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Sat, 27 Nov 2021
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Justinianic Plague was nothing like flu and may have struck England before it reached Constantinople, new study suggests

plague black death
© CC0 Public Domain
'Plague sceptics' are wrong to underestimate the devastating impact that bubonic plague had in the 6th- 8th centuries CE, argues a new study based on ancient texts and recent genetic discoveries.

The same study suggests that bubonic plague may have reached England before its first recorded case in the Mediterranean via a currently unknown route, possibly involving the Baltic and Scandinavia.

The Justinianic Plague is the first known outbreak of bubonic plague in west Eurasian history and struck the Mediterranean world at a pivotal moment in its historical development, when the Emperor Justinian was trying to restore Roman imperial power.

Comment: Its looking increasingly likely that Justinian's era saw the collapse of Roman imperial power: 536 AD, the year the sky went dark

Comment: See also: And for Precopius' fascinating insight into Justinian's rule, see: Truth or Lies Part 8 Procopius: Secret History

Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Who was Jesus? Examining the evidence that Christ may in fact have been Caesar!


To understand how the US military killed so many civilians in Syria, we must look at its tactics

Bombing in Baghuz
© Giuseppe Cacace/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Heavy bombardment in Baghuz, Syria — the Islamic State’s last holdout — March 18, 2019.
The reports about the US 2019 airstrike that killed up to 64 civilians in the ISIS-controlled town of Baghuz, Syria shocked millions of Americans. But this wanton murder is nothing new.

To understand how we got to Baghuz, all one has to do is study the Battle of Raqqa that preceded it.

The bombing conducted by the US Air Force in March 2019 in support of Syrian Kurdish forces mopping up the last vestiges of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) holing up in and around the village of Baghuz, along the Syrian-Iraqi border, has come under renewed scrutiny after allegations that the Department of Defense covered up claims that a war crime may have occurred. These allegations, first detailed in a New York Times article, claim that some 80 people, including 64 civilian women and children, may have been killed by a deliberate air strike conducted by US Air Force F-15E fighters dropping a mix of 500- and 2,000-pound bombs.

While the incident in question may not, on final scrutiny, fall within the legal definition of a war crime, it does appear to be part of a larger pattern of callous indifference by the US-led anti-ISIS coalition toward civilian casualties sustained in the fight against ISIS which dates to the battle for Raqqa, the one-time capital city of the short-lived ISIS Caliphate.


Scythian gods on a silver plate discovered in Russia

The members of the Don expedition of IA RAS have found a unique plate with a depiction of winged Scythian gods in surrounding of griffons during their examinations of the barrow cemetery Devitsa V in Ostrogozhsky District of Voronezh Oblast. This is the first case of such a finding in the Scythian barrows on Middle Don, earlier there have never been found the items with the depictions of gods from the Scythian pantheon.
Silver Plate
© Institute of Archaeology of Russian Academy of Sciences
Silver plate with a depiction of Scythian Gods and eagle head griffons.
"The finding has made an important contribution to our concepts of Scythian beliefs. Firstly, a particular number of gods are depicted at once on one item. Secondly, it has never happened before that an item with depicted gods has been found so far from the north-east of the main Scythian centers", said the head of the Don expedition, doctor of historical sciences, Valeriy Gulyaev.

Barrow cemetery Devitsa V named after the neighboring village area was found in 2000 by the Don archaeological expedition of IA RAS. The site is situated on the hill of the right bank of the river Devitsa and is a group of 19 mounds which are situated in two parallel chains stretched from west to east. However, the significant part of ancient barrows has already disappeared: the necropolis area belongs to an agricultural sector and being actively ploughed.

Since 2010 the site has been systematically studied by the specialists from the Don expedition of IA RAS. During the cemetery excavations some great discoveries have already been made. Thus in 2019 in the barrow 9 the burial was found which held the remains of a woman-warrior and an old lady in a ceremonial female head wear - calathe.


The CIA's crack-cocaine enterprise and the destruction of urban America

Gary Webb
The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been accused of involvement in drug trafficking. Books and investigations on the subject that have received general notice include works by the historian Alfred McCoy, professor Dale Scott, journalists Gary Webb and Alexander Cockburn, and writer Larry Collins. These claims have led to investigations by the United States government, including hearings and reports by the United States House of Representatives, Senate, Department of Justice, and the CIA's Office of the Inspector General. U.S. Government Officials said in 1990 the supposed Anti-Drug Unit at the CIA. "accidentally" shipped a ton of cocaine into the US from Venezuela as part of an effort to infiltrate and gather evidence on drug gangs. The cocaine was then sold on the streets of America. As expected, no criminal charges were brought, although CIA officer Mark McFarlin resigned and one officer was disciplined. The CIA issued a statement on the incident saying there was "poor judgment and management on the part of several CIA officers". We are meant to believe that it all ends there. But this story is much bigger and more wide-ranging than even the issue of drugs on the streets on America and the targeting of black communities with the new deadly drug known as crack.


Genetic changes in Bronze Age southern Iberia

The third millennium BCE brought about substantial transformations that are visible in the cultures of Bronze Age Europeans. A new study led by researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for the Science of Human History (Jena) and Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig), and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona documents the arrival of new genetic ancestry to southern Iberia, concomitant with the rise of the Early Bronze Age El Argar culture around 2,200 BCE.

La Bastida (Totana, Murcia)
The fortified settlement of La Bastida (Totana, Murcia). This is one of the largest and best excavated settlements of El Argar (2,200 to 1,550 BCE).
The third millennium BCE is a highly dynamic period in the prehistory of Europe and western Asia, characterized by large-scale social and political changes. In the Iberian Peninsula, the Copper Age was in full swing around 2,500 years BCE with substantial demographic growth, attested by a large diversity of settlements and fortifications, monumental funerary structures, as well as ditched mega-sites larger than 100 hectares. For reasons that are still unclear, the latter half of the millennium experienced depopulation and the abandonment of the mega-sites, fortified settlements and necropoles.

In southeastern Iberia, one of the most outstanding archaeological entities of the European Bronze Age emerged around 2,200 BCE. This so-called 'El Argar' culture, one of the first state-level societies on the European continent, was characterised by large, central hilltop settlements, distinct pottery, specialized weapons and bronze, silver and gold artefacts, alongside an intra-murial burial rite. A new study explores the relation between dynamic shifts at population scale and the major social and political changes of the third and second millennia BCE by analysing the genomes of 136 ancient Iberians, ranging from 3,000 to 1,500 BCE.


Ancient dagger find helps identify lost Roman battle site in present-day Switzerland

roman dagger lost battle field
© Archaeological Service Graubünden
The ancient iron dagger is richly decorated with inlays of silver and brass. It belonged to a Roman legionary, and may have been buried intentionally as a token of thanks after a victory in battle
An amateur archaeologist in Switzerland has discovered an ornate dagger wielded by a Roman soldier 2,000 years ago.

That discovery, found using a metal detector, led a team of archaeologists to the site, who then uncovered hundreds of artifacts from a "lost" battlefield where Roman legionaries fought Rhaetian warriors as Imperial Rome sought to consolidate power in the area.

Archaeologists think one of those legionaries may have buried the newfound dagger intentionally after the battle as a token of thanks for a victory. Only four similar daggers — with distinctive features like its cross-shaped handle — have ever been found in former Roman territories.

Eye 1

Nazis based their elite schools on top British private schools

guardian 5
© Napola School
Pupils and staff at the Nazi elite school in Ballenstedt prepare for a football match with a private school team from the UK, spring 1937.
Nazi Germany's elite schools, which were set up to train future leaders of the Third Reich, used British private schools such as Eton and Harrow as their models, a new book reveals.

The historian Helen Roche has written the first comprehensive history of Nazi elite schools, known as Napolas. Drawing on research undertaken in 80 archives in six countries as well as testimonies from more than 100 former pupils, Roche discovered just how keen the Nazis were to learn from the "character-forming" example of the British system.

Between 1934 and 1939 there was a blizzard of reciprocal exchanges between British and German schools, with boys from Britain's most prestigious private schools spending extended periods at the Napolas.

Comment: One wonders what else they learnt from British private schools. See also:


Neolithic site excavated in Taiyuan, China

Ancient Pottery
© Taiyuan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
An unearthed red pottery bowl from the Yangshao Culture relic site in Zhencheng village, Taiyuan
The Shanxi Institute of Archaeology and Taiyuan Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology recently identified a cultural relic site in the provincial capital of Taiyuan as remains from middle to late Yangshao Culture, a Neolithic culture that existed extensively along the Yellow River in China between 7,000 years and 5,000 years ago.

The relic site excavated from May to July is located 900 meters southwest of Zhencheng village, Baiban township, Jiancaoping district.

A total of 98 ash pits, 11 pottery kilns, two house sites, and six tombs from the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties were excavated at the site. A large number of pottery pieces, stone tools, human bones, and animal bones were discovered.


Another sun temple found in Egyptian desert, 'the most important discovery of the last 50 years'

sun temple egypt

Academics believe when combined with newly discovered architecture, evidence points to the site being one of the rare sun temples
Archaeologists in Egypt have found proof that they are excavating a rare ancient sun temple, the third ever found and the first to be uncovered in 50 years.

These temples were built for pharaohs while they were still alive to grant rulers the status of god, in contrast to pyramids which ensured they were gods in the afterlife as well.

It is believed only six were built and so far only two have been found but now archaeologists digging beneath the remains of one of the known sun temples in Abu Gorab, north of Egyptian archaeology locality Abusir, have found proof of a third one.

Comment: See also:


The trackball is older than the mouse, and we can thank Canada for it

5 pin bowling balls

Five-pin bowling balls are small enough to fit in the hand, so they do not have finger holes.
So, as it turns out, before the virtual bowling alley borrowed something from the trackball, the inventors of the trackball borrowed something from the actual bowling alley — specifically, the Canadian variation of it, called 5-pin bowling.

Unlike the giant hulking rocks that tend to get thrown in American bowling alleys, 5-pin relies on a ball slightly less than 5 inches in diameter — larger than a skee-ball (which is 3 inches in diameter) and roughly the size of the ball used in duckpin bowling, but using five pins, instead of 10 (hence the name).

Clearly, this is a fairly novel point about an object that has inspired a lot of other devices that have come since — and its one that hints at its initial creation in the early 1950s. The device is Canadian through and through, a project formulated at the behest of the Royal Canadian Navy by Ferranti Canada, as part of a much larger project — a military information system called Digital Automated Tracking and Resolving, or DATAR.