News Mash-up: Ancient Discoveries

Category : Science/Environment

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. prehistoric / ˌpri hɪˈstɔr ɪk / (adj.) – relating to the time before people made written records of historical events

    The museum has an exhibit on prehistoric animals.

  2. dismantle / dɪsˈmæn tl / (v.) – to take something apart

    I had to dismantle my bicycle to repair it.

  3. conch shell / kɒŋk ʃɛl / (n.) – a large, spiral-shaped shell where snail-like sea creatures usually live

    We took home a couple of empty conch shells that we found on the beach.

  4. overlook / ˌoʊ vərˈlʊk / (v.) – to fail to notice something or fail to realize how important it is   

    My boss got mad because I overlooked his email and missed the emergency meeting.

  5. bleat / blit / (n.) – the sound that a sheep or goat makes or any sound similar to it

    The trumpet made a loud bleat when I blew into it.


Read the text below.

UK researchers say they have found an answer to the mystery of Stonehenge

The prehistoric standing stones at Stonehenge draw people from around the world to southwest England. But why was the monument built? Archaeologists now think they have an answer.

Researchers at University College London already know that some of the stones came from an even older stone circle in Wales. Now they say the stones may have been dismantled and rebuilt hundreds of years later on Salisbury Plain.

The researchers say both stone circles are very similar. They have the same diameter, 110 meters. And one of the bluestones at Stonehenge fits one of the holes found at the Welsh circle.

Lead researcher Parker Pearson said the stones may have been moved as people living in Wales migrated.

“Maybe most of the people migrated, taking their stones — their ancestral identities — with them,” he told the BBC. (Reuters)

Shell horn plays a tune after 18,000 years

A large conch shell overlooked in a museum for decades is now thought to be the oldest known seashell instrument — and it still works, producing a deep, plaintive bleat, like a foghorn from the distant past.

The shell was found during the 1931 excavation of a cave with prehistoric wall paintings in the French Pyrenees and assumed to be a ceremonial drinking cup. Archaeologists from the University of Toulouse recently took a fresh look and determined it had been modified thousands of years ago to serve as a wind instrument.

The researchers estimate it to be around 18,000 years old. Their findings were published Feb. 10 in the journal Science Advances. (AP)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Researchers now think that the stones of Stonehenge may have been moved as people living in Wales migrated. Do you think we’ll ever really know why they created these stone circles? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Stonehenge has fascinated people all around the world for a long time. Does your country have any mysterious sites? If so, what’s so mysterious about them? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Archaeologists originally assumed the conch shell was a ceremonial drinking cup, but now they think it had been modified to serve as a wind instrument. Do you think archaeologists have gotten many more things wrong about the past? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • The conch shell was overlooked in a museum for decades. What do you think should be done to avoid “losing” artifacts in museums? Why? Discuss.
Category : Science/Environment