has helped bolster Auckland Fortress’s fame as a fortress of nice significance within the historical past of England.”
A number of the brand-new explorations will definitely be positioned on present and inform at Auckland Fortress from the very early the following month.
The church was uncovered making use of superior distant noticing gadgets– consisting of ground-penetrating radar in addition to magnetometers– in addition to was moneyed by way of the custom of the late Mick Aston, the favored TELEVISION excavator in addition to the speaker of the Channel four historic assortment, TimeTeam
Referring to the excavation of the church, Durham College excavator, Chris Gerrard said: “That is archaeology at its best.”
“Professionals, volunteers, and Durham College students working collectively as a staff, to piece collectively clues from paperwork and previous illustrations, used the very newest survey methods to resolve the thriller of the whereabouts of this big misplaced construction,” he included.
Rare Ancient Leopard Painting Discovered On Sarcophagus In Aswan, Egypt
The first photos from a necropolis discovered a year ago in Egypt, including that of a colourful mask of the Leopard, drawn on a wooden deck of a sarcophagus, a form of “guarding” of the dead, was published by archaeologists with the Egyptian-Italian Mission in West Aswan, EIMAWA.
The project, led by the Milan State University’s Egyptologist Patrizia Piacentini, uncovered the necropolis five metres under the desert sand in Aswan, and in a few weeks will go back to work there.
The archaeological area extends for more than 25,000 square metres on the western bank of the Nile River, near the Mausoleum of Aga Khan III, and it hosts more than 300 tombs, some dug into the hillside and some underground.
This necropolis is where the residents of Aswan were buried between the 7th century B.C. and the 3rd century A.D.
One of the tombs, number AGH026, already made news last year when a large room was found with about 30 bodies buried between the 2nd century B.C.
The bodies were accompanied by many objects, including stuccoed body covers painted with gold, a funerary bed, parts of sarcophagi, a stretcher for the mummies, and lots of pottery vessels.
This is where the team found the painted leopard, a symbol of strength that was placed by the head of the deceased person to offer protection during the journey to the afterlife.
Piacentini told ANSA that although the leopard is a frequent symbol in Egypt, “it is very rare to find it painted”.
“The wooden support from the 2nd century B.C. was very fragile. The sand had slipped into the fibres, so we decided to detach the stucco to save the design. It was a very delicate operation that had us holding our breath, we had tears in our eyes,” she said.
The pieces will be recomposed by the expert hands of Ilaria Perticucci and Rita Reale, who, following an initial “virtual” restoration, will soon begin the actual one in the laboratories in Aswan.
“It’s an exceptional find, much like what we found in the room next to it: pine nuts dating back to the 1st century A.D., a rarity given that the plant was imported,” Piacentini said.
“The use of these seeds was known in Alexandria for the preparation of sauces and dishes,” she said.
“They were certainly a luxury good, and show once again how the tomb belonged to important people,” she said.
New information for piecing together their identities could come as soon as the upcoming spring mission, in which the multidisciplinary team of historians, paleopathologists, archaeobotanists, chemists, computer scientists, and restorers will work to uncover the diets, illnesses, and causes of death of the people buried in the necropolis. (ANSAmed).
Unknown ancient god with astral symbols discovered on a stele at the cult site in Turkey
In an ancient sanctuary in Turkey, Münster archeologists excavated a unique Roman relief depicting an unknown god.
According to a first assessment, the one and a half meter (five feet) high basalt stele which was used as a buttress in the wall of a monastery shows a fertility or vegetation god, as classical scholar and excavation director Prof. Dr. Engelbert Winter and archaeologist Dr. Michael Blömer of the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics” said after their return from the sacred site of the god Jupiter Dolichenus close to the ancient city of Doliche in Southeast Turkey.
“The image is remarkably well preserved. It provides valuable insights into the beliefs of the Romans and into the continued existence of ancient Near Eastern traditions. However, extensive research is necessary before we will be able to accurately identify the deity.”
In the field season 2014, the 60-strong excavation team uncovered finds from all periods of the 2,000-year history of the cult site, such as the thick enclosing wall of the first Iron Age sanctuary or the foundations of the main Roman temple of the god Jupiter Dolichenus, who became one of the most important deities of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century A.D.
His sanctuary is situated close to the town of Gaziantep on the 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) high mountain of Dülük Baba Tepesi. The archaeologists found the stele in the remains of the Christian monastery, which was erected on the site of the ancient sanctuary in the Early Middle Ages.
Bearded deity with astral symbols
Archaeologist Blömer described the depiction: “The basalt stele shows a deity growing from a chalice of leaves. Its long stem rises from a cone that is ornamented with astral symbols. From the sides of the cone grow a longhorn and a tree, which the deity clasps with his right hand.
The pictorial elements suggest that a fertility god is depicted.” There are striking iconographic details such as the composition of the beard or the posture of the arms, which point to Iron Age depictions from the early 1st millennium B.C.
The new find, thus, provides information about a key question of the Cluster of Excellence’s research project B2-20, the question of the continuity of local religious beliefs.
According to Prof. Winter, “The stele provides information on how ancient oriental traditions survived the epochs from the Iron Age to the age of the Romans.”
This year’s excavation activities concentrated on exploring the medieval monastery of Mar Solomon (St. Solomon). “The well-preserved ruins of the monastery complex permit numerous conclusions regarding life and the culture in this region between Late Antiquity and the time of the crusaders,” according to Prof. Winter.
Until 2010, when the international team discovered the remains of the monastery, experts had known of it from written sources only.
According to the archaeologist Blömer, “All finds from this year’s excavation season are important pieces of the puzzle, contributing to the knowledge concerning every phase of the long history of this holy place.”
The history stretches from the early Iron Age and the Roman sanctuary known throughout the empire to the long utilization as a Christian monastery, which still existed at the time of the crusaders.
Preparing the excavation site for tourists
Work on an archaeological park is in progress which is to make the outstanding temple complex and the monastery ruins accessible to the public at large.
The monastery ruins were preserved and encased with special fleece material. The complex protection measures were made possible by cooperation with the Turkish Zirve University in Gaziantep, which provided about 200,000 Euros for three years.
For the digital documentation of the area, the team uses a quadrocopter, a remotely piloted vehicle with a 3-D camera, developed by the Institute for Geoinformatics of the University of Münster. A visitors’ trail signposted in three languages, which was completed in 2013, leads to central areas of the excavation site. An initial large protective shelter was erected.
Supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft, DFG), the University of Münster’s Asia Minor Research Centre has been conducting excavation work at the main sanctuary of Jupiter Dolichenus under the direction of Prof. Winter since 2001.
So far, the international group consisting of archaeologists, historians, architects, conservators, archaeozoologists, geoinformation scientists and excavation workers uncovered foundations of the archaic and the Roman sanctuary, as well as of the medieval monastery of Mar Solomon.
The Cluster of Excellence’s project B2-20, “Media Representation and Religious ‘Market’: Syriac Cults in the Western Imperium Romanum,” is interlinked with the excavations.