Secret History


Enormous teeth of prehistoric 60ft megalodon shark found on NC beaches

© / Wikipedia
Reconstructed jaws on display at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Beachgoers in North Carolina were given a shock when the fossilized teeth of an ancient shark washed ashore. The not-so-pearly-whites are believed to have belonged to a 60-foot megalodon.

The teeth, found at North Carolina's Topsail Beach and Surf City, are believed to have belonged to the megalodon - a prehistoric shark which dominated the oceans 15 million years ago.

"Oh my God, like I said, I felt like I was a lottery winner or something," beachgoer Denny Bland told local NBS affiliate WITN. "It's like I'm the first one to touch that since it fell out of his mouth back in the day."


Oldest alphabet primer found on ancient pottery

© Nigel Strudwick
This is a photo of the earliest abecedary.
The world's oldest-known alphabet primer was found in a list of ancient Egyptian words inscribed on a shard of pottery from the 15th century B.C., according to a new study.

Called ostracon, the flake of limestone was unearthed near Luxor over 20 years ago. British Egyptologist Nigel Strudwick found it as he excavated Theban Tomb 99, which was the burial of Senneferi, a 18th Dynasty official who lived under the reign of Tuthmose III.

The ostracon contains an incomplete list of words written in hieratic, the cursive script used in ancient Egypt for some 3,000 years. The instructional list of words in alphabetical order is called an abecedary.


Ancient Alaska infants' DNA supports human migration theory

© Ben Potter, UAF
University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologists Josh Reuther, left, and Ben Potter, right, work on the Upward Sun River site in Alaska.
Analysis of genetic material from the remains of two ice-age infants discovered in Alaska has revealed connections to two ancient lineages of Native Americans, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers in Alaska and Utah have documented that the infants had different mothers and were descended from two distinct lineages not previously identified in the Arctic.

University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and University of Utah geneticists Dennis O'Rourke and Justin Tackney deciphered ancient mitochondrial DNA from two infants buried in Alaska 11,500 years ago. The burials represent the oldest human remains ever found in northern North America.

Potter and a team of anthropology faculty members and students working at the Upward Sun River site in Interior Alaska discovered remains of a cremated 3-year-old in 2010, followed by the two infants in 2013. The site and its artifacts provide new insights into funeral practices and other rarely preserved aspects of life among people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago, according to Potter.


Polish archaeologists discovered an unknown temple of Hatshepsut

© P. Witkowski
Cut in the rock and consisting of two rooms, the walls of which are covered with poorly preserved decoration and hieroglyphic inscriptions: a team of archaeologists working under the auspices of the Polish Centre of Mediterranean Archaeology of the University of Warsaw started research in the ancient temple at Gebelein in Upper Egypt.

This place was already known to the local authorities, but so far no archaeologist has studied it. Previous researchers could have been discouraged by the poor condition of the decorations. This year's results of Polish research were surprising.

"This temple was dedicated to two gods. There is no doubt that one of them was Hathor, with the cult epithet Lady of Gebelein. The other deity could be Amun-Ra. Unfortunately, his depictions are not preserved and further studies are needed to verify this idea" - explained Daniel Takács, a member of the expedition.


Grave of "Griffin Warrior" at Pylos could be a gateway to civilizations

© Department of Classics/University of Cincinnati
A bronze mirror with an ivory handle found in a grave of a warrior at Pylos in Greece.
Archaeologists digging at Pylos, an ancient city on the southwest coast of Greece, have discovered the rich grave of a warrior who was buried at the dawn of European civilization.

He lies with a yardlong bronze sword and a remarkable collection of gold rings, precious jewels and beautifully carved seals. Archaeologists expressed astonishment at the richness of the find and its potential for shedding light on the emergence of the Mycenaean civilization, the lost world of Agamemnon, Nestor, Odysseus and other heroes described in the epics of Homer.

"Probably not since the 1950s have we found such a rich tomb," said James C. Wright, the director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Seeing the tomb "was a real highlight of my archaeological career," said Thomas M. Brogan, the director of the Institute for Aegean Prehistory Study Center for East Crete, noting that "you can count on one hand the number of tombs as wealthy as this one."


Ancient healing temple dedicated to Asclepius excavated in Greece

Marble relief of Asclepius and his daughter Hygieia. From Therme, Greece, end of the 5th century BC. Istanbul Archaeological Museums.
Archaeologists in Greece have excavated an ancient healing temple in the acropolis of Feneos dedicated to Asclepius, god of healing. Along with the foundations of the sacred temple, researchers also found an enormous statue of Asclepius, and his daughter Hygeia; an elaborate mosaic floor, marble podiums, and offering tables.

International Business Times reports that the 2,400-year-old temple, known as Asclepion (a healing temple dedicated to the god Ascelpius) was first discovered in 1958. However, archaeologists have only recently carried out extensive excavations of the site and have been able to piece together the layout of the site, as well as unearth numerous important artifacts.

Asclepius, the God of Healing

Asclepius, a son of Apollo, was a god of medicine in ancient Greek mythology. We are all familiar with Asclepius in a way, since the symbol that is used for medicine, the snake entwined staff, was the rod of Asclepius. According to mythology, Asclepius was brought up by the mysterious figure of ancient Greek mythology, the centaur Chiron, who raised Asclepius and taught him about the art of medicine. Because Asclepius used his powers to bring people from Hades (meaning resurrecting them), the God of Hades complained to Zeus because Asclepius converted many people from humans to immortals. The result was for Zeus to kill Asclepius with thunder.


Marble Medusa head unearthed in Ancient Roman ruins

© Michael Hoff
The head was unearthed at the Turkish site, Antiochia ad Cragum, a city founded during the first century.
In the ruins of a Roman city in southern Turkey, archaeologists have discovered a marble head of Medusa, somehow spared during an early Christian campaign against pagan art.

The head was unearthed at Antiochia ad Cragum, a city founded during the first century, around the rule of Emperor Nero, that has all the marks of a Roman outpost — bathhouses, shops, colonnaded streets, mosaics and a local council house.

With serpents for hair, wide eyes and an open mouth, Medusa was a mythical monster who could turn a person to stone with her gaze. At Antiochia, a Medusa architectural sculpture would have served an apotropaic function, intended to avert evil —but later, her likeness would have been considered idolatrous by the Christians who came to live at the site.


Plague DNA detected in Bronze Age teeth

© Thinkstock/Zoonar RF
Plague left a deep scar on the Western psyche during the Middle Ages, killing tens of millions of people across Eurasia during the 14th century.
Plague is a disease that conjures a mix of horror and revulsion at its mere mention because of the mark it has left on human history. Plague wiped out entire regions, triggered economic and political collapse, and threatened Western civilization on more than one occasion.

As much of an impact plague has had over the course of millennia, The bacterium that causes plague infections, Yersinia pestis, has been haunting humans even longer than once thought, report scientists in the journal Cell. In fact, Y. pestis was common as far back as the Bronze Age.

For their study, a team of researchers drawn from a network of European academic institutions sequenced the DNA from the teeth of Bronze Age 101 individuals from Europe and Asia. What they found was a common ancestor to Y. pestis dating back 5,783 years.

Comment: See also: It's unlikely that Yersinia pestis caused the Black Death: New Light on the Black Death: The Viral and Cosmic Connection

Bad Guys

Allen Dulles vs. Charles de Gaulle: The untold struggle for French sovereignty (Part 1)

© Book Cover (Harper Collins), Allen Dulles (US Government Photo / Wikimedia)
David Talbot’s new book The Devil’s Chessboard (left) is about the reign and influence of CIA director Allen Dulles (right).
As you watch, perhaps with alarm, as thousands of refugees from Muslim countries make their way through Europe in a seemingly endless parade, you may be wondering if some of them will end up living near you, and how this might affect your life.

If you step back and look at the bigger picture, you will see the situation in reverse: how much the dominating presence of those from the western world has affected the daily lives of people living in Muslim countries.

What the colonial powers have done in Muslim countries is well known. Less well known are the machinations of Allen Dulles and the CIA in one of these colonial powers, France.

Without the knowledge or consent of President John F. Kennedy, Allen Dulles orchestrated the efforts of retired French generals, rightwing French, Nazi sympathizers, and at least one White Russian, to overthrow Charles de Gaulle, who wanted to give Algeria its independence. Dulles et al feared an independent Algeria would go Communist, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.

Comment: Also see: How America's modern shadow government can be traced back to one single psychopath - Allen Dulles


A magical glimpse into the Tudor imagination: Lost library of John Dee to be revealed

© RCP and John Chase
From the Private Library of John Dee, Cicero, Opera, Omnia Vol 2, with ship drawing
Treasured books from the lost Library of Tudor polymath John Dee will be revealed in a special exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians Museum in January 2016

No figure from the Tudor world better exemplifies the diverse and apparently contradictory intellectual and social preoccupations of the period than John Dee.

At once deeply religious and fastidiously superstitious, Dee was a scholar of mathematics and magic, a keen historian and courtier and tutor to Elizabeth I and a polymath whose interests included astronomy, astrology, exploration, the occult, alchemy, spying and imperialism.

Comment: Those are quite some hobbies! Especially those last two...

Comment: Hopefully access to this library and John Dee's annotations in his books will reveal a lot more about the man behind the legend and put to rest the amazing lot of nonsensical theorizing about him that has run rampant for the past dozen years or so.