Ancient History

SaturnaliaA celebration dear to the hearts of the Disinformation team at this time of year is Saturnalia, one of the most popular Roman festivals. It was marked by tomfoolery and reversal of social roles, in which slaves and masters ostensibly switched places, with expectantly humorous results. Saturnalia was introduced around 217 BC to raise citizen morale after a crushing military defeat. Originally celebrated for a day, on December 17th, its popularity saw it grow until it became a week-long extravaganza, ending on the 23rd.

Our favorite exposition of Saturnalia has long been the Electric Sheep comic strip, no longer easily available on the web, but we dug in the crates and are pleased to bring it to you. We did find it here and in a video created from the original website posted to Funny or Die:

Did women invent art? National Geographic reports: Women made most of the oldest-known cave art paintings, suggests a new analysis of ancient handprints. Most scholars had assumed these ancient artists were predominantly…

PIEIt sounds like the Satanic incantations hidden in the fadeout of Beatles album. io9 writes:

Linguists have recently reconstructed what a 6,000 year-old-language called Proto-Indo-European might have sounded like. This language was the forerunner of many European and Asian languages, and now you can listen to how it may have sounded.

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C. The question became, what did PIE sound like? As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE, this sonic experiment is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars, no one version can be considered definitive.

The 3,300-year-old Dream Book, via the British Museum: The meaning of dreams is a subject that fascinated the ancient Egyptians. This hieratic papyrus, probably dates to the early reign of Ramesses II…

I presented this paper at the annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, held in Zadar, Croatia, September 18–23, 2007, in a session called “‘Fringe’ Archaeologies: ‘The Other’ Past,” organized by archeologists Eleni Stefanou and Anna Simandiraki.

This paper is in the form of a discursive essay, so if you were expecting a neatly developed argument, intricate footnotes, and a formal bibliography, you are going to be disappointed. I will, however, touch on a number of topics related to the title of this paper. And I will give enough hints for you to track down articles and books mentioned in the essay.

First, let me establish my credentials as a “fringe” archeologist, one whose work is concerned with the development of an “other” past. Andrew O’Hehir, in “Archaeology from the Dark Side” (, August 6, 2005), said about me, “Cremo is a singular figure on the scientific fringe. He is friendly with mainstream archaeologists and with Graham Hancock [author of Fingerprints of the Gods].” I find myself on many lists of “fringe” and “pseudo” archeologists and archeologies. Why? Since 1984, I have been researching archeology and history of archeology from a perspective derived from my studies in the Puranas, the ancient historical writings of India, which contain accounts of extreme human antiquity, inconsistent with modern evolutionary accounts of human origins. And for some reason my work has become known in academic circles as well as among the general public. Some archeologists and other scholars find this kind of thing, which they call “fringe” or “folk” archeology, threatening…