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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Pre-Inca Observatory Is Oldest in Americas, Study Says

A mysterious set of massive monuments in Peru make up the oldest solar observatory in the Americas, according to a new study. The 2,300-year-old Thirteen Towers of Chankillo were used for marking the sun's position throughout the year—an activity that was part of the sun-worshipping culture of the Inca, scientists recently announced.

The large stone towers are arranged in a line along a ridge near Chankillo, a walled hilltop ruin north of Lima. "This is the oldest known example of landscape timekeeping in the Americas," said Ivan Ghezzi, lead author of the study and an archaeologist at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. Ghezzi and archaeo-astronomer Clive Ruggles of the University of Leicester, England, report their findings in a recent issue of the journal Science. 
The Inca civilization, which took power in the region around A.D. 1200, are known to have kept track of the positions on the horizon where the sun rose and set. Writings by Spanish conquerors describe the Inca's methods of tracking these positions using sets of pillars.

But nearly all of these markers were apparently destroyed in a campaign to undermine the Inca Empire in the mid- to late 1500s.
"Astronomy was the backbone of the political and ideological system that supported the authority of the Inca rulers," Ghezzi said.
The Chankillo site appears to have been used only from about 300 B.C. to A.D. 1, meaning that an unidentified pre-Inca culture built the monuments. Only one similar site in the Americas had been spotted so far, on the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca, on the border between Bolivia and Peru. 

"Now we know how far back the solar cult goes," Ghezzi said. "What the documents are telling us about the Incas [using pillars to track the sun] is correct." The Chankillo towers vary from 7 to 20 feet (2 to 6 meters) high. But they are as precisely spaced as the teeth of a comb—roughly 15 feet (5 meters) apart. They seem to be marking regular divisions of the year for a solar calendar, the study authors said.
The scientists also found that one of the nearby buildings had an odd architectural feature: a 131-foot-long (40-meter-long) corridor running along the side that lacked any windows or doors into the main building.
"The best explanation for that architectural space is it led people to an observation point to have a full view of the towers," Ghezzi said. 
Throughout the year, the points along the horizon where the sun rises and sets trace an arc. In Peru the sun rises and sets farthest north on the longest day of the year, the winter solstice, and farthest south on the shortest day, the summer solstice.
Day and night are roughly equal in length during the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. Only from the vantage point at the opening of the corridor do the towers precisely span the solar arc. It appears the opening of this corridor was a ceremonial site where people made offerings, since the researchers found a variety of artifacts ritually buried there. 

There also appears to be another observation spot on the other side of the ridge for watching the setting sun. "Individuals with the status to access [these observation spots] and conduct ceremonies would have had the power to regulate time, ideology, and the rituals that bound this society together," Ghezzi and Ruggles wrote in their paper.
David Dearborn, a physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California who studies ancient astronomy, called the new study "a very credible case."  "With the abundant evidence for Inca interest in astronomy, and for its use in social organization, archaeologists have long suspected that earlier cultures also may have engaged in such activities," he said. "Finally, in this work, material evidence is presented that strongly supports such suspicions."

Brian Bauer, an archaeologist at the University of Illinois in Chicago, agreed. "There are various announcements like this every year, but most of them are not very rigorous," Bauer said. "I found this [study] very, very convincing," he added. "It ties in with what we already knew about the Incas. "It shows they were both using a solar calendar and [that] the solstices were used to mark the beginning and end of the year. Because it was being carefully observed, there were probably large rituals associated with this." 

Other researchers have made claims of ancient observation sites in the Americas, some of which would outdate Chankillo. Last May, for example, Robert Benfer of the University of Missouri and colleagues announced their discovery of the oldest astronomical observatory in the Western Hemisphere at another site near Lima. The so-called Buena Vista site dates back 4,200 years—making it 1,900 years older than the Chankillo site.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Golden Woman: Ancient Scythian Princess of Kazakhstan

Archaeologists in Kazakhstan have recreated the impressive attire of an ancient Scythian princess from fragments discovered in a treasure-filled burial discovered two years ago in the Terekty district of Western Kazakhstan.

They have also placed on display the unique golden artifacts found in the grave of the princess, who has been dubbed ‘Golden Woman’. Dating back 2,500 years, it is the oldest golden burial to have been unearthed in the country.

The 'Golden Woman' was found buried in a mound, known as a kurgan, alongside numerous gold and silver vessels, makeup kits, golden jewelry, a headdress, a horse bridle, and other household items that were considered essential for the afterlife.

The features of her burial are characteristic of Zoroastrianism, an ancient Iranian religion and Aryan philosophy, which spread eastward towards Kazakhstan. The princess belonged to the Saka (ancient Scythians), a group of nomadic warrior tribes of Aryan/Iranian origin, who inhabited the steppes of modern-day Kazakhstan from around 1,000 BC to the first century AD.

In total, more than 500 different golden fragments were found in her burial, which earned the woman her name - the Golden Woman or the Golden Princess. Reconstruction of the garment was entrusted to the famous restorer Krym Altynbekov. Thanks to his work, one can now see what Golden Princess might have looked like 2500 years ago.

She was covered with a blanket embroidered with golden plaques of four types: differently shaped geometric pieces depicted ram griffins, rams, griffins and swastikas. Scientists call them solar, implying worship of the sun characteristic for the nomads of the time, which is also supported by the "Avesta", the core collection of sacred Zoroastrianism texts.
Swastika-shaped plaques depicting four griffin heads arranged in a circular composition.
One artifact that was of particular importance was a wooden comb depicting a battle scene in the war of the Saks against the Persians. The composition shows two soldiers in a chariot and their enemy, a single foot soldier, inscribed in the rectangular space in the center of the crest/comb.
Reconstruction of the comb by Krym Altynbekov

“The Golden Woman/Princess is one of the most astonishing archaeological findings of the recent years,” reports Tengri News. “It sheds some light on the wealth and power of the ancient Scythians.”
LEFT: The pommel of the headdress.                                           RIGHT: Golden bracelets.   


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Modern Humans are a Hybrid Species

It is now scientifically irrefutable fact that the "human species" has been found to contain a substantial quantity of DNA (at least 20%) from other hominid populations not classified as Homo sapien; such as Neanderthal, Denisovan, African archaic, Homo erectus, and now possibly even "Hobbit" (Homo floresiensis).
If not given drugs to prevent infant death, the pregnant body of a rhesus negative mother will attack, try to reject, and even kill her own offspring if it is by a rhesus positive man. 
The Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is a sub-species of the gray wolf (Canis lupus), and they  produce hybrids. 
There are numerous other examples of where two separate species (for example with different numbers of chromosomes) can also produce viable offspring, yet are considered separate species. That said, humanity has been shown to be, genetically speaking, a hybrid species that did not all share the same hunter-gatherer ancestry in Africa.
Recent sequencing of ancient genomes suggests that interbreeding went on between the members of several ancient human-like groups more than 30,000 years ago, including an as-yet unknown human ancestor. "there were many hominid populations,” says Mark Thomas, evolutionary geneticist at University College London. 
Recent genetic studies are touting shocking headlines about how ancient humans 'rampantly interbred' and indulged in inter-species interracial sex with multiple mystery sub-races in a "Lord Of The Rings"-style world of different creatures, including mystery DNA - neither human nor Neanderthal, not yet identified.

Scientific evidence refuting the theory of modern humanity’s African genesis is common knowledge among those familiar with the most recent scientific papers on the human Genome, Mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosomes. Regrettably, within mainstream press and academia circles, there seems to be a conspicuous – and dare we say it – deliberate vacuum when it comes to reporting news of these recent studies and their obvious implications.
Australian historian Greg Jefferys explains that, "The whole ‘Out of Africa’ myth has its roots in the mainstream academic campaign in the 1990′s to remove the concept of Race. When I did my degree they all spent a lot of time on the ‘Out of Africa’ thing but it’s been completely disproved by genetics. Mainstream still hold on to it."
It did begin the early 90’s. And the academics most responsible for cementing both the Out-of Africa theory and the complementary common ancestral African mother – given the name of “Eve” – in the public arena and nearly every curriculum, were Professors Alan C. Wilson and Rebecca L. Cann. 
In their defense, the authors of this paper were fully aware that genealogy is not in any way linked to geography, and that their placement of Eve in Africa was an assumption, never an assertion.
A very recent paper on Y-chromosomes published in 2012, (Re-Examing the “Out of Africa” Theory and the Origin of Europeoids (Caucasians) in the Light of DNA Genealogy written by Anatole A. Klyosov and Igor L. Rozhanski) only confirms the denial of any African ancestry in non-Africans, and strongly supports the existence of a “common ancestor” who “would not necessarily be in Africa. In fact, it was never proven that he lived in Africa.”
Central to results of this extensive examination of haplogroups (7,556) was the absence of any African genes. So lacking was the sampling of African genetic involvement, the researchers stated in their introduction that, “the finding that the Europeoid haplogroups did not descend from “African” haplogroups A or B is supported by the fact that bearers of the Europeoid, as well as all non-African groups do not carry either SNI’s M91, P97, M31, P82, M23, M114, P262”.
With the haplogroups not present in any African genes and an absence of dozens of African genetic markers, it is very difficult nigh on impossible to sustain any link to Africa. The researchers are adamant that their extensive study “offers evidence to re-examine the validity of the Out-of-Africa concept”.
They see no genetic proof substantiating an African precedence in the Homo sapien tree, and maintain that “a more plausible interpretation might have been that both current Africans and non-Africans descended separately from a more ancient common ancestor, thus forming a proverbial fork”.
We regard the claim of “a more plausible explanation” as a gross understatement, since there is absolutely nothing plausibly African turning up in any test tubes. In fact, the researchers made note of their repeated absence stating “not one non-African participant out of more than 400 individuals in the Project tested positive to any of thirteen ‘African’ sub-clades of haplogroup A”. The only remaining uncertainty relates to the identity of this “more ancient common ancestor”. All that can be stated with confidence is that humanity’s ancestor did not reside in Africa.
Unfounded accusations of racism have become common as the prevailing Afrocentric hypothesis is constantly being challenged by the growing mountain of conflicting scientific evidence, especially in the evolving field of genetics.