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Blast from the past — a mostly-history edition.
But first, just to keep you on your toes, here’s a blast from the future that’s in the past (2nd Indy trailer), and from the past that’s in the future (new Star Trek prequel movie). 😉

  • Vikings: from ram-raiders to fishmongers.
  • Wraps come off Westminster Abbey’s carpet of stone — a medieval mosaic foretelling the end of the world.
  • Neanderthals were separate species, says new human family tree.
  • Is our fragile relationship with Nature simply a feature of the modern age, or a recurrent feature of the last ten millennia of farming? What if we look back further still – were things more stable when there were only hunters and gatherers in the world? Martin Jones’ book, Feast: Why Humans Share Food, is available at Amazon US & UK.
  • African rock art: The continent’s true history.
  • The pharaoh Akhenaten – so strange-looking his family kept him hidden from public view until he ascended the throne – is to be the focus of this year’s Historical Clinicopatholoical Conference, held each year to diagnose disorders that afflicted prominent historical figures.
  • Scientists chip away at mystery of Stonehenge.
  • Evoking the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, when the Ark of the Covenant is crated and carted into obscurity inside a cavernous government archive, artifacts from a $10m archaeological dig now languish in storage.
  • In his knockout book The Jesus Sayings: The Quest for His Authentic Message (Amazon US & UK), author Rex Weyler sorts myth from history, and explains why we need both.
  • Having undergone massive renovations over the past year, the oldest archaeological site in North America – the Rockshelter at Meadowcroft – is to reopen to the public on Saturday. More.
  • Corporate jollies to oust ‘cultural fuddy-duddies’ from Pompeii ruins.
  • Did LSD change Britain?
  • Rainforest seeds revive lost paradise.
  • Off Chile, signs of hope for whales.
  • Sinking without a trace: Australia’s climate change victims.
  • Straight out of Hitchcock (and maybe Earthfiles): Huge flocks of ravens are on a killing spree, attacking defenceless victims and eating them alive.
  • The world’s first bionic sea creature.
  • Ape Genius reveals depth of animal intelligence.
  • 3-Foot-Diameter Sphere Retrieved By Ambulance in Decatur, Alabama. “…the best I can describe it is a giant pearl – a shiny, white sphere.”
  • Strange aerial lights like Texas — but now photographed in Indiana, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
  • Who knows what evil lurks? Tourism Bureau offers $50,000 reward for definitive answer.
  • Is that lettuce really out to get you?

Quote of the Day:

Thirty thousand years ago there were at least four species of Homo alive on earth. When reflecting on our own evolutionary success, it is salutary to remember that our close relatives have not shared in that success. To be blunt, the hominid line as a whole has been short-lived and is mostly extinct. We are the exceptions, and are so because we are avid experimenters, compulsive chancers. That is how, in an epoch when the climate has grown more changeable, and Nature more fickle, we have spread to all latitudes and all parts of the globe.

Martin Jones, George Pitt-Rivers Professor of Archaeological Science at the University of Cambridge