Oldest European Inland US Fort Found In Appalachians

Spanish moat, corner bastion, entryway, looking north. (Credit: Image courtesy of University of Michigan)

Oldest European fort in the inland U.S. discovered in Appalachians

Posted: 23 Jul 2013 08:37 AM PDT

The remains of the earliest European fort in the interior of what is now the United States have been discovered by a team of archaeologists, providing new insight into the start of the U.S. colonial era and the all-too-human reasons spoiling Spanish dreams of gold and glory.
Spanish Captain Juan Pardo and his men built Fort San Juan in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in 1567, nearly 20 years before Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colony” at Roanoke and 40 years before the Jamestown settlement established England’s presence in the region.





It’s Gone Now — Mayan temple in Belize used for road fill is not the first one destroyed


Mayan Pyramid Destroyed to Get Rocks for Road Project

Read more:  http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/05/mayan-pyramid-destroyed-to-get-rocks-for-road-project/#ixzz2Tl9Q7Dfe

Another Mayan Ruin in Belize. Not the one that was  destroyed. Image: Rita  Alexandrea


In Belize, they needed to build a road. Roads require rocks, there happened  to be a really convenient, large pile of rocks for the construction team to use  nearby. It also happened to be one of the largest Mayan pyramids in the country.  Now that pyramid is gone, destroyed by bulldozers and backhoes.

The construction company building the road appears to have extracted crushed  rocks from the pyramid to use as road fill. The pyramid, called the Nohmul  complex, is at least 2,300 years old and sits on the border of Belize and  Mexico. It’s over 100 feet tall, the largest pyramid in Belize left over from  the Mayans.

Jaime Awe, the head of the Belize Institute of Archaeology said that the news  was “like being punched in the stomach.” The pyramid was, he said, very clearly  an ancient structure, so there’s no chance the team didn’t realize what they  were doing. “These guys knew that this was an ancient structure. It’s just  bloody laziness,” Awe  told CBS News. He also said:

“Just to realize that the ancient Maya acquired all this building material to  erect these buildings, using nothing more than stone tools and quarried the  stone, and carried this material on their heads, using tump lines. To think that  today we have modern equipment, that you can go and excavate in a quarry  anywhere, but that this company would completely disregard that and completely  destroyed this building. Why can’t these people just go and quarry somewhere  that has no cultural significance? It’s mind-boggling.”

And it turns out that this is an ongoing problem in Belize. The country is  littered with ruins (although none as large as Nohmul), and construction  companies are constantly bulldozing them for road fill. An archaeologist at  Boston University said that several other sites have already been destroyed by  construction to use the rocks for building infrastructure. There isn’t much in  the way of protection or management of these sites in Belize, so many people who  live in the country either aren’t aware of their significance, or aren’t taught  to care.

The  Huffington Post has photographs from the scene, showing backhoes and  bulldozers chipping away at the stone structure. HuffPo ends this story on a  lighter note, pointing out that due to the destruction, archaeologists can now  see the inner workings of the pyramid and the ways they were built.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Why  Did the Mayan Civilization Collapse? A New Study Points to Deforestation and  Climate Change Spectral  Images of a Mayan Temple

Read more:  http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/smartnews/2013/05/mayan-pyramid-destroyed-to-get-rocks-for-road-project/#ixzz2Tl92GQqV

Humans made cheese 7,500 years ago


Humans made cheese 7,500 years ago, researchers say

Posted 2012/12/12 at 2:17 pm EST

LONDON, Dec. 12, 2012 (Reuters) — Scientists have found the earliest evidence of prehistoric cheese-making from a study of 7,500-year-old pottery fragments that are perforated just like modern cheese strainers.

Milk production and dairy processing allowed early farmers to produce food without slaughtering precious livestock, and making cheese turned milk into a less perishable food that was more digestible for a population who at the time would have been intolerant to the lactose contained in milk.

Researchers from the University of Bristol in Britain, with colleagues in the United States and Poland, analyzed fatty acids embedded in prehistoric pottery from the Polish region of Kuyavia, and found they had been used to separate milk into fat-rich curds for cheese and lactose-containing whey.

“The presence of milk residues in sieves … constitutes the earliest direct evidence for cheese-making,” said Mélanie Salque from Bristol, one of the authors of the research, which was published in the journal Nature.

Peter Bogucki, another researcher involved in the work, said: “Making cheese allowed them to reduce the lactose content of milk, and we know that, at that time, most of the humans were not tolerant to lactose.”

Milk residues have been found at ancient sites up to 8,000 years old in Turkey and Libya, but there was no evidence that the milk had been processed into cheese.

Until now, the earliest evidence of cheese-making came from depictions of milk processing in murals several thousand years younger than the pottery fragments.

The researchers believe other vessels found in the same region were used for other specific purposes. Jars lined with beeswax were probably for storing water, and pottery containing the remnants of carcass fats was probably used for cooking meat.

“It is truly remarkable, the depth of insights into ancient human diet and food processing technologies these ancient fats preserved in archaeological ceramics are now providing us with,” said Richard Evershed, who heads the Bristol team.