Even in absurdity, sacrament. Even in hardship, holiness. Even in doubt, faith. Even in chaos, realization. Even in paradox, blessedness
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"Life expands or shrinks in proportion to one's courage." ~Anain Nin
Welcome to the Underworld
The Antrum of the Sibyl is a long, straight tunnel, with side chambers. At the end, there is a cave on the left hand side, where the Sibyl made her prophecies. It was apparently here that Apollo took possession of her, resulting in her ranting and raving, but equally able to see the future. Virgil worded it as such: “the Sibyl sang her fearful riddling prophecies, her voice booming in the cave as she wrapped the truth in darkness, while Apollo shook the reins upon her in her frenzy and dug the spurs into her flanks. The madness passed.”
Roots of Human Family Tree Are Shallow
Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia - Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He - or she - did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.
Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth - the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today.
That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There's even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.
"It's a mathematical certainty that that person existed," said Steve Olson, whose 2002 book "Mapping Human History" traces the history of the species since its origins in Africa more than 100,000 years ago.
It is human nature to wonder about our ancestors - who they were, where they lived, what they were like. People trace their genealogy, collect antiques and visit historical sites hoping to capture just a glimpse of those who came before, to locate themselves in the sweep of history and position themselves in the web of human existence.
But few people realize just how intricately that web connects them not just to people living on the planet today, but to everyone who ever lived.
With the help of a statistician, a computer scientist and a supercomputer, Olson has calculated just how interconnected the human family tree is. You would have to go back in time only 2,000 to 5,000 years - and probably on the low side of that range - to find somebody who could count every person alive today as a descendant.
A grouping of granite blocks along a grassy Amazon hilltop may be the vestiges of a centuries-old astronomical observatory - a find archaeologists say indicates early rainforest inhabitants were more sophisticated than previously believed.
The 127 blocks, some as high as 9 feet tall, are spaced at regular intervals around the hill, like a crown 100 feet in diameter.
On the shortest day of the year - Dec. 21 - the shadow of one of the blocks disappears when the sun is directly above it.
"It is this block's alignment with the winter solstice that leads us to believe the site was once an astronomical observatory," said Mariana Petry Cabral, an archaeologist at the Amapa State Scientific and Technical Research Institute. "We may be also looking at the remnants of a sophisticated culture."
Anthropologists have long known that local indigenous populations were acute observers of the stars and sun. But the discovery of a physical structure that appears to incorporate this knowledge suggests pre-Columbian Indians in the Amazon rainforest may have been more sophisticated than previously suspected.
"Transforming this kind of knowledge into a monument; the transformation of something ephemeral into something concrete, could indicate the existence of a larger population and of a more complex social organization..."
Hominids' cave rave-ups may link music and speech
It was a dark and stormy night, and in a cave in what is now southern France, Neanderthals were singing, dancing and tapping on stalagmites with their fingernails to pass the time.
Did this Ice-Age rave-up happen, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, on a cold night in the Pleistocene Epoch? Or is it purely a figment of the imagination of Steven Mithen, professor of early prehistory at the University of Reading in England?
Impossible to know, Mithen, 45, readily admits, but in his book, "The Singing Neanderthals," he has built a strong case that our hominid ancestors had a musical culture, and a rudimentary form of communication that went with it, that has left traces deeply embedded in modern mankind.
Why else, for example, would music have universal appeal and such a strong pull on the human psyche? Why, when we hear music, do we feel the need to tap our feet, or dance?
Why do we think some passages of music paint pictures, or instruments have "conversations" with each other? Why indeed.
In the book, published last year in Britain and this year in the United States, Mithen attempts to re-create -- against all odds -- a "soundscape" of pre-history and plug what he thinks is a huge gap in human knowledge -- the link between language and music.
Cave face 'the oldest portrait on record'
A drawing discovered by a potholer on the wall of a cave in the west of France appears to be the oldest known portrait of a human face.
The 27,000-year-old work was found by a local pensioner, Gérard Jourdy, in the Vilhonneur grotto near Angoulême.
Drawn with calcium carbonate, and using the bumps in the wall to give form to the face, it features two horizontal lines for the eyes, another for the mouth and a vertical line for the nose. “The portrait of this face is unique,” said Jean Airvaux, a researcher at the French Directorate of Cultural Affairs. “We have other drawings, but they are more recent. Here, it could be the oldest representation of a human face.”
Archaeologists are particularly interested in the Vilhonneur cave because there are several drawings, including one of a hand in cobalt blue, along with animal and human remains.
Stargazer may have recorded 1006 C.E. supernova
A star twinkles for eons, then suddenly shines brighter than any other heavenly object save the sun and moon.
Ancient Alexandria: Murder, Mayhem and Mystery
These are all relics of a city full of deep contradictions. Alexandria produced some of the most advanced technology of its day. Horizontal looms -- a hint of industrial production -- rattled away in its factories. But as advanced as it was in some respects, life in this ancient city, spoiled and given to the pleasures of the flesh, lacked inner strength.
But most of all Alexandria was the kind of place New York is today -- the center of a globalized world.
It all began with Alexander the Great (356 to 323 B.C.) who, with his military campaign all the way to the banks of the Indus River, brought together many previously isolated cultures in a single realm. Fortune-hunters from the Greek Islands migrated to the Nile delta in droves, joined by Jews and slaves.
The first ruler, Ptolemy I, one of Alexander's former generals, still valued discipline and order. Instrumental in the expansion of the city's large harbor, he lived by the motto: "No one has the right to do as he wishes, but everything is completely under control." His subjects included about 7 million Egyptians.
His successor, Ptolemy II, was also viewed as a "successful statesman." He warded off four attacks by foreign armies and led his own forces into Arabia. From a technical standpoint, his was an era of expansion in an old-fashioned Egypt. About 40 new towns were built in the Faijum oasis, where Greek architects built a reservoir, an engineering marvel that supplied enough water for a second harvest in the spring. It almost seemed as though Plato's legacy of the levelheaded state was coming to fruition, as the rational spirit of the Greeks merged with Egypt's piousness to form a new, magnificent union.
But it was a fatal mixture. The Ptolemies, backed by pugnacious mercenary armies, were soon as arrogant as the pharaohs and, like the pharaohs, they pursued an appalling cult of personality. Even worse, the dynasty worshipped the club-footed wood gnome Dionysus. The deity, which Alexander (who drank up to five liters of wine at banquets and presumably succumbed to an inflammation of the pancreas caused by alcohol) had brought along from the East, became popular in the Nile delta and eventually developed into the central figure of a new state religion. The Ptolemies adorned themselves with garlands of ivy and horns of Ammon and carried around the "Thyros," a rod wrapped in ivy and grape leaves, with a pinecone at its tip.
Xena, where you been? Mummy may have been female warrior
A female mummy with complex tattoos on her arms has been found in a ceremonial burial site in Peru, the National Geographic Society reported Tuesday.
The mummy was accompanied by ceremonial items including jewelry and weapons, and the remains of a teenage girl who had been sacrificed, archaeologists reported.
The burial was at a site called El Brujo on Peru's north coast near Trujillo.
They said the woman was part of the Moche culture, which thrived in the area between A.D. 1 and A.D. 700. The mummy was dated about A.D. 450.
The presence of gold jewelry and other fine items indicates the mummy was that of an important person, but anthropologist John Verano of Tulane University said the researchers are puzzled by the presence of war clubs, which are not usually found with females.
Could Ethiopian skull be missing link?
Scientists in northeastern Ethiopia said Saturday that they have discovered the skull of a small human ancestor that could be a missing link between the extinct Homo erectus and modern man.
The hominid cranium -- found in two pieces and believed to be between 500,000 and 250,000 years old -- "comes from a very significant period and is very close to the appearance of the anatomically modern human," said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia.
Archaeologists found the early human cranium five weeks ago at Gawis in Ethiopia's northeastern Afar region, Sileshi said.
Several stone tools and fossilized animals including two types of pigs, zebras, elephants, antelopes, cats, and rodents were also found at the site.
Sileshi, an Ethiopian paleoanthropologist based at Indiana University, said most fossil hominids are found in pieces but the near-complete skull -- a rare find -- provided a wealth of information.
Bronze Age Sky Disc Deciphered
The purpose of the 3,600 year-old sky disc of Nebra, which caused a world-wide sensation when it was brought to the attention of the German public in 2002, is no longer a matter of speculation.
A group of German scholars who studied this archaeological gem has discovered evidence which suggests that the disc was used as a complex astronomical clock for the harmonization of solar and lunar calendars.
"This is a clear expansion of what we knew about the meaning and function of the sky disc," said archeologist Harald Meller.
Unlike the solar calendar, which indicates the position of the earth as it revolves around the sun, the lunar calendar is based on the phases of the moon. A lunar year is eleven days shorter than the solar year because 12 synodic months, or 12 returns of the moon to the new phase, take only 354 days.
The sky disc of Nebra was used to determine if and when a thirteenth month -- the so-called intercalary month -- should be added to a lunar year to keep the lunar calendar in sync with the seasons.
"The functioning of this clock was probably known to a very small group of people," Meller said.
Ancient sun temple uncovered in Cairo
Archaeologists discovered a pharaonic sun temple with large statues believed to be of King Ramses II under an outdoor marketplace in Cairo, Egypt's antiquities chief said Sunday.
The partially uncovered site is the largest sun temple ever found in the capital's Aim Shams and Matariya districts, where the ancient city of Heliopolis — the center of pharaonic sun worship — was located, Zahi Hawass told The Associated Press.
Among the artifacts was a pink granite statue weighing 4 to 5 tons whose features "resemble those of Ramses II," said Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. Also found was a 5-foot-high (1.5-meter-high) statue of a seated figure with hieroglyphics that include three tablets with the name of Ramses II — and the 3-ton head from a royal statue, the council said in a statement. The green pavement stones of the temple's floor were also uncovered.
An Egyptian team working in cooperation with the German Archaeological Mission in Egypt discovered the site under the Souq al-Khamis, a popular market in eastern Cairo, Hawass said. "The market has to be removed" as archaeologists excavate the entire site, Hawass said.
King Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for 66 years from 1270 to 1213 B.C., had erected monuments up and down the Nile with records of his achievements, as well as building temples — including Abu Simbel, erected near what is now Egypt's southern border.
A not-so-brief history of time
A a medievalist who arrived last month at Harvard's history department, is a time revolutionary. Historians, Smail says, are in thrall to a chronology of the human race that is, by now, embarrassingly out of date. He wants to move the start date of introductory history courses back, oh, 100,000 years or so.
If you have taken the first part of a two-semester, college-level history survey class, you know how it usually starts: a few desultory comments about ''prehistory" and then a pronouncement that civilization as we know it had its first stirrings in the Fertile Crescent, around 4,000 to 6,000 BC. But as Smail points out in an article in the latest issue of the American Historical Review, when you consider recent (and not-so-recent) discoveries in archeology, anthropology, and biology -- the finding that all humankind traces to Africa, for example, or that humans were on the march out of that continent by roughly 100,000 BC, not to mention good guesses for when language, hunting, and farming arose -- the fixation on a start date of 4,000 to 6,000 BC begins to seem awfully arbitrary.
And yet, as Smail goes on to argue in his essay, suggestively titled ''In the Grip of Sacred History," this chronological tick has a very interesting back-story. ''Every history curriculum in secondary schools and colleges that tacitly accepts a Near Eastern origin around 6,000 years ago," Smail writes, ''contains the unintended echo of the Judeo-Christian mythology of the special creation of man in the Garden of Eden."
Through the 18th century and well into the 19th, Western historians, almost all of them Christian, thought that humankind (and Earth) dated to roughly 4,000 to 7,000 BC. (One especially influential estimate pinpointed 4,004 BC.) And many thought that the Garden of Eden could be traced to the Fertile Crescent. Smail's theory is that, in the 19th century, as the biblical timeline lost credibility and the staggering age of the Earth began to be glimpsed, historians reflexively clung to as much of the traditional timeline as they could. A true reckoning with the long timelines envisioned by Darwin never occurred.
Smail is among a small but growing number of historians who think their field needs to push the clock back. Another key figure is David Christian, who teaches at San Diego State University. His 2004 book, ''Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History," starts with the Big Bang and, in a book of 15 chapters, doesn't get to humans until Chapter 6.
We are older than we think: Ancient civilization unearthed in Syria
An excavation project on the Syrian-Iraqi border has uncovered an ancient settlement wiped out by invaders 5,500 years ago.
Discovered in northeastern Syria, the ruined city of Hamoukar appears to have been a large city by 4,500 B.C., said archaeologists Clemens Reichel and Salam al-Quntar, who co-directed Syrian-American excavations on the site...
They said Hamoukar was a flourishing urban center at a time when cities were thought to be relegated hundreds of miles to the south.
The site is in the upper edges of the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys, near the Iraq border. Reichel said it may have been settled as long as 8,000 years ago.
Hatsheput: The Woman Who Would Be King
The story of Hatshepsut is a remarkable one. She led armies and trade expeditions, built one of the greatest monuments in Egypt, and switched her appearance from female to male in order to rule as pharaoh. In a fundamentally patriarchal society, she ruled for nearly twenty years.
After her death, someone tried to erase the memory of Hatshepsut as king. She was left off lists of rulers; her statuary was demolished; her image was systematically erased; and her name on monuments and reliefs was covered over by the names of other kings. For nearly two thousand years, she was forgotten, and she may have remained that way except for the discovery of her mortuary temple.
In 1828, Jean Francois Champollion, famous for deciphering the Rosetta Stone, made his one and only trip to Egypt. Among the places he visited was Deir al-Bahri, where a nearby temple had been buried under centuries of desert sand and piles of rocks fallen from the cliffs above. There he noticed a curious inconsistency. He discovered the partially erased name of a king, Amenenthe, accompanied by feminine titles and forms. Pictorially, the king was shown as male, bearded and dressed as a pharaoh, but hieroglyphically, he seemed to be a she.
Puzzled, Champollion wrote: "I found the same peculiarity everywhere. Not only was there the prenomen of Amenenthe preceded by the title of sovereign ruler of the world, with the feminine prefix, but also his own name immediately following on the title of 'Daughter of the Sun.'"
Scientists digging in a remote Indonesian cave have uncovered a jaw bone that they say adds more evidence that a tiny prehistoric Hobbit-like species once existed.
The jaw is from the ninth individual believed to have lived as recently as 12,000 years ago. The bones are in a wet cave on the island of Flores in the eastern limb of the Indonesian archipelago, near Australia.
The research team which reported the original sensational finding nearly a year ago strongly believes that the skeletons belong to a separate species of early human that shared Earth with modern humans far more recently than anyone thought.
The bones have enchanted many anthropologists who have come to accept the interpretation of these diminutive skeletons marooned on Flores with dwarf elephants and other miniaturized animals, giving the discovery a kind of fairy tale quality.
The discovery of what is almost certainly his tomb reveals that crafty Odysseus, known as Ulysses in many English renditions of Homer’s “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” was no mere myth, but a real person. Plus, passages in the “Odyssey” itself suggest that modern Ithaca and its main town of Vathi probably were not the city and island of which Homer wrote.
Rather, this small village of Poros on the southeast coast of Kefalonia now occupies part of a site that most likely was the much larger city which served as capital of the multi-island kingdom ruled by Odysseus and his father Laertes.
Archeologists have long and often times looked for evidence of Odysseus on modern Ithaca, but never found anything significant from the Bronze Age. This led many scholars to dismiss Homer’s version of Ionian island geography as strictly a literary creation.
Researchers... have unravelled a 2,700 year old mystery concerning The Oracle of Delphi – by consulting an ancient farmer’s manual. The researchers... sought to explain how people from across Greece came to consult with the Oracle – a hotline to the god Apollo- on a particular day of the year even though there was no common calendar. Now their findings... suggests celestial signs observed by farmers could also have determined the rituals associated with Apollo Delphinios.
Researchers have built a reed boat modeled on vessels that plied the seas more than four millennia ago and will try to sail 600 miles across the Arabian Sea from Oman to India, following what they believe was a Bronze Age trade route.
The 40-foot Magan, named after an ancient name for Oman, is made of reeds formed into bundles, lashed together with rope made from date palm fibers and covered with a woven mat coated with black bitumen or tar to make it waterproof. The vessel will be powered by a square-rigged sail made of tightly woven wool and maneuvered using two teak steering oars.
Ancient Egyptians gossiped about a bald queen, royals who had affairs, missing bodies, homosexuality [w00t!], harem intrigue and more... The findings suggest humans always have enjoyed chatting about personal or sensational information concerning others. They also reveal what officials communicated through their official artwork and hieroglyphics. "The ancient Egyptians believed that anything written down became magically true, so even if something was true, if it was unpleasant, it was usually not written... That is what makes it so interesting when you find out small details of what we would consider gossip."
As an example... a text from around 5,000 years ago described how an unnamed king frequently visited one of his general's houses at night. The text repeats the phrase, "in whose home there was no wife," suggesting that the king was having a homosexual affair. "Did that mean the Egyptians were anti-homosexual in their opinions? Maybe not...The problem could have been that the general was not fulfilling his social duties by producing an heir from a wife." ...Another Egyptologist who has published many works on Egyptian history and culture, suggested people also gossiped about royals who partied too much.
The US maintains to this day over a dozen direct dependencies, the largest of which is Puerto Rico. Its military forces are active over most of the globe: at last audit about 226 countries have US military troops, 63 of which host American bases, while only 46 countries in the world have no US military presence - a projection of military power that makes the Roman, British, and Soviet empires pale in comparison. The bulk of this document will however deal with what is alternatively referred to as "neo-imperialism", "hegemony", "proxy rule", or "informal empire": roughly, a system of "dual elite" political rule, in which domestic elites (the proxy) recieve backing from (are dependent on - to varying degrees) a foreign elite, and in return protect (to varying degrees) the foreign power's interests in the country (security, economic, ideological, the occasional dash of human rights, whatever)...
This is a list of the generally disasterous human terms of the practice...
two steps back
Footprints rewrite history of first Americans
Human footprints discovered beside an ancient Mexican lake have been dated to 40,000 years ago. If the finding survives the controversy it is bound to stir up, it means that humans must have moved into the New World at least 30,000 years earlier than previously thought.
“If true, this would completely change our view of how and when the Americas were first colonised...”
tip of the historical iceberg
Archaeologists have discovered Europe's oldest civilisation, a network of dozens of temples, 2,000 years older than Stonehenge and the Pyramids. More than 150 gigantic monuments have been located beneath the fields and cities of modern-day Germany, Austria and Slovakia. They were built 7,000 years ago, between 4800BC and 4600BC. Their discovery, revealed today by The Independent, will revolutionise the study of prehistoric Europe, where an appetite for monumental architecture was thought to have developed later than in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
In all, more than 150 temples have been identified. Constructed of earth and wood, they had ramparts and palisades that stretched for up to half a mile. They were built by a religious people who lived in communal longhouses up to 50 metres long, grouped around substantial villages. Evidence suggests their economy was based on cattle, sheep, goat and pig farming. Their civilisation seems to have died out after about 200 years and the recent archaeological discoveries are so new that the temple building culture does not even have a name yet.
last stop: tiwanaku
Tiahuanaco - also Tiwanaku - is in the Bolivian Andes lying 12,500 feet (over 2 miles) above sea-level. It is located some 15 miles from the shores of Lake Titicaca. Some have hypothesized that its modern name is a corruption of the Aymara term "taypikala", meaning "stone in the center".
As with many other sacred sites on the planet it remains an enigma allowing reseachers to speculate on its origins and purpose - then paralleling their conclusions with other ancient civilizations - on other major grids points of the planet - left behind by unknown beings - surviving in time - with great stone markers which bear clues to humanity's creational story. Gods, temples, idols, metaphors - all clues in a puzzle humanity is unraveling at this time of conscious awakening. Much of the construction is unfinished.
Tiahuanaco is believed to be the capital of the Pre-Inca Civilization. The city is believed by some to have been built by the Aymara - the Native South Americans inhabiting the Lake Titicaca basin in Peru and Bolivia.
Doorway of the Amaru Muru
After discovering the door earlier this year, Luis contacted archeological authorities in Puno, La Paz, and Lima and within a short time the area was besieged with archeologists and Incan historians. It turned out that the native indians of the region had a legend that spoke of "A gateway to the lands of the Gods", and in that legend it was said that in times long past great heroes had gone to join their gods and passed through the gate for a glorious new life of immortality, and on rare occasions those men returned for a short time with their gods to "inspect all the lands in the kingdom" through the gate.
...The boulders were transported to the upper spot where the temple is erected using the inclined plane that is something like a road which silhouette is clearly seen from the valley's bottom. They had the help of log rollers or rolling stones as wheels, South-American cameloids' leather ropes, levers, pulleys, and the power of hundreds and even thousands of men.
all that lies under condor wings
The Inca Empire (called Tawantinsuyu in modern spelling Aymara and Quechua, or Tahuantinsuyu in old spelling Quechua, which means Land of the Four Corners), was an empire located in South America from 1438 CE to 1533 CE. Over that period, the Inca used conquest and peaceful assimilation to incorporate in their empire a large portion of western South America, centred on the Andean mountain ranges. The Inca empire proved short-lived: by 1533 CE, Atahualpa, the last Inca, was killed on the orders of the Conquistador Francisco Pizarro, marking the beginning of Spanish hegemony.
Teuku Jacob, a professor at Gadjah Mada University, who led the human anthropology research team, said 80 per cent of the Rampapasa villagers were small, with most male adults under 145cm and female adults about 135cm. "The presence of the pygmy people there is both very interesting and surprising," Prof Jacob said. "For years, scientists from all over the world could only see their traces. Now we could find them living in a society. Mini people have been reportedly seen in Andaman and the province of Papua, but only a few remained and they have been difficult to find because they have been spreading to some areas." In the November issue of the journal Nature, professors Morwood and Brown, who claimed the discovery together with Indonesian colleagues, said the species was thought to have evolved from Homo erectus, which spread out from Africa to Asia about two million years ago.
Crater a cradle for sacred site?
Scientists studying recent rock samples taken from beneath an ancient earthen mound are trying to determine what caused unusually high concentrations of a metal rarely seen anywhere but near Earth's molten core or in asteroids and comets. Serpent Mound, an earthen snake effigy believed to have been built from about 1000 B.C. to A.D. 200 is about 60 miles east of Cincinnati. Some believe the 1,348-foot-long mound had a religious function for its builders, although nobody knows for sure what philosophy and beliefs shaped its origin because the mound builders left no written records. Geologists only recently discovered high concentrations of iridium 1,412 feet beneath the mound. The levels of the silver-gray metal, occasionally brought up in lava from volcanoes, measured 10 times beyond what is usually present in the Earth's crust. Since there are no lava fields in Ohio, some geologists point to the iridium as evidence the mound sits upon a slightly oblong crater created when a massive extraterrestrial object slammed into Earth.
Layers of clustered apartments hide artifacts of ancient urban life
In the long, long history of humanity's shift from tiny clans of hunter-gatherers to settled societies of crowded city dwellers, no step was more momentous than the emergence of the first clustered towns and the sophisticated cultures their inhabitants created. Intriguing evidence of early urbanization is now emerging at one of the largest and most significant digs in the history of archaeology, a 26-acre site in Turkey's Anatolian plain known as Çatalhöyük.
For more than a century, it has caused excitement and frustration in equal measure - a collection of Greek and Roman writings so vast it could redraw the map of classical civilisation. If only it was legible.
Now, in a breakthrough described as the classical equivalent of finding the holy grail, Oxford University scientists have employed infra-red technology to open up the hoard, known as the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, and with it the prospect that hundreds of lost Greek comedies, tragedies and epic poems will soon be revealed.
In the past four days alone, Oxford's classicists have used it to make a series of astonishing discoveries, including writing by Sophocles, Euripides, Hesiod and other literary giants of the ancient world, lost for millennia. They even believe they are likely to find lost Christian gospels, the originals of which were written around the time of the earliest books of the New Testament.
party with the village people
Had you been looking for a good party 9,000 years ago, Jiahu village near China’s Yellow River would have been the place. It had music: During the 1980s, archaeologists turned up the earliest known instruments there, six bone flutes. Other artifacts recently studied from that dig unmask the first example in history of another essential party ingredient: booze. Chemical analysis of 16 broken jars shows they once contained a beverage made of fermented rice, honey, and either grapes or hawthorn fruit—a mix of beer, wine, and mead rolled into one.
Scan indicates King Tut not murdered
The results of a CT scan done on King Tut's mummy indicate the boy king was not murdered, but may have suffered a badly broken leg shortly before his death at age 19 -- a wound that could have become infected... The remains of Tutankhamun, who ruled about 3,300 years ago, showed no signs that he had been murdered -- dispelling a mystery that has long surrounded the pharaoh's death.
return of the mummy
Archaeologists uncover bead-covered mummy
Archaeologists uncovered three coffins and a remarkably well-preserved mummy in a 2,500-year old tomb discovered by accident - after opening a secret door hidden behind a statue in a separate burial chamber...
definately past retirement age
A new analysis of bones unearthed nearly 40 years ago in Ethiopia has pushed the fossil record of modern humans back to nearly 200,000 years ago -- perhaps close to the dawn of the species. Researchers determined that the specimens are around 195,000 years old. Previously, the oldest known fossils of Homo sapiens were Ethiopian skulls dated to about 160,000 years ago.Genetic studies estimate that Homo sapiens arose about 200,000 years ago, so the new research brings the fossil record more in line with that...
cultural destuction for cheap
On a planet crowded with six billion people, isolated primitive cultures are getting pushed to the brink of extinction. Against this backdrop, a new form of adventure travel has raised an unsettling question: Would you pay to see tribes who have never laid eyes on an outsider? ...
When I originally heard about First Contact, a trip offered by Woolford's trekking company, Papua Adventures, I couldn't believe he was really doing what he claimed to be doing. An easygoing American expat from Springfield, Missouri, who jokingly describes himself as a "hillbilly," Woolford marches into the jungle in search of uncontacted native tribes who have never seen outsidersâ€”and who aren't supposed to mind tourists barging into their lives. I had trouble buying the idea that, in the 21st century, there were still nomadic hunter-gatherers out there using stone tools and rubbing sticks together to start a fire. But there are, Woolford assured me. From his home in Ubud, Bali, he explained the strategy behind his First Contact trips.
Hiawatha, Synergic Pioneer
His conceptions were beyond his time, and beyond ours; but their effect, within a limited sphere, was very great. For more than three centuries the bond which he devised held together the Iroquois nations in perfect amity. It proved, moreover, as he intended, elastic. The territory of the Iroquois, constantly extending as their united strength made itself felt, became the “Great Asylum” of the Indian tribes. Of the conquered Eries and Hurons, many hundreds were received and adopted among their conquerors. The Tuscaroras, expelled by the English from North Carolina, took refuge with the Iroquois, and became the sixth nation of the League. From still further south, the Tuteloes and Saponies, of Dakota stock, after many wars with the Iroquois, fled to them from their other enemies, and found a cordial welcome. A chief still sits in the council as a representative of the Tuteloes, though the tribe itself has been swept away by disease, or absorbed in the larger nations. Many fragments of tribes of Algonquin lineage—Delawares, Nanticokes, Mohicans, Mississagas—sought the same hospitable protection, which never failed them. Their descendants still reside on the Canadian Reservation, which may well be styled an aboriginal “refuge of nations”—affording a striking evidence in our own day of the persistent force of a great idea, when embodied in practical shape by the energy of a master mind.
It appears as if I will be visiting these places in May.
A celebration of rock carvings made by Neolithic and Early Bronze Age people in Northumberland in the north east of England, between 6000 and 3500 years ago. Over 1000 carved panels are known and most of them are still located in the countryside.
Researchers have discovered the hidden laboratory used by Leonardo da Vinci for studies of flight and other pioneering scientific work in previously sealed rooms at a monastery next to the Basilica of the Santissima Annunziata, in the heart of Florence. The workshop rooms, located between the Institute for Military Geography and the Basilica, contain frescos painted by Leonardo that have "impressive resemblances" to other examples of his experimental work. The frescos include a triptych of birds circling above a subsequently erased representation of the Virgin Mary that "constitutes a clear citation of the studies by the maestro on the flight of birds..."
Jared Diamond: Why societies collapse
The Nazca Lines, particularly the biomorph geoglyphs depicting plants, animals, human figures, and perhaps most significantly. . . birds and "flowers", that archaeoastronomer Anthony Aveni asserts "defy all explanation" are almost certainly an ancient response to the "Eye in the Sky" (aka "Eye of God") that is clearly manifested in the heavens above our planet during total solar eclipses. A genuinely unusual series of total solar eclipses coincided with the time period during which the Nazca Lines were created. Some of the Nazca Lines geoglyphs would appear to depict avatars of the Nazca culture's sky gods. Some of the bird geoglyphs are clearly aligned with the winter solstice sunset or they are connected to, or closely associated with, Nazca Lines pointing to the winter solstice sunset. This is not surprising when one understands that a quite remarkable bird-like pattern that is manifested in the sun's corona during some total solar eclipses gave rise to the mythical phoenix and various other "Sun Bird" avatars of the sun god such as the ancient Egyptian bennu bird (which the Greeks adopted for their own phoenix myth), the Egyptian winged sun symbol and solar falcon god Horus, Garuda, and the Simurgh. The winter solstice is almost universally thought of as the annual "death and rebirth" of the sun. The sun undergoes a much more awesome and dramatic "death and rebirth" during total solar eclipses. Much evidence suggests that the ancient Nazcas, and many other ancient cultures, associated the diverse religious concepts and mythical beings inspired by solar eclipse phenomena with this annual "death and rebirth" of the sun.
Mystery of 'chirping' pyramid decoded
Nico Declercq of Ghent University and his colleagues have shown how sound waves ricocheting around the tiered steps of the El Castillo pyramid, at the Mayan ruin of Chichén Itzá near Cancún in Mexico, create sounds that mimic the chirp of a bird and the patter of raindrops.
The bird-call effect, which resembles the warble of the Mexican quetzal bird, a sacred animal in Mayan culture, was first recognized by California-based acoustic engineer David Lubman in 1998. The 'chirp' can be triggered by a handclap made at the base of the staircase.
Archaeologists have traced the development of religion in one location over a 7,000-year period, reporting that as an early society changed from foraging to settlement to the formation of an archaic state, religion also evolved to match the changing social structure.
This archaeological record, because of its length and completeness, sheds an unusually clear light on the origins of religion, a universal human behavior but one whose evolutionary and social roots are still not well understood.
Russian archaeologists have announced that they have found the remains of a 4,000-year-old structure that they compare to England's Stonehenge, according to recent reports issued by Pravda and Novosti, two Russian news services. If the comparison holds true, the finding suggests that both ancient European and Russian populations held similar pagan beliefs that wove celestial cycles with human and animal life.
"Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia. Scientists have found fossil skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child. The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia as recently as 13,000 years ago... Scientists have determined that the first skeleton they found belongs to a species of human completely new to science. Named Homo floresiensis, after the island on which it was found, the tiny human has also been dubbed by dig workers as the "hobbit," after the tiny creatures from the Lord of the Rings books... "To find that as recently as perhaps 13,000 years ago, there was another upright, bipedal—although small-brained—creature walking the planet at the same time as modern humans is as exciting as it was unexpected," said Peter Brown, a paleoanthropologist at the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia.
A Breif history of going
The idea that going to the beach was good for you was a creation of 18th-century Britain. Entrepreneurs keen to promote an alternative to the spa hit upon the idea that immersing people in cold salty water might be healthy. One of the first recorded bathing expeditions took to the North sea at Scarborough in 1627. A century later, a string of seaside alternatives to the spas at Bath and Buxton were well established. Before that, beaches had been regarded as hostile places, at best a working space for people who made their living from the sea: fishermen, smugglers, wreckers. Swimming for pleasure, and sunbathing, were unheard of.
The long-lost sleeping Buddha of
"We are digging... to find the greatest statue in the world." It's hard to believe that the sculpture ever went missing. According to the writings of a Chinese pilgrim who reported seeing the reclining Buddha in AD 629, it stretched 1,000 feet.
The Naked Olympics Sex,
The Naked Olympics
The President of the United
LBJ: Now the pockets, when you sit down, everything falls out, your money, your knife, everything, so I need at least another inch in the pockets. And another thing - the crotch, down where your nuts hang - is always a little too tight, so when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, uh because they cut me, it's just like riding a wire fence. These are almost, these are the best I've had anywhere in the United States,
Roma mark holocaust at Auschwitz
It is not known precisely how many Roma were killed in the Nazis' drive to wipe them from the face of the earth, but estimates say around a quarter of the million Roma living in Europe were murdered.
This doesn't necessarily justify anything,
This doesn't necessarily justify anything, but... Ancient brewery uncovered in Peru
A team of scientists from Chicago’s Field Museum in July uncovered a brewery in the mountains of southern Peru, where members of the Wari Empire made an alcoholic beerlike drink called chicha more than 1,000 years ago. It wasn’t just a mom-and-pop operation, but something that could deliver the goods when dozens, if not hundreds, of Wari decided it was chicha time.
Academy of European Medieval Martial
Timeline of invention from Wikipedia.
Timeline of invention from Wikipedia.
Start your Monday with profound
Start your Monday with profound questions: What is that thing?
Images of bizarre antiquated contraptions meet your mind and it's own images of bizarre antiquated subconscious associations.
Early American Smut The search
The search for early American erotica proved to be one of the more difficult ones, full of many trials and the occasional triumph (or titillation!). In this article, I recount my discovery of three pornographic objects lurking in Winterthur's exhibits, bookshelves, and storage vaults. In addition to providing a glimpse "into the bedrooms" of the past, these artifacts also function as instructive case studies for some of the challenges facing the modern researcher. Such challenges are by no means unique to Winterthur; but rather, stem from wider historical phenomena, museum practices, and moral and aesthetic biases–all of which have affected the study of erotic materials.
Maya culture 'ahead of its
Elaborate ritual objects and carved masks have been uncovered in the ancient ruins of a city in Guatemala. Exploration of the 2,000-year-old site has caused archaeologists to question the established chronology of the enigmatic Maya civilisation.
3-D Models of Egyptian Antiquities
Dig discovery is oldest 'pet
The oldest known evidence of people keeping cats as pets may have been discovered by archaeologists. The discovery of a cat buried with what could be its owner in a Neolithic grave on Cyprus suggests domestication of cats had begun 9,500 years ago.
Ancient Indians made 'rock music'
Archaeologists have rediscovered a huge rock art site in southern India where ancient people used boulders to make musical sounds in rituals.
Eternal Egypt [via dangerous meta]
Eternal Egypt [via dangerous meta]
At first slightly confusing, this website guides you through the types and histories of Egyptian artifacts.
Origins of Valentine's Day
Against All Odds The first
The first great human-rights campaign -- the movement to end slavery in the British Empire -- had no business succeeding. But the legacy of its extraordinary achievement lives on today.
Nearly 2000 years ago a
Nearly 2000 years ago a young Roman soldier wrote home, asking his father's permission to marry his girlfriend. In another letter, he asks for boots and socks to keep his feet warm during a cold winter.
Harmonia Macrocosmica, a seventeenth century
Harmonia Macrocosmica, a seventeenth century "atlas of the heavens" with all of the original images, via plep.
'Historic find' is old garden
Experts called in to examine a rocks unearthed during a garden makeover were convinced they had found a unique Viking settlement.
Eleventh hour stories: a project
Eleventh hour stories: a project to gather true tales of war from the past 100 years from civilians, soldiers and veterans: " The telling and the receiving of these stories are activities that say: 'This must stop here and now.'"
Ivory bird displays ancient
A sculpted piece of mammoth ivory may be the earliest representation of a bird in the archaeological record.
Which Historical Lunatic Are You?From
December 7 in history. I'm
December 7 in history. I'm getting old enough to remember what seems like centuries of December 7ths. :)
Neanderthal 'face' found in Loire
Utopian Socieites in America. "...a
Utopian Socieites in America.
"...a group of people who are attempting to establish a new social pattern based upon a vision of the ideal society and who have withdrawn themselves from the community at large to embody that vision in experimental form."
Thanks to Plep!
An astute info purveyor on
An astute info purveyor on MeFi brings us this wonderful arachaic list of Occupations. SLUBBER DOFFERS, unite!
Reclaiming the Ancient Manuscripts of
Since the 12th century, accompanying the camel caravans rode the intrepid scholars of Islamic learning, bringing with them over time hundreds of thousands of manuscripts. These bound texts highlighted the great teachings of Islam during the Middle Ages. These sacred manuscripts covered an array of subjects: astronomy, medicine, mathematics, chemistry, judicial law, government, and Islamic conflict resolution. Islamic study during this period of human history, when the intellectual evolution had stalled in the rest of Europe was growing, evolving, and breaking new ground in the fields of science, mathematics, astronomy, law, and philosophy within the Muslim world.
Where my arrow falls... Robin
Where my arrow falls...
The bones of legendary outlaw Robin Hood may have been dug up in the mid-18th Century, according to a history buff.
The beautiful and complex culture
The beautiful and complex culture of the Dogon tribe of Mali... they may have had advanced astronomical knowledge long before their European counterparts. Particularly, their tribe has had a long mystical association with Sirius, leading some to speculate that their ideas had phenomenal roots. Regardless of the mystery, the tribe is also well known for it's amazing masks and intricate art.
Stonehenge Sensation - Scanning Reveals
Using laser scanning technology to study Europe’s most famous ancient monument, a team of computer experts and archaeologists has discovered carvings of two axe heads on Stonehenge.
Ancient carved 'faces' found A
A keen-eyed archaeologist claims to have found some of the oldest artwork ever - carved faces 200,000 years old.
We Are All Africans "These
"These samples showed really deep, old lineages with lots of genetic diversity," Tishkoff says. "They are the oldest lineages identified to date. And that fact makes it highly likely that 'Eve' was an East or Northeast African. My guess is that the region of Ethiopia or the Sudan is where modern humans originated."
The court jester in
What do the Great Wall
Crossposted to MeFi
Amazonian find stuns researchers Deep
Amazonian find stuns researchers Deep in the Amazon forest of Brazil, archaeologists have found a network of 1,000-year-old towns and villages that refutes two long-held notions: that the pre-Columbian tropical rain forest was a pristine environment that had not been altered by humans, and that the rain forest could not support a complex, sophisticated society.
The following was written two years ago, as a statement to be red on my radio show following the attacks. Through no effort of my own, it wound up being published in three newspapers and subsequently read on two radio stations, which was something very odd. I was honored to have contributed some words for the cause of peace...
Sept. 11th, 2001:
The world as we know it is now a different place. It matters not what our political, religious or philosophical affinities may be, we now are engaged in a new paradigm of interactions. It matters not where in the world we are, we are now engaged in a new paradigm of citizenship. Exactly what that will herald for ourselves, and the global community, is now up to each one of us.
The power of individual conscience is more powerful than a government. This was proven in the darkest of ways by the events yesterday. Individual will surpassed the ability of a government to be informed of threats to our collective security. However, there exists the greatest possibility yet that we can prove the power of conscience in the brightest and best of ways as well. In small steps, we have gotten in line to demonstrate the positive power of individual will. So many of us in this area and across the nation have donated blood, food, and their own time and resources to the victims of this event. So many of us have gathered together, to share tears and prayers and to expand our empathy and sympathy to surround those most directly devastated by these actions. Our gatherings and our determination to help could be evidence of an important rekindling of compassion in America. If we can hold onto this momentum, responding by love to the attacks rather than hate, it could be a great evolutionary step ahead for humanity.
The instinctual, automatic desire for revenge has arisen everywhere; in the media, online, in lines at the supermarket, across the bar and over the counters of coffeeshops. No one is immune to feeling, at least for an instant, this primal urge. And this urge need not be useless to the pacifist nor useless to the nationalist. The middle path between them, in this case, is justice. We can seek knowledge of what happened, and knowledge of those responsible, and from them, once determined guilty, exact a punishment that properly and legally fits the crime. It is not a time to shed any more innocent blood, anywhere. It is not a time for bombs or bullets indiscriminately taking the lives and livelihood of those not involved. It is a time of accountability and answers, but we should not allow these needs to be addressed in such a way that is only serves to continue and escalate a culture of violence and death that has dominated the global dynamic.
We should seek justice and truth, but with restraint. We have a choice, and a voice, in how our nation, and the world, moves forward. We have shown in great numbers, our charity and compassion. So with the same hand that we show goodwill to those tragically affected by this event, we should show a civilized resolve to act without war or an attitude of warfare. For that attitude only perpetuates the same result, over and over. Throughout history, warfare has begotten warfare. We have not yet chosen to break the cycle, perhaps due to our strong instinctual urge to vengeance. But as our world has so suddenly changed today, on a geopolitical level, we can change it yet again but this time for the best. We can choose to answer the global culture of violence and death with a new global culture that venerates all life and uses love as the primary energy from which we act.
So let us not let the deaths of thousands yesterday be in vain. Let us be called into service to answer the highest hopes and potentials of humanity in this dark time. Let us bring forth the light... by seeking justice without war, by venerating all human life, and withholding from the temptation to judge others without due cause. Let us withhold from judging a person’s religion, their philosophy, their race or their nationality but let us look instead at actions. Let our hope for humanity and for resolution encompass all humanity... let all possible resolutions be explored which do not turn the wheel of fate from one battle to another, but from one understanding to another. We can evolve, in our own way, the global dialogue, right now. Our pain does not need to be infectious, it does not need to go beyond our borders and cause pain to others to satisfy our primal urges for retaliation. Instead, let a new urge for global justice and human rights be revealed in every action we take. Finally, let us hold tight to freedom and liberty in the highest embodiment, which calls us to seek freedom and liberty for every being in every nation on earth.
Feast of history found No
Feast of history found No one tidied up afterwards, which was fortunate, because the remains of the ancient Gallic feasts were still in Le Puy de Corent, in the central Auvergne region, when the site was searched by archaeologists led by Matthieu Poux.
Ancient stone circle discovered An
Ancient stone circle discovered An ancient stone circle, buried for thousands of years, has been uncovered by archaeologists at a site in the Outer Hebrides. Experts say the discovery is second in importance only to Stonehenge.
Mongolia's cult of the great
Mongolia's cult of the great Khan Bursting on stage in the middle of the national stadium is the unmistakable figure of Genghis Khan, the Mongol warrior who built a vast 13th Century empire.
Cultural history of the night
Cultural history of the night Festive and frightening: In history, nocturnal urban darkness was the norm
Underwater, an account of the
Underwater, an account of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtse.
Watching the river rise is like tracking the progress of the clock’s short hand: it’s all but imperceptible. There is no visible current, no sound of rushing water—but at the end of every hour another half foot has been gained. The movement seems to come from within, and to some degree it is mysterious to every living thing on the shrinking banks.
All about the Cathars. All
Cave that time forgot Only
Cave that time forgot Only a chance discovery by bushwalkers in 1995 revealed the 203 striking examples of Aboriginal rock art – from hands stencilled in a vivid red ochre to half-human, half-kangaroo creatures.
Stonehenge riddle 'solved.' It's a
Stonehenge riddle 'solved.' It's a girl Stonehenge is a massive female fertility symbol, according to Canadian researchers who think they have finally solved the mystery of the ancient monument in southern England.
Found and lost: "The discovery
Found and lost: "The discovery of the Tasaday people in the Filipino jungles generated much-needed good news for the Marcos administration, but was it all a hoax?
The Inca may have used
The Inca may have used a form of binary communication not unlike today's computer code.
Victorian Visions of the Year
Victorian Visions of the Year 2000
Nefertiti mummy 'found in Egypt'"Scientists
Nefertiti mummy 'found in Egypt'"Scientists in Egypt say they may have discovered the mummy of Queen Nefertiti, one of the most famous figures of ancient Egypt."
All about Sumer
All about Sumer
contained within this website, excluding external links and items listed
are Copyright 2005 by theodore "jay" joslin and joyous jostling studios. Thank you, Wanderer, for All.
i am jay joslin: a spirit-fed mountain hopping lover of everything, an ordained lefty-veggie-homo, and bon-vivant go-go dancing with all the messenger mockingbirds of morning.
Progressive Voice of the Mountains
Free Radio Asheville
Eclectic Music for Mountain Folks
(see rights notice at bottom)
Keep it even,
"Not all who wander
You contain everything
Everything contains you
If you desire the Infinite,
look no further than the window.
Ten Considerations for Being Well n this Goofy Universe
0. If you find yourself
wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor. 1. Always be of service to
the whole and the Holy. You’ll find that the Holy will reciprocate by being
of service to your becoming Whole. 2. You will be called upon
to use your mind and your vision in ways I cannot possibly glimpse. Never
turn down an offer to shine that light so uniquely yours to help others in
their darkness, and you’ll find that when it’s your turn to be in the night
that there’ll be someone along the way who happens to have a little glow to
share . 3. The rewards of being
true to yourself are infinite, even when outwardly your efforts are met
with nothing. 4. You’ll also see that
knowledge and wisdom will come from within yourself through your own
struggle and curiosity... your loved ones may guide you to insight, but
yours is the power to choose it. 5. You’ll find that some of
your choices could’ve been better, or at times were downright stupid. That’s
okay... I have a closet full of reckless decisions, but without making them
I wouldn’t have the slightest idea of what a good one might feel like if I
tried it on. 6. Your growth will be a
mysterious, comic, ecstatic and sometimes scary ride, and I pray that you
strive to savor each minute of it, even the most difficult or embarrassing
minutes. Don’t count on second chances. 7. In those times when
everything collapses around you, and what’s left won’t go right, don’t
forget your chances of being alive in this solar system, in this galaxy, are
a little on the slim side. So slim in fact that it could be called a miracle
to breathe this air, drink this water, and have whet ever predicament you’re
having no matter how you shake, rattle and roll it. So go with the cosmic
flow and always choose something over nothing, while remembering that
there’s a little of each one hidden in both. 8. Respond as best as you
can with love to adversity rather than reacting with fear... Love, in any
situation and being the primordial source and essence of ALL THIS STUFF,
leaves / enters us with the most possible ways out / in. 9. Whatever you’re doing,
celebrate the process of doing as much, if not more, than what you’ve got
when you’re done. Magic lives in the action. 9 ½ . All matter is energy.
All energy is infinite. We are but raindrops falling to the ocean, a short
time in this shape until we’re reunited with the expanse from which we came.
Your delicate yet sturdy, resilient body is a temporary shelter of energy
that has swam the universe eternally and will continue eternally. You are a
sudden crystallization of the infinite. One must ask themself, therefore,
why be bored? 9 3/4 . Choosing to live in
the moment is courageous but becomes effortless once you begin...feeling
obligated to survive in the past or future is dangerous and is difficult to
continue. It’s one of the few risks I’d recommend not taking, right up there
with trusting icons and shrugging off coincidences. 10. The Universe itself it
not confusing, we humans just like it that way. Do frogs seem bewildered ,
butterflies befuddled and amoebas addled? Nope, just us, my child. So,
whenever things just don’t make sense, just take a deep breath and laugh as
best you can, because that’s what you get for choosing this goofy,
unpredictable place called Earth to embody yourself upon.
0. If you find yourself wonderstruck, don’t forget to return the favor.