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Wed, 18 Jan 2017
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Archaeology

Scans unveil secrets of world's oldest mummies, 2,000 years older than Egypt's

© AFP Photo/Martin BERNETTI
Over 7,000 years after they were embalmed by the Chinchorro people, an ancient civilization in modern-day Chile and Peru, 15 mummies underwent DNA analysis and scans.
The world's oldest mummies have just had an unusual check-up.

More than 7,000 years after they were embalmed by the Chinchorro people, an ancient civilization in modern-day Chile and Peru, 15 mummies were taken to a Santiago clinic last week to undergo DNA analysis and computerized tomography scans.

The Chinchorro were a hunting and fishing people who lived from 10,000 to 3,400 BC on the Pacific coast of South America, at the edge of the Atacama desert. They were among the first people in the world to mummify their dead. Their mummies date back some 7,400 years -- at least 2,000 years older than Egypt's.

Now, researchers are hoping to use modern medical technology to reconstruct what they looked like in life, decode their genes and better understand the mysteries of this ancient civilization.

Comment: See also: Egyptian tomb yields millennia-old mummy


Pyramid

Researchers discover new pharaonic tomb in Egypt

Archaeologists from the University of Birmingham have found "compelling evidence" of new pharaonic tombs at Qubbet el-Hawa in Aswan, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has revealed.

A two-metre high ancient encroachment wall has been discovered below a visitors' pathway in the northern part of the West Aswan cemetery at Qubbet el-Hawa.
© University of Birmingham
Pharaonic Tomb.
It follows and archaeological mission by the University of Birmingham and the Egypt Exploration Society (EES) Qubbet el-Hawa Research Project Group (QHRP), directed by Dr Martin Bommas of the University of Birmingham.

The newly discovered wall is thought to indicate the architectural support for the known tombs of the first upper terrace, including those of Harkhuf and Heqaib, who were governors of Elephantine Island during the Old Kingdom.

Owing to the landscape of Qubbet el-Hawa, the support wall helped to secure the hillside, and thus lower lying tombs, which were accessible by a causeway leading to a second terrace.

Cloud Precipitation

The Christmas storm of 1916 which struck New Orleans


New Orleans experienced a rare white Christmas in 1916, but few residents were rejoicing. That's because the city was peppered with damaging chunks of hail, as well as torrential rain that flooded sidewalks and streets. As far as the local newspapers could tell, it was the first time hail had fallen in the city on Christmas.

Severe weather hadn't been in the forecast, according to The Times-Picayune. The paper's reporter seemed downright miffed by that fact, judging by a Dec. 26, 1916, story that was probably a lot for readers to process if they had celebrated hard on the holiday.

"'Partly cloudy' was the Weather Bureau forecast for Christmas Day," the paper wrote. "It was partly cloudy, but the bureau failed to say which part would be cloudy. It was cloudy, not only partly cloudy, but cloudy was the biggest part of the day. But it was more than cloudy. Hail, rain, fog, dampness, thunder and lightning and almost every kind of weather. Even snow, but the snow was on the whiskers of Old Santa Claus on the Christmas trees, on the Christmas calendars, and in the specially decorated holiday show windows."

Cloud Precipitation

Massive flooding in Europe during the Little Ice Age


Woodcut from a contemporary pamphlet (chap book) depicting the aftermath of the 1607 flood in the coastal lowlands of the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary.
Intense flooding in the low countries of Europe became "darkly repetitive" during the Little Ice Age, writes McKillop. The cooling period lasted 450 years.

For the Dutch, the Grote Mandrake is nothing to do with Linux software, but means "The Great Drowning" and is named for the epic and massive flooding that occurred, more and more frequently in the Low Countries of Europe's North Sea region as Europe's Little Ice Age intensified.

Grote Mandrake flood killed at least 100,000


Normal or predictable spring and autumn flooding was increasingly replaced by large-area and intense flooding, sometimes outside spring and autumn from about 1300, in recurring crises which lasted into the 18th century. In the Low Countries and across Europe, but also elsewhere, the cooling trend starting in the late 13th century became more intense. It brought long cold winters, heavy storms and floods, loss of coastal farmlands, and huge summer sandstorms in coastal areas further damaging agriculture. Climate historians estimate that major flooding on an unpredictable but increasingly frequent basis started as early as 1250. Extreme events like the Grote Mandrake flood of 1362 which killed at least 100,000 people became darkly repetitive.


Comment: Shifting seasons and extreme weather has been on the increase for many years and mainstream science is beginning to take note since all indicators point to something chilling on the horizon: Also check out SOTT's monthly video report on the catastrophic events occurring: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - November 2016: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Snakes in Suits

A short history: The neocon 'Clean Break' grand design and the 'regime change' disasters it has fostered


From top left: Albert Wohlstetter, Oded Yinon, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Robert Kagan, David Wurmser, Paul Wolfowitz, Joseph Lieberman, William Safire, Eliot Cohen, David Frum, Norman Podhoretz, Kenneth Adelman, Charles Krauthammer, Benjamin Netanyahu, Phili Zelikow, Elliott Abrams, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Douglas Feith and Bernard Lewis.
To understand today's crises in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and elsewhere, one must grasp their shared Lebanese connection. This assertion may seem odd. After all, what is the big deal about Lebanon? That little country hasn't had top headlines since Israel deigned to bomb and invade it in 2006. Yet, to a large extent, the roots of the bloody tangle now enmeshing the Middle East lie in Lebanon: or to be more precise, in the Lebanon policy of Israel.

Rewind to the era before the War on Terror. In 1995, Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's "dovish" Prime Minister, was assassinated by a right-wing zealot. This precipitated an early election in which Rabin's Labor Party was defeated by the ultra-hawkish Likud, lifting hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu to his first Premiership in 1996.

Info

5,000-year-old cave art discovered in Egypt depicts 'nativity scene'

© Marco Morelli
Ancient cave art in the Egyptian Sahara desert depicts two parents, a baby and a star in the east.
Italian researchers have discovered what might be the oldest nativity scene ever found — 5,000-year-old rock art that depicts a star in the east, a newborn between parents and two animals.

The scene, painted in reddish-brown ochre, was found on the ceiling of a small cavity in the Egyptian Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.

"It's a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years," geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, near Florence, Italy, told Seeker.

Morelli found the cave drawing in 2005, but only now his team has decided to reveal the amazing find.

"The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.

Boat

Major offshore structures discovered at ancient Corinth harbour

© University of Copenhagen
Conservator Angeliki Zisi carefully cleans and conducts a condition assessment of the bulwark’s wooden posts.
Researchers from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities (Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports) and the University of Copenhagen are continuing to make important discoveries at Lechaion, the main harbour town of ancient Corinth.

Among them structures that join the Inner and Outer Harbours, and a unique wooden bulwark that made up part of a mole flanking the entrance to the Inner Harbour.

Greek and Danish archaeologists investigating Lechaion's harbour areas are finding that the town appears to have been much more important than previously thought. In the course of three excavation seasons, they have delineated major offshore structures, a monumental entrance canal and several inland canals connecting at least four harbour basins. In total, the area is greater than 500.000 m2 - bringing it on par with other major harbour towns of the age, such as Athens' harbours in the Piraeus and Roman Portus.

"This season topographical and geophysical surveys have made it possible for us to successfully delineate the canal zone between the inner and outer harbours. In the process we discovered that the entrance canal connecting the Inner and Outer Harbours was up to 30 m wide in the 4th and 3rd century BC, then grew narrower in later centuries.

The precise reason why remains to be discovered," says c o-director of the Lechaion Harbour Project Bjørn Lovén.

The team mapped the full extent of the mole flanking the eastern side of the entrance canal as far as 46 meters offshore in 1 - 3 meters of water. Working carefully and methodically for 35 days, divers defined the eastern side of the canal. At the harbour entrance, and interconnected with this mole, they discovered strong stone foundations, perhaps for a tower that would protect the entrance. Nearby were found two column drums. Their precise purpose remains unknown, but such drums found at other excavated Roman harbours supported porticoes on the harbour front. Future explorations promise more discoveries.

"The extremely rare wooden structures we've found in the early stages at Lechaion give us hope that we'll find other organic materials, such as wooden tools, furniture, wooden parts of buildings and shipwrecks - the potential is immense and it is important to stress that we almost never find organic material on land in the central Mediterranean region", says Bjørn Lovén.

Bulb

Russell Gmirkin: Athenian, Ideal Greek Tribes were the model for the Tribes of Israel

The Bible's narratives evidently share much of the cultural heritage of ancient Syria and Mesopotamia but zoom in for a more detailed study and one arguably sees many signs of a distinctively Greek influence. That's the argument of Russell Gmirkin in Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible. Previous posts in this series that include explanations of how Greek sources could have influenced the biblical authors are:
  1. Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible
  2. The Pentateuch's Debt to Greek Laws and Constitutions — A New Look
  3. David, an Ideal Greek Hero — and other Military Matters in Ancient Israel
  4. Some preliminaries before resuming Gmirkin's Plato and the Creation of the Hebrew Bible
Nothing is more essentially "Biblical Israel" than its Twelve Tribes. Genesis is for most part the story of the origins of these twelve tribes. The history of Israel is a history primarily of the tribes of Israel, mostly twelve at first, but then divided into two kingdoms of ten and two. One of the tribes was assigned for the priesthood and therefore not given a territorial allotment, but two of Joseph's sons were each given land areas to maintain the all-important twelve inheritors of the land while the sons of Levi became a thirteenth tribe. Always twelve, though sometimes ten and sometimes thirteen.

So very "biblical", yet so very Greek as known about Athens and various Greek colonies from the writings of Plato and Aristotle housed in the Great Library of Alexandria.

Comment: See SOTT's wide-ranging interview with Gmirkin here: The Truth Perspective: Interview with Russell Gmirkin: What Does Plato Have To Do With the Bible? Or check it out on YouTube:




Archaeology

Historian discovers giant human skeleton in cave of Malaysian coast

© THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
Mr Azman Wahab, assistant to historian Mohd Fuad Khusari M Said, at the large grave site in Pulau Upe
A historian claims to have discovered skeletal remains of what is believed to be a larger-than-usual man in a cave in Pulau Upeh, off the coast here.

Mohd Fuad Khusari M. Said, who was appointed by the Malacca go­vernment to search for new historical sites, said he discovered some bones partially exposed above the ground in Pulau Upeh.

He also found two other unusually large graves some 1.2km outside the cave.

The graves measuring about 5m by 0.5m are located about 15m to 20m away from each other.

"I have reported the findings to the authorities because we have no right to excavate the site without permission," he told The Star yesterday.

Comment: See also:


Magnify

New Dead Sea Scrolls fragments found in Judean desert caves

© Alex Levac
A fragment of a Dead Sea scroll, 2010.
New fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls have been found in the Cave of the Skulls by the Dead Sea in Israel, in a salvage excavation by Israeli authorities. The pieces are small and the writing on them is too faded to make out without advanced analysis. At this stage the archaeologists aren't even sure if they're written in ancient Hebrew, Aramaic or another language.

"The most important thing that can come out of these fragments is if we can connect them with other documents that were looted from the Judean Desert, and that have no known provenance," says Dr. Uri Davidovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, among the scientists investigating the caves.