#Archaeology; #Rome; #RareStone; #Discovery
New York/Canadian-Media: Archaeologists have discovered a rare stone delineating the city limits of ancient Rome that dates from the age of Emperor Claudius in 49 A.D. and was found during excavations for a new sewage system, https://phys.org/news reported.
Photographers take pictures during the presentation to the press of an archeological finding emerged during the excavations at a Mausoleum in Rome, Friday, July 16, 2021. The monumental pomerial stone is dating back to Roman Emperor Claudio and was used to mark the 'pomerium' the sacred boundaries of the 'Urbe', the city of Rome, during the Roman empire. Image Credit: AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis
Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi was on hand for the unveiling Friday of the pomerial stone, a huge slab of travertine that was used as a sacred, military and political perimeter marking the edge of the city proper with Rome's outer territory.
It was found June 17 during excavations for a rerouted sewer under the recently restored mausoleum of Emperor Augustus, right off the central Via del Corso in Rome's historic center.
In ancient Rome, the area of the pomerium was a consecrated piece of land along the city walls, where it was forbidden to farm, live or build and through which it was forbidden to enter with weapons.
At a press conference in the Ara Pacis museum near the mausoleum, Claudio Parisi Presicce, director of the Archaeological Museums of Rome, said the stone had both civic and symbolic meaning.
"The founding act of the city of Rome starts from the realization of this 'pomerium,''' he said of the consecrated area. The stone features an inscription that allowed archaeologists to date it to Claudius and the expansion of the pomerium in 49 A.D., which established Rome's new city limits.
Raggi noted that only 10 other stones of this kind had been discovered in Rome, the last one 100 years ago.
"Rome never ceases to amaze and always shows off its new treasures," she said.
The stone will be on display at the Ara Pacis museum, the Richard Meier-designed home of a 1st century altar until the Augustus museum opens.
#YukonTerritory; #Canada; #cellularLifeInEarth; #graptolites; #lowOxygen; #plantLife
Yukon/Canadian-Media: Hundreds of millions of years ago, in the middle of what would eventually become Canada's Yukon Territory, an ocean swirled with armored trilobites, clam-like brachiopods and soft, squishy creatures akin to slugs and squid, in Science Advances publication reported.
A trove of fossils and rock layers formed on that ancient ocean floor have now been unearthed by an international team of scientists along the banks of the Peel River a few hundred miles south of the Arctic's Beaufort Sea. The discovery reveals oxygen changes at the seafloor across nearly 120 million years of the early Paleozoic era, a time that fostered the most rapid development and diversification of complex, multi-cellular life in Earth's history.
Ordovician black shales of the Mount Hare Formation, Road River Group (approximately 465 million years old) rise above conglomerates of the Aberdeen Member. The dangerous rapids of Aberdeen Canyon (Nan Zhak Nadhàdlaii), created by the Peel River cutting through the resistant conglomerates, appear at bottom left. Credit: Erik Sperling
Oxygen was scarce in the deep water of this and other oceans at the dawn of the Paleozoic, roughly 541 million years ago. It stayed scarce until the Devonian, roughly 405 million years ago, when, in a geological blink—no more than a few million years—oxygen likely rocketed to levels close to those in modern oceans and the diversity of life on Earth exploded. Big, predatory fish appeared. Primitive ferns and conifers marched across continents previously ruled by bacteria and algae. Dragonflies took flight. And all of this after nearly four billion years of Earth's landscapes being virtually barren.
Scientists have long debated what might have caused the dramatic shift from a low oxygen world to a more oxygenated one that could support a diverse web of animal life. But until now, it has been difficult to pin down the timing of global oxygenation or the long-term, background state of the world's oceans and atmosphere during the era that witnessed both the so-called Cambrian explosion of life and the first of Earth's "Big Five" mass extinctions, about 445 million years ago at the end of the Ordovician.
"In order to make comparisons throughout these huge swaths of our history and understand long-term trends, you need a continuous record," said Sperling, an assistant professor of geological sciences at Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth).
Context for past life
With permission from the Na Cho Nyak Dun and Tetlit Gwitch'in communities in Yukon, Sperling's team, which included researchers from Dartmouth College and the Yukon Geological Survey, spent three summers at the Peel River site. Arriving by helicopter, the research team hacked through brush with machetes beside Class VI rapids to collect hundreds of fist-sized samples of rock from more than a mile of interbedded layers of shale, chert and lime mudstone.
Back at Sperling's lab at Stanford, a small army of summer undergraduates and graduate students worked over five summers to help analyze the fossils and chemicals entombed in the rocks. "We spent a lot of time splitting open rocks and looking at graptolite fossils," Sperling said. Because graptolites evolved a vast array of recognizable body shapes relatively quickly, the pencil-like markings left by the fossils of these colony-dwelling sea creatures give geologists a way to date the rocks in which they're found.
Once the researchers had finished identifying and dating graptolite fossils, they ground the rocks in a mill, then measured iron, carbon, phosphorous and other elements in the resulting powder to assess the ocean conditions at the time and place where the layers formed. They analyzed 837 new samples from the Peel River site, as well as 106 new samples from other parts of Canada and 178 samples from around the world for comparison.
Winners and losers
The data show low oxygen levels, or anoxia, likely persisted in the world's oceans for millions of years longer than previously thought—well into the Phanerozoic, when land plants and early animals began to diversify. "The early animals were still living in a low oxygen world," Sperling said. Contrary to long-held assumptions, the scientists found Paleozoic oceans were also surprisingly free of hydrogen sulfide, a respiratory toxin often found in the anoxic regions of modern oceans.
When oxygen eventually did tick upward in marine environments, it came about just as larger, more complex plant life took off. "There's a ton of debate about how plants impacted the Earth system," Sperling said. "Our results are consistent with a hypothesis that as plants evolved and covered the Earth, they increased nutrients to the ocean, driving oxygenation." In this hypothesis, the influx of nutrients to the sea would have given a boost to primary productivity, a measure of how quickly plants and algae take carbon dioxide and sunlight, turn them into new biomass—and release oxygen in the process.
#ArcheologicalScience; #ForensicTechniques; #3000YearOldSharkAttackVictim; #SeaOfJapaneseArchipelago; #KyotoUniversity
London (England)/Canadian-Media: Discovery of a 3,000-year-old victim—attacked by a shark in the Seto Inland Sea of the Japanese archipelago was revealed by Oxford-led researchers that was published in Journal of Archeological Science: Reports, phys.org reported last month.
Original excavation photograph of Tsukumo No. 24, courtesy of the Laboratory of Physical Anthropology, Kyoto University. Image Credit: Kyoto University
According to the research, this body is the earliest direct evidence for a shark attack on a human.
A careful recreation of the event was produced by an international research team using a combination of archeological science and forensic techniques.
Oxford researchers at Kyoto University, Schulting, J. Alyssa White and Professor Rick investigated evidence for violent trauma on the skeletal remains of prehistoric hunter-gatherers and continued,
"The injuries were mainly confined to the arms, legs, and front of the chest and abdomen. Through a process of elimination, we ruled out human conflict and more commonly-reported animal predators or scavengers," phys.org reported last month.
Since archeological cases of shark reports are extremely rare, they turned to forensic shark attack cases for clues and worked with expert George Burgess, Director Emeritus of the Florida Program for Shark Research.
The team came to the conclusion that the individual died more than 3,000 years ago, between 1370 to 1010 BC. The distribution of wounds strongly suggest the victim was alive at the time of attack; his left hand was sheared off, possibly a defense wound.
Excavation records showed he was also missing his right leg and his left leg was placed on top of his body in an inverted position and the pair was able to conclude that he was the victim of a shark attack and added,
"based on the character and distribution of the tooth marks, the most likely species responsible was either a tiger or white shark," reported by phys.org last month.
Co-author Dr. Mark Hudson, a researcher with the Max Planck Institute, says,
"The Neolithic people of Jomon Japan exploited a range of marine resources... It's not clear if Tsukumo 24 was deliberately targeting sharks or if the shark was attracted by blood or bait from other fish. Either way, this find not only provides a new perspective on ancient Japan, but is also a rare example of archeologists being able to reconstruct a dramatic episode in the life of a prehistoric community," phys.org reported last month.