Secret HistoryS


Mexicannibals: The ancient tribe who ate each other in the belief that 'bone rituals' would help improve the harvest

A cache of cooked and and carved human bones has been discovered in Mexico - backing up fables that cannibalism was practised by an ancient tribe.

The bones were found in El Salto, Durango State, northern Mexico, in a cave hamlet built into a cliff.

The site - called Cueva del Maguey - dates back to around 1425 and was formerly home to the Xiximes tribe.

© EPABone house: Archaeologists excavate Cueva del Maguey, Mexico, where a cache of human bones was discovered which proves the Xiximes tribe were cannibals
The archaeological trove included more than three dozen human bones which showed evidence of having been defleshed, cooked and then ritualistically marked with stone blades.

Rumours of cannibalism among the 5,000-strong Xiximes have long existed due to the historical accounts of Jesuit missionaries, which labelled the tribe 'the wildest and most barbarian people of the New World'.

Magic Wand

The French Resistance Myth

© Rialto PicturesArmy of Shadows, 1969 movie about the French Resistance (that never was, apparently)
The Heroic French Resistance, the underground movement against the Nazis in World War II that we recall from countless movies, never existed except as a myth embellished by Hollywood.

One of the most persistent wartime images has selfless French men and women in berets and leather jackets blowing up bridges and ambushing columns of German soldiers on lonely country roads.

But a new book by historian Douglas Porch, The French Secret Services, contends almost nothing of the sort actually happened. His account has set the French seething - all the more so since many of them are aware that what he says is absolutely true.

According to the book, even those few French who helped downed airmen often did so for the money. The standard reward for getting an escapee into Spain was about $50,000 in today's money.


Vietnam: Tay Son Dynasty Coin Unearthed

© Pham Huu CongA Minh Duc Thong Bao coin from the Tay Son dynasty found in a mandarin's tomb.
The Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology has announced new discoveries unearthed during the recent excavation of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his wives' tombs, including a coin dating back to the Tay Son dynasty (1778-1802).

Thoai Ngoc Hau (1761-1829), a famous general, helped Nguyen Anh found the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). He and his wives were buried in the southern province of An Giang. The excavation of their tombs was carried out on September 19 by local experts. They discovered a number of artifacts buried near the tombs of Chau Thi Te and Truong Thi Met, his first and second wives.

The name on the coin was Minh Duc Thong Bao, minted under the reign of Nguyen Nhac (1788-1793). The discovery in the tomb of the high ranking mandarin's wife has been seen as a possible breakthrough by archaeologists.

According to Pham Huu Cong, it could relate to a secret that had never been made public. "Perhaps the couple had a relationship with the Tay Son movement, the Nguyen kings' foes, and kept the coin as a memento, despite the trouble it could cause. When Chau Thi Te died in 1826, the mandarin buried this coin with her," he said.


Scotland: Excavation in Camelon Reveals Hidden Roman Past

© The Falkirk HeraldThe dig continues in Camelon
Archaeologists have uncovered precious Roman artefacts in what is described as the most important find locally for generations.

Specialists say they have found evidence of at least two Roman forts dating back to the first and second centuries AD.

They would have been used extensively as the Antonine Wall was built.

Archaeologist Martin Cook who is working on the project said the find is one of the most important in the Falkirk area for "decades".

Among the artefacts dug up are bones, jewellery, leather shoes, ceramics, ovens and coins,

The Camelon site, home to the former Wrangler factory, is being cleared to make way for a Tesco store by contractors Barr Construction.

AOC Archaeology, which excavated the land for them, uncovered a rich bounty of archaeological relics.


Ireland: EirGrid Finds Medieval Burial Site

Early Christian remains have been uncovered by contractors working on the largest energy project in the country.

The medieval burial ground was discovered on farmland in Rush, north Dublin, in June as EirGrid laid piping for a high voltage direct current (HVDC) underground power line.

Radiocarbon tests at Queens University, Belfast, have revealed the site dates back to the seventh century, from between 617 to 675 AD.

Archaeologists would not speculate on the number of remains on the site but confirmed they were pre-Viking and from the conversion period of Christianity.

John Fitzgerald, project director with Eirgrid, said: "It is an interesting historical discovery for the project, local archaeologists and the local community.


World's Earliest Christian Engraving Shows Surprising Pagan Elements

Pagan Inscriptions
© Left: © Zach123 |; Right: Christian Archaeology, Charles Wesley BennettScholars have identified what appears to be the world's earliest Christian inscription, dating to the second century. It is in the collection of the Capitoline Museums in Rome which could not release an image at press time. Also shown, examples of other early Christian inscriptions, copied in 1880.

Researchers have identified what is believed to be the world's earliest surviving Christian inscription, shedding light on an ancient sect that followed the teachings of a second-century philosopher named Valentinus.

Officially called NCE 156, the inscription is written in Greek and is dated to the latter half of the second century, a time when the Roman Empire was at the height of its power.

An inscription is an artifact containing writing that is carved on stone. The only other written Christian remains that survive from that time period are fragments of papyri that quote part of the gospels and are written in ink. Stone inscriptions are more durable than papyri and are easier to display. NCE 156 also doesn't quote the gospels directly, instead its inscription alludes to Christian beliefs.

"If it is in fact a second-century inscription, as I think it probably is, it is about the earliest Christian material object that we possess," study researcher Gregory Snyder, of Davidson College in North Carolina, told LiveScience.


Texas, US: Drought Uncovers Treasure for Looters on Lake Whitney

Sinking lake levels have exposed some of Hill County's hidden secrets.

Fossils and Native American tools from eight thousand years ago are easy to find at Lake Whitney, and looters are taking advantage.

They used to be buried in underwater caverns, but the drought has evaporated that protection.

"The looter and scavenger comes and digs up the site," said U.S. Army Corps Engineer Brad Demsey. "They just destroy all that and leave it to the side."

Even in remote parts of Lake Whitney that were once buried under concrete for security, scavengers unearth and discard valuable history.

There are fossils and Native American tools from prehistoric times.

Texas and federal laws ban the removal of Native American artifacts from archaeological sites, but burial grounds have been disturbed.


Stone-age toddlers had art lessons

Stone age toddlers may have attended a form of prehistoric nursery where they were encouraged to develop their creative skills in cave art, say archaeologists.

Research indicates young children expressed themselves in an ancient form of finger-painting. And, just as in modern homes, their early efforts were given pride of place on the living room wall.

© University of Cambridge/PAArtworks such as this were created 13,000 years ago by children in caves in the Dordogne, research suggests.
A Cambridge University conference on the archaeology of childhood on Friday reveals a tantalising glimpse into life for children in the palaeolithic age, an estimated 13,000 years ago.

Archaeologists at one of the most famous prehistoric decorated caves in France, the complex of caverns at Rouffignac in the Dordogne known as the Cave of a Hundred Mammoths, have discovered that children were actively helped to express themselves through finger fluting - running fingers over soft red clay to produce decorative crisscrossing lines, zig-zags and swirls.


Turkey: Ancient Lost City Found in the Dardanelles

A settlement area from the pre-historic period has been found in the Dardanelles, according to the head of Troy excavations, Associate Professor Rüstem Aslan.

"We have found a prehistoric settlement dating back to 5,000 B.C. But only 5 percent of the settlement exists," said Aslan. The archaeology team examined the coast from the entrance of the Dardanelles to Çanakkale city center, he said. "The coastal excavations had been finished and we unearthed something unexpected around Bozköy."

The settlement was 2,000 years older than Troy, Aslan said. "We know that almost all settlements older than 5,000 years ago were established on high plateaus." The reason for the settlement pattern in high places has been questioned, he said. "This discovery gives us important clues that people settled deliberately because of the rise and fall of the sea," he added.

Aslan said it was the first time that such a settlement was found in the Dardanelles and there is no information about this settlement in any map or document. "We can easily see remains of a 7,000-year-old lost settlement here," he said. "We can call this place a lost city."


How Psychology Solved A WWII Shipwreck Mystery

In November 1941, two ships crossed paths off the coast of Australia. One was the German raider HSK Kormoran. The other: an Australian warship called the HMAS Sydney. Guns were fired, the ships were damaged and both sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The loss of the Sydney in World War II was a national tragedy for the Australians, particularly because none of the 645 men on board survived. In the years that followed, there was intense interest in finding the wrecks, particularly the wreck of the Sydney. The idea was that doing this might give the families of the lost sailors some measure of peace, a sense of closure and certainty.

© UnknownThe Australian warship HMAS Sydney is anchored in Sydney Harbor in this undated photograph. The ship sank in November 1941 after a battle with a German vessel. Despite extensive search efforts, the boats were not found until 2008.
The problem was that the only witnesses to the battle and the sinking were about 300 German sailors who had abandoned their ship after it had been hit. They were eventually picked up by the Australian military.