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Thu, 27 Jan 2022
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Bricks with bull and dragon motifs discovered in Iran

Bull Dragon Motif
© Tehran Times
A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists has recently unearthed some glazed bricks, which bear bull and dragon motifs.

The discovery was made near the ruins of a majestic gateway, which is situated adjacent to the UNESCO-registered Persepolis in southern Iran.

The glazed bricks bear motifs of bulls and mushhushshu-dragons, the latter is a mythical creature once popular in ancient Mesopotamia, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Named Tall-e Ajori, the gateway is made of brick and clay material with its whole exterior decorated with painted bricks.

Narratives say that mushkhushshu is a mythological hybrid animal with hind legs resembling the talons of an eagle, lion-like forelimbs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snake-like tongue, and a crest.

The Mushkhushshu most famously appears on the reconstructed Ishtar Gate of the city of Babylon, dating to the sixth century BC. In ancient Babylon, mushhushshu (pronounced "moosh-hoosh-shoo") was a divine creature associated with Marduk, the main god of the city.

Covering 13-ha majestic approaches, monumental stairways, throne rooms (Apadana), reception rooms, and dependencies, Persepolis is classified among the world's greatest archaeological sites.

Star of David

'What the hell was that?' Netanyahu annexation announcement caught Trump off guard

Neti and Donald
© AP/Susan Walsh
Then-US President Donald Trump and then-Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
White House East Room • January 28, 2020
The unveiling of 'Peace to Prosperity' vision for Israeli-Palestinian accord
In January 2020, during a festive White House unveiling of Donald Trump's long-gestating peace plan, then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu giddily announced that under its auspices, Israel would move to immediately annex large parts of the West Bank.

The Israeli right was ecstatic. Finally, they believed, Israel would take full control of land that settler leaders hope will remain forever Israeli — and with the blessing of a US president, no less.

There was only one problem, according to new reporting on the events of those dramatic days: Nobody had bothered asking the president in question.

In fact, according to a new book from Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Trump and peace-plan architect Jared Kushner were caught completely off guard by Netanyahu's declaration during the White House event.

The new details were reported in a pair of podcast episodes released Monday in a new series from Axios called "How It Happened," which uses Ravid's reporting from his new Hebrew book, Trump's Peace, to tell the story of how Trump's failed peace plan morphed into the successful brokering of the Abraham Accords.


Unknown group of humans settled the Faroe Islands before the Vikings

island of Eysturoy
© Raymond Bradley/UMass Amherst
The bed of this lake on the island of Eysturoy contains a sediment layer laid down around 500 AD that documents the first arrival of sheep, and thus humans, on the archipelago.
New evidence from the bottom of a lake in the remote North Atlantic Faroe Islands indicates that an unknown band of humans settled there around 500 AD — some 350 years before the Vikings, who up until recently have been thought to have been the first human inhabitants. The settlers may have been Celts who crossed rough, unexplored seas from what are now Scotland or Ireland. The findings appear today in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

The Faroes are a small, rugged archipelago about midway between Norway and Iceland, some 200 miles northwest of Scotland. Towering cliffs dominate the coasts; buffeted by strong winds and cloudy weather, the rocky landscape is mostly tundra. There is no evidence that Indigenous people ever lived there, making it one of the planet's few lands that remained uninhabited until historical times. Past archaeological excavations have indicated that seafaring Vikings first reached them around 850 AD, soon after they developed long-distance sailing technology. The settlement may have formed a stepping stone for the Viking settlement of Iceland in 874, and their short-lived colonization of Greenland, around 980.

The new study, led by scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is based on lake sediments containing signs that domestic sheep suddenly appeared around 500, well before the Norse occupation. Previously, the islands did not host any mammals, domestic or otherwise; the sheep could have arrived only with people. The study is not the first to assert that someone else got there first, but the researchers say it clinches the case.

In the 1980s, researchers determined that Plantago lanceolata, a weed commonly associated with disturbed areas and pastures and often used as an indicator of early human presence in Europe, showed up in the Faroes around 2200 B.C. At the time, this was deemed possible evidence of human arrival. However, seeds could have arrived on the wind, and the plant does not need human presence to establish itself. Likewise, studies of pollen taken from lake beds and bogs show that some time before the Norse period, woody vegetation largely disappeared — possibly due to persistent chewing by sheep, but also possibly due to natural climatic changes.


Neanderthals changed ecosystems 125,000 years ago

Neumark-Nord 2 near Halle
© Leiden University
Excavation of a 125,000-year-old archaeological site at Neumark-Nord 2 near Halle, Germany, summer 2007.
Hunter-gathers caused ecosystems to change 125,000 years ago. These are the findings of an interdisciplinary study by archaeologists from Leiden University in collaboration with other researchers. Neanderthals used fire to keep the landscape open and thus had a big impact on their local environment. The study will be published in the journal Science Advances on 15 December.

'Archaeologists have long been asking questions about the character and temporal depth of human intervention in our planet's ecosystems. We are increasingly seeing very early, generally weak signs of this,' says Wil Roebroeks, Archaeology professor at Leiden University.

These signs proved much stronger in research at a lignite quarry near Halle in Germany. Archaeological research has been carried out at this quarry, Neumark-Nord, in the last few decades, and alongside a huge amount of data about the early environment, abundant traces of Neanderthal activities have been found. 'Among other things, we found the remains of hundreds of slaughtered animals, surrounded by numerous stone tools and a huge amount of charcoal remains.'


Early medieval ink pen testifies to the rise of secular literacy in Ireland

ring fort ireland caherconnell

Caherconnell Cashel in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland
Archaeologists excavating a medieval stone fort in western Ireland have discovered what they say is the oldest known ink pen ever found in the country. The writing tool, made of a hollow bone barrel with a copper-alloy point, or nib, was unearthed in an 11th-century layer of sediment at Caherconnell Cashel in County Clare, reports Pat Flynn for the Irish Independent.

A team led by Michelle Comber, an archaeologist with the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, made the discovery as part of the Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Built in the late 10th century, the settlement remained in use through the beginning of the 17th century, housing a succession of wealthy local landowners. While most evidence of early literacy in Ireland comes from sites connected to the Christian church, the cashel, or ringfort, was a secular institution, reports Shane O'Brien for Irish Central. Its residents built their wealth through farming and trade.


1600-year-old lyre discovered in Kazakhstan matches Sutton Hoo instrument found at the famous early medieval ship burial in England


An Anglo-Saxon Lyre, found as part of the Sutton Hoo medieval ship burial (right), has a cousin more than 2,400 miles away in Kazakhstan (impression, left), according to archaeologists.
An Anglo-Saxon Lyre, found as part of the Sutton Hoo medieval ship burial, has a cousin more than 2,400 miles away in Kazakhstan, according to archaeologists.

A re-analysis of finds from Soviet-era archaeological digs in Dzhetyasar, Kazakhstan, by archaeologist Dr Azilkhan Tazhekeevat, identified blocks of wood found in 1973 to be a musical instrument, with further analysis confirming it as a 4th century CE lyre.

It is the same type of lyre as the one found as part of the Sutton Hoo ship burial, but dates three centuries earlier than the Sutton Hoo lyre, the researchers explained.

A study of the Kazakhstan lyre, and comparison to other instruments of the time, was carried out by independent researcher, Dr Giermund Kolltveit from Norway.

Comment: At various times in history the evidence demonstrates that our world has been much better connected than was formerly believed: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Younger Dryas Impacts gain MORE global attention

Jimmy Corsetti Joe Rogan
Jimmy on Rogan; YDI centerpiece of new novel.

Tusk travel buddy from the Egypt 2020 Expedition, Jimmy Corsetti of Bright Insight, appeared last week on The Joe Rogan Experience, the most popular conversation on planet earth. The Younger Dryas Impact was a frequent subject. This single clip was viewed by over 3 million people.

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

Earliest adorned female infant burial in Europe significant in understanding evolution of personhood

Arma Veirana
© Dominique Meyer
The mouth of the Arma Veirana cave, a site in the Ligurian mountains of northwestern Italy.
Ten thousand years ago, just after the last Ice Age, a group of hunter-gatherers buried an infant girl in an Italian cave. They entombed her with a rich selection of their treasured beads and pendants, and an eagle-owl talon, signaling their grief, and showing that even the youngest females were recognized as full persons in their society. The excavations and analysis of the discovery are published this week in Nature Scientific Reports and offers insight into the early Mesolithic period, from which few recorded burials are known. Claudine Gravel-Miguel, postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University (ASU) and coauthor on the paper, performed the analysis of the ornaments, which includes over 60 pierced shell beads and four shell pendants.

Mortuary practices offer a window into the worldviews and social structure of past societies. Child funerary treatment provides important insights into who was considered a person and afforded the attributes of an individual self, moral agency, and eligibility for group membership. The seemingly "egalitarian" funerary treatment of this infant female, who the team nicknamed "Neve," shows that as early as 10,000 years ago in Western Europe, even the youngest females were recognized as full persons in their society.

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


Secret 'CIA-funded' group linked to UK ministers

© Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng was funded by Le Cercle in 2019.
The group, known as Le Cercle, was described by former Conservative minister Alan Clark in his diaries as "a right-wing think (or rather thought) tank, funded by the CIA, which churns Cold War concepts around".

Le Cercle has existed since the 1950s but has no public presence, and has never revealed its funders. Even the group's existence is only occasionally disclosed. It is unclear how influential Le Cercle - which is believed to meet twice a year, once in Washington DC and once elsewhere - actually is.

Declassified has found that eight current Conservative parliamentarians are associated with the group. Two current ministers - business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng and his deputy minister Greg Hands - have been funded by Le Cercle. Kwarteng was given £5,258 to travel to Bahrain in June 2019 for a trip jointly funded by Le Cercle and the Gulf regime, which is one of the UK's closest allies.

Three former justice ministers are associated with the group. David Lidington, the justice secretary from 2017-18, and Crispin Blunt, a justice minister from 2010-12, were previously funded by Le Cercle to attend meetings in Washington DC and Madrid. Rory Stewart, who served as a justice minister under Theresa May, was previously chair of Le Cercle.

Several high-profile US figures are also linked to the group. US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who sat on America's most powerful court from 1986 until his death in 2016, attended at least one Le Cercle meeting while sitting on the court.

Comment: See also: Meet Le Cercle: Making Bilderberg look like amateurs


2700-year old Assyrian-style leather armor discovered in China

Mongol Warrior
© istock.com/katiekk2
2700 years ago, the Neo-Assyrian fighters probably looked similar to how Mongol warriors look today at a festival.
Researchers at the University of Zurich have investigated a unique leather scale armor found in the tomb of a horse rider in Northwest China. Design and construction details of the armor indicate that it originated in the Neo-Assyrian Empire between the 6th and 8th century BCE before being brought to China.

In 2013, a nearly complete leather scale armor was found in the tomb of an approx. 30-year-old male near the modern-day city of Turfan in Northwest China. This unprecedented find, which survived the millennia thanks to the area's extremely arid climate, provided the international team led by Patrick Wertmann from the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich with new insights on the spread of military technology during the first millennium BCE.

Scale armors protect the vital organs of fighters like an extra layer of skin without restricting their mobility. The armors were made of small shield-shaped plates arranged in horizontal rows and sewn onto a backing. Due to the costly materials and laborious manufacturing process, armors were very precious, and wearing them was considered a privilege of the elite. It was rare for them to be buried with the owner. However, the emergence of powerful states with large armies in the ancient world led to the development of less precious but nevertheless effective armors made of leather, bronze or iron for ordinary soldiers.