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Archaeology
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Immanentizing The Eschaton


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How so?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yuval Noah Harare first drew my attention to it in his book Sapiens,that there is a shift of evidence going on in the world of palaeoanthropology. The old model of the three human types, negroid, mongoloid and caucasian having descended from a single post-exodus Homo Sapiens lineage is coming under attack as a result of mounting evidence of interbreeding with other types that were possibly extant in different parts of the world at the time. In its most extreme iteration, it can be expressed as the basis of the above division being because in each area, cross-breeding with a different hominid (?) type occurred, resulting in a much more fundamental genetic 'difference' between the types than had they all been descended from a single post-exodus species. (nb At one point there were as many as six Homo species co-existant side by side on the planet.)

Such speculations have in the past been used to justify many odius opinions and indeed practice's, which is why genetics is as a subject of study, potentially fraught with such risk - because of its potential for abuse. However, the results of increasing human knowledge by study are never ill in and of themselves, but that the making use of them becomes so. If this indeed is where the evidence pertaining to our descent takes us, then let us embrace our lost brothers and sisters returned to the fold and not use such knowledge as fuel to throw on the fire of racism and prejudice.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the (relatively) recent experiment in which 5 people from widely divergent geographical and racial groups were all genotyped and found to share a common ancestor no more than 10,000 years ago, it seems to me that the old model still holds water.

What findings like this suggest however is that there were more than one exodus. However, it appears that the participants in those early exoduses did not manage to maintain their genetic identity over time, even if there was some genetic transfer between the remnants of these and subsequent ones.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed - I believe the single line model is still the mainly adopted one and the 'mitochondrial eve' evidence would be hard to accommodate into a theory of the type above. Re the exodus - IIRC there were two major ones (suggested) separated by many thousands of years. Again from memory, I believe it is thought the first was pretty unsuccessful compared the second.
( I tried t find the bok last night Av to refresh my memory, but of course it was nowhere to be found Rolling Eyes )
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL Of course. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Scan Of Tutankhamun's Tomb Shows Hidden Rooms

Cairo - Scans of King Tut's burial chamber have revealed two hidden rooms, Egypt's antiquities minister said Thursday - a discovery that could intensify speculation that the chambers contain the remains of the famed Queen Nefertiti.

Mamdouh el-Damaty told reporters that the secret chambers may contain metal or organic material, but he declined to comment on whether royal treasure or mummies could be inside. Analysis of the scans made by a Japanese team showed chambers that would be scanned again at the end of the month to get a better idea of what may lay inside, he said.

"It means a rediscovery of Tutankhamun ... for Egypt it is a very big discovery, it could be the discovery of the century," el-Damaty said. "It is very important for Egyptian history and for all of the world."

The discovery could shine new light on one of ancient Egypt's most turbulent times, and one prominent researcher has theorized that the Nefertiti's remains could be inside. British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves speculates that Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally Nefertiti's tomb, which archaeologists have yet to find.

Famed for her beauty, Nefertiti was the subject of a famous 3 300-year-old bust. Nefertiti was one of the wives of Tutankhamun's father, the Pharaoh Akhenaten.

El-Damaty said it was too early to tell what the metal and organic material could be, saying only that he thinks the new chambers could contain the tomb of a member of Tutankhamun's family.

The tomb lies in Luxor, in southern Egypt, which served as the Pharaonic capital in ancient times, and is home to sprawling temples and several highly decorated ancient tombs in the Valley of the Kings. The discovery of King Tut's nearly-intact tomb by Howard Carter in 1922 sparked a renewed interest in Egyptology and yielded unprecedented Pharaonic treasures, including the boy king's sarcophagus and iconic golden burial mask.

Reeves reached his theory after high-resolution images discovered what he said were straight lines in King Tut's tomb. These lines, previously hidden by colour and the stones' texture, indicate the presence of a sealed chamber, he said. The images were broadcast live on national television last September.

At the Cairo news conference, el-Damaty highlighted radar scans that showed anomalies in the walls of the tomb, indicating a possible hidden door and the chambers, which lay behind walls that were covered up and painted over with hieroglyphics.

Nefertiti was the primary wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, who unsuccessfully attempted to switch Egypt to an early form of monotheism. Akhenaten was succeeded by a pharaoh referred to as Smenkhare and then Tut, who was proven by genetic testing to have been Akhenaten's son.

Tut, Nefertiti, and Akhenaten's family ruled Egypt during one of its most turbulent times, which ended with a military takeover by Egypt's top general at the time, Horemheb. The family's names were later erased from official records.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Follow the link for pics.

Quote:
Huge treasure trove of fossils unearthed by roadworks

A huge treasure trove of fossils, including of some species that have not been documented by scientists before, has been discovered during construction work on the N2 highway near Grahamstown.

"A number of new invertebrates, as well as excellently preserved plant fossils of the Devonian era, have been excavated and discovered in rock debris of the Witpoort Formation along the N2 between Grahamstown and Fish River," SA National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) environmental manager Mpati Makoa announced on Wednesday.

The trove was discovered during "controlled rock cutting explosions".

Renowned palaeontologist Dr Robert Gess, who does consulting for Sanral, said the discovery was significant because "many species have not yet been documented by palaeontologists".

The Devonian era lasted from about 416 million years ago to 354 million years ago, and is often referred to as the "Age of Fishes" because of the varieties of fish that were spawned during that time.

Two large land masses at that time were the continent of Euramerica - which included what we now know as North America and Europe - and Gondwana, which was made up of South America, Africa, Antarctica, India and Australia.

The fossilised remains found during the roadworks are of life in a marine coastline environment when South Africa was part of Gondwana, nearly 360 million years ago.

"To advance scientific discourse and original research contributions of South African palaeontology and heritage scholars, we made provision in the environmental management programme for specialist examination and excavation of rock debris," Makoa said.

Significant find

According to Gess, the plant and invertebrate fossil discoveries are from ancient open river mouth ecosystems.

"It differs from the fossil discoveries of the closed lagoon ecosystem of Waterloo Farm, an important South African paleontological heritage site of the late Devonian period which is 20km away from the current excavation site where Sanral is working," he said.

"The discovery is significant as paleontological research and scholarship on marine ecosystems of the Devonian period was primarily anchored in the fossil discoveries of Waterloo Farm. Now, we are able to trace a much broader picture of life along an ancient coastline through the discovery of new plant and invertebrate species."

He said the remains of a shrub sized "Iridopterid plant" were collected, as well as a number of "lycopods" and "Zosterophylopsid plants".

Complete specimens of the fronds of the "Archaeopteris notosaria" tree was also collected. Gess says this is the "best preserved fertile material of this ancient tree" on record.

Gess and his team also discovered new marine invertebrate fossils.

"We are busy describing a new species of bivalve or mud clams from Waterloo Farm. However, at the new outcrops we are dealing with an entirely different bivalve that has never before been found," he said.

Rest and observation area planned

Gess said roadworks in South Africa during 1985, 1999, 2008 and in 2016 have significantly shaped South African palaeontology research and studies.

"They have enabled discovery of the clues to virtually everything we know about high latitude latest Devonian life, not just in South Africa, but in the world," he said.

"Twenty late Devonian fish species would never before have been discovered had it not been for roadworks at Waterloo Farm."

He said between 20 and 30 types of fossil land plants, waterweeds and seaweeds have been collected from the rocks retrieved from roadworks at Waterloo Farm, and are being described by scientists. Some of the remains from Waterloo Farm include fragments of scorpions which represent the earliest known remains of land living creatures from the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana.

Sanral is now planning to create a "rest and observation" area for road users near the site.

"When we first met Dr Gess and he explained significant fossil finds, we thought how can we best preserve and allow public access to this to ensure it becomes general knowledge of what was in this area millions and millions of years ago?" said Steven Robertson, Sanral's project manager on the N2 Grahamstown to Fish River.

"So, we are converting the road design to accommodate a rest area that can be used as a picnic area, and we will be including information boards and displays on the significance of the fossils, their age how they fit into the evolutionary history of earth."


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 6:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Egypt discovers three millennia-old tombs

Cairo - Egypt archaeologists have discovered three ancient tombs containing sarcophagi in the south of the country in a cemetery dating back about 2 000 years, the antiquities ministry said on Tuesday.

The tombs excavated in the Al-Kamin al-Sahrawi area in Minya province south of Cairo were in burial grounds constructed some time between the 27th Dynasty and the Greco-Roman period, the ministry said in a statement.

The team found "a collection of sarcophagi of different shapes and sizes, as well as clay fragments," the statement quoted Ayman Ashmawy, head of the ministry's Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, as saying.

One of the tombs, which was reached through a shaft carved in rock, contained four sarcophagi each sculpted to depict a human face

Another tomb held the remains of two sarcophagi and six burial holes, including one for "the burial of a small child".

Clay fragments found at the site "date the tombs between the 27th Dynasty (founded in 525 BC) and the Greco-Roman era (between 332 BC and the fourth century)," the statement said.

The discovery "suggests that the area was a great cemetery for a long span of time," it quoted Ashmawy as saying.

In one of the three tombs, excavators found bones believed to be the remains of "men, women and children of different ages", Ali al-Bakry, head of the mission, was quoted as saying in the statement.

This shows that "these tombs were part of a large cemetery for a large city and not a military garrisons as some suggest," he said.

This work follows previous excavation at the site, which began in 2015.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saw some photos of the tombs yesterday - very haunting! Cairo is one the world's oldest continuously occupied cities (I believe) and the sensation of age you get from the place is palpable. I'd imagine there are many such sites, probably mostly inaccessible, dotted around it.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of, certainly. IIRC, Damascus is the oldest in the world.

Yes, I sometimes wonder what marvels of the past still lie hidden that we have no idea about.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Stone Age child reveals modern humans 'emerged earlier than previously thought'

Studying the DNA of the 2 000-year-old remains of a boy found near Ballito Bay in KwaZulu-Natal has shed new light on the transition from archaic to modern humans, with findings helping to "rewrite human history".

The boy, of hunter-gatherer descent, lived in a time before migrants from further north in Africa reached South Africa's shores.

Researchers could thus use his DNA to estimate the split between modern humans and earlier human groups as happening between 350 000 and 260 000 years ago.

"This means that modern humans emerged earlier than previously thought," said Uppsala University population geneticist Mattias Jakobsson.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The lack of evidence and available information has always made our knowledge of our own early history very tenuous. They may not have left written records--thank a lot, distant ancestors--but I suspect our earliest ancestors were more advanced than we realize.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a 20 year excavation, Wits University has finally unveiled the 3.5 million year old "Little Foot," the most complete Australopithecine skeleton ever discovered.

http://ewn.co.za/2017/12/06/watch-wits-unveils-3-5m-year-old-little-foot

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