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Blue Planet

Longest stretch of Ancient Jerusalem's upper aqueduct discovered

© Sraya Diamant
The directors of the dig in Givat Hamatos, Dr. Ofer Sion, left, and Rotem Cohen. The ancient aqueduct was discovered during an archeological dig in East Jerusalem's Givat Hamatos, ahead of the construction of a new neighborhood in the controversial area.
An archeological salvage dig in East Jerusalem that was carried out in advance of the construction of a new neighborhood has uncovered a 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) stretch of ancient Jerusalem's upper aqueduct.

Researchers have attempted for about 150 years to decipher the secret of how the ancient city's huge water system brought water to Jerusalem during the Second Temple period (which ended in the year 70) and on into the late Roman period. In its time, it was the largest network of water infrastructure in the country.

Experts know about two aqueducts from those periods: the lower aqueduct, which supplied the Temple, and the upper aqueduct, which suppled the upper city - where the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter of the Old City are now situated. The two aqueducts carried water over considerable distances from Solomon's Pools in the Bethlehem area into Jerusalem's city walls. Small sections of aqueduct were discovered over the years, but the debate about their precise route - and particularly when they were built - continues.

Comment: Recent studies reveal that our understanding of history and religion of the area is sorely lacking: Also check out SOTT radio's:


Paleolithic artists incorporated natural rock formations into cave painting designs, stereoscopic imaging reveals

Paleolithic art
© amiteshikha, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Research led by Complutense University, Madrid, has discovered an array of ancient cave paintings hidden among previously described cave art. In a paper, "Animals hidden in plain sight: stereoscopic recording of Paleolithic rock art at La Pasiega cave, Cantabria," published in Antiquity, the team fills in details missing from previous photographic images.

The researchers revisited La Pasiega cave's rock art using new digital stereoscopic recording methods and identified previously unnoticed animal figures within the cave art. Specifically, they discovered new depictions of horses, deer, and a large bovid (possibly an aurochs) that had not been recognized before.

Some figures were previously considered incomplete as if the artist simply gave up on the rendering midway through. Through stereoscopic photography and a better understanding of how natural rock formations were incorporated into the artwork, these incomplete figures were reinterpreted as complete animal depictions.

Comment: There's sufficient evidence to conclude that our paleolithic ancestors were much more capable, creative, and inspired, than we are led to believe: Also check out SOTT radio's:

Red Flag

How the Soviets used common criminals to destroy the regime's enemies

Listen to the Audio Mises Wire version of this article.

As violent crime rates rise and unsolved homicides become more common, Many ordinary voters have noticed that the regime doesn't seem especially interested in investigating and prosecuting actual dangerous criminals. At the same time, the regime appears increasingly paranoid about "antidemocratic" activities and other alleged threats to the state. Gangs of thieves cleaning out the inventory of small businesses? The ruling elite isn't concerned. Meanwhile, if a small business owner fails to report a $700 transaction on Venmo, heavily armed IRS agents may soon show up on his doorstep.

This apparent trend toward ignoring violent criminals while prosecuting hapless middle-class taxpayers has caused many conservative activists — such as Tucker Carlson and Mike Cernovich — to resurrect the thirty-year-old phrase "anarcho-tyranny." Conservative columnist Sam Francis defined the term in the early 1990s as "the combination of oppressive government power against the innocent and the law-abiding and, simultaneously, a grotesque paralysis of the ability or the will to use that power to carry out basic public duties such as protection or public safety."


Buffalo slaughter left lasting impact on Indigenous peoples

American Bison
© Emory University
“Bison were not just key to the economies of some Indigenous nations,” says Emory economist Maggie Jones, co-author of the study. “The bison were also important cultural and spiritual symbols.”
The mass slaughter of North American bison by settlers of European descent is a well-known ecological disaster. An estimated eight million bison roamed the United States in 1870, but just 20 years later fewer than 500 of the iconic animals remained.

The mass slaughter provided a brief economic boon to some newly arriving settlers, hunters and traders of the Great Plains who sold the hides and bones for industrial uses.

In contrast, Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the bison suffered a devastating economic shock — one that still reverberates in these communities today, an economic study finds.

The Review of Economic Studies published the findings by economists at Emory University, the University of Toronto and the University of Victoria. The researchers quantified both the immediate and long-term economic impacts of the loss of the bison on Indigenous peoples whose lives depended on the animals.

Changes in the average height of bison-related people is one striking example of the fallout. Adult height across a population is one proxy of wealth and health given that it can be impacted by nutrition and disease, particularly early in development.

Bison-reliant Indigenous men stood around six feet tall on average, or about an inch taller than Indigenous men who were not bison-reliant.

"They were among the tallest people in the world in the mid-19th century," says Maggie Jones, assistant professor of economics at Emory University and a co-author of the paper. "But after the rapid near-extinction of the bison, the height of the people born after the slaughter also rapidly declined."

Within one generation, the average height of Indigenous peoples most impacted by the slaughter dropped by more than an inch.

"That's a major drop, but given the magnitude of the economic shock it's not necessarily surprising," Jones says.


New ancient ape from Türkiye challenges the story of human origins

© Sevim-Erol, A., Begun, D.R., Sözer, Ç.S. et al.
A new face and partial brain case of Anadoluvius turkae, a fossil hominine—the group that includes African apes and humans—from the Çorakyerler fossil site located in Central Anatolia, Türkiye.
A new fossil ape from an 8.7-million-year-old site in Türkiye is challenging long-accepted ideas of human origins and adding weight to the theory that the ancestors of African apes and humans evolved in Europe before migrating to Africa between nine and seven million years ago.

Analysis of a newly identified ape named Anadoluvius turkae recovered from the Çorakyerler fossil locality near Çankırı with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Türkiye, shows Mediterranean fossil apes are diverse and are part of the first known radiation of early hominines — the group that includes African apes (chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas), humans and their fossil ancestors.

The findings are described in a study published today in Communications Biology co-authored by an international team of researchers led by Professor David Begun at the University of Toronto (U of T) and Professor Ayla Sevim Erol at Ankara University.

"Our findings further suggest that hominines not only evolved in western and central Europe but spent over five million years evolving there and spreading to the eastern Mediterranean before eventually dispersing into Africa, probably as a consequence of changing environments and diminishing forests," said Begun, professor in the Department of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts & Science at U of T. "The members of this radiation to which Anadoluvius belongs are currently only identified in Europe and Anatolia."

The conclusion is based on analysis of a significantly well-preserved partial cranium uncovered at the site in 2015, which includes most of the facial structure and the front part of the brain case.


Cave excavations in Turkey uncovers 86,000-year-old traces of human life

Cave archaeology
© Ankara University
In the excavations carried out in the İnkaya Cave in Çanakkale, located in the northwestern part of Türkiye, in addition to the traces of 86 thousand years of human life in the layers of the cave, many tools made of flint for various purposes were also found.

İnkaya Cave, located within the borders of Bahadırlı village in the Çan district, was found during the Muğla and Çanakkale Provinces Survey conducted in 2016 under the direction of İsmail Özer, a lecturer at Ankara University, Department of Paleoanthropology.

Excavations in the cave, which will shed light on Paleolithic period migrations between Anatolia and the Balkans, were carried out by an international team between 2017 and 2020 under the presidency of the Troy Museum Directorate.

During the excavations carried out last year, the Middle Paleolithic period workshop part of the cave was unearthed.

The İnkaya Cave excavations, which have been ongoing, were granted supported status by the Turkish Historical Society this year. Carried out by a team of 20 people, this year's excavation revealed that humans from the Middle Paleolithic Period resided in the region for extended periods due to the availability of flint raw material and water resources.

"Evidence of the Paleolithic era in Çanakkale was previously limited. Through our research, it became evident that Çanakkale is actually one of the very rich provinces in Türkiye in terms of the Paleolithic period," said excavation director Professor Ismail Ozer.


On collective security: An interview with historian Michael Jabara

ww2 poster   “Europe will be Free!”
© Viktor Koretsky, 1944
“Europe will be Free!”
Michael Jabara Carley is a specialist in 20th century international relations and the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. His research focuses on the Soviet Union's relations with Western Europe and the United States during the years 1917 and 1945. This research has come together in a three-volume study, first of which, entitled, Stalin's Gamble: The Search for Allies against Hitler, 1930-1936, will be published by the University of Toronto Press. It is a great pleasure and honor to discuss his work with him in this interview.

The Postil (TP): You have written a trilogy on the Great Patriotic War, that is the Second World War as experienced by Soviet Union. The first part of this magisterial study will be published soon. What is your overall aim?

Michael Jabara Carley (MJC): My trilogy, as I call it, deals with the origins and early conduct of the Second World War and the Great Patriotic War (Velikaia Otechestvennaia voina). The VOV is the name given to the war in Soviet and Russian history arising from the German invasion of the USSR on 22 June 1941. My work runs from January 1930 to December 1941. My project was first entitled "A Near-run Thing: The Improbable Grand Alliance of World War II," supported by an "Insight" research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. My initial objective was to write a narrative history of how the USSR, Britain, and the United States, powers hostile to each other during the interwar years, became allies against Nazi Germany and the Axis. The work evolved from an envisioned single volume into three dealing with Soviet relations with the great and lesser European powers and the United States.

Blue Planet

4,000 year old network of ceramic water pipes reveal complex engineering capabilities of neolithic peoples of China

china pipe
According to a study published in the journal Nature Water, Neolithic people living in China were capable of complex engineering feats without the need for a centralised state authority.

The discovery of a network of ceramic water pipes and drainage ditches at the walled site of Pingliangtai, has revealed new insights into how people during the Neolithic period were able to manage and redirect water.

Pingliangtai is located in the southwest corner of Dazhu Village in Huaiyang County, central China. The site dates from around 4,300 during the Longshan period, emerging into one of China's earliest major population centres that was inhabited by around 500 inhabitants.

Comment: Ancient trade networks that spanned vast distances reveal that our understanding of ancients peoples as relatively primitive is far from the case. Further, China is proving to be a treasure trove of human history, and dating back hundreds of thousands of years:


This week we time travel to 1530 and Geneva

Plague Doctor
© samim
Text from François Bonivard (1493-1570), "Chronicles of Geneva", second volume, pages 395 - 402:
"When the bubonic plague struck Geneva in 1530, everything was ready. They even opened a whole hospital for the plague victims. With doctors, paramedics and nurses. The traders contributed, the magistrate gave grants every month. The patients always gave money, and if one of them died alone, all the goods went to the hospital.

But then a disaster happened: the plague was dying out, while the subsidies depended on the number of patients. There was no question of right and wrong for the Geneva hospital staff in 1530. If the plague produces money, then the plague is good. And then the doctors got organized.

At first, they just poisoned patients to raise the mortality statistics, but they quickly realized that the statistics didn't have to be just about mortality, but about mortality from plague. So they began to cut the boils from the bodies of the dead, dry them, grind them in a mortar and give them to other patients as medicine. Then they started dusting clothes, handkerchiefs and garters. But somehow the plague continued to abate. Apparently, the dried buboes didn't work well. Doctors went into town and spread bubonic powder on door handles at night, selecting those homes where they could then profit. As an eyewitness wrote of these events, "this remained hidden for some time, but the devil is more concerned with increasing the number of sins than with hiding them."

Cowboy Hat

3rd Century CE Hirota civilisation were first peoples of Japan to practise cranial deformation

deformed skull
© The Kyushu University Museum/Noriko Seguchi/Seguchi et al., PLOS ONE, 2023
The deformed skull of an individual found at the Hirota site.
Humans have been intentionally changing their bodies for many thousands of years, but there's no denying that one of the most fascinating practices is that of skull modification.

Around the world, throughout history, many cultures have artificially and intentionally altered the shapes of their skulls.

Although the practice appears elsewhere in Asia, evidence of individuals deforming their skulls on purpose in Japan is scarce. There's just one place where it may have taken place: the island of Tanegashima, from around the 3rd to 7th centuries CE.

Comment: It's notable that evidence of cranial deformation, as well as unusually shaped, natural skulls - that seem to have been what people were attempting to imitate - have been found in sites that date as far back as 10,000 years ago, and across much of the planet, except in Japan. One wonders whether there's some connection to another finding which shows that peoples in what is now Japan, that lived during the Jomon period (from 13,000 - 800 BC), showed very little evidence of violent behavior or death: