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New research says stone megaliths was spread by a mysterious seafaring culture from northwest France

Haväng megalithic grave, Sweden
© Bettina Schulz Paulsson
Haväng megalithic grave, Sweden.
New research suggests that megaliths -- monuments such as Stonehenge created from large rocks during the Stone and Copper Ages in Europe -- owe their origins to a mysterious culture from northwest France with advanced seafaring technology.

Roughly 35,000 megaliths are known throughout Europe, including standing stones, stone circles and megalithic tombs. Most megaliths date from 4500 to 2500 B.C., are concentrated in coastal areas along the Atlantic and Mediterranean, and share similar or even identical architectural features, said archaeologist Bettina Schulz Paulsson at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

The origins of megaliths have proven controversial for more than a century. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, archaeologists believed the practice may have originated at a single point in the Near East, and then spread westward through migrant priests or prospectors. Later, the rise of radiocarbon dating led to the currently dominant argument that the concept of megaliths arose independently multiple times across Europe.

Schulz Paulsson's new study reviewed data from 11 different languages that analyzed 2,410 radiocarbon dates for megalithic sites and related areas throughout Europe to better understand the way megaliths spread across the continent.

Hammer

Key to Hitler's success were attacks on capitalism that were considered 'progressive'

Hitler portrait
© commons.wikimedia.org
The following, written in 1940, is excerpted from Interventionism, An Economic Analysis, which was originally part of Nationaloekonomie, the German predecessor to Human Action:

Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini constantly proclaim that they are chosen by destiny to bring salvation to this world. They claim they are the leaders of the creative youth who fight against their outlived elders. They bring from the East the new culture which is to replace the dying Western civilization. They want to give the coup de grace to liberalism and capitalism; they want to overcome immoral egoism by altruism; they plan to replace the anarchic democracy by order and organization, the society of "classes" by the total state, the market economy by socialism. Their war is not a war for territorial expansion, for loot and hegemony like the imperialistic wars of the past, but a holy crusade for a better world to live in. And they feel certain of their victory because they are convinced that they are borne by "the wave of the future."

Blue Planet

Understanding the horrors of modern Africa via Indian Ocean slave trade, from clans to Al Shabab

Slavers Africa
© David Livingstone
“Slavers Revenging Their Losses,” a 19th-century engraving contained in an 1866 book based on the sketches and reports of David Livingstone.
On January 15, and well into the morning of the next day, terrorists affiliated with the Somali Jihadi group Al Shabab forced their way into an upscale Nairobi hotel and business centre, killing 21 innocent civilians. Kenyan authorities, with some help from Western allies, killed some of the terrorists and captured the rest. Al Shabab justified the attack by denouncing the Kenyan government's participation with African Union forces in Somalia, which has been in a state of civil warfare since the early 1990s.

I had driven by the targeted complex a couple of days before the attack, and once lived in this neighbourhood back when Kenya was my permanent home. On this visit to the country, I've noticed that - notwithstanding January's terrible tragedy - tourism is booming, agriculture is bountiful and the Kenyan elite are benefiting from the massive Chinese investments that have transformed the landscape. The overall degree of improvement depends on which expert you believe. But the plethora of expensive cars that now jam the streets of Nairobi, and the building boom on display in many parts of the city, do suggest a surging economy.

Anyone who knows the history and tribal dynamics of East Africa and the Horn will understand that even if the Kenyan government pulled all its troops out of Somalia, Al Shabab likely would still try its best to destabilize this country. I outlined the reasons for this decades ago, when I first briefed visiting Canadian and U.S. military personnel here in Nairobi. Many of the things I told them remain as true now as they were then. That's because the most important factors at play are rooted in history, not in recent geopolitical developments.

Specifically: Many modern problems in the area are rooted in the Indian Ocean slave trade - a scourge that was distinct from the better known slave trade that preyed on West Africa. In the eastern part of the continent, there was little to no European involvement. The practice was indigenous and ancient, and lasted more than a thousand years.

Arrow Up

Just get over it: Asia rules

Chinese guy phone
© iStock
An elderly Chinese man reads a message on a mobile phone in old wooden house.
The greatest merit of Parag Khanna's new book, The Future is Asian, is to accessibly tell the story of a historical inevitability - with the extra bonus of an Asian point of view. This is not only a very good public service, it also blows out of the water countless tomes by Western "experts" pontificating about Asia from an air-con cubicle in Washington.

Asia hands from the West tend to be extremely protective of their extra-territoriality. In my case, I moved to Asia in 1994, and Singapore was my first base. In time I found out - along with some of my colleagues at Asia Times - nothing would ever compare to following the ever-developing, larger than life Asian miracle on the spot.

Khanna has always been in the thick of the action. Born in India, he then moved to the UAE, the West, and is now a resident in Singapore. Years ago we spent a jolly good time in New York swapping Asia on-the-road stories; he's a cool conversationalist. His Connectography is a must read.

Khanna found a very special niche to "sell" Asia to the Western establishment as a strategic adviser - and is very careful not to ruffle feathers. Barack Obama, for instance, is only guilty of "half-heartedness". When you get praise from Graham Allison, who passes for a Thucydides authority in the US but would have major trouble understanding Italian master Luciano Canfora's Tucidide: La Menzogna, La Colpa, L'Esilio, you know that Khanna has done his homework.

Of course, there are a few problems. It's a bit problematic to coin Singapore "the unofficial capital of Asia". There's no better place to strategically follow China than Hong Kong. And as a melting pot, Bangkok, now truly cosmopolitan, is way more dynamic, creative and, let's face it, funkier.

Bad Guys

The results of US 'regime change' in Latin America & the Caribbean

Juan Guaido
As the US strives to overthrow the democratic and independent Venezuelan government, the historical record regarding the short, middle and long-term consequences are mixed.

We will proceed to examine the consequences and impact of US intervention in Venezuela over the past half century.

We will then turn to examine the success and failure of US 'regime changes' throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.

Comment: For more context on Venezuela's coup check out this history of the country's economic and political situation since Chavez was elected in 1998:




Info

Lost city discovered in South Africa

Kweneng
© Karim Sadr
The vast area where the lost city, known as Kweneng, once stood.
Billions of laser scans have revealed a lost city that was once a bustling epicenter in what is now South Africa's Suikerbosrand Nature Reserve, new research finds.

The newly discovered city, called Kweneng, was once a thriving capital that existed from the 1400s until it was destroyed and abandoned, likely because of civil wars, in the 1820s, said Karim Sadr, a professor of archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand, in South Africa.

However, it's not clear if this conflict immediately sounded the city's death knell. That's because some of the remaining structures date to between 1825 and 1875, "in what we call the terminal phase" of Kweneng, Sadr told Live Science.

Researchers have known about Kweneng since at least the 1960s, but they didn't realize its actual size until now, Sadr said. Revil Mason, the retired director of archaeological research at Witwatersrand University, discovered pre-colonial structures there during an aerial survey in 1968.

"He spotted a number of ruins, but far fewer than are actually present," Sadr said. The city is hidden under a thick layer of vegetation, Sadr said. But in 2012, Sadr analyzed satellite images from Google Earth, and found that Kweneng had twice as many structures as previously realized. And now, with the new aerial survey using lidar - or light detection and ranging - Sadr and his colleagues discovered that "there were actually three times as many structures as Mason had initially identified," Sadr said.

Dig

Archaeologists puzzle over mystery woman in early Christian cemetery

skeleton buried
© Photograph by Arne Hodalič and Katja Bidovec
More than 300 burials have been discovered beneath Gosposvetska Street, providing scientists with the opportunity to better understand how the residents of Roman Emona lived and died.
Excavations beneath Gosposvetska Street in downtown Ljubljana revealed remains of the Roman settlement of Emona, which would eventually become the modern capital of Slovenia.

When a large construction project was launched on Gosposvetska Street in downtown Ljubljana in August 2017, Slovenian archaeologists in this ancient city naturally anticipated some interesting discoveries. But what they didn't expect to find was an unusual glimpse into an early Christian community, and the important-and as yet unknown-woman its members chose to spend their afterlives close to.

The capital of this small central European country was established as the Roman settlement of Emona some 2,000 years ago, populated by thousands of colonists driven out of northern Italy by land shortages, and joined by veterans of the wars that helped to establish the Empire. From previous excavations in the area, the archaeologists knew that part of a Roman cemetery likely lay under Gosposvetska Street, and that more ancient graves would be uncovered.

Comment: See also: And check out SOTT radio's:


Snakes in Suits

Denmark's government muddled the waters over Iraq invasion to fulfill US wishes

Anders Fogh Rasmussen
© AP/Virginia Mayo
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Prior to Copenhagen's controversial decision to enter the Iraq War, important data was withheld from the Danish parliament, a comprehensive report, which took several years to compile, has found. Furthermore, information about Iraq's alleged WMDs, which were never found despite various intelligence reports, was distorted.

Denmark's liberal-conservative government led by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who later became NATO's secretary general, failed to pass on important information to the foreign policy committee ahead of Denmark's controversial US-led engagement in Iraq in 2003, a several hundred page-long report, compiled by researchers from the University of Copenhagen, has stated.

These willful omissions gave parliament an "incomplete picture" of the situation, the report found. Denmark's contribution to military operations abroad generally reflects the decision-makers' desire to accommodate the US wishes, the historic report also stated.

Firstly, the Fogh government failed to inform parliament of the very purpose of invading Iraq. The government knew in advance that the US' goal war was to railroad a regime change and overthrow Saddam Hussein. By contrast, then-Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller repeatedly stressed that the alleged goal was to disarm Baghdad's apparent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) infrastructure, the researchers stressed.

Archaeology

Tomb of Persian king Darius yields new trilingual inscription: Persian, Elamite and Babylonian

darius new inscription
© IRNA
King Darius of Persia
Two Iranian researchers, M. Doorodi from Shiraz and S. Delshad from Berlin, have announced that a hitherto undocumented trilingual inscription has been discovered on the hillside around the tomb of Darius in Naqshe-Rustam.

The discovery of the inscription, which had remained hidden under dirt deposits and lichen for over two millennia, is of great importance in the field of ancient Iranian studies and ancient linguistics, said French archaeologist Wouter F. M. Henkelman.

Comment: Iran: Civilization's Ancient Trailblazer ‎


Info

Mysterious stone structures discovered in Western Sahara

Stone Structures
© Nick Brooks and Joanne Clarke
The structures come in various shapes and sizes, including one that curves off into the horizon (shown here).
Hundreds of stone structures dating back thousands of years have been discovered in the Western Sahara, a territory in Africa little explored by archaeologists.

The structures seem to come in all sizes and shapes, and archaeologists aren't sure what many of then were used for or when they were created, archaeologists report in the book The Archaeology of Western Sahara: A Synthesis of Fieldwork, 2002 to 2009 (Oxbow Books, 2018).

About 75 percent of the Western Saharan territory, including most of the coastline, is controlled by Morocco, while 25 percent is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Before 1991, the two governments were in a state of war. [See Photos of the Stone Structures in Western Sahara]

Between 2002 and 2009, archaeologists worked in the field surveying the landscape and doing a small amount of excavation in the part of Western Sahara that is controlled by the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. They also investigated satellite images on Google Earth, they wrote in the book.

"Due to its history of conflict, detailed archaeological and palaeoenvironmental research in Western Sahara has been extremely limited," wrote Joanne Clarke, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia, and Nick Brooks, an independent researcher.

"The archaeological map of Western Sahara remains literally and figuratively almost blank as far as the wider international archaeological research community is concerned, particularly away from the Atlantic coast," wrote Clarke and Brooks, noting that people living in the area know of the stone structures, and some work has been done by Spanish researchers on rock art in Western Sahara.