Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-SWAT)

 

Pharaohs Mastered Linen Cultivation, Weaving Million Years ago

Wednesday, 27 November, 2019 – 10:30
Luxor- Asharq Al-Awsat
Weaving and knitting were among the most important industries in ancient Egypt. The kenaf was the only material used by the pharaohs to make their clothes. Leather and woven fibers were rarely used in their clothing.

Ancient Egyptian left inscriptions and drawings on their tombs explaining how they grew and harvest linseed and grains, said Dr. Mansour al-Nubi, former dean of the Faculty of Antiquities in the historic city of Luxor, in Upper Egypt.

The oldest types of loom were made to weave linen in a simple way that developed later in the era of the New Kingdom. Pharaohs excelled in weaving, and mastered the use of natural dyes to color fabric and yarns. “The people of Ancient Egypt weaved textiles and clothing with simple tools. Archeologists found spinners and pieces of textiles from the Neolithic era in Egypt,” Nubi told German News Agency dpa.

Pharaohs used linen to make clothes, bedding, medical laces, and even shrouds. In 550 BC, King Ahmose II introduced a collection of ornamented and colorful clothing, decorated with cotton to Greek temples. It was the first use of cotton in history.

The “Petri Museum” of Egyptian antiquities in London displays the oldest garment found among the remains of ancient Egyptian clothes. According to Egyptologists, this dress is the oldest surviving garment in the world. It is made of linen and features some pleats. The garment, which was discovered in Faiyum in 1977, is made for a big child, and dates back to 2800 BC.

Among the collectibles of the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, a baby blanket belonging to King Tutankhamun, featuring the date of the seventh year of King Akhenaten’s reign. It is made of fine linen yarns, and its texture is uniform, colored in pure white, and archaeologists say it took nine months.

Since the emergence of the so-called Egyptology, clothing in ancient Egypt, and the associated industries and crafts have been of great interest to archaeologists and Egyptologists.

The mysterious ‘Tully Monster’ fossil just got more mysterious

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF PHYSICS.ORG)

 

The mysterious ‘Tully Monster’ fossil just got more mysterious

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
Artist’s impression of Tullimonstrum. Credit: PaleoEquii/WikipediaCC BY-SA

Every now and again, scientists discover fossils that are so bizarre they defy classification, their body plans unlike any other living animals or plants. Tullimonstrum (also known as the Tully Monster), a 300 m-year-old fossil discovered in the Mazon Creek fossil beds in Illinois, US, is one such creature.

At first glance, Tully looks superficially slug-like. But where you would expect its mouth to be, the creature has a long thin appendage ending in what looks like a pair of grasping claws. Then there are its eyes, which protrude outward from its body on stalks.

Tully is so strange that scientists have even been unable to agree on whether it is a vertebrate (with a backbone, like mammals, birds, reptiles and fish) or an invertebrate (without a backbone, like insects, crustaceans, octopuses and all other ). In 2016, a group of scientists claimed to have solved the mystery of Tully, providing the strongest evidence yet that it was a vertebrate. But my colleagues and I have conducted a new study that calls this conclusion into question, meaning this monster is as mysterious as ever.

The Tully Monster was originally discovered in the 1950s by a fossil collector named Francis Tully. Ever since its discovery scientists have puzzled over which group of modern animals Tully belongs to. The enigma of Tully’s true evolutionary relationships has added to its popularity, ultimately leading it to become the state fossil of Illinois.

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
The Tullimonstrum fossil. Credit: Ghedoghedo/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

There have been many attempts to classify the Tully Monster. The majority of these studies have focused on the appearance of some of its more prominent features. These include a linear feature in the fossil interpreted as evidence of a gut, the light and dark banding of the fossil and the peculiar grasping claws of its mouth. The body plan of the Tully Monster is so unusual in it’s entirety that it will greatly expand the diversity of of whatever group it ultimately belongs to, changing the way we think about that group of animals.

The 2016 research argued the animal should be grouped with vertebrates because its eyes contain  called melanosomes, which are arranged by shape and size in the same way as those in vertebrate eyes. But our research shows that the eyes of some invertebrates such as octopus and squid also contain melanosomes partitioned by shape and size in a similar way to Tully’s eyes, and that these an also be preserved in fossils.

Particle accelerator research

To do this, we used a type of particle accelerator called a  light source located at Stanford University in California. This allowed us to explore the chemical makeup of samples from fossils and from animals living today. The synchrotron bombards specimens with intense bursts of radiation to “excite” the elements within them. When excited, each element releases X-rays with a specific signature. By detecting the emitted X-ray signatures, we can tell what elements were excited and ultimately what the specimen we’re interested in is made of.

The mysterious 'Tully Monster' fossil just got more mysterious
Another possible look for the Tully Monster. Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA

First we found that melanosomes from the eyes of modern vertebrates have a higher ratio of zinc to copper than the modern invertebrates we studied. To our surprise, we then found the same pattern could be seen in fossilized vertebrates and invertebrates found at Mazon Creek.

We then analysed the chemistry of Tully’s eyes and the ratio of zinc to copper was more similar to that of invertebrates than vertebrates. This suggests the animal may not have been a vertebrate, contradicting previous efforts to classify it.

We also found that Tully’s eyes contain different type of copper to that found in vertebrate eyes. But the copper also wasn’t identical to that in the invertebrates we studied. So while our work adds weight to the idea that Tully is not a vertebrate, it doesn’t clearly identify it as an invertebrate either.

Where do we go from here? A broader analysis of the chemistry of melanosomes and other pigments in the eyes of a wider range of invertebrates would be a good next step. This may help to further narrow down the group of animals to which Tully belongs.

Ultimately the riddle of what kind of creature the Tully Monster is continues. But our research demonstrates how studying fossils at the chemical and molecular levels can play an important part in figuring out the identity of this and other enigmatic creature.

Archaeologists discover burial ground for Egyptian high priests

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Archaeologists discover burial ground for Egyptian high priests

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered mummified remains and thousands of well-preserved artifacts at a burial site of more than a dozen Egyptian priests.

Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities announced Saturday the discovery of a necropolis near the city of Minya, south of Cairo in an area known to house ancient catacombs. The burial grounds date back to the late pharaonic period, which spans from 664 to 332 B.C.

“We will need at least five years to work on the necropolis,” Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anani said, “This is only the beginning of a new discovery.”

Image: Four canopic jars, made of alabaster with lids bearing the faces of the four sons of god Horus, that were unearthed are displayed at the site of an ancient Egyptian cemetery, in Minya province, 245 km south of Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 24, 2018.

Four canopic jars, made of alabaster with lids bearing the faces of the four sons of god Horus, that were unearthed are displayed at the site of an ancient Egyptian cemetery, in Minya province, 245 km south of Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 24, 2018. Ibrahim Youssef / EPA

The tombs discovered “belong to priests of the ancient Egyptian god Toth,” according to a press statement from the Egyptian Antiquities Ministry. Toth, according to Egyptian historians, was revered as the god of knowledge and wisdom.

Related: Archaeologists uncover 4,000-year-old tomb in Egypt

Archaeologists discovered the mummified remains of a high priest, which was covered in beads of ivory and crystal and decorated with a bronze collar as well as amulets of semi-precious stones.

They also found 13 other burial tombs, 40 limestone sarcophagi, a collection of more than 1,000 well-preserved figurines, and four canopic jars made of alabaster and inscribed with hieroglyphs.

Image: Skulls sit at a recently found ancient Egyptian cemetery, in Minya province, 245 km south of Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 24, 2018.

Skulls sit at a recently found ancient Egyptian cemetery, in Minya province, 245 km south of Cairo, Egypt, on Feb. 24, 2018. Ibrahim Youssef / EPA

Mostafa Waziri, head of the archaeological mission, says eight tombs have been uncovered so far and he expects more will be discovered soon.

Earlier in February, archaeologists discovered a tomb of an ancient royal official buried more than 4,000 years ago during the period known as the “Age of the Pyramids.”

In 2017, the ministry found a necropolis holding at least 17 mummies in the area of Tuna al-Gabal, which is also known as the site of tombs, a funerary building and a large necropolis for thousands of mummified ibis and baboon birds, as well as other animals.

Egypt hopes that recent discoveries across the country will help spur the vital tourism sector, partially driven by antiquities sightseeing, which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Ancient Palace Revealed Under Destroyed Mosul Shrine

(I FOUND THIS ARTICLE FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (AP) THAT I THOUGHT SOME OF YOU WHO LIKE HISTORY  MIGHT LIKE)

Associated Press

Ancient palace revealed under destroyed Mosul shrine

MOSUL, Iraq (AP) — Iraqi archaeologists think that tunnels dug by Islamic State militants under a destroyed shrine in Mosul have revealed the palace of an ancient Assyrian king who ruled some 2,700 years ago.

IS fighters blew up the shrine of the biblical Jonah’s tomb in 2014 after taking control of the city. They started digging tunnels into the side of the hill under the shrine, leading to the discovery.

Ancient inscriptions and winged bulls and lions were found deep in the tunnels, thought to be part of the palace of King Esarhaddon, who ruled the Neo-Assyrian empire in the 7th century B.C.

The militants may have been looking for artifacts to loot. IS was pushed out of eastern Mosul by Iraqi forces in January. The battle continues for western Mosul.

Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Iraqi security forces guard the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Ancient artifacts are seen inside a tunnel, under the rubble of the destroyed Mosque of The Prophet Younis, or Jonah, in Mosul, Iraq, Saturday, March 11, 2017. Iraqi archeologists think that tunnels dug under a destroyed shrine in Mosul by Islamic State militants have revealed the palace of the ancient Assyrian king of Esarhaddon. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Large Jade Pendant With Unique Inscription Discovered In Belize

 

The newly-discovered jewel with 30 hieroglyphs on its back, a private message seen mostly by the king who wore it.

Impressively Large Jade Pendant with Unique Inscription Discovered in Belize

A group of archaeologists have discovered in Belize a large, carved jade pendant that once belonged to an ancient Maya king, inscribed with a historical text delineating its first owner. The newly found object is carved in a T shape, which experts suggest that signifies “wind and breath”, and would have been worn on the king’s chest during ceremonies. The finds also include a vessel with a beaked face believed to depict a Maya god of wind.

Second Largest Maya Jade Relic Found in Belize

The jewel was first uncovered in 2015, in Nim Li Punit in southern Belize. The T-shaped pendant is considered of extraordinary archaeological value for being the second largest Maya jade artifact found in Belize to date. Geoffrey Braswell, director of the excavations and professor at University of California, San Diego, suggests in a paper he recently published in the Cambridge University journal Ancient Mesoamerica that, “It was like finding the Hope Diamond in Peoria instead of New York. We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world. Instead, here it was, far from the center,” Braswell said as Phys Org reports.

In the movie ‘Apocalypto’, a Maya king is shown wearing a large pendant during a ceremony.

In the movie ‘Apocalypto’, a Maya king is shown wearing a large pendant during a ceremony.

The Jewel “Spoke” to the Archaeologists

The 7.4-inch-wide, 4.1-inch-long pendant is just 0.3 inches thick, and researchers claim that sawing it into this slim shape would have been a feat in itself. Its sculptors would have used just string, fat, and jade dust. However, what makes this pedant truly significant from an archaeological point of view is that it is the only known jewel to be inscribed with a historical text, with 30 hieroglyphs describing its first owner carved into the back. “It literally speaks to us. The story it tells is a short but important one.” Braswell said and added that this discovery could even change what we know about the Mayan civilization. Braswell also explained that fortunately the pendant was not torn out of history by looters, “To find it on a legal expedition, in context, gives us information about the site and the jewel that we couldn’t have otherwise had or maybe even imagined,” he said.

UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell holds a replica of the Maya jade pendant.

UC San Diego archaeologist Geoffrey Braswell holds a replica of the Maya jade pendant. Credit: Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications.

There’s More to Learn from the Inscription on the Pendant

Christian Prager of the University of Bonn, a co-author on the paper, is currently examining closely the inscription on the pendant. According to Prager and Braswell, the jewel was possibly made for the king Janaab’ Ohl K’inich and the hieroglyphs describe the king’s parentage. The text, according to Braswell, also describes the accession rites of the king in the year 647, and ends with a passage that could link the king to the powerful city of Caracol in modern-day Belize. The researchers don’t think the pendent was stolen, but may instead indicate the arrival of royalty at Nim Li Punit, revealing the founding of a new dynasty.

No solid conclusions can be made at this point, due to the fact that Mayan script itself is not yet fully deciphered. Many scientists have intensely disagreed before regarding Mayan culture and scripts.

The Significance of Weather for Maya Culture

The team of researchers discovered the jewel during an excavation of a palace built around the year 400 AD. Inside a tomb, which dates to about 800, they found twenty-five pottery vessels, a large stone that had been flaked into the shape of a deity, and the jade pectoral. With the exception of some teeth, there were no human remains. The T-shaped pendent also has a T carved on the front the Mayan glyph ‘ik,’ which according to the experts stands for “wind and breath.” Wind was important in Maya culture, as it brought monsoon rains that favored crops to thrive, “A recent theory is that climate change caused droughts that led to the widespread failure of agriculture and the collapse of Maya civilization. The dedication of this tomb at that time of crisis to the wind god who brings the annual rains lends support to this theory, and should remind us all about the danger of climate change,” Braswell told Phys Org.

Despite the fact that we may never learn all the details we need to know about this rare pendant, Braswell reassures that he and his team plan to return to the site during the spring of this year and do further research which may help us to understand better the usage and significance of this unique jewel.

Top image: The newly discovered jewel with 30 hieroglyphs on its back, a private message seen mostly by the king who wore it. Credit: University of California – San Diego.

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