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Sat, 02 Dec 2023
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Wine n Glass

Roman soldiers in northern Bulgaria used built-in 'fridge' to keep their wine cool

roman wine fridge refridgerator
© Piotr Dyczek
The new find is similar to a Roman-constructed primitive refrigerator discovered at the site last year.
Fragments of wine glasses, bowls, and animal bones offer evidence for their last meal.

Roman soldiers occupying what is now northern Bulgaria along the Danube River had to deal with all manner of uprisings against the empire, but at least they could keep their wine reasonably cool. Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old built-in ceramic structure they believe was used to store wine and perishable foods.

It's a rare find and the second such "refrigerator" to be discovered at a former fortress at the archaeological site of Novae. The first was found last year: a container made of ceramic plates beneath the floor of a military barracks room. It was most likely used to store food, based on the ceramic vessels and small baked bone fragments found along with it, as well as charcoal and a bowl that may have been used to burn incense to ward off insects.

Russian Flag

Remember, no colonialism: Why Russia did not participate in the 'Scramble for Africa'

Russia-Africa Summit
© Sputnik / Ilya Pitalev
Russia-Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum
It is typically believed that Russia became actively involved in Africa only in the second half of the 20th century. Of course, it is true that, for ideological reasons, the Soviet Union supported decolonization, invested significant funds in the socio-economic development of the continent, and sent military advisers and volunteers to defend the independence of the young African nations. In the 20th century, the USSR became one of the main partners of African countries.

However, the real history of Russian-African relations goes much further back than the last 50 years. By the 18th and 19th centuries, the Russian Empire was already actively involved in the affairs of the African continent - but not in the same way as other European powers, which actively took part in 'the Scramble for Africa' and brutally divided the continent between their colonial empires.

Resourceful diplomats and travelers promoted Russian interests in Africa, fought against the slave trade, and denounced racism long before the liberation movements of the 20th century. Bold adventurers took part in daring colonial expeditions, courageous military advisers helped Africans resist advanced European armies, and brave volunteers fought alongside the local population against the vast British Empire.

Now that Russia is making a political comeback in Africa and its influence on the continent is growing, it is particularly important to know how these relations began and developed over the centuries. Below, RT gives a historical overview of the relationship between the Russian Empire and Africa.


Bronze Age hexagonal 'pyramid' not like anything 'found before in the Eurasian steppe'

Archaeologists in Kazakhstan have discovered a hexagonal pyramid that served as a burial site in the Bronze Age.
Hexagonal-shaped pyramid in Kazakhstan.
© Ulan Umitkaliyev
An aerial view of the hexagonal-shaped pyramid in Kazakhstan. Notice how the inner stone walls form a maze-like path that leads toward the burial site at its center.
Archaeologists in Kazakhstan have discovered a 3,800-year-old hexagon-shaped structure that they describe as a "pyramid." The maze-like structure is not as tall as Egypt's monuments, but currently stands about 10 feet (3 meters) high and likely served as an elite burial site.

The discovery is not like anything "found before in the Eurasian steppe," according to a statement from Eurasian National University in Kazakhstan.

"This pyramid on the territory of Eastern Kazakhstan was found this year," Ulan Umitkaliyev, the head of Eurasian National University's archaeology and ethnology department who is leading excavations at the site, told Live Science in an email. "It is hexagonal in shape, with megaliths weighing up to 1 ton [0.9 metric tons] placed in each corner."

While archaeologists use the term "pyramid" or "step pyramid" to describe it, the Bronze Age monument is unlike the pyramids found in Egypt. Its outer stone walls form a hexagon, the structure's inner walls look like a maze that leads to a grave at its heart. Parts of it were once covered by an earthen mound, Umitkaliyev added. It's not clear if there was ever a roof over part of the structure or whether it was entirely open air.


A new Indo-European language discovered in the Hittite capital Hattusa

Lion Gate Hattuşa Capital of Hittite Empire, Çorum
© historicalsites.goturkiye.com/
Lion Gate Hattuşa Capital of Hittite Empire, Çorum.
The Çorum Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism announced in a written statement that a new Indo-European language was discovered during excavations in the Boğazkale district of Çorum, which is home to Hattusa, the capital of the Hittites.

The Hittites lived in Anatolia around 3,500 years ago. They recorded state treaties and decrees, prayers, myths, and incantation rituals on clay tablets - in a language that could only be deciphered around 100 years ago. The basis for this is around 30,000 manuscripts, which are predominantly written in the Hittite language, but also to a lesser extent in other languages such as Luwian or Palaian. Now a new one has been added to these languages.

The Hittites, one of the most mysterious and powerful civilizations in Anatolian history, empire rose with the invention of the alphabet when humanity transitioned from the Middle to the late Bronze Age in the late 14th and 12th centuries B.C.

We know that they were one of the greatest military powers of their time - after all, they went head-to-head with the great pharaohs of Egypt, such as Ramesses the Great, before their power was finally put in check by the world's first peace treaty. And then one day, in around 1,180 B.C., their powerful empire suddenly broke apart, splintering into independent Neo-Hittite city-states, which slowly and mysteriously disappeared off the face of the earth.


Evidence of a wooden structure predating our species uncovered

stone age wood structure
© Barham, et al., Nature, 2023
The underlying log passes through a central notch cut into the upper log (object 1033) and extends into the section. Plan view of the unit (left) and during excavation (right). The numbers refer to the distance in centimetres.
A pair of interlocking logs that haven't seen sunlight in half a million years could challenge some fundamental assumptions about the technology and culture of our Stone Age ancestors.

Uncovered in 2019 at the Kalambo Falls in Zambia, the objects provide archaeologists with an exceptionally rare look at wooden technology from mid-Paleolithic Africa, a time better known for an acceleration in the innovations of stone tools. The logs also predate the evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens.

An analysis conducted by an international team of researchers has now come to the astonishing conclusion that the wooden artifacts were once part of a permanent structure of some kind, such as a platform or building.

If so, the discovery complicates the conventional image of hominins as nomads hunting migrating herds or gathering seasonal flora with relatively basic tools.


Underwater researchers found temples to ancient Egyptian gods in sunken city

Ancient Sunken Artefacts
© Christoph Gerigk Franck Goddio/Hilti Foundation
Demonstrating the Greek presence in Ancient Egypt, a delicate bronze duck-shaped pourer was discovered among ceramics at the site of a newly discovered Greek sanctuary to Aphrodite in the submerged ruins of Thonis-Heracleion.
Two temples belonging to the Egyptian god Amun and the Greek goddess Aphrodite were found in the sunken city off the coast of Egypt by a team of archaeologists led by Franck Goddio.

The discovery was announced in a press release by the European Institute for Underwater Archeology (IEASM) on Tuesday.

The research team first found the ancient port city of Thonis-Heracleion on Aboukir Bay in 2000 and has now discovered temple ruins in the city's southern canal.

The remains of Thonis-Heracleion are located under the sea, 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) from the present coast of Egypt. The city was for centuries Egypt's largest port on the Mediterranean before the founding of Alexandria by Alexander the Great in 331 BC.

An underwater archaeological team, led by French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio, has made further discoveries at the site of a temple to the god Amun in the ancient port city of Thonis-Heracleion, the institute said.


Researchers discover complete Neolithic cursus on the Isle of Arran, Scotland

Cursus in Scotland
© Dr Kenny Brophy
Excavations through the cursus bank at Drumadoon.
A leading team of researchers have discovered what is believed to be a complete Neolithic cursus set within a rich prehistoric landscape on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.

This monument type is amongst the first that was built by farmers in Neolithic Britain and is huge - measuring 1.1km long and 50 metres wide.

A cursus is a vast Neolithic monument comprised of one or more rectangular enclosures. The cursus on Arran is defined by a large stone, earth and turf bank running around the entire perimeter of the enclosure. Constructing this monument would have involved staggering amounts of labour, transforming the entire local landscape.

This monument type could date to perhaps as early as 3500 BC, researchers say. It is the most complete example of this site type found in Britain and the opportunity to investigate a cursus bank is very rare and hugely exciting.

Prehistoric field boundaries, clearance cairns and round houses, at least some of which may be contemporary with the monument, have also found in the same landscape, all preserved within peatland, sealing the archaeological layers. Ancient soils representing the original Neolithic land surface, together with cultivated soils from the Bronze Age period, provide an unparalleled opportunity to understand how contemporary farming practice and settlement interacted with the cursus monument and how early farmers transformed this place.

The combination of investigating all these elements together is highly unusual. The inter-disciplinary team from the Universities of Glasgow, Birkbeck, Bournemouth, Reading, Coventry, Birmingham, and Southampton as well as archaeologists from Archaeology Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland, are using archaeological prospection, excavation and geoarchaeology, coupled with cutting-edge environmental scientific techniques, including ancient DNA, to understand how this unique landscape was constructed and used.


A new human species? Mystery surrounds 300,000-year-old fossil

A chinless jawbone from eastern China that displays both modern and archaic features could represent a new branch of the human family tree.
juvenile skull
© Xiujie Wu
A digital reconstruction of the juvenile skull found in Hualongdong, China.
A fossilized jawbone discovered in a cave in eastern China bears a curious mix of ancient and modern features, according to a detailed analysis that compares it with dozens of other human specimens. The finding, published in the Journal of Human Evolution, indicates that the 300,000-year-old bone could have belonged to an as-yet undescribed species of archaic human1.

Scientists excavating a cave called Hualongdong, located in Anhui province in eastern China, have unearthed remains of 16 individuals that date to around 300,000 years ago2. Several fragments belong to the skull of a 12-to-13-year-old juvenile.

Xiujie Wu, a palaeoanthropologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, and her colleagues first described the skull in 20192. But in 2020, while sifting through trays of animal bones found in the cave, they identified a fragment of a mandible — the lower part of the jaw — that could be another piece of the same skull.

The discovery has enabled a more detailed analysis of where the Hualongdong people fit on the human family tree. The mandible has a mixture of both modern and archaic features. For example, the bone along the jawline is thick, a feature shared with early human species, such as Homo erectus. It also lacks a true chin, the presence of which is a key feature of Homo sapiens. But the side of the mandible that attaches to the upper jaw is thinner than those of archaic hominins and more reminiscent of that of modern humans.


Letter showing Pope Pius XII had detailed information from German Jesuit about Nazi crimes revealed

Pope Pius XII
© AP
Undated file photo of Pope Pius XII. Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6,000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland, undercutting the Holy See’s argument that it couldn’t verify diplomatic reports of Nazi atrocities to denounce them. The documentation from the Vatican archives, published this weekend in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, is likely to further fuel the debate about Pius’ legacy and his now-stalled beatification campaign.
Newly discovered correspondence suggests that World War II-era Pope Pius XII had detailed information from a trusted German Jesuit that up to 6,000 Jews and Poles were being gassed each day in German-occupied Poland. The documentation undercuts the Holy See's argument that it couldn't verify diplomatic reports of Nazi atrocities to denounce them.

The documentation from the Vatican archives, published this weekend in Italian daily Corriere della Sera, is likely to further fuel the debate about Pius' legacy and his now-stalled beatification campaign. Historians have long been divided about Pius' record, with supporters insisting he used quiet diplomacy to save Jewish lives while critics say he remained silent as the Holocaust raged.

Corriere is reproducing a letter dated Dec. 14, 1942 from the German Jesuit priest to Pius' secretary which is contained in an upcoming book about the newly opened files of Pius' pontificate by Giovanni Coco, a researcher and archivist in the Vatican's Apostolic Archives.

Comment: See also:


Another magical JFK assassination pseudo-debate and limited hangout

JFK and Jackie in Dallas
© Off-Guardian Org
Much has been made of the September 9, 2023 simultaneous reports in The New York Times and Vanity Fair of the claims of a former Secret Service agent, Paul Landis, who was part of the security detail in Dallas, Texas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. Like so many reports by such media that have covered up the truth of the assassination for sixty years, this one about "the magic bullet" is also a red herring.

It encourages pseudo-debates and confusion and is a rather dumb "limited hangout," which is a strategy used by intelligence agencies to dangle some truth in order to divert attention from core facts of a case they are desperate to conceal. With these particular articles, they are willing to suggest that maybe the Warren Commission's magic bullet claim is possibly incorrect. This is because so many people have long come to realize that that part of the propaganda story is absurd, so the coverup artists are willing to suggest it might be wrong in order to continue debating meaningless matters based on false premises in order to solidify their core lies.

Despite responses to these two stories about Landis that credit them for "finally" showing that the "magic bullet" claim of the Warren Commission is now dead, it would be more accurate to say they have revived debate about it in order to sneakily hide the fundamental fact about the assassination: that the CIA assassinated JFK.

We can expect many more such red herrings in the next two months leading up to the sixtieth anniversary of the assassination.

They are what one of the earliest critics of The Warren Commission, Vincent Salandria, a brilliant Philadelphia lawyer, called "a false mystery." He said:
After more than a half century, the historical truth of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy has been finally established beyond rational dispute. The Kennedy assassination is a false mystery. It was conceived by the conspirators to be a false mystery which was designed to cause interminable debate. The purpose of the protracted debate was to obscure what was quite clearly and plainly a coup d'état. Simply stated, President Kennedy was assassinated by our US national security state in order to abort his efforts to bring the Cold War to a peaceful conclusion.
That the corporate mainstream should trumpet these reports as important is to be expected, but that they are also so greeted by some people who should know better is sad. For there is no mystery about the assassination of President Kennedy; he was assassinated by the CIA and the evidence for this fact has long been available. And the Warren Commission's claim that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the so-called "magic bullet" - Commission Exhibit 399 - that entered JFK's back and exited his neck and then went into the back of Gov. John Connally, who was sitting in the front seat, zigzagging in multiple directions, causing him five wounds and then emerging in pristine condition, has always been risible.

Only fools or those ignorant of the details have ever believed it, but desperate conspirators led by the late Arlen Specter, the future Senator, did desperate things for The Warren Commission in order to pin the rap on the patsy Oswald and cover-up for the killers.