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Chromium steel was first made in ancient Persia millennium earlier than previously thought

Chahak Girl
© Rahil Alipour, UCL
Chahak people and the layer.
Chromium steel - similar to what we know today as tool steel - was first made in Persia, nearly a millennium earlier than experts previously thought, according to a new study led by UCL researchers.

The discovery, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, was made with the aid of a number of medieval Persian manuscripts, which led the researchers to an archaeological site in Chahak, southern Iran.

The findings are significant given that material scientists, historians and archaeologists have long considered that chromium steel was a 20th century innovation.

Dr Rahil Alipour (UCL Archaeology), lead author on the study, said: "Our research provides the first evidence of the deliberate addition of a chromium mineral within steel production. We believe this was a Persian phenomenon.

"This research not only delivers the earliest known evidence for the production of chromium steel dating back as early as the 11th century CE, but also provides a chemical tracer that could aid the identification of crucible steel artefacts in museums or archaeological collections back to their origin in Chahak, or the Chahak tradition."

Chahak is described in a number of historical manuscripts dating from the 12th to 19th century as a once famous steel production centre, and is the only known archaeological site within Iran's borders with evidence of crucible steel making.

Archaeology

Four-thousand-year-old textile mill unearthed in western Turkey

ancient textile mill turkey
© Sebahatdin Zeyrek / AA
Over the past several years, excavation in one of the largest settlements in western Anatolia has unearthed enlightening information on the textile history of the region
Excavation has been underway at the Beycesultan settlement, thought to have been built in 5000 BC, where archaeologists have found 40 consecutive cultural layers dating from the late Chalcolithic Period to late Bronze Age.

Turkish archaeologists have unearthed parts of a loom, textile tools and accessories dating back 4,000 years in the country's west.

Excavation and restoration teams have been working at the Beycesultan settlement in Denizli province for over a decade. Excavation in what is one of the largest settlements in western Anatolia has unearthed enlightening information on the textile history of the region.

"Last year's findings related to textile production had excited us. During this year's excavation works, the remaining parts of the house were unearthed," Esref Abay, head of the excavation team, said on Wednesday.

Cross

Wizard battles and demon circles revealed in newly translated Christian sect texts

Monastery
© Danita Delimont / Alamy
The texts describing the wizard battle are from the Monastery of Saint Macarius the Great in Egypt. This image shows the shrine of St. Macarius in the monastery.
Have you ever heard the story of a wizard battle that supposedly took place when an early church was constructed? Or how about the story of a border guard who defied King Herod's orders and spared Jesus' life? Scholars have now translated these and other "apocryphal" Christian texts (stories not told in the canonical bible) into English for the first time.

More than 300 Christian apocryphal texts are known to exist, Tony Burke, a professor of early Christianity at York University in Toronto, Canada, wrote in the book he edited "New Testament Apocrypha More Noncanonical Scriptures (Volume 2)" (Eerdmans, 2020). "Apocryphal texts were integral to the spiritual lives of Christians long after the apparent closing of the canon and that the calls to avoid and even destroy such literature were not always effective" wrote Burke.

Ancient Christians often debated which texts told the truth about Jesus and which did not. By the end of the fourth century the church had 'canonized' the texts which they thought were accurate and included them in the bible.

Comment: It would appear that the true nature of Christianity has been obscured thanks to suppression, redaction and tales written, oftentimes, many hundreds of years after some of the real events described in parts of the Bible, and other historical documentation, took place: And check out SOTT radio's:


Star of David

Why did the US stupidly invade Iraq in 2003? Remarkable new book is the most exhaustive look yet

to start a war draper
TO START A WAR
How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq
By Robert Draper
Penguin Press, 480 pp., $30

Robert Draper is a veteran journalist and a staff reporter at the New York Times magazine. He has just published a comprehensive look at how the U.S. decided to invade Iraq in 2003. His stunning, thorough account is based largely on interviews with some 300 people, including just about all the major figures except George W. Bush himself. So why did the New York Times Book Review assign only an 11-paragraph review, which it buried on page 15? Especially as Draper's study is not only historically indispensable, but is also an up-to-date warning that the U.S. could be tricked into a war with Iran, with some of the same culprits responsible?

Quite possibly, Times editors were embarrassed by Draper's Chapter 17, "Truth and the Tellers," which is a brilliant dissection of how the mainstream U.S. media, including his own paper, joined in the drumbeat for war. Draper points out that Times reporter Judith Miller, who was eventually professionally disgraced for reporting false stories about Iraq's (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction leaked by pro-war Bush officials, was actually something of a scapegoat. The paper's top brass, including executive editor Howell Raines, encouraged her and others, while sidelining skeptical reports by different reporters. Draper notes that Miller "was certainly not responsible for the [articles] written by her colleagues that the Times editors decided not to publish."

Archaeology

Early evidence for humans in Arabia: Track of 120,000-year-old footprints discovered

footprints arabia 120,000 years old
© Stewart et al., 2020
These footprints were made by ancient humans’ muddy feet as they traversed a lakeshore in Saudi Arabia about 120,000 years ago.
One day about 120,000 years ago, a few humans wandered along the shore of an ancient lake in what is now the Nefud Desert in Saudi Arabia. They may have paused for a drink of fresh water or to track herds of elephants, wild asses, and camels that were trampling the mudflats. Within hours of passing through, the humans' and animals' footprints dried out and eventually fossilized.

Now, these ancient footsteps offer rare evidence of when and where early humans once inhabited the Arabian Peninsula. "These are the first genuine human footprints of Arabia," says archaeologist and team leader Michael Petraglia of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

The Arabian Peninsula has long been considered the obvious route that early members of our species took as they trekked out of Africa and migrated to the Middle East and Eurasia. Stone tools have suggested ancient humans explored the Arabian Peninsula at various times in prehistory when the climate was wetter and its harsh deserts were transformed into green grasslands punctuated with freshwater lakes. Yet so far, researchers have only found a single human finger bone dating to 88,000 years to prove modern humans, rather than some other hominin toolmaker, lived there.

Comment: PysOrg adds:
In total, seven out of the hundreds of prints discovered were confidently identified as hominin, including four that, given their similar orientation, distances from one another and differences in size, were interpreted as two or three individuals traveling together.

The researchers argue these belonged to anatomically modern humans, as opposed to Neanderthals, on the basis that our extinct cousins aren't known to have been present in the wider Middle East region at the time, and based on stature and mass estimates inferred from the prints.

"We know that humans were visiting this lake at the same time these animals were, and, unusually for the area, there's no stone tools," said Stewart, which would indicate the humans made a longer term settlement there.

"It appears that these people were visiting the lake for water resources and just to forage at the same time as the animals," and probably to also hunt them.

The elephants, which had gone extinct in the nearby Levant region some 400,000 years ago, would have been particularly attractive prey, and their presence also suggests other plentiful freshwater resources and greenery.

In addition to the footprints, some 233 fossils were recovered, and it's likely that carnivores were attracted to the herbivores at Alathar, similar to what is seen in African savannas today.



Info

DNA studies show Vikings weren't all Scandinavians

Viking Female
© Västergötlands Museum
DNA from a female skeleton named Kata found at a Viking burial site in Varnhem, Sweden, was sequenced as part of the study.
In the popular imagination, Vikings were fearsome blonde-haired warriors from Scandinavia who used longboats to carry out raids across Europe in a brief but bloody reign of terror. But the reality is more complex, says SFU Archaeology Prof. Mark Collard.

Collard is a member of an international team of researchers that has just published the results of the world's largest DNA sequencing of Viking skeletons, in this week's edition of Nature.

Led by Prof. Eske Willerslev of the Universities of Cambridge and Copenhagen, the research team extracted and analysed DNA from the remains of 442 men, women and children.

The remains were recovered from archaeological sites in Scandinavia, the U.K., Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Estonia, Ukraine, Poland and Russia, and mostly date to the Viking Age (ca. 750-1050 AD).

The team's analyses yielded a number of findings. One of the most noteworthy is that contrary to what has often been assumed, Viking identity was not limited to people of Scandinavian ancestry — the team discovered that two skeletons from a Viking burial site in the Orkney Islands were of Scottish ancestry.

Airplane

Mysterious Disappearance: 5 missing aircraft that still baffle investigators today

American Airlines
© Unknown
A Boeing 727-223, registered N844AA, was stolen from Quatro de Fevereiro Airport, Luanda, Angola on May 25, 2003. Its disappearance prompted a worldwide search by the FBI and the CIA. Shortly before sunset on that day, two men boarded the plane, one of them being flight engineer Ben Charles Padilla (seen at controls), and the other, a hired mechanic from the Republic of the Congo. Neither man was certified to fly the Boeing 727, which normally requires three aircrew. They had been working with Angolan mechanics to get the plane flight-ready. The aircraft began taxiing without communicating with the control tower and maneuvered erratically while entering a runway without clearance. The tower tried to make contact, but there was no response, and the tracking transponder was turned off. With its lights off, the aircraft took off, heading southwest over the Atlantic Ocean. Neither the plane nor the two men have been seen since. Continue reading for more mysterious disappearances.

Comment: Added here (with some cross reference to the above): World's 10 most mysterious plane disappearances and strangest aircraft crashes

2014 was also an unusual year: SOTT EXCLUSIVE: Year of the planes: Cluster of plane problems as 2014 comes to a close


Archaeology

First ever preserved grown-up cave bear found - even its nose tissue is intact

preserved cave bear russia siberia
© North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU)
Unique discovery of the perfectly preserved extinct cave bear showing its teeth after up to 39,000 years.
More details of the finds are to be announced soon.

Until now only the bones of cave bears have been discovered.

The new finds are of 'world importance', according to one of Russia's leading experts on extinct Ice Age species.

Scientist Lena Grigorieva said of the island discovery of the adult beast: 'Today this is the first and only find of its kind - a whole bear carcass with soft tissues.

'It is completely preserved, with all internal organs in place including even its nose.

Info

Native American settlement discovered by drones beneath Kansas pasture

Kansas PAsture
© J. CASANA
Remote-sensing devices mounted on drones identified a large earthwork beneath the surface of this cattle pasture in Kansas. Researchers suspect the site was once part of one of the largest Native American settlements north of Mexico.
Specially equipped drones flying over a Kansas cattle ranch have detected the buried remnants of a horseshoe-shaped ditch made more than 400 years ago by ancestors of today's Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, scientists say.

The find adds to suspicions that the Kansas site was part of a sprawling population center that Spanish explorers dubbed the Great Settlement in 1601, archaeologist Jesse Casana of Dartmouth College and his colleagues report August 24 in American Antiquity.

Called Etzanoa by a captive the Spanish took from the Great Settlement, it could turn out to be one of the largest Native American settlements ever established north of Mexico, if confirmed by further research. The largest currently known is Cahokia, a site in what's now Illinois where as many as 20,000 people lived between 1050 and 1150.

Ancestral Wichita communities in Kansas and northern Oklahoma that date to between around 1425 and 1650 existed in a time frame during which South America's Inca civilization rose and fell (SN: 8/3/20). In the 1800s, European settlers drove ancestral Wichita people from their native lands, leading to the destruction of their villages and communal traditions.

Pistol

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. tells Ron Paul that he believes JFK was assassinated by the CIA

paul/kennedy jr
© Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images; Tara Ziemba/WireImage
Former Senator Ron Paul • Senator Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. appeared on the Ron Paul Liberty Report last week to primarily discuss concerns with vaccines in relation to the COVID-19 scamdemic. Kennedy, Jr. is a leading advocate against mandatory vaccinations, a stance that has earned him the ire of the Big Pharma-funded medical establishment.

However, an interesting part of the discussion occurred when Paul asked Kennedy about what happened to his uncle, the former U.S. president who was shot dead by what the official government experts said was a "magic bullet." Kennedy does not believe the official story about what happened to his uncle, and instead believes that Kennedy was assassinated due to the family's battle against the CIA's program to meddle in foreign affairs.


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