Eight-year-old girl discovers (pre-)Viking sword


This 4 October 2018 video says about itself:

Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake in Sweden.

It reminds me a bit of a Vietnamese legend; from Wikipedia:

According to the legend, in early 1428, Emperor Lê Lợi was boating on the lake when a Golden Turtle God (Kim Qui) surfaced and asked for his magic sword, Heaven’s Will. Lợi concluded that Kim Qui had come to reclaim the sword that its master, a local God, the Dragon King (Long Vương) had given Lợi some time earlier, during his revolt against Ming China. Later, Emperor Lợi gave the sword back to the turtle after he finished fighting off the Chinese. Emperor Lợi renamed the lake to commemorate this event, from its former name Luc Thuy meaning “Green Water”.

In medieval British Arthurian legends, King Arthur obtained his sword Excalibur from the water, given by the Lady of the Lake.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Girl (8) pulls 1500-years-old sword from lake

An 8-year-old girl has, in Sweden, recovered a 1500-year-old sword from a lake. While swimming on holiday in Jönköping, Saga Vanecek took the 85-centimeter weapon out of the mud.

“I felt something in the water and pulled it up. When I saw a handle, I told my father it looked like a sword”, Saga told the Swedish media. The find was extra special for the Swedish-American girl because she is a fan of the Vikings NFL [American football] team.

If it is really 1500 years old, then it is not a Viking sword, but rather a pre-Viking weapon; as the Viking Age is usually said to start in 793 AD.

Her father initially thought that Saga had “found an unusual stick”, but further research soon indicated that it was a special archaeological find. According to experts, the weapon is very well preserved. Thus the sheath of leather and wood is still around the blade.

According to the local museum, the discovery was possible because the water in the lake was exceptionally low this summer due to the drought. Furthermore, it is being investigated whether more finds can be made. A brooch from the Iron Age has already been found.

Archaeologists have no idea how the sword landed in the water. It may have been thrown into the lake as an offering or simply lost, but it is also possible that it has been washed away from a grave.

The brooch found near the sword, photo Jönköpings Läns Museum

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Egyptian Pharaoh Psamtik I, new information


This video says about itself:

Was This Egyptian Pharaoh More Important Than We Thought?

Psamtik I was believed to be a minor Egyptian pharaoh. But in 2017, an exquisite statue of him was uncovered, suggesting his status and importance in history may need to be revisited.

Pre-Columbian Panamanians not as violent as claimed


This 2007 video from the USA says about itself:

Sherri Davis speaks out about her Mayan heritage and Mel [Gibson]’s representation of Mayans in Apocalypto.

From this blog, on 7 December 2006, about Guatemala:

“[Anti-Semitic and otherwise racist actor/Apocalypto film director Mel] Gibson replays… an offensive and racist notion that Maya people were brutal to one another long before the arrival of Europeans and thus they deserved, in fact, needed, rescue”, said Ignacio Ochoa, director of the Nahual Foundation that promotes Mayan culture.

And now, about native people in another Central American country.

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama:

Violence in pre-Columbian Panama exaggerated, new study shows

September 24, 2018

Summary: An oft-cited publication said a pre-Colombian archaeological site in Panama showed signs of extreme violence. A new review of the evidence strongly suggests that the interpretation was wrong.

Buried alive. Butchered. Decapitated. Hacked. Mutilated. Killed. Archaeologist Samuel K. Lothrop did not obfuscate when describing what he thought had happened to the 220 bodies his expedition excavated from Panama’s Playa Venado site in 1951. The only problem is that Lothrop likely got it wrong. A new evaluation of the site’s remains by Smithsonian archaeologists revealed no signs of trauma at or near time of death. The burial site likely tells a more culturally nuanced story.

The “long-overdue” reexamination of the Playa Venado site, which dates to 500-900 A.D. and is located near the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal, revealed no evidence of ritual killing, said Nicole E. Smith-Guzmán, post-doctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI). Lothrop’s misinterpretations are likely due to the era of “Romantic archaeology”, underdeveloped methods for mortuary studies and literal readings of Spanish accounts of indigenous peoples after European contact.

“We now realize that many of these Spanish chroniclers were motivated to show the indigenous populations they encountered as ‘uncivilized’ and in need of conquering”, said Smith-Guzmán, adding that many accounts of sacrifice and cannibalism have not been confirmed by the archaeological record. “Rather than an example of violent death and careless deposition, Playa Venado presents an example of how pre-Columbian societies in the Isthmo-Colombian area showed respect and care for their kin after death.”

The article, co-authored by STRI staff archaeologist Richard Cooke, was published in Latin American Antiquity. But Lothrop’s 1954 paper, “Suicide, sacrifice and mutilations in burials at Venado Beach, Panama”, left its mark on the annals of Panamanian archaeology. It has been cited more than 35 times as evidence of violence, cannibalism or trophy decapitation. Some authors have used the paper to suggest Playa Venado is a mass burial site or a manifestation of conflict.

In defense of Lothrop, who was an archaeologist with Harvard University’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Enthnology, bioarchaeology (the study of human remains from archaeological contexts) did not exist as a sub-discipline until two decades after his work concluded at Playa Venado. Today’s practitioners also benefit from methods developed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Lothrop’s careful documentation and preservation of remains made reevaluation possible. Remains from more than 70 individuals from Playa Venado are at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, sent there by Lothrop for osteological evaluation.

Upon examination, Smith-Guzmán found only wounds that showed signs of healing well before the individuals died, including blows to the head and a dislocated thumb. Various broken bones and disarticulated remains discovered by Lothrop [are] more likely explained by normal processes of decomposition and secondary burial of remains, which is believed to have [beem] a common ancestor-veneration practice in pre-Colombian Panama.

Evidence suggests certain people’s remains were preserved for long periods of time before being buried in ritual contexts. “At Playa Venado, we see a lot of evidence of adults being buried next to urns containing children, multiple burials including one primary and one secondary burial, and disturbance of previously laid graves in order to inter another individual in association”, said Smith-Guzmán.

“The uniform burial positioning and the absence of perimortem (around the time of death) trauma stands in contradiction to Lothrop’s interpretation of violent death at the site”, said Smith-Guzmán, who also used evidence from other archaeological sites around Panama about burial rites as part of the investigation. “There are low rates of trauma in general, and the open mouths of skeletons Lothrop noted are more easily explained by normal muscle relaxation after death and decay.”

Smith-Guzmán and Cooke’s reassessment of the Playa Venado burials suggests that ideas about widespread violence in pre-Columbian Panama need to be reconsidered. The research is part of a larger, interdisciplinary site reanalysis that will be published by the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Washington, D.C..

See also here.

‘World’s oldest beer discovery in Israel’


This April 2016 video says about itself:

Israeli brewery make beer from Jesus’s time

A brewery in Jerusalem have resurrected a recipe for beer from Jesus’ time and discovered why the bible favoured wine. Report by Lydia Batham.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

‘Oldest brewery in the world’ discovered in Israel

In Israel, archaeologists have discovered a 13,000 years old brewery. According to Israeli and American scientists, this is the oldest known place where alcohol was produced.

The discovery was made in the Rakefet cave in Mount Carmel, south of Haifa city. That cave was used by the Natufians as a cemetery. The Natufians were a people of hunter-gatherers who lived in the Mediterranean region during the Stone Age.

In the cave archaeologists found a kind of mortars that had been carved into the rock. They have studied the mortars and it showed that two of the mortars were used to store grains. In the third one, the grains were ground and then fermented. Then a beer-like drink was made.

The fact that mortars were made in the cave indicates that the drink was used during the funeral ceremonies, says Dani Nadal, archeology professor at the University of Haifa. He speaks of an important discovery. “The finding shows that the production of alcohol did not necessarily come about because of the overproduction of grains that had to be processed.” Even before agriculture emerged [in the Neolithic], alcohol was apparently produced as part of a ritual process.”

According To History, We Can Thank Women For Beer: here.

World’s oldest drawing discovered in South Africa


This 12 September 2018 video says about itself:

Oldest Drawing Ever Found Discovered In South African Cave

The researchers examined the marks and even recreated the patterns themselves, concluding they had definitely been deliberately applied with an ochre crayon.

Archaeologists used to think the ability of our species to think symbolically did not emerge until Homo sapiens colonised Europe around 40,000 years ago.

However, a steady trickle of evidence from places as far apart as Morocco and Indonesia has revealed that humans began practising art far earlier.

From Nature:

12 September 2018

World’s oldest drawing is Stone Age crayon doodle

‘Hashtag’ pattern drawn on rock in South African cave is 73,000 years old.

Colin Barras

Sometime in the Stone Age, human artists began experimenting with a new form of visual art: drawing. Now, from the ancient rubble that accumulated on the floor of a South African cave comes the earliest-known example — an abstract, crayon-on-stone piece created about 73,000 years ago.

“If there is any point at which one can say that symbolic activity had emerged in human society, this is it,” says Paul Pettitt, an archaeologist at Durham University, UK, who was not involved in the discovery. The find is described in a paper published on 12 September in Nature.

Ancient Egyptian tomb, new research


This 12 September 2018 video says about itself:

A 4,000-year-old tomb was recently opened in the town of Saqqara Necropolis outside Egypt’s ancient capital of Memphis. The tomb, containing six burial chambers, is believed to belong to Mehu, a man so powerful that the walls list him as having 48 different titles. The tomb also contained colorful images depicting the life of Mehu as a ruler and a hunter. RT’s Trinity Chavez reports.

Mehu was an Ancient Egyptian vizier who lived in the Sixth Dynasty, around 2300 BC. The office of vizier was the most important one at the royal court: here.