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Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in Europe following the Stone Age, sweeping away the previous egalitarian Neolithic period and replacing it with hierarchical societies which were ruled by a powerful elite.
It is likely his power stemmed from advances in technology such as metal working and wheeled transport which enabled organised warfare for the first time.
Although it is not known who he was, or where he lived, scientists say he must have existed because of genetic variation in today’s European populations.
Dr Chris Tyler-Smith, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, said: “One of the most novel and exciting things we have found in the study is the extraordinary explosion in numbers of males at specific times.
“In Europe there was huge population expansion in just a few generations. Genetics can’t tell us why it happened but we know that a tiny number of elite males were controlling reproduction and dominating the population.
“Half of the Western European population is descended from just one man. We can only speculate as to what happened. The best explanation is that they may have resulted from advances in technology that could be controlled by small groups of men.
“Wheeled transport, metal working and organised warfare are all candidate explanations that can now be investigated further.”
The study analysed sequence differences between the Y chromosomes of more than 1200 men from 26 populations around the world using data generated by the 1000 Genomes Project.
The Y chromosome is only passed from father to son and so is wholly linked to male characteristics and behaviours. Mutations reveal which are related to each other and how far apart they are genetically so that researchers can build a family tree.
Dr Yali Xue, lead author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, explained: “This pattern tells us that there was an explosive increase in the number of men carrying a certain type of Y chromosome, within just a few generations.
“We only observed this phenomenon in males, and only in a few groups of men.”
The team used the data to build a tree of the 1200 Y chromosomes. It shows how they are all related to one another. As expected, they all descend from a single man who lived approximately 190,000 years ago.
The most intriguing and novel finding was that some parts of the tree were more like a bush than a tree, with many branches originating at the same point.
The earliest explosive increases of male numbers occurred 50,000–55,000 years ago, across Asia and Europe, and 15,000 years ago in the Americas.
There were also later expansions in sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, South Asia and East Asia, at times between 4,000 and 8,000 years ago. The team believes the earlier population increases resulted from the first peopling by modern humans of vast continents, where plenty of resources were available.
Dr David Poznik, from Stanford University, California, first author on the paper, said: “We identified more than 60,000 positions where one DNA letter was replaced by another in a man with modern descendants, and we discovered thousands of more complex DNA variants.
“These data constitute a rich and publicly available resource for further genealogical, historical and forensic studies.”
The research was published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Sarah Knapton, science editor
25 APRIL 2016 • 6:14PM
Posted by Chance
28th April 2016ce
The Ancient Copper mines dug by children
From the summit of the Great Orme, the landscape looks as peaceful as it is striking – all rolling green hills and farmland stretching out to the blue Irish Sea.
But the headland that rises over Llandudno, Wales has a secret, one that lay buried for thousands of years.
More than five miles (8km) of tunnels run beneath the hill's surface. Spreading across nine different levels and reaching 230 feet (70m) deep, some are so narrow that only children would be small enough to access them.
These are the tunnels of a copper mine: one that was first dug out some 3,800 years ago and that, within a couple of centuries, was the largest in Britain.
Posted by moss
25th April 2016ce
Nan Shepherd to appear on Scottish bank note
Great news! Scientist Mary Somerville too.
Robert Macfarlane, writer and Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, welcomed the choice of Ms Shepherd for the £5 note.
He said: "It is thrilling to see Nan Shepherd celebrated and commemorated in this way.
"Nan was a blazingly brilliant writer, a true original whose novels, poems and non-fiction broke new ground in Scottish literature, and her influence lives on powerfully today."
Posted by tjj
25th April 2016ce
NT Crackdown on Ridgeway during Avebury Solstice
Western Daily Press
The National Trust and Wiltshire Police are to crack down on the 'number and behaviour' of people camping on Britain's oldest roads – the ancient Ridgeway near Avebury – for the summer solstice.
A new plan has been drawn up by the Trust, which owns the stone circle in the Wiltshire village, to clamp down on the growing numbers of people staying outside the village and blocking the Ridgeway, which runs along the hillside just to the east of the village.
The crackdown will also see more enforcement of tighter new parking restrictions at Avebury village itself, as the National Trust aims to curb the excesses of the revellers who gather there.
The move follows hugely controversial measures put in place by English Heritage for the summer solstice at Stonehenge, including charging £15 to park cars in the temporary car park, and banning alcohol on the site for the night.
While the crowds can reach 40,000 at Stonehenge to see the sunrise on the longest day in June, the solstice at Avebury is a much smaller affair. Crowds there can reach 5,000, and there already has been one major crackdown on what went on there.
There was absolute chaos in 2005 and 2006 when so many people parked all over the village that they completely blocked the main A361 Swindon to Devizes road, which runs through Avebury. During the 2000s, residents also complained consistently of drunken, loutish behaviour by revellers, including finding people vomiting, sleeping, urinating or defecating in their gardens. Many residents still go away for the two days either side of the solstice to avoid the event.
The National Trust and police clamped down on parking. It is no longer allowed anywhere outside the existing visitors' car park, which fills up almost as soon as it is opened on the eve of the solstice, and camper vans are banned.
But increasing numbers of people are heading to Avebury – anecdotally to avoid increased regulation at Stonehenge – and many camp wild along the Ridgeway, which is a short walk across the fields from Avebury village, and affords amazing views over the stone circle and Silbury Hill.
The Ridgeway there is the start of an ancient road that runs all the way to East Anglia and dates back to at least the creation of the Avebury stone circle more than 5,000 years ago.
The Trust said it wanted to make 'Solstice a more peaceful occasion', and its plan would make the celebrations at Avebury 'safe for everyone and respectful of the World Heritage Site'.
As part of the plan, the Police and Wiltshire Council will increase patrols on the Ridgeway – a byway east of Avebury where the number and behaviour of people gathering during Solstice has become a problem.
The National Trust said regular patrols of the byway 'will ensure safety, keep access along the byway open and prosecute and remove those found to be breaking the law'.
Jan Tomlin, the National Trust's General Manager in Avebury, said: "We want the Solstice at Avebury to continue to be known for being a peaceful, respectful occasion which all those who care most about the henge and the village would want it to be – that is why we are taking this action."
"As landowner we are concerned about the safety of anybody using our land – including the Ridgeway. A robust management plan as proposed and enforced by the council and Police is the right thing," she added.
Philip Whitehead, Wiltshire council's highways boss, said he was 'delighted' action was being taken. "I am delighted we are taking a real partnership approach to tackling the challenges the Summer Solstice brings to Avebury," he said. "It is a real team effort, and I look forward to another successfully managed event."
Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/National-Trust-crackdown-Avebury-solstice/story-29147628-detail/story.html
Posted by Chance
22nd April 2016ce
5,000 years of history unearthed on MOD land in Bulford
“The archaeological work that uncovered these exciting remains was undertaken as part of the normal planning process and we are pleased that, as a result, it has been agreed some of the most significant archaeology will be preserved within the planned open space. The remains date from the prehistoric to the modern periods and add new chapters to the story of Bulford. These finds are a great example of the fantastic range of archaeology that lies unseen under our county waiting to be rediscovered, and how sustainable development can help to tell us more about our past.”
A further phase of excavation is planned to examine the two prehistoric monuments beside which the Saxon cemetery was established. These appear to consist of Early Bronze Age round barrows that may have earlier, Neolithic origins. They are likely to be granted scheduled monument protection by Historic England and will be preserved in situ in a part of the site that will remain undeveloped. Neolithic pits outside the monuments contained decorated ‘Grooved Ware’ pottery, stone and flint axes, a finely made disc-shaped flint knife, a chalk bowl, and the bones of red deer, roe deer and aurochs (extinct wild cattle).
Posted by tjj
15th April 2016ce
Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave art 10000yrs older than thought
"Some of the world's oldest prehistoric artwork, located in the Chauvet-Pont d'Arc cave in southeastern France, is actually 10,000 years older than previously thought, researchers said Tuesday.
The red and black cave drawings contained in the cave are more than 30,000 years old, according to a radiocarbon dating study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a peer-reviewed US journal."
Posted by thesweetcheat
13th April 2016ce
Booze banned from summer solstice celebrations
BOOZE will be banned from summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge, English Heritage has confirmed.
And drivers will have to fork out £15 to park at the Stones, in a bid to reduce the number of cars at the event.
When the plans were unveiled in February it led to a "pay to pray policy" accusation from senior druid King Arthur Pendragon.
Bosses at Stonehenge say the reason behind introducing a £15 parking charge is encourage more people to car share and use public transport.
They also believe that banning alcohol will "reduce the risk to those attending and to the monument itself". Drinking will not be allowed anywhere in the monument field.
Part of the reasons for the changes is the increase in numbers to Stonehenge for the summer solstice. In 2000, approximately 10,000 people attended while in 2014, the figure was close to 40,000. That same year, the stones were vandalised during both the summer and winter solstice celebrations.
Money raised from the new charges would go towards supporting £60,000 a year cost of maintaining the visitor centre car park. Kate Davies, Stonehenge’s General Manager, said: “Over the last 15 years we have seen a huge increase in the number of people celebrating the summer solstice at Stonehenge. We have limited parking facilities and we believe the parking charge will encourage more people to car share or travel by bus.
“We’ve also seen more drunken and disrespectful behaviour. Something has to be done or we risk losing what makes solstice at Stonehenge so special.
“These changes will help us to better look after both those attending the solstice and the ancient monument itself.
“Since we proposed these changes, we’ve had a lot of support from the public and from across all the different groups who help to organise the solstice celebrations.”
English Heritage also said it was mindful of how alcohol was used by some druids during ceremonial practice and would be consulting with the community on how moderate use of ritual alcohol.
Posted by tjj
7th April 2016ce
Showing 1-10 of 2,287 news posts. Most recent first | Next 10