Archaeologists discover 7,000-year-old lost city in Egypt

The Independent7000-yr-old-city

Egypt has unearthed a more than 7,000-year-old city and cemetery dating back to its First Dynasty in the southern province of Sohag, the Antiquities Ministry said on Wednesday.

The find could be a boon for Egypt's ailing tourism industry, which has suffered endless setbacks since an uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011 but remains a vital source of foreign currency.

The city likely housed high-ranking officials and grave builders. Its discovery may yield new insights on Abydos, one of the oldest cities in Ancient Egypt, the ministry said in a statement.

Experts say Abydos was Egypt's capital towards the end of the Predynastic Period and during the rule of the first four dynasties.

The discovery was made 400 metres away from the temple of Seti I, a New Kingdom period memorial across the Nile from present day Luxor.

Archaeologists have so far uncovered huts, pottery remains and iron tools as well as 15 huge graves, some of which were larger than the graves of kings in Abydos, the ministry said in a statement.

“The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the First Dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history,” the ministry said.

Egypt's tourism industry has struggled to recover since the bombing of a Russian plane carrying 224 people from a Red Sea resort in October 2015.

More than 14.7 million tourists visited Egypt in 2010, dropping to 9.8 million in 2011. In the first quarter of 2016 just 1.2 million tourists travelled to Egypt, down from 2.2 million a year earlier.

4,000-Year-Old ‘Thinker’ Sculpture Uncovered in Israel

By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor

A ceramic vessel bearing the sculpture of a pensive-looking figure has been found in the Israeli city of Yehud.

The vessel dates back about 4,000 years, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). Archaeologists found the artifact during excavations in advance of a new housing development.israeli-statue-1

"It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared, and afterwards, the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," Gilad Itach, the IAA excavation director, said in a statement.

The unusual vessel is only about 7 inches (18 centimeters) tall. The container itself is an oblong oval shape, while the figure atop the vessel sits with one arm resting on its knees and the other propping up its chin.

"The level of precision and attention to detail in creating this almost 4,000-year-old sculpture is extremely impressive," Itach said.

Researchers discovered the vessel alongside other items, including arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones, daggers and what appear to be donkey bones. These were likely funerary objects, originally buried alongside the body of an important person, Ministry of Education official Efrat Zilber said in the statement.

"To the best of my knowledge, such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country," Zilber said.

Deeper excavations revealed artifacts dating back at least 6,000 years. These included pottery vessels, flint and basalt tools, and animal bones, according to the IAA. Researchers also found a Copper Age butter churn.

Archaeologists discovered the unusual jug in fragments, and IAA conservators restored it. The neck of the jug provides the "seat" for the pensive figure, Itach said. The archaeologists said they aren't sure whether the original potter made the figure or if some other artist decided to add an embellishment to the plain jug.

The artifact comes from around 2000 B.C., the Middle Bronze Age in the Levant (the region including modern-day Israel and the eastern Mediterranean). According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this was a time when nomadic people called Amorites settled throughout the northern part of the region and when traders shuttled back and forth between the Levant and Egypt.   

High school students assisted with the IAA excavations, as part of the Land of Israel and Archaeology Studies program, a training course for students interested in archaeology. In the IAA statement, one of those students described the moment of the discovery.

"Suddenly, I saw many archaeologists and important people arriving who were examining and admiring something that was uncovered in the ground," said Ronnie Krisher of Roeh Religious Girls High School in Ramat Gan. "They immediately called all of us to look at the amazing statuette and explained to us that this is an extremely rare discovery and one that is not encountered every day. It is exciting to be part of an excavation whose artifacts will be displayed in the museum."    

Ancient ‘thinking person’ statuette unearthed in Israel

Reuters, (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A team of Israeli archaeologists and high school students have unearthed a 3,800-year-old pottery jug bearing a statuette of a person who appears deep in thought, sitting with knees bent and head rested on hand.anchient-thinking-person-1

The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Wednesday the jug, dating back to what archaeologists refer to as the Middle Bronze Age, had been found during an excavation in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb.

"It seems that at first the jug, which is typical of the period, was prepared and afterwards the unique sculpture was added, the likes of which have never before been discovered in previous research," said Gilad Itach, who directed the excavation, which included teenage diggers.

The statuette is about 18 cm (7 inches) tall.

"One can see that the face of the figure seems to be resting on its hand as if in a state of reflection," he said.anchient-thinking-person-2

Other vessels and metal items were found such as daggers, arrowheads, an axe head, sheep bones and what are believed to be the bones of a donkey.

Itach said the collection seemed to be funeral offerings, likely of an important member of an ancient community.

"To the best of my knowledge such a rich funerary assemblage that also includes such a unique pottery vessel has never before been discovered in the country," he said.

The statuette was the latest discovery by the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is charged with carrying out excavations at all major building sites across the country to make sure no relics are destroyed.

In recent months its teams have found treasures from gold coins to an ancient mosaic.

Ancient Inscriptions Show Life Once Flourished in Jordan’s ‘Black Desert’

Live Science, Owen Jarus

Thousands of inscriptions and petroglyphs dating back around 2,000 years have been discovered in the Jebel Qurma region of Jordan's Black Desert. They tell of a time when the now-desolate landscape was teeming with life.2000-yo-inscriptions

"Nowadays, the Jebel Qurma area, and the Black Desert in general, is a highly inhospitable area, very arid and difficult to cross," said Peter Akkermans, a professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands who leads the Jebel Qurma Archaeological Landscape Project. Photos the team took of the modern-day landscape show little water, vegetation or wildlife.

The inscriptions are written in Safaitic, an alphabetic script used by people who lived in parts of Syria, Jordan and Arabia in ancient times. Research is ongoing, but the archaeologists say their finds indicate that around 2,000 years ago, Jebel Qurma had trees, wildlife and a sizable human population.

"There are literally many thousands of Safaitic inscriptions and petroglyphs in the Jebel Qurma region, which suggests that people intensively used the area," Akkermans said.

The petroglyphs, or rock art, show images of lions, gazelles, horses and large birds that may be ostriches. The inscriptions found near these petroglyphs tend to be very short. "Most of the texts are simply names, like 'so-and-so, the son of so-and-so,'" Akkermans said.

Some texts contain information on what people were doing, with a few hinting that the people who inhabited Jebel Qurma had conflicts with the Nabataeans, a people who built the ancient city of Petra. "I am on the lookout for the Nabataeans," one inscription reads.

Other inscriptions tell of the challenges and setbacks encountered by the people who lived at Jebel Qurma. "May there be strength against hunger," one inscription reads, while another was written by a man who said he was "distraught over his beloved."

Specialists are currently analyzing the texts and petroglyphs to gain a better understanding of what they mean and why they were created. "The precise reason for producing rock art — inscriptions and/or representations — is still unclear and open to discussion. What was the message which the producers of the rock art tried to convey?" Akkermans said.

In addition to the inscriptions and petroglyphs, archaeologists found the remains of camps, shelters and tombs used by the people of Jebel Qurma. Archaeologists believe that around 2,000 years ago, the people who lived in the region were nomadic.

The team is looking for more evidence of what the environment was like in ancient times and how the landscape became the desolate place it is today.

"Our excavation at one site revealed masses of charcoal from the third century A.D., which appeared to represent several taxa [groups] of trees, which needed water year-round," Akkermans said. "Hence, the conditions in at least the third century A.D. may have been quite different from today. This is certainly something I wish to explore in the next field seasons, by coring for pollen."

A report describing the finds was published recently in the American Journal of Archaeology.

Ancient Ten Commandments tablet sold at auction for $850,000

By the Associated Press

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The world's earliest-known complete stone inscription of the Ten Commandments, described as a "national treasure" of Israel, sold at auction in Beverly Hills for $850,000.

Heritage Auctions said the two-foot square marble slab sold Wednesday night at a public auction of ancient Biblical archaeology artifacts.

The tablet weighs about 115 pounds and is inscribed in an early Hebrew script called Samaritan.ten-comandments-tablet

It likely adorned the entrance of a synagogue that was destroyed by the Romans between A.D. 400 and 600, or by the Crusaders in the 11th century, said David Michaels, Heritage Auctions director of ancient coins and antiquities.

The auction house said the Israeli Antiquities Authorities approved export of the piece to the United States in 2005. The only condition was that it must be displayed in a public museum.

"The sale of this tablet does not mean it will be hidden away from the public," Michaels said. "The new owner is under obligation to display the tablet for the benefit of the public."

The tablet lists nine of the 10 commonly known commandments, leaving out "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" (King James translation), and adding one often employed by the Samaritan sect, encouraging worshippers to "raise up a temple" on Mount Gerizim, the holy mountain of the Samaritans, according to Heritage Auctions.

The tablet was one of a number of Biblical artifacts owned by the Living Torah Museum in Brooklyn, New York, that were up for auction.

The auction opened with a $300,000 bid on the piece. The winning bidder does not wish to be identified.

Underwater Stone Age settlement mapped out

ScienceDaily.com, Lund University  

Six years ago divers discovered the oldest known stationary fish traps in northern Europe off the coast of southern Sweden. Since then, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have uncovered an exceptionally well-preserved Stone Age site. They now believe the location was a lagoon environment where Mesolithic humans lived during parts of the year.

Other spectacular finds include a 9,000 year-old pick axe made out of elk antlers. The discoveries indicate mass fishing and therefore a semi-permanent settlement.stone-age-mapped

"As geologists, we want to recreate this area and understand how it looked. Was it warm or cold? How did the environment change over time?" says Anton Hansson, PhD student in Quaternary geology at Lund University.

Changes in the sea level have allowed the findings to be preserved deep below the surface of Hanö Bay in the Baltic Sea.

The researchers have drilled into the seabed and radiocarbon dated the core, as well as examined pollen and diatoms. They have also produced a bathymetrical map that reveals depth variations.

"These sites have been known, but only through scattered finds. We now have the technology for more detailed interpretations of the landscape," says Anton Hansson.

"If you want to fully understand how humans dispersed from Africa, and their way of life, we also have to find all their settlements. Quite a few of these are currently underwater, since the sea level is higher today than during the last glaciation. Humans have always prefered coastal sites," concludes Hansson.

6 Mysterious Ancient Maps

Maps reflect our worldview—literally. Far from purely scientific instruments, they are almost always bound with history, mythology, and religion. A study of ancient maps reveals the shifting attitudes human have had toward themselves and their place in the universe.

 

stone-maps-1Archaeologists at Spain’s Moli del Salt site discovered what may be a 13,800-year-old map. The schist slab features seven semi-circular etchings, which experts believed to be huts. The shape coincides with modern hunter-gatherer dwellings of the Kalahari Bushmen and Aboriginals of the Australian Outback. The number seven reflects a typical population size. If true, this would be the earliest image of a human habitation ever discovered. Anthropologists are thrilled by the idea that these huts are a spatial representation of social structure. All of the lines were carved with the same tool at the same time—suggesting one individual captured what was in front of him at one moment.

 

 

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The world’s oldest and largest unsolved jigsaw puzzle is a 2,200-year-old map of Rome. Carved during the reign of SeptimIus Severus between 203 and 211, the Forma Urbis Romae originally hung of a wall in the Temple of Piece. It contained every building, temple, shop, bath, and staircase in ancient Rome. It is composed of 150 marble tiles built to a scale of 1 to 240. The Forma Urbis Romae was ripped down—most likely to be used to make lime cement. Today, only 10 percent of the original map remains. The first pieces were rediscovered in 1562. A section recently discovered in Palazzo Maffei Marescotti allowed researchers to connect three chunks of the ancient puzzle. The newfound piece has shed new light on the present-day ghetto, an area which once dominated by the Circus Flaminius.

 

 

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Archaeologists unearthed a set of what they believe are 5,000-year-old maps in Denmark. Covered with etchings of squares and lines, these 10 broken stones may be some of the oldest maps ever discovered. Researchers theorize that these symbolic representations of the terrain were used in Stone Age farmers’ fertility rituals. These “map stones” were discovered in an earthen wall enclosure on the Danish island of Bornholm. Experts have connected these “solar stones” with the Neolithic sun-worshiping religion. These newfound map stones are different. Their squares and lines evoke geographic elements—both man-made and natural. Many believe that these are “stylized maps” rather than navigational charts in the current sense.

 

 

stone-maps-4
A 3,000-year-old papyrus contains a map to vast mineral wealth in Egypt’s desolate eastern desert. The Turin Papyus contains such detail of Wadi Hammamat valley that it is considered the world’s first geological map. Fragments of the work were discovered and slowly pieced together between 1814 and 1821. Initially believed to be three separate scrolls, the ancient map was found in a tomb in Deir-el-Medina. The most modern reconstruction of the map comes from the 1990s. Experts date the scroll to the mid-12th century BC, around the reign of Ramsesses IV. Earlier maps have been discovered, but they are crude compared to the Turin Papyrus. The map contains no set scale but does contain text that acts like a modern map legend. It contains bekhen-stone quarries and gold mines The papyrus is so accurate that modern mineral hunters, like Aton Resources Inc. have relied on it to find fortune

 

 

stone-maps-5
A star map carved into Japan’s Kitora Tomb may be the world’s oldest astronomic chart. 68 constellations with gold leaf stars cloaks the ceiling. Three circles track the movement of celestial bodies—including the Sun. The pole star dominates the center. The detailed map depicts the horizon, equator, and star courses. This is not the first depiction of the night sky. Lascaux Cave contains a 17,300-year-old image of the subject. However, it lacks astronomical observations. Researchers noted that the sky depicted would have been observed hundreds of years before Kitora Tomb’s construction. However, estimates of the exact date vary between 120 BC and AD 520. Some believe that the knowledge came from Korea, despite depicting China.

 

 

stone-maps-7
Archaeologists discovered the oldest undisputed map on the bottom of an unbaked clay tablet from the sixth century BC. Dated to the Neo-Babylonian period, the chart contains an inscription revealing that it is a copy of an even earlier work. The map was uncovered in 1899, at the site of Sippar located 30 kilometers southwest of Baghdad. Much more sophisticated and accurate maps were available in Greece centuries after this chart. The construction reflects an intentionally conservative blend of geography, cosmology, and mythology. The map depicts the world as a disc surrounded by water. Seven mythical islands lie beyond and connect the earth to the heavens. Cuneiform text explains the mysterious beasts and heroes that inhabit these islands. Seven dots represent seven cities of the ancient world. A “Great Wall” symbolizes winter. The back of the tablet describes mythic beasts that inhabit the heavenly ocean. Experts believe these are constellations.

GERMAN SCIENTISTS PROVE THERE IS LIFE AFTER DEATH

WND November 4, 2016

Note: This does not prove that this is death in its finality.

Berlin | A team of psychologists and medical doctors associated with the Technische Universität of Berlin, have announced this morning that they had proven by clinical experimentation, the existence of some form of life after death. This astonishing announcement is based on the conclusions of a study using a new type of medically supervised near-death experiences, that allow patients to be clinically dead for almost 20 minutes before being brought back to life.death-1

This controversial process that was repeated on 944 volunteers over that last four years, necessitates a complex mixture of drugs including epinephrine and dimethyltryptamine, destined to allow the body to survive the state of clinical death and the reanimation process without damage. The body of the subject was then put into a temporary comatic state induced by a mixture of other drugs which had to be filtered by ozone from his blood during the reanimation process 18 minutes later.

The extremely long duration of the experience was only recently made possible by the development of a new cardiopulmonary recitation (CPR) machine called the AutoPulse. This type of equipment has already been used over the last few years, to reanimate people who had been dead for somewhere between 40 minutes to an hour.

Near-death experiences have been hypothesized in various medical journals in the past, as having the characteristics of hallucinations, but Dr Ackermann and his team, on the contrary, consider them as evidence for the existence of the afterlife and of a form of dualism between mind and body.

The team of scientists led by Dr Berthold Ackermann, has monitored the operations and have compiled the testimonies of the subjects. Although there are some slight variations from one individual to another, all of the subjects have some memories of their period of clinical death. and a vast majority of them described some very similar sensations.

The scientists say that they are well aware the many of their conclusions could shock a lot of people, like the fact that the religious beliefs of the various subjects seems to have held no incidence at all, on the sensations and experiences that they described at the end of the experiment. Indeed, the volunteers counted in their ranks some members are a variety of Christian churches, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and atheists.

“I know our results could disturb the beliefs of many people” says Mr Ackermann. “But in a way, we have just answered one of the greatest questions in the history of mankind, so I hope these people will be able to forgive us. Yes, there is life after death and it looks like this applies to everyone.”