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The Witch Trial That Made Legal History

Image
© William Harrison Ainsworth
An illustration of Ann Redferne and Chattox, two of the Pendle witches, from Ainsworth's novel The Lancashire Witches, published in 1849. Ann Redferne is called Nance in the novel, and described as Chattox' grand-daughter, although she was in reality her daughter.
In recent years children as young as three have given evidence in court cases, but in the past children under 14 were seen as unreliable witnesses. A notorious 17th Century witch trial changed that.

Nine-year-old Jennet Device was an illegitimate beggar and would have been lost to history but for her role in one of the most disturbing trials on record.

Jennet's evidence in the 1612 Pendle witch trial in Lancashire led to the execution of 10 people, including all of her own family.

In England at that time paranoia was endemic. James l was on the throne, living in fear of a Catholic rebellion in the aftermath of Guy Fawkes' gun powder plot. The king had a reputation as an avid witch-hunter and wrote a book called Demonology.

"It was a mandate for the British to fight witches," explains Prof Ronald Hutton from the University of Bristol.

House

Archaeology dating technique uncovers 'property boom' of 3700 BC

Image
© Angelo Hornak / Alamy/Alamy
Maiden Castle hill fort in Dorset. Archaeologists have found that a causewayed enclosure nearby was created during a building spree in 3700 BC.
English monuments, including Maiden Castle and Windmill Hill, found to have been built, used and abandoned in single lifetime

A new scientific dating technique has revealed there was a building spree more than 5,500 years ago, when many of the most spectacular monuments in the English landscape, such as Maiden Castle in Dorset and Windmill Hill in Wiltshire, were built, used and abandoned in a single lifetime.

The fashion for the monuments, hilltops enclosed by rings of ditches, known to archaeologists as causewayed enclosures, instead of being the ritual work of generations as had been believed, began on the continent centuries earlier but spread from Kent to Cornwall within 50 years in about 3700 BC.

Alex Bayliss, an archaeologist and dating expert at English Heritage, said: "The dates were not what we expected when we began this project but prehistorians are just going to have to get their heads around it, a lot of what we have been taught in the past is complete bollocks."

Sherlock

Allies Plotted To Slip Estrogen To Hitler To Make Him 'Less Aggressive': Claim

British spies considered a plan to bring out Adolf Hitler's softer side by secretly adding female hormones to Der Fuhrer's food, according to a new book.



The idea that Hitler's violent quest for world domination could be subdued with steady doses of estrogen was one of the bizarre cloak-and-dagger plots dreamt up to outmaneuver Nazi Germany, according to a new book Secret Weapons: Technology, Science And The Race To Win World War II by British professor Brian Ford.

Magnify

Black Death Study Lets Rats Off the Hook

Bubonic plague victims of 14th century London
© Rex Features
Bubonic plague victims of 14th century London, uncovered in the 1980s in an excavation at the Old Royal Mint
Plague of 1348-49 spread so fast in London the carriers had to be humans not black rats, says archaeologist.

Rats weren't the carriers of the plague after all. A study by an archaeologist looking at the ravages of the Black Death in London, in late 1348 and 1349, has exonerated the most famous animal villains in history.

"The evidence just isn't there to support it," said Barney Sloane, author of The Black Death in London. "We ought to be finding great heaps of dead rats in all the waterfront sites but they just aren't there. And all the evidence I've looked at suggests the plague spread too fast for the traditional explanation of transmission by rats and fleas. It has to be person to person - there just isn't time for the rats to be spreading it."

He added: "It was certainly the Black Death but it is by no means certain what that disease was, whether in fact it was bubonic plague."

Comment: Could there be a Cosmic Connection to the Black Death plague that decimated Europe in the 14th century? There is indeed strong parallel evidence. Please read Laura's article here for more information.
There really is quite sufficient data presented in Baillie's book to support the theory that the Black Death was due to an impact by Comet Debris - similar to the impacts on Jupiter by the fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy back in 1994. As to exactly how these deaths occurred, there are a number of possibilities: earthquakes, floods (tsunami), rains of fire, chemicals released by the high-energy explosions in the atmosphere, including ammonium and hydrogen cyanide, and possibly even comet born disease pathogens.

If it has happened as often as Baillie suggests, it can happen again. And if, as we suspect, the Earth is slated for a bombardment in the not too distant future, it seems that there are more ways to die in such an event than just getting hit by a comet fragment.



Arrow Down

Canada: 300-Year-Old Gold Coin Found in Newfoundland

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© Colony of Avalon
300-year-old coin found in Ferryland.
A 300 year-old Portuguese coin has been found at an archaeological dig site in eastern Newfoundland.

The gold coin, minted in 1708, was found at the Colony of Avalon archaeological dig site in Ferryland this summer.

The coin is bent into an 'S'. People who've studied that era said men at the time bent coins and presented them as love tokens to women they were courting.

Wayne Croft found the coin.

"I just gave a couple of shakes and I see this thing bouncing, and stopped the shaker, and I looked at it and there was a gold coin and I really just couldn't believe my eyes ... it's such a rich site...it's amazing...totally amazing," said Croft, who has been working at the site for 12 years.

"Really you don't know from the next scrape of the trowel what you're going to uncover."

Sherlock

Archaeologist digs into grandad's tale to uncover lost Yorkshire amphitheatre

Image
© Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
Rose Ferraby strides across Studforth Hill in Aldborough where she and other archaeologists have discovered evidence of a Roman amphitheatre and stadium.
A national theatre of the north is found on summit of Studforth Hill in Aldborough

The lost amphitheatre of northern England has been found on a Yorkshire hilltop in a discovery with major implications for the study of Roman Britain.

Centuries of speculation have ended with a printout from geomagnetic scanners which reveals a great tiered bank of seats below curving hummocks in a field now frequented only by a herd of cattle.

Crowning the summit of Studforth Hill, the oval arena would have combined spectacles and entertainments with a magnificent 360-degree view, making it the equivalent of a national theatre of the north.

The find by Cambridge University archaeologists - led by a young woman who grew up locally and was told the amphitheatre legend by her grandfather - seals the importance in Roman times of the small village of Aldborough, between Harrogate and York.

Sherlock

2,000 year old skulls reveal the ancient medical practice of trepanning

Image
© Unknown
The Garamantian civilization of ancient North Africa survived and thrived in the Sahara Desert from 1,100 BCE to 600 CE. Three newly discovered skull reveal that the Garamantians practiced medicine. Unfortunately, it involved making tiny holes in people's skulls.

This practice, known as trepanning, is quite possibly the oldest medical procedure known to humankind. Evidence of drilling and cutting at skulls dates all the way back to ancient Morocco 13,000 years ago. The Garamantian skulls - you can see one of them up top - showed evidence of holes and depressions that archaeologists believe were made during these procedures. We can also see renewed growth of the bone around these incisions, which indicates the patients survived the procedure and went onto at least a somewhat successful recovery.

Sherlock

Archaeologists excavating Arastu Tepe for signs of Kura-Aras culture

Image
© British Institute at Ankara
This photo shows a number of shards discovered at the Yanik Tepe in northwestern Iran.
A team of Archaeologists is currently working on the Arastu Tepe in order to find signs of the Kura-Aras culture in the mound located near the town of Malard in the southwest of Tehran.

Signs of the Kura-Aras culture were previously discovered during a series of initial excavations done by the team led by Akbar Purfaraj of Tehran's Allameh Tabatabai University.

They gathered a large number of shards scattered on the ground of the mound in the excavations, Tehran Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department Director told the Persian service of the Mehr News Agency on Tuesday.

Various motifs are seen on the shards, which are mostly red in color.

Purfaraj said that this season of excavation runs until late September and the second term is expected to begin next year.

Cow Skull

UK: Oxford Viking Massacre Revealed by Skeleton Find

Skeletons
© BBC
Evidence suggests the men were running away from their attackers
Evidence of a brutal massacre of Vikings in Oxford 1100 years ago has been uncovered by archaeologists.

At least 35 skeletons, all males aged 16 to 25 were discovered in 2008 at St John's College, Oxford.

Analysis of wound marks on the bones now suggests they had been subjected to violence.

Archaeologists analysing the find believe it dates from 1002 AD when King Ethelred the Unready ordered a massacre of all Danes (Vikings) in England.

The surprise discovery of the skeletons was made by Thames Valley Archaeological Services under the quadrangle at St John's College at the University of Oxford, before building work started on the site.

The bodies had not received any type of formal burial and they had been dumped in a mass grave on the site of a 4,000-year-old Neolithic henge monument.

Info

Rare Headless Hercules Statue Found in Israel

Hercules Statue
© Israel Antiquities Authority
A marble statue of Hercules found at the site of a Roman bathhouse in Israel on Aug. 15.
A rare second-century statue of the mythic hero Hercules has been found in Israel, archaeologists reported today (Aug. 15). The buff marble masterpiece likely decorated a niche in a Roman bathhouse.

The intervening centuries have left Hercules headless, but his bulging muscles are still apparent, as is his club and the skin of the Nemean lion, which, according to myth, Hercules slew as one of his 12 labors.

According to Greek and Roman myth, Hercules was half-man, half-god, the son of the god Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman. Out of jealousy, Zeus' wife Hera plagued Hercules with misfortune, including a fit of madness that caused him to kill his own wife and children. In penitence, Hercules performed 12 superhuman feats, including the slaying of the vicious Nemean lion.

Ancient artists often portrayed these tasks in murals and statuary. The newly discovered statue was found at Horvat Tabernet, in Israel's Jezreel Valley. The Israel Antiquities Authority uncovered the remains of a Roman bathhouse from the second century, along with dwellings and a well and channel that supplied water to the bathhouse's large pool. The Hercules statue was found in the pool, amidst potshards and broken glass vessels.