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Study uncovers new evidence supporting Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis

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The Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH) proposes that a cometary or meteoric body exploded over the North American area sometime around 12,900-years-ago.

Proponents of this theory suggest that the event triggered the Younger Dryas (YD) cooling period at the end of the Last Glacial Period, leading to the extinction of Pleistocene megafauna and the decline of the Clovis archaeological culture.

One of the obvious arguments against the YDIH is the apparent lack of craters from the time of the impact. However, according to a new study published in the Science Open Journal“As of now, we don’t have a crater or craters,” said Christopher Moore, an archaeologist at the University of South Carolina and an author of the study.

Computer simulations have shown that a comet could explode before reaching the ground, creating a shock wave capable of widespread impacts without leaving a distinct crater in the planet’s geology.

According to Moore, minerals and artefacts found in the soil strata from the YD period are “proxies” of a comet strike—findings that are not direct evidence, but which do tell a story.

This is supported by ice cores from Greenland, in which the study has found elevated levels of combustion aerosols that indicate a massive prehistoric fire occurred at the start of the YD.

Supporting Moore’s argument are traces of platinum in sites across Syria and South Carolina, a rare metal but abundant in comets, and microscopic balls of iron called “microspherules” at various locations across the globe, suggesting some ancient event transported melted iron on a global scale.

A more recent discovery involves “shock-fractured quartz” found in South Carolina, Maryland and New Jersey. The minerals have microscopic cracks where quartz morphed into melted silica through a significant impact event.

Excavations of the YD period layer at all three locations have revealed significantly higher quantities of shock-fractured quartz, platinum, and microspherules, compared to soil strata from earlier and later periods.

According to the study: “This was the first time that shock-fractured quartz has been found at the YD depth at multiple sites. But it’s also one of the first studies to look for shock-fractured quartz, so additional samples may surface in more widespread studies.”

Moore’s findings suggest that a comet struck the earth, scattered minerals far and wide, and caused a massive fire that could have consumed the plants eaten by giant mammals, while the smoke resulting from the fire could have triggered a period of global cooling, namely, the YD.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : University of South Carolina | Christopher R. Moore, Malcolm A. LeCompte and James P. Kennett et al. Platinum, shock-fractured quartz, microspherules, and meltglass widely distributed in Eastern USA at the Younger Dryas onset (12.8 ka). Airbursts and Cratering Impacts. 2024. Vol. 2(1). DOI: 10.14293/ACI.2024.0003

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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Study reveals new insights into life at “German Stonehenge”

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Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the “German Stonehenge”, has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.

In a recent study conducted by the State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology (LDA) of Saxony-Anhalt, archaeologists are employing various scientific methods to offer new insights into the site’s ritual and settlement landscape.

The study has identified house locations of the Corded Ware culture (26th to 23rd century BC), and an associated settlement pit containing ceramic sherds, an axe head and flint blades. Until now, Corded Ware settlement could only be attributed to individual finds that had been relocated, and not to actual structures on the site.

Also associated with the Corded Ware culture is a storage area with 78 grain silo pits that held various types of gain, including wheat, barley, and spelt. Archaeologists already know that Corded Ware people lived on a balanced diet with animal products, further indicated by drinking vessels from burials at Ringheiligtum Pömmelte that contained traces of dairy products.

While the scientific analyses and the interpretation of the results with various specialists continue, excavations at Pömmelte will last until mid-July 2024.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

Sources : State Office for Monument Preservation and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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3,400-year-old shipwreck found with cargo mostly intact

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Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit have discovered a 3,400-year-old shipwreck with the cargo mostly intact.

The site was first identified during an underwater survey by Energean, an energy company searching for natural gas deposits beneath the Mediterranean Sea Floor.

This led to the discovery of the shipwreck and its cargo at a depth of 1.8 kilometers, along with its cargo that consists of Late Bronze Age Canaanite storage vessels.

IAA archaeologists, in collaboration with Energean, have used the deep sea exploratory vessel, “Energean Star” to conduct a visual inspection of the wreck site. This has revealed hundreds of ceramic vessels on the seabed, and a muddy layer which likely conceals a second layer and the wooden beams of the ship.

Jacob Sharvit, Head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Unit, explains, “The ship seems to have sunk in crisis, either due to a storm or to an attempted piracy attack – a well-known occurrence in the Late Bronze Age. This is both the first and the oldest ship found in the Eastern Mediterranean deep sea, ninety kilometres from the nearest shore.”

Image Credit : IAA

Only two other ships from this period have been found – the boat from Cape Gelidonya and the Uluburun boat; both found off the Turkish coast. Both ships were found near the shore, suggesting that shipping routes followed the coastline between ports. However, this new discovery changes the understanding of ancient marine trade, demonstrating that ancient shipping also extended into deep waters.

“The ship is preserved at such a great depth that time has frozen since the moment of disaster – its body and contexts have not been disturbed by human hand (divers, fishermen, etc.); nor affected by waves and currents which do impact shipwrecks in shallower waters,” added Sharvit.

Header Image Credit : IAA

Sources : Israel Antiquities Authority

This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily

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