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Tue, 11 Aug 2020
The World for People who Think

Secret History

Cow Skull

Reindeer were domesticated much earlier than previously thought

© Robert Losey
Working closely with the Nenets people indigenous to the Iamal Peninsula in northern Siberia, U of A archeologists determined that 2,000-year-old artifacts recovered from the Arctic tundra are likely pieces of harnesses used to train reindeer to pull sleds.
A University of Alberta anthropologist has found what might be the earliest evidence for domestication of reindeer in the Eurasian Arctic.

While examining the remains of ancient dogs at a site called Ust'-Polui near Salekhard in northern Siberia, Robert Losey and his team unearthed a number of artifacts that appeared to relate to reindeer harnesses, which radiocarbon dating has determined to be about 2,000 years old.

In May and June of 2019, Losey's team spent a month living with contemporary Indigenous Nenets reindeer herders on the Iamal tundra above the Arctic Circle. The Nenets scrutinized replicas of the artifacts and identified them as headgear parts for training young reindeer in pulling sleds.

"We weren't sure about any of these artifacts — what this stuff was, or how it works," he said. "It's just a bunch of straps, and antler pieces and swivels — a confusing mess."

Comment: See also: Prehistoric Siberians may have traveled 1,500 kilometers by dogsled


2,600 year old Amazon warrior grave revealed to be 13 year old girl

amazon warrior
© Vladimir Semyonov, M.O. Mashezerskaya
‘It was so stunning when we just opened the lid and I saw the face there, with that wart, looking so impressive.’
Warrior's grave found in 1988 was identified as male - yet now the 2,600-year-old teenager 'with wart on face' is revealed to be female.

The 'stunning' discovery appears further confirmation of ancient Greek claims about female fighters known as Amazons among the Scythians of central Asia.

In 1988 Dr Marina Kilunovskaya and Dr Vladimir Semyonov came across the partially mummified young warrior's grave Saryg-Bulun in Siberia's modern-day Tuva republic during an emergency excavation.

Comment: See also:


Roof Koreans

roof Koreans
© unknown
The riots of the spring of 2020 are far from without precedent in the United States. Indeed, they seem to happen once a generation at least. The 1992 Los Angeles Riots are such an example of these "generational riots." And while most people know about the riots, less known - though quite well known at the time - were the phenomenon of the so-called "Roof Koreans."

The Roof Koreans were spontaneous self-defense forces organized by the Korean community of Los Angeles, primarily centered in Koreatown, in response to violent and frequently racist attacks on their communities and businesses by primarily black looters and rioters during the Los Angeles Riots of 1992. Despite their best efforts, over 2,200 Korean-owned businesses were looted or burned to the ground during the riots. It is chilling to imagine how many would have suffered the same fate had the Koreans not been armed.

Standing on the rooftops of Koreatown shops they and their families owned, clad not in body armor or tactical gear, but instead dressed like someone's nerdy dad, often smoking cigarettes, but always on alert, the Roof Koreans provide a stirring example of how free Americans of all races can defend their own communities without relying upon outside help.


Priceless Maya murals found during house renovation in Guatemala

maya mural
In Guatemala, during the renovation of one of the old private residential buildings under several layers of plaster, unique coloured frescoes of the Ishil people, who still represent one of the largest groups of the Mayan civilization, were discovered.

The study is published in the journal Antiquity. Polish archaeologists have examined several buildings in the ancient city of Chahul in Western Guatemala. As a result, an unprecedented set of wall paintings that date back to the colonial period was discovered. According to scientists, the frescoes were made from 1524 to 1821 ad.

The first of them was accidentally discovered in 2003 by a local resident who started to repair his house. However, until 2008, due to the unstable political situation in the country, scientists could not get access to these findings. For the same reasons, researchers were not allowed in Chakhul for more than 40 years.

Comment: See also:

Blue Planet

Mixture and migration brought agriculture to sub-Saharan Africa

© Steven Goldstein
Pottery associated with the early farmers at Kakapel Rockshelter, Kenya.
A new interdisciplinary study published in the journal Science Advances reports on 20 newly sequenced ancient genomes from sub-Saharan Africa, including the first genomes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, and Uganda. The study documents the coexistence, movements, interactions and admixture of diverse human groups during the spread of food production in sub-Saharan Africa.

In order to reveal the population interactions that gave rise to Africa's enormous linguistic, cultural, and economic diversity, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Africa, Europe, and North America sampled key regions in which current models predict a legacy of significant population interactions. The collaborative study between researchers at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History (MPI-SHH), the National Museums of Kenya and other partners was led by archaeogeneticist Ke Wang and archeologist Steven Goldstein of MPI-SHH. It sheds light on patterns of population change as food production spread throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Comment: See also:

Brick Wall

Part of China's Great Wall not built for war

great wall china
© G. Shelach-Lavi/ Antiquity Publications Ltd., 2020
Drone photograph
The northern segment of the Great Wall of China was built not to block invading armies but rather to monitor civilian movement, an Israeli archaeologist said Tuesday.

When researchers fully mapped the Great Wall's 740-kilometre (460-mile) Northern Line for the first time, their findings challenged previous assumptions.

"Prior to our research, most people thought the wall's purpose was to stop Genghis Khan's army," said Gideon Shelach-Lavi from Jerusalem's Hebrew University, who led the two-year study.

Comment: See also: Who were the Mongols?

Blue Planet

Tropical disease in Medieval Europe revises history of pathogen related to syphilis

© Giffin et al., 2020
Multiple burial in Vilnius, Lithuania containing an individual infected with both plague and yaws. Photo courtesy of Robertas Žukovskis and Scientific Reports
Plague was commonplace in medieval times, so finding its victims in a 15th century Lithuanian graveyard was no surprise. However, discovering one woman with a second disease, yaws - a close relative of modern syphilis found today only in tropical settings - was something researchers did not expect. The current study's findings are changing perspectives on the evolutionary history of a disease family thought to be out of reach for the study of ancient DNA.

Mass burials are common remnants of the many plague outbreaks that ravaged Medieval Europe. A number of these graveyards are well documented in historical sources, but the locations of most, and the victims they contain, have been lost to the pages of time. In Vilnius, Lithuania, one such cemetery was found in a typical way: accidental discovery during a routine city construction project.

Comment: See also:


Discovery of oldest bow and arrow technology in Eurasia

Fa-Hien Lena
© Langley et al., 2020
Fa-Hien Lena has emerged as one of South Asia's most important archaeological sites since the 1980s, preserving remains of our species, their tools, and their prey in a tropical context.
The origins of human innovation have traditionally been sought in the grasslands and coasts of Africa or the temperate environments of Europe. More extreme environments, such as the tropical rainforests of Asia, have been largely overlooked, despite their deep history of human occupation. A new study provides the earliest evidence for bow-and-arrow use, and perhaps the making of clothes, outside of Africa ~48-45,000 years ago, in the tropics of Sri Lanka.

The island of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, just south of the Indian subcontinent, is home to the earliest fossils of our species, Homo sapiens, in South Asia. It also preserves clear evidence for human occupation and the use of tropical rainforest environments outside of Africa from ~48,000 to 3,000 years ago — refuting the idea that these supposedly resource-poor environments acted as barriers for migrating Pleistocene humans. The question as to exactly how humans obtained rainforest resources — including fast-moving food sources like monkeys and squirrels — remains unresolved.

Comment: See also:


London's oldest theatre discovered in East End excavation

© PA
An archaeologist excavates the remarkably well-preserved timbers of the inner face of the theatres dog-fighting pit
Archaeologists have discovered London's oldest theatre - an Elizabethan playhouse constructed in the mid-16th century.

Known as the Red Lion, it represents a major "missing link" in the history of English drama.

In medieval, and indeed often in Tudor times, performances that were dominated by Biblical subject matter - while by the time of Shakespeare, many purely secular plays were being performed, often in purpose-built theatres. They were usually staged in inn courtyards and in university and other halls.

Comment: See also:


Whites were slaves in North Africa before blacks were slaves in the New World

Christian prisoners
© Jan Luyken, 1684
Christian prisoners are sold as slaves on a square in Algiers
Things that used to be true before political correctness set in:

More whites were brought as slaves to North Africa than blacks brought as slaves to the United States

Before sending ignorant hate mail, consider these Wikipedia entries:
"The Barbary slave trade refers to the slave markets that were lucrative and vast on the Barbary Coast of North Africa, which included the Ottoman provinces of Algeria, Tunisia and Tripolitania and the independent sultanate of Morocco, between the 16th and middle of the 18th century. The Ottoman provinces in North Africa were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but in reality they were mostly autonomous. The North African slave markets were part of the Berber slave trade.

"Ohio State University history Professor Robert Davis describes the White Slave Trade as minimized by most modern historians in his book Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast and Italy, 1500-1800. Davis estimates that 1 million to 1.25 million Europeans were enslaved in North Africa, from the beginning of the 16th century to the middle of the 18th, by slave traders from Tunis, Algiers, and Tripoli alone (these numbers do not include the European people who were enslaved by Morocco and by other raiders and traders of the Mediterranean Sea coast),[3] and roughly 700 Americans were held captive in this region as slaves between 1785 and 1815.[4]