BEST OF THE WEB: 75th anniversary: Newly-released wartime docs debunk modern Polish myths about Soviet liberation of Warsaw

A Polish soldier waves the national flag in Warsaw, after it was liberated by the Soviet Union and its Polish allies on January 14-17, 1945. Warsaw was liberated by Soviet forces 75 years ago today — and Polish officials have cloaked the pivotal event in myths ever since. Yet, newly-released historical documents help shed some light on the truth. Official Warsaw had no plans to celebrate this date — but it is not the first time that Poland has ignored the liberation of its state capital. Since the collapse of…

Read More

Britain secretly funded Reuters in 1960s & 1970s declassified docs reveal

© REUTERSA file photo from the Reuters archive shows journalists in the Reuters Newsroom at 85 Fleet Street, London, during the British General Election of 1950. The British government secretly funded Reuters in the 1960s and 1970s at the behest of an anti-Soviet propaganda unit linked to British intelligence and concealed the funding by using the BBC to make the payments, declassified government documents show. The money was used to expand Reuters coverage of the Middle East and Latin America and hidden by increased news subscription payments to Reuters from…

Read More

Beach-combing Neanderthals dove for shells

© Villa et al., 2020General morphology of retouched shell tools, Figs C-L are from the Pigorini Museum. Did Neanderthals wear swimsuits? Probably not. But a new study suggests that some of these ancient humans might have spent a lot of time at the beach. They may even have dived into the cool waters of the Mediterranean Sea to gather clam shells. The findings come from Grotta dei Moscerini, a picturesque cave that sits just 10 feet above a beach in what is today the Latium region of central Italy. In…

Read More

Mystery of early Neolithic house orientations solved

© Nils Müller-ScheeßelAerial photo of the excavation area of an Early Neolithic settlement near Vráble in Slovakia. Human behaviour is influenced by many things, most of which remain unconscious to us. One of these is a phenomenon known among perception psychologists as “pseudo-neglect”. This refers to the observation that healthy people prefer their left visual field to their right and therefore divide a line regularly left of centre. A study published on Friday, 10.01. in the online magazine PLOS ONE now shows for the first time what effect this inconspicuous…

Read More

Atoms for Peace vs. Atoms for War may be the only fix for Iran-US relations

© USPO War hawks in Israel and Washington have been quick to denounce Iran’s nuclear power ambitions for years with the repeated excuse that “Iran has so much oil that nuclear energy is irrelevant for them – unless they wanted to build an Islamic Bomb!” Hogwash. As we shall come to see, not only has Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei created a 2003 fatwa declaring nuclear weapons forbidden under Islamic Law, but Iranian leaders were already calling for the need to transition to a new and superior form of energy…

Read More

Columbus’ claims of invading Caribs from South America not a myth, but were they cannibals?

© Public domain imageCaribs hailed from the Northwest Amazon, and archaeologists long believed they never expanded north of the Lesser Antilles. Detail from a painting by John Gabriel Stedman. Christopher Columbus’ accounts of the Caribbean include harrowing descriptions of fierce raiders who abducted women and cannibalized men – stories long dismissed as myths. But a new study suggests Columbus may have been telling the truth. Using the equivalent of facial recognition technology, researchers analyzed the skulls of early Caribbean inhabitants, uncovering relationships between people groups and upending longstanding hypotheses about…

Read More

Java Man not so old after all says new research

© HISAO BABA/NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE.The most complete cranium of Javanese Homo erectus so far found. The oldest human remains in Southeast Asia aren’t as old as we thought they were. An Indonesian-Japanese team of scientists has overturned a decades-old estimate of Homo erectus remains from Central Java in Indonesia, shaving off several hundred thousand years from the age of the globe-trotting hominin, the first to disperse out of Africa. The new estimate, published in the journal Science, puts Homo erectus at the fossil-rich Sangiran dome by around…

Read More

How a hilltop became the incubator for Israeli settler violence

© Kobi Gideon/Flash90Jewish settler clears rubble from demolition by IDF, Mitzpe Yitzhar, West Bank On Oct. 16, 2019, masked settlers from Yitzhar and its surrounding outposts assaulted Israeli and American-Jewish activists who were assisting Palestinians with their olive harvest, among them an 80-year-old rabbi. Three days later, settlers in the same area attacked Palestinians farming their land. For the following two days, Yitzhar residents also attacked Israeli Border Police troops, part of a running series of altercations after the military arrested a settler suspected of setting fire to a plot…

Read More

Now twenty years later, how did Putin do it?

© Sputnik/KJN Twenty years ago a not very well-known Vladimir Putin published an essay “Russia at the turn of the millennium”. It was printed in Nezavisimaya Gazeta and at the Russian government website. The only copy that I can find on the Net in English now is here but I will be referring to the official English translation and Russian text that I downloaded at the time. Putin had been Prime Minister for about five months and, when Yeltsin resigned the day after the publication of this essay, he became…

Read More

Padlock among finds at Lair of Glenshee Pictish homestead

© Chris MitchellA reconstruction of the homestead in Glenshee An early Medieval padlock was among the finds made by archaeologists at a Pictish settlement in Perthshire. Lair in Glenshee was the location of a Pictish homestead with turf-roofed stone and timber buildings dating to around 500 to 1000 AD. Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, supported by other organisations, has spent five years excavating the site. Archaeologists believe the padlock was used to keep valuables and personal belongings safe. © AOC Archaeology LtdThe box-shaped case of the padlock survives Image copyright…

Read More

The advanced toolmakers of the early Stone Age

© NOEL FEANS / FLICKROlduvai Gorge is one of the world’s most important sites for human origins research. As far back as the Early Stone Age people were engineering stone tools in complex ways to ensure they were right for the job, according to new research in Tanzania’s famous Olduvai Gorge. Mechanical testing of raw materials and artefacts by British and Spanish scientists has revealed that Palaeolithic hominins selected different raw materials for different tools based on how sharp, durable and efficient they were. They made these decisions in conjunction…

Read More

Recurring, natural climate change: 9th century Viking runestone records fears of ‘3-year-long winter’

© Alfredo Dagli OrtiRex/ShutterstockThe Rök stone in Sweden bears the longest runic inscription in the world. One of the world’s most famous runestones is now believed to have been erected by Vikings fearing a repeat of a previous cold climate crisis in Scandinavia, a study has concluded. The Rök stone, raised in the ninth century near Lake Vättern in south central Sweden, bears the longest runic inscription in the world, with more than 700 runes covering its five sides. It is believed to have been erected as a memorial to…

Read More

9th century Viking runestone records fears of 3 year long winter

© Alfredo Dagli OrtiRex/ShutterstockThe Rök stone in Sweden bears the longest runic inscription in the world. One of the world’s most famous runestones is now believed to have been erected by Vikings fearing a repeat of a previous cold climate crisis in Scandinavia, a study has concluded. The Rök stone, raised in the ninth century near Lake Vättern in south central Sweden, bears the longest runic inscription in the world, with more than 700 runes covering its five sides. It is believed to have been erected as a memorial to…

Read More

1.8 million years ago early humans engineered optimized stone tools

© Journal of The Royal Society Interface (2020). DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0377Representative flakes made from quartzite (a), chert (b) and basalt (c). The Instron 3345 tensile testing machine used during the controlled cutting tests (d). A quartzite flake, prior to being used to cut, is clearly depicted, along with the metal framework and PVC tubing (e). Early Stone Age populations living between 1.8 – 1.2 million years ago engineered their stone tools in complex ways to make optimised cutting tools, according to a new study by University of Kent and UCL. The…

Read More

Arctic island mammoth shows strongest evidence yet of human slaughter and butchering

© Albert ProtopopovThe extinct mammoth remains were dated by radiocarbon analysis to 21,000 years of age by the Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo. The Kotelny island woolly mammoth was killed by humans some 21,000 years ago, say scientists. Dr Albert Protopopov shared new pictures of the remains found at a location which was then part of the vast Beringia Land Bridge connecting what is now Siberia and North America. ‘The traces on the bones show that the mammoth was killed and butchered by ancient people,’ he said. ©…

Read More

BEST OF THE WEB: Polytheism and human sacrifice in early Israelite religion

FILE PHOTO: Is that a 3,000-year-old picture of god, his penis and his wife depicted by early Jews at Kuntillet Ajrud? The following is an interview with Thom Stark, a scholar of ancient and modern religious texts. Stark is currently an M.A.R. student at Emmanuel School of Religion in Johnson City, Tenn. His first book, released in October, is called The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It). In chapters 4 and 5, Mr. Stark systematically lays out…

Read More

Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago

© Dr. Lucinda BackwellBorder Cave excavation. “The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170 thousand years ago,” says Professor Lyn Wadley, a scientist from the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa (Wits ESI). “This discovery is much older than earlier reports for cooking similar plants and it provides a fascinating insight into the behavioural practices of early modern humans in southern Africa. It also implies that they shared food and used wooden sticks…

Read More

Dating the ancient Maltese temples

© Berthold Werner, CC-BY-SA 3.0.Relief showing goats and rams from one of the temples at Tarzien. Malta is famous for its ancient megalithic temples, such as Gjantija and Hagar Qim. The orthodox view has always been that they are Bronze Age, or slightly earlier. The most recent attempt to date them involves researchers from Queens University Belfast (QUB), Maltese institutions and other universities in the UK under the ‘FRAGSUS’ project, an EU multi-million pound research collaboration. For example, see the paper ‘Island questions: the chronology of the Brochtorff Circle at…

Read More

The Different Ages of Ancient Greece

Archaic. Classical. Hellenistic. These terms are often (and quite naturally) conflated together under the generic heading of ‘classical’, or, at the very least, ‘old’. It appears that organizing history into clear, distinct eras can be a tricky business. This, of course, is more true for the Greeks than for the Romans. This is because it’s relatively easy to get one’s head around the fact that the Romans smoothly traversed the ages from Monarchy to Republic to Empire. (Obviously there are many more nuances to the situation than that – but…

Read More

The incredible impact of Jesus Christ

© Franco Origlia/Getty ImagesA view of the Colosseum during the Way of The Cross at the held by Pope Francis on April 14, 2017 in Rome, Italy. Twenty-five years ago, D. James Kennedy and I came out with a book called, What if Jesus had Never Been Born? It ended up becoming a best-seller. The message is very simple: Because Jesus was born, look at all these incredible blessings we have throughout the world. For instance, the Christian church created the phenomenon of the hospital and has created hospitals all…

Read More

Scythian tomb with 3 generations of warrior women unearthed in Russia

© Archaeoolog.ruThis female warrior was buried with an elaborately engraved headdress during the fourth century B.C. The Amazon warriors of ancient Greek lore were once considered mythical figures. But in recent years, archaeological work and genetic analysis have identified women buried with weapons, horseback riding equipment and other accoutrements traditionally associated with warriors. Earlier this month, a team led by archaeologist Valerii Guliaev announced the discovery of a 2,500-year-old tomb in which four such women were buried together. The findings were published in the journal of the Akson Russian Science…

Read More

Terracotta Army: 220 additional soldiers discovered, including new ranks, in famous tomb of Chinese Emperor

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Archaeologists working on the tomb of Emperor Qin Shi Huang have announced the discovery of an additional 220 soldiers in the world-famous Terracotta Army after almost a decade of painstaking excavation. The team has been excavating the tomb since 2009, covering an area of ​​about 500,000 square meters. The site is riddled with a vast array of artifacts including pottery, bronze, jade, a small amount of gold, silver, and iron and the aforementioned Terracotta Warriors. © Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor Amid the…

Read More

Calanais Stone circle secrets revealed

© Screen ShotCalanais Stones were constructed with astrological phenomena. New evidence of a massive lightning strike at the centre of a hidden stone circle in the Outer Hebrides may help shed light on why these monuments were created thousands of years ago. The Calanais Virtual Reconstruction Project, a joint venture led by the University of St Andrews with the Urras nan Tursachan and the University of Bradford, with funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, has uncovered a potential link between ancient stone circles and the forces of nature. While studying…

Read More

BEST OF THE WEB: Incredible find at ancient site in Scotland reveals massive lightning scar in center of circle of standing stones

© Screen ShotCalanais Stones were constructed with astrological phenomena. New evidence of a massive lightning strike at the centre of a hidden stone circle in the Outer Hebrides may help shed light on why these monuments were created thousands of years ago. The Calanais Virtual Reconstruction Project, a joint venture led by the University of St Andrews with the Urras nan Tursachan and the University of Bradford, with funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, has uncovered a potential link between ancient stone circles and the forces of nature. While studying…

Read More

How the English invented Champagne

The secondary fermentation process for making Champagne, or Sparkling English Wine, was invented in Winchcombe, Cotswolds, 30 years before it was in France. This woman is carrying two champagne bottles and wearing a wire face mask, used to protect workers in case the bottles exploded due to the pressure French winemakers have claimed the riches of sparkling wine, or Champagne, for centuries – overlooking the fact their success is based on inventions made by l’anglais. The secondary fermentation process for making ‘Sparkling English wine’ was invented in Winchcombe, Cotswolds, by…

Read More

Decoding the Boar in ancient stone sculptures

© Prehistory DecodedCommon Lepinski Vir stone sculpture, often interpreted as representing a human-fish hybrid. I think the boar has finally been decoded, at least in Neolithic and Iron Age Europe. First see the ancient site of Lepinski Vir, a Neolithic site on the Danube in Serbia – part of the Danube Gorges cultural complex. Lepinski Vir is best known for being a gateway site between Neolithic Anatolia and Mesolithic Europe. Essentially, the ‘Anatolian farmers’ who migrated or invaded Europe after the 8.2 kiloyear event (around 6200 to 6300 BC) appear…

Read More