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Fri, 23 Mar 2018
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Secret History


100,000 year old skulls may belong to elusive Denisovans

skulls human neanderthal denisovians
Since their discovery in 2010, the ex­tinct ice age humans called Deniso­vans have been known only from bits of DNA, taken from a sliver of bone in the Denisova Cave in Siberia, Russia. Now, two partial skulls from eastern China are emerging as prime candidates for showing what these shadowy people may have looked like.

In a paper published this week in Science, a Chinese-U.S. team presents 105,000- to 125,000-year-old fossils they call "archaic Homo." They note that the bones could be a new type of human or an eastern variant of Neandertals. But although the team avoids the word, "everyone else would wonder whether these might be Denisovans," which are close cousins to Neandertals, says paleo­anthropologist Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London.

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Ancient 'Hades' Gate' still emitting poison gas centuries after mysterious deaths

Archaeological sites at Hierapolis
© Gerig Ullstein / Getty Images
Archaeological sites at Hierapolis.
Scientists studying an ancient site in Turkey, once thought to be a gate to hell, have found that the deaths recounted at the stone grotto in historical texts were most likely caused by noxious natural gas.

The Ploutonion at Hierapolis, or Hades' Gate - said to contain the deathly breath of the Greek god of the underworld - is located in modern day Denizli, Turkey.

Its existence was confirmed in 2013 by Italian archaeologist Francesco D'Andria. Now researchers have found that the Roman-Greco grotto in the ancient ruins of Hierapolis emits concentrated levels of CO2, perhaps giving a scientific reason for unexplained fatalities at the site.

Published in the journal Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences, the study was lead by professor Hardy Pfanz of the University of Duisberg-Essen, Germany.


The forgotten murders of the Osage Nation for the oil beneath their land

Osage chauffeured cars
In the early 20th century, the members of the Osage Nation became the richest people per capita in the world, after oil was discovered under their reservation, in Northeast Oklahoma. Then they began to be mysteriously murdered off. The case became one of the FBI's first major homicide investigations.

In telling this largely forgotten history in my new book, "Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI," I drew on many archival and contemporary photographs to help document what happened. Here are some of the most powerful images.

In the early 1870s, the Osage had been driven from their lands in Kansas onto a rocky, presumably worthless reservation in northeastern Oklahoma.


13,500-year-old Dutch work of art found in the North Sea

Bison Bone
© Dutch News
The oldest Dutch work of art is a 13,500 year-old carved bison bone dredged up from the bottom of the North Sea, archaeologists write in an article published in Antiquity magazine earlier this week.

Late Ice Age hunter gatherers roamed the area that became the North Sea but very little evidence of their presence has been found. But sometimes the sea floor yields treasures that shed light on the period. This is a confirmation, the article says, of 'the importance of continental shelves as archaeological archives'.

In 2005 a Dutch fishing vessel caught a bison bone in its nets on the border of the Dutch part of the continental shelf. The bone, which had a distinctive zigzag pattern carved in it, ended up in the hands of a collector who, the NRC writes, 'had good contacts with fishermen' and agreed to let experts at the Leiden archaeological museum take a look at it.

Carbon isotope analysis showed the bone to be 13,500 years old and part of a culture that decorated animal bones with zigzag and herringbone motives. Only three other similarly carved objects have been discovered so far: a horse's jaw in Wales, deer antlers in Northern France and moose antlers in Poland.


Archaeological surprise found beneath Tomb of Jonah in Iraq

new inscriptions tomb of Johah
© Eleanor Robson
Seven inscriptions were found in looters' tunnels dug beneath the destroyed tomb of Jonah (one of the tunnels is shown here).
Deep inside looters' tunnels dug beneath the Tomb of Jonah in the ancient Iraq city of Nineveh, archaeologists have uncovered 2,700-year-old inscriptions that describe the rule of an Assyrian king named Esarhaddon.

The seven inscriptions were discovered in four tunnels beneath the biblical prophet's tomb, which is a shrine that's sacred to both Christians and Muslims. The shrine was blown up by the Islamic State group (also called ISIS or Daesh) during its occupation of Nineveh from June 2014 until January 2017.

ISIS or ISIS-backed looters apparently dug the tunnels to look for archaeological treasures from the Assyrian kings in what is today Iraq, Ali Y. Al-Juboori, director of the Assyrian Studies Centre at the University of Mosul, wrote in a recent issue of the journal Iraq.


Top Russian commander debunks myths about the Soviet war in Afghanistan

Lieutenant General Boris Gromov
© Sputnik, Solomon Lulishov
Lieutenant General Boris Gromov (center), commander of the restricted contingent of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, holder of the Hero of the Soviet Union Medal, facing reporters in the Uzbek town of Termez after the withdrawal of the Soviet units from Afghanistan in compliance with the Geneva Accords. Right: Boris Gromov's son who welcomed him on the border.
This Thursday, Russia and 14 other countries that formerly comprised the USSR will commemorate the 29th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA). The conflict, which spanned over nine years, was a major escalation point in the Cold War and its consequences remain with us today.

Even though the US war in Afghanistan will mark its 17th year in 2018, it was the Soviet military campaign that has become a source of various misconceptions and fallacies promulgated by numerous "military experts" in the West.

To debunk some of the most widespread myths about the conflict, Sputnik sat down with General Boris Gromov, the last commander of the Soviet military contingent in Afghanistan (the 40th Army).

Book 2

Review: Solzhenitsyn on the history of Jews in Russia

The translation of Solzhenitsyn's book appears to have been done without permission from his family, and this might be why this lengthy and detailed review is no longer available on the page of the book on Amazon.com, where it originally appeared.

The book might disappear altogether from Amazon, so if you want to get your Kindle copy, act now. Otherwise you can find it on many sources on the internet.
jews in russia

Jews had enormous influence in the English and American media at the turn of the century - this is what most people in America and UK were told about Russian Jews
The translator, Columbus Falco, describes the censorship of this book when it appeared in 2002:
"Published in the original Russian in 2002, the book was received with a firestorm of rage and denunciation from the literary and media world, from the Jews, and from almost the entire intelligentsia of the established order in the West...

Immense efforts have been made by the Russian authorities and also by the Western liberal democratic power structure to ignore 200 YEARS TOGETHER, to suppress it as much as possible, and above all to prevent and interdict the book's translation into foreign languages, most especially into English, which has become essentially the worldwide language of our epoch...

The Russian authorities have to this date refused to allow any official English translation of the book to be published". (p. 2).

Comment: It would be nice to have some verification of this assertion. Do the Russian authorities control translation rights, or does the Solzhenitsyn estate? The estate did allow translation excerpts to be published in The Solzhenitsyn Reader. It could just be that no reputable publisher has expressed any interest in publishing a translation, for obvious reasons of political correctness.


Archeologists using laser scans discover ancient 'lost' city built by the Purépecha in western Mexico

Groundbreaking lidar scanning reveals the true scale of Angamuco, built by the Purépecha from about 900AD

Ancient Aztec city Angamuco Mexico
© C Fisher
One of Angamuco’s ‘neighbourhoods’, revealed using light detection and ranging scanning.
Archaeology might evoke thoughts of intrepid explorers and painstaking digging, but in fact researchers say it is a high-tech laser mapping technique that is rewriting the textbooks at an unprecedented rate.

The approach, known as light detection and ranging scanning (lidar) involves directing a rapid succession of laser pulses at the ground from an aircraft.

The time and wavelength of the pulses reflected by the surface are combined with GPS and other data to produce a precise, three-dimensional map of the landscape. Crucially, the technique probes beneath foliage - useful for areas where vegetation is dense.

Earlier this month researchers revealed it had been used to discover an ancient Mayan city within the dense jungles of Guatemala, while it has also helped archaeologists to map the city of Caracol - another Mayan metropolis.

Now, researchers have used the technique to reveal the full extent of an ancient city in western Mexico, about a half an hour's drive from Morelia, built by rivals to the Aztecs.


Crimean bridge builders unearth spectacular archaeological find

underwater dig crimea
"it's the largest archaeological dig in the history of Russia."

While in the process of building the Crimean Bridge, construction workers discovered a previously unknown Greek settlement.

Archeological finds show that Slavs have been living in Crimea for five milennia.

The site has turned out to be a treasure trove of artifacts. The following clip taken from a Russian news agency with transcript below shows some of these amazing finds.


Sorry, not everyone felt that way: Racism, rationalization and the potential of white allyship

© unknown
I remember when I was a kid how my maternal grandmother would defend Richard Nixon for the crimes of Watergate. As she put it, "He didn't do anything that every other president didn't also do."

It's an easily manifested suspicion I suppose - not altogether incorrect - given the commonality of misconduct in high places. And surely it's the kind of thing we'll be hearing a lot more of in years to come, after the presidency of the human cynicism factory known as Donald Trump comes to an end.

Still, and however prevalent personal duplicity may be, even at six I understood that the "everyone does it" defense wasn't exactly compelling. Not because I was a particularly developed moral philosopher, but because it never seemed to work when I would try it on my mom, in those instances where a friend and I would be playing ball and break something on the porch of a neighbor's apartment.

Whenever I tried the old "but Billy was playing too" defense, it would be met with the same reply. As I recall it involved something about a bridge, followed by a query as to whether, were young William to leap from it, I would follow him in the manner of a damned fool.

This tendency to excuse one's own misdeeds - or the misdeeds of others you admire - by way of the "everyone does it" defense is nowhere more maddening than when applied to our nation's founders, or early American presidents and prominent citizens.

Comment: History can be a teacher and a touchstone, should it be properly and accurately acknowledged. Instead we write and rewrite it to serve a bias, then remember it as validation.