Tag Archives: meredith bennett-smith

4,000-Year-Old Tomb Of Doctor To The Pharaohs Discovered

4,000-Year-Old Tomb Of Doctor To The Pharaohs Discovered (PHOTO)

The Huffington Post  |  By 

tomb doctor to pharaohs

The tomb of a prestigious ancient Egyptian physician who counted pharaohs among his clients is believed to have been found in a vast necropolis southwest of Cairo.

Part of a large plot measuring roughly 70 feet by 46 feet, the tomb of Shepseskaf-Ankh was unearthed this week in Abusir near modern-day Giza, the Agence France-Presse reports. The site is a burial place for many important figures from the Fifth Dynasty, which existed about 4,000 years ago.

“This discovery is important because this is the tomb of one of the greatest doctors from the time of the pyramid builders, one of the doctors closely tied to the king,” Antiquities Minister Ibrahim Ali said in a statement, per AFP.

The Czech team, led by Egyptologist Miroslav Bárta, confirmed the tomb’s discovery on Facebook Tuesday.

After analyzing carvings on the tomb’s false door, a team of archaeologists from the Czech Institute of Egyptology were able to identify the doctor, listed as Head of Physicians of Upper and Lower Egypt, Ahram Online reports.

An impressive final resting place, Shepseskaf-Ankh’s tomb appears to be a family plot and includes a courtyard area and eight burial chambers for members of the doctor’s relatives, the outlet notes.

(Story continues below.)

Carvings on the tomb of researchers believe was one of the most prominent physicians of ancient Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty. Located in northern Egypt, Abusir is the site of three pyramids built by Fifth Dynasty kings Sahure, Neferirkare and Neuserre between 2465 B.C. and 2325 B.C., according to Britannica. In the shadow of these monuments, other kings also built their own sanctuaries, with particular reverence being paid to Re, the sun god.

Team leader Bárta has been working in the Abusir area for many years, according to Radio Prague. His research in the region has informed his theory that the collapse of Egypt’s Old Kingdom began in the Fifth Dynasty.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Stonehenge Path Offers New Clues To Site’s Age-Old Secrets

Stonehenge Path Offers New Clues To Site’s Age-Old Secrets

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 09/14/2013 8:26 am EDT  |  Updated: 09/15/2013 12:25 pm EDT

Stonehenge Path
Modern researchers have puzzled for centuries over the striking stone construction known as Stonehenge. But now researchers have discovered new aspects of the site, including a processional road, that may eventually help unravel some of its mysteries.

There are many theories about why ancient peoples constructed the prehistoric megalithic monument, which is estimated to have been built between 3000 and 1520 B.C. Located outside Salisbury, England, Stonehenge is the focus of ongoing research projects coordinated by English Heritage, a cultural preservation agency.

One of those projects recently uncovered previously hidden sections of an ancient pathway that researchers believe led directly to the site from the Avon River in the nearby town of Amesbury.

Known as the Avenue, the pathway is believed to have been built sometime between 2600 and 2200 B.C., according to English Heritage. Over time, parts of the road were obscured, and a modern road called A344 was built across it, reports LiveScience. The new road has made it almost impossible for researchers to confirm the purpose of the Avenue, according to LiveScience.

In an effort to answer some of these questions, researchers carefully began removing the paved A344. While the banks of the original path had long since eroded away, archaeologists were excited to find traces of two parallel ditches that once ran on either side of the path. These ditches connected segments of the Avenue bisected by A344.

“And here we have it –- the missing piece in the jigsaw,” Heather Sebire, properties curator and archaeologist at English Heritage, said in an interview with BBC History Magazine. “It is very exciting to find a piece of physical evidence that officially makes the connection which we were hoping for.”

While the purpose of the Avenue is not exactly clear, Sebire told LiveScience she believes it was involved in ancient processions to and from the site.

“It was constructed in 2300 BC so is a later addition to the stone circle, but people would have processed along it to the monument,” Sebire told BBC Magazine. “It’s quite a dramatic finding.”

At least one researcher unaffiliated with English Heritage believes the excavation could help confirm a theory that the Avenue leading to Stonehenge was built along the solstice axis. As archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson told National Geographic, this means that the direction of the Avenue moving away from the monument points toward where the sun rises on the midsummer solstice, the longest day of the year. But if you turn, the path leading back toward Stonehenge points toward where the sun sets on the midwinter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Roman Emperor Commodus’ Mini-Colosseum Found?

Roman Emperor Commodus’ Mini-Colosseum Found?

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 08/15/2013 1:23 pm EDT  |  Updated: 08/16/2013 3:41 pm EDT

Emperor Commodus Mini-Colosseum

Researchers believe they have found a miniature “Colosseum” structure in Rome that once belonged to Roman emperor Commodus.
 Legend has it that the fearsome Roman Emperor Commodus fancied himself a gladiator, once slaughtering 100 lions in a single day. Now researchers say they may have found the wannabe warrior’s personal “Colosseum” on an archaeological site in southeast Rome.

The model arena was part of a residential complex of the Antonine-era emperors, known today as the Villa of the Antonines archaeological site, in what is now the town of Genzano di Roma, Italy. This particular project was spearheaded by New Jersey’s Montclair State University, which sent a team to the site to work with geophysicists from the University of Rome La Sapienza in June.

The researchers reported that the Colsseum-like structure was oval in shape with curved walls and floors made from marble, according to Discovery. Measuring 200 feet by 130 feet, the structure has been dated to the second century.

The son of emperor Marcus Aurelius, Commodus ruled from 177 to 192 A.D., according to Brittanica. A brutal, bloodthirsty dictator, Commodus escaped a coup orchestrated by his sister in 182 only to be successfully assassinated by his wrestling partner in 192. Close to 1,800 years later, actor Joaquin Phoenix was cast as Commodus in the Oscar-winning film “Gladiator,” portraying the emperor as unpredictable, irrational and generally unhinged.

The real Commodus would have used his ampitheater to show off “for practice and for his first semi-public appearances as a killer of animals in the arena … and as a gladiator,” Timothy Renner, a professor of classics and humanities at Montclair, told The Sunday Times.

An underground canal found during the dig may have been used to stage naval battles, while underground chambers may have been used to hold the doomed victims, according to the Times.

“In Rome he killed dozens of animals,” Renner told the Times. “For example bears with single javelin shots, probably in the Colosseum — although at least some of the time he was on a protected walkway above the arena.”

The emperor wished to be known as a modern-day Hercules, according to Discovery. But Commodus did not stop with wild animals; he reportedly killed humans, too. Ancient accounts, including those of respected historian Dio Cassius, include gruesome details about the ruler “slicing off a nose, an ear or various other parts of the body,” reports Discovery.

gladiators minicolosseum found

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

23 Million Year Old Lizard Found in Amber

Lizard Fossil Found: 23-Million-Year-Old Remains Preserved In Amber In Mexico (PHOTO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 07/11/2013 1:52 pm EDT  |  Updated: 07/14/2013 4:44 pm EDT

A beautiful gem or a scientist’s dream? You can have both, as researchers in Mexico recently discovered after finding the remains of a 23-million-year-old lizard fossil, well preserved with soft tissue samples, in a small piece of amber.

Amber often contains small remains of plants and animals, but it is rare to find complete vertebrates such as this lizard.

While it’s currently too early to confirm the small lizard’s species, preliminary examination suggests the important specimen might be a new species belonging to the genus Anolis. This means that the little guy may provide an invaluable opportunity to learn more about an evolutionarily important and impressively adaptive species.

After all, Anolis lizards have fascinated scientists for years, and have provided researchers with an on-the-ground look at evolutionary processes at work. In 2012, a study involving brown anole lizards in the Bahamas was heralded for its documentation of natural selection, according to LiveScience.

Considered an example of evolutionary diversification, the Anolis genus includesseveral hundred different species that live across the Neotropics, Nature notes. The lizards thrive in warmer climates and are often outfitted with large finger and toe pads, which help them climb over a variety of surfaces quickly and efficiently.

The Mexican fossil was found a few months ago in Simojovel, an area of the Mexicanstate of Chiapas well known for its amber deposits.

The trapezoidal piece of amber is only about 1.7 inches by 0.5 inches, but it contains “a complete and articulated animal that also preserves remains of soft tissue and skin,” Francisco Riquelme of the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s Physics Institute told Spanish international news agency EFE.

Chiapas’ Paleontology Museum director, Gerardo Carbot, dated the remarkable fossil back 23 million years through an examination of the translucent, honey-colored amber that encased it, EFE reports. The lizard is now on display in Chiapas’ Amber Museum, located in nearby San Cristóbal de las Casas.

As the BBC notes, amber is formed when resin from a plant fossilizes after becoming buried in sediment. The substance can be a gold mine for archeologists and paleontologists.

In large enough quantities, the viscous substance can trap small creatures, insects and even types of fragile flowers. But even when this does happen, to find a specimen this old with soft tissue remaining is rare, according to the Associated Press.

The amber of Simojovel has contained valuable samples in the past, according to Popular Science — including a pair of fossilized flowers that will be presented during this year’s international Botany Conference at the end of July.

Some of the most striking amber fossils discovered around the world in recent months include a 100-million-year-old spider attack, and a trio of 230-million-year-old insects discovered in Italy.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Giant Pink Slugs Found

Giant Pink Slugs Found Living On ‘Magical’ Mountain In Australia

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/31/2013 10:10 am EDT  |  Updated: 06/03/2013 11:36 am EDT

What’s bright pink, slimy and can grow to up to eight inches long? Why,Triboniophorus aff. graeffei, of course!

The brilliantly-pink variety of slug has only been spotted in one area — the subalpine reaches of Mount Kaputar, a 5,000-foot peak that was once a volcano in northern New South Wales, Australia.

“On a good morning, you can walk around and see hundreds of them,” National Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Michael Murphy told the Australian Broadcasting Company. “But only in that one area.”

Photos courtesy of New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service.

pink slugs

The fluorescent invertebrates spend their days hiding, according to Murphy, and then climb trees at night to forage for food. The slugs’ distinctive coloring may be meant as a form of camouflage, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

While locals have reported seeing the creatures for years, researchers have only recently confirmed that the slugs are unique to Mount Kaputar, explains The Sydney Morning Herald.

The slugs are “relics” of a time when Australia was joined to much of the world as part of a vast supercontinent known as Gondwana, or Gondwanaland, Murphy told the ABC.

A volcanic eruption at Mount Kaputar about 17 million years ago created a rare haven for the ancient creatures, even as most of the habitat below them dried up, according to The Herald.

In fact, the region is so environmentally sensitive that the NSW Scientific Committee is thinking about designating the area as a protected ”endangered ecological community,” The Herald notes. The area is particularly susceptible to climate change and a few degrees of warming could spell disaster for the fragile mountain ecosystem.

”It’s just one of those magical places,” Murphy told The Herald.

pink slugs

pink slugs


Filed under Humor and Observations

Possible Evidence Of Continent Deep Beneath Atlantic Ocean

Brazilian ‘Atlantis’: Submersible Finds Possible Evidence Of Continent Deep Beneath Atlantic Ocean

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 05/07/2013 4:56 pm EDT  |  Updated: 05/08/2013 4:52 pm EDT

Nearly 2,600 years after Greek philosopher Plato wrote about the fabled metropolis of Atlantis, vanished forever beneath the sea, a Japanese-manned submersible has discovered rock structures that may be evidence of a continent that similarly disappeared beneath the Atlantic Ocean many, many years ago.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and the Geology Service of Brazil (CPRM) announced Tuesday the discovery of granite at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, about 900 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro.

Granite, normally found on dry land, suggests that a continent once existed in the region and then sank, much in the same way Plato described, according to The Japan Times.

“South America and Africa used to be a huge, unified continent,” Shinichi Kawakami, a professor at Gifu University told the outlet. “The area in question may have been left in water as the continent was separated in line with the movements of plates.”

Plato wrote that Atlantis was “an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Hercules,” Reuters notes. During Plato’s time, the Straits of Gibraltar were known as the Pillars of Hercules, so Atlantis-seekers have focused their search in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. (However, others disregard the tale altogether, NTDTV points out.)

CPRM geology director Roberto Ventura Santos emphasizes that his team’s references to the so-called “Brazil’s Atlantis” are mostly symbolic.

“Obviously, we don’t expect to find a lost city in the middle of the Atlantic,” Santos said, according to the Telegraph. “But if it is the case that we find a continent in the middle of the ocean, it will be a very big discovery that could have various implications in relation to the extension of the continental shelf.”

JAMSTEC, which is currently conducting a variety of missions and experiments, has been exploring this region in the Atlantic for some time using its state-of-the-art manned mini-sub the Shinkai 6500, the Telegraph notes.

On its website, JAMSTEC states its mission is “to contribute to the advancement of academic research in addition to the improvement of marine science and technology by proceeding the fundamental research and development on marine, and the cooperative activities on the academic research related to the Ocean for the benefit of the peace and human welfare.”

Finding Plato’s actual lost city has been something of a holy grail for many researchers and has spawned several unproven “breakthroughs.”

In 2011, a team of researchers claimed to have found Atlantis buried in mud off the tip of Spain. The ancient city was allegedly flooded by a devastating tsunami, according to PopSci. In 2009, a mysterious, underwater grid pattern on Google Earth was also heralded by some as the lost city; however, Google Earth quickly explained it was a glitch created by sonar boat data collection, Time reported.

1 Comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Medieval Knight Found in Parking Lot


Medieval Knight Found Under Parking Lot In Scotland; Mysterious Remains Thrill Archeologists

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/14/2013 9:57 am EDT  |  Updated: 03/14/2013 9:57 am EDT

Medieval Knight Found Parking Lot

Archaeologists this week announced the discovery of an unidentified medieval knight’s skeleton buried along with several other bodies under a Scottish parking lot.

The knight — or possibly nobleman — was uncovered during construction work, according to The Scotsman. Also found was an intricately carved sandstone slab, several other human burial plots and a variety of artifacts researchers believe are from the 13th-century Blackfriars Monastery.

(Story continues below.)

medieval knight found parking lot

Councillor Richard Lewis, a member of the City of Edinburgh Council, said the archeological treasure trove has “the potential to be one of the most significant and exciting archaeological discoveries in the city for many years, providing us with yet more clues as to what life was like in Medieval Edinburgh,” according to a statementreleased by the Edinburgh Center for Carbon Innovation (ECCI).

“We hope to find out more about the person buried in the tomb once we remove the headstone and get to the remains underneath but our archaeologists have already dated the gravestone to the thirteenth century,” Lewis added.

The team leading the excavation is part of Headland Archeology, which noted with glee that many of its researchers may have once walked over the bones while studying nearby at the former University of Edinburgh’s archaeology department. A statement released by the group says members are “looking forward to post excavation analyses that will tell us more about the individual buried there.”

Ross Murray, a project officer for Headland, told The Huffington Post in an email that the team has already divined some clues about the knight’s background.

“The knight would have been buried in the graveyard associated with the monastery meaning he had money or was important in the society of time,” Murray told HuffPost. “The more important you were the closer you got placed to the church. He was also pretty tall for the time being around 6ft or so.”

Echoing Councillor Lewis, Murray went on to say that the contents of the grave site and monastery will be “fantastic” additions to Scottish art history.

“We have now taken the body back to our labs and will have an osteo-archaeologist examine the body to try and establish their sex, age, if they had any diseases or even how they died,” Murray said. “The medieval was a pretty brutal time so a violent death wouldn’t be uncommon. We would also get radiocarbon dates from the bones to get a more accurate date for the burial and have an expert in medieval sculpture looks at the carved grave slab.”

After the excavation is complete, the former parking lot will house the rainwater-harvesting tank of the University of Edinburgh’s new ECCI building.

This impressive Edinburgh find comes on the heels of scientists’ confirmation this February that bones found under an English city council parking lot do indeed belong to King Richard III. Researchers from the University of Leicester used DNA analysis to identify the 15th-century monarch, who died in battle during the War of the Roses.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Ancient Complex Found Near Birthplace of Abraham

Ancient Complex Discovered Near Biblical Birthplace Of Abraham In Southern Iraq

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/04/2013 2:10 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/06/2013 1:01 pm EDT

A huge complex uncovered near what some believe to be the Biblical birthplace of Abraham is exciting researchers who for years were unable to investigate the region.

The site was discovered by a team of British archeologists working at Tell Khaiber in southern Iraq, near the ancient city of Ur, according to the Associated Press.

Stuart Campbell, a professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Manchester University and head of its Department of Archeology, told the AP that the site is unusual because it’s so large. (It’s about the size of a football field.)

“This is a breathtaking find and we feel privileged to be the first to work at this important site,” Campbell said, according to Phys.org. “The surrounding countryside, now arid and desolate, was the birthplace of cities and of civilization about 5,000 years ago and home to the Sumerians and the later Babylonians.”

Discovery of the site was first made via satellite, according to Phys.org, followed by a geographical survey and trial excavations. Campbell said the site is provisionally dated to 2,000 B.C.

In an email to The Huffington Post, Campbell said researchers will use modern technology to help better understand that time period.

“Because of the gap in archaeological work in this region, any new knowledge is important to archaeologists in this area – and this find has the potential to really move forward our understanding of the first city-states,” Campbell wrote.

National Geographic notes that Ur probably originated “sometime in the fifth millennium B.C.” and was discovered in the 1920s and 1930s after an expedition. Once a commercial hub, Ur is also believed by many Biblical scholars to be the birthplace of Abraham.

Abraham, a descendant of Noah, is often described as the “spiritual father of Jews, Christians, and Muslims,” Slate notes. The Old Testament includes references to Abraham’s family members and a place called Ur of the Chaldeans. Some scholars have pointed to this as evidence that Ur was once Abraham’s home.

Campbell notes that there are alternative theories to Abraham’s birthplace, although Ur is commonly identified as the site. The archeologist added that his team is still excavating the complex.

The fact that Campbell’s team was able to work at the site at all is good news for researchers. For decades, culturally rich sites like Ur lay untouched due to unrest. Some sites were looted, and others were damaged by war, according to USA Today.


Stuart Campbell / AP


Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

Mystery of 1938 Time Traveler with Cell Phone

Mystery Of 1938 ‘Time Traveler’ With Cell Phone Solved? (VIDEO)

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/04/2013 4:41 pm EDT  |  Updated: 04/04/2013 6:04 pm EDT

The mystery surrounding a video that appears to show a young woman talking on a cell phone in 1938 may be solved. The explanation, if true, is sure to disappoint many conspiracy theorists.

The black-and-white footage shows a group of young people, possibly factory workers, walking out of a building. A brunette in a light-colored dress smiles into the camera, her hand pressed to her ear. She is holding what looks to be a large portable phone.

The Daily Mail reports that the clip surfaced online about a year ago and kicked off speculation about a time traveler caught on camera. Recently, a YouTube commenter who goes by the handle Planetcheck claimed to know the woman in the footage.

Though the version of the YouTube clip with Planetcheck’s original comments has been removed, the Daily Mail and Yahoo! News blog The Sideshow copied some of Planetcheck’s claims before the video disappeared.

According to the posts, Planetcheck professes to be the grandchild of the cell phone woman. Her name is Gertrude Jones, Planetcheck writes, and she was not a time traveler.

“She was 17 years old,” Planetcheck writes. “I asked her about this video and she remembers it quite clearly. She says Dupont [the company that reportedly owns the factory in the video] had a telephone communications section in the factory. They were experimenting with wireless telephones. Gertrude and five other women were given these wireless phones to test out for a week. Gertrude is talking to one of the scientists holding another wireless phone who is off to her right as she walks by.”

Wireless phones in the 1930s? YouTubers were skeptical.

Answering YouTube critics who questioned why such an amazing device received so little notice for several decades, Planetcheck blamed the factory owners:

Maybe they decided it was too far advanced for people and they abandoned the idea. … Ideas are hatched, prototypes are made and sometimes like this phone they are forgotten until somebody discovers some long lost film of the world first wireless phone and marvels at it.

Planetcheck also claimed to still have the phone in a glass box somewhere. (We’ll believe that when we see it.)

David Mikkelson, founder of Snopes.com, a website that specializes in analyzing popular Internet theories, told The Huffington Post in a telephone interview that videos like this one are as difficult to disprove as they are to prove.

“You can take any piece of WWII footage showing someone holding something to the side of their head talking, and claim it is a time traveling cell phone user,” Mikkelson said. “Film clips aren’t of sufficient resolution to see what the people are carrying. It could be anything from a handkerchief to a hearing aid, or who knows what. And this video is silent, so you can’t even tell if the person is engaged in a two-way conversation.”

Mikkelson added it is plausible Dupont could have been working on some sort of hand-held prototype, similar to a walkie-talkie. Still, he remained skeptical.

“I doubt it would have just been handed out to a young woman working at the factory,” he said. “And why isn’t there documentation?”

Neither Planetcheck nor Dupont could not be reached for comment.

A similar “time traveler” video captured the imaginations of conspiracy theorists in 2010. The clip consists of unreleased footage from a 1928 Charlie Chaplin film and shows a woman in the background walking while appearing to talk on a cell phone.Was she a time traveler, or was she just holding her hand up to her face as she passed in front of the camera?

And who could forget the photo of a 19th-century man who looks uncannily like actor Nicolas Cage? While some speculate that Cage is a time traveler, others joked that he might be a vampire. Cage has denied both rumors.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations

New Meteorite Found In Antartica

Huge Meteorite Found In Antarctica, Largest Discovered There In 25 Years 

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/01/2013 1:00 pm EST

Meteorite Found Antarctica
An unusually large meteorite has been discovered by an international team of researchers in Antarctica.

The team, searching an area known as the Nansen Ice Field, discovered the 40-pound space rock in late January, according to OurAmazingPlanet.

Scientists from Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) and Tokyo University were part of the expedition that discovered the extraterrestrial chunk, the largest such meteorite found in the region in close to a quarter century. The team was based out of the Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station.

“This meteorite was a very unexpected find for us, not only due to its weight, but because we don’t normally find such large meteorites in Antarctica,” Vinciane Debaille, a geologist who led the Belgian arm of the research team, said in a written statement on Feb. 28. “This is the biggest meteorite found in East Antarctica for 25 years, so it’s a very special discovery for us, only made possible by the existence and location of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica.”

Known collectively as SAMBA, the international team had been searching the ice field since mid-December, according to the group’s website. The team’s current project is to collect large meteorites and study them. Eventually, the meteorites will be publicly displayed.

The SAMBA website describes the goal of such research:

Understanding how our planet works necessitates studying its interior. Direct geological records only document the crustal or uppermost fraction of our planet while the deeper parts remain totally outside of our reach. Meteorites coming from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter have recorded information on how other planets formed and evolved through time; from undifferentiated primitive asteroids to differentiated small planets, showing the development of a crust, a mantle, and a metallic core just like those of the Earth.

Debaille’s Feb. 28 statement also explained the group’s work. “We study meteorites in order to better understand how the solar system formed, how it evolved, how the Earth became such a unique planet in our solar system,” said Debaille.

OurAmazingPlanet notes that United States scientists also ventured “out on the polar ice to collect meteorites this season,” but they were searching on the opposite end of Antarctica from the SAMBA outfit.

While meteors generally burn up in the atmosphere, in mid-February a huge meteor exploded over central Russia, showering the area in debris and creating a shock wave that injured hundreds.

Leave a comment

Filed under Humor and Observations