The Devil’s Corkscrews

In the mid-1800s, ranchers across Sioux County, in the US state of Nebraska, began unearthing strange, spiral structures of hardened rock-like material sticking vertically out of the ground. The spirals were as thick as an arm and some of them were taller than a man. Not knowing what they were, the ranchers began calling them “devil’s corkscrew.”

The puzzling structures first came to the notice of the scientific community through geologists Dr. E. H. Barbour in 1891, when he was asked to investigate a nine-foot long specimen that a local rancher had discovered on his property along the Niobrara River. Barbour found that the spirals were actually sand-filled tubes with the outer walls made of some white fibrous material. Barbour knew they were fossils but of … Read the rest

Grime’s Graves: A Neolithic Flint Mine

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This strange lunar-like landscape in the middle of Thetford Forest in Norfolk, England, looks very similar to mortar craters in Normandy and in Somme from the First World War. But these ones in Norfolk have a different origin, and despite their name, they are not graves. Grime's Graves is actually a large flint mining complex from the Neolithic age that’s at least 4,500 years old.

In the Neolithic era, flint —a hard, mineralized form of quartz—was a valuable natural resource and highly prized because of its tendency to break into thin flakes with a razor sharp edge that was very useful to make tools and weapons. Indeed, flint remained in use for many centuries even after men learned to make tools out of metals.

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Photo … Read the rest