Sunday, December 21, 2014

Stonehenge's Oldest Known Settlement Is Revealed

President Barack Obama visits Stonehenge after leaving the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.
President Barack Obama visits Stonehenge after leaving the NATO summit in Newport, Wales, Friday, Sept. 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

But it's already in danger thanks to tunnel plans
By Matt Cantor
Newser) – Researchers are exploring a settlement near Stonehenge dating to about 4000 BC, making it the area's oldest, the Telegraph reports. The Blick Mead encampment, as it's known, is from the Mesolithic period and was likely home to hunter-gatherers who headed to the spot before Britain became an island. It's the "latest Mesolithic encampment ever found in the UK," says archaeologist David Jacques, and findings, including apparent structures and evidence of feasting, mean that "British pre-history may have to be rewritten." Another expert calls the encampment Stonehenge's greatest revelation in 60 years. "Was Stonehenge built in part as a monument to the ancestors from the deepest part of Britain’s past?" Jacques wonders, per Heritage Daily. "Blick Mead could explain what archaeologists have been searching for for centuries": the real story behind the site.
But the encampment is already in trouble—from plans for a highway that's actually intended to make Stonehenge a nicer place to visit. A nearly two-mile tunnel aims to reduce a traffic bottleneck in the area, the Guardian reports. But it could also obscure history. Prime minister David Cameron, who announced the plans, "is interested in re-election in 140 days; we are interested in discovering how our ancestors lived 6,000 years ago," says Jacques. The site "connects the early hunter-gatherer groups returning to Britain after the Ice Age to the Stonehenge area all the way through to the Neolithic in the late fifth millennium BC," he notes, and "our only chance to find out about the earliest chapter of Britain’s history could be wrecked if the tunnel goes ahead." Recent reports also pointed to a "super henge" underneath the stones.

Winter Solstice December 21, 2014

 Happy Winter Solstice

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History Trivia - end of the Year of the four emperors

December 21,

69 the end of the Year of the four emperors: Following Galba, Otho and Vitellius, Vespasian became the fourth Emperor of Rome within a year.

882 Hincmar of Reims died. As archbishop of Reims, Hincmar was one of the most influential political and ecclesiastical figures of Carolingian Europe. 

1118 Thomas A. Becket was born.

1163 A hurricane hit villages in Holland/Friesland, causing massive flooding.
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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Greek Mystery Tomb Occupant to Be Revealed Soon

by Rossella Lorenzi

Discovery News

The identity of the skeleton found in the mysterious, richly decorated tomb in Amphipolis in northern Greece will be revealed next month, the Greek Ministry of Culture said.
According to the statement, macroscopic study of the bones, conducted by universities in Thessaloniki and Thrace, will provide answers on the individual’s sex, age and height.
Archaeologists led by Katerina Peristeri unearthed the human remains last month. The skeleton was found scattered within and outside a box-shaped limestone grave placed at about 5.3 feet beneath the floor of the the tomb’s third chamber.
Skeleton Emerges From Mysterious Greek Tomb
The finding was the last chapter of an extraordinary archaeological exploration that winded through huge decapitated sphinxes, walls guarded by colossal caryatids (female statues that serve as architectural support) and floors decorated with stunning mosaics.
The ministry dismissed as “unfounded” some leaks on the Internet and Greek websites about the identity of the individual buried at the massive tomb — about a third of a mile in circumference — dating back to Alexander the Great’s reign in the late 4th century B.C.
Indeed, citing “exclusive information,” the Amfipoli News website wrote the skeleton belongs to a 54-year-old woman. This would mean that the tomb’s occupant is most likely Olympias, Alexander the Great’s mother.
Remains of Alexander the Great’s Father Confirmed Found
According to Andrew Chugg, author of “The Quest for the Tomb of Alexander the Great” and the first scholar who suggested Olympias as the tomb occupant, the Greek ministry statement “does not actually contradict the leak that the skeleton belongs to a woman aged 54.”
“It does suggest that an examination of the skeleton has taken place and that there are results to report, because the ministry could not otherwise be certain that it would have results to announce in January as it has promised,” Chugg told Discovery News.
A princess from the Epirus region in the northwest of the Greek peninsula, Olympias played a key role in the power struggle that followed the deaths his husband Philip II and her son Alexander the Great.
Her effort to establish her grandson Alexander IV as the sole king of an enormous empire prompted her enemy Cassander to orchestrate her execution in 316 B.C.
Best-Ever Portrait of Alexander the Great Found?
Speculation abounds over who was buried in the colossal mound. Names made in the heated guessing game include Androsthenes, Laomedon and Nearchus, Alexander’s admirals, battlefield general Hephaestion, who was Alexander’s closest friend since childhood, and even Cassander, who killed Alexander’s wife Roxana and his son Alexander IV to succeed the Macedonian king.
The Culture Ministry specified that investigation on the mysterious skeleton is part of a broader research program, which includes the analysis of about 300 skeletons, coming from the area of Amphipolis and covering the period from 1000 BC to 200 B.C.
The project is expected to last 20 months.
Image: the tomb entrance at Amphipolis. Credit: Greek Ministry of Culture Follow on Bloglovin

Ancient finds could prove biblical kings David and Solomon were real

File photo of a statue representing King David. (AP Photo/Polfoto, Jens Dige, File)

By John Johnson
Fox News

Kings David and Solomon may be memorable figures from the Bible, but plenty of scholars think they were mere figments of somebody's imagination. One big reason is that the archaeological record doesn't mesh: These two supposedly ruled in the 10th-century BC, but where's the physical evidence? Now, however, an archaeological team from Mississippi State University has dug up six clay seals in Israel that support the idea of such reigns, reports Science Daily.

The seals are tangible evidence that some kind of government was operating near what is present-day Gaza in the Iron Age, say the researchers. As io9 explains, the seals "do not have any writing or symbols that declare 'King David was here.'" But they lend weight to the theory that David and Solomon "were actual historical figures—or, at the very least, based upon other rulers who lived during the period recounted in the Bible." The site in southern Israel known as Khirbet Summeily was previously thought to be an ancient farm, notes Archaeology, but the clays seals upend that theory.
This article originally appeared on Newser: Clay Seals Suggest Kings David, Solomon Were Real 

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History Trivia - General Vespasian's troops occupy Rome

December 20

 69 General Vespasian's troops occupy Rome after defeating the Emperor Vitellius.    

860 King Ethelbald of Wessex died   

1334 Benedict XII was elected pope. The third pope to reside at Avignon, Benedict attempted to reform the church and its religious orders. His pontificate saw the beginning of the Hundred Years' War.

1522 Suleiman the Magnificent accepted the surrender of the surviving Knights of Rhodes, who were allowed to evacuate. They eventually settled on Malta and became known as the Knights of Malta.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

The Briton and the Dane - audio edition giveway

AudaVoxx presents
 The Briton and the Dane: Second Edition

Written by: Mary Ann Bernal

Narrated by: Sebastian Lockwood

5.00 Stars

King Alfred the Great has thwarted the Viking threat against his kingdom of Wessex. Signing a treaty with the formidable Danish King Guthrum, he succeeds in pushing the heathen army back to the rolling fens of East Anglia. An uneasy peace holds sway: The King establishes a standing army under Lord Richard, who takes command of the citadel at Wareham.

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