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Archaeologist and chemist team up to fight rust

An archaeologist and a chemist have partnered up in search of a simple way to keep iron artifacts from rusting. Currently, corrosion impedes efforts to preserve cast iron material. Put partly corroded nails in a zip-lock bag, store them awhile, open the bag years later, and end find “lumps of rust

How the Mesoamericans perfected rubber manufacturing

Apparently the Mesoamericans perfected the process of rubber production to the point that they could vary the quality for different uses. New research from MIT indicates that not only did these pre-Columbian peoples know how to process the sap of the local rubber trees along with juice from a vine

Pine resin used to hermetically seal 2,000-year-old amphora

Chemical analysis has found that pine resin was used to seal a 2,000-year-old amphora found in Morocco. "We have studied the substance that was used to seal the container using three different techniques, and we compared it with pine resin from today", José Vicente Gimeno, one of the authors of the

Scientists struggle to reproduce prehistoric glue

Last week I blogged about stone age superglue. Well, scientists who have tried creating it found it was much more difficult to make than they had previously suspected. "I thought I was stupid, I just couldn't get it right," said Lyn Wadley, an archaeologist at Wits University. The ancient recipe included coarse

Scientists trace death-defying “Sardonic Grin” to plant

Sardinian scientists have traced the roots of the "Sardonic grin" to a plant commonly found on the Italian island. The plant was made into a potion which forced condemned men as they went to their deaths. 'The Punics were convinced that death was the start of new life, to be greeted

Roman Ruins Survive the Ages Thanks to Volcanic Ash

The ancient Romans mixed their mortar with volcanic ash to strengthen it. Sandy ash produced by a volcano that erupted 456,000 years ago might have helped a huge ancient Roman complex survive intact for nearly 2,000 years despite three earthquakes, according to research presented last week in Rome. X-ray analysis of a

Stone Age Glue

Stone Age humans knowingly tweaked the chemical and physical properties of an iron-containing pigment known as red ochre with the gum of acacia trees to create a "super-glue" for their shafted tools. The results showed that glue containing red ochre was less brittle and more shatterproof than glue made from acacia