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Anomalous Native American DNA: New tests show Middle East origins?

© Dr. Donald Yates
Participants in Dr. Donald Yates’s Cherokee Native American DNA testing. Top Left: Karen Worstell’s grandmother Odessa Shields Cox is shown with her husband William M. Cox and Worstell’s mother, Ethel, as a baby, ca. 1922. Bottom Left: Karen Worstell. Right: Jan Franz.
The universe is full of mysteries that challenge our current knowledge. In "Beyond Science" Epoch Times collects stories about these strange phenomena to stimulate the imagination and open up previously undreamed of possibilities. Are they true? You decide.

Geneticist Dr. Donald Yates has been studying Cherokee DNA, particularly genetic markers passed on only from a mother to her children, not passed on along paternal lines. Anomalies in Native American DNA are often dismissed as signs of racial admixture after colonization, the anomalies are not attributed to the origins of Native peoples.

Yates chose to focus on the maternal line to make it easier to filter out any colonial-era admixture. It was far more common for male colonists to mate with Native American women than it was for female colonists to mate with Native American men when the Old World first met the New.
Treasure Chest

Ancient Roman shipwreck discovered near Aeolian Islands

ship that sunk during the Punic Wars
© (AP Photo/GUE, Ingemar Lundgren)
In this undated photograph provided by Global Underwater Explorers, divers illuminate Greco-Roman artifacts of a ship that sunk during the Punic Wars between 218-201 B.C., in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Aeolian Island of Panarea near Italy. The technical divers, trained in Florida's labyrinth of underwater caves, descended 410 feet to the wreck site to retrieve many of the ancient artifacts.
The divers descended 410 feet (125 meters) into dark Mediterranean waters off Italy, their lights revealing the skeleton of a ship that sank thousands of years ago when Rome was a world power. A sea-crusted anchor rested on a rock. The ship's cargo lay scattered amid piles of terra cotta jars, called amphora.

Highly trained technical divers with a Florida-based group called Global Underwater Explorers - GUE for short - are helping Italian researchers to unlock an ancient shipwreck thought to date to the second Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage. Able to descend hundreds of feet (meters) further than most divers, they aide the archaeologists by swimming about the wreck fetching artifacts - as no robotic submersible can.

On this dive, they swam past the large amphora used to carry wine, olive oil and other cargo on Mediterranean trade routes centuries ago - feeling as if they were transported to another time.

"It felt very much like a ghost ship awaiting the boarding of ancient mariners," said Jarrod Jablonski, one of the divers with the Florida exploration group.

Many of these divers honed their deep-water diving abilities in Florida's labyrinths of underwater caves. Now GUE provides the technical divers needed access to cargo and other artifacts from a ship thought to have sailed around 218-210 B.C. - when Rome and Carthage were fighting for naval superiority in the Mediterranean.
artifacts of a ship that sunk during the Punic Wars
© (AP Photo/GUE, Ingemar Lundgren)
In this undated photograph provided by Global Underwater Explorers, divers illuminate Greco-Roman artifacts of a ship that sunk during the Punic Wars between 218-201 B.C., in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Aeolian Island of Panarea near Italy. The technical divers, trained in Florida's labyrinth of underwater caves, descended 410 feet to the wreck site to retrieve many of the ancient artifacts.
Arrow Up

23rd Cannon recovered from Blackbeard's flagship

© JDNews
One cannon was raised and another found as state underwater archaeologists closed out their latest dive at the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck site.

Crews were cleaning up Monday after a three-week fall dive expedition that focused on the large pile of artifacts molded together in a cement-like mass of iron and sand at the ship's midsection.

The plan was to bring up two small cannon at the uppermost layer, but that changed somewhat as work to free one of the guns from the mass revealed a new discovery.

"We were only able to bring up one of the two cannons, but we discovered another gun underneath the second one, so it all balanced out," QAR Project Director John "Billy Ray" Morris said.
Sherlock

Astronomical find: One of the earliest Greek depictions of constellations

wine cup
© John Barnes
A two-handled wine cup may hold some of the earliest Greek depictions of the constellations. Here, a bull, snake, rabbit/small dog and large dog decorations.
A 2,600-year-old two-handled wine cup currently on display at the Lamia Archaeological Museum in Greece has long been thought to depict a random assortment of animals.

But the piece of ancient pottery, called a skyphos,may actually contain one of the earliest Greek depictions of the constellations, a new analysis shows.

The study researchers suggested that other ancient artistic representations of animals may also portray constellations, and hold clues to what the early Greeks knew about astronomy, said study researcher John Barnes, a classical archaeology doctoral candidate at the University of Missouri.

"If we go back and re-evaluate other animal scenes that might have been originally categorized as hunting scenes or animal friezes, then maybe we can find more [depictions of constellations] and get a greater understanding of how the ancient Greeks viewed the night sky," Barnes told Live Science.
Eye 1

The Real Dracula: Vlad the Impaler?

Vlad Tepes
© Credit: Public domain
This portrait of Vlad Tepes, painted in the early 16th century, hangs in the museum at Castle Ambras in Innsbruck, Austria.
Few names have cast more terror into the human heart than Dracula. The legendary vampire, created by author Bram Stoker for his 1897 novel of the same name, has inspired countless horror movies, television shows and other bloodcurdling tales of vampires.

Though Dracula may seem like a singular creation, Stoker in fact drew inspiration from a real-life man with an even more grotesque taste for blood: Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia or - as he is better known - Vlad the Impaler (Vlad Tepes), a name he earned for his favorite way of dispensing with his enemies.

Vlad III was born in 1431 in Transylvania, a mountainous region in modern-day Romania. His father was Vlad II Dracul, ruler of Wallachia, a principality located to the south of Transylvania. Vlad II was granted the surname Dracul ("dragon") after his induction into the Order of the Dragon, a Christian military order supported by the Holy Roman Emperor. [8 Grisly Archaeological Discoveries]

Situated between Christian Europe and the Muslim lands of the Ottoman Empire, Transylvania and Wallachia were frequently the scene of bloody battles as Ottoman forces pushed westward into Europe, and Christian Crusaders repulsed the invaders or marched eastward toward the Holy Land.

When Vlad II was called to a diplomatic meeting in 1442 with Sultan Murad II, he brought his young sons Vlad III and Radu along. But the meeting was actually a trap: All three were arrested and held hostage. The elder Vlad was released under the condition that he leave his sons behind.
Vlad the Impaler and the Turkish Envoys
© Credit: Public domain
This painting, "Vlad the Impaler and the Turkish Envoys," by Theodor Aman (1831-1891), hangs in the National Museum of Art of Romania.
Magnify

17th-century vaults unearthed in 13th-century Irish church

© Sean O’Riordan
Archaeologists working on a church in Cork have discovered three burial vaults dating back to the 1600s, pottery, and coins from that period and a 300-year-old underground central heating system copied from the Romans.

The discoveries have been made at the 1250-built St Mary's Collegiate Church in Youghal - the longest, constantly used church in the country.

Archaeologist Caroline Desmond said they moved onto the site after subsidence was noticed in the aisle. Discoveries show that in the 17th century, Youghal was a far more prosperous town than Cork and had more trade in its port.

Excavations began six weeks ago and they discovered vaults underneath the aisle.

One vault, dated February 1661, contains the remains of John Luther, an alderman of the town and his wife, Elizabeth.
Magic Wand

Mysterious 4,000 year-old Phaistos Disk finally decoded after a century

Phaistos Disk
© Yves Brise/Flickr
Discovered in 1907 in the Minoan palace of Phaistos in Crete, the disk has been the subject of many an interpretation attempt. However, the small total body of text - it consists of only 241 signs on both sides, based on 45 individual signs - defies any
decisive conclusion
The decoding of the Phaistos Disk has puzzled specialists for over a century, however new findings describe the disk as "the first Minoan CD-ROM' featuring a prayer to a mother. Gareth Owens, Erasmus coordinator at the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, speaking at the TEI of Western Macedonia on Monday, said the disk is dedicated to a "mother".

"The most stable word and value is 'mother', and in particular the mother goddess of the Minoan era," said Dr. Owens. He says there is one complex of signs found in three parts of one side of the disk spelling I-QE-KU-RJA, with I-QE meaning "great lady of importance" while a key word appears to be AKKA, or "pregnant mother," according to the researcher.

One side is devoted to a pregnant woman and the other to a woman giving birth. The disk was discovered in 1908 at the palace of Phaistos, in the northeastern part of the Aegean Island of Crete.The round clay object, tentatively dated close to 1700 B.C., displays an unknown language on both sides which is carved in a circular fashion, from outside to the centre.
Sherlock

Ancient city ruled by Genghis Khan's heirs discovered

Ancient city of Ukek
© Dmitriy Kubankin
Archaeologists with the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore have uncovered part of the ancient city of Ukek, founded by the descendents of Genghis Khan.
Remains of a 750-year-old city, founded by the descendents of Genghis Khan, have been unearthed along the Volga River in Russia.

Among the discoveries are two Christian temples one of which has stone carvings and fine ceramics.

The city's name was Ukek and it was founded just a few decades after Genghis Khan died in 1227. After the great conqueror's death his empire split apart and his grandson Batu Khan, who lived from 1205 to 1255, founded the Golden Horde (also called the Kipchak Khanate).The Golden Horde kingdom stretched from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and controlled many of the Silk Road trade routes that connected China to Medieval Europe.

This city of Ukek was built close to the khan's summer residence along the Volga River, something which helped it become prosperous. The name "Golden Horde" comes from the golden tent from which the khan was said to rule.
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High-tech images reveal texts of the Philae Obelisk

Fresh information is being obtained on the Philae obelisk, the stone monument that played such a key role in helping to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Philae
© B. Altshuler/CSAD/Oxford University
Philae hieroglyphs pictured in normal daylight (L) and using Reflectance Transformation Imaging (R)
Today, the pink granite shaft stands on the UK National Trust's Kingston Lacy estate in Dorset, where it was brought from the Nile in the 1820s.

The obelisk's inscriptions, with those on the famous Rosetta stone, contained clues to interpret the ancient symbols.

Now, the monument is being studied anew with modern imaging techniques.

Oxford University researchers say their investigations are revealing markings that were previously too worn to be investigated properly.

"The last time anyone made a good record of what was on this stone was in 1821 when a lithograph was commissioned to celebrate the obelisk's arrival at Kingston Lacy," explained Dr Jane Masséglia from the Centre for the Study of Ancient Documents.
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Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas

Roman numerals
© AP Photo/Eric Gay
In this Oct. 22, 2014 photo Roman numerals mark a timber from the 54-foot oak French frigate La Belle at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. Archaeologists are beginning to reassemble the remains of the ship recovered more than 300 years after the vessel was lost in a storm off the coast of Texas.
A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over the hull and feel like they are on the ship's deck.

The 1686 wreck of the 54-foot oak frigate La Belle - in an expedition led by famed Mississippi River explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle - is blamed for dooming France's further exploration of what would become Texas and the American Southwest.

But La Salle's short-lived Fort St. Louis near the shipwreck site in Matagorda Bay, about 100 miles southwest of present-day Houston, also convinced Spain to boost its presence in the region to ward off a feared French territorial expansion.

"In a very real way, it's responsible for our Hispanic heritage we have today," said Jim Bruseth, curator of the La Belle project at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. "They had nobody here, and it started the process of settling Texas.
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