Russian biologists have managed to regrow flowers from seeds that were frozen for about 30.000 years. The seeds of prehistoric Silene stenophylla were extracted from plant seeds found in the Russian permafrost soil. They were probably dug in by Ice Age squirrels and never defrosted since. The flowers show significant differences from their modern counterparts: The blossoms look slightly different, and the prehistoric plants first only grew female blossoms, while the modern ones immediately grow hermaphroditic blossoms. You can read more about this on Spiegel.de (in German).
The Wall Street Journal had a great review of Aelian’s “On the Nature of Animals,” in a of a new translation, by Gregory McNamee. Born c. 170 CE, Aelian is perhaps the world’s first “naturalist.” Please click here to read this review.
We have the unfortunate news of reporting a robbery of precious items from the Museum of the History of the Olympic Games, in Olympia, Greece. The BBC is reporting that around seventy items were stolen and that the museum has been significantly damaged. The news prompted the resignation of Greece’s Minister of Cultural Affairs, Pavlos Geroulanos, but did not surprise the Greek public. Since the economic downturn in Greece, funding to museums and cultural organizations has been slashed due to austerity measures and severe budget cuts. Please click here to read more about this pressing tragedy.
ABC News is reporting that a joint team of Japanese and Egyptians scientists is in the process of restoring a 4.000 year old boat, which originally belonged to the famous Pharaoh Kufu. Khufu–also known as “Cheops”–ordered the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Egyptologists and scientists have already restored another similar boat with much success. Please click here to read more.
The Walters Museum, in Baltimore, MD USA, is the current venue of a fantastic exhibition not to be missed: Exploring Art of the Ancient Americas: The John Bourne Collection will be on view until May 20, 2012. Featuring over 135 exquisite objects from South and Central America, this exhibition covers nearly 3,000 years of art history. Among the highlights are intricate pieces of jewelry, bejeweled masks, and painted pottery from the Maya, Incan, Aztec, Mixtec, Moche, and Olmec civilizations. Special objects from as far as Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Panama are exhibited as are rare pieces from Teotihuacan. This exhibition explores upon the interplay between religion and politics in Pre-Columbian civilizations and is organized by geography. Please click here to read a review of this exciting show from The Baltimore City Paper.
Last week, we mentioned the opening of an exciting new exhibit of ancient Egyptian objects and artifacts in Edinburgh, Scotland. The BBC has just covered the opening of this exhibition with a news report that can be viewed by clicking here.
In the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, Dr. James Romm of Bard University has written an excellent review for “A Culture of Freedom,” by Christian Meier. Just published, this work focuses on Hellenism and its impact in the Near East as well as in Europe and North Africa. Please click here to read this review.