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Mystery of Saudi Arabia's stone monuments deepens

Stone Monument
© Huw Groucutt
In the north of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering the Nefud Desert, archaeologists have recently catalogued vast stone monuments dating back 7,000 years. Shaped like long rectangles, the 'mustatil' structures are a mystery - but new evidence suggests they were possibly used for ritual or social purposes.

Mustatils are amongst the earliest forms of large-scale stone structures, predating the Giza pyramids by thousands of years. Hundreds of these structures have been identified, and archaeologists believe they are somehow related to increasing territoriality as the once-lush region gave way to arid desert.

Discovery of the mustatils was first documented in 2017, enabled through satellite photography, which revealed the scale and number of these enigmatic structures in the desert lava field of Harrat Khaybar in Saudi Arabia.

Named 'gates' because of their appearance from the air, they were described as "two short, thick lines of heaped stones, roughly parallel, linked by two or more much longer and thinner walls."

Now, a team of archaeologists led by Huw Groucutt of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany has conducted similar research. Studying satellite images of the southern edge of the Nefud Desert, they identified 104 new mustatils. Then they went out into the field and studied them up close.


15,000 year old engraved stones found on Jersey are oldest evidence of art in British Isles

© Ice Age Island/PA
One of the engraved stone fragments from Jersey, dated to the Upper Palaeolithic age, with simple lines unrelated to meat cutting, says the study’s lead author, Silvia Bello.
They are small, flat and covered in what appear to be chaotic scratches, but 10 engraved stone fragments unearthed on Jersey, researchers say, could be the earliest evidence of human art in the British Isles.

The stones were found at Les Varines, on the island, between 2014 and 2018, and are believed to have been made by a group of hunters about 15,000 years ago.

While at first glance the engravings appear to be a haphazard array of marks, experts say a careful analysis has revealed the cuts were made in deliberate ways and in a clear order with straight lines made first and deeper, curved, lines made last.

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Better Earth

5,000 year old water pipeline system discovered in Iran

5,000 year old pipe Iran
In the second season of the rescue excavation project at the Farash antique historic site in the Seimareh Dam reservoir field in Western Iran, a 5000-year-old water structure has been uncovered.

The pipeline of a 5000-year-old water system is seen in a trench dug by an archaeological team during a rescue excavation project on the beach of the Seimareh Dam

An archaeological team led by Leili Niakan had carried out a second season of rescue excavation after the Seimareh Dam came on stream, the Persian service of CHN reported.

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Norwegian man stumbles upon 'unique' early Viking sword: 'Thought it was scrap metal'

viking sword norway
© Vegard Høystad-Lunna
The sword was very well preserved, and probably dates from early Viking times.
A 'bent and rusty" metal object found by a Norwegian detectorist turned out to be a well-preserved thousand-year-old sword dating from the early Viking Age.

A Norwegian metal detector enthusiast has found a 1,200-year-old sword while roaming the fields in Innlandet County, national broadcaster NRK reported.

When the device first went off over an iron object some 10 centimetres below the surface, Vegard Høystad-Lunna was, by his own admission, uninpressed as he thought it was scrap metal. However, when a closer look indicated that the object he described as "bent and rusty" was of oblong shape, he decided to take dig deeper.


Blue Planet

Adapt 2030 Ice Age Report: Civilization timelines are off

Civilization time lines are off
© YouTube/Adapt 2030 (screen capture)
New finds that tons of grain were transported between the Fertile Crescent (Middle East) and Eastern China 5000+ years ago before trade routes were established is making academia question the official time line of history. Additionally the mega city of Nebelivka, Ukraine which was over a mile wide, housed 15,000 people and had roads 5200 years ago with industrial agriculture before animals were used to plow fields. These civilizations were Sun worshipers. Greenland melt season stops a month early in 2020.

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Eye 2

How MI6 and CIA recruited army generals and bribed politicians in preparation for 1953 Coup in Iran

Iran coup 1953 military
© Associated Press
Iranian army troops and tanks stand in front of Central Police headquarters after the attempted coup d'etat against Iranian Premier Mohammad Mossadeq in Tehran, Iran, Aug. 16, 1953.
In the 1950s Iran was one of the world's biggest oil producers and the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company - which later became BP - owned the concession to drill oil there. So when Iran threatened to nationalise it Britain and the US took covert action.

An account by one of MI6's top spies in the Middle East has revealed how Britain conspired with the United States to bring down the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953.

After a military coup Mossadeq was put on trial and remained under house arrest until his death 14 years later.

Comment: A sordid business that was so successful, Dulles attempted to replicate it in other countries the US felt needed "guidance".

Star of David

Israel's secret plan to ship 60,000 Palestinians to Latin American dictatorship revealed in declassified documents

© KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Unclassified documents of a secret Israeli meeting held 51 years ago reveal plans of a massive transfer of Palestinians to Paraguay — a program that prompted a PLO terror attack.
Unclassified minutes of a secret Israeli cabinet meeting held 51 years ago reveal that Israel planned a massive transfer of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to the tiny Latin American country of Paraguay.

The protocols of the May 1969 government vote exposed an Israeli-Paraguayan agreement to "encourage the emigration" of 60,000 Palestinians from territories Israel captured during the 1967 Six-Day War.

The transcript, revealed on Tuesday, detailed each nation's commitments, including Israeli funding for flights transferring Palestinians who agreed to leave the Gaza Strip, a $100 grant per deportee, and a payment of $33 per person to the Paraguayan government, which in turn promised the refugees permanent residence and a four-year path to citizenship.

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4,500-year-old 'woodhenge' discovered in Portugal

Circle in Portugal
© Era Arqueologia SA. company
Only one-third of the circle has been excavated so far, so archaeologists created this projection to give a better sense of its size. The portion that has been excavated is shown at far left. Archaeologists estimate the circle to be about 66 feet (20 meters) in diameter.
The remains of several timber circles constructed over 4,500 years ago have been discovered at the Perdigões complex archaeological site in Portugal.

Though some news outlets have described the circles as a "woodhenge," akin to the famous Neolithic monument of Stonehenge, archaeologists prefer not to call it that - instead referring to them a "Timber Circles." While the archaeologists prefer a different name the design is similar with wooden posts encircling an area.

"We interpret it as a ceremonial place and prefer to refer to it as timber circles," said António Valera, an archaeologist with the Era Arqueologia company, who is leading excavations at the site.

Only about a third of the timber circles have been excavated so far, and only post holes and ditches from the circles remain. There is an opening in the Timer Circles that appears to be aligned to the summer solstice — the longest day of the year — Valera told Live Science.


World's oldest camp bedding found in South African cave - thought to be 200,000 years old

africa mountain
© A. Kruger
Border Cave extends deep into the mountains on South Africa’s border with Eswatini.
Border Cave is a deep gash in a cliff face, high in the Lebombo Mountains of South Africa. Sheltered from the elements, the spot has yielded bones, tools, and preserved plant material that paint a detailed picture of the lives of human inhabitants for more than 200,000 years. Now, there's a new sketch emerging: Plant remains point to evidence that the cave's occupants used grass bedding about 200,000 years ago. Researchers speculate that the cave's occupants laid their bedding on ash to repel insects.

The preserved bedding will join the ranks of other "incredible discoveries" from the African archaeological record, says Javier Baena Preysler, an archaeologist at the Autonomous University of Madrid who was not involved in the research. But other researchers point to uncertainty in the dates and note that absent a time machine, scientists have to speculate about exactly how ancient people used the piled-up grasses and ash.

Lyn Wadley, an archaeologist at the University of the Witwatersrand, made the discovery when excavating Border Cave with her team. One morning, she noticed white flecks in the brown earth of the sediment as she was digging. "I looked up at these with a magnifying glass and realized that these were plant traces," she says.

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SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: Follow the Leader - Étienne de La Boétie's Politics of Obedience

de la boetie
If tyrannical leaders are so few, and the people over which they rule so many - then why do the masses so often take it on the proverbial chin? What prevents the vast numbers of the oppressed from refusing to submit to the relatively small numbers of individuals who are doing all the oppressing? It's a good question that many are asking today - and that French political essayist Étienne de La Boétie asked more than 450 years ago in his now classic treatise The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. Seeing injustice all around him, and while still an idealistic student of law, La Boétie's questions provided the groundwork for political thought and action for centuries to come - influencing thinkers of the calibre of Tolstoy and Gandhi - and form a point of departure from which many sought to reasonably act without calling hell upon their heads.

This week on MindMatters we examine The Politics Of Obedience and what it seems to be saying about power structures, the nature of servitude and the conditioning that citizens are largely subject to - and need to be rid of. Analyzing its virtues and flaws, we ask how we can apply the writer's answers to today (short of taking out the pitchforks), and what it means to be truly free in a world of nameless technocrats and their rules and agendas.

Running Time: 00:57:11

Download: MP3 — 52.4 MB