#TheHistoryHeretic – Archaeologists Find Evidence of the First Rice Ever Grown #JovanHuttonPulitzer

Around 10,000 years ago, as the Pleistocene gave way to our current geological epoch, a group of hunter-gathers near China’s Yangtze River began changing their way of life. They started to grow rice.Remarkably, archaeologists have now unearthed bits of this rice at a site called Shangshan. The grains, of course, were eaten long ago and the plant stalks have long been rotten, but one tiny part of rice remains even thousands of years later: phytoliths, or hard, microscopic pieces of silica made by plant cells for self-defense.

Rice leaves have fan-shaped phytoliths that don’t burn, digest, or decompose. It’s specific patterns on these phytoliths that suggest people in Shangshan were not just gathering rice, but actually cultivating it 10,000 years ago—a transition that would profoundly shift the human diet to the point where half of the world relies on the staple crop today.Chinese archaeologists began excavating Shangshan in the early 2000s.

They quickly found evidence of a rice-dependent diet: rice husks buried in pottery shards and stone tools that looked like they were used for milling. But far more abundant than artifacts are phytoliths, which are ubiquitous, if microscopic, in soil. Less than a tenth of an ounce of soil might yield thousands of phytoliths, says Dolores Piperno, a phytolith expert at the Smithsonian who was not involved in the study.

Source: Archaeologists Find Evidence of the First Rice Ever Grown – The Atlantic

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports:  Shipwreck Alley Graveyard of the great lakes  #JovanHuttonPulitzer 

Three men are sitting on the aft deck of RV Storm, a 50-foot research vessel bobbing gently on Lake Huron on a clear, warm July morning. They’ve more or less disappeared under shrouds of black neoprene, masses of corrugated and smooth tubes, and constellations of metal tanks, clips, and fasteners. Dive safety officer Jason Nunn calls out a checklist that sounds arcane even to an experienced scuba diver: “Press the ADV to ensure proper operation.” “Confirm computers are set for CCR mode and that you’re on the appropriate mix.” “Set your PO2 to 0.5.”

The divers—Russ Green, Joe Hoyt, and Tane Casserley—are underwater archaeologists with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They are wearing rebreather systems that scrub the carbon dioxide from their breath and recycle the air, allowing them to dive deeper and stay down longer than divers with traditional open-circuit scuba gear. In a few minutes, they will drop 165 feet through the clear, cold water to the wreck of Pewabic, a 200-foot-long freighter that sank in 1865 after a mysterious collision.

Pewabic is one of hundreds of wrecks and suspected wrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary off the northeast coast of Michigan. Together, these historic ships embody the entire history of modern transportation in the Great Lakes—the story of the opening of the American continent to settlement and industry.

Source: Shipwreck Alley – Archaeology Magazine

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports: Mass Grave from Thirty Years’ War Battle Reveals Soldiers’ Fatal Wounds – #JovanHuttonPulitzer 

In November of 1632, the townspeople of Lützen, Germany, were stuck with a grim task: They had to bury some 9,000 soldiers who were left dead on a battlefield after a bloody fight during the Thirty Years’ War.Archaeologists recently undid some of that work.A few years ago, researchers uncovered a mass grave at the site of the Battle of Lützen.By analyzing the bones, they have now learned more about the violent lives and deaths of soldiers from this era.

The Thirty Years’ War was one of the bloodiest events in European history — deadlier than the Black Death and World War II, in terms of the proportion of the population lost. Fought between 1618 and 1648, the conflict started out as a struggle between Catholics and Protestants within the Holy Roman Empire. The brutal clashes touched much of central Europe, but most of the battles were fought in what is Germany today.Outside of the killing on the battlefields, famine and disease outbreaks devastated populations. Both sides in the conflict heavily relied on wealth-seeking foreign mercenaries (whose loyalties might change based on who was paying more), and occupying armies terrorized civilians in cities and villages.

One turning point in the war came when Sweden intervened in 1630, lending support to Protestant forces. Swedish King Gustav II Adolf led a series of victorious battles, until he was killed in a fight against General Albrecht von Wallenstein, commander of the Holy Roman Empire’s imperial troops, during the Battle of Lützen, just southwest of Leipzig, on Nov. 16, 1632.

Source: Mass Grave from Thirty Years’ War Battle Reveals Soldiers’ Fatal Wounds

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports:  Lost Since World War II, Egyptian Artifact Returns to Germany – #JovanHuttonPulitzer 

A vivid, turquoise-colored carving from ancient Egypt has been returned to a Berlin museum more than 70 years after it was thought to have been lost during World War II.The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, which oversees Berlin’s state-run museums, announced that the stone slab fragment had been found in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

The stone is covered with a blue Egyptian faience glaze, and it depicts Ptahmose, the mayor of Memphis under Ramses II, the warrior king and prolific monument builder who ruled during the 13th century B.C. Though the slab is broken, Ptahmose is still visible, raising both hands in a gesture of worship before the gods Osiris and Isis.

Source: Lost Since World War II, Egyptian Artifact Returns to Germany

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports:  Ancient pyramid excavation reveals society 15,000 years ago #JovanHuttonPulitzer 

The ancient civilisation that populated the coasts of Peru some 15,000 years ago was more advanced than archaeologists had previously imagined. Ancient artefacts suggest that these people had developed efficient techniques to extract resources from the sea early on.

The site of Huaca Prieta in coastal Peru is home to the earliest pyramid in Latin America. Radiocarbon analyses have revealed traces of human presence in the area between 15,000 and 8,000 years ago, before this large human-made mound was erected.

Source: Peru: Ancient pyramid excavation reveals extremely complex society 15,000 years ago

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports:  Did Ancient Mankind Emerge Out Of Volcanos? The Devil’s Foot Prints #JovanHuttonPulitzer 

Descending the side of the Roccamonfina Volcano in northern Italy, sets of humanoid footprints had long been considered the imprint of the Devil, for the footprints were most certainly made when the slope of the volcano was molten. And who but the Devil could walk on flowing lava without burning his feet? Since the ancient footprints’ discovery in the late 18 th century, the local people assumed that the Ciampate del Diavolo (Devil’s Footprints) were evidence of the demon coming out of hell through the crater of the volcano and joining mankind on Earth.

 

This theory held for over two centuries until 2002, when two amateur archaeologists brought the trail to the attention of the world.

 

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Source: Devil’s Footprints: Who Descended the Side of an Erupting Volcano, Leaving an Ancient Trail Behind? | Ancient Origins

#TheHistoryHeretic Reports:  Cache of Mummies Discovered 

CAIRO, EGYPT—Ahram Online reports that a team from Cairo University discovered an unmarked burial site containing a collection of 17 mummies dating to the Late Period at Tuna Al-Gabal, also known as the necropolis of Khmun, located in central Egypt. Salah El-Kholi, head of the project, said that a radar survey of the area revealed the burial shafts, which also contained limestone and clay sarcophagi. The two clay sarcophagi are anthropoid coffins, one of which is damaged. Two papyri inscribed with Demotic script and a gold, feather-shaped decoration were also found. “This feather could be decoration on the hair dress of one of the deceased,” said El-Kholi. For more on archaeology in Egypt, go to “Messengers to the Gods.”

Source: Cachette of Mummies Discovered in Central Egypt – Archaeology Magazine