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Tue, 18 Jan 2022
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Secret History


6th century mosaic revealed in Turkey during excavation

Ancient Peacock Mosaic
© Anadolu Agency
During the season excavation of the 6th-century Holy Apostles Church, located in an orange grove in the Arsuz district of Hatay in southern Turkey, after a slave was free, a mosaic he made to for the Thank God was unearthed.

Excavations continue in the area where the Church of the Apostles is the site, which Mehmet Keleş discovered while trying to plant orange saplings in his garden in Arpaciftlik district in 2007.

Archaeologists excavated in the region this season and found an area with mosaics, including a peacock figure and an inscription in which a slave thanked the god after being freed.

Ayşe Ersoy, Director of Hatay Archeology Museum, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Hatay attracts attention with its history, nature, and culture and that Arsuz district has had an important place as a port city since ancient times.


Giant 'sea dragon' surfaces in one of Britain's 'greatest ever' prehistoric finds

Ichthyosaur skeleton rutland england
© Anglian Water/PA
The Ichthyosaur skeleton was found at Rutland Nature Reserve
The 180 million-year-old ichthyosaur is the largest and most complete fossil of any marine reptile found in Britain

Scientists are celebrating one of the "greatest finds" in British palaeontological history after the skeleton of a 180 million-year-old sea dragon was discovered in Rutland.

Measuring 10 metres in length with a skull weighing approximately one tonne, the ichthyosaur is the largest and most complete fossil of any marine reptile found in Britain.

The discovery was made by Joe Davis, an employee of the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, during a routine draining of a lagoon island at Rutland Water in February 2021.

Ichthyosaurs were marine reptiles that lived in Britain 250 million years ago. They went extinct 90 million years ago.


'After 900 nuclear tests on our land, US wants to ethnically cleanse us': meet the most bombed nation in the world

Shoshone dancers
© Ian Zabarte
Women dancers at Yucca Mountain gathering
Native-American nation's land was turned into a nuclear test site. Now, they suffer from illnesses

'The most nuclear bombed nation on the planet' is the unwanted accolade claimed by the Shoshone Native American tribe. This has had devastating effects for the community, and RT spoke with one campaigner fighting for justice.
"They are occupying our country, they are stealing our opportunities and we are expected to die because of that. We are still trying to grapple with and understand what happened to us, and find ways to stop it, correct it and prevent it happening in the future."
Ian Zabarte's voice is angry but does not falter as he describes the stark fate of his people, Native Americans who for decades have been - by any measure - subjected to the most unimaginable horrors, all perpetrated by their government in Washington.

Zabarte, 57, is the Principal Man of the Western Bands of the Shoshone Nation and he is spearheading a campaign to expose what he describes as the "ethnic cleansing" of his tribe.


Geomythology looks to ancient stories for hints of scientific truth

Everyone loves a good story, especially if it's based on something true.

Consider the Greek legend of the Titanomachy, in which the Olympian gods, led by Zeus, vanquish the previous generation of immortals, the Titans. As recounted by the Greek poet Hesiod, this conflict makes for a thrilling tale - and it may preserve kernels of truth.

The eruption around 1650 B.C. of the Thera volcano could have inspired Hesiod's narrative. More powerful than Krakatoa, this ancient cataclysm in the southern Aegean Sea would have been witnessed by anyone living within hundreds of miles of the blast.

Thera Volcano
© Steve Jurvetson, CC BY
The massive eruption of the Thera volcano more than 3,500 years ago left behind a hollowed out island, today known as Santorini.
Historian of science Mott Greene argues that key moments from the Titanomachy map on to the eruption's "signature." For example, Hesiod notes that loud rumbles emanated from the ground as the armies clashed; seismologists now know that harmonic tremors - small earthquakes that sometimes precede eruptions - often produce similar sounds. And the impression of the sky - "wide Heaven" - shaking during the battle could have been inspired by shock waves in the air caused by the volcanic explosion. Hence, the Titanomachy may represent the creative misreading of a natural event.

In 2021 I published the first textbook in the field, Geomythology: How Common Stories Reflect Earth Events. As the book demonstrates, researchers in both the sciences and the humanities practice geomythology. In fact, geomythology's hybrid nature may help to bridge the gap between the two cultures. And despite its orientation toward the past, geomythology might also provide powerful resources for meeting environmental challenges in the future.

Treasure Chest

3,000 year-old tombs of wealthy Chinese "Ce" clan discovered

bronze age china
© Anyang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology
A 3,000-year-old cemetery containing the tombs of a wealthy clan has been uncovered in central China following two years of excavation by archaeologists.

The site in Anyang, Henan province, is thought to have been home to a clan named "Ce" during the Shang dynasty, said the Anyang Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology in a news release on Thursday.

The clan cemetery was found just 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the ancient capital of Yinxu, where the ruins of a palace and ancestral temple are located. The archaeological site contained 18 building foundations, 24 tombs, four horse and chariot pits, and a number of remarkably intact relics, including jade and stone items, and bronzeware inscribed with the character "Ce."

Comment: China's mysterious Sanxingdui culture, thought to be of the same era as the Ce mentioned above, has provided of the most bizarre and exquisite finds yet.

See also:

Star of David

State archive error reveals Israeli minister Aharon Zisling said he could 'forgive instances of rape' in redacted 1948 documents

Ben Gurion moshe dayan israel 1948 Nakba
© AFP/File photo
Former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (left) accompanied by Israeli defence minister General Moshe Dayan (right)
Technical glitch in Israel's state archive also shows David Ben Gurion called for Palestinian villages to be 'wiped out'

A technical error on Israel's state archive website has revealed that a prominent Israeli politician said in 1948 that he could "forgive instances of rape" committed against Palestinian women in the violence that preceded the founding of the Israeli state, Haaretz has reported.

Aharon Zisling, who would later serve as agriculture minister, made the remarks during a provisional government meeting discussing the war that led to Israel's creation, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"Let us say that instances of rape occurred in Ramle. I can forgive instances of rape, but I will not forgive other acts," Zisling is quoted as saying.

Gold Coins

Why did the world choose a gold standard instead of a silver standard?

Gold key
© Unknown
Gold is the key
Among those who support the end of government fiat money, it's not uncommon to hear and see claims that gold is "the best money" or "natural money" or the only substance that's really suited to be commodity money. In many of these cases, when they say "gold" they mean gold, and not silver, platinum, or any other precious metal.

Naturally, one can expect to encounter these claims among those who have made a living out of promoting gold and gold-related investments for commercial purposes.

For example, consider Nathan Lewis's 2020 article in Forbes titled "Gold Has Always Been the Best Money." Lewis contends that gold and not silver is obviously the best money and its adoption as the metal behind the nineteenth-century gold standard was more or less inevitable and based on the alleged intrinsic superiority of gold as money. He writes:
In the late 19th century, a final decision had to be made between gold and silver. People chose gold; and silver, which had for thousands of years traded in a stable ratio with gold, lost its monetary quality and became volatile.
Lewis presents this as an event that was as natural as people choosing to ride in automobiles rather than on the backs of donkeys. Choosing gold over silver is progress, just like getting rid of the horse and buggy!

Lewis insists that "a final decision had to be made" between gold and silver and that "people" chose gold.

This leaves a lot unsaid, to say the least. Why, exactly, did this decision have to be made? Couldn't both metals serve as money? Moreover, who made this decision? Lewis says it was "people" who made the decision. Which people?


The Dispilio Tablet: The earliest known written text?

The Dispilio Tablet
© Ancient Origins
According to conventional archaeology, writing wasn't invented until 3000 to 4000 BC in Sumeria. However, an artefact was found over a decade ago which contradicts this belief - and perhaps this is the reason why few people know about the discovery.

The Dispilio tablet was discovered by a professor of prehistoric archaeology, George Xourmouziadis, in 1993 in a Neolithic lake settlement in Northern Greece near the city of Kastoria. A group of people used to occupy the settlement 7,000 to 8,000 years ago. The Dispilio tablet was one of many artefacts that were found in the area, however the importance of the table lies in the fact that it has an unknown written text on it that goes back further than 5,000 BC. The wooden tablet was dated using the C12 method to have been made in 5260 BC, making it significantly older than the writing system used by the Sumerians.

The text on the tablet includes a type of engraved writing which probably consists of a form of writing that pre-existed Linear B writing used by the Mycenaean Greeks. As well as the tablet, many other ceramic pieces were found that also have the same type of writing on them. Professor Xourmouziadis has suggested that this type of writing, which has not yet been deciphered, could be any form of communication including symbols representing the counting of possessions.
Ancient Dispilio Disk
© Ancient Pages
Ancient Dispilio Disk And Traditional History Of Writing.


Archaeologists say horned 'Viking' helmets were actually from a different civilization

Veksø Helmets
© National Museum of Denmark
The two Veksø helmets were found in pieces a bog in eastern Denmark in 1942. Archaeologists think they were deliberately deposited there as religious offerings.
Two spectacular bronze helmets decorated with bull-like, curved horns may have inspired the idea that more than 1,500 years later, Vikings wore bulls' horns on their helmets, although there is no evidence they ever did.

Rather, the two helmets were likely emblems of the growing power of leaders in Bronze Age Scandinavia.

These two helmets seem to have In 1942, a worker cutting peat for fuel discovered the helmets — which sport "eyes" and "beaks" — in a bog near the town of Viksø (also spelled Veksø) in eastern Denmark, a few miles northwest of Copenhagen. The helmets' design suggested to some archaeologists that the artifacts originated in the Nordic Bronze Age (roughly from 1750 B.C. to 500 B.C.), but until now no firm date had been determined. The researchers of the new study used radiocarbon methods to date a plug of birch tar on one of the horns.

"For many years in popular culture, people associated the Viksø helmets with the Vikings," said Helle Vandkilde, an archaeologist at Aarhus University in Denmark. "But actually, it's nonsense. The horned theme is from the Bronze Age and is traceable back to the ancient Near East."

The new research by Vandkilde and her colleagues confirms that the helmets were deposited in the bog in about 900 B.C. — almost 3,000 years ago and many centuries before the Vikings or Norse dominated the region.

That dates the helmets to the late Nordic Bronze Age, a time when archaeologists think the regular trade of metals and other items had become common throughout Europe and foreign ideas were influencing Indigenous cultures, the researchers wrote in the journal Praehistorische Zeitschrift.


A brief history of time

Even though time has existed since the beginning of, well, time, it was still necessary to invent it.
The Samrat Yantra
© Jorge Láscar, CC BY 2.0. LEFT: Jakub Hałun CC BY-SA 4.0
The Samrat Yantra is the largest purpose-built sundial in the world, with its gnomon — or tower — standing 73 feet (27 m) high. Built in the early 18th century, the massive instrument is part of the Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur, India. The gnomon (below) casts a shadow onto the flanking quadrant arcs, which can indicate the time to an accuracy of two seconds.
Time and astronomy are inseparable. Humans have been using the motions of the stars, Sun, and Moon for thousands of years to regulate their hunting, crops, religion, and lives in every way. And as astronomy developed, so did the need for more precise timekeeping.

There are many ways to ask, "What is the time?" Astronomers can use solar standard time, mean solar time, sidereal time, Universal Time, or Julian Date and its many modified forms. Astronomers describe three different types of twilight, the equation of time, 24 time zones, and an astronomical day. Understanding these different "times" gives us a better idea of our relationship with the sky above, and the spinning Earth on which we live.

The beginning of time

Early civilizations developed two types of calendars. The oldest is lunar in nature. It might seem more logical for the Sun to have been the first timekeeper, but archaeologists have found bones of mammoths and other animals dating over 20,000 years old that appear to have carvings recording phases of the Moon. During that period of human history, hunters tracking game needed to know how long they had been gone from their camp, making the Moon the obvious choice to track the passage of time.

It would be millennia before the Sun replaced the Moon in our modern calendar. This is because Earth and the Moon are involved in a cosmic mashup that is difficult to untangle. Most ancient cultures heralded the beginning of the month when the thin crescent or "New Moon" could be seen after sunset. There are 354 and a fraction days in a lunar year with 12 lunar months. Earth, however, revolves around the Sun every 365.242 days. While this was not a problem in a purely ceremonial or religious calendar, trying to mesh these two calendars was impossible.

The solution to this issue was proposed by Sosigenes of Alexandria, Cleopatra's court astronomer and arguably the most influential astronomer in all of history. Julius Caesar employed Sosigenes to fix the old Roman lunar calendar. By Caesar's time, the lunar calendar had become so out of sync with the seasons that it required a decree from the emperor to remedy the situation. At Sosigenes' suggestion, the old lunar calendar was replaced with one which used only the Sun to delineate the year. The Moon was left to drift through the 12 months of Caesar's new calendar.

This Julian calendar also implemented leap years, adding one extra day every four years. But this was not quite a perfect fix, as the last fraction of a day in a year is slightly less than one-quarter of a day. By the 16th century, the Julian calendar was also out of step with the seasons. This led Pope Gregory XIII to implement updates in 1582 that dictated leap years be skipped on years divisible by 100 except when divisible by 400. So while 1900 was not a leap year, 2000 was. Two thousand years later, the whole world still uses the modified calendar of Sosigenes.