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Rainmaker ritual helps date ancient droughts

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Charred remains of ancient rainmaking fires are helping to date droughts in Iron Age Africa to within 20 years. After a several years of little or no rainfall, the Bantu people near modern-day Zimbabwe would send a rainmaker to nearby hills.

"They'd burn fires with dark smoke to call black rain clouds from the mountains," says Thomas Huffman at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Villagers were also made to burn grain bins if they had planted "unlucky" foreign seeds.

arrow3.gifView: Full Article | arrow3.gifSource: New Scientist

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