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Fri, 24 Mar 2023
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Game day snacks: Archaeologists find fragments of olives, fruit and nuts in ancient drains of Rome's Colosseum

Rome Colosseeum draines sewage sysem
© Parco archeologico del Colosseo
Archaeologists began digging around in the sewers of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy in January, and yesterday revealed their contents. Pictured: The end of the main southern channel of the Colosseum's sewage system
Watching gladiators fight to the death was hungry work, and it appears that the best snacks to accompany such a spectacle were olives, fruits and nuts.

Archaeologists have discovered some ancient Roman leftovers while digging around in the sewers of the Colosseum in Rome, Italy.

They found seeds from figs, grapes and melons, as well as traces of olives and walnuts, thought to have been left by snacking spectators 1,900 years ago. Fragments of bones from ferocious animals that fought for their lives in the Roman arena were also unearthed in 230 feet (70 m) of searched drains.

Comment: Complete 2,700 year old colosseum-like structure unearthed in Turkey may be sole surviving example


Zippalanda, the God of Storm and the mystery of the 'circular structure'

Discovered in Turkey by archaeologists of the mission led by the University of Pisa, an enigmatic circular structure.
Uşaklı Höyük excavations
© Emanuele Taccola
Aerial view of Uşaklı Höyük excavations. At the bottom center, the circular structure found during the 2022 excavation campaign is visible.
Central-Northern Turkey, archaeological site of Uşaklı Höyük. It is here, in the heart of the Anatolian plateau, that the international team of archaeologists led by the University of Pisa brought to light one mysterious circle-shaped construction from the Hittite era. The discovery, together with the other facts during the previous excavation campaigns, could help confirm that the site is truly the ancient holy city of Zippalanda.

" The interpretation of this circular structure - explains the professor Anacleto D'Agostino of the University of Pisa, which directs the excavations - it is very difficult at the moment and an extension of the works will be necessary that allows you to get an idea of what is around it ".

" Its location north of what is probably the main temple in the city, not far from the river that flows near the base of the stands - adds D'Agostino -, however, makes us lean towards a ritual interpretation of this discovery, whose importance is also given by the fact that no such documents are documented in other contemporary sites".

" If this were the case - concludes the director of the excavations - this structure, together with the other finds discovered over the years, would help to strengthen the identification of Uşaklı with the important Hittite city of Zippalanda, center of worship of a powerful God of the Storm, home to a sanctuary and a royal residence and mentioned in several festivals in which the king " took part.


Tucker Carlson and the JFK allegations

Tucker on the News
© Off-Guardian
On December 15, the night that the Biden administration released some of the remaining JFK files while withholding others with another half-assed excuse, Tucker Carlson, the most-watched cable news television host, delivered a monologue about the JFK assassination.

It garnered a great deal of attention.

Although I don't watch Carlson's television show, I received messages from many friends and colleagues, people I highly respect, about his monologue's great significance, so I watched that episode. And then I watched it many more times.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a man whom I hold in the highest esteem, tweeted that it was:
the most courageous newscast in 60 years. The CIA's murder of my uncle was a successful coup d'état from which our democracy has never recovered."
While I completely agree with his second sentence, I was underwhelmed by Carlson's words, to put it mildly. I thought it was clearly "a limited hangout," as described by the former CIA agent Victor Marchetti:
Spy jargon for a favorite and frequently used gimmick of the clandestine professionals. When their veil of secrecy is shredded and they can no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting, sometimes even volunteering, some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case. The public, however, is usually so intrigued by the new information that it never thinks to pursue the matter further.
Or listens carefully.


A Company Family: The Untold History of Obama and the CIA

Obama speech CIA langley
© politico.eu
Obama speaks at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
Despite his liberal pretensions, Obama's foreign policy was dreamed up at Langley — which should not have been surprising given his background

In the summer of 2012, President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing the CIA and other U.S. agencies to support rebels in Syria seeking to oust Syrian leader Bashir al-Assad — a nationalist who had allied with Iran and stood up to U.S. proxy Israel.[1]

Costing more than $1 billion, Operation Timber Sycamore evolved into the largest covert operation since the arming of mujahadin fighters in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

U.S. Special Forces under Timber Sycamore again trained Islamic fundamentalists, this time in Jordan, who again carried out a reign of terror.[2]


What is crimson contagion?

virus label
The lockdowns of March 2020 shocked the American people and most public health agencies, not to mention infectious disease doctors. The idea of school shutdowns, business closures, plus mandatory remote work and other restrictions have previously seemed inconceivable. It was especially remarkable to have such an "all-of-government" response to a virus that we already knew posed a threat mainly to the elderly and infirm.

Issues like public-health precedent, American legal tradition, and medical knowledge about dealing with respiratory viruses, not to mention natural immunity and collateral damage of lockdowns, were all thrown out the window.

Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s book The Real Anthony Fauci mentions a tabletop exercise called Crimson Contagion that ran from January through August, 2019. I had not previously heard of it and I found the mention remarkable, simply because it proves that not everyone was shocked by lockdowns. They were not part of official planning documents of either the CDC or WHO but they were clearly in the plans of someone.

I've only followed up on this report in light of growing focus on the person who coordinated Crimson Contagion: Robert Kadlec, who served in the Trump administration as Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services, Preparedness and Response. It was he who also ran the Covid response between HHS and the Department of Homeland Security.


Humans have been using bear skins for at least 300,000 years

A research team from the University of Tübingen and the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment Tübingen examines traces on bones from the archaeological site of Schöningen in Lower Saxony.
Metatarsal of Bear
© Volker Minkus
Metatarsal of a cave bear with cut marks.

Humans have been using bear skins to protect themselves from cold weather for at least 300,000 years. This is suggested by cut marks on the metatarsal and phalanx of a cave bear discovered at the Lower Paleolithic site of Schöningen in Lower Saxony, Germany. This makes it one of the oldest examples of this type in the world. The research was conducted by an archaeological team from the University of Tübingen, the Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment (SHEP) in Tübingen, together with a colleague from Leiden University. This study was published in the Journal of Human Evolution.

"Cut marks on bones are often interpreted in archaeology as an indication of the utilization of meat," explains Tübingen researcher Ivo Verheijen. "But there is hardly any meat to be recovered from hand and foot bones. In this case, we can attribute such fine and precise cut marks to the careful stripping of the skin." A bear's winter coat consists of both long outer hairs that form an airy protective layer and short, dense hairs that provide particularly good insulation. Bears, including extinct cave bears, needed a highly insulating coat for hibernation. "These newly discovered cut marks are an indication that about 300,000 years ago, people in northern Europe were able to survive in winter thanks in part to warm bear skins," says the researcher, a doctoral student in the Schöningen research project and employee of the State Heritage Office of Lower Saxony.


Oldest known projectile points uncovered in the Americas

Stone projectile points
© Oregon State University
Stone projectile points discovered buried inside and outside of pit features at the Cooper’s Ferry site, Area B.
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State University archaeologists have uncovered projectile points in Idaho that are thousands of years older than any previously found in the Americas, helping to fill in the history of how early humans crafted and used stone weapons.

The 13 full and fragmentary projectile points, razor sharp and ranging from about half an inch to 2 inches long, are from roughly 15,700 years ago, according to carbon-14 dating. That's about 3,000 years older than the Clovis fluted points found throughout North America, and 2,300 years older than the points previously found at the same Cooper's Ferry site along the Salmon River in present-day Idaho.

The findings were published today in the journal Science Advances.

"From a scientific point of view, these discoveries add very important details about what the archaeological record of the earliest peoples of the Americas looks like," said Loren Davis, an anthropology professor at OSU and head of the group that found the points. "It's one thing to say, 'We think that people were here in the Americas 16,000 years ago;' it's another thing to measure it by finding well-made artifacts they left behind."

Previously, Davis and other researchers working the Cooper's Ferry site had found simple flakes and pieces of bone that indicated human presence about 16,000 years ago. But the discovery of projectile points reveals new insights into the way the first Americans expressed complex thoughts through technology at that time, Davis said.

Shopping Bag

Exclusive: Afghan government officials helped smugglers sneak almost $1 billion in cash and gold out of Afghanistan as the US-backed government neared collapse, documents show

afghan image
© iStock/Rebecca Zisser/Insider
How corrupt was the US-backed government of Afghanistan? Who was involved and who knew about it? An official investigation into a massive smuggling ring reveals a troubling picture.
During the final months of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, as the Taliban advanced on the capital, the elected government struggled to reassure its US patrons that it could maintain control. Yet at the same time, smugglers were illegally carrying hundreds of millions of dollars in cash and gold out of the country with the assistance of officials from within the Afghan government, according to internal government documents and former Afghan officials.

The office of Ashraf Ghani, the US-backed Afghan president, had been informed about the problem, insiders say. But it did nothing to stop it.

Documents assembled by Afghanistan's now-defunct government and obtained by Insider show that $59.7 million in cash and gold went from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan through the port of Hairatan during the first three months of 2021, as the US contemplated withdrawing its forces and the Taliban geared up for the spring offensive that eventually toppled Kabul. During a 13-month period running from May 2019 through May 2020, the total was a staggering $824 million.

Though the couriers failed to declare the money to Afghan officials as it left the country, Uzbek customs agents on the other side of the border did record the cash and gold on handwritten customs forms. Those records were obtained by Afghan anti-corruption officials as part of an investigation into money smuggling, and they form the basis of a scathing report documenting a river of cash flowing out of the impoverished nation.

Much of the money, the Uzbek customs forms show, was bound for the United Arab Emirates, where top Afghan officials would flee when their government collapsed later that year.


Archaeologists discover huge lost Maya civilization in Guatemala

A new survey revealed nearly 1,000 Maya settlements, with pyramids and ballcourts, that date back more than 2,000 years.
© Vice
Archaeologists have discovered the ruins of a vast ancient Maya civilization that flourished more than 2,000 years ago in northern Guatemala, reports a new study. This long-lost urban web encompassed nearly 1,000 settlements across 650 square miles, linked by an immense causeway system, which was mapped out with airborne laser instruments, known as LiDAR.

The results of the LiDAR survey "unveiled a remarkable density of Maya sites" in Guatemala's Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin (MCKB) that "challenges the old notion of sparse early human occupation" in this area during the "Preclassical" period spanning 1,000 BC to 150 AD, according to a study published this month in the journal Cambridge Core.

Scientists led by Richard Hansen, an archaeologist at Idaho State University and the director of the Mirador Basin Project, offer "an introduction to one of the largest, contiguous, regional LiDAR studies published to date in the Maya Lowlands," a region that covers parts of Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, according to the study.


168 mysterious new geoglyphs discovered in Peru's Nazca Lines

new geoglyphs
© Yamagata University
About 50 of the large-scale drawings are of human-like figures
Scientists have discovered 168 new geoglyphs in the soil of Peru's desert — almost doubling the known instances of ancient Nazca Lines in the area.

Peruvian and Japanese researchers from Yamagata University spent two years scanning the UNESCO World Heritage site on Peru's southern Pacific coast using aerial photos, drones and field surveys.

The drawings portray humans, camelids, birds, killer whales, felines, snakes and more. About 50 of the large-scale drawings are of human-like figures — with one even resembling Homer Simpson.

While it's hard to know exactly when the geoglyphs were made, clay pots found near the lines point to a time between 100 B.C. and 300 A.D. — between 2,100 and 1,700 years ago.

Most of the Nazca Lines can only be seen from the air, and have mystified scientists for years. But the recently discovered figures are smaller, averaging between 6 feet and 19 feet in length, and can be seen from the ground, Masato Sakai, a professor from Yamagata University who led the study, told Reuters.