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Mon, 27 Feb 2017
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Archaeology

Ancient mummies from Florida's Windover bog among greatest archeological discoveries in the U.S.

© myfloridahistory.org
Windover archaeological site
It was only after the bones were declared very old and not the product of a mass murder that the 167 bodies found in a pond in Windover, Florida began to stir up excitement in the archeological world. Researchers from Florida State University came to the site, thinking some more Native American bones had been unearthed in the swamplands. They were guessing the bones were 500-600 years old. But then the bones were radiocarbon dated. It turns out the corpses ranged from 6,990 to 8,120 years old. It was then that the academic community became incredibly excited. The Windover Bog has proven to be one of the most important archeological finds in the United States.

In 1982, Steve Vanderjagt, the man who made the find, was using a backhoe to demuck the pond for the development of a new subdivision located about halfway between Disney World and Cape Canaveral. Vanderjagt was confused by the large number of rocks in the pond as that area of Florida was not known to be particularly rocky. Getting out of his backhoe, Vanderjagt went to investigate and almost immediately realized that he had unearthed a huge pile of bones. He called the authorities right away. It was only thanks to his natural curiosity that the site was preserved. After the medical examiners declared them ancient, the specialists from Florida State University were summoned (another brilliant move by Vanderjagt - too often sites are ruined because experts are not called). Deeply intrigued, EKS Corporation, the developers of the site, financed the radiocarbon dating. Once the striking dates were revealed, the State of Florida providing a grant for the excavation.


Gold Coins

World's largest Celtic coin and jewelry hoard found in Jersey

© Jersey Heritage
The Catillon II Hoard as it appeared before being separated.
Last Friday, conservators at Jersey Heritage finally completed separating and meticulously cleaning the largest hoard of Celtic coins and gold jewelry ever discovered. It took nearly three years of effort to go through the mass of treasure.

"This is a significant milestone for the team. It has been painstaking but thoroughly intriguing work, which has delivered some very unexpected and amazing finds along the way," Neil Mahrer, who led the conservation effort says in a press release. "There is still plenty to do and I am sure the Hoard will continue to surprise us as we clean and record the material."

According to the BBC, the treasure was discovered in 2012 by amateur metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles. But it was no accidental discovery; the pair had been searching the area for 30 years looking for it. They began their quest after a local woman told them that her father had discovered some silver Celtic coins in a pot in a field near her home in Jersey, a British island in the English Channel. She did not recall the exact location, and the owner of the field only allowed the pair to search the area once a year after he harvested his crops.

Calendar

Early contact? Mayan calendar similar to ancient Chinese

© VojtechVlk/Shutterstock
Ancient Mayan and Chinese calendar systems share so many similarities, it is unlikely they developed independently, according to the late David H. Kelley, whose paper on the subject was published posthumously in August.

Kelley was a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at the University of Calgary in Canada. He earned fame in the 1960s for major contributions toward deciphering the Mayan script. His article, titled "Asian Components in the Invention of the Mayan Calendar," was written 30 years ago, but was only recently unearthed and published for the first time in the journal Pre-Columbiana.

Dig

Putin on Lenin and Communism: 'WW1 and Bolshevik Revolution destroyed Russia'

Putin's critics often deride him for 'wishing to recreate the Soviet Union'. But is that really what he's thinking? In the following video, you'll meet a younger Putin denounce communist ideology and Lenin. The year was 1991, Putin had recently returned to newly reconstituted 'Russia' after being stationed during the 1980s in East Germany with the USSR's Foreign Intelligence service, and he was just getting started as an assistant to the mayor of St Petersburg.

The first part is a bit weird because it's Putin at a later date watching the relevant snippet from the earlier interview in '91, then asking him 'now' if he still held to those views. Check out what he had to say...


Red Flag

History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II


Comment: What a creative way to bring history alive - to tell the story as though it is current news using the up-to-date ways that such a story would be covered. Nice job, RT!


Poor logistics, high war casualties on the Eastern Front, and shortages of military equipment and food have left Russia's capital Petrograd dangerously unstable in the latest developments from #1917Live, RT's social media project in which we cover the events of 100 years ago in real time.

Last year's Brusilov Offensive brought Russia initial gains against the teetering Austro-Hungarian Empire, but petered out due to supply problems, adding around a million men to the casualty list. In all, more than a million men have died, and over four million have been wounded. 1.5 million deserted the army in 1916 alone.


Comment: Russia seems to have learned some lessons from its revolutionary years:


Dig

Archeologists have discovered the first sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithra on the island of Corsica

© Denis Gliksman-Inrap
Archaeologists have found the first sanctuary dedicated to the God Mithra
A sanctuary dedicated to the god of an ancient and mysterious religion known as Mithraism has been discovered on the French island of Corsica for the first time. The structure was erected in the Roman city of Mariana, created around 100 BCE.

The local authorities were planning roadworks in the vicinity of this major site, so they called the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) to conduct excavations and make sure that no significant archaeological remains would be standing in the way.

A team, led by archaeologist Philippe Chapon, started working in Mariana in November 2016. It is thought that this little Roman town was at its peak in the third and fourth century and that it derived its strength from its commercial harbour, a point of contact for maritime exchanges with the whole Mediterranean.

Archaeology

Discovery of a large labyrinth in Denmark, relic of Stone Age people?

© Danish Geodata Agency / Pernille Rohde Sloth
The dark green dotted lines indicate where scientists have dug their trenches and excavated the site. The position of where the palisade is believed to have been is marked in red. The light green dashed line shows the lack of finds.
A series of Stone Age palisade enclosures have been discovered in Denmark in recent years and archaeologists are still wondering what they were used for. One of the latest additions is a huge construction, discovered by archaeologists from the Museum Southeast Denmark. The fence dates from the Neolithic period and seems to frame an oval area of nearly 18,000 square meters.

"It was actually somewhat overwhelming to experience that it is possible to reveal the traces of such a huge building from the Neolithic period. There are many suggestions for what they could've been used for, but to put it simply, we just don't know," says archaeologist Pernille Rohde Sloth who leads the excavation.

Sherlock

38,000 year-old engravings confirm ancient origins of technique used by Seurat, Van Gogh

© Hughcharlesparker -Wikipedia
Aurignacian Culture Map
A newly discovered trove of 16 engraved and otherwise modified limestone blocks, created 38,000 years ago, confirms the ancient origins of the pointillist techniques later adopted by 19th and 20th century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein.

"We're quite familiar with the techniques of these modern artists," observes New York University anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France's Vézère Valley. "But now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe's earliest human culture, the Aurignacian."

Pointillism, a painting technique in which small dots are used to create the illusion of a larger image, was developed in the 1880s. However, archaeologists have now found evidence of this technique thousands of years earlier—dating back more than 35,000 years.

Book 2

Walt Whitman Novel Lost for 165 Years Gives Clues to 'Leaves of Grass'

© The New York Public Library
A portrait of Walt Whitman, 1853 or 1854.
Readers who picked up The New York Times on March 13, 1852, might have seen a small advertisement on Page 3 for a serial tale set to begin the next day in a rival newspaper.

"A RICH REVELATION," the ad began, teasing a rollicking story touching on "the Manners and Morals of Boarding Houses, some Scenes from Church History, Operations in Wall-st.," and "graphic Sketches of Men and Women" (presented, fear not, with "explanations necessary to properly understand what it is all about").

It was a less than tantalizing brew, perhaps. The story, which was never reviewed or reprinted, appears to have sunk like a stone.

But now comes another rich revelation: The anonymously published tale was nothing less than a complete novel by Walt Whitman.

The 36,000-word "Life and Adventures of Jack Engle," which was discovered last summer by a graduate student, is being republished online on Monday by The Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and in book form by the University of Iowa Press. A quasi-Dickensian tale of an orphan's adventures, it features a villainous lawyer, virtuous Quakers, glad-handing politicians, a sultry Spanish dancer and more than a few unlikely plot twists and jarring narrative shifts.

Comment:
From Wikipedia:

Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.

Born: May 31, 1819, West Hills, NY

Died: March 26, 1892, Camden, NJ

Poems: Song of Myself, O Captain! My Captain!, More

Awards: Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Illustration
Quotes: Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

And your very flesh shall be a great poem.

Be curious, not judgmental.



Quenelle - Golden

'You're a Political Chump': What Malcolm X Really Thought About the Democratic Party

© Justin Osuji
Malcolm X
"I'll have those n*ggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years"

- U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson to two governors on Air Force One according to Ronald Kessler's "Inside the White House"
Malcolm X was a controversial figure during the civil rights era. If Malcolm X were alive today he would have been disappointed with the African-Americans and others who overwhelmingly vote for the Democrat party. Why? Because Malcolm X often spoke out against the American establishment, in particular, the Democratic Party for their involvement in the destruction of the African-American community and how they are used as "tools" for political power over their Republican rivals. There is no doubt that he would have continued to expose the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and how they have failed the African-American community for decades. Malcolm X was not a Republican and he certainly was not a Democrat as he once said "We won't organize any black man to be a Democrat or a Republican because both of them have sold us out. Both of them have sold us out; both parties have sold us out. Both parties are racist, and the Democratic Party is more racist than the Republican Party." Before and even after the Civil Rights Act was established in 1964 under the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr. and the well-known racist President Lyndon B. Johnson, racism in America was still at an all-time high.