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Germany, Bavaria: Experts Baffled by Mysterious Underground Chambers

Image
© Getty Images
A cave explorer crawls through an arched section of cave passage.
There are more than 700 curious tunnel networks in Bavaria, but their purpose remains a mystery. Were they built as graves for the souls of the dead, as ritual spaces or as hideaways from marauding bandits? Archeologists are now exploring the subterranean vaults to unravel their secrets.

Beate Greithanner, a dairy farmer, is barefoot as she walks up the lush meadows of the Doblberg, a mountain in Bavaria set against a backdrop of snow-capped Alpine peaks. She stops and points to a hole in the ground. "This is where the cow was grazing," she says. "Suddenly she fell in, up to her hips."

A crater had opened up beneath the unfortunate cow.

On the day after the bovine mishap, Greithanner's husband Rudi examined the hole. He was curious, so he poked his head inside and craned his neck to peer into the darkness. Could it be a hiding place for some sort of treasure, he wondered? As he climbed into the hole to investigate, it turned out to be a narrow, damp tunnel that led diagonally into the earth, like the bowels of some giant dinosaur.

Suddenly the farmer could no longer hear anything from above. He panicked when he realized that it was getting difficult to breathe the stifling air -- and quickly ended his brief exploration.

Magnify

First Nation Artifacts Found in Canada

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© unknown
Archaeologists find artifacts in New Brunswick that prove aboriginal people were living in the province more than 10,000 years ago.

Archaeologists have found ancient artifacts in New Brunswick which suggests that First Nations people moved through the area more than 10,000 years ago.

"We have individual finds and that's how we knew people were here," CBCnews quoted head of the archeology team Brent Suttie as saying.

"We had individual spear points that we knew were that old," he added, saying "But it's just we never had the sites to give us contextual information - like what people were eating, how they were living, the structures they may have been living in, what the population size may have been."

Sherlock

The Mystery of 'Prisoner Seven': Cremation of Hess Eliminates Possibility of DNA Testing

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© Unknown
Rudolph Hess
German authorities have exhumed and cremated the remains of the late Stellvertreter des Führers Rudolf Hess, who famously fled the Reich in 1941 to negotiate a peace with Britain.

The cremation eliminates the possibility of DNA testing on the remains of the former "Prisoner Seven", leaving forever unanswered a lingering question as to whether the inmate serving a life sentence in Spandau Prison as Hitler's former deputy was, in fact, Hess; questions most vocally raised by Dr. Hugh Thomas - a former British military surgeon and one of the few physicians to personally examine Prisoner Seven - in his out-of-print 1979 book The Murder of Rudolf Hess. In his book Thomas theorizes that a double occupied the role of Hess. The evidence Thomas presented includes:

Comment: Consider the following excerpt from the Cassiopaean Experiment dated January 24, 1998:
Q: Alright. Along the same lines of the Sabrina Aisenberg issue, I was reading a book about Churchill and Hitler and Rudolf Hess. It seems that this writer was saying that the man in Spandau Prison was NOT Rudolf Hess. Is that correct?
A: Yes.
Q: What happened to Rudolf Hess?
A: Died in plane crash in Scotland.
Q: He died? Was this the reported crash landing?
A: Yes.
Q: He DIED in that crash?
A: Yes.
Q: Who was the guy who parachuted out?
A: Did not.
Q: They made up the whole story?
A: No, just Hess survival, for propaganda value.
Q: Well that is a bizarre thing to say about it. But, it is also another option that the writer of that book did NOT consider. But what about the farmer who saw a guy parachute out of the plane?
A: So they say.
Q: Well, I guess they could have set the whole thing up. That would be even MORE devious!
A: Real Hess would never have relented to abuse.
Q: Hmmm. Did Hess actually fly to Scotland?
A: Yes.
Q: Did Hitler know and was he in on it?
A: Yes.
Q: So, they had to make Hitler think Hess survived in order to fool him into thinking that whatever the plan was it was working?
A: Hitler believed Hess had gone mad, or had indeed died.
Q: Well, this is a bizarre question, but I have to ask it. Was Hitler a homosexual?
A: No.
Q: Well, this book suggests that he had an unusual relationship with Rudolf Hess. But, others said that he was completely ascetic in ALL ways.
A: Book is wrong in other ways too.



Magic Wand

UK: 'Extraordinary' genetic make-up of north-east Wales men

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© Unknown
Why more men in north Wales carry a rare marker in the Y chromosome is not yet known
Experts are asking people from north-east Wales to provide a DNA sample to discover why those from the area carry rare genetic make-up.

So far, 500 people have taken part in the study which shows 30% of men carry an unusual type of Y chromosome, compared to 1% of men elsewhere the UK.

Common in Mediterranean men, it was initially thought to suggest Bronze Age migrants 4,000 years ago.

Sheffield University scientists explain the study at Wrexham Science Festival.

Sherlock

Oldest pregnant lizard fossil discovered

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© Susan Evans/UCL
The pregnant gravid female Yabeinosaurus fossil.
A new paper published in Naturwissenschaft reveals a fossil from 120 million years ago that proves that some lizards were not laying eggs but rather giving birth to live young.

The fossil was discovered by Susan Evans, a professor from the University College London Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, in the Jehol region of Northeast China. This area has revealed hundreds of dinosaur, amphibian, reptile, fish, bird, mammal, invertebrate and plant fossils.

The lizard in this case has been identified as Yabeinosaurus which scientists believe to be similar to the gecko. Evans did not pay much attention to the fossil when it was first discovered but Yuan Wang from the Chinese Academy of Sciences examined the fossil and discovered 15 tiny fossilized embryos.

The embryos were almost fully developed and the researchers believe that the foot-long mother died only a few days before she would have given birth.

Sherlock

Archaeologists Discover High Priest's Bell?

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© Israel Antiquities Authority
Rare ancient bell
Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell during an excavation in the City of David National Park in Jerusalem.

Archaeologists have discovered a rare gold bell with a small loop at its end. The finding was made during an archaeological excavation in the City of David National Park (near the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem) by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Israel Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation.

The directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, archaeologists Eli Shukron and Professor Ronny Reich of Haifa University, said after the finding, "The bell looked as if it was sewn on the garment worn by a man of high authority in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period.

"The bell was exposed in the city's main drainage channel of that period, between the layers of dirt that had been piled on the floor of the channel," they continued. "This drainage channel was built and hewn west to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount and drained the rainfall in the different parts of the city, through the City of David and the Shiloah Pool to the Kidron valley."

Sherlock

US: 600-Year-Old Artifact Found in Hells Canyon

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© KTVB
A hiker stumbled upon a really old piece of Idaho history in Hells Canyon. Now, archaeologists know just how old it is. It dates back centuries.

"We know that people have lived in Idaho for at least 130 centuries," said State Archaeologist Dr. Ken Reid.

And those people left evidence of their lives. Their artwork in the form of petroglyphs and pictographs decorates the rocks and cliffs in Hells Canyon. Their house pits sit in neighborhoods along the banks of the Snake River.

Hells Canyon is beautiful. It's also rich in history.

"There's an intact outdoor museum really of Idaho's past that survives," said Dr. Reid.

A hiker found part of that surviving past under a rock pile under a rock ledge made by a huge boulder.

"It was a perfect place to get some shade on a hot hike down the Snake River Trail," Reid said.

Family

Few Grandparents Until 30,000 Years Ago

paleolithic family group
© Unknown
Grandparents barely existed until as recently as 30,000 years, research suggests, because early humans died so young.

But when people did start to survive into older age, it had "far-reaching effects" that led to the development of new tools and art forms.

The advantages that humans enjoyed by having larger families with older relatives could have helped them "out-compete" rivals such as Neanderthals, it is claimed.

A feature in the magazine Scientific American concludes: "The relation between adult survivorship and the emergence of sophisticated new cultural traditions, starting with those of the Upper Paleolithic, was almost certainly a positive feedback process.

"Initially a by-product of some sort of cultural change, longevity became a prerequisite for the unique and complex behaviours that signal modernity. These innovations in turn promoted the importance and survivorship of older adults, which led to the population expansions that had such profound cultural and genetic effects on our predecessors. Older and wiser, indeed."

In the article, Rachel Caspari describes how analysis of the teeth of Neanderthals found in Croatia, who lived about 130,000 years ago, suggests "no one survived past 30".

Because of gaps in the fossil record, she and colleagues tried to estimate when grandparents became common by working out how many individuals from different prehistoric groups reached 30.

They calculated the ratio of older to younger adults - the OY ratio - in fossil samples of 768 individuals spanning 3million years, stretching back from the most primitive australopithecines to modern Europeans of the early Upper Paelolithic, who lived between 30,000 and 20,000 years ago.

Sherlock

UK: Roman Jug Unearthed at Site of New Theater

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© Doncaster Free Press
Archaeologists working on the site of Doncasters Civic and Cultural Quarter (CCQ) have uncovered a rare Roman glass jug dating back to about AD150 on the site of a former Roman cremation cemetery.
They came, they saw, they conquered - and they left behind some fascinating artefacts.

Archaeologists working on the site of Doncaster's new civic and cultural quarter have unearthed a rare Roman glass jug dating back to around AD150.

The area is believed to have been the site of a Roman cemetery where cremations took place.

And on Saturday visitors will be able to tour the excavation site in the company of archeologists to learn about the jug and other finds, as well as about the town's important Roman history.

"To find such a fascinating Roman artefact in exceptional condition is quite remarkable. Doncaster has a long and distinguished Roman history which pre-dates places like York, " said mayor Peter Davies.

Sherlock

Found: Ancient Peruvian Executioner's Lost Head

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© AP Photo/Violeta Ayasta
A skull and bones sit on a pre-hispanic tomb recently discovered in Lambayeque, northern Peru.
Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the tomb of a lord of the Lambayeque culture, believed to have been an executioner due to the three ceremonial knives found buried with him.

Near the pre-Hispanic tomb were human remains, as well as ceremonial knives, ceramic pots, a dress made from native cotton and a series of rolled copper discs, said Carlos Wester, director of the Bruning Museum in Lambayeque and one of the tomb's discoverers.

Wester told AFP the person buried there was most likely in charge of human sacrifice.

"We found the perfectly preserved tomb of a sacrificer of the Lambayeque culture, with copper machetes and human offerings laid around them," Wester told the news agency.

The tomb was found in a place called "ceremonial fertility and water," two weeks ago in the archaeological complex Chotuna Chornancap, a thousand-year-old temple complex discovered in January 2010.