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Ancient 'debit card' discovered in Saxony-Anhalt

Archaeologists in the town of Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, have unearthed a 453-year-old wooden "tally stick" used to keep track of debts.

Ancient Credit Card
© unknown
"It's something of a rare find in Europe" said archaeologist Andreas Hille from the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt.

The antiquated debt counter measures 30 centimetres in length and displays 23 notches, with both a name and the date 1558 visible.

Archaeologists made the exciting find during excavations in the small easterly university town of Wittenberg, made famous by the Protestant theologian Martin Luther.

The well-preserved tally stick was used in the Middle Ages to count the debts owed by the holder in a time when most people were unable to read or write.

Pharoah

Sands, Not Lights, Cover Gaza Archaeology Sites

Gaza Strip
© Reuters / Suhaib Salem
Palestinians build a house in the southern Gaza Strip, in an April 2009 photo.

Khan Younis - Five thousand years of fascinating history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, from blinded biblical hero Samson to British general Allenby.

The flat, sandy lands on the Mediterranean's southeastern shore have been ruled by Ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders.

Alexander the Great besieged the city. Emperor Hadrian visited. Mongols raided Gaza, and 1,400 years ago Islamic armies invaded. Gaza has been part of the Ottoman Empire, a camp for Napoleon and a First World War battleground.

But archaeology here does not flourish.

"The only way to preserve what we discover is to bury it until the proper tools are available," says Hassan Abu Halabyea of the Gaza ministry of Tourism and Archaeology.

"We lack the capability, the support and the proper materials needed to maintain this historical site or that. We bury it to preserve it from destruction," he says.

Info

Exclusive: Early Christian Lead Codices Now Called Fakes

Fake Codices
© Steve Caruso
The text appearing in the codices contains numerous inconsistencies and anachronisms.

Seventy metal books allegedly discovered in a cave in Jordan have been hailed as the earliest Christian documents. Dating them to mere decades after Jesus' death, scholars have called the "lead codices" the most important discovery in archaeological history, and leading media outlets have added fuel to the fire surrounding the books in recent weeks.

"Never has there been a discovery of relics on this scale from the early Christian movement, in its homeland and so early in its history," reported the BBC.

Fake Codices_2
© David Elkington
A photo of one of the lead codices found in Jordan.
Slowly, though, more and more questions have arisen about the authenticity of the codices, whose credit-card-size pages are cast in lead and bound together by lead rings. Today, an Aramaic translator has completed his analysis of the artifacts, and has found what he says is incontrovertible evidence that they are fakes.

Pharoah

Millions of mummified puppies found in Egypt

mummified dogs
© Toronto Star
Dogs were "One of the few animals which received burial in a niche," says Dr. Paul Nicholson. An estimated 8 million mummiified dogs, many of them puppies, have been found in catacombs in Egypt.
About 8 million mummified dogs lie in the ancient Dog Catacombs in Egypt, a team of archaeologists reveals.

"We weren't expecting such a high estimate," Dr. Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University told the Star on Monday. "That was something of a surprise."

Many of the animals appear to be puppies, bred at farms nearby entirely for mummification.

"This isn't some cruel, bloodthirsty mass ritual sacrifice," explained Nicholson. "This would have been a pious act. Pilgrims would have paid for the correct mummification. They were Egyptians doing a good deed. The dogs would have served as their representative to the deity."

Bulb

US: Nevada's mysterious cave of the red-haired giants

Indian confronts red-haired giants
© Unknown
Indian confronts the red-haired giants (artist's conception)
Many Native American tribes from the Northeast and Southwest still relate the legends of the red-haired giants and how their ancestors fought terrible, protracted wars against the giants when they first encountered them in North America almost 15,000 years ago.

Others, like the Aztecs and Mayans recorded their encounters with a race of giants to the north when they ventured out on exploratory expeditions.

Who were these red-haired giants that history books have ignored? Their burial sites and remains have been discovered on almost every continent.

In the United States they have been unearthed in Virginia and New York state, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada.

Arrow Down

Canada: Old cemetery uncovered in Vernon, British Columbia

Image
© Google
6000 block of Pleasant Valley Road
Bones, skull found in Vernon orchard now under study

Investigators have determined human remains found in a Vernon, B.C. orchard came from an old First Nations burial site.

One bone was found a week ago at the site by a contractor who was clearing an area to plant new trees in the 6000 block of Pleasant Valley Road.

An anthropologist was brought in and located several more bones on Thursday, including a skull.

It's not yet known how old the remains are.

Attention

'Gay Caveman' Story Overblown, Archaeologists Say

Grave
© LezGet Real
Archaeologists in Prague say they've uncovered a Stone-Age man buried in a position usually reserved for women - but media claims of a "gay caveman" may be exaggerated, according to some researchers.

The skeleton, which dates back to about 2,500 to 2,800 B.C., was found in the outskirts of Prague. The culture the man belonged to (known as the Corded Ware culture for their pottery decorated with the impressions of twisted cord) was very finicky about grave rituals, reported Iranian news network Press TV, which visited the excavation site. According to the Czech news website Ceskapozice.cz, Corded Ware males were usually buried on their right sides with their heads facing east. This man, however, was buried on his left with his head facing west - a traditionally female position.

"We found one very specific grave of a man lying in the position of a woman, without gender specific grave goods, neither jewelry or weapons," lead archaeologist Kamila Remisova Vesinova of the Czech Archaeological Society told Press TV.

Not gay, not a caveman

Vesinova and her colleagues told reporters that the man may have belonged to a "third gender." This designation is for people who may be viewed as neither male nor female or some combination of both. In some cases, third-gender individuals are thought to be able to switch between male and female depending on circumstance. Modern examples include the Hijras of India and the Fa'afafine of Polynesia.

The skeleton has been trumpeted in the media as belonging to a "homosexual caveman," but some archaeologists are skeptical. For one thing, the complexity of the third-gender concept makes calling the skeleton "gay" an oversimplification, Kristina Killgrove, an anthropologist in at the University of North Carolina, wrote in her blog, Bone Girl.

Document

WWII German Plane Found Intact Off Kent

German WWII plane found
Amazing new photographs released today show the remains, almost fully intact of a World War II German bomber, a Dornier 17 which crash landed in the sea off Kent in 1940.

Marine archaeologists have been aware of the existence of the plane since it crashed into the sea over seventy years ago but almost immediately after it crashed and turned turtle it was buried under the shifting Goodwin Sands. The consistency of the sand and the cold water helped to preserve it until a year ago it was discovered that the sands had shifted once more.

Now the archaeologists hope to raise the plane in one piece before it is restored and put on display.

The discovery and the future recovery efforts are being compared to that surrounding the discovery of the Mary Rose in the Solent.

Arrow Up

Ancient Bones: Des Moines sewer construction project turns up human remains possibly 7,000 years old

Image
© Des Moines Register

Human remains that could be up to 7,000 years old have been discovered at a construction site in Des Moines.

They were found by a state archaeology team near a site where scientists think people harvested, cooked and ate clams thousands of years ago.

State archaeologist John Doershuk said that it's a unique site to Iowa and the Midwest.

The site's exact location is not being disclosed, lest looters ravage it.

But the discovery and archaeological dig is delaying a $37.8 million sewer project for at least six months. It's estimated the Wastewater Reclamation Authority will have to spend an estimated $1.5 million or more because of the delay.

Gear

Archaeologists Find Third Gender Skeleton In Czech Republic, Media Calls Him A Cave Man Erroneously

Grave
© LezGet Real

To a certain degree, the anti-LGBT activists are correct about the fact that homosexuality has never existed throughout the history of the world, and gay marriage never actually existed. This is because the term homosexual and the identity of it only came into being within the last hundred and fifty years. Prior to that, same-sex couples existed, though they often did not exist in what we could call same-gender relationships.

Native American tribes have a long and noted history of 'third and fourth gender' individuals. These are women who live their lives as men and often take women as their spouses and men who live their lives as women and who often take men as their spouses. Today, the term two-spirit tends to be used to describe them, though once each nation and tribe had their own name for these individuals. There were often mythological reasons given for their existence, and they were often treated as special individuals.

Evidence is emerging that Europe had this concept for some time as well. The skeletal remains of a male third gender was found in the Czech Republic buried in the same manner that a woman would be. The skeleton dates to between 2900 BCE and 2500 BCE. He was not, as many sources say, a cave man. By this time, the Egyptian unification had already happened, and agriculture was well known. In fact, it is likely that this culture, which was a blend of stone and copper age in their tool and grave goods use, was likely rather sophisticated.

What is more, this skeleton is not the only two-spirit found. A woman's skeleton was found last year buried in the same manner as a man.