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Sun, 26 Mar 2023
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Researchers identify oldest bone spear point in the Americas

The Manis bone projectile point represents the oldest direct evidence of mastodon hunting in the Americas.

The Manis site mastodon rib
© Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University
The Manis site mastodon rib with embedded point to the left.
A team of researchers led by a Texas A&M University professor has identified the Manis bone projectile point as the oldest weapon made of bone ever found in the Americas at 13,900 years.

Dr. Michael Waters, distinguished professor of anthropology and director of Texas A&M's Center for the Study of First Americans, led the team whose findings were published this week in Science Advances.

The team studied bone fragments embedded in a mastodon rib bone which was first discovered by Carl Gustafson, who conducted an excavation at the Manis site in Washington state from 1977 to 1979.

Using a CT scan and 3D software, Waters and his team isolated all the bone fragments to show it was the tip of a weapon — a projectile made from the bone of Mastodon, prehistoric relatives of elephants.

"We isolated the bone fragments, printed them out and assembled them," Waters said. "This clearly showed this was the tip of a bone projectile point. This is this the oldest bone projectile point in the Americas and represents the oldest direct evidence of mastodon hunting in the Americas."

Waters said at 13,900 years old, the Manis point is 900 years older than projectile points found to be associated with the Clovis people, whose stone tools he has also studied. Dating from 13,050 to 12,750 years ago, Clovis spear points have been found in Texas and several other sites across the country.


Earliest evidence of humans hunting elephants

Professor Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser
© Lutz Kindler, LEIZA
Professor Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser standing next to a life-size reconstruction of an adult male European straight-tusked elephant (Palaeoloxodon antiquus) in the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle.

Neumark - Nord was first discovered in the 1980's, revealing the remains of at least 70 straight-tusked elephants over a decade of excavations in a gigantic lignite pit, which had been well preserved over the last 125,000 years in the fine-grained lake sediments present there.

The European straight-tusked elephant was the largest land-living animal at the time - with shoulder heights of up to 4 metres and body masses of up to 13 tonnes. The animal by the scientific name of Palaeoloxodon antiquus, was characterised by its unusually long and essentially straight tusks.

Palaeoloxodon antiquus roamed the landscapes of Europe and Western Asia in a period 800,000 to 100,000 years ago. It was the largest land mammal of the Pleistocene epoch, a period that began three million years ago. Straight-tusked elephants were not only significantly larger than today's African and Asian elephants, but were even bigger than the also extinct woolly mammoth.

It has been unclear to date, whether prehistoric hominins actively sought out and killed such elephants or simply scavenged from the carcasses of animals that had died a natural death

A zooarchaeological study by researchers from the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA), also based in Mainz, and Leiden University in the Netherlands, analysed an assemblage of European straight-tusked elephant remains from Neumark - Nord.

This revealed that Neanderthals deliberately hunted down and slaughtered European straight-tusked elephants in much larger social groups than had been previously assumed, whose meat and fatty tissue represented an important source of nutrition.


5,000-year-old tavern still stocked with food discovered in Iraq

5,000 year tavern iraq
© Lagash Archaeological Project
Researchers discovered an ancient tavern at Lagash in southern Iraq.
Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an ancient tavern that's nearly 5,000 years old in southern Iraq, the University of Pennsylvania announced last week. The find offers insight into the lives of everyday people who lived in a non-elite urban neighborhood in southwest Asia around 2700 B.C.E.

Inside the public eating space — which included an open-air area and a kitchen — researchers with the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pisa found an oven, a type of clay refrigerator called a zeer, benches and storage containers that still held food. They also found dozens of conical-shaped bowls that contained the remains of fish, reports CNN's Issy Ronald.

The tavern was discovered at Lagash, a 1,000-acre archaeological site that was a bustling industrial hub with many inhabitants during the Early Dynastic period. Researchers say Lagash was one of the largest and oldest cities in all of southern Mesopotamia.


50 years after leaving Vietnam, the US keeps getting involved in wars without understanding them

kissinger vietnam leader
US National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger (R) shakes hand with Le Duc Tho, leader of North Vietnamese delegation, after the signing of a ceasefire agreement in Vietnam war, 23 January in Paris
In January 1973, the US signed an agreement that saw it pull out of Vietnam, abandoning its South Vietnamese partners. In August 2021, history repeated itself in Afghanistan.

Vietnam being one of the theaters of the Cold War, the US decided to intervene to face the progression of communists in the country. According to the domino theory, Vietnam needed to stay within the Western sphere of influence. For the sake of democracy all over the world, obviously.

The year 1965 was the beginning of a massive US involvement. Until then, Washington had limited itself to sending supplies and about 900 military observers and trainers. But after the controversial Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964, the American engagement became way more serious. At its peak in 1969, the US intervention included more than 540,000 troops on the ground. However, the large scale 1965-68 Operation Rolling Thunder, during which the US dropped 864,000 tons of bombs on North Vietnam, ended up a failure. The surprise Tet Offensive launched by the North Vietnamese was also a failure, but it seriously damaged South Vietnam's infrastructure and the US' reputation as a trustworthy ally.

By the end of the '60s, the US population had grown tired of the conflict, and more and more protests against the war were organized throughout the country. President Richard Nixon had campaigned in 1968 on the promise to end the war in Vietnam with peace and honor - the idea was to gain time and arm the South Vietnamese in order for them to defend their positions on their own. However, Nixon had failed to deliver this peace and, in 1972, was facing re-election. As the Americans had already proved during WWII when they constantly postponed the opening of a second front in Europe, a 'democratic war' is always closely linked to elections and internal political fights.


Cryptic lost Canaanite language decoded on 'Rosetta Stone'-like tablets

Two ancient clay tablets from Iraq contain details of a "lost" Canaanite language.

Ancient Clay Tablets
© Courtesy David I. Owen
The tablets were found in Iraq about 30 years ago. Scholars started studying them in 2016 and discovered they contain details in Akkadian of the "lost" Amorite language.
Two ancient clay tablets discovered in Iraq and covered from top to bottom in cuneiform writing contain details of a "lost" Canaanite language that has remarkable similarities with ancient Hebrew.

The tablets, thought to be nearly 4,000 years old, record phrases in the almost unknown language of the Amorite people, who were originally from Canaan — the area that's roughly now Syria, Israel and Jordan — but who later founded a kingdom in Mesopotamia. These phrases are placed alongside translations in the Akkadian language, which can be read by modern scholars.

In effect, the tablets are similar to the famous Rosetta Stone, which had an inscription in one known language (ancient Greek) in parallel with two unknown written ancient Egyptian scripts (hieroglyphics and demotic.) In this case, the known Akkadian phrases are helping researchers read written Amorite.

"Our knowledge of Amorite was so pitiful that some experts doubted whether there was such a language at all," researchers Manfred Krebernik and Andrew R. George told Live Science in an email. But "the tablets settle that question by showing the language to be coherently and predictably articulated, and fully distinct from Akkadian."

Krebernik, a professor and chair of ancient Near Eastern studies at the University of Jena in Germany, and George, an emeritus professor of Babylonian literature at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, published their research describing the tablets in the latest issue of the French journal Revue d'assyriologie et d'archéologie orientale (Journal of Assyriology and Oriental Archaeology).

Gold Coins

Ancient savings: Why hoards are vital to our understanding of history

roman coins hoard britain largest hoard
© Lincolnshire County Council
July, 2017: The Rauceby hoard of early 4th Century Roman coins is believed to be the largest of its type ever discovered in Britain.
QUESTION: Why do you buy hoards? It is interesting. Just curious.

ANSWER: The coinage is the ONLY way to truly confirm the history. Much of the most important periods like the 3rd century AD, the fall of the Republic, or the Revolution during the Debt Crisis of the 1st century BC known as the Social War, can only be properly understood through the coinage, lacking really detailed accounts of financially what was taking place. By recreating the monetary system using coinage, I was able to answer the question - How did Rome Fall? Gradually? Or Catastrophically? By assembling all the coinage, and testing it out, I could establish what nobody else could due using documents or archaeological digs. Rome collapsed in just 8.6 years.
collapse roman silver money
© Martin Armstrong
When I assembled the coinage worldwide, what was then observed in testing and using the same methods around the world was the very same timing patterns. The collapse of the English coinage that inspired Gresham's Law, bad money drives out good, also took just 8 years.


Eugenics, then and now

© Unknown
The catastrophic Covid response has many people wondering whether we should really turn over public policy — which deals with fundamental matters of human freedom — much less public health, to a state-appointed scientific establishment. Must moral imperatives give way to the judgment of technical experts in the natural sciences? Should we trust their authority? Their power?

There is a real history here to consult.

There's no better case study than the use of eugenics: the science, so called, of breeding a better race of human beings. It was popular in the Progressive Era and following, and it heavily informed US government policy. Back then, the scientific consensus was all in for public policy founded on high claims of perfect knowledge based on expert research. There was a cultural atmosphere of panic ("race suicide!") and a clamor for the experts to put together a plan to deal with it.

The American Society of Human Genetics recently issued a report apologizing for its past role in eugenics. The statement is fine as far as it goes and provides a brief overview of eugenic history. However, the report, if anything, is too narrow and too weak.

Eugenics was not merely bigotry with a gloss of science. Over time it became the driving force behind segregation, sterilization, labor-market exclusion of the "unfit," the careful management of immigration, marriage and procreation licenses, demographics, and far more. The underlying presumption always concerned the biological health of the whole population, which these elites imagined to be their exclusive purview. Based on that core idea, eugenic ideology came to be deeply embedded in ruling-class circles in academia, courts, elite media, and finance. Indeed, it was so orthodox that it was hardly disputed in polite company. Eugenic dreams filled the pages of newspapers, journals, and magazines - nearly all of them.

Comment: See also:


Bronze shield discovered in Turkey reveals the name of an unknown country

Bronze shield of King Argişti
© Courtesy of Kadir Has University Rezan Has Museum
Bronze shield of King Argişti.
The inscription on a bronze shield purchased by the Rezan Has Museum revealed the name of an unknown country.

It is thought that the bronze shield belonging to the Urartian King Argişti was found within the borders of Ağrı-Patnos or Muş in eastern Turkey.

At the panel "Evaluations on the Urartian Collection of Rezan Has Museum," organized by Kadir Has University, Van Yüzüncü Yıl University Faculty Member Associate Professor Orhan Varol said they had identified the name of a previously unknown country on the bronze shield belonging to Argişti, one of the Urartian kings.

Associate Professor Orhan Varol said that on the bronze shield belonging to Argişti, one of the Urartian kings and currently in Rezan Has Museum, the existence of a new country called Qarini, written with the KUR ideogram, which is the country sign, was detected.

Orhan Varol, who stated that most of the Urartian inscriptions consisted of the military campaigns and victories of the kings inscribed on stone blocks such as andesite, basalt, and limestone, or on rocky areas, said, "We also get information about war and victory in Urartian war tools. It is understood that besides the use of Urartian shields on the battlefield, they could also function as a badge of victory for the kings. It is sometimes indicated on the shield that the conquered country or weapon of war was dedicated to the chief god. In the hands of the king or a great warrior, the shield, which plays an important role in winning the war, gains a symbolic meaning and value by being processed in cuneiform," said.

Bad Guys

How I tried to prevent the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and why I failed - Scott Ritter

Scott Ritter
FILE PHOTO: Scott Ritter (3rd L), the head of a UN arms inspection team and a former major in the US Marine Corps, walks with members of his team and Iraqi soldiers 13 January outside the UN headquarters in Baghdad.
In fulfillment of his solemn, constitutionally-enshrined obligation, the 43rd President of the United States, George W. Bush, on January 28, 2003, stood before the rostrum in the chambers of the United States Congress and addressed the American people.

"Mr. Speaker," the President began, "Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, distinguished citizens and fellow citizens, every year, by law and by custom, we meet here to consider the state of the union. This year," he intoned gravely, "we gather in this chamber deeply aware of decisive days that lie ahead." The "decisive days" Bush spoke of dealt with the decision he had already made to invade Iraq, in violation of international law, for the purpose of removing the Iraqi leader, Saddam Hussein, from power.


Code in 14th Century medieval almanac finally deciphered, reveals lunar calendar use & unusual zodiac

medieval almanac

For centuries a medieval almanac has baffled historians with its confusing array of liturgical and astronomical calendars
For centuries a medieval almanac has baffled historians with its confusing array of liturgical and astronomical calendars, depictions of monthly activities and figures of the zodiac.

It also details a strange-looking code, with Os, Cs and dots.

But three centuries later, a team of archivists have finally understood this 14th-century manuscript's history.

The manuscript, designated MS/45, was donated by Robert Moray FRS to the Royal Society in 1668. He dubbed the artefact a 'curious Almanack'.

Comment: It is curious that the zodiac above associates signs with different months than we do today.

See also: