Welcome to Sott.net
Mon, 25 May 2020
The World for People who Think

Secret History
Map

Blackbox

Odd Pyramid Had Rooftop Homes, Ritual Sacrifices?

Image
© Edward Swenson
A ewly excavated platform atop a pyramid at the Huaca Colorada site looks out on the Peruvian desert.
Yes, it's yielded human remains - including five females who may have been ritually sacrificed. But it's the signs of life that make a half-excavated Peruvian pyramid of the Moche culture stand out, archaeologists say.

"Often these pyramidal mounds were built as mortuaries more than anything else," said excavation co-leader Edward Swenson.

"In most instances [a pyramid] is not where people live, it is not where they were cooking their food," the University of Toronto archaeologist added.

But the newly exposed 1,400-year-old flat-topped pyramid supported residences for up to a couple dozen elites, who oversaw and perhaps took part in copper production at the site, evidence suggests.

The pre-Inca pyramid dwellers likely presided over important rituals, feasted on roasted llama and guinea pig, and drank corn beer, according to archaeologists working at the site.

Among the signs of occupation are at least 19 adobe stands where large vessels of water and corn beer were stored, as well as scattered llama, dog, guinea pig, and fish bones and traces of coca leaves and red peppers.

"There's a far more robust domestic occupation than what we would have expected," said expedition co-leader John Warner, an archaeologist with the University of Kentucky.

Pharoah

Statue Pieces of King Tut's Grandparents Found

statue of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye
© Vipeldo/FlickreviewR/Creative Commons
The colossal double statue of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye on display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo
Egyptian archaeologists have unearthed six missing pieces from a 3,400-year-old colossal double statue of King Tut's grandparents, the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Sunday.

Belonging to the statues of King Amenhotep III and his wife Queen Tiye, the fragments were found at the pharaoh's mortuary temple in Luxor during work to lower the ground water on the west bank of the Nile.

Currently a centerpiece of the main hall at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, the double statue was unearthed in 1889 at Medinet Habu on the west bank of the Nile by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette.

"When the statue was first discovered an Italian team restored it and filled in the missing pieces with modern stonework," Dr. Zahi Hawass, Secretary General of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, said in a statement.

Ranging from 47 cm (18.50 inches) to 103 cm (40.55 inches), the uncovered fragments belong to the right side of Amenhotep III's chest, crown and leg.

The other pieces come from a section of Queen Tiye's wig and from her left arm, fingers and foot.

Heart - Black

"Chilling" Child Sacrifices Found at Prehistoric Site

Image
© Haagen Klaus
The skull of a child sacrificed at around 9 years of age.
Eighty-two Peruvian skeletons found with signs of throats slit, chests opened

The skeletons of dozens of children killed as part of a ritual bloodletting sacrifice a thousand years ago have been discovered in northern Peru, a new study says.

The remains are the earliest evidence of ritualized blood sacrifice and mutilation of children that has so far been seen in the South American Andes, according to study leader Haagen Klaus.

Seeds of a paralytic and hallucinogenic plant called Nectandra, which also prevents blood clotting, were found with the skeletons, suggesting the children were drugged before their throats were slit and their chests cut open.

During the sacrifices, sharp bronze knives were used to hack the children to death. One skeleton had more than 25 cut marks on it. A few had their hands and legs bound with rope.

"It is so beyond what is necessary to kill a person. It really gives you the chills," Klaus, an anthropologist at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, told National Geographic News.

"But we are trying to understand this on their terms, not ours."

Sherlock

US: Archaeologists Driven to Solve Mystery of Abandoned City Beneath East St. Louis

Image
© unknown
The site of the current archaeological dig is in the vicinity of Monk’s Mound, the largest of the Cahokia Mounds in southwest Illinois. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
Archaeologists who have uncovered the remains of a prehistoric city beneath what is now East St. Louis are trying to unravel why that ancient city was abandoned while another one just to the east managed to survive two more centuries.

Archaeologists believe Native Americans abandoned the city of roughly 3,000 or more people around the year 1200, some 200 years before a bigger settlement at nearby Cahokia Mounds ended inexplicably.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that the East St. Louis settlement appeared to have been ravaged by fire in the late 1100s, although the cause of that blaze isn't clear. Joe Galloy, coordinator at the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's American Bottom Field Station in Wood River, said an attack from outside, rioting or a ritual burning are among theories for the fire's origin, though archaeologists hope to pinpoint during the dig.

Archaeologists have been working the site since 2008, in advance of construction of an Interstate 70 bridge across the Mississippi River.

Galloy called the archaeological dig near the site of the old St. Louis National Stockyards "an unprecedented look at a Mississippian city" and perhaps the most significant archaeology of any kind under way in the country. About 50 people are working full-time on the effort.

Blackbox

US: Climate, culture linked in prehistoric Northeast

Though climate change seems a particularly modern predicament - one that generates alarm about the fate of the planet and how people and businesses will adapt - scientists are finding evidence that climate fluctuations influenced cultural changes among inhabitants of prehistoric New England.

Research is revealing the interconnected relationship between environmental shifts and changes in prehistoric people's tools and settlement patterns. At the end of a cold period came the end of a particular type of chipped stone point used in hunting; when surface water temperatures cooled, burial traditions shifted.

"It's a reminder that climate has changed in the past, but it's also a reminder that cultures either have to change or get changed, whether they like it or not, when the climate changes,'' said Arthur Spiess, senior archeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.

Archeologists have long debated how environmental changes shaped the lives of people. Today, big sets of data are allowing them to look more closely at possible correlations between human and ecological changes in prehistory. Research published this month found that every time the climatic needle jumped in the Northeast, so did human culture. That work builds on a 2005 study that looked closely at a 1,300-year mini ice age followed by rapid warming, and the simultaneous abrupt change in both the landscape and hunting tools.

Sherlock

Polish archaeologists score another success

Rock engravings, ancient burial sites and several dozen terracotta figurines were discovered by a group of Polish archaeologists in the north-eastern part of Sudan by the Red Sea, Rzeczpospolita reports. The research was carried out by scientists from the Archaeology and Ethnology Institute of the Polish Academy of Science, Poznan branch.

Prehistoric settlement has never been researched in north-western Sudan, Rzeczpospolita notes. The first rock engravings were accidentally discovered by Krzysztof Pluskota in 1999. An expedition led by Doctor Przemysław Bobrowski has been researching the area. "During the December expedition we discovered lots of rock engravings. Most of them depict cattle but there are also portraits of people and African animals" says Prof. Michal Kobusiewicz, member of the team. "The engravings were concentrated around a solitary phallus-shaped mountain, which suggests that they were connected with fertility rites" Kobusiewicz adds.

According to archaeologists, the mountain was a symbol of fertility cult, which is supposedly proved by its miniature copies made in sandstone found near the engravings. The theory about the cult character of the site may be proved by the discovery of several dozen terracotta figurines of people and the miniature sandstone phallus-shaped mountains. Numerous traces of prehistoric settlement were also discovered near the engravings.

Blackbox

Mysteries of Cumbria's ancient stones unlocked

Image
© Unknown
Marks on the stones at Long Meg could have formed a map
A book which sets out to fill the 'black hole' in Cumbria's prehistoric past has been published by a Cambridge academic.

Dr David Barrowclough, a Fellow in Archaeology, has pulled together decades of research to come up with new interpretations about how ancient Cumbrians lived and why they built some of the most impressive stone monuments in England.

One theory Dr Barrow-clough propounds is that patterns and marks carved on some of the ancient stones, such as Long Meg, in Eden, could have originally been 'map symbols' to guide people from valley to valley.

This early 'rock art' eventually was used to chart the movements of the sun and moon and rituals associated with passing from life to death, says Dr Barrowclough.

His book, Prehistoric Cumbria, also suggests that thousands of years ago the Langdale Valley was a centre of 'professional' axe-head production, with part-finished products being manufactured for both local and 'export' trade, overseen by organised groups.

Info

Ancient Denisovans and the Human Family Tree

Denisovans_1
© MPI-EVA, Leipzig
Ancient molar tooth from Denisova Cave in Siberia. Scientists obtained the genetic information of the tooth, as well as of a finger bone found in the caves, revealing a connection to people living today.
Last month scientists revealed remarkable evidence of a new group of ancient humans called Denisovans that interbred with our species and left behind a genetic trace in people living in south east Asia today.

An international team, including scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, carried out a genetic study of a finger bone and a large molar tooth uncovered in Denisova Cave in the Altai Mountains, Siberia. They sequenced the genome and found that this ancient human shared 4-6% of its genetic material with some present-day Melanesians.

In March, the team obtained a complete mitrochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence for the same finger bone, dated to about 40,000 years ago, showing that it was from neither a modern human nor Neanderthal.

Professor Chris Stringer, human origins expert at the Natural History Museum, comments on this research, 'The recovery of mtDNA from Denisova Cave was an exciting enough development, but this latest work by many of the same team is nothing short of sensational.

'This new work showed that the fossil finger bone female was actually slightly closer genetically to Neanderthals than to modern humans, but something else even more remarkable was revealed: the Denisovan is also related to one group of living humans - Melanesians, who live on some of the islands of south east Asia.'

Info

Oldest Known Winery of 6,000 Years Unearthed in Armenian Cave

Oldest Winery
© Huliq
A cave excavation in the mountains of Armenia has yielded what researchers believe to be the oldest known winery in existence.

The ancient winery, estimated to be approximately 6,000 years old, was unearthed by a collaborate group of international researchers working on the excavation of a cave in an area known as Areni-1, according to the findings published online Tuesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Artifacts discovered in the oldest known winery include a wide basin connected to a large vat, which is thought to have once been used to press wine grapes, fermentation jars and other cup and bowl artifacts used for drinking wine.

Areni, a southeastern village located in the Vayots Dzor province of the Fertile Crescent region of Armenia, is known for its exceptional wine growing and wine making areas and has a rich winemaking history. The co-director of the excavation, UCLA's Gregory Areshian, indicated that the recent discovery is perhaps the earliest known example of a full wine making operation.

Info

Archaeological Site, Dating Back to Iraq's Ancient Sumerian Era, Discovered in Nassiriya

An ancient archaeological site, dating back to Ancient Iraq's Sumerian Era, was discovered in southern Iraq's Nassiriya city, the center of Thi-Qar Province, the Director General of the High Commission for Archaeology &Heritage, Qais Rashid Hussein said on Sunday.

"Our excavation teams have discovered an important site in a Sumerian position, dating back to the Dawn of the Ancient Strains - Third Century BC, south of Nassiriya city," Hussein told Aswat al-Iraq news agency, adding that "the site, carrying the name 'Umm al-Aqarib (Mother of Scorpions) consists of a worshipping position, housing units and about 600 archaeological antiques, that were handed over to the Iraqi Museum."

The archaeological sites in Thi-Qar Province, comprising amazing ancient archaeological sites, date back to the ancient historic eras of Misopotamia (Ancient Iraq), some of them dating back to the Somerian era and others to the Acadian, Babylonian, Firthian, Akhmenian, Sasanian or Islamic eras, whilst it comprises the world's most ancient archaeological hill, called "Al-Obali Hill", dating back to 6,000 BC.