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Fri, 07 May 2021
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Colosseum

20,000-seater gladiator arena from Roman era unearthed in Turkey

gladiator arena
© Courtesy of Assoc. Prof. Mehmet Umut Tuncer/Aydın Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism
An aerial view shows the Roman-era arena poking out of a hilly area in Mastaura, Turkey.
Archaeologists in Turkey have discovered the remains of a "magnificent" Roman-era arena, where up to 20,000 spectators likely cheered and jeered as they watched gladiator matches and wild animal fights, the excavators said.

The 1,800-year-old arena was discovered on the rolling hills of the ancient city of Mastaura, in Turkey's western Aydın Province. Its large central area, where "bloody shows" once took place, has since filled with earth and vegetation over the centuries.

"Most of the amphitheater is under the ground," and the part that is visible is largely covered by "shrubs and wild trees," Mehmet Umut Tuncer, the Aydın Culture and Tourism provincial director and project survey leader Sedat Akkurnaz, an archaeologist at Adnan Menderes University in Turkey, told Live Science in a translated email.

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Better Earth

Rare evidence of habitation in Scotland's Cairngorms after end of last Ice Age

Cairngorms
© Upper Dee Tributaries Project
University of Aberdeen students at work to unearth the traces of the stone age inhabitants of the Cairngorms
New research has uncovered rare evidence of people living in Scotland's mountains after the end of the last Ice Age.

Archaeologists found stone tools and traces of firepits and possible shelters in Deeside in the Cairngorms.

Finds from the Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age, are rare and usually made in lowland areas.

Archaeologists describe the evidence in the Cairngorms as "exciting".

The research, published in the Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society, adds to existing evidence from a handful of other upland sites.

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Dig

Noushabad: Iran's hidden underground city constructed around 224AD

Noushabad
Noushabed, also called Oeei or Ouyim is an ancient subterranean city, built beneath the small town of Nushabad in present-day Iran.

The earliest parts of the city were constructed sometime during the Sassanid period between AD 224 to 651 and continued to be excavated during the post-Islamic era, with evidence of occupation lasting until the Qajar dynasty.

Archaeologists have discovered human remains, earthen vessels, and stone instruments from the Sassanian, Ilkhanid, and Safavid periods, suggesting almost continuous use for many centuries.

Researchers have identified three distinct levels reaching a depth of 16 metres, and a complex network of interconnected tunnels and chambers covering an area of 3.7 acres. The different levels were connected through vertical and horizontal channels that also functioned as a ventilation system allowing the free flow of air throughout the substructure.

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Igloo

Recolonisation of Europe after the last ice age started earlier than previously thought

jawbone
© G. Oxilia
A study that appeared today on Current Biology sheds new light on the continental migrations which shaped the genetic background of all present Europeans.
A study that appeared today in Current Biology sheds new light on the continental migrations which shaped the genetic background of all present Europeans. The research generates new ancient DNA evidence and direct dating from a fragmentary fossil mandible belonging to an individual who lived ~17,000 years ago in northeastern Italy (Riparo Tagliente, Verona). The results backdate by about 3,000 years the diffusion in Southern Europe of a genetic component linked to Eastern Europe/Western Asia previously believed to have spread westwards during later major warming shifts.

"By looking into the past of this particular individual, who was one of the first settlers of the southern Alps after the Last Glacial peak, we found evidence that the previously documented genetic replacement which changed the makeup of Southern European Hunter Gatherers started at least 17,000 years ago," said lead author Eugenio Bortolini (University of Bologna), "much earlier than we previously thought, and in a very different scenario."

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Blue Planet

Diets of Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples on the Great Hungarian Plain revealed in new study

greater hungarian plains
© Miaow Miaow
The territory of the GHP in Hungary. The lifestyle and eating habits of human groups that have lived for thousands of years can be examined by tooth.
An international research group analyzed the prehistoric findings of the Neolithic Age. In addition to providing knowledge about the lifestyles of people who lived in prehistoric times, a novel study of tooth remains paved the way for other methods previously not used. This study applies the complementary approaches of stable isotope and dental microwear analyses to study the diets of past people living in today's Hungary. Their joint results were published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports.

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Pistol

As Cuban chief Raul Castro leaves office, declassified CIA files expose how Washington planned to assassinate him

Raul Castro
© Reuters/Yamil Lage
Raul Castro
Covert attempts by the US to take out renowned revolutionary Fidel Castro by way of exploding cigars or poisoned seashells are now well known. But one contract that spies took out on his brother has remained secret... until now.

On April 16, Cuban leader Raul Castro announced his intention to resign and pass leadership to a younger generation "full of passion and anti-imperialist spirit." Having taken over power from his brother Fidel in 2008, his departure marks the seeming end of a dynasty that has ruled Cuba since 1961.

To mark the historic occasion, the National Security Archive released a number of previously classified US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents that expose how Washington had well-developed plans to assassinate Raul.

A general overview of the plot is provided by a January 1975 memorandum, prepared for the CIA Inspector General, with a stated subject of "questionable activities." It noted that Jose Raul Martinez Nunez - "a Cuban national and ranking Cubana Airline pilot" - was "developed and recruited" by the Agency at some point in 1960.

SOTT Logo Radio

MindMatters: Phillip Barlag: The Leadership Genius of Julius Caesar

barlag
Power-hungry despot. Dictator for life. Vain ladies' man. Murdered by his peers for aspiring to be king. That was Julius Caesar, at least according to his critics and modern interpreters. But countless portrayals of the most famous Roman - in histories, novels, plays and films - omit what were quite likely his greatest features: his multifaceted genius, unparalleled leadership skill, and, remarkable for the times in which he lived, his humanity. Those skills - and their relevance for leadership today - have gone mostly unnoticed.

So this week on MindMatters we discuss The Leadership Genius of Julius Caesar with author Phillip Barlag. This examination of Caesar's accomplishments not only brings a fresh perspective on who Caesar was, but also hones in on the qualities that made him an exemplary leader of ancient Rome and what lessons we can draw from the accounts of his life and character. What emerges is an alternative reading of Caesar, not as a wholly self-serving tyrant, but a politically skilled reformer, man of the people, and all around exceptional human being.

Preorder Phillip's new book here

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Running Time: 01:23:39

Download: MP3 — 73.6 MB


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Colosseum

Archaeology in the ashes of Notre Dame

Notre Dame
© Aurélia Azéma/Laboratoire de Recherche des Monuments Historiques
The Notre Dame fire was devastating but has opened the door to research on building materials now available for study.
Two years ago, a fire devastated Paris' iconic Catholic cathedral. An archaeologist outlines the unprecedented research scientists are now undertaking to make the most of the disaster.

The night of April 15, 2019, brought unimaginable tragedy to Paris' iconic medieval Catholic cathedral. I was on the metro at the time, when I got a phone call from a colleague: "Notre Dame is burning." When the train crossed the Seine a few minutes later, I saw it with my own eyes, from a distance, helpless. The fire caused the cathedral spire to collapse, most of the roof was destroyed, and its upper walls were severely damaged.

The first time I could access Notre Dame was in December 2019, more than six months after the fire. I pulled on a mandatory protective suit and powered respirator to protect me from lead emissions, and was taken up to the top of the southern transept. From there, I gasped at the site of the northern great rose window through the wide hole where the spire had totally collapsed. I was speechless. The vaults were a total mess of carbonized wooden and metallic pieces.

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Info

Ancient DNA hints at complex social groupings in Neolithic Anatolia

Excavation Site
© University of Liverpool
Genomes from University of Liverpool excavations of burials around some of the earliest houses in history contributed to a major study by an international team of geneticists, anthropologists and archaeologists, revealing more about the remarkable diversity of kinship types in ancient human societies.

The first villagers in history were Middle Easterners who adopted a sedentary lifestyle roughly 12,000 years ago. These people not only built houses, but also buried their dead, young and old, within and around these buildings, while they continued living in them.

Although this subfloor burial tradition is well-known, the underlying social relations among these co-burials have remained a mystery. Many assumed these burials were biological family members, while others suggested that households and their burials represented more complex social groupings, organized through non-biological forms of kinship.

Senior co-author, Hacettepe University's Professor Füsun Özer, said: "Social kinship types are well-documented in many pre-industrial societies.

"What we show in this study is that both sides may have been right, at least in the case of the Neolithic Middle East".

Dig

Ancient 'untouched and highly unusual' tomb discovered on Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

tomb

The tomb was uncovered in recent days during land improvement works being carried out by a farmer
An ancient tomb, described by archaeologists as "untouched" and "highly unusual" has been discovered on the Dingle Peninsula in Co Kerry.

The tomb was uncovered in recent days during land improvement works being carried out by a farmer.

The National Monument Service has requested that the location of the structure should not be disclosed in order to prevent the possibility of disturbance.

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