In ancient times, when things went wrong in battle or the economy, people blamed leaders (if they didn't like them) or the Gods (if they liked the leaders) but maybe they should have blamed global warming. Errr, and cooling.
A new study in Science uses the same techniques as dendrochronology to map the rise and fall of empires and cultures as it was recorded in tree rings - and then to weather conditions.
A cave inside some remote mountains of Armenia contain what is being called the oldest winery yet discovered, dating back to around 4,100 B.C., 1,000 years earlier than previous finds.
The discovery was made in the same mysterious Armenian cave complex where ancient leather shoe was found last summer.
This is the oldest complete wine production facility ever found, including grape seeds, withered grape vines, remains of pressed grapes, a rudimentary wine press, a clay vat apparently used for fermentation, wine-soaked potsherds, and even a cup and drinking bowl.
If you think people in your family can't cook, imagine how bad the soup must have been to bury it and leave it untouched for 2,400 years.
Chinese archaeologists say a bronze cooking pot dug up near the former capital Xian (for 1,100 years - go see the terracotta army at the burial site of Qin Shihuang, the first emperor, there) contains bone soup. They found it while excavating a tomb because they need an extension of the airport - nothing new, China is sort of like a "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" opening when it comes to history getting in the way of Progress.
Less than 8,000 years ago, evidence shows modern people suddenly appeared en masse outside Africa, on the shores of the Persian Gulf. An odd event, to be sure.
Jeffrey Rose, writing in Current Anthroplogy, now says the reason is that the land that brought them there more gradually is now under the Gulf itself.
It makes sense as a hypothesis - you don't just go from sporadic hunting camps to dozens of archaeological sites without a trail, unless the trail is underwater. Rose believes the that humans may have inhabited a fertile land mass where the Gulf now is for up to 100,000 years and it gradually became flooded by the Indian Ocean.
Amelia Carolina Sparavigna in the department of physics of Politecnico di Torino says she has discovered geoglyphs, essentially earthwork graphic designs carved into the landscape, near Lake Titicaca is in the Andes Mountains on the border of Peru and Bolivia.
And she did it using Google.
You may not be able to see it so clearly but time and wear would certainly have made geoglyphs less obvious, though how and why anyone would have made them is also not obvious - unless they were insuring some deity or another could see something more interesting than farmers when they looked down.
"So did you watch "Big Trouble In Little China?" I asked Patrick. He did, he replied, while coding away.
"So you saw what I mean. Chinese people got a lot of Hells, which is bad, but at least they're apparently easy to find. Western religion has just one, but good luck locating it. In that movie they just go under some old guy's house and there it is and they get to fight Raiden(1) and stuff and save the world. If I want to find Hell, I am stuck going into "Revelations" and that isn't much help at all."
It's been hard for archaeologists to pin down the extent of idle wealth in ancient people, but it is generally believed only those in the richest locations, like capital cities, had it.
A recent discovery, in an urban context and at an orderly archaeological dig, may be of great significance in learning about ancient people outside large cities. Most small pieces of art originating in the Near East are of unknown origin, having been displaced through illegal antique trade, or purchased by museums and collectors before scientific archaeological research began, but an ornately designed signet ring of Apollo may lend some insight into the economic state of ancient Phoenicians.
Tolerance has meant different things in different eras. For some religions in the past, there was a 'convert or die' mentality, which tended to drive out competitors but, at least when it comes to works of art, old religions have always survived.
A fresco of Tyche, the Greek goddess of fortune from the Byzantine period had been discovered at the Sussita site, on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee, and a maenad, one of the companions of the wine god Dionysus, was found also. The city of Sussita is located within the Sussita National Park under the management of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.
An archaeological team has discovered the oldest Roman baths in Asia Minor - underneath existing Roman baths. Location: Sagalassos, Turkey, which was inhabited as a city until the 7th century AD, when it was destroyed by earthquakes.
Prior to the Sagalassos discovery, the Capito Baths in Miletus, built during the reign of Emperor Claudius (41-54 AD), were the oldest known Roman bathing complex in Asia Minor.
The great thing about being a bureaucrat in a dictatorship is you can take credit for everything that happens in your personal fiefdom and treat people like garbage and there is no recourse. Well, almost no recourse. Those guys working for Saddam Hussein didn't fare all that well when their boss started floating rumors he had weapons of mass destruction, but generally the life of a senior guy in a dictatorship is pretty good.