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Cowboy Hat

Easter Island statues' hats explained by researchers

easter island red hats

Easter Island: The two British experts believe the first hats appeared between 1200 and 1300, which coincides with an important increase in the size of the statues on this remote island.
The riddle of why scores of the statues on Easter Island are wearing red hats may have been solved by a team of British researchers.

The presence of the large disks of red stone has been one of the great mysteries of the island, situated 2,500 miles off the coast of Chile, since European archeologists began studying it a century ago.

Dr Colin Richards from the University of Manchester and Dr Sue Hamilton from University College London managed to reconstruct the journey taken by the sculptured rocks after following an ancient road which leads to a "sacred" quarry where the material was mined.

Dr Richards told The Independent: "It is clear that the quarry had a sacred context as well as an industrial one. The Polynesians saw the landscape as a living thing and after they carved the rock the spirits entered the statues."
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The Secrets of Easter Island

Easter island
© Paul Trachtman
Local artists are reviving the island's traditions. Carolina Edwards prepares to dance.
The more we learn about the remote island from archaeologists and researchers, the more intriguing it becomes

"There exists in the midst of the great ocean, in a region where nobody goes, a mysterious and isolated island," wrote the 19th-century French seafarer and artist Pierre Loti. "The island is planted with monstrous great statues, the work of I don't know what race, today degenerate or vanished; its great remains an enigma." Named Easter Island by the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggeveen, who first spied it on Easter Day 1722, this tiny spit of volcanic rock in the vast South Seas is, even today, the most remote inhabited place on earth. Its nearly 1,000 statues, some almost 30 feet tall and weighing as much as 80 tons, are still an enigma, but the statue builders are far from vanished. In fact, their descendants are making art and renewing their cultural traditions in an island renaissance.

To early travelers, the spectacle of immense stone figures, at once serenely godlike and savagely human, was almost beyond imagining. The island's population was too small, too primitive and too isolated to be credited with such feats of artistry, engineering and labor. "We could hardly conceive how these islanders, wholly unacquainted with any mechanical power, could raise such stupendous figures," the British mariner Capt. James Cook wrote in 1774. He freely speculated on how the statues might have been raised, a little at a time, using piles of stones and scaffolding; and there has been no end of speculation, and no lack of scientific investigation, in the centuries that followed. By Cook's time, the islanders had toppled many of their statues and were neglecting those left standing. But the art of Easter Island still looms on the horizon of the human imagination.

Just 14 miles long and 7 miles wide, the island is more than 2,000 miles off the coast of South America and 1,100 miles from its nearest Polynesian neighbor, Pitcairn Island, where mutineers from the HMS Bounty hid in the 19th century. Too far south for a tropical climate, lacking coral reefs and perfect beaches, and whipped by perennial winds and seasonal downpours, Easter Island nonetheless possesses a rugged beauty - a mixture of geology and art, of volcanic cones and lava flows, steep cliffs and rocky coves. Its megalithic statues are even more imposing than the landscape, but there is a rich tradition of island arts in forms less solid than stone - in wood and bark cloth, strings and feathers, songs and dances, and in a lost form of pictorial writing called rongorongo, which has eluded every attempt to decipher it. A society of hereditary chiefs, priests, clans and guilds of specialized craftsmen lived in isolation for 1,000 years.
Sherlock

Mystery of Missing US Colonies Remains Unsolved

© Agence France-Presse
In this lithograph, Roanoke Colony settlers are shown baptizing Virginia Dare, the first child born in the New World to English parents.
Twice in American history, entire groups of people have suddenly disappeared - to the point that archaeologists and anthropologists today cannot say where they went or what happened to them.

One was the first boatload of English settlers in the New World. In 1587, they established a colony on Roanoke Island, off the Atlantic coast of what is now the state of North Carolina. The settlement had great difficulties with food and hostile Indians, so its governor went back to England to get supplies and arms.

When he returned, the whole colony of about 100 people had vanished without a trace. All that was left in what became known as the Lost Colony was the word "ROATAN," carved into a tree. The Roatans were Indians in the area.

The second mystery evolved several hundred years earlier, and several thousand kilometers to the west, in what is now the state of Colorado, past the Rocky Mountains in a place called "Mesa Verde" - "green table" or tabletop in Spanish.

A mesa is a long, flat-topped mountain, rising above a valley. About 1,900 years ago, this one was the home of a native people that today's Navajo Indians call the Anasazi - the ancient ones.
Sheeple

Agriculture spread thoughout UK in just 50 years

New scientific techniques reveal how large tribal gatherings swept neolithic Britain

They were the stone-age equivalent of Glastonbury festival. People gathered in their hundreds to drink, eat and party every summer at revelries lasting several days and nights. Young men met women from nearby communities and married them. Herds of cattle were slaughtered to provide food.

These neolithic carousals even had special sites. They were held on causewayed enclosures, large hilltop earthworks built by our forebears after they brought farming to Britain from the continent 6,000 years ago.

This picture of ancient British bacchanalia has been created by researchers led by Professor Alasdair Whittle of Cardiff University and Dr Alex Bayliss of English Heritage. Using a revolutionary technique for dating ancient remains, they have built up a detailed chronology of the first farmers' arrival in Britain and have shown that agriculture spread with dramatic rapidity. In its wake, profound social changes gripped the country, culminating in the construction of causewayed enclosures where chieftains or priests held revelries to help establish their power bases.

Comment: Lauding the arrival of agriculture as a good thing is tragic when we consider the fruits of its labour compared with what is known of the original stone circle people. As Laura Knight-Jadczyk pointed out in The Golden Age, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction:
According to the mainstream scientific view, the Neolithic Revolution - the switch to agriculture - was one of the steps that led us to where we are today. This event involved the development of a system for the production and storage of food. Apparently, a human society already highly diversified and in the process of changing over to growing and storing food was already  - according to Gellner and others  - a 'ritually restrained society'.
"But it [agriculture] was also a tremendous trap. The main consequence of the adoption of food production and storage was the pervasiveness of political domination. A saying is attributed to the prophet Muhammad which affirms that subjection enters the house with the plough. This is profoundly true. The moment there is a surplus and storage, coercion becomes socially inevitable, having previously been optional. A surplus has to be defended. It also has to be divided. No principle of division is either self-justifying or self-enforcing: it has to be enforced by some means and by someone.

This consideration, jointly with the simple principle of pre-emptive violence, which asserts that you should be the first to do unto them that which they will do unto you if they get the chance, inescapably turns people into rivals. Though violence and coercion were not absent from pre-agrarian society, they were contingent. They were not, so to speak, necessarily built into it. But they are necessarily built into agrarian society...

The need for production and defense also impels agrarian society to value offspring, which means that, for familiar Malthusian reasons, their populations frequently come close to the danger point... The members of agrarian societies know the conditions they are in, and they do not wait for disaster to strike. They organize in such a way as to protect themselves, if possible, from being at the end of the queue.


With agriculture came domination
So, by and large, agrarian society is authoritarian and strongly prone to domination. It is made up of a system of protected, defended storehouses, with differential and protected access. Discipline is imposed, not so much by constant direct violence, but by enforced differential access to the storehouses. Coercion does not only underwrite the place in the queue; the threat of demotion, the hope of promotion in the queue also underwrites discipline. Hence coercion can generally be indirect. The naked sword is only used against those who defy the queue-masters altogether...

... the overwhelming majority of agrarian societies are really systems of violently enforced surplus storage and surplus protection... Political centralization generally, though not universally, follows surplus production and storage. ... A formalized machinery of enforcement supplements or partly replaces ritual." (Ernest Gellner, Anthropology and Politics, Blackwell, 1995)


Magic Wand

Origin of domesticated horses: Mystery solved

© petcaregt.com
Domestic horses originated in the steppes of modern-day Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan, mixing with local wild stocks as they spread throughout Europe and Asia, a new research has indicated.

Scientists have remained puzzled over the origin of domesticated horses for several decades until now.

Based on archaeological evidence, it had long been thought that horse domestication originated in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe (Ukraine, southwest Russia and west Kazakhstan); however, a single origin in a geographically restricted area appeared at odds with the large number of female lineages in the domestic horse gene pool, commonly thought to reflect multiple domestication "events" across a wide geographic area.
Better Earth

Maya calendar workshop documents time beyond 2012

© Tyrone Turner/National Geographic
Boston University archaeologist William Saturno carefully uncovers art and writings left by the Maya some 1,200 years ago.
Archaeologists have found a stunning array of 1,200-year-old Maya paintings in a room that appears to have been a workshop for calendar scribes and priests, with numerical markings on the wall that denote intervals of time well beyond the controversial cycle that runs out this December.

For years, prophets of doom have been saying that we're in for an apocalypse on Dec. 21, 2012, because that marks the end of the Maya "Long Count" calendar, which was based on a cycle of 13 intervals known as "baktuns," each lasting 144,000 days. But the researchers behind the latest find, detailed in the journal Science and an upcoming issue of National Geographic, say the writing on the wall runs counter to that bogus belief.

"It's very clear that the 2012 date, while important as Baktun 13, was turning the page," David Stuart, an expert on Maya hieroglyphs at the University of Texas at Austin, told reporters today. "Baktun 14 was going to be coming, and Baktun 15 and Baktun 16. ... The Maya calendar is going to keep going, and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future."

The current focus of the research project, led by Boston University's William Saturno, is a 6-by-6-foot room situated beneath a mound at the Xultun archaeological site in Guatemala's Peten region. Maxwell Chamberlain, a BU student participating in the excavations there, happened to notice a poorly preserved wall protruding from a trench that was previously dug by looters, with the hints of a painting on the plaster.
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Looting Leads Archaeologists to Oldest Known Mayan Calendar

Mayan Tomb
© Tyrone Turner; (inset) Illustration by William Saturno and David Stuart/© 2012 National Geographic
Hidden treasure. In a ruined residential compound in the ancient Maya city-state of Xultún in Guatemala, archaeologists found three elaborately painted walls—one with the portrait of a king, others with painted hieroglyphs (inset) that comprise the astronomical notations of Maya skywatchers.
On 21 July 1561, a crowd of indigenous farmers cried out in the town square of Maní, Mexico, as a Franciscan missionary set fire to dozens of fragile Maya books, or codices. Condemned by the missionaries as "the Devil's trickery," these written texts preserved knowledge gleaned from centuries of Maya science and mathematics. Similar acts of destruction followed, obliterating hundreds of other Maya codices. Today, only a handful of readable, precolonial codices survive.

Now a team of American researchers has discovered a small trove of ancient Maya texts in a surprising place. In a paper published online today in Science, William Saturno, an archaeologist at Boston University, and his colleagues, report finding Maya astronomical tables and other texts painted and incised on the walls of a 1200-year-old residential building at the site of Xultún in Guatemala. The newly discovered astronomical tables are at least 500 years older than those preserved in the Maya codices, giving researchers a new glimpse of science at the height of the Maya civilization. "I think we are all astonished by this find," says Stephen Houston, an archaeologist at Brown University who was not part of the team.

Looters have extensively targeted Xultún, which was once a sprawling Maya city-state. But in March 2010, a member of Saturno's team, Boston University student Maxwell Chamberlain, discovered part of a painted wall exposed by the illicit diggers. Subsequent archaeological excavation revealed three intact room walls within a residential compound: the walls bore paintings of human figures - including an elaborately attired Maya king - as well as vertical columns of numbers written in Maya hieroglyphs.
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Earliest Evidence of Biblical Cult Discovered

Khirbet Qeiyafa
© Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The excavation of a shrine in the 3,000-year-old city of Khirbet Qeiyafa near Jerusalem.
For the first time, archaeologists have uncovered shrines from the time of the early Biblical kings in the Holy Land, providing the earliest evidence of a cult, they say.

Excavation within the remains of the roughly 3,000-year-old fortified city of Khirbet Qeiyafa, located about 19 miles (30 kilometers) southwest of Jerusalem, have revealed three large rooms used as shrines, along with artifacts, including tools, pottery and objects, such as alters associated with worship.

The three shrines were part of larger building complexes, and the artifacts included five standing stones, two basalt altars, two pottery libation vessels and two portable shrines, one made of pottery, the other of stone. The portable shrines are boxes shaped like temples.

The shrines themselves reflect an architectural style dating back as early as the time of King David (of the biblical David and Goliath story), providing the first physical evidence of a cult in the time of King David, according to an announcement by Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeologist at Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The research is presented in the book, Footsteps of King David in the Valley of Elah (Yedioth Ahronoth, 2012).

Radiocarbon dating on burnt olive pits found in the ancient city of Khirbet Qeiyafa indicate it existed between 1020 B.C. and 980 B.C., before being violently destroyed.

Comment: Completely ignores the facts that no "King David" ever existed, that there was NO "kingdom of Israel" as presented in the Bible, and that the likelihood is that the god worshiped in this "shrine" was probably not Yahweh.

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Ancient Language Discovered on Clay Tablets Found Amid Ruins of 2800 Year Old Middle Eastern Palace

Ancient Language
© The Independent
A detail from the 8th century BC Assyrian clay tablet bearing the 45 mystery names written in cuneiform script which have now been deciphered at Cambridge University.
Archaeologists have discovered evidence for a previously unknown ancient language - buried in the ruins of a 2800 year old Middle Eastern palace.

The discovery is important because it may help reveal the ethnic and cultural origins of some of history's first 'barbarians' - mountain tribes which had, in previous millennia, preyed on the world's first great civilizations, the cultures of early Mesopotamia in what is now Iraq.

Evidence of the long-lost language - probably spoken by a hitherto unknown people from the Zagros Mountains of western Iran - was found by a Cambridge University archaeologist as he deciphered an ancient clay writing tablet unearthed by an international archaeological team excavating an Assyrian imperial governors' palace in the ancient city of Tushan, south-east Turkey.

The tablet revealed the names of 60 women - probably prisoners-of-war or victims of an Assyrian forced population transfer program. But when the Cambridge archaeologist - Dr. John MacGinnis - began to examine the names in detail, he realized that 45 of them bore no resemblance to any of the thousands of ancient Middle Eastern names already known to scholars.

Because ancient Middle Eastern names are normally composites, made-up, in full or abbreviated form, of ordinary words in the relevant local lexicon, the unique nature of the tablet's 45 mystery names is seen by scholars as evidence of a previously unknown language.
Eye 1

Hitler Used Cocaine and Had Semen Injections

Hitler used cocaine
© Deutsches Bundesarchiv (German Federal Archive)/Wikimedia Commons.
Hitler,1932
Adolf Hitler farted uncontrollably, used cocaine to clear his sinuses, ingested some 28 drugs at a time and received injections of bull testicle extracts to bolster his libido.

The startling revelations come from Hitler's medical records, now up for auction at Alexander Historical Auctions of Stamford, Conn. (The full catalogues can be found here and here.)

Bidding for the documents -- which include 10 X-rays of various views of the dictactor's skull, the results of several EEG tests and sketches of the inside of his nose -- ends Tuesday and Wednesday.

The cache consists of a 47-page account compiled by his six chief physicians, each specializing in different areas of treatment, and a 178-page report dated June 12, 1945, which was compiled by Dr. Erwin Giesing, while he was interned by American forces.

The U.S. military commissioned the medical reports provided by Hitler's personal doctors, Bill Panagopulos, president of Alexander Autographs, told the New York Daily News.

Though there is no official document regarding Hitler's love of cocaine, Giesing wrote that the dictator inhaled powdered cocaine to "clear his sinuses" and "soothe" his throat. Since he had begun to "crave" the drug, his dosage had to be lowered, Giesing wrote.

The documents reveal another unflattering aspect of Hitler's life: der Führer "suffered from uncontrollable flatulence."
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