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Sun, 18 Feb 2018
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Syria's de-mining operation uncovers ancient Greek mosaic floor

mosaic demining syria

One section of the ancient Greek floor found in Hama’s countryside
Ancient Greek mosaic floor piece found in Hama countryside in Syria

During a routine mine excavation the Syrian Engineering corps found a strange looking slab of material underneath the earth. After some careful digging what they uncovered shocked all parties, an ancient Greek mosaic floor. Syrian authorities for archaeology were contacted urgently and the process of professional excavation began. The Syrian engineers were shocked that such pieces of human history had survived being in the countryside of Hama city which faced heavy battles between the Syrian government and opposition forces.

Bizarro Earth

From Siberia to Crimea: A look back at US-Russian relations and imperial interests

War in Russia
One is tempted to conclude that the Washington foreign-policy establishment has learned little over the past century

Strolling the cavernous and well-appointed halls of Russia's carefully renovated Central Naval Museum [Центральный Военно-морской Музей] near the Neva River in St. Petersburg, one can find an assortment of interesting artifacts, not least the small skiff in which Peter the Great learned to sail more than three centuries ago now. Among the many captured battle standards from Sweden, Turkey and Germany that are proudly displayed, a few of the expansive oil paintings took me by surprise. There was, for example, a picture depicting the Russian fleet at anchor off of Kodiak in Alaska during the mid-eighteenth century. Another showed the Soviet Navy's first submarine kill by torpedo on July 31, 1919. On that day, the British destroyer HMS Vittoria was sunk by the Bolshevik submarine Pantera under the command of Alexander Bakhtin. I had known, of course, that Allied forces intervened in the Russian Civil War during 1918-22, but was not aware that the intervention had occasioned such deadly incidents.

Comment: Another prime example of how history gets glossed over in favor of the current imperial narrative. See also:


Oldest of its kind: Ancient icy tomb of Scythian prince discovered in Siberia

© kavehfarrokh.com
Kurgan diagram
Archaeologists working in Siberia have discovered an undisturbed ancient kurgan - a tomb of a Scythian prince. The tomb appears to be both the oldest and largest of its kind ever recorded in southern Siberia, according to a press release from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Gino Caspari, an Swiss archaeologist with Bern University, first identified an intriguing circular structure while studying high-resolution satellite imagery of Siberia's Uyuk River Valley and suspected it could be a kurgan, according to the press release. A collaboration between Caspari and researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences as well as the State Hermitage Museum carried out a preliminary dig over the summer of 2017; they found that Caspari had been right. A paper describing the research was published in the scientific journal Archaeological Research in Asia.

The tomb, Tunnug 1, lies in a southern Siberian swamp that's part of the Russian republic of Tuva. Caspari told Newsweek that the tomb dates to a crucial period around 3,000 years ago, between the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, when "radical social changes" began to give rise to a nomadic culture. Little is known about this period, largely because very few archaeological remnants from it have yet been recovered. Tunnug 1, Caspari said, gives researchers a "huge chance" to learn more about this era of Eurasian prehistory.

Comment: More from ScienceDaily:
Caspari was able to prove that the burial mound -- referred to as Tunnug 1 (or Arzhan 0) -- was similar in construction to the kurgan Arzhan 1 located only ten kilometres away to the northeast. Arzhan 1 had long been regarded as the earliest Scythian princely tomb in the region, which is also known as the "Siberian Valley of Kings" owing to the numerous kurgans found there. The earliest princely tombs consist of a stone packing with a circular arrangement of chambers. The walls of the chambers are made of larch logs.

Wooden beams found by Caspari during the test excavation date back to the 9th century BC, predating Arzhan 1, which was built at the turn of the 9th to the 8th century BC and excavated in the 1970s. "We have a great opportunity here," says a delighted Caspari, commenting on the results of the trial dig published in the current issue of Archaeological Research in Asia (*).

"Archaeological methods have become considerably more sophisticated since the 1970s. Today we have completely different ways of examining material to find out more about the transition from the Late Bronze Age to the Iron Age," remarks the SNSF-funded researcher. He also stresses that the way we look at prehistoric times is changing radically thanks to genetics, isotope analysis and geophysical methods as well as developments in geographic information systems and remote sensing.


DNA analysis finds food poisoning bacteria caused Mexican epidemic

Europeans storming Mexico painting
© Prisma/UIG via Getty Images
A 16th Century engraving depicting Europeans storming Mexico. Pathogens not shown.
It is well known that when Europeans arrived in the New World they brought with them appalling diseases to which the indigenous population, having never been exposed to them before, were particularly susceptible. Very large numbers died of from illnesses including smallpox, measles, mumps and influenza.

These acknowledged killers, however, were comparatively late arrivals in Europe's brutal colonisation.

In Mexico, at least, another disease laid waste to the locals, starting in 1545, very soon after the invaders landed. And with the next disease came a new word, growing out of the local tongue: cocoliztli, meaning pestilence, or epidemic.

Between 1545 and 1550, a disease roared through the indigenous Mexican population, killing an estimated 800,000. And while there is plenty of evidence to support the fact that the epidemic took place, until now there has been precious little to identify the pathogenic culprit.

Researchers led by Ashlid Vagene of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, have now unmasked the killer. To do so they extracted biological material from between the teeth of 24 corpses interred in a cocoliztli cemetery in the town of Teposcolula-Yucundaa in the Oaxaca region of Mexico.


Politization of child support: From welfare state to police state

greetings from the welfare state
Family fragmentation costs taxpayers at least $112 billion annually in antipoverty programs, justice and education systems, and lost revenue, according to a report released last week. Astonishingly, the report's publisher, Institute for American Values, is using these findings to advocate even higher costs, through more federal programs.

As welfare and child support enforcement programs show, there is zero proof that further government intervention into families would be a good investment for taxpayers.


The CIA's long-standing policy of assassinating international leaders - and getting away with it

CIA assassination plans
The history of the US Central Intelligence Agency is replete with numerous examples of political assassinations, not only in the US, but also of leaders of countries Washington disagrees with. So today, the CIA has actively begun developing various methods for the deliberate elimination of the US's newest political opponent, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, involving not only special forces in this task, but also the special services of countries that cooperate closely with the CIA.

Evidence of this, in particular, can be found in the $310,000 of the country's defense budget for 2018, officially laid out by the South Korean government; the cost of eliminating North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. These funds will be spent on training and equipping a special "decapitation unit" dedicated to the North Korean leadership, the creation of which became known on December 1. The squad will include about one thousand commandos, whose task in the event of a war will be to find and kill Kim Jong-un and other top leaders of the neighboring state. As a source in the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Korea told the newspaper Korea Herald, the squad's special equipment will include drones, suicide bombers, reconnaissance drones and even heavy grenade launchers. The structure and training plans of the squad are classified, but according to the information of the South Korean media, the soldiers of the new squad will train according to methodology used by the US special purpose team SEAL Team Six, which assassinated Osama bin Laden.

Comment: ...which may have in fact never happened as purported: Did part of SEAL team Six die in a helicopter explosion during the Bin Laden raid?


Artefacts dating back to Ice Age found by villagers near Thirsk, UK

VILLAGERS are going public on an astonishing range of historic finds, discovered during a massive archaeological exploration.
Thirsk UK excavation
© Unknown
TESTPIT: Volunteers get to work on the Thornton Le Street dig
Volunteers have found more than 2,500 artefacts - many going back thousands of years to the last Ice Age - which give tempting glimpses into the history of the tiny community of Thornton-le-Street.

The village between Northallerton and Thirsk is at the centre of a £98,000 heritage Lottery Fund project exploring Roads into the Past.

On Saturday, February 10 organisers will hold an open day, when there will be displays and talks on some of the artefacts uncovered so far, with experts on hand to answer questions.


Strange fates of those who saw JFK shot

JFK case
William Penn Jones Jr. was an American journalist, the editor of the Midlothian Mirror and author. He was also one of the earliest John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theorists. Jones attended the University of Texas at Austin and was a classmate of Henry Wade and John Connally. Wade later become the District Attorney in Dallas while Connolly would later become the 39th Governor of Texas. Both men were figures in the assassination of JFK.

In 1946, Jones purchased the Midlothian Mirror for $4,000; he eventually sold the newspaper in 1974. In 1963, Penn received the Elijah Lovejoy Award for Courage in Journalism.



Russian archaeologists discover new species of 10-ton, 40-foot dinosaur in Siberia

Sibirotitan found in Siberia
© CC0
The fossilized remains of a previously unknown dinosaur which roamed the Earth 120 million years ago, offers scientists insight into the way our planet's animal life once looked like.

A team of Tomsk State University paleontologists in Siberia, who unearthed the new genus of dinosaurs during excavations in a river bank at a village in West Siberia, the press service of the university said on Wednesday.

"This is already the second kind of sauropod which has been given a scientific name in Russia and also one of the oldest forms of titanosaurs found in Asia. We called it Sibirotitan astrosacralis for its size and special bone structure," the announcement elaborated.

Sibirotitans belong to a group of giant dinosaurs, or sauropods. Scientists say that they were not even the biggest in their group with a weight of about 10 tons and measuring around 12 meters (40 feet) in length.


Giza Pyramid mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh's 'throne of iron' made of meteorites

The Great Pyramid of Giza
© Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
A huge void discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt late last year may hold an iron throne carved from meteorites, according to new analysis of ancient religious texts.

Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano, studied the Pyramid Texts, religious writings carved into pyramid walls around 2400 BC. Based on his studies, Magli proposes that it's possible the throne of Pharaoh Khufu - or 'Cheops' - lies inside the chamber.

"Of course it would not be melted iron but meteoritic iron, that is, fallen from the sky in the form of iron meteorites and again cited in the Texts," Magli says in his paper.