Secret History


Amber encases a flea infected 20 million years ago with bubonic plague-type bacteria

© George Poinar Jr.
The flea caught in amber
Closely related ancestors of the bacteria that cause the bubonic plague may be millions of years older than the 14th century, when the disease devastated Asia and killed more than half of Europe's population. And diseases like it, borne by insects, may have played a role in the mass extinctions of dinosaurs, a researcher says.

Comment: Or maybe they were brought in on cosmic bodies such as comets. Learn more: The Apocalypse: Comets, Asteroids and Cyclical Catastrophes by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Dr. George Poinar Jr., an entomologist at Oregon State University in the United States has possibly identified a previously unknown strain of the plague bacteria. The fossilized bacteria are preserved on a flea encased in amber. If the bacteria do belong to the bubonic plague, then at 20 million years, they are the oldest known evidence for that disease.

Poinar, who specializes in specimens caught in amber, says if the fossilized bacteria are related to the plague's Yersinia pestis bug, the disease predates the human race and traveled around much of the world.


Possible ancient Chinese disk strangely found in a Kentucky garden

© Jon R. Haskell/
Two sides of a jade disk, about 2.5 inches in diameter, found in Harrison County, Ky. The red arrows on the right point to dragon and bird motifs.
What may be an ancient Chinese artifact mysteriously appeared in a small garden next to a pond, on a heavily wooded acreage in a remote and sparsely populated area of Harrison County, Ky.

"It was just laying there," said the finder, recalling the moment two years ago when his quest began to understand what the disc is and how it got in his garden. It's been a frustrating, inconclusive quest. With a look on his face of expecting me to have all the answers, he asked, "How do you think it got here?"

As with other such artifacts, which appear to be of ancient Chinese origin found in North America without supporting contextual information, I could only respond that there are multiple possible explanations.


Anger over London housing reminiscent of 1915 Glasgow rent protests

© Wikimedia
Protesters prevent sheriff officers entering the tenements of rent refusers.
Anger over government housing policy is undoubtedly one of the running themes of the 2010s. Most recently we have seen anti-gentrification protests in east London over people being pushed out due to huge increases in private rent costs and a lack of social housing, which made headlines for targeting the hipster Cereal Killer Cafe in Brick Lane.

This is an era of severe shortages in social housing, aggravated by Tory plans to extend the right to buy scheme to housing associations. We have seen staggering increases in the costs of private renting, dwindling owner occupation and of course the bedroom tax. The London protests were a reaction to the effective social cleansing of working-class residents by Tory/Lib Dem coaliton policy. Local tenants' organisations and protest groups have also been formed to co-ordinate discontent. Meanwhile, Corbyn's Labour is proposing the biggest social-housing programme since the 1970s.



Not just the Egyptians: Ancient Britons mummified their dead

© Geoff Morley
This may look like a ordinary skeleton - but the bones provide compelling evidence that these remains were once mummified.
Findings mark major breakthrough in helping archaeologists to understand the nature of society in prehistoric Britain

While the ancient Egyptians were busy mummifying their dead, prehistoric Britons - well beyond the fringes of the known world - were doing the same more than 2000 miles to the north-west.

New research is revealing that people throughout much of prehistoric Britain used mummification to ensure that their dead ancestors appeared to 'live on', at least physically, for decades and probably centuries.

The research is a major breakthrough in helping archaeologists to understand the nature of society in prehistoric Britain.

Scientific investigations are now showing that ancient British tribes mummified some of their dead by immersing them in peat bogs and in some cases by exposing them to heat and smoke. It is a completely different mummification system to the salt-based one used by the ancient Egyptians.

The new research - carried out by Dr Tom Booth at Sheffield University - shows that mummification in Britain seems to have started by 2400BC and continued until at least 1000 BC. It suggests that prehistoric Brits may have been among the first peoples in the world, apart from the ancient Egyptians and Peruvians, to practise deliberate mummification.

Comment: More interesting finds:


Latest treasures from Antikythera shipwreck reveal how elites lived during Julius Caesar's time

The latest expedition to Antikythera shipwreck yields new treasures
The excavation of the ancient Antikythera shipwreck has revealed how the top "1%" of Julius Caesar's time would have lived, with the remains of a bronze throne and luxury ceramics yielded from the latest expedition. Underwater archaeologists have revisited the site of the 2,000-year-old Greek shipwreck and have announced some of their latest findings.

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute said more than 50 items have been brought up from the shipwreck, including a bone flute, a bronze armrest (thought to be part of a throne) and a pawn from a board game. The latest treasures will be added to the other artefacts discovered at the site, including 36 marble statues of mythological figures and a life-sized bronze statue.

Most interestingly, the wreck uncovered the Antikythera mechanism - a mechanical device that encoded the movements of the planets and stars. This artefact has been much studied and has been called the world's first computer.

Researchers believe the ship sank around 65BC. It is thought to have been transporting treasures back to Rome from Greece following an expedition by Roman general Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix. Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist with WHOI, said: "This shipwreck is far from exhausted. Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the '1%' lived in the time of Caesar."

Comment: For more information on the Antikythera treasures, see:

Light Saber

Viking Chief Tore Hund and his successful resistance against Christian conversion

© Wikimedia Commons
The death of King Olaf at the hands of Tore Hund, Viking chief
When Christians made their theological push into Europe, suppressing native religions and supplanting them with a foreign God, some pagans resisted by secretly practicing their old religion, while others resisted by meeting force with force. One such case of forceful resistance was by Tore Hund or Thorir the Hound, a powerful Viking born around 990 AD, during the first incursions of Christianity into Norway.

Today, many people around the world still resort to violence over religion, more than 1,000 years after Tore Hund killed King Olaf II or Saint Olaf, who reportedly made a deal to impose Christianity on Norway in exchange for the help of other European powers. Tore killed Olaf at the battle of Stiklestad. There, an army of farmers and laborers overwhelmed the king's army.

Post-It Note

1920's eugenics exhibit reveal the elitist mindset

This is an exhibit about Eugenics, dated 1926.
According to eugenics, "some people are born to be a burden on the rest".

You see, the eugenics movement — which steadily gained popularity for the first nearly 40 years of the 20th century and is the direct reason for forced sterilization laws implemented across America — sought to "breed out" people the elite that ultimately funded and promoted it (the Carnegie Institute and the Rockefeller Foundation, etc.) determined were genetically defective "riff raff" by way of pseudoscience parading as science.

Comment: See also: The fascinating history of eugenics


King Tut's tomb reveals two secret chambers

© Nevine El-Aref
Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty (in yellow shirt) during examinations in Tutankhamun tomb.
Antiquities minister Mamdouh Eldamaty announced on Monday that the first examinations carried out by himself and British archeologist Nicholas Reeves in Luxor on Tutankhamun's tomb have revealed that the tomb's northern and western walls both hide chambers.

There are scratching and markings on both walls like those found on the entrance gate of Tutankhamun's tomb when it was discovered in 1922, Eldamaty explained.

"This indicates that the western and northern walls of Tutankhamun's tomb could hide two burial chambers," Eldamaty told Ahram Online.

Nicholas Reeves said their investigations showed the tomb's ceiling extends behind the northern and western walls. He is now almost convinced his theory suggesting the existence of two undiscovered chambers is correct.

"After our first examination of the walls we can do nothing more until we receive the all-clear from the radar device to confirm the our findings," Reeves told Ahram Online.

Eldamaty has promised that on 4 November, the same day Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered, the radar results of scans on the two walls will be announced.

Light Saber

The Empire Files: Abby Martin interviews Chris Hedges - American myths, war, and revolt

Abby Martin interviews Chris Hedges on American myths, war and revolt. Hedges explains the 'folly of Empire,' the dangers posed by right-wing extremism and the urgent need for a new system.

Chris Hedges is a former New York Times journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. He is the author of several books including his most recent, Wages of Rebellion: the Moral Imperative of Revolt. He publishes a weekly column on and is the host of Days of Revolt, airing every Monday night on teleSUR english.

Comment: Chis Hedges lays out the U.S. history most have either forgotten, or were never told.


Top secret: The worst nuclear disaster in US history

The United States government deliberately hid "the worst nuclear disaster in U.S. history," according to experts and an in-depth investigation by NBC4 Southern California. Whistleblowers have also come forward to expose the little-known catastrophe, which occurred north of Los Angeles in 1959 and leaked over 300 times the allowable amount of radiation into surrounding neighborhoods. That contamination is now linked to up to a 60% increase in cancer in the area, but the government still refuses to acknowledge its colossal mistake.

The ongoing tragedy was driven by America's darkest demons, from dogmatic militarism to aggressive corporatism, and ongoing government and corporate efforts to cover-up the disaster are nothing short of staggering.

Comment: Additional ongoing tragedies 'driven by America's darkest demons':