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Archaeology

Fossil remains reveals giant millipedes as long as cars roamed northern England

fossil giant millipede england
© Neil Davies/PAPA Media
A section of Arthropleura's exoskeleton was found by a 'fluke' on Howick beach by a Cambridge University scientist.
Largest ever specimen, a 2.7 metre-long creature known as Arthropleura, discovered by 'fluke' on UK beach

Giant millipedes as long as a car and weighing 50kg once hunted across northern England, experts have revealed, following the discovery of a 326m-year-old fossil.

The largest fossil of a giant millipede was found by a "fluke" on a Northumberland beach at Howick, after a section of cliff fell on to the shore.

In order to get so big, the creature, known as Arthropleura, must have found a nutrient-rich plant diet and may even have been a predator, feasting on other invertebrates or small amphibians.

Star of David

Meet Ghislaine: Daddy's Girl

Robert/Ghislaine
© Unknown
Robert and Ghislaine Maxwell
Absent from mainstream discourse on Ghislaine Maxwell's ongoing trial is any mention of the ties, not only of herself, but her family, to Israeli intelligence. Those ties, forged by Ghislaine's father Robert Maxwell, are critical to understanding Ghislaine's history and her role in Jeffrey Epstein's sexual blackmail and trafficking network.

The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged madam of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual blackmail and sex trafficking network, has attracted considerable mainstream and independent media attention, though not as much as one might expect given the level of media attention that surrounded Epstein's 2019 arrest and death or given the public interest in the Epstein/Maxwell scandal and its broader implications.

Unsurprisingly, the broader implications of the Epstein/Maxwell scandal have been largely, if not entirely absent, from mainstream media (and some independent media) coverage of Ghislaine Maxwell's trial as well as absent from the case itself. For example, despite physical evidence of sexual blackmail stored at Epstein's residences being shown by the prosecution (with the names of those incriminated being notably redacted), the prosecution chose not to mention even the potential role of blackmail in Ghislaine Maxwell's activities and motives as it related to her involvement in sex trafficking activities alongside Jeffrey Epstein. Not only that, but the names of Ghislaine's close contacts and even some of her defense witnesses, along with considerable information about her role in Epstein's network that is very much in the public interest, is due to be filed under seal and forever hidden from the public, either due to "deals" made between the prosecution and the defense in this case or due to rulings from the judge overseeing the case.

Books

Amazon partnered with China propaganda arm to win Beijing's favor, document shows

Amazon delivery cart
© TechNode/David Cohen
Amazon delivery cart, parked outside Beijing's Ditan Park
Amazon.com Inc was marketing a collection of President Xi Jinping's speeches and writings on its Chinese website about two years ago, when Beijing delivered an edict, according to two people familiar with the incident. The American e-commerce giant must stop allowing any customer ratings and reviews in China.

A negative review of Xi's book prompted the demand, one of the people said. "I think the issue was anything under five stars," the highest rating in Amazon's five-point system, said the other person.

Ratings and reviews are a crucial part of Amazon's e-commerce business, a major way of engaging shoppers. But Amazon complied, the two people said. Currently, on its Chinese site Amazon.cn, the government-published book has no customer reviews or any ratings. And the comments section is disabled.

Amazon's compliance with the Chinese government edict, which has not been reported before, is part of a deeper, decade-long effort by the company to win favor in Beijing to protect and grow its business in one of the world's largest marketplaces.

Info

Bricks with bull and dragon motifs discovered in Iran

Bull Dragon Motif
© Tehran Times
A team of Iranian and Italian archaeologists has recently unearthed some glazed bricks, which bear bull and dragon motifs.

The discovery was made near the ruins of a majestic gateway, which is situated adjacent to the UNESCO-registered Persepolis in southern Iran.

The glazed bricks bear motifs of bulls and mushhushshu-dragons, the latter is a mythical creature once popular in ancient Mesopotamia, IRNA reported on Tuesday.

Named Tall-e Ajori, the gateway is made of brick and clay material with its whole exterior decorated with painted bricks.

Narratives say that mushkhushshu is a mythological hybrid animal with hind legs resembling the talons of an eagle, lion-like forelimbs, a long neck and tail, a horned head, a snake-like tongue, and a crest.

The Mushkhushshu most famously appears on the reconstructed Ishtar Gate of the city of Babylon, dating to the sixth century BC. In ancient Babylon, mushhushshu (pronounced "moosh-hoosh-shoo") was a divine creature associated with Marduk, the main god of the city.

Covering 13-ha majestic approaches, monumental stairways, throne rooms (Apadana), reception rooms, and dependencies, Persepolis is classified among the world's greatest archaeological sites.

Star of David

'What the hell was that?' Netanyahu annexation announcement caught Trump off guard

Neti and Donald
© AP/Susan Walsh
Then-US President Donald Trump and then-Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu
White House East Room • January 28, 2020
The unveiling of 'Peace to Prosperity' vision for Israeli-Palestinian accord
In January 2020, during a festive White House unveiling of Donald Trump's long-gestating peace plan, then-Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu giddily announced that under its auspices, Israel would move to immediately annex large parts of the West Bank.

The Israeli right was ecstatic. Finally, they believed, Israel would take full control of land that settler leaders hope will remain forever Israeli — and with the blessing of a US president, no less.

There was only one problem, according to new reporting on the events of those dramatic days: Nobody had bothered asking the president in question.

In fact, according to a new book from Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, Trump and peace-plan architect Jared Kushner were caught completely off guard by Netanyahu's declaration during the White House event.

The new details were reported in a pair of podcast episodes released Monday in a new series from Axios called "How It Happened," which uses Ravid's reporting from his new Hebrew book, Trump's Peace, to tell the story of how Trump's failed peace plan morphed into the successful brokering of the Abraham Accords.

Info

Unknown group of humans settled the Faroe Islands before the Vikings

island of Eysturoy
© Raymond Bradley/UMass Amherst
The bed of this lake on the island of Eysturoy contains a sediment layer laid down around 500 AD that documents the first arrival of sheep, and thus humans, on the archipelago.
New evidence from the bottom of a lake in the remote North Atlantic Faroe Islands indicates that an unknown band of humans settled there around 500 AD — some 350 years before the Vikings, who up until recently have been thought to have been the first human inhabitants. The settlers may have been Celts who crossed rough, unexplored seas from what are now Scotland or Ireland. The findings appear today in the journal Communications Earth & Environment.

The Faroes are a small, rugged archipelago about midway between Norway and Iceland, some 200 miles northwest of Scotland. Towering cliffs dominate the coasts; buffeted by strong winds and cloudy weather, the rocky landscape is mostly tundra. There is no evidence that Indigenous people ever lived there, making it one of the planet's few lands that remained uninhabited until historical times. Past archaeological excavations have indicated that seafaring Vikings first reached them around 850 AD, soon after they developed long-distance sailing technology. The settlement may have formed a stepping stone for the Viking settlement of Iceland in 874, and their short-lived colonization of Greenland, around 980.

The new study, led by scientists at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is based on lake sediments containing signs that domestic sheep suddenly appeared around 500, well before the Norse occupation. Previously, the islands did not host any mammals, domestic or otherwise; the sheep could have arrived only with people. The study is not the first to assert that someone else got there first, but the researchers say it clinches the case.

In the 1980s, researchers determined that Plantago lanceolata, a weed commonly associated with disturbed areas and pastures and often used as an indicator of early human presence in Europe, showed up in the Faroes around 2200 B.C. At the time, this was deemed possible evidence of human arrival. However, seeds could have arrived on the wind, and the plant does not need human presence to establish itself. Likewise, studies of pollen taken from lake beds and bogs show that some time before the Norse period, woody vegetation largely disappeared — possibly due to persistent chewing by sheep, but also possibly due to natural climatic changes.

Info

Neanderthals changed ecosystems 125,000 years ago

Neumark-Nord 2 near Halle
© Leiden University
Excavation of a 125,000-year-old archaeological site at Neumark-Nord 2 near Halle, Germany, summer 2007.
Hunter-gathers caused ecosystems to change 125,000 years ago. These are the findings of an interdisciplinary study by archaeologists from Leiden University in collaboration with other researchers. Neanderthals used fire to keep the landscape open and thus had a big impact on their local environment. The study will be published in the journal Science Advances on 15 December.

'Archaeologists have long been asking questions about the character and temporal depth of human intervention in our planet's ecosystems. We are increasingly seeing very early, generally weak signs of this,' says Wil Roebroeks, Archaeology professor at Leiden University.

These signs proved much stronger in research at a lignite quarry near Halle in Germany. Archaeological research has been carried out at this quarry, Neumark-Nord, in the last few decades, and alongside a huge amount of data about the early environment, abundant traces of Neanderthal activities have been found. 'Among other things, we found the remains of hundreds of slaughtered animals, surrounded by numerous stone tools and a huge amount of charcoal remains.'

Books

Early medieval ink pen testifies to the rise of secular literacy in Ireland

ring fort ireland caherconnell

Caherconnell Cashel in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland
Archaeologists excavating a medieval stone fort in western Ireland have discovered what they say is the oldest known ink pen ever found in the country. The writing tool, made of a hollow bone barrel with a copper-alloy point, or nib, was unearthed in an 11th-century layer of sediment at Caherconnell Cashel in County Clare, reports Pat Flynn for the Irish Independent.

A team led by Michelle Comber, an archaeologist with the National University of Ireland (NUI), Galway, made the discovery as part of the Caherconnell Archaeological Project. Built in the late 10th century, the settlement remained in use through the beginning of the 17th century, housing a succession of wealthy local landowners. While most evidence of early literacy in Ireland comes from sites connected to the Christian church, the cashel, or ringfort, was a secular institution, reports Shane O'Brien for Irish Central. Its residents built their wealth through farming and trade.

Music

1600-year-old lyre discovered in Kazakhstan matches Sutton Hoo instrument found at the famous early medieval ship burial in England

Lyre

An Anglo-Saxon Lyre, found as part of the Sutton Hoo medieval ship burial (right), has a cousin more than 2,400 miles away in Kazakhstan (impression, left), according to archaeologists.
An Anglo-Saxon Lyre, found as part of the Sutton Hoo medieval ship burial, has a cousin more than 2,400 miles away in Kazakhstan, according to archaeologists.

A re-analysis of finds from Soviet-era archaeological digs in Dzhetyasar, Kazakhstan, by archaeologist Dr Azilkhan Tazhekeevat, identified blocks of wood found in 1973 to be a musical instrument, with further analysis confirming it as a 4th century CE lyre.

It is the same type of lyre as the one found as part of the Sutton Hoo ship burial, but dates three centuries earlier than the Sutton Hoo lyre, the researchers explained.

A study of the Kazakhstan lyre, and comparison to other instruments of the time, was carried out by independent researcher, Dr Giermund Kolltveit from Norway.

Comment: At various times in history the evidence demonstrates that our world has been much better connected than was formerly believed: Also check out SOTT radio's:



Fireball

Younger Dryas Impacts gain MORE global attention

Jimmy Corsetti Joe Rogan
Jimmy on Rogan; YDI centerpiece of new novel.

Tusk travel buddy from the Egypt 2020 Expedition, Jimmy Corsetti of Bright Insight, appeared last week on The Joe Rogan Experience, the most popular conversation on planet earth. The Younger Dryas Impact was a frequent subject. This single clip was viewed by over 3 million people.

Comment: See also: