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Friday, 29 March 2013

Bits of the past - old theories get hurt, 2013

First, take a look on this awesome video of digs in Georgia which suggest humans remains millions of years old!
Another a must-see video is Rajesh Rao: A Rosetta Stone for the Indus script - a very good explanation of recent finding that the script is actually a written language. I support their hypothesis and I think the way they use entropy in languages is absolutely cool.
  1. Bulgarian Archaeologists Uncover Story of Ancient Thracians' War with Philip II of Macedon 
  2. Breeding with Neanderthals helped humans go global 
  3. Tsunamis buried the cult site on the Peloponnese 
  4. Human evolution 'could have happened outside Africa too', claim scientists as ancient tooth is found in Bulgarian quarry 
  5. A meeting of civilisations: The mystery of China's celtic mummies 
  6. Archaeologist investigates legend of mythical ruler of ancient Peru 
  7. New evidence supporting theory of extraterrestrial impact found
  8. Iberian paintings are Europe's oldest cave art, uranium-series dating study confirms 
  9. Cows Almost Impossible To Domesticate, DNA Reveals

Bulgarian Archaeologists Uncover Story of Ancient Thracians' War with Philip II of Macedon

June 21, 2011
Bulgarian archaeologists have made crucial discoveries at the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom, the state of the most powerful tribe of Ancient Thrace, including details about its sacking by the troops of Philip II of Macedon. The residence is located on the Kozi Gramadi mount in the Sredna Gora mountain, in the village of Starosel, in central Bulgaria.

Not unlike the facade of the building uncovered in 2005, the northeastern wall is made with "perfectly prepared stone blocks with encarved decorations." The building is believed to have hosted the treasury of the Odrysian rulers. It was erected by Ancient Greek architects between 354 BC and 342 BC, which is also when the Thracian kings' residence is dated, during the rule of Odrysian king Teres II (351 BC-341 BC).

It is believed that this is the spot through which the troops of Philip II of Macedon broke into the fortress and captured the residence of the Thracian kings because the archaeologists have found evidence of severe destruction and damage caused by attacks on the fortress wall and the tower.source
My comment: More
Archaeology: New Thracian grave found in northeastern Bulgaria ,
Archaeology: 7500-year-old skeleton found in northeastern Bulgaria,
Bulgarian Archaeologists Find Iron Labrys at Ancient Thracian Kings' Residence-
Bulgarian archaeologists have dug up an iron labrys, a ceremonial doubleheaded ax, at the residence of the rulers of the Odrysian Kingdom, the state of the most powerful tribe of Ancient Thrace, located at the mount of Kozi Gramadi.
Hristov explained the labrys as a term in the Ancient Greek mythology was popular as the doubleheaded ax of Zeus Labraundos, a statue of a standing Zeus with the tall lotus-tipped scepter upright in his left hand and the double-headed axe, the labrys, over his right shoulder, in the mountains near the coast of Caria in Asia Minor. The first images of labrys appeared in the 2nd millenium BC.
For the first time in the Balkans, the labrys appeared as a ruler's symbol on the bronze coins of the Odrysian king Amatokos at the end of 5th century BC. The labrys is also visible on the coin stamps of ther Ancient Thracian rulers such Amatokos the Senior and Teres II.

Going underground: The massive European network of Stone Age tunnels that weaves from Scotland to Turkey -
Stone Age man created a massive network of underground tunnels criss-crossing Europe from Scotland to Turkey, a new book on the ancient superhighways has claimed. German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kusch said evidence of the tunnels has been found under hundreds of Neolithic settlements all over the continent.

In his book - Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World - he claims the fact that so many have survived after 12,000 years shows that the original tunnel network must have been enormous.
My comment: See pix on the source page! Amazing!

Breeding with Neanderthals helped humans go global

16 June 2011 by Michael Marshall
WHEN the first modern humans left Africa they were ill-equipped to cope with unfamiliar diseases. But by interbreeding with the local hominins, it seems they picked up genes that protected them and helped them eventually spread across the planet.
The publication of the Neanderthal genome last year offered proof that Homo sapiens bred with Neanderthals after leaving Africa. There is also evidence that suggests they enjoyed intimate relations with other hominins including the Denisovans, a species identified last year from a Siberian fossil.

Peter Parham of Stanford University focused on human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), a family of about 200 genes that is essential to our immune system. The humans that left Africa probably carried only a limited number of HLA alleles as they likely travelled in small groups.

When Parham compared the HLA genes of people from different regions of the world with the Neanderthal and Denisovan HLAs, he found evidence that non-African humans picked up new alleles from the hominins they interbred with.

One allele, HLA-C*0702, is common in modern Europeans and Asians but never seen in Africans; Parham found it in the Neanderthal genome, suggesting it made its way into H. sapiens of non-African descent through interbreeding. HLA-A*11 had a similar story: it is mostly found in Asians and never in Africans, and Parham found it in the Denisovan genome, again suggesting its source was interbreeding outside of Africa.
 sourceMy comment: This article is particularly important, since there is some kind of resistence to the idea that H. Sapiens interbred with the other hominids. I personally can't undestand waht is the problem with this, however obviously it hurts the egos of some archaeologists. From this article, it is clear that there are genetic evidences we interbred with them and that's it.

Tsunamis buried the cult site on the Peloponnese

July 11, 2011
Olympia, site of the famous Temple of Zeus and original venue of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, was presumably destroyed by repeated tsunamis that travelled considerable distances inland, and not by earthquake and river floods as has been assumed to date. Evidence in support of this new theory on the virtual disappearance of the ancient cult site on the Peloponnesian peninsula comes from Professor Dr. Andreas Vött of the Institute of Geography of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany.
Vött investigated the site as part of a project in which he and his team are studying the paleotsunamis that occurred along the coastlines of the eastern Mediterranean over the last 11,000 years. According to his account, the geomorphological and sedimentological findings in the area document that Olympia and its environs were destroyed by tsunami impact. The site of Olympia, rediscovered only some 250 years ago, was buried under a massive layer of sand and other deposits that is up to 8 meters deep.
My comment: Tsunamies deep inland...reminds you of Atlantis, doesn't it?
Peking man differing from modern humans in brain asymmetry

Human evolution 'could have happened outside Africa too', claim scientists as ancient tooth is found in Bulgarian quarry

By Rob Waugh, 12th January 2012
Most scientists believe that human beings evolved in Africa. But researchers from the University of Tubingen in Germany believe that our ancestry might be more complicated - and significant parts of human evolution might have happened in Europe and Western Asia.
The new theory comes after the discovery of an ape's tooth in Bulgaria - dating two million years after the 'pre-humans' were thought to have died out in Europe. The seven-million-year-old tooth shows that the pre-human had evolved to eat a European diet of grasses, seeds and nuts, rather than fruit. This suggested that it adapted to a change in its surroundings in order to survive. Researchers from the University of Tubingen in Germany said the ape's diet was similar to that of African hominids, which only disappeared four million years ago.
sourceMy comment: Another evidences against the well-established theory of human evolution out of Africa. Yet, even though this news dates 2 years ago, people still resist and still find new ways of saying no, we evolved from Africa, we never interbred with other hominids and our species are "pure-blood". Yeah, right!

A meeting of civilisations: The mystery of China's celtic mummies

Solid as a warrior of the Caledonii tribe, the man's hair is reddish brown flecked with grey, framing high cheekbones, a long nose, full lips and a ginger beard. When he lived three thousand years ago, he stood six feet tall, and was buried wearing a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. He looks like a Bronze Age European. In fact, he's every inch a Celt. Even his DNA says so.

But this is no early Celt from central Scotland. This is the mummified corpse of Cherchen Man, unearthed from the scorched sands of the Taklamakan Desert in the far-flung region of Xinjiang in western China. DNA testing confirms that he and hundreds of other mummies found in Xinjiang's Tarim Basin are of European origin.
The burial sites of Cherchen Man and his fellow people were marked with stone structures that look like dolmens from Britain, ringed by round-faced, Celtic figures, or standing stones. Among their icons were figures reminiscent of the sheela-na-gigs, wild females who flaunted their bodies and can still be found in mediaeval churches in Britain.
The Celts gradually infiltrated Britain between about 500 and 100BC. The eastern Celts spoke a now-dead language called Tocharian, which is related to Celtic languages and part of the Indo-European group. They seem to have been a peaceful folk, as there are few weapons among the Cherchen find and there is little evidence of a caste system.
Best preserved of all the corpses is Yingpan Man, known as the Handsome Man, a 2,000-year-old Caucasian mummy discovered in 1995. He had a gold foil death mask - a Greek tradition - covering his blond, bearded face, and wore elaborate golden embroidered red and maroon wool garments with images of fighting Greeks or Romans. Currently on display at a museum in Tokyo, the handsome Yingpan man was two metres tall (six feet six inches), and pushing 30 when he died. source
My comment: What strikes me is that they never say that the DNA proves he's Celtic. They say the DNA proves he's of European origin. Which is quite different statement. Those people could very well be Thracians, since we know from the Thracians legends, that there was at least one march East, going as far as India. Not to mention that Celts did live on the Balkans for about 100 years, so maybe they shared some kind of past with Thracians. Of course, I can't claim those mummies are Thracians, but the last guy, with the golden mask, hell, yes. I mean, we have discovered such masks in Bulgaria. Don't know if it is a Greek tradition, especially since for Western authors, everything on the Balkans should be Greek, even though Greece didn't exist back then AT ALL! But if certainly looks so.

Archaeologist investigates legend of mythical ruler of ancient Peru 

Among the most colorful of these stories was the legend of Naymlap, the fearless founder of a centuries-old dynasty that supposedly ruled the Lambayeque Valley in northern Peru.

As the legend goes, Naymlap arrived with a vast fleet of balsa rafts carrying an entourage that included a chief wife and many concubines. He also brought with him an idol made of green stone, and he built a palace where it was installed.

Throughout Naymlap’s long reign, the tale continued, people enjoyed peace until his death, kept secret by his attendants who buried him in the same room where he had lived.

Instead, Donnan and his UCLA team of students and fellow archaeologists found a wealth of ceramics, burials, colorful wall murals and other materials in an area that once was the location of domestic dwellings, pyramids, palace complexes, walled enclosures and a room-filled site they dubbed the “Artisans Quadrangle,” a place where metalworking took place.

In other words, the archaeologist said, “What we found was perfectly in keeping with the legend.”

“It’s a wonderful story,” said Donnan of the legend that ends nine generations later with the fall of Fempellec, the last in the line of Naymlap’s successors. Fempellec apparently tried to move the green idol out of the palace but was intercepted by the devil, who appeared to him in the form of a beautiful seductress. With the consummation of their union, a terrible rain began to fall, flooding the valley for 30 days, followed by a year of famine and sterility. Irate vassals captured Fempellec, tied his feet and hands, and threw him into the Pacific Ocean, bringing to a close the dynasty that Naymlap founded.

Radio carbon measurements set the date of the earliest construction at around 650-700 A.D. source
My comment: I cite this article here, because of the story of the green idol which struck down the person who tried to move it. That's quite similar to the story of the ark of the covenant in the Bible. Curious, huh?

New evidence supporting theory of extraterrestrial impact found

June 11, 2012
An 18-member international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of earth science at UC Santa Barbara, has discovered melt-glass material in a thin layer of sedimentary rock in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria. According to the researchers, the material –– which dates back nearly 13,000 years –– was formed at temperatures of 1,700 to 2,200 degrees Celsius (3,100 to 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit), and is the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth.
These new data are the latest to strongly support the controversial Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) hypothesis, which proposes that a cosmic impact occurred 12,900 years ago at the onset of an unusual cold climatic period called the Younger Dryas. This episode occurred at or close to the time of major extinction of the North American megafauna, including mammoths and giant ground sloths; and the disappearance of the prehistoric and widely distributed Clovis culture. The researchers' findings appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The extreme temperatures required are equal to those of an atomic bomb blast, high enough to make sand melt and boil."
The material evidence supporting the YDB cosmic impact hypothesis spans three continents, and covers nearly one-third of the planet, from California to Western Europe, and into the Middle East. The discovery extends the range of evidence into Germany and Syria, the easternmost site yet identified in the northern hemisphere. The researchers have yet to identify a limit to the debris field of the impact.
"Because these three sites in North America and the Middle East are separated by 1,000 to 10,000 kilometers, there were most likely three or more major impact/airburst epicenters for the YDB impact event, likely caused by a swarm of cosmic objects that were fragments of either a meteorite or comet," said Kennett.
My comment: So, the Earth has been struck by a swarms of objects. Hopefully the same swarm won't get at us any time soon, because we are so utterly helpless...

Cows Almost Impossible To Domesticate, DNA Reveals

Genetic evidence suggests all "taurine" cattle (the most commonly recognized breed) descend from only about 80 females and came from a single region in what is now Iran about 10,500 years ago. 

The study compared mitochondrial DNA extracted from 15 preserved ancient cattle's bones to modern cattle and found little variation. Little variation meant the founding population didn't have many different versions of the mitochondrial genes to start with.

But not all the world's mooing milk-makers have the same mom. Only the taurine cattle were domesticated in the Middle East. sourceMy comment: It would be interesting to see how this domestication is situated in time compared to the domestication of goats and sheeps which are probably much easier to domesticate. And whether they domesticated the cows for the milk, for the meat or for the force

Iberian paintings are Europe's oldest cave art, uranium-series dating study confirms

June 14, 2012
Paleolithic paintings in El Castillo cave in Northern Spain date back at least 40,800 years – making them Europe's oldest known cave art, according to new research published today in Science.
The practice of cave art in Europe thus began up to 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, indicating the paintings were created either by the first anatomically modern humans in Europe or, perhaps, by Neanderthals.
Fifty paintings in 11 caves in Northern Spain, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Altamira, El Castillo and Tito Bustillo, were dated by a team of UK, Spanish and Portuguese researchers led by Dr Alistair Pike of the University of Bristol, UK. source