July 2003 saw a significant discovery in Ecuador by IRD archaeologists: 4000-year-old structures indicating the presence of one of the first great Andean civilizations in the upper Amazon Basin, where their presence had not been suspected. The site is at Santa Ana- La Florida in the south of Ecuador. Subsequent systematic excavations of other parts of the site led to the discovery of sophisticated architectural complexes. Among these are a tomb and a range of diverse vestiges: ceramic bottles, plain or ornamented stone bowls, medallions and pieces of necklace in turquoise, malachite and other green stones. These objects convey the refinement achieved in lapidary art of this new Pre-Columbian civilization. They provide proof that this site was used for ceremonial purposes and funerary rites. These discoveries confirm the hypothesis put forward following the first excavations. They highlight the importance of the site and of the people who were settled there. They call into question theories on how the first great Andean civilizations emerged and the supposed interactions that took place between the different populations of these regions.
The excavations conducted in 2003 concentrated on the eastern sector of the site which corresponds to a terrace overhanging the bed of the River Valladolid. This part was the priority at the time as it was prey to illicit excavations. Several sets of architectural structures were discovered. Present on three levels, they correspond to successive eras of settlement. Near the surface (to 35 cm depth), remains of walls of a 20-m-long rectangular structure along with accumulations of pebbles were found over the whole terrace. They were possibly foundations of daub-constructed dwellings of peoples from the Corrugado horizon (from the VIIIth to the XVth Century A.D.).
Next, subsurface search down to 190 cm uncovered the most remarkable of the architectural features: an extensive set of concentric walls appearing to mark the centre of the site and ending in a spiral. A stone-clad hollow at the core of the structure served as a hearth base (indicated by reddened soil) of about 80 cm diameter. A rich assemblage of ceremonial offertory objects was found bearing: a mask in green stone covered by a polished stone bowl, an anthropomorphic medallion also in green stone and many turquoise necklace pieces ornamented with zoomorphic (animal-shaped) motifs (birds and snakes).
Bénédicte Robert | EurekAlert!
In times of climate change: What a lake’s colour can tell about its condition
21.09.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
Did marine sponges trigger the ‘Cambrian explosion’ through ‘ecosystem engineering’?
21.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam - Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy