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Jezebel: The biblical slandering of a queen of Israel


A street of Pillars at the ruins of the city Samaria.
Jezebel - even to this day her name is synonymous with wickedness and promiscuity. She was the most depraved of women, a murderess, an adulteress and worst of all an idolatress. She was so hated by some of the ancient followers of Yahweh that they went out of their way after her death to paint her as all things evil, even going so far as changing her actual title from the Virgin of Baal to the Whore of Baal. But what was it really that caused such a reaction from the followers of Yahweh? How could a mere woman challenge such men of God?

The City of Samaria

The story really begins after the death of King Solomon when the Israelites split into two kingdoms, Israel in the north and Judah in the south. The first king of the north was Omri and he established his capitol in a place called Samaria. Omri built his palace complex on a hill he purchased from a man named Shemer, for which he paid two talents of silver. The ancient city of Samaria today is split between Israeli and Palestinian control and, unfortunately, it is in a precarious state threatened by vandals, robbers, and neglect.

The best-known excavations of the site date from 1908 to 1910 and then again in the 1930's. The Palestinian Department of Antiquities, formed in 1997, is working on protecting and excavating the site with about a dozen digs being conducted, so conditions are improving. This ancient site is one of the most documented by fact in the Bible, as well as the burial place of John the Baptist, Joseph, and ten kings of Israel. Is it the location of this city that has caused its virtual abandonment by archaeologists until recently or is it something more? It seems to have been ground zero for the war between the worshippers of the old goddesses and gods, and the followers of Yahweh, for whom there was no room for other gods, and no amount of violence and treachery was too extreme to achieve their ends. What truths may be buried in the city of Samaria?

Comment: Remember, history is written by the winners.


Archaeology

'Elaborate underworld' of Mayan pyramids to be investigated by archaeologists

© Victor Ruiz Garcia / Reuters
The first two weeks of the study have already revealed new discoveries.
For the first time in 50 years, the ruins of Chichén Itzá are being investigated by archaeologists. The team from the Great Maya Aquifer Project aim to discover if "local legends of an elaborate underworld are true."

Built more than 1,000 years ago, the ancient Mayan pyramid in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula will be explored using a modified ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to locate passageways and rooms in El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan.

"Something on this scale has never been attempted, but we're confident that it will help us understand this site in a way that wasn't possible before," Great Maya Aquifer Project Director Guillermo de Anda, told National Geographic. "With this data, I believe we will conclusively find out if the local legends of an elaborate underworld are true."

Comment: See also: Maya site uncovered in Belize, yields "snake dynasty" hieroglyphic panels


Arrow Down

British author thinks she's cracked the Black Dahlia case

© Getty
The victim, who was nicknamed the Black Dahlia by the press, was an aspiring actress living in LA.
There's no doubt the beautiful, raven-haired young actress would have attracted attention as she arrived at the swanky Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles one cold day in January 1947.

But poignantly Elizabeth Short only realised true fame through her horrifying murder - which went on to become one of the most notorious unsolved cases in US history.

On the morning of January 15th that same year and one week after she was last seen alive at the Biltmore, the 22-year-old's naked and mutilated body was discovered abandoned on a grassy verge in a lonely corner of LA.

She had been cut in two neatly at the waist - and drained of blood with frightening precision.

The case was quickly dubbed The Black Dahlia, a play on the title of film noir classic The Blue Dahlia starring Veronica Lake which had been released the previous year - and reference to Short's jet-black hair, dark lacy clothes and mystery surrounding her short life.

Comet 2

Evidence suggest a collision and several close encounters with comets in the last 2000 years

© NASA
If you have long suspected the mainstream is being less than honest [or simply delusional] when they describe Comets as "dirty snowballs" or [more recently] "icy dirtballs" then you might be interested to discover Close Cometary Encounters are associated with sudden spikes in the level of Thorium 232.
Cometary nuclei are composed of an amalgamation of rock, dust, water ice, and frozen gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and ammonia.

As such, they are popularly described as "dirty snowballs" after Fred Whipple's model.

However, some comets may have a higher dust content, leading them to be called "icy dirtballs".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet
Dangerous Close Cometary Encounters occur when:

a) Comets collide with the Earth.
b) Comets pass directly between the Earth and the Sun.

In the second case the alignment exposes the Earth to a potential Cometary Double-Tap whereby:

1) The "gas tail" of the Comet is delivered directly into the Earth's upper atmosphere.
2) The "dust tail" of the Comet side-swipes the Earth with a debris train.

Chalkboard

New study says the number zero is 500 years older

© Oxford UK
The zero evolved from a dot used in ancient India that can be seen throughout the Bakhshali manuscript.
New Delhi: The zero, crown jewel of India's rich heritage in mathematics, just grew older by at least 500 years.

A new carbon dating study commissioned on an ancient birch bark manuscript has found that the indispensable digit dates to as early as the 3rd or 4th century - approximately five centuries older than scholars previously believed.

The research was performed on the Bakhshali Manuscript, a mathematical document written on birch bark which was found close to ancient Taxila now near Peshawar in 1881. It has been housed in the University of Oxford since 1902.

The findings mean that the manuscript predates a 9th century inscription of zero on the wall of a temple in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, which was previously considered to be the oldest recorded example of a zero used as a placeholder in India, a report by Oxford's Bodleian Libraries said.

Archaeology

Hunters discover Viking sword in mountains in Norway


The Viking Age sword found in Oppland, Norway.
Four friends were slowly making their way across the high altitude rocky terrain while hunting reindeer in Oppland, Norway. One noticed a rusty object sticking out of the rocks. Curiosity took over and he sped up to reach the spot, where he soon found himself in front of an impressive-looking sword. After releasing the sword from its rocky hold, the friends decided that it didn't look like anything modern, so they headed back down the mountain with their treasure to consult a local archaeologist.
© Secrets of the Ice
Detail of the Viking Age sword found in Oppland, Norway.
That archaeologist, and also another in Dagbladet, confirmed that the sword wasn't made recently. In fact, archaeologist Espen Finstad told Dagbladet news that the sword was a Viking Age relic created in the 900s AD.


Finstad is also the chief editor of Secrets of the Ice, a group of glacier archaeologists working in the same region where the Viking Age sword was found. Realizing the importance to return quickly to the site, the Secrets of the Ice team spoke with the Museum of Cultural History and the National Park authorities.

Eye 2

Bodies of over 400 children discovered in hidden mass grave at Scottish Catholic orphanage

The results of a horrifying investigation into a Catholic orphanage are being released this week. The report revealed the discovery of a mass grave containing the bodies of over 400 orphans - including babies, toddlers, and children.

The investigation, conducted by the Sunday Post and the BBC, looked into the dark secret of the Catholic run Smyllum Park orphanage. While the orphanage - which operated for a century and a half - put headstones on the graves of nuns and staff members, no stone or memorial has ever recorded the deaths of these 402 orphans found buried in a single mass grave.

According to the Sunday Post, the revelation that up to 400 youngsters - and some adults - are buried there today provoked calls for Scotland's ongoing Child Abuse Inquiry to investigate.

As the BBC reports, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings.

Sherlock

Decoded: The mysterious Voynich manuscript has finally been explained


Roughly translated, many parts of the Voynich Manuscript say that women should take a nice bath if they are feeling sick. Here you can see a woman doing just that.
History researcher says that it's a mostly plagiarized guide to women's health.

Since its discovery in 1912, the 15th century Voynich Manuscript has been a mystery and a cult phenomenon. Full of handwriting in an unknown language or code, the book is heavily illustrated with weird pictures of alien plants, naked women, strange objects, and zodiac symbols. Now, history researcher and television writer Nicholas Gibbs appears to have cracked the code, discovering that the book is actually a guide to women's health that's mostly plagiarized from other guides of the era.

Gibbs writes in the Times Literary Supplement that he was commissioned by a television network to analyze the Voynich Manuscript three years ago. Because the manuscript has been entirely digitized by Yale's Beinecke Library, he could see tiny details in each page and pore over them at his leisure. His experience with medieval Latin and familiarity with ancient medical guides allowed him to uncover the first clues.

Comment:

UPDATE from Ars Technica:

Scholars have started to debunk these claims about the Voynich manuscript, noting that the translation "makes no sense" and that a lot of the so-called original findings were done by other researchers.
As soon as Gibbs' article hit the Internet, news about it spread rapidly through social media (we covered it at Ars too), arousing the skepticism of cipher geeks and scholars alike. As Harvard's Houghton Library curator of early modern books John Overholt put it on Twitter, "We're not buying this Voynich thing, right?" Medievalist Kate Wiles, an editor at History Today, replied, "I've yet to see a medievalist who does. Personally I object to his interpretation of abbreviations."

[...]

However, this isn't sitting well with people who actually read medieval Latin. Medieval Academy of America director Lisa Fagin Davis told The Atlantic's Sarah Zhang, "They're not grammatically correct. It doesn't result in Latin that makes sense." She added, "Frankly I'm a little surprised the TLS published it...If they had simply sent to it to the Beinecke Library, they would have rebutted it in a heartbeat." The Beinecke Library at Yale is where the Voynich Manuscript is currently kept. Davis noted that a big part of Gibbs' claim rests on the idea that the Voynich Manuscript once had an index that would provide a key to the abbreviations. Unfortunately, he has no evidence for such an index, other than the fact that the book does have a few missing pages.

The idea that the book is a medical treatise on women's health, however, might turn out to be correct. But that wasn't Gibbs' discovery. Many scholars and amateur sleuths had already reached that conclusion, using the same evidence that Gibbs did. Essentially, Gibbs rolled together a bunch of already-existing scholarship and did a highly speculative translation, without even consulting the librarians at the institute where the book resides.



Archaeology

A student found an ancient village on Canada's west coast that's 10,000 years older than the Pyramids

© Grant Callegari/Hakai Institute
Triquet Island, British Columbia.
For hundreds - perhaps thousands - of years, generations of the Heiltsuk Nation, an indigenous group in British Columbia, have passed down the oral histories of where they came from. The nation claims that its ancestors fled for survival to a coastal area in Canada that never froze during the Ice Age.

A new excavation on Triquet Island, on British Columbia's Central Coast, has now backed up that claim, according to local news outlet CBC.

Archaeologist Alisha Gauvreau, a doctoral student from the University of Victoria and a scholar with the research institute Hakai, led a team that excavated the site in late 2016. They discovered several artifacts from what appears to be an ancient village, including carved wooden tools and bits of charcoal, in a thin horizontal layer of soil, called paleosol.

Dig

2,000-yr-old skeleton of toddler with elongated skull found in Crimea

© archae.ru
The burial place of a 1.5-year-old boy with a deformed elongated skull was unearthed by archaeologists in Crimea. The scientists immediately dubbed the finding an 'alien' due to the unusual structure of the skull.

The remains were found near the village of Yakovenkovo in the eastern part of the Crimean Peninsula, says the Archaeology Fund, a group that organizes digs across Central Russia, Crimea and Northern Africa.

The grave of boy, which dates back to the second century, was a key finding of the recent expedition, according to anthropologists. The boy had an artificially lengthened skull, which is clearly seen in the pictures shared by the group.