Secret HistoryS


4000-year-old temple discovered in Cyprus

Erimi Excavation Site
© University of Siena
An Italian archaeological mission, the Erimi Archaeological Project of the University of Siena, discovered a 4,000-year-old temple in Cyprus. This is the oldest sacred space ever found on the island.

The discovery was made in collaboration with the Cypriot Department of Antiquities and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The temple provides a glimpse into the past of the island's artisan community and is characterized by an enigmatic central monolith adorned with a circular motif of small cups.

Over fifteen years, under the direction of archaeologist Luca Bombardieri, the excavation revealed a temple-like building tucked away inside a sizable workshop complex. This "temple before the temple," as Bombardieri puts it, illuminates the pivotal role that religion played in these prehistoric peoples' lives. The complex, which spanned more than 1000 square meters and was built during the Middle Bronze Age (2000-1600 BC), contained dyeing vats, warehouses, and workshops.

Located on a hilltop near present-day Limassol, the site offered optimal conditions for their craft, with ample ventilation, freshwater sources, and readily available dye plants.


The forgotten Enlightenment-era cleric who predicted black holes - in 1783

John Michell black holes enlightement
© Illustration by Ben Platts-MillsRector John Michell, who followed "Newtonian Christianity", was surprisingly prescient about black holes
Almost 200 years before scientists accepted black holes exist, a British clergyman called John Michell published some surprisingly prescient ideas about these strange cosmic objects. Why isn't his work better known?

However, there was one person who showed remarkable prescience about black holes - and did so long before Einstein was even born. Using only Newtonian laws, a little-known British clergyman called John Michell anticipated these astronomically strange objects in some important and surprising ways, all the way back in the 18th Century. Who was Michell, what did he predict, and why were his ideas mostly forgotten?

Michell was born in 1724 in the village of Eakring, England, the son of Gilbert Michell, the parish rector, and his wife Obedience Gerrard. Educated at home alongside his younger brother and sister, John had an early reputation for quick learning and perceptiveness. According to the historian Russell McCormmach, his father Gilbert enjoyed quoting a family friend who described John as "the clearest head he had ever met with". Gilbert valued independence of thought, describing himself as "not attached to any body or denomination of men in the world". The family followed latitudinarian Christianity - a tradition that venerated reason over excessive doctrine and that had originated at the University of Cambridge under Isaac Newton. So, when the time came for John to enter university, it was Cambridge he went to.


3,000-year-old lost Anatolian language 'Kalašma' deciphered

Lost Language3
© Arkeonews NetA tablet found during excavations in Hattuša (today’s Boğazkale), the capital of the Hittite State, in 2023 revealed the existence of a lost language, Kalašma.
In 2023 excavation site at the foot of Ambarlikaya in Boğazköy-Hattusha in Turkey, a cuneiform tablet with a previously unknown Indo-European language was discovered. The newly-discovered language, Kalašma, belongs to the Anatolian-Indo-European languages family.

Based in central Anatolia, Türkiye, and with Hattuša as its capital, the Hittite Kingdom and later Empire is acknowledged as one of the principal Old World empires of the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East between 1650 and 1200 BCE from both rich archaeological remains and textual sources.

The tablet contains an introduction stating that a ritual expert conjures in (the language of) Kalašma.The Hittite ritual text refers to the new idiom as the language of the land of Kalašma. This is an area on the north-western edge of the Hittite heartland, probably in the area of present-day Bolu or Gerede.

"These texts show that Anatolia was a multilingual and multicultural place in 2000 BC," says Prof. Andreas Schachner, head of excavations at Hattuša.

The tablets, written in Kalašma, a language similar to the Luwian used by the Luwians who lived in southern Anatolia and about whom little is known, contain texts on daily life and celebrations.


6th Century Anglo-Saxons may have fought in northern Syrian wars, grave goods suggest

Anglosaksonska palata istok Engleske
Exotic items found at sites such as Sutton Hoo may have been brought to England by returning warriors, rather than via trade.
Sixth-century Anglo-Saxon people may have travelled from Britain to the eastern Mediterranean and northern Syria to fight in wars, researchers have suggested, casting fresh light on their princely burials.

St John Simpson, a senior British Museum curator, and Helen Gittos, an Oxford scholar, have concluded that some of the exotic items excavated at Sutton Hoo, Taplow and Prittlewell, among other sites, originated in the eastern Mediterranean and north Syria and cannot have been conventional trade goods, as others have suggested.

Simpson said that "compelling evidence" suggests the individuals buried at those sites had been involved in Byzantine military campaigns in northern Mesopotamia during the late sixth century, fighting the Sasanians, an ancient Iranian dynasty.

Comment: What's perhaps most incredible is how little we seem to know about the period: For fascinating insight into the truth about Christianity, and its origins, check out Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book From Paul to Mark: PaleoChristianity

As well as the following interviews: In Search of the Miraculous: Holy Grail Symbolism & Early Christian Mystery, with Laura Knight-Jadczyk


Denisovans survived on Tibetan plateau for 160,000 years

Entrance to Baishiya Karst Cave.
© Dongju Zhang’s group (Lanzhou University)Entrance to Baishiya Karst Cave.
Bone remains found in a Tibetan cave 3,280 m above sea level indicate an ancient group of humans survived here for many millennia, according to a new study published in Nature.

The Denisovans are an extinct species of ancient human that lived at the same time and in the same places as Neanderthals and Homo sapiens. Only a handful Denisovan remains have ever been discovered by archaeologists. Little is known about the group, including when they became extinct, but evidence exists to suggest they interbred with both Neanderthals and Homo sapiens.

A research team led by Lanzhou University, China, the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, CAS, China, and involving the University of Reading studied more than 2,500 bones from the Baishiya Karst Cave on the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau, one of the only two places where Denisovans are known to have lived.

Their new analysis, published today (Wednesday, 3 July) in Nature, has identified a new Denisovan fossil and shed light on the species' ability to survive in fluctuating climatic conditions — including the ice age — on the Tibetan plateau from around 200,000 to 40,000 years ago.

Dr Geoff Smith, a zooarchaeologist at the University of Reading, is a co-author of the study. He said: "We were able to identify that Denisovans hunted, butchered and ate a range of animal species. Our study reveals new information about the behaviour and adaptation of Denisovans both to high altitude conditions and shifting climates. We are only just beginning to understand the behaviour of this extraordinary human species."


Made in America: The ISIS conquest of Mosul

© The CradleISIS
The notorious terror group used US-supplied weapons, US-trained fighters, and funding sent from banks in Washington, DC, to conquer Iraq's second-largest city and terrorize its Sunni Muslim inhabitants.

Ten years ago this month, the notorious terror group ISIS improbably conquered Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. In only two days of fighting, a few hundred ISIS militants captured the city, forcing thousands of Iraqi soldiers and police to flee in chaos and confusion.

The western media attributed the city's fall to the sectarian policies of then-Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, suggesting that local Sunnis welcomed the ISIS invasion. US officials claimed they were surprised by the rapid rise of the terror organization, prompting then-US president Barack Obama to vow to "degrade and ultimately destroy" the group.

However, a close review of events surrounding the fall of Mosul and discussions with residents during The Cradle's recent visit to the city shows the opposite.

The US and its regional allies used ISIS as a proxy to orchestrate the fall of Mosul, thereby terrorizing its Sunni Muslim inhabitants to achieve specific foreign policy goals. Says one Mosul resident speaking with The Cradle:
"There was a plan to let Daesh [ISIS] take Mosul, and the USA was behind it. Everyone here knows this, but no one can say it publicly. It was a war against Sunnis."


World's oldest artwork discovered in Indonesian cave

Cave Painting
© Phys OrgThe cave painting of a pig, the oldest narrative artwork made by humans.
It may not look like much — just a flaking image of three people around a big red pig.

But the humble cave painting discovered in Indonesia is the oldest known narrative artwork ever made by human hands, dating back more than 51,000 years, new research said on Wednesday.

"This is the oldest evidence of storytelling," Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Australia's Griffith University, told AFP.

Aubert was part of the team that identified the previous record holder in 2019, a hunting scene found in a nearby Indonesian cave then estimated to be nearly 44,000 years old.

The latest discovery, which was dated using a new laser technique, marks "the first time we've passed the 50,000-year barrier," said Aubert, a co-author of a new study in Nature describing the find.

That early humans were able to tell such a "sophisticated" story through art could rewrite our understanding of human cognitive evolution, he added.

"Our discovery suggests that storytelling was a much older part of human history... than previously thought," study co-author archaeologist Adam Brumm told a press conference.


4,000-year-old rock art in Venezuela may be from a 'previously unknown' culture

Archaeologists in Venezuela have discovered 20 previously unknown rock art sites that are thousands of years old.
Venezuela Rock Art
© José Miguel Pérez-GómezAn enhanced view showing some of the rock art found in Venezuela.
An archeological team in Venezuela has discovered 20 rock art sites that date back thousands of years in Canaima National Park, in the southeastern part of the country.

While archaeologists have found similar rock art designs elsewhere in South America, the newfound art "represents a new culture previously unknown," José Miguel Pérez-Gómez, an archaeologist and researcher at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas who is leading the team, told Live Science in an email.

Some of these designs, which researchers call "pictograms," were drawn in red and depict geometric motifs such as lines of dots, rows of X's, star-shaped patterns and straight lines that connect together to form a variety of designs. There are also simple depictions of leaves and stick figure drawings of people. Additionally, some of the images, called petroglyphs, were incised into the rock and also show a variety of geometric motifs.

It's unclear why people created this art. "It is almost impossible to get into the minds of people living so many [thousands of] years ago" Pérez-Gómez said, but "definitely these signs had a ritual meaning." For instance, the different depictions may be related to birth, diseases, the renewal of nature or good hunting. The places where the rock art was created "most probably had a meaning and an importance within the landscape, just as the churches have a meaning for people today," Pérez-Gómez added.

Better Earth

Secrets of Roman Barbegal water mills revealed in calcium deposits

Barbegal mill
© Robert FabreView of the ruins of the Barbegal mill complex in 2018.
Archaeologists face a major challenge when they intend to acquire information about buildings or facilities of which only ruins remain. This was a particular challenge for the remnants of the Roman water mills in Barbegal in Southern France, dating back to the 2nd century CE.

This unique industrial complex consisted of 16 water wheels placed in parallel rows, eight on the east and eight on the west side, which were operated in a waterfall-like arrangement. Little could at first be deduced about the site from these now scant ruins — except that the wheels were supplied by an aqueduct that brought water from the surrounding hills.

A coin issued during the reign of the Emperor Trajan discovered in a basin above the mill complex as well as the structural characteristics of the site indicate that the mill was in use for about 100 years. However, the type of mill wheels, their function and how they were employed has remained a mystery until now.

Comment: For further fascinating insight into ancient people's use, and knowledge, of water, see:


'It all came from the West': Who is behind the golden age of terrorism in the Middle East?

Ten years ago, ISIS declared the creation of an Islamic caliphate. Although the terrorists were defeated, the threat lives on.

At its peak, ISIS controlled one third of Syria and about 40 percent of Iraq. Various groups in Africa pledged loyalty to its leader, and cells of the organization carried out attacks in the heart of Europe. Various actors, local, regional and international, exerted efforts to curb the spread of the cancer but today their radical ideas persist.

Sheikh Mohammed al-Tamimi still remembers June of 2014, when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the then-leader of ISIS, a Sunni terrorist group, announced the establishment of a caliphate stretching from Aleppo in Syria to Diyala in Iraq.

In those days, Al-Tamimi was a commander in the Faylaq al-Wa'ad al-Sadiq forces, a Shiite militia linked to Iran that was originally established to defend Iraq from American and British occupation in 2003 but was later developed into a force fighting to secure Iraq and neighboring Syria from the threat of ISIS.

In 2014, Al-Tamimi participated in many battles, where he and his fighters faced off against the ISIS terrorists.

In June 2014, for example, he undertook his first air descent operation at Speicher Airbase in Salah Al Din province with the aim of saving a group of commanders, officers and fighters who were besieged in the area - a task he and his 250 fighters successfully accomplished. Later that same month, he led an operation to free hundreds of hostages at Tikrit University. His men wouldn't rest until the last ISIS terrorist was eliminated.

Al-Tamimi recalls:
"Those were really sad days. Terrorists were seizing control over large parts of the four Sunni provinces, and quickly advancing thanks to the support of sleeper cells and the backing of the Sunni Muslim community."