Tests on artificial toes discovered at a site near present-day Luxor in Egypt show that they are the world’s earliest prosthetics, according to scientists. Replicas of the devices, discovered in the necropolis at Thebe and thought to date from between 900 and 600 BC, were constructed by Jacqueline Finch, a researcher from the University of Manchester.
Video recordings of volunteers without a big right toe wearing the prosthetics, together with Egyptian-style sandals, revealed that they would have allowed people to walk comfortably and that “nascent prosthetic science may have been emerging in the Nile Valley as early as 950 to 710 BC,” according to Finch.
Museums and universities in London to share expertise
Museums and universities in London will work together to share knowledge and skills under a new project announced earlier this week. The initiative, made possible as a result of a £100,000 grant from the Arts Council, will be organised by University College London and University of the Arts London in partnership with London Museums Group, which represents 250 specialist institutions around the city. Organisers hope that the development will help provide museums with new technologies, expertise and resources, as well as offering academic departments access to additional collections and archives.
Striker memorial unveiled on Tyneside
A statue marking the life of a miner executed for the murder of a local magistate has been unveiled in South Tyneside. William Jobling, who was one of the last people in the UK to be hanged and ‘gibbeted’ – a punishment in which the individual’s remains were covered in pitch after death and exposed in an iron cage – was among workers to strike in 1832 in protest at a contract system tying them to a specific colliery for 366 days. Jobling’s punishment for allegedly killing Nicholas Fairles has long proved controversial, with some critics arguing that it may have been a reaction to the strike action.
Ancient remains discovered during road survey
Human remains uncovered during an archaeological survey of a Nottinghamshire road could date back to the first century AD, experts believe. The bones, discovered in two locations along the A453, have been removed for specialist analysis and are set to be stored in a museum or reburied following the investigation.
Search for Ancrum bishop’s palace begins
Archaeologists from the University of Glasgow have started work on a project looking for the remains of a major medieval building thought to have been constructed near the Scottish Borders village of Ancrum. The project, commissioned by Scottish Borders Council, follows a geophysical survey of the field in 2011 and aims to provide evidence of a bishop’s house or palace that is believed to have stood on the site.
Replica Neolithic houses to be built near Stonehenge
Three full-scale Neolithic homes are set to be constructed near the site of Stonehenge following the launch of a new scheme. The £60,000 project, put up for tender by English Heritage, will form part of an interactive exhibition allowing visitors to explore how people lived and worked at the time of the monument’s construction. Contemporary techniques and materials will be used to create the buildings, with the first expected to be completed early in 2013.
The Beatles mark 50 years since debut single
Previously unseen footage of The Beatles has been made available online to mark the 50th anniversary of the group’s first single. The clip shows the band during the production of the film The Magical Mystery Tour and dates from 1967, five years after the release of their debut song, ‘Love Me Do’, in October 1962. The group remains one of the most commercially successful in the history of popular music, with its record for the most appearances in the American Billboard Hot 100 singles chart only being beaten by the cast of the US TV show Glee in 2010.
Image credits: Dr Jacky Finch with kind permission of the Egyptian Museum, Cairo