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Skeleton of 12,000-year-old shaman discovered buried with leopard, 50 tortoises and human foot

Image
© Gideon Hartman
One of 50 tortoises found buried with the shaman.
The skeleton of a 12,000 year-old Natufian Shaman has been discovered in northern Israel by archaeologists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The burial is described as being accompanied by "exceptional" grave offerings - including 50 complete tortoise shells, the pelvis of a leopard and a human foot. The shaman burial is thought to be one of the earliest known from the archaeological record and the only shaman grave in the whole region.

Dr. Leore Grosman of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, who is heading the excavation at the Natufian site of Hilazon Tachtit in the western Galilee, says that the elaborate and invested interment rituals and method used to construct and seal the grave suggest that this woman had a very high standing within the community. Details of the discovery were published in the PNAS journal on November 3, 2008.

What was found in the shaman's grave?

The grave contained body parts of several animals that rarely occur in Natufian assemblages. These include fifty tortoises, the near-compete pelvis of a leopard, the wing tip of a golden eagle, tail of a cow, two marten skulls and the forearm of a wild boar which was directly aligned with the woman's left humerus.

A human foot belonging to an adult individual who was substantially larger than the interred woman was also found in the grave.

Dr. Grosman believes this burial is consistent with expectations for a shaman's grave. Burials of shamans often reflect their role in life (i.e., remains of particular animals and contents of healing kits). It seems that the woman was perceived as being in close relationship with these animal spirits.

Wolf

France and lap dogs go way back: Most other prehistoric pooches were much larger than the ancient French dogs

poodle
© Unknown
  • The world's oldest known dogs from France were poodle-sized and lived up to 15,000 years ago.
  • The French dogs likely served as companions to humans, hunting partners, and also as a source of food and fur.
  • It's unclear whether these small French dogs descended from larger, older dogs in Europe.
The oldest dogs from France were small, lap-sized canines that lived up to 15,000 years ago, according to new research.

These poodle-sized dogs raise a lot of questions about the earliest domestication of dogs, due to their impressive age and the fact that most other prehistoric pooches were much larger.

"One or many domestication events could have occurred in France and, more generally, in the western part of Europe," Maud Pionnier-Capitan told Discovery News. She led the French project, described in a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Magic Wand

Where Beauty Transcends Time: The Archaeology of a Dress

A Victorian dress decorated with 1,000 real beetle wings is set to go back on display following 1,300 hours of painstaking conservation work carried out by a team led by Zenzie Tinker.

A stage costume worn by Ellen Terry, one of the most celebrated and glamorous actresses of the Victorian age, has now returned home to Smallhythe Place in Kent - now a National Trust property.

Image
© John Singer Sargent
Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth in 1888
The emerald and sea green gown, covered with the iridescent wings of the jewel beetle (which they shed naturally), was worn by Ellen when she thrilled audiences with her portrayal of Lady Macbeth at London's Lyceum Theatre in 1888.

Ark

Seventy metal books 'found in cave in Jordan' could change our view of Biblical history

Image
© David Elkington/Rex Features
Lines of inquiry: The metal tablets could change our understanding of the Bible
For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price.

This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity.

Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947.

On pages not much bigger than a credit card, are images, symbols and words that appear to refer to the Messiah and, possibly even, to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Adding to the intrigue, many of the books are sealed, prompting academics to speculate they are actually the lost collection of codices mentioned in the Bible's Book Of Revelation.

The books were discovered five years ago in a cave in a remote part of Jordan to which Christian refugees are known to have fled after the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD. Important documents from the same period have previously been found there.

Initial metallurgical tests indicate that some of the books could date from the first century AD.

Comment: The artifacts may be interesting, important even. But is the timing of their publicity and their insertion into a chronology that is probably falsified just more of the same self-fulfilling prophecy, invented to give credence to the political (and very much material) megalomania of Zionism?

Was the Bible Forged? Author Claims Some New Testament Books Were Written by 'People Pretending to be Apostles'


Info

Prehistoric Americans Traded Chocolate for Turquoise?

Image
© Michael Melford, National Geographic
The inside of a restored building at Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico (file photo).
Talk about a sweet deal - prehistoric peoples of Mesoamerica may have traded chocolate for gems from the U.S. Southwest, a new study suggests.

Traces of a chemical found in cacao - the main ingredient in chocolate - were found in several drinking vessels from various sites in Pueblo Bonito, a complex of sandstone "great houses" in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

Ancestral Puebloan peoples built the complex, the epicenter of the ancient Chaco culture, in stages between A.D. 850 and 1150.

(See "16 Indian Innovations: From Popcorn to Parkas.")

Magnify

Stone Tools reveal India's 1.5 Million Year Old History

Image
© Sharma Centre for Heritage Education, India
Excavation of an Acheulian handaxe
Archaeologists have discovered India's oldest stone-age tools, up to 1.5 million years old, at a prehistoric site near Chennai. The discovery may change existing ideas about the earliest arrival of human ancestors from Africa into India.

A team of Indian and French archaeologists have used two dating methods including Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating to show that the stone hand-axes and cleavers from Attirampakkam are at least 1.07 million years old, and could date as far back as 1.5 million years.

House

Unusual sleepovers to preserve former slave homes

Armed with a sleeping bag, whistle, flashlight and journal Joseph McGill is ready to spend another night in a strange place -- a building that once housed slaves.

This week, the program officer with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will sleep in a former slave dwelling in Egypt, Texas.

The unusual sleepover is part of his push to preserve buildings that once housed slaves, and it's just one of the overnight excursions the Charleston, South Carolina, man has planned around the country this year.

"It is usually those iconic places -- the big house, the house on the hill, the architecturally significant houses -- that are saved, and very few of the places that tell the story of African Americans," said McGill.

"Slave dwellings certainly tell that story," he added. "It's not one of those happy stories."

McGill's independent project is in its second year. Last summer, he spent the night in 10 slave cabins in South Carolina and Alabama.

This year, which marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, he has expanded the project to Texas, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland and Missouri.

Crusader

Was the Bible Forged? Author Claims Some New Testament Books Were Written by 'People Pretending to be Apostles'

garden of Eden
© Alamy
Agenda: Professor Erhman claims whoever wrote 1 Timothy was trying to put women in their place by citing the garden of Eden as an example of what can happen when women are in charge
Parts of the Bible were written by people who lied about their identity, an author has claimed.

Bart D Ehrman claims many books of the New Testament were forged by people pretending to be the apostles Peter, Paul or James.

Writing in the Huffington Post, Professor Ehrman, best selling author of Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted, said religious scholars were well aware of the 'lies' of the Bible.

While some were happy to acknowledge them others refer to them as pseudepigrapha - meaning a falsely attributed work -, he wrote.

In his new book , Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are, Professor Ehrman claims The Second Epistle of Peter - or 2 Peter - was forged.

Comment: See also:

Who Wrote the Bible

and The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins by Burton L. Mack

and The Most Dangerous Cult in The World

and Gnosticism and the Christian Myth

If you don't like these views which are the views of the founder of this site, find another website to hang around. The sooner the sheep are separated from the goats, the better.


Blackbox

India: Stone Axes Over a Million Years Old Found

Image
© Unknown
Stone instruments of an antiquity ranging between one million and 1.7 million years were discovered in India, which might help to explain the migration of the hominids in south of Asia.

According to Science magazine, among the pieces found in a deposit of Attiramapakkam, in the state of Tamil Nadu, in the Indian southeast, double-edged stone axes were found, as well as cutters and other instruments of the so-called Achelense technology.

The Achelense technology is characterized by the planned and standardized manufacture of stones axes. Its distinctive elements are the bifaces (stone axes, picks and cleavers) carved in complex forms on both faces.

Sherlock

Stone Tools Discovery Points to Earliest Americans

wooly mammoth & pre-clovis man
© n/a
Archaeologists have unearthed thousands of ancient stone tools which they say could push back the theory of human presence in North America by as much as 2,500 years.

A team of researchers from the Texas A&M University in the US discovered the ancient artefacts from an archaeological site near Texas which predate the technology widely assumed to have been carried by the first settlers.

The trove of 15,528 artefacts, including chipping debris from working stones and 56 tools like blades, scrapers and choppers, was found buried in sediments believed to be between 13,200 and 15,500 years old, the Daily Mail reported.

The find was located five feet below materials left by the well-known Clovis culture, which was once thought to have been the first American settlers around 13,000 years ago, the researchers said.