Stonehenge ‘inspired by sounds’

An American researcher has claimed that ancient Britons based the design of Wiltshire’s Stonehenge on the way they perceived sounds. Steven Waller, an expert in the roles that sound might have played in ancient cultures (known as ‘archaeoacoustics’), said: “My theory is that the ancient Britons, when they were hearing two pipers in a field, were experiencing sound wave interference patterns, where in certain locations as you walked around the pair of pipers, you would hear loud or quiet zones.” Waller also stated that his ideas were supported by measurements he had made of the acoustic shadows actually cast by the Stonehenge megaliths.

Wooden sarcophagus unearthed at Egyptian necropolis

A wooden sarcophagus believed to hold the body of a person of rank has been unearthed by archaeologists at the necropolis of Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt. A team of archaeologists has been working at the site since 2008 and has also discovered 20 mummies and a tomb dating from around 1830 BC. Qubbet el-Hawa necropolis was used from 2250BC and provided a burial place for some of the country’s most important officials. 

Archaeologists discover Jordan’s earliest buildings

A team of archaeologists from the University of Cambridge believes it has found evidence of 20,000-year-old hut structures in the Jordanian deserts. The research, which has been published in the journal PLoS One states that the team has recovered hundreds of thousands of stone tools, animal bones and other finds from the site, which today appears as little more than a three metre-high mound in the desert landscape. So far, two huts have been excavated but it is believed that more could be hidden beneath the sands. Dr Tobias Richter from the University of Copenhagen and one of the project’s co-directors commented that the huts had been dug into the ground and are between two and three metres in length. Intentionally burnt piles of gazelle horn cores, clumps of red ochre pigment and a cache of hundreds of pierced marine shells were also discovered inside the huts.

Voyage ahead for oldest clipper

The world’s oldest surviving clipper ship, The Carrick, is one step closer to beginning its journey from Scotland to south Australia after parts for a 100-tonne steel cradle arrived in Irvine, North Ayrshire. The ship, which was built in 1864, was nearly broken up as it was rotting away with estimates for repairs in excess of £10 million. Some campaigners wanted the ship to return to Sunderland, where it was built, but lost out to the Australian bid. Once the ship reaches its final destination, it will become the centrepiece of a maritime heritage display in Port Adelaide.

‘Emily Bronte’ portrait sells for £4,600

A 33 by 24cm oil painting of what is thought to be 19th-century author Emily Bronte has sold for £4,600 at auction in Towcester. The painting, which is annotated ‘Emily Jane Bronte’, was estimated to fetch between £5,000 and £8,000.

And finally…

What is thought by some to be the world’s oldest pancake race was held in Olney, Buckinghamshire, on 21 February. The event dates back to 1445 and is believed to have begun with a townswoman arriving late for the Shriving service at the parish church.