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Sun, 19 Nov 2017
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Star of David

Arguments of Apartheid: Who was in the Holy Land first?

© AFP 2016/ Hazem Bader
2017 will undoubtedly be a critical year for Palestine. We are standing at the crossroads of many different possibilities that could have serious implications for the future of the area. Positive or negative, disastrous or beneficial, the people between the river and the sea wait in anticipation to see which direction the future will take them. However, I can't help but feel that the adage "the more things change, the more they stay the same" is appropriate here. No matter how many times people insist that we are on the cusp of a new era in the "conflict", the same old arguments and myths animating much of the debate on Palestine since the beginning of the 20th century remain remarkably persistent.

Comment: For more on the secret history of Palestine & Israel, check out: Terrorism: How the Israeli state was won
By the time the Balfour Declaration was finalised, thirty-plus years of Zionist settlement had made clear that the Zionists intended to ethnically cleanse the land for a settler state based on racial superiority; and it was the behind-the-scenes demands of the principal Zionist leaders, notably Chaim Weizmann and Baron Rothschild.

First-hand accounts of Zionist settlement in Palestine had already painted a picture of violent racial displacement. I will cite one of the lesser known reports, by Dr. Paul Nathan, a prominent Jewish leader in Berlin, who went to Palestine on behalf of the German Jewish National Relief Association. He was so horrified by what he found that he published a pamphlet in January, 1914, in which he described the Zionist settlers as carrying on 'a campaign of terror modelled almost on Russian pogrom models.'
And: Shlomo Sand's "The Invention of the Jewish People"
So if the exile was a myth — fomented, Sand writes, by the Christian church as an image of divine punishment ("The Wandering Jew") — what happened to the indigenous Jews? Sand's answer: they converted to Islam and survive as today's disinherited Palestinians. This seemingly radical thesis was once shared by, among others, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister who in 1918 still believed that (in Sand's words) "the ancient Judean peasants converted to Islam ... for material reasons ... Indeed, by clinging to their soil they remained loyal to their homeland" (186).
And for the extra curious there's always SOTT's wide-ranging interview with Russell Gmirkin on the secret history of the Old Testament, also available on Youtube:




Archaeology

Untouched 600BC palace discovered under shrine demolished by ISIL in Mosul

© JÉRÉMY ANDRÉ
An Assyrian stone sculpture of a demi-goddess, depicted sprinkling the “water of life” to protect humans in her care.
Archaeologists documenting Isil's destruction of the ruins of the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah say they have made an unexpected discovery which could help in our understanding of the world's first empire.

The Nebi Yunus shrine - containing what Muslims and Christians believe to be the tomb of Jonah, as he was known in the Bible, or Yunus in the Koran - was blown up by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) militants soon after they seized huge swathes of northern Iraq in 2014.

The shrine is situated on top of a hill in eastern Mosul called Nebi Yunus - one of two mounds that form part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

Microscope 1

DNA analysis finds evidence of matrilineal dynasty in ancient Southwest society

© Brad Branan/Sacramento Bee/Getty Images
Pueblo Bonito, one of the biggest archaeological sites at Chaco Culture National Historic Park, is seen from a cliff.
More than a century after the discovery of an ancient crypt loaded with turquoise and other riches in New Mexico's Chaco Canyon, scientists have analyzed DNA from the remains of 14 people buried there. What they found is surprising evidence of a matrilineal society, where power and influence appear to have been passed down through the female line.

Archaeologists stumbled on Pueblo Bonito, the multi-story stone complex of 650 rooms located in what is now Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, back in the 1890s. Inside a small room they marked as Room 33, they found 14 sets of skeletal remains buried with a dazzling horde of treasures. The cache included more than 11,000 turquoise necklaces and beads and more than 3,000 pieces of shell jewelry, along with wooden flutes and the remains of several scarlet macaws, a type of bird that is not native to the region but to South America, thousands of miles away.

Red Flag

Digital time machine: #1917Live storms Twitter as key figures from Nicholas II to Vladimir Lenin tweet their views

With just days until the 100th anniversary of the February Revolution, RT is taking #1917LIVE - a unique project covering 1917 in Russia in real time - to a new level, with more tweets and 1917.RT.com, a dedicated website.

Every day since January 1st, dozens of key figures from the year that changed world history forever - from Nicholas II to Vladimir Lenin, as well as ordinary citizens - have been tweeting out their views and descriptions of their activities, as the Russian Empire hurtles towards its demise.

Their tweets, found under the #1917LIVE hashtag or collected at RT's earlier incarnation, the Russian Telegraph, produce a fascinating picture, where each actor contributes to the upheaval, yet none realizes the momentous impact of their actions.

Comment: See also: History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II


Map

Second largest Maya jade found in Belize has unique historical inscription

© Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications
UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell holds a replica of the Maya jade pendant.
To say that UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell was surprised to discover a precious jewel in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize is something of an understatement.

"It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York," said Braswell, who led the dig that uncovered a large piece of carved jade once belonging to an ancient Maya king. "We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center," he said.

The jewel—a jade pendant worn on a king's chest during key religious ceremonies—was first unearthed in 2015. It is now housed at the Central Bank of Belize, along with other national treasures. Braswell recently published a paper in the Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica detailing the jewel's significance. A second paper, in the Journal of Field Archaeology, describes the excavations.

Archaeology

Ancient mummies from Florida's Windover bog among greatest archeological discoveries in the U.S.

© myfloridahistory.org
Windover archaeological site
It was only after the bones were declared very old and not the product of a mass murder that the 167 bodies found in a pond in Windover, Florida began to stir up excitement in the archeological world. Researchers from Florida State University came to the site, thinking some more Native American bones had been unearthed in the swamplands. They were guessing the bones were 500-600 years old. But then the bones were radiocarbon dated. It turns out the corpses ranged from 6,990 to 8,120 years old. It was then that the academic community became incredibly excited. The Windover Bog has proven to be one of the most important archeological finds in the United States.

In 1982, Steve Vanderjagt, the man who made the find, was using a backhoe to demuck the pond for the development of a new subdivision located about halfway between Disney World and Cape Canaveral. Vanderjagt was confused by the large number of rocks in the pond as that area of Florida was not known to be particularly rocky. Getting out of his backhoe, Vanderjagt went to investigate and almost immediately realized that he had unearthed a huge pile of bones. He called the authorities right away. It was only thanks to his natural curiosity that the site was preserved. After the medical examiners declared them ancient, the specialists from Florida State University were summoned (another brilliant move by Vanderjagt - too often sites are ruined because experts are not called). Deeply intrigued, EKS Corporation, the developers of the site, financed the radiocarbon dating. Once the striking dates were revealed, the State of Florida providing a grant for the excavation.


Gold Coins

World's largest Celtic coin and jewelry hoard found in Jersey

© Jersey Heritage
The Catillon II Hoard as it appeared before being separated.
Last Friday, conservators at Jersey Heritage finally completed separating and meticulously cleaning the largest hoard of Celtic coins and gold jewelry ever discovered. It took nearly three years of effort to go through the mass of treasure.

"This is a significant milestone for the team. It has been painstaking but thoroughly intriguing work, which has delivered some very unexpected and amazing finds along the way," Neil Mahrer, who led the conservation effort says in a press release. "There is still plenty to do and I am sure the Hoard will continue to surprise us as we clean and record the material."

According to the BBC, the treasure was discovered in 2012 by amateur metal detector enthusiasts Reg Mead and Richard Miles. But it was no accidental discovery; the pair had been searching the area for 30 years looking for it. They began their quest after a local woman told them that her father had discovered some silver Celtic coins in a pot in a field near her home in Jersey, a British island in the English Channel. She did not recall the exact location, and the owner of the field only allowed the pair to search the area once a year after he harvested his crops.

Calendar

Early contact? Mayan calendar similar to ancient Chinese

© VojtechVlk/Shutterstock
Ancient Mayan and Chinese calendar systems share so many similarities, it is unlikely they developed independently, according to the late David H. Kelley, whose paper on the subject was published posthumously in August.

Kelley was a Harvard-educated archaeologist and epigrapher at the University of Calgary in Canada. He earned fame in the 1960s for major contributions toward deciphering the Mayan script. His article, titled "Asian Components in the Invention of the Mayan Calendar," was written 30 years ago, but was only recently unearthed and published for the first time in the journal Pre-Columbiana.

Dig

Putin on Lenin and Communism: 'WW1 and Bolshevik Revolution destroyed Russia'

Putin's critics often deride him for 'wishing to recreate the Soviet Union'. But is that really what he's thinking? In the following video, you'll meet a younger Putin denounce communist ideology and Lenin. The year was 1991, Putin had recently returned to newly reconstituted 'Russia' after being stationed during the 1980s in East Germany with the USSR's Foreign Intelligence service, and he was just getting started as an assistant to the mayor of St Petersburg.

The first part is a bit weird because it's Putin at a later date watching the relevant snippet from the earlier interview in '91, then asking him 'now' if he still held to those views. Check out what he had to say...


Red Flag

History as current news: #1917Live: Exhausted Russian army on verge of turning against Nicholas II


Comment: What a creative way to bring history alive - to tell the story as though it is current news using the up-to-date ways that such a story would be covered. Nice job, RT!


Poor logistics, high war casualties on the Eastern Front, and shortages of military equipment and food have left Russia's capital Petrograd dangerously unstable in the latest developments from #1917Live, RT's social media project in which we cover the events of 100 years ago in real time.

Last year's Brusilov Offensive brought Russia initial gains against the teetering Austro-Hungarian Empire, but petered out due to supply problems, adding around a million men to the casualty list. In all, more than a million men have died, and over four million have been wounded. 1.5 million deserted the army in 1916 alone.


Comment: Russia seems to have learned some lessons from its revolutionary years: