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Gold Bar

Secret Code: Music score may lead to Nazi gold

Secret Code
© codebrekers.nl
After some initial digs, a Dutch filmmaker believes he may have found the site of buried Nazi treasure long rumored to exist. He was led to the Bavarian town of Mittenwald after cracking a code believed to be hidden in a music score.

Three attempts have been made in recent weeks to find buried Nazi treasure in the Bavarian town of Mittenwald, close to the Austrian border. Even though the holes in the ground have since been filled, the traces left by drills and blue markings are still visible below a thin layer of autumn leaves.

Authorities granted permission for the undertaking in "a bid for clarity," and before too long, the story was making headlines in local papers. "The Hunt for Nazi Gold," the Garmisch-Partenkirchner Tagblatt called it.

Residents' reactions range from annoyed to amused. "I've never seen anything like it," says one. "I can't wait to see what they find down there," says another.

Behind it all is 51-year-old Leon Giesen, a Dutch filmmaker and musician with a tantalizing theory. He is convinced that Nazi treasure is languishing below Mittenwald's roads -- gold or diamonds, at the very least.

Sherlock

Ancient Etruscan prince emerges from tomb 2,600 years later

Italian archaeologists have unearthed a 2,600-year-old intact Etruscan tomb that promises to reveal new depths of one of the ancient world's most fascinating and mysterious cultures.

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In the small vaulted chamber, the complete skeleton of an individual was resting on a stone bed on the left. A spear lay along the body, while brooches, on the chest indicated that the man was probably once dressed with a mantle.
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Israel's Masada myth: doubts cast over ancient symbol of heroism and sacrifice

Masada
© Duby Tal/Albatross/AlamyMasada, near the Dead Sea, was excavated 50 years ago.
Herod the Great's fortified complex at Masada was a winter retreat but also an insurance against a feared rebellion of his Jewish subjects or an attack from Rome. Luxurious palaces, barracks, well-stocked storerooms, bathhouses, water cisterns sat on a plateau 400m above the Dead Sea and desert floor. Herod's personal quarters in the Northern Palace contained lavish mosaics and frescoes.

But by the time the Jews revolted against the Romans, Herod had been dead for seven decades. After the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, the surviving rebels fled to Masada, under the command of Eleazer Ben Yair. Around 960 men, women and children holed up in the desert fortress as 8,000 Roman legionnaires laid siege from below.

Using Jewish slave labour, the Romans built a gigantic ramp with which they could reach the fortress and capture the rebels. On 15 April in the year 73CE, Ben Yair gathered his people and told them the time had come to "prefer death before slavery". Using a lottery system, the men killed their wives and children, then each other, until the last survivor killed himself, according to historian Flavius Josephus's account.

The Romans advanced but found only "an awful solitude, and flames within and silence, they were at a loss to conjecture what had happened Here encountering the mass of slain, instead of exulting as over enemies, they admired the nobility of their resolve". Josephus recorded that two women and three children survived to tell the tale.

Question

Were Viking slaves buried with owners?

Vikings
© Sci-Tech Today
Headless Viking bodies discovered buried in graves were likely slaves killed to be with their owners, archaeologists say. The mistreatment of the bodies, DNA results and an analysis of profound dietary differences led scientists to believe that the headless bodies were slaves who met premature ends to be interred with their masters.

About 1,000 to 1,200 years ago, a Viking man still in his 20s was laid to rest on a craggy island in the Norwegian Sea. A new analysis of his skeleton and others buried nearby -- several without their heads -- suggests a haunting possibility: Some of the dead may have been slaves killed to lie in the grave with their masters.

Slavery was widespread in the Viking world, and scientists have found other Viking graves that include the remains of slaves sacrificed as "grave goods" and buried with their masters, a custom also practiced in ancient China and elsewhere.

The newly analyzed site is one of a very few Viking burials to include more than one slave, says the University of Oslo's Elise Naumann, a Ph.D. student in archaeology who led the research.

"These are people who had values very different from our own," says Naumann, whose study was published online in the Journal of Archaeological Science last week. "There were probably a very few people who were the most privileged, and many people who suffered."

War Whore

Declassified 1961 Pentagon document: U.S. came within hair's breath of detonating atomic bomb 260 times more powerful than Hiroshima bomb over North Carolina

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© Three Lions/Getty ImagesThe bomb that nearly exploded over North Carolina was 260 times more powerful than the device which devastated Hiroshima in 1945.
A secret document, published in declassified form for the first time by the Guardian today, reveals that the US Air Force came dramatically close to detonating an atom bomb over North Carolina that would have been 260 times more powerful than the device that devastated Hiroshima.

The document, obtained by the investigative journalist Eric Schlosser under the Freedom of Information Act, gives the first conclusive evidence that the US was narrowly spared a disaster of monumental proportions when two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs were accidentally dropped over Goldsboro, North Carolina on 23 January 1961. The bombs fell to earth after a B-52 bomber broke up in mid-air, and one of the devices behaved precisely as a nuclear weapon was designed to behave in warfare: its parachute opened, its trigger mechanisms engaged, and only one low-voltage switch prevented untold carnage.

Each bomb carried a payload of 4 megatons - the equivalent of 4 million tons of TNT explosive. Had the device detonated, lethal fallout could have been deposited over Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia and as far north as New York city - putting millions of lives at risk.

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Australian archaeologists seek to solve mystery of the lost city of Zagora

Zagora
© Powerhouse Museum/Source: Supplied The dig's co-director, Lesley Beaumont from Sydney University's Department of Archaeology, uses modern testing methods at the site of the abandoned town of Zagora in Greece.
Before the first ancient Olympics, as Homer was writing his Iliad, there was a bustling early Iron Age city in Greece. And then it all but disappeared.

Australian archaeologists will try to solve the ancient mystery of why the city was abandoned and whether a lack of fresh water was the cause.

They're off to Zagora, a city that was thriving with farming and industry on the island of Andros in the 9th century BC before it was inexplicably abandoned.

That was about the time of Homer and before Sparta and the Athenian democracy.

Australia's first archaeological dig in Greece was at Zagora in the 1960s and 1970s and they managed to excavate about 10 per cent of the 6.5 hectare site but did not solve the riddle.

Now 50 Australians will begin working there again next week, hoping to finally explain why an entire population would leave a city at the heart of a major sea trading route. Some things haven't changed.

They'll have to hike in and out to the isolated site each day and use pack mules to carry heavy equipment. But some things are different.

Ground penetrating radar, satellite imaging analysis and multi-spectral treatment of those images might help, says one of the dig's co-directors, Lesley Beaumont from Sydney University's Department of Archaeology.

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When people started wearing clothes

Monkey Wearing Clothes
© TodayIFoundOut
Determining exactly when humans began wearing clothes is a challenge, largely because early clothes would have been things like animal hides, which degrade rapidly. Therefore, there's very little archaeological evidence that can be used to determine the date that clothing started being worn.

There have been several different theories based on what archaeologists have been able to find. For instance, based on genetic skin-coloration research, humans lost body hair around one million years ago - an ideal time to start wearing clothes for warmth. The first tools used to scrape hides date back to 780,000 years ago, but animal hides served other uses, such as providing shelter, and it's thought that those tools were used to prepare hides for that, rather than clothing. Eyed needles started appearing around 40,000 years ago, but those tools point to more complex clothing, meaning clothes had probably already been around for a while.

All that being said, scientists have started gathering alternative data that might help solve the mystery of when we humans started covering our bits.

A recent University of Florida study concluded that humans started wearing clothes some 170,000 years ago, lining up with the end of the second-to-last ice age. How did they figure that date out? By studying the evolution of lice.

Scientists observed that clothing lice are, well, extremely well-adapted to clothing. They hypothesized that body lice must have evolved to live in clothing, which meant that they weren't around before humans started wearing clothes. The study used DNA sequencing of lice to calculate when clothing lice started to genetically split from head lice.

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Gobekli Tepe was no laughing matter

Gobekli Tepe
© arXiv:1307.8397 Gobekli Tepe megalithic enclosures, view from the south (image in the public domain).
The circular stone enclosures known as the temple at Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey remain the oldest of its kind, dating back to around the 10th millennium B.C.

But Göbekli Tepe may also be the world's oldest science building.

Giulio Magli of the Polytechnic University of Milan hypothesizes it may have been built due to the "birth" of a "new" star; the brightest star and fourth brightest object of the sky, what we call Sirius (Greek for "glowing").

Sirius, which we also call the 'dog star' due to its location in the constellation Canis Major, was obviously not born 12,000 years ago, but Hipparchus would not discover the phenomenon of "precession" until 200 BC, when he compared the equinoxes in his time with older charts and made the connection. Precession at the latitude of Göbekli Tepe would have sent Sirius under the viewing horizon of those in ancient Turkey around 15,000 BC, where it remained unseen again until around 9,300 B.C. To those residents it was a new star appearing for the first time.

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Faces of ancient Mexico revealed in newfound skulls

Prehistoric Skulls
© Ashley HumphriesHighlighted areas show regions where the prehistoric skulls came from in a study showing physical diversity among indigenous people.
Long before the arrival of European colonizers, the indigenous people of Mexico showed wide variation in their facial appearance, a diversity that perhaps has not been fully appreciated, a new study of skulls suggests.

"There has long been a school of thought that there was little physical variation prior to European contact," study researcher Ann Ross, a forensic anthropologist at North Carolina State University, said in a statement.

"But we've found that there were clear differences between indigenous peoples before Europeans or Africans arrived in what is now Mexico."

In other words, the researchers say there is not one phenotype, or bundle of physical characteristics, for all native people - contrary to earlier studies that looked at hair color, skin color and body form, and concluded that physical variation among indigenous Mexican people was modest.

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New discovery shows ancient Mayans dismembered their enemies

Ancient Human Remains
© Nicolaus Seefeld/Uni Bonn Scientists from the University of Bonn discover the remains of dismembered human bodies in an artificial cave in the Classic Maya city Uxul in Mexico. The image shows the artificial cave's interior during the excavations with several skulls, lower jaws and ribs.
The latest finding about the ancient Maya shows that you wouldn't have wanted to be on the bad side of the ancient culture.

Scientists from the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn discovered a mass grave in an artificial cave in the historical Maya city of Uxul containing 24 individuals who were decapitated and dismembered. The bones discovered are about 1,400 years old, and the scientists assume that the victims were either prisoners of war or nobles from Uxul itself.

The team has been excavating in the historical Maya city of Uxul in Campeche, Mexico for the past five years in hopes of researching the origins and the collapse of regional states in the Maya lowlands. Their findings indicate that the artificial cave was not always a mass grave site, but was also used as a water reservoir.

"Aside from the large number of interred individuals, it already became apparent during the excavation that the skeletons were no longer in their original anatomical articulation", says archaeologist Nicolaus Seefeld.