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Wed, 22 Sep 2021
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Sarcophagus from Visigoth period discovered in Roman necropolis

© University of Murcia
Archaeologists from the University of Murcia, financed by the Mula municipal council, the Cajamurcia Foundation, and supported by CEPOAT have excavated a sarcophagus at the site of the Roman necropolis at Los Villaricos, located 5km East of the city of Mula, in Murcia, Spain.

The discovery was made during the summer season of excavations among the ruins of a previously excavated Roman villa, which was abandoned around the 5th century AD.

During the Roman period, Los Villaricos was a large-scale agricultural site, focusing on the production and storage of olive oil. In later years, elements of the villa was repurposed for Christian worship, whilst the villa's central patio area was used as a necropolis, referred to as the ' necropolis ad sanctos '.

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Blue Planet

500-year-old skulls with facial modification unearthed in Gabon

skull modification
© C. Gerin and P. Mora /Antiquity Publications Ltd
A skull (a) and photogrammetry of a skull (b) showing how the individuals had their upper incisors removed.
Men and women living in West Central Africa 500 years ago dramatically changed their looks by removing their front teeth, ancient skulls reveal. Archaeologists found the centuries-old altered skulls deep underground in a cave that could be reached only by rope, through a hole in the cavern's roof.

The harrowing vertical drop of 82 feet (25 meters) led to thousands of bones from at least 24 adults (men and women age 15 or older) and four children that were deposited there on at least two occasions, researchers reported in a new study. Hundreds of metal artifacts — jewelry, weapons and hoes, made of local iron and imported copper — lay near the remains, hinting at the wealth and status of the people who were buried there.

Comment: Mary Settegast in her book Plato Prehistorian provides some more details on this practice:
The Iberomau­rusians not only lacked the Magdalenian artistic genius, at least in imperishable materials, but the two cultures fundamentally diverged in burial customs and initiation procedures. Hundreds of Iberomaurusian dead have been recovered from large ceme­teries in North African caves, as opposed to the scarce and usually isolated Magdalenian burials, and all Iberomaurusian crania show evidence of tooth avulsion in puberty (in this case the removal of the two upper central incisors and occasionally the two lower ones as well), presumably an adolescent initia­tion practice for which there are no parallels in Europe.

And yet the spatial and temporal boundaries of these North Africans do match up almost as well as the Magdalenians with the stated dimensions of Atlantic control. One wonders, there­fore, if the marked cultural differences on either side of the Straits might indicate the presence of more than one Atlantic hand in Mediterranean affairs. In the Critias, the ten orig­inal kings and their descendants are said to have governed formany generations "their own territories and many other islands in the ocean and, as has already been said, also controlled the populations this side of the straits as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia." If this passage is taken to mean that more than one of the Atlantic kings controlled populations inside the Straits, we would expect any differences between these rulers to have extended to their colonies.

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Oink Vey! Evidence ancient Israelites ate pork revealed by pig skeleton in First Temple-period Jerusalem

jew israel pork pig
© Oscar Bejerano, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority
Pig skeleton wedged between crushed pottery vessels, at a First Temple-period site in Jerusalem
Remains of piglet from 2,700 years ago support the theory that ancient Israelites occasionally did eat pork, and the biblical taboo on this animal was only first observed in Second Temple era, Israeli archaeologists say

Israeli archaeologists have unearthed the complete skeleton of a piglet in a place and time where you wouldn't expect to find pork remains: a Jerusalem home dating to the First Temple period.

The 2,700-year-old porcine remains were found crushed by large pottery vessels and a collapsed wall during excavations in the so-called City of David, the original nucleus of ancient Jerusalem.

Comment: It would appear that the religion we've come to know today looked a lot different in the past: Also check out SOTT radio's:

Microscope 1

First genetic evidence from medieval plague victims suggests Black Death reached Southern Italy

italy medieval map
Graves containing the remains of two men (aged between 30 and 45 years) are the first evidence of Yersinia pestis infection, the bacteria responsible for plague, in 14th-century Southern Italy, according to new research being presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID).

"The retrieval of plague ancient DNA from the teeth of two adults buried at the Abbey of San Leonardo in Siponto is a discovery of national importance, as it is the first related to the second plague pandemic (Black Death) in Southern Italy", says Dr Donato Raele from the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Puglia and Basilicata in Foggia, who led the research.

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Archaeologists suggest rock-cut cave was home of exiled Anglo-Saxon King

Cave of a King
© colejizzle – Shutterstock
A near-complete Anglo-Saxon dwelling and oratory, believed to date from the early 9th century, has been discovered in Derbyshire by archaeologists from the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and Wessex Archaeology.

Archaeologists from the RAU's newly-formed Cultural Heritage Institute, working with colleagues from Wessex Archaeology, undertook a detailed survey of the grade II listed Anchor Church Caves between Foremark and Ingleby in South Derbyshire.

The caves, which were cut out of the soft sandstone rock, have long been considered to be 18th century 'follies', but this new study, published in the Proceedings of the University of Bristol Spelaeological Society, demonstrates that these caves are more likely to be early Medieval in date.

Edmund Simons, principal investigator of the project and a research fellow at the RAU, said: "Our findings demonstrate that this odd little rock-cut building in Derbyshire is more likely from the 9th century than from the 18th century as everyone had originally thought.

"This makes it probably the oldest intact domestic interior in the UK - with doors, floor, roof, windows etc - and, what's more, it may well have been lived in by a king who became a saint!

"Using detailed measurements, a drone survey, and a study of architectural details, it was possible to reconstruct the original plan of three rooms and easterly facing oratory, or chapel, with three apses."


Oldest known cosmetics found in ceramic bottles on Balkan Peninsula

cosmetic archaeology
© Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports
A trio of researchers from Slovenia's Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia at the Centre for Preventive Archaeology and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, in Germany, has found evidence of the oldest known use of cosmetics at a dig site in the Balkans. In their paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, Bine Kramberger, Christoph Berthold and Cynthianne Spiteri describe the ceramic bottles that held the cosmetics and what they found inside them.

Comment: For more of the 'world's oldest' records, check out:

Star of David

Haifa: Planned death of a city - Palestine's past remembered

© PalestineRemembered.com
The editors of David Ben Gurion's diaries expressed their bewilderment at his lack of interest in the military campaigns in April 1948. Israel's first prime minister (1) was preoccupied with internal political matters, such as the new state's relationship with Zionist bodies abroad, as if the fate of the state depended on them. His diaries do not even hint at an "imminent catastrophe" and certainly do not convey the impression that Israel faced a "second holocaust", terms he used frequently in his public speeches and addresses (2).

In inner circles Ben Gurion spoke very differently. At the beginning of the month, at a special meeting of the secretariat of MAPAI (the leading party), he listed proudly the names of the Palestinian villages already occupied by the Hagana and the other Jewish paramilitary groups. In a long speech, he explained that the next objectives of the military effort would be Haifa and Jaffa. In his words, these principal urban centres were "islands" in the midst of a Jewish sea. They were not islands, and calling them that diminished their spatial span; they encompassed more than 100,000 people, and many thousands more lived in their hinterlands. The process I call "urbicide" (destruction of urban space and expulsion of its residents), happened that April and ended with the forced departure of more than 200,000 Palestinians from their homes up and down the land. Another 70,000 urban Palestinians were expelled from Ramallah and Lydda in July 1948.

There are still Palestinians living in Haifa so, in that sense, the urbicide failed. However, they live in perceived islands within the city, surrounded by a Jewish sea threatening to engulf them. The ideology remains intact, partly because Israel's Jewish majority is in denial about what happened in April 1948, refusing to acknowledge its cruelty, inhumanity and suffering.

Arrow Up

UK supported the coup in Bolivia to gain access to its 'white gold'

© Juan Ignacio Roncoroni/EPA-EFE.jpg
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales press conference in Buenos Aires, October 2020
After a coup in the South American country of Bolivia in November 2019, democratically elected president Evo Morales was forced to flee. Foreign Office documents obtained by Declassified show Britain saw the new military-backed regime, which killed 18 protesters, as an opportunity to open up Bolivia's lithium deposits to UK firms.

On 10 November 2019, after the head of the army called for his resignation, Bolivia's socialist president, Evo Morales, stepped down. It followed weeks of protests after the release of a report by the Organisation of American States (OAS) alleging irregularities in the election Morales had won the previous month.

Persecution from the new regime forced Morales to flee the country and an "interim president", Jeanine Áñez, was installed. Widely condemned as a coup, resulting protests were met with lethal force. Days after taking power, on 14 November, the Áñez regime forced through Decree 4078 which gave immunity to the military for any actions taken in "the defence of society and maintenance of public order".

Star of David

Israel unveils major discovery from Jerusalem's Second Temple era

temple room israel jerusalem
© AFP via Getty Images
Part of the structure was first discovered in the 19th century during work conducted by British archaeologist Charles Warren.
Israeli archaeologists have reportedly discovered an opulent building where VIPs and members of the elite were likely welcomed on their way to visit the nearby Temple Mount some 2,000 years ago.

"This is, without doubt, one of the most magnificent public buildings from the Second Temple period that has ever been uncovered outside the Temple Mount walls in Jerusalem," Shlomit Weksler-Bdolach, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

The grandiose structure will soon be part of the Western Wall Tunnels itinerary, offering visitors a glimpse into life during the first century, the IAA and the Western Wall Heritage Foundation said.

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MindMatters: Phillip Barlag: Murderers, Tyrants and Lunatics - A History of Rome at Its Worst

barlag roman
Extreme avarice. Fratricide. Megalomania. Debauchery. Genocide. At the height of its power and influence ancient Rome was led by some truly crazy and terrifying people. Caligula and Nero come to mind as the most famous, but they had a lot of company: men (and women) whose unbridled ambition and wielding of power were employed to absolutely horrible and destructive effect. And even if they were assassinated (which was quite often the case!), another grossly incompetent and tyrannical psychopath was quite often installed to replace them! Knowing this history, it seems like a true wonder that Rome was as relatively stable as it was for as long as it was.

But who were these individuals whose names we are probably unfamiliar with? What levers of influence did they use to assume the seat of power? And how did the famed empire manage to survive the rule of such figures?

Join us this week on MindMatters as we talk to author Phillip Barlag and discuss his new book Evil Roman Emperors: The Shocking History of Ancient Rome's Most Wicked Rulers from Caligula to Nero and More - and get a glimpse into a place and time that may make the evils we see now pale in comparison.

MindMatters on LBRY: https://lbry.tv/@MindMatters:4

Running Time: 00:55:35

Download: MP3 — 50.7 MB