Secret HistoryS

Better Earth

Orkney promontory may be a neolithic artificial island, known as a crannog

crannog orkney
© Tom O’BrienThe Wasdale promontory from above.
Postgraduate students were back in Firth, Orkney, recently to carry out test-pitting on a promontory at the northern end of the Wasdale loch.

Previous visits were for walkover survey practical sessions, but this time the focus was on seeing what, if any, archaeology survives and whether it could clarify the nature of the feature.

Although it's possible to cross dry-shod these days, it appears as an islet on the 1882 Ordnance Survey map. Little is known about the site, but the fact the shoreside edges appear to show the remains of walling led to the suggestion it may be a crannog.

Comment: Recent finds point to the region as being quite the hub of activity in the neolithic.

The crannogs themselves are intriguing and the following snippets may provide clues as to why they were constructed: Crannogs: Neolithic artificial islands in Scotland stump archeologists
[...] many of Scotland's lochs hide the remains of a dozen crannogs or more, most of them dating to the same eras - around either the 5th or 2nd Centuries BC.

Building that kind of dwelling requires a high level of skill.

It also needs abundant resources.In that sense, the crannogs may be a little like the mysterious hill forts of Wales, which appeared around the same period.

But if this idea is true, it raises the question of why people began paying more attention to defence or status at this specific time.

In part, this may have stemmed from the same reason that caused a boom in Welsh hill forts in the same period: climactic deterioration.

Arrow Down

Federal government used bribery to end relationships with Native American tribes

Book by David Beck
© Courtesy David BeckThe federal government used bribery to try to end its legal and political relationships with Native American tribes in the first half of the 20th century, says University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor David Beck. In his new book, “Bribed With Our Own Money,” Beck describes how the government coerced tribal nations to accept termination by threatening to withhold money owed them.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Federal policy toward Native American tribal nations in the first half of the 20th century sought to end the government's legal and political relationship with tribes. A new book by University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign history professor David Beck looks at one aspect of termination policy — bribery.

Bribed With Our Own Money: Federal Abuse of American Indian Funds in the Termination Era examines how officials coerced tribal nations to accept termination by threatening to withhold money owed them by the federal government. Beck found that such coercion was a government policy, with both Congress and the interior department advocating using the money owed to tribes to force the end of the government's relationship with them.

For example, in 1954, Congress appropriated money owed to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, which it won in a lawsuit over timber mismanagement after the federal government clear-cut tribal forests. Congress forced the tribe to accept termination of its federal trust relationship with the government as a condition of being paid the money it won in the lawsuit.

"Termination was foisted onto the tribes as a quid pro quo for the payments that were due to them," Beck wrote of such tactics.

Federal Indian policy established a trust or fiduciary relationship with tribes under which the government is to provide protection and ensure the survival of the tribal nations. Among the government's responsibilities are overseeing the governance of reservation lands and managing resources such as forests, minerals and game.

"It's a legal as well as a moral responsibility. Almost from the very beginning, the federal government has been trying to get out from under that responsibility," Beck said.


Flashback Stalin 'planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact'

Map of Europe post WWI
© UnknownThere is no image in the achieved article, but this map may help to locate the different countries mentioned.
Stalin was 'prepared to move more than a million Soviet troops to the German border to deter Hitler's aggression just before the Second World War'

Papers which were kept secret for almost 70 years show that the Soviet Union proposed sending a powerful military force in an effort to entice Britain and France into an anti-Nazi alliance.

Such an agreement could have changed the course of 20th century history, preventing Hitler's pact with Stalin which gave him free rein to go to war with Germany's other neighbours.

Comment: History is often hotly contested, and the events that surrounded the beginning of WWII is no exception. A difference between then and now, is that the lines of communication are much faster, but if anyone imagined more technology would make the World more more peaceful then the results are disappointing. Consider also: "the British and French side - briefed by their governments to talk, but not authorised to commit to binding deals - did not respond to the Soviet offer, ". The technology of telegrams and telephone was there, but it was not used.
Putin reminded his listeners that true blame for the war should be found in those European powers that had already created non-aggression pacts with Hitler long before Russia, beginning with the 1938 Munich Agreement between France, England and Germany permitting the later to carve up Czechoslovakia. To this point, Putin said: "Let them read historical documents so that they can see that the Munich Agreement was signed in 1938: the leaders of key European countries - France and the United Kingdom - signed an agreement with Hitler to divide Czechoslovakia."

The Russian leader went onto say "It is people like those who negotiated with Hitler - it is people like that who today are tearing down monuments to the liberating warriors, the Red Army soldiers who freed Europe and the European people from the Nazis."

Blue Planet

Pagan-Christian trade networks supplied horses from overseas for the last horse sacrifices of 14th century Europe

china bronze age
© Kai Bai; Antiquity Publications LtdFILE: One of the six sacrificial horse pits unearthed at Yaoheyuan in northwestern China. The walled city likely served as a political and cultural hub in Bronze Age China.
Horses crossed the Baltic Sea in ships during the Late Viking Age and were sacrificed for funeral rituals, according to research from Cardiff University.

Published in the journal Science Advances, studies on the remains of horses found at ancient burial sites in Russia and Lithuania show that they were brought overseas from Scandinavia utilising expansive trade networks connecting the Viking world with the Byzantine and Arab Empires.

Up to now, researchers had believed sacrificial horses were always locally-sourced stallions. But these results reveal horses from modern Sweden or Finland travelled up to 1,500 km across the Baltic Sea. The findings also show that the sex of the horse was not necessarily a factor in them being chosen for sacrifice, with genetic analysis showing one in three were mares.

Comment: See also:


The new study presents evidence suggesting the use of threshing sledges in Neolithic Greece as early as 6500 BCE

Threshing Sledge
© University of Pisa
The threshing sledges, which until a few decades ago was used in many Mediterranean countries from Turkey to Spain to separate the chaff from the wheat, is estimated to have appeared in Greece as early as 6500 BC.

By applying advanced analytical methods, including co-orientated microscopy, to the flint industries, researchers led by the University of Pisa were able to trace the early adoption of such technology and the adaptation of what can be considered among the first agricultural machines in Europe.

The research, conducted as part of several research projects funded by the European Union, Italy, and Spain and directed by the University of Pisa in collaboration with the CSIC in Spain and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, predates previous records of this technology in Europe by at least 3,000 years, providing new insights into Neolithic society's technological innovations.

We have been working for years to reconstruct the routes and mechanisms of the spread of agriculture from the Near East to the rest of the Mediterranean, explains Professor Niccolò Mazzucco, of the University of Pisa, principal investigator of the work, discovering the processes of technological innovation and how new machines were introduced is fundamental to reconstructing past technological systems.

The use of the threshing sledge, also known by the Roman term tribulum, allowed for a considerable increase in the amount of grain processed and accelerated its processing. In the past, it was believed that this innovation was linked to the birth of the first states, but our study shows that its first use is much older.


Discovery of ancient Ahramat branch of the river Nile may explain location of Egypt's pyramids

egypt pyramid nile
© Eman GhoneimThe water course of the ancient Ahramat Branch borders a large number of pyramids dating from the Old Kingdom to the Second Intermediate Period, spanning between the Third Dynasty and the Thirteenth Dynasty.
Some 31 pyramids in Egypt, including the Giza pyramid complex, may originally have been built along a 64-km-long branch of the river Nile which has long since been buried beneath farmland and desert. The findings, reported in a paper in Communications Earth & Environment, could explain why these pyramids are concentrated in what is now a narrow, inhospitable desert strip.

The Egyptian pyramid fields between Giza and Lisht, built over a nearly 1,000-year period starting approximately 4,700 years ago, now sit on the edge of the inhospitable Western Desert, part of the Sahara. Sedimentary evidence suggests that the Nile used to have a much higher discharge, with the river splitting into several branches in places. Researchers have previously speculated that one of these branches may have flown by the pyramid fields, but this has not been confirmed.

Comment: Note that there's compelling evidence that suggests the Giza pyramids were built thousands of years earlier than is commonly believed, and that they likely were served a technological function, rather than being a funerary monument to a pharaoh. However, could it be that this flow of water may have played some part in its operation?

Comment: See also:


Mysterious L-shaped structure found near Egyptian pyramids of Giza baffles scientists

An enigmatic L-shaped structure found underground near the pyramids at Giza may be an entrance to a mysterious deeper feature below it.
Survey Area Giza
© Archaeological ProspectionLocation of the survey area projected on Google Maps. The red rectangle shows the area of the initial survey. The colour figure shows the horizontal profile of GPR. View is to the north.
Using remote sensing techniques, archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a mysterious L-shaped structure underground in the western cemetery of Giza.

The western cemetery contains burials of royal family members of the royal family and high-ranking officials, the team of scientists wrote in a study. Many of their tombs have above-ground rectangular stone or mud-brick structures with flat roofs known as "mastabas."

There is an area in the middle of the cemetery where no aboveground structures have been found. To search for remains in this area, the team used a technique called electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), in which electrical currents are sent into the ground and resistance is measured to detect remains, along with ground-penetrating radar (GPR), a technique that sends radar into the ground and, after it bounces back, maps the underlying structures.

The team found an anomaly roughly 6.5 feet (2 meters) beneath the surface. It appears to be an L-shaped structure measuring at least 33 feet (10 m) in length, the team wrote in their paper, published May 5 in the journal Archaeological Prospection. From the readings, the L-shaped structure "seems to have been filled with sand, which means it was backfilled after it was constructed," the team wrote in the study.


The IRA, MI6's not so secret army, remains the global hallmark in personal and political treachery

Gerry Adams
© breitbart.comGerry Adams
Anyone who thinks they understand the Irish Troubles has not a clue what they are talking about, Declan Hayes writes.

While the dying Bobby Tohill, once one of the IRA's top Belfast assassins prior to the IRA trying to assassinate him a couple of years back, prepares to meet his Maker over the next few days in North Belfast, Tommy Tolan, his one time friend and IRA comrade, comforts him by bringing Holy Communion to his sick bed.

What is noteworthy about that is that Tolan was caught by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in the process of kidnapping Tohill so that the IRA could torture and then kill him. In a remarkable act of forgiveness that would leave even Jesus scratching His head, these two lifelong "friends no matter what" have since metaphorically kissed and made up and Tolan, having previously failed in his mission to kill Tohill, is once again pulling up his sleeves to help his friend cross the Styx to the land beyond. As regards the PSNI, well Tolan, Tohill and their buddies spent the best years of their lives killing 314 of them and injuring a further 9,000 them but that, as they say, is another story from another time

Though that is but one tiny vignette of the old maxim that anyone who thinks they understand the Irish Troubles has not a clue what they are talking about, there is no shortage of other tales and many of them, in the case of Belfast at least, lead right back to Gerry Adams, long regarded as both the head of the IRA and, along with Martin McGuinness, MI6's main plant within the IRA.


Undersea scans of 'Gateway to Europe' reveal astonishing detail of sunken landscape

Submerge Landscape
© Submerged Landscape Research Centre
The first ever hi-resolution archaeological underwater scans of the Adriatic Sea off the coast of Croatia have revealed the remains of an astonishing network of streams, rivers and other geological features, all of which were once above ground.

The discovery has been made by the Life on the Edge project, which is a collaboration between the University of Bradford's Submerged Landscapes Research Centre and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of the University of Split. A series of expeditions over the next five years will map parts of the Adriatic and North Sea, as they were between 10,000 and 24,000 years ago, when sea levels were around 100m lower than they are today.
Dr Simon Fitch,
© University of Bradford, UK
Principal investigator Dr Simon Fitch, pictured above, described the findings as "astonishing", adding: "The results provided way more detail than we were expecting.

"It's a more diverse landscape and it's better preserved than we expected. The unique environment of the area around Split, which is quite sheltered, has preserved a lot of it. There are beautifully preserved rivers and estuaries buried beneath what is now the seafloor."


Unprecedented evidence humans occupied 'lava tubes' could fill in gaps in the archaeological record

lava tube ancient caves saudi arabia
© Green Arabia Project via CNN NewsourceThe researchers enter Umm Jirsan, the longest lava tube system in the region.
People who lived in the Arabian Peninsula thousands of years ago went underground when they wanted to beat the heat, new research shows.

People who lived in the Arabian Peninsula thousands of years ago went underground when they wanted to beat the heat. Possibly stopping there as they traveled between oases and pastures, they ducked into vast subterranean tunnels where molten lava had once flowed millions of years earlier, according to a recent study.

Beginning in the Stone Age, Neolithic herders descended into and occupied these vast tunnels, known as lava tubes, archaeologists have discovered. Cooler air underground would have provided a welcome respite from the sun and wind, and for thousands of years, humans sheltered with their livestock in the tunnels. The herders left behind objects and even carved pictures on the rocky walls, researchers reported April 17 in the journal PLOS One.