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Parasitic worm infections common in Medieval Europe, grave study finds

Trichuris trichiura
© Adrian Smith and Patrik Flammer, University of Oxford, UK
Photomicrograph of a Trichuris trichiura egg from an archaeological deposit.
Although helminth infections — including tapeworms and roundworms — are among the world's top neglected diseases, they are no longer endemic in Europe. However, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases report that these infections were common in Medieval Europe, according to grave samples analyzed from across the continent.

Helminths are parasitic worms and they infect an estimated 1.5 billion people worldwide. The worms are transmitted through eggs that are present in human feces and can contaminate soil and water. While some infections cause only mild symptoms, others are associated with chronic malnutrition and physical impairment, particularly in children.

In the new work, Adrian Smith of the University of Oxford, UK, and colleagues analyzed 589 grave samples from 7 European sites dated between 680 and 1700 CE. Samples were taken from the pelvises of skeletons. Data associated with the sites allowed them to assess the influence of age, sex and community size on helminth infection rates.

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Colosseum

Hadrian's Wall dig reveals oldest Christian graffiti on chalice

Vindolanda
© Jaime Pharr/Alamy
The ruins of Vindolanda Roman fort in Northumberland where the chalice was found.
A 5th-century chalice covered in religious iconography has been discovered in Northumberland, to the astonishment of archaeologists, who describe it as Britain's first known example of Christian graffiti on an object. With its complex mass of crosses and chi-rhos, angels and a priestly figure, as well as fish, a whale and ships, it is believed to be without parallel in western Europe.

Made of lead and now in 14 fragments, it was unearthed at the Vindolanda Roman fort, one of Europe's foremost archaeological sites, near Hadrian's Wall, during an excavation that has also discovered the foundations of a significant church of the 5th or 6th century.

Dr Andrew Birley, director of Vindolanda excavations, told the Observer that finding church foundations inside the Roman stone fort was significant enough, but that uncovering a vessel "smothered both inside and out with Christian iconography is quite incredible".

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Colosseum

Complete 2,700 year old colosseum-like structure unearthed in Turkey may be sole surviving example

Colosseum

Colosseum-like structure unearthed in western Turkey
A structure similar to Rome's Colosseum, regarded as the best example of Roman architecture in the world, has been unearthed in the 2,700-year-old Mastaura ancient city in the Aegean province of Aydın's Nazilli district.

The discovery of the Colosseum, which has been preserved under the ground between olive and fig groves, has created excitement in the world of archeology.

Inspired by the notes of European travelers who traveled in the region about 200 years ago, archaeologists discovered the only example of the Colosseum in Rome. There are seven to eight similar examples in Anatolia but they have not survived until today.

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Map

5,700-year-old Neolithic house, Bronze Age burials, Iron Age smelting site uncovered during excavation in north Cork, Ireland

neolithic house

Eight separate excavations were carried out after the county council undertook two road realignment projects on the N73 (main road between Mallow and Mitchelstown) close to the villages of Shanballymore and Kildorrery.
Eight separate excavations were carried out after the county council undertook two road realignment projects on the N73 (main road between Mallow and Mitchelstown) close to the villages of Shanballymore and Kildorrery.

The foundations of a 5,700-year-old Neolithic house, evidence of Bronze Age burials and Iron Age smelting have been discovered by archaeologists as a result of excavations at the sites of two road realignment projects in Co. Cork.

They were unearthed in a total of eight separate excavations carried out after the county council undertook two road realignment projects on the N73 (the main road between Mallow and Mitchelstown) close to the villages of Shanballymore and Kildorrery.

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Map

Ancient Egypt's pet monkeys were imported from India

monkey egypt
© Professor Marta Osypińska
In the first century AD, the Romans took control of Egypt, making the city an important trading hub.

The burials were initially believed to originate from Northeast Africa, imported to the port city through the trans-oceanic trade network linking Africa and the Middle East.

The precise identification of the remains was difficult, as the monkeys were still adolescents and hadn't yet developed features in their skeletons that articulated the characteristics to match with a particular native African species.

Comment: Other recent research paints a pretty grim picture of how the ancient Egyptians treated some of their animals.

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Dig

24,000 year old mammoth ivory carving reveals sophisticated ancient technology of craftsmen

mammoth
© Lbova L. / 2020, Archaeological Research in Asia
A team of archeologists from Siberian Federal University and Novosibirsk State University provided a detailed reconstruction of a technology that was used to carve ornaments and sculptures from mammoth ivory. The team studied a string of beads and an ancient animal figurine found at the Paleolithic site of Ust-Kova in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Over 20 thousand years ago its residents used drills, cutters, and even levelling blades.
A team of archeologists from Siberian Federal University and Novosibirsk State University provided a detailed reconstruction of a technology that was used to carve ornaments and sculptures from mammoth ivory. The team studied a string of beads and an ancient animal figurine found at the Paleolithic site of Ust-Kova in Krasnoyarsk Territory. Over 20 thousand years ago its residents used drills, cutters, and even leveling blades. The unusual features of some of the items showcased the mastery of the craftsmen. The new data obtained by the scientists will help study the relations between the residents of different Siberian sites. The article about the study was published in the highly respected journal Archaeological Research in Asia.

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Dig

3,800-year-old wall reliefs symbolizing famine caused by climate change unearthed in Peru

Caral
Wall carvings were found in what was once a fishing city of the Caral civilization, the oldest in the Americas. The relief is thought to symbolize a period of drought and famine brought on by climate change.

Archaeologists discovered an ancient wall relief in Peru, belonging to the oldest civilizations in the Americas, news agency Andina reported on Thursday. The wall is approximately 3,800 years old and portrays snakes and human heads.

One meter (3.2 feet) high and 2.8 meters long, the wall relief was discovered in the sea-side archaeological site of Vichama, 110 kilometers (68 miles) north of Peru's capital, Lima.

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USA

CIA vs the Kennedys

CIA and JFK
© Loas Angeles Times
Former Congressman Ron Paul and his colleague Dan McAdams recently conducted a fascinating interview (watch video below) with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which focused in part on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was Kennedy Jr.'s uncle. The interview took place on their program the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

Owing to the many federal records that have been released over the years relating to the Kennedy assassination, especially through the efforts of the Assassination Records Review Board in the 1990s, many Americans are now aware of the war that was being waged between President Kennedy and the CIA throughout his presidency. The details of this war are set forth in FFF's book JFK's War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne.

In the interview, Robert Kennedy Jr. revealed a fascinating aspect of this war with which I was unfamiliar. He stated that the deep animosity that the CIA had for the Kennedy family actually stretched back to something the family patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, did in the 1950s that incurred the wrath of Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA.

Kennedy Jr. stated that his grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, had served on a commission that was charged with examining and analyzing CIA covert activities, or "dirty tricks" as Kennedy Jr. put them. As part of that commission, Kennedy Jr stated, Joseph Kennedy (John Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy's father) had determined that the CIA had done bad things with its regime-change operations that were destroying democracies, such as in Iran and Guatemala.

Consequently, Joseph Kennedy recommended that the CIA's power to engage in covert activities be terminated and that the CIA be strictly limited to collecting intelligence and empowered to do nothing else.

According to Kennedy Jr., "Allen Dulles never forgave him — never forgave my family — for that."

Sherlock

'The mystery is over': Researchers say they know what happened to 'Lost Colony'

Roanoke island writing tablet
© Jeff Hampton
A piece of writing tablet from the 1500s indicates English settlers assimilated with the natives. The lead tablet has impressions on it that show an Englishman shooting a Secotan Indian chief.
The English colonists who settled the so-called Lost Colony before disappearing from history simply went to live with their native friends — the Croatoans of Hatteras, according to a new book.

"They were never lost," said Scott Dawson, who has researched records and dug up artifacts where the colonists lived with the Indians in the 16th century. "It was made up. The mystery is over."

Dawson has written a book, published in June, that details his research. It is called The Lost Colony and Hatteras Island, and echos many of the sentiments he has voiced for years.

Pharoah

New x-ray imaging reveals what's inside Egyptian animal mummies

egyptian mummy animal
© Swansea University
From left to right, the mummified snake, cat, and bird.
The lives and deaths of animals that lived more than 2,000 years ago are coming to light. A cat, a snake, and a bird that were mummified in ancient Egypt have undergone non-invasive, high-resolution 3D X-ray scans, helping us to understand how they were kept, and the complex mummification procedures practised thousands of years ago.

The new work can also help us to understand the relationships ancient Egyptians had with animals, and the roles those animals played in their complex spiritual lives.

Actually, ancient Egyptians mummified a lot of animals. It was a whole industry. Millions of mummified animals have been found, everything from scarabs, to puppies, to ibises, to crocodiles.

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