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Northern England: Prehistoric war unearthed in Peak District

Evidence for a hitherto totally unknown prehistoric war has been discovered in northern England. Archaeologists excavating the remains of a large fortified Iron Age settlement at Fin Cop in the Peak District have so far found the skeletons of nine victims of what they believe was a massacre which took place around 2400 years ago.

However, they suspect that dozens of other victims may still lie buried there. Poignantly, the nine corpses - mainly of women and children - had been thrown into a two metre deep rock-cut ditch originally built to defend the settlement.

Only ten out of 400 metres of the ditch have so far been excavated. So it's conceivable that the entire rock-cut dry moat could contain literally hundreds of victims. As well as killing the women and children of the ten acre settlement, the attackers also systematically destroyed it, tearing down the dry stone defences with extraordinary ferocity.

Magnify

Archaeological Survey of India to hold exhibition at Khirsara

The excavation branch of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) will organise an exhibition at Khirsara in Kutch on Monday to draw attention towards this site of western Kutch once citadel of Harappan civilisation.

"We are holding this exhibition at primary school of Khirsara to mark the World Heritage Day," says superintending archaeologist (excavation branch) of ASI's Vadodara circle Jitendra Nath.

ASI is conducting excavations at Khirsara in Nakhatrana taluka of Kutch district since 2009-10. "The excavations carried during last two seasons have yielded very interesting results," says Nath, adding that the tripartite plan shows that there was a fortified settlement at Khirsara comprising a citadel, a habitation annexed and even a 'ware house'.

Sherlock

Russia: Archeologists Find Mysterious 4200-Year-Old Circles in Murmansk Region

Image
© Unknown
An earlier unknown monument of archeology has been discovered on Peninsula Sredniy, Murmansk Region.

Workers of the Arctic Technologies company carrying out geological exploration occasionally found strange circles of stones and then the object was examined by archeologists.

Archeologists were amazed at strange constructions of boulders - these are well distinguishable stone-laid circles six meters in diameter with a crosswise masonry inside.

Compass

Evolutionary Babel was in southern Africa, a researcher claims

Where did humanity utter its first words? A new linguistic analysis attempts to rewrite the story of Babel by borrowing from the methods of genetic analysis - and finds that modern language originated in sub-Saharan Africa and spread across the world with migrating human populations.

Quentin Atkinson of the University of Auckland in New Zealand designed a computer program to analyse the diversity of 504 languages. Specifically, the program focused on phonemes - the sounds that make up words, like "c", "a", and "tch" in the word "catch".

Earlier research has shown that the more people speak a language, the higher its phonemic diversity. arge populations tend to draw on a more varied jumble of consonants, vowels and tones than smaller .

Africa turned out to have the greatest phonemic diversity - it is the only place in the world where languages incorporate clicks of the tongue into their vocabularies, for instance - while South America and Oceania have the smallest. Remarkably, this echoes genetic analyses showing that African populations have higher genetic diversity than European, Asian and American populations.

Light Sabers

Bones of Leper Warrior Found in Medieval Cemetery

Warrior Leprosy Middle Age
© Mauro Rubini
Bone wasting reveals the owner of this skull to have suffered from leprosy. An unhealed gash on the forehead suggests that the man died a violent death, perhaps in battle
The bones of a soldier with leprosy who may have died in battle have been found in a medieval Italian cemetery, along with skeletons of men who survived blows to the head with battle-axes and maces.

Studying ancient leprosy, which is caused by a bacterial infection, may help scientists figure out how the infectious disease evolved.

The find also reveals the warlike ways of the semi-nomadic people who lived in the area between the sixth and eighth centuries, said study researcher Mauro Rubini, an anthropologist at Foggia University in Italy. The war wounds, which showed evidence of surgical intervention, provide a peek into the medical capabilities of medieval inhabitants of Italy.

"They knew well the art of war and also the art of treating war wounds," Rubini told LiveScience.

Card - VISA

Ancient 'debit card' discovered in Saxony-Anhalt

Archaeologists in the town of Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, have unearthed a 453-year-old wooden "tally stick" used to keep track of debts.

Ancient Credit Card
© unknown
"It's something of a rare find in Europe" said archaeologist Andreas Hille from the State Museum of Prehistory in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt.

The antiquated debt counter measures 30 centimetres in length and displays 23 notches, with both a name and the date 1558 visible.

Archaeologists made the exciting find during excavations in the small easterly university town of Wittenberg, made famous by the Protestant theologian Martin Luther.

The well-preserved tally stick was used in the Middle Ages to count the debts owed by the holder in a time when most people were unable to read or write.

Pharoah

Sands, Not Lights, Cover Gaza Archaeology Sites

Gaza Strip
© Reuters / Suhaib Salem
Palestinians build a house in the southern Gaza Strip, in an April 2009 photo.

Khan Younis - Five thousand years of fascinating history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, from blinded biblical hero Samson to British general Allenby.

The flat, sandy lands on the Mediterranean's southeastern shore have been ruled by Ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders.

Alexander the Great besieged the city. Emperor Hadrian visited. Mongols raided Gaza, and 1,400 years ago Islamic armies invaded. Gaza has been part of the Ottoman Empire, a camp for Napoleon and a First World War battleground.

But archaeology here does not flourish.

"The only way to preserve what we discover is to bury it until the proper tools are available," says Hassan Abu Halabyea of the Gaza ministry of Tourism and Archaeology.

"We lack the capability, the support and the proper materials needed to maintain this historical site or that. We bury it to preserve it from destruction," he says.

Info

Exclusive: Early Christian Lead Codices Now Called Fakes

Fake Codices
© Steve Caruso
The text appearing in the codices contains numerous inconsistencies and anachronisms.

Seventy metal books allegedly discovered in a cave in Jordan have been hailed as the earliest Christian documents. Dating them to mere decades after Jesus' death, scholars have called the "lead codices" the most important discovery in archaeological history, and leading media outlets have added fuel to the fire surrounding the books in recent weeks.

"Never has there been a discovery of relics on this scale from the early Christian movement, in its homeland and so early in its history," reported the BBC.

Fake Codices_2
© David Elkington
A photo of one of the lead codices found in Jordan.
Slowly, though, more and more questions have arisen about the authenticity of the codices, whose credit-card-size pages are cast in lead and bound together by lead rings. Today, an Aramaic translator has completed his analysis of the artifacts, and has found what he says is incontrovertible evidence that they are fakes.

Pharoah

Millions of mummified puppies found in Egypt

mummified dogs
© Toronto Star
Dogs were "One of the few animals which received burial in a niche," says Dr. Paul Nicholson. An estimated 8 million mummiified dogs, many of them puppies, have been found in catacombs in Egypt.
About 8 million mummified dogs lie in the ancient Dog Catacombs in Egypt, a team of archaeologists reveals.

"We weren't expecting such a high estimate," Dr. Paul Nicholson of Cardiff University told the Star on Monday. "That was something of a surprise."

Many of the animals appear to be puppies, bred at farms nearby entirely for mummification.

"This isn't some cruel, bloodthirsty mass ritual sacrifice," explained Nicholson. "This would have been a pious act. Pilgrims would have paid for the correct mummification. They were Egyptians doing a good deed. The dogs would have served as their representative to the deity."

Bulb

US: Nevada's mysterious cave of the red-haired giants

Indian confronts red-haired giants
© Unknown
Indian confronts the red-haired giants (artist's conception)
Many Native American tribes from the Northeast and Southwest still relate the legends of the red-haired giants and how their ancestors fought terrible, protracted wars against the giants when they first encountered them in North America almost 15,000 years ago.

Others, like the Aztecs and Mayans recorded their encounters with a race of giants to the north when they ventured out on exploratory expeditions.

Who were these red-haired giants that history books have ignored? Their burial sites and remains have been discovered on almost every continent.

In the United States they have been unearthed in Virginia and New York state, Michigan, Illinois and Tennessee, Arizona and Nevada.