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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
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Pharoah

Discovery: Three ancient tombs in Egypt

© AFP
A sarcophagus from one of the three tombs found at burial grounds south of Cairo.
Archaeologists have discovered three tombs that date back around 2,000 years in southern Egypt. They were found in burial grounds in the Al-Kamin al-Sahrawi area in Minya province, south of Cairo.

The tombs contained a collection of different sarcophagi, or stone coffins, as well as clay fragments.

Egypt's antiquities ministry said the discovery "suggests that the area was a great cemetery for a long span of time". One of the tombs, which was reached through a shaft carved in rock, contained four sarcophagi that had been sculpted to depict a human face. In another, excavators found six burial holes, including one for the burial of a small child.

Clay fragments found at the site date the tombs between the 27th Dynasty, founded in 525BC, and the Greco-Roman era, which lasted between 332BC and the 4th Century.

Ali al-Bakry, head of the mission, said one of the tombs contained bones believed to be the remains of "men, women and children of different ages". "These tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city and not a military garrison as some suggest," he said.

In a statement, the antiquities ministry said that "works are under way in order to reveal more secrets". This work follows previous excavation at the site, which began in 2015.
© AFP
Sarcophagi which were discovered in a cemetery dating back about 2,000 years.

Archaeology

Archaeoacoustics: How the science of sound helps us understand ancient cultures

© CC BY SA 3.0
The theatre at Aspendos, Turkey is famous for its magnificent acoustics. Even the slightest sound made at the center of the orchestra can be easily heard as far as the upper most galleries. It is the best preserved and most complete example of a Roman theatre.
In this article, I will introduce the subject of archaeoacoustics and ancient "musical instruments". As we will see, these can be used in conjunction with a number of ancient sites from around the world.

The Archaeoacoustics Field of Study

Archaeoacoustics is the use of acoustical study within the wider scientific field of archaeology. This includes the study of the acoustics at archaeological sites, and the study of acoustics in archaeological artifacts. Over the last 40 years it has become increasingly obvious that studying the sonic nature of certain areas of archaeology can help us understand ancient cultures. Archaeoacoustics is an interdisciplinary field, it includes various fields of research including: archaeology, ethnomusicology, acoustics and digital modelling. These form the larger field of music archaeology.

One of the leading research groups publishing new papers on archaeoacoustics is SB Research Group (SBRG). SBRG is a multidisciplinary university project supported by University of Trieste, Italy "that aims to study from 2010 the architecture, geometry, shape and materials of ancient structures in Europe".

Comment: See also:


Bad Guys

New docs reveal Kissinger's 'secret deal' led to Japan allowing US nuclear weapons on Okinawa

© Ndan Smialowski / AFP
Japan gave the US official consent to bring nuclear weapons to Okinawa shortly before the 1969 bilateral accord, which led to the occupied island's 1972 return to Japanese rule, according to a recently declassified US document.

The US memorandum of understanding, dated November 17, 1969, shows that senior Japanese Foreign Ministry official Hiroto Tanaka told White House National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger that "the Japanese have no disagreement with the US" on bringing nuclear weapons to Okinawa on an emergency basis, The Japan Times reported.

Although it is well known that Japan and the US reached a secret deal on nuclear weapons in exchange for Okinawa's reversion, the declassified document proves for the first time that Tokyo delivered its stance using an official diplomatic channel.

Cookie

106-year-old fruitcake found in historic Antarctic expedition hut - might still be good

© Antarctica Heritage Trust
This 106-year-old fruitcake, believed to be brought by the ill-fated Scott Terra Nova expedition, was recently found in Antarctica is surprisingly good shape.
A 100-year-old fruitcake was recovered on Cape Adare in Antarctica. Newly discovered artifact of South Pole expedition in 'excellent condition'

Move over, Twinkies. You've been bested in the "food that refuses to decompose" department, and the contest wasn't even close.

Conservators with the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust recently discovered a 106-year-old fruitcake in Antarctica's oldest building, a hut on Cape Adare.

Dig

Stone slab uncovered in Spain with symbols no one can read

© Leonardo García Sanjuán and Marta Díaz-Guardamino / Antiquity 2017
At 1.5m high and 85cm wide, the stela of Montoro is an imposing artefact. It is a stone slab covered in engravings thought to date from the Iron Age. The symbols themselves are all more or less recognisable as letters from extinct languages. But no one can read what the symbols say.

Archaeologist Leonardo García Sanjuán of the University of Seville began studying the stela after reading a short notice on the discovery published in the Montoro Archaeological Museum newsletter. He could see that there was something unusual about it, and went out to see it with his colleague Marta Díaz-Guardamino at Southampton University in the UK.

The slab had first been unearthed by a farmer ploughing his field in Montoro in southern Spain in 2002. He dumped it in a heap of other stones at the side of the field and thought nothing more about it. Two years later, a couple of rangers from the regional government's environmental department discovered it and noticed a series of strange markings covering one of its sides.

Archaeology

4500-year-old grave of Siberian noblewoman has links to Native Americans

© Unknown
The intriguing find of the remains of a 'noblewoman' from the ancient Okunev Culture was made in the Republic of Khakassia. Her treasures include an incense burner decorated by solar symbols, 1,500 beads that once adorned her costume, and 100 pendants made from animal teeth.

The Okunev people are seen as the Siberian ethnic grouping most closely related to Native Americans. In other words, it was ancestors of the Okunevs who populated America, evidently using primitive boats to venture to the ice-covered Beringia land bridge some 12,600 years ago.

The mysterious ancient culture was 'unparalleled' in Siberia in terms of its artistic richness and diversity, according to experts. Undisturbed by pillaging grave robbers, the burial site of the woman, also containing the remains of a child, offers a wealth of clues about the life of these ancient people.

The head of the expedition Dr Andrey Polyakov said the grave of the 'noblewoman' dated back to the Early Bronze Age, between the 25th and 18th centuries BC.

'For such an ancient epoch, this woman has a lot of items in her grave,' he said. 'We have not encountered anything like this in other burials from this time, and it leads us to suggest that the items in her grave had some ritual meaning.

© Boris Dolinin, Elena Sibiryakova
The Okunev Steles - anthropomorphous stone columns several meters tall - are the most widely known monument attributed to this culture.
For more on this topic, go here.

Archaeology

Evidence etched in stone: A compelling argument for lost high tech in ancient Egypt

© Dendera Temple
Grinding stone, Dendera Temple, Egypt
Most people know of the great construction achievements of the dynastic Egyptians such as the pyramids and temples of the Giza Plateau area as well as the Sphinx. Many books and videos show depictions of vast work forces hewing blocks of stone in the hot desert sun and carefully setting them into place. However, some of these amazing works could simply not have been made by these people during the time frame that we call dynastic Egypt.

Up until the 7th century BC there was very little iron present in Egypt, as this material only became commonly used once the Assyrians invaded at that time; in fact, the ancient Egyptians regarded iron as an impure metal associated with Seth, the spirit of evil who according to Egyptian tradition governed the central deserts of Africa. A few examples of meteoric iron have been found which predate the Assyrians, but this consists largely of small ornamental beads.

The very basic problem that arises is that we find at many of the ancient sites in Egypt finely crafted works in basalt, granite, quartzite and diorite which are very hard stones that can't be shaped efficiently even by hardened iron tools. For most of the history of Egypt, the tools used to shape stone consisted of hardened bronze, which is much softer than iron. In this article, we will see examples of ancient hard stone workmanship which simply could not have been created during the dynastic Egyptian time frame of about 2500 to 1500 BC, when most academics believe they were made. Only a few examples will be discussed, and far more can be seen and read about in my Lost Ancient Technology Of Egypt book.
© Unknown
For more on this topic, go here.

Comment: What is evidenced in the article is the level of precision craftsmanship and how it was achieved by an ancient civilization thousands of years old offering a legacy that has lasted through time.


Vader

72 Years Ago Today The US Carried Out The Worst Terrorist Attack In The History Of The World

In May of 2016, Barack Obama became the first US president in history to visit the memorial of the American atomic bombings of Japan in Hiroshima. However, in true American fashion, he offered no apology.

"We have a shared responsibility to look directly in the eye of history. We must ask what we must do differently to curb such suffering again," Obama said in a speech at the memorial on Friday.

The location of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park was once the city's busiest downtown commercial and residential district. However, the devastating atomic blast from the U.S. bomb that killed over 100,000 innocent civilians left the clearing in which the monument now sits.

The United States, with the consent of the United Kingdom as laid down in the Quebec Agreement, dropped nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, during the final stage of World War II. The two bombings, which killed more than a hundred thousand innocent civilians, remain the only use of nuclear weapons for warfare in history.

The United States holding the largest stock of nuclear weapons in the world is as ironic as it is terrifying.

Archaeology

Researchers discover prehistoric Britons ate humans and carved patterns into their bones

© Natural History Museum
Prehistoric cannibals who once lived in a Somerset cave engraved human bones with zig-zag designs as part of a "complex" eating ritual, according to new research.

The bones, which had a number of deliberate cuts and human teeth marks, were discovered at Gough's Cave in the Mendip Hills and are believed to be between 12,000 and 17,000 years old - when the cave was occupied by Ice Age Britons.

Scientists from the Natural History Museum in London and University College London (UCL) compared hundreds of cut-marks found on human and animal bones in the cave. They discovered one human body with the bones separated, filleted, chewed and then marked with a zig-zag design, before it was finally broken to extract the bone marrow.

Researchers ruled out an initial theory that the marks were made during the butchery process, because they were found on a part of the bone with no muscle attachments. There is no indication on the skeletons that the humans had suffered violence before they died.

Wolf

The dogfather: Modern domestic dogs traced back to genetic split from wolves up to 40,000 years ago

© Timo Seregély, University of Bamberg
An archaeologist entering the Kirschbaumhöhle (Cherry Tree Cave) in the Franconian Alps, where the remains of the dog that lived 4,700 years ago during the Neolithic period were found. Researchers were able to sequence the animal's complete genome.
By analyzing the DNA of two prehistoric dogs from Germany, an international research team led by Krishna R. Veeramah, Ph.D., of Stony Brook University in the USA has determined that their genomes were the probable ancestors of modern European dogs. The study also suggests that all contemporary dogs have a common origin and emerged through a single domestication process of wolves 20,000 to 40,000 years ago. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) also participated in the study, the results of which recently have been published in Nature Communications.

Dogs were the first animals to be domesticated by humans. The oldest remains of dogs that can be clearly distinguished from those of wolves originate from what is now Germany and are about 15,000 years old. Unfortunately, the archaeological record is ambiguous, with claims of ancient domesticated dog bones from the most varied locations as far away as Siberia.