John is still very ill and I cannot update the news pages regularly. Another one of our good friends has sadly passed away, and he was our ‘techie’. We hope to be able to continue but may have to cease the news pages for a few months. Please continue to send in news stories, and all the many good wishes for John. I will try to put them up as usual. We really appreciate your continuing support and cannot thank you enough – Polly.
“Some of the most enigmatic human-made objects from Europe’s late Stone Age – intricately carved balls of stone, each about the size of a baseball – continue to baffle archaeologists more than 200 years after they were first discovered.
More than 500 of the enigmatic objects have now been found, most of them in northeast Scotland, but also in the Orkney Islands, England, Ireland and one in Norway.
Archaeologists still don’t know the original purpose or meaning of the Neolithic stone balls, which are recognized as some of the finest examples of Neolithic art found anywhere in the world.
But now, they’ve created virtual 3D models of the gorgeous balls, primarily to share with the public.
In addition, the models have revealed some new details, including once-hidden patterns in the carvings on the balls.”
[Read The Full Story]
[Another realy great story from Live Science! These stone balls are amongst the most enigmatic artifacts that are yet to be explained. Do take the time to read the full story, and access the amazing images of these curious objects – Ed.]
“Even with a highly skilled neurosurgeon, the most effective anesthesia, and all the other advances of modern medicine, most of us would cringe at the thought of undergoing cranial surgery today.
Yet for thousands of years, trepanation — the act of scraping, cutting, or drilling an opening into the cranium — was practiced around the world, primarily to treat head trauma, but possibly to quell headaches, seizures and mental illnesses, or even to expel perceived demons.
But, according to a new study led by the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s David S. Kushner, M.D., clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, trepanation was so expertly practiced in ancient Peru that the survival rate for the procedure during the Incan Empire was about twice that of the American Civil War — when, more three centuries later, soldiers were trepanned presumably by better trained, educated and equipped surgeons.”
[An excellent story published by Science Daily! Proof is emerging regularly which suggests ancient peoples were far more capable at almost everything than they have previously been credited with – especially complex surgery. It really is well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“In a recent excavation near the Sanauli village in UP’s Baghpat, the Archeological Survey of India has discovered the ‘First Ever’ physical evidence of chariots being used in a near 2000 BC period.
As per reports, the excavation that has turned up royal burial sites with sophisticated weaponry, ornaments, pottery and other materials suggest that a highly sophisticated ‘warrior class’ civilisation in that region.
The 3-month long excavation was reportedly started in March this year is 120 metres away from a 2005 excavation site that had turned up 116 burial sites which were similar to that of Harappan civilisation.
However, as per ASI experts, though further investigations need to be carried out to determine the race of the remains, the current findings do not belong to the Harappan civilisation.”
“Scientists have mapped genetic material from the first generations of Icelanders, whose DNA appears to be more closely matched to present day Norwegians than their Icelandic descendants.
Around 870 CE, Norsemen crossed the North Atlantic to reach Iceland, which they spent the next five decades colonising.
Today, 1,100 years later, an international team of scientists have mapped the genetic material of these first generation Icelanders and they can now see how the Icelandic population has changed between then and now.”
[It’s good to see more new facts about the Vikings and their travels emerging and a welcome new appreciation of their sophisticated culture after centuries of misinformation. It’s well worth reading the full story and seeing the many images and map – Ed.]
“Archaeologists using drones have discovered more than 25 geoglyphs etched into a swath of coastal desert in southern Peru near the Nazca Lines, a culture ministry official said Monday.
Most of the newly found geoglyphs, which include figures of a killer whale and a woman dancing, appear to have been made by the Paracas culture more than 2,000 years ago, hundreds of years before the Nazca people created similar giant drawings nearby, said Johny Isla, an archaeologist who heads the culture ministry’s conservation efforts in the region.
An additional 25 geoglyphs that had previously been spotted by local residents have also been mapped with drones, Isla said.
Drones ‘have allowed us to broaden our documentation and discover new groups of figures’, Isla said on a tour of the geoglyphs in the province of Palpa.”
“If the discovery in Buryatia is verified as being Homo sapiens, it will alter scientific thinking about the arrival of man in Siberia.
The discovery was made in the Tunkinskaya Valley by Irkutsk scientists in 2016.
Older bones date to 50,000 years ago, younger ones at the same site to around 30,000 years ago, and they were found alongside tools and animal bones indicating these ancients were proficient hunters of cave lions, bison, horses and deer.
Dr Evgeniy Rogovskoi, senior researcher Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said: ‘There were two set of bones, one was dated as 27,000 to 30,000 years old, the other as 50,000 years old’.
The younger bones are ‘modern-type’ humans.
But the older ones are now undergoing tests to establish whether they are Homo sapiens, or Neanderthal or another pre-human group.”
[Another great story from The Siberian Times! More new discoveries in this area show another timeline biting the dust as the fuller picture emerges. Well worth a visit to read the full story and see the many great images of the finds – Ed.]
“The earliest example of our alphabet – a possible mnemonic phrase that helped someone remember ‘ABCD’ – has been discovered on a 3,400-year-old inscribed piece of limestone from ancient Egypt, a scholar believes.
Three of the words start with the ancient equivalent of B, C and D, creating what may be a mnemonic phrase.
Thomas Schneider, a professor of Egyptology and Near Eastern Studies at the University of British Columbia, reported the discovery in a paper published recently in the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Modern-day scholars sometimes call the early ancestor of our ABCD alphabet sequence the ‘abgad’ sequence, because this phrase mentions some of the first letters of the early version of our alphabet.
Until this discovery, the oldest example of this sequence had only dated back about 3,200 years, Schneider wrote in his paper”
[Excellent article in Live Science. It would seem that writing goes back much further than previously believed, and another timeline bites the dust. It really is well worth a visit to read the full story – Ed.]
“An extended drought after the destruction of Nestor’s Palace in Pylos is likely to have brought an end to the Mycenaean civilization in the western Peloponnese.
That conclusion was reached after analysis of a stalactite from a cave in the area that provided a clear picture about the climatic conditions in the eastern Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age, Greek daily Kathimerini reports.
The study was carried out by researchers Martin Finne and Karin Holmgren of the Navarino Environmental Observatory (NEO) in collaboration with archaeologist Shari Stocker.
The researchers reached their conclusions from the analysis of a stalactite from a cave on the islet of Schiza just off the Peloponnesian coast.”
[Another good story from Tornos News. The sheer number of instances of climate changes in ancient times never fails to amaze many who’ve been led to believe that such a phenomenon is unique to modern times and is only happenning now. We highly recommend reading the full story – Ed.]
“A French tourist was fined �200 and given a suspended sentence after police caught him trying to leave Pompeii with a backpack stuffed with ancient Roman artefacts.
Montpellier man Pierre Luc Giglio, 52, was stopped at Pompeii last Friday along with his companion, a 50-year-old French woman, after security guards noticed them acting suspiciously.
Upon searching their bags they found 13 fragments of terracotta and a piece of marble, believed to have been taken from the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, a well-preserved villa thought to have belonged to one of the city’s wealthy inhabitants.
The couple told carabinieri officers that they just ‘wanted to take home a souvenir’, according to local news site Metropolis.”
[Unbelievable? Nope! Some years ago an American tourist was caught chipping bits off Stonehenge. Her excuse? She wanted ‘a souvenir to take home’. These people are just cultural vandals who think nothing of causing criminal damage to other cultures heritage – Ed.]
“In a recently published paper* in the journal, Historical Biology, researchers report confirmation that sediments bearing early human cultural remains in the Cueva Negra del Estrecho del R�o Qu�par rockshelter in southeastern Spain are dated to over 800,000 years ago.
The sediments include an Acheulean style stone handaxe and evidence for the use of fire within the rockshelter.
‘We regard its age as quite likely between 865,000 and 810,000 years ago’, said Michael Walker of Spain’s Murcia University, a lead researcher on Cueva Negra.
‘[Arguably] Until now hand-axes in Europe have not been recorded from before 500,000 years ago’, said Walker. Moreover, he adds, ‘the evidence of combustion [use of fire] is also the oldest anywhere outside Africa.'”
“In what some scientists are calling a �one-in-a-million find,� archaeologists have discovered a cache of butchered rhino bones and dozens of stone tools on the Philippines�s largest island, Luzon.
The find pushes back the earliest evidence for human occupation of the Philippines by more than 600,000 years, and it has archaeologists wondering who exactly these ancient humans were�and how they crossed the deep seas that surrounded that island and others in Southeast Asia.”
“The result of a third radar survey show conclusively that there are no hidden chambers in the tomb. After almost three months of study, a new geophysics survey has provided conclusive evidence that no hidden chambers exist adjacent to or inside Tutankhamun�s tomb in the Valley of the Kings.”
“An international team of researchers says they have identified seven bone soft hammers or retouchers as China’s earliest known bone tools, dating back 115,000 years. The bone tools, six made of broken long limb bones from herbivores and one made of antler, were discovered in a Paleolithic site in Xuchang City in central China’s Henan Province.”
“Halfway between the ancient towns of Neuss and Xanten on the Lower Rhine, the Romans established a military camp in what is now Krefeld around 69 AD. Directly on the border of the Roman Empire, the area was chosen due to its strategic location on a small hill across from an important trade route to Germania. The Romans called the place Gelduba: Today, this district of Krefeld is called Gellep.
The famous historian Tacitus was the first to mention Gelduba, which was the scene of a massive battle between Romans and Batavians in 69 AD when Germanic Batavian prince Iulius Civilis started an uprising against the Romans in the Rhine-region.”
“Some 7,000 years ago, inhabitants of a small settlement at the Early Neolithic waterlogged site of La Draga (Girona, Spain) dried non-edible fungi for use as tinder to light and transport fires.
The La Draga site is located on the eastern shore of Lake Banyoles, 22 miles (35 km) from the Mediterranean Sea and 31 miles (50 km) south of the Pyrenees. The site corresponds to an open-air settlement whose surface area is estimated to exceed three acres (15,000 m2).”
“Aerial photographs of over 50 ancient drawings in the desert near Nazca have been made public, following the completion of a research project funded by National Geographic.
The drawings cover a wide area in Palpa, 100km north of the famous Nazca Lines, and are several centuries older than the Nazca geoglyphs.
Some are believed to have been etched into the sand even earlier than the Paracas culture, which flourished between 700 BC and AD 200.
According to resident archaeologist Johny Isla, co-director of the Nazca-Palpa Project with Markus Reindel of the German Archaeological Institute, the new information will “open the door to new hypotheses” about the function and meaning of the drawings.”
[Read The Full Story]
[This is an excellent story from Peruvian Times, and well done National Geographic for funding the drone study! This technology, if it stays for purely scientific research and peaceful usage, should help us to rediscover much of our ancient past such as these geoglyphs.
It’s well worth a visit to read the full story and see the amazing aeriel images of the geoglyphs – 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
Copyright � 2006
Antikythera Mechanism Research Project
2000-year-old analog computer recreated
More Antikythera Mechanism Information & Commentary: