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Iron Age man with first known case of TB in Britain was migrant from continental Europe

© University of Southampton
The skeleton of the man was discovered during archaeological excavations at Tarrant Hinton,
North Dorset, between 1967 and 1985
A new study of the skeleton of an Iron Age man with the first known case of tuberculosis in Britain has shed new light on his origins.

Archaeological excavations at Tarrant Hinton, Dorset, between 1967 and 1985 uncovered a variety of evidence for settlement between the Iron Age and the Roman period. Possibly the most significant discovery was the skeleton of an Iron Age man whose spine displayed signs of tuberculosis (TB). The man, who died between 400 and 230 BC, is in fact the earliest case of TB ever found in Britain.

In a new study, chemical analysis of the man's bones and teeth, carried out by the University of Southampton for the Museum of East Dorset, has finally answered some key questions about his origins. The results show that the man arrived in Dorset as a child, around the age of eight. His family came from an area of Carboniferous Limestone outside Britain, somewhere to the south or west. The skeleton is now on permanent display at the newly-refurbished Museum of East Dorset in Wimborne (currently closed due to COVID-19 restrictions).

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Egypt unveils ancient sarcophagi & statues found in Saqqara

© AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
Journalists gather around an ancient sarcophagus more than 2500 years old, discovered in a vast necropolis and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, center, in Saqqara, Giza, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues south of Cairo.
Egyptian antiquities officials on Saturday announced the discovery of at least 100 ancient coffins, some with mummies inside, and around 40 gilded statues in a vast Pharaonic necropolis south of Cairo.

Colorful, sealed sarcophagi and statues that were buried more than 2,500 years ago were displayed in a makeshift exhibit at the feet of the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.

Archaeologists opened a coffin with a well-preserved mummy wrapped in cloth inside. They also carried out X‐raying visualizing the structures of the ancient mummy, showing how the body had been preserved.

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Mass grave remains suggest epidemic raged in 19th century Japan

Japan mass grave
© Osaka City Cultural Properties Association via AP
This undated photo provided Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, by Osaka City Cultural Properties Association shows human bones found at the north section of the "Umeda Grave" burial site in Osaka, western Japan. The photo was taken during the cemetery research between Sept. 2019 and Aug. 2020. Archaeologists have dug up remains of more than 1,500 people, many of them showing signs of death from epidemic, at a site of a 19th century mass grave during excavation ahead of a city development project near a main train station in Osaka, western Japan.
Archaeologists have dug up the remains of more than 1,500 people, many of them believed to have died in an epidemic, who were buried in a 19th century mass grave that is being excavated for a city development project in Osaka in western Japan.

Officials at the Osaka City Cultural Properties Association studying the remains said Wednesday that they believe they are of young people who died in the late 1800s.

The Umeda Grave, one of seven historical burial sites in Japan's bustling merchant city of Osaka, was unearthed as part of a redevelopment project near a main train station. The more than 1,500 remains were found during excavations that began in September 2019, following an earlier 2016-2017 study that dug up hundreds of similar remains at adjacent locations, according to Yoji Hirata, an official at the association.

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30,000-year-old twin remains found in ancient grave in Austria

twins ancient
© Natural History Museum Vienna; modified. Communications Biology (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-01372-8
Burial 1 with the skeletal remains of two infants recovered as block in 2005 (ind1 on the left, ind2 on the right).
A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in Austria, the U.S. and Portugal has identified the remains of two infants found in an ancient grave in Austria as identical twin babies. In their paper published in the journal Communications Biology, the group describes their study of the remains and the surrounding artifacts and what they learned about the burial.

Back in 2005, archeologists discovered the remains of three very young people buried in a grave at the Krems-Wachtberg, dig site in Austria — all three had been dated to approximately 30,000 years ago. Work at the site has revealed the presence of an ancient settlement called Gravettian. In this new effort, the researchers have studied the remains of the three infants and analyzed other artifacts found in the gravesite with them.

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Better Earth

Submerged 6,000-year-old prehistoric settlement reveals Black Sea level was 5 meters lower

© archaeologist Kalin Dimitrov, via Radio Free Europe
Parts of the wooden stilts that the prehistoric people used to support their homes already in the Bronze Age, after the sharp rise of the Black Sea level, can still be seen today.
Underwater archaeologists have discovered that a submerged prehistoric settlement near the mouth of the Ropotamo River in Southeast Bulgaria previously thought to be from the Bronze Age was in fact 1,000 years older, going back to the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), and have established that 5,000 years ago, the level of the Black Sea was 5 meters lower than it is today.

Archaeological traces from the submerged prehistoric settlement on the Black Sea coast, near the mouth of the Ropotamo River in Burgas District in Southeast Bulgaria were first stumbled upon in the 1970s.

In 2017-2019, an international archaeological team from the Black Sea MAP project discovered the submerged prehistoric settlement off the coast at the mouth of the Ropotamo River, and judged it to be from the Early Bronze Age.

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When did humans first go to war?

Cain killing Abel
© Titian/Wikimedia
Cain killing Abel.
When modern humans arrived in Europe around 40,000 years ago, they made a discovery that was to change the course of history.

The continent was already populated by our evolutionary cousins, the Neanderthals, which recent evidence suggests had their own relatively sophisticated culture and technology. But within a few thousand years the Neanderthals were gone, leaving our species to continue its spread to every corner of the globe.

Precisely how Neanderthals became extinct remains a subject of fierce debate among researchers. The two main explanations given in recent years have been competition with the recently arrived modern humans and global climate change.

The persistence of Neanderthal genetic material in all modern people outside of Africa shows the two species interacted and even had sex. But it's possible that there were other kinds of interactions as well.

Some researchers have suggested that competition for resources such as prey and raw materials for stone tools may have taken place. Others have proposed violent interactions and even warfare took place, and that this may have caused the Neanderthals' demise.

This idea might seem compelling, given our species' violent history of warfare. But proving the existence of early warfare is a problematic (although fascinating) area of research.

Snakes in Suits

Worth The Price? Joe Biden And The Launch of The Iraq War

Biden worth the price
Worth the Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War is a documentary short reviewing the role of then-Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) in leading the United States into the most devastating foreign policy blunder of the last twenty years.

Produced and directed by Mark Weisbrot and narrated by Danny Glover, the film features archival footage, as well as policy experts who provide insight and testimony with regard to Joe Biden's role as the Chair of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2002.

Comment: This sick dimension of Biden's political record is lost on so many of his "progressive" supporters; he's a paid neocon/neoliberal shill that will speak and advocate vociferously on behalf war for war's sake. And is quite probably prepared to do so again, and again, and again - if he's told to do so.


5,000 year old skeleton found in Germany shows damage arrival of agriculture had on human health


The "Lady of Bietikow," as she has been named, was found in northeastern Germany and died more than 5,000 years ago
The "Lady of Bietikow," as she has been named, was found in northeastern Germany and died more than 5,000 years ago

German researchers are piecing together the life of a prehistoric woman who died more than 5,000 years ago in the Neolithic period, after her skeleton was found during excavation works for wind turbines.

The "Lady of Bietikow," as she has been named, was found near a village of the same name in northeastern Germany's Uckermark region.

The skeleton had been buried in a settlement in a squatting position, one of the oldest known forms of burial, according to local media.

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Tombstone reveals life of veteran 1st century Roman soldier and his slave


Ruins of Roman city of Almus
A tombstone inscription in Latin revealing the "sad" life story of a Roman military veteran who served a total of 44 years in the Roman military, an untypically long period, has been discovered during the excavations of the Ancient Roman city of Almus, today the town of Lom on the Danube River in Northwest Bulgaria.

Almus was one of the many substantial Roman settlements on the southern bank of the Danube River. While the main Almus Fortress was in the 3rd - 4th century, during the reigns of Roman Emperors Diocletian (r. 284-305 AD) and Constantine the Great (r. 306-337 AD), an early Roman fortress wall going back to the second half of the 1st century was discovered in 2019.

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Microscope 2

Trench fever found in 3rd century Christian community in Roman Syracuse


USF associate professor Davide Tanasi leading the excavation of remains from a Roman cemetery in Syracuse, Sicily.
First observed among British Expeditionary Forces in 1915, trench fever sickened an estimated 500,000 soldiers during World War I. Since then, the disease has become synonymous with the battlefield. But now, new research from an international team of scientists has uncovered evidence challenging this long-held belief.

The research, published this week in "PLOS ONE", outlines the discovery of DNA evidence of the disease in civilian remains predating WWI by thousands of years. In total, the team analyzed bone fragments and teeth of 145 individuals alive between the 1st and 19th centuries. Approximately 20% of those remains contained traces of Bartonella quintana, the bacteria responsible for trench fever.

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