Secret History

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Historical Cycles: Are we doomed to repeat the past?

An extremely important and concise explanation of the cycles of history, their stages, how they proceed and end. Author of the Art of Urban Survival and Defense against the Psychopath, Stefan Verstappen makes the case that we are currently in the final stage of our cycle of history, defined, like all others, by chaos across all areas of our civilization. Historically, only small groups of people survived such periods of destruction, and they did so by forming themselves into tight-knit communities with a ethos that ran counter to the prevailing corrupt and destructive tendencies. Must watch!

For more on this topic see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's The Golden Age, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction and her fascinating and eminently readable book The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes

Ears of ancient Chinese terra-cotta warriors offer clues to their creation

© O. Louis Mazzatenta, National Geographic Creative
The tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang contains an estimated 7,000 lifelike clay soldiers, accompanied by weapons such as bronze swords and bows and arrows.
Technology yields new insight into how a Chinese emperor produced an army for eternity within his tomb.

In 246 B.C. the adolescent ruler commissioned a massive tomb furnished with everything he'd need for the next life, including an entire army of life-size terra-cotta warriors, from mighty generals to humble infantrymen. Arranged in battle formation in pits near the emperor's tomb, the clay army stood watch for more than 2,000 years. Then, in 1974, local farmers rediscovered the site while digging a well.

Since then, archaeologists have puzzled over how ancient artisans produced the estimated 7,000 lifelike clay soldiers, right down to their stylish goatees and plaits of braided hair. Some have suggested that the statues were modeled after real, individual soldiers; others think they were assembled from standard clay ears, noses, and mouths, similar to the Mr. Potato Head toy.

Recently, in a project known as "Imperial Logistics: The Making of the Terracotta Army", a team of archaeologists from University College London (UCL) in Britain and from Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Mausoleum Site Museum in Lintong, China, have been using the latest imaging technology and other advanced methods to deduce the design process behind the warriors. The British-Chinese team took detailed measurements of the statues' facial features, focusing especially on the ears. Forensic research shows that ear shapes are so variable among humans that they can be used to identify individuals.

Dinosaur tooth found in Malaysia at least 140 million years old

dinosaur tooth
© MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images
Dr. Masatoshi Sone shows a fossil tooth of an ornithischian dinosaur at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur on November 13, 2014.
A dinosaur tooth found in Malaysia is at least 140 million years old and belongs to a new species within the "bird-hipped" Ornithischian order, researchers said Thursday.

While still unsure of the exact species of dinosaur, lead researcher Masatoshi Sone from the University of Malaya said the discovery means "it is plausible that large dinosaur fossil deposits still remain in Malaysia".

"We started the programme to look for dinosaur fossils two years ago. We are very excited to have found the tooth of the dinosaurian order called Ornithischian in central Pahang state" last year, he said.

Archaeologists unearth ancient coins and dietary options

© Sean Winter
The remains of a bakers oven at Tell Tamai.
Finding a cache of 2200-year-old coins buried in the remains of an Egyptian house sparked honours student Liesel Gentelli's interest in coins, inspiring her to pursue postgraduate studies in forensics.

Ms Gentelli is one of two UWA archaeologists invited to excavate Tell Timai, the remains of the Greco-Roman town of Thmuis in Egypt.

A tell is a large mound formed by the remains of an abandoned town or city, and Thmuis was a port on a former Nile delta channel which has since silted up.

She says the coins she discovered during the dig were probably votive offerings placed under the building's foundation to bring prosperity to its inhabitants.

The cache included 13 individual coins from the reigns of Ptolemy II, III and IV, making the building no older than 221 BCE.

The full letter written by the FBI to Martin Luther King has been revealed

Martin Luther King, Jr.
© Wikimedia Commons
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of my personal heroes. Not just because of his outsized contribution to the civil rights movement, but because of his leadership capabilities and emphasis on non-violent civil disobedience.

It also goes without saying, that this wasn't just a great orator with enlightened tactics, he was also a highly intelligent man with a strong sense of history.

This is on full display in his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," which I highlighted in the piece: Martin Luther King: "Everything Adolf Hitler did in Germany was Legal."

Here are some of his timeless words.

4,000-year old bronze razor found in Siberia

A 4,000-year old bronze razor has been discovered at the site of an ancient settlement in the Novosibirsk Region, western Siberia, a local archeologist said on Wednesday.
ancient bronze razor
© Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography (Russian Academy of Sciences
The thin bronze plate sharpened on both sides could also have been used as a knife or a surgical tool
Vyacheslav Molodin, the deputy head of the Siberian institute of archeology and ethnography, said that the razor was the first bronze object found in the area.

He said that the thin bronze plate sharpened on both sides could also have been used as a knife or a surgical tool.

Comment: Siberia has a long and rich history that is only now coming to light.


Skeleton discovered in Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis may belong to Hephaestion

Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis

Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis
A skeleton has emerged from the Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece, according to a news announcement by the Greek Ministry of Culture on Wednesday.

At least one archaeologist has suggested that the remains, if male, could belong to Hephaestion, a close friend and possible lover of Alexander the Great -- or someone like him.

Archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri found the human remains in a box-shaped grave. The 10.6 by 5.1-foot limestone burial was found at about 5.3 feet beneath the floor of the third chamber in the massive tomb site.

Within the limestone grave, the archaeologists unearthed the remains of a wooden coffin, along with iron and copper nails, bone and glass fragments - most likely decorative elements of the coffin.

Study claims drought, overpopulation contributed to collapse of Assyrian Empire

map assyrian empire
The Assyrian Empire once dominated the ancient Near East. At the start of the 7th century BC, it was a mighty military machine and the largest empire the Old World had yet seen.

But then, before the century was out, it had collapsed. Why? An international study now offers two new factors as possible contributors to the empire's sudden demise - overpopulation and drought.

Adam Schneider of the University of California, San Diego and Selim Adalı of Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey, have just published evidence for their novel claim.

"As far as we know, ours is the first study to put forward the hypothesis that climate change - specifically drought - helped to destroy the Assyrian Empire," said Schneider, doctoral candidate in anthropology at UC San Diego and first author on the paper in the Springer journal Climatic Change.

Natives: Lies history books tell

Do history books written by white folks tell the truth about Natives? We think not. Here are just some of the lies they tell.

Columbus NEVER landed in the Upper 48 - Ever

Every year across the country countless elementary school students recite: "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and many perform a play about him discovering Indians in America. The thing is Columbus never landed in what would become the United States, he actually landed in the Caribbean.

Comment: A history lesson indeed! Make sure the history you are spoon fed, like the celebration of Thanksgiving, is accurate!"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana.

An excellent book on the lies American's are spoon fed in standard education:

Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong - by James W. Loewen
High school students hate history. When they list their favorite subjects, history always comes in last. They consider it the most irrelevant of twenty-one school subjects; bo-o-o-oring is the adjective most often applied.

James Loewen spent two years at the Smithsonian Institute surveying twelve leading high school textbooks of American History. What he found was an embarrassing amalgam of bland optimism, blind patriotism, and misinformation pure and simple, weighing in at an average of four-and-a-half pounds and 888 pages.

In response, he has written Lies My Teacher Told Me, in part a telling critique of existing books but, more importantly, a wonderful retelling of American history as it should - and could - be taught to American students. Beginning with pre-Columbian American history and ranging over characters and events as diverse as Reconstruction, Helen Keller, the first Thanksgiving, and the My Lai massacre, Loewen supplies the conflict, suspense, unresolved drama, and connection with current-day issues so appallingly missing from textbook accounts.
The audio book is available here


Alaska's Tanana River archaeological site yields remains of Ice Age infants

Ice age infants
© Ben Potter
Stone projectile points and associated decorated antler foreshafts from the burial pit at the Upward Sun River site. The remains of two Ice Age infants, buried more than 11,000 years ago at a site in Alaska, represent the youngest human remains ever found in northern North America, according to a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
An archaeology team has discovered the ancient burial site of a pair of infants near the Tanana River, a find that researchers say offers a new glimpse into life in Interior Alaska during the Ice Age.

The remains date back about 11,500 years and represent the youngest human remains ever found in northern North America. The site also gives insight into ancient burial practices, including grave offerings that included decorated stone weapons.

The discovery occurred in 2013 but is detailed for the first time by University of Alaska Fairbanks researcher Ben Potter in a new paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Potter's team led the dig at a site known as the Upward Sun River, located near the Tanana River southeast of Fairbanks.

Archaeologists have explored a large sand dune in the area for nearly a decade and previously found the partly cremated remains of a 3-year-old child at the site in 2010. That discovery established a new milestone as the oldest human remains ever found in Alaska.