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Wed, 27 Oct 2021
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Secret History


Completed Vermeer restoration reveals a painting within a painting

vermeer painting restoration process
© Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, SKD; photo by Wolfgang Kreische
Restoring Vermeer’s “Girl Reading a Letter at an open Window” (1657-59)
The female figure in Johannes Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657-59), art historians have long known, is not exactly alone in the room. As early as 1979, x-rays revealed a painting of a full-length cupid hanging on the wall behind her, partly shielded by a silky green trompe l'oeil curtain pulled to the side. This picture-within-a-picture, a hallmark of the artist's opulent renderings of Dutch interiors, was further confirmed using infrared photography.

But until recently, experts assured us Vermeer had painted over the chubby amorini himself. In 2019, laboratory tests led to a shocking discovery: the cupid imagery was covered up by someone other than the artist, likely decades after its completion. Conservators at the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in Dresden, where the painting has resided for over 250 years, decided to return the work to its original state, removing the layers of varnish and overpaint concealing the original composition.


The first farmers of Europe

Underwater excavation
© Marco Hostettler
Underwater excavation situation in Ploča Michovgrad, Lake Ohrid, Northern Macedonia (2018-2019).
A research team from the University of Bern has managed to precisely date pile dwellings on the banks of Lake Ohrid in the south-western Balkans for the first time: they came into being in the middle of the 5th millennium BC. The region around the oldest lake in Europe played a key role in the proliferation of agriculture.

Remains of under-water sites are a stroke of luck for pre-historic archaeology. The wooden piles from which their foundations were built have been preserved excellently: In the absence of oxygen, they were not corroded by bacteria or fungi. Wood preserved in this way is excellently well suited for dendrochronological examinations, which can be dated using growth rings. The age of the wood, and thus the time at which the settlements were built, can be determined in combination with radiocarbon dating. This method has now been applied outside of the Alpine region for the first time.

Under the leadership of the University of Bern, around 800 piles were dated in the large international EXPLO project (see info below). They come from a site on the east coast of Lake Ohrid. The results were presented recently in the Journal of Archaeological Science. The new findings prove that the settlement in the Bay of Ploča Mičov Grad near the Macedonian town of Ohrid was constructed in different phases. And over thousands of years: From the Neolithic Period (middle of the 5th millennium BC) until the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC). Until now, it was assumed that it was a settlement from the period around 1000 BC. This intensive construction activity explains the extraordinary density of wooden piles at the site. The settlements were built virtually over one another.

Blue Planet

Neanderthal child tooth discovered in Iran reveals geographical range, belongs to extinction era

A new study conducted by a team of archaeologists and paleoanthropologists from Germany, Italy, Iran, and Britain delves into the discovery of an in-situ Neanderthal tooth, which was discovered in 2017 in a rock shelter, western Iran.

The research is described in a paper in the online journal PLOS ONE that was published last Thursday. The tooth, which is a lower left deciduous canine that belongs to a 6 years old child, was found at a depth of 2.5 m from the surface of the Bawa Yawan shelter in association with animal bones and stone tools near Kermanshah.

Performed by senior Iranian archaeologist Saman Heydari-Guran based in the Neanderthal Museum in Mettmann, and his international fellows such as Stefano Benazzi, who is a physical anthropologist at the University of Bologna, analysis shows that the tooth has Neanderthal affinities.

Comment: See also:


Ancient humans crafted bone tools carved from elephants

Bone tools excavated from Castel di Guido in Italy.
© Villa et al. 2021 PLOS ONE
Bone tools excavated from Castel di Guido in Italy.
Ancient humans could do some impressive things with elephant bones.

In a new study, University of Colorado Boulder archaeologist Paola Villa and her colleagues surveyed tools excavated from a site in Italy where large numbers of elephants had died. The team discovered that humans at this site roughly 400,000 years ago appropriated those carcasses to produce an unprecedented array of bone tools — some crafted with sophisticated methods that wouldn't become common for another 100,000 years.

"We see other sites with bone tools at this time," said Villa, an adjoint curator at the CU Boulder Museum of Natural History. "But there isn't this variety of well-defined shapes."

Villa and her colleagues published their results this month in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study zeroes in on a site called Castel di Guido not far from modern-day Rome. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, it was the location of a gully that had been carved by an ephemeral stream — an environment where 13-foot-tall creatures called straight-tusked elephants (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) quenched their thirst and, occasionally, died.

Castel di Guido's hominids made good use of the remains, occupying the site off and on over the years. The researchers report that these Stone Age residents produced tools using a systematic, standardized approach, a bit like a single individual working on a primitive assembly line.

"At Castel di Guido, humans were breaking the long bones of the elephants in a standardized manner and producing standardized blanks

Blue Planet

Iron Age grave of likely Roman warrior found on Swedish island

roman warrior
© Katarina Hedström/Sveriges Radio
According to archaeologists, warrior graves of this kind, dating back to the 300s-500s, may be found once every 30 years. This particular one, however, stands out due to its possible connections to continental Europe and the Roman Empire.

A skeleton, sword, and spurs that belonged to an Iron Age warrior have been found during an archaeological excavation on the Swedish Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

Researchers believe the man may have served in the Roman army.

Comment: See also:

Better Earth

26,000 year old, most northerly settlement of Palaeolithic era found on Kotelny island in the Arctic, evidence of butchered mammoth bones found

Palaeolithic mammoth
© The Siberian Times
The northernmost human site of the Palaeolithic era.
Experts have confirmed that ancient hunters resided on Kotelny, off the coast of Yakutia, at 75°20′N 141°00′E, a remarkable 990 kilometres (615 miles) north of the Arctic Circle.

Their butchering tools have been found alongside multiple bones of extinct woolly mammoths.

Scientists have restored 70% of the skeleton of one Palaeolithic mammoth on which these hardy people were feasting.

Comment: Indeed the climate must have been milder to be able to sustain mammoths, but, contrary to the scientist's statement, the land's latitude was also likely further south: Of Flash Frozen Mammoths and Cosmic Catastrophes

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: America Before: Comets, Catastrophes, Mounds and Mythology


The Lore Lindu megaliths

Lore Lindu Megalith!
© alvarobueno - Shutterstock
The Lore Lindu Megaliths are a series of carved stone monuments, centred on the Bada Valley within the Lore Lindu National Park, located on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Sulawesi also known as Celebes is one of the four Greater Sunda Islands and was first inhabited during prehistory when the island almost certainly formed part of the land bridge used for the settlement of Australia and New Guinea by at least 40,000 BC.

A majority of the present-day island inhabitants descend from the Buginese or Bugis people, which are an ethnic group that migrated around 2000 BC to the area around Lake Tempe, and Lake Sidenreng, in the Walannae Depression in the southwest peninsula of Sulawesi.

Little is known about the Pre-Bugis people, as the extent of archaeological research has been limited, but anthropologists theorise a chiefdom culture based on an economy of hunting and gathering, and swidden or shifting agriculture.


From PSYOP to MindWar

Dr. Strangelove
"MindWar must be strategic in emphasis, with tactical applications playing a reinforcing, supplementary role. In its strategic context, MindWar must reach out to friends, enemies, and neutrals alike across the globe...through the media possessed by the United States which have the capabilities to reach virtually all people on the face of the Earth...State of the art developments in satellite communication, video recording techniques, and laser and optical transmission of broadcasts make possible a penetration of the minds of the world such as would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. Like the sword of Excalibur, we have but to reach out and seize this tool; and it can transform the world for us if we have the courage and integrity to enhance civilization with it. If we do not accept Excalibur, then we relinquish our ability to inspire foreign cultures with our morality. If they can then desire moralities unsatisfactory to us, we have no choice but to fight them on a more brutish level."

- "From PSYOP to MindWar: The Psychology of Victory" by Col. Paul Vallely and Maj. Michael Aquino, a document written to increase the influence of the "spoon-benders" in the U.S. military.
About one year ago, the U.S. military conducted a simulation of a "limited" nuclear exchange with...Russia. This was strange news on several accounts. For one, this sort of thing is not typically announced in the candid detail U.S. defense secretary Mark Esper described to journalists, giddy that he got to "play himself" in this war game scenario as if he were preparing for a Hollywood movie doing his best John Wayne impression: "If you got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow."

However, the most concerning revelation of this simulated exercise was the announcement to the American people that "it might be possible to fight, and win, a battle with nuclear weapons, without the exchange leading to an all-out-world-ending conflict."

Bacon n Eggs

Gender differences in diets of ancient Romans revealed in new analysis of Pompeii skeletons


Archaeologists examined skeletal remains at Herculaneum - which was buried under volcanic ash and pumice by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79
Roman men and women in the ancient Italian town of Herculaneum - which was buried under volcanic ash and pumice by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 - had very different diets, a new study shows.

Researchers led by the University of York found that access to food in the ill-fated settlement 'was differentiated according to gender'.

The experts used a new approach to analyse amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, from 17 adult skeletons - 11 men and six women - originally found in Herculaneum in the eruption's aftermath.

Comment: See also:

Star of David

Israel's nukes make US aid illegal

Nuclear Reactor Dimona
© Unknown Declassified
Nuclear reactor in Dimona, Israel
Peter Beinart's New York Times essay "America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel's Nukes" earlier this month caused a firestorm. In it, Beinart noted how the prevalence of US "lies of omission" allow policymakers and politicians to pretend Israel does not have nuclear weapons. This in turn generates the false narrative that Iran's nuclear program could initiate a Middle East nuclear arms race. Beinart laments how US deceptions about Israel's nuclear arsenal undermine America's self-proclaimed status as a champion of non-proliferation.

What Beinart did not appear to know - until educated by Twitter users - is what machinery keeps the US in lockstep with Israeli so-called "nuclear ambiguity" and why it exists.

Comment: Israel and the US: How David appropriates Goliath and where it aims its rocks.