New life for lost plays

Greek tragedy is considered the wellspring of the Western theatrical tradition, but the plays that survive represent a tiny proportion of what once existed. Of the 1200 tragedies or so we know were performed during the fifth century BCE, less than 3% made it through to the modern day. It is tempting to believe that these plays represent the ‘best’ of what was ever written, but the road to survival was plagued by vagaries.

The birth of Greek culture

From the invention of prose to innovations in epic and lyric poetry, from the beginnings of philosophical exposition to the origins of historical enquiry, many of the characteristic features of ancient Greek culture had their origins in one particular place and time. The place was Ionia, a region on the western coast of modern-day Turkey, and the time was the archaic period between c.750–550 BCE. 

How do hearing people learn BSL as a foreign language?

British Sign Language (BSL) is the first language of deaf people in the UK. There has been an enormous increase in the numbers of hearing people learning BSL in recent years. In 2009 there were an estimated 190,000 hearing adults who had learned at least basic level BSL. Hearing adults learn BSL as a second language for a hobby or personal and professional reasons. However we know almost nothing about how hearing adults learn to sign and whether it differs to learning a spoken second.

Jomon wetland archaeology: a new palaeo-nutritional approach

Japan is famous for its long and unusual archaeological record and in particular the so-called Jomon cultures which lasted from around 10,000 years ago until the importation of rice-agriculture only 3,000 years ago. During this period no animals were domesticated and only a small range of plants were cultivated (but not domesticated) and this contrasts with most other areas of the world, including all Europeans. 

How continents form: insights from minute mineral inclusions

The Earth has a bimodal surface elevation reflecting the contrasting chemical and mechanical properties of the continental and oceanic crust. The oceanic crust is dense, unstable, and recycled back into the mantle within 200 Myr through plate tectonics, whereas the continental crust – due to its lower density – tends to remain at the Earth’s surface, recording each step of our planet's evolution. For billions of years the continental crust has evolved to form the environment we live in and the resources we depend on, and yet how and when it formed remain a great matter of debate.

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