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Sat, 22 Oct 2016
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Zana - the story of the mysterious Russian "neanderthal" discovered in 1850

A leading geneticist claims a towering woman named Zana (artist's representation) who lived in 19th Century Russia - and appeared to be 'half human, half ape' - could have been the fabled yeti
The Discovery of Zana

The year is 1850. The place is the Ochamchir region of Georgia in Russia. A group of local hunters are prowling through the forests in search of whatever they can find - What they DO eventually find, shakes their beliefs to their foundations and leaves the world with an enigma that has yet to be explained.

What they saw appeared to be human - and yet not human. It seemed to be young and female with ape-like features. Her arms,legs,and fingers were unusually thick. her bosom was described as "Massive" and she was covered with thick dark hair. She was also said to be absolutely ferocious, nevertheless, the hunters managed to capture her alive and brought her to the isolated mountain village of T'khina fifty miles from Sukhumi, where she was given to a nobleman called Edgi Genaba.

So violent and ferocious was she, that for the first three years after her capture she was kept in a cage where she dug herself a hole to sleep in. The village people were terrified of her rages and would not venture near - food was thrown to her.

Over the course of time, she became tamer and eventually, domesticated. She was given the name Zana, and was moved to a wattle enclosure, tethered at first but later was released and allowed to roam free, but she never wandered far from the place where she was fed. She eventually learned some simple tasks such as grinding corn and carrying wood, but never mastered a single word of speech, her only utterances being grunts and - if angered - howls.

The women of the village remained scared of her - she could be ferocious and bite when angry - and would only come near if she was in a happy mood. Her Master Edgi Genaba, however could control her and she would react with fear if he shouted at her..

Comment: More information from the Daily Mail:
"[A] leading geneticist believes he has found evidence to prove that it - or rather she - could have been more than a myth.

Professor Bryan Sykes of the University of Oxford claims a towering woman named Zana who lived in 19th Century Russia - and appeared to be 'half human, half ape' - could have been the fabled yeti.
Sykes made an astonishing discovery when he carried out saliva tests on six of her living relatives and the tooth of her deceased son Khwit.

The DNA analysis revealed that they all contained the right amount of African DNA for Zana the ape woman to be '100 per cent African' but remarkably she did not resemble any known group.
Some have argued that she was a runaway Ottoman slave but Professor Sykes says her 'unparalleled DNA' refutes that theory.

He believes her ancestors came out of Africa over 100,000 years ago and lived in the remote Caucasus for many generations."

Wedding Rings

Rare warrior tomb filled with bronze age wealth and weapons

An international team of archaeologists led by University of Cincinnati researchers recently discovered a Bronze Age warrior's tomb in southwestern Greece filled with more than 1,400 objects: jewels, weapons and armor, as well as bronze, silver and gold vessels.

© University of Cincinnati
A bronze mirror with an ivory handle discovered in the tomb of a Greek warrior in southwest Greece refers to a scene of a goddess holding a mirror in one of four gold rings unearthed in the excavation.

Comment: Other excavated objects can be viewed in this slide show.


Archaeologists find pre-Columbian tombs in Guatemala

© File photo
Tourists are seen at the Mayan ruins of Tikal, 500 kilometers north of Guatemala City.
Guatemalan archaeologists hope two tombs uncovered in Peten, Guatemala, will shed light on a clash between two kingdoms located in the Maya Lowlands during the Classic Maya period from 250 to 900 A.D.

The tombs in Peten, 310 miles (500 kilometers) from the capital, Guatemala City, escaped decades of looting at the site, a group of archaeologists said at a news conference Monday.

Beginning in 2000, archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli, who directs Boston University's Holmul Archaeological Project, and his team have protected the site — the Classic Maya city of Holmul — employing four park rangers to guard it from looters.

The rangers also protect Holmul's structures from erosion through the use of roofs.

As a result, the coordinator of the foundation for Maya Cultural and Natural Heritage, Hector Escobedo, said structures at Holmul were among the best preserved in the Maya region.

Comment: Related articles:


Russian builders stumble upon a tavern that's been untouched for 300 years

With the shattered beer mugs and copper coins that had slipped through the floorboards, you might have assumed that customers had left the place only a few hours ago. But this tavern, located in the heart of Russia's capital Moscow, stopped serving almost 300 years ago. The building remained untouched until Russian construction workers discovered shattered plates and tankards dating as far back as the 16th century.


The Shimon Peres legacy: Father of Israel's nuclear program, supporter of South African apartheid and first to cast Iran as a nuclear threat

As the world media eulogizes former Israeli Prime Minister and President Shimon Peres, there are three key moments that won't get much press.

Israel's Nuclear Program

The recently leaked email written by Colin Powell in 2015 has confirmed the estimate that Israel has 200 nuclear weapons. But how did Israel get a nuclear weapons program in the first place?

The story begins in an unlikely place. In 1956, Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal: an event that, seemingly, has nothing to do with Israel developing nuclear weapons. But it does. In response to Nasser's move, Britain and France planned an invasion of Egypt. But Britain's Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, was concerned about Britain's reputation in the Middle East and was determined not to look like the aggressor. So the French asked Israel to invade and conquer the Sinai.

Peres, then the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Defense, met with the French General Staff and, in response to their query, assured them that Israel was capable of taking the Sanai in two weeks. The plan was that Israel would invade, Egypt would respond, and France and Britain would demand that they both withdraw from the Sinai. Israel, as planned, would agree, while Egypt would not. Now Britain and France had a pretext to invade, and Britain would not appear the aggressor.

Comment: This Nobel Prize winning "peace maker" has quite a legacy indeed:


2 Stolen Van Gogh paintings recovered from drug dealer's home

© Mario Laporta / AFP
A sting operation targeting organized crime in Naples, Italy, has recovered two Vincent van Gogh paintings that were stolen in 2002 in one of the most infamous heists the art world has seen in recent years.

Fourteen years ago in a move akin to something out of a Hollywood blockbuster, thieves entered the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam from the roof, avoiding security and cameras.


A solar blast from the past: The Geomagnetic Blitz of September 1941

© Mason City Public Library
A photograph of the aurora over Mason City, Iowa, 18 September 1941.
Seventy-five years ago, on 18 - 19 September 1941, the Earth experienced a great magnetic storm, one of the most intense ever recorded. It arrived at a poignant moment in history, when radio and electrical technology was emerging as a central part of daily life and when much of the world was embroiled in World War II, which the United States had not yet officially entered.

The illuminated night sky exposed an Allied convoy to German attack. Auroras danced across the night sky as voltage surged in power grid lines. A radio blackout interrupted fan enjoyment of a baseball game, while another radio program was interrupted by private phone conversations. Citizens, already on edge, wondered if neon lights were some sort of antiaircraft signal. And far away in the North Atlantic, the illuminated night sky exposed an Allied convoy to German attack.

These effects raised awareness within the scientific community and among the public of the societal significance of the effects that the Sun and outer space can have on the Earth—what we now call space weather.


Petra's long forgotten miraculous gardens rediscovered after 2,000 years

© Leigh-Ann Bedal
The monumental 2,000-year-old pool in Petra, a waste of water that was a sign of sheer power in the desert.
Recent excavations at Petra have revealed a startlingly advanced irrigation system and water storage system that enabled the desert city's people to survive - and to maintain a magnificent garden featuring fountains, ponds and a huge swimming pool. The engineering feats and other luxuries attest to the ancient Nabatean capital's former splendor and wealth some 2,000 years ago.

Petra is perhaps best known for its sandstone canyon that leads directly to Al Khazneh, The Treasury, seen in the climax to "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" where the hero archaeologists, played by Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, ride out of the canyon and into the Treasury in their quest for the Holy Grail.

However, 2,000 years ago, Petra was renowned for completely different reasons. It was one of the most famous water stops in the Middle East, where camel caravan routes linked distant cities. Now archaeologists are discovering the Nabataean capital, situated in the southwestern deserts of Jordan, once was adorned with an exquisite, artificially irrigated garden. It featured paths likely shaded by vines, trees and date palms, and grasses, which were cultivated next to a huge, 44-meter wide swimming pool.

The Nabataeans' ability to tame nature, and conspicuous consumption of a precious resource, water, was pure propaganda. It was a means to display wealth and power, which they could do thanks to the ingenious hydraulic system they invented, which allowed the people not only to reserve enough water for their own needs, but to water the lavish garden with fountains and an open-air pool. It had previously been unthinkable that water, a scarce resource in the desert wastes, would have been used for anything but necessity.

Comment: The sophisticated water technologies of the ancient Nabataeans

Bad Guys

America's long history of support for Ukrainian fascists

© Unknown
George H. W. Bush shaking hands with Yaroslav Stetsko, who was the leader of the terrorist "Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists" from 1968 to 1986. The US ruling class embraced fascists of all stripes since even before the guns in WW2 fell silent, since Washington was already pivoting to fight "the Communist menace." The 'Cold War' was soon initiated by the Washington-London axis.
No sooner had U.S. and Soviet troops shook hands and embraced at Torgau on the River Elbe at the close of World War II in Germany, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), was already lining up the support of Ukrainian allies of Nazi Germany to target the Soviet government in Kiev. The details of the establishment by the OSS of an anti-Soviet infrastructure that included Ukrainian Insurgent Army (OUN) followers of Adolf Hitler ally Stepan Bandera are contained in a formerly «SECRET CONTROL» document from October 1946. The document was prepared by U.S. Army Intelligence (G2) on behalf of the OSS. The following year, the OSS officially was transformed into the CIA.

Comment: Director of the OSS, then CIA, Allen Dulles, operating from his lair in Bern, Switzerland, actively recruited fascists during WW2: Allen Dulles and the Ukrainian fascists: Did the CIA/MI6 use of Nazis in Ukraine during the Cold War ever stop?

The report, titled «The Ukrainian Nationalist Movement: An Interim Study», was prepared by William Holzmann and Zolt Aradi. Little is known about the two authors except for the fact that Zolt Aradi also spelled his name «Zsolt» and was born in Hungary and was a Hungarian historian. The authors cited the Ukrainian nationalist movement as a potentially advantageous ally of U.S. anti-Soviet activities: «Whether these groups operate in the homeland or in exile in Europe and the Western hemisphere; whether they are of socialist, democratic, monarchist or fascist persuasion; whether they agree on methods, policies and tactics, or whether they are engaged in internecine, factional struggles, they all stand for an independent Ukrainian state... They are unified only through their concept of Ukrainian independence and in the face of their common enemies».


5,000-year-old rock art in Scotland remains a mystery

© University of Glasgow
The Cochno Stone, which dates back to around 3000 B.C., contains a type of artwork called "cup and ring marks."
Archaeologists in Glasgow, Scotland, briefly excavated and then reburied a 5,000-year-old slab of stone that contains incised swirling geometric decorations.

The Cochno Stone, which measures 43 feet by 26 feet (13 by 8 meters), contains swirling decorations, also called "cup and ring marks." The stone and its decorations have been known to people in the area since at least the 19th century. Decorations similar to these swirls have been found at other prehistoric sites around the world; however, the examples incised in the Cochno Stone are considered to comprise "one of the best examples" of such art in Europe, according to a statement by the University of Glasgow, which led the new study.

The stone slab was fully unearthed in West Dunbartonshire by Rev. James Harvey in 1887. By 1965, the stone had been vandalized with graffiti and damaged by the elements, so a team of archaeologists buried it beneath the dirt in order to protect the artwork . This summer's two-week re-excavation allowed archaeologists to use modern-day surveying and photography techniques to better record the artwork.

For instance, digital-scanning and mapping experts from the Factum Foundation used cutting-edge 3D-imaging technology to make a detailed digital record of the site, according to the university statement.