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Beaker

Lead levels detected in ancient ice cores may track the rise and fall of medieval kings

medieval castle
© Robjem/iStock
In medieval times, the picturesque region around Peveril Castle in the U.K.'s Peak District was a center of lead mining and an “industrial landscape.”
In the Peak District of the United Kingdom, the picturesque village of Castleton nestles at the foot of a limestone outcrop crowned by a medieval castle. Today, hikers flock to the natural beauty of this region, home to the United Kingdom's first national park. But 800 years ago, the wild moors and wooded gorges were "covered in toxic lead pollution," says archaeologist Chris Loveluck of the University of Nottingham. "The royal hunting forest near the castle was an industrial landscape."

Here, farmers mined and smelted so much lead that it left toxic traces in their bodies — and winds blew lead dust onto a glacier 1500 kilometers away in the Swiss Alps. Loveluck and his colleagues say the glacier preserves a detailed record of medieval lead production, especially when analyzed with a new method that can track deposition over a few weeks or even days.

Info

New discovery makes homo erectus much older

Re-assembled cranium
© ANDY HERRIES, JESSE MARTIN AND RENAUD JOANNES-BOYAU
The re-assembled cranium with stylised projection of the outline of the rest of the skull.
It continues to be a big week for archaeological revelations.

Yesterday Cosmos reported on three new papers that provide clues to our past, including one that shed new light on the evolution of brain growth and organisation.

Now an international team led by Australia's La Trobe University reports the discovery of the earliest known skull of Homo erectus, the first of our ancestors to be nearly human-like in its anatomy and aspects of its behaviour.

The two-million-year-old fossil - believed to be of a child just two or three years old - was reconstructed from more than 150 fragments excavated over five years from the Drimolen cave system north of Johannesburg in South Africa.

It suggests that Homo erectus existed 100,000 to 200,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The researchers also uncovered the oldest known skull of the species Paranthropus, and their analysis reveals that in fact three hominin genera - Australopithecus being the third - were living as contemporaries in the area two million years ago.

Info

Three new studies give more clues to our past

Homo antecessor
© JOSÉ MARÍA BERMÚDEZ DE CASTRO
Skeletal remains of Homo antecessor.
It's been quite a day for learning about our ancestry, with the publication of not one but three major studies.

They include new information about some of our most significant fossil finds, and a report on the retrieval of the oldest-ever human genetic data set. Where to start?

In the first paper, in the journal Science Advances, researchers describe taking brain imprints of fossil skulls of the species Australopithecus afarensis (famous for "Lucy" and the "Dikika child'') that shed new light on the evolution of brain growth and organisation.

The international team, led by Philipp Gunz and Simon Neubauer from Germany's Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, scanned the Dikika child using synchrotron microtomography at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble, France.

The results show that the brain of A. afarensis, which lived more than three million years ago, was organised like that of a chimpanzee but had prolonged brain growth like humans. That means it had a mosaic of ape and human features, a hallmark of evolution.

The study also resolves a longstanding question of whether this species had a prolonged childhood, a period of time unique to humans that allows us to learn and grow.

"As early as three million years ago, children had a long dependence on caregivers," says senior author Zeray Alemseged, who discovered Dikika in 2000 and now runs the Dikika Research Project in Ethiopia.

Syringe

Population control: The covert decades-long use of abortion-causing vaccines around the world

abortion vaccines
Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? (Isaiah 29:15)
In our article Abortion-causing Vaccines Openly Promoted in Pro-Vaxx Circles, we showed the push for vaccines that cause spontaneous abortions in the name of population control. In this article, we cover how such vaccinations have been reportedly used — covertly — around the world. We will begin with a fairly recent incident in Kenya.

Population control in Kenya

In 2014, there were allegations by Kenya's Catholic bishops that an anti-tetanus vaccine that causes miscarriages was clandestinely used on millions of girls. According to LifeSiteNews in November 6, 2014:
Kenya's Catholic bishops are charging two United Nations organizations with sterilizing millions of girls and women under cover of an anti-tetanus inoculation program sponsored by the Kenyan government.

According to a statement released Tuesday by the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, the organization has found an antigen that causes miscarriages in a vaccine being administered to 2.3 million girls and women by the World Health Organization and UNICEF. Priests throughout Kenya reportedly are advising their congregations to refuse the vaccine.

"We sent six samples from around Kenya to laboratories in South Africa. They tested positive for the HCG antigen," Dr. Muhame Ngare of the Mercy Medical Centre in Nairobi told LifeSiteNews. "They were all laced with HCG."

Dr. Ngare, spokesman for the Kenya Catholic Doctors Association, stated in a bulletin released November 4, "This proved right our worst fears; that this WHO campaign is not about eradicating neonatal tetanus but a well-coordinated forceful population control mass sterilization exercise using a proven fertility regulating vaccine. This evidence was presented to the Ministry of Health before the third round of immunization but was ignored."[1]

Comment: So the WHO or World Health Organization (or those pulling its strings) has a long track record of giving vaccines with hidden ingredients known to be detrimental to those who would receive it. Consider this the next time some vaccine is created that everyone "must" have. Behind it may be a very malevolent agenda.


Archaeology

Ancient bones reveal Irish are not Celts after all

ancient bones ireland
The chance discovery of ancient bones under an Irish pub in County Antrim in the mid-2000s has cast doubt over whether Irish people are actually related to the ancient Celts at all.

In 2006, Bertie Currie was clearing land to make a driveway for McCuaig's Bar on Rathlin Island off Antrim when he noticed a large, flat stone buried beneath the surface.

Currie realized that there was a large gap underneath the stone and investigated further.

"I shot the torch in and saw the gentleman, well, his skull and bones," Currie told the Washington Post.

Info

Scientists uncover faint stencils in Timor-Leste cave which sheds light into human colonisation of Australia

Lene Hara Cave
© CD STANDISH ET AL 2020, (COPYRIGHT ELSEVIER 2020)
The Lene Hara Cave in Timor-Leste where the stencils were found.
Outlines of human hands painted in a Timor-Leste cave might be from the time of the last Ice Age, possibly offering insight into human colonisation of Australia from Asia around 65,000 years ago.

Previously, all known rock art in Timor-Leste - also called East Timor - was thought to be from the Holocene, which began around 11,650 years ago.

Now, a study published in Archaeological Research in Asia reports 16 hand stencils within Lene Hara Cave on Timor-Leste's eastern tip. Archaeologists think they were painted in the Pleistocene epoch, dubbed the "Ice Age", before the Holocene began.

"It was thrilling to rediscover this suite of hand stencils - perhaps the most interesting rock art motifs to study," says the report's lead author Christopher Standish, from the University of Southampton, UK.

"The stencils provide a tangible link to the people who created them; you're looking at the outline of a real person's hand who lived thousands of years ago."

Produced on a mineral crust that has flaked away, the faded patterns are in poor condition and almost imperceptible to the untrained eye. Standish's team was able to identify the hand motifs, however, along with more pigment splatters that were too fragmented to ascertain as stencils.

Archaeology

3,400-year-old Mesoamerican ball court sheds light on the mythic origins of the game

aztec mayn ball game wall painting
© University of Oregon
Before sports were cancelled — The site suggests highland communities played a role in developing the game.
Millennia ago, a stone court would have hosted teams of players wearing belts and loincloths using their hips to knock a hard rubber ball toward goals at either end of the court. The ball game, which re-enacted a creation story recorded in the Maya religious text Popul Vuh, was a major part of political, religious, and social life for the Maya and the Aztec, and for the Olmec before them. But archaeologists don't yet know much about where people first started playing the game or how it became a cultural phenomenon that spread across the area that now includes Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, Honduras, and El Salvador.

Layers of ball courts

The ball court — a stone-floored alley about 50 meters (165 feet) long, bounded by steep stone walls and earthen mounds — once occupied a place of honor in the heart of the ancient city. But sometime between 1174 and 1102 BCE, the people of Etlatongo dismantled parts of the court and ritually "terminated" its life. That ceremony left burned bits of plant, mingled with broken Olmec-style pottery, animal bones, shells, and a few human bones (which may or may not have come from a later cemetery) scattered on the carved bedrock floor of the court and atop the earthen mounds that ran the length of its sides.

Comment: More on the Mayans, Aztecs and the Popul Vuh:


Brick Wall

The eugenicists were mostly the Woke people of their day

the guarded gate
Opponents were mostly the unWoke — Catholics, anti-Darwinists, and such.

Reader Terry Scambray has kindly submitted his review of a history of the eugenics movement, earlier published at New Oxford Review:

A review of The Guarded Gate: Bigotry, Eugenics, and the Law that Kept Two Generations of Jews, Italians, and Other European Immigrants Out of America, by Daniel Okrent (Scribner, 2019. 402 pp.)

Daniel Okrent has marshalled a compendium of damning statements and information which demonstrates the ignominy of the eugenics movement and how its advocates desperately sought to limit immigration to the United States. Though this tale is not new, Okrent's telling of it is clear, well organized and full of the smaller stories and details that enrich a narrative.

Comment: See also:


Bizarro Earth

The Black Death, social distancing and summer holidays

black death
© Wellcome Images
“Bring Out Your Dead”
One of the comforts of studying history is that, no matter how bad things get, you can always find a moment in the past when things were much, much worse. Some commentators on our current crisis have been throwing around comparisons to earlier pandemics, and the Black Death of 1347 — 50 inevitably gets mentioned. Please. The Black Death wiped out half the population of Europe in the space of four years. In some places the mortality was far swifter and deadlier than that. The novelist Giovanni Boccaccio, who gave us the most vivid picture of the Black Death in literature, estimated that 100,000 people died in Florence in the four months between March and July 1348. The population of the city in 1338, according to one contemporary chronicler, stood at 120,000.

Boccaccio at the time was a city tax official and saw the whole thing at ground level. Every morning bodies of the dead — husbands, wives, children, servants — were pushed out into the street where they were piled on stretchers, later on carts. They were carried to the nearest church for a quick blessing, then trundled to graveyards outside the city for burial. As the death toll rose, traditional burial practices were abandoned. Deep trenches were dug into which bodies were dumped in layers with a thin covering of soil shoveled on top. Boccaccio writes that "no more respect was accorded the dead than would today be shown to dead goats."

Comment: While the coronavirus is provably nothing like the Black Death, plagues are documented throughout recorded history - and even further back - and they seem to occur when civilization is on terminal decline, much like we see today, and so it behooves us to educate ourselves on the essentials for when a plague really does strike: Also check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: The Truth about Tobacco and the Benefits of Nicotine


Shamrock

Archaeologists call find at Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site 'another Newgrange'

rock art Ireland Brú na Bóinne megalith
© Dr Ciarán McDonnell/Twitter
Megalithic art at Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site, Co. Meath, Ireland
The Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site has added to its importance with further megalithic burial chambers discovered.

Archaeologists in Ireland made a major new discovery in July 2018, revealing a 5,500-year-old megalithic passage tomb cemetery that is being described as a "find of a lifetime."

Following research carried out by agri-technology company Devenish and University College Dublin School of Archaeology, two burial chambers have been discovered within the western part of the main passage tomb beside the 18th-century Dowth Hall in Co. Meath. The chambers were covered by a large stone cairn which was around 131 foot (40 meters) in diameter.