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Unexpected find: 5,000-year-old battlefield revealed in prehistoric Cardiff

neolithic battleground
© CAER
A six-year-old's discovery of a flint tool in a Neolithic ditch was the first of a "significant number" of thrilling finds at a Cardiff hill fortA flint awl from an ancient Cardiff hill fort
Archaeologists hoping to discover Roman and Iron Age finds at a Welsh hillfort were shocked to unearth pottery and arrowheads predating their predicted finds by 4,000 years at the home of a powerful Iron Age community, including flint tools and weapons from 3,600 BC.

Caerau, an Iron Age residency on the outskirts of Cardiff, would have been a battleground more than 5,000 years ago according to the arrowheads, awls, scrapers and polished stone axe fragments found during the surprising excavation.

"Quite frankly, we were amazed," says Dr Dave Wyatt, the co-director of the dig, from Cardiff University.

"Nobody predicted this. Our previous excavation [in 2013] yielded pottery and a mass of finds, including five large roundhouses, showing Iron Age occupation, and there's evidence of Roman and medieval activity.
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Unearthed: Fisherman pulls up beastly evidence of early Americans

© Dennis Stanford
A flaked blade unearthed from the Chesapeake Bay along with a mastodon skull shows evidence of weathering in open air, then saltwater marshes, and finally the ocean. Because sea levels submerged the area about 14,000 years ago, the weathering suggests that the tool was made at least that long ago, and that people may have been living on the Atlantic Coast at that time
A 22,000-year-old mastodon skull and tool dredged from the seafloor in the Chesapeake Bay hints of early settlers in North America.

The two relics, which were pulled up together, may come from a place that hasn't been dry land since 14,000 years ago. If so, the combination of the finds may suggest that people lived in North America, and possibly butchered the mastodon, thousands of years before people from the Clovis culture, who are widely thought to be the first settlers of North America and the ancestors of all living Native Americans.

But that hypothesis is controversial, with one expert saying the finds are too far removed from their original setting to draw any conclusions from them. That's because the bones were found in a setting that makes it tricky for scientists to say with certainty where they originated and how they are related to one another.
Pharoah

Oldest evidence for Egyptian mummy making discovered

Flax yarn
© Ron Oldfield and Jana Jones
This resin-saturated flax yarn came from a late Neolithic burial wrapping, found at a grave in Upper Egypt. The sample is now kept at the Bolton Museum in England.
Three thousand years before King Tut's body was brushed with embalming oils and wrapped in linen to rest in a gold-filled tomb, prehistoric Egyptians seeking immortality may have experimented with their own recipes to preserve the dead for the afterlife.

Scientists previously thought that mummy making began in Egypt around 2600 B.C., during the era when the pyramids of Giza were built, known as the Old Kingdom. But now scientists say they have found traces of complex embalming agents on much older bits of burial shrouds that had been sitting in a museum for nearly 100 years after they were dug up along the Nile Valley.

The newly examined linens were peeled from bodies buried at the Egyptian sites known as Badari and Mostagedda during the Late Neolithic and Predynastic periods, between 4500 B.C. and 3100 B.C. Archaeologists first found these pit graves during a British expedition to the region in the 1920s, and researchers had previously assumed that the hot, dry desert sand naturally mummified any well-preserved corpses from this era. [

The harsh environment definitely encouraged preservation, and may have even inspired mummification practices in the first place. But the new research, detailed today (Aug. 13) in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests Egyptians at that time were cooking up embalming mixtures made from animal fats, as well as tree resins and plant extracts that contained powerful antibacterial elements.

The study "highlights the enormous potential of museum collections accumulated a century ago for giving us new insights into the ancient past," said Alice Stevenson, curator of University College London's Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, who was not involved in the study.
Hourglass

Unique Alexander-era tomb unearthed in Greece. But who did it belong to?

burial discovered greece
© Agence France-Presse/Sakis Mitrolidis
A view of a large burial monument dating back to the 4th century BC, in Kasta, near Amphipolis, Greece on August 24, 2013
Archaeologists have unearthed a funeral mound dating from the time of Alexander the Great and believed to be the largest ever discovered in Greece, but are stumped about who was buried in it.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday described the find as "unique" after he visited the site, which dates to the era following Alexander's death, at the ancient town of Amphipolis in northern Greece.

"It is certain that we stand before an exceptionally important find," Samaras said in a statement. "This is a monument with unique characteristics."
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The Real First World War


Torture has never gone out of fashion it seems

Europe's "Great War" of 1914-1918 does not deserve to be called the "First World War." That title should go to the first real global conflict, Europe's geocidal invasion of other regions that began in the final decade of the 15th Century. European historians have sought to downplay the ferocity, extent and significance of that earlier conflict by treating it as a diffuse historical process, but if we who were victims accept that view it disables our understanding of everything that has happened since then.

As few Indians are likely to know much about what actually happened, let me recount some salient points.

A decade after Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492, its indigenous people were extinct. They had done nothing to deserve that fate; Columbus in a letter to his royal sponsors in Spain said they were "loving, uncovetous people," with "good features and beautiful eyes," who "neither carried weapons nor understood the use of such things." Yet many were tortured to death in a vain attempt to get them to reveal non-existent hoards of gold and others worked to death or driven to suicide. Such gratuitous violence continued as Europeans extended their domains in the "New World."

Comment: Looks like some things never change. Murder and genocide is all justified in the name of empire, land and riches

Pharoah

Ancient treasures found in Nile river cemetery

Ancient tombs
© Berber-Abidiya Archaeological Project
Ancient tombs (shown here after being excavated) discovered in modern-day Dangeil date back 2,000 years, to a time when the kingdom Kush flourished on the shores of the Nile River in Sudan.
A 2,000-year-old cemetery with several underground tombs has been discovered near the Nile River in Sudan.

Archaeologists excavated several of the underground tombs, finding artifacts such as a silver ring, engraved with an image of a god, and a faience box, decorated with large eyes, which a researcher believes protected against the evil eye.

Villagers discovered the cemetery accidently in 2002 while digging a ditch near the modern-day village of Dangeil, and archaeological excavations have been ongoing since then. The finds were reported recently in a new book.

The cemetery dates back to a time when a kingdom called Kush flourished in Sudan. Based in the ancient city of Meroe (just south of Dangeil) Kush controlled a vast territory; its northern border stretched to Roman-controlled Egypt. At times, it was ruled by a queen. [See Photos of the Ancient Sudan Cemetery & Tombs]
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Unsolved murder: Mysterious 1957 slaying of boy found in cardboard box still baffles nation

Child's corpse, which first appeared to be a doll, was wrapped in a Navaho blanket and weighed only 30 pounds. In 2002, an Ohio psychiatrist contacted Philadelphia cops telling them that a patient claimed her parents used the boy as sex toy and later murdered him.
America has a slew of enduring mysteries: Who killed the Black Dahlia? What happened to Judge Crater? Where is Jimmy Hoffa? One of the most baffling is "Who was the Boy in the Box?"

His face became known to the world on the frigid afternoon of Feb. 25, 1957, when a traveler along the Susquehanna Road in Philadelphia noticed a carton with red letters spelling out the words "Furniture, Fragile, Do not Open with Knife." It originally contained a bassinet.

Inside, there was what at first appeared to be a doll, but was really a child's corpse. He was naked and wrapped in a Navaho blanket. At about 40 inches he weighed only 30 pounds, significantly less than what's normal for a child that height.

He could have been anywhere from 3 to 6 years old. His nails had been carefully trimmed and his hair was clipped in a way that suggested it was not the work of a skilled barber. A few of the seven scars on his body seemed to have come from surgical procedures, and his eye showed signs that he had been treated for a chronic condition.
Bad Guys

Secret History: Banking elite plotted to overthrow FDR

It was a dangerous time in America: The economy was staggering, unemployment was rampant and a banking crisis threatened the entire monetary system.

The newly elected president pursued an ambitious legislative program aimed at easing some of the troubles. But he faced vitriolic opposition from both sides of the political spectrum.

"This is despotism, this is tyranny, this is the annihilation of liberty," one senator wrote to a colleague. "The ordinary American is thus reduced to the status of a robot. The president has not merely signed the death warrant of capitalism, but has ordained the mutilation of the Constitution, unless the friends of liberty, regardless of party, band themselves together to regain their lost freedom."

Those words could be ripped from today's headlines. In fact, author Sally Denton tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, they come from a letter written in 1933 by Republican Sen. Henry D. Hatfield of West Virginia, bemoaning the policies of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Denton is the author of a new book, The Plots Against the President: FDR, a Nation in Crisis, and the Rise of the American Right.

She says that during the tense months between FDR's election in November and his inauguration in March 1933, democracy hung in the balance.
Wine

British police raid country pub in search for 'Holy Grail'

Nanteos Mansion
© www.wildpickings.co.uk
Nanteos Mansion, near Aberystwyth, England, was built in the 18th Century, has been linked to the Holy Grail and sports many ghost stories.
British police raided an English country pub this week in search of a stolen wooden relic believed by some to be the Holy Grail - a cup from which, according to the Bible, Jesus is said to have drunk at his final meal before crucifixion.

The Grail has captivated religious experts for centuries, spawning myriad theories about its location and inspiring numerous fictional accounts from the Middle Ages onwards.

Cwpan Nanteos
© strangedaze.doomby.com
Cwpan Nanteos: The Healing Cup. Originally in Strata Florida Abgey, and believed to be made from the wood of the Holy Cross.
The object of the police search, which was unsuccessful, was a frail wooden bowl known as the Nanteos Cup that has been attributed with healing powers since the 19th century, attracting pilgrims and others who believe it may be the Holy Grail itself.

cup relic
© therightreverendseanmanchester.blogspot.com
Nanteos Cup
After receiving a tip-off, a team of eight officers and a police dog arrived on Sunday morning at the Crown Inn, a village pub in
the rural English county of Herefordshire.

"They turned the place upside down. They came with fibre optic cameras to look in all the corners and nooks and crannies, and under the floorboards ... they were clearly serious about it," the pub's landlady, Di Franklyn, said.

Police said the relic, a dark wooden cup kept inside a blue velvet bag, had been stolen from a house in the area about a month ago. Photographs available online show a bowl-shaped vessel with around half its side missing.

"We get a few rogues and scallywags in the pub, but no one who's quite on the level of stealing a priceless ancient artefact," Franklyn said.

Comment: The police report said the cup went missing after it had been loaned to a seriously-ill woman because of its healing powers and was stolen sometime between July 7-14 but the remaining pieces were not taken. The cup was in the care of a woman whose family once owned the Nanteos Mansion.

Info

New geoglyphs found in Nazca desert after sandstorm

New Nazca Lines
© Elcomercio
While flying over the famous Nazca desert recently, pilot Eduardo Herrán Gómez de la Torre spotted some geoglyphs that had not been seen before. He believes the geoglyphs or Nazca Lines, as others call them, were exposed after recent sand-storms carried away soil that was covering them.

The Nazca Lines have become world famous, showing up in paintings, movies, books and news articles. They exist on the floor of the Nazca desert in a southwestern part of Peru, near the ocean. Scientists believe the figures (approximately 700 in all) were created by the ancient Nazca people over a time period of a thousand years - 500BC to 500AD. The geoglyphs vary in size and have been categorized into two distinct categories: natural objects and geometric figures.

The natural objects include animals such as birds, camelids, or snakes. It is believed the lines were created by removing iron-oxide coated pellets to a depth of four to six inches - that left the lighter sand below in stark contrast to the surrounding area. The images vary dramatically in size, with the largest approximately 935 feet long. It is a myth that the figures on the desert floor can only be seen by aircraft (they were first "discovered" by a pilot flying over the desert in 1939). In fact, they can be seen quite easily when standing on nearby mountains or hills.
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