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Experts from the University of Seville have reconstructed the social processes and cultural phenomena that occurred in the archeological site of Valencina (Andalusia) between the 32nd and 24th centuries BCE.

UNIVERSITY OF SEVILLE—Members of the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology of the University of Seville have published a study that includes 130 radiocarbon datings, obtained in laboratories in Oxford and Glasgow (United Kingdom) and in the Centro Nacional de Aceleradores – CAN (National Accelerator Center) – at the University of Seville.

The fact that several of the skulls were treated in a ritual manner, showing marks of having had the flesh removed and that this ‘special’ mortuary deposit appears to be associated with the greatest collection of pottery beakers found on the site, suggests that the episode had great symbolic significance.

The paleoenvironmental data for the Mediterranean and Europe indicate that between the 24th and 23rd centuries BCE, a period of greater aridity and dryness began globally, which could have had severe consequences for many of the planet’s societies, including droughts.

Those pulses penetrate vegetation but bounce back from hard stone surfaces. Extrapolated over the 36,700 square miles, which encompasses the total Maya lowland region, the authors estimate the Maya built as many as 2.7 million structures.

Parcak, who was not involved with the research, wrote on Twitter, "Hey all: you realize that researchers just used lasers to find *60,000* new sites in Guatemala?!?

This is HOLY [expletive] territory."Parcak, whose space archaeology program Global has been described as the love child of Google Earth and Indiana Jones, is a champion of using satellite data to remotely observe sites in Egypt and elsewhere."The scale of information that we're able to collect now is unprecedented," Parcak said, adding that this survey is "going to upend long-held theories about ancient Maya society."With support from a Guatemala-based heritage foundation called Pacunam, the researchers conducted the massive and expensive survey using lidar, or light detection and ranging.

Among the main conclusions highlighted by the experts is that the oldest parts of the site, which date from the 32nd century BCE, were funerary in nature, specifically hypogeum cavities that were used for collective sequential burials (for example, this is the case with the hypogea that were found in La Huera, Castilleja de Guzmán, and in Calle Dinamarca, Valencina).“This data is important in the debate about the nature of this great site during its long history, as it is clear that funerary practices had a determining importance in its genesis”, comments the University of Seville Professor of Prehistory Leonardo García Sanjuán.

On the other hand, obtaining a series of C14 dates for four of the great Megalithic monuments of the site has allowed for a first orientative sequence to be established for its construction and use.

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