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Sun, 24 Sep 2023
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Secret History


'Heart-stopping': censored pages of history of Elizabeth I reappear after 400 years

elizabeth I
© British Library
Seeing hidden text in pages from William Camden's Annals was ‘incredible’, said an expert.
It was the first official account of Elizabeth I's reign, one of the most valuable sources on early modern Britain, commissioned by her successor, King James I. But, for 400 years, no one has been able to read passages on hundreds of pages of this manuscript because they had been so heavily revised and self-censored by their 17th-century author, apparently to avoid punishment for offending his patron.

Now state-of-the-art imaging technology has enabled the British Library to read hidden pages of William Camden's Annals for the first time, "a significant finding in early modern historical scholarship".

Those pages had been either over-written or concealed beneath pieces of paper stuck down so tightly that attempting to lift them would have ripped the pages and destroyed evidence.

Comment: This kind of censorship and biased revision happens in our own time - and often to discredit great people - and its likely our understanding of our past is equally obscured by such actions: Also check out SOTT radio's:


2000-year-old Celtiberian city discovered in northern Spain

Celtiberian city
© University Madrid Polytechnic
The Polytechnic University of Madrid announced the discovery of a Roman camp and the Celtiberian city of Titiakos in the province of Soria, in the north of Spain.

In addition, a limestone quarry was found, which is thought to have been used for the construction of this large military camp, according to a statement from the university.

Celtiberia is a region in modern-day north-central Spain that was inhabited starting in the third century BC by tribes thought to be of mixed Celtic and Iberian ancestry. The majority of the current province of Soria as well as a sizable portion of the neighboring provinces of Guadalajara and Teruel were inhabited by these Celtiberians, who lived in the hill country between the sources of the Tagus (Tajo) and Iberus (Ebro) rivers.

The remains of a Celtoiberian city that existed more than 2,000 years ago have been discovered by excavations carried out by the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM). The site could be the lost city of Titiakos, a Celtoiberian stronghold from the Sertorian War, according to the researchers.

The Sertorian War (80-72 BC) was the last stand of the Marian faction after their defeat in Italy during Sulla's Second Civil War and saw Quintus Sertorius hold out in Spain for over a decade before finally being defeated by Pompey and Metellus Pius.

The research, recently published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, was conducted in the locality of Deza after archaeological sites were detected through aerial photographs. These photographs revealed sections of a rock-cut road with wheel ruts caused by the passage of carts.


The life and dentistry of a 17th-century French aristocrat

teeth aristocrat
Scientists have discovered the long-buried secret of a 17th-century French aristocrat 400 years after her death: She was using gold wire to keep her teeth from falling out.

The body of Anne d'Alegre, who died in 1619, was discovered during an archaeological excavation at the Chateau de Laval in northwestern France in 1988.

Embalmed in a lead coffin, her skeleton - and teeth - were remarkably well preserved.

At the time, the archaeologists noticed that she had a dental prosthetic, but they did not have advanced scanning tools to find out more.

Comment: See also: Why we have so many problems with our teeth

Better Earth

Humans were in South America at least 25,000 years ago, giant sloth bone pendants reveal

© Júlia D'Oliveira
An artist's interpretation of a human crafting a pendant from a giant ground sloth bone around 25,000 years ago in what is now Brazil.
The date that humans arrived in South America has been pushed back to at least 25,000 years ago, based on an unlikely source: bones from an extinct giant ground sloth that were crafted into pendants by ancient people.

Discovered in the Santa Elina rock shelter in central Brazil, three sloth osteoderms — bony deposits that form a kind of protective armor over the skin of animals such as armadillos — found near stone tools sported tiny holes that only humans could have made.

The finding is among the earliest evidence for humans in the Americas, according to a paper published Wednesday (July 12) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Comment: Other evidence suggests human occupation for the Americas going back at least ten thousand years earlier; if not tens of thousands of years earlier: And check out SOTT radio's:


Research group deciphers enigmatic ancient Kushan script

The Kushan Empire in Central Asia was one of the most influential states of the ancient world. A research team at the University of Cologne's Department of Linguistics has now deciphered a writing system that sheds new light on its history / publication in the 'Transactions of the Philological Society'.

Characters on a rock in the Almosi Gorge in Tajikistan
© Bobomullo Bobomulloev
Characters on a rock in the Almosi Gorge in Tajikistan.
A team of early-career researchers at the University of Cologne has succeeded in decoding a script that has been puzzling scholars for over seventy years: the so-called 'unknown Kushan script'. Over a period of several years, Svenja Bonmann, Jakob Halfmann and Natalie Korobzow examined photographs of inscriptions found in caves as well as characters on bowls and clay pots from various Central Asian countries in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

On 1 March 2023, they first announced their partial decipherment of the unknown Kushan script at an online conference of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan. Currently, about 60 percent of the characters can be read, and the group is working to decipher the remaining characters. A detailed description of the decipherment has now been published in the journal Transactions of the Philological Society under the title 'A Partial Decipherment of the Unknown Kushan Script'.


British intelligence in the dock for CIA torture

© MI6 CARD/Wikipedia
Abd al-Rahim Nashiri • Mustafa al-Hawsawi
Recent developments raise the prospect that British intelligence agents could finally face justice for their little-known role in the CIA's global torture program.

Britain's foreign and domestic intelligence apparatus is facing scrutiny by a tribunal tasked with intelligence oversight. On May 26, London's infamously opaque Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) unanimously issued a landmark ruling which means the complaints of two Saudis brutally tortured at CIA black sites and jailed for years in Guantanamo Bay can finally be heard, at least behind closed doors.

The British government insisted that the Tribunal, which explicitly examines wrongdoing by London's security and intelligence agencies, did not have jurisdiction over the cases of Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri. But the IPT disagreed.

Noting that "the underlying issues raised by this complaint are of the gravest possible kind," the tribunal declared that "if the allegations are true, it is imperative that that should be established," as "it would be in the public interest for these issues to be considered."

The ruling means the Tribunal is likely to hear a complaint from Mustafa al-Hawsawi, who's remained in US custody since American troops captured the man they claim is "a senior al-Qaida member" in 2003.


X-ray scans reveal 'hidden mysteries' in ancient Egyptian necropolis paintings

New scans reveal that Ancient Egyptian artists flubbed a tomb painting depicting royalty.
Ramesses II
© Martinez et al.; (CC-BY 4.0)
The portrait of Ramesses II, including his Adam's apple, in Nakhtamun's tomb.
More than 3,000 years ago, ancient Egyptian artists flubbed a royal portrait that was discovered in a tomb within a vast necropolis, a new study suggests.

The painting, of the pharaoh Ramesses II (reign circa 1279 B.C. to 1213 B.C.), is in the tomb of an official named Nakhtamun, who was buried near Thebes (modern day Luxor). In the painting, the pharaoh has some stubble on his face and is facing a figure whose features cannot be seen well, according to a new study published Wednesday (July 12) in the journal PLOS One.

This has led past scholars to propose that the painting shows the pharaoh mourning the death of his father, the pharaoh Seti I (reign circa 1294 B.C. to 1279 B.C.), the team wrote. But a new scan of the portrait suggests otherwise.

Using a portable version of X-ray fluorescence imaging (XRF), a technique that uses X-rays to determine the chemical composition of an object, the team scanned the Ramesses II painting and one other artwork from the necropolis, revealing details that were not visible with the naked eye.

However, not everyone agrees with the team's new interpretations of the Ramesses II painting nor with the study's suggestions about when this artwork was created.

Black Magic

Human skulls suggest use in necromancy during Roman-era in cave near Jerusalem

necromancy skull roman
© (B. Zissu/ Te’omim Cave Archaeological Project )
Oil lamps and human skulls found in the cave were used for ancient magical practice and ritual acts according to study.
A cave in the Jerusalem Hills may once have served as a local oracle where people communed with the dead in the hopes of learning about the future. Known as the Te'omim Cave, the creepy crevice is littered with human skulls and other items associated with necromancy, and is described by researchers as a possible "portal to the underworld".

Analyzing the discoveries made at the cave, the authors of a new study suggest that Te'omim might have hosted "secret rites involving necromancy and communication with the dead, mainly by witches."

"These rites were usually conducted within tombs or burial caves, but sometimes they took place in a nekyomanteion (or nekromanteion) - an 'oracle of the dead'," explain the researchers. "These shrines were generally located in caves or next to water sources that were believed to be possible portals to the underworld."

Comment: See also:


Could an industrial civilization have predated humans on Earth?

A thought experiment plumbs archaeology and geology to ask whether our own species will leave a trace.
Planet of the Apes Scene

In the 1968 film Planet of the Apes, a crew of human astronauts travels into the future and lands on an alien planet that a civilization of non-human primates inhabits. Only when the film's protagonist discovers a half-buried Statue of Liberty on the shore does he realize that this is not an alien world, but rather a future Earth dominated by a new species of intelligent apes that have outcompeted humans.

The scene is as provocative today as it was 55 years ago. Homo sapiens, the futurists tell us, may one day be succeeded by another intelligent species. But how do we know another intelligent species didn't come before us? After all, if civilization had also arisen from an earlier, now-extinct animal species, where are the ruins of its cities? If we found fossils of dinosaurs that lived tens of millions of years ago, we should also have found relics of tombs and temples built in the deep past.

In 2018, climatologist Gavin Schmidt and astrophysicist Adam Frank published an intriguing paper in the International Journal of Astrobiology called, "The Silurian hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record?" The title is derived from a Doctor Who episode featuring a reptilian race known as the Silurians who gained intelligence before humans. The purpose of the Silurian hypothesis isn't to assert that another civilization came before us. Rather, it's a thought experiment to get us thinking about how we would know if a pre-human civilization once existed, a point that might be too subtle for some netizens in our age of Ancient Aliens memes.

Schmidt and Frank acknowledge that paleontologists haven't uncovered fossilized evidence of pre-human civilizations — but that's the point. If a civilization thrived millions of years prior to us, its artifacts could have been destroyed. Geological processes such as tectonic plate subduction and glaciation could easily erase evidence of ancient urbanization.

Better Earth

New evidence of human occupation in Oregon 18,000 years ago

oregon rock shelter

Oregon archaeologists have found evidence suggesting humans occupied the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter outside of Riley, Oregon more than 18,000 years ago.
University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History Archaeological Field School, led by archaeologist Patrick O'Grady, has been excavating at the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter. Excavation has been occurring since 2011 under an official partnership agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Discoveries at the site have included stone tools and extinct-mammal tooth fragments from the Pleistocene era. The pieces of tooth enamel are identified as bison (Bison sp.) and camel (Camelops sp.).

In 2012, O'Grady's team found camel teeth fragments under a layer of volcanic ash from an eruption of Mount St. Helens that was dated over 15,000 years ago. The team also uncovered two finely crafted orange agate scrapers, one in 2012 with preserved bison blood residue and another in 2015, buried deeper in the ash. Natural layering of the rockshelter sediments suggests the scrapers are older than both the volcanic ash and camel teeth.

Comment: Other evidence suggests human occupation on the American continents goes even further back than that: And check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: America Before: Comets, Catastrophes, Mounds and Mythology