Archive for October 20, 2013

King Herod’s Tomb a Mystery Yet Again   1 comment

tomb thought to be herod's


Herod the Great, the king of Judea who ruled not long before the time of Jesus, seems to have eluded historians once again.

In 2007 archaeologists announced they had found the great king’s tomb, a surprisingly modest mausoleum that was part of the Herodium, a massive complex built by Herod on a cone-shaped hill in the desert outside Jerusalem.

But what everyone thought was his final resting place may not be. The modest structure is too small and modest for the ostentatious king; its mediocre construction and design are at odds with Herod’s reputation as a master planner and builder, archaeologists now say. [The Holy Land: 7 Archaeological Finds]

 Lost to history

King Herod, who lived from 74 B.C. to 4 B.C., was a vassal king for the Romans. Known as both a genius and a madman, he executed many of his family members but doted on his mother and father. He built lavish building complexes, including the famous fortress of Masada, though he funded such huge projects by burdening the people with backbreaking taxes. In the New Testament, Herod is said to have ordered the slaughter of thousands of innocent babies after prophets predicted one would grow to be a rival.

Documents from the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus suggest Herod was buried at the Herodium, laid out on a gold bed draped with opulent fabrics, and thronged by the entire army and a massive funerary procession, said Joseph Patrich, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

But Herod’s exact burial place remained a mystery for thousands of years.

Then, in 2007, archaeologist Ehud Netzer announced he had discovered the king’s final resting place. The tomb was a 32-by-32-foot (10 by 10 meters) building with a pointy roof and three coffins. One of these coffins, an intricately carved red stone, was alleged to be the tomb of the great king. A large exhibit about the tomb is currently on display this month at the Israel Museum. (Netzer died in 2010 in a fall not far from the excavation site.)

Unfit for a king

Now, Patrich and his colleague Benjamin Arubas, also of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, are claiming the tomb isn’t Herod’s at all.

The rather modest structure is too small for the master builder to have envisioned for himself, and the poor planning and design are also uncharacteristic, Patrich and Arubas say. [See Images of the Mysterious Tomb]

For instance, the building is small compared with other royal tombs of the day.

“These are quite moderate dimensions if you are thinking about a king of the stature of Herod the Great,” Patrich said.

Moreover, the tomb has only one pyramid, whereas the tombs of the Hasmoneans — the royal dynasty that preceded Herod — have seven pyramids, Patrich said.

In addition, the complex has no gate or courtyard for visitors to come and pay their respects to the departed. Royal tombs at that time had much more elaborate courtyards.

“There is hardly place for 20 people to stand conveniently, and there is no respectable gateway to lead in,” Patrich told LiveScience.

Furthermore, the building has an awkward layout, with two staircases above the mausoleum barring entrance to the tomb below on one side, and two shabbily constructed walls on the other side. The complex isn’t aligned symmetrically with the axis of the rest of the Herodium complex, Patrich added, a design faux-pas that would have been out of character for Herod.

Finally, the coffins in the tomb were made of local limestone and red stone, not the elaborate marble, or even gold, that would have suited Herod’s grand tastes.

Mystery remains

If the tomb isn’t Herod’s, then whose is it?

To build the Herodium, Herod covered other buildings in the area but left this one intact, suggesting that the person buried there was “very dear to Herod,” Patrich said. So it’s possible that Herod’s close family members — such as his mother, father or brother — may occupy the building.

The great king’s exact whereabouts remains a mystery, but there are many parts of the complex that have yet to be excavated, Patrich said.

The findings, which have not been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal, were presented Oct. 10 at the “Innovations in Archaeology in Jerusalem and the Surrounding Area” conference in Jerusalem.


Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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EXTREME ANIMALS   Leave a comment

Loudest Animal

Blue whales’ low-frequency pulses can be heard over 500 miles way. At 188 decibels, these sounds are louder than a jet engine.  (Ishara S. Kodikara, AFP / Getty Images)




The giant squid is the world’s largest invertebrate, and the largest ever measured was 59 feet long. Giant squids also have the largest eyes of any animal, each one about the size of a human head.




Most Venomous Animal

The sea wasp jellyfish (pictured) has enough venom to kill 60 adult humans. 
Photo: Guido Gautsch/Flickr 
Longest Migration

Arctic terns migrate about 11,000 miles to the Antarctic each year…and then come all the way back! 
(Dan Kitwood, Getty Images)
World’s Most Extreme Animals

North African ostriches run up to 45 miles an hour, making them the fastest land bird. They are also the biggest, weighing up to 345 pounds.  (Patrick Hertzog, AFP / Getty Images)
Fastest Bird

Peregrine falcons dive toward their prey at over 200 mph. 



Fastest Fish

Sailfish can swim at speeds of up to 68 mph, although experts disagree as to just which species of sailfish is the fastest. 



Longest Lifespan

Three giant tortoises are estimated to have lived over 175 years, with one estimated at a whopping 255 years. 

Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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The Tomb of an Etruscan Prince   Leave a comment

Sealed Tomb

In September, archaeologists in Tuscany discovered a perfectly sealed tomb in the necropolis of Tarquinia in Tuscany.

Vast necropolis

The necropolis of Tarquinia, a UNESCO world heritage site, contains more than 6,000 graves cut into the rock, some up to 2,900 years old.


Inside were two platforms cut from the rock. On one, a skeleton lay holding a lance.

Ashes remaining

The other held the ashes of an individual that was mostly incinerated.

Box of jewelry

The grave contained a beautifully-preserved pyx, or an embossed bronze-plated box, as well as several pieces of jewelry.


At first glance, the tomb seemed to hold the body of a warrior holding a lance and his wife, whose jewelry was included in the tomb. But a bone analysis revealed that the skeleton holding the lance was in fact a 35 to 40-year-old woman. The find shows the problem with interpreting grave sites based on the objects found inside them.

Grave goods

Though Etruscan tombs are littered throughout the Tuscan countryside, it’s rare to find one that hasn’t been thoroughly looted, and even rarer to find a tomb housing the elites of society. As such, the new site provides unique insight into Etruscan culture.



Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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Syria: A war within a war   Leave a comment

After more than two years of fighting the forces of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, opposition fighters have started to turn their guns on each other for power and territory.

The in-fighting has led the Free Syrian Army (FSA) to reiterate their demand for more weapons from the international community.

They want to drive out what they say are al-Qaeda linked opposition fighters. The intensified rivalry among opposition groups comes after Kamal Hamami, a member of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council was shot dead in Latakia province in north Syria.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday; fighters from the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) announced they will set up a command and control centre in Syria.

A spokesman for the group says the first contingent is ready to start operating alongside opposition rebels. And as many as 150 more are on their way to fight against Syrian government forces.

The Free Syrian Army is now fighting other rebels linked to al-Qaeda for territory and control.

There are several hardline position groups fighting in Syria. The most prominent are the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

It was established as an umbrella organisation of Iraqi insurgent groups in October 2006 under the name of Islamic State of Iraq.

The group has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians as well as members of the Iraqi government and its international allies.

By late 2012 the group was said to have renewed its strength and more than doubled its number of members to about 2,500.

And in April 2013, the group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and became deeply involved in the Syrian civil war.

Another hardline opposition group fighting in Syria is the al-Nusra Front.

The group was established in January 2012 and since then has used car bombs and suicide attacks in its efforts to bring down the Assad government.

It has around 6,000 members, and is believed to be largely funded and trained by al-Qaeda in Iraq. In April, the head of the organisation pledged its allegiance to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

In this show we discuss the deepening rift amongst Syrian rebels and how the Free Syrian Army may soon be fighting an al-Qaeda linked faction and President Assad’s forces.

Inside Syria with presenter Veronica Pedrosa discusses with guests Louay Almokdad, the political and media coordinator for the Free Syrian Army; Yezid Sayigh, a senior associate at Carnegie Middle East Center; and Haytham Sbahi, a Syrian political activist.

“They [Syrian regime] always called these groups and if they want a dialogue for a future Syria – they are ready; but some of these groups like the SNC and the Free Syrian Army they align themselves with other countries – with western countries and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And they didn’t understand, they are naive and ill-informed, when they dealt with the western politicians they don’t understand when a western politician says ‘yes’ he means ‘maybe’ and when he says ‘maybe’ he means ‘no’. And he never says no.”

Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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The Smell of Gunpowder   Leave a comment

In Turkey, compulsory military service applies to all male citizens from the age of 20 and thousands have been sent to the southeast of the country to confront and quell the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which demands autonomy.

But military service comes at a price – and very often young men give more than their loyalties – they give a piece of their humanity in the process.

Studies show that some 2.5 million young men in Turkey who completed tours of duty in the southeast of the country may be afflicted by “Southeastern Anatolia Syndrome”, a localised name for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) characterised by psychological symptoms that emerge following a distressing event outside the range of normal human experience.
The Smell of Gunpowder follows Osman Partal, Abdullah Sertdemir and Yusuf Kilic – three veterans in the fight against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and their quest to return to life as they knew it before conscription.

Osman says: “I served 19 months in the army. I came back alive. But I don’t have a soul. My soul is broken.”

He is traumatised by the memory of his friends who have fallen in battle: “All of them were my friends. All were just like me. They have all drunk the sherbet of martyrdom. It could have been me but God did not allow it.”

Like so many others, Osman struggles to come to terms with a life beyond the frontline, relying on therapy and drugs to cope with his bouts of aggression and depression.

“I constantly feel tired because of the pills I take. I have no strength in my shoulders and my hands. At times I can’t even open my eyelids …. I am in this state because of this country. I did this for the nation. For the army.”

Soldiers officially recognised as ‘service veterans’ receive a medal of honour and state benefits. But only a very limited number of soldiers with mental health problems have been officially granted ‘veteran’ status.

This film highlights the personal struggle of these veterans carrying the wounds of war that society cannot always see and notice.

Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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MUMMIES   Leave a comment























Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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Treasures from the time of Stonehenge   Leave a comment


Britain’s greatest treasures from the early Bronze Age period and Neolithic of Stonehenge are to be given a permanent display for the first time – in the region where they were originally found.

Bronze Age treasure. disc bead

Bronze Age treasure. disc bead

Display of Neolithic axes found in the area from all over Britain and Europe

Display of Neolithic axes found in the area from all over Britain and Europe

The new specially-designed high security exhibition is constructed within the Wiltshire Museum in Devizes 15 miles north of Stonehenge itself and set within the wider ritual landscape of Salisbury plain. Funding was provided by a number of sources to realise this exhibition, from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage, Wiltshire Council, the North Wessex Downs Area of Natural Beauty as well as several other sources.

Early Bronze Age Gold

This will include the largest collection of Early Bronze Age gold ever put on public display in England, which will help transform public understanding of the period when Stonehenge was at the centre of a rich and vibrant culture with links across Europe.

The Wiltshire Museum will be exhibiting an astonishing 500 Neolithic and Bronze-Age artefacts (circa 3000-1100 BCE) , including 30 items of golden treasure which have rarely been seen by the public before.

Bronze Age treasure. Golden cone

Bronze Age treasure. Golden cone

Amongst the ancient treasures placed on permanent display are a beautifully decorated gold lozenge, a magnificent bronze dagger with a gold- covered hilt, a golden fitting from a dagger sheath, a ceremonial axe, gold beads, necklaces, ear-rings, pendants and other items of gold jewellery, a unique jet disc (used to fasten a luxury garment), rare traces of ancient textiles and two of the finest prehistoric flint arrow heads ever found.

Unearthed by Antiquarians

“These and other spectacular treasures from the Age of Stonehenge were unearthed by antiquarians and archaeologists in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but until now it’s never been possible to give the public permanent access to them,” said David Dawson, Director of the Wiltshire Museum. “But now, after generous funding from a number of national and local organisations, we have been able to create a secure and stable environment in which they can be enjoyed by visitors to the Stonehenge and Avebury World Heritage Site from Britain and around the world.

“Stonehenge is an iconic monument – but this is the first time that such a wide range of high status objects from the spectacular burials of the people who used it, has ever been put on permanent display”.

The most precious gold, jet and amber objects from the period are being brought together in this permanent display to tell the story of the people who lived in and around the Stonehenge landscape when the monument was one of the great religious focal points of western Europe.

Many of the items may well have been worn by Bronze Age priests and chieftains as they worshipped inside Stonehenge itself.

Bush Barrow chieftain burial and display

Bush Barrow chieftain burial and display

The new facility not only features treasures from the Age of Stonehenge, but also recreates some of the key places they were unearthed. Archaeologists have recreated the famous Bush Barrow burial, where a Bronze Age chieftain was buried in regal splendour overlooking Stonehenge itself.

“Devizes is mid-way between two of the world’s most important ancient monuments – the great prehistoric stone circles of Stonehenge and Avebury. Visiting the Wiltshire Museum completes the experience of seeing these two iconic sites. “ said Mr Dawson.

The new galleries – featuring gold from the time of Stonehenge – are the first part of a totally new re-presentation of Stonehenge and its landscape. Two months after this new facility in Devizes opens, English Heritage will open its new Stonehenge Visitor Centre and in 2014 Salisbury Museum will also inaugurate a new display. Making the entire area a draw for visitors from across the world to see first hand the artefacts and stories from the period that changed history.

Source: Wiltshire Museum in Devizes

Posted October 20, 2013 by kitokinimi in Uncategorized

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The Yonaguni Underwater Pyramid Mystery   1 comment




“Underwater Japanese Pyramid ‘Manmade’ say Scientists”


On May 19 2001 a report on Whitley Strieber’s Unknown Country brought news that Frank Joseph, editor of “Ancient American Magazine”, would speak that night on “Dreamland” about a conference he recently attended in Japan at which Japanese geologists and archæologists argued that the sunken pyramid structure off the coast of the island of Yonaguni near Okinawa, Japan, has been found to be man-made. It reported that:


“The structure was found by dive tour operator Kihachiro Aratake in 1985 and has been a source of controversy ever since. It appears to be a construction made of wide terraces, ramps and large steps. However, American geologists have contended that the structure is not manmade, but a natural formation.


According to the report, Japanese scientists have documented marks on the stones that indicate that they were hewn. Not only that, the tools used in this process have been found in the area, and carvings have been discovered. A small stairway carved into the rocks appears to render the theory that this is a natural formation implausible.”





The report that this enigmatic underwater structure has shown more evidence of being man-made, also offered the opinion that ‘American geologists’ have claimed that the structure is not man-made, and is a natural formation. But this contention was itself out-of-focus:


“It appears to be a construction made of wide terraces, ramps and large steps. However, American geologists have contended that the structure is not manmade, but a natural formation.”


Presumably, they were referring to Dr. Robert M. Schoch, a geologist who has dived on the structure for inspection a number of times since 1997, and whose comments seem to have been misunderstood by some academics, while being dismissed totally by increasingly desperate Atlantis-seekers.


Dr Schoch has made it clear that he feels the structure was primarily a natural structure that people in ancient times had carved out of the ‘living bedrock’ and enhanced to suit their purposes. His actual comments in 1999 were:


“We should also consider the possibility that the Yonaguni Monument is fundamentally a natural structure that was utilized, enhanced, and modified by humans in ancient times.”


This type of activity seems to have been widely used in ancient times all over the archaic world, and has become known as ‘terra-forming’ – nature suggests a shape, and human hands go to work to modify it as they want or need it to look. This could have been done for ritual purposes, or for purely practical ones. No-one can yet say for sure …


According to the report of the 2001 conference in Japan, there have been a number of discoveries recently that add a great deal of weight to the theory that the structure was certainly ‘terra-formed’ at least by ancient people:


“Japanese scientists have documented marks on the stones that indicate that they were hewn. Not only that, the tools used in this process have been found in the area, and carvings have been discovered. A small stairway carved into the rocks appears to render the theory that this is a natural formation implausible.


The problem with all of this for western scientists is that it implies that an unknown eastern culture had developed a high degree of organization thousands of years before the earliest western civilizations. Geologically, the Yonaguni pyramid sank into the ocean at the end of the last ice age, around ten thousand years ago. Some western geologists have theorized that, if it is manmade, it must have risen from the sea in more recent times, and been carved then.


However, the discovery of other, similar structures beneath the sea of Japan was also announced at the conference. If these prove to be similar to the Yonaguni pyramid they may rewrite the history of early man.”


Studies of the structures, such as that conducted over the past ten years or so by Professor Masaaki Kimura, a marine geologist at the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences at the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, were responsible for initiating the debate that currently rages about the Yonaguni ‘monument’. In September 1997 Dr Schoch dived on the structure for the first time. He had been invited there by Graham Hancock, who was then researching “Heaven’s Mirror”, filming a series of TV programmes, and presumably laying the groundwork for his recent book “Underworld”.


a photo of Dr. Masaaki Kimura, and Dr. Robert M. Schoch
Prof. Kimura & Dr. Schoch on Yonaguni Island 1999


Whilst there, Dr Schoch debated the structure, and the local geology of nearby Yonaguni Island, with Professor Masaaki Kimura, whose work on the underwater structures in that area had come to the attention of Graham Hancock some time earlier, and had featured in his books and on the television programmes that he presented.


The controversy that had developed over the next few years was covered in The Japan Times on July 19 2000, which also reported on the ancient myths and legends of the Okinawa region:


“In Okinawan folklore, there are tales of traditional gods and a land of the gods called Nirai-Kanai, an unknown faraway land from where happiness is brought. Kimura said the Yonaguni Monument may have been built to serve a similar deity.”


In order to progress the debate further, the Morien Institute contacted Professor Kimura in July 2002, and in a series of emails over the next few months conducted an interview with him about his work on the Yonaguni structures, and similar discoveries in the same geographical area.


The Turtle or Thunderbird is a low star-shaped platform


No doubt we will be hearing a lot more from the Yonaguni area in the near future, as structures have been recently discovered underwater off other Japanese islands such as Chatan and Kerama, and we are reliably informed that walls, and possibly ancient roads, have been discovered in the Straits of Taiwan, about 20 – 30 feet underwater between the island of Taiwan and mainland China …


History’s Mysteries


“Do undersea relics near Okinawa offer proof of a sophisticated civilization during the last ice age? Archeologists have long believed that civilization as we define it — intelligent, tool-making, monument building, social humans — began about 5,000 years ago. But submerged beneath the waves near the Japanese island of Yonaguni is evidence that may well overturn that long-held theory.


A small but persuasive number of scholars and scientists have long thought that “advanced” societies may have existed as long as 10,000 years ago. Their theories, however well reasoned and defended, have been hamstrung by a lack of evidence. But recent discoveries of man-made artifacts on the Pacific seafloor may well prove to be the smoking gun that will propel this alternative view of civilization to prominence”.




The Dividing Wall is a straight wall 10 m (33 ft) long


The Triangle Pool is a triangular depression with two large holes at its edge


The Stage is an L-shaped rock that Resembles a Dragon


The Stone Face is reminiscent of the Moai of Easter Island


The Ramps