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luni, 15 octombrie 2012

Zeugma After the Flood

It wasn't good policy that saved ancient Zeugma. It was a good story. In 2000, the construction of the massive Birecik Dam on the Euphrates River, less than a mile from the site, began to flood the entire area in southern Turkey. Immediately, a ticking time-bomb narrative of the waters, which were rising an average of four inches per day for six months, brought Zeugma and its plight global fame. The water, which soon would engulf the archaeological remains, also brought increasing urgency to salvage efforts and emergency excavations that had already been taking place at the site, located about 500 miles from Istanbul, for almost a year.

Saudi eases access to long-hidden ancient ruins

AL-HIJR, Saudi Arabia — Fully draped in a black veil, Irish blonde Angela Miskelly stares out in awe as she strolls through Al-Hijr, the ancient Saudi city of tombs carved into rose-coloured sandstone mountains.

"Spectacular... wonderful... breathtaking," she says. "But where are the tourists? If we had a site like this in my country, we would have millions of tourists!"

Dating back to the second century BC, the Nabataean archaeological site, also known as Madain Saleh, has long been hidden from foreign visitors in this ultra-conservative kingdom that rarely opens up to tourists.

Choquequirao: Re-discovering Machu Picchu's 'sacred sister'

I'm seated cross-legged on a narrow terrace thousands of feet above the raging Apurimac River, the jagged silhouettes of the Peruvian Andes before me, the glowing stones of a 15th-century Incan wall warming my back.

And all I can think about is how insanely lucky I am to have this place all to myself.

Thirty miles away as the crow flies, thousands of sweaty, camera-toting tourists are jockeying for position in various lines at Machu Picchu: one to purchase a few squares of toilet paper; one to climb the sacred Huayna Picchu Mountain; another to board one of the smoke-belching people-movers that deliver roughly 3,000 pilgrims daily to the world-famous archeological site.

Tomb of Mayan snake lord discovered in Guatamala

Archaeologists say they've discovered what could be the tomb of one of the greatest Mayan rulers, the seventh-century warrior queen Lady K'abel.

The tomb was revealed during digging at the ancient Maya city of El Perú-Waka' in the rain forest of northern Guatemala. Alongside the body, excavators found a white jar shaped like a conch shell with the head and arm of a woman carved at the opening. The artifact had four hieroglyphs that suggest it belonged to K'abel.

Maya watchtowers marked astronomical seasons

Experts in Mexico say they have determined that the ancient Maya used watchtower-style structures at the temple complex of Chichen Itza to observe the equinoxes and solstices.

The bases of the structures were found atop the walls of the long ceremonial court, where a ritual ball game was played. But to determine their use, archaeologists first had to rebuild the small, stone-roofed structures.

Archaeology: Crete, 3500-year-old Minoan building found

An accidental meeting in 1982 between a well-known Greek archaeologist, Yannis Sakellarakis, and a shepherd from Crete has led to an archaeological discovery of great importance Zominthos, a settlement from the Minoan era on the plain by the same name, 1.187 metres above the sea. The settlement is at the feet of the highest mountain in Crete, Mount Psiloritis, eight kilometres from the village of Anogia along the road which led from Knossos to Ideon Andron, the cave where Zeus was born according to Greek mythology.

Can You Make a Laser from a Black Hole?

Is there any object more alluringly mysterious in the cosmos than black holes? How about their mirror image, white holes? Put the two together, and you just might have an intriguing concept for a unique kind of laser -- one that a team of Scottish physicists think they might actually be able to build in the lab, using analog versions of white holes and black holes.

A black hole can be visualized as a large funnel with a long throat. If you “cut” the throat and join it to a second black hole that has been flipped over (a white hole), you get an hourglass shape, with a thin filament connecting each end. Technically it's known as an Einstein-Rosen bridge (named for Albert Einstein and his collaborator, Nathan Rosen), an early theoretical incarnation of a wormhole.