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Sat, 22 Jan 2022
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Blue Planet

Nits on 1,700 year old Andes mummies shed light on Amazonian ancestry, links with South America's founding lineage

andes mummy
© Universidad Nacional de San Juan
A mummified adult man of the Ansilta culture, from the Andes of San Juan, Argentina, dating back approx 2,000 years.
Human DNA can be extracted from the 'cement' head lice used to glue their eggs to hairs thousands of years ago, scientists have found, which could provide an important new window into the past.

In a new study, scientists for the first time recovered DNA from cement on hairs taken from mummified remains that date back 1,500-2,000 years. This is possible because skin cells from the scalp become encased in the cement produced by female lice as they attach eggs, known as nits, to the hair.

Analysis of this newly-recovered ancient DNA — which was of better quality than that recovered through other methods — has revealed clues about pre-Columbian human migration patterns within South America. This method could allow many more unique samples to be studied from human remains where bone and tooth samples are unavailable.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: America Before: Comets, Catastrophes, Mounds and Mythology




Beer

7,000-year-old evidence of social beer consumption earliest ever found in the Levant

Tel Tsaf
© University of Haifa
A view of the archaeological site at Tel Tsaf, in the Jordan Valley
Israeli researchers say they have discovered the first evidence of social beer consumption within communities in the ancient Middle East, after finding the remains of cereal grains used to produce alcohol in a 7,000-year-old town.

Beer is known to have been used in ancient times for ceremonial and religious purposes, but the find is the earliest indication of social drinking in the Levant prior to the widespread appearance of alcohol in the Bronze Age (circa 3300 BCE).

In the study, archaeologists from the University of Haifa found starch residue from wheat and barley grains in ancient pottery at Tel Tsaf, located in the central Jordan Valley. The town dates back to the Chalcolithic era, from around 5000 BCE.

Comment: See also:


Pharoah

Mummy of pharaoh Amenhotep I digitally unwrapped

The outer mummy of Amenhotep I.
© S. Saleem and Z. Hawass
The outer mummy of Amenhotep I.
For the first time since the 11th century BCE, scientists have unwrapped - virtually, using CT scans - the mummy of pharaoh Amenhotep I (r. 1525 to 1504 BCE), the only royal mummy to remain unopened in modern times. They show that the pharaoh was around 35 years old, 169cm tall, circumcized, and in good physical health when he died, apparently from natural causes.

All the royal mummies found in the 19th and 20th centuries have long since been opened for study. With one exception: egyptologists have never been bold enough to open the mummy of pharaoh Amenhotep I. Not because of any mythical curse, but because it is perfectly wrapped, decorated with beautiful flower garlands, and with face and neck covered by an exquisite lifelike mask inset with colorful stones. But now for the first time, scientists from Egypt have used three-dimensional CT (computed tomography) scanning to 'digitally unwrap' this royal mummy and study its contents. They report their findings in Frontiers in Medicine.

This was the first time in three millennia that Amenhotep's mummy has been 'opened'. The previous time was in the 11th century BCE, more than four centuries after his original mummification and burial. Hieroglyphics have described how at that time, priests restored and reburied royal mummies from more ancient dynasties, to repair the damage done by grave robbers.

"This fact that Amenhotep I's mummy had never been unwrapped in modern times gave us a unique opportunity: not just to study how he had originally been mummified and buried, but also how he had been treated and reburied twice, centuries after his death, by High Priests of Amun," said Dr Sahar Saleem, professor of radiology at the Faculty of Medicine at Cairo University and the radiologist of the Egyptian Mummy Project, the study's first author.

Info

8,500-year-old marble statuette found in central Turkey

Ancient Figurine
© Anadolu Agency
An 8,500-year-old marble statuette has recently been discovered in the Neolithic site of Catalhoyuk in central Turkey, according to the head of an excavator team.

The statuette, a 5-centimeter-tall (2-inch-tall) prismatic figurine with a reclining human figure, was found during excavations in the southern mound of Catalhoyuk, one of the first urbanization models in Anatolia, in the Cumra district of Konya province, Ali Umut Turkcan told Anadolu Agency.

Turkcan, who is also an archeology professor at Turkey's Anadolu University, said that the marble statuette is a rare piece and that there are no signs of gender in the figurine. However, he said, the piece "is reminiscent of figurines identified as male leaning back slightly on the back of an animal, similar to those found in excavations in the past."

But, since the excavations began in 2016 in the southern mound at the Neolithic site, the preponderance of the artefacts has been female figurines.

Catalhoyuk, a 9,000-year-old ancient site in what is now central Turkey, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2012.

Caesar

Bonnie Prince Charlie and Jacobites were no failures, historian insists

Bonnie Prince Charlie got close to fulfilling his aims and transforming Europe, Murray Pittock says
bonnie prince charlie
© Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Bonnie Prince Charlie and the pan-European Jacobite movement is almost universally misunderstood
History has not been kind to Bonnie Prince Charlie. For all his romantic image, he has been dismissed down the years as a feckless adventurer, prepared to sacrifice lives in pursuit of personal ambition, irresolute at moments of crisis, a failed leader who let down his devoted clansmen, and a hopeless drunk.

This month, 300 years after his birth, those myths are challenged head on by one of Scotland's leading historians.

Delivering the annual Gresham Lecture in London last month, Murray Pittock, pro vice-principal of Glasgow University, and expert on Jacobite history, argued that Charles Edward Stuart was a far more considerable figure than he has been given credit for.

There was nothing personal about his aims, Professor Pittock tells The Times. Charles came to Scotland at the forefront of a Europe-wide Jacobite movement, and had international backing; he led a disciplined army that came close to its objective; had he succeeded, all of European history would have been changed.

"He was undoubtedly an extremely charismatic, confident and determined individual," says Professor Pittock, "and also one with strategic vision, though not so good tactically."

Comment: Here's a lecture from Professor Pittock on Charlie and the Jacobites:




Star of David

'Previously unknown massacres': Why is Israel allowed to own Palestinian history?

Irgun Terrorists
© Jim Pringle/AP
Irgun terrorists receiving training from an instructor near the Jaffa Tel Aviv border in the street on March 4, 1948.
Haaretz's investigative report - 'Classified Docs Reveal Massacres of Palestinians in '48 - and What Israeli Leaders Knew' - is a must-read. It should be particularly read by any person who considers himself a 'Zionist' and also by people who, for whatever reason, support Israel, anywhere in the world.

"In the village of Al-Dawayima (...), troops of the 8th Brigade massacred about 100 people," Haaretz reported, though the number of the Palestinian victims later grew to 120. One of the soldiers who witnessed that horrific event testified before a government committee in November 1948:
"There was no battle and no resistance. The first conquerors killed 80 to 100 Arab men, women and children. The children were killed by smashing their skulls with sticks. There wasn't a house without people killed in it."
The Haaretz report of nearly 5,000 words was filled with such painful details, stories of Palestinian elders who could not flee the Zionist invasion and ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine (1947-48), who were lined up against various walls and massacred; of an older woman being shot point-blank with four bullets; of other elders who were crammed inside a home and shelled by a tank and hand grenades; of many Palestinian women raped, and other devastating stories.

Document

Declassified documents show how US lied to Russia about NATO in 1990s

Yeltsin Clinton
© Reuters
Russian President Boris Yeltsin and US President Bill Clinton, September 2, 1998
In April 2014, President Vladimir Putin addressed Russia's Federal Assembly in the wake of Moscow's reabsorption of Crimea. Over the course of his speech, he laid the blame for an increase in tensions on the West, which he insisted had "lied to us many times, made decisions behind our backs, placed us before an accomplished fact." At the heart of this apparent duplicity was NATO's expansion to the East, "as well as deployment of military infrastructure at our borders," contrary, he said, to its promises.

Ever since, disproving the idea that Western leaders had assured Moscow the bloc wouldn't encroach on its borders has become an obsession for think tanks and lobby groups. For example, UK policy institute Chatham House brands the suggestion that any pledge was made not to enlarge the controversial military bloc one of the key "myths and misconceptions in the debate on Russia," while NATO's own website likewise claims it is wholly manufactured.

Significant evidence to the contrary has long-been easily accessible, but now the National Security Archive has published a tranche of never-before-seen, highly revealing documents detailing how then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin was consistently manipulated by his US counterpart Bill Clinton on the question during the mid-1990s, while bold, false promises of a "strategic partnership" of the countries faded into nothingness.

Boat

Viking-era Afro-Eurasian trade networks pushed back as far as 750CE with new dating technique

Viking
© The Museum of Southwest Jutland
Professor Søren M. Sindbæk has directed the Northern Emporium project in the emporium Ribe, Denmark. The archaeological stratigraphy of the sites has secured an improved understanding of global trade flows in the Viking Age. Photo: The Museum of Southwest Jutland.
Mobility shaped the human world profoundly long before the modern age. But archaeologists often struggle to create a timeline for the speed and impact of this mobility. An interdisciplinary team of researchers at the Danish National Research Foundation's Centre for Urban Network Evolutions at Aarhus University (UrbNet) has now made a breakthrough by applying new astronomical knowledge about the past activity of the sun to establish an exact time anchor for global links in the year 775 CE.

In collaboration with the Museum of Southwest Jutland in the Northern Emporium Project, the team has conducted a major excavation at Ribe, one of Viking-age Scandinavia's principal trading towns. Funded by the Carlsberg Foundation, the dig and the subsequent research project were able to establish the exact sequence of the arrival of objects from various corners of the world at the market in Ribe. In this way, they were able to trace the emergence of the vast network of Viking-age trade connections with regions such as North Atlantic Norway, Frankish Western Europe and the Middle East. To obtain a chronology for these events, the team has pioneered a new use of radiocarbon dating.

Comment: Evidence suggests that, over the last few thousand years, international trade networks have been established along with the rise of civilisations, only to then be severed and lost to history with their fall:

See also:


Dig

Intriguing insights of world's oldest family tree revealed in DNA study of Neolithic mound burial in Britain

Long Barrow
© Corinium Museum, copyright Cotswold District Council
Hazleton Long Barrow: Courtesy of Corinium Museum, copyright Cotswold District Council.
Analysis of ancient DNA from one of the best-preserved Neolithic tombs in Britain has revealed that most of the people buried there were from five continuous generations of a single extended family.

By analyzing DNA extracted from the bones and teeth of 35 individuals entombed at Hazleton North long cairn in the Cotswolds-Severn region, the research team was able to detect that 27 of them were close biological relatives. The group lived approximately 5700 years ago — around 3700-3600 BC — around 100 years after farming had been introduced to Britain.

Published in Nature, it is the first study to reveal in such detail how prehistoric families were structured, and the international team of archaeologists and geneticists say that the results provide new insights into kinship and burial practices in Neolithic times.

Comment: This study provided a wealth of other insights, the rest of which can be found here: New genetic study of Late Bronze Age Britain reveals insights on ancestry, kinship, language, milk

See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Info

Elamite clay tablet unearthed in mysterious Iranian 'Burnt City'

Elamite Tablet
© Tehran Times
A team of Iranian, Italian, and Serbian archeologists has unearthed an Elamite clay tablet inside the Burnt City, a rare discovery that gives subtle clues about the interaction between the eastern and western sides of the Iranian plateau during prehistorical times.
The discovery of such [clay] tablets is not bizarre in the western regions of Iran but the point is that archaeologists have never made such a unique discovery in the easternmost point of the Lut Plain and southeastern Iran, senior Iranian archaeologist Seyyed-Mansour Seyyed-Sajjadi said on Thursday.

Called "Shahr-e Sukhteh" in Persian, the UNESCO-registered Burnt City is associated with four rounds of civilization, all mysteriously burnt down by catastrophic sets of fire. It is situated in Sistan-Baluchestan province, which was once a junction of Bronze-Age trade routes crossing the semi-arid plateau.

Elaborating on the significance of the discovery, Seyyed-Sajjadi who leads the current excavation on Burnt City, said: "It is the first time that such a significant clay tablet which is an accounting document has been discovered in Shahr-e Sukhteh since 50 years ago when the site underwent archaeological excavation for the first time."

Measuring 11 by seven centimeters, the tablet was found by archaeologist Hossein Moradi some four meters below the surface in the Room 27th of a once residential area, Seyyed-Sajjadi explained.

"The clay tablet bears some signs some of which depict the types and quantity of shipped goods... it also has signs that are still unfamiliar for us."

Arrays of animal and human figurines are amongst other relics discovered recently during the 19th season of archaeology that commenced on November 19 on the magnificent site.

The figurines include various animal designs, especially cows, as well as human statues, which are in the form of sitting women and standing men. Moreover, a kiln has been unearthed as well. However, it is not yet determined to be a pottery oven or a metal smelting furnace, according to Seyyed-Sajjadi.

"So far, four to five percent of Burnt City has been excavated. . . and [conducting surveys on] unexplored areas require a lot of time and funds," according to provincial tourism chief Alireza Jalalzaei.