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Tag: Archaeology

Did Easter Islanders Have Early Contact with South Americans?

On a map, Easter Island is a remote dot more than 2,000 miles (3,219 kilometers) from the western coast of Chile. It has long fascinated archaeologists —not only for its hundreds of enormous statues, called moai, but also because it could hold clues about epic Pacific sea voyages and subsequent cultural mash-ups that occurred before the arrival of Europeans.Easter island South America
Most scholars think that Easter Island, also known by its native name Rapa Nui, was first populated by Polynesians who arrived around AD 1200. But there’s also some evidence that the island’s early settlers interacted with people native to South America before Europeans showed up in 1722.
A new study, published  (Oct. 12) in the journal Current Biology, adds to the debate. Scientists looked at five skeletons from the Rapanui culture and found no genetic traces of Native American ancestry, contradicting earlier assertions of contact with South American peoples.
“We were really surprised we didn’t find anything,” study leader Lars Fehren-Schmitz, an associate professor of anthropology at UC Santa Cruz, said in a statement. “There’s a lot of evidence that seems plausible, so we were convinced we would find direct evidence of pre-European contact with South America, but it wasn’t there.”
Fehren-Schmitzand his colleagues took samples from the ribs of skeletons that were found in the 1980s during an archaeological digat the beachside moai site of Ahu Nau Nau. Some bones date back to as early as 1445, while others were buried as late as 1925, well after European contact. In all cases, no DNA traces of Native Americans were found.
The idea that South Americans first populated Easter Island was proposed in the 1950s by Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian anthropologist famous for his Kon-Tiki raft expedition. He saw sweet potatoes native to the Andes growing on Rapa Nui, and noticed similarities between fishing gear, language quirks and pre-Inca stone statueson the island and the mainland.
Today, the archaeological consensus is that Polynesians —who were skilled at long-distance ocean voyages and settled scattered Pacific islands—got to Rapa Nui first. But scholars haven’t totally tossed out Heyerdahl’s idea about early contact with South America.
Erik Thorsby of the University of Oslo, who was not involved in the new study, previously found some genetic markers typical of Native Americans in Rapanui skeletons.
Based on a recent review of the evidence, Thorsby suggested that Native Americans may have arrivedat Rapa Nuias early as AD 1280 to 1495, perhaps by hitching a ride with Polynesians who were returning from visits to the shores of South America.
Thorsby said he thinks the new findings are interesting, but added that “great caution must be exercised in drawing general conclusions since ancient DNA from only five different individuals was studied.” He noted that past studies have revealed small percentages of early Native American ancestry in just a few individuals from the island. Therefore, it’s possible that only a few Native Americans reached Rapa Nui early and their ancestral genes “may be easily missed when ancient DNA from only five individuals are investigated,” he told Live Science in an email.
Original article on Live Science.

https://www.livescience.com/60673-easter-island-dna-evidence.html

This Time It’s For Real: Hidden Chamber Found In Great Pyramid!

CAIRO — Scientists have found a hidden chamber in Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza, the first such discovery in the structure since the 19th century and one likely to spark a new surge of interest in the pharaohs.
In an article published in the journal Nature on Thursday, an international team said the 30-meter (yard) void deep within the pyramid is situated above the structure’s Grand Gallery, and has a similar cross-section. The purpose of the chamber is unclear, and it’s not yet known whether it was built with a function in mind.
The scientists made the discovery using cosmic-ray imaging, recording the behavior of subatomic particles called muons that penetrate the rock similar to X-rays, only much deeper. Their paper was peer-reviewed before appearing in Nature, an international, interdisciplinary journal of science.discovery pyramid chamber

The pyramid is also known as Khufu’s Pyramid for its builder, a 4th Dynasty pharaoh who reigned from 2509 to 2483 B.C. Visitors to the pyramid, on the outskirts of Cairo, can walk, hunched over, up a long tunnel to reach the Grand Gallery. The newly discovered chamber does not appear to be connected to any known internal passages.
Scientists involved in the scanning called the find a “breakthrough” that highlighted the usefulness of modern particle physics in archaeology.

“This is a premier,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, a co-founder of the ScanPyramids project and president of the Heritage Innovation Preservation Institute. “It could be composed of one or several structures… maybe it could be another Grand Gallery. It could be a chamber, it could be a lot of things.”
“It was hidden, I think, since the construction of the pyramid,” he added.

Ancient Egyptian pyramid mystery solved?

The Giza pyramids, the last surviving wonder of the ancient world, have captivated visitors since they were built as royal burial chambers some 4,500 years ago. Experts are still divided over how they were constructed, so even relatively minor discoveries generate great interest.

Late last year, for example, thermal scanning identified a major anomaly in the Great Pyramid — three adjacent stones at its base which registered higher temperatures than others, stoking imaginations worldwide.
Speculation that King Tutankhamun’s tomb contains additional antechambers stoked interest in recent years, before scans by ground-penetrating radar and other tools came up empty, raising doubts about the claim.

The muon scan is accomplished by planting special plates inside and around the pyramid to collect data on the particles, which rain down from the earth’s atmosphere. They pass through empty spaces but can be absorbed or deflected by harder surfaces, allowing scientists to study their trajectories and discern what is stone and what is not. Several plates were used to triangulate the void discovered in the Great Pyramid.
Tayoubi said the team plans to work with others to come up with hypotheses about the area.
“The good news is that the void is there, and it’s very big,” he said.

https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/scientists-discover-hidden-chamber-in-egypts-great-pyramid/ar-AAumMxz?li=AAaUOAg&ocid=spartandhp

Something that’s been claimed and discussed for decades. Now it seems there’s finally some real evidence. Yet I’m sure I recall similar scans having been done before and officialdom and red tape getting in the way of results. So is there a special significance in the timing of this revelation, and what more will we hear about this? Or will the usual pattern of a resounding silence follow?

More technically oriented material can be found here:

https://www.archaeology.org/news

Archaeology fossil teeth discovery in Germany could re-write human history

A 9.7-million-year-old discovery has left a team of German scientists scratching their heads. The teeth seem to belong to a species only known to have appeared in Africa several million years later.

teeth fossil

A team of German archaeologists discovered a puzzling set of teeth in the former riverbed of the Rhine, the Museum of Natural History in Mainz announced on Wednesday.
The teeth don’t appear to belong to any species discovered in Europe or Asia. They most closely resemble those belonging to the early hominin skeletons of Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) and Ardi (Ardipithecus ramidus), famously discovered in Ethiopia.
But these new teeth, found in the western German town of Eppelsheim near Mainz, are at least 4 million years older than the African skeletons, which has scientists so puzzled they held off publishing for a year.
A specialist team will be carrying out further tests on the teeth.

READ MORE:

https://www.dw.com/en/archaeology-fossil-teeth-discovery-in-germany-could-re-write-human-history/a-41028029

Why Do Scientists Want to PREVENT Oldest Pyramid Chamber Excavation?

 

Mysterious fossil footprints may cast doubt on human evolution timeline

Backing up what the Alternative Archaeology crowd have been saying for years, it seems humans have been around for many millions of years. The standard model of human evolution seems to be unravelling and it all seems to be realigning to the alternative theories that were being rubbished not so long ago. In fact it all seems to happening with careful timing. But hey, I’m a “tin hatter” so I see conspiracies everywhere!

As if the Laetoli footprints weren’t controversial enough (they aren’t “Lucy” prints regardless of what her adherents claim, and in fact are indistinguishable from modern human footprints) along comes these bipedal hominid prints pushing the timeline back by millions of years further…AND NOT FROM AFRICA!

And  a human foot logically suggests a human body. So there goes “out of Africa” and there goes “Lucy is Eve” out the window.

I include two articles, the first being an MSM source, the second for the more technically inclined:

Martin H

footprints

http://newatlas.com/author/michael-irving/

We share plenty of features with apes, but the shape of our feet isn’t one of them. So that makes the discovery of human-like footprints dating back 5.7 million years – a time when our ancestors were thought to still be getting around on ape-like feet – a surprising one. Further confounding the mystery is the fact that these prints were found in the Greek islands, implying hominins left Africa much earlier than our current narrative suggests.

Fossilized bones and footprints have helped us piece together the history of human evolution. One of the earliest hominins – ancestors of ours that are more closely related to humans than chimps – was a species called Ardipithecus ramidus, which is known from over 100 specimens. Living about 4.4 million years ago, it had an ape-like foot, with the hallux (the big toe) pointing out sideways rather than falling in line like ours. Fast-forward about 700,000 years, and a set of footprints from Laetoli in Tanzania shows that a more human foot shape had evolved by then.
Enter the newly-discovered footprints. Found in Trachilos in western Crete, they have a distinctly human-like shape, with a big toe of a similar size, shape and position to ours. They appear to have been made by a more primitive hominin than the creature that left the Laetoli prints, but there’s a problem: they also predate Ardipithecus by about 1.3 million years. That means a human-like foot had evolved much earlier than previously thought, throwing a spanner into the accepted idea that the ape-footed Ardipithecus was a direct human

ancestor.

THE REST:

https://newatlas.com/fossil-footprints-human-evolution/51163/

Possible hominin footprints from the late Miocene (c. 5.7 Ma) of Crete?

Abstract:
We describe late Miocene tetrapod footprints (tracks) from the Trachilos locality in western Crete (Greece), which show hominin-like characteristics. They occur in an emergent horizon within an otherwise marginal marine succession of Messinian age (latest Miocene), dated to approximately 5.7 Ma (million years), just prior to the Messinian Salinity Crisis. The tracks indicate that the trackmaker lacked claws, and was bipedal, plantigrade, pentadactyl and strongly entaxonic. The impression of the large and non-divergent first digit (hallux) has a narrow neck and bulbous asymmetrical distal pad. The lateral digit impressions become progressively smaller so that the digital region as a whole is strongly asymmetrical. A large, rounded ball impression is associated with the hallux. Morphometric analysis shows the footprints to have outlines that are distinct from modern non-hominin primates and resemble those of hominins. The interpretation of these footprints is potentially controversial. The print morphology suggests that the trackmaker was a basal member of the clade Hominini, but as Crete is some distance outside the known geographical range of pre-Pleistocene hominins we must also entertain the possibility that they represent a hitherto unknown late Miocene primate that convergently evolved human-like foot anatomy.

THE REST:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S001678781730113X

 

Babylonian Trigonometry Was Superior To Modern Mathematics, 3700 Years Ago!

 

They also beat the Ancient Greeks to it, according to Australian academics

SOME READERS MAY ALSO PICK UP ON THE NUMBER “322”, THE MYSTERIOUS NUMBER OF THE YALE SKULL AND BONES FRATERNITY. COINCIDENCE?

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/babylonians-trigonometry-develop-more-advanced-modern-mathematics-3700-years-ago-ancient-a7910936.html

The Ancient Babylonians knew about a form of trigonometry more advanced than the modern-day version – about 1,000 years before its supposed invention by the Ancient Greeks, academics in Australia say.

The astonishing claim is based on a 3,700-year-old clay tablet inscribed with a table of numbers.

Babylonian TrigonometryKnown as Plimpton 322, it is already known to contain evidence that the Babylonians knew Pythagoras’ famous equation for right-angled triangles, long before the Greek philosopher gave his name to it.And researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have claimed it also shows the Babylonians developed a highly sophisticated form of trigonometry – the system of maths used to describe angles that has tortured generations of school pupils with sine, cosine and tangent.The city of Babylon in Mesopotamia, an early cradle of human civilisation in what is now Iraq, was famed for its Hanging Gardens, said to be one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

And mathematician Dr Daniel Mansfield suggested its people developed trigonometry to help their architects design the city’s major buildings.

 

“Our research shows it’s a trigonometric table so unfamiliar and advanced that in some respects it’s superior to modern trigonometry,” he said.

“We’ve discovered these lines represent the ratios for a series of right-angled triangles ranging from almost a square to almost a flat line.

“This makes Plimpton 322 a powerful tool that could have been used for surveying fields or architectural calculations to build palaces, temples or step pyramids.”

Dr Mansfield explained that the Babylonians’ system of counting enabled them to perform complicated calculations more easily that mathematicians today.

“The Babylonians unique approach to arithmetic and geometry means this is not only the world’s oldest trigonometric table, it’s also the only completely accurate trigonometric table on record,” he said.

“Why? It all comes down to fractions. We count in base 10 which only has two exact fractions, one half, which is 0.5, and one fifth, which is 0.2.

“That’s problematic if you want to divide. For example, one dollar divided by three is 33 cents with one cent left over.

“The Babylonians counted in base 60, the same system we use for telling time. This has many more exact fractions.

“It doesn’t sound like much, but this allowed them to do a lot more exact division. One hour divided by three is 20 minutes – exactly.

“By using this system, the Babylonians were able to make calculations that completely avoided any inexact numbers, thereby avoiding any errors associated with multiplying those numbers.”

And the Babylonian system might actually have lessons for science today, he claimed.

“With this greater accuracy we think this system has enormous potential for application in surveying, computers and education,” Dr Mansfield said.

“It’s rare that the ancient world teaches us something new. After 3,000 years, Babylonian mathematics might just be coming back into fashion.”

Plimpton 322 was discovered in southern Iraq by the early 1900s by archaeologist, diplomat and antique dealer Edgar Banks, who was the inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones.

The tablet has numbers written in cuneiform script in four columns and 15 rows.

There were suggestions in the 1980s that the numbers showed knowledge of trigonometry, but this had been dismissed more recently.

But Dr Mansfield said their research revealed it was a “novel kind of trigonometry” that was based on ratios, rather than angles and circles.

“It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius,” he said.

One problem with Plimpton 322 is the left-hand edge is broken.

The UNSW researchers presented mathematical evidence that it originally had six columns, rather than four, and 38 rows, not 15.

They believe ancient scribes could have generated numbers using the tablet, which they suggest was a teacher’s aid to checking students’ quadratic equations.

Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer who lived in about 120 BC, is traditionally regarded as the founder of trigonometry.

But Professor Norman Wildberger, who worked with Dr Mansfield, said: “Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years.

“It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own.

“A treasure-trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us.”

A paper about the research was published in Historia Mathematica, the official journal of the International Commission on the History of Mathematics.

Earliest Known Gospel Commentary: “Don’t Take The Gospels Literally”

Should Christians take the Bible as “Gospel”? Not according to this rediscovered work, which sheds light on the allegorical aspects and intent of early Church authors. With an increasing trend towards fundamentalism, literalism and an insistence that the Bible is a historical document (usually tied in with Flat Earth theories somehow), this is a refreshing insight and an important archaeological discovery.

https://theconversation.com/lost-latin-commentary-on-the-gospels-rediscovered-after-1-500-years-thanks-to-digital-technology-82874

The earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels, lost for more than 1,500 years, has been rediscovered and made available in English for the first time. The extraordinary find, a work written by a bishop in northern Italy, Fortunatianus of Aquileia, dates back to the middle of the fourth century.

The biblical text of the manuscript is of particular significance, as it predates the standard Latin version known as the Vulgate and provides new evidence about the earliest form of the Gospels in Latin.

Despite references to this commentary in other ancient works, no copy was known to survive until Dr Lukas Dorfbauer, a researcher from the University of Salzburg, identified Fortunatianus’ text in an anonymous manuscript copied around the year 800 and held in Cologne Cathedral Library. The manuscripts of Cologne Cathedral Library were made available online in 2002.

Scholars had previously been interested in this ninth-century manuscript as the sole witness to a short letter which claimed to be from the Jewish high priest Annas to the Roman philosopher Seneca. They had dismissed the 100-page anonymous Gospel commentary as one of numerous similar works composed in the court of Charlemagne. But when he visited the library in 2012, Dorfbauer, a specialist in such writings, could see that the commentary was much older than the manuscript itself.

In fact, it was none other than the earliest Latin commentary on the Gospels.

Pearls of wisdom

In his De Viris Illustribus (Lives of Famous Men), written at the end of the fourth century, Saint Jerome, who was also responsible for the revision of the Gospels and the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known as the Vulgate, included an entry for Fortunatianus – who had been bishop of the northern Italian diocese of Aquileia some 50 years earlier. This prominent cleric had written a Gospel commentary including a series of chapter titles, which Jerome described as “a pearl without price” and had consulted when writing his own commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.

San Gerolamo (Saint Jerome) by Caravaggio. Galleria Borghese

Later Christian authors, such as Rabanus Maurus and Claudius of Turin, searched for it in vain. As with so many works from antiquity, it seemed to have been lost, the remaining copies destroyed in a Vandal raid or eaten by mice in a dusty library.

Among the features which attracted Dorfbauer’s attention was a long list of 160 chapter titles detailing the contents of the commentary, which corresponded to Jerome’s description of Fortunatianus’ work. In addition, the biblical text of the Cologne manuscript did not match the standard version of the Gospels produced by Jerome, but seemed to come from an earlier stage in the history of the Latin bible.

Groundbreaking discovery

This was where the University of Birmingham came in. The university’s Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE) is home to long-term projects working on new editions of the Bible in Greek and Latin. As a specialist in the Latin New Testament, I was able to compare the biblical quotations in the Cologne manuscript with our extensive databases. Parallels with texts circulating in northern Italy in the middle of the 4th century offered a perfect fit with the context of Fortunatianus.

Fortunatianus manuscript; by permission of Cologne Cathedral Library. Author provided

Astonishingly, despite being copied four centuries after the last reference to his Gospel commentary, this manuscript seemed to preserve the original form of Fortunatianus’ groundbreaking work.

Such a discovery is of considerable significance to our understanding of the development of Latin biblical interpretation, which went on to play such an important part in the development of Western thought and literature. In this substantial commentary, Fortunatianus is reliant on even earlier writings which formed the link between Greek and Latin Christianity.

This sheds new light on the way the Gospels were read and understood in the early Church, in particular the reading of the text known as “allegorical exegesis” in which elements in the stories are interpreted as symbols. So, for example, when Jesus climbs into a boat on the Sea of Galilee, Fortunatianus explains that the sea which is sometimes rough and dangerous stands for the world, while the boat corresponds to the Church in which Jesus is present and carries people to safety.

There are also moments of insight into the lives of fourth-century Italian Christians, as when the bishop uses a walnut as an image of the four Gospels or holds up a Roman coin as a symbol of the Trinity.

English translation

In the form of a single (no longer anonymous) manuscript, or even a scholarly edition of the Latin text, it will still be some time before this work becomes as widely known as the famous writings of later Christian teachers such as Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome.

Fortunatianus manuscript: now available online; by permission of Cologne Cathedral Library. Author provided

For that reason, I have worked closely with Dr Dorfbauer to prepare an English translation of his full Latin edition of the commentary, the first ever to be produced.

This will enable a much wider audience to take account of this rediscovered work. In fact, this English version may be the form in which most people will encounter Fortunatianus’ commentary – as studying languages is now a much smaller component in theological study and online translation tools are beginning to produce more satisfactory results.

But for the fullest appreciation of this work, it will still be necessary to put alternatives to one side and consult the original – which is how the commentary was rediscovered in the first place.

SEE ALSO:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/22/dont-take-bible-literally-says-scholar-brought-light-earliest/

“The earliest Latin interpretation of the Gospels has been brought to light by a British academic – and it suggests that readers should not take the Bible literally.

Lost for 1,500 years, the fourth-century commentary by African-born Italian bishop Fortunatianus of Aquileia interprets the Gospels as a series of allegories instead of a literal history.

Dr Hugh Houghton, of the University of Birmingham, who translated the work, said it was an approach which modern Christians could learn from.”

 

Alleged Hidden Chambers In the Great Pyramid…Again!

The mystery of alleged secret chambers within the Great Pyramid keeps coming back, but will anything ever actually be revealed? I’m beginning to wonder!

 

 

THE Great Pyramid of Giza could be about to give up a secret it has been hiding for more than 4,000 years.

Experts think they’re on the verge of solving a mystery hidden deep inside this awe-inspiring wonder of the ancient world, reports The Sun.

Scientists say there is hidden “recess” lurking within the Great Pyramid — and they could be about to pinpoint exactly where it is.

Also known as the Khufu Pyramid, this gigantic structure was completed in around 2560BC and stood about 146 metres high — making it the tallest man-made structure in the world for more than 3,800 years.

Now a team working on a project dubbed ScanPyramids is to use two techniques- infra-red thermography and myography — in an attempt to uncover the whereabouts and contents of this hidden chamber.

The Great Pyramid of Giza could contain two previously unknown ‘cavities’, after scientists discovered some groundbreaking anomalies.

The Great Pyramid of Giza could contain two previously unknown ‘cavities’, after scientists discovered some groundbreaking anomalies.

Thermography is a scanning technique that detects the heat given off by objects, while myography picks up particles called “muons” that are produced when cosmic rays smash into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Myography was used to find hidden tunnels inside the Bent Pyramid, which was given its name due to the wonky shape of its structure.

“All the devices we put in place are designed to find where the cavity is located. We know there is one, but we’re trying to find out where,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the HIP Institute, which is heading the ScanPyramids project.

In the 200 years since Napoleon Bonaparte landed in Egypt with a retinue of scholars — who laid the groundwork for modern Egyptology — experts have used science to unlock the secrets of the country’s ancient treasures.

ScanPyramids is one of the most ambitious projects used in Egyptology to demystify the Khufu Pyramid near Cairo, the only surviving monument from the ancient Seven Wonders of the World.

Last October, the team announced that the massive pyramid may contain undiscovered recesses.

“All the devices we put in place are designed to find where the cavity is located. We know there is one, but we’re trying to find out where,” said Mehdi Tayoubi, president of the HIP Institute heading the ScanPyramids project.

READ MORE:

https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/archaeology/the-great-pyramid-of-giza-is-hiding-mysterious-chambers-that-could-be-about-to-reveal-their-secrets/news-story/ba28e717d3018b8bd23efa38232ada2d

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