“An influential physician and a philosopher of early Western medicine, Galen of Pergamon was the doctor of emperors and gladiators.
One of his many works, “On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs” was an important pharmaceutical text that would help educate fellow Greek-Roman doctors.
The text was translated during the 6th century into Syriac, a language that served as a bridge between Greek and Arabic and helped spread Galen’s ideas into the ancient Islamic world.
But despite the physician’s fame, the most complete surviving version of the translated manuscript was erased and written over with hymns in the 11th century – a common practice at the time.
These written-over documents are known as palimpsests.
An international team of researchers is getting a clear look at the hidden text of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest with an X-ray study at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
The early results reveal more of the original words in the underlying text, which runs perpendicular to the direction of the overlying text, enabling scholars to see more information from Galen.”
[Well done PhysOrg for bringing this story to public attention. It was the practice of Christian monks to overwrite hymns and biblical quotes onto scarce parchments irrespective of what the original ancient content was. How much wisdom from the ancient world we may have lost due to these types of practices we can only speculate about, but it must be vast…..
It’s well worth a visit to read the full long story – Ed.]
“As the earth shook and the climate swung between extremes, early humans in East Africa underwent a radical shift in cultural behaviour, according to researchers.
Archaeologists reconstructed the climate of the Olorgesailie Basin and its inhabitants’ behaviour over hundreds of thousands of years, and found the residents became better toolmakers and trade partners when the going got tough.
Not only did the teams unearth the earliest evidence of pigment use so far, they found sophisticated tools made of materials that were sourced from outside the area.
This happens to be around the time anatomically modern Homo sapiens appear in the fossil record.”
[Read The Full Story]
[This is an excellent story from ABC Science in Australia! Yet again we have an instance where good research has shown that the appearance of what is termed earl-modern humans appear many hundreds of millennia before the current wisdom says it should be. It’s well worth a visit to read the full story and follow the many links in the text – Ed.]
“A red hand stencil. A series of lines that look like a ladder. A collection of red dots.
These images, painted in ochre on the walls of three separate caves in Spain, are the oldest-known examples of cave art ever found.
And new research suggests that all three were created not by humans, but by our ancient cousins the Neanderthals.
In a paper published recently in Science, an international team of archaeologists shows that each of the three paintings was executed at least 64,000 years ago – more than 20,000 years before the first modern humans arrived in Europe.
‘This work confirms that Neanderthals were indeed using cave walls for depicting drawings that had meaning for them’, said Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands who was not involved in the study.
‘It also means that our own group, the one we call anatomically modern humans, is maybe not so special.'”
[This story in the Sentinel Source complements earlier reports of these findings, and again shows how sophisticated the Neanderthals were.
Doubtless we will hear in the future about the possible link between them and certain megalithic structures wrongly dated due to inferred association with nearby datable organic debris and artifacts. Stone is impossible to date in traditional ways, and too heavy for modern humans to have easily manipulated, but Neanderthals may have found it easy. They were sophisticated enough!
It’s well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“The world’s oldest known cave art was crafted by Neanderthals more than 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe, showing that our extinct cousins were capable of symbolic thinking just like us, international researchers said Thursday.
The report in the journal Science is based on new technology that reveals the most accurate age yet of ancient cave paintings at three different archeological sites in Spain.
‘This is an incredibly exciting discovery which suggests Neanderthals were much more sophisticated than is popularly believed’, said co-lead author Chris Standish, an archaeologist at the University of Southampton.
‘Our results show that the paintings we dated are, by far, the oldest known cave art in the world.’
Since they were created some 64,000 years ago — at least 20,000 years before modern humans arrived in Europe from Africa — ‘they must have been painted by Neanderthals’, he added.”
[An excellent story from Sin Chew. In recent years it has become evident that Neanderthals were nowhere near the brutish, short-lived people they have been portrayed as by mainstream archaeology over the past 100 years and more. It’s well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“Researchers recently used DNA from the 10,000-year-old ‘Cheddar Man’, one of Britain’s oldest skeletons, to unveil what the first inhabitants of what now is Britain actually looked like.
But this isn’t the first time DNA from old skeletons has provided intriguing findings about our ancestors.
Archaeologists have known for some time that modern humans and Neanderthals lived together in Europe and Asia, but until recently the nature of their cohabitation was unknown.
In fact, after the first full Neanderthal mitochondrial genome (DNA located in the cell’s mitochondria) was sequenced in 2008, there was still uncertainty among both archaeologists and geneticists as to whether humans interbred with our closest relative.
When the full genome of a Neanderthal was sequenced in 2010, comparisons with modern human DNA showed that all non-African people have pieces of Neanderthal DNA in their genomes.
This could have occurred if humans and Neanderthal had interbred around just 50,000 years ago, a result that was confirmed a few years later.”
[A really intriguing story from Yahoo News Canada, though what they actually mean by ‘…all non-African people…’ is something even more intriguing considering mainstream archaeologists have told us we all came from African stock originally.
Even so, advances in DNA sequencing has opened up a whole aspect of prehistoric research, and we are consequently getting a clearer picture of our ancient past. It’s well worth a visit to read the full story, and do follow all the links in the text – Ed.]
“The discovery of a burial containing 8,000-year-old battered human skulls, including two that still have pointed wooden stakes through them, has left archaeologists baffled, according to a new study from Sweden.
It’s hard to make heads or tails of the finding: During the Stone Age, the grave would have sat at the bottom of a small lake, meaning that the skulls would have been placed underwater.
Moreover, of the remains of at least 11 adults placed on top of the grave, only one had a jawbone, the researchers said.
The burial did contain other jawbones, although none of them, except for an infant’s, were human.
While excavating the site, archaeologists found various animal bones, including dismembered jawbones and arms and legs (all from the right side of the body), said study co-lead researcher Fredrik Hallgren, an archaeologist at the Cultural Heritage Foundation in Västerås, Sweden.”
[What an amazing story from Live Science! That these heads were originally buried underwater, at the bottom of a small lake, makes the find all the more intriguing. Many votive offerings were made into lakes in celtic lands, but this is indeed the strangest I’ve encountered. It’s well worth a visit to read the full story, see the diagrams and follow links to images of the skulls – Ed.]
“A huge find in India may have tremendous implications as far as our understanding of mankind’s migration out of Africa, and it certainly challenges prevailing theories in the scientific community.
Scientists found stone tools that were dated to about 385,000 yrs ago in the Tamil Nadu region of India.
That is a big deal because current scientific consensus holds that modern humans brought these tools to India less than 140,000 years ago.
The tools were found at Attirampakkam, a site near a stream of the Kortallaiyar River where scientists were able to find lots of stone tools from various settlements, perhaps stretching back to colonies of apes that lived there 1.7 million years ago.
If confirmed, it would mean either that humans in India developed stone tools on their own without the help of a more advanced group of hominins migrating out of Africa, or that those early humans migrated out of Africa far earlier than we realized.”
[A really good story showing, once again, that mainstream archaeological theories are being challenged by new discoveries which show them to be simply presumptions. Not a long story but worth a visit to read it in full – Ed.]
“Archaeologists in northwest China’s Shaanxi Province have unearthed the ruins of a government office building, which was believed to be a musical department of the Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C.).
The ruins, 110 meters long and 19.5 meters wide, were composed of four rooms of equal area, with clay walls of around 3 meters thick, said Zhang Yanglizheng, assistant researcher with the provincial research institute of archaeology.
In addition to architecture materials, such as tiles and bricks, pieces of stone chimes, a percussion instrument in ancient China, were found in the ruins excavated in Xixian New Area.
Xu Weihong, excavation team leader of the institute, said 23 pieces of the chime debris were found with inscriptions saying ‘beigongyuefu’, meaning ‘musical department of the north palace’.”
[What an amazing discovery! A whole musical department as part of government 2,200 years ago. Well done XinhuaNet for reporting this really important discovery. Further analysis of the site and artifacts found will doubtless show another sophisticated society in China in ancient times. It is well worth reading the full story and seeing the many pages of images of the excavation and finds – Ed.]
“An ancient heap of shells at Sakatsuji Shell Midden in the city of Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, most likely served as a clam-processing site in the latter half of the mid-Jomon Period, approximately 4,500 years ago, an investigation conducted by the city’s board of education has revealed.
While there are ruins in eastern Japan that indicate organized production during the mid-Jomon Period – including the Nakazato shell midden, or mound, which is a national historic site in Tokyo’s Kita Ward – it is extremely rare to find one in the Chubu region or further west.
This latest discovery will provide important clues about the culinary lifestyle and economic activities conducted in the Jomon Period.”
[An interesting report on the discovery of a seafood shell midden in Japan showing that, like their counterparts on the northwest Pacific coast of America, the ancient Japanese peoples of the Jomon period were expert at foraging and processing seafood. It may well be that they were also building ‘clam gardens’ and cultivating them, as did the NW Pacific coastal peoples in the US. I wholely recommend reading the full story – Ed.]
“More than 4,000 years ago builders carved out the entire surface of a naturally pyramid-shaped promontory on the Greek island of Keros.
They shaped it into terraces covered with 1,000 tonnes of specially imported gleaming white stone to give it the appearance of a giant stepped pyramid rising from the Aegean: the most imposing manmade structure in all the Cyclades archipelago.
But beneath the surface of the terraces lay undiscovered feats of engineering and craftsmanship to rival the structure’s impressive exterior.
Archaeologists from three different countries involved in an ongoing excavation have found evidence of a complex of drainage tunnels – constructed 1,000 years before the famous indoor plumbing of the Minoan palace of Knossos on Crete – and traces of sophisticated metalworking.”
[Another great story from Maev Kennedy at The Guardian. This ‘pyramid’ must really have been an imposing site in the sunshine from many miles around. It’s well worth reading the full article and seeing the images of the site and findings – Ed.]
“In early November 2017, Nature published the results of the Scan Pyramids project, led by Mehdi Tayoubi (Hip Institute, Paris) and Kunihiro Morishima (University of Nagoya, Japan): there is a ‘huge void’, at least 30 meters long, within the Pyramid of Cheops.
Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano, has formulated one of the first hypotheses of interpretation.
‘Cheop’s Pyramid, built around 2550 BC, is one of the largest and most complex monuments in the history of architecture. Its internal rooms are accessible through narrow tunnels, one of which, before arriving at the funerary chamber, widens and rises suddenly forming the so-called Great Gallery.’
The newly discovered room is over this gallery, but does not have a practical function of ‘relieving weight’ from it, because the roof of the gallery itself was already built with a corbelled technique for this very reason.’ So what does that mean?
“There is a possible interpretation, which is in good agreement with what we know about the Egyptian funerary religion as witnessed in the Pyramids Texts. In these texts it is said that the pharaoh, before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the ‘gates of the sky’ and sit on his ‘throne of iron’.
We can get an idea of how this object could be, looking at the throne of Cheop’s mother, Queen Hetepheres, which has been found in pieces and reconstructed by Harward University. It is a low chair of cedar wood covered with sheets of gold and faience.
Cheops’ could be similar, but coated with thin iron sheets. Of course it would not be melted iron, but meteoritic iron that is, fallen from the sky in the form of Iron meteorites (distinguishable due to the high percentage of the element Nickel) and again cited in the Texts.
It is certain that the Egyptians knew this material for many centuries before Cheops, and continued to use it for special items designed for the Pharaohs during millennia: just think of the famous Tutankamon dagger.”
[A really great story in Popular Archaeology showing the analysis of archaeoastronomer Guilio Magli regarding the ‘void’ discovered in the Great Pyramid.
That meteoritic iron was sacred to the ancient Egyptians is well known, as he points out, and it’s possible use as a chair from which the pharaoh could reach the stars by passing the ‘gates of the sky’ and sit on his ‘throne of iron’ is a likely interpretation. It’s well worth reading the full article – Ed.]
“Despite broad agreement that the Americas were initially populated via Beringia, the land bridge that connected far northeast Asia with northwestern North America during the Pleistocene epoch, when and how the peopling of the Americas occurred remains unresolved.
Analyses of human remains from Late Pleistocene Alaska are important to resolving the timing and dispersal of these populations.
The remains of two infants were recovered at Upward Sun River (USR), and have been dated to around 11.5 thousand years ago (ka).
Here, by sequencing the USR1 genome to an average coverage of approximately 17 times, we show that USR1 is most closely related to Native Americans, but falls basal to all previously sequenced contemporary and ancient Native Americans.
As such, USR1 represents a distinct Ancient Beringian population.”
[A really great and interesting study published in Nature which brings us a step or more closer to understanding the details of how and when North America was populated by humans. It’s well worth reading the full abstract, and the full paper is available for a fee. The references are given and it’s well worth following the links – Ed.]
[In October 1900, Captain Dimitrious Kondos was leading a team of sponge divers near the the island of Antikythera off the coast of Greece. They noticed a shipwreck about 180 feet below the surface and began to investigate. Amongst the artifacts that they brought up was a coral-encrusted piece of metal that later archaeologists found was some sort of gear wheel.
The rest of the artifacts, along with the shape of the boat, suggested a date around 2000 years ago, which made the find one of the most anomalous that had ever been recovered from the Greek seas. It became known as The Antikythera Mechanism.
In 2006 the journal “Nature” published a letter, and another paper about the mechanism was published in 2008, detailing the findings of Prof. Mike G. Edmunds of Cardiff University. Using high-resolution X-ray tomography to study the fragments of the anomalous Antikythera Mechanism, they found that it was in fact a bronze mechanical analog computer that could be used to calculate the astronomical positions and various cycles of the Moon – as seen from the Earth: – Ed]
Part of the Antikythera Mechanism
Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
2000-year-old analog computer recreated
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary:
“Howard Crowhurst in this book has presented the most brilliant analysis of a megalithic site in the entire history of archaeology.
His elucidations of the geometrical, mathematical, and astronomical principles by which ancient Carnac was constructed prove that megalithic science was astonishingly advanced.
The book gives us unprecedented insight into the minds of the intellectuals of a lost civilisation, which we may at last begin to comprehend as a result of what Crowhurst has found during more than twenty years of living on site.