Secret HistoryS


Oldest subarctic North American human remains found

© Ben PotterJoshua Reuther, Ben Potter and Joel Irish excavate the burial pit at the Upward Sun River site in Alaska.
A newly excavated archaeological site in Alaska contained the cremated remains of one of the earliest inhabitants of North America. The site may provide rare insights into the burial practices of Ice Age people and shed new light on their daily lives.

University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist Ben Potter and four colleagues published their discovery in the Feb. 25 edition of the journal Science.

The skeletal remains appear to be that of an approximately three-year-old child, found in an ancient fire pit within an equally ancient dwelling at the Upward Sun River site, near the Tanana River in central Alaska. Radiocarbon dating of wood at the site indicates the cremation took place roughly 11,500 years ago, when the Bering Land Bridge may still have connected Alaska and Asia. Initial observations of the teeth by UAF bioarchaeologist Joel Irish provide confirmation that the child is biologically affiliated with Native Americans and Northeast Asians.


Dinosaur Discovery: 10 Recent Prehistoric Discoveries

© iStockphotoTyrannosaurus rex was a lean mean hunter and warm blooded, news discoveries suggest
Our knowledge of dinosaurs is increasing all the time. Here are a list of the most recent discoveries.

Dinosaur Extinction

Dinosaurs survived for more than 700,000 years after the earth was hit by a massive meteorite originally believed to have caused their extinction, according to new research.

Tests on a fossilised bone of a plant eating dinosaur discovered in New Mexico found that it was only 64.8 million years old.

Scientists at the university of Alberta, Canada, said it is possible that in some areas the vegetation wasn't wiped out and a number of hadrosaur species survived.


'Amazing' Discovery of Thomas Jefferson's Book Collection

Collection includes handwritten notes from the founding father

Several dozen lost books belonging to Thomas Jefferson have been discovered at Washington University in St. Louis.

According to The Associated Press (link), the rare books, which included handwritten notes from the third president of the United States, were uncovered among 3,000 that were donated to the school in 1880 following the death of Jefferson's granddaughter, Ellen Wayles Randolph Coolidge.

Erin Davies, Washington University's rare books curator, commented on the revelation, saying, "It is so out of the blue and pretty amazing."

The discovery shocked academics because there was never any suggestion that any of the collection had belonged to Jefferson, but it has been revealed that in 1828, two and a half years after the president's death, the contents of his 1,600-book library was sold to settle debts.


L'Ariège cave paintings: 14,000 years of history

© unknownPrehistoric cave paintings at l'Ariège.
The Ariège is renowned as a frontier, between Gascony and Languedoc, France and Spain, but its topography is bursting with 14,000 years of visible history.

Beneath the rocky hilltops lies a concentration of prehistoric caves decorated with fine wall drawings and clay mouldings of bison, horse, reindeer and ibex.

The Grotte de Lombrives is the largest cave in Europe; the Grotte du Mas d'Azil is rich in refuge history, while the Grotte de Niaux is especially noted for its cave paintings.


The Iceman Mummy: Finally Face to Face

© Heike Engel-21Lux/Südtiroler Archäologiemuseum/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DEUTSCHLAND
Brown-eyed, bearded, furrow faced, and tired: this is how Ötzi the Iceman might have looked, according to the latest reconstruction based on 20 years of research and investigations.

Realized by two Dutch experts, Alfons and Adrie Kennis, the model was produced with the latest in forensic mapping technology that uses three-dimensional images of the mummy's skull as well as infrared and tomographic images.

The new reconstruction shows a prematurely old man, with deep-set eyes, sunken cheeks, a furrowed face and ungroomed beard and hair.

Although he looks tired, Ötzi has vivid brown eyes. Indeed, recent research on the 5,300-year-old mummy has shown that the Stone Age man did not have blue eyes as previously thought.

Believed to have died around the age of 45, Ötzi was about 1.60 meters (5 foot, 3 inches) tall and weighed 50 kilograms (110 pounds).


Evidence Neanderthals used feathers for decoration

© PhysOrg
Researchers studying a large deposit of Neanderthal bones in Italy have discovered the remains of birds along with the bones, and evidence the feathers were probably used for ornamentation. The findings add evidence that the now extinct Neanderthals could have been as cultured as our own ancestors.


Bronze Age skeleton found in garden by man building a shed

An archaeology enthusiast in Co Westmeath has unearthed human remains dating back more than 4,000 years in his back garden.

The National Museum of Ireland has described as "significant" the find by Pat Tiernan at Rickardstown, Collinstown.

Mr Tiernan had been excavating soil for the construction of a "lean-to", or shed, at the rear of his home when a spell of bad weather led to a small landslide.

"I looked out the window and saw bones protruding out the back and I saw the pot, and then I kind of knew what I was looking at," Mr Tiernan said.

"They looked too big for ordinary animal bones and too small for large animal bones. I kinda clicked it because I was used to looking at a bit of the Time Team."

After a visit to Newgrange, Mr Tiernan developed an interest in ancient Irish art and archaeology. He contacted specialists about the find.
Skeleton bronze age
© Co Westmeath.Photograph: Molloy PhotographyA Bronze Age skeleton that was found last week in the back garden of Pat Tiernan at Collinstown
Skeleton discoverer
© Molloy PhotographyPat Tiernan


Earliest Human Remains in US Arctic Reported

© Ben A. Potter/ScienceThis undated handout photo provided by the journal Science shows a trench connecting both areas of the site in Alaska. Some 11,500 years ago one of America's earliest families laid the remains of a three-year-old child to rest in their home in what is now Alaska. Today archaeologists are learning about the life and times of the early settlers who crossed from Asia to the New World, researchers thank to that burial.
Some 11,500 years ago one of America's earliest families laid the remains of a 3-year-old child to rest in their home in what is now Alaska. The discovery of that burial is shedding new light on the life and times of the early settlers who crossed from Asia to the New World, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The bones represent the earliest human remains discovered in the Arctic of North America, a "pretty significant find," said Ben A. Potter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

While ancient Alaskan residents were known to hunt large game, the newly discovered site shows they also foraged for fish, birds and small mammals, he explained. "Here we know there were young children and females. So, this is a whole piece of the settlement system that we had virtually no record of."

The site of the discovery, Upper Sun River, is in the forest of the Tanana lowlands in central Alaska, Potter and his colleagues report.

Potter said the find, which included evidence of what appeared to be a seasonal house and the cremated remains of the child, "is truly spectacular in all senses of the word."


Oregon: Explosive Piece of the Past Found

Discovery of volcano near Canby is an interesting geological find

© 3-D ImageryGround penetrating lasers allowed Ian Madin, chief scientist for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Studies, to create a 3-D model of the volcano recently discovered near Canby.
Hidden beneath a thick layer of silt on farm land near Canby, a piece of geologic history appears to have been uncovered.

Turns out, sophisticated imaging equipment may have found a volcano buried under Ice Age deposits, according to Ian Madin, chief scientist for the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

The site is between Central Point and Haines roads, just northeast of Canby. Using LIDAR, which employs laser technology to map the ground and provide a look at the topography in vivid detail, Madin believes an old volcano has turned up.

"I should make it clear that the reason I believe there is a volcano at the site is entirely because of the landscape that was revealed by the LIDAR," Madin said. "I have not been to the site, nor would I expect to find much evidence on the ground. "


"The mighty snake firmly resolved to harm the men": The last 12,000 years

© Unknown
The mighty snake firmly resolved to harm the men. [from the Walam Olum]

Although we cannot yet say specifically how our ancestors were affected by the interaction of Earth with a large, short period, comet over the past 12,000 or more years, there are certain aspects that can be discerned by combining elements of what we have discovered about our past. One thing that most of us are familiar with is a tradition that claims humanity once lived in a world of abundance and did not have to work very hard to live well. In most cultures that retain a notion of this land of happy and easy living the good times are brought to an end by the activities of some powerful serpent-like creature. Such a tradition of prior abundance is really not at odds with what we presently know of Pleistocene conditions and we have recently discovered through ice core and other time defining studies that this era of rich flora and fauna ended quite abruptly around 11,000 years ago. If we assume that a large comet had something to do with this rapid change then we have a pretty clear picture of why our ancestors' stories invoke an image of a serpent-like creature destroying this pleasant time.

What is interesting about this conjecture is the fact that we will be able to establish whether interaction with comet debris caused this deterioration of conditions and, if indeed this was the reason, then the basis for some of the tales that have come down to us becomes much more understandable. It seems very likely now that much of the lore dealing with gods of the sky are metaphorical descriptions of the history of this comet as it literally fell into pieces from being exposed to both the heat of the sun and the many gravitational forces tugging on it along its less than four year Earth-crossing orbit. Thus, seemingly nonsensical statements such as Athena being born fully formed from the head of Zeus can be seen as lore that interprets the splitting of a comet as the birth of a new god.