Secret History


Remains of isolated hunter gatherers in Caucasus reveal previously unknown 'fourth strand' of European ancestry

© Lev Feliksovich Lagorio
‘In the mountains of the Caucasus, 1879’ by Lev Feliksovich Lagorio
Populations of hunter-gatherers weathered the Ice Age in apparent isolation in Caucasus mountain region for millennia, later mixing with other ancestral populations, from which emerged the Yamnaya culture that would bring this Caucasus hunter-gatherer lineage to Western Europe.

The first sequencing of ancient genomes extracted from human remains that date back to the Late Upper Paleolithic period over 13,000 years ago has revealed a previously unknown "fourth strand" of ancient European ancestry.

This new lineage stems from populations of hunter-gatherers that split from western hunter-gatherers shortly after the 'out of Africa' expansion some 45,000 years ago and went on to settle in the Caucasus region, where southern Russia meets Georgia today.

Here these hunter-gatherers largely remained for millennia, becoming increasingly isolated as the Ice Age culminated in the last 'Glacial Maximum' some 25,000 years ago, which they weathered in the relative shelter of the Caucasus mountains until eventual thawing allowed movement and brought them into contact with other populations, likely from further east.


2,200-year-old duck-shaped incense shovel discovered in Israel

© Uzi Leibner, Hebrew University; Tal Rogovski
The duck-headed handle of a Hellenistic-era incense shovel found at Khirbet el-Eika in the eastern Galilee in 2015.
An elegant 2,200-year-old Hellenistic bronze incense shovel found this summer could help determine how and when Judeans settled the hills near the Kinneret

The tapered head, flattened bill and graceful curve of the neck are unquestionably that of a duck. The bird's head decorates a small, 2,200-year-old bronze incense shovel found during this summer's dig at a Hellenistic-era site near the Sea of Galilee, and its ancient owners may be the key to an investigation into how and when ancient Judeans populated the Galilee.

A Hebrew University team led by Dr. Uzi Leibner discovered the shovel amid the ruins of Khirbet el-Eika, a site just west of the Sea of Galilee near the Horns of Hattin, during August's excavations. Leibner sought to elucidate who the inhabitants of the Galilee were in the early Second Temple period.

The hills of the Galilee were densely populated with Jewish villages during the late Second Temple period and thereafter. The historical Jesus was born in the small Galilean town of Nazareth a little more than 2,000 years ago. The gospels and contemporary historical texts describe a region populated by Jews who rose up against the Roman Empire en masse in 66 CE. In the centuries thereafter it was the heartland of rabbinic scholarship, literature and Jewish life in Roman Palestine.


Lost ancient island found in the Aegean

© DHA Photos
A lost island in İzmir's Dikili, which was mentioned in ancient sources, was recently found within the scope of a research project carried out by a group of Turkish and foreign experts

A lost island where the ancient city of Kane was located has been found by geo-archaeologists in the Aegean province of İzmir's Dikili district. The island was mentioned in ancient sources.

During surface surveys carried out near Dikili's Bademli village, geo-archaeologists examined samples from the underground layers and learned one of the peninsulas there was in fact an island in the ancient era, and its distance from the mainland was filled with alluviums over time.

With a comprehensive research project carried out by geo-archaeologists from Cologne University and led by the German Archaeology Institute, the relation of harbors on Dikili's Karadağ peninsula was examined.


Inca child mummy reveals lost genetic history of South America

© Scientific Reports and Gómez
The Aconcagua Boy was found frozen and naturally mummified 500 years after he was sacrificed during an Incan ritual called capacocha.
Back in 1985, hikers climbing Argentina's Aconcagua mountain stumbled upon a ghastly surprise: the frozen corpse of a 7-year-old boy. It was apparent that he'd been there for a long time, so the hikers notified archaeologists, who carefully excavated the body. They determined that the Aconcagua boy, as he came to be known, was sacrificed as part of an Incan ritual 500 years ago and had been naturally mummified by the mountain's cold, dry environment. Now, a new analysis of the Aconcagua boy's mitochondrial DNA reveals that he belonged to a population of native South Americans that all but disappeared after the Spanish conquest of the New World.

The Aconcagua boy died as part of an Incan ritual of child sacrifice called capacocha. Children and adolescents were taken to the tops of high peaks and left to die of exposure or killed outright; the Aconcagua boy was likely executed with a blow to the head. Several capacocha mummies have been found on mountains scattered throughout Inca territory, but the Aconcagua boy is "one of the best preserved," says Antonio Salas, a human geneticist at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain and an author of the new study. The boy died 5300 meters above sea level in "one of the driest climates that exist," Salas says. That gave him hope that the mummy might still contain traces of DNA.

It did. Salas and his team extracted the mummy's complete mitochondrial genome—comprising 37 genes passed down solely from the mother—from one of its lungs. Sampling an internal organ was a good choice for minimizing the risk of contamination, says Bastien Llamas, a geneticist at the University of Adelaide in Australia who studies ancient South American populations. In the years since the mummy was found, "you assume ... no one has touched the lung with their own hands, so there is no contamination from the people who have been working on it," says Llamas, who was not involved in the study. But to make sure his research team wasn't contaminating the find with its DNA, Salas genotyped every last one of them.


Massive tsunami devastated northwest Europe 8,150 years ago


A huge landslide of Ice Age sediment under the Norwegian Sea 8,150 years ago (illustrated) produced a tsunami so powerful it swept hundreds of miles down the North Sea and created waves of up to 65 feet high
It was a time when stone-age hunter gatherers were spreading across northern Europe and into Britain as the glaciers of the last ice age retreated.

But just as these mesolithic tribes were settling in these newly uncovered areas a giant tsunami triggered by an underwater landslide off the coast of Norway devastated large parts of Europe.

Waves of up to 65 feet (20 metres) are thought to have smashed into Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Scotland and parts of England's northern coastline.

Scientists have now uncovered evidence that shows just how powerful these huge waves were and the huge area that they effected.


Mysterious Middle East "Wheel of Giants" is as old as Stonehenge

Ancient rock formation is believed to be 5,000 years old -- but no one is sure what it was used for.

A mysterious stone circle in the Middle East is estimated to be nearly 5,000 years old -- about the same age as Stonehenge.

It's known in Arabic as Rujm el-Hiri, or "stone heap of the wild cat," and Gilgal Refaim in Hebrew, which means "Wheel of Giants" and refers to a race of giants mentioned in the Bible.

"It's an enigmatic site. We have bits of information, but not the whole picture," Uri Berger, an expert on megalithic tombs with the Israel Antiquities Authority, told Reuters. "Scientists come and are amazed by the site and think up their own theories."


Two centuries-old tombs unearthed beneath historic New York City park

The second, previously unknown burial vault contains about 20 wooden coffins.
The tombs, which city archaeologists knew existed but were unsure exactly where, were discovered during a water main dig and are about two centuries old

City workers have discovered two burial vaults underneath Washington Square Park in New York City, uncovering the remains of at least a dozen people interred around two centuries ago.

Contractors for the city department of design and construction (DDC) uncovered the first vault on Tuesday, during excavations to replace a century-old water main on the east side of the park, in the heart of bustling Greenwich Village. The workers called an archaeologist contracted by the city, who opened a way into the chamber only 3.5ft beneath the sidewalk.

Inside they found an arched brick chamber with skulls, femurs and other bones littered on the dirt floor.

The first vault was actually a rediscovery: power company ConEdison first uncovered the vault in 1965, finding 25 skeletons inside. Before this week's excavation archaeologists knew the tomb existed, but were not sure where thanks to the company's poor record-keeping.

Bad Guys

A short history of Western plots to hijack Islam, from Nazi Germany to today

© Unknown
The celebration of hajj at Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
The New York Review of Books, a US-based magazine covering intellectual trends, has provided an interesting analysis, based on a review of two books on the Nazi relationship with Muslims, of why the strategy of mobilizing Islam in wartime and using it for geopolitical ends, mostly applied by the US, results in a "continual failure."

The magazine has provided a review of David Motadel's Islam and Nazi Germany's War and Stefan Ihrig's Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination.

Both books recount of Hitler's fascination with Islam and the attempts of the Nazis to use Muslims in their fight against their enemies, be it Britain or the Soviet Union.

Comment: Imperial strategists have long used religion as a tool to rally the masses, and to divide them. For them, faith is nothing but a means to an end, an end which is clouded by propaganda because of how repellent it truly is.

These days we witness psychopaths rallying to the flags of the Islamic State, al Qaeda, and Boko Haram. These psychopaths then become useful tools for both propaganda and geopolitical purposes. They can be used to topple governments. They can be used as justification for 'intervening' in a country which has not towed the imperial line. And the world is told, both explicitly and implicitly, that these groups represent Islam in a nutshell.

Believing this official lie, the world equates Islam with terrorism and extremism. It becomes a nucleus of division, and takes on a life of its own. The invasion and destruction of sovereign nations and the evaporation of the rights of the public become the 'new normal'. Soon everyone becomes an 'extremist' of some sort, and an 'extremism industry' develops to tell you who's who. Absorbed by these manufactured problems, real problems go unsolved, and real criminals go unpunished as they loot the country . And the ends, clouded by this insane propaganda, are the same. It's the absolute corruption, dehumanization, and ponerization of societies that were conned out of everything by thieves and liars.

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Amateur archaeologists discover Mesolithic rock paintings in Kadapa, India

© n/a
The Peddakona and Gandikota rock paintings discovered in Kadapa district.
Amateur archaeologists Y. Ramakrishna Reddy and Lakshmi Kanta Reddy, have stumbled upon Mesolithic period rock paintings at Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district.

The duo is serving in government departments have shown interest in archaeology. Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy, working as conductor in the Proddutur bus depot of AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) and Mr. Lakshmi Kanta Reddy, a police constable in APSP battalion, Siddhavatam, were on a visit to the fort when they discovered the paintings.

They found the paintings on the rocky surface at Peddakona, also known as Dongalakona, located next to Farah Bagh area on the way from the Anantapadmanabha temple of the fort to the gorge of the river Penna.

The paintings representing geometrical designs are seen on a big boulder executed in red ochre. The lines painted in the shape of rectangles, triangles and circles denote abstract forms of some animals.

Based on the information given by Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy, archaeologist and CEO of The Cultural Centre of Vijayawada (CCV) E. Sivanagi Reddy inspected the site and confirmed that the rock paintings belong to the Mesolithic period datable to 10,000-8000 B.C.


Scanning technologies reveal striking anomaly in the Great Pyramid

© Philippe Bourseiller/HIP.Institute/Faculty of Engineering Cairo/Ministry of Antiquities
"This anomaly is really quite impressive and it's just in front of us, at the ground level," Mehdi Tayoubi, founder of the Paris-based Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute involved in the scanning, told Discovery News.
A striking anomaly has been detected on the eastern side of the Great Pyramid at Giza, Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said on Monday.

The announcement comes at the end of a two-week project to scan Egypt's main pyramids in order to identify the presence of unknown internal structures and cavities.

Called Scan Pyramids, the study is in its first stage and is carried out by a team from Cairo University's Faculty of Engineering and the Paris-based organization Heritage, Innovation and Preservation under the authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.

The project uses a mix of technologies such as infrared thermography, muon radiography, and 3-D reconstruction to look inside four pyramids, which are more than 4,500 years old. They include Khufu, or Cheops, Khafre or Chephren at Giza, the Bent pyramid and the Red pyramid at Dahshur.

Several thermal anomalies were observed in all the monuments, but one remarkable anomaly was detected in the Great Pyramid, known as Khufu or Cheops.