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Better Earth

Evidence of 12,000-year-old cultural ritual unearthed in Australia

© David et. al 2024Ritual sticks uncovered in Cloggs Cave date back 10,000 to 12,000 years.
A team in Australia has found archeological evidence for what could be the oldest known culturally transmitted human ritual. Sticks found preserved in fireplaces in a cave southeastern Australia that date back to about to the end of the Last Ice Age, indicate that the ritual intended to cure or hurt has been passed down for roughly 500 generations. The findings are described in a study published July 1 in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

Healing or harm

Accounts from colonists to Australia in the 19th century documented a specific GunaiKurnai First Nations ritual. The practice included preparing a shaped stick made of dense and hard Casuarina wood with fat and placing it before a fire until the stick falls.

"These rituals were performed by Mulla-mullung, akin to modern doctors, to heal people, or to place a spell on them," Uncle Russell Mullett, a study co-author, GunaKurnai Elder, and RAP Manager at GunaiKurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation, tells Popular Science. "Such rituals could be used for healing or for harm, depending on the circumstances of each ceremony."

Comment: Australia is proving to be quite the repository for clues to the happenings in our ancient past.: However, clues of various kinds can be found in the superstitions, rituals, and festivals, of a great many places: And the insights that can be gleaned are fascinating indeed, for more check out SOTT radio's:

Blue Planet

2,000 years ago, a bridge in Switzerland collapsed on top of Celtic sacrifice victims, new study suggests

celtic bridge sacrifice
© Archeo26, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia CommonsThe fallen bridge was discovered along the Thielle river in the 1960's.
When a small bridge in western Switzerland collapsed 2,000 years ago, the bodies of 20 people, three cows and two horses became entangled in the wreckage. But whether this event was the result of a catastrophic flood or an elaborate ritual sacrifice has puzzled archaeologists for decades. Now, new research, including an analysis of skeletal trauma and genetics, suggests that the answer may be both.

In the late 1960s, the splintered remains of a wooden bridge across the Thielle River were discovered along with iron and bronze weapons; pottery; and two dozen human and animal skeletons. Most of the recovered human skeletons were those of adult males, in some cases pinned underneath the beams of the bridge, which was initially constructed in 135 B.C. While a flood may have triggered the collapse, resulting in deaths, the other possible interpretation is a Celtic ritual offering of sacrificed humans and animals.

Comment: More on the Celts:


Over 30 mysterious children's graves uncovered in Norway

Archaeologists have discovered 40 circular stone formations during an excavation in southeastern Norway. All have cremated bone remains in the centre, mostly from children.
large burial field in southeastern Norway
© Museum of Cultural HistoryArchaeologists at work in a large burial field in southeastern Norway, where 40 circular stone formations with cremated bone remains, mostly from children, were found placed in the middle.
The burial field is unique in a European context, according to the Museum of Cultural History. It was found during an excavation in Fredrikstad municipality in 2023, and the analysis results of the bone remains are now complete.

The biggest surprise for the archaeologists was that almost all of those buried under the strange circular formations were children, the Museum of Cultural History informs NTB.

The first surprise, however, was discovering the graves, as none of them were visible in the terrain last autumn. But after removing the turf and cleaning, archaeologists discovered over 40 stone formations located 5-10 centimetres beneath the surface. These formations were round or oval, ranging from one to two metres in diameter. Several had clear edge stones and a central flagstone or large stone.

"We thought these must be graves," excavation leader Guro Fossum says. She is an adviser at the Museum of Cultural History.

Further investigations revealed burnt bones, pottery shards, and a possible brooch. All the graves were well preserved.


1,500-year-old early Christian, ivory reliquary discovered, depicts intriguing 'unknown' scene

© University of InnsbruckIvory fragments of the pyx arranged in the round on a white background.
Since the summer of 2016, archaeologists from Innsbruck have been carrying out excavations in a late antique hilltop settlement in southern Austria. Two years ago, they made a sensational discovery: a Christian reliquary was still hidden in a previously unknown church. It contained a richly decorated ancient reliquary box made of ivory.

On 4 August 2022, a team of researchers led by archaeologist Gerald Grabherr made the spectacular discovery in an early Christian church on the Burgbichl in the municipality of Irschen in southern Austria: A marble shrine measuring around 20 by 30 centimeters was hidden under the altar in the side chapel area.

The shrine contained a heavily fragmented ivory "box" (pyx) richly decorated with Christian motifs — a reliquary that is normally taken away as the "holiest" part when a church is abandoned. In this case, however, it was left behind. It is the first such pyx to be found in an archaeological context in Austria.

Comment: The exquisite quality and sophistication evident in these early Christian objects is notable: And check out the following podcasts:

For fascinating insight into the truth about Christianity, and its origins, check out Laura Knight-Jadczyk's From Paul to Mark: PaleoChristianity


Uzbek archeologists discover 8th century BC settlement

Chinese, Uzbek archeologists work on archaeological site.
© Courtesy of Northwest UniversityChinese, Uzbek archeologists work on archaeological site.
With the mutual efforts of archaeologists from both China and Uzbekistan, an ancient settlement dating back to the 8th century BC was recently excavated in Uzbekistan, near the country's Surxondaryo river, also known as Surkhandarya.

The settlement site is a square-shaped architectural structure that contained multiple areas, which archaeologists have identified at a kiln and garbage pits.

Several smaller square rooms were also found within the ruins of the settlement. Archaeologist He Jierao told the Global Times that those spaces were likely "ancient kitchens or living rooms" since large amounts of pottery wares were also discovered nearby.

Utensils made of stone such as a millstone, mortars and pestles were discovered, revealing the "food processing history of ancient people in the region," He told the Global Times.

"It reveals the evolution of ancient people's community lifestyles and how they developed more civilized lifestyles," He emphasized.

The project was launched by archaeologist Ma Jian and his team at Northwest University in Xi'an, Northwest China's Shaanxi Province. Excavation work on the settlement started in April.


Study reveals new insights into life at 'German Stonehenge'

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte
© Foto Community Germany
Excavations of the Ringheiligtum Pömmelte, nicknamed the "German Stonehenge", has revealed new insights into domestic life from prehistory.

Ringheiligtum Pömmelte is a late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age henge from the late third millennium BC. The monument features seven concentric rings made of palisades, ditches, and raised banks, each containing a series of wooden posts.

The site was discovered in 1991 through aerial photography near the present-day village of Pömmelte in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

From 2018 to 2022, archaeologists have excavated nearly 140 ancient dwellings dating from 2,800 BC to 2,200 BC. The older dwellings are linked to the Corded Ware and the Bell Beaker culture, while the more recent ones are associated with the Únětice Culture.


Flashback SOTT Focus: The Most Dangerous Cult in The World!

The Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem

Comment: Given that many conservatives today, including Donald Trump, support Israel, we thought it time to republish this article, first posted 19 years ago.

July 30, 2005
During the Reformation era the Biblical Hebrews came to be associated with their modern co-religionists. At the same time it became popular belief among Protestant adherents that the Jews scattered in their present dispersion would be regathered in Palestine in order to prepare for the Second Coming of Chirst... The Old Testament not only became the most popular literature for the Protestant laity, but also the source book for general historical knowledge. This is the moment when a process of historical manipulation began. -- Regina Sharif, Non-Jewish Zionism

Who will the Antichrist be? ... Of course he will be Jewish. -- Jerry Falwell

Prophetically, the only thing that could prevent it (a Jewish holocaust) is Israel's repentance. - Dwight Pentecost in an interview with Paul Boyer

The creation of Israel in 1948 means "a return at last, to the biblical land from which the Jews were driven so many hundreds of years ago... The establishment of the nation of Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the very essence of its fulfillment." -- Former president Jimmy Carter

As a Christian, I see the return of Jews to the Holy Land but one sign of the coming of the messianic age in which all humans will enjoy the benefits of an ideal society. -- Former Senator Mark Hatfield

For the first time in more than 2,000 years, Jerusalem, being in the hands of the Jews, gives the student of the Bible a thrill and a renewed faith in the accuracy and validity of the Bible. -- L. Nelson Bell, editor, Christianity Today

The Rev. Clyde Lott, Canton, Miss., a Pentecostal minister, interprets passages of the Bible to say that a third Jewish temple must rise in Jerusalem before the Second Coming can happen... Lott is producing perfect red heifers, virginal cows "without spot" that could be sacrificed to produce ashes for ritual use in the future temple. For that to happen, Muslim shrines like the Dome of the Rock would have to be knocked down... Lott is convinced that God will attend to this in due time. -- The New York Times, December 27, 1998

Comment: On 28 Feb 2007, SOTT ran the following item:
Extremist rabbis call for return of animal sacrifice

CNN/Associated Press
Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:23 EST

Jerusalem-- A fringe group of extremist rabbis wants to resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice at an explosive religious site in Jerusalem, members said Wednesday.

The request defied centuries of religious bans and triggered a stiff protest from a Muslim leader.

When the Jewish Temples stood in the Old City of Jerusalem more than 2,000 year ago, animal sacrifice was a centerpiece of the religion. After the destruction of the Temples, sacrifices were banned and rabbinical teachings took their place as the focus of Judaism.

Now a group, called the "Re-established Sanhedrin" after the Temple-era religious high court, has decided to buy some sheep and try to find one that is ritually perfect for sacrifice, with an eye toward resuming the practice at the Jerusalem site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The site is the most hotly disputed in the Middle East, home today to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. [...]


Gilgamesh flood tablet

The baked clay tablet tells the tale of an epic flood.
Gilgamesh flood tablet
© World History Archive via AlamyThe Gilgamesh flood tablet contains an inscription detailing the story of an epic flood.
Name: Gilgamesh flood tablet

What it is: Also known as the 11th tablet of the Epic of Gilgamesh, this fragment of a baked clay tablet contains cuneiform inscriptions describing an epic flood that swept through Babylon. It is considered one of the oldest pieces of literature in the world.

Where it was found: Nineveh (also known as Kouyunjik), an ancient Assyrian city in Upper Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq).

When it was made: The Epic of Gilgamesh may date to as early as the third millennium B.C., but this particular tablet dates to the seventh century B.C.

What it tells us about the past: The epic tale that was carved into the ancient tablet is eerily similar to the biblical story of Noah's ark found in the Book of Genesis. The tablet describes how the gods sent a flood down to destroy Earth. However one god, Ea, alerts Utu-napishtim, the ruler of an ancient kingdom, of the plan and instructs him to build a boat to save himself and his family along with "birds and beasts of all kinds," according to the British Museum, which counts the artifact as part of its permanent collection.


Earliest manuscript of Gospel about Jesus's childhood discovered

Papyrologists decipher manuscript fragment and date it to the 4th to 5th century.

Papyrus fragment f
© Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg/Public Domain Mark 1.0Papyrus fragment from the 4th to 5th century.
For decades, a papyrus fragment with the inventory number P.Hamb.Graec. 1011 remained unnoticed at the Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky State and University Library. Now papyrologists Dr Lajos Berkes from the Institute for Christianity and Antiquity at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), and Prof Gabriel Nocchi Macedo from the University of Liège, Belgium, have identified the fragment as the earliest surviving copy of the Infancy Gospel of Thomas.

This is a significant discovery for the research field, as the manuscript dates back to the early days of Christianity. Until now, a codex from the 11th century was oldest known Greek version of the Gospel of Thomas, which was probably written in the 2nd century AD. The Gospel tells episodes of the childhood of Jesus and is one of the biblical apocrypha. These writings were not included in the Bible, but their stories were very popular and widespread in Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

New insights into the transmission of the text

"The fragment is of extraordinary interest for research," says Lajos Berkes, lecturer at the Faculty of Theology at Humboldt-Universität. "On the one hand, because we were able to date it to the 4th to 5th century, making it the earliest known copy. On the other hand, because we were able to gain new insights into the transmission of the text."

"Our findings on this late antique Greek copy of the work confirm the current assessment that the Infancy Gospel according to Thomas was originally written in Greek," says Gabriel Nocchi Macedo from the University of Liège.

Better Earth

Unravelling the mystery of Seahenge: Timber structure was built off the coast of Norwich 4,000 years ago during an extreme cold spell

Scientists believe that Seahenge (pictured) may have been build as part of a ritual attempt to bring back warmer weather and prolong summer
When it comes to the mysteries of Britain's Neolithic past, Stonehenge is probably the structure people would recognise the most.

But archaeologists are now beginning to unravel the secrets of an even stranger structure, built off the coast of Norwich 4,000 years ago.

Researchers believe that 'Seahenge' and a second nearby monument were built by ancient Britons during a period of extreme cold, in an effort to try and bring back the warm weather.

Dr David Nance, an archaeologist at the University of Aberdeen, argues that Seahenge was built to resemble a cage designed to extend summer by keeping a young cuckoo singing.

Comment: Well, that's one archaeologist's speculation.

Comment: See also: Regarding the cuckoo/bird imagery, see: