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Blue Planet

The Bronze Age village buried by the Plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius

© Shutterstock
The Plinian eruption of Mount Vesuvius around 4,000 years ago - 2,000 years before the one that buried the Roman city of Pompeii, preserved the Early Bronze Age village of Afragola in metres of ash, mud and alluvial sediments.

The village of Afragola was situated near present-day Naples, about 10 miles from Mount Vesuvius. Owing to the level of preservation and the diversity of preserved plants at the site, researchers were interested to see if they could pinpoint the time of year when the eruption occurred.

Afragola was excavated over an area of 5,000 square metres, making it among one of the most extensively investigated sites of the Early Bronze Age in Italy.

Better Earth

Crannogs: DNA points to elites living on Western Europe's neolithic artificial islands

© Shutterstock
Researchers have recovered DNA from the sediments surrounding crannogs, ancient artificial islands.
Crannogs were built and occupied from the Neolithic, 4000-2200 BC, through to the 16th century AD. They are typically described as a partially or entirely artificial island, usually constructed in lakes and estuarine waters. Hundreds have been found across Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland; however, the aquatic location of crannogs makes them difficult for archaeologists to excavate.

Professor Antony Brown from UiT Arctic University of Norway, and an interdisciplinary team from across the UK took samples from lake sediments at crannog sites. The team found ancient DNA known as 'sedaDNA', along with environmental and biochemical data, suggesting that the structures were once used by elites according to a paper published in the journal Antiquity.

Comment: See also: Crannogs: Scotland's mysterious ancient artificial islands


Stone spheres could be from ancient Greek board game

Archaeologists from the University of Bristol have suggested that mysterious stone spheres found at various ancient settlements across the Aegean and Mediterranean could be playing pieces from one of the earliest ever board games.

Ancient Stones
© Konstantinos Trimmis
The kernos (slab with cup marks) at the square of the House of the Benches and an interpretation of how the spheres could be associated.
There has been quite a lot of speculation around these spheres found at sites on Santorini, Crete, Cyprus, and other Greek Islands with theories around their use including being for some sort of sling stones, tossing balls, counting/record-keeping system or as counters/pawns.

Previous research by the same team from the University of Bristol indicated that there was variability in sphere size within specific clusters and collections of spheres. Following on from this the team wanted to explore potential patterning within these sphere concentrations, to help give an insight into their potential use.

The latest study published this week in the Journal of Archaeological Science Reports by Drs Christianne Fernée and Konstantinos Trimmis from the University of Bristol's Department of Anthropology and Archaeology examined common features on 700 stones - which range from around 4,500 to 3,600 years old - found at the Bronze Age town of Akrotiri on the island of Santorini.

The stones, which are smaller than golf balls, are in various colours and made from different materials. The analysis put the stones into two groups of larger stones and smaller. In addition, in Akrotiri and in other settlements across the Aegean there are stone slabs with shallow cup marks where the spheres could have sat or been placed.


Reagan Approved Plan to Sabotage Soviets Gas Pipeline In 1982

russian gas pipeline
In January 1982, President Ronald Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.

Thomas C. Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in "At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War," to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of "cold-eyed economic warfare" against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William J. Casey during the final years of the Cold War.

At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There were also signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.

Comment: The above obviously speaks to the lengths that certain elements in Washington (during the Cold War - and now) would be willing to go to in order to achieve its political and economic ends in Russia.

Better Earth

Australian caves are 500,000 years older than thought, and it could explain a megafauna mystery

© Steve Bourne, Author provided, Author provided
South Australia's Naracoorte Caves is one of the world's best fossil sites, containing a record spanning more than half a million years. Among the remains preserved in layers of sand are the bones of many iconic Australian megafauna species that became extinct between 48,000 and 37,000 years ago.

The reasons for the demise of these megafauna species are intensely debated. But the older the fossils we can find, the better we can understand the species' evolution and extinction.

To date, determining the precise age of the caves has been difficult. However our research demonstrates, for the first time, how old Naracoorte's caves really are — and the answer is up to 500,000 years older than previously thought.

Comment: See also:

Arrow Down

How an obscure intelligence-linked party fixed a second Brexit referendum and torpedoed Corbyn

3 peeps
© Renew
Renew launches on February 19, 2018 at the height of Corbyn's popularity
The pro-EU Renew party emerged from out of nowhere at the height of "Corbynmania," pushing for a second Brexit referendum that led to the Labour leader's demise. The intelligence backgrounds of Renew's founders were kept under wraps - until now.

When Britain's little-remembered Renew Party officially launched in the heart of Westminster in February of 2018, its founders addressed a room of mostly empty chairs. The party's youthful and little-known co-founder, Chris Coghlan, announced a bold pro-EU agenda centered on forcing a second Brexit referendum.

Founded in the midst of a surge in popular support for the Labour Party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Renew arrived on the electoral scene at a time when the British establishment feared a genuine left-wing takeover of 10 Downing Street. While its launch initially attracted mockery from the press, with The Sunday Times describing it as a "damp squib," Renew eventually played a decisive but hitherto unacknowledged role in Corbyn's downfall.


Archaeologist narrows down the time range for the Theran eruption

volcano eruption art
© Shutterstock
An archaeologist from Cornell University has applied a statical analysis to narrow down the time range for the Theran eruption in the Holocene epoch.

The Theran eruption, also called the Minoan eruption devastated the Greek island of Santorini. The eruption deposited layers of pumice and ash, followed by pyroclastic surges, lava flows, lahar floods, and co-ignimbrite ash-fall deposits, leaving Santorini uninhabited for centuries.

By parsing available data and combining it with cutting-edge statistical analysis, Sturt Manning, professor of archaeology, has zeroed in on a narrow range of dates for the eruption. His modeling identified the most likely range of dates between about 1609-1560 BC with a 95.4% probability, or 1606-1589 BC with a 68.3% probability.

Comment: Coinciding with other catastrophic events dated to that period: Bronze Age civilization collapse: Massive overhead meteor explosion wiped out Near East 3,700 years ago

Comment: See also:


7,000-year-old structure near Prague is older than Stonehenge, Egyptian pyramids

It's among the 'oldest evidence of architecture' in Europe.
Vinoř roundel near Prague
© Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
An aerial view of the Vinoř roundel near Prague, showing three separate entrances.
Archaeologists digging near Prague have discovered the remains of a Stone Age structure that's older than Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids: an enigmatic complex known as a roundel. Nearly 7,000 years ago during the late Neolithic, or New Stone Age, a local farming community may have gathered in this circular building, although its true purpose is unknown.

The excavated roundel is large — about 180 feet (55 meters) in diameter, or about as long as the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tall, Radio Prague International reported. And while "it is too early to say anything about the people building this roundel," it's clear that they were part of the Stroked Pottery culture, which flourished between 4900 B.C. and 4400 B.C., Jaroslav Řídký, a spokesperson for the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IAP) and an expert on the Czech Republic's roundels, told Live Science in an email.

Miroslav Kraus, director of the roundel excavation in the district of Vinoř on behalf of the IAP, said that revealing the structure could give them a clue about the use of the building. Researchers first learned about the Vinoř roundel's existence in the 1980s, when construction workers were laying gas and water pipelines, according to Radio Prague International, but the current dig has revealed the structure's entirety for the first time. So far, his team has recovered pottery fragments, animal bones and stone tools in the ditch fill, according to Řídký.

Carbon-dating organic remains from this roundel excavation could help the team pinpoint the date of the structure's construction and possibly link it with a Neolithic settlement discovered nearby.

Blue Planet

Southern England populated with 75% of migrant families from continental regions during Anglo-Saxon period

anglo saxon
© Landesmuseum Hannover
Grave goods from inhumation grave 3532 at Issendorf cemetery.
Almost three hundred years after the Romans left, scholars like Bede wrote about the Angles and the Saxons and their migrations to the British Isles. Scholars of many disciplines, including archaeology, history, linguists and genetics, have debated what his words might have described, and what the scale, the nature and the impact of human migration were at that time.

New genetic results now show that around 75 percent of the population in Eastern and Southern England was made up of migrant families whose ancestors must have originated from continental regions bordering the North Sea, including the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. What is more, these families interbred with the existing population of Britain, but importantly this integration varied from region to region and community to community.

Comment: In Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls Laura Knight-Jadczyk provides insight into what could have contributed to these mass migration events:
Until that point in time, the Britons had held control of post-Roman Britain, keeping the Anglo-Saxons isolated and suppressed. After the Romans were gone, the Britons maintained the status quo, living in towns, with elected officials, and carrying on trade with the empire. After AD 536, the year reported as the "death of Arthur", the Britons, the ancient Cymric empire that at one time had stretched from Cornwall in the south to Strathclyde in the north, all but disappeared, and were replaced by Anglo-Saxons. There is much debate among scholars as to whether the Anglo-Saxons killed all of the Britons, or assimilated them. Here we must consider that they were victims of possibly many overhead cometary explosions which wiped out most of the population of Europe, plunging it into the Dark Ages which were, apparently, really DARK, atmospherically speaking.
See also: And check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


Food insecurity driven by climate change contributed to international conflict in Ancient Palmyra

© Rubina Raja and Palmyra Portrait Project.
Palmyra and its immediate surroundings, 1920’s.
Ancient Palmyra has gripped public imagination since its picturesque ruins were "rediscovered" in the seventeenth century by western travellers. The most legendary story of ancient Palmyra is that of Queen Zenobia ruling over a thriving city in the Syrian Desert who dared to challenge the Roman Empire but ultimately got defeated. Her kingdom was subjugated, and the city was reduced to a small settlement without any wide-ranging importance. This has only recently been overshadowed by the catastrophic events of the Syrian Civil War that saw the archaeological site and the museum plundered and many monuments destroyed.

Deteriorating climate and a growing population

Now, scientists from Aarhus University and the University of Bergen are questioning the historical narrative about the final blow given to the city solely by the Roman invasion in 272/273 CE.

Comment: See also: 536 AD: Plague, famine, drought, cold, and a mysterious fog that lasted 18 months