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Ancient shrines discovered in Armenia likely used for divination

shrine Gegharot Armenia
© Professor Adam Smith
A shrine excavated at the entrance of a fortress' west terrace in Gegharot in Armenia. The stone stele like would've been a focal point for rituals practiced there some 3,300 years ago.
Three shrines, dating back about 3,300 years, have been discovered within a hilltop fortress at Gegharot, in Armenia.

Local rulers at the time likely used the shrines for divination, a practice aimed at predicting the future, the archaeologists involved in the discovery say.

Each of the three shrines consists of a single room holding a clay basin filled with ash and ceramic vessels. A wide variety of artifacts were discovered including clay idols with horns, stamp seals, censers used to burn substances and a vast amount of animal bones with markings on them. During divination practices, the rulers and diviners may have burnt some form of substances and drank wine, allowing them to experience "altered" states of mind, the archaeologists say.
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Neanderthal teeth suggest sexual division of labor

Neanderthal jaw bone
© Joan Costa/Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)
Neanderthal jaw bone.
A new study examining Neanderthal teeth from Western Europe suggests that there was a division of labor between males and females. The study was conducted by members of the Department of Paleobiology at the Spanish Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales and published online this month in the Journal of Human Evolution.

Although Neanderthals were once thought to be less intelligent, adaptable, and creative than modern humans, recent studies have significantly changed the understanding of our Ice Age cousins. We now know that Neanderthals had the capability for complex speech, controlled fire, created a variety of sophisticated bone and stone tools, wore clothing, decorated their bodies with shells and pigment, and may have created art. In addition, they were culturally and physically similar enough to the first modern humans in Europe that the two groups exchanged genetic material on multiple occasions beginning around 50,000 - 60,0000 years ago.
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Embracing Stone Age couple found in Greek cave

Ancient Tomb
© Photograph courtesy Greek Minstry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs
A man appears to hold a woman in a double burial that took place about 5,800 years ago at Alepotrypa Cave, the site of ancient funerary rites.
Strange and surprising findings have been reported from ongoing excavations at Alepotrypa Cave, a site in the Peloponnesus that one archaeologist called "a Neolithic Pompeii," the Greek Ministry of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs announced.

The most striking discovery was a burial from roughly 5,800 years ago containing two well-preserved adult human skeletons, one male and one female, with arms and legs interlocked in an embrace.

Archaeologists also found bones from two other Neolithic double burials, as well as a roughly 3,300-year-old Mycenaean ossuary holding bone fragments from dozens of individuals and numerous expensive grave goods, including a bronze dagger, agate beads, and ivory likely sourced from Lebanon.

"Like most things in Greece, it's complicated," said Bill Parkinson, associate curator of Eurasian anthropology at Chicago's Field Museum and one of the archaeologists working at the site.

The Alepotrypa—or "foxhole"—Cave represents one of the largest Neolithic burial sites known in all of Europe. Its enormous interior chambers reach more than half a kilometer into a mountain above Diros Bay, and burials in the cave span the entire Neolithic period in Greece, from 6000 to 3200 B.C. There are bones from at least 170 individuals inside the cave.
HRC Red

Dr Pauli Murray: black, queer, feminist, erased from history

© AP
Dr. Pauli Murray
Ruth Bader Ginsburg has emerged as the liberal hero of a hopelessly right-wing Supreme Court, a ram in the bush for those of us who look on in horror as the court presides over the dismantling of key pieces of legislation like the Voting Rights Act, anti-discrimination law and affirmative action policy, which have been so critical to African-American advancement since the 1960s.

In a recent interview at Georgetown University, Ginsburg reflected on the history behind one of her key legal accomplishments, the 1971 case of Reed v. Reed. After an estranged couple lost their son, his mother, Sally Reed, petitioned to administer his estate. But Idaho law maintained that "males must be preferred to females," in such matters. Ginsburg authored the plaintiff's brief for the case when it reached the Supreme Court, arguing that the 14th amendment protected against discrimination based upon sex. When the court ruled in Sally Reed's favor, it was the first time that the Equal Protection Clause had been applied to a case of sex discrimination.

But much of the legal groundwork for that argument can be attributed to Dr. Pauli Murray, a Howard University-trained lawyer, who began to argue in the 1960s, that the Equal Protection Clause should be applied to cases of sex discrimination in much the same way that it had been applied to cases of racial discrimination. Murray's argument constituted what legal historian Serena Mayeri termed "reasoning from race," in which race analogies were used to make clear the subordinate status of women. Though today we speak of these matters in the language of intersections, a term gleaned from legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, it is Pauli Murray's initial invocation of the race-sex analogy for black women's positionality within the law that is the most direct precursor to Crenshaw's theory of intersectionality.
Pistol

Why did Russian cosmonauts carry shotguns and machetes in space?

The popular myth about Russian spacemen traveling to space geared with weapons is actually true and the question why they did that is finally revealed.
© Wikipedia
Russian cosmonauts carried a convertible shotgun which doubled as an axe and machete into space.

The 'myth' about Soviet spacemen being armed with shotguns was a topic of great interest on Russian forums for the past few years. Recently it has been revealed that the myth is actually, true.

Russian cosmonauts weren't gearing up for a fight with aliens or NASA astronauts, though.

Despite numerous assumptions as to why the Russians took such a risk, the reason was quite modest.

The shotgun was there to kill bears in case the crew landed in a remote area in the Taiga region of Russia. The three barreled shotgun which also had a sharp blade could be used as a machete in jungle areas, or as an axe to chop wood.

Comment: You gotta love those highly pragmatic Russians. Here's another famous space related, if not exactly factual anectode:
When NASA started sending astronauts into space, they quickly discovered that ball-point pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat this problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion developing a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside-down, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to over 300 C.

The Russians used a pencil.


Colosseum

Villa of Ben-Hur's rival Messala Corvinus identified

elba villa
© Laura Pagliantini
This reconstruction shows how the villa might have looked. Thermal baths, swimming pool, and rooms lavishly decorated with frescoes, marbles and statues made the site a luxury holiday residence.
Archaeologists investigating the Tuscan island of Elba have identified the remains of the villa belonging to the real-life individual that inspired one of the principal characters in the epic tale of Ben-Hur.

Overlooking Portoferraio's bay, the once magnificent 1st-century B.C. estate, known as Villa Le Grotte (the Caves) because of the shape of its vaulted facades facing the sea, has long been believed to have been owned by Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus, portrayed as Ben-Hur in the Hollywood blockbuster starring Charlton Heston.

While Ben-Hur was a fictional villain, dreamed up in Lew Wallace's 1880 novel and immortalized in the 1959 MGM movie, the Messalla character was based on a real-world historical figure.

Marcus Valerius Messalla Corvinus was a member of one of the oldest and most important families in Rome, the patron of the poet Ovid, and a commander at the battle of Actium in 31 B.C., fighting for Octavian against the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Comment: A staunch 'republican', Corvinus was proscribed in 43 BC by Octavian/Antony/Lepidus, but found refuge with Brutus and Cassius - two of the men who murdered Julius Caesar in cold blood. He later went over to Mark Antony before finally settling on Octavian/Augustus. As one of his public works he restored the road between Tusculum and Alba, initiating the construction of many buildings too. In 25 BC, he resigned as city prefect, perhaps uttering these words: "I am disgusted with power."

Info

Drones to explore Amazon for evidence of ancient civilizations

Scientists plan to use drones to scour the Amazonian forests for evidence of ancient civilizations. New discoveries suggest that sophisticated cultures similar to those in other parts of the Americas once occupied the area.


Data on ancient settlements in the Amazon, which have been accumulating over the last few years, show that civilization there was far more advanced than previously thought. BBC News is reporting that the discovery of geoglyphs, where deforestation has taken place, may point to highly developed urban cultures similar to other peoples in pre-Columbian times, such as the Olmecs, Mayans, Aztecs and Incas.

Until now, the idea that an advanced civilization was lost in the Amazonian forests was considered to be just a myth or the stuff of Indiana Jones films. Early European explorers called it El Dorado or the City of Z. Hundreds of them ventured into the Amazon's dark interior searching for its legendary cities, which were reputed to possess gigantic riches.

Also, most scientists in the last century thought that the soil was too poor and ecological conditions too severe for anything other than tribes and small farmers to have existed there. However, the discoveries over the recent period are seriously challenging this view.
Pharoah

Houston anthropologist reveals irrefutable proof that recorded history is wrong


Bosnian Pyramid
Evidence Found Across the Globe of Highly Evolved Human Species from before the Ice Age, Demand Scientific Recognition of our Past that Depicts Societies of Advanced Technology and Culture

Houston anthropologist, Dr. Semir Osmanagich, founder of the Bosnian Archaeology Park, the most active archaeology site in the world, declares that irrefutable scientific evidence exists of ancient civilizations with advanced technology that leaves us no choice but to change our recorded history. An examination of the age of structures across the earth reveals conclusively that they were built by advanced civilizations from over 29,000 years ago.

Comment: It seems that our ancestors were tapped into some type of advanced technology and understanding of the universe that we know little about.

Books

Two US wars of aggression hidden from the history books

war tank
© unknown
While there are only a few wars that are recognized by the public education system and mainstream media, the US has been involved in hundreds of different wars and invasions all over the planet in the past 100 years.

Below is some information about just two of the wars that are often left out of the history books.

Between 1964 and 1973, the U.S. dropped over two million tons of bombs on Laos during 580,000 bombing missions, making Laos the most heavily bombed country in history. The US dropped more bombs on Laos than they did on both Germany and Japan combined during World War 2.
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Ancient stone carving discovered among lawn ornaments

Saxon Stone
© Tvpresenter4history/YouTube
Searching through a collection of lawn ornaments for sale, archaeologist and TV presenter James Balme stumbled upon a large, grey stone with unique carvings on it.

Sensing it might be more than just large, grey stone with unique carvings on it, he purchased it, brought it home and discovered he was right: It was more than just a large, grey stone with unique carving on it.

It was ancient, and possibly exhibited writing from a previously unknown language.
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