Secret History


Oldest case of decapitation in the new world

© Leeh Usp and Gil Tokyo
The skull as it was found in the burial pit and a reconstruction showing the position of the hands over the skull.
An international team of researchers has unearthed the oldest case of decapitation in the New World — a 9,000-year-old skull buried in Brazil with two severed hands covering the face.

The grave was excavated in 2007 in the rock shelter of Lapa do Santo, an archaeological site which has yielded 26 human burials dating to the early Holocene period. It consisted of a circular pit covered with five limestone cobbles.

There, the archaeologists found a skull with the palms of severed hands arranged over the face in opposite direction.

The right hand was laid over the left side of the face with the fingers pointing to the chin, while the left hand covered the right side of the face, the fingers pointing to the forehead.

A jaw and the first six cervical vertebrae, all bearing v-shaped cut marks, completed the assemblage.

"Using cranial morphology and tooth wear, this individual was estimated to be a young adult male," André Strauss from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany and colleagues wrote in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.


1,000 years old remains of 50 people found under Westminster Abbey, London

© Getty
Uncovered: The bones were found beneath Victorian drainage pipes after a toilet block was knocked down to make way for a new building
Ancient human remains of up to 50 individuals have been found by workmen during the demolition of a Westminster Abbey toilet block.

The bones are thought to have belonged to people from the 11th or 12th centuries, with the body of a small child found amid the remains of 50 adults.

"What the child is doing there is one of the many unanswered questions," Westminster Abbey's archeologist Warwick Rodwell told the Guardian.

"It is a feature of many ecclesiastical sites that you find the remains of women and children in places where you might not quite expect them," Rodwell added.

The child was buried in a wooden coffin, leading experts to believe that he or she was a person of some importance.

The remains were found as workmen demolished a 1950s-era lavatory block in order to make room for a new tower space through which visitors will eventually be able to access the abbey's attic.

Comment: Indeed, all sorts of skeletons have been coming out of London's closets in recent years:

City of London rail development project uncovers another 30 skeletons from Great Plague of 1665

Seven centuries later: Thirteen skeletons of Black Death plague victims unearthed during London Crossrail tunnelling

Back to Bedlam: Crossrail digging unearths ancient London burial ground


Swedish "Blue Virgin" island with labyrinth and ritual caves dates back to Mesolithic stone age

© Ludvig Papmehl-Dufay
The Island of Blå Jungfrun (Flickr). Inset: stone labyrinth (CC BY 3.0) and Stone Age fireplace
In local folklore, Bla Jungfrun Island has long been associated with dark curses and witchcraft. Off the coast of Sweden, the island has a history of bad luck and a reputation for magic, and even now visitors to the island must not stray off the paths, or stay after nightfall. Archaeologists investigating caves on Blå Jungfrun believe that strange rituals and performances dating back 9,000 years might have been held in the caves.

The uninhabited island, now a national park situated in the Kalmar Straight along the east coast of Sweden, is mostly bare rock and dense forests, and sports an ancient labyrinth, but it is the caves which interest the team of researchers from Kalmar County Museum and Linnaeus University of Sweden.


Petroglyphs left in Canada by Scandinavians 3,000 years ago?

Hundreds of petroglyphs are etched on a slab of crystalline limestone about 180-by-100 feet (a third the size of a football field) in Peterborough, Canada. They may have been left by Algonquin Native Americans about a thousand years ago, or by Scandinavian traders a few thousand years ago. The latter claim flouts the common understanding of history, which places Europeans in the New World much later. But it has had a few prominent supporters.

They say that the depictions of animals, solar symbols, geometric shapes, boats, and human figures on the so-called Peterborough Stone reflect a style used in the Old World.


Skull and Bones: The disgusting initiation ceremonies at the heart of the American Establishment


Yale Skull and Bones initiates of 1918. Prescott Bush, George W Bush's grandfather, who funnelled massive loans from Wall Street to Nazi Germany in the 1930s and even into the Second World War, is standing left of the clock.
It's the primal scene of American power, of Bush family values. For two centuries, the initiation rite of Skull and Bones has shaped the character of the men who have shaped the American character, including two Presidents named Bush.

And last Saturday, April 14 - for the first time ever - that long-secret rite was witnessed by a team of outsiders, including this writer.

Using high-tech night-vision video equipment able to peer through the gloom into the inner courtyard of the Skull and Bones "Tomb" in New Haven, The Observer team witnessed:
  • The George W. effect: intoxicated by renewed proximity to Presidential power, a robed Bonesman posing as George W. harangued initiates in an eerily accurate Texas drawl: "I'm gonna ream you like I reamed Al Gore" and "I'm gonna kill you like I killed Al Gore."
  • Privileged Skull and Bones members mocked the assault on Abner Louima by crying out repeatedly, "Take that plunger out of my ass!"
  • Skull and Bones members hurled obscene sexual insults ("lick my bumhole") at initiates as they were forced to kneel and kiss a skull at the feet of the initiators.
  • Other members acted out the tableau of a throat-cutting ritual murder.
It's important to remember this is not some fraternity initiation. It is an initiation far more secret - and far more significant, in terms of real power in the United States - than that of the Cosa Nostra. If the Bushes are "the WASP Corleones" - as the ever more stingingly waspish Maureen Dowd has suggested - this is how their "made men" (and women) are made. It's an initiation ceremony that has bonded diplomats, media moguls, bankers and spies into a lifelong, multi-generational fellowship far more influential than any fraternity. It was - and still remains - the heart of the heart of the American establishment.

Comment: As we said regarding British PM David Cameron's Oxford University intimacy with a dead pig, the initiation rituals of various 'elites' serve the purpose of 'binding' them to secret societies, clubs and cults that both reward and control their subjects over the course of their future careers. But while such revolting practises may certainly be useful for future blackmail purposes, the salient point is simply that the 'elites' enjoy doing this kind of thing, just as they enjoy causing suffering in 'those other people' (human beings, or 'barbarians', as they see us).


Archaeologists find 7,500-Year-Old cult complex in Bulgaria - 'Europe's largest stone building'

A prehistoric cult* complex which is about 7,500 years old, i.e. dating to the Chalcolithic, as well as what has been described as "possibly Prehistoric Europe's largest stone building", have been discovered by the archaeologists who have resumed the excavations of the Paleolithic and Neolithic settlement on the Big Island in the Durankulak Lake in Bulgaria's northeastern-most corner.
© Bulgarian National Television
A prehistoric cult artifact discovered in the newly found 7,500-year-old cult complex on the Big Island in the Durankulak Lake in Northeast Bulgaria.
The excavations of the Paleolithic and Neolithic settlement on the Big Island in Bulgaria's Durankulak Lake first started in 1970s, with the discovered Paleolithic finds dating back to around 10,000 BC; and a Neolithic settlement dating back to between 5500-5400 BC and 5100-5000 BC.

The settlement, which created what is said to be Europe's first stone city, belongs to Blatnitsa, the earliest phase of Europe's Late Neolithic Hamangia-Durankulak Culture (whose remains are found in today's Black Sea regions of Bulgaria and Romania).

Some of the finds date back to about 10,000 BC, the Paleolithic Age, and there are also numerous finds from all the later periods in Prehistory, and from the Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The Big Island in the Durankulak Lake, a 3.4 square km lagoon, is known as the Lake City or the "European Troy".

It features prehistoric remains from what is said to be the first sedentary agricultural culture in Europe, which created Europe's first stone architecture.


'Witchcraft' island reveals evidence of Stone Age rituals

© Kenneth Alexandersson
Archaeologists work on the island off Sweden where they discovered evidence of Stone Age rituals. The island has long been linked with tales of witchcraft, supernatural powers and curses.
A Stone Age site where cave rituals may have been performed some 9,000 years ago has been discovered on Blå Jungfrun, an island off the east coast of Sweden. The island has long been associated with tales of witchcraft, curses and supernatural powers.

Blå Jungfrun's "huge boulders and steep cliffs provide a dramatic landscape, and for centuries the uninhabited island has been associated with supernatural powers," wrote a team of archaeologists in the summary of a presentation given recently at the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

According to a centuries-old legend, witches gather every Easter on the island to worship the devil himself. Curses have also been associated with the island. For instance, those who remove a rock from the site are said to endure a lifetime of bad luck. [See Images of the Stone Age Site on this 'Supernatural' Island]

How far back these beliefs and stories go is unknown. "The time depth of these stories is shrouded in mist but could be considerable," the archaeologists say.


Tea Tuesday: Letting women take tea breaks was once considered dangerous

© iStockphoto
Tea a dangerous habit? Women have long made a ritual of drinking the brew, but in 19th century Ireland, moral reformers tried to talk them out of it.
Given tea's rap today as both a popular pick-me-up and a health elixir, it's hard to imagine that sipping tea was once thought of as a reckless, suspicious act, linked to revolutionary feminism.

Huh? Well, the feminist complaints came from 19th century, upper class Irish critics who argued that peasant women shouldn't be wasting their time — and limited resources — on tea. If women had time to sit down and enjoy a tea break, this must mean they were ignoring their domestic duties and instead, perhaps, opening the door to political engagement or even rebellion.


Mysterious stone disks containing tungsten discovered in Russia

© Bloknot-Volgograd
Four-meter stone disc recently discovered in Russia.
A team of investigators in Russia have found more than a dozen stone discs in the Volgograd region of Russia including one measuring four-meters in diameter. The team claims that the discs contain tungsten, a high density metal that has applications in military technology. The nature of the discs remain a mystery.

Russian news site Bloknot Volgograd reports that the finding was made by the Russian UFOlogy and Crytozoology group Kosmopoisk, led by Vadim Chernobrov, during excavations in the Zhirnovsky district of the Volgograd region. The UFO hunters were investigating in the region due its fame for the occurrence of 'mystical phenomena'.

While the team had previously discovered more than a dozen disc-shaped stones, the recent finding of a stone measuring 4-meters in diameter was a first.


Pre-Roman tomb unearthed in Pompeii, Italy which has survived undisturbed for over 2,000 years

© Archeological site of Pompeii press office
A pre-Roman tomb has been unearthed in Pompeii, Italy, containing the remains of an adult woman and numerous clay jars from the fourth century BC. A French archaeological team found the burial chamber by surprise.

"It is an exceptional find for Pompeii because it throws light on the pre-Roman city, about which we know so very little," said Massimo Osanna, the archaeological superintendent of Pompeii, as quoted by the Local.

The tomb dates back to the time of the Samnites, an Italic people living in the southern-central part of the peninsula who fought against the Romans.

It is believed the Romans knew of the tomb's presence and did not disturb the site or build on it. The tomb managed to survive undisturbed for more than 2,000 years.