Secret HistoryS


Germany: Archaeologists Puzzle Over Opulent Prehistoric Burial Find

© Ben Behnke/ DER SPIEGELIt is known that merchants brought salt and amber through the region at the time. The trade in bronze, a new luxury material, also flourished. Küssner estimates that the "prince" and his guards kept watch over a "radius of 80 kilometers," extorted duties and fees from long-distance traders, and profited exorbitantly as a result. He believes that chieftain's gang of extortionists provided the hatchet blades in the valuable cache as a sign of their loyalty.
When archeologists recently excavated a 3,800-year-old palace near the eastern German city of Weimar, they discovered about 100 valuable weapons buried next to a massive structure. Now they are puzzling over how an ancient chieftain buried nearby became so rich.

In 1877, when archeology was still in its infancy, art professor Friedrich Klopfleisch climbed an almost nine-meter (20-foot) mound of earth in Leubingen, a district in the eastern German state of Thuringia lying near a range of hills in eastern Germany known as the Kyffhäuser. He was there to "kettle" the hill, which entailed having workers dig a hole from the top of the burial mound into the burial chamber below.

When they finally arrived at the burial chamber, everything lay untouched: There were the remains of a man, shiny gold cloak pins, precious tools, a dagger, a pot for food or drink near the man's feet, and the skeleton of a child lying across his lap.

The "prince" of Leubingen was clearly a member of the elite. Farmers who had little to eat themselves had piled up at least 3,000 cubic meters (106,000 cubic feet) of earth to fashion the burial mound. They had also built a tent-shaped vault out of oak beams and covered it with a mound of stones, as if he had been a pharaoh.

For years, scholars have puzzled over the source of the prince's power. But Thuringia's state office of historical preservation has now come a step closer to solving the mystery. Agency archeologists used heavy machinery to excavate 25 hectares (62 acres) of ground in the mound's immediate surroundings, exposing a buried infrastructure. They discovered the remains of one of the largest buildings in prehistoric Germany, with 470 square meters (5,057 square feet) of floor space; a treasure trove of bronze objects; and a cemetery in which 44 farmers were buried in simple, unadorned graves.


New Leonardo Da Vinci Painting To Be Made Public

A lost work by Leonardo da Vinci has been found in a private American collection. The painting Salvator Mundi, (below) which shows Christ raising his hand in blessing, will be unveiled a the National Gallery in London later this year.

© Leonardo da Vinci
Salvator Mundi has been authenticated by experts as the missing Leonardo painting once owned by Charles I and Charles II. The painting was known to exist due to documentation and a 1750's engraving by Wenceslaus Hollar. The last important Leonardo discovery was a hundred years ago.

The painting is devotional image of oil on wood panel that is comparable in size to Leonardo's St. John the Baptist. The restoration process began with the hope that the painting might be by Leonardo, and the restorers were proved right.

The owners of the painting are a consortium of dealers, including Robert Simon, and the work is speculated to be worth around $200 million.


UK: Archaeological Dig Uncovers Artifacts

Scientific equipment belonging to an Enlightenment figure has been found in an archaeological dig at the University.

The eighteenth-century items, including laboratory apparatus and brightly coloured chemicals, almost certainly were the property of Joseph Black.

Black was Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh and is best known for his discovery of carbon dioxide gas.

Included in the finds are samples of mercury, arsenic and cobalt.

These were discovered together with glass tubes and other vessels, bottle stoppers, thermometers and storage jars.

Also uncovered were ceramic distillation apparatus made by Josiah Wedgwood.

The dig is being carried out at Old College prior to a £1 million landscaping of the quadrangle which is being funded by a private donor.

Archaeologists have already unearthed remnants of the buildings close to the spot where Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley - the second husband of Mary Queen of Scots - was murdered.

The landscaping is one of several key improvement projects taking place as part of a major five-year fundraising initiative, the £350 million University of Edinburgh Campaign.

Arrow Down

First Temple Findings Reinforce Jewish Jerusalem

© unknownAnother brick in the wall: the site of the First Temple excavations
First Temple dig reinforces status of Jerusalem as the true Jewish capital

Claiming one in the eye for the Palestinian trend of "Temple denial", Israeli archaeologists are preparing, for the first time, to open buildings from the First Temple era to the public.

In recent years Palestinians, including leaders of the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, have claimed in growing numbers that there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

The new finds mean that not only can Israel cite archaeological evidence of the Second Temple but that it can also boast a major a complex of excavations from the First Temple, built some five centuries earlier.

The new excavations, which will open to the public later this month, give visitors the chance to see, and walk inside, a construction that is thought to have been commissioned by the king who built the First Temple - Solomon.

"This demonstrates the way it all happened and the biblical description is shown very nicely in archaeology," said Eilat Mazar, the Hebrew University archaeologist who uncovered the finds for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Jerusalem is packed with important historical sights, but until now, if you wanted to explore the city's Jewish history through archaeological excavations, a whole era was missing.

Comment: One only has to read Nachman ben Yehuda's book Sacrificing Truth about the archaeological lies told about Masada to realize that this is undoubtedly the same sort of "archaeology."


Site Made Famous by Indiana Jones Yields Archaeology Treasure Trove

© Ministry of State for AntiquitiesA painted limestone block, one of hundreds discovered in Egypt by French archaeologists, was most likely the wall of a sacred lake or temple.
Indiana Jones came so close!

Painted, carved and inscribed thousands of years ago, hundreds of stone blocks that most likely formed a sacred temple were discovered in the ancient Egyptian capital once raided on the fictional explorer's quest for the ark, the country's archaeology society announced Monday.

The site, known as San El-Hagar or Tanis, is one of the most archaeologically rich areas of Egypt's Nile delta. It was famously portrayed as the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant, discovered by Indiana Jones in the film Raiders of the the Lost Ark.

An Ark has yet to be found, of course, but Dr. Zahi Hawass, Minister of State for Antiquities, was excited to announce the discovery of hundreds of ancient limestone blocks, which may have belonged to King Osorkon II.

French archaeologists found the colored and inscribed stones, which they believe were used to build the sacred lake walls of a temple dedicated to the goddess Mut. Dr. Philippe Brissaud, director of the French mission, confirmed that the sacred lake measures about 100 feet by 40 feet with a depth of 20 feet.


China: 300 Historical Relics Unearthed in Henan

Recently, archeologists detected a total of 104 well-preserved ancient tomb sites in Longhu town of Xinzheng, Henan province where some buildings were being constructed. Judging from unearthed relics, including bronze ware, pottery, skeletons, shells, jades and nearly 300 other excavated items in all, these tombs were created during the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 B.C.).

Judging from its intricate layout and orderly arrangement, this tomb site very likely belonged to a royal family, said Fan Wenquan, leader of the archeology group. He also said the uncovering of the site will provide valuable resources for the research of entombment custom, demographic situation and social structure in the corresponding historical period.

According to the preliminary analysis, the time span of the tombs may lie between the later of Spring and Autumn Period (first half of Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 771-403 B.C.) to the middle of Warring States Period (second half of Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 475-221 B.C.). These tombs are all shaft graves with a full set of funerary objects in each coffin.


New old Crystal Skull discovered in Berlin

Berlin - Only a few days ago, photographer Bux Dean made an astonishing find at a flea market in the German capitol Berlin: If confirmed to be authentic this newly discovered crystal skull could once have been owned by the eminent German art historian and curator Arnold Wilhelm von Bode, one of the most influential figures for modern science museum curatorship.

crystal skull berlin
© BUX DEANFrontal view of the "Bode-Skull", discovered in June 2011 in Berlin
"It was remarkable, but this skull was standing between antique objects and was without a box" its finder Bux Dean told the German paranormal and fringe science newsblog


Prehistoric BBQ Leftovers Found

Ancient BBQ Pit
© Getty ImagesA 7,700-year-old fire pit is revealing how our ancestors put on a BBQ.
Stone Age barbecue consumers first went for the bone marrow and then for the ribs, suggest the leftovers of an outdoor 7,700-year-old meaty feast described in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.

The remains, found in the valley of the River Tjonger, Netherlands, provide direct evidence for a prehistoric hunting, butchering, cooking and feasting event. The meal occurred more than 1,000 years before the first farmers with domestic cattle arrived in the region.

Although basic BBQ technology hasn't changed much over the millennia, this prehistoric meal centered around the flesh of an aurochs, a wild Eurasian ox that was larger than today's cows. It sported distinctive curved horns.

Another big difference is how meat was obtained then.


Existence of Uncontacted Amazon Tribe Confirmed

Uncontacted Tribe
Home belonging to an uncontacted Indian tribe are surrounded by crops in a clearing in the Javari Valley of the western Amazon.

Brazilian officials have confirmed the existence of approximately 200 Indians who live in the western Amazon with no contact with the outside world.

This uncontacted tribe is not "lost" or unknown, according to tribal advocacy group Survival International. In fact, about 2,000 uncontacted Indians are suspected to live in the Javari Valley where the tribe's homes were seen from the air. But confirming the tribe's existence enables government authorities to monitor the area and protect the tribe's way of life.

In 2008, Survival International released photos of another uncontacted tribe near the Brazil-Peru border. The striking images revealed men aiming arrows skyward at the plane photographing them. Uncontacted Indian groups are aware of the outside world, a Survival International spokesperson told LiveScience at the time. But they chose to live apart, maintaining a traditional lifestyle deep in the Amazon forest. The latest images reveal that the newly confirmed tribe grows corn, peanuts, bananas and other crops.


Deep History of Coconuts Decoded: Origins of Cultivation, Ancient Trade Routes, and Colonization of the Americas

Coconut DNA
© Kenneth Olsen / WUSTLAnalysis of coconut DNA revealed much more structure than scientists expected given the long history of coconut exploitation by people. Written in the DNA are two origins of cultivation and many journeys of exploration and colonization.

The coconut (the fruit of the palm Cocos nucifera) is the Swiss Army knife of the plant kingdom; in one neat package it provides a high-calorie food, potable water, fiber that can be spun into rope, and a hard shell that can be turned into charcoal. What's more, until it is needed for some other purpose it serves as a handy flotation device.

No wonder people from ancient Austronesians to Captain Bligh pitched a few coconuts aboard before setting sail. (The mutiny of the Bounty is supposed to have been triggered by Bligh's harsh punishment of the theft of coconuts from the ship's store.)

So extensively is the history of the coconut interwoven with the history of people traveling that Kenneth Olsen, a plant evolutionary biologist, didn't expect to find much geographical structure to coconut genetics when he and his colleagues set out to examine the DNA of more than 1300 coconuts from all over the world.

"I thought it would be mostly a mish-mash," he says, thoroughly homogenized by humans schlepping coconuts with them on their travels.