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Archaeologists find evidence of pre-Clovis settlement

Evidence pre clovis

New research in Texas shows humans settled North America earlier than previously thought.
New research may change long-held views on early North American inhabitants

Summit County -- New archaeological research in Texas suggests that humans lived in North America thousands of years earlier than previously believed.

For about 100 years, archaeologists have dated the earliest human artifacts to the Clovis people, about 13,000 years ago. The new finds push this date back by about 2,500 years, into the pre-Clovis era, according to a press release from Baylor University.

"This find really rewrites history, so to speak, and changes our collective thought on the early colonization of North, Central and South America," said Dr. Lee Nordt, professor of geology at Baylor and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, who is an author on the study. "What sets this study a part is that we were able to show using geological methods that the buried artifacts dating to pre-Clovis times were in their original state. This demonstrates unequivocally that the peopling of the Americas occurred much earlier than previously thought."

Pharoah

Oldest case of clogged arteries in Egypt mummy: study

mummy
© Unknown
A wooden coffin lays open showing a mummy at an excavation site south of Cairo in 2005.
The first known case of clogged arteries, or atherosclerosis, has been found in the mummy of an Egyptian princess, said a study presented Sunday at a major US cardiology conference.

Researchers have long known that ancient Egyptians suffered from plaque build-up in the arteries that supply the heart, but the latest finding suggests that the syndrome may be more prevalent, and mysterious, than previously thought.

"Commonly, we think of coronary artery or heart disease as a consequence of modern lifestyles, mainly because it has increased in developing countries as they become more westernized," said Gregory Thomas of the University of California, Irvine.

"These data point to a missing link in our understanding of heart disease, and we may not be so different from our ancestors," he said.

Researchers performed computerized tomography (CT) scans on 52 Egyptian mummies to determine whether they had atherosclerosis.

Comment: Remember the Egyptians ate a lot of grain:

Origins of Agriculture - Did Civilization Arise to Deliver a Fix?
Can You Stomach Wheat? How Giving up Grain May Better Your Health
Wheat belly
The China Study, Wheat, and Heart Disease; Oh My!


Clock

Ancient Greek Calculating Device Continues to Reveal Secrets

Antikythera mechanism
© National Archaeological Museum, Athens
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism, an astronomical calculator raised from a shipwreck in 1901.
It's known as the Antikythera mechanism, a metal gear driven device found over a century ago on a sunken Roman ship, near the island of Antikythera, that for just as many years has had scientists analyzing, scratching their heads and offering suggestions as to its purpose.

Some have called the device the first analog computer; other's the first mechanical computing device. Either way, the device very clearly demonstrates that the Greeks of 150 to 100 BCE knew far more about gears and calculating machines than had been thought possible just a decade or so ago.

After careful analysis with an x-ray tomography machine which allowed the device to be seen as a series of slices that could then be used to see all the way through the mechanism slice by slice (as is done with the same machine when analyzing organs inside a living human being) researchers, particularly Michael Wright, now of Imperial College, London, have come to believe they have almost a full understanding of what the machines was built to do; and that, was to calculate the position of celestial bodies.

Magnify

Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus? The incredible story of 70 ancient books hidden in a cave for nearly 2,000 years

Image
© David O' Neill/D K Images
Discovery: The impression on this booklet cover shows what could be the earliest image of Christ
The image is eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure's brow as a crown of thorns.

The extraordinary picture of one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices - booklets - found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee is one reason Bible historians are clamouring to get their hands on the ancient artefacts.

If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him.

The tiny booklet, a little smaller than a modern credit card, is sealed on all sides and has a three-dimensional representation of a human head on both the front and the back. One appears to have a beard and the other is without. Even the maker's fingerprint can be seen in the lead impression. Beneath both figures is a line of as-yet undeciphered text in an ancient Hebrew script.

Astonishingly, one of the booklets appears to bear the words 'Saviour of Israel' - one of the few phrases so far translated.

Comment: Or at modern forgeries. See Dr Peter Thonemann's analysis here, where he translates a line of Greek from the cover of one of the copper codices, and suggests a copy from a tombstone on exhibit in the Jordan Archaeological Museum. But of course, without being able to read the codices themselves, cover to cover, a couple of samples of metal being sent to labs in Oxford and Switzerland is really neither here nor there.

Funny how epigraphists are being kept away from these things ...


Key

Oldest Evidence of Writing Found in Europe

In a study to be published this month in the Proceedings of the Athens Archaeological Society, archaeologist Michael Cosmopoulos of the University of Missouri-St. Louis shares his discovery of a clay tablet showing the earliest known writing in Europe.

Oldest Writing Evidence Europe
© Christian Mundigler
Located in the southwestern corner of Greece, the town where this discovery took place is Iklaina. This town dates back to the Mycenaean period of 1500 BC to 100 BC, and around 1400 BC was conquered by King Nestor.

Cosmopoulos has been actively excavating this site for 11 years and has found evidence of a Mycenaean palace, including colorful murals, Cyclopean walls, and an elaborate drainage system made from clay pipes. However, this tablet has been his most unexpected find.

Tablets of this nature were made from clay which was allowed to dry in the sun, making them very brittle and easily destroyed. The tablet they discovered however, had been thrown in a garbage pit and burned, thus firing the clay and leaving it preserved.

Blackbox

Skeleton of 12,000-year-old shaman discovered buried with leopard, 50 tortoises and human foot

Image
© Gideon Hartman
One of 50 tortoises found buried with the shaman.
The skeleton of a 12,000 year-old Natufian Shaman has been discovered in northern Israel by archaeologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The burial is described as being accompanied by "exceptional" grave offerings - including 50 complete tortoise shells, the pelvis of a leopard and a human foot. The shaman burial is thought to be one of the earliest known from the archaeological record and the only shaman grave in the whole region.

Dr. Leore Grosman of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, who is heading the excavation at the Natufian site of Hilazon Tachtit in the western Galilee, says that the elaborate and invested interment rituals and method used to construct and seal the grave suggest that this woman had a very high standing within the community. Details of the discovery were published in the PNAS journal on November 3, 2008.

What was found in the shaman's grave?

The grave contained body parts of several animals that rarely occur in Natufian assemblages. These include fifty tortoises, the near-compete pelvis of a leopard, the wing tip of a golden eagle, tail of a cow, two marten skulls and the forearm of a wild boar which was directly aligned with the woman's left humerus.

A human foot belonging to an adult individual who was substantially larger than the interred woman was also found in the grave.

Dr. Grosman believes this burial is consistent with expectations for a shaman's grave. Burials of shamans often reflect their role in life (i.e., remains of particular animals and contents of healing kits). It seems that the woman was perceived as being in close relationship with these animal spirits.

Wolf

France and lap dogs go way back: Most other prehistoric pooches were much larger than the ancient French dogs

poodle
© Unknown
  • The world's oldest known dogs from France were poodle-sized and lived up to 15,000 years ago.
  • The French dogs likely served as companions to humans, hunting partners, and also as a source of food and fur.
  • It's unclear whether these small French dogs descended from larger, older dogs in Europe.
The oldest dogs from France were small, lap-sized canines that lived up to 15,000 years ago, according to new research.

These poodle-sized dogs raise a lot of questions about the earliest domestication of dogs, due to their impressive age and the fact that most other prehistoric pooches were much larger.

"One or many domestication events could have occurred in France and, more generally, in the western part of Europe," Maud Pionnier-Capitan told Discovery News. She led the French project, described in a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Magic Wand

Where Beauty Transcends Time: The Archaeology of a Dress

A Victorian dress decorated with 1,000 real beetle wings is set to go back on display following 1,300 hours of painstaking conservation work carried out by a team led by Zenzie Tinker.

A stage costume worn by Ellen Terry, one of the most celebrated and glamorous actresses of the Victorian age, has now returned home to Smallhythe Place in Kent - now a National Trust property.

Image
© John Singer Sargent
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth in 1888
The emerald and sea green gown, covered with the iridescent wings of the jewel beetle (which they shed naturally), was worn by Ellen when she thrilled audiences with her portrayal of Lady Macbeth at London's Lyceum Theatre in 1888.

Ark

Seventy metal books 'found in cave in Jordan' could change our view of Biblical history

Image
© David Elkington/Rex Features
Lines of inquiry: The metal tablets could change our understanding of the Bible
For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price.

This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity.

Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

On pages not much bigger than a credit card, are images, symbols and words that appear to refer to the Messiah and, possibly even, to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Adding to the intrigue, many of the books are sealed, prompting academics to speculate they are actually the lost collection of codices mentioned in the Bible's Book Of Revelation.

The books were discovered five years ago in a cave in a remote part of Jordan to which Christian refugees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Important documents from the same period have previously been found there.

Initial metallurgical tests indicate that some of the books could date from the first century AD.

Comment: The artifacts may be interesting, important even. But is the timing of their publicity and their insertion into a chronology that is probably falsified just more of the same self-fulfilling prophecy, invented to give credence to the political (and very much material) megalomania of Zionism?

Was the Bible Forged? Author Claims Some New Testament Books Were Written by 'People Pretending to be Apostles'


Info

Prehistoric Americans Traded Chocolate for Turquoise?

Image
© Michael Melford, National Geographic
The inside of a restored building at Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico (file photo).
Talk about a sweet deal - prehistoric peoples of Mesoamerica may have traded chocolate for gems from the U.S. Southwest, a new study suggests.

Traces of a chemical found in cacao - the main ingredient in chocolate - were found in several drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito, a complex of sandstone "great houses" in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

Ancestral Puebloan peoples built the complex, the epicenter of the ancient Chaco culture, in stages between A.D. 850 and 1150.

(See "16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas.")