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Fri, 19 Oct 2018
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Huge 2,000 year old library discovered during excavation on church grounds in Germany

cologne library ancient
© Hi-flyFoto/Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne
'Really incredible' ... the site of the second-century library discovered in Cologne.
The remains of the oldest public library in Germany, a building erected almost two millennia ago that may have housed up to 20,000 scrolls, have been discovered in the middle of Cologne.

The walls were first uncovered in 2017, during an excavation on the grounds of a Protestant church in the centre of the city. Archaeologists knew they were of Roman origins, with Cologne being one of Germany's oldest cities, founded by the Romans in 50 AD under the name Colonia. But the discovery of niches in the walls, measuring approximately 80cm by 50cm, was, initially, mystifying.

"It took us some time to match up the parallels - we could see the niches were too small to bear statues inside. But what they are are kind of cupboards for the scrolls," said Dr Dirk Schmitz from the Roman-Germanic Museum of Cologne. "They are very particular to libraries - you can see the same ones in the library at Ephesus."

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Dig

Child of Neanderthal and Denisovan identified for first time

denisova cave altai mountains
© Ruslan Olinchuk / Alamy Stock Photo
Denisova Cave in the Altai mountains, Siberia, where the only known Denisovan remains were found.
A small piece of bone found in a cave in Siberia has been identified as the remnant of a child whose mother was a Neanderthal and father was a Denisovan, a mysterious human ancestor that lived in the region.

Researchers made the discovery when they examined DNA extracted from the bone and found that it contained chromosomes from a Neanderthal female and a Denisovan male. It is the first time that the offspring of such a coupling has been identified.

"If you had asked me beforehand, I would have said we will never find this, it is like finding a needle in a haystack," said Svante Pääbo, director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. "And then we stumbled across it. I was very surprised."

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Bad Guys

Former US ambassador claims Israel tried to assassinate him in 1980

John Gunther Dean
© AP Photo/Jacques Brinon
John Gunther Dean
John Gunther Dean, now 92, and a former American ambassador to five countries, has long maintained that Israel was behind his attempted assassination on August 28, 1980, in a suburb of Beirut, which was attributed to a rightwing Lebanese group. Dean and his wife and daughter and son-in-law were in a motorcade and narrowly escaped serious injury.

Dean said that he was targeted because he was doing something regarded as antithetical to Israel's interest: consulting with the Palestine Liberation Organization and its head, Yasser Arafat, at a time when such contacts were the third rail in US politics. He was also outspokenly critical of Israeli attacks on Lebanon.

A new book offers backing to Dean's claim. But while that book has been highly-publicized, the question of whether Israel attacked our ambassador has gotten no attention in the press. That is not a surprise; for Dean has asserted that the case itself was never thoroughly investigated by the U.S. government.

Seismograph

Project Cannikin: When the US created a magnitude 6.8 earthquake with a 5 megaton nuclear warhead

Project Cannikin

Project Cannikin
So you don't buy that earthquakes can be man made? This is evidence from 60 years ago! It was detonated at least 6000 feet into the ground (roughly 2000 meters). This footage is from Project Cannikin, which was a proof-test for the 5 megaton warhead to be used on the Spartan missile system. Researchers were fearful of such a large device being detonated underground, so the testing was moved to way out in the middle of nowhere on the Amchitka penninsula in Alaska. The effect on the ground was necessary, and predicted, to see its pulse effect.

Seismic recordings of the test registered a magnitude of 6.8 on the richter scale as a direct result of the detonation. Over 1,000 after shocks with magnitudes as greater than 4.0 on the richter scale were recorded within the first 30 days following the blast.

The energy produced by the detonation caused the surface of the island directly above the device to rise 25 feet. Large portions of the coastline collapsed into the sea for a stretch of two-miles from ground-zero. The beach and ocean floor in the near vicinity, the Cannikin site were permanently raised 5 feet.

Comment: While much of the extreme changes in weather patterns and the increase in earthquake and volcanic activity are likely correlated with other happenings in our solar system, that doesn't mean nefarious players on earth haven't been involved in insane attempts to modify the weather or to hone the use of earthquakes as a weapon of war: Also check out SOTTs monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - July 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


War Whore

Obama's Legacy: He married the liberals to the neocons

Obama and McCain
When President Bush decided to attack Iraq in 2003 there were enormous protests in the United States and around the world. Not, of course, that they stopped the attack or even slowed it, but people did protest in large numbers. When Obama - "leading from behind" - and some NATO members decided to attack Libya in 2011 there were, as far as I know, no protests anywhere. Nor were there protests as wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and a secret war in Syria dragged on for nearly his whole eight years.

The surface explanation is that Obama, as a Democrat, the First Black President, an "intellectual" and a Nobel Prize winner, got the free pass that Bush as a Republican and an "incurious idiot" did not get. But there was another factor at work, I believe.

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Bulb

Joseph Pearce: Putin and Solzhenitsyn

Putin and Solzhenitsyn
The recent film, The Death of Stalin, should be shown to all those millions of millennials in the United States who still harbor romantic delusions about communism. According to the findings of a poll, as reported in the Washington Times last year, almost a third of millennials expressed an admiration for Karl Marx and almost a quarter admired Lenin. The same poll showed that millennials are far less likely than previous generations to have a negative view of communism. Only thirty-six percent said they had a "very unfavorable" impression of an ideology which has killed tens of millions of people in the past century. As tragic and comic as this ignorance is, it is no more tragic and comic than the ignorance of those who insist of conflating contemporary Russia with the Soviet Union, seeking thereby to reignite the Cold War with its nuclear doomsday option of Mutually Assured Destruction, the acronym of which is quite literally and appropriately MAD!

As a means of exposing those who insist of seeing Russian President Vladimir Putin as a reincarnation of Josef Stalin, it would be good to look at Putin's relationship with the great Soviet dissident and anti-communist hero, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whose centenary we celebrate this year.

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Archaeology

"Trepanation": Analysis on the occupants of the 'cursed' Egyptian sarcophagus released

'cursed' Egyptian sarcophagus
© Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has released details about the skeletons found inside the mysterious sarcophagus unearthed in July and opened despite all the warnings about the ancient curses it might unleash.

The ominous black granite sarcophagus, dating back to up to the 4th century BC, was excavated in Alexandria to the protesting cries of Twitter doomsayers everywhere, and was found to contain no curses - at least, no readily-evident ones. Instead, inside were three skeletons floating in icky dark fluid (which an impressive number of people want to have a sip of).

On the more scientific side, the skeletons have now been studied by a team of scientists from the Antiquities Ministry, who have determined their age, gender and other details. While not really the stuff of a fresh 'Mummy' reboot, the findings are still interesting. They've been posted, along with photos of the bones, on the Antiquities Ministry's Facebook page.

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Archaeology

Human footprints fossil estimated at 5.7 million years old may challenge history of human evolution

fossil human foot prints Crete

A trail of 5.7 million-year-old fossil footprints discovered in Crete could upend the widely accepted theories on early human evolution. The new prints have a distinctly human-like form, with a similar big toe to our own and a ‘ball’ in the sole that’s not found in apes
Newly discovered human-like footprints from Crete may put the established narrative of early human evolution to the test. The footprints are approximately 5.7 million years old and were made at a time when previous research puts our ancestors in Africa - with ape-like feet.

Ever since the discovery of fossils of Australopithecus in South and East Africa during the middle years of the 20th century, the origin of the human lineage has been thought to lie in Africa. More recent fossil discoveries in the same region, including the iconic 3.7 million year old Laetoli footprints from Tanzania which show human-like feet and upright locomotion, have cemented the idea that hominins (early members of the human lineage) not only originated in Africa but remained isolated there for several million years before dispersing to Europe and Asia.

The discovery of approximately 5.7 million year old human-like footprints from Crete, published online this week by an international team of researchers, overthrows this simple picture and suggests a more complex reality.

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Cheese

3,200-year-old cheese infected with deadly bacteria discovered in Egyptian tomb

Old cheese
© University of Catania - University of Cairo / Reuters
The 3,200-year-old cheese
Connoisseurs say that the taste of cheese improves with age - but what if it was left to age for 3,200 years? Archaeologists in Egypt now have the chance to find out, but it comes with an unexpected bonus: deadly ancient bacteria.

A team from the University of Catania in Italy found the cheese at the tomb of Ptahmes, a 13th-century BC mayor of Memphis in Egypt. The cheese was found wrapped with canvas inside a broken jar. It could be the most ancient cheese ever discovered, according to the team's study, published in the journal Analytical Chemistry.

"The archaeologists suspected it was a kind of food left for the owner of the tomb and they decided to ask for chemical analyses," said lead author Enrico Greco, a leader in the new field of ancient food discoveries known as 'archaeofood.'

Archaeology

Rites of the Scythians hinted at with discovery of gold hoard

scythian gold goblet
© Andrey Belinski
One of two 2,400-year-old gold vessels found under a mound at the site of Sengileevskoe-2 in southern Russia depicts griffins attacking a stag.
Russian archaeologist Andrey Belinski wasn't sure what to expect when he found himself facing a small mound in a farmer's field at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains. To the untrained eye, the 12-foot feature looked like little more than a hillock. To Belinski, who was charged with excavating the area to make way for new power lines, it looked like a type of ancient burial mound called a kurgan. He considered the job of excavating and analyzing the kurgan, which might be damaged by the construction work, fairly routine. "Basically, we planned to dig so we could understand how it was built," Belinski says. As he and his team began to slice into the mound, located 30 miles east of Stavropol, it became apparent that they weren't the first people to take an interest. In fact, looters had long ago ravaged some sections. "The central part was destroyed, probably in the nineteenth century," Belinski says. Hopes of finding a burial chamber or artifacts inside began to fade.

It took nearly a month of digging to reach the bottom. There, Belinski ran into a layer of thick clay that, at first glance, looked like a natural feature of the landscape, not the result of human activity. He uncovered a stone box, a foot or so deep, containing a few finger and rib bones from a teenager. But that wasn't all. Nested one inside the other in the box were two gold vessels of unsurpassed workmanship. Beneath these lay three gold armbands, a heavy ring, and three smaller bell-shaped gold cups. "It was a huge surprise for us," Belinski says. "Somehow, the people who plundered the rest didn't locate these artifacts."

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