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Blue Planet

Earliest confirmed case of smallpox found in bones from Denmark to Russia during Viking era

Viking grave
© Thames Valley Archaeological Services/PA
Massacred 10th century Vikings are seen having been found in a mass grave, at St John's College, Oxford
The Vikings are known for their intrepid seafaring, fearsome fighting and extensive trading, but it seems it may not only have been goods and weapons they carried on their travels - they could also have carried a deadly disease.

Researchers say they have found the world's earliest confirmed case of smallpox, revealing the disease was widespread across northern Europe during the Viking age.

"I think it is fair to assume the Vikings have been the superspreaders," said Eske Willerslev, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Cambridge and director of the Lundbeck Foundation GeoGenetics Centre at the University of Copenhagen, who led the research.

Comment: Indeed, there is evidence that there were connections between Nordic countries and Egypt even back then: Beads found in Nordic grave reveal trade connections with Egypt 3,400 years ago

See also:


Genetic data piece together origins of African Americans

African American
© joshlaverty / Getty Images
Until less than two centuries ago, millions of people were forcibly removed from Africa by European colonisers and taken across the Atlantic to become slaves in the Americas.

Helping to unravel the pervasive, ongoing impacts of this enslavement, an extensive population genetic study has added to historical records gathered by the slave trade database, concurring with them overall but adding some new insights.

"For millions of people in the Americas, the story of the transatlantic slave trade is the story of their ancestral origins," says Steven Micheletti from 23andMe in Sunnyvale, US, and lead author of the study published in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

The team, which included a researcher from the University of Leicester, UK, analysed genetic data from more than 50,000 people on both sides of the Atlantic, working closely with historians, scholars of African American studies and other geneticists.

As predicted, they found strong genetic connections between people of the Americas and African regions where more people were enslaved, most with roots in Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

But a closer look revealed multiple deviations from the group's expectations, says Micheletti.

One discovery was that most US-based African Americans tend to have high Nigerian ancestry, even though relatively small numbers of their enslaved ancestors were taken directly to the US from present-day Nigeria.


A canal in Nicaragua: Russia's powerful blow to the US

Canal and boat
© Unknown
When all of this is over and the smoke clears, the first thing China will think about is how to respond to the US for all that it has done to good Chinese citizens. And for sudden trade wars, and for exercises off the coast of the Celestial Empire, and for Hong Kong, and now, most importantly, for COVID-19. These lords of the Pacific at first imported it into Wuhan, and under the plausible pretext in the form of participation in the World Games, and then China was accused of hiding the virus worldwide, as well as its further distribution.

And the answer in the modern world is no longer with missiles and tanks. The United States itself demonstrated that weapons, in the words of the famous political scientist Sergey Kurginyan, "have become much more effective than the atomic bomb."

First place belongs to the bioweapon - and the coronavirus showed it. Whereas it is nearly impossible to prove who initiated the provocation and world aggression. And let no one be misled by the number of cases in the United States - it's like saying: what, it's them who infected themselves so massively? The fact is that ordinary American citizens are worth just as much to those who started all this as ordinary Chinese citizens.

I.e., nothing!


How the Cold War (still ongoing), actually started

truman nukes atomic energy
© Flickr/Nuclear Regulatory Commission
President Truman signs the Atomic Energy Act on August 1 1946.
This will be the first-ever credible, or "historical," but brief, account of how the Cold War actually began, and of why it started, and of why it continues today (even though it started on the basis of lies which have long-since become exposed but — for reasons which will become obvious — the exposing of which lies remains hidden from the public, so that 'history' can be preserved, and the public thus remains deceived).


To understand today's world, an introduction is needed first that summarizes what World War II (the Cold War's predecessor) was actually all about, in geostrategic terms:

The key decision-makers who coordinated together, in order to defeat the three fascist powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy, in WWII, were America's Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR), Britain's Winston Churchill, and the Soviet Union's Joseph Stalin. If any one of those three would abandon the Allied side, or as FDR anticipatorily named it the "United Nations," then the Axis would win the war, and then a war between the three Axis leaders — Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini — would follow afterward, in which Hitler was generally considered to be the likeliest to achieve his "Thousand Year Reich": global control. If so, the result would have been a Nazi-controlled planet. But each of the three Allied leaders had different political views and priorities.


Analysis of the Zodiacal dating of the Golan Dolmens

Golan Dolmens
© Prehistory Decoded
In a recently published paper in Asian Archaeology, new zoomorphic rock art is reported on Dolmens in the Levant. The picture above is from one of these dolmens, but is not new, and can be seen in an earlier blogpost concerning comets. My interpretation is that these trident shapes represent comet gods, just like the one on a stone palette found at Gobekli Tepe - see below.

Gobekli Tepe Artifact
© Prehistory Decoded
I interpret this plaquette to mean 'The comet god (left) attacked and destroyed (middle) the cosmic serpent who fell to earth (right)', consistent with numerous mythologies in the region. Gobekli Tepe's archaeologists interpret this to simply be the sequence 'snake, person, bird' (the other way up).

We see similar trident symbols at Stonehenge - see below. Clearly, in this image these symbols have been enhanced with colour, because they are very faint to the eye.


Women the true artisans behind ancient Greek ceramics argues new research

A new paper makes the case that scholars have ignored the role of female ceramicists in Greece going back some 3,000 years — and that this failing could speak to a more consequential blind spot involving gender.
Greek Amphora
© Zde/Wikimedia Commons
This amphora comes from a period in ancient Greek history called the Early Iron Age.
Painted over the enormous midsection of the Dipylon amphora — a nearly 2,800-year-old clay vase from Greece — silhouetted figures surround a corpse in a funeral scene. Intricate geometric patterns zig and zag across cracks in the vase, framing the scene.

The roughly 5-foot-tall amphora is one of many painted vases credited to a so-called Dipylon Master. (Dipylon is the name of the cemetery gate near where people found this vessel.) Historians have assumed that this master was a man. In fact, the assumption has long been that male artisans crafted the iconic pottery of ancient Greek society throughout its history.

After all, ancient Greece isn't exactly known for its record of women's rights and contributions. In Politics about 2,400 years ago, Aristotle wrote, "the male is by nature superior and the female inferior."

"No one had really thought that women were involved in making this pottery," says Sarah Murray, a classical archaeologist at the University of Toronto. "There was no argument. It was just taken as the default."

But in a recent article published in the American Journal of Archaeology, Murray and two of her undergraduate students challenge those assumptions. They argue that women were primarily responsible for the ceramics in at least one significant era of ancient Greek history.

Their analysis reframes archaeological questions about gender and paints a more cohesive picture of life during one of the most mysterious periods of ancient Greece. It also speaks to a larger effort underway in human history research: questioning how modern biases have skewed understandings of the past.


Measles virus likely emerged 2,500 years ago

© Navena Widulin/Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charite
An autopsy report of a measles patient compiled in 1912 kept at the Berlin Museum of Medical History
An international research team says the measles virus may have emerged as far back as some 2,500 years ago, much earlier than previously thought, and that it likely came alongside urbanization.

The experts came to that conclusion by analyzing a genome taken from a human lung preserved for more than a century.

The team, led by researchers from Germany's Robert Koch Institute, published its findings in the journal Science on June 19.

"The measles virus may have caused epidemics in ancient times, where the cause was unknown at the time," one of the researchers said.

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

Peopling of the Americas may have begun more than 33,000 years ago

© Mads Thomsen
Tools found in the Chiquihuite cave in Zacatecas, Mexico, suggest humans arrived there early
Writing in Nature, Ardelean et al.1 and Becerra-Valdivia and Higham2 report evidence that the initial human settlement of the American continent happened earlier than is widely accepted, and some of this evidence suggests that expansion into the continent began at least 10,000 years earlier than was generally suspected. A study of radiocarbon dating of early archaeological sites by Becerra-Valdivia and Higham reveals that interior regions of Alaska, Yukon in Canada and the continental United States were already widely populated before 13,000 years ago. For decades, that time frame was widely considered to mark the earliest possible date of initial entry, until data from sites more than 13,000 years old in North and South America, first reported in the 1970s, raised the possibility of earlier arrivals3-5. Archaeological excavations in Chiquihuite Cave in northern Mexico by Ardelean and colleagues provide evidence of human occupation about 26,500 years ago. This Mexican site now joins half a dozen other documented archaeological sites in northeast and central Brazil that have yielded evidence suggesting dates for human occupation between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago6-12.

Comment: The facts may be hard for some achaeologists to accept but the evidence is becoming hard to ignore: Also check out SOTT radio's:


The dark past of the World Bank and Bank for International Settlements

Bretton Woods Conference

U.N. Monetary and Financial Conference at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in July, 1944
Although written by Patrick Wood in 2005, nothing has changed to the historical fact of the Bank for International Settlements. It has nefarious roots and is the tap-root of modern globalization.

Today, the BIS is getting headlines again because of its direction of central banks to go cashless. It is readily apparent that it has not lost its power and influence over the decades. For anyone wanting to understand how the world really works, this is a must-read paper. - TN Editor
Created at Bretton Woods in 1944, the World Bank has been dominated by international bankers, members of the Council on Foreign Relations and later by the Trilateral Commission. Corruption and self-interest run amok as public funds are converted into private hands by the billions.


According to The World Bank, it is,
"a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. We are not a bank in the common sense. We are made up of two unique development institutions owned by 184 member countries — the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA). Each institution plays a different but supportive role in our mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards. The IBRD focuses on middle income and creditworthy poor countries, while IDA focuses on the poorest countries in the world. Together we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credit and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications and many other purposes." 1

Blue Planet

Climate change not responsible for extinction of Western Mediterranean Neanderthals

© O. Lacarbonara
Researchers sampled this 50-cm long stalagmite in the Pozzo Cucù cave, in the Castellana Grotte area (Bari) and they carried out 27 high-precision datings and 2,700 analyses of carbon and oxygen stable isotopes. Credit:
Homo Neanderthaliensis did not become extinct because of changes in climate. At least, this did not happen to the several Neanderthal groups that lived in the western Mediterranean 42,000 years ago. A research group of the University of Bologna came to this conclusion after a detailed paleoclimatic reconstruction of the last ice age through the analysis of stalagmites sampled from some caves in Apulia, Italy.

The researchers focused on the Murge karst plateau in Apulia, where Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens coexisted for at least 3,000 years, from approximately 45,000 to 42,000 years ago. This study was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Data extracted from the stalagmites showed that climate changes that happened during that time span were not particularly significant. "Our study shows that this area of Apulia appears as a 'climate niche' during the transition from Neanderthals to Homo Sapiens" explains Andrea Columbu, researcher and first author of this study. "It doesn't seem possible that significant climate changes happened during that period, at least not impactful enough to cause the extinction of Neanderthals in Apulia and, by the same token, in similar areas of the Mediterranean."

Comment: It seems likely that the factors contributing to the Neanderthals demise could include their obvious lack of creativity, their small population size, and, notably, that Homo Sapiens, renowned for their ingenuity, were - for the most part - either unable or unwilling to interbreed with them; and there may be other factors that are, as of yet, to fully come to light: The Golden Age, Psychopathy and the Sixth Extinction