Hundreds of ancient earthworks similar to Stonehenge found in the Amazon

February 7, 2017 by  
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For hundreds of years, the Amazon rainforest concealed over 450 massive, mysterious earthworks similar to those in Stonehenge . As a result of deforestation , researchers were able to catch a glimpse of the baffling geometrical geoglyphs in Brazil’s Acre state. The 2,000-year-old earthworks reveal a wealth of information we didn’t know before about how ancient people managed the rainforest . Many people used to think the Amazon rainforest ecosystem remained largely untouched by humans in the past, an idea challenged by the recent discovery of these huge earthworks. Led by Jennifer Watling of the University of São Paulo and the University of Exeter , a team reconstructed fire and vegetation history over 6,000 years near two of the geoglyphs, and found humans actually changed the bamboo forests heavily for millennia. They temporarily cleared areas to build the earthworks. Related: Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old “New Stonehenge” As researchers didn’t find many artifacts around the earthworks, the sites probably weren’t villages, and their layout prompts researchers to think they weren’t used for defense. Instead, the ancient geoglyphs may have been utilized only once in a while for ritual gatherings. Watling cautions against excusing rampant deforestation based on this new information. Her team’s research shows while ancient people altered the rainforest, they did not employ long term, large-scale deforestation as happens today, or burn swaths of forest. Instead they employed ancient agroforestry practices and focused on economically valuable trees like palms to create what the University of Exeter describes as a prehistoric supermarket of products from the forest. Watling said, “Our evidence that Amazonian forests have been managed by indigenous peoples long before European Contact should not be cited as justification for the destructive, unsustainable land-use practiced today. It should instead serve to highlight the ingenuity of past subsistence regimes that did not lead to forest degradation, and the importance of indigenous knowledge for finding more sustainable land use alternatives.” Nine other researchers from institutions in Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Canada joined Watling in the research; the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published their study online this month. Via Phys.org Images via Jenny Watling/Phys.org

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Hundreds of ancient earthworks similar to Stonehenge found in the Amazon

First Wattway solar road pilot in US pops up in rural Georgia

February 7, 2017 by  
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The first Wattway solar road pilot in America has popped up in rural west Georgia . The Ray C. Anderson Foundation , named for sustainable manufacturing pioneer Ray Anderson, is testing renewable technologies along an 18-mile stretch of road, and recently installed 538 square feet of Colas ‘ Wattway solar road system near the border between Georgia and Alabama. Part of Georgia’s Interstate 85 was named for Anderson, but as over five million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted yearly on that road portion alone, Anderson’s family felt placing his name there didn’t honor his legacy, and began to look into renewable technologies to clear the air – so to speak. Thus began The Ray , an 18-mile living laboratory for clean technologies, including not only the solar roads, but also a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station , and WheelRight , a system people can drive over to test their tire pressure, which could lead to improved fuel inefficiency. Related: France officially opens the world’s first solar panel road The first Wattway solar panel pilot is part of The Ray near a Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, Georgia. According to Wattway by Colas, the average expected output for the 538-square-meter pilot is anticipated to be 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which will help power the center. And these technologies are just the beginning. The foundation will also construct bioswales , or shallow drainage ditches filled with native Georgia plants to capture pollutants during rain. In a right-of-way space, they’ll build a one megawatt solar installation . They’re working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to bring such ideas to life along the 18-mile road stretch. Not only will several of their projects beautify the highway, but will generate clean energy and bring in money for investors. And other parts of the state have shown interest in building their own Wattway roads. The Ray executive director Allie Kelly dreams of a day when highways will “serve as a power grid for the future,” but she believes that day is coming sooner than we may think. She told Curbed, “We’re at a tipping point in transportation . In five to ten years, we won’t remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing.” + The Ray + Wattway by Colas Via Curbed Images © Valerie Bennett and via The Ray

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Tiny TigerMoth Camper generates power while being towed

February 7, 2017 by  
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Taxa Outdoors’ tow camper, the TigerMoth , is a compact home on wheels geared towards traveling adventurers. The lightweight camper sleeps two, has LED lights, and even better, comes with a built-in electrical system that generates energy while being towed. The camper’s battery can store energy for at least seven days, making off-grid living easier than ever before. Although certainly compact, the camper sleeps two comfortably and thanks to its lightweight size of just 900 pounds, can be towed virtually anywhere. The unique side latch allows for easy access and the large window allows for amazing views and air circulation. Built with adventurers in mind, the small structure has a roof rack system for bikes or kayaks, a tongue-mounted toolbox, and a roof cargo deck for additional gear storage. Related: Traveling family renovates old school bus as both solar-powered home and hostel The camper’s tow vehicle connection recharges the battery while on the road, providing enough electricity for at least seven days of off-grid living . Although solar panels have to be ordered, the camper roof is pre-wired for installation. As far as the basic amenities go, the tiny camper can sleep two people comfortably and comes with LED lighting installed in the kitchen area and sleeping area. There is 5.5 square feet of countertop for food preparation or work space. Along with various hooks and bungees, two large cubbies provide extra storage space. + Taca Outdoors

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Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

January 16, 2017 by  
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One of Britain’s most well-known archaeological landmarks could soon have a tunnel carved below it. The government unveiled plans for a 1.8 mile tunnel running under Stonehenge as part of a $2.4 billion infrastructure investment, hoping to slash traffic plaguing the area. But not everyone is happy with the government’s plan; some experts believe a tunnel could destroy undiscovered artifacts. The British government is planning a $2.4 billion investment for the country’s A303 road, hoping to upgrade it into a “high quality, high performing route” that will improve trips for millions of people, according to the Department for Transport’s statement on the project. Part of the upgrades include a tunnel passing beneath the famous site. Officials say the tunnel would slash congestion and bolster the local economy. Related: Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old “New Stonehenge” English Heritage , the charity managing more than 400 historic sites, backs the tunnel. UNESCO , which in 1986 designated Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site, say they could get behind the idea, but have not yet viewed final plans. Historian Tom Holland fears a tunnel could destroy the key historical site. He told CNN, “Recent finds show this place is the birthplace of Britain, and its origins go back to the resettlement of this island after the Ice Age. It staggers belief that we can inject enormous quantities of concrete to build a tunnel that will last at best 100 years and therefore decimate a landscape that has lasted for millennia.” Local chamber of commerce president and Amesbury Museum chairman Andy Rhind-Tutt is also against the tunnel, saying it won’t even really improve traffic and will “put a time bomb of irreversible destruction on one of the world’s greatest untouched landscapes.” The public can comment on the tunnel plan until March 5, and the government plans to announce the preferred route later in 2017. Construction could start in 2020, according to a Highways England spokesperson, and could be completed in four years. Via CNN Images via Good Free Photos and Pixabay

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Critics outraged by UK plan to build 1.8 mile tunnel under Stonehenge

Heroic dolphins could save critically endangered porpoise from extinction

January 16, 2017 by  
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Seal Team 6, a squad of dolphins trained by the US Navy to locate undersea mines and other submerged objects, may be the last, best chance of survival for the world’s most endangered marine mammal . The team of superhero cetaceans will be recruited to help locate the sixty or so remaining vaquitas in the wild, so that a small group of the porpoises may be captured and relocated to establish a captive breeding population. Distinguished by their small size and dark rings around their eyes and mouths, vaquitas are endemic to a narrow stretch in the upper regions of the Gulf of California in Mexico . The vaquitas population has been in decline for decades due to the tiny porpoise’s habit of becoming trapped in fishing nets meant for other sea creatures. While ex situ conservation , the establishment of a protected captive breeding population, is not a new idea, it remains controversial. “I don’t like this idea at all,” said Omar Vidal, director general of the World Wildlife Fund Mexico in Mexico City.”The risk of killing a vaquita while catching them is very high. With only 50 or 60 animals left, we can’t play with that.” Related: China’s ‘extinct’ dolphin may have been sighted again in the Yangtze River Despite the risks, the Seal Team 6 project, currently in planning stages, will likely commence in spring. However, the Navy and its dolphins will not be alone. “An international group of experts, including Navy personnel, have been working on two primary goals: determining the feasibility of locating and catching vaquitas, as a phase One,” wrote Lorenzo Rojas-Bracho, chairman of the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita. “As a second phase, to determine the feasibility of temporarily housing vaquitas in the Gulf of California .” Vaquitas have never successfully been held and bred in captivity before, so the team will be paying particularly close attention to creating holding pens, likely located in a protected bay, that meet the specific needs of the animals . While creating a net-free, safe environment for wild vaquitas in their natural habitat remains the ultimate goal, the situation is now desperate enough to merit risk. “Given the crisis we’re in, we need to explore all of our options,” said NOAA biologist Barbara Taylor. Via Science Magazine Images via Marion Doss/Flickr and  Paula Olson/Flickr

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OMA gets green light for their first major public building in the UK

January 16, 2017 by  
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Move over London —Manchester is on the rise as an arts and culture capital in the north of England. City councilors just gave the green light to the Factory – a £110 million Rem Koolhaas -designed arts center that marks OMA’s first major public building in the United Kingdom. The design of the boxy white arts venue won an international competition, and it will be “ultra flexible” to accommodate a variety of art forms and performances. OMA revealed the Factory designs back in 2015, when the Dutch firm beat out a shortlist of acclaimed practices including Zaha Hadid and Mecanoo . Located in Manchester’s St. John’s neighborhood, the massive glass cube construction will transform the underused area—the site of the former Granada Studios—into a world-class center for arts and culture. The Factory is also expected to generate 1,500 jobs and boost the area’s economy by £1.1 billion through the growth of creative industries in the north. Related: London’s new Design Museum opens this week inside a renovated post-war modernist building “From classical opera and ballet to large-scale performances and experimental productions, Factory in Manchester provides the perfect opportunity to create the ultimate versatile space in which art, theatre and music come together: a platform for a new cultural scene,” said Ellen van Loon, the OMA partner in charge of the project. Construction is expected to begin this spring. + OMA Via Dezeen

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OMA gets green light for their first major public building in the UK

Archaeologists reveal fresh details about 4,500-year-old "New Stonehenge"

August 15, 2016 by  
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Last year archaeologists thrilled the world when they revealed there could be a “New Stonehenge ” just two miles away from the iconic monument in England . Geophysical surveys suggested this 4,500-year-old “Superhenge” could include around 100 concealed stones. Now archaeologists digging at Durrington Walls, where “New Stonehenge” is located, have found the monument was likely built mainly with wooden posts instead, and work was mysteriously stopped before completion. The Durrington Walls monument could have been a ring around 1,640 feet in diameter of between 200 and 300 wooden posts. The archaeologists on the “Durrington Dig” excavated two large holes about five feet deep. Ancient people appear to have removed the posts and then filled the holes with chalk, and archaeologists found an ancient tool made of the shoulder blade of a cow at the bottom of one hole, suggesting there could have been a ritual surrounding the process of filling in the holes. Related: Enormous ritual stone monument discovered near Stonehenge is “archaeology on steroids” Archaeologists think the fact that monument construction was abruptly halted when the structure was almost done could offer clues into the religious and political climate of the era, as the Neolithic era slowly transitioned to the Bronze Age. The people building Durrington Walls may have changed religions, or perhaps another group came through and destroyed evidence of their religion. The abrupt change signals religious or political turmoil may have gripped the region. National Trust archaeologist Nick Snashall said , “The new discoveries at Durrington Walls reveal the previously unuspected complexity of events in the area during the period when Stonehenge’s largest stones were being erected – and show just how politically and ideologically dynamic British society was at that particularly crucial stage in prehistory.” Further evidence for the turmoil can be glimpsed in Stonehenge’s own history, as Snashall said. At around the same time as the Durrington Walls work ceased, Stonehenge was changed from a large circle with stones of medium size to a smaller circle with the humongous stones glimpsed at the site today. Via The Independent Images via Wikimedia Commons and Dr Nick Snashall on Twitter

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Steelhenge: BUREAU A puts a modern twist on Stonehenge with repurposed shipping containers

November 6, 2015 by  
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Digital Mapping of Stonehenge Reveals Site Is More Massive Than We Thought

September 10, 2014 by  
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Previously unknown archaeological monuments have been discovered around Stonehenge as part of an enormous digital mapping project that has transformed scientists’ knowledge of this iconic landscape . A team from the University of Birmingham’s Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project have used remote sensing techniques and geophysical surveys to map the area to a depth of three meters below ground, resulting in the most detailed archaeological digital map of Stonehenge and its surrounds ever produced. Startling new discoveries include 17 previously unknown ritual monuments dating to the period when Stonehenge was developed into its iconic ring shape. Read the rest of Digital Mapping of Stonehenge Reveals Site Is More Massive Than We Thought Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: ancient monuments , archaeological dig , archaeological find , archaeologist , archaeology , burial mound , digital mapping , geophysical survey , prehistoric , Professor Vince Gaffney , remote sensing , Stonehenge , united kingdom , university of birmingham

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Brand New Stonehenge Visitor Center Upgrade Breaks Ground!

July 13, 2012 by  
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Even though it is one of the most well-known historical monuments in the world, the visitor facilities at the Stonehenge World Heritage Site in Wiltshire County have long been a source of national embarrassment for the UK. But that is set to change as construction on a brand new visitor center designed by Australian architects Denton Corker Marshall has finally broken ground this week. Read the rest of Brand New Stonehenge Visitor Center Upgrade Breaks Ground! Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Denton Corker Marshall , eco design , green design , green renovation , Heritage Lottery Fund , historical preservation , social design , Stonehenge , sustainable design , UK , visitor center , Wiltshire County , world heritage site

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