Scientists Are Investigating Signs of Ancient Human Civilization Underwater

Archaeologists are trying to piece together the mystery of an underwater trail of ancient rock piles, or cairns, that stretch for miles under the shimmering waters of Lake Constance, a glacial lake that lies between Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, and which appear to have been made by humans who lived some 5,500 years ago, according to a 2021 study.

The huge cairns have attracted public attention and expert debate ever since they were first discovered in 2015 by the Institute for Lake Research in Langenargen. Roughly 170 of these rock formations are arranged in a line under the shallow waters of Lake Constance, several hundred feet from its southwest Swiss shore. 

A team led by Urs Leuzinger, an archaeologist at the Museum of Archaeology of the Canton of Thurgau, have amassed compelling evidence that the rock formations were made by humans who lived in the area during the Neolithic period. 

The piles are several dozen feet wide, with heights of up to six feet, distinguishing them as impressive structures that would have required a lot of effort and time to build, though “the function of this 10-kilometer long prehistoric feature remains enigmatic,” according to a 2021 study published in the Annual Review of Swiss Archaeology. The findings of this study will be presented in a pop-up exhibit this week called “Bodensee Stonehenge” (meaning Lake Constance Stonehenge) at the Office for Archaeology Thurgau.

Keep reading

Cannabis found in ancient Israeli temple called ‘revolutionary’ discovery

Holy smokes!

Archaeologists have discovered cannabis residue on artifacts in a temple in southern Israel, marking the first known use of hallucinogenic drugs in the Jewish religion, reports the Associated Press.

The study, which was published Friday in the Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, notes that the “revolutionary” findings from an eighth-century BC shrine at Tel Arad suggest “the use of mind-altering substances as part of cultic rituals in Judah.”

“Here, the official state religion of the kingdom of Judah was using this substance,” study author Eran Arie said of the psychotropic samples, which were found on two limestone altars. The synagogue was first unearthed in the 1960s at the Tel Arad excavation site near Jerusalem, however, archaeologists hadn’t identified the ancient marijuana until now.

Chemical analysis also revealed that the hashish was likely burned atop dried animal droppings.

However, it’s unlikely that the ancient Hebrews were smoking pot to get stoned. Yossi Garfinkel, an archaeology professor from Hebrew University, postulated that they took various mind-altering substances, including opium and wine “to get into ecstasy and connect with God.”

The marijuana milestone marks the “first time we see psychoactive substances in Judahite religion,” according to Arie, who hopes the discovery will shed more light on how ancient Israelites conducted worship.

Keep reading

Archeologists Discover Hundreds Of Mummies, Tunnels, And Pyramid Of Unknown Queen

Archeologists have discovered hundreds of mummies, interconnected tunnels, and even the pyramid of a previously unknown queen — 100 years after King Tut’s tomb was found. 

The historical finds were discovered at an archeological site called Saqqara in Giza, just south of Egypt’s capital of Cairo, by a team that had been working at the site for two years. Archeologists found “300 beautiful coffins” that are believed to be from the New Kingdom period, a 500-year era of prosperity in Egypt between 1550-1070 B.C. 

“The coffins have individual faces, each one unique, distinguishing between men and women, and are decorated with scenes from the Book of the Dead,” according to Egypt’s former Minister of Antiquities Zahi Hawass, who is working at the site. “Each coffin also has the name of the deceased,” he said. 

The researchers opened the coffins and were surprised by the good condition of many of the mummies that have been inside them for many centuries. Hawass attributed this discovery to the period in Egypt’s history when mummification techniques peaked. He also noted that some of the coffins had multiple lids and that “the most amazing coffin” had a mask of a woman that was made of solid gold. Researchers believe some of these mummies consist of King Tut’s closest advisers and generals.  

As for the pyramid of the previously unknown queen, her name was revealed to be Neith. “It is amazing to literally rewrite what we know of history, adding a new queen to our records,” Hawass said of the find. 

The area of focus for the researchers was the pyramid of another pharoah, King Teti, the first king of the sixth dynasty who is believed to have reigned for 12 years. Found near Teti’s pyramid are 22 interconnected tunnels ranging from 30 to 60 feet deep, all of them are believed to have had burials during the New Kingdom period. It was previously believed that the majority of burials in Saqqara were from the Old Kingdom period, which lasted from 2649-2130 B.C. 

Keep reading

The Bosnian Pyramid Complex: Larger, Older & More Mysterious Than Egyptian Pyramids?

A few years ago, a discovery in Bosnia made headlines (2005) when it was announced that the world’s largest pyramid had been found near the town of Visoko, northwest of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. Since then, more than 400,000 people have visited these sites.

What’s interesting about pyramids is that they’re not only found in Egypt. They’re found throughout the world and built by civilizations (if you believe that theory) that had absolutely no contact with each other and roamed the Earth at different time periods throughout human history.

“Modern day archaeology and anthropology have nearly sealed the door on our imaginations, broadly interpreting the North American past as devoid of anything unusual in the way of great cultures characterized by a people of unusual demeanour. The great interloper of ancient burial grounds, the nineteenth century Smithsonian Institution, created a one-way portal, through which uncounted bones have been spirited. This door and the contents of its vault are virtually sealed off to anyone but government officials. Among these bones may lay answers not even sought by these officials concerning the deep past.”Vine Deloria, Standing Rock Sioux,  author, theologian, historian, and activist for Native American rights

What makes this massive undertaking so common across our history? What is it about these structures that basically had the entire world construct them? What do they represent? Our history books are far from a valid resource, there are so many new discoveries being made with regards to pyramids and ancient archaeology that our education system simply cannot keep up with it all.

Keep reading

The 6,000-Year History of Medical Cannabis

Since the early 20th century, the use of cannabis for any purpose fell out of favor by both regulators and Western culture at large.

In the United States, a wave of regulations made access to cannabis more difficult starting from the late 1900s, ultimately culminating in the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively made cannabis use a federal offense. Meanwhile, prohibition in Canada lasted for 85 years until being lifted by recent developments.

Interestingly, however, this recent period of 20th century opposition is actually just a small speck in the wider 6,000-year timeline of cannabis. After all, the plant has been widely regarded for its therapeutic potential for many millennia by different cultures around the world.

Keep reading

THE MYSTERY OF TUTANKHAMUN’S METEORIC IRON DAGGER

IN 1922, EGYPTIAN EXCAVATORS LED BY HOWARD CARTER DISCOVERED THE TOMB OF TUTANKHAMUN, AN EGYPTIAN PHARAOH WHO WAS THE LAST OF HIS ROYAL FAMILY TO RULE DURING THE END OF THE 18TH DYNASTY.

Located in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), the tomb, KV62, was buried in mounds of debris from the cutting of KV9 for Pharaoh Ramesses V over 150 years after Tutankhamun’s death.

The discovery caused a media frenzy, revealing 5,398 items that included: a solid gold coffin, face mask, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, two Imiut fetishes, gold toe stalls, furniture, food, wine, sandals and fresh linen underwear.

Among the artefacts were a set of iron blades that resemble the PeseshKaf, a tool used in the “opening of the mouth ceremony,” a ritual performed for the deceased to enable them to breath, speak, eat and drink in the afterlife.

One of these blades is an iron dagger with an ornamental golden sheath, expertly produced by an ancient metalsmith.

The Howard Carter Archives describes the dagger as having a finely manufactured blade made from a homogeneous metal, while the handle is made of fine gold and is decorated with cloisonné and granulation work, ending with a pommel of rock crystal. On one side of the golden sheath is a floral lily motif, while on the other is a pattern of feathers terminating with a jackal’s head.

Examples in Egypt of contemporary smelting during the 18th Dynasty to produce Iron are very rare, and likely produced low-quality iron to be forged into precious objects. As the other blades found in the tomb are relatively crude, many scholars suggest that the ornamental dagger was imported to Egypt perhaps as a royal gift from a neighbouring territory or kingdom.

Diplomatic documents (the Amarna letters), that date from the 14th century BC mention royal gifts made of iron given to the pharaohs of Egypt from before Tutankhamun’s reign. Interestingly, one of these documents notes that Tushratta, King of Mitanni, sent iron objects to Amenhotep III (possibly Tutankhamun’s grandfather), which mentions iron blades in the lists.

Keep reading

Ancient DNA analysis sheds light on the early peopling of South America

The Americas were the last continent to be inhabited by humans. An increasing body of archaeological and genomic evidence has hinted to a complex settlement process. This is especially true for South America, where unexpected ancestral signals have raised perplexing scenarios for the early migrations into different regions of the continent.

Many unanswered questions still persist, such as whether the first humans migrated south along the Pacific coast or by some other route. While there is archaeological evidence for a north-to-south migration during the initial peopling of the Americas by ancient Indigenous peoples, where these ancient humans went after they arrived has remained elusive.

Using DNA from two ancient human individuals unearthed in two different archaeological sites in northeast Brazil—Pedra do Tubarão and Alcobaça—and powerful algorithms and genomic analyses, Florida Atlantic University researchers in collaboration with Emory University have unraveled the deep demographic history of South America at the regional level with some unexpected and surprising results.

Not only do researchers provide new genetic evidence supporting existing archaeological data of the north-to-south migration toward South America, they also have discovered migrations in the opposite direction along the Atlantic coast—for the first time. The work provides the most complete genetic evidence to date for complex ancient Central and South American migration routes.

Keep reading

The mysterious Viking runes found in a landlocked US state

Did Vikings find their way to a remote part of Oklahoma? Some in a small community believe so, thanks to controversial runic carvings found in the area.

“[Farley] spent the majority of her adult life researching the stone,” said Amanda Garcia, Heavener Runestone Park manager. “She travelled all around the US, went to Egypt and went to different places looking at different markings.”

Faith Rogers, an environmental-science intern and volunteer at the Heavener Runestone Park, led me down a cobblestone path toward one of the 55-acre woodland’s biggest attractions – which is also one of the US’ biggest historical mysteries. We were deep in the rolling, scrub-forest foothills of the Ouachita Mountains in far eastern Oklahoma, and we were on our way to view a slab of ancient sandstone that still has experts scratching their heads and debating about the eight symbols engraved on its face. 

Some believe that these cryptic inscriptions are runes (ancient alphabetical characters) carved into the towering stone circa 1000 CE by Norse explorers who travelled up the Arkansas River to this remote part of landlocked America.

“Do I think the Vikings carved this? I do,” said Rogers, as we stood in the protective wood-and-glass “house” built around the 3m-by-3.6m slab. “[Local historian] Gloria Farley spent her whole life researching this, and she has a lot of evidence to back it up.”

Farley – who grew up in the town of Heavener where the runestone was found and who passed away in 2006 – is a legend in these parts. She first saw the relic while hiking as a young girl in 1928 and was fascinated by it. Two decades later, she returned to study it, as an amateur runologist and self-taught epigraphist. 

The first modern knowledge of the runestone dates to the 1830s, when it was found by a Choctaw hunting party. For years, white Oklahomans called it Indian Rock, mistakenly thinking that the carvings were Native American.

“[Farley] spent the majority of her adult life researching the stone,” said Amanda Garcia, Heavener Runestone Park manager. “She travelled all around the US, went to Egypt and went to different places looking at different markings.”

Keep reading

Ancient 15,000-Year-Old Viruses Found in Melting Tibetan Glaciers

Ancient creatures are emerging from the cold storage of melting permafrost, almost like something out of a horror movie.

From incredibly preserved extinct megafauna like the woolly rhino, to the 40,000-year-old remains of a giant wolf, and bacteria over 750,000 years old.

Not all of these things are dead.

Centuries-old moss was able to spring back to life in the warmth of the laboratory. So too, incredibly, were tiny 42,000-year-old roundworms.

These fascinating glimpses of organisms from Earth’s long distant past are revealing the history of ancient ecosystems, including details of the environments in which they existed.

But the melt has also created some concerns about ancient viruses coming back to haunt us.

“Melting will not only lead to the loss of those ancient, archived microbes and viruses, but also release them to the environments in the future,” researchers explained in a study last year, led by first author and microbiologist Zhi-Ping Zhong from Ohio State University.

Keep reading

The Remains of This Recently Found Ancient Structure Are Even Older Than The Pyramids

Archaeologists digging near Prague have discovered the remains of a Stone Age structure that’s older than Stonehenge and even the Egyptian pyramids: an enigmatic complex known as a roundel.

Nearly 7,000 years ago during the late Neolithic, or New Stone Age, a local farming community may have gathered in this circular building, although its true purpose is unknown.

The excavated roundel is large – about 180 feet (55 meters) in diameter, or about as long as the Leaning Tower of Pisa is tall, Radio Prague International reported.

And while “it is too early to say anything about the people building this roundel”, it’s clear that they were part of the Stroked Pottery culture, which flourished between 4900 BCE and 4400 BCE, Jaroslav Řídký, a spokesperson for the Institute of Archaeology of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IAP) and an expert on the Czech Republic’s roundels, told Live Science in an email.

Miroslav Kraus, director of the roundel excavation in the district of Vinoř on behalf of the IAP, said that revealing the structure could give them a clue about the use of the building.

Researchers first learned about the Vinoř roundel’s existence in the 1980s, when construction workers were laying gas and water pipelines, according to Radio Prague International, but the current dig has revealed the structure’s entirety for the first time.

So far, his team has recovered pottery fragments, animal bones, and stone tools in the ditch fill, according to Řídký.

Carbon-dating organic remains from this roundel excavation could help the team pinpoint the date of the structure’s construction and possibly link it with a Neolithic settlement discovered nearby.

Keep reading