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Massive underground city discovered in Turkey: Was it a shelter during various calamities?

© Dachalan/Flickr
A view of Nevşehir, a city near where the underground city was found.
In 2013, workers in Turkey looking to demolish low-income housing near a Byzantine-era hilltop castle stumbled upon something extraordinary: an expansive underground city that may have housed 20,000 people or more.

We think they actually found a huge Diglett sanctuary.

Located in the middle of the country near the provincial capital of in Nevşehir, the underground network has yet to be extensively explored by researchers. Archaeologists and geophysicists do have resources for their explorations in the form of a 300-year-old paper trail stretching all the way back to the Ottoman Empire.

"We found documents stating that there were close to 30 major water tunnels in this region," Nevşehir mayor Hasan Ünver told National Geographic.

In 2014, those documents led researchers to a multi-level underground village of living areas, wineries, chapels, and bezirhane-linseed presses for generating lamp oil. The research team was able to find numerous small artifacts, including stone crosses and ceramics. The artifacts reveal that the settlement was used from the Byzantine era all the way up to the Ottoman conquest, researchers said.

Comment: It seems illogical to construct such a vast underground settlement that has everything to sustain life for a long period of time, only in order to hide from the marauders. It appears that the real reason may be a very different one.

Also, nearly 135 years ago Gurdjieff discovered a similar underground city in the neighboring Armenia. Could there be a connection between two vast and complicated underground networks?


Magic Wand

8 incredible archaeological finds that probably weren't in your history textbooks

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1. The Unfinished Obelisk

For how long and complex human history is, it's no big surprise to me that it would miss a few major places and events, right? Well we'll help you fill in the gaps a bit.

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Maya 'melting pot' discovered in Guatemala

© Takeshi Inomata/University of Arizona
This is a round structure uncovered at Ceibal, from about 500 B.C.
Archaeologists working in Guatemala have unearthed new information about the Maya civilization's transition from a mobile, hunter-gatherer lifestyle to a sedentary way of life.

Led by University of Arizona archaeologists Takeshi Inomata and Daniela Triadan, the team's excavations of the ancient Maya lowlands site of Ceibal suggest that as the society transitioned from a heavy reliance on foraging to farming, mobile communities and settled groups co-existed and may have come together to collaborate on construction projects and participate in public ceremonies.

The findings, to be published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, challenge two common assumptions: that mobile and sedentary groups maintained separate communities, and that public buildings were constructed only after a society had fully put down roots.

"There has been the theory that sedentary and mobile groups co-existed in various parts of the world, but most people thought the sedentary and mobile communities were separate, even though they were in relatively close areas," said Inomata, a UA professor of anthropology and lead author of the PNAS study. "Our study presents the first relatively concrete evidence that mobile and sedentary people came together to build a ceremonial center."

Phoenix

Did a volcanic cataclysm 40,000 years ago trigger the final demise of the Neanderthals?

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© B.A. Black et al. and the journal Geology
Figure 4 in B.A. Black et al.: This image shows annually averaged temperature anomalies in excess of 3°C for the first year after the Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption compared with spatial distribution of hominin sites with radiocarbon ages close to that of the eruption.
The Campanian Ignimbrite (CI) eruption in Italy 40,000 years ago was one of the largest volcanic cataclysms in Europe and injected a significant amount of sulfur-dioxide (SO2) into the stratosphere. Scientists have long debated whether this eruption contributed to the final extinction of the Neanderthals. This new study by Benjamin A. Black and colleagues tests this hypothesis with a sophisticated climate model.

Black and colleagues write that the CI eruption approximately coincided with the final decline of Neanderthals as well as with dramatic territorial and cultural advances among anatomically modern humans. Because of this, the roles of climate, hominin competition, and volcanic sulfur cooling and acid deposition have been vigorously debated as causes of Neanderthal extinction.

Binoculars

DNA analysis reveals the origins of modern Europeans

© Wolfgang Haak
Map depicting the two major hypotheses of the spread of Indo-European languages (white arrows) and geographic distribution of the archaeological cultures described in the text.
Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?

One way of answering these questions comes from digging up relics of the past. Europe has a rich archaeological record, ranging from periods well before the famous metal ages (i.e. copper, bronze and iron) to the recent adventures of the Romans, Vandals, Huns and Vikings.

Distinctive types of pottery and cultural practices associated with burials and settlements have been used to group the ancient populations into individual "archaeological cultures". However, it hasn't been clear whether there is a genetic basis for these group boundaries or whether they're just cultural.

Another line of evidence to illuminate how various groups are related comes from their languages. There is the well known Indo-European language tree - ranging from Hindi to Russian to Spanish. But it's also quite unclear how the languages spread to their present regions.

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Argentine archaeologists find secret Nazi lair in jungle

© Alamy
View of the Rio Parana from Teyu Cuare park in San Ignacio, Misiones, Argentina.
A team of Argentine archaeologists investigating a series of ruins in the jungle, close to the border with Paraguay, believe they have discovered a secret Nazi lair.

The cluster of stone structures, now covered by thick vines and accessible only when using a machete to cut through the undergrowth, contain stashes of German coins from the late 1930s, fragments of "Made in Germany" porcelain, and Nazi symbols on the walls.

"We can find no other explanation as to why anyone would build these structures, at such great effort and expense, in a site which at that time was totally inaccessible, away from the local community, with material which is not typical of the regional architecture," said Daniel Schavelzon, leader of the team.

Mr Schavelzon, from the University of Buenos Aires, spent months exploring the site in the Teyu Cuare provincial park, in the Misiones region of northern Argentina. Local legend told that a house in the forest belonged to Martin Bormann - Hitler's right-hand-man, who took his own life in May 1945 - but Mr Schavelzon said there was no evidence to support what he called "an urban myth".

Fireball

Black Death was 'triggered by asteroid impact and could reoccur today', scientist claims

© Getty
The Black Death may have been triggered by asteroid impact
The devastating Black Death which killed hundreds of millions of people in the 14th century may have been triggered by an asteroid impact, scientists have sensationally claimed.

The shocking revelation threatens to debunk one of the biggest chunks of British history and turn the world of science and academia on its head.

And experts warn another collision with Earth could happen "at any moment" sparking an outbreak of disease capable of wiping out entire populations.

History has for centuries claimed the Black Death which led to the gruesome deaths of up to 200 million people in Europe was carried by rats and fleas.

Its victims were covered in huge weeping boils, swollen lymph glands, gangrene and rotting limbs and eventually succumbed to a slow an painful death.

It struck again every 30 or so years until the famous medieval bubonic plague in 1664 which finally came to an end after the Great Fire of London in 1666.

Comment: See also:

New Light on the Black Death: The Cosmic Connection

Black Death found to be Ebola-like virus

New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection

Natural allopathic treatment modalities for Ebola

For more on the history on ancient civilizations, the nature of cyclical cosmic catastrophes and much more, read:

The Secret History of the World and its sequels, Comets and the Horns of Moses and Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.


Sun

Solar eclipses and the middle ages

Dr Anne Lawrence from the University of Reading's Department of History examines what solar eclipses meant to our ancestors.

Looking forward to the solar eclipse? I am and I suspect much of the UK is too. Scientists in particular are chomping at the bit to record this once in a generation event, especially here at Reading where we have organised the National Eclipse Weather Experiment which we can all take part in.

But looking back through the history books excitement wasn't the only emotion being felt leading up to an eclipse. These events had a shadowy effect not just on the weather, but people's lives as well... or so it was believed.

In the 12th century the chronicler John of Worcester wrote: 'in 1133 a darkness appeared in the sky throughout England. In some places it was only a little dark but in others candles were needed. ... The sun looked like a new moon, though its shape constantly changed. Some said that this was an eclipse of the sun. If so, then the sun was at the Head of the Dragon and the moon at its Tail, or vice versa. ... King Henry left England for Normandy, never to return alive.'

The account mixes astronomical knowledge of eclipses with a fateful link to political turmoil, encapsulated by the image of the great celestial dragon, whose head and tail mark the points on the orbits of the sun and moon at which eclipses can occur. In spring the moon's path crosses that of the sun at the 'head of the dragon', whilst the autumnal point is the 'tail'.

Comment: For more on the history on ancient civilizations, the nature of cyclical cosmic catastrophes and the part humanity may play in them, read: The Secret History of the World and its sequels, Comets and the Horns of Moses and Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection.


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DNA study reveals fate of ancient Britons

© Lightphoto/iStockphoto
Ancient Britons were not overrun by invading Saxons in the Dark Ages, suggests a new map based on the DNA of people from the UK and Europe.

The study, published today in Nature, provides the first strong genetic evidence of the Saxon invasion, and shows how much they interbred with the locals once they got there.

"When I first made this map I nearly fell out of my chair because what came up was this incredible pattern, and I could see that it matched lots of things that I already knew about British history, says lead author Dr Stephen Leslie, a statistical geneticist at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

Leslie and colleagues used a sophisticated statistical technique to analyse subtle genetic differences between over 8000 individual people across the United Kingdom and Europe.

They used protocols to make sure they were only studying DNA that was local to the area, by, for example, only taking the UK samples from people whose four grandparents were all born in the same rural area.

The researchers then clustered individuals into colour-coded groups, based only on their genetics, and were amazed to find that when they plotted the results on a map, the clusters corresponded to specific areas of the UK. The clustering showed northern and southern English people were genetically distinct, and in some cases clusters very accurately reflected geographical borders.

"For example you could see Cornwall was separate from Devon and that that separation was almost perfectly along the county boundary," says Leslie.

While past studies of this type have been able to use genetics to tell what continent or country people come from, this is the first study to be able to pinpoint people to regions within countries, says Leslie.

"Nobody has been able to see differences on this scale before," he says.

Despite some distinct groupings, however, the researchers found most of England was genetically very similar.

"Central and southern England, along with the north-eastern coast was relatively homogenous compared to everything else," says Leslie.

"It's pretty striking we can't separate out places like East Anglia and Kent."

UFO

Ancient UFO 'flying saucer' found 40 meters below ground in Siberia


Coal miners in Siberia's Kuznetsk Basin, Russia, have found, buried 40 meters underground, a saucer-shaped object that UFO researchers claim is an ancient alien "flying saucer" craft that crashed to Earth from space thousands of years ago.

Coal miners with the mining company Kuzbassrazrezugol found the bizarre and mysterious circular or disk object while excavating deep underground. The object was described as "perfectly circular with a diameter of about 1.2 meters and weighing about 440lbs," that is, about 200 kilograms.

Boris Glazkov, 40, the company excavator, said he was surprised to find such mysterious object in "the middle of nowhere." "I have to say it wasn't hard to see as it was really distinctive and large. I've never seen anything like this object, which is obviously man-made out, here in the middle of nowhere before. It is a real mystery."

Comment: Certainly is a curious object and will attract much speculation and imagination.