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Thu, 22 Apr 2021
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Archaeology

Oxfordshire, UK: 'Astonishing' dig reveals domestic life in the iron age

Wittenham ironage roundhouse
© DigVentures
An iron age roundhouse revealed by archaeologists at the site near Wittenham Clumps.
When archaeologists began excavating land near the iron age hillfort at Wittenham Clumps, a famous Oxfordshire landmark, they were hopeful of unearthing something of interest because the area has been occupied for more than 3,000 years. But nothing prepared them for the excitement of discovering an extended iron age settlement, with the remains of more than a dozen roundhouses dating from 400BC to 100BC - as well as an enormous Roman villa built in the late third to early fourth century.

The structures would have remained buried beneath the sprawling green landscape if not for a decision by Earth Trust, the environmental charity that cares for it, to redevelop its visitor centre. Investigating the archaeology was part of the planning application.

Info

Origin of modern humans cannot be traced to a single point

Experts from the Natural History Museum, The Francis Crick Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History Jena have joined together to untangle the different meanings of ancestry in the evolution of our species Homo sapiens.

Ancient Skulls
© Natural Museum History
From left to right, the skulls of Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens.
Most of us are fascinated by our ancestry, and by extension the ancestry of the human species. We regularly see headlines like 'New human ancestor discovered' or 'New fossil changes everything we thought about our ancestry', and yet the meanings of words like ancestor and ancestry are rarely discussed in detail. In the new paper, published in Nature, experts review our current understanding of how modern human ancestry around the globe can be traced into the distant past, and which ancestors it passes through during our journey back in time.

Co-author researcher at the Natural History Museum Prof Chris Stringer said: "Some of our ancestors will have lived in groups or populations that can be identified in the fossil record, whereas very little will be known about others. Over the next decade, growing recognition of our complex origins should expand the geographic focus of paleoanthropological fieldwork to regions previously considered peripheral to our evolution, such as Central and West Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia."

The study identified three key phases in our ancestry that are surrounded by major questions, and which will be frontiers in coming research. From the worldwide expansion of modern humans about 40-60 thousand years ago and the last known contacts with archaic groups such as the Neanderthals and Denisovans, to an African origin of modern human diversity about 60-300,000 years ago, and finally the complex separation of modern human ancestors from archaic human groups about 300,000 to 1 million years ago.

Attention

Chrystia Freeland: Rhodes Scholar Trustee of the WEF, Deputy PM of Canada and the Failure of the 'Super Elite'

Freeland
© Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Canadian FM Chrystia Freeland • World Economic Forum
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has become a bit of a living parody of everything wrong with the detached technocratic neo-liberal order which has driven the world through 50 years of post-industrial decay.

As the February 2, 2021 National Post coverage of Freeland's leading role as trustee of the World Economic Forum makes clear: Her role as Deputy Prime Minister of Canada (which is nominally a position devoted to protecting the interests of Canadians) creates more than a small conflict of interest. The WEF Great Reset agenda is, after all, nothing more than a dystopic program aimed at deconstructing industrial civilization under the cover of COVID-19 and this is not something which benefits any nation.

It is also important to keep in mind that the technocratic globalists whom Freeland represents have worked hard to undo the aberration of Donald Trump which profoundly altered the sacred script which had been obeyed for so many decades without much resistance. Even though Biden was imposed onto the American people this year, it is vital to recall that the script is profoundly flawed, and Trump's 2016 victory was but one display of that.

Archaeology

Ancient graves and mysterious enclosure discovered at Stonehenge ahead of tunnel construction

woman grave at stonhenge
© Wessex Archaeology
The grave of a woman in her 20s, crouched around a pot or beaker, was found by archaeologists only a short distance from the Neolithic stone circle at Stonehenge. It is thought to date from about 4,500 years ago.
Archaeological work ahead of the construction of a controversial road tunnel beside Stonehenge has led to the discovery of ancient graves, including one with the remains of a baby dating back more than 4,500 years; a strange earth enclosure; and prehistoric pottery, among other buried treasures.

Some of the finds may have been used by people who built the mysterious Neolithic monument, and all of the discoveries show that the region was inhabited by different ancient peoples for thousands of years.

"Collectively, [the finds] allow us to build up an ever-more-detailed picture of what people were doing and how they were living in the area around Stonehenge," Matt Leivers, a consultant archaeologist for Wessex Archaeology, told Live Science.

Comment: See also:


Colosseum

'True origins' of Stonehenge discovered in West Wales

Stonehenge
© Barney Rowe/Tomos TV/BBC
Stonehenge discovery an 'astonishing breakthrough', says Professor Alice Roberts Experts believe that 'they may have recovered the true origins' of the ancient monument. Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed is presented by Alice Roberts
Archaeologists were "almost on the brink of giving up" when they made their "astonishing" discovery about Stonehenge, TV scientist Professor Alice Roberts has said.

Experts believe that "they may have recovered the true origins" of the ancient monument.

It is now thought that Stonehenge's smaller bluestones originally formed an even older, long-lost monument in the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Comment: See also:


Info

European beads found in Alaska predate Columbus, study claims

Ancient Beads and Possible Route from Europe
© Beads: Lester Ross and Charles Adkins; Map: Boreal Imagery
Archaeologists in Arctic Alaska have found blue beads (top left) from Europe, possibly Venice, that might predate Christopher Columbus' voyage to the New World.
Brilliantly blue beads from Europe unearthed by archaeologists in Arctic Alaska may predate Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, a new controversial study finds.

These blueberry-size beads were likely created in Venice during the 15th century and then traded eastward, enduring a 10,500-mile (17,000 kilometers) land-based journey east across Eurasia and then boated across the Bering Strait to what is now Alaska, according to the study, published online Jan. 20 in the journal American Antiquity.

However, other archaeologists dispute the findings, saying while these beads are old, they're not older than Columbus' 1492 voyage. "These beads cannot be pre-Columbian, because Europeans weren't making beads of this type that early," said Elliot Blair, an assistant professor of anthropology at The University of Alabama, who was not involved in the study.

Instead, these glass beads likely date to the late-16th or early-17th century, which in itself is a "really cool story," Blair, who specializes in the dating and sourcing of early trade beads in the Americas, told Live Science. "Even with this later dating, an early 17th-century date for these beads is still much earlier than first documented contact between Alaska Natives and Europeans."

Mr. Potato

Eerie figures with 'huge heads' found painted in rock shelter in Tanzania

rock carving head
© (M. Grzelczyk, Antiquity, 2021)
In 2018, archaeologists made a staggering discovery in Swaga Swaga Game Reserve in central Tanzania: 52 previously undocumented rock shelters, deliberately painted with rock art. Weathering had mostly destroyed all but a handful; but of those that were preserved, one was an absolute enigma.

The site, named Amak'hee 4, was elaborately painted with a frieze of figurative art - including three mysterious, anthropomorphic figures with extremely oversized heads.

These could be, according to archaeologist Maciej Grzelczyk of the Jagiellonian University in Poland, a clue to figuring out what other, similar trios of figures found in other rock art panels might be.

Comment: Whilst it may not be directly related, all over the world abnormally large skulls have been found: ANOTHER one! Skeleton with elongated 'alien' skull discovered in southern Russia

See also:


Music

Ancient conch makes music for the first time in 17,000 years

Drawing of Ancient Conch
© Carole Fritz et al. 2021 / drawing: Gilles Tosello
Reconstruction of the instrument being played. In the background, a red dotted buffalo decorates the walls of the Marsoulas Cave; similar motifs decorate the instrument.
How old-fashioned is your taste in music? Researchers have recreated notes from a 17,000-year-old conch shell, found in a cave in southern France.

Discovered in the Marsoulas Cave, just north of the Pyrenees mountains, in 1931, the shell was initially thought to be a drinking cup. But a more detailed analysis, published today in the journal Science Advances, showed that the shell had been subtly modified by humans to attach a mouthpiece and use as a musical instrument.

The researchers enlisted the help of a musicologist specialising in wind instruments, who played the instrument in a recording studio. With the mouthpiece of the shell protected to avoid damage to the artefact, the musicologist blew air through the shell in a similar manner to playing trumpet or trombone, which allowed the shell to vibrate at its natural resonance and produce notes. Three distinct tones were recorded, which were similar to the modern notes C, D and C sharp.

Doberman

DNA shows ancient Siberians domesticated dogs, who then helped settle America

Dog depictions cave art
© Wikimedia Commons
One of the earliest known cave depictions of dogs is in northwestern Saudi Arabia. It shows humans hunting with leashed canine helpers more than 9,000 years ago.
Scientists have long sought an indisputable link showing when humans first domesticated dogs, steering a few receptive gray wolves' descendants toward lives as lapdogs.

The origins of their "domestic relationship" is one of the most hotly debated questions around dogs' undying loyalty to their masters and humankind's unparalleled reliance on dogs to get a leg up on other predators in a frequently hostile environment.

Now, a team of interdisciplinary researchers has used DNA and other evidence to assert a "tandem movement" in and then beyond northeastern Siberia at a key stage of human and canid development late in the last Ice Age. Their identification of eastern Russia as a wellspring of dog-domestication tens of thousands of years ago is a major contribution to the debate over when "the first recognizably domestic dog" appeared.

They say iced-in Siberians somehow teamed up with wolves more than 23,000 years ago on a relatively temperate patch that hosted prey like mammoths and steppe bison. They speculate that thousands of years of geographical confinement prevented either side from straying too far and kept canine and human interlopers from disrupting the budding relationship.

Bad Guys

France confronted with the jihadism of its Turkish ally

France realises a little late that the jihadists who have carried out attacks on its soil and others who are preparing new ones are supported by foreign states, military allies within NATO. The refusal to draw conclusions in terms of foreign policy makes the bill to combat Islamism of little use.

erdogan

One month before the attacks in Paris-Saint Denis, President Erdoğan held an election meeting at the German-French border, in Strasbourg, as if he were at home. The crowd shouted: "We are your soldiers. You are our commander.
President Emmanuel Macron and the government of Jean Castex drafted a bill to combat the political instrumentation of the Muslim faith. This text is currently being discussed in Parliament.

It revolves around four strong ideas, including the prohibition of the financing of religious associations by foreign States. Everyone is well aware that this is the head of Islamism, but no one dares to name these states: Turkey and Qatar, remote controlled by the United Kingdom and the United States. Indeed, fighting against Islamism in France has many brutal consequences in foreign policy. No party dares to tackle this problem, rendering all the efforts made in this struggle ineffective.

France has already experienced this hesitation in the face of Islamism in the mid-1990s. At the time, the United Kingdom and the United States supported the jihadists in Algeria against French influence. London also offered political asylum to these "democrats" who were fighting against a military regime. The Minister of the Interior, Charles Pasqua, launched a showdown that led him to have the members of a commando of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) who had hijacked an Air France plane shot dead and to expel the CIA chief of post in Paris (who was also compromised in a case of economic espionage). The issue was thus settled for 20 years.