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Mon, 21 Aug 2017
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Secret History


Prehistoric "eco-house" 1,300 years older than Stonehenge discovered by archaeologists

© David Jacques/Buckingham University
A fallen tree which forms the wall of a Stone Age ‘eco-home’ near Stonehenge
Academics fear that the 6,300-year-old settlement could be severely damaged by a new road tunnel

Archaeologists have discovered the oldest prehistoric building ever found in the Stonehenge landscape - but fear a new road tunnel could severely damage the site.

Dating from around 6,300 years ago - at least 1,300 years before Stonehenge - it was built immediately adjacent to a sacred Stone Age spring.

Academics have dubbed it an "eco" house because the base of a fallen tree was used as one of the walls.

The building is important as it appears to have been constructed by indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers at the time when the very first semi-agricultural European-originating Neolithic settlers were arriving in the area.


22 Shipwrecks found in single location in Greece

© V. Mentogianis
The cargoes revealed long distance trades between the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Cyprus, the Levant, and Egypt in all those periods. At least three ships carried amphoras, or jars, that have not been found previously on shipwrecks.
Underwater archaeologists have discovered 22 shipwrecks around a small Greek archipelago, revealing what may be the ancient shipwreck capital of the world.

Hailed as one of the top archaeological finds of 2015, the discovery was made by a joint Greek-American archaeological expedition in the small Fourni archipelago with an area of just 17 square miles. This is a collection of 13 islands and islets located between the eastern Aegean islands of Samos and Icaria.

"Surpassing all expectations, over only 13 days we added 12 percent to the total of known ancient shipwrecks in Greek territorial waters," Peter Campbell, of the University of Southampton and co-director from US based RPM Nautical Foundation, told Discovery News.

Fourni lies right in the middle of the major east-west crossing route, as well as the north-south route that connected the Aegean to the Levant. Ships traveling from the Greek mainland to Asia Minor, or ships leaving the Aegean for the Levant had to pass by Fourni.

"Ikaria and the west coast of Samos have no harbors or anchorages, so Fourni is the safest place that ships could stop in the area," Campbell said.


Beyond the temples, ancient bones reveal the lives of the Mayan working class

© Ashley Sharpe
Sharpe and co-author Kitty Emery, Florida Museum associate curator of environmental archaeology, examined the animal remains recovered from the ruins of three Maya city-states in Guatemala, including the famous site of Aguateca that was burned after a surprise enemy attack which resulted in a level of preservation similar to the Roman ruins of Pompeii.
Most of what we know about Mayan civilization relates to kings, queens and their elaborate temples. To understand what life was like for the 99 percent, one researcher turned to ancient animal bones stored at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

Ashley Sharpe, a doctoral student at the museum on the UF campus, says the picture researchers have painted of the Maya people isn't broad enough.

"When you think about the Romans and the Greeks, we know a lot about all of the different social classes -- from the Caesars down to the commoners -- but although there were tens of thousands of middle-class and lower-income Maya in big cities, we still don't know much about the everyday lives of most people."

For the first time in Maya archaeology research, 22,000 animal remains at the museum, one of the largest collections of its kind outside of Central America, were used as clues about life in the Maya lower classes. The bones revealed that the civilization known for its art and astronomy also had political and economic systems that were more complex than previously thought -- systems similar to modern societies. The details are described in a new study appearing online this month in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

Book 2

Handwritten draft of King James Bible discovered: Reveals no 'divine powers'

© New York Times
The earliest known version of The King James Bible, perhaps one of the most influential and widely read books in history, has been discovered mislabeled inside an archive at the University of Cambridge. The find is being called one of the most significant revelations in decades. It shows that writing is a process of revising, cutting, and then more rewriting. The Bible is no different in this regard, even though some conservative Christians claim it is the divine word of God himself. Perhaps God, then, is a revisionist. This find certainly seems to suggest that.

The notebook containing the draft was found by American scholar, Jeffrey Alan Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who announced his research in an article in The Times Literary Supplement. The New York Times didn't take long to pick up the story. They ran an article about it, HERE. Mr. Miller was researching an essay about Samuel Ward, one of the King James translators, and was hoping to find an unknown letter at the archives. While you can say he certainly accomplished that end, he definitely wasn't expecting to find the earliest draft of the King James Bible — which is now giving new insights into how the Bible was constructed.

He first came across the plain notebook not knowing what it was — it was incorrectly labeled. That's why no one has found it until now. It had been cataloged in the 1980s as a "verse-by-verse" Biblical commentary with "Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes." When he tried in vain to figure out which passages of the Bible the commentary was referring to, he realized that it was no commentary at all — it was an early draft of part of the King James Version of the Bible.

Professor Miller described what it felt like when he first knew what he had in his hands:
"There was a kind of thunderstruck, leap-out-of-bathtub moment. But then comes the more laborious process of making sure you are 100 percent correct."

Comment: Read Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book,The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive , where a chapter is devoted to "Who Wrote the Bible".


3,500-year-old tomb of warrior prince discovered in Greece

Experts describe the discovery of tomb packed full of gold, silver and weapons, which sheds light on ancient Mycenaean and Minoan civilisations, as one of the most significant in decades.

Flanked by a three-foot long bronze sword with an ivory handle and surrounded by a treasure trove of gold, silver and precious stones, he lay undisturbed for 3,500 years. Now, the skeleton of an ancient Greek warrior, his tomb protected by a heavy stone slab, has been discovered by archaeologists in the Peloponnese.

Described as one of the most exciting discoveries in Greece for decades, the 30-35 year old man has been dubbed the "Griffin Warrior" after an ivory plaque depicting the half-lion, half-eagle mythical beast that was found alongside him. Experts said it was remarkable that the grave had escaped the attentions of tomb raiders over the centuries.

Comment: Very exciting find!

Related articles of other recent discoveries:


Russia to exhume remains of Tsar Alexander III to solve century-old Bolshevik murder of Romanovs

© Wikipedia
Alexander III with his wife and their children.
Russia is planning to exhume the remains of Tsar Alexander III, the father of the last Russian emperor Nicholas II in an attempt to prove the remains of Nicholas II's last two children belong to the slain Tsar's family. It was requested by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Forensic experts told Russian media the process is likely to start in the second half of November 2015. However, opening the vault of the Russian Tsar who died back in 1894 may be quite complicated. "It [the burial vault] contains not only a coffin with the Tsar's body but also a separate grave with the tsar's embalmed vital organs," Marina Logunova, senior research associate at the St. Petersburg State History Museum, told TASS. Also Alexander III's impressive height - 1.93 meters - could create additional problems, Logunova added. "It can be assumed that the burial vault is larger than the tombstone, and that can create risks for the nearby graves...."

If the experts prove the remains found in Ekaterinburg are genuine and related to Alexander III, then one more riddle of the slain Tsar family would be solved. At that point, all seven members of the Tsar's family will be buried together.

Nicholas II, his wife and five children, including his only son and heir, Alexey, were killed in 1918 following the 1917 Revolution. Their bodies were thrown down a mine shaft and then quickly buried somewhere near Ekaterinburg in the Urals.

For almost a century no one knew where exactly the Tsar family was buried. However, in 1991 the remains of Nicholas II, his wife and three daughters were discovered in a mass grave near Ekaterinburg. Two years later, in 1993, investigators opened a case into the murder of the Romanov family to identify the suspected remains of the Tsar's family and their retinue. The case was closed in 1998 "owing to the deaths of the perpetrators of the crime."

Comment: Russia's last Tsar Nicolas II exhumed, case reopened into murder of Romanov family


Imaging techniques reveal 17th century religious scenes

Synchrotron light has pierced the mysteries of a small 17th Century metallic box thanks to X-ray imaging techniques developed at the ESRF. Scientists were able to virtually reconstitute, in 3D and with astounding resolution, the inaccessible contents of the very fragile and badly damaged box.

© Paul Tafforeau/ESRF
The medal in the middle of the stack represents Christ's crucifixion and ressurection.
The box was discovered on the archaeological site of the Saint-Laurent church, now the archaeological museum of Grenoble (MAG). Restoration of the very badly damaged and fragile box had been limited to stopping the oxidation process, without providing any insight into the nature of its contents.

Thanks to the non-destructive techniques and high resolution imaging of the ESRF, in particular synchrotron X-ray phase contrast micro-tomography, the research team, made up of members of the MAG and ESRF, were able to identify the contents, and the finer details of three medals.


Enormous teeth of prehistoric 60ft megalodon shark found on NC beaches

© wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon / Wikipedia
Reconstructed jaws on display at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Beachgoers in North Carolina were given a shock when the fossilized teeth of an ancient shark washed ashore. The not-so-pearly-whites are believed to have belonged to a 60-foot megalodon.

The teeth, found at North Carolina's Topsail Beach and Surf City, are believed to have belonged to the megalodon - a prehistoric shark which dominated the oceans 15 million years ago.

"Oh my God, like I said, I felt like I was a lottery winner or something," beachgoer Denny Bland told local NBS affiliate WITN. "It's like I'm the first one to touch that since it fell out of his mouth back in the day."


Oldest alphabet primer found on ancient pottery

© Nigel Strudwick
This is a photo of the earliest abecedary.
The world's oldest-known alphabet primer was found in a list of ancient Egyptian words inscribed on a shard of pottery from the 15th century B.C., according to a new study.

Called ostracon, the flake of limestone was unearthed near Luxor over 20 years ago. British Egyptologist Nigel Strudwick found it as he excavated Theban Tomb 99, which was the burial of Senneferi, a 18th Dynasty official who lived under the reign of Tuthmose III.

The ostracon contains an incomplete list of words written in hieratic, the cursive script used in ancient Egypt for some 3,000 years. The instructional list of words in alphabetical order is called an abecedary.


Ancient Alaska infants' DNA supports human migration theory

© Ben Potter, UAF
University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologists Josh Reuther, left, and Ben Potter, right, work on the Upward Sun River site in Alaska.
Analysis of genetic material from the remains of two ice-age infants discovered in Alaska has revealed connections to two ancient lineages of Native Americans, according to a paper published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers in Alaska and Utah have documented that the infants had different mothers and were descended from two distinct lineages not previously identified in the Arctic.

University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and University of Utah geneticists Dennis O'Rourke and Justin Tackney deciphered ancient mitochondrial DNA from two infants buried in Alaska 11,500 years ago. The burials represent the oldest human remains ever found in northern North America.

Potter and a team of anthropology faculty members and students working at the Upward Sun River site in Interior Alaska discovered remains of a cremated 3-year-old in 2010, followed by the two infants in 2013. The site and its artifacts provide new insights into funeral practices and other rarely preserved aspects of life among people who inhabited the area thousands of years ago, according to Potter.