Unknown ancient Egyptian queen’s grave discovered

This video is called Top 10 Female Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.

From the BBC:

5 January 2015 Last updated at 10:01 GMT

Queen Khentakawess III‘s tomb found in Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have unearthed the tomb of a previously unknown queen, Egyptian officials say.

The tomb was found in Abu-Sir, south-west of Cairo, and is thought to belong to the wife or mother of Pharaoh Neferefre who ruled 4,500 years ago.

Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said that her name, Khentakawess, had been found inscribed on a wall in the necropolis.

Mr Damaty added that this would make her Khentakawess III.

The tomb was discovered in Pharaoh Neferefre’s funeral complex.

Miroslav Barta, head of the Czech Institute of Egyptology mission which made the discovery, said that the location of the queen’s tomb made them believe that she was the wife of the pharaoh.

The Czech archaeologists also found about 30 utensils made of limestone and copper.

Mr Damaty explained that the discovery would “help us shed light on certain unknown aspects of the Fifth Dynasty, which along with the Fourth Dynasty, witnessed the construction of the first pyramids.”

Abu-Sir was used as an Old Kingdom cemetery for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis.

See also here.

Viking vessel discovery in Canada?

This video from Denmark says about itself:

Viking Age Bronze Casting

Traditional bronze casting using a sepia as mould. Made during a workshop held by Jess Vestergaard at Bork Vikingehavn 08/2012.

From Archaeology:

Possible Viking Vessel Identified in Canada

Thursday, December 18, 2014

OTTAWA, CANADA—Traces of bronze and glass have been detected on a piece of a small, 1,000-year-old stone vessel recovered from Baffin Island in the 1960s. According to Patricia Sutherland of the University of Aberdeen, Peter Thompson of Peter H. Thompson Geological Consulting, Ltd., and Patricia Hunt of the Geological Survey of Canada, who published their findings in the journal Geoarchaeology, the container was used as a crucible for melting bronze and casting small tools or ornaments. The glass formed when the rock was heated to high temperatures. Indigenous peoples of the Canadian Arctic did not practice high-temperature metalworking at this time, but a similar stone crucible has been found at a Viking site in Norway.

“The crucible adds an intriguing new element to this emerging chapter in the early history of northern Canada. It may be the earliest evidence of high-temperature nonferrous metalworking in North America to the north of what is now Mexico,” Sutherland told Sci-News.com. To read in-depth about some of the earliest evidence of Viking warfare, see “The First Vikings.”

Sobibor nazi gas chambers discovered, archaeologist interviewed

This September 2014 video is called Archaeologists Uncover Buried Gas Chambers At Sobibor Death Camp.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

Digging for the gas chambers of Sobibor

Leiden archaeologist Ivar Schute recently discovered the foundations of the gas chambers of Sobibor extermination camp. “The Holocaust is almost incomprehensible. This work makes it tangible.” What use were his archaeology studies for this?

What is the reason for this excavation at Sobibor?

“There will be a new museum and a symbolic path to the place where the camp once was. For a long time one could hardly see anything there: after the great prisoners’ escape in 1943 the Germans broke down the camp and planted trees to cover the tracks of their crimes. The site is an international project of Israel, Poland, the Netherlands and Slovakia. These are the countries where most of the victims came from. In World War II, nearly 35,000 Dutch people were transported from Westerbork to Sobibor. After Auschwitz this is the largest Dutch mass grave.”

How did you got involved?

“I was asked because I have experience with excavations at the Westerbork camp, Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen. With three other archaeologists, I am reconstructing the path that the people walked at that time after arrival. From the train station to the gas chambers.”

How did you discover the fundamentals of the gas chambers?

“We used drawings of refugee survivors and we have dug carefully. Without machines, because there are so many human remains. The graves should be disturbed as little as possible, the field work is supervised by a rabbi. Bit by bit we could reconstruct the camp because extermination camps often had the same format. First we localized the barber barracks and the so-called Himmelfahrtstrasse, the road to the place where they were gassed. Then you know it must be the gas chambers at the end thereof. After removing the asphalt we found the foundations of the chambers.”

Who: Ivar Schute (1966)

Study: Archaeology (1984 – 1992, worked already during study) …

Favourite place in Leiden: “I live in the Witte Rozenstraat. At number 57 is the house where the physicist Paul Ehrenfest lived and where Albert Einstein often came to visit.

Paul Ehrenfest was from an Austrian Jewish family. His Witte Rozenstraat 57 home was designed by his wife, Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva. She was a mathematician. Born in Ukraine (then part of the Russian empire), she became a member of the Bolshevik tendency of the Russian Social Democratic Party; later of the Communist Party.

Around the corner is ‘t Kasteeltje, the villa at the Jan van Goyenkade 44. There lived a former classmate of Einstein whom he visited when he was in Leiden. Intriguing places, but I’ve never been in there.”

What does this work do emotionally with you?

“It’s a very intense experience. During the excavation, I can focus well on the work, but of course it does not leave me unmoved. I dug there for two months and returned to the Netherlands, the images in my head. It gets a niche by talking a lot about it. The Holocaust is almost beyond comprehension, but this work makes it tangible. We found many human remains and personal belongings such as glasses and crockery that mainly came from Dutch Jews. They lived up to the last under the assumption that they were going to a labour camp and had brought precious belongings. A very painful discovery.”

How did you get involved in war archeology?

“As a little boy I already wanted to be an archaeologist, I was always looking for shards. I graduated about prehistoric times, but because of stories by my grandparents I am also interested in World War II. Until a decade ago, archaeologists spent very little attention on this period. Because it is relatively recent and because there are so many sources. I and another archaeologist tried hard to really get attention for it. Excavations can provide new information indeed. About many camps it is not known what they looked like and therefore it is not known what is the location of the gas chambers and the mass graves. That you only can only identify in an archaeological way.”

Which skills gained during your study come in handy for this work?

“I had a very good field training and already as a student I could lead major excavations. We learned to be very critical and careful: you can only do an excavation well once. Thanks to my former teacher Martin Verbruggen, an expert in physical geography, I know how important it is to look at a spot from the whole landscape development in that area. Then you will understand better how an area became as it is now. That way of archeology is not obvious. Many archaeologists do not look beyond the limit of the hole.”

What is the best advice you ever received?

“When I graduated professor Louwe Kooijmans said to me: “You have to get more contacts in society.” He meant that I was still too restless for science. I went to work for the archaeological research bureau RAAP where I still work for. Through this work, I got in touch with all kinds of people, from farmer to developer, with diverse interests. That way I learned to make trade-offs, but also to improvise and to work on solutions. It was good advice by Kooijmans!”

(December 18, 2014 – LvP)

Syrian refugee women interviewed in Greece

This video says about itself:

Hellas Hell: Refugees’ hell in Greece”

29 October 2013

Due to the reinforcement of the European border controls, the migration flow has moved to the Greco-Turkish border which has become the main point of entry for migrants to the European Union. Greece is, for most migrants, just a place of transit that they must leave as quickly as possible hoping to find better living conditions. They are forced to live in hiding, often suffer violence or are detained arbitrarily.

Over the last few years, the maritime border between Italy and Greece constitute the only route to reach the Europe they expected and to avoid their particular ‘Hell’ in Greece. Thousands of people try to leave from the Adriatic Greek port cities by hiding beneath or inside articulated lorries without the driver knowing it. They run great risks, and are most often discovered, arrested and returned. The readmission procedures lay under a bilateral agreement between Italy and Greece and the practices that have resulted from it contravene a number of fundamental rights that are guaranteed at a national, community and international level. In adittion the people arriving at the Adriatic borders are mostly potential asylum seekers, or people recognized as such on the basis of documents published by humanitarian organizations: Afghans, Iraqis, Kurds, Somalis, Sudanese or Eritreans.

The situation has become even worse due to the global financial crisis.

From the Dawn of the Greeks blog in Greece:

Interview with three women – refugees from Syria

Posted on December 16, 2014 by dawnofthegreeks

Syntagma Square, 14-12-2014, one day before their transfer to Petrou Ralli (Aliens Subdirectorate)

Interview on 0151 magazine

0151: How long is it since you’ve been here?

Fatime: 4 months

How did you get here?

I came to Greece with an inflatable boat and nearly died.

Which island did you first reach?


Did all your fellow travellers on the inflatable boat live?

They damaged the inflatable so that no one can go back.

Who damaged it?

The trafficker or someone from us did it so that we can’t go back. That’s when some people died.

How many people were you on that boat?

35 people.

And how many of those died?

I don’t know how many died, because I heard several different numbers. Probably, it is young children that died when they tore the inflatable boat apart.

Did you and your family come along with Fatime?

Aziza: No, we came here via another route.

How long ago?

A month ago.

Did you come with an inflatable boat too?

No, we used a bigger inflatable which has rubber underneath, that is, it is safer.

Where did you arrive?

They got us in Alexandroupoli. They held us for 15 days in prison and then we came here (Athens).

How did you travel from Alexandroupoli to Athens?

By train.

How old are you?


Do you have children?

Yes, two of them. Here they are!

Do you have family back in Syria?

My parents have died in the war in Syria.

Are you her husband?


How old are you?


And you, Fatime, how old are you?


Have you got children?

I’ve got two children.

Are they here?

No, they are in Turkey. I want to go to Europe and take them along when I will apply for asylum.

You don’t want to stay here, nobody wants to stay here.

You can’t have a job here, or housing, you can’t have anything.

I know, I know.

We have witnessed a lot of torture. Many rapes by the traffickers who brought us here. On the way here, the traffickers rape the women.

Where do these rapes take place? Here or in Syria?

On the road, here, there, anywhere. They rape or they do other things, otherwise they will abandon you halfway.

Does this mean you have been raped?

Something like that happened to me indeed…

I’ve learned from other Syrian contacts that in Syrian villages they storm your house and take away girls 13-24 years old. Where are they taking these girls?

The Jihadists are doing that. They take girls away and rape them. Then they sell them or simply kill them.

How are things for you here? Do you want to tell me something about your experiences here? Where do you live? How are Greek[s] treating you? What are you eating?

The first thing we realized was that the Greeks are not renting their houses to Syrians. Second, we sleep rough here because the hotels are full and those who stay there sleep on the floor too. Our children are going through this as well.

Are you facing any danger sleeping rough, other than the rain and the cold?

Here in Syntagma where we have been for several days we haven’t experienced anything. But if we were in Omonoia, I know we would see other things.

Do you have any relatives in any EU country?

Aziza: Only me. I’ve got a relative in Sweden. Our parents have all died in the war.

Can’t you prepare your papers for “family unification”?

No you cannot do that. I know this from many people who have tried and whose application was rejected. (it only covers parents with children, with the proviso that the children are underage).

You tell us, what is your demand?

Fatime: What we want from Greece is to be left free to leave. Because the traffickers will pick us up either from the sea or Macedonia, there is a route to follow on foot up to Serbia. We just want a way to leave. We don’t want asylum or anything from Greece. Just to leave by any possible means.

We learned that two people from you tried to escape and died on the way. One of them a 55 year-old doctor, as far as I know. Have you got any information on them? Do you know their names?

No, we don’t know anything about them. These things happen all the time.

I’d like us to return to what you mentioned before about the rapes by the traffickers. In these groups you travel are there no men? What is their stance?

There is no men. The groups are formed by 2-3 women. It’s not really a group, just a few people. Especially if they see a woman that wants to travel alone they put her on the spot.

Did you make any formal complaints somewhere?

There is shame…

When you come here, how do the authorities treat you, especially the women and children?

There is not much difference for us.

And you, Leyla, how long have you been here?

Leyla: Nine months. I came here pregnant and gave birth to my baby. We want you to report everything we are telling you so that the people will know. EU should know, not only Greece. We are thankful. But since Greece cannot help, we need help from abroad. When I gave birth here, they kept my baby because I didn’t have money to pay for the operation. Now we sleep rough.

Where is your husband?

My husband died two months ago in Syria.

Fatime: Mine is lost somewhere in Syria, we don’t know where.

So, your children who are they staying with in Turkey?

With my sister, she is 18 and taking care of them.

Leyla: Myself, I’ve got a big problem because I gave birth here. The hospital and the Ministries are telling me that in order to declare the birth, I need to bring some paperwork from Syria. And like I said, my husband who was there, has now been lost. In Syria everything is ruined. If I go there, I will never be able to flee again.

Can’t they do this procedure themselves?

For that to happen I need a paper from Greece proving I gave birth to this child here. At the hospital though they gave me nothing.

So, essentially, this baby does not exist.

That’s right. For instance, if I want to go back to Syria, they will not allow the baby through. It does not have any documents, they will say “where did you find it?” Here, my baby has been sleeping for a week on the square. For these reasons, we need you as much as you can to publicize our case.

It became known that the municipality and the church are giving shelter to the Syrians. Is this true?

They only give that to homeless people. The church is giving you some pasta and then you have to leave. We are all the same, after all. We are all in dire need. We cannot go [to] the church. The only support we receive is from other Syrians who are in Greece, but we cannot stay with them for long, maybe for just a day or two. After that, I have to leave because they cannot cover my expenses, let alone, my baby’s expenses.

Some time ago, I met a Syrian woman who had five children and told me she was going to the street market and collected whatever was left over. But they people were chasing her down. Have you tried something similar? Did you encounter any reactions by the public?

I have never tried it, we are really scared. If we died in Syria, we would have died once, here we die everyday.


The translator who helped with carrying out this interview, added: if someone is going to the airport, he is arrested, even though they know he is Syrian. In some airports they keep you and then they transfer you to the prison. I’ve heard stories like that about Thessaloniki, Kalamata, and Athens. They keep you for 20 days and then they let you go. This is despite that they have seen your papers, proving you are a refugee and according to the law the refugees cannot be legally prosecuted or imprisoned for illegal stay in a country. In Athens, you are transported to Amygdaleza, they keep you for 20 days and then they let you go with a document that says that you are obliged to leave the country within 6 months. A friend of mine has been arrested three times because his document has expired and he has been sent to Amygdaleza. He was never given any other document that would release him from this status. What’s more, this friend speaks Greek. They all say “that’s the law”, and that’s where the discussion ends. In Bulgaria, things are different. The authorities there are giving the people travel documents to continue their journey.

* * *

Leyla, Fatime and Aziza were found by L. S. in Syntagma square, 14-12-2014, and their brief chat was recorded in order to be disseminated, according to their own will. Early next morning, at 3am, the police rounded up nearly 600 refugees in Syntagma and transported them to the Aliens Sub-Directorate of the Hellenic Police, in Petrou Ralli st. All their documents were confiscated (passports etc.) and the police gave them 30 days to leave the country. Of course, they were given no other document, which they are entitled to, according to refugee law and so they cannot travel to any EU country. Today, Monday, 15-12-2014, they were released, but in lack of documents, housing and food, they have to make do again on the streets of Athens simply by their own means.

In recent days, reports from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) have revealed extensive destruction and looting of Syria’s archaeological sites and treasures. The scale of the damage exceeds by far that in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion and occupation of the country: here.

400,000-year-old art in Indonesia?

Reconstruction of Homo erectus with shell

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Leiden shell reveals secret about human evolution

Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 20:14

The shell was already found a hundred years ago in Java. Now it discloses a mystery: a special inscription by a hominid 400,000 years old.

It is a thin zigzag pattern, engraved by an individual of Homo erectus, the predecessor of modern man. For seven years scientists worked on the study. The prestigious scientific journal Nature publishes it as a new insight into the evolution of human behaviour.

The shell was part of a very extensive discovery, made by the Dutch scientist Eugène Dubois. At the beginning of the twentieth century he discovered much valuable prehistoric material above the Javanese village Trinil. Per ship this was transported to the Netherlands.


Neatly documented were also the shells of freshwater mussels in a cardboard box in the institute Naturalis. Seven years ago it was opened by biologist and archaeologist José Joorens. She showed the shell to her Australian colleague Steven Munro. He made pictures of it. At home in Canberra he did his fascinating discovery. He immediately sent an e-mail to Joorens. It was the beginning of exciting research.

Joorens explains: “Munro saw a pattern of a kind of scratching on the shell. He was really surprised. Normally something like that should not be present in a shell…” In Leiden Joorens along with fellow researcher Frank Wesselingh needed a lot of time for further investigation. They had to consider all other possible causes of the scratches. Eventually they could draw no other conclusion anymore about this one shell.

“There are many things that may scratch,” said Wesselingh. “At first we did not believe ourselves what we saw. We considered all possibilities. And we can only conclude that this must have been done by a hominid.”

Until now only an engraving by Homo sapiens was known of 100,000 years old. It was found in South Africa. After the new discovery a drawing in color was made of a shaggy man who proudly displays the shell with a zigzag pattern. It is unclear what he meant. The researchers have carefully avoided to describe it as an early form of art.

“We can not look inside the head of Homo erectus,” said Joorens. “We do know that it must have taken considerable effort to make such a nice pattern. We have tried to imitate it and noticed that you have to really pay much attention to it to get it so neatly. It was absolutely a skilled individual.”

Trinil was here”

Simply it might be a message like ‘Trinil was here’, in the handwriting of someone who wanted to leave something for posterity. “A matter of pride: to show that you possess something beautiful, as you now show an iPhone,” said Wesselingh. “That shell used to be quite dark. If you scratched it would show beautiful white luminous lines. The picture on the reconstruction is more beautiful than it is now, but what it means we do not know.”

The discovery gives rise to an adjustment of knowledge and ideas about the evolution of man. “It does not show that [our species] is earlier than we thought, but that we had predecessors who also had certain skills. It also says something about ourselves, that we tend to overestimate ourselves as modern man and underestimate others.”

See also here.

Homo erectus engraving could re-write human history, and might show art began 400,000 years earlier than we knew: here.

A recent article in the scientific journal Nature reports on the discovery of what appears to be a clamshell bearing intentionally produced geometric engravings dating to approximately half a million years ago (radiometrically dated to between 430,000 and 540,000 years before the present). If confirmed, this would be the oldest symbolic representation by human ancestors yet discovered, documenting an early stage in the development of modern human cognition: here.