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Ancient Chinese tomb reveals murals depicting daily life, poetry and constellations


This image shows the entrance to the tomb. The entryway is flanked by two gatekeepers. On the left is a man holding a staff, while on the right there is a woman holding a fan. Above the door is a Garuda, a mythical bird, which is depicted as watching over the entrance. Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics
A 1,000-year-old tomb with a ceiling decorated with stars and constellations has been discovered in northern China.

Found not far from a modern day railway station, the circular tomb has no human remains but instead has murals which show vivid scenes of life. "The tomb murals mainly depict the daily domestic life of the tomb occupant," and his travels with horses and camels, a team of researchers wrote in their report on the tomb recently published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

On the east wall, people who may have served as attendants to the tomb's occupant are shown holding fruit and drinks. There is also a reclining deer, a crane, bamboo trees, a crawling yellow turtle and a poem. The poem reads in part, "Time tells that bamboo can endure cold weather. Live as long as the spirits of the crane and turtle."
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Glass dish unearthed in Japan came from Roman Empire

© Tokyo National Museum
Scientists determined that this glass dish found in Japan came from ancient Rome.
A glass dish unearthed from a burial mound here is the first of its kind confirmed to have come to Japan from the Roman Empire, a research team said.

A round cut glass bowl, discovered with the glass plate, was found to have originated in Sassanid Persia (226-651), the researchers said.

The dish and bowl were retrieved together from the No. 126 tumulus of the Niizawa Senzuka cluster of ancient graves, a national historic site. The No. 126 tumulus dates back to the late fifth century.

The researchers' scientific studies show that fifth-century Japan imported glasswork, and that there was a wide range of trade between the East and the West.

"The dish was likely produced around the Mediterranean Sea and then transferred to Sassanid Persia," said team leader Yoshinari Abe, an assistant professor of analytical chemistry at the Tokyo University of Science. "After it was painted there, the plate was probably taken to Japan."
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Latrines, sewers show varied ancient Roman diet

© Mark Robinson/Oxford University Museum of Natural History
In this undated photo provided by Mark Robinson, environmental archeologist at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, a scallop shell with makeup found in a sewer of Herculaneum.
Archaeologists picking through latrines, sewers, cesspits and trash dumps at Pompeii and Herculaneum have found tantalizing clues to an apparently varied diet there before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius destroyed those Roman cities in 79 A.D.

Much of what residents didn't digest or left on their plates went down into latrine holes, became remnants in cesspits built up over the centuries or was thrown away in local dumps. At a three-day conference ending Friday in Rome, archaeologists discussed their discoveries, including gnawed-on fish bones and goose eggshells that were possibly ancient delicacies for the elite.

"We just have small glimpses of the environment, but some are quite curious," Mark Robinson, a professor of environmental archaeology at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, told the conference.
Alarm Clock

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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
Sherlock

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.

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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.
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