I am a bit of a history buff (an understatement) and I am always reading about the discoveries these people are making….
Let me bring you up to date……
A lot of people are interested in the Maya, especially what happened to make them all but disappear…..
(Newser) – Everything from overhunting and a peasant uprising to deforestation and an alien invasion has been proposed to explain why the Mayan civilization collapsed, Smithsonian notes. But one theory has been gaining ground in recent years: extreme drought. Now more evidence has surfaced to support the drought postulation—and the proof may just lie in Belize’s most famous underwater cave. Rice University professor Andre Droxler’s team analyzed sediment found in the “Great Blue Hole,” a 410-foot-deep sinkhole in the middle of Lighthouse Reef, LiveScience reports. Not only did the chemical composition of the silt indicate periods of sparse rainfall during the Mayan decline (likely between AD800 and AD1000): It also showed that a second huge drought probably occurred between AD1000 and AD1100—right around the time the Mayans’ relocation site of Chichen Itza is said to have fallen.
Over thousands of years, runoff from rivers and streams during periods of ample rainfall deposited layers of sediment in the Blue Hole’s lagoon, offering scientists a geological timeline to examine. “It’s like a big bucket,” Droxler tells LiveScience. “It’s a sediment trap.” Excessive rain also erodes volcanic rock, which contains titanium. Droxler’s team found that the sediment’s mineral composition—specifically, the low ratio of titanium to aluminum—in the lagoon indicated periods of low rainfall during the times when the Mayas, for the most part, disappeared. Scientists surmise that due to a climate glitch, monsoons may have skipped over the Yucatan Peninsula during these periods, leading to eventual catastrophe all around. “When you have major droughts, you start to get famines and unrest,” Droxler explains. (A “lost” Mayan city with 15 pyramids was discovered in Mexico last year.)
Let’s move on to China……..
For years, researchers have been stumped by an ancient Chinese civilization on the banks of the Minjiang River that suddenly vanished around 3,000 years ago. “The current explanations for why it disappeared are war and flood, but both are not very convincing,” says the co-author of a new study that thinks it’s solved the mystery of Sanxingdui’s abandonment. Researchers say an earthquake caused massive landslides that dammed Sanxingdui’s main water source and diverted it elsewhere between 2,800 and 3,000 years ago, LiveScience reports. The study concludes that the civilization—capable of producing impressive 8-foot-tall bronze sculptures unlike anything else in the world at the time—deliberately packed up and followed the water to a new location.
That new location may have been the ancient city of Jinsha nearby. Some believe a gold crown at Jinsha, similar in design to a golden staff at Sanxingdui, is proof. Elephant tusks, sculptures, and jade and stone artifacts found in two pits in 1986 were perhaps purposefully hidden before the move. There’s more evidence of an earthquake: Geographical data shows a temblor occurred in the walled city’s general region sometime between 3,330 and 2,200 years ago and that massive flooding occurred. Researchers note that ancient writers recorded an earthquake 250 miles from Sanxingdui in 1099 BC; Sanxingdui didn’t have writing at the time, so it’s possible the quake was closer but went unrecorded.
Fast forward to the Middle East……..
Israel requires that archaeologists perform a sweep of any historically significant land where construction is planned, and they were surprised to find a 20-acre parcel of land along the western side of the Sea of Galilee may have ties to Jesus. Haaretz revisits a story that has the Rev. Juan Solana at its root. The Catholic priest set out a decade ago to purchase four plots near the Israeli town of Migdal. Solana’s goal: to build a resort for Christian pilgrims there. In anticipation of that, in 2009 architects with the Israel Antiquities Authority began to dig, expecting to find nothing of note. Instead, they found the remnants of a synagogue that experts believe was originally constructed in the year 1AD. The Wall Street Journal earlier this year described it as the only known one from the period in Galilee; the Bible describes Jesus as “teaching in [Galilee’s] synagogues, preaching the good news.”
In terms of its location, Migdal was named for the ancient town of Magdala, where Mary Magdalene is believed to have hailed from, and the dig revealed the site in question “was not just near Magdala; this was Magdala,” as the Journal puts it. In Haaretz’s telling, experts say it’s probable that Jesus preached there. Dina Gorni, one of the archaeologists who worked on the dig, was a bit more cautious in a 2012 interview with the Global Mail. Gorni notes the synagogue was likely built to hold 120, though thousands lived in Magdala. “We believe, we suggest, that this was a special community, not large, that put itself at the edge of the main Jewish village,” said Gorni. “They may be connected to Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We know that Jesus was not involved in the main Jewish community and preferred to live aside. Perhaps he was the leader around whom this synagogue was built.” (A new book claims Jesus had two children.)
Mummies! Always a good subject……
When researchers claimed to have found a million burials at a dig site in Egypt, the supposed news was widely reported—including on this site. But officials in the country say the claim is false, and they’ve revoked the scientists’ dig licenses in connection with it, io9 reports. Archaeologist Kerry Muhlestein’s team said in a statement that “the math suggests that there are over a million mummies in the cemetery, though we cannot be certain of this without further exploration and a thorough academic review process,” the Luxor Times reports. To be fair, at Live Science, Muhlestein was quoted as qualifying the word “mummy,” given the natural, not artificial, processes reportedly involved: “If we want to use the term loosely, then they were mummified,” he said.
But Dr. Youssef Khalifa, who, Newsweek reports, heads the ancient Egypt department at the country’s antiquities ministry, suggests that neither the number nor the word “mummy” are correct. The statement, which was published in the Daily Mail, “is not true,” he says. “There are no million mummies; a mummy definition to begin with means a complete mummified body, and there is only one mummy found at the site of Fag el-Gamous, in 1980.” In recent years, says Dr. Khalifa, “only poor skeletons were found,” along with a few thousand bones. Researchers broke rules on press statements, and “that’s why the committee of the ancient Egypt department took the decision to stop their permission to work at the site after 28 years,” he says. Muhlestein says it’s a matter of “misunderstandings.”
And there you have all the info you NEVER asked for….you are welcome!