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How European Farmers Spread Agriculture Across Continent

Ancient Grave
© Göran Burenhult
Osteologists Ove and Evy Persson during the excavation of the grave at Ajvide, Gotland, Sweden, in 1983. The skeleton belongs to a young female in her 20s, and can be dated to around 4,700 years ago.
An analysis of 5,000-year-old genetic material from preserved human remains found in Sweden suggests that people moving from southern to northern Europe spread agriculture across that continent long ago.

In addition to agricultural know-how, the intrepid farmers brought their genes: They interbred with hunter-gatherer communities to create modern humans living in Europe today.

"Genetic variation of today's Europeans was strongly affected by immigrant Stone Age farmers, though a number of hunter-gatherer genes remain," study researcher Anders Götherström, of Uppsala University in Sweden, said in a statement.

The results of this study, to be published in the April 27 issue of the journal Science, match up well with previous archeological evidence of farming in Europe.
Palette

Painting of Queen Elizabeth I unveils Royals' Reptilian Secret?


Revealed once more: The image of a snake has appeared in a 16th century portrait of Queen Elizabeth I. A faint outline of the coils can be seen superimposed on her hand, while the serpent's body - seen as dark shading - follows the line of the flowers she is holding and also passes beneath her fingers
As many a courtier fatally found out, it was never a good idea to displease the Virgin Queen.

Which may explain why an artist carried out some serious alterations to his first draft portrait of Elizabeth I back in the 16th century.

Where he had drawn the Queen clutching a serpent, the painter had second thoughts and substituted a much more feminine bunch of roses.

The revisions would have remained a mystery had it not been for the ravages of time.

For yesterday, the National Portrait Gallery revealed how the image of the coiled snake had re-appeared.

Deterioration over the centuries has meant the serpent depicted in the Tudor monarch's fingers in the original version has revealed itself once more, with its outline now visible on the surface.

The portrait was created by an unknown artist in the 1580s or early 1590s.

The image has not been on display at the London gallery since 1921 but it will form part of an exhibition titled Concealed and Revealed: The Changing Faces of Elizabeth I, from March 13 to September 26.
Newspaper

JFK Assassination: Mark Lane Talks On The 'Reliable' Witness Mrs Helen Markham Recorded In 1964


Mark Lane Talks On The "Reliable " Witness Mrs Helen Markham Recorded in 1964 At A Public Debate Into the Findings Of The Warren Commission

Full audio podcast available from here.
Magic Wand

Fairy Tales of Yore and the Anti-Grimm

fairy tales

What modern mother hasn't cringed at the pink and passive fairy tale princesses served up to her impressionable girl? The Disney versions of Snow White and Cinderella, Belle and Rapunzel are heroines of such vapid foolishness one wonders how they survived into the 21st century. The answer is that they are rooted in a tenacious and remarkably unaltered cultural tradition, the fairy tales first published two centuries ago by the Brothers Grimm.

The fifty iconic tales in their Kinder- und Hausmärchen collection feature a parade of weak, disobedient heroines whose errors draw down harsh punishment, and an equally noteworthy succession of heroic boys. Numerous studies in recent decades have found the 19th century social world they portray so unremittingly sexist that some leading folklorists warn against reading them to children at all.
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Genes Reveal Secrets of Ancient Peruvian Families

Anicent chullpas
© M. Baca et. al, BMC Genetics, 2012
Ancient chullpas, or funeral towers, are yielding insights into ancient Peruvian families.
Genetic analyses of individuals buried in funereal monuments near a volcano in southern Peru have revealed the family relationships and burial traditions of ancient Peruvians that lived before Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas.

The ancient Peruvians buried their dead in "chullpas," structures resembling vertical tombs, which can be up to 6.5 feet (2 meters) high. Researchers hadn't known how the individuals buried within one chullpa were related.

Families were organized into "ayllu," a group of relatives that shared common land and responsibilities. Historians think that men retained the ancestral land, and they traded their sisters for wives, in a sort of "sister exchange."

Ancient genes

In the new study, researchers from the University of Warsaw, in collaboration with Universidad Catolica de Santa Maria, retrieved and analyzed genomic sequences of 41 individuals buried in six chullpas located 13,000 feet (4,000 meters) up the side of the Cora Cora Mountain in southern Peru. Though the site had been looted, the remains were well preserved by the cold and the dryness of the land, and the researchers were able to isolate DNA from the bones and teeth of 27 individuals.

They looked at the nuclear DNA, which is our main genetic code and is inherited from both parents, along with the maternally inherited mitochondrial genome (which is separate from the nuclear genome, and runs the cell's energy factory, the mitochondria); they also analyzed genetic sequences from the Y chromosome, which is inherited from the father and determines that an individual is male.
Document

Last fragments from 'magical' Egyptian 'Book of the Dead' from 1420 BC found - after century-long search by archaeologists

The last missing pages from a supposedly 'magical' Book of the Dead from an Egyptian priest, Amenhotep, have been found after a century-long search - in a museum in Queensland.

British Museum Egyptologist Dr John Taylor said he was 'floored' by the discovery of the 100 fragments.

It's the end of a worldwide search by archaeologists for the papyrus scroll - which supposedly contains spells to guide spirits into the afterlife.

Ms Bates said British Museum Curator and world renowned Egyptologist Dr John Taylor had stumbled across a section of the manuscript as part of a Queensland Museum display.

'After spotting the piece Dr Taylor was shown the other 100 plus fragments held in the Museum's stores and was floored by what he had uncovered,' Ms Bates said.

'These unsuspecting papyrus pieces form the missing part of a highly historically valuable 'Book of the Dead' that belonged to the Chief Builder of the temple of Amun, Amenhotep.

'Sections of this precious manuscript have laid scattered across the globe for a hundred years with some of the pieces held safely in the collections of British Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET), New York.
Document

Whitewashing Colonial Past: British Government ordered thousands of files burned or dumped 'far out to sea'

© Martin Argles for the Guardian
Hanslope Park, where the Foreign Office kept a secret archive of colonial papers.
Review finds thousands of papers detailing shameful acts were culled, while others were kept secret illegally

Thousands of documents detailing some of the most shameful acts and crimes committed during the final years of the British empire were systematically destroyed to prevent them falling into the hands of post-independence governments, an official review has concluded.

Those papers that survived the purge were flown discreetly to Britain where they were hidden for 50 years in a secret Foreign Office archive, beyond the reach of historians and members of the public, and in breach of legal obligations for them to be transferred into the public domain.

The archive came to light last year when a group of Kenyans detained and allegedly tortured during the Mau Mau rebellion won the right to sue the British government. The Foreign Office promised to release the 8,800 files from 37 former colonies held at the highly-secure government communications centre at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire.

The historian appointed to oversee the review and transfer, Tony Badger, master of Clare College, Cambridge, says the discovery of the archive put the Foreign Office in an "embarrassing, scandalous" position. "These documents should have been in the public archives in the 1980s," he said. "It's long overdue." The first of them are made available to the public on Wednesday at the National Archive at Kew, Surrey.

The papers at Hanslope Park include monthly intelligence reports on the "elimination" of the colonial authority's enemies in 1950s Malaya; records showing ministers in London were aware of the torture and murder of Mau Mau insurgents in Kenya, including a case of aman said to have been "roasted alive"; and papers detailing the lengths to which the UK went to forcibly remove islanders from Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Comment:
"And if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed - if all records told the same tale - then the lie passed into history and became truth. 'Who controls the past' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.'"
~ George Orwell, 1984

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Researcher Claims Ancient Greeks Made It to America Before Columbus

It may sound unbelievable but a Greek-Canadian scientist is stating that the Ancient Greeks may have reached America years before the Spanish Seafarer Columbus did.

Researcher of Aegean Scripts, Dr. Minas Tsikritsis, in the text by Plutarch "On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon," in paragraphs 941A-942, claims that he has identified and demonstrated through computer programs the restoration of a forgotten historical reality, which had until now eluded many researchers.

Ancient Voyages
© Greek Reporter, Canada
In the study, he indicates that the prehistoric Greeks knew that "west of the three islands and northwest of Britain" there was a "great" continent. Two years ago, another academia, Professor I. Mariolakos, identified the great continent, surrounding the great Ocean, as today's North America.

Dr. Tsikritsis states that, "even before the time of Christopher Columbus, there was a communication which began during the Minoan era and continued until the Hellenistic times. The purpose of these travels during the Bronze Age was related to trade and the transportation of pure copper from Lake Superior of Canada."

According to his findings it seems that after the first Minoan merchants, the Mycenaeans continued the journey, and, as reported by Plutarch, they sent Hercules to revitalize the presence of the Greek element, which had been diminished by the continuous miscegenation with the locals. Later, during the Iron Age, the interest in the region declined and until the Hellenistic time, it remained only as a conventional ceremonial tradition. So every thirty years some ships were sent to the areas that followed the worship of Cronus in order to renew the priest personnel.
Bacon

Meat eating behind humans' spreading over the globe

Carnivory is behind the evolutionary success of humankind. When early humans started to eat meat and eventually hunt, their new, higher-quality diet meant that women could wean their children earlier. Women could then give birth to more children during their reproductive life, which is a possible contribution to the population gradually spreading over the world.

The connection between eating meat and a faster weaning process is shown by a research group from Lund University in Sweden, which compared close to 70 mammalian species and found clear patterns.

Learning to hunt was a decisive step in human evolution. Hunting necessitated communication, planning and the use of tools, all of which demanded a larger brain. At the same time, adding meat to the diet made it possible to develop this larger brain.

"This has been known for a long time. However, no one has previously shown the strong connection between meat eating and the duration of breast-feeding, which is a crucial piece of the puzzle in this context. Eating meat enabled the breast-feeding periods and thereby the time between births, to be shortened. This must have had a crucial impact on human evolution", says Elia Psouni of Lund University.

She is a developmental psychologist and has, together with neurophysiologist Martin Garwicz (also in Lund) and evolutionary geneticist Axel Janke (currently in Frankfurt but previously in Lund) published her findings in the journal PLoS ONE.

Among natural fertility societies, the average duration of breast-feeding is 2 years and 4 months. This is not much in relation to the maximum lifespan of our species, around 120 years. It is even less if compared to our closest relatives: female chimpanzees suckle their young for 4-5 years, whereas the maximum lifespan for chimpanzees is only 60 years.

Comment: Actually, bigger brain and other evolutionary improvements should be enough proof that meat eating is highly beneficial for human beings. Read the following article to learn more.

Radar

2012 BC: Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age exhibition

Nebra sky disc
© Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology Saxony-Anhalt. Photo: Juraj Lipták
The Nebra Sky Disc, the oldest representation of the cosmos

The National Maritime Museum Cornwall will display the 4500-year-old Nebra Sky Disc for the first time in its new exhibition, 2012 BC: Cornwall and the Sea in the Bronze Age.

A single bronze disc decorated with gold symbols that represent the sun, moon, stars and a boat, the Nebra Sky Disc is the world's oldest representation of the cosmos.

It reveals a prehistoric view of the world that before its discovery had never been known to exist, and has single-handedly reformed our understanding of ancient European history.

Amazingly, the disc has local roots: the gold and tin components have been traced back to the Cornish mines of Canon Down.
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