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Sherlock

New Jerusalem find may shed light on Jewish revolt against Romans

Stone
© Reuters/Ronen Zvulun
A stone bearing an ancient Latin inscription is displayed for the media outside Rockefeller Archaeological Museum in Jerusalem October 21, 2014.
Israeli archaeologists displayed on Tuesday a 2,000-year-old stone block unearthed in Jerusalem that they hope will help shed new light on a Jewish revolt against the Romans.

It is part of a lintel from an arch built to welcome Emperor Hadrian when he visited Jerusalem in 130 AD, around the time the region's Jews, led by Bar Kochba, rose up against Roman rule.

The Latin inscription on the remnant, which hails Hadrian in the name of the 10th Roman legion, fills out understanding of the extent to which the empire controlled Judea at the time, said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Rina Avner.

"This is another (part in the) puzzle in the historical mystery of what preceded what: the revolt of Bar Kochba or the foundation and the establishment of a city on top of the ruins of Jerusalem named 'Aelia Capitolina' and the change of status of Jerusalem to a Roman colony," she said. "We don't know yet which preceded which."
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Early European farmers remained lactose intolerant

Ancient Europeans remained intolerant to lactose for 5,000 years after they adopted agriculture


By analysing DNA extracted from the petrous bones of skulls of ancient Europeans, scientists have identified that these peoples remained intolerant to lactose (natural sugar in the milk of mammals) for 5,000 years after they adopted agricultural practices and 4,000 years after the onset of cheese-making among Central European Neolithic farmers.

The findings published in the scientific journal Nature Communications (21 Oct) also suggest that major technological transitions in Central Europe between the Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age were also associated with major changes in the genetics of these populations.

For the study, the international team of scientists examined nuclear ancient DNA extracted from thirteen individuals from burials from archaeological sites located in the Great Hungarian Plain, an area known to have been at the crossroads of major cultural transformations that shaped European prehistory. The skeletons sampled date from 5,700 BC (Early Neolithic) to 800 BC (Iron Age).
Sherlock

NOAA team discovers two vessels from WWII convoy battle off North Carolina

German U-boat 576 and freighter Bluefields found within 240 yards of one another

Shipwreak
© NOAA
A team of researchers led by NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries have discovered two significant vessels from World War II's Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boat 576 and the freighter Bluefields were found approximately 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Lost for more than 70 years, the discovery of the two vessels, in an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic, is a rare window into a historic military battle and the underwater battlefield landscape of WWII.

"This is not just the discovery of a single shipwreck," said Joe Hoyt, a NOAA sanctuary scientist and chief scientist for the expedition. "We have discovered an important battle site that is part of the Battle of the Atlantic. These two ships rest only a few hundred yards apart and together help us interpret and share their forgotten stories."

On July 15, 1942, Convoy KS-520, a group of 19 merchant ships escorted by the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard, was en route to Key West, Florida, from Norfolk, Virginia, to deliver cargo to aid the war effort when it was attacked off Cape Hatteras. The U-576 sank the Nicaraguan flagged freighter Bluefields and severely damaged two other ships. In response, U.S. Navy Kingfisher aircraft, which provided the convoy's air cover, bombed U-576 while the merchant ship Unicoi attacked it with its deck gun. Bluefields and U-576 were lost within minutes and now rest on the seabed less than 240 yards apart.
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A 45,000-year-old leg bone reveals the oldest human genome yet

femur
© Bence Viola/Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
The DNA in the man's femur shows that he had some Neanderthal ancestors.
Researchers have successfully decoded the genes of a 45,000-year-old man from Siberia. The results offer clues about early human life outside of Africa as well as how humans interacted with Neanderthals and other groups around at the time.

The complete set of genes is the oldest genome of its kind, according to Svante Pääbo, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. "It's almost twice as old as the next oldest genome that has been sequenced."

The work of Pääbo and his colleagues was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.
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Sphinx head found in mysterious Greek tomb

Head
© Greek Ministry of Culture
The newly found head of the sphinx.
Greek archaeologists made another amazing find on Tuesday as they unearthed the missing head of one of the two wingless sphinxes guarding the large and mysterious burial site in Amphipolis, in Greece's northeastern Macedonia region.

According to a statement by the Culture Ministry, the finely carved head was found inside the tomb's third chamber. Fragments of the wings were also unearthed.

About 24 inches high, the marble head depicts a beautiful woman who appears to smile slightly. Apart from some minor damage to the nose and lips, the sculpture is largely intact.

The life-like work features curls falling on the left shoulder and tied around the head with a thin band. There are traces of a reddish color in the hair.
Sherlock

Was Iran's Islamic Revolution another 'color revolution'? Evidence suggests Ayatollah Khomeini's father was a British agent


We can't vouch for the legitimacy of the photo on the right
The claim that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was born into a Jewish family appeared in the Daily Telegraph last week. His identity card, which he had proudly displayed to press cameras during the last election, when closely examined revealed his original family name as "Sabourjian" - meaning someone in the schmatte trade and usually denoting Jewish roots, because it refers specifically to the weaving of Jewish religious garments. A number of commentators felt that Ahmadinejad's fierce anti-Israeli sentiments now made sense. His father had converted to Islam in order to marry his Muslim mother and the son grew up with the zeal of a convert.

Will anyone in Iran believe the allegations, and will they care? And even then, can they do anything anyway? Ahmadinejad's unpopularity matters little at his point in a system founded on interlocking power blocs rather than popular consent. If the regime has any pretence to legitimacy left, it derives from the residual authority inherited from the cult of Ayatollah Khomeini.

What of Khomeini's legitimacy? Three years ago some astonishing documents came into my possession regarding that point. I have not been able to verify the allegations contained in them. The Internet bubbles and boils on the subject and fades into conspiracy with no concrete verdict. Quite simply, it needs further hard investigation in Iranian or Middle Eastern archives by qualified impartial researchers. No doubt they wouldn't survive long if they tried. So I offer the information raw, in the hope that others more qualified than myself will look further.

Comment: Even if the 'Khomeini-as-Brit' angle is baseless, we're still left with some unanswered questions regarding the 'Islamic revolution'. We know that Britain and the US supported Islamic extremists into power, before and since, so why would what happened in Iran in 1979 have been an exception?

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Twelve statues of Jain Tirthankara idols dating early as 4th-5th century found near Hyderabad

Temple at Keesaragutta
© Wikipedia/ J.M.Garg
Temple at Keesaragutta in Keesara, Rangareddy district, Andhra Pradesh, India.
Twelve statues of Jain Tirthankara idols which could date back to as early as the 4th-5th century AD, have been found at Keesaragutta temple on the outskirts the Indian city of Hyderabad, Indian media reported on Tuesday.

"Twelve panchaloha idols of the Jain Tirthankaras were unearthed during the course of conservation work 18, while the pathways were being laid between two temples near steps at a depth of one foot," the media quotes the director of Archaeology and Museums (Telangana), B Srinivas as telling reporters.

Objects made from Panchaloha are composed of five metals of some sacred significance, and are often used for making Hindu temple idols.

"Twelve idols of varying sizes, along with loose circular prabharahs (auras), circular parasols of different sizes, pedestals and broken elephant have been found.
Info

Anglo-Saxons left language, but maybe not genes to modern Britons

Working in a Lab
© T. Hartmann/Paleogenetics Laboratory, Mainz, Germany
San Diego - Britons might not be Anglo-Saxons, a genetic analysis of five ancient skeletons hints.

When archaeological digs revealed ancient graves on the grounds of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, England, researchers there took it as a sign that they should analyze the ancient people's DNA. Two skeletons were from men who were buried about 2,000 years ago. The other three skeletons were from women who died about 1,300 years ago, not long after the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain.

The researchers were surprised to find that the older Iron Age men were genetically more similar to people living in Britain today than the Anglo-Saxon women were. Stephan Schiffels of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute reported the results October 20 at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics.

"It doesn't look like these Anglo-Saxon immigrants left a big impact on the genetic makeup of modern-day Britain," Schiffels said.

The finding raises an intriguing possibility that indigenous people in Britain may have repelled the Anglo-Saxons but adopted the invaders' language and culture, says Eimear Kenny, a population geneticist at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, who was not involved in the work. More ancient samples from other times and parts of Britain should give a clearer picture of that episode of history, she said.

Reference: S. Schiffels et al. Insights into British and European population history from ancient DNA sequencing of Iron Age and Anglo-Saxon samples from Hinxton, England. American Society of Human Genetics annual meeting, San Diego, October 20, 2014.
Info

500-year-old traces of monster Hawaii tsunami discovered

Hawaii Tsunami 1946
© USGS
A mighty tsunami at least three times the size of the destructive 1946 tsunami, its aftermath pictured here, hit Kauai about 500 years ago.
A powerful earthquake in Alaska sent towering waves up to 30 feet (9 meters) tall crashing down on Hawaii about 500 years ago, leaving behind fragments of coral, mollusk shells and coarse beach sand in a sinkhole located on the island of Kauai, new research finds.

The quake, likely a magnitude 9.0, sent the mighty waves toward Hawaii sometime between 1425 and 1665, the study found. It's possible that another large Alaskan earthquake could trigger a comparable tsunami on Hawaii's shores in the future, experts said.

The tsunami was at least three times the size of the damaging 1946 tsunami, which was driven by an 8.6-magnitude earthquake off the Aleutian Islands. Mammoth tsunamis, like the one described in the study, are rare, and likely happen once every thousand years.

There's a 0.1 percent chance it could happen in any given year, the same probability that northeastern Japan had for the 9.0-magnitude 2011 Tohoku earthquake and related tsunami, said Gerald Fryer, a geophysicist at the pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, who was not involved in the study.

Results of the study have already prompted Honolulu officials to revise their tsunami evacuation maps, Fryer said. The new maps, which will affect nearly 1 million people who live in Honolulu County, would include more than twice the area of evacuation in some areas, Fryer said in a statement. County officials hope to distribute the new maps by the end of 2014, Fryer said.
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King Tut re-creation presents a shocking image

King Tut
© STV
A virtual reconstruction depicts King Tut at the time of death.
Tutankhamun's beautiful golden mask, the embodiment of a man secure in his power, has been flattering the pharaoh for many centuries, according to the most detailed image yet of the teenage king's face and body.

In the flesh, King Tut had a club foot, a pronounced overbite and girlish hips, says a "virtual autopsy" built using more than 2,000 computerized tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh's body.

Built for the BBC documentary, Tutankhamun: the Truth Uncovered, the shocking 3-D computer model could shed new light on the death of the boy pharaoh at the age of 19.

Previous theories suggested King Tut may have died as a result of a chariot accident, but the virtual reconstruction showed a different scenario.

"It was important to look at his ability to ride on a chariot and we concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided," Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and Icemen in Italy, told the U.K. daily The Independent.
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