Secret History

Black Magic

The Bari report: Hypocrisy and War Crimes - The Western Imperium

The U.S. has a long history of unleashing chemical and biological warfare against civilians both abroad and at home, primarily as an experiment but also to get rid of outdated stockpiles while inventing a villain to crucify. Canadian author Robert Rodvik rips into Barack Obama for hypocritically warning Syria against its alleged use of chemical weapons and lambastes his own country which, from a potential U.S. target, turned into a U.S. accomplice in the chemical warfare waged against the Vietnamese people.


Toxic Chemical Workers perform a meticulous inspection of chemical weapons stockpiles.


Possible Leonardo da Vinci painting lost for centuries found in Swiss bank vault

It was lost for so long that it had assumed mythical status for art historians. Some doubted whether it even existed.

The painting appears to be a completed, painted version of a pencil sketch drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in Mantua in the Lombardy region of northern Italy in 1499
But a 500-year-old mystery was apparently solved today after a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci was discovered in a Swiss bank vault.

The painting, which depicts Isabella d'Este, a Renaissance noblewoman, was found in a private collection of 400 works kept in a Swiss bank by an Italian family who asked not to be identified.

It appears to be a completed, painted version of a pencil sketch drawn by Leonardo da Vinci in Mantua in the Lombardy region of northern Italy in 1499.


Medieval treasure trove unearthed in central Russian city

© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Fedorenko
Ryazan Kremlin
A stash of jewelry predating the 13th-century Mongol invasion has been discovered at an excavation site in the central Russian city of Ryazan, an archeologist said Wednesday.

The treasure trove, unearthed in an old artisan district, contained 80 pieces of jewelry - including bracelets, necklaces and tiaras - as well as jewelry-making tools and raw gold and silver ingots.

"It is the 17th such treasure trove found in Old Ryazan," said Igor Strikalov of the Russian Institute of Archeology.


Ancient kingdom discovered beneath mound in Iraq

© Cinzia Pappi
A domestic structure, with at least two rooms, that may date to relatively late in the life of the newfound ancient city, perhaps around 2,000 years ago when the Parthian Empire controlled the area in Iraq.
In the Kurdistan region of northern Iraq archaeologists have discovered an ancient city called Idu, hidden beneath a mound.

Cuneiform inscriptions and works of art reveal the palaces that flourished in the city throughout its history thousands of years ago.

Located in a valley on the northern bank of the lower Zab River, the city's remains are now part of a mound created by human occupation called a tell, which rises about 32 feet (10 meters) above the surrounding plain. The earliest remains date back to Neolithic times, when farming first appeared in the Middle East, and a modern-day village called Satu Qala now lies on top of the tell.

The city thrived between 3,300 and 2,900 years ago, said Cinzia Pappi, an archaeologist at the Universität Leipzig in Germany. At the start of this period, the city was under the control of the Assyrian Empire and was used to administer the surrounding territory. Later on, as the empire declined, the city gained its independence and became the center of a kingdom that lasted for about 140 years, until the Assyrians reconquered it. [See Photos of Discoveries at the Ancient City of Idu]


Mystery AD1257 eruption traced to Lombok, Indonesia

© Petter Lingren
The bowl that is today Segara Anak Crater Lake formed after the eruption
Scientists think they have found the volcano responsible for a huge eruption that occurred in AD1257.

The mystery event was so large its chemical signature is recorded in the ice of both the Arctic and the Antarctic.

European medieval texts talk of a sudden cooling of the climate, and of failed harvests.

In the PNAS journal, an international team points the finger at the Samalas Volcano on Lombok Island, Indonesia.

Little remains of the original mountain structure - just a huge crater lake.

The team has tied sulphur and dust traces in the polar ice to a swathe of data gathered in the Lombok region itself, including radiocarbon dates, the type and spread of ejected rock and ash, tree-rings, and even local chronicles that recall the fall of the Lombok Kingdom sometime in the 13th Century.


What did cause the mysterious fire which destroyed America's greatest ancient city?

A mysterious fire which destroyed North America's greatest ancient civilization has led to fascinating discoveries about social tensions, violent tendencies and religious practices within the society.

The city of Cahokia, whose secrets lie underneath where St Louis, Missouri now stands, was ruined by a huge blaze around the year 1170 CE.

Following the disaster, the Native American city changed dramatically - defense walls were built, buildings fortified and a sun symbol incorporated into designs.

The significant changes have led to one nagging historical mystery - just how did the fire start?
© Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, painting by William R. Iseminger
The illustration is an aerial perspective of Cahokia Mounds circa AD 1150-1200 which was destroyed by a huge blaze
© Wikipedia
Secrets of the past: Monk's Mound in Colinsville, Illinois is believed to have been built as a place of worship in ancient cultures
© Wikipedia
An 1887 illustration of Monk's Mound blown a little out of proportion. However the ancient civilizations have long been of interest to history buffs
Cahokia, pictured in this illustration, was originally a vast city encircled by 120 pyramids, stretches of farmland and wealthy communities.

Those who built the model city were known as the Mound Builders because of the earthen structures similar to Mayan Temples.

Snowflake Cold

Ancient muddy memories?

© Marinus Anthony Van Der Sluijs
Echoes of a primordial landscape? Þingvellir, Iceland.
Many cultures recalled a period of unbearable cold, which they associated with a distant mythical age of 'creation', when the sun did not yet shine or fire had not yet been obtained.

Such tales are hardly surprising for higher latitudes, such as the Viking sagas of Iceland, but present a palaeoclimatological puzzle elsewhere.

For example, the Cherokee (originally along the Tennessee), who should be quite accustomed to climatic extremes, claimed that the first fire was confined to a special tree - arguably an axis mundi - at a time of lasting cold:
'In the beginning there was no fire, and the world was cold, until the Thunders (Ani´-Hyûñ´tikwalâ´ski), who lived up in Galûn´lati, sent their lightning and put fire into the bottom of a hollow sycamore tree which grew on an island. ... This was a long time ago. ... still there was no fire, and the world was cold ...'
Eventually, mythical beings succeeded in acquiring the fire. At tropical latitudes meanwhile, the Quiché Maya (Guatemala) related that their first ancestors were overcome by circumstances most peculiar for central America:
'After that a great downpour began, which cut short the fire of the tribes. And hail fell thickly on all the tribes, and their fires were put out by the hail. Their fires didn't start up again. ... And so again the tribes arrived, again done in by the cold. Thick were the white hail, the blackening storm, and the white crystals. The cold was incalculable. They were simply overwhelmed. Because of the cold all the tribes were going along doubled over, groping along ...'
And the Bibbulmun nation (southwestern tip of Australia) referred to the 'Dreamtime' or the 'ancestral' time (Demma Goomber) as the 'Nyitting times, the cold, cold times of long ago'. As the name says, the Bibbulmun qualified this past era as one dominated by unprecedented cold - and, consequently, by a savage mode of living:

'In that far-off time Australia was not so warm and congenial as it is to-day. It was cold and bleak, and great glaciers of ice covered many of its hills and valleys. ... "the icy cold (nyitting) times of long, long ago". Now, in an icy cold country one must have fires, but there was a time when the Bibbulmun people had no fires, and they had to eat their meat raw and drink the blood of the animals they killed to warm their bodies.

The theme of a cold epoch meshes with the notion of 'primordial darkness' reported universally to have preceded the formation of the present natural environment. Another associated motif is that the embryonic earth was excessively muddy and wet, a necessary consequence of the earth's putative original submersion in primeval waters. In addition, the moist earth is often linked with the aftermath of the deluge and the first appearance of humans and the sun. Though scholars never seem to have compiled the material, let alone considered it, the literature is awash with examples. A selection follows.


8,000 year old evidence of human activity found in Alps

Dr Kevin Walsh from the University of York with colleagues unearthed a series of stone animal enclosures and human dwellings considered some of most complex high altitude Bronze Age structures found anywhere in the Alps. "High altitude landscapes of 2 km and above are considered remote and marginal. Many researchers had assumed that early societies showed little interest in these areas," said Dr Walsh, who reported the results in a paper published in Quaternary International.
© Kevin Walsh, the University of York.
A Neolithic flint arrow head at about 2.5 km, the highest altitude arrowhead discovered in the Alps.
"This research shows that people, as well as climate, did have a role in shaping the Alpine landscape from as early as the Mesolithic period."

"It has radically altered our understanding of activity in the sub-alpine and alpine zones. It is also of profound relevance for the broader understanding of human-environment interactions in ecologically sensitive environments."

The excavations showed human activity shaped the Alpine landscape through the Bronze, Iron, Roman and Medieval ages as people progressed from hunting to more managed agricultural systems including the movement of livestock to seasonal alpine pastures, known as transhumant-pastoralism.


Inside the intriguing ancient underground city of Derinkuyu

© TodayIFoundOut
Long ago, in the region surrounding Nevsehir and Kayseri, in central Turkey, an ancient people built, or rather dug, over 200 underground cities. The deepest of these, under the present day town of Derinkuyu, delves over 250 feet below the Earth's surface, and boasts numerous tunnels, halls, meeting rooms, wells and passages.

Because the city was carved from existing caves and underground structures that had first formed naturally, there is no way to discern, with traditional archaeological methods of dating, when exactly Derinkuyu was built.

As such, and with ties to the Hittites, Phrygians and Persians, Derinkuyu presents a fascinating riddle for ancient mystery enthusiasts.


Archaeologist unearths new perspective on ancient Roman statue

© Jacqueline Girard
What was Dr. Bridget Buxton's secret to solving the mystery of the "the lost eagle?" Google images. Buxton, on behalf of the Archaeological Institute of America, presented her lecture to an audience of Assumption students, faculty and staff on Monday, September 16. The lecture was an interpretation of Rome's most famous statue, the Prima Porta Augustus.

The statue presents the first emperor of the Roman Empire as "a symbol of western self control and excellence versus the great enemy in the east," said Buxton. Since it was discovered in the outskirts of Rome in 1863, historians and archaeologists have attempted to match the story that is carved out on the statue to the historical accounts that exist.

However, "the correct interpretation that we've had for the last one hundred and fifty years is actually wrong," Buxton argued. Buxton began by presenting to her audience the original interpretation of the statue. The marble statue, which seems to be carved into what can be interpreted as a storyboard, references significant historical events in the history of the Roman Empire.

The center of Augustus' cuirass (chest plate) depicts the surrender of an eagle, which in Augustus' time, was a legionary military standard. Eagles were prized possessions of each Roman legion, a symbol of victory and strength in war and conquest.

Buxton laughed as she attempted to illustrate what would be the modern equivalent. "[It would be like] if somebody came in and stole the [Assumption] greyhound, that would be bad, right?" The audience responded with laughter.