• Archaeology,  Art,  History

    The Face of Cleopatra

    A 3-D image of Cleopatra has been rendered by computer imaging based on images from ancient artifacts. Egyptologist Sally Ann Ashton of Cambridge University says the image(s) reflect the Queen’s Greek heritage. Cleopatra was born in 69BC into an Egyptian – Greek dynasty. She took the throne at 17 and by 20 had seduced Julius Ceasar…

  • Archaeology,  History,  Science

    Mammoth DNA sequenced – from Ebay

    Researchers at PennState have published the DNA sequence of an extinct Woolly Mammoth; see the news article at, or the November 20, 2008 issue of Nature for a paper by Miller, et al. (Nature 456, 387-390: “Sequencing the nuclear genome of the extinct woolly mammoth“). Mammoths went extinct some 10,000 years ago, but have been found preserved in Russian permafrost. The hair from one of these preserved (mummified) ancient beasts was used to retrieve DNA. Hair is useful for such extractions as it is relatively easy to wash away contaminating (foreign) DNA. One tidbit that I found quite interesting: where did the researchers get the Mammoth hair? They bought…

    Comments Off on Mammoth DNA sequenced – from Ebay
  • Archaeology,  Books

    Secret of Egypt’s Great Pyramid – Bob Brier

    Thursday evening Dylan and I went to see Prof. Bob Brier give a talk on the Secret of Egypt’s Great Pyramid. He presented evidence that supports French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin’s theory that an *interior* ramp was built and used to raise the huge blocks to the top of the 480-ft. high Great Pyramid of Giza. A few *million* such blocks (averaging about 2.5 tons each) were used to construct the pyramid. Fascinating talk/slide show. After the talk Prof. Brier was signing copies of his book, The Secret of the Great Pyramid. He inscribed my copy with the neatest inscription I have yet to get from an author. He wrote an…

    Comments Off on Secret of Egypt’s Great Pyramid – Bob Brier
  • Archaeology,  Art

    World’s Oldest Animation

    A 5200 year-old goblet (see image below) from the Burnt City in Iran has a series of images depicting a wild goat jumping up to get leaves from a tree. The animation shown is from an 11-minute documentary about the goblet (which was actually found ~1970). Basically, if you take each image in succession (like a flip-book), you get the animation. Neat. Note that the post-revolutionary Iranian archaeologists kinda got things wrong; they attribute the tree on the goblet to the “Assyrian Tree of Life”. But the goblet is from 1000 years before any mention of the Assyrian civilization in historical records. Ooops.

    Comments Off on World’s Oldest Animation