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First Polynesians arrived in Tonga 2,800 years ago

Polynesian Artifact
© David Burley
While excavating, researchers found a coral file artifact from within the beach.
The first Polynesian settlers sailed to Tonga between 2,830 and 2,846 years ago, according to new research.

The findings, published Nov. 7 in the journal PLoS One, relied on ultraprecise dating of coral tools found at Tonga's first settlement.

"The technique provides us with unbelievable precision in dating quite ancient materials," said David Burley, a co-author of the study and an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. "This stuff is almost 3,000 years old, and the date range is within 16 years."

The new techniques could be used to trace the migration of Polynesia's prehistoric seafarers as they colonized the archipelagos of the Pacific Ocean, he said.

The Lapita people, the ancestors of modern-day Pacific Islanders, first sailed from coastal New Guinea roughly 5,000 years ago, reaching the Solomon Islands around 3,100 years ago and gradually expanding farther east toward what is now the archipelago Tonga, Burley told LiveScience.

Across a string of Pacific islands, the Lapita left traces of their culture: primitive nail files broken from staghorn coral reefs. The ancient inhabitants of Oceania likely used these coral files to smooth the surfaces of wooden objects or shell bracelets, Burley said.
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British Royal Family's ancestry linked to Count Dracula


Turns out the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles), may be descended from Vlad the Impaler or Vlad Tepes, more popularly known as Count Dracula, and Romania is cashing in on the news. Links have been discovered between the British Royal Family and Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century nobleman whose deeds inspired the vampire legend.

Romania is now exploiting this in an attempt to lure tourists to Transylvania and the rest of Romania. The Romanian National Tourist Office has released brochures and a promotional video, claiming the fame of the link between Count Dracula and British Royalty.

In a brief interview in the video above, Prince Charles says rather ironically, "The genealogy shows I am descended from Vlad the Impaler, so I do have a bit of a stake in the country."
Comet

Electric Universe: Thunderbolts, Mammoths and Mass Destruction

“Squatter man”
© Anthony Peratt
“Squatter man”

Did cosmic lightning wipeout the mammoths?


Siberia, Alaska, Malta! Three mass slaughter sites! Sites littered with carcasses and skeletons captured in violent death throes. Some are petrified as rocks (Malta), some are preserved in ice (Siberia), some are surrounded and invaded by limestone(Hot Springs - Dakota). Others are entombed in Bitumen (La Brea-L.A.) and peat Bogs (Snowmass- Colorado). Many are impeccably preserved whilst the bulk are shattered, dismembered and rolled (Gibraltar) by forces so violent and unseen today that we are naive to their mysterious powers! These extinct species met with an instantaneous and horrific death.

The modern theory of overhunting, careless burn offs, starvation and plague were never more than a trifle in this overwhelming picture of the mass destruction of species both large and small. Although man was in at the death his hand was rarely involved. And the last extinction occurred not so long ago and it is etched in modern man's mythology!

But what was the world shattering causative agent? Certainly not one seen in the last two thousand years. On a journey to track down this mystery I visited Rick Firestone at Berkeley National Laboratories. Rick ran the world's first cyclotron and is the quintessential expert on isotopes and radioactive decay. Intrigued as myself he had relentlessly dug around mammoth and the concurrent "Carolina Bay" crater sites to uncover legitimate keys to the puzzle. in specific layers of earth was evidence that pointed to the cosmological origin of the megafauna's instantaneous death.
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Indus Valley 2,000 years older than thought

Mohenjo-daro seal
© Hindustan Times
A Mohenjo-daro seal.
The beginning of India's history has been pushed back by more than 2,000 years, making it older than that of Egypt and Babylon. Latest research has put the date of the origin of the Indus Valley Civilisation at 6,000 years before Christ, which contests the current theory that the settlements around the Indus began around 3750 BC.

Ever since the excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in the early 1920s, the civilisation was considered almost as old as those of Egypt and Mesopotamia.

The finding was announced at the "International Conference on Harappan Archaeology", recently organised by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in Chandigarh.

Based on their research, BR Mani, ASI joint director general, and KN Dikshit, former ASI joint director general, said in a presentation: "The preliminary results of the data from early sites of the Indo-Pak subcontinent suggest that the Indian civilisation emerged in the 8th millennium BC in the Ghaggar-Hakra and Baluchistan area."

"On the basis of radio-metric dates from Bhirrana (Haryana), the cultural remains of the pre-early Harappan horizon go back to 7380 BC to 6201 BC."

Excavations had been carried out at two sites in Pakistan and Bhirrana, Kunal, Rakhigarhi and Baror in India.
Black Magic

Buried with a stake through a heart: The medieval 'vampire' burial

New details of one of the few 'vampire' burials reserved for social 'deviants' in early medieval Britain have emerged.
Skulls
© Reuters
The discovery of a skeleton found with metal spikes through its shoulders, heart and ankles, dating from 550-700AD and buried in the ancient minster town of Southwell, Notts, is detailed in a new report.

It is believed to be a 'deviant burial', where people considered the 'dangerous dead', such as vampires, were interred to prevent them rising from their graves to plague the living.

In reality, victims of this treatment were social outcasts who scared others because of their unusual behaviour. Only a handful of such burials have been unearthed in the UK.

The discovery is detailed in a new report by Matthew Beresford, of Southwell Archaeology.

The skeleton was found by archaeologist Charles Daniels during the original investigation of the site in Church Street in the town 1959, which revealed Roman remains.
Sherlock

Rare Anglo-Saxon feasting hall has been spectacularly uncovered

This is the first discovery of a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon 'Great Hall' in over 30 years and one of only a handful of such major buildings to be excavated in its entirety. Large enough to accommodate up to 60 people and forming part of a formal complex of buildings, the hall would have been used as a venue for royal assemblies attended by the king and his armed entourage.
© University of Reading
Aerial View of the Saxon Hall
The current excavations, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) with support from project partners Kent Archaeological Society and staff from the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, are designed to shed new light on Lyminge as a key site for understanding the origins of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England.
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Egyptian princess' tomb dating from 2500 BC is discovered near Cairo

A princess' tomb dating from about 2500 BC has been discovered near Cairo, the Egyptian government revealed today.

The discovery was made in the Abu Sir region south of Cairo by a team of archeologists from Czechoslovakia.

'We have discovered the antechamber to Princess Shert Nebti's tomb which contains four limestone pillars,' Mohamed Ibrahim, Egypt's antiquities minister, said.

Ancient Tomb
© AFP/Getty Images
Find: Princess Shert Nebti's tomb has been discovered in Abu Sir, south of Cairo.
The pillars 'have hieroglyphic inscriptions giving the princess's name and her titles, which include 'the daughter of the king Men Salbo and his lover venerated before God the all-powerful,' he added.
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Oldest town in Europe discovered in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists claim to have discovered Europe's oldest prehistoric town in the north-east of the country.


The town, near the salt pans of Provadia, in the Varna region of Bulgaria, is located in the same area as Europe's first salt factory.

The archaeology team, led by Professor Vasil Nikolov from the National Archaeology Institute and Museum, have been studying the area for many years and believe the key to the town's success was its natural abundance of salt which, at the time, was as valuable as gold.

Professor Nikolov said: "Now we can say that the Provadia salt pans' location is the oldest town in Europe, it existed between years 4700 to 4200 BC, in the second half of the fifth millennium before Christ."

"What makes a difference here from all the other ancient villages in south-east Europe are the salt springs ... the salt produced was used as money because salt was essential for humans and animals as well.

"So salt production was what made this village different from others and gave it prosperity," Nikolov added.
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'Island of Blue Dolphins' cave possibly found

Lone Woman
© Wikimedia Commons
A photo of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island.
Archaeologists might have finally found the cave of the Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island, whose solitary 18-year stay on a tiny island off the California coast inspired the children's classic Island of the Blue Dolphins.

"The cave had been completely buried under several meters of sand. It is quite large and would have made a very comfortable home, especially in inclement weather," Navy archaeologist Steven Schwartz said at the California Islands Symposium last week in Ventura.

One of the most famous people associated with the Channel Islands, the Lone Woman belonged to the Nicoleno, a Native American tribe who lived on the remote wind-blasted island of San Nicolas off the Southern California coast.

The tribe was decimated in 1814 by sea otter hunters from Alaska. By 1835, less than a dozen Nicolenos lived on the island. At that time, the Santa Barbara Mission arranged a rescue operation which brought to the mainland all Nicoleños but the Lone Woman.

The most likely explanation for the abandonment is that a panicked crew, caught by a storm, turned the rescue schooner, named Peor es Nada ("Better Than nothing"), toward the mainland without much head counting.

The woman lived alone on the island until a fisherman and sea otter hunter found her in 1853 and brought her to the Santa Barbara Mission.

"She was found in a brush enclosure on the west end of the island, but she is believed to have lived in a cave during most of her 18 years of isolation," Schwartz, who has been investigating the island for more than 20 years, said.

Since there is no known habitation cave on the tiny island -- which is now a Navy base -- the archaeologist concluded that the cavern must have collapsed and been buried.
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Mystery of Angkor Wat temple's huge stones solved

Angkor Wat
© Alexey Stiop | Shutterstock
Aerial view of Angkor Wat, showing the moat and causeway and the central tower surrounded by four smaller towers.
The massive sandstone bricks used to construct the 12th-century temple of Angkor Wat were brought to the site via a network of hundreds of canals, according to new research.

The findings shed light on how the site's 5 million to 10 million bricks, some weighing up to 3,300 pounds (1,500 kilograms), made it to the temple from quarries at the base of a nearby mountain.

"We found many quarries of sandstone blocks used for the Angkor temples and also the transportation route of the sandstone blocks," wrote study co-author Estuo Uchida of Japan's Waseda University, in an email.

In the 12th century, King Suryavarman II of the Khmer Empire began work on a 500-acre (200 hectare) temple in the capital city of Angkor, in what is now Cambodia. The complex was built to honor the Hindu god Vishnu, but 14th-century leaders converted the site into a Buddhist temple.
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