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Friday, 31 October 2008

The unknown history

As you probably know, I'm very interested in alternative history. Or let's call it not alternative, but post-modern. Because alternative refers to something too crazy to be scientific, while I'm very hard on keeping the scientific approach. But the new discoveries require new thinking-something that is not always working that well or that quick in archeology.

For me we're overestimating the Semitism in history and we tend not to pay tribute to other branches of history, including other civilisations that surely existed on our Planet. An example of that is the Ind-Sarasvati culture that pre-date Sumeria. Or the Thracian culture that also pre-dates Sumeria. That's why, I'm eagerly looking for news that might shine some light into the puzzles of the Past.
Let's see what we have today:

  1. Ancient buckle may unlock mystery
  2. Archaeological find puts back settlement of Istanbul 6,000 years
  3. Mysterious Neolithic People Made Optical Art
  4. 'Devils' trails' are world's oldest human footprints
  5. Ancient bones show tuberculosis older than thought
  6. World's first dog lived 31,700 years ago, ate big
  7. Archaeologists Discover an Ancient Egyptian Temple near Pomorie
  8. Ancient Egypt had powerful Sudan rival, British Museum dig shows
Don't worry, most of them are only 2-3 paragraphs long. My comments are below them, as usual. I want to direct you to articles number 3., 4. and 7 and 8. They are the most interesting for me.

Ancient buckle may unlock mystery

Sun, 28 Sep 2008 08:56:50 GMT

An ancient belt buckle with a design of a sleeping two-hump camel has been unearthed in a 3,000-year-old cemetery in northern Iran.

Archeologists began a detailed study of the ancient buckle and its two-hump camel design soon after its discovery in the country's northern province of Mazandaran.

Since northern Iran has never been home to two-hump camels, the design on the ancient buckle suggests that the owner may not have been Iranian. It is possible that the buckle belonged to an immigrant from East Asia.

In previous excavations of the region, archeologists unearthed three skeletons with an ethnicity that differed from the native Iranian Arian race. source

My comment: It's nice to see that little by little the Arian mania is finally dissolving. I don't mind Arians since Bulgarians are thought to come from that place too (Bulg-Aria-the land of the Bulg). But as I said, I don't think one civilisation can explain all the data. And now, we see that people emigrated to Persia at some point, which means that there was another more or less equally developped society out there. Check out the last news for more.

Peru archaeologists find pre-Inca sacrificial tomb

Archaeologists in Peru say they have discovered the jawbone of a fetus among the remains of a sacrificed woman in a pre-Inca tomb, suggesting the Lambayeque culture practiced the atypical sacrifice of pregnant women and their children.

The remains of the woman and unborn child were found in a tomb with three other sacrificed women and several sacrificial llamas, lead archaeologist Carlos Wester La Torre told The Associated Press. In all, Wester La Torre’s team reported finding the remains of seven women in two tombs at the Chotuna Chornancap archaeological site, each showing signs of having been cut at the throat. The sacrifice of a pregnant woman “is very unusual” in the pre-Inca world, said respected Peruvian archaeologist Walter Alva, who was not involved in the discovery.

“The concept of fertility was well respected, so this could represent a sacrifice for a very important religious event,” he said Wednesday. Chotuna Chornancap is a sacred site of the Lambayeque culture, which flourished in northern Peru between 800 and 1350 AD.source

My comment:I also find it very weird. People usually considered pregnancy for the highest possible mistery and blessing so it's either a sacrifice for someone EXTREMELY important-which reminds me of the Bulgars tradition to sacrifice the more intelligent and beautiful people to Tangra-or we have a completely different motivation and a historical context that we clearly don't understand. In both cases, it's very curious.

Archaeological find puts back settlement of Istanbul 6,000 years

16:23 | 02/ 10/ 2008

ANKARA, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Turkish archaeologists have found artifacts showing that Istanbul, earlier believed to be founded 2,700 years ago by the Greeks as Byzantium, is 8,500 years old, local media said.

The Al-Watan newspaper said the excavations in Istanbul, which have gone on for four years, have uncovered four skeletons, as well as wooden and ceramic pieces, shedding new light on the history of the Turkish city.

The discovery was made two months ago at a depth of six meters below sea level at the site of an ancient settlement. Ismail Karamut, who directs Istanbul's Archaeological Museum, said the finding would force historians to rewrite the country's history. source

My comment: I knew Istanbul is old, but not that old. I guess the geographic position always seemed very useful to people and from here the city. It's interesting that there are few extremely old sites in Turkey. Very very interesting. Especially if you connect them with the Thracian civilisation that can be found on a hundred km distance. And that dates in approximately the same date.

Mysterious Neolithic People Made Optical Art

Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

Sept. 22, 2008 -- An egalitarian Neolithic Eden filled with unique, geometric art flourished some 7,000 years ago in Eastern Europe, according to hundreds of artifacts on display at the Vatican.

Little is known about these people -- even their name is wrapped in mystery.

Archaeologists have named them "Cucuteni-Trypillians" after the villages of Cucuteni, near Lasi, Romania and Trypillia, near Kiev, Ukraine, where the first discoveries of this ancient civilization were made more than 100 years ago.

The excavated treasures -- fired clay statuettes and op art-like pottery dating from 5000 to 3000 B.C. -- immediately posed a riddle to archaeologists.

"We do not know the meaning of those painted symbols, and what is the significance of those zoomorphic and anthropomorphic statuettes. Everything seems to be wrapped in mystery.

"Most of all, we do not know how these people treated their dead. Despite recent extensive excavations, no cemetery has ever been found," Lacramioara Stratulat, director of the Moldova National Museum Complex of Iasi, told reporters at a news conference recently at the Vatican.

Before their culture mysteriously faded, the Cucuteni-Trypillians had organized into large settlements. Predating the Sumerians and Egyptian settlements, these were basically proto-cities with buildings often arranged in concentric circles.

They extended over 350,000 square kilometers (135,000 square miles) in what is now Romania, Ukraine and Moldova.

The Neolithic buildings often featured walls and ceilings decorated with drawings painted in black and red. Inside, the houses were filled with pottery and statuettes whose quasi-modern design has become the Cucuteni-Trypillians's most identifiable trademark.

This unique artistic production, dominated by repeating lines, circles and spirals, amazingly echoes modern op art, also known as optical art, which is a genre of visual that makes use of geometric shapes and optical illusions. The unusual art offers the best glimpse into this mysterious civilization.

None of the enigmatic statuettes seem fearsome or fearful. The rare male statuettes have faces often covered by masks, while the abundant female statuettes are gracious and mask-free, with tattooed bodies and long feet.

There are no chained slaves or sacrificial figures -- a sign of a rather egalitarian culture, according to historians.

The pottery's obsessive spiral and circle patterns could also help explain another strange feature of this culture.

"We do not know why, but all of the 4,000 Cucuteni-Trypillians settlements were intentionally burned," said Sergiy Krolevets, director of the National History and Culture Museum of the Republic of Moldova.

One explanation is that the Cucuteni might have seen the world as cyclical -- a concept they might have expressed in the circles they painted on their pottery.

According to this hypothesis, every some 60-80 years they would sacrifice whole cities by intentionally burning thousands of their houses. Then they would move to create another settlement.

Whatever the reason behind it, the practice required an extremely well coordinated, centrally organized society.source

My comment: I find those guys very strange for many reasons. First, they date at the same time as the Thracians but they show completely different culture. While Thracians are known with their tombs and their gold crafts (very very beautiful artefacts, really, and stunningly sophisticated-I have seen them!), those guys don't have toms and are obsessed with spirals. Also the women are very weird-in the ancient world, most women were big, with fat legs and stomachs-they are symbols of fertility. Women with long thin legs are NO fertility related. And they don't have masks! That's very VERY strange. And notice-they lived in Romania-which is very close to Bulgarian Thracks and also from there the Bulgars came. How could there be two completely different civilisations in so close proximity?!

'Devils' trails' are world's oldest human footprints

  • 15:28 13 October 2008
  • news service
  • Catherine Brahic

It's official: the oldest human footprints ever found are 345,000 years old, give or take 6000. Known as the "devils' trails", they have been preserved in volcanic ash atop the Roccamonfina volcano in Italy.

The prints were first described to the world by Paolo Mietto and colleagues of the University of Padova in Italy in 2003 after amateur archaeologists pointed them out.

At the time, the team estimated that the prints were anywhere between 385,000 and 325,000 years old, based on when the volcano was thought to have last erupted.

Now, Stéphane Scaillet and colleagues at the Laboratory of Climatic and Environmental Sciences, France, have used argon dating techniques to verify the prints' age.

"Their more rigorous methods confirm that these are the oldest human footprints ever found," says Mietto. The new findings also confirm that the owners of the footprints were Homo heidelbergensis.

Mietto says that based on their stride, the people responsible were walking, not running. What's more, the prints are in both directions: leading to the volcano and away from it. Their owners were therefore not running away from a volcanic eruption and the prints must have been left some time after the event.

Dating experiments have not always confirmed suspicions. In 2003, a team discovered 40,000 year old footprints preserved in volcanic ash in southern Mexico. But when a separate group dated the Mexican prints using the argon technique used by Scaillet, they found that they were 1.3 million years old.

Since this was before modern humans evolved in Africa – the team concluded that they couldn't be human footsteps after all (see the very first Americans). source

My comment:Just check out the size of those footprints! They are HUGE! People claim it happens when you walk on some surfaces, like wet sand, but there is a limit in that-nothing can produce so big footprints, but a BIG foot. Very very suspicious.

Ancient bones show tuberculosis older than thought

LONDON (Reuters) – Scientists have discovered tuberculosis in 9,000 year-old human bones found submerged off Israel's coast -- evidence the disease is at least 3,000 years older than previously thought, researchers said on Wednesday.

The findings show how tuberculosis has evolved over thousands of years and provides a better understanding of ways it may change in the future, the researchers said.

"Examining ancient human remains for the markers of TB is very important because it helps to aid our understanding of prehistoric tuberculosis and how it evolved," said Mark Spigelman of University College, London, who worked on the study.

"This then helps us improve our understanding of modern TB and how we might develop more effective treatments." source

My comment: The important part is not so much about the TB, as much as for the people on who it evolved. Hmmm....

World's first dog lived 31,700 years ago, ate big

Discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years

By Jennifer Viegas
updated 2:17 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2008

An international team of scientists has just identified what they believe is the world's first known dog, which was a large and toothy canine that lived 31,700 years ago and subsisted on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, according to a new study.

The discovery could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years, since the second oldest known dog, found in Russia, dates to 14,000 years ago.

Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Paleolithic period first domesticated dogs. Fine jewelry and tools, often decorated with depictions of big game animals, characterize this culture.

If Paleolithic dogs still existed as a breed today, they would surely win best in show for strength and biting ability. source

My comment:Here you go, one more thing that is dated way into the past than thought.

Archaeologists Discover an Ancient Egyptian Temple near Pomorie

Published on: 16.10.2008, 11:34

Author: Diana Stoykova

Remains of a temple complex dedicated to the cult of Isis and Osiris were discovered in the Paleokastro region in Pomorie.

The temple dates back from the second century A.C., announced Burgasinfo

The building was built on the grounds of an ancient Thracian pagan temple, claim the archaeologists.

"There are many temples in Bulgaria, connected to Isis and Osiris, but this is the first temple complex, discovered through the means of archaeology", explains Sergey Torbanov, leader of the diggings.

During this season the main street in Anhialo was also discovered. The site of the diggings is put under security.

The artifacts, found during the working process, will be exhibited in Pomorie State Museum. source

My comment: The interesting part is that I read now a book that claims the Thracks wrote on an early Egyptian pictograms.And now we discover an Egyptian temple. It's very very odd.

Ancient Egypt had powerful Sudan rival, British Museum dig shows

The Second Kushite Kingdom controlled the whole Nile valley from Khartoum to the Mediterranean from 720BC to 660BC.

Now archaeologists have discovered that a region of northern Sudan once considered a forgotten backwater once actually "a real power-base".

They discovered a ruined pyramid containing fine gold jewellery dating from about 700BC on a remote un-navigable 100-mile stretch of the Nile known as the Fourth Cataract, plus pottery from as far away as Turkey.

Other finds included numerous examples of ancient rock art and 'musical' rocks that were tapped to create a melodic sound.

They only made the discoveries after being invited by the Sudanese authorities to help excavate part of the Merowe region, which is soon to be flooded by a large hydro-electric dam. More than 10,000 sites were found.

Historians had written off the area as being of little archaeological interest.

Dr Derek Welsby, of the British Museum, said: "We had no idea how rich the area was."

Remarkably well-preserved bodies, naturally mummified in the desert air, and a cow buried complete with eye ointment were also unearthed.

Dr Welsby said the finds revolutionised the history and geography of the Kushite kingdoms.

The First Kushite Kingdom rivalled Egypt for power between 2500BC and 1500BC, when many of Egypt's largest pyramids were built, he said.

"All our preconceptions about this being a relatively poor, inhospitable area were completely wrong," he remarked. We thought the first kingdom gradually grew over 1,000 years; now we know it happened right at the beginning, very rapidly.

"During the second kingdom we thought it was an area everybody bypassed. But finding the pyramid meant it was a real power-base. This was not a backwater, it was partaking in the major trade routes in the world."

The team was able to excavate hundreds of heavy items, including large blocks adorned with rock art and 390 stones that comprised the pyramid, with the help of trucks and cranes lent by Iveco and New Holland.

The Sudanese authorities gave 20 such blocks and musical 'rock gongs', plus pottery and jewellery to the British Museum. A selection will be put on display early next year. source

My comment: Hmm. I think that story will have to evolve more. Notice the music rocks-I never heard of something like this. That doesn't mean there weren't such rocks , just that it's weird.

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