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Drought triggered collapse of civilization in Levant more than 3,000 years ago

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© Wikimedia Commons
Drought triggered the collapse of previously thriving civilizations in around modern-day Israel more than 3,200 years ago, researchers found. The discovery, published in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, solves a long-held mystery regarding the region's history.
Drought triggered the collapse of previously thriving civilizations in around modern-day Israel more than 3,200 years ago, researchers found. The discovery, published in Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, solves a long-held mystery regarding the region's history.

Led by researchers from Tel Aviv University and the University of Bonn in Germany, the report included an unusually high-resolution analysis of pollen grains retrieved from sediment beneath the Sea of Galilee and the western shore of the Dead Sea. This, as well as a chronology of radiocarbon dating, placed the time of the crisis between 1250-1100 BC.

"Pollen is the most enduring organic material in nature," Dafna Langgut, a pollen researcher from Tel Aviv University who carried out the work of sampling, said in a statement. "These particles tell us about the vegetation that grew in the vicinity of the lake in the past and therefore testify to the climatic conditions in the region."

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Ancient DNA links Native Americans with Europe

© The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Boy's Bones.
Santa Fe - Where did the first Americans come from? Most researchers agree that Paleoamericans moved across the Bering Land Bridge from Asia sometime before 15,000 years ago, suggesting roots in East Asia. But just where the source populations arose has long been a mystery.

Now comes a surprising twist, from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago - the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today's Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia.

The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today's Native Americans can be traced to "western Eurasia," with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia, according to a talk at a meeting* here by ancient DNA expert Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.

"I'm still processing that Native Americans are one-third European," says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville. "It's jaw-dropping." At the very least, says geneticist Dennis O'Rourke of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, "this is going to stimulate a lot of discussion."

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Historical artifacts discovered in Hierapolis

© Sanliurfa
The World Heritage List includes Hierapolis Antic City that is in the Aegean province of Denizli, Pamukkale and new historical ruins were found in there that named as “gate of hell”.

The Italian team discovered a head of Aphrodite statue, oil lamps and a twin flutiste figure a few days ago. Professor Francesco D'Andria of Italy's Lecce University d historical ruins to public.

A historical marble sculpture of three head dog Kerberos was found in the old temple. Hierapolis is home to some historical artifacts from the Hellenistic period until the ancient age, B.C. 600.

Light Saber

The American holodomor: an interview with Boris Borisov

While America lectures Russia on the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine, Russian historian Boris Borisov asks what became of over seven million American citizens who disappeared from US population records in the 1930s.


RT: What made you research the history of what you call 'American Holodomor'?

B.B: It was very simple. As I was doing comparative research of the American Great Depression in the 1930s, and the Great Depression of the 1990s in Russia, I grew interested in the social dimension of the tragedy. It was logical that I looked up official American documents and found out that the discrepancies were so obvious that any independent researcher would not but have doubt about the official U.S. statistic data. All appears to be rather interesting. I will come to that later.

The U.S. Congress added fuel to the fire by adopting resolutions nearly every year blaming the Soviet government for alleged staged famine in the 1930s in Ukraine. The first resolution came in 1988, 50 years after the events described. The current members of Congress wonder about the following, and I quote, "people in the government were aware of what was going on, but did not do anything to help the starving".

At that very period of 1930s, the wealthy city of New York saw kilometre-long lines of people for free soup. There were no queues on the city's main streets though, but not because there were no hungry people but because most of the cities did not have any money - they were just bankrupt.

So, I became curious about that and carried out some research that brought about interesting results.

Eye 2

Where did America's missing millions go? Holodomor lessons from the Great Depression

U.S. history contains a serious crime against its own people - the Great American Holodomor of 1932/33, which cost the lives of millions. Historian Boris Borisov suggests the U.S. should not lecture Russia on Holodomor in Ukraine, but take a cl[oser look at its own history.]

"Golodomor ad usum externum"1

The United States of America constantly try to teach us the "Holodomor lessons".
"A special commission, created by the US Congress in 1988, came to the conclusion that during the Holodomor period 25 per cent of the Ukrainian population - millions of people - were intentionally annihilated by the Soviet government through genocide, and did not just die as a result of famine."

"On October 20, 2003 the House of Representative of the US Congress accepted a resolution on the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine, stating that this was an act of terror and mass murder, aimed at the Ukrainian people."

"In November 2005 the House of Representatives of the US Congress accepted a resolution which allowed the Ukrainian authorities to build a monument commemorating Holodomor victims and recognised it."

"This year (2008) the US Congress may consider a new resolution on the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine"
These news lines make headlines. They are repeated by the press before making their way on to TV and into legal structures. In this way they are forced on millions of people around the world.

© Farm Security Administration
But a question comes up when we hear such news - why does the US Congress pay so much attention to things that happened 75 years ago in a far-away country? Why didn't well-informed Americans protest back then, in 1932-33?

Is it just a political interest in Russia's influence on the post-Soviet territory, or an attempt to split Russians and Ukrainians forever, that tempts Americans again and again to repeat the fascist propaganda of Goebbels in the 30s: that "millions of Ukrainians were intentionally annihilated by the Soviet government"?

The ultimate compassion and justice felt by American congressmen is hardly believable - just try to find at least one Congress resolution (one, not three), where genocide of Native Americans would honestly be called genocide, or at least "mass annihilation". Even though most of the peoples inhabiting the territory of the USA were wiped out completely and their total number was radically reduced.

American history records another crime against its own people - the Great American Holodomor, also in 1932-33, when the USA lost millions of citizens.

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Ancient tattoos may have been used as medicine

© io9
We know that many ancient peoples practiced tattooing, based on the body art we see represented in figurines and wall carvings. But these tattoos found on the skin of the mummified 5,000-year-old body of Ötzi the Iceman reveal that body art wasn't just ceremonial.

Over at Archaeology magazine, there's a fantastic article on ancient tattoos, many of which were incredibly elaborate. But perhaps most fascinating are the tattoos on Ötzi. Partly that's because they are our only examples of real-life ancient tattoos. Every other example of ancient tattoos comes from art, and we can't be certain that they show actual tattoo patterns or an idealized version of them. Ötzi's markings reveal how tattoos were made, at least in Copper Age Europe. And they hint at why they were made, too.

Sherlock

Stomach-turning truth about what the Neanderthals ate?

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© Corbis
New thinking suggests that Neanderthals may have eaten the contents of animals' stomachs – 'a consistency and a flavour that is not unlike cream cheese'
The idea of these early humans being plant-eating, self-medicating sophisticates has been brought into question by the findings of researchers at London's Natural History Museum

It was the tell-tale tartar on the teeth that told the truth. Or at least, that is what it appeared to do. Researchers - after studying calcified plaque on Neanderthal fossil teeth found in El Sidrón cave in Spain - last year concluded that members of this extinct human species cooked vegetables and consumed bitter-tasting medicinal plants such as chamomile and yarrow.

These were not brainless carnivores, in other words. These were smart and sensitive people capable of providing themselves with balanced diets and of treating themselves with health-restoring herbs, concluded the researchers, led by Karen Hardy at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona. Our vision of these long-extinct people needs adjusting, they argued.

But now this tale of ancient tartar has taken a new twist with two researchers at London's Natural History Museum challenging the Barcelona group's conclusions. Dental research does not prove that Neanderthals were self-medicating, vegetable-eating sophisticates, one told the Observer. There are other, equally valid but decidedly more grisly explanations to account for those microscopic fragments of herbs and plants found in Neanderthal teeth.

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Tomb of Head of Pharaohs physicians of fifth dynasty discovered

© Ahram Online
Excavation work in Abusir.
The tomb of the fifth dynasty Head of Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt, Shepseskaf-Ankh, was discovered in Abusir Necropolis - 25km from the Giza plateau, during excavation by a Czech archaeological mission.

The tomb is carved in limestone and consists of a large open court, eight burial chambers for Shepseskaf and his family members, and a very distinguished huge false door engraved with the various titles and names of Shepseskaf-Ankh. Among the titles he held were, 'The priest of god Khnum,' who provides life, and 'The priest of Sun temples' for several fifth dynasty kings.

Ali Al-Asfar, deputy-head of the ancient Egyptian section at the Ministry of State of Antiquities (MSA) pointed out that some of the titles engraved on the false door reflect the social status of Shepseskaf-Ankh, who came from an elite ancient Egyptian family.

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Ancient human reached Australia

© Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock
The research suggests that Denisovans interbred with populations in Australia and New Guinea, but not mainland Asia.
Scientists have proposed that the most recently discovered ancient human relatives - the Denisovans - somehow managed to cross one of the world's most prominent marine barriers in Indonesia, and later interbred with modern humans moving through the area on the way to Australia and New Guinea.

Three years ago the genetic analysis of a little finger bone from Denisova cave in the Altai Mountains in northern Asia led to a complete genome sequence of a new line of the human family tree - the Denisovans.

Since then, genetic evidence pointing to their hybridisation with modern human populations has been detected, but only in Indigenous populations in Australia, New Guinea and surrounding areas. In contrast, Denisovan DNA appears to be absent or at very low levels in current populations on mainland Asia, even though this is where the fossil was found.

Published today in a Science opinion article, scientists Professor Alan Cooper of the University of Adelaide in Australia and Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in the UK say that this pattern can be explained if the Denisovans had succeeded in crossing the famous Wallace's Line, one of the world's biggest biogeographic barriers which is formed by a powerful marine current along the east coast of Borneo. Wallace's Line marks the division between European and Asian mammals to the west from marsupial-dominated Australasia to the east.

Hourglass

Oops! Etruscan warrior prince really a princess


A 2,600-year-old tomb unearthed in Tuscany, thought to hold a warrior prince actually contains the remains of a middle-age warrior princess holding a lance.
Last month, archaeologists announced a stunning find: a completely sealed tomb cut into the rock in Tuscany, Italy.

The untouched tomb held what looked like the body of an Etruscan prince holding a spear, along with the ashes of his wife. Several news outlets reported on the discovery of the 2,600-year-old warrior prince.

But the grave held one more surprise.

A bone analysis has revealed the warrior prince was actually a princess, as Judith Weingarten, an alumna of the British School at Athens noted on her blog, Zenobia: Empress of the East.