Tag Archives | Ancient History

Neanderthals Ate Stomach Contents Of Dead Animals (Tastes Like Cream Cheese)

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

Reconstruction of Neanderthal man. Hermann Schaaffhausen (1888).

Apparently the stomach contents of dead animals tastes like cream cheese. I may have to seek something else to spread on my bagels from now on… Robin McKie reports on the real diet of Neanderthals for The Observer:

It was the tell-tale tartar on the teeth that told the truth. Or at least, that is what it appeared to do. Researchers – after studying calcified plaque on Neanderthal fossil teeth found in El Sidrón cave in Spain – last year concluded that members of this extinct human species cooked vegetables and consumed bitter-tasting medicinal plants such as chamomile and yarrow.

These were not brainless carnivores, in other words. These were smart and sensitive people capable of providing themselves with balanced diets and of treating themselves with health-restoring herbs, concluded the researchers, led by Karen Hardy at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies in Barcelona.

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The First Ancient Human Artists Were Women

handprints

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 men, so the finding overturns decades of archaeological dogma.

Archaeologist Dean Snow analyzed hand stencils found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female. Women tend to have ring and index fingers of about the same length, whereas men’s ring fingers tend to be longer than their index fingers.

“People have made a lot of unwarranted assumptions about who made these things, and why,” said Snow, whose research was supported by the National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration.

Because many of these early paintings showcase game animals, many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters. The new study suggests otherwise.

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Is This What The Proto-Indo-European Language Spoken 6,000 Years Ago Sounded Like?

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.

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Priestess Tomb Confirms That Women Ruled In Ancient Peru

priestess

A society in some respects more advanced than our own? Phys.org reports:

The discovery in Peru of another tomb belonging to a pre-Hispanic priestess, the eighth in more than two decades, confirms that powerful women ruled this region 1,200 years ago, archeologists said.

The remains of the woman from the Moche—or Mochica—civilization were discovered in late July in an area called La Libertad in the country’s northern Chepan province. In 2006, researchers came across the famous “Lady of Cao”—who died about 1,700 years ago and is seen as one of the first female rulers in Peru.

“This find makes it clear that women didn’t just run rituals in this area but governed here and were queens of Mochica society,” said project director Luis Jaime Castillo. “It is the eighth priestess to be discovered,” he added. “Our excavations have only turned up tombs with women, never men.”

The priestess was in an “impressive 1,200-year-old burial chamber” the archeologist said.

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Ancient Egyptian Sphinx Mysteriously Unearthed In Israel

sphinx

Things not where they are supposed to be? Historical strangeness via CNN:

A recent discovery of part of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx has been a most unexpected find in Tel Hazor in northern Israel.

Inexplicably buried far from Egypt, the paws of a sphinx statue, resting on its base, have been unearthed with an inscription in hieroglyphs naming King Mycerinus. The pharaoh ruled in 2500 BC and oversaw the construction of one of the three Giza pyramids.

“This is the only sphinx of this king known in the world – even in Egypt. It is also the only monumental piece of Egyptian sculpture found anywhere in the Levant,” said professor Amnon Ben-Tor, the director of the excavation, referring to the region spanning the east of the Mediterranean Sea.

Tel Hazor was the capital of the city of Canaan 4,000 years ago. The question of how the sphinx got to Tel Hazor will likely remain a mystery.

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5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Jewelry’s Materials Came From Outer Space

egyptian

The International Business Times reports on the interplanetary origins of ancient human culture:

A set of funeral beads which could be the oldest iron artifacts on earth actually came from outer space, archaeologists have claimed.

The nine iron beads, which were found in a 5000-year-old Egyptian cemetery in 1911, were made from a meteorite that crashed to earth around 3200 BC, according to a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

“These beads were made from meteoritic iron, and shaped by careful hammering of the metal into thin sheets before rolling them into tubes,” researchers noted, adding that neutron and X-ray scanning of the iron beads proved that the metal came from a meteorite.

The iron was strung into a necklace together with other exotic minerals such as lapis lazuli, gold and carnelian. The findings suggest that iron and metal works were much advanced in the ancient Egypt than previously thought.

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Were Prehistoric Cave Painters High On Hallucinogenic Plants?

cave paintingsDo psychedelics produce the common shapes and patterns found in prehistoric cave art around the world? Alternet reports:

Prehistoric cave paintings across the continents have similar geometric patterns not because early humans were learning to draw like Paleolithic pre-schoolers, but because they were high on drugs, and their brains—like ours—have a biological predisposition to “see” certain patterns, especially during consciousness altering states.

This thesis—that humanity’s earliest artists were not just reeling due to mind-altering activities, but deliberately sought those elevated states and gave greater meaning to those common visions—is the contention of a new paper by an international research team.

Their thesis intriguingly explores the “biologically embodied mind,” which they contend gave rise to similarities in Paleolithic art across the continents dating back 40,000 years, and can also be seen in the body painting patterns dating back even further

“The prevalence of certain geometric patterns in the symbolic material culture of many prehistoric cultures, starting shortly after the emergence of our biological species and continuing in some indigenous cultures until today, is explained in terms of the characteristic contents of biologically determined hallucinatory experience,” the researchers hypothesize.

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Real Estate Developers Bulldoze 5,000-Year-Old Pyramid In Peru

5,000-year-old pyramidHere’s hoping a nasty curse commences to haunt them. Via the Independent:

A 5,000-year-old pyramid in Lima, Peru has been torn down by two private construction companies. The El Paraiso pyramid, located in the San Martin de Porres, was one of the Americas’ oldest archaeological sites.

Archaeologist Frederic Engel said that the pyramid may have held between 1,500 and 3,000 inhabitants with over 100,000 tons of rock used in its construction, taken from hills in the surrounding area. It was likely used for religious and ritual purposes.

Archaeologist Marco Guillén Hugo, who was in charge of the research and excavation of the site, said that he had reason to believe that Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas were the private companies behind the destruction. According to The Ministry of Culture, the companies have previously laid claim to the land, but it is actually under state control.

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Kazakhstan To Rebury Ancient Warlord, Fearing Curse

ancient warlord

Call the reburial a case of superstition triumphing over rationality, but, frankly, the Golden Man gives me the creeps too. RIA Novosti reports:

Ever heard about the curse of the pharaohs? Well, how about the curse of a 2,500-year-old chief of a nomadic Scythian tribe that brings about floods, droughts, and livestock decimation?

The Scythian curse is real, say locals in a remote area of eastern Kazakhstan where the chieftain’s remains were discovered – and where they will be reinterred this weekend to appease his spirit, to the chagrin of archeologists.

In 2003, an archeological expedition dug up a burial mound in the Shiliktinskaya Valley to find a Golden Man – a presumed leader of the Saka tribe, a branch of the Scythian nomads that populated Central Asia and southern Siberia in the 1st millennium BC.

Since the mound was excavated, the area around it has been hit by several floods, a drought, a mass loss of livestock and an increase in births of children with learning disabilities, locals said, Kazakh television KTK reported.

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