Move Over Pompeii

We've long known about Pompeii, the ancient Roman town marvelously preserved after it was buried in lava from the 79 C.E. eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. But there's another ancient city that has withstood the test of time in a more precarious position.

University of Nottingham's Jon Henderson is hurrying to put together a mission to digitally map the nearly 4,000-year-old Greek town of Pavlopetri, before there's nothing left to record. 


The town sits under three to four meters of water not far off the Greek coast. Its preserved streets and buildings date back to at least 2800 B.C.E., and its more recent graves date to the Mycenaean period--the Bronze Age of Homeric lore.

No archaeologists have worked at the site in four decades, but Pavlopetri is close to popular tourist areas making it susceptible to damage from snorkelers and boats in addition to the slow wear and tear of seawater.

Henderson has permission from the Greek government to make his dig--er, dive--and he has the technology. His team will use acoustic scanners to map the ruins of the town. Firms attempting offshore energy exploration originally developed these mapping technologies, but Henderson's team plans to use them to make a digital 3D map of Pavlopetri, accurate down to the millimeters. All Henderson needs now is the money—he and his team have a little more fundraising to do before their multi-year project can commence. 

If all goes according to plan, the study would see the light of day in five years. But the archaeological innovations could bear fruit sooner—if the mapping technique is a viable one for underwater archaeologists, they could start using it to study shipwrecks, sunken cities, and other mysteries buried in the deep.

California wildfires death toll climbs to 50

Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
  • 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
  • On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
Keep reading Show less

Too much sleep results in cognitive decline, researchers find

We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.

Photo: Vladislav Muslakvo / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
  • Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
  • Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Keep reading Show less

Russian reporters discover 101 'tortured' whales jammed in offshore pens

Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.

(VL.ru)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales.
  • Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens.
  • Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.
Keep reading Show less