Researchers from the University of Birmingham (UK) may have discovered the oldest calendar in human history. This is exciting news for archaeologists, historians and those with an interest in the human past. We are going to lay out the key points of this exciting bit of archaeology news.

How Old is the Oldest Calendar?

Before now, the oldest known calendars appearing in archaeology news were from Mesopotamia. These were about 5,000 years old (c. 3000 BC). This supported ideas that civilisation and astrology originated in the Near East.

This new historical discovery is almost twice as old as previous examples. The archaeological remains date from around 10,000 years ago (c. 8000 BC). Birmingham researchers suggest the remains may be a kind of lunar calendar. If so, it would indicate that hunter-gatherer societies practised astrology earlier than previously thought.

Where was the Oldest Calendar Found?

The discovery was made in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The site itself is Warren Field, Crathes. The location of this ancient calendar raises further questions. The Near East was home to great ancient civilisations such as the Hittites an Assyrians. The region is also credited with being important in the spread of agriculture.

But Scotland can hardly boast a similarly epic past. This discovery might indicate that there were early civilisations and complex societies present in prehistoric Scotland. Or it may suggest that such early calendars were widespread throughout the world.

Implications of the Oldest Calendar’s Discovery

The implications of this discovery are mostly social. Scientific feats such as this would require a large amount of social interaction. Ideas would have to be exchanged and labour coordinated. So this 10,000 year old calendar suggests that hunter-gatherers functioned as a complex society.

Who Discovered the Oldest Calendar?

The project was led by Vince Gaffney of the University of Birmingham. He comments that this might have marked the invention of both time and history.

A selection of resistance bands, a type of fitness equipment

A resistance band to suit each mood

A lot of people want to make a change in their lives through exercise. You might want to lose weight, build up muscle, become more toned or improve your fitness. This is a review of a piece of equipment which can do all of the above. The resistance band is something that we have worked with and found really helpful. Below is a list of the benefits of a resistance band.

1. Resistance Band Portability

Fitness and exercise is something which you should be able to do anywhere. It should not just be an activity for the gym or your home. You can take a resistance band anywhere. We recently took ours to Sicily and worked out in the hotel. The fact that fitness bands are portable means that you can do a full range of workouts wherever. It is like taking a home gym with you wherever you go.

2. Resistance Band Versatility

This is one of the most versatile pieces of fitness equipment that we have encountered. You can do a whole range of exercises with one set of bands. Bicep curls, squats, leg exercises, tricep lifts and shoulder exercises are just some of the activities you can do with a resistance band. The below exercise video shows you how the fitness band works.

3. Resistance Band Cost

Fitness equipment is not cheap. Look at the Fitness Superstore (link here) and see how much their equipment costs. For a full range of workouts you would have to buy numerous items at a high price (wherever you shop). You can get a good quality set of resistance bands on Amazon for less than $20. That is amazing value for something that you can take anywhere and do almost any workout with.

Also check out our range of Martial Arts articles here!

A Roman legionary formation from Rome Total War 2

Can’t wait to send these guys into action in 3 days!

It is 3 days now before Rome Total War 2 will be released. So we are bringing you the very latest news from the developers. Total War and the Creative Assembly have been busy supplying Rome 2 fans with news ahead of the game’s release. Two major releases have been made recently. Keep reading to find out more about the latest instalment in the Total War series: Rome Total War 2.

Total War Rome 2 Faction Technology Tree

This is a big release from the Total War team. You can now check out the civil and military technology trees for Rome Total War 2. The below video goes through it pretty thoroughly. But how much do you want to know? It might be enough to just get a feel for how it will all work, without checking out every bit of technology available in-game. Factions other than Rome will have a similar layout for technology. But it appears that the things which you can research will vary.

Total War Rome 2 Pre-Load

Rome 2 is preloaded. This is both a blessing and a curse… Allow me to explain. You now have the option to download Total War Rome 2 ahead of its release date. It can be downloaded from the Steam Store. This means that you can play Rome 2 as soon as the game is released.

So what is wrong with that? It is great that you will not have to wait for the game to download on its release day. But there is a big drawback. Once the game is downloaded it is in your Steam library. You will not be able to play it yet but it will be there. Hours will be spent staring into your Steam library, now filled with epic gaming potential. But you will be powerless and at the mercy of the Creative Assembly. Until they decide that the time is ripe to release Rome 2, your games library will be simultaneously filled but empty.

Other Rome Total War 2 articles, news and videos: Rome 2 News, Rome 2 Maps, Rome 2 Phalanx Gameplay, Top Recent Game Releases

Two martial artists grappling towards a submission in a karate bout.

This article contains videos and tips to help you master the basic karate grappling and submission techniques. These karate grappling locks are used to subdue an opponent in a fight. The opponent may give up a fight due to the pain of a karate lock. This applies to both sparring, training and real combat. An opponent may also be unable to fight due to injuries caused by grappling. This only applies to real fights where a lock is used in self-defence. You should never cause real physical injury during training or sparring.


This is a very basic grappling technique. The aim is to force the opponent into submission by putting pressure on their head and neck. Place your arm around their head or neck. They should be trapped in the bend of your arm, between your arm and body. Apply pressure by bringing your forearm closer to your biceps. You may also place the other arm on the back of their head to increase pressure. The headlock is easy to execute and can force an opponent into submission. When grappling be aware that your opponent may use a headlock on you at the same time. Check out the video below from Livestrong.

Top tip: place your body at a right-angle to the opponent’s. This makes it harder for them to strike you while in a lock or submission.

Arm Bar

This grappling technique works very well after throwing. We can use the example of a shoulder throw (click here for more on throwing). Block your opponent’s strike and throw them. After throwing an opponent, deliver a punch or kick. Keep holding onto their arm as you move from sparring to grappling. Place your legs across their chest. Their arm should be between your legs. Bend their arm against the elbow, over your hip. The pressure will eventually break their arm. Be careful not to do so during training.

Top tip: push upwards with your hips to apply added pressure.

Wrist Lock

This is a form of grappling submission which targets the opponent’s wrist. The benefit of this technique is that it can be performed from standing. Stand above your opponent after throwing them. Hold their wrist in the bend of one arm. Use your legs to keep them stationary and on their side. Your hand then folds theirs down. Their palm should move towards them. A grappling submission technique without the need to grapple.

The below video shows the basic mechanics of the wrist lock.

Top tip: keep a tight grip on your opponent’s wrist. Otherwise they might easily slip it out of your hold.

Leg Lock

The mechanics of this submission are simple. This is basic karate grappling after all. You take hold of the opponent’s leg to begin. Your legs and feet go on either side and hold theirs in position. Add pressure as if you are bending the leg against the joint (the way it is not supposed to bend). If you push too hard, their leg will break, so be careful. Below is an image demonstrating the general idea of a leg submission. Why is he doing it the wrong way round? Leg submissions in grappling can be performed either way. Their knee can face towards or away from you. If it faces towards you, hold their leg straight and push the knee with your hips. If the knee faces away, hold it in place with one leg and push their lower leg away.

An MMA fighter holds another in a knee bar submission

I figured a video of middle-aged men grappling in their boxers wouldn’t be appreciated here…

Ankle Lock

This is karate grappling basics, so I will go over the fundamental aspects of an ankle lock. Keep the opponent’s leg static. This means that it cannot move. Rotate or push their foot so that it puts pressure on the ankle. You can bend the foot towards their shin, to the side or rotate it to the left/right.

For our male readers, more attractive demonstrations can be found here: http://www.mmacandy.com (see below image)

A female MMA fighter

Not a middle-aged man in boxer shorts

More martial arts videos and articles: Basic Kicks, Basic Punches, Basic Throws, Basic Blocks, Top 10 Martial Arts Videos, Top 10 Martial Arts Films

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As you can see in the above image, Bruce Lee is now made of metal. If you are also made of metal, you can stop reading here. Karate blocks are used to stop you from being hurt in a fight. The concept is simple. You use a hard body part to defend your soft parts. Use blocks to protect your face, neck, chest, stomach and groin. You can move straight from a block into a fight-winning throw (read more about throwing here).

You will usually block with an arm or leg. Here are some basic karate blocks. Practise them until they become second nature. Then your opponents will find it hard to land their punches or kicks.

1. Blocking Punches

Punches are the most popular attacks in Karate, MMA and fight videos. They are also the go-to attack on the street. Punches are faster than kicks and still hurt. But you can block a punch, this is how you do it:

Inside Block

This blocks a straight punch. Make a closed fist. Draw your fist in an arc across your body. It should go past the opposite shoulder and end with your arm at a right angle. Your forearm should point upwards. The forearm knocks the punch away from your head or body.

Outside Block

This blocks straight punches but can also be used against a hook punch. Move your fist in an arc so that it goes away from your body. Your forearm should come across your body, pointing upwards. The punch should be blocked away from your body as you step away with your back foot.

Upper Block

Blocking blows to the head. Raise your elbow so that your forearm is parallel to the ground. Now push your forearm upwards so that it is above your head. This will push punches over your head. It can also soften blows delivered from above (e.g. defending against a Tonfa).

Top tip: to block lower punches, drop your knees and adopt a horse stance (like a cowboy). Then use the above blocks as appropriate.

2. Blocking Kicks

If punches are so fast, why do martial artists still use kicks? Kicking is more powerful and can cause more damage. That is why Karate, MMA and fight videos contain a lot of kicking. Kicks are slower so you can anticipate them. But they are just as hard to block due to the force required to stop them. These blocks will also be effective against opponents who hit below the belt.

Leg Block

You want to block a kick with the side of your lower leg. If our legs are all hard then why only this area? Legs have a lot of bone: foot, ankle, shin, knee and hip. If you take a hard kick to the foot or ankle you could break one of their many small bones. Shins, knees and hips will hurt a lot from a kick. Your upper leg is your kicking muscle. If your opponent lands a good strike on your thigh, do not expect to be able to kick them back. It is hard to win a fight on one leg.

Kick up and out towards the incoming leg with the side of your lower leg. Expect sore shins, but you will still be on your feet. This is better for blocking your opponent’s leg or groin-shots.

Lower Block

This is a block for higher kicks (ribs or stomach). The higher a kick gets, the more dangerous it is. A stomach kick could wind you. A kick to the side could break your ribs. Step away with your back foot. Swing one arm down in an arc across your body. Like the inside block, but going down.

Inside Block #2

This is used against high kicks. It is executed just as before. But doesn’t the inside block stop punches? Yes, but it can be really good against kicks too. Drop your hips and bend your knees. Step to the side and perform the inside block. You will have more time to do so against a kick. As you block, catch their leg or foot in the crook of your arm. From here you can punch, kick or twist as you please. The opponent will be at your mercy.

Butterfly Block

Blocking high kicks. This karate block has a pretty name. But it is a great way to block upper body kicks.

Drop low. Put your chin to chest, protecting your head. Your front forearm points down out to your side. The other forearm points upwards, elbow behind the front elbow. Now your arms look like the wings of a butterfly. The point where your arms cross goes beside your head. This protects your head behind the area which can absorb the most force.

More from our Karate Basics series: Karate Basics 1-4, Basic Karate Punches, Basic Karate Kicks, Basic Karate Throws

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Activision and High Moon Studios released the Deadpool game this June. It is based around the Marvel character Deadpool. He is a less well known character, so this is an interesting move for game developers to take. Could this mean that more minor Marvel characters will also get their own game?

Released June 2013

Deadpool Trailer

Deadpool Gameplay Trailer

Deadpool Game Platform

Can you play Deadpool on Xbox 360, PS3 or PC? The answer is yes. Deadpool is available on all three of the above game platforms. But will you want to play it?

Deadpool Review

Deadpool the Marvel character is crass. He says what he wants and does not care how he says it. Is he a good guy or a bad guy? It is hard to say. Deadpool gets bored and has a short attention span. So a lot of his decisions are made apparently at random. The plot of the game is awesome, like playing a Marvel comic script. But the gameplay does not quite hold up its end.

Pointless violence in video games is fun. But it takes a lot of work to turn it into great gameplay. Deadpool does not appear to do that.

Also check out: Rome 2 Total War News

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Everyone is getting excited about the release of Rome 2 Total War. We all want to know as much as we can about the game. But it is not easy to find all of the Rome 2 maps in one place, even on the Total War website. This is a list of all of the Rome 2 maps which have been released so far.

Rome 2 Map

This Rome 2 map shows the territories of Rome 2 Total War. As you can see, it is quite complex. There are many minor states to work with or against in the game. It also looks like each territory will have its own benefits for trade etc.

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Rome 2 Factions Map

This Rome 2 map shows the main factions of the game. Rome 2 Total War will have 12 playable factions upon release. These are: Rome, Carthage, Macedon, Iceni, Arveni, Suebi, Parthia, Egypt, Pontus, Sparta, Epirus and Athens. But it looks like more factions will become playable later.

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Rome 2 Campaign Map

This is what the campaign map will look like during Rome 2 Total War gameplay. The scenery looks great and fun to interact with. The general look of the game is a big improvement on Rome Total War.

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Rome 2 Battle Map

This video shows the Rome 2 battle map. The battle map always plays a big role in Total War games. It lets you know where allied and enemy forces are located during a battle.

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