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England's Western-Most Roman Town Uncovered

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© unknown
Roman coins found by two local men led to the discovery of a town
A chance discovery of coins has led to the bigger find of a Roman town, further west than it was previously thought Romans had settled in England.

The town was found under fields a number of miles west of Exeter, Devon.

Nearly 100 Roman coins were initially uncovered there by two amateur archaeological enthusiasts.

It had been thought that fierce resistance from local tribes to Roman culture stopped the Romans from moving so far into the county.

Sam Moorhead, national finds adviser for Iron Age and Roman coins for the PAS at the British Museum, said it was one of the most significant Roman discoveries in the country for many decades.

Blackbox

Fate of Indian village abandoned in 1200 puzzles Tennessee scientists

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© Unknown
Here once was the home of American Indians with a culture far removed from the tepees, wigs and wigwams of TV Indians.

A village slowly being unearthed on the Ames Plantation was a distant neighbor to Memphis' Chucalissa Indian Village. The residents were among hundreds of Mississippian Culture villages along the waterways of the Mississippi River Valley.

"In many ways their surroundings would be like a church today," says Ames cultural resource manager Jamie Evans.

A multitheistic society, the American Indians worshipped the sun, trees, land and water. In the end, they may have been punished by the same forces and driven away.

Their fate is one of the questions University of Memphis archaeology professor Andrew Mickelson ponders when he brings students to the site beside the north fork of the Wolf River for field work each summer. The students dig, scrape and filter soil through mesh screens in search of any shard or fragment that might hold a clue to how the Indians lived and why they left.

The eight-acre site had been used for cash crops at Ames until Mickelson asked to visit in 2009. He knew of a mound complex with four mounds discovered at the site in the 1960s and suspected there must be more.

Sherlock

US: Blackbeard's anchor recovered off North Carolina coast

Archaeologists say artifact belongs to Queen Anne's Revenge, which sank in 1718

Archaeologists recovered the first anchor from what's believed to be the wreck of the pirate Blackbeard's flagship off the North Carolina coast Friday, a move that might change plans about how to save the rest of the almost 300-year-old artifacts from the central part of the ship.


Sherlock

Panama: Captain Morgan's Lost Fleet Found?

It may not be a $500 million golden hoard, but underwater archaeologists are nevertheless excited about finding what they believe are traces of the five ships that British privateer Henry Morgan lost off the coast of Panama in 1671.

The discovery was made at the mouth of Panama's Chagres River, near another underwater site where six iron cannons were found. Taken together, the evidence suggests that the three-century-old story of Captain Morgan's lost fleet is finally near its conclusion.


Pharoah

Company Claims to Decode King Tut's DNA By Watching the Discovery Channel

King Tut
© Live Science

A personal genomics company in Switzerland says they've reconstructed a DNA profile of King Tutankhamen that shows the pharaoh's male lineage by watching the Discovery Channel, but researchers who worked to decode Tut's genome in the first place say the claim is "unscientific."

Swiss genomics company iGENEA has launched a Tutankhamen DNA project based on what they say are genetic markers that appeared on a computer screen during a Discovery Channel special on the famous pharaoh's genetic lineage.

"Maybe they didn't know what they showed, but we got 16 markers from the Y chromosome from these pharaohs," Roman Schultz, the managing director of iGENEA, told LiveScience.

If the claims were true, it would put King Tut in a genetic profile group shared by more than half of Western European men. That would make those men relatives - albeit distant ones - of the pharaoh.

But Carsten Pusch, a geneticist at Germany's University of Tubingen who was part of the team that unraveled Tut's DNA from samples taken from his mummy and mummies of his family members, said that iGENEA's claims are "simply impossible." Pusch and his colleagues published part of their results, though not the Y-chromosome DNA, in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2010. The Y chromosome is the sex chromosome found only in males, and looking at the genes in this chromosome would show Tut's male lineage.

Attention

Russia: Ancient Dog Skull from 33,000 Years Ago Discovered in Siberia

Scientists have uncovered a 33,000-year-old dog skull that illustrates some of the earliest evidence of domestication of the animal.

The well-preserved skull was found in a cave in the Siberian Altai mountains by an international team of archaeologists.

The specimen comes from an animal that was alive shortly before the last ice age, and shows very few characteristics of modern dogs.

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© Unknown
Discovery: This 33,000-year-old dog skull illustrates some of the earliest evidence of domestication of the animal and was found in the Siberian mountains

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© Unknown
Differences: The archaeologists say the dog's snout is is similar in size to that of Greenland dogs found 1,000 years ago and it has teeth that would have resembled wild European wolves

The archaeologists have detected that while its snout is similar in size to that of Greenland dogs found 1,000 years ago, it has teeth that would have resembled wild European wolves.

Gear

Farming: A Terrible Idea? Yes, It Is!

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© Unknown
Progress, we tend to assume is, well, a Good Thing. Things that are new, and better, come to dominate and sweep aside old technologies. When they invented the car, the horse was rendered instantly obsolete. Ditto the firearm and the longbow, the steamship and the clipper, the turbojet and the prop. It's called the 'better mousetrap' theory of history - that change is driven by the invention of superior technologies.

Except it really isn't that simple. Sometimes a new invention, even if obviously 'better' than what came before takes a surprising amount of time to become established.

The first automobiles were clumsy, unreliable and expensive brutes that were worse in nearly all respects than the horses they were supposed to replace. The first muskets were less accurate and took longer to reload than the long- and crossbows which had reached their design zenith in medieval Europe. The last of the clippers were far faster than the first steam packets designed to replace them.

Comment: Actually, Jared Diamond is right, and agriculture is indeed the worst mistake in the history of the human race. Historical evidence also shows that it's not only temporal or that agriculture's benefits will be appreciated in the future. What's really been happening, that from the onset of farming human species have experienced a gradual degradation. We are on a fast track toward self-destruction on all levels.


Sherlock

The ancient city that survived the Middle East crash

As ancient civilizations across the Middle East collapsed, possibly in response to a global drought about 4,200 years ago, archaeologists have discovered that one settlement in Syria not only survived, but expanded.

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© Tell Qarqur Expedition
The site of Tell Qarqur in northwest Syria was occupied for nearly 10,000 years. The debris that people left behind accumulated into a human-made mound known as a tell. Archaeologists have determined that 4,200 years ago, at a time when cities and civilizations were collapsing in the Middle East, Tell Qarqur actually grew
Their next question is - why did Tell Qarqur, a site in northwest Syria, grow at a time when cities across the Middle East were being abandoned?

Pharoah

Egyptian tomb mystery may be world's first protractor

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© Jane Maria Hamilton
A new angle
The bizarre object to the right was found in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian architect. For over 100 years, it has languished while archaeologists debated its function.

Now, a physicist has thrown her hat into the ring, arguing that it is the world's first known protractor. The intriguing suggestion - which has drawn scepticism from archaeologists - is based on the numbers encoded within the carvings on its surface.

The architect Kha helped to build pharaohs' tombs during the 18th dynasty, around 1400 BC. His own tomb was discovered intact in 1906 by archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in Deir-al-Medina, near the Valley of the Kings. Among Kha's belongings were measuring instruments including cubit rods, a levelling device that resembles a modern set square, and what appeared to be an oddly shaped empty wooden case with a hinged lid.

Schiaparelli thought this last object had held another levelling instrument. The museum in Turin, Italy, where the items are now exhibited identifies it as the case of a balancing scale.

Hourglass

Africa: 20-Million-Year-Old Ape Skull Unearthed in Uganda

map, uganda
© AFP/Graphic
Map of Uganda showing the remote northeast Karamoja region where the ape skull was found
A team of Ugandan and French paleontologists announced Tuesday they had found a 20-million-year-old ape skull in northeastern Uganda, saying it could shed light on the region's evolutionary history.

"This is the first time that the complete skull of an ape of this age has been found ... it is a highly important fossil and it will certainly put Uganda on the map in terms of the scientific world," Martin Pickford, a paleontologist from the College de France in Paris, told journalists in Kampala.

The fossilised skull belonged to a male Ugandapitchecus Major, a remote cousin of today's great apes which roamed the region around 20 million years ago.

The team discovered the remains on July 18 while looking for fossils in the remants of an extinct volcano in Uganda's remote northeastern Karamoja region.

Preliminary studies of the fossil showed that the tree-climbing herbivore, roughly 10 years old when it died, had a head the size of a chimpanzees but a brain the size of a baboons, Pickford said.