Science

Egyptian Blue Hides in These Mummy Portraits

Above, Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits from the site of Tebtunis, Egypt. Researchers found the synthetic pigment Egyptian blue in all three paintings. (Credit: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)
Above, Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits from the site of Tebtunis, Egypt. Researchers found the synthetic pigment Egyptian blue in all three paintings. (Credit: Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley)

Dusting off 15 Roman-era Egyptian mummy portraits—mostly untouched for 100 years—has revealed a 2,000-year-old surprise. Researchers discovered that the ancient artists used the pigment Egyptian blue...


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  • "We need to understand how these glaciers are moving and how they are melting at their front. If we want to answer those questions, we need to know what's occurring with the meltwater being discharged from the glacier," says Timothy Bartholomaus. (Credit: ravas51/CC BY-SA 2.0)

    ‘Icequake’ Sensors Track Tidewater Glacier Melt

    Researchers for the first time have used seismic sensors to track meltwater flowing through glaciers and into the ocean, an essential step to understanding the... Read more

  • "Foresters and ecologists have long gauged the severity of drought from tree mortality that happens the same year," says James S. Clark. "But the damage suffered during drought sets in motion a decline that can kill trees years later." (Klaus Hollitzer/iStock)

    Drought Can Kill Trees for Years and Years

    The fact that drought kills trees is well known. But a new study of nearly 29,000 trees at two research forests in North Carolina shows... Read more

  • All that precious heat is going to waste. (Matt Buck, CC BY-SA 2.0)

    Time to Tap in to an Underused Energy Source: Wasted Heat

    Millions of people worldwide can’t afford to keep their homes warm, but few realise the heat wasted in our energy system could provide the answer... Read more

  • FILE - In this July 12, 2015 file photo, people cool down in a fountain beside the Manzanares river in Madrid, Spain. (AP Photo/Oscar del Pozo, File)

    Feeling the Heat: Earth in July Was Hottest Month on Record

    WASHINGTON—Earth just keeps getting hotter. July was the planet’s warmest month on record, smashing old marks, U.S. weather officials said. And it’s almost a dead... Read more

  • (StoykoSabotanov/iStock)

    Insecticide Changes Helpful Spider’s ‘Personality’

    Insecticides that are sprayed in orchards and fields across North America may be more toxic to spiders than scientists previously believed. For a new study,... Read more

  • In this Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 photo, Christos Chrysiliou, left, director of architectural and engineering, Los Angeles Unified School District, LAUSD, and Peter Yee, senior project manager, examine an outdated central air conditioner unit at the John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

    California Measure Fails to Create Green Jobs

    SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Three years after California voters passed a ballot measure to raise taxes on corporations and generate clean energy jobs by funding energy-efficiency projects in... Read more

  • A Chinese traffic police man wears a mask at a security checkpoint near the site of an explosion in northeastern China's Tianjin municipality Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015. New explosions and fire rocked the Chinese port city of Tianjin on Saturday, where one survivor was pulled out and authorities ordered evacuations within a 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) radius to clean up chemical contamination. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    China’s Air Problem Is Worse Than You Think

    The Chinese government is working hard to deal with its air, water, land, food-supply, and other sustainability challenges. So it’s a race between how hard... Read more

  • A black bear is seen at the Maine Willdlife Park in New Gloucester, Maine, on July 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

    Add Black Bears to the List of Things Terrified of Drones

    It’s already an established fact that drones can be of great annoyance to humans: whether you’re the secret service, a California firefighter, or just a... Read more

  • 20150803-SolarEnergy-SamiraBouaou-3630

    Brooklyn Homeowner Tackles the Difficult Path to Solar

    NEW YORK—Michael O’Malley’s Ditmas Park Victorian home is loaded with old world character and charm, humble décor mixed with antique treasures. Built in the early 1900s,... Read more

  • One more California wildfire from last year: getting more dangerous and more expensive. (USFS Region 5/CC BY 2.0)

    From Smokey Bear to Climate Change: The Future of Wildland Fire Management

    Current conditions in the West demonstrate that our U.S. fire management system is struggling and approaching a state of crisis. Spending on fighting fires has... Read more

  • Krafla geothermal power plant in Iceland. Icelanders have been using geothermal energy for years. Now researchers may make it much more efficient. (Nameless86/iStock)

    Iceland Hits the Geothermal Jackpot. Is Japan Next?

    Iceland has been using geothermal energy to generate electricity for decades. In 2008, however, engineers discovered a reservoir of extremely hot water that has the... Read more

  • After Northern California fires like the Angora Fire in 2007, scientists are seeing species from drier, warmer areas increasingly taking over, says Jens Stevens. "It's a long process, but forest disturbance, be it thinning or wildfire, has the potential to hasten those shifts." (Steven Belcher/CC BY-SA 2.0)

    Wildfires Push Plants to Move North

    As California wildfires burn tree canopies and forest floors, plants commonly found in more southern areas of the western United States are moving in. For... Read more

  • FRAZIER PARK, CA - MAY 7: Dead and dying trees are seen in a forest stressed by historic drought conditions in Los Padres National Forest on May 7, 2015 near Frazier Park, California. According to an aerial survey conducted by the U.S. Forest Service in April, about 12 million trees have died in California forestlands in the past year because of extreme drought. The dead trees add to the flammability of a drying landscape that is increasingly threatened by large, intense wildfires. In some areas where extremely hot wildfires have occurred, as in the 437-square mile Cedar fire that burned across San Diego County in 2003, most trees have died and chaparral brush is displacing the forests and animals that rely upon them. The findings of the study were compared to similar surveys taken in July 2014. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

    Extreme Droughts Weaken Trees’ Ability to Soak Up Carbon

    There’s a mystery inside trees upon which the fate of coastal cities, threatened by rising sea levels from climate change, may depend. Each year, the... Read more

  • Researchers discovered evidence of both food and feces in a particularly well-preserved pterosaur fossil. (AOL Screenshot)

    Complete Pterosaur Fossil Found – Food, Feces and All (Video)

    From time to time, paleontologists come upon astonishingly complete fossils of prehistoric beasts, but rare is the discovery that yields evidence of the digestive system... Read more

  • Peterborough Stone petroglyphs (Robin L. Lyke)

    Petroglyphs Left in Canada by Scandinavians 3,000 Years Ago?

    Hundreds of petroglyphs are etched on a slab of crystalline limestone about 180-by-100 feet (a third the size of a football field) in Peterborough, Canada... Read more

  • A monolith found submerged between the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia, including a close-up of a hole in the monolith. (Science Direct)

    Underwater Discovery: 9,300-Year-Old Pillar Evidence of Advanced Society, Say Researchers

    At least 9,300 years ago, Stone Age hunter-gatherers in a now-submerged area of the Mediterranean Sea accomplished a feat beyond what today’s experts thought possible... Read more

  • (Shelly Perry/iStock)

    Experts Divided on Native American Origins

    In some ways, it’s hard enough to figure out what’s going on in the world today, let alone glimpsing into the dim corners of ancient history... Read more

  • Pitcairn islanders, 1916 (Public Domain)

    Real-Life ‘Lord of the Flies': The Strange, Violent History of Pitcairn Island

    Pitcairn Island is a place so remote, and with a history so bizarre, that until recently it was viewed almost as myth rather than reality... Read more

  • A mass grave uncovered by scientists yielded the remains of 26 Neolithic individuals who appear to have been tortured and killed. (AOL Screenshot)

    Prehistoric Mass Grave Contained Brutally Beaten Victims (Video)

    People are capable of committing unspeakably brutal acts, and based on a prehistoric mass grave uncovered by scientists, that’s been the reality for a very... Read more

  • Stonehenge

    4,000-Year-Old Body of Teenager Near Stonehenge May Give Clues About Bronze-Age Life

    Archaeologists have unearthed the 4,000-year-old body of an adolescent near Stonehenge, who was buried in the fetal position wearing an amber necklace. Now archaeologists working at... Read more

  • Sword of Goujian (Siyuwj/CC BY)

    Goujian: The Ancient Chinese Sword That Defied Time

    Fifty years ago, a rare and unusual sword was found in a tomb in China. Despite being well over 2,000 years old, the sword, known... Read more

  • France Prehistoric Tooth

    French Archaeology Students Find 560,000-Year-Old Tooth

    PARIS—Two students have found a human tooth from about 560,000 years ago in a famous prehistoric cave in southwestern France, a discovery praised by archaeologists... Read more

  • 19157894964_7369f4adc4_k

    Stone Tablet Tells Tale of Early Maya King

    Archaeologists have discovered a well-preserved Maya stela—a stone tablet—from the site of El Achiotal that dates to the fifth century. “This stela portrays an early... Read more

  • Radiocarbon dating has determined that a manuscript held by the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham, UK are some of the oldest—if not the oldest—fragments of the Koran in existence. (AOL Screenshot)

    World’s Oldest Quran Fragments Found (Video)

    Radiocarbon dating has determined that a manuscript held by the Cadbury Research Library at the University of Birmingham, UK are some of the oldest—if not... Read more

  • A wrecked ship believed to be from the Revolutionary War Era was found off the coast of North Carolina. (AOL Screenshot)

    Shipwreck Believed To Be From Revolutionary War Era Found (Video)

    Marine scientists were out on the waters off the coast of North Carolina when they made a completely unexpected discovery. A wrecked ship believed to... Read more

  • A Chinese votive sword found in Georgia, USA. (Courtesy of the Indigenous Peoples Research Foundation)

    Chinese Sword Found in Georgia Suggests Pre-Columbian Chinese Travel to North America

    In July 2014, an avocational surface collector chanced across a partially exposed Chinese votive sword behind roots in an eroded bank of a small stream... Read more

  • Left: Portrait of Peder Jensen Winstrup, 1750. (Wikimedia Commons) Right: The coffin of Peder Winstrup, which was found to contain a fetus. (Wikimedia Commons) Background: (ClaudioVentrella/iStock)

    What Is a Fetus Doing Inside the Coffin of a 17th Century Mummified Bishop? (+Video)

    Researchers at Lund University hospital were in for a surprise when they conducted a CT scan of a mummified Scandinavian bishop, and spotted the remains... Read more

  • A file photo of rock-cut tombs in the ancient Greek city of Myra. (Demre/iStock)

    Ancient Greeks Apparently Feared Zombies so Much They Weighed Down the Dead

    It isn’t only modern society that has become fascinated by the undead. Ancient Greeks on the island of Sicily had a fear of revenants so... Read more

  • Left: A painting of Cleopatra by John William Waterhouse, 1888. Right: "Death of Antony," by Jean Germain Drouais, 18th century. (Wikimedia Commons) Background: A file photo of pyramids in Egypt. (Redhouane/iStock)

    An Ancient Mystery: Searching for the Lost Tomb of Antony and Cleopatra

    Mark Antony and Cleopatra are among the most famous pairs of lovers from the ancient world.  Following their defeat at the Battle of Actium in... Read more

  • A face found on a cliff face in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve's Broken Group Islands in British Columbia, Canada. (Parks Canada/Tanya Dowdall)

    Mysterious, Giant Face Found on Cliff in Canada—Man-Made or Natural?

    Parks Canada is trying to figure out how a face, estimated to be about 7 feet tall, appeared on a cliff in a remote region... Read more

  • A team sanctioned by the Italian government has located the remains of a well-preserved 2,000-year old Roman shipwreck carrying a load of terracotta roof tiles. (AOL Screenshot)

    2,000-Year Old Roman Shipwreck Found Near Sardinia (Video)

    The bottom of the sea contains many remnants from the past, and one piece of the history it holds has recently been located. A Roman... Read more

  • Fossils of Four Legged Fish Found in Arctic Back in Canada and On Display

    OTTAWA—A 375-million-year-old fossil of a primitive fish that also sports features of the first four-limbed creatures is now in the hands of the Canadian Museum... Read more

  • Almendres Cromlech, Guadalupe, Evora, Portugal (Nekkas/Wikimedia Commons)

    Legends Say Mysterious Women Built the Megaliths of Portugal

    Prehistoric Europeans told legends about powerful, mysterious females who made European stone tombs called dolmens and cromlechs. On the one hand, they were said to... Read more


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