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Mon, 29 Nov 2021
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Secret History


The surprising origins of the Tarim Basin mummies

Genomic study reveals an indigenous Bronze Age population that was genetically isolated but culturally cosmopolitan.
Xiaohe cemeter
© Wenying Li, Xinjiang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
Aerial view of the Xiaohe cemetery.
In a new study, an international team of researchers has determined the genetic origins of Asia's most enigmatic mummies - the Tarim Basin mummies in western China. Once thought to be Indo-European speaking migrants from the West, the Bronze Age Tarim Basin mummies are revealed to be a local indigenous population with deep Asian roots and taste for far-flung cuisine.

As part of the Silk Road and located at the geographical intersection of Eastern and Western cultures, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has long served as a major crossroads for trans-Eurasian exchanges of people, cultures, agriculture, and languages. Since the late 1990s, the discovery of hundreds of naturally mummified human remains dating to circa 2,000 BCE to 200 CE in the region's Tarim Basin has attracted international attention due to their so-called 'Western' physical appearance, their felted and woven woolen clothing, and their agropastoral economy that included cattle, sheep and goat, wheat, barley, millet, and even kefir cheese. Buried in boat coffins in an otherwise barren desert, the Tarim Basin mummies have long puzzled scientists and inspired numerous theories as to their enigmatic origins.


The discovery of an ancient nobleman tomb could rewrite Egyptian history

Egyptian Tomb
The tomb stands out for its distinctive design, which raises questions about Khawy's relationship with pharaoh Djedkare Isesi.
The mummified corpse of an ancient Egyptian nobleman named Khuwy, discovered in 2019, showed the ancient Egyptians were carrying out sophisticated mummifications of their dead 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The mummified body of a high-ranking aristocrat named Khuwy, discovered in 2019, was proven to be far older than previously thought, making it one of the oldest Egyptian mummies ever unearthed. It has been dated to the Old Kingdom, demonstrating that mummification processes were highly advanced 4,000 years ago.

The discovery was featured in a 2020 episode of National Geographic's Lost Treasures of Egypt.

Dr. Salima Ikram, a professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo and one of the primary researchers in the recent study, told The National that "circumstantial evidence" suggested the mummy dated from the Old Kingdom.

The intricacy of the body's mummification method and materials - particularly its very fine linen dressing and high-quality resin - was supposed to have taken 1,000 years to produce.


Stealing a nation: The secret SAS mission to capture the Middle East's oil artery

dhow  in Musandam
© Gunter Fischer/Getty Images
A dhow passes the Musandam peninsula
Fifty years ago, US troops began building a military base on the Chagos Islands, a British territory in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Its inhabitants, who numbered several thousand, were forcibly removed to make way for a naval station. They received almost nothing in compensation for the loss of their homeland, but Britain did well out of the deal. The Pentagon gave the Royal Navy a discount on its first nuclear-armed submarine fleet.

This bargain helped Whitehall keep up the pretence of being a great power, bolstering the UK's permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council even as the British empire crumbled. But nuclear weapons would not be enough to stay ahead in this new world order. While evicting the Chagossians, UK officials busily conducted another colonial carve-up - this time to ensure continued control of global oil supply routes.

Known as Operation Intradon, it saw a proudly autonomous Arab tribe have their land handed over to a pro-Western dictator, detainees tortured by British troops and a UK special forces soldier dying in a night-time parachute jump.

Yet the episode has been largely forgotten outside of Musandam - a mountainous peninsula overlooking the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow sea lane between Iran and Arabia through which a third of the world's oil supplies are shipped each day.


Sumatran fishermen may have finally found Lost Island of Gold

gold lost kingdom sumatra
© Wreckwatch Magazine
‘Extraordinary stuff’: a handful of gold rings, beads and sandalwood gold coins of Srivijaya, found on the seabed near Palembang.
The site of a fabled Indonesian kingdom renowned for its golden treasures may finally have been discovered on Sumatra, known as the Island of Gold.

For the past five years, fishermen exploring the crocodile-infested Musi River, near Palembang, have hauled a staggering treasure trove from the depths - including gemstones, gold ceremonial rings, coins and bronze monks' bells.

One of the most incredible finds so far is a jewel-encrusted life-size statue of Buddha from the 8th century, which is worth millions of pounds.

The artefacts date back to the Srivijaya civilisation - a powerful kingdom between the 7th and 13th centuries which mysteriously vanished a century later.

Dr Sean Kingsley, a British maritime archaeologist, told MailOnline: 'Great explorers have hunted high and low for Srivijaya as far afield as Thailand and India, all with no luck.


Secrets of the exceptional diatretic vase revealed, recently discovered at 4th century Paleo-Christian necropolis in Autun, France

vase diatretum Autun
In 2020, Inrap, in collaboration with the Autun city Archaeology Service (Drac Bourgogne-Franche-Comté), excavated part of the necropolis located near the former Paleochristian church of Saint-Pierre-l'Estrier. A stone sarcophagus yielded a remarkable cage cup, or "diatretic vase," dated to the 4th century CE. Complete but very fragmentary, it was entrusted to the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum in Mayence (Germany). Following its restoration and study, this exceptional piece has returned to Autun.

Comment: It seems the discoveries at Autun just kept coming, IN-24 reports:
The biggest piece of gold cloth

While some of the deceased were among the early Christians of Gaul, individuals from other ancient religions seem to be buried there, as evidence of libation - a liquid offering made of wine, olive oil or wine. milk - found in some graves.

In November 2020, the discovery of about fifteen lead coffins, six stone sarcophagi but also small prestigious furniture had been unveiled by Inrap. Among these pieces of furniture, in addition to the vase, had been found a gold ring and earrings, jet bracelets or even astonishing pins in pure amber which are unmatched in the Roman world. But another find, almost as exceptional as the vase, can be added to this list today: that of the largest piece of gold cloth ever to come down to us.
cloth gold autun
© Gaëlle Pertuisot
"If we had found residues of gold thread in six graves, it was with great surprise that we came across a very large piece of cloth, one or two square meters, in one of the graves. A dimension like this is never seen for gold fabric ", enthuses Carole Fossurier. This one is reminiscent of the rich fabrics of Paleo-Christian iconography, such as those represented on the mosaics of San Vitale of Ravenna (the figures surrounding the Empress Theodora wear clothes sewn with gold thread). Undoubtedly wrapped around a body as a shroud, the textile remains for the moment a prisoner of the earth in which it was deposited more than 1,500 years ago. Carole Fossurier, who is currently seeking funding for its restoration, hopes that it will soon experience the same fate as the diatret vase: a rebirth.
Inrap provides more images of the location and exquisite finds at Autun:


amber pins

Pure amber pins
gold earrings

Gold earrings
Gold ring

Gold ring
Gold fabric

Gold fabric
Gold thread

Gold thread
See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Horses domesticated 4,200 years ago in the steppes of Black Sea region, DNA analysis reveals


Horses are shown running in the steppes of Inner Mongolia, China.
The domestication of horses changed the course of human history, but scientists have tried for years to figure out when and where this crucial event happened. Now, evidence from a new study using DNA analysis suggests horses were first domesticated 4,200 years ago in the steppes of the Black Sea region, part of modern-day Russia, before spreading across Asia and Europe in the centuries that followed.

It has been incredibly difficult to pin down when and where horse domestication occurred because it's a less obvious shift than that seen with animals like domesticated cattle, which experienced a change in size. Instead, the researchers had to work off of indirect evidence, such as tooth damage that suggested the wearing of bridles or even horse symbolism across cultures, said lead study author and paleogeneticist Ludovic Orlando, research director at the French National Center for Anthropobiology & Genomics of Toulouse for University of Toulouse--Paul Sabatier in France.

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

60,000 years ago humans lived in the rainforests of Laos

© Shutterstock / Signature Message
Humans lived in the rainforests of what is now Laos over 60,000 years ago.
Some of the oldest evidence for modern humans living in rainforests has been found in a cave in Southeast Asia.

Researchers analysed fossilised teeth discovered in Laos, revealing that these humans ate fruits and meat as part of an omnivorous diet.

Comment: It has been found time and again that humans who, for whatever reason, ate a high carbohydrate diet, suffered for it: 25,000 year old human jawbone discovered in Indonesian cave oldest found in Wallacea, dental problems reveal heavy carbohydrate diet

Early modern humans were in Southeast Asia were eating a wide range of foods to help them survive in rainforests.

An international team of researchers found that our Southeast Asian relatives were eating a range of plants and animals over 60,000 years ago, setting them apart from the largely meat-based diet it has previously been suggested many other populations of humans were eating at the time.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Oldest evidence of humans on Tibetan plateau may also be handprint art

Ancient Handprint
© D.D. Zhang et al. / Science Bulletin
Researchers discovered the impressions on the Tibetan Plateau in 2018.
Dr. David Zhang and his team's investigations of Quesang on the Tibetan Plateau in 2018 and 2020 sparked controversy, along with the discovery of potential parietal art.

Dr. David Zhang first found hand and footprints near the hot spring bath in 1988 at the active Quesang Hot Spring near Quesang Village, about 80 km northwest of Lhasa, Tibet. Recent research conducted between 2018 and 2020 resulted in the finding of the possible parietal art.

According to Zhang's team, whose findings were published in Science Bulletin, the tracks are between 169,000 and 226,000 years old, dating back to the Earth's last ice age.

Blue Planet

Vikings present in North America in 1021 C.E., new dating in Newfoundland suggests

© Dylan Kereluk via Wikimedia Commons under CC by 2.0
A recreation of Viking structures at L’Anse aux Meadows
Three rough pieces of wood — discarded sections of branches and tree stumps found among the refuse Vikings left behind after their short sojourn in Newfoundland — have turned out to be some of the more important evidence of the Norse in North America. The scars left by iron blades on these sections of fir and juniper can still be seen after more than 1,000 years. Was it the legendary Viking explorer Leif Eriksson himself whose blade chopped off these unwanted scraps? Might it have been Thorfinn Karlsefni or his wife, Gudrid, the lesser-known explorers of a different Viking saga who tossed these useless scraps aside? Many questions may never be answered, but researchers now have an extraordinarily precise date for when Norse hands and blades worked in the New World.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: America Before by Graham Hancock - Book review


The Hopewell Airburst Event

American cosmic airburst in late Roman times revealed by Tankersly and Saniel-Banrey of University of Cincinnati.
Chicxulub Impact Event
© Science
Meteorites, silicious vesicular melt glass, Fe and Si-rich magnetic spherules, positive Ir and Pt anomalies, and burned charcoal-rich Hopewell habitation surfaces demonstrate that a cosmic airburst event occurred over the Ohio River valley during the late Holocene. A comet-shaped earthwork was constructed near the airburst epicenter. Twenty-nine radiocarbon ages demonstrate that the event occurred between 252 and 383 CE, a time when 69 near-Earth comets were documented. While Hopewell people survived the catastrophic event, it likely contributed to their cultural decline. The Hopewell comet airburst expands our understanding of the frequency and impact of cataclysmic cosmic events on complex human societies.

Abstract — The Hopewell airburst event, 1699-1567 years ago(252-383 CE) — october 13, 2021