Secret History
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Crusader

Garrow's Guilty Secret

© The Garrow Society
Hero: Garrow became the Robin Hood of the courtroom
His barnstorming performances in court rewrote the law books. But it was 18th-century barrister William Garrow's shocking love life that caused the biggest rumpus in Georgian society

It was 1791, and chaos reigned in the Old Bailey courtroom. Men and women spat their abuse from the public gallery, the faces of bewigged legal officials remained impassive and in the dock, wringing his hands in abject misery, stood 23-year-old Rhynwick Williams.

The search for the notorious London Monster - who had slashed and stabbed women in vicious, unprovoked attacks, thus striking fear throughout the capital - was apparently over.

Corrupt and inept police, under intense pressure to find a man, had done just that.

Williams, a drunken reprobate, had found himself hauled before court. It didn't matter that two honourable witnesses could testify that he had been with them when several of the attacks had occurred. All that mattered was that the baying crowd were about to get their blood.

In these times of swift trials - many court hearings lasted just eight minutes - and death penalties meted out without hesitation, Williams' future looked bleak indeed - and everyone in court knew it. Suddenly, out of the chaos, stepped a young barrister.

Grasping the attention of the court and the rabble in the gallery, he turned on those giving evidence and launched a savage verbal attack.
Megaphone

Haunting Sounds at an Ancient Peruvian Site

Chavin de Huantar
© Miriam Kolar
Ancient soundsThe central corridor at Chavin de Huantar creates special acoustical effects.

Vancouver - More than three millennia ago, ancient people flocked to Chavín de Huantar, a village in a high valley in the Peruvian Andes, to hear the oracles speak. And indeed they spoke - in the voice of resonant conch shell trumpets, and with the help of some clever architectural design, according to findings presented here today at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW). The research suggests that the Chavín culture - and perhaps other ancient cultures - knew acoustic tricks that might be the envy of a modern concert hall engineer.

Chavín de Huantar consists of terraces, squares, ornate megaliths, and a temple, and there's abundant evidence that it was used for religious ceremonies. The site also contains bas-relief sculptures sporting powerful animal imagery, including jaguars, condors, and snakes; images of hallucinogenic plants; and artifacts of the tools used to prepare them for consumption.

Chavín de Huantar is particularly well suited to the study of ancient uses of sound, says Miriam Kolar, an archeoacoustics researcher at Stanford University. That's because the interior architecture contains elaborate, multilevel mazes with long corridors and staircases that affect acoustics today and are well enough preserved to detect what the original residents must have heard. What's more, ancient conch shell trumpets have been excavated in the village; when blown into, the shells make a haunting, warbling sound, and fossil conch shells are embedded in stones on the floor of the temple. Kolar played a recording of the conch shell trumpet at the meeting. "It's not very imposing over loudspeakers," she said. "But in person it rattles your bones."
Sherlock

Prehistoric cybermen? Sardinia's lost warriors rise from the dust

© Unknown
An elite force of prehistoric
warriors – carved from solid rock in the western Mediterranean 2700 years ago –
is rising from oblivion.
Archaeologists and conservation experts on the Italian island of Sardinia have succeeded in re-assembling literally thousands of fragments of smashed sculpture to recreate a small yet unique army of life-size stone warriors which were originally destroyed by enemy action in the middle of the first millennium BC.

It's the only group of sculpted life-sized warriors ever found in Europe. Though consisting of a much smaller number of figures than China's famous Terracotta Army, the Sardinia example is 500 years older and is made of stone rather than pottery.

After an eight year conservation and reconstruction program, 25 of the original 33 sculpted stone warriors - archers, shield-holding 'boxers' and probable swordsmen - have now been substantially re-assembled.

The warriors were originally sculpted and placed on guard over the graves of elite Iron Age Sardinians, buried in the 8 century BC. The stone guardians are thought to have represented the dead individuals or to have acted as their eternal body-guards and retainers.
Sherlock

UK: Solent's Stone Age village 'had modern high street links'

© Unknown
Garry Momber says time is running out to excavate the area
Work on an 8,000-year-old Stone Age settlement under the surface of the Solent in Hampshire is throwing up evidence of clear parallels of the modern "high street", archaeologists say.

After 30 years of excavating the area around Bouldnor Cliff, a boatyard was uncovered last summer, which teams have been working on ever since.

Since The Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology spotted a swamped prehistoric forest in the 1980s, the Stone Age village was found by chance at the end of the last century.

Divers taking part in a routine survey spotted a lobster cleaning out its burrow on the seabed and to their surprise the animal was throwing out dozens of pieces of worked flint - which turned out to be the first sign of the village.
Info

Stonehenge Inspired by Sound Illusion, Archaeologist Suggests

Albo, Shutterstock
© Albo, Shutterstock
The reason for Stonehenge construction is unknown.
Theories about the purpose of Stonehenge range from a secular calendar to a place of spiritual worship. Now, an archaeologist suggests that the Stonehenge monument in southern England may have been an attempt to mimic a sound-based illusion.

If two pipers were to play in a field, observers walking around the musicians would hear a strange effect, said Steven Waller, a doctoral researcher at Rock Art Acoustics USA, who specializes in the sound properties of ancient sites, or archaeoacoustics. At certain points, the sound waves produced by each player would cancel each other out, creating spots where the sound is dampened.

It's this pattern of quiet spots that may have inspired Stonehenge, Waller told an audience Thursday (Feb. 16) in Vancouver, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The theory is highly speculative, but modern-day experiments do reveal that the layout of the Stonehenge ruins and other rock circles mimics the piper illusion, with stones instead of competing sound waves blocking out sounds made in the center of the circle.
Sherlock

Human evolution: Cultural roots

© J. Tollefson
Archaeologist Chris Henshilwood explores a cave on South Africa's Southern Cape. At nearby Blombos cave, Henshilwood has found some of the oldest evidence of symbolic thought by humans.
Metal scrapes on hard sand as archaeologist Chris Henshilwood shaves away the top layer of sediment in Blombos Cave. After just a few moments, the tip of his trowel unearths the humerus of a pint-sized tortoise that walked the Southern Cape of South Africa many millennia ago. Next come shells from local mussels and snails amid blackened soil and bits of charred wood, all remnants of an ancient feast. It was one of many enjoyed by a distinct group of early humans who visited Blombos Cave over the course of thousands of years.

The Still Bay culture was one of the most advanced Middle Stone Age groups in Africa when it emerged some 78,000 years ago in a startlingly early flourishing of the human mind. Henshilwood's excavations at Blombos Cave have revealed distinctive tools, including carefully worked stone points that probably served as knives and spear tips, and bits of rock inscribed with apparently symbolic designs. But evidence of the technology disappears abruptly in sediment about 71,000 years old, along with all proof of human habitation in southern Africa. It would be 7,000 years before a new culture appeared, with a markedly different toolkit, including crescent-shaped blades probably used as arrowheads.
Sherlock

Nikola Tesla Was Murdered by Otto Skorzeny?

Otto Skorzeny's Deathbed Confession
... edited by Sir Vojislav Milosevic, Director, Center for Counter-terrorism & World Peace

© n/a
Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest and most gifted men ever to have walked this Earth.

A huge amount has been written about the prodigal genius of Nikola Tesla and so there may not be a great need to say more here about his life, his brilliance, his vision, and his achievements.

But in brief, Tesla was an extraordinary, intuitive, creative genius who, among a great deal else, invented alternating current (which powers the the modern world) and radio (for which Marconi is often falsely given credit).

Contemporary biographers of Tesla have deemed him "the father of physics", "the man who invented the twentieth century", and "the patron saint of modern electricity".

Much of his life's work was about providing for the world free (i.e. zero-cost) energy, which Tesla envisaged would be broadcast wirelessly through the air or through the Earth itself with no need for powerlines - but despite years of trying, he never obtained the funding to achieve this, one of his dreams.
It has long since been rumored that he invented or developed a significant number of electrical and electronic devices which were decades ahead of their time and would have been of special interest to US military and intelligence circles. Around 300 patents were issued to Tesla in 25 countries, many of them major and far-reaching in concept.
The reality of Tesla's murder was brought home to us after listening to this Youtube presentation.

Comment: While a great deal of the above article is complete and utter nonsense, we find it interesting that it is published on the "Veterans Today" website, perhaps an event worthy of notice.

Hourglass

UK: Downton's greatest secret - The extraordinary claims about a real life Lord Carnarvon

Almina

Birthright riddle: Almina stands at the crib of her son, Henry George, who would go on to become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon. But was the baby the son of an Indian prince, or her husband, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon?
Now here's a Downton Abbey storyline that writer Julian Fellowes would dismiss as too far-fetched: that the steely Earl of Grantham has no right to his title and should be booted out of the Abbey to make way for a distant cousin.

Yet, in real life, this could indeed be the case for the poor unassuming 8th Earl of Carnarvon, whose family history has been plundered for the storyline of the top-rated TV series and whose stately home, Highclere Castle, is used as its backdrop.

For new genealogical evidence points to the uncomfortable fact that Lord Carnarvon's grandfather may well have been the son, not of an English aristocrat, but of an Indian prince.

Furthermore, there's evidence that the family knew about it and covered it up. If this is true, it would mean that the present earl, Eton and Oxford-educated George Carnarvon, has no right to his title, and that the privilege should pass to an unassuming 39-year old Devon teacher, Alan Herbert.

The author of a new biography of 55-year old Lord Carnarvon's great-grandmother has unearthed explosive evidence which could alter the 218-year history of the famous title - and provide Julian Fellowes with some rich source material for the next series of Downton.
Info

Animal Mummies Discovered at Ancient Egyptian Site

Mummified Dog
© Image courtesy North Abydos Votive Zone Project
One of the dog skulls, with some of the mummy wrapping still on it.
A wealth of new discoveries, from animal mummies linked to the jackal god and human remains to an enigmatic statue, are revealing the secrets of an ancient holy place in Egypt once known as the "Terrace of the Great God."

The mysterious wooden statue may be a representation of Hatshepsut, a female pharaoh who ruled the land 3,500 years ago, the researchers say. She was typically portrayed as a man in statues, but this one, giving a nod to femininity, had a petite waist.

The discoveries were made during one field season this past summer by a team led by Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner, director of the excavation and a professor at the University of Toronto. The findings offer insight into Abydos, a site that was considered a holy place, Pouls Wegner said at a recent meeting of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities in Toronto, Canada.
Magic Wand

Archaeologists Strike Gold in Quest to Find "Queen of Sheba's Wealth"

Sheba`s gold
© The Tigray Trust
Archaeologist Louise Schofield stands in front of the mine, believed to have belonged to the Queen of Sheba, in northern Ethiopia.
A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba derived her fabled treasures

A British excavation has struck archaeological gold with a discovery that may solve the mystery of where the Queen of Sheba of biblical legend derived her fabled treasures.

Almost 3,000 years ago, the ruler of Sheba, which spanned modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen, arrived in Jerusalem with vast quantities of gold to give to King Solomon. Now an enormous ancient goldmine, together with the ruins of a temple and the site of a battlefield, have been discovered in her former territory.

Louise Schofield, an archaeologist and former British Museum curator, who headed the excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, said: "One of the things I've always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary."

An initial clue lay in a 20ft stone stele (or slab) carved with a sun and crescent moon, the "calling card of the land of Sheba", Schofield said. "I crawled beneath the stone - wary of a 9ft cobra I was warned lives here - and came face to face with an inscription in Sabaean, the language that the Queen of Sheba would have spoken."

On a mound nearby she found parts of columns and finely carved stone channels from a buried temple that appears to be dedicated to the moon god, the main deity of Sheba, an 8th century BC civilisation that lasted 1,000 years. It revealed a victory in a battle nearby, where Schofield excavated ancient bones.
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