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Sherlock

Ceremonial Aztec platform used to burn snakes discovered under Mexico City's famous ruin

Archeologists could be on the brink of discovering Mexico's first Aztec royal tomb after they unearthed a ceremonial carved stone platform beneath an existing ruin.

The platform, carved with snake heads, was found under Mexico City's Templo Mayor ruin, a complex of two huge pyramids and numerous smaller structures that contained the ceremonial and spiritual heart of the pre-Hispanic Aztec empire.

The find has raised hopes that there could be an emperor's tomb buried nearby.

Image
© AP
Discovery: A figure in the shape of a serpents' head decorates a newly discovered platform at the archaeological site Templo Mayor in Mexico City
No Aztec ruler's tomb has ever been located and researchers have been on a five-year quest to find a royal tomb in the area of the Templo Mayor.

Mexico's National Institute of History and Anthropology said the stone platform is about 15 yards in diameter and probably built around A.D. 1469.

The site lies in downtown Mexico City, which was built by Spanish conquerors atop the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

Sherlock

UK: Prehistoric Teen Girl's Grave Found Near Henge

The finding of the 17-year-old girl's grave adds more evidence that henges were linked to death rituals

Four to five thousand years ago, a wealthy teenage girl was laid to rest in a grave at what archaeologists believe is a newly found henge in Kent, England.

The discovery of the 17-year-old's grave -- along with a unique prehistoric pot inside of a ringed ditch near two other women -- strengthens the idea that important death-related rituals took place at many of these mysterious ancient monuments when they were first erected.

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© Archaeological Field School
Archaeologists excavate the site of a prehistoric teen girl's grave in Kent, England.
Mystery still surrounds Stonehenge and other sacred sites in the U.K., but a new probable henge in Kent strengthens the idea that important death-related rituals took place at many of these monuments when they were first erected 5000 to 4000 years ago.

"What is becoming clear is that with a series of major excavations in Kent linked to road and rail works, and new aerial photography, there are many circular earthworks that look part barrow and part henge, and like the one fully excavated example at Ringlemere (Kent), some of these may be both," said archaeologist Mike Pitts, publisher of British Archaeology, where a summary of the recent finds appears.

Sherlock

CU-Boulder team discovers ancient road at Maya village buried by volcanic ash 1,400 years ago

A University of Colorado Boulder-led team excavating a Maya village in El Salvador buried by a volcanic eruption 1,400 years ago has unexpectedly hit an ancient white road that appears to lead to and from the town, which was frozen in time by a blanket of ash.

The road, known as a "sacbe," is roughly 6 feet across and is made from white volcanic ash from a previous eruption that was packed down and shored up along its edges by residents living there in roughly A.D. 600, said CU-Boulder Professor Payson Sheets, who discovered the buried village known as Ceren near the city of San Salvador in 1978. In Yucatan Maya, the word "sacbe" (SOCK'-bay) literally means "white way" or "white road" and is used to describe elevated ancient roads typically lined with stone and paved with white lime plaster and that sometimes connected temples, plazas and towns.


Question

Aboriginal Astronomy?

Wurdi Youang
© RayNorris, Wikimedia Commons
A small portion of the Wurdi Youang stone arrangement in Victoria, Australia.
Were Australia's prehistoric Aboriginal people the world's first true astronomers, predating European and ancient Greek and Indian astronomers by thousands of years?

The stunning discovery of what is being called an "Aboriginal Stonehenge", the first of its kind to be found in Australia, could change that continent's history and with it our whole understanding of how and when humans began to accurately chart the night skies.

The 50 metre egg-shaped arrangement of stones in a farmer's field in Victoria, was forgotten after the arrival of European settlers some 200 years ago and until recently overgrown by meadow grass.

Now, the site called Wurdi Youang has got Aborigines and astronomers scratching their heads.

How did its stones come to be perfectly aligned with summer and winter Solstices and the autumn and winter Equinoxes, like Britain's 4,500 year-old Stonehenge?

Sherlock

Turkey: Hundreds of Undiscovered Artifacts Found at Gallipoli

More than 100 artefacts from the First World War have been uncovered in an archaeological fieldwork survey on the Gallipoli battlefield, leading to some interesting theories about life on the frontline according to University of Melbourne survey archaeologist Professor Antonio Sagona.

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© Department of Veterans' Affairs
Bully beef tin with lid
The discoveries were made as part of a second season of fieldwork undertaken as part of the Joint Historical and Archaeological Survey - the only systematic survey of the battlefields of Gallipoli since the First World War.

The survey covered the northern frontline areas on the Turkish and Allied sides. One of the most significant finds was the Malone's Terraces area at Quinn's Post.

William Malone commanded New Zealand's Wellington Infantry Battalion. Malone's men relieved the Australians at Quinn's Post in June 1915. This was a key position, where even the smallest advance by the Turk's would have forced the evacuation of the Anzacs.

Sherlock

UK: Nevern Castle ancient inscriptions to 'ward off evil'

Experts believe rare 12th Century slate inscriptions found on a castle were probably made to protect against evil.

The dozen scratchings were uncovered during a three-week excavation at Nevern in Pembrokeshire.

Archaeologists think the stars and other designs were made by a serf, labourer or soldier some time between 1170 and 1190 when the castle was built.

They say they also give an insight into the beliefs of medieval working men.

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© Unknown
Experts believe the scratchings were made by a peasant some time between 1170 and 1190
Dr Chris Caple of the University of Durham led the archaeological dig at the site and said the slates were from a late 12th century cut-stone entranceway.

"They were found in only one place in the castle and were probably intended to ward off evil," he explained.

"In the late 12th century, Nevern would have been an impressive looking castle and entrance, especially from the south side, and it was clearly visible to all passing along the road between St David's and Cardigan.

Sherlock

Mexicannibals: The ancient tribe who ate each other in the belief that 'bone rituals' would help improve the harvest

A cache of cooked and and carved human bones has been discovered in Mexico - backing up fables that cannibalism was practised by an ancient tribe.

The bones were found in El Salto, Durango State, northern Mexico, in a cave hamlet built into a cliff.

The site - called Cueva del Maguey - dates back to around 1425 and was formerly home to the Xiximes tribe.

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© EPA
Bone house: Archaeologists excavate Cueva del Maguey, Mexico, where a cache of human bones was discovered which proves the Xiximes tribe were cannibals
The archaeological trove included more than three dozen human bones which showed evidence of having been defleshed, cooked and then ritualistically marked with stone blades.

Rumours of cannibalism among the 5,000-strong Xiximes have long existed due to the historical accounts of Jesuit missionaries, which labelled the tribe 'the wildest and most barbarian people of the New World'.

Magic Wand

The French Resistance Myth

Image
© Rialto Pictures
Army of Shadows, 1969 movie about the French Resistance (that never was, apparently)
The Heroic French Resistance, the underground movement against the Nazis in World War II that we recall from countless movies, never existed except as a myth embellished by Hollywood.

One of the most persistent wartime images has selfless French men and women in berets and leather jackets blowing up bridges and ambushing columns of German soldiers on lonely country roads.

But a new book by historian Douglas Porch, The French Secret Services, contends almost nothing of the sort actually happened. His account has set the French seething - all the more so since many of them are aware that what he says is absolutely true.

According to the book, even those few French who helped downed airmen often did so for the money. The standard reward for getting an escapee into Spain was about $50,000 in today's money.

Sherlock

Vietnam: Tay Son Dynasty Coin Unearthed

Image
© Pham Huu Cong
A Minh Duc Thong Bao coin from the Tay Son dynasty found in a mandarin's tomb.
The Viet Nam Institute of Archaeology has announced new discoveries unearthed during the recent excavation of Thoai Ngoc Hau and his wives' tombs, including a coin dating back to the Tay Son dynasty (1778-1802).

Thoai Ngoc Hau (1761-1829), a famous general, helped Nguyen Anh found the Nguyen dynasty (1802-1945). He and his wives were buried in the southern province of An Giang. The excavation of their tombs was carried out on September 19 by local experts. They discovered a number of artifacts buried near the tombs of Chau Thi Te and Truong Thi Met, his first and second wives.

The name on the coin was Minh Duc Thong Bao, minted under the reign of Nguyen Nhac (1788-1793). The discovery in the tomb of the high ranking mandarin's wife has been seen as a possible breakthrough by archaeologists.

According to Pham Huu Cong, it could relate to a secret that had never been made public. "Perhaps the couple had a relationship with the Tay Son movement, the Nguyen kings' foes, and kept the coin as a memento, despite the trouble it could cause. When Chau Thi Te died in 1826, the mandarin buried this coin with her," he said.

Sherlock

Scotland: Excavation in Camelon Reveals Hidden Roman Past

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© The Falkirk Herald
The dig continues in Camelon
Archaeologists have uncovered precious Roman artefacts in what is described as the most important find locally for generations.

Specialists say they have found evidence of at least two Roman forts dating back to the first and second centuries AD.

They would have been used extensively as the Antonine Wall was built.

Archaeologist Martin Cook who is working on the project said the find is one of the most important in the Falkirk area for "decades".

Among the artefacts dug up are bones, jewellery, leather shoes, ceramics, ovens and coins,

The Camelon site, home to the former Wrangler factory, is being cleared to make way for a Tesco store by contractors Barr Construction.

AOC Archaeology, which excavated the land for them, uncovered a rich bounty of archaeological relics.