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Thu, 19 Jan 2017
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Human remains found at ancient Neolithic site in the UK

© CR Archeology
Archaeologists excavating on the island of Anglesey off the coast of North Wales, UK, have uncovered two partial human remains and thousands of artifacts at a vast Neolithic site, in what has been dubbed an 'unprecedented' discovery.

The company CR Archaeology has uncovered over 6000 artifacts at the dig in Llanfaethlu, including a broad array of pottery designs dating from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, in what appears to the largest find of its kind in North Wales.

More significantly, the discovery of human remains may transform historians' understanding of the beginnings of agriculture in the region according to the archaeology firm, who have been working alongside Wynne Construction, Gwynedd Archeological Planning Services and Anglesey Council.

"Human remains are incredibly rare outside of megalithic tombs in this area as bone seldom survives in North Wales. Several teeth have been recovered which will enable scientists to discover more about Anglesey's first farmers," said archeologist Catherine Rees.

The teeth found in human remains hold the key to understanding the individual's diet and the location of where they were raised.

Through additional examination, a picture will begin to emerge of the kind of things the people in this area ate 6000 years ago and whether they grew up in the region or had migrated from more distant shores.

Rees commented: "It is no understatement to say Llanfaethlu is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the last 50 years and it is clearly of international significance.

"It provides the potential to examine Welsh history over millennia, examining the changing culture and land use.

"This site will place Wales and Anglesey at the forefront of the current archeological discourse and Llanfaethlu will undoubtedly become a 'type site' in the study of Prehistory."


Looking back at the attack on Pearl Harbor, 75 years later

© U.S. Navy / Reuters
The damaged battleship USS California, listing to port after being hit by Japanese aerial torpedoes and bombs, is seen off Ford Island during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, U.S. December 7, 1941
December 7, 1941 is known as the day that will live in infamy, marking the US' official entrance into World War II, which helped shape the role the US plays in the world today. Many are gathering to honor the 2,403 American lives lost at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago.

The 75th anniversary of the attack by Japan on the US naval base near Honolulu, Hawaii will be remembered on Wednesday. The remaining survivors, such as 104-year-old Ray Chavez, will go to Hawaii to honor those who lost their lives.

"I can't forget it. I never will," Chavez told NBC News. "I got very emotional that day. There were so many, many innocent people that were lost."

For those who lived during the attack, the day is full of painful memories. Edward Waszkiewicz, 95, was a 20-year-old when he heard what sounded like the "end of the world coming," he told USA Today. He looked up and watched three planes fly to "Battleship Row," a group of eight US battleships, and watched as "all hell broke loose."

Comment: It's worth remembering that what history teaches us about Pearl Harbor is not exactly the truth:


Spitak earthquake: How half of Armenia was wiped out within 30 seconds

© AP Photo/ Morten Hvaal
Twenty-eight years ago, one of the worst disasters in the history of Armenia struck northwest of the country. As result of the devastating earthquake, the town of Spitak was almost completely destroyed within 30 seconds. 25,000 people were killed, while 140,000 more were injured.

The 10-magnitude quake struck on December 7, 1988, at 11.41 am and affected more than 300 Armenian settlements. The town of Spitak which was at the epicenter of the disaster was virtually leveled to the ground within 30 seconds. Other cities like Leninakan (now Gyumri), Stepanavan and Vanadzor were partially destroyed.

"There were people standing in front of each destroyed house with strained expressions on their faces. Grief and hope entwined in their souls, in their faces," former First Secretary of the Armenian Communist Party Suren Harutyunyan recalled the terrible events of that day in an interview with Sputnik Armenia. "At this point, the only goal for people was to find their loved ones, and if fate decided otherwise, to bury them according to the customs of their ancestors," he continued.


A time remembered and the girl who lived: The Halifax explosion, 99 years later

© Stephen MacGillivray/Globe/Mail
Kaye Chapman, 104, holds photo of her parents and siblings taken a few years after the Halifax explosion of 1917.
Kaye Chapman, now 104, was five years old on the fateful day in 1917 when a munitions ship's collision in Halifax's harbour - only two kilometres from her house - blew the city apart, killing and injuring thousands. This is how she remembers it today.

Nearly a century ago, five-year-old Kaye Chapman said goodbye to her four brothers and sisters as they rushed out the door of their north-end Halifax home. She collected her Bible and hymnbook and was about to play Sunday school, when a deafening boom swept her off her feet.

It was Dec. 6, 1917, toward the end of the First World War, when Halifax was the epicentre of the Canadian war effort.

Just before 9 a.m., the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc was arriving in Halifax to join a convoy across the Atlantic. The Norwegian vessel Imo was leaving, en route to New York to pick up relief supplies for battle-weary troops in Belgium. Both vessels were in the tightest section of the harbour when they collided, igniting a blaze that set off the biggest human-caused explosion prior to the atomic bomb.
© National Archives of Canada
Halifax Harbor after the explosion.


4,000-Year-Old 'Thinker' Sculpture Uncovered in Israel

© EYECON Productions, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
This ancient "pensive" figurine was discovered atop a pottery vessel in Israel.
A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud.

The vessel dates back about 4,000 years, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development.

"It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.

Funerary find

The unusual vessel is only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) tall. The container itself is an oblong oval shape, while the figure atop the vessel sits with one arm resting on its knees and the other propping up its chin.

Comment: See also:


1,000-Year-Old Viking Toolbox Found at Mysterious Danish Fortress

© Danish Castle Center
The remains of the toolbox were found in what archaeologists think was a workshop in the Viking fortress at Borgring.
A Viking toolbox found in Denmark has been opened for the first time in 1,000 years, revealing an extraordinary set of iron hand tools that may have been used to make Viking ships and houses, according to archaeologists.

The tools were found this summer at a mysterious, ring-shaped fortress at Borgring, on the island of Zealand. The famed 10th-century Danish king Harald Bluetooth is thought to have ordered the construction of the fortress.

So far, archaeologists have found at least 14 iron tools inside a single deposit of earth excavated from a gatehouse building of the fortress. The researchers said only traces remain of the wooden chest that once held the tools.

Iron was valuable in Viking-age Denmark, and the researchers think the tools once belonged to a craftsman who occupied a workroom in the gatehouse until it collapsed in the late 10th century.

Comment: See also:

Better Earth

Slowing of Earth's Spin Revealed in Ancient Astronomers' Tablets

The time it takes our planet to do a full rotation has increased every century due to friction caused by tides.
The work of ancient astronomers reveals that the Earth's spin is slowing down — though not as much as scientists believed.

Each century, the length of the solar day, or the time it takes the planet to do a full rotation, grows by 1.8 milliseconds, according to a new study using astronomical observations going back to 750 B.C. Researchers have known that the planet's rotation is slowing because of friction caused by the tides, as water that's being tugged on by the moon's gravity sloshes against the solid Earth. However, measurements of this tidal effect suggest that the planet should be slowing in its rotation by 2.3 milliseconds per century, slightly more than the new research finds.

The difference between 2.3 milliseconds and 1.8 milliseconds over a century may seem trivial, said study researcher Leslie Morrison, who worked at the Royal Greenwich Observatory for nearly 40 years. But those fractions of milliseconds are important for understanding the ways that the Earth has changed shape since the end of the last ice age, about 12,000 years ago, Morrison told Live Science.

Comment: Related articles:


Imperial-era Roman skeletons show signs of malaria in their DNA

© Luca Bondioli / Pigorini Museum
Skeletal remains of an individual from Velia, Italy are shown.
In today's issue of Current Biology, an international group of researchers has published some of the first direct DNA evidence of malaria in Imperial Italy. While the study did not find DNA of Plasmodium falciparum in skeletal remains near Rome, the discovery points to a way forward in our understanding of disease and death in the Roman Empire.

The team, led by Stephanie Marciniak of McMaster University, investigated 58 skeletons in total from Isola Sacra (the cemetery associated with Portus Romae, about 25 km from Rome on the coast), Velia (a site in southwestern Italy), and Vagnari (in southeastern Italy). All date to the 1st-4th centuries, or the Imperial period. They found evidence of P. falciparum, the organism that causes malaria, in two individuals -- one from Velia and one from Vagnari.

There are two interesting outcomes from this project -- first, that the researchers have found evidence of malaria that tracks the assumed geographical spread. That is, given the evidence of malaria further south in earlier time periods, Marciniak and colleagues show a northward spread of the disease through DNA evidence. And second, that the researchers found no evidence of malaria in the sample from Portus Romae.

Heart - Black

47 years ago - the assassination of Black Panther Fred Hampton

© Paul Sequeira
Photograph of the funeral of Fred Hampton, which was attended by over 5,000 people mourning his killing by members of the Chicago Police Department.
On this very day, as the Army Corps of Engineers and police forces from Morton County North Dakota and nine surrounding states gather their collective forces and fearsome weaponry in an effort to evict the proud and peaceful Indigenous Water Protectors from their sacred land at Standing Rock, and thousands of veterans gather to protect them from concussion grenades, water hoses, rubber bullets and God knows what else, it is profoundly appropriate to reflect on the courage and leadership of Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and revisit the sordid history of his assassination at the hand of a conspiracy between local law enforcement and the FBI 47 years ago.

On December 4, 1969, 47 years ago today, a select unit of Chicago police officers executed a predawn raid that left Illinois Black Panther Party (BPP) leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead and several other young Panthers wounded. The seven survivors of the raid were arrested on fraudulent attempted murder charges. The officers who committed the execution were specially assigned to Cook County State's Attorney Edward Hanrahan. The claims of a "shootout" that were made by Hanrahan and his men were soon exposed as bald-faced lies: the physical evidence definitively established that the raiders fired nearly 100 shots at the sleeping Panthers, while only one shot could be linked to a Panther weapon.

However, as was painstakingly proved over the next eight years, the false official claim of a violent confrontation was only one layer of a massive conspiracy that was also designed to cover up the central role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and its COINTELPRO program in the murderous raid.

Comment: The Black Panther Party: The battle against poverty, racism, imperialism & police brutality
Fred Hampton was another dynamic Black Panther leader who was assassinated, another tragic loss of someone with the potential to inspire millions. Growing up, Hampton was both a star athlete and a star student. While still in high school he joined the Civil Rights movement, joining the NAACP and leading a strike at his high school. He was a charismatic speaker and was recruited into the new Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, quickly becoming its leader. He was a charismatic public speaker who could electrify a crowd. He also had a major talent for unifying people, trusted by both the old and the young, men and women, the poor and the middles class and people of every race. He tried to merge the Panthers with the P-Stone Rangers, a gang that had grown a conscience and begun social programs to aid the local community. Unfortunately this effort was sabotaged by COINTELPRO, which attempted to get the Rangers to turn on the Panthers by spreading rumors the Panthers were planning to assassinate the Rangers' leader Jeff Fort. Luckily Fort and Hampton figured out what was happening before a war erupted. Hampton was fearless during the negotiations, standing his ground despite the overwhelming firepower the Rangers had managed to amass and which was on as full display as Fort's dramatic way of explaining why the Rangers refused to be absorbed into the smaller Chicago Black Panther Party.

More successful were Hampton's efforts to bridge the racial divide in Chicago, in some ways even fiercer than that of the deep South, as Martin Luther King had discovered when he tried to hold a march in the nearby town of Cicero, Illinois, and was greeted by a violent mob worse then any in the South. Hampton created the Rainbow Coalition, which brought together poor Whites, Latinos, and Blacks in a demand for social change. With his ability to unite and inspire people, Hampton was a threat and he was brutally assassinated along with Mark Clark in a police raid instigated by the FBI. He was assassinated the night of December 4, 1969. The cowardly police even had an informant drug Hampton so that he lay helplessly asleep next to his 8-months pregnant girlfriend as they opened fire on the room where he slept, the informant William O'Neal having provided a complete floor plan. Hampton might have survived, but the police then shot him at point blank range to finish him off. The police then lied and claimed there had been a shootout, but the Panthers managed to expose this lie. All the bullets had come from the police. They led tours of the murder site and soon the transparent coverup had been completely exposed. Hampton was only 19 when they killed him - there was no telling what he could have accomplished. Tragically this is exactly why he was murdered. Today his son Fred Hampton, Jr., is trying to carry on the tradition of his father.


U.S. government has used propaganda against the American people for a very long time

CIA Admits Using News To Manipulate the USA (1975)
The Government's Been Deploying Propaganda On U.S. Soil for Many Years

The United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities found in 1975 that the CIA submitted stories to the American press:

Wikipedia adds details:
After 1953, the network was overseen by Allen W. Dulles, director of the CIA. By this time, Operation Mockingbird had a major influence over 25 newspapers and wire agencies. The usual methodology was placing reports developed from intelligence provided by the CIA to witting or unwitting reporters. Those reports would then be repeated or cited by the preceding reporters which in turn would then be cited throughout the media wire services.

The Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) was funded by siphoning off funds intended for the Marshall Plan [i.e. the rebuilding of Europe by the U.S. after WWII]. Some of this money was used to bribe journalists and publishers.
In 2008, the New York Times wrote:
During the early years of the cold war, [prominent writers and artists, from Arthur Schlesinger Jr. to Jackson Pollock] were supported, sometimes lavishly, always secretly, by the C.I.A. as part of its propaganda war against the Soviet Union. It was perhaps the most successful use of "soft power" in American history.

Comment: See also: Modern Operation Mockingbird: "Everyone Who Disagrees with Me Is a Russian Propagandist"