Caves, Cannibals & Art: Britain's Human History Revealed

Yossarian

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#36
According to New Scientist one of the researchers behind this is now going "Whoa there, we can't really be sure of this". Though the article is behind a paywall.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2161867-we-do-not-know-for-sure-how-dark-or-light-cheddar-mans-skin-was/
The dangers of science as communicated by media, more than anything. Between the DNA analysis and the TV show that made the announcement that he had dark skin, more genes affecting skin colour had been discovered - science marches on, but the TV show had already been recorded, and was presented as "current", without acknowledgement of the advances made since.

Not an uncommon scenario - a theory, or discovery, will work its way through journal after journal, paper after paper, before eventually being picked up by the media and given a sexy headline, that may well miss the point, or embellish in one area or another, or ignore subsequent findings.

The danger is that, in an age of anti-intellectualism, we're left with another reason for people who don't understand the scientific process to mistrust science, or to view it as having a political agenda.
 

maximus otter

Recovering policeman
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#37
Hundreds of "witches' marks" believed to be from the 17th and 18th Centuries have been found in a limestone gorge.

They were discovered at Creswell Crags, Nottinghamshire, and are believed to be the biggest concentration of protective marks found in British caves.



The "apotropaic" marks were scribed into the cave surface as they were thought to keep evil spirits coming from the underworld.

The discovery was made by Hayley Clark and Ed Waters from Subterranea Britannica, a charity whose members have a passion for underground space, during a cave tour.

Before then the marks had always been noticed, but dismissed as graffiti from before the caves were barred.

Alison Fearn, of Leicester University, who studied her PHD on protective marks, said: "I cannot emphasise how important this corpus of apotropaia is to graffiti research.

"I think off the top of my head, it is the largest number of examples found anywhere and in any context in the UK."

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-nottinghamshire-47242603

maximus otter
 

Yithian

Parish Watch
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#40
If you'll allow me to be the pub bore in the corner, that wonderful term, apostropaic, is indeed--as it appears to be--related to the humble 'apostrophe'.

The word is from the Greek apostrephein, which means 'to turn away': an indication that a letter or letters have been omitted ('turned away') in one sense, and made with the intention of barring admission in the other.
 

AlchoPwn

Public Service is my Motto.
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#43
Some good pictures there.
It's a pretty weird idea really, but very old. The notion of the Evil Eye and the amulets that turn it away may be one of the very oldest supernatural beliefs. I personally consider it an allegory on the dangers inspired by jealousy, which is a very toxic emotion regardless of whether you are feeling it or its recipient.
 
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