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Thu, 08 Jun 2023
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Ancient Jewish Scrolls Found in North Afghanistan

Jewish scrolls
A cache of ancient Jewish scrolls from northern Afghanistan that has only recently come to light is creating a storm among scholars who say the landmark find could reveal an undiscovered side of medieval Jewry.

The 150 or so documents, dated from the 11th century, were found in Afghanistan's Samangan province and most likely smuggled out - a sorry but common fate for the impoverished and war-torn country's antiquities.

Israeli emeritus professor Shaul Shaked, who has examined some of the poems, commercial records and judicial agreements that make up the treasure, said while the existence of ancient Afghan Jewry is known, their culture was still a mystery.

"Here, for the first time, we see evidence and we can actually study the writings of this Jewish community. It's very exciting," Shaked told Reuters by telephone from Israel, where he teaches at the Comparative Religion and Iranian Studies department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Mysterious 'Winged' Structure from Ancient Rome Discovered

Mystery Structure
© Michael Page
The Y-shaped Roman structure, discovered in eastern England in the Norfolk area, can be seen in this aerial shot. Nothing like it has been discovered before from the Roman Empire. Sometime later another Roman structure (whose postholes can be seen) was built on top of it.
A recently discovered mysterious "winged" structure in England, which in the Roman period may have been used as a temple, presents a puzzle for archaeologists, who say the building has no known parallels.

Built around 1,800 years ago, the structure was discovered in Norfolk, in eastern England, just to the south of the ancient town of Venta Icenorum. The structure has two wings radiating out from a rectangular room that in turn leads to a central room.

"Generally speaking, [during] the Roman Empire people built within a fixed repertoire of architectural forms," said William Bowden, a professor at the University of Nottingham, who reported the find in the most recent edition of the Journal of Roman Archaeology. The investigation was carried out in conjunction with the Norfolk Archaeological and Historical Research Group.

The winged shape of the building appears to be unique in the Roman Empire, with no other example known. "It's very unusual to find a building like this where you have no known parallels for it," Bowden told LiveScience. "What they were trying to achieve by using this design is really very difficult to say."

The building appears to have been part of a complex that includes a villa to the north and at least two other structures to the northeast and northwest. An aerial photograph suggests the existence of an oval or polygonal building with an apse located to the east.


Indonesia: Finding on Garut Pyramid Verified - structure is highly unlikely to be of natural formation

The phenomenon of "Garut Pyramid" found on a mount in Garut, West Java, has encouraged the Ancient Catastrophic Disaster Team to conduct verification.
© Turangga Seta
Sadahurip Mountain in Garut, West Java
The verification is carried out to determine the existence of a man-made structure that formed Mount Putri in Garut using Superstring geo-electric instruments. The geo-electric instruments were used to scan geological layers on the hill by measuring its resistivity.

In a written statement received by VIVAnews, Monday, Dec 19, a member of the Ancient Catastrophic Disaster Team, Iwan Sumule, said that the results of the geo-electric instruments within 20 meters and 10 meters electrodes showed that there was a horizontal unconformity on the intrusion (red) rocks within around 120 meters from the summit.

The finding shows that the right-side intrusion branch seems to form a terrain morphological base that has similar topographical elevation with Cirahong valley. Then, the 120 meter-limit seems to coincide with the base of a steeper ascending topography, where the rocks turn red.


Good Heavens! Oldest-Known Astrologer's Board Discovered

© Live Science

A research team has discovered what may be the oldest astrologer's board, engraved with zodiac signs and used to determine a person's horoscope.

Dating back more than 2,000 years, the board was discovered in Croatia, in a cave overlooking the Adriatic Sea. The surviving portion of the board consists of 30 ivory fragments engraved with signs of the zodiac. Researchers spent years digging them up and putting them back together. Inscribed in a Greco-Roman style, they include images of Cancer, Gemini and Pisces.

The board fragments were discovered next to a phallic-shaped stalagmite amid thousands of pieces of ancient Hellenistic (Greek style) drinking vessels.

An ancient astrologer, trying to determine a person's horoscope, could have used the board to show the position of the planets, sun and moon at the time the person was born.

"What he would show the client would be where each planet is, where the sun is, where the moon is and what are the points on the zodiac that were rising and setting on the horizon at the moment of birth," said Alexander Jones, a professor at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. [See Photos of Astrologer's Board]

"This is probably older than any other known example," Jones said. "It's also older than any of the written-down horoscopes that we have from the Greco-Roman world," he said, adding, "we have a lot of horoscopes that are written down as a kind of document on papyrus or on a wall but none of them as old as this."

Jones and StašoForenbaher, a researcher with the Institute for Anthropological Research in Zagreb, reported the discovery in the most recent edition of the Journal for the History of Astronomy.

2 + 2 = 4

Dark Ages and Inquisitions, Ancient and Modern - Or Why Things are Such a Mess On Our Planet and Humanity is on the Verge of Extinction

Psychopaths rule our world
© Sott
This is going to be a long one so get a cup of tea or coffee and settle down. Those of you who like your information in short bytes, this article is not for you!

I've been reading a lot lately. I mean a LOT. Well, so what else is new? Anyway, the range of topics I've been covering are varied; I tend to follow my nose. I often will read one book that suggests another book, and off I go, but lately, it's been very eclectic and seemingly unconnected. Let me give you a sample going back just a couple of weeks: I picked up You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney because I read a snip of it on my husband's kindle reader. I don't do kindle because I underline and make notes, so I bought my own copy. That led to Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change by Timothy D. Wilson which then led to another of his books: Strangers To Ourselves. That then led to Making Sense of People: Decoding the Mysteries of Personality by Samuel Barondes. Some books I had ordered some time ago then arrived: Amarna Sunset by Aidan Dodson; Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet by Nicholas Reeves; Akhenaten & Tutankhamun: Revolution & Restoration by Silverman, Wegner and Wegner; Akhenaten: History, Fantasy and Ancient Egypt by Dominic Montserrat. Then came The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization by Bryan Ward-Perkins. Next: Dark Ages: The Case For a Science of Human Behavior by Lee McIntyre, followed by The Taboo of Subjectivity: Toward a New Science of Consciousness by B. Alan Wallace. Here and there I've been reading snatches of Bertrand Russell. (I also read three mysteries by Gladys Mitchell, but that was just fun reading.) And now I'm reading War Before Civilization: The Myth of the Peaceful Savage by Lawrence H. Keeley alternating with Does the New Testament Imitate Homer? By Dennis R. MacDonald.

As I said, this all may seem unconnected, even to me, but the strange thing is that all of the above books circle around a particular theme: Science/academia - has really lost the plot, and the thing that was proclaimed to be the answer to all of humanity's problems has turned into the probable means of our destruction. This is no small matter, I can assure you, and deserves some consideration. In the book Dark Ages: The Case For a Science of Human Behavior, we read:
What would it feel like to live in a Dark Age? Would you realize it? Or would you just see the achievements of the day - perhaps even feeling lucky to live in such "modern times" and fail to see all that had not been achieved. Of course, no one living in a Dark Age would call it that; rather this label is placed on a backward era only by a later one, in which the state of human civilization is more advanced. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easier to see what has been missed. But isn't there nonetheless some way to judge one's own era?

Look around you. We live in a time of enormous technological achievement, when we are able to bend nature to our will, and yet we suffer from the same social problems that have plagued the human race for millennia. Despite the enormous progress that we have made in our understanding of nature, who can honestly say that the bulk of the problems that are the cause of human misery today are not of our own creation? And yet what have we done about them?

The comparison between our success in understanding nature and our failure to understand ourselves is vast. We have satellites and fax machines that transmit stories of barbarous cruelty that could have been told by our ancestors. We have ever more sophisticated weaponry of war and yet no true understanding of what causes war in the first place. ...We are as ignorant of the cause-and-effect relations behind our own behavior as those who lived in the eighth or ninth centuries ... [we're ignorant of the causes] behind disease, famine, eclipses, and natural disasters. We live today in what will someday come to be thought of as the Dark Ages of human thought about social problems. (McIntyre, MIT, 2006)

Comment: See also: The Inquisition


Southeast Asia: Study Shows Humans Were Skilled Fishermen 42,000 Years Ago

© Reuters
Fish hooks and fishbones dating back 42,000 years found in a cave in East Timor suggest that humans were capable of skilled, deep-sea fishing 30,000 years earlier than previously thought, researchers in Australia and Japan said on Friday.

The artefacts -- nearly 39,000 fishbones and three fish hooks -- were found in a limestone cave in Jerimalai in East Timor, 50 metres (165 feet) above sea level, said Sue O'Connor from the Australian National University's department of archaeology and natural history.

"There was never any hint of (what) maritime technology people might have had in terms of fishing gear 40,000 years ago," O'Connor, the study's lead author, told Reuters by telephone from Canberra.

"(This study showed) you got ability to make hooks, you are using lines on those hooks. If you can make fibre lines, you can make nets, you are probably using those fibres on your boats."


Almost 3,000-year-old Tomb of Female Singer Found in Egypt

Woman Tomb
© AFP/Supreme Council of Antiquities
A handout picture released by Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities shows the grave.

Cairo - Swiss archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a female singer dating back almost 3,000 years in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, Antiquities Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said on Sunday.

The rare find was made accidentally by a team from Switzerland's Basel University headed by Elena Pauline-Grothe and Susanne Bickel in Karnak, near Luxor in Upper Egypt, the minister told the media in Cairo.

The woman, Nehmes Bastet, was a singer for the supreme deity Amon Ra during the Twenty-Second Dynasty (945-712 BC), according to an inscription on a wooden plaque found in the tomb.

She was the daughter of the High Priest of Amon, Ibrahim said.

The discovery is important because "it shows that the Valley of the Kings was also used for the burial of ordinary individuals and priests of the Twenty-Second Dynasty," he added.

Until now the only tombs found in the historic valley were those linked to ancient Egyptian royal families.


Rare Ancient Artefact Found in Malta

An example of cuneiform
© n/a
An example of cuneiform from Mesopotamia.
The discovery of a very small fragment of agate stone is causing excitement, as it has a 13th Century BCE cuneiform inscription. Not so surprising, you might think, for an artefact found in Mesopotamia, as the inscription shows that it was part of an object dedicated to the Mesopotamian moon god Sin. But this fragment was found in Malta!

An excavation is being conducted at the site of a megalithic temple, from the late Neolithic Age, in an area on Malta known as Tas-Silg, which is an ancient sanctuary site. The excavation team is lead by palaeontology professor Alberto Casella from the University of Rome (Italy). The main question is how such an article could have found its way so far west and to such a remote location.

One theory is that it may have been looted in a military campaign and then been passed through the hands of merchants and traders. Another theory centres around the high value which would have been placed on the object, which may suggest that the Tas-Silg sanctuary site may have had more significance than previously thought.


Arabia: Stories of yore 
on view

Old Arabian peninsula artifacts

Evidence of an ancient culture in the Arabian Peninsula that dates back to over 120,000 years of human migration has found its way from Sharjah's 18 archaeological excavation sites to the emirate's Archaeology Museum. The collections in this museum cover the history of Sharjah since 7000 years ago till the advent of Islam in the 7th century AD. All artifacts uncovered in the emirate by different archaeological missions or by locals demonstrate its glorious past.

Several unique artifacts rewrite world history. Among them is the remains of the head of a stone axe, discovered in Al Faya Mountain in Sharjah dating back to more than 120,000 years. This artifact has changed scientists' understanding of the modern history of human migration from Africa to the world through the Arabian Peninsula.

Ivory combs, discovered in Tell Abraq's site in Sharjah dating back to more than 4000 years come next. The combs, which are decorated with circles, were buried with their owners to indicate their value to them. It is believed that this ivory belongs to the Indian Subcontinent, which indicates the marine activity of the people of Sharjah in the ancient times. A 3000-year-old saddled camel figurine made of burnt clay was found in Muweilah's site. It is considered an evidence of the domestication of the camel in the Iron Age.

A Greek Imvora jar and a collection of Greek jar handles were found in Malieha (50km east of Sharjah city). Finding this jar indicates the relations people from Malieha had with some Greek cities and islands in the Mediterranean Sea upon the prosperity of Malieha colony in the period between 250 BC and 300 AD.


Scientists Find Evidence Of Pre-Historic 'Lost World' Beneath Lake Huron

Lost World
© redOrbit

Communities of anthropologists throughout the world are buzzing with excitement as researchers in U.S. and Canada have reported finding an unusual wooden pole at the bottom of Lake Huron, leading to speculation that they may have stumbled upon artifacts from a "lost world" of previously unknown ancient North American caribou hunters.

Experts believe that this prehistoric nomadic people may have had a "kill site" in the U.S.-Canada border region some 10,000 years ago, making them some of the earliest human inhabitants of the North America.

Now submerged beneath over a hundred feet of water, researchers believe that the 100-mile long Alpena-Amberley Ridge was deluged by glacial melt at the end of the last Ice Age in what is now Lake Huron. Scientists first began theorizing that the site may have been a prehistoric hunting ground after researchers discovered a system of man-made rock features that appear to have been used to herd together migrating caribou into narrow channels, thus making them easy prey for the spear-hunting natives to take down.

A number of extant Inuit hunters in Northern Canada still use these so-called "drive lanes" to bottle-neck and hunt migrating herds of caribou. Additional clusters of boulders were also found alongside the narrow rock channels. Experts suspect that these may have been used to conceal the hunters from passing caribou.