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Five scary Christopher Columbus quotes that let you celebrate the holiday the right way

Columbus
© Raw Story
Happy Columbus Day! I hope you're celebrating the holiday appropriately, by breaking into someone's home and claiming that you discovered and now own it! Or you could just, you know, mourn the genocide of indigenous people by shopping. Because we all grieve in different ways.

You've probably heard lots of great things about Christopher Columbus and tons of inspiring quotes from him about hard work, god, the sea etc. But those don't really capture what Columbus and the colonial expansion of which he was part were all about. So, without further ado, allow me to present these quotes that you may not have heard, from or about Christopher Columbus.

1. Conquest: the perfect chaser for expelling Muslims and Jews. You don't have to be an academic to link Spain's colonial expansion abroad with its inquisition at home. Columbus made the connection himself. Of course he saw this as a good thing, not a bad one - a killer combo, if you will.
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Storm god worship: Ancient cult complex discovered in Israel

Ancient cult complex
© Professor Itzhaq Shai
The foundations of the ancient cult complex in Israel were made of field stone.
A massive cult complex, dating back about 3,300 years, has been discovered at the site of Tel Burna in Israel.

While archaeologists have not fully excavated the cult complex, they can tell it was quite large, as the courtyard alone was 52 by 52 feet (16 by 16 meters). Inside the complex, researchers discovered three connected cups, fragments of facemasks, massive jars that are almost as big as a person and burnt animal bones that may indicate sacrificial rituals.

The archaeologists said they aren't sure who was worshipped at the complex, though Baal, the Canaanite storm god, is a possibility. "The letters of Ugarit [an ancient site in modern-day Syria] suggest that of the Canaanite pantheon, Baal, the Canaanite storm god, would have been the most likely candidate," Itzhaq Shai, a professor at Ariel University who is directing a research project at Tel Burna, told Live Science in an email. [See Images of the Cult Building and Related Artifacts]

The researchers said they can't rule out that a female deity, such as the ancient war goddess Anat, was worshipped there, Shai said.
Sherlock

Medieval "vampire" burial unearthed in Bulgaria

A skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed in Bulgaria, in what archaeologists are terming a "vampire grave"

Skeleton
© Rex
The skeleton with an iron spike through the chest, which was supposed to stop the dead rising.
A "vampire grave" containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as "Bulgaria's Indiana Jones".

Professor Nikolai Ovcharov - a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations - said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city located in southern Bulgaria, close to the border with Greece.

The city, inhabited since 5,000 BC but only discovered 20 years ago, is believed to be the site of the Temple of Dionysius - the Greek God of wine and fertility. And among the finds at the site, which includes a hilltop citadel, a fortress and a sanctuary, are a series of "vampire graves".

On Thursday Professor Ovcharov announced that he had found a remarkably-preserved Medieval skeleton at the site in what he termed "a vampire grave".
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Mosaic floor discovered in burial mound complex in northern Greece

mosaic floor greece
© Greece Ministry of Culture
A stunning mosaic floor uncovered at Amphipolis in northern Greece, shows the Greek god Hermes as a charioteer, leading a bearded man to the Underworld. Hermes wears a petasos on his head, a cloak, winged sandals and holds a caduceus, a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it.
A large section of a stunning mosaic floor showing a chariot in motion has been unearthed in the burial mound complex at Amphipolis in northern Greece, the Culture Ministry announced on Sunday.

Made from small white, black, gray, blue, red and yellow pebbles, the mosaic emerged as archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri removed dirt and soil filling the tomb's second chamber behind two colossal female statues known as Caryatids.

The colorful mosaic dates back to the last quarter of the 4th century BC. It covers the whole floor of the chamber - a 14.7-foot wide by 9.8-foot long area - and depicts a chariot in motion famed by a 23-inch-wide border with a double meander, squares and spiral shapes.

"The chariot is pulled by two white horses and driven by a bearded man wearing a laurel wreath on his head," the ministry said in a statement.

In the front of the chariot is the god Hermes, the psychopompos (literally meaning the "guide of souls"), who leads souls from the bodies of the dead to the banks of the river Styx. He wears a petasos on his head, a cloak, winged sandals and holds a caduceus, a winged staff with two snakes wrapped around it. The movement is from east to west.
Sherlock

Archaeologists discover Bronze Age palace and huge trove of grave goods in Murcia, Spain

Bronze age palace in Spain
© Unknown
Archaeologists have discovered a palatial construction with an audience hall which makes up the first specifically political precincts built in continental Europe. A prince's tomb in the subsoil contains the largest amount of grave goods from the Bronze Age existing in the Iberian Peninsula. Some of the most outstanding items include a silver diadem of great scientific and patrimonial value, the only one conserved from that era in Spain, as well as four golden and silver ear dilators.
Sherlock

The (still) mysterious death of Edgar Allan Poe

© Bettmann/CORBIS
Like his life's work, Edgar Allan Poe's death remains shrouded in mystery.
It was raining in Baltimore on October 3, 1849, but that didn't stop Joseph W. Walker, a compositor for the Baltimore Sun, from heading out to Gunner's Hall, a public house bustling with activity. It was Election Day, and Gunner's Hall served as a pop-up polling location for the 4th Ward polls. When Walker arrived at Gunner's Hall, he found a man, delirious and dressed in shabby second-hand clothes, lying in the gutter. The man was semi-conscious, and unable to move, but as Walker approached the him, he discovered something unexpected: the man was Edgar Allan Poe. Worried about the health of the addled poet, Walker stopped and asked Poe if he had any acquaintances in Baltimore that might be able to help him. Poe gave Walker the name of Joseph E. Snodgrass, a magazine editor with some medical training. Immediately, Walker penned Snodgrass a letter asking for help.
Baltimore City, Oct. 3, 1849
Dear Sir,

There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan's 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, he is in need of immediate assistance.

Yours, in haste,
JOS. W. WALKER
To Dr. J.E. Snodgrass.
On September 27 - almost a week earlier - Poe had left Richmond, Virginia bound for Philadelphia to edit a collection of poems for Mrs. St. Leon Loud, a minor figure in American poetry at the time. When Walker found Poe in delirious disarray outside of the polling place, it was the first anyone had heard or seen of the poet since his departure from Richmond.
Blue Planet

The sophisticated water technologies of the ancient Nabataeans

The Nabataeans were an ancient Semitic people dating back to 586 BC, who inhabited northern Arabia and the Southern Levant. The desert climate created agricultural difficulties for the Nabataeans, but they rose to the challenge, creating a sophisticated water collection system, which allowed them to build an impressive trade empire in the heart of Arabia.

The first records of the Nabataeans show that they lived in Edomite territory, although there is some dispute as to how and when the Nabataeans arrived there - some believe that they lived alongside the Edomites for hundreds of years, while others maintain that the Nabataeans migrated to the Edomite territory after the Edomites moved north. They eventually chose the site of Petra to build their city.
Pyramid

Researchers discover remains of Alexander the Great's father

© THEODORE ANTIKAS
Unequal greaves and the Scynthian gorytus
A team of Greek researchers has confirmed that bones found in a two-chambered royal tomb at Vergina, a town some 100 miles away from Amphipolis's mysterious burial mound, indeed belong to the Macedonian King Philip II, Alexander the Great's father.

The anthropological investigation examined 350 bones and fragments found in two larnakes, or caskets, of the tomb. It uncovered pathologies, activity markers and trauma that helped identify the tomb's occupants.

Along with the cremated remains of Philip II, the burial, commonly known as Tomb II, also contained the bones of a woman warrior, possibly the daughter of the Skythian King Athea, Theodore Antikas, head of the Art-Anthropological research team of the Vergina excavation, told Discovery News.

The findings will be announced on Friday at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki. Accompanied by 3,000 digital color photographs and supported by X-ray computed tomography, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray fluorescence, the research aims to settle a decades-old debate over the cremated skeleton.
Blue Planet

Closest link to our universal mitochondrial ancestor found

Africans
© Danita Delimont/Getty
Humanity's roots are in Africa
A man who died in 315 BC in southern Africa is the closest relative yet known to humanity's common female ancestor - mitochondrial Eve

He died later than Socrates and Aristotle, but a man who fished along the coast of southern Africa is the closest genetic match for our common female ancestor yet found.

If you trace back the DNA in the maternally inherited mitochondria within our cells, all humans have a theoretical common ancestor. This woman, known as "mitochondrial Eve", lived between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago in southern Africa. She was not the first human, but every other female lineage eventually had no female offspring, failing to pass on their mitochondrial DNA. As a result, all humans today can trace their mitochondrial DNA back to her.

Within her DNA, and that of her peers, existed almost all the genetic variation we see in contemporary humans. Since Eve's time, different populations of humans have drifted apart genetically, forming the distinct ethnic groups we see today.

Comment: "First Ancient Mitochondrial Human Genome from a Prepastoralist Southern African", Genome Biol Evol (2014) 6 (10): 2647-2653 can be found here.

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Mysterious giant megaliths discovered in remote Russia puzzle scientists

Mysterious stones on Mountain Shoriya (Kemerov region, Russia) have puzzled both scientists and ordinary men. The wall of rectangular stones piled up on top of each other is already being called the "Russian Stonehenge". According to one of the stories, they were found back in ancient times.

Though it aroused the interest of researchers in 1991, it was not explored then due to lack of financing. The research was just resumed in autumn 2013.

The granite blocks impress with their dimensions. They are making up walls in a polygonal masonry technique. Geologists compare them with Stonehenge and Egyptian pyramids.

The walls are 40 meters high, and they stretch for almost 200 meters. The length of some of the stones is about 20 meters, and their height is 5-7 meters. The weight of every block is more than 1000 tons.
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