Tag Archives | Archaeology

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’

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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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Giant Rodents Lead Scientists To Discover Ancient Face Carvings In East Timor

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush (CC)

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush

CSIRO News reports:

Ancient stone faces carved into the walls of a well-known limestone cave in East Timor have been discovered by a team searching for fossils of extinct giant rats.

The team of archaeologists and palaeontologists were working in Lene Hara Cave on the northeast tip of East Timor.

“Looking up from the cave floor at a colleague sitting on a ledge, my head torch shone on what seemed to be a weathered carving,” CSIRO’s Dr Ken Aplin said.

“I shone the torch around and saw a whole panel of engraved prehistoric human faces on the wall of the cave.

“The local landowners with whom we were working were stunned by the findings. They said the faces had chosen that day to reveal themselves because they were pleased by the field work we were doing.”

The Lene Hara carvings, or petroglyphs, are frontal, stylised faces each with eyes, a nose and a mouth.

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Teeth From Homo Sapiens Older Than Accepted History Of Homo Sapiens

Qesem Cave, Israel. Source: Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University

Qesem Cave, Israel. Source: Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University

In keeping with Disinfo’s tradition of challenging accepted boundaries in all things, as well as in the spirit of the disinformation book Underground!, here’s a little jewel of a discovery written by Daniel Estrin for AP via Yahoo News. Homo Sapiens teeth … potentially 400,000 years old. So much for the old timeline of human history!

Israeli archaeologists said Monday they may have found the earliest evidence yet for the existence of modern man, and if so, it could upset theories of the origin of humans.

A Tel Aviv University team excavating a cave in central Israel said teeth found in the cave are about 400,000 years old and resemble those of other remains of modern man, known scientifically as Homo sapiens, found in Israel. The earliest Homo sapiens remains found until now are half as old.

“It’s very exciting to come to this conclusion,” said archaeologist Avi Gopher, whose team examined the teeth with X-rays and CT scans and dated them according to the layers of earth where they were found.

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Climate Change and the 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence

saharasiaMatriarchy.info reviews Dr. James DeMeo’s book SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World:

A new geographical study on the ancient historical origins of human violence and warfare, drawing upon global archaeological and anthropological evidence, has just been published presenting substantial proof that our ancient ancestors were non-violent, and far more social and loving than are most humans today – moreover, the study points to a dramatic climate change in the Old World, the drying up of the vast Sahara and Asian Deserts, with attending famine, starvation and forced migrations which pushed the earliest humans into violent social patterns, a trauma from which we have not yet recovered in over 6000 years.

The study and book, titled SAHARASIA: The 4000 BCE Origins of Child Abuse, Sex-Repression, Warfare and Social Violence, In the Deserts of the Old World, by retired professor James DeMeo, Ph.D., is the culmination of years of library and field research on the subject.

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Dry Summer Weather Reveals Lost ‘Cropmarks’

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Photo from English Heritage

Summers with dry weather seems uncommon in England, but this summer the dry agricultural fields revealed new marks depicting buried features from the past. BBC News reports:

Hundreds of ancient sites have been discovered by aerial surveys, thanks to a dry start to the summer, English Heritage has said.

The surveys show marks made when crops growing over buried features develop at a different rate from those nearby.

The newly-discovered Roman and prehistoric settlements include a site near Bradford Abbas, Dorset.

The Roman camp was revealed in June after three sides became visible in sun-parched fields of barley.

The lightly-built defensive enclosure would have provided basic protection for Roman soldiers while on manoeuvres in the first century AD and is one of only four discovered in the south west of England, English Heritage said.

Continues at BBC

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