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Mon, 17 Jan 2022
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2700-year old Assyrian-style leather armor discovered in China

Mongol Warrior
© istock.com/katiekk2
2700 years ago, the Neo-Assyrian fighters probably looked similar to how Mongol warriors look today at a festival.
Researchers at the University of Zurich have investigated a unique leather scale armor found in the tomb of a horse rider in Northwest China. Design and construction details of the armor indicate that it originated in the Neo-Assyrian Empire between the 6th and 8th century BCE before being brought to China.

In 2013, a nearly complete leather scale armor was found in the tomb of an approx. 30-year-old male near the modern-day city of Turfan in Northwest China. This unprecedented find, which survived the millennia thanks to the area's extremely arid climate, provided the international team led by Patrick Wertmann from the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies of the University of Zurich with new insights on the spread of military technology during the first millennium BCE.

Scale armors protect the vital organs of fighters like an extra layer of skin without restricting their mobility. The armors were made of small shield-shaped plates arranged in horizontal rows and sewn onto a backing. Due to the costly materials and laborious manufacturing process, armors were very precious, and wearing them was considered a privilege of the elite. It was rare for them to be buried with the owner. However, the emergence of powerful states with large armies in the ancient world led to the development of less precious but nevertheless effective armors made of leather, bronze or iron for ordinary soldiers.

Bizarro Earth

From dodgy dossiers to the sacking of Whitlam: The British Empire stands exposed

GCHQ
© GCHQ
I used to believe as many do, in a story called "the American Empire". Over the last decade of research, that belief has changed a bit. The more I looked at the top down levers of world influence shaping past and present events that altered history, the hand of British Intelligence just kept slapping me squarely in the face at nearly every turn.

Who controlled the dodgy Steele dossier that put Russiagate into motion driving a four year campaign to impeach President Trump? British Intelligence.

How about the intelligence used to justify the bombing of Iraq? That was British Intelligence too.

How about the Clash of Civilizations strategy used to blow up the middle east over decades? That just so happened to be British Intelligence's own Sir Bernard Lewis.

How about the CFR takeover over of American foreign policy during the 20th century? That is the British Roundtable Movement in America (created as Britain's Chatham House in America in 1921).

Who did Kissinger brag that he briefed more than his own State Department at a May 10, 1981 Chatham House seminar? The British Foreign Office (1).

How about William Yandall Elliot who trained a generation of neocon strategists who took over American foreign policy after the murder of JFK? Well, he was a Rhodes Scholar and we know what they are zombified to do.

How about the financial empire running the world drug trade? Well HSBC is the proven leading agency of that game and the British Caymen islands is the known center of world offshore drug money laundering.

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Prehistoric Scotland was culturally divergent before the Romans arrived

Hadrian's Wall
© GUARD Archaeology
Hadrian's Wall is often blamed for splitting Ancient Britain in two but newly published archaeological research reveals that the peoples of Scotland and England were already culturally divergent long before the Romans arrived in Britain.

An array of brochs, duns, crannogs and souterrains are found widely across Scotland but are not evident in northern England or further south. Surprisingly, that various types of Iron Age settlement do not breach the Anglo-Scottish border is something that has not been examined in detail, until now.

'The underlying implication of the settlement distribution patterns is that Iron Age societies across Scotland were open to the building and occupation of brochs, crannogs, duns and souterrains but that Iron Age societies further south were not,' said GUARD Archaeologist Ronan Toolis, who conducted the research. 'This was the result of cultural choices taken by households and communities, not environmental constraints, and suggests that Iron Age societies north and south of the Tweed-Solway zone were perceptibly dissimilar.'

These distinctive differences in the archaeological record are especially significant because the construction of crannogs and souterrains during the 4th-2nd centuries BC demonstrates that this divergence occurred long before the Roman frontier zone may have severed societies.

'The archaeological divergence does not equate with the line of Hadrian's Wall but rather more closely with the Anglo-Scottish border,' added Dr Toolis. 'The Wall instead follows probably the best strategic course through a broader zone of cultural divergence.'

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Study pinpoints timing of Chicxulub asteroid impact

Chicxulub Impact Event
© Florida Atlantic University
Springtime, the season of new beginnings, ended the 165-million-year reign of dinosaurs and changed the course of evolution on Earth.
A groundbreaking study led by researchers at Florida Atlantic University and an international team of scientists conclusively confirms the time year of the catastrophic Chicxulub asteroid, responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs and 75 percent of life on Earth 66 million years ago. Springtime, the season of new beginnings, ended the 165-million-year reign of dinosaurs and changed the course of evolution on Earth. Results of the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports , greatly enhances the ability to trace the first stages of damage to life on Earth. FAU's Robert DePalma, senior author and an adjunct professor in the Department of Geosciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, and a doctoral student at the University of Manchester; and Anton Oleinik, Ph.D., second author and an associate professor, FAU's Department of Geosciences, contribute to a major scientific advancement in the ability to understand the massive impact that brought an end to the dinosaurs.

"Time of year plays an important role in many biological functions such as reproduction, feeding strategies, host-parasite interactions, seasonal dormancy, and breeding patterns," said DePalma. "Hence, it is no surprise that the time of year for a global-scale hazard can play a big role in how harshly it impacts life. The seasonal timing of the Chicxulub impact has therefore been a critical question for the story of the end-Cretaceous extinction. Until now, the answer to that question has remained unclear."

For decades, it has been known that the cataclysmic Chicxulub asteroid impact hit the Yucatan peninsula 66 million years ago. The impact triggered the third-greatest extinction in Earth's history, dramatically changing global biomes in ways that directly relate to current global ecological crisis. Yet, the finer details of what happened after impact and how those events led to the third-worst mass-extinction in Earth's history remain very hazy.

The new study was a long-term effort that started in 2014 and applied a combination of traditional and cutting-edge techniques to piece together a trail of clues enabling identification of the season for the Chicxulub impact event. DePalma examined the Tanis research locality in southwestern North Dakota, one of the most highly detailed Cretaceous-Paleogene (KPg) boundary sites in the world, to understand the inner workings of the extinction event. The research provides important new data while building new academic bridges.

Magnify

'Best physical evidence of Roman crucifixion' found on 1,900 year old skeleton in Cambridgeshire, UK

crucifixion
© Adam Williams
Nails used for crucifixion are a rare find as rope was commonly used for the capital punishment and victims were rarely given formal burial.
Found at the site of a future housing development in Cambridgeshire, the near 1,900-year-old skeleton at first did not seem particularly remarkable.

Aged 25 to 35 at the time of death, the man had been buried with his arms across his chest in a grave with a wooden structure, possibly a bier, at one of five cemeteries around a newly discovered Roman settlement at Fenstanton, between Roman Cambridge and Godmanchester.


Comment: An example of a bier from Wikipedia:

bier

A bier from Tønder, Denmark

Comment: It would appear that it's not conclusive whether this is evidence of crucifixion or not.

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Denisovans or Homo Sapiens: Who were the first to settle (permanently) on the Tibetan Plateau?

Tibetan Plateau
© Peiqi Zhang/UC Davis
A new paper by archaeologists at UC Davis highlights that our extinct cousins, the Denisovans, reached the “roof of the world” about 160,000 years ago — 120,000 years earlier than previous estimates for our species — and even contributed to our adaptation to high altitude. Photo shows the current Tibetan Plateau where the research took place.
The Tibetan Plateau has long been considered one of the last places to be populated by people in their migration around the globe. A new paper by archaeologists at the University of California, Davis, highlights that our extinct cousins, the Denisovans, reached the "roof of the world" about 160,000 years ago — 120,000 years earlier than previous estimates for our species — and even contributed to our adaptation to high altitude.

The article, which was published online this month in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution, suggests that a cross-look at archaeological and genetic evidence provides essential clues to reconstruct the history of the peopling of the region.

Denisovans were archaic hominins once dispersed throughout Asia. After several instances of interbreeding with early modern humans in the region, one of their hybridizations benefited Tibetans' survival and settlement at high altitudes.

Those conclusions are among findings that led Peiqi Zhang, a UC Davis doctoral student who has participated in excavations of an archaeological site above 15,000 feet (4,600 meters) in Tibet, and Xinjun Zhang, a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA who studies Denisovan and other human DNA, to ask the question: What do we know about how and when the region was peopled? Xinjun Zhang earned her genetic anthropology doctorate at UC Davis in 2017. The two researchers are not related.

The two scholars conducted a review of evidence of human dispersal and settlement in the Tibetan Plateau, integrating the archaeological and genetic discoveries so far. "Before our article, there was a lack of comprehensive review bringing both fields together, especially with an equal emphasis," Peiqi Zhang said.

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The youth in 1921 (and 2021)

sebastian haffner
Read this passage from a memoir of being young in 1920s Germany, and compare the 2020s:

"A generation of young Germans," [Sebastian] Haffner writes, "had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere." The stability that followed Gustav Stresemann's becoming chancellor in 1923 marked "the return of political liberty," which, Haffner writes, Germans regarded "not as a gift, but as a deprivation."

Haffner goes on: "The great danger of life in Germany has always been emptiness and boredom. The menace of monotony hangs, as it has always hung, over the great plains of northern and eastern Germany, with their colorless towns and their all too industrious, efficient, and conscientious business and organizations. With it comes a horror vacui and the yearning for 'salvation': through alcohol, through superstition, or, best of all, through a vast, overpowering, cheap mass intoxication."

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Book

A new history of humanity — And hope for those of us who want it

Stone Age
© Wikipedia
Everything I read, learned and taught about the stone ages and beginnings of civilization was wrong. An anthropologist and an archaeologist have got together to update us all on the discoveries that have been appearing in the scholarly literature over the past sixty years. The findings give great encouragement to those of us who are concerned about humanity's ability to change course in the interests of our long-term survival.

I once liked the idea of Rousseau: in our "native state" we are innocent, good; it is the chains that have come with civilization that have degraded us.

But over time I came to fear Hobbes might be more right than I wanted him to be: in our native state our life is "nasty, brutish and short"; it is the controls that civilization has imposed that have obliged us to live according to the "better angels of our nature".

No. Neither Rousseau nor Hobbes had the right model. We know that people as a whole cannot be lumped under either of the simplistic labels of "good" and "bad". We can be very, very good and we can be very, very bad. For those of us who see the need for change in the way we live if we are to get through the threats we are facing now of runaway climate change and nuclear war and god knows what else and are keen to join any organized action for a better future, we can take heart from David Graeber and David Wengrow who, in The Dawn of Everything, demonstrate that humanity has done things better in the past and humanity can change.

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Ancient settlements that challenge traditional thinking 'Karahantepe and Taş Tepeler'

Karahantepe.
© TGA
Karahantepe.
After Göbeklitepe in Şanlıurfa, which sheds light on 12,000 years ago in human history and is considered one of the greatest discoveries in the world of archeology, new studies were started in the same region under the name of "Taş Tepeler".

Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Türkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency (TGA) presented Taş Tepeler, a project that aims to reveal the land where the change in human history took place and a great transformation from the hunter-gatherer way of living to agriculture, with a series of visits, meetings, and events from 21 to 27 September 2021.

TAŞ TEPELER Project involves archaeological excavations and research carried out in seven areas: Göbeklitepe, Karahantepe, Gürcütepe, Sayburç, Çakmaktepe, Sefertepe and the Yeni Mahalle mound.

The Şanlıurfa region is home to the first examples of organized labour and specialization in the history of civilization. Between 2021 and 2024, excavations will be carried out in a total of 12 locations, including Karahantepe, a site with more than 250 T-shaped megalith blocks similar to those found in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Göbeklitepe. It is believed that the finds from these excavations will make considerable and far-reaching contributions to our knowledge of humanity in prehistoric times, including their daily lives and rituals. It is estimated that there are several sites in Şanlıurfa similar to Göbeklitepe, which reflect the early phases of the Neolithic Age.

Archaeology

Exquisite Bronze Age tomb goods in Cyprus reveal international trade networks

bronze age tomb cyprus
© Peter Fischer, Teresa Bürge
One of the skeletons belonged to a five-year-old buried with lots of gold jewellery, including this tiara.
Archaeologists from the University of Gothenburg have concluded an excavation of two tombs in the Bronze Age city of Hala Sultan Tekke in Cyprus. The finds include over 150 human skeletons and close to 500 objects - including gold jewellery, gemstones and ceramics - from around 1350 BCE.

Since 2010, the New Swedish Cyprus Expedition (The Söderberg Expedition) has had several rounds of excavations in Cyprus. In 2018, archaeologists discovered two tombs in the form of underground chambers, with a large number of human skeletons. Managing the finds required very delicate work over four years, since the bones were extremely fragile after more than 3,000 years in the salty soil.

In addition to the skeletons of 155 individuals, the team also found 500 objects. The skeletons and ritual funeral objects were in layers on top of each other, showing that the tombs were used for several generations.

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