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Wed, 29 Mar 2017
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Red Flag

Digital time machine: #1917Live storms Twitter as key figures from Nicholas II to Vladimir Lenin tweet their views

With just days until the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution, RT is taking #1917LIVE - a unique project covering 1917 in Russia in real time - to a new level, with more tweets and 1917.RT.com, a dedicated website.

Every day since January 1st, dozens of key figures from the year that changed world history forever - from Nicholas II to Vladimir Lenin, as well as ordinary citizens - have been tweeting out their views and descriptions of their activities, as the Russian Empire hurtles towards its demise.

Their tweets, found under the #1917LIVE hashtag or collected at RT's earlier incarnation, the Russian Telegraph, produce a fascinating picture, where each actor contributes to the upheaval, yet none realizes the momentous impact of their actions.

Comment: See also: History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II


Map

Second largest Maya jade found in Belize has unique historical inscription

© Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell holds a replica of the Maya jade pendant.
To say that UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell was surprised to discover a precious jewel in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize is something of an understatement.

"It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York," said Braswell, who led the dig that uncovered a large piece of carved jade once belonging to an ancient Maya king. "We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center," he said.

The jewel—a jade pendant worn on a king's chest during key religious ceremonies—was first unearthed in 2015. It is now housed at the Central Bank of Belize, along with other national treasures. Braswell recently published a paper in the Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica detailing the jewel's significance. A second paper, in the Journal of Field Archaeology, describes the excavations.

Archaeology

Ancient mummies from Florida's Windover bog among greatest archeological discoveries in the U.S.

© myfloridahistory.org
Windover archaeological site
It was only after the bones were declared very old and not the product of a mass murder that the 167 bodies found in a pond in Windover, Florida began to stir up excitement in the archeological world. Researchers from Florida State University came to the site, thinking some more Native American bones had been unearthed in the swamplands. They were guessing the bones were 500-600 years old. But then the bones were radiocarbon dated. It turns out the corpses ranged from 6,990 to 8,120 years old. It was then that the academic community became incredibly excited. The Windover Bog has proven to be one of the most important archeological finds in the United States.

In 1982, Steve Vanderjagt, the man who made the find, was using a backhoe to demuck the pond for the development of a new subdivision located about halfway between Disney World and Cape Canaveral. Vanderjagt was confused by the large number of rocks in the pond as that area of Florida was not known to be particularly rocky. Getting out of his backhoe, Vanderjagt went to investigate and almost immediately realized that he had unearthed a huge pile of bones. He called the authorities right away. It was only thanks to his natural curiosity that the site was preserved. After the medical examiners declared them ancient, the specialists from Florida State University were summoned (another brilliant move by Vanderjagt - too often sites are ruined because experts are not called). Deeply intrigued, EKS Corporation, the developers of the site, financed the radiocarbon dating. Once the striking dates were revealed, the State of Florida providing a grant for the excavation.


Gold Coins

World's largest Celtic coin and jewelry hoard found in Jersey

© Jersey Heritage
The Catillon II Hoard as it appeared before being separated.
Last Friday, conservators at Jersey Heritage finally completed separating and meticulously cleaning the largest hoard of Celtic coins and gold jewelry ever discovered. It took nearly three years of effort to go through the mass of treasure.

"This is a significant milestone for the team. It has been painstaking but thoroughly intriguing work, which has delivered some very unexpected and amazing finds along the way," Neil Mahrer, who led the conservation effort says in a press release. "There is still plenty to do and I am sure the Hoard will continue to surprise us as we clean and record the material."

According to the BBC, the treasure was discovered in 2012 by amateur metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles. But it was no accidental discovery; the pair had been searching the area for 30 years looking for it. They began their quest after a local woman told them that her father had discovered some silver Celtic coins in a pot in a field near her home in Jersey, a British island in the English Channel. She did not recall the exact location, and the owner of the field only allowed the pair to search the area once a year after he harvested his crops.

Calendar

Early contact? Mayan calendar similar to ancient Chinese

© VojtechVlk/Shutterstock
Ancient Mayan and Chinese calendar systems share so many similarities, it is unlikely they developed independently, according to the late David H. Kelley, whose paper on the subject was published posthumously in August.

Kelley was a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at the University of Calgary in Canada. He earned fame in the 1960s for major contributions toward deciphering the Mayan script. His article, titled "Asian Components in the Invention of the Mayan Calendar," was written 30 years ago, but was only recently unearthed and published for the first time in the journal Pre-Columbiana.

Dig

Putin on Lenin and Communism: 'WW1 and Bolshevik Revolution destroyed Russia'

Putin's critics often deride him for 'wishing to recreate the Soviet Union'. But is that really what he's thinking? In the following video, you'll meet a younger Putin denounce communist ideology and Lenin. The year was 1991, Putin had recently returned to newly reconstituted 'Russia' after being stationed during the 1980s in East Germany with the USSR's Foreign Intelligence service, and he was just getting started as an assistant to the mayor of St Petersburg.

The first part is a bit weird because it's Putin at a later date watching the relevant snippet from the earlier interview in '91, then asking him 'now' if he still held to those views. Check out what he had to say...


Red Flag

History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II


Comment: What a creative way to bring history alive - to tell the story as though it is current news using the up-to-date ways that such a story would be covered. Nice job, RT!


Poor logistics, high war casualties on the Eastern Front, and shortages of military equipment and food have left Russia's capital Petrograd dangerously unstable in the latest developments from #1917Live, RT's social media project in which we cover the events of 100 years ago in real time.

Last year's Brusilov Offensive brought Russia initial gains against the teetering Austro-Hungarian Empire, but petered out due to supply problems, adding around a million men to the casualty list. In all, more than a million men have died, and over four million have been wounded. 1.5 million deserted the army in 1916 alone.


Comment: Russia seems to have learned some lessons from its revolutionary years:


Dig

Archeologists have discovered the first sanctuary dedicated to the god Mithra on the island of Corsica

© Denis Gliksman-Inrap
Archaeologists have found the first sanctuary dedicated to the God Mithra
A sanctuary dedicated to the god of an ancient and mysterious religion known as Mithraism has been discovered on the French island of Corsica for the first time. The structure was erected in the Roman city of Mariana, created around 100 BCE.

The local authorities were planning roadworks in the vicinity of this major site, so they called the French National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) to conduct excavations and make sure that no significant archaeological remains would be standing in the way.

A team, led by archaeologist Philippe Chapon, started working in Mariana in November 2016. It is thought that this little Roman town was at its peak in the third and fourth century and that it derived its strength from its commercial harbour, a point of contact for maritime exchanges with the whole Mediterranean.

Archaeology

Discovery of a large labyrinth in Denmark, relic of Stone Age people?

© Danish Geodata Agency / Pernille Rohde Sloth
The dark green dotted lines indicate where scientists have dug their trenches and excavated the site. The position of where the palisade is believed to have been is marked in red. The light green dashed line shows the lack of finds.
A series of Stone Age palisade enclosures have been discovered in Denmark in recent years and archaeologists are still wondering what they were used for. One of the latest additions is a huge construction, discovered by archaeologists from the Museum Southeast Denmark. The fence dates from the Neolithic period and seems to frame an oval area of nearly 18,000 square meters.

"It was actually somewhat overwhelming to experience that it is possible to reveal the traces of such a huge building from the Neolithic period. There are many suggestions for what they could've been used for, but to put it simply, we just don't know," says archaeologist Pernille Rohde Sloth who leads the excavation.

Sherlock

38,000 year-old engravings confirm ancient origins of technique used by Seurat, Van Gogh

© Hughcharlesparker -Wikipedia
Aurignacian Culture Map
A newly discovered trove of 16 engraved and otherwise modified limestone blocks, created 38,000 years ago, confirms the ancient origins of the pointillist techniques later adopted by 19th and 20th century artists such as Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, and Roy Lichtenstein.

"We're quite familiar with the techniques of these modern artists," observes New York University anthropologist Randall White, who led the excavation in France's Vézère Valley. "But now we can confirm this form of image-making was already being practiced by Europe's earliest human culture, the Aurignacian."

Pointillism, a painting technique in which small dots are used to create the illusion of a larger image, was developed in the 1880s. However, archaeologists have now found evidence of this technique thousands of years earlier—dating back more than 35,000 years.