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Speculation rages about dead in Greek mystery tomb

© Greek Ministry of Culture
Stabbed to death: A bone with cut marks belonging to the 35-year-old male.
The surprise announcement on Monday that at least five corpses lay buried in the Alexander the Great era tomb in Amphipolis, in northern Greece, has deepened the mystery around the massive and lavishly decorated burial.

As expected, speculation is running wild about who the five people buried there are.

So far, forensic investigation has determined that 157 out of 550 bones found in Greece's largest ancient tomb belong to a woman who was older than 60 years, two men aged 35 and 45, a newborn baby and a cremated adult whose gender could not be verified.

According to Andrew Chugg, author of The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great, the remains of the woman in her 60s should be considered the principal burial among those interred.

"It is stated that the skull and mandible and the majority of the larger bones are hers, that her skeleton is the most complete and that her bones were found mainly in the bottom of the cist burial," Chugg told Discovery News.

Chugg, the first scholar who suggested Olympias, Alexander the Great's mother, as the tomb occupant, believes the Persephone mosaic, the caryatids (female statues that serve as architectural support) and the female sphinxes found in the tomb all indicate the original burial was dedicated to a woman.

"A lady in her 60s is consistent with Olympias," Chugg said. "We do not know the year of her birth, but she died in 316 B.C., and she married Philip in about 357 B.C. She would have been 20 when she gave birth to Alexander in 356 BC, if she died at 60."

"There are no other historically prominent female members of the royal family who died in the time frame of the last quarter of the fourth century B.C. as far as we know," he added.

The Olympias hypothesis runs high also on Greek media, although several admit it's a rather puzzling one.

"If indeed the woman in the grave is Olympias and the tomb was erected in her honor, then Macedonians not only violated their customs, but they also did something that seems absurd and unthinkable: They built one of the largest and most elaborate tombs of the known world for a woman, honoring her as a demigoddess or hero," wrote the Greek Reporter, a news agency.

Cloud Lightning

X-rays may reveal words in Herculaneum papyri

© E. Brun
Scientists have read ancient scrolls not opened since they were carbonized by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius almost 2,000 years ago. Although only a few letters have been deciphered so far, classical scholars hope that the advance could lead to the rediscovery of lost Greek or Roman works of literature in hundreds of papyri that are too fragile to unroll and read.

"It is a revolution for papyrologists," says Vito Mocella, a physicist at the Institute of Microelectronics and Microsystems in Naples, Italy, and a co-author of the study, which is published in Nature Communications.

The eruption of Vesuvius in ad 79 obliterated the nearby towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum. But the volcanic ash preserved what it destroyed - including, in Herculaneum, a library in a lavish villa thought to have belonged to Julius Caesar's father-in-law. The library contains hundreds of papyrus scrolls, dried and blasted by hot gases into what look like twisted logs of charcoal, and then buried deep under the ash.

Info

Five facts regarding World War II internment camps

© unknown
The Crystal City Internment Camp in World War II.
The general history of America's internment of its own citizens during World War II has focused on the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese, 62 percent of them American-born, who were forcibly evacuated from the Pacific coast after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

But few people know that Executive Order 9066, signed by President Roosevelt, which permitted the roundup of Japanese and their American-born children, also paved the way for the arrest of Germans and Italians who the FBI considered security risks and labeled as "enemy aliens." Indeed the day before Roosevelt signed the order FBI agents had arrested 264 Italians, 1,296 Germans, and 2,209 on the East and West Coast. The hunt for perceived enemies was on.

Comment: Will history repeat itself by the U.S. interning those with "extremist views" in FEMA camps?


Pistol

Mysterious 1997 death of Hollywood screenwriter solved: Gary Devore was about to make movie exposing real reason US invaded Panama in 1989

Image
© Getty Images
When the skeletal remains of Hollywood screenwriter Gary Devore were found strapped into his Ford Explorer submerged beneath the California Aqueduct in 1998 it brought an end to one of America's most high profile missing person cases.

The fact that Devore was on his way to deliver a film script that promised to explain the 'real reason' why the US invaded Panama, has long given rise to a slew of conspiracies surrounding the nature of his 'accidental' death.

It didn't help that Devore's hands were missing from the crash scene, along with the script, and that investigators could offer no plausible explanation as to how a car could leave the highway and end up in the position it was found a year after he disappeared.

Now the Daily Mail can exclusively reveal that Devore was working with the CIA in Panama and even a White House source concedes his mysterious death bears all the hallmarks of a cover-up.

The findings, published in a new documentary The Writer With No Hands, are the first testimonies ever aired that give credence to the theories that surrounded the case in the late 90s.

Comment: A word about "conspiracies", quoted from Richard Dolan's book UFOs and the National Security State: Chronology of a Coverup, 1941-1973:
The very label serves as an automatic dismissal, as though no one ever acts in secret. Let us bring some perspective and common sense to this issue.
The United States comprises large organizations - corporations, bureaucracies, "interest groups," and the like - which are conspiratorial by nature. That is, they are hierarchical, their important decisions are made in secret by a few key decision-makers, and they are not above lying about their activities. Such is the nature of organizational behavior. "Conspiracy," in this key sense, is a way of life around the globe.



Arrow Down

The bizarre ESP experiments conducted on Canadian aboriginal children without parental consent

© Library and Archives of Canada
Brandon Indian Residential School students in 1946.
Canada's residential schools for aboriginal children were places of hunger, isolation and misery. Children as young as 3 were separated from their families and became wards of the state.

In the 1940s, the children were also, as more and more evidence is revealing, the unwitting subjects of bizarre, cruel and unethical experimentation.

A recently uncovered experiment reveals the depths of the access given to so-called researchers seeking to find evidence that aboriginal children, by dint of their race, had extrasensory perception, also known as ESP, or a "sixth sense."

Fifty children at the Indian Residential School in Brandon, Manitoba, became the subjects of a series of tests that sought to establish a new measure for identifying ESP and also to find evidence of supernatural abilities of "primitive" people.

Chess

Australia's forgotten coup - and how the US godfather rules from Canberra to Kiev

© news.com.au
Gough Whitlam on the steps of Parliament House in Canberra on November 11, 1975, after he was sacked as Prime Minister.
Washington's role in the fascist putsch against an elected government in Ukraine will surprise only those who watch the news and ignore the historical record. Since 1945, dozens of governments, many of them democracies, have met a similar fate, usually with bloodshed.

Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries on earth with fewer people than Wales, yet under the reformist Sandinistas in the 1980s it was regarded in Washington as a "strategic threat". The logic was simple; if the weakest slipped the leash, setting an example, who else would try their luck?

The great game of dominance offers no immunity for even the most loyal US "ally". This is demonstrated by perhaps the least known of Washington's coups - in Australia. The story of this forgotten coup is a salutary lesson for those governments that believe a "Ukraine" or a "Chile" could never happen to them.

Australia's deference to the United States makes Britain, by comparison, seem a renegade. During the American invasion of Vietnam - which Australia had pleaded to join - an official in Canberra voiced a rare complaint to Washington that the British knew more about US objectives in that war than its antipodean comrade-in-arms. The response was swift: "We have to keep the Brits informed to keep them happy. You are with us come what may."

This dictum was rudely set aside in 1972 with the election of the reformist Labor government of Gough Whitlam. Although not regarded as of the left, Whitlam - now in his 98th year - was a maverick social democrat of principle, pride, propriety and extraordinary political imagination. He believed that a foreign power should not control his country's resources and dictate its economic and foreign policies. He proposed to "buy back the farm" and speak as a voice independent of London and Washington.

Comment: And so it goes. Perhaps the fact that the meddling in Australian politics was a "bloodless coup" was a tiny blessing. Still, it's just one more example of the decades of arrogance the US has displayed on the world stage, seeking to bend every other country to its will.


Info

Ancient piece of leather found in Burnt City

© New Historian.com
A Bronze Age piece of leather adorned with drawings has been discovered. The artefact was found during recent excavations at the 5200-year-old Burnt City, known as Shahr-e Sukhteh in Persian, in south-eastern Iran.

It is incredibly uncommon to find organic material from over 5,000 years ago; environmental factors decay delicate items, causing them to rapidly deteriorate over time. As such, the leather found in the Burnt City is an incredibly rare discovery.

"Due to extensive corrosion, some experts and the archaeologists are trying to save the leather," the lead archaeologist, Professor Seyyed Mansur Sajjadi, told the Research Centre for Cultural Heritage.

Unfortunately, no more details have yet been revealed about the artefact.

The current season of excavations has also uncovered ruins of a structure in an urban area of the Burnt City. Supported by nine buttresses, the structure has two walls, each a metre thick.

Fish

170-million-year old 'fish lizard' fossil found in Scotland's Isle of Skye

Image
© Todd Marshall
An artist's rendering of the new ichthyosaur species discovered in Scotland.
A prehistoric marine-reptile fossil found in Scotland's Isle of Skye represents a new species that lived about 170 million years ago, a new study finds.

The specimen was a member of a group of extinct marine reptiles called ichthyosaurs. Researchers say the creature helps to fill in a gap in the fossil record during the Middle Jurassic period, which lasted from about 176 million to 161 million years ago.

"It's one of a select few specimens of that age in the world," said Stephen Brusatte, a paleontologist at the University of Edinburgh and co-author of the study, published today (Jan. 12) in the Scottish Journal of Geology. Not only that, but "this is the first time we have something distinctly Scottish," Brusatte added.

Ichthyosaurs were predatory reptiles that ruled the oceans during the time of the dinosaurs, before large sharks and whales came on the scene. The first ichthyosaurs ever discovered were found in England, and some of the same kinds of rocks where fossils of these animals were found exist in Scotland, Brusatte told Live Science. Researchers suspected the fossils were there, and bits and pieces had been found, but no ichthyosaur fossils were reported in Scotland until now.

The specimens in the study were found by an amateur fossil collector named Brian Shawcross. Instead of taking the specimen home, Shawcross donated it to a museum, Brusatte said. The new species - Dearcmhara shawcrossi - is named after him, as well as a Gaelic word for "marine lizard" (dearcmhara).

Brusatte and his colleagues found that the fossils contained the arm bone and vertebrae of a new ichthyosaur genus and species. The marine creature was likely about 14 feet (4.3 meters) long, or about the size of a motorboat, Brusatte said.

Star of David

Remember when Paris Muslims helped Jews escape the Nazis?

© Alice Heartherb
Here's one they left out of the history textbooks. A recent French film, Free Men, brought to light the remarkable true history of how Muslims gave sanctuary to French Jews in Nazi-occupied Paris during Second World War. An untold "Oscar Schindler" story, the film is inspired by actual events and in this case, our 'Schindler' is Si Kaddour Benghabrit, the rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris until 1954.

Underneath the fortress of mosaics and tranquil gardens occupying an entire city block in the Latin Quarter, it is revealed the mosque's underground caverns once served as a refuge for resistance fighters and French Jews, where they could be provided with certificates of Muslim identity. Meanwhile upstairs, Benghabrit, a wise Algerian-born religious and political leader, was giving tours of the mosque to Nazi officers and their wives, unaware of what was transpiring right under their feet.

Watch the trailer for Free Men below:


Comment: The question is this: will France's Jews today, or its Christians or anyone else, have the humanity and conscience to do the same for their Muslim brothers and sisters when the time comes? Because it is coming, only this time, it's the Muslims who will receive the treatment the Jews received during the Nazi regime. Will we let it happen? Will you let it happen?


Info

Enormous underwater lemur graveyard discovered dating back 1,000 years in Madagasgar

Image
© NSF
The lemur graveyard was found in a remote region of Madagascar.
What could be the largest single collection of lemur remains has been discovered in submerged caves in Madagascar.

A team of experts working with the National Science Foundation discovered the bone yard in a remote desert region of the island.

The complete lemur skeletons - all of extinct species - had remained intact for hundreds if not thousands of years, making it a unique site of great significance.

As well as vast numbers of lemur fossils, the remains of other animals were also found, including bats, rodents and carnivores.