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Hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived together for 2,000 years in Central Europe

Indigenous hunter-gatherers and immigrant farmers lived side-by-side for more than 2,000 years in Central Europe, before the hunter-gatherer communities died out or adopted the agricultural lifestyle. The results come from a study undertaken by the Institute of Anthropology at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) that has just been published in the journal Science.

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© Thomas Hartmann, JGU
Palaeogenetic research in the ultra-clean laboratory at Mainz University.
A team led by Mainz anthropologist Professor Joachim Burger studied bones from the 'Blätterhöhle' cave near Hagen in Germany, where both hunter-gatherers and farmers were buried. "It is commonly assumed that the Central European hunter-gatherers disappeared soon after the arrival of farmers," said Dr. Ruth Bollongino, lead author of the study. "But our study shows that the descendants of Mesolithic Europeans maintained their hunter-gatherer way of life and lived in parallel with the immigrant farmers, for at least 2,000 years. The hunter-gathering lifestyle thus only died out in Central Europe around 5,000 years ago, much later than previously thought."

Until around 7,500 years ago all central Europeans were hunter-gatherers. They were the descendants of the first anatomically modern humans to arrive in Europe, around 45,000 years ago, who survived the last Ice Age and the warming that started around 10,000 years ago. But previous genetic studies by Professor Burger's group indicated that agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle were brought to Central Europe around 7,500 years ago by immigrant farmers. From that time on, little trace of hunter-gathering can be seen in the archaeological record, and it was widely assumed that the hunter-gatherers died out or were absorbed into the farming populations.

Eye 1

Dorothy Comingore: Living the Orwellian life

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© Wikipedia
Actress Dorothy Comingore
Sixty-five years ago today, in a remote part of Great Britain, George Orwell was finishing his prescient novel, 1984. At the same moment a continent away in Hollywood, an American woman was actually living Orwell's fictional story. In the fall of 1948, actress Dorothy Comingore of Citizen Kane fame had no clue that the U.S. "thought police" was spying on her, but she could feel a shadow dogging her steps. Dorothy couldn't find a job to save her life and grew so upset about her difficulties, she wondered aloud: "If I've done something wrong, I'd like to know what it is."

It was as if the moody, random terror that Orwell had so vividly created in his manuscript had drifted across the Atlantic and slipped onto a westbound train for California. Unbeknown to Dorothy, she was being tailed by federal agents, monitored by Congressional investigators, and ranked as dangerous on a top-secret "security" list. These facts seemed more ludicrous than Orwell's parody of a "security state." But America already was constructing it.

Today, many U.S. writers, artists and activists undergo similar surreal experiences thanks to the National Security Agency (NSA). While we may think that our government's scrutiny of our private lives is somehow new and shocking, it isn't. America has a tradition of spying on its own. I realized this recently when I picked up my yellowed copy of Orwell's classic after reviewing Dorothy's private papers. I was struck by the parallels between Orwell's imagination, his real-life contemporary in America and what's happening to us today. Covert surveillance, travel restrictions, detentions, loss of work and worse. ... This is what happens to Americans who think differently than those in power.

This is what's happening now.

MIB

Thatcher lunched with top Russian KGB agent, papers reveal

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© wikipedia
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher with double agent Oleg Gordievsky.
The late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher attended a luncheon in 1982 with double agent Oleg Gordievsky, who was then head of the Soviet Union's London KGB spy network, according to papers released Monday.

Gordievsky, who fled the Soviet Union in 1985 as Moscow began to suspect his treason, was included on a guestlist for a 45-minute hotel lunch alongside British lawmakers and local officials, a document published by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation has revealed.

The meal took place during the annual conference of Thatcher's Conservative Party in the British seaside resort town of Bournemouth.

"A number of guests from Young Conservative Groups in Europe, America and New Zealand will be attending the Conference. Members of the 'Diplomatic Corps,' including: Mr O Gordievski from the Soviet Embassy," the document reads.

Arrow Down

Columbus and the Indians: By Howard Zinn

© US Slave Blogspot
Arawak men and women, naked, tawny, and full of wonder, emerged from their villages onto the island's beaches and swam out to get a closer look at the strange big boat. When Columbus and his sailors came ashore, carrying swords, speaking oddly, the Arawaks ran to greet them, brought them food, water, gifts. He later wrote of this in his log:
"They... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells. They willingly traded everything they owned.... They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane.... They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want."
© US Slave Blogspot
These Arawaks of the Bahama Islands were much like Indians on the mainland, who were remarkable (European observers were to say again and again) for their hospitality, their belief in sharing. These traits did not stand out in the Europe of the Renaissance, dominated as it was by the religion of popes, the government of kings, the frenzy for money that marked Western civilization and its first messenger to the Americas, Christopher Columbus. Columbus wrote:
"As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts." The information that Columbus wanted most was: Where is the gold?

Info

Study suggests women, not men, created much of ancient cave art

© Dean Snow
Cave art, including hand stencil at top.
University Park, Pa.,-- A study of hand prints on cave walls suggests much of Paleolithic cave art was created by women, a Penn State archaeologist says.

Taking as his starting point previous research that found average finger lengths in people vary by gender, Dean Snow has been studying ancient hand prints in caves for nearly a decade, National Geographic reported.

Looking at pictures of cave art at one point, Snow noticed the fingers on the hands stenciled next to depictions of animals and other objects appeared to conform to research descriptions of female hands.

Hand stencils, found in several cave art sites, where created by the artist or artists placed their hands against a cave wall and blowing paint at them (through a straw or directly from their mouth) to create an outline.

Snow said his studies suggest approximately 75 percent of such hand art samples was likely the work of women as opposed to the common belief that cave art was the purview of men.

The assumption was based on the depictions in most cave art of women and animals being hunted, which seemed to sum up the life of hunters, the male half of a hunter-gatherer society.

If women were doing most of the cave art, Snow said, it's possible they played a larger, more important role in how hunter-gatherer societies functioned than has been thought.

Star of David

Study traces Ashkenazi roots to European women who probably converted to Judaism

The genetic analysis traced the lineage of many Ashkenazi Jews to four maternal founders in Europe.

Most Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of European women who converted to Judaism, possibly around the time of the early Roman empire, concludes a new genetic study that casts doubt on many prevailing theories about the origins of Ashkenazim.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, analyzed samples of mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down only from the mother, taken from more than 3,500 people throughout the Near East, the Caucasus and Europe, including Ashkenazi Jews. The researchers found that more than 80 percent of the maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to indigenous Europeans, with four maternal "founders" responsible for 40 percent. Although Jewish men may have migrated into Europe from Israel around 2,000 years ago, they brought few or no wives with them, according to the researchers, who suggest that the men married and converted European women, first along the Mediterranean and later in western and central Europe.

Sherlock

Were the first artists and shamans mostly women? Three-quarters of handprints in ancient cave art were left by women, study finds.

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© Dean Snow
Handprints in ancient cave art most often belonged to women, overturning the dogma that the earliest artists were all men.
Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly men, so the finding overturns decades of archaeological dogma.

Archaeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University analyzed hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers, Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female.

"There has been a male bias in the literature for a long time," said Snow, whose research was supported by the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration. "People have made a lot of unwarranted assumptions about who made these things, and why."

Archaeologists have found hundreds of hand stencils on cave walls across the world. Because many of these early paintings also showcase game animals - bison, reindeer, horses, woolly mammoths - many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters, perhaps to chronicle their kills or as some kind of "hunting magic" to improve success of an upcoming hunt. The new study suggests otherwise.

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Early bronze age migration from Sweden to Poland found

© J. Lipták
Nebra Sky Disk discovered in Saxony Anhalt, Early Bronze Age, Únětice culture, LDA Sachsen-Anhalt,
During the Early Bronze Age there was a very high level of territorial mobility of the Únětice culture in Silesia, a large community inhabiting the south western territories of Poland approximately 4 000 years ago.

This is found in a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg which also conclusively confirms the first case of human long-distance overseas journey to Silesia from Scandinavia, probably from southern Sweden.
'Over 3800 years ago, a young male, possibly born in Skåne, made a journey of over 900 kilometers south, to Wroclaw in Poland. He died violently in Wroclaw, killed by Úněticean farmers, possibly due to romance with two local females, who were murdered together with him. This 'Bronze Age love story', with no happy end today is the first case of Swedish-Polish contacts in history ever', concludes archaeologist Dalia Pokutta, author of the thesis.
The Early Bronze Age has undergone a multitude of transformations through archaeologist's eyes over the past decades. The Únětice culture, commonly known and associated with Nebra Sky Disk, is currently considered to be part of a wider pan-European cultural phenomenon, arising gradually between III-II millennium B.C.

The new study of the Únětice Culture comes as a result of international cooperation of several leading European universities within the EU Forging Identities: The Mobility of Culture in Bronze Age Europe programme. Dalia Pokutta's work is a 'bioarchaeological portrait' of the Únětice culture in Poland, focusing particularly on the territories of Lower Silesia. The study presents the subject from a palaeodemographic perspective based on the results of isotopic analysis of human remains dating back to the Early Bronze Age (2200-1600 B.C).

'It is the biggest isotopic project undertaken in Poland so far. We analysed hundreds of samples, not only human bones, but also animals. This study deals with the humans of a long-forgotten past and figuratively speaking, it has been written by the hands of fifty dead people. This story leads us to the first Europe of metals and the beginnings of the Bronze Age world, but above all to past societies and their members. The results of the analyses went beyond our wildest dreams or expectations' says Dalia Pokutta.

Pyramid

Ancient artifact of Pharaoh Tutankhamun holds evidence of comet impact

© wikipedia
Scientists have discovered the first ever evidence of a comet entering Earth's atmosphere and exploding, raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path.

The discovery has not only provided the first definitive proof of a comet striking Earth, millions of years ago, but it could also help us to unlock, in the future, the secrets of the formation of our solar system.
"Comets always visit our skies - they're these dirty snowballs of ice mixed with dust - but never before in history has material from a comet ever been found on Earth," says Professor David Block of Wits University.
The comet entered Earth's atmosphere above Egypt about 28 million years ago. As it entered the atmosphere, it exploded, heating up the sand beneath it to a temperature of about 2 000 degrees Celsius, and resulting in the formation of a huge amount of yellow silica glass which lies scattered over a 6 000 square kilometer area in the Sahara.

In 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankamun (KV62), in the Valley of the Kings/Egypt.

The tomb was densely packed with items in great disarray all dating from the 18th dynasty. Due to the state of the tomb, and to Carter's meticulous recording technique, the tomb took eight years to empty, the contents all being transported to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

Colosseum

Bible scholar Joseph Atwill claims Christianity invented as part of ancient Roman psy-ops campaign

© Agence France-Presse
The Christian faith is the result of the most successful psy-ops program in history, according to an American Bible scholar.

Joseph Atwill will present his controversial theory Oct. 19 in London that the New Testament was written by first-century Roman aristocrats as part of a sophisticated government project to help pacify Jews in occupied territories.

Atwill, author of "Caesar's Messiah," claims he's found ancient confessions by the scriptures' authors that they invented Jesus Christ and his story as basically a form of propaganda.

"Jewish sects in Palestine at the time, who were waiting for a prophesied warrior Messiah, were a constant source of violent insurrection during the first century," Atwill said. "When the Romans had exhausted conventional means of quashing rebellion, they switched to psychological warfare. They surmised that the way to stop the spread of zealous Jewish missionary activity was to create a competing belief system. That's when the 'peaceful' Messiah story was invented. Instead of inspiring warfare, this Messiah urged turn-the-other-cheek pacifism and encouraged Jews to 'give onto Caesar' and pay their taxes to Rome."

He says that Jesus was not based on an actual historical figure, but Atwill argues that the events of his life were overlaid on top of actual events from the First Jewish-Roman War, waged by Emperor Titus Flavius in Palestinian territories.