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Blue Planet

Ancient international trading routes between Exeter and Europe revealed in new study

Bamburgh

A previous study revealed that while most of Britain was in the 'Dark Ages' one area was playing host to visitors from across Europe, researchers studying bones uncovered near Bamburgh Castle claim
Cutting-edge scientific techniques used to study ancient artifacts found in Exeter have revealed more about the ancient international trading routes between the city and Europe.

A five-year research project by a team of archaeologists led by Professor Stephen Rippon at the University of Exeter shows the links between merchants in Exeter and France, the Low Countries, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and the Mediterranean.

The artifacts are held by the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter. The analysis has helped experts establish where various pottery vessels found in Exeter were made,

Comment: There is strong evidence that at different points in time throughout humanities history our world was better connected, more civilized and more sophisticated than was previously believed: Also check out SOTT radio's: MindMatters: America Before: Comets, Catastrophes, Mounds and Mythology


Info

The Mountain capital of the Dacians

Sarmizegetusa Regia was the capital and political centre of the Dacians, located in the Orăştie Mountains of the Grădiștea Muncelului Natural Park, in present-day Romania.
Sarmizegetusa Regia
© Balate Dorin - Shutterstock
The Dacians were a Thracian people who inhabited the cultural region of Dacia, an area that incorporated parts of modern Romania, Moldova, as well as smaller parts of Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Ukraine.

During the reign of the Thracian King Burebista (82/61 BC to 45/44 BC), the Getae and Dacian tribes were unified into the Dacian Kingdom, with the capital being moved to Sarmizegetusa Regia (possibly from the Geto-Dacian stronghold at Argedava).

Sarmizegetusa Regia was situated at an elevation of 1200 metres near a mountain summit, serving as a nucleus of a strategic defensive system that included the fortresses of Costești-Blidaru, Piatra Roșie, Costeşti-Cetățuie, Căpâlna and Băniţa.

Info

Genomes trace the origin and decline of the Scythians

Generally thought of as fierce horse-warriors, the Scythians were a multitude of Iron Age cultures who ruled the Eurasian steppe, playing a major role in Eurasian history. A new study published in Science Advances analyzes genome-wide data for 111 ancient individuals spanning the Central Asian Steppe from the first millennia BCE and CE. The results reveal new insights into the genetic events associated with the origins, development and decline of the steppe's legendary Scythians.
Aerial view of Hun-Xianbi culture burials
© Zainolla Samashev
An aerial view of Hun-Xianbi culture burials. Both horses and warriors can be identified.
Because of their interactions and conflicts with the major contemporaneous civilizations of Eurasia, the Scythians enjoy a legendary status in historiography and popular culture. The Scythians had major influences on the cultures of their powerful neighbors, spreading new technologies such as saddles and other improvements for horse riding. The ancient Greek, Roman, Persian and Chinese empires all left a multitude of sources describing, from their perspectives, the customs and practices of the feared horse warriors that came from the interior lands of Eurasia.

Still, despite evidence from external sources, little is known about Scythian history. Without a written language or direct sources, the language or languages they spoke, where they came from and the extent to which the various cultures spread across such a huge area were in fact related to one another, remain unclear.

Colosseum

World's earliest stone technologies likely to be tens of thousands of years older than previously thought

handaxe
© W. Roebroeks
Acheulean handaxes from the site of Boxgrove, England, which dates to about 500 Ka. The handaxes
are made of flint and are between 12 and 14.5 cm in length
A new study from the University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation has found that Oldowan and Acheulean stone tool technologies are likely to be tens of thousands of years older than current evidence suggests. They are currently the two oldest, well-documented stone tool technologies known to archaeologists.

These findings, published by the Journal of Human Evolution, provide a new chronological foundation from which to understand the production of stone tool technologies by our early ancestors. They also widen the time frame within which to discuss the evolution of human technological capabilities and associated dietary and behavioural shifts.

For the study, a team led by Kent's Dr Alastair Key and Dr David Roberts, alongside Dr Ivan Jaric from the Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, used statistical modelling techniques only recently introduced to archaeological science. The models estimated that Oldowan stone tools originated 2.617-2.644 million years ago, 36,000 to 63,000 years earlier than current evidence. The Acheulean's origin was pushed back further by at least 55,000 years to 1.815-1.823 million years ago.

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Better Earth

World's oldest wooden statute the Shigir Idol discovered to be even older at 12,100 years old

shigir idol

Shigir Idol
A wooden statue discovered in Russia in 1890 is more ancient than previously thought, making it twice as old as Stonehenge, researchers claim.

The Shigir Idol was first discovered by Russian gold miners who stumbled upon the large object in the Shigir peat bog 62 miles north of Yekaterinburg.

Radiocarbon dating from the 1990s placed the idol at 9,750 years old, but researchers have since re-dated it, finding it is about 12,100 years old.

This makes it almost twice as old as Stonehenge in the UK, which had been dated back about 5,000 years.

The tree that provided the wood to carve the large statue was about 12,250 years old based on the 159 growth rings seen within the statue itself, the team from the University of Gottingen and Institute of Archaeology RAS discovered.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Info

3,000-year-old gold mask linked to enigmatic civilization found in China

Gold mask China
© Photo by Shen Bohan / Xinhua via Getty Images
Fragment of a gold mask unearthed at Sanxingdui, an archaeological site in southwest China .
Archaeologists have uncovered a trove of 3,000-year-old artifacts — including fragments of a gold mask — at Sanxingdui, an excavation site in China's Sichuan province.

As Stephen Chen reports for the South China Morning Post, the researchers, who began digging at the site in 2019, found more than 500 objects, most of which were crafted out of gold, bronze, jade and ivory.

Experts are unsure who made the artifacts, but they speculate that the cache's creators belonged to the Shu state, a highly skilled civilization conquered by the neighboring state of Qin in 316 B.C. Because the people of Shu left behind few written records, notes Oscar Holland for CNN, historians' knowledge of their culture is limited.

A major highlight of the find is a 0.6-pound fragment of a gold mask that may have been worn by a priest during religious ceremonies, reports the Global Times' Chen Shasha. About 84 percent pure gold, the piece likely weighed close to one pound in its entirety, making it one of the heaviest gold masks from that time period discovered in China to date. The Sanxingdui team found the mask, along with an array of other ornate items, in six rectangular sacrificial pits.

Key

Did CIA pressure Yemen to release al-Qaeda leader from prison?

Tenet  Awlaki
© bucketeer/amazonaws.com
Former CIA director George Tenet • Anwar Al-Awlaki
Explosive new recordings released by the Houthi government of Yemen pile more earth atop mountains of existing evidence of the U.S. government's support for the very same terrorists it has claimed to be waging war against for nearly two decades.

The Moral Guidance Department, a branch of the Yemeni Armed Forces of the revolutionary Houthi government of Yemen published last week a number of secret documents and phone calls from the former regime of longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Two phone calls between former president Saleh and the former director of the CIA George Tenet were released. A Yemeni government official has confirmed to me that the calls took place in 2001.

In the calls, the former CIA director can be heard pressuring Saleh to release a detained individual involved in the bombing attacks on USS Cole in October of 2000, which left 17 dead and 37 injured. In the call, Tenet is asked by Saleh's translator about the name of the individual in question.

"I don't want to give his name over the phone," Tenet tells him.

Saleh notes that the FBI team tasked with the USS Cole investigation had already arrived in Sana'a, and asks Tenet if the FBI personnel could meet with him to discuss the matter. Tenet refuses, saying
"this is my person, this is my problem, this is my issue... The man must be released. I've talked to everybody in my government; I told them that I was going to make this call."

Blue Planet

Ancient Americans were among the world's first coppersmiths

Copper spear
© Michelle Bebber/Kent State University Experimental Archaeology Lab
Archaeologist Michelle Bebber of Kent State University, Kent, made these replicas of copper arrowheads and knives crafted by people of North America’s Old Copper Culture.
About 8500 years ago, hunter-gatherers living beside Eagle Lake in Wisconsin hammered out a conical, 10-centimeter-long projectile point made of pure copper. The finely crafted point, used to hunt big game, highlights a New World technological triumph — and a puzzle. A new study of that artifact and other traces of prehistoric mining concludes that what is known as the Old Copper Culture emerged, then mysteriously faded, far earlier than once thought.

The dates show that early Native Americans were among the first people in the world to mine metal and fashion it into tools. They also suggest a regional climate shift might help explain why, after thousands of years, the pioneering metallurgists abruptly stopped making most copper tools and largely returned to stone and bone implements.


Comment: The question is: what caused this 'climate shift': Volcanoes, Earthquakes And The 3,600 Year Comet Cycle


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NPC

Medieval meme? Silver gilt 'snail man' relic may depict ancient joke

snail man
© Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service/PA
The snail-man has been described as a kind of 'medieval meme'.
Delicately crafted using silver-gilt, it shows a praying knight emerging from a snail on the back of a goat and may be an example of 13th-century Yorkshire satire. Precisely what the joke was may never be known.

"It is very unusual," said Beverley Nenk, the curator of later medieval collections at the British Museum, which announced its discovery on Monday. "It is such a funny little thing ... I haven't seen anything like it."

The "snail-man" object, just over 2cm long, was discovered by a metal detectorist in a field near Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in September last year.

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Info

Ancient 'Hobbit' species closely related to Denisovans and Neanderthals

Hobbit Cave
© Liang Bua Team
Liang Bua Cave on the island of Flores, where specimens of the 'Hobbit' species were discovered.
Anthropologists know of at least two ancient species of tiny humans that lived on the islands of southeast Asia over 50,000 years ago. The origin of these extinct humans is unknown, but new research suggests they're more closely related to Denisovans and Neanderthals — and, by consequence, modern humans — than previously thought.

New research published in Nature Ecology & Evolution has found no evidence of interbreeding between modern humans (Homo sapiens) and two extinct species of short-statured humans, Homo floresiensis (commonly known as the Flores Island "hobbits") and Homo luzonensis (found in the Philippines). Fossil evidence of these two species, described in 2004 and 2019 respectively, suggests these island-dwelling humans stood no taller than around 3 feet and 7 inches (109 centimeters), a possible consequence of insular dwarfism — an evolutionary process in which the body size of a species shrinks over time as a consequence of limited access to resources.

At the same time, the new paper, led by João Teixeira from the University of Adelaide, provides further confirmation of interbreeding between the Denisovans and modern humans, specifically modern humans living in Island Southeast Asia, an area that encompasses tropical islands between east Asia, Australia, and New Guinea. Denisovans — a sister group of Neanderthals — reached the area some 50,000 to 60,000 years ago, but archaeologists have yet to uncover a shred of fossil evidence related to these so-called "southern Denisovans." That's obviously weird, given the overwhelming genetic evidence that they lived in this part of the world, but it means there are important archaeological discoveries still waiting to be found. At least in theory.

So, the new paper, co-authored by anthropologist Chris Stringer from the Natural History Museum in London, suggests modern humans interbred with Denisovans but not H. floresiensis or H. luzonensis. That's an important result, because it could help to explain the presence of the diminutive humans, who died out around 50,000 years ago, in this part of the world. Excitingly, it could mean that these "super-archaics," in the parlance of the researchers, "are not super-archaic after all, and are more closely related to [modern] humans than previously thought," explained Teixeira, a population geneticist, in an email.

In other words, H. floresiensis or H. luzonensis might actually be the elusive southern Denisovans.