As first reported by National Geographic on Monday, Christopher Fisher, an archaeologist from Colorado State University, and his colleagues traveled to the site based on long-standing rumors that it was the location of a city referred to in legend as the "City of the Monkey God."
Cult of the Were-Jaguar?
The city, which belonged to a culture so mysterious that experts have not even found a name for it, was extensively mapped by Fisher's team, who found plazas, earthworks, mounds and even an earthen pyramid at the site, according to the website. The expedition, which lasted through last Wednesday, also uncovered a collection of stone sculptures and dozens of artifacts.
In the article, Fisher called the find "incredibly rare," especially since it was in perfect condition and had not been targeted by looters. He went on to speculate that the statues, which were found at the base of the pyramid, were "a powerful ritual display" and most likely an offering.
Among the more than 50 artifacts found there included ceremonial seats known as metates and carved vessels that had been decorated with snakes, vultures and other figures. One of the finds was the head of what the archaeologists believe was a "were-jaguar" sticking out of the ground. It is believed to be depicting a shaman in a transformed-spirit like shape, National Geographic said.
The research team believes that many more artifacts have been buried underground at potential burial sites, and many of the objects discovered were catalogued but not excavated. The lost city was first identified during an aerial survey of the La Mosquitia region in 2012, the report noted, and in order to protect the ruins from looters, their exact location is not being disclosed.
The findings, reported today in Nature, gives weight to one of two competing hypotheses about where this language group came from.
"These results provide support for a steppe origin of at least some of the Indo-European languages of Europe," write the researchers in their paper.
Although English, Spanish, Russian, Urdu and Persian may sound very different, linguistic analysis suggests they all came from a common source, says lead author archaeo-geneticist Dr Wolfgang Haak of the University of Adelaide.
One idea is that this language group, now spoken throughout Europe, South Asia and the Middle East, spread with Neolithic farmers who migrated west from places like Turkey into Europe around 8000 years ago.
Another idea is that these languages must have emerged later because they include words for transport, such as wheel, a phenomenon that didn't emerge until later. Likely sources were the highly mobile cultures in the Great Steppe north of the Black Sea. These nomadic people were cattle herders who could have easily have brought language with them.
"They domesticated the horse in the Steppes around 5000 years ago and were probably using oxen-drawn carts to get around," says Haak.
But, he says, the subject has been controversial.
"The debate has been stuck for a while and has almost becomes a religious thing where you have believers of one side or the other," says Haak.
Archaeological evidence supports the 'Great Steppe' hypothesis, but until now, there has been a lack of evidence that herders migrated in large enough numbers to influence language, he says.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 03:29 UTC
Researchers found evidence for a variety of wheat at a submerged archaeological site off the south coast of England, 2,000 years before the introduction of farming in the UK.
The team argue that the introduction of farming is usually regarded as a defining historic moment for almost all human communities leading to the development of societies that underpin the modern world.
Published in the journal Science, the researchers suggest that the most plausible explanation for the wheat reaching the site is that Mesolithic Britons maintained social and trade networks spreading across Europe.
These networks might have been assisted by land bridges that connected the south east coast of Britain to the European mainland, facilitating exchanges between hunters in Britain and farmers in southern Europe.
Called Einkorn, the wheat was common in Southern Europe at the time it was present at the site in Southern England -- located at Bouldnor Cliff.
The einkorn DNA was collected from sediment that had previously formed the land surface, which was later submerged due to melting glaciers.
Sat, 28 Feb 2015 14:16 UTC
Scientists from the University of Leicester claimed last year there could be a break in the royal blood line, citing an astonishing mismatch of the DNA of Richard III to that of some of his descendants: it is not possible to trace his modern male-line relatives through the Y chromosome. Henry VII Tudor, who seized the power in 1485 after defeating the king in the Battle of Bosworth Field, cemented his power by marrying Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV and niece of Richard III.
The current royal family share a direct blood line to the Tudors, researchers underscored, calling into question the House of Windsor's right to rule. In addition to the suspicious DNA tests' results scientists also pointed to some hereditary genetic disorders, suggesting there could have been some skeletons in the closet of the Queen Victoria's mother, German-born Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.
In 1995 a book Queen Victoria's Gene by D.M. Potts was published examining the defective hemophilia gene in the royal bloodline. The author claimed that while Queen Victoria's son Leopold as well as some of her grandchildren suffered from the deadly disease, no member of the royal line before Leopold had been struck by the condition. In this light there could be only two possibilities: either one of Victoria's parents had an extremely rare gene mutation (1 in 50,000), or Queen Victoria was the illegitimate child of a hemophiliac man.
Fri, 27 Feb 2015 23:57 UTC
Legislators in the U.S. state of Virginia voted Thursday to allow compensation for victims of forced sterilization, though few survivors are alive today.
"I think it's a recognition when we do something wrong we need to fix it as a government," said Democrat delegate Patrick Hope. "Now we can close this final chapter and healing can begin."
Close to US$400,000 is available in a fund earmarked for compensation payments, though only around 11 sterilization victims in the state are known to be alive today. However, Hope stated if any new victims come forth, they too could be eligible for compensation.
Mon, 21 Jan 2013 15:51 UTC
Fr Tom Brodie has been removed from his post in Limerick after the publication of his book Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus.
The Irish Sun reports that the priest was removed from his post at the Dominican Biblical Institute in Limerick, which he helped set up.
The paper has gained access to documents which confirm that the scholar was also banned from any lecturing, teaching or writing while a probe is underway.
The report says that Father Brodie has questioned the existence of Jesus since the Seventies but has only made his views public now.
The book, which took 12 years to write, came as a shock to his superiors when it was published last October.
Comment: Brodie is apparently the first known active - and certainly the most high-profile - priest to have claimed that Jesus did not exist. The final judgement of the Dominican Order on the matter was published in their periodical Doctrine and Life in May - June 2014:
In September 2012, Fr Thomas L. Brodie, O.P., of the Irish Province, published Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus. In this 'Memoir of a Discovery', the author, already well-respected for his commentaries on the Gospel of John and for his study, The Birthing of the New Testament, stated categorically that his studies proved that Jesus did not exist as a historical person. He had expected that reviewers or commentators would understand from his earlier works that this was the position he had held since the 1970s. But there had been no such recognition; and the time, he believed, had come to state his views bluntly.And so, at the age of 71 years, Thomas L. Brodie appears to have been condemned to live out the rest of his life in silence in exchange for retirement care.
Because this claim was so much at odds with Christian tradition, in November 2012, the Prior Provincial of Ireland, Fr Gregory Carroll, O.P., instructed that, while the controversy about the book was being addressed, Tom Brodie must withdraw from all ministry and from any teaching or writing, or contacting the media. Co-incidentally, at about the same time Tom Brodie resigned from being moderator and director of the Dominican Biblical Institute Limerick.
After providing Tom Brodie with written copies of their assessments of Beyond the Quest, and having received a written response from him, the committee spent a morning discussing the work with him. Following on these deliberations, the committee advised that they judged Beyond the Quest to be "imprudent and dangerous" (a phrase from the Order's own legislation). Accepting this assessment, the Provincial continued the sanctions on Tom Brodie - that he withdraw fully from ministry and from all forms of teaching, writing, or making public statements.
On 17 May 2013, at the request of Tom Brodie, Fr Gregory Carroll, Prior Provincial, referred the matter to the Master of the Order, its worldwide head.
On 29 August 2013, the Master, Fr Bruno Cadoré, appointed a committee to examine the book and report to him. This committee, made up of three professors from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, had the Master's Assistant for the Intellectual Life, Fr Michael Mascari, as non-voting chairman. The members of this committee provided the author with written assessments of Beyond the Quest, and received from him a written response.
On 20 February 2014, the committee had a two-hour meeting in Fribourg with Tom Brodie to discuss their reports and his response. Following this meeting the committee formally advised the Master that the publication was "imprudent and dangerous", and recommended that the sanctions imposed on Thomas Brodie by the Province of Ireland were appropriate.
In a letter dated 3 March 2014, Fr Bruno Cadoré concurred with the judgement of the committee and instructed that the sanctions already in place be maintained.
Despite the restrictions placed on him, Tom Brodie remains a brother of the Irish Province, and the Province continues to care for him and provide for him. From the point of view of the Order, the matter is closed.
It's an amazing and horrible thing to happen to someone seeking Truth, but it's also not surprising that in response to his in-depth scholarly research showing evidence for a lack of historicity of Jesus, the Dominican hierarchy's counter argument is to call his evidence "imprudent and dangerous".
While laconic in the extreme, maybe the Dominican leadership is being as honest as it can be with this response. After all, it isn't very prudent, from the point of view of the Catholic Church, to have one of their priests point out that Jesus did not exist. It's also dangerous, from the point of view of the sustainability of the Catholic Church as a viable religion, for that truth to be revealed to the world.
They couldn't refute Brodie's evidence - which tears down the entire edifice of their belief system - so they shut him up.
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 23:58 UTC
To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a "cover" project, known as Camp Century was launched in 1960. However, unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be canceled in 1966.
It eventually came out that the ultimate objective of Camp Century was of placing medium-range missiles under the ice - close enough to Moscow to strike targets within the Soviet Union. This was kept secret from the Danish government, which owns Greenland and which was legally a "nuclear free zone", in keeping with Danish policy.
Details of the missile base project were classified for decades, first coming to light in January 1997, when the Danish Foreign Policy Institute (DUPI) was asked by the Danish Parliament to research the history of nuclear weapons in Greenland during the Thulegate scandal.
A report confirmed that the U.S. stockpiled nuclear weapons in Greenland until 1965, contradicting assurances by Danish foreign minister, Niels Helveg Petersen that the weapons were in Greenland's airspace, but never on the ground. The DUPI report also revealed details of Project Iceworm, a hitherto secret United States Army plan to store up to 600 nuclear missiles under the Greenland ice cap.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:05 UTC
The chief prosecutor Clint Williamson, who led the investigation, said there was no evidence of widespread organ harvesting, but that the crime had occurred a number of times.
"There are compelling indications that this practice did occur on a very limited scale and that a small number of individuals were killed for the purpose of extracting and trafficking their organs," he told journalists. However, he added that there would not be enough evidence at the moment to prosecute the alleged crimes.
The revelation was part of a presentation on a 2 1/2 year investigation into atrocities that also largely confirmed human right reports that there was a campaign of persecution against Serb, Roma and other minorities by some people in the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
The investigation was prompted by a 2011 report by Council of Europe member Dick Marty that accused senior KLA commanders of involvement in the smuggling of Serb prisoners into northern Albania and the removal of their organs for sale.
Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:42 UTC
The research identified 18 wounds on the pharaoh's bones. It also established that Senebkay is the earliest Egyptian pharaoh to have died in battle.
Woseribre Senebkay was unknown to history until last year, when a University of Pennsylvania expedition led by archaeologist Josef Wegner, working with Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, found his remains in a four-chambered tomb at South Abydos in Sohag province, about 300 miles south of Cairo.
Texts in the burial, which dates to about 1650 B.C., during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period, identified the pharaoh as the "king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Woseribre, the son of Re, Senebkay."
Although ancient robbers had ripped apart the pharaoh's mummy, researchers led by Wegner, associate director of Egyptian archaeology at the University of Pennsylvania, were able to recover and reassemble his skeleton.
The team has now completed a full forensic analysis of the remains.
Wed, 11 Aug 2010 17:21 UTC
"The Weight Of Chains" presents a Canadian perspective on Western involvement in the division of the ethnic groups within Yugoslavia and show that the war was forced from outside - regular people wanted peace. However, extreme fractions on all sides, fuelled by their foreign mentors, outvoiced the moderates and even ten years after the last conflict - the hatred remains and people continue spreading myths of what really happened in the 1990s. Why did all this happen?
Comment: See also: The Rational Destruction of Yugoslavia by the Empire of Chaos