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Fri, 26 May 2017
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What happened to the missing people of Pennsylvania?

For six centuries, a native people lived in the region that is now southwestern Pennsylvania.

Then they vanished without a trace.

"We have no idea what happens to them," John Nass, director of the California University of Pennsylvania's anthropology program, told PhillyVoice. "They basically vacate this part of the state, but we don't know where they relocate to."

Nass and his undergraduate archeology students are studying the history of the Monongahela people, who occupied parts of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Maryland from about 1050 A.D. into the 1630s.

Attention to their work picked up recently with a local interest piece in the hometown Herald-Standard newspaper, which was followed by a feature from the Associated Press.

Additional images

Info

Early history and impact events in India

© Malaga Bay
Getting acquainted with 1st millennium Indian History is a daunting task.

However, Wikipedia provides a helpful Outline of South Asian History that lists the various Kingdoms and Empires that emerged during the 1st millennium.
History of South Asia - South Asia includes the contemporary political entities of the Indian subcontinent and associated islands, therefore, its history includes the histories of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, and the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The level of detail associated with each Kingdom or Empire is fairly variable.

Some histories are short and vague. Others are long and detailed.

Stop

Yeltsin was prevented from burying Lenin's body & demolishing his Mausoleum

© Vladimir Vyatkin / Sputnik
Boris Yeltsin in front of Lenin's Mausoleum in Red Square, 1990.
Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, made a decision to "demolish Lenin's Mausoleum" in Red Square, former prime minister Sergey Stepashin has revealed. The politician claimed it was he who stopped the then Russian leader from doing so.

"Boris Nikolayevich [Yeltsin] ordered me to demolish the mausoleum. It was in 1998," said Stepashin, who at that particular time served as minister of interior affairs and later in 1999 was appointed PM, in an interview with Istorik (Historian) magazine.

He said he was summoned to Yeltsin's office, where the president told him he had "made a decision." When the minister asked what the role of his department in the planned demolition would be, he was told that it was to secure order during the process.

Info

New study claims humans reached Americas 130,000 years ago

© A. Rountrey, C. Abraczinskas and D. Fisher/Univ. Michigan
A 'hammer' stone — possibly shaped by ancient humans — found in California and dated to 130,000 years ago.
Ancient humans settled in North America around 130,000 years ago, suggests a controversial study — pushing the date back more than 100,000 years earlier than most scientists accept. The jaw-dropping claim, made in Nature1, is based on broken rocks and mastodon bones found in California that a team of researchers say point to human activity.

Their contention, if correct, would force a dramatic rethink of when and how the Americas were first settled — and who by. Most scientists subscribe to the view that Homo sapiens arrived in North America less than 20,000 years ago. The latest study raises the possibility that another hominin species, such as Neanderthals or a group known as Denisovans, somehow made it from Asia to North America before that and flourished.

"It's such an amazing find and — if it's genuine — it's a game-changer. It really does shift the ground completely," says John McNabb, a Palaeolithic archaeologist at the University of Southampton, UK. "I suspect there will be a lot of reaction to the paper, and most of it is not going to be acceptance."

The study focuses on ancient animal-bone fragments found in 1992 during road repairs in suburban San Diego. The find halted construction, and palaeontologist Tom Deméré of the San Diego Natural History Museum led a five-month excavation. His crew uncovered teeth, tusks and bones of an extinct relative of elephants called a mastodon (Mammut americanum), alongside large broken and worn rocks. The material was buried in fine silt left by flowing water, but Deméré felt the rocks were too large to have been carried by the stream.

"We thought of some possible explanations for this pattern, and the process we kept coming back to was that humans might be involved," he says. Attempts in the 1990s to date the site suggested that the ivory was some 300,000 years old, but Deméré was sceptical: the method his colleagues used was problematic, and the age seemed so improbable for humans to be living in California.

Magnify

Itty-bitty weavers: Wooden figures found with tiny looms in ancient Chinese tomb

© Drawing by Bo Long and Yingchong Xia; Copyright Antiquity Publications Ltd.
Except for cinnabar-colored red silk thread and a brown thread, there weren't any textiles found on the tiny looms. However, this re-creation shows what the loom would have looked like with fabric.
Tiny wooden figurines have stood upright "weaving" at appropriately sized looms for more than 2,100 years in a Chinese tomb containing the remains of a middle-age woman, a new study finds.

The discovery of the miniature scene astonished archaeologists, who were surveying an area slated for subway construction in Chengdu, a city in China's southwestern Sichuan province, in 2013. The looms may be small — the largest is about the size of a child's toy piano — but they're the earliest evidence on record of looms that could be used to weave patterns, the researchers said.

"We are very sure that the loom models from Chengdu are the earliest pattern looms around the world," said the study's lead researcher, Feng Zhao, the director of the China National Silk Museum in Hangzhou, China, and a professor at Donghua University in Shanghai.

It's unclear when and where the first looms were developed, but archaeologists have found ancient looms parts at a variety of sites. For instance, in China's eastern Zhejiang province archaeologists found an approximately 8,000-year-old loom from the Kuahuqiao archaeological site, and a roughly 7,000-year-old loom found at the Hemudu site, Zhao said. Other looms include pieces of Egyptian creations from about 4,000 and 3,400 years ago, respectively, and Greek looms illustrated on vases dating to about 2,400 years ago, the researchers said.


Archaeology

Medieval priest discovered in elaborate grave 700 years after his death

Archaeologists from the University of Sheffield uncovered the rare find at Thornton Abbey in Lincolnshire, which was founded as a monastery in 1139 and went onto become one of the richest religious houses in England.

The priest's gravestone was discovered close to the altar of a former hospital chapel. Unusually for the period, it displayed an inscription of the deceased's name, Richard de W'Peton - abbreviated from 'Wispeton', a medieval incarnation of modern Wispington in Lincolnshire - and his date of death, 17 April 1317.

The slab also contained an extract from the Bible, specifically Philippians 2:10, which reads; "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth."

Sherlock

World War One Battlefield tunnels discovered under Salisbury Plain


Archaeologists working in Wiltshire have identified a unique network of First World War tunnels under Salisbury Plain.
Work is underway across the Salisbury Plain Training Area to prepare for the Service personnel returning from Germany in 2019 under the Army Basing Programme (ABP).This work has uncovered a unique network of First World War tunnels on MOD land in Larkhill, which is earmarked for over 400 new Army family homes.

The development is part of wider plans to accommodate 4,000 additional Service personnel and their families who will be based on and around the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) by 2019 under the ABP. In addition, the MOD is investing over £1.1bn in the area boosting the local economy and providing around 2,500 bed spaces for single soldiers, just over 1,300 new homes for Service families and the construction, conversion or refurbishment of nearly 250 other buildings.

The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium. The soldiers have left the mine galleries deep in the chalk but they have also left over a hundred inscriptions written by soldiers training here between 1915 and 1918. Archaeologists have been working alongside specialist engineers to investigate the underground battlefield.

Ice Cube

Frozen in time: Sailors looking for Northwest Passage in 1845 may be ID'ed by DNA

© Parks Canada
A sonar image showing the ill-fated HMS Erebus shipwreck.
Scientists have extracted DNA from the skeletal remains of several 19th-century sailors who died during the ill-fated Franklin Expedition, whose goal was to navigate the fabled Northwest Passage.

With a new genetic database of 24 expedition members, researchers hope they'll be able to identify some of the bodies scattered in the Canadian Arctic, 170 years after one of the worst disasters in the history of polar exploration.

The results were published April 20 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Palette

Scientists: Rare mother-of-pearl clouds may have inspired Munch's 'The Scream'

© www.edvardmunch.org
Edvard Munch's "The Scream"
The psychedelic clouds in Edvard Munch's iconic "The Scream" have alternatively been interpreted as a metaphor for mental anguish or a literal depiction of volcanic fallout.

On Monday, scientists hypothesised that the Norwegian painter's inspiration may in fact have been rare clouds which form in cold places at high altitude.

The first version of "The Scream" was released in 1893. It depicts a dark humanlike figure clutching its head in apparent horror against the backdrop of a swirling, red-orange sky.

In 2004, American astronomers theorised that Munch had painted a sky brightly coloured by particle pollution from the 1883 Krakatoa volcanic eruption.

But the new paper, presented at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna, said he more likely depicted a rare sighting of "mother-of-pearl" clouds over Oslo.

A volcanic outburst does not account for the "waviness" of Munch's clouds, Helene Muri, a researcher at the University of Oslo, told journalists in Vienna. Furthermore, volcano-tinted sunsets tend to be common for several years after an outburst, "whereas Munch's scary vision was seemingly a one-time experience, the way he described it in his journal," she said.


In his diary, Munch wrote of the sky turning suddenly blood red.

Document

Rare parchment of US Declaration discovered in England

© West Sussex Record Office
US historians have found a rare parchment of the US Declaration of Independence hidden away in a small records office in Sussex, England.

Harvard researchers discovered the 'Sussex Declaration', believed to be only the second such parchment known in existence, in the Chichester archives of the small town of West Sussex, England. The other parchment is housed in the National Archives in Washington DC.

Researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen announced their discovery at a Yale conference on Friday. They published their initial research online.

The newly discovered parchment of America's formative text is believed to date back to the 1780s, which they say sheds light on the tumultuous years the US experienced after the Revolutionary War.