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Tue, 11 Aug 2020
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Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

Replica pipes used to experimentally "smoke" tobacco and other native plants in WSU laboratories for the study. The charred residue is then extracted, chemically "fingerprinted", and compared to residue of ancient archaeological pipes.
People in what is now Washington State were smoking Rhus glabra, a plant commonly known as smooth sumac, more than 1,400 years ago.

The discovery, made by a team of Washington State University researchers, marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco plant in an archeological pipe.

Unearthed in central Washington, the Native American pipe also contained residue from N. quadrivalvis, a species of tobacco not currently grown in the region but that is thought to have been widely cultivated in the past. Until now, the use of specific smoking plant mixtures by ancient people in the American Northwest had only been speculated about.

Comment: Meanwhile even earlier in the Middle East: Cannabis and Frankincenses found at 2,700 year old Judahite shrine of Biblical Arad

See also: And check out SOTT radio's: The Health & Wellness Show: The Truth about Tobacco and the Benefits of Nicotine

Eye 1

How US-Qatar regime change deception produced 'Caesar' sanctions and Syria's famine

© Unknown
'Caesar' meets with congressmen
Like the mysterious figure it is named for, the Caesar sanctions bill is the product of an elaborate deception by shadowy US- and Gulf-backed operatives. Instead of protecting Syrian civilians, the unilateral measures are driving them towards hunger and death.

The US Department of Treasury's imposition this June of the so-called Caesar Civilian Protection Act, a draconian set of economic sanctions on Syria, amounts to a medieval-style siege on all Syrians living inside the country.

Inspired by photos that Western governments and media claim were smuggled out of Syria by a supposed Syrian military whistleblower codenamed "Caesar," the sanctions are the product of a highly deceptive intelligence operation orchestrated by the US and Qatari governments.

As this investigation will demonstrate, a network of US- and Qatar-backed regime change operatives marketing themselves as human rights lawyers and concerned Syrian activists groomed the supposed whistleblower, managed his files, and worked overtime to obstruct public scrutiny.


Margaret Sanger statues honor a racist and eugenicist; but as with Darwin, let her stay

Margaret Sanger
© Cliff, via Flickr
Bust of Margaret Sanger, National Portrait Gallery.
Historical statues are a dispersed temple to memory, in need of vigilant guarding. My own memory, like yours, includes things I'm proud of things and things I'm not proud of. We would hate to lose any of it, the good or the bad, which is why sensitive people loathe the current wave of unchecked vandalism.

I asked earlier today if statues of Charles Darwin will come down at the hands of the marauders, given the vital work his writing has done in justifying scientific racism, eugenics, and genocide. (For more on that, see the documentary Human Zoos, below.) But what about another key and linked figure in history? Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger advocated racist eugenic measures and did not shy from addressing a KKK rally. Yet she's honored by a bust in the National Portrait Gallery's civil rights exhibit, of all places.

Voices of Protest

African American pastors have requested, in an entirely civil plea, that the statue be removed, only to be rebuffed by the Smithsonian. Another statue of Sanger adorns Boston's Old South Meeting House, among other tributes to America's "Voices of Protest."

"Yes, she could certainly be called a Voice of Protest," Discovery Institute Fellow J. Budziszewski has written. "She strongly protested the great many people of the planet whom she considered unfit. She was a racist, a vociferous opponent of charity, and an advocate of controlled human breeding."

Sanger, in her book Woman and the New Race, protested the rising tide of immigrants and people of color in U.S. cities. She worried, "Of the fifty principal cities of the United States there are only fourteen in which fifty percent of the population is of unmixed native white parentage."

She would not have liked the look of New York City today, where there is a Margaret Sanger Square not far from Washington Square Park, a site of recent Black Lives Matter protests.


Prehistorical petroglyph discovered in central Iran

Prehistorical petroglyph
© Tehran Times
Tehran - A prehistorical petroglyph, which bears Pahlavi script written by ordinary people of the time, has recently been found during an archaeological survey in Teymareh region of Khomein county, central Iran.

"This is the sixth petroglyph, engraved with Pahlavi script, which has so far been found in the highlands of Teymareh. And the petroglyph is estimated to date back to 2,200 years ago," IRIB quoted Iranian archaeologist Mohammad Nasserifard as saying on Wednesday.

"The difference between this inscription and other inscriptions of the Pahlavi script discovered in Iran, (which have been inscriptions ordered by monarchs and rulers) is that these manuscripts belong to ordinary people and those who were far from the power and governments," Nasserifard explained.

Pahlavi is a particular, exclusively written form of various Middle Iranian languages. Pahlavi compositions have been found for the dialects/ethnolects of Parthia, Persis, Sogdiana, Scythia, and Khotan.

Talking about the significance of the relics, the top archaeologist said "From the content of their texts, we can learn about the social and anthropological views of the Iranian people who lived in this region about two millennia ago."

"Therefore, the texts of these inscriptions are first-hand documents that can help researchers to discover more about the life of ordinary people who lived in this region some 2,200 years ago."


Ancient Canaanite scepter may be first proof of life-sized 'divine statues'

© Canaanite
A scepter from the Canaanite temple that is believed to have been part of a life-sized "divinity statue."
An approximately 3,200-year-old scepter found at a biblical site in southern Israel may be the first physical evidence of life-sized "divine statues" used in Canaanite rituals, according to a new report.

Yosef Garfinkel, an archaeology professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, wrote in the academic journal Antiquity that the scepter, which was made from bronze and coated in silver, was discovered inside the cellar of a Canaanite temple at Lachish.

He linked the scepter, which looks like a spatula, to a scepter found at Hatzor in the north, as well as to a small figurine found at the site of a Canaanite temple at Meggido.

Comment: See also:

Cow Skull

Oldest and largest Viking settlement possibly unearthed in Iceland

© Bjarni Einarsson
The oldest of the two Viking longhouses at Stöð dates from around A.D. 800, several decades before the commonly accepted date of the settlement of Iceland in A.D. 874.
Archaeologists have unearthed what may be the oldest Viking settlement in Iceland.

The ancient longhouse is thought to be a summer settlement built in the 800s, decades before seafaring refugees are supposed to have settled the island, and was hidden beneath a younger longhouse brimming with treasures, said archaeologist Bjarni Einarsson, who led the excavations.

"The younger hall is the richest in Iceland so far," Einarsson told Live Science. "It is hard not to conclude that it is a chieftain's house."

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

Africa's Lost Kingdoms

Mansa Musa
© Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
Mansa Musa, the king of Mali, approached by a Berber on camelback; detail from The Catalan Atlas, attributed to the Majorcan mapmaker Abraham Cresques, 1375.
Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed.

There is a broad strain in Western thought that has long treated Africa as existing outside of history and progress; it ranges from some of our most famous thinkers to the entertainment that generations of children have grown up with. There are Disney cartoons that depict barely clothed African cannibals merrily stewing their victims in giant pots suspended above pit fires.1 Among intellectuals there is a wealth of appalling examples. Voltaire said of Africans,
"A time will come, without a doubt, when these animals will know how to cultivate the earth well, to embellish it with houses and gardens, and to know the routes of the stars. Time is a must, for everything."
Hegel's views of Africa were even more sweeping:
"What we properly understand by Africa, is the Unhistorical, Undeveloped Spirit, still involved in the conditions of mere nature, and which had to be presented here only as on the threshold of the World's History."
One can hear echoes of such views even today from Western politicians. Donald Trump referred to a number of African nations as "shithole countries" in 2018, and French president Emmanuel Macron said in 2017, "The challenge Africa faces is completely different and much deeper" than those faced by Europe. "It is civilizational."

It may remain a little-known fact, but Africa has never lacked civilizations, nor has it ever been as cut off from world events as it has been routinely portrayed. Some remarkable new books make this case in scholarly but accessible terms, and they admirably complicate our understanding of Africa's past and present.


Huge volcanic eruption in Alaska linked to rise of Roman Empire in new study

Volcanic Eruption
© InterNetwork Media/Getty Images
The assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE triggered a nearly two-decade power struggle that led to the fall of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.

Historic records say the period was marked with strange sightings in the sky, unusually cold weather and widespread famine - and a new study suggests a volcanic eruption in Alaska may have been the cause.

The paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday.

An international team of scientists and historians used an analysis of volcanic ash (tephra) found in Arctic ice cores to link the period of unexplained extreme climate in the Mediterranean with the crater-forming eruption of Alaska's Okmok volcano in 43 BCE.

"To find evidence that a volcano on the other side of the Earth erupted and effectively contributed to the demise of the Romans and the Egyptians and the rise of the Roman Empire is fascinating," said lead author Joe McConnell of the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada.

The advent of the Roman Empire also brought an end to the dynasty of Ptolemies, the last of the pharaohs.

Light Saber

The Father of Capitalism and the Abolition of Slavery

adam smith slavery abolition

Adam Smith
It has become a common trope that slavery and the slave trade is responsible for the industrial revolution, if not our entire modern prosperity. Slavery is often called capitalism's "dark side." A recent column in the Guardian claimed the slave trade "heralded the age of capitalism" and Guardian columnist George Monbiot said on Twitter: "The more we discover about our own history, the less the 'trade' on which Britain built its wealth looks like exchange, and the more it looks like looting. It meant extracting stolen resources and the products of slavery, debt bondage and land theft from other nations." The same line has been taken by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who tweeted: "It's a sad truth that much of our wealth was derived from the slave trade."

But what did the "father of modern economics," Adam Smith, actually think about slavery? And is it responsible for our modern prosperity?

Adam Smith argued not only that slavery was morally reprehensible, but that it causes economic self-harm. He provided economic and moral ammunition for the abolitionist movement that came to fruition after his death in 1790. Smith was pessimistic about the potential for full abolition, but he was on the side of the angels.


Huge 4,500-year-old stone circle discovered near Stonehenge

structure near stone henge
© Picture: PA/Metro.co.uk
The vast neolithic circle of deep shafts was found near Stonehenge
Archaeologists have discovered a major new prehistoric monument just a short distance away from Stonehenge. Some 20 or more massive prehistoric shafts - more than 10 metres wide and five metres deep - form a vast circle more than two kilometres in diameter around the Durrington Walls henge. Coring of the shafts suggest the features are neolithic and excavated more than 4,500 years ago, around the time Durrington Walls was built. It is thought the shafts served as a boundary to a sacred area or precinct associated with the henge.

Comment: For the truth about Stonehenge check out Secret History of the World by Laura Knight-Jadczyk.