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Sherlock

US: Pyramids in Florida and Georgia Constructed by Mayans?

© Georgia Dept. of Economic Development
This massive earthen pyramid at Kolomoki Mounds is larger than a football field and over 6 stories tall! Similar pyramids exist in Florida.
Around 200 AD Indians in Florida and Georgia began the construction of enormous earthen pyramids. At the same time corn also arrived in Florida. Corn is a native crop of Mexico and archaeologist William Sears, who first discovered this evidence of corn agriculture in Florida, argued in his book that it must have come from Mexico or Central America.

One such earthen pyramid was constructed in the Florida panhandle at a site known today as the Letchworth-Love Mounds. This "mound," or more accurately "earthen pyramid," is the tallest such earthwork in Florida at over 46 feet high. Pottery collected from this site was mostly of a variety known as Weeden Island. Weeden Island pottery contains many designs and motifs which appear Mesoamerican in orign. Weeden Island pottery likely evolved from another type of pottery known as Swift Creek which was also decorated with a series of designs and symbols which several researchers have noted have a Mesoamerican-appearance.

Across the border in Georgia another huge earthen pyramid was also constructed at the same time as Letchworth. The site, known as Kolomoki Mounds, also features large collections of both Swift Creek and Weeden Island pottery. The archaeologist who recently studied the site noted in his book, Kolomoki: Settlement, Ceremony & Status in the Deep South, that Kolomoki was the most populated settlement north of Mexico during its time period. The large pyramid at Kolomoki has a base larger than a football field and rises 57 feet high.
Sherlock

Charlie Chaplin's Real Name a Mystery Says UK Spies

Charlie Chaplin
© unknown
The real name and birthplace of legendary silent-film star Charlie Chaplin is shrouded in mystery, Britain's domestic spy agency concluded after a probe into U.S. claims he was a communist sympathizer, documents released on Friday revealed.

British MI5 agents were asked in 1952 to investigate Chaplin's background by the FBI, which believed he was using an alias and that his real name was Israel Thornstein, over long-running U.S. suspicions about the actor's left-wing leanings.

Chaplin, one of Hollywood's first and greatest stars famed for his Little Tramp character, believed he was born on April 16, 1889, in south London.

But, an exhaustive search by MI5 found no record of his birth anywhere, nor anything to suggest he was any kind of security risk, declassified files from the spy agency revealed.

"It's very unusual, particularly after investigation by MI5, for the date and place of birth for such a well-known celebrity as Charlie Chaplin to remain so mysterious," said Professor Christopher Andrew, the official historian of MI5.
Attention

Hitler Had Son with French Teen

Adolf Hitler had a son with a French teenager while serving as a soldier during the First World War, according to new evidence.

© AP Photo
Hitler is said to have had an affair with Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917
Jean-Marie Loret, who died in 1985 aged 67, never met his father, but went on to fight Nazi forces during the Second World War.

His extraordinary story has now been backed up by a range of compelling evidence, both in France and in Germany, which is published in the latest edition of Paris's Le Point magazine.

Hitler is said to have had an affair with Mr Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917.

Although he was fighting the French near Seboncourt, in the northern Picardy region, Hitler made his way to Fournes-in-Weppe, a small town west of Lille, for regular leave.

There he met Miss Lobjoie, who later told their son: "One day I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street.
Magnify

Hitler's Secret Photos Reveal Nazi Leader's Vanity

A collection of private photographs showing Adolf Hitler in a series of bizarre poses to rehearse his public speeches has been published.

© HHoffmann/BNPS
The photos of Hitler were taken by his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffman, to give the Fuhrer an insight into how he looked to the German public
The album features black and white images of the Nazi leader using expressive hand gestures and unusual poses taken by his personal photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.

In one, he is seen raising his fist in the air while in another, he appears to be pointing to an imaginary audience. He is also seen leaning against a tree wearing lederhosen.

The photographs, taken in the late 1920s to show the dictator how he appeared to the German public, were later banned from being published by Hitler for being "beneath one's dignity".
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.
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