Tag Archives | Archaeology

DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 15: Lost Mayan Technology with James O’Kon

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ArchaeoEngineer James A. O'Kon, the author of The Lost Secrets of Maya Technology is here to discuss some of the astonishing discoveries he's made while researching the technological innovations of the Mayan culture. O'Kon, who has spent years in the field, has uncovered evidence of Mayan suspension bridges, concret manufacturing and more. Prepare to have everything you think you know about this ancient civilization challenged.
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Fabled Lost City Discovered In Jungles Of Honduras?

The true adventure will begin soon when some brave souls attempt to enter Ciudad Blanca on foot, opening themselves up to deadly curses. The Los Angeles Times reports:

Since Spanish explorer Herman Cortes first noted the existence of Ciudad Blanca, the White City, in 1526, archaeologists, explorers and treasure hunters have been searching for the site, reputed to contain vast wealth. Many have claimed to find it, including the CIA’s Theodore Morde, who based the bizarre travelogue “Lost City of the Monkey God” on it. None of those claims have held water, however, and contemporary archaeologists are not even sure the city ever existed.

But now a team, using laser-based light detection and ranging (LIDAR) from a survey plane, have found the ruins of an ancient city deep in Honduras’ Mosquito Coast region and hidden by centuries of jungle growth.

Ciudad Blanca plays a central role in many Central American stories and mythology.

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Mysterious 450-Million-Year-Old Sea Monster Fossil Baffles Scientists

monsterKing of the jellyfish? Or a giant, living, underwater doormat? Whatever your worst nightmare is, this ancient sea-bound entity could be it. LiveScience reports:
A mysterious fossil that has evoked images of a sea monster roaming the shallow waters of prehistoric Ohio [has] scientists stumped as to what kind of creature it was. One thing is sure: The enigmatic "blob" — discovered in elliptical pieces that, when fitted together, extended about 7 feet long, was once alive. The team, along with the fossil hunter who discovered the 450-million-year-old specimen, suggest a range of possibilities: a type of huge algae or microbial mat, or even a member of the cnidarian family, which includes jellyfish (though scientists concede the jellyfish idea is highly unlikely).
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America’s Ancient ‘Ten Commandments’ Rock: The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone

10 Commandment RockThis is a strange bit of disputed archaeology. Check it out over the web and Wikipedia does have a good description:

The Los Lunas Decalogue Stone is a large boulder on the side of Hidden Mountain, near Los Lunas, New Mexico, about 35 miles south of Albuquerque, that bears a very regular inscription carved into a flat panel. The stone is also known as the Los Lunas Mystery Stone or Commandment Rock. The inscription is interpreted to be an abridged version of the Decalogue or Ten Commandments in a form of Paleo-Hebrew. A letter group resembling the tetragrammaton YHWH, or “Yahweh,” makes four appearances. The stone is controversial in that some claim the inscription is Pre-Columbian, and therefore proof of early Semitic contact with the Americas.

The first recorded mention of the stone is in 1933, when professor Frank Hibben, an archaeologist from the University of New Mexico, saw it.

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Oldest Known “Beds” Had Insect Repellent

No MosquitosInsects have bugged human beings for a long time. Via Discover:

In a South African cave, researchers have uncovered traces of the oldest known human bedding, 77,000-year-old mats made of grasses, leaves, and other plant material. While it’s not especially surprising that early humans would have found a way to improve the cold, generally unpleasant experience of sleeping on a cave floor, archaeologists know little about our ancestors’ sleeping habits and habitats.

Using scanning electron microscopy, the researchers identified several species of local rushes and grasses that made up the bulk of the mattress, as well as leaves of the Cryptocarya woodii tree. These leaves contain chemical compounds that repel mosquitoes, lice, and other insects, suggesting that the cave’s ancient residents protected their bedding with natural insecticide.

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Alien Skeleton Unearthed In Peru?

alienA mummified skeleton with huge eye sockets and triangular head almost as large as its body has been discovered in Peru, and at least some scientists (of indeterminate repute?) believe it to be “extraterrestrial,” writes io9:

Behold a giant-headed alien mummy that turned up in Peru. Stare into the all-knowing eye sockets of an alien that somehow wound up on Earth many years ago, and was mummified by the locals. But what was is it doing here?

Website RPP is claiming that Renato Davila Riquelme, an anthropologist working at the Privado Ritos Andinos museum in Cusco, has discovered remains of something that isn’t human. Measuring at 20 inches tall, the tiny remains were originally believed to be that of a child, but Spanish and Russian doctors disagree, saying:

“It has a non-human appearance because the head is triangular and big, almost the same size as the body. At first we believed it to be a child’s body until Spanish and Russian doctors came and confirmed that, yes, it’s an extraterrestrial being.”

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Early Humans Likely Practiced Ritualistic Cannibalism

CannibalsTo be fair, 30,000 years ago, there were few other recreational activities to occupy one’s spare time. The Archaeology News Network writes:

Archaeologists have found 32,000-year-old human remains in southeastern Europe, which suggest that the earliest humans practiced “mortuary” or “ritual” cannibalism.

The excavated human remains, the oldest known in Europe, were found at a shelter-cave site called Buran-Kaya III in Ukraine and exhibit post-mortem cut marks, the MSNBC reports. “Our observations show a post-mortem treatment of human corpses including the selection of the skull,” said the paleozoologist and archaeologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, Stephane Pean.

However, Pean said that the treatment of the human bodies, which came with ornaments, did not follow nutritional purposes, rejecting the possibility of dietary cannibalism.

“Observed treatment of the human body, together with the presence of body ornaments, indicates rather a mortuary ritual: either a ritual cannibalism or a specific mortuary practice for secondary disposal,” he described.

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Archaeologists Discover First ‘Gay Caveman’

800px-Squat_Burial

Example of a 'Squat Burial'. Photo: Hamed Saber (CC)

Researchers have found the remains of a skeleton that may be an early homosexual man. This conclusion did not come from the findings of any ‘gay gene,’ but rather the burial placement and its social implication. The man was given the burial of a woman which prompted archaeologists to believe that his social role reflected his sexual orientation. Via TIME:

Kamila Remisova Vesinova and her team of researchers from the Czech Archeological Society believe they have unearthed the remains of an early homosexual man. The remains date from around 2900-2500 B.C., on the outskirts of Prague.

That claim stems from the fact the 5,000-year old skeleton was buried in a manner reserved for women in the Corded Ware culture: its head was pointed east rather than west, and its remains were surrounded by domestic jugs rather than by hammers, flint knives and weapons that typically accompany male remains.

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The Pets We Kept Before Dogs Found In 16,500-Year-Old Cemetery

Source: Mariomassone (CC)

Source: Mariomassone (CC)

Alasdair Wilkins writing at io9.com:

A burial site recently uncovered in Jordan is the oldest ever discovered in the Middle East, at least 1,500 years older than any other cemetery previously discovered. But it’s not just its great age that makes it special — the cemetery also reveals what animals humans kept as pets long before the domestication of dogs.

The site, which dates back about 16,500 years, was discovered in ‘Uyun al-Hammam in Jordan. The University of Toronto researchers discovered the site back in 2000, but it’s taken eleven years just to come to grips with what the site has to teach us. Indeed, this cemetery stands to be particularly useful, as it has eleven different sets of human remains — more than all other burial sites of this type combined.

But it isn’t just the human corpses that have attracted attention, as they’ve also discovered remains of ancient pets.

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