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8,000-year-old cave paintings found in Marmara province of Turkey

© The Archaeology News Network
A number of cave paintings dating back some 8,000 years have been found in Baltalıın and İnkaya caves in the Marmara province of Balıkesir during a field study conducted by Associate Prof. Dr. Derya Yalçıklı from Çanakkale University, the Arkeofili website has reported.

The paintings, which date back to the Late Neolithic era, were located in two caves five kilometers apart and were said to be 8,000 years old, marking one of the most important archaeological discoveries made in Anatolia in recent years.

When the two caves were analyzed separately, it was revealed they were used for different functions, as the paintings in one of them depicted hunting figures, while the other depicted figures of beliefs.

The floor and northern wall of the İnkaya Cave was greatly damaged by past treasure hunters using dynamite, however, despite this damage, the cave continues to reflect important information about the Neolithic era.

A deer hunt is depicted on the eastern wall of the Baltalıın cave.

Beaker

Blood of King Albert I identified after 80 years - supports theory of accidental death in climbing accident

© KU Leuven - Maarten Larmuseau

The relic of King Albert I of Belgium, bought at an auction by VTM journalist Reinout Goddyn: blood-stained tree leaves collected by people living near the forest at the foot of the rocks of Marche-les-Dames. The DNA analysis has confirmed that the blood really belonged to the monarch.
The death of King Albert I of Belgium in 1934 -- officially a climbing accident -- still fuels speculation. Forensic geneticist Maarten Larmuseau and his colleagues at KU Leuven (University of Leuven, Belgium), have now compared DNA from blood found on the scene in 1934 to that of two distant relatives. Their analysis confirms that the blood really is that of Albert I. This conclusion is at odds with several conspiracy theories about the king's death.

On 17 February 1934, King Albert I -- the third King of the Belgians -- died after a fall from the rocks in Marche-les-Dames, in the Ardennes region of Belgium near Namur. Albert I was popular and world famous due to his role during the First World War. The fact that there were no witnesses to his death soon fuelled speculations about the king's 'real' cause of death.

Conspiracy theories are circulating to this very day, ranging from a political murder to a crime of passion: the king is said to have been murdered elsewhere, his dead body allegedly never was in Marche-les-Dames, or his fall is believed to have been staged only later. Evidence for these theories, however, has never been found.

After the death of Albert I, Marche-les-Dames virtually became a place of pilgrimage, and relics turned up with the king's trails of blood, said to have been collected during the night of 17 to 18 February by people living in the neighbourhood.

VTM journalist Reinout Goddyn, who works for the Flemish television programme Royalty, bought one of these relics: blood-stained tree leaves. He wanted to know if this could really be the blood of Albert I, given the conspiracy theories. In 2014, UGent Professor Dieter Deforce had already confirmed that the blood was definitely human.

Info

World's first farmers revealed via DNA analyses

© The Archaeology News Network
The new study analysed the genomes of early farmers from Iran's Zagros mountains.
Conducting the first large-scale, genome-wide analyses of ancient human remains from the Near East, an international team led by Harvard Medical School has illuminated the genetic identities and population dynamics of the world's first farmers.

The study reveals three genetically distinct farming populations living in the Near East at the dawn of agriculture 12,000 to 8,000 years ago: two newly described groups in Iran and the Levant and a previously reported group in Anatolia, in what is now Turkey.

The findings, published in Nature, also suggest that agriculture spread in the Near East at least in part because existing groups invented or adopted farming technologies, rather than because one population replaced another.

"Some of the earliest farming was practiced in the Levant, including Israel and Jordan, and in the Zagros mountains of Iran--two edges of the Fertile Crescent," said Ron Pinhasi, associate professor of archaeology at University College Dublin and co-senior author of the study.

"We wanted to find out whether these early farmers were genetically similar to one another or to the hunter-gatherers who lived there before so we could learn more about how the world's first agricultural transition occurred."

The team's analyses alter what is known about the genetic heritage of present-day people in western Eurasia. They now appear to have descended from four major groups: hunter-gatherers in what is now western Europe, hunter-gatherers in eastern Europe and the Russian steppe, the Iran farming group and the Levant farming group.

"We found that the relatively homogeneous population seen across western Eurasia today, including Europe and the Near East, used to be a highly substructured collection of people who were as different from one another as present-day Europeans are from East Asians," said David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-senior author of the study.

"Near East populations mixed with one another over time and migrated into surrounding regions to mix with the people living there until those initially quite diverse groups became genetically very similar," added Iosif Lazaridis, HMS research fellow in genetics and first author of the study.

Calculator

The first computer programmer was a woman - Ada Lovelace


Ada Lovelace
In a time when mathematics was "a man's work," Ada Lovelace was trained in aristocratic graces but pursued her passion for what later became computer science.

Many girls growing up in the aristocracy of Victorian-era London fantasized about dancing in elaborate ballrooms and marrying a favorable match. Ada Lovelace dreamed of building a flying machine.

She scoured periodicals for designs of new inventions, considering how a steam engine might power such a device, and studied the anatomy of birds to determine the proper proportion of wing length to body size to enable flight. Her design preceded Henson and Stringfellow's patent for the aerial steam carriage by some 15 years.

She was only 12 at the time, but it was already clear that Lovelace would not stick to convention, eschewing science and mathematics, as women of her time were expected to do.

The daughter of philandering poet Lord George Gordon Byron and aristocratic Lady Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, Lovelace did not follow in her father's footsteps, as her mother feared she might. Instead, she found a language of her own and wrote the world's first computer program, long before the advent of the first computer.

"Lovelace is a fascinating figure, not least because she made a huge leap when she foresaw the potential of a general purpose computing machine to create music or art," said Suw Charman-Anderson, social technologist and founder of the annual international Ada Lovelace Day.

"She was so far ahead of her time that it seems none of her peers understood her vision."

Footprints

Texas, USA: 16,700-year-old tools found, changes known history of N. America

© www.ancient-origins.net
Archaeologists in Texas have found a set of 16,700-year-old tools which are among the oldest discovered in the West. Until now, it was believed that the culture that represented the continent's first inhabitants was the Clovis culture. However, the discovery of the ancient tools now challenges that theory, providing evidence that human occupation precedes the arrival of the Clovis people by thousands of years.

According to the Western Digs , archeologists discovered the tools about half an hour north of Austin in Texas, at the site called Gault. They were located a meter deep in water-logged silty clay. The site contained more than 90 stone tools and some human remains including fragments of teeth.

The discovery changes everything people have been taught about the history of North America - that is, that the Clovis culture represented the first inhabitants of the continent. The results of the research were presented at the meeting of the Plains Anthropological Conference in 2015. According to Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research:
"The most important takeaway is that people were in the New World much earlier than we used to believe. We were all taught [North America was first populated] 13,500 years ago, and it appears that people arrived 15,000 to 20,000 years ago."
© www.ancient-origins.net
The pre-Clovis artifacts include more than 90 stone tools, such as bifaces and blades, and more than 160,000 flakes left over from the point-making process.
For more on this topic go here.

Info

40,000-year-old rope-making tool discovered in Germany

© University of Tübingen
A 40,000-year-old rope-making tool in Hohle Fels Cave, southwestern Germany
Prof. Nicholas Conard and members of his team, present the discovery of a tool used to make rope in today's edition of the journal: Archäologische Ausgrabungen Baden-Württemberg.

Rope and twine are critical components in the technology of mobile hunters and gatherers. In exceptional cases impressions of string have been found in fired clay and on rare occasions string was depicted in the contexts of Ice Age art, but on the whole almost nothing is known about string, rope and textiles form the Paleolithic.

A key discovery by Conard's team in Hohle Fels Cave in southwestern Germany and experimental research and testing by Dr. Veerle Rots and her team form the University of Liège is rewriting the history of rope.

The find is a carefully carved and beautifully preserved piece of mammoth ivory 20.4 cm in length with four holes between 7 and 9 mm in diameter. Each of the holes is lined with deep, and precisely cut spiral incisions. The new find demonstrates that these elaborate carvings are technological features of rope-making equipment rather than just decoration.

Question

Fireball of 1910 remains a mystery in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Was it an astral body or a weather anomaly that a Kenosha neighborhood witnessed on a summer's morning more than 100 years ago?

The incident was recorded on the front page of the Kenosha Evening News of Aug. 25, 1910.

Witnesses said a great ball of fire came through the sky in the area of Grand Avenue (52nd Street) and Ashland Avenue (Sheridan Road) just before 8 a.m.

The sky was dark, and it was raining hard, with thunder and lightning. But the people who saw the phenomenon felt sure it was not a creature of their imaginations.

The news article reported: "The people in the neighborhood of Congress and York Streets (today's Tenth Avenue and 54th Street) were just sitting down to their breakfast when they saw a great light.

"So intense was the light that, notwithstanding the storm, it lit up their homes like bright sunlight, and they rushed to the windows just in time to see the ball of fire coming through the heavens in a southwesterly direction.

"It was only a few feet from the tops of the houses when it was seen by most of the witnesses
, and the women were so frightened that they fled from the windows."

Telescope

Oldest known European calendar was based on the constellation Orion


Orion's Belt and Vucedol Pot
In the late 1970s during the construction of an atomic bomb shelter, a shattered pot was found amongst the rubble. Archeologists were baffled by the strange patterns on the vessel, which dates back to 2600 BC until Dr. Aleksandar Durman finally cracked the code: it was a calendar. Yet, unlike the contemporary Egyptian or Sumerian calendars, this European timetable was based not on the sun or the moon but rather on the stars. Central to the charting of the seasons was the constellation named after the noble Greek hunter, Orion.

The pot was unearthed on March 21, 1978, during construction of what is now the Hotel Slavonija in Vinkovci, Croatia. Archeologists quickly recognized it as an artifact of the ancient Vučedol culture, which flourished on the western banks of the Danube River between 3000 and 2200 BC. However, though researchers knew it to be of the Vučedol people, the pattern was not decoded for several decades.

Sherlock

DNA from 2,000-Year-Old elongated Paracas skulls changes known history

© public domain
Elongated skulls on display at Museo Regional de Ica in the city of Ica in Peru
The elongated skulls of Paracas in Peru caused a stir in 2014 when a geneticist that carried out preliminary DNA testing reported that they have mitochondrial DNA "with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far". Now a second round of DNA testing has been completed and the results are just as controversial - the skulls tested, which date back as far as 2,000 years, were shown to have European and Middle Eastern Origin. These surprising results change the known history about how the Americas were populated.

Paracas is a desert peninsula located within Pisco Province on the south coast of Peru. It is here where Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery in 1928 - a massive and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world. These have come to be known as the 'Paracas skulls'. In total, Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, some of which date back around 3,000 years.

Easter Egg

The origins of the cannabis trade: Eurasian Steppe nomads were world's first 'pot dealers'

The nomad tribe known as the Yamnaya, who were among the founders of the European civilization, may have been the first pot dealers, archaeologists say. Moreover, they were responsible for the first transcontinental trade of cannabis.

The tribe of nomads came from the eastern Steppe region, which is nowadays Russia and Ukraine, and entered Europe about 5,000 years ago, bringing with them herding skills, metallurgy and even the Indo-European languages. According to a recent analysis, they were also responsible for introducing marijuana and establishing the first transcontinental trade of the herb.

According to Seeker.com, the research carried out by specialists from the German Archaeological Institute and the Free University of Berlin, involved a systematic review of archaeological and paleo-environmental records of cannabis fibres, pollen and achene across Europe and East Asia. During the study, they concluded that the herb was not first used and domesticated somewhere in China or Central Asia. Rather, it was used in Europe and East Asia at the same time - between 11,500 and 10,200 years ago. As Tengwen Long and Mayke Wagner at the German Archaeological Institute, and Pavel Tarasov at the Free University of Berlin, and colleagues wrote in the journal Vegetation History and Archaeobotany :
"Cannabis seems to have grown as a component of natural vegetation across Eurasia from the early Holocene''.