Posts Tagged ‘history’

In a letter written in 1956, American author Ernest Hemingway told his publisher he had written five new short stories.

“They are probably very dull stories but some are very funny I think,” he wrote. “Anyway you can always publish them after I’m dead.”

Six decades later, a literary magazine is doing just that. One of those long-lost stories, “A Room on the Garden Side,” is being published for the first time in The Strand Magazine with permission from the Hemingway estate.

A signature Hemingway

Written 62 years ago, the short work of fiction has all the trademark elements readers love about Hemingway: War, wine and male camaraderie. In his signature staccato style, Hemingway opens the story inside the Hotel Ritz in Paris, where a group of soldiers are discussing combat, poetry and romance over drinks.

“We were all up in the room at the Ritz and the windows that overlooked the garden were open,” Hemingway begins. “I was lying back against four pillows on one of the beds with my boots off reading and the other bed was covered with maps of the country we had gone through.”

As fans of Hemingway know, much of his work, like “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” was inspired by war. His classic novel, “A Farewell to Arms,” drew from his time serving as an ambulance driver during World War I, and Hemingway was also a correspondent in Paris during World War II, when “A Room on the Garden Side” takes place.

In an afterword, Kirk Curnutt, a professor and board member of the Ernest Hemingway Society, writes that, most of all, the short story captures the importance of Paris to Hemingway and the world.

“Steeped in talk of Marcel Proust, Victor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas, and featuring a long excerpt in French from Charles Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du Mal,” the story implicitly wonders whether the heritage of Parisian culture can recover from the dark taint of fascism,” Curnutt writes.

Like “A Room on the Garden Side,” several of Hemingway’s classic works like “A Moveable Feast,” “The Garden of Eden” and “The Dangerous Summer” were also published posthumously, after the author took his own life at age 61 in 1961.

Along with other Hemingway papers, “A Room on the Garden Side” is housed in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston. And according to Curnutt, few people besides biographers and historians have ever read it.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/02/us/hemingway-war-story-published-trnd/index.html

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By Laura Geggel

Previously hidden text on fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls is now readable, revealing a possible undiscovered scroll and solving a debate about the sacred Temple Scroll. The discoveries came from a new infrared analysis of the artifacts, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced yesterday (May 1).

The newfound writing came from the books of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, which are in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Old Testament of the Christian Bible), and the Book of Jubilees, a text written at the same time as the Hebrew Bible that was never incorporated into the biblical books, the archaeologists said.

Researchers presented the newly revealed words at an international conference, called “The Dead Sea Scrolls at Seventy: Clear a Path in the Wilderness,” in Israel.

Local Bedouins and archaeologists discovered the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940s in caves near Qumran in the West Bank, located near the northern edge of the Dead Sea. Excavations in the following decades turned up tens of thousands of parchment and papyrus fragments that were dated to 2,000 years ago, the IAA said.

There were so many small and fragile fragments that archaeologists placed them in boxes to be studied at a later date. Now, that time has come: IAA researchers are digitizing the scrolls so that they can be studied and shared with the public without damaging the originals.

During one of these digital scans, Oren Ableman, a scroll researcher at the IAA’s Dead Sea Scrolls Unit and a doctoral student in the Department of Jewish History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, noticed something peculiar on a few dozen fragments that had been discovered in Cave 11 near Qumran.

These fragments looked blank to the naked eye. But, by using infrared imaging, Ableman discovered that they held Hebrew letters and words, he said in a statement. Ableman then deciphered the script and even connected the fragments to the manuscripts that they had likely been attached to before crumbling away.

Some of the more interesting fragments include the following:

1) A fragment from the Temple Scroll, a text that gives instructions for how to conduct services in the ideal temple. Scholars have debated whether there are two or three copies of the Temple Scroll from Cave 11. The discovery of the text on this fragment suggests that there are, indeed, three copies.

2) A fragment from the Great Psalms Scroll. This fragment contains part of the beginning of Psalm 147:1, and the end of the verse is preserved in a larger fragment from the same cave. The newfound fragment shows that the ancient Psalm is slightly shorter than the Hebrew text used nowadays.

3) Another fragment has letters written in paleo-Hebrew, an ancient Hebrew script. This fragment could not be attributed to any known manuscripts and could belong to an unknown manuscript.

https://www.livescience.com/62467-hidden-text-dead-sea-scrolls.html?utm_source=notification

Bone measurement analysis indicates that the remains found on a remote island in the South Pacific were likely those of legendary American pilot Amelia Earhart, according to a UT researcher.

Richard Jantz, professor emeritus of anthropology and director emeritus of UT’s Forensic Anthropology Center, re-examined seven bone measurements conducted in 1940 by physician D. W. Hoodless. Hoodless had concluded that the bones belonged to a man.

Jantz, using several modern quantitative techniques–including Fordisc, a computer program for estimating sex, ancestry, and stature from skeletal measurements–found that Hoodless had incorrectly determined the sex of the remains. The program, co-created by Jantz, is used by nearly every board-certified forensic anthropologist in the US and around the world.

The data revealed that the bones have more similarity to Earhart than to 99 percent of individuals in a large reference sample.

The new study is published in the journal Forensic Anthropology.

Jantz also compared the bone lengths with Earhart’s. Her humerus and radius lengths were obtained from a photograph with a scalable object. The scale was provided by Jeff Glickman of Photek. Her tibia length was estimated from measurements of her clothing in the George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers at Purdue University. A historic seamstress took the measurements, which included the inseam length and waist circumference of Earhart’s trousers.

Based on this information, Jantz concludes that “until definitive evidence is presented that the remains are not those of Amelia Earhart, the most convincing argument is that they are hers.”

Questioning Hoodless’s analysis had less to do with his competence and more to do with the state of forensic anthropology at the time, Jantz said.

“Forensic anthropology was not well developed in the early 20th century,” the paper states. “There are many examples of erroneous assessments by anthropologists of the period. We can agree that Hoodless may have done as well as most analysts of the time could have done, but this does not mean his analysis was correct.”

Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She mysteriously disappeared in 1937 while flying over the Pacific. Many assumed that her plane had crashed into the waters, and she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were never seen again.

A group of researchers, including Jantz, believe she died as a castaway on the island of Nikumaroro.

Along with bones found in 1940, a search party discovered part of a shoe judged to have been a woman’s, a sextant box designed to hold a Brandis Navy Surveying Sextant, manufactured around 1918 and similar to the one Earhart’s co-pilot used, and a Benedictine bottle, something Earhart was known to carry.

The bones eventually disappeared, and what remained was metric data limited to four measurements of the skull and three of long bones–the tibia, humerus, and radius.

In reaching his conclusion, Jantz investigated other theories about the bones. He looked at the possibility that they may have belonged to one of 11 men who were presumed killed at Nikumaroro in the 1929 wreck of the Norwich City on the island’s western reef, more than four miles from where the bones were found. He also considered the possibility that they were the bones of a Pacific Islander.

He concluded that there was no documentation on the men and no evidence that any of them had survived the shipwreck to die as a castaway. The woman’s shoe and American sextant box also are not artifacts likely to have been associated with a survivor of the wreck. Nor was there evidence that a Pacific Islander had ended up as a castaway.

Based on all the evidence, the paper states, Earhart “was known to have been in the area of Nikumaroro Island, she went missing, and human remains were discovered which are entirely consistent with her and inconsistent with most other people.”

This article has been republished from materials provided by The University of Tennessee. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference
Amelia Earhart and the Nikumaroro Bones: A 1941 Analysis versus Modern Quantitative Techniques. Richard L. Jantz. Forensic Anthropology, early view, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/fa.2018.0009.

https://www.technologynetworks.com/applied-sciences/news/bones-on-remote-island-are-amelia-earharts-298389?utm_campaign=Newsletter_TN_BreakingScienceNews&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=61208436&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-9wXzuHgjTCBE-kfjy2aI1t3MUL9sd_5yCjnzo0oJb_R1HQdkMueXmiVXpB290Xv_tYEY8WdZxoDvtPtxyl3ajVpcPK1Q&_hsmi=61208436

Laser technology known as LiDAR digitally removes the forest canopy to reveal ancient ruins below, showing that Maya cities such as Tikal were much larger than ground-based research had suggested.

By Tom Clynes

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.


Laser scans revealed more than 60,000 previously unknown Maya structures that were part of a vast network of cities, fortifications, farms, and highways.

Using a revolutionary technology known as LiDAR (short for “Light Detection And Ranging”), scholars digitally removed the tree canopy from aerial images of the now-unpopulated landscape, revealing the ruins of a sprawling pre-Columbian civilization that was far more complex and interconnected than most Maya specialists had supposed.

“The LiDAR images make it clear that this entire region was a settlement system whose scale and population density had been grossly underestimated,” said Thomas Garrison, an Ithaca College archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who specializes in using digital technology for archaeological research.

Garrison is part of a consortium of researchers who are participating in the project, which was spearheaded by the PACUNAM Foundation, a Guatemalan nonprofit that fosters scientific research, sustainable development, and cultural heritage preservation.

The project mapped more than 800 square miles (2,100 square kilometers) of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in the Petén region of Guatemala, producing the largest LiDAR data set ever obtained for archaeological research.

The results suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilization that was, at its peak some 1,200 years ago, more comparable to sophisticated cultures such as ancient Greece or China than to the scattered and sparsely populated city states that ground-based research had long suggested.

In addition to hundreds of previously unknown structures, the LiDAR images show raised highways connecting urban centers and quarries. Complex irrigation and terracing systems supported intensive agriculture capable of feeding masses of workers who dramatically reshaped the landscape.

The ancient Maya never used the wheel or beasts of burden, yet “this was a civilization that was literally moving mountains,” said Marcello Canuto, a Tulane University archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer who participated in the project.

“We’ve had this western conceit that complex civilizations can’t flourish in the tropics, that the tropics are where civilizations go to die,” said Canuto, who conducts archaeological research at a Guatemalan site known as La Corona. “But with the new LiDAR-based evidence from Central America and [Cambodia’s] Angkor Wat, we now have to consider that complex societies may have formed in the tropics and made their way outward from there.”

“LiDAR is revolutionizing archaeology the way the Hubble Space Telescope revolutionized astronomy,” said Francisco Estrada-Belli, a Tulane University archaeologist and National Geographic Explorer. “We’ll need 100 years to go through all [the data] and really understand what we’re seeing.”

The unaided eye sees only jungle and an overgrown mound, but LiDAR and augmented reality software reveal an ancient Maya pyramid.

Already, though, the survey has yielded surprising insights into settlement patterns, inter-urban connectivity, and militarization in the Maya Lowlands. At its peak in the Maya classic period (approximately A.D. 250–900), the civilization covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, but it was far more densely populated.

“Most people had been comfortable with population estimates of around 5 million,” said Estrada-Belli, who directs a multi-disciplinary archaeological project at Holmul, Guatemala. “With this new data it’s no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there—including many living in low-lying, swampy areas that many of us had thought uninhabitable.”


Hidden deep in the jungle, the newly-discovered pyramid rises some seven stories high but is nearly invisible to the naked eye.

Virtually all the Mayan cities were connected by causeways wide enough to suggest that they were heavily trafficked and used for trade and other forms of regional interaction. These highways were elevated to allow easy passage even during rainy seasons. In a part of the world where there is usually too much or too little precipitation, the flow of water was meticulously planned and controlled via canals, dikes, and reservoirs.

Among the most surprising findings was the ubiquity of defensive walls, ramparts, terraces, and fortresses. “Warfare wasn’t only happening toward the end of the civilization,” said Garrison. “It was large-scale and systematic, and it endured over many years.”

The survey also revealed thousands of pits dug by modern-day looters. “Many of these new sites are only new to us; they are not new to looters,” said Marianne Hernandez, president of the PACUNAM Foundation. (Read “Losing Maya Heritage to Looters.”)

Environmental degradation is another concern. Guatemala is losing more than 10 percent of its forests annually, and habitat loss has accelerated along its border with Mexico as trespassers burn and clear land for agriculture and human settlement.

“By identifying these sites and helping to understand who these ancient people were, we hope to raise awareness of the value of protecting these places,” Hernandez said.

The survey is the first phase of the PACUNAM LiDAR Initiative, a three-year project that will eventually map more than 5,000 square miles (14,000 square kilometers) of Guatemala’s lowlands, part of a pre-Columbian settlement system that extended north to the Gulf of Mexico.

“The ambition and the impact of this project is just incredible,” said Kathryn Reese-Taylor, a University of Calgary archaeologist and Maya specialist who was not associated with the PACUNAM survey. “After decades of combing through the forests, no archaeologists had stumbled across these sites. More importantly, we never had the big picture that this data set gives us. It really pulls back the veil and helps us see the civilization as the ancient Maya saw it.”

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/02/maya-laser-lidar-guatemala-pacunam/

Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the It’s Interesting community.


The pages of the Voynich Manuscript, estimated to have been written between 1404-1438, have puzzled researchers for over a century.

by Michael d’Estries

The 600-year-old book no one can read has been fascinating us for decades, but we’re only recently starting to learn more about it.

Named after the Polish-American bookseller Wilfrid M. Voynich, who acquired it in 1912, the Voynich Manuscript is a detailed 240-page book written in a language or script that is completely unknown.

Some folks have labelled the Voynich Manuscript as nothing more than an ancient hoax, including Gordon Rugg of Keele University in the U.K., who has spent more than a decade studying the manuscript. Rugg writes in a 2016 paper that the text would be easy to fake if the author was familiar with simple coding techniques. “We have known for years that the syllables are not random. There are ways of producing gibberish which are not random in a statistical sense,” he told New Scientist. “It’s a bit like rolling loaded dice. If you roll dice that are subtly loaded, they would come up with a six more often than you would expect, but not every time.”

But other researchers don’t necessarily agree. In a 2013 study published in the journal PLoS One, Dr. Diego Amancio, a professor at University of São Paulo’s Institute of Mathematical and Computer Sciences, explained how the book’s beautiful gibberish is likely an actual language.

“We show that it is mostly compatible with natural languages and incompatible with random texts,” he writes. “We also obtain candidates for keywords of the Voynich Manuscript, which could be helpful in the effort of deciphering it.”


Deciphering it with artificial intelligence

More recently, Greg Kondrak, an expert in natural language processing at the University of Alberta, used artificial intelligence to try to crack the code. With the help of his grad student, Bradley Hauer, Kondrak used samples from “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” which was written in nearly 400 languages, running algorithms to identify the language of the text. Although they hypothesized it was written in Arabic, it turned out the most likely language was Hebrew.

The researchers hypothesized the manuscript was created using alphagrams, where the letters of a word are replaced in alphabetical order. With that assumption, they tried to create an algorithm to read the text.

“It turned out that over 80 percent of the words were in a Hebrew dictionary, but we didn’t know if they made sense together,” said Kondrak, in a statement.

After being unable to find Hebrew scholars to confirm their findings, the researchers turned to Google Translate. “It came up with a sentence that is grammatical, and you can interpret it,” said Kondrak, “she made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people. It’s a kind of strange sentence to start a manuscript but it definitely makes sense.”

Without historians of ancient Hebrew, Kondrak said that the full meaning of the Voynich manuscript will remain a mystery.


The beautifully illustrated plants that fill up the pages of the Voynich Manuscript have never been accurately identified.


Bringing the puzzle to the people

It may seem far-fetched, but this famous manuscript could become a bestseller.

Siloe, a small publishing house in Spain specializing in handcrafted replicas of ancient manuscripts, in 2016 was granted the exclusive rights to create 898 facsimiles of the Voynich.

“It’s a book that has such an aura of mystery that when you see it for the first time, it fills you with an emotion that is very hard to describe,” Juan Jose Garcia, the editor of Siloe, told AFP.

No ordinary scan-and-print project, the Voynich replicas will be meticulously crafted to match every “stain, hole, and sewn-up tear in the parchment,” according to the news agency. The publishing house has even created a secret paste and aging process to make the more than 200 pages of the book appear and feel indistinguishable from the real thing. The process is expected to take a full 18 months to complete.

Siloe had reportedly been petitioning the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale, which took possession of the Voynich in 1969, to publish a replica for the last 10 years. The library finally acquiesced after both an increase in scholarly interest in the Voynich and quality assurances from experts associated with previous rare manuscript copies completed by Siloe.

“We thought that the facsimile would provide the look and feel of the original for those who were interested,” Raymond Clemens, curator at the Beinecke library, told the AFP. “It also enables libraries and museums to have a copy for instructional purposes and we will use the facsimile ourselves to show the manuscript outside of the library to students or others who might be interested.”


A work of curious art

Besides its indecipherable characters, the manuscript is also crammed with illustrations of astronomical charts, human figures, and plants, the latter of which have never been positively identified as anything found on Earth. These puzzles have led to the manuscript being classified as everything from the work of aliens to the musings of an inter-dimensional Medieval sorcerer.

Whatever the true answer, you don’t have to shell out the expected $8,000 to $9,000 cost for an exact replica. In addition to offering high-res digital scans of the Voynich pages online, Yale is selling hardcover copies for $50 that include accompanying research on the manuscript.

You can also view a digital overview of the 250 pages of the Voynich Manuscript in the video below.

https://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/publisher-replicate-600-year-old-Voynich-manuscript

by Michelle Z. Donahue

A baby girl who lived some 11,500 years ago survived for just six weeks in the harsh climate of central Alaska, but her brief life is providing a surprising and challenging wealth of information to modern researchers.

Her genome is the oldest-yet complete genetic profile of a New World human. But if that isn’t enough, her genes also reveal the existence of a previously unknown population of people who are related to—but older and genetically distinct from— modern Native Americans.

This new information helps sketch in more details about how, when, and where the ancestors of all Native Americans became a distinct group, and how they may have dispersed into and throughout the New World.

The baby’s DNA showed that she belonged to a population that was genetically separate from other native groups present elsewhere in the New World at the end of the Pleistocene. Ben Potter, the University of Alaska Fairbanks archaeologist who unearthed the remains at the Upward River Sun site in 2013 , named this new group “Ancient Beringians.”

The discovery of the baby’s bones, named Xach’itee’aanenh T’eede Gaay, or Sunrise Child-Girl in a local Athabascan language, was completely unexpected, as were the genetic results, Potter says

Found in 2006 and accessible only by helicopter, the Upward River Sun site is located in the dense boreal forest of central Alaska’s Tanana River Valley. The encampment was buried under feet of sand and silt, an acidic environment that makes the survival of organic artifacts exceedingly rare. Potter previously excavated the cremated remains of a three-year-old child from a hearth pit in the encampment, and it was beneath this first burial that the six-week-old baby and a second, even younger infant were found.

A genomics team in Denmark, including University of Copenhagen geneticist Eske Willerslev, performed the sequencing work on the remains, comparing the child’s genome with the genes of 167 ancient and contemporary populations from around the world. The results appeared today in the journal Nature.

“We didn’t know this population even existed,” Potter says. “Now we know they were here for many thousands of years, and that they were really successful. How did they do it? How did they change? We now have examples of two genetic groups of people who were adapting to this very harsh landscape.”

The genetic analysis points towards a divergence of all ancient Native Americans from a single east Asian source population somewhere between 36,000 to 25,000 years ago—well before humans crossed into Beringia, an area that includes the land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska at the end of the last ice age. That means that somewhere along the way, either in eastern Asia or in Beringia itself, a group of people became isolated from other east Asians for about 10,000 years, long enough to become a unique strain of humanity.

The girl’s genome also shows that the Beringians became genetically distinct from all other Native Americans around 20,000 years ago. But since humans in North America are not reliably documented before 14,600 years ago, how and where these two groups could have been separated long enough to become genetically distinct is still unclear.

The new study posits two new possibilities for how the separation could have happened.

The first is that the two groups became isolated while still in east Asia, and that they crossed the land bridge separately—perhaps at different times, or using different routes

A second theory is that a single group moved out of Asia, then split into Beringians and ancient Native Americans once in Beringia. The Beringians lingered in the west and interior of Alaska, while the ancestors of modern Native Americans continued on south some time around 15,700 years ago.

“It’s less like a tree branching out and more like a delta of streams and rivers that intersect and then move apart,” says Miguel Vilar, lead scientist for National Geographic’s Genographic Project. “Twenty years ago, we thought the peopling of America seemed quite simple, but then it turns out to be more complicated than anyone thought.”

John Hoffecker, who studies the paleoecology of Beringia at the University of Colorado-Boulder, says there is still plenty of room for debate about the geographic locations of the ancestral splits. But the new study fits well with where the thinking has been heading for the last decade, he adds.

“We think there was a great deal more diversity in the original Native American populations than is apparent today, so this is consistent with a lot of other evidence,” Hoffecker says.

However, that same diversity—revealed through research on Native American cranial morphology and tooth structure—creates its own dilemma. How does a relatively small group of New World migrants, barricaded by a challenging climate with no access to fresh genetic material, evolve such a deep bank of differences from their east Asian ancestors? It certainly doesn’t happen over just 15,000 years, Hoffecker insists, referring to the estimated date of divergence of ancient Native Americans from Beringians.

“We’ve been getting these signals of early divergence for decades—the first mitochondrial work in the 1990s from Native Americans were coming up with estimates of 30, 35, even 40,000 years ago,” Hoffecker says. “They were being dismissed by everybody, myself included. Then people began to suspect there were two dates: one for divergence, and one for dispersal, and this study supports that.”

“Knowing about the Beringians really informs us as to how complex the process of human migration and adaptation was,” adds Potter. “It prompts the scientist in all of us to ask better questions, and to be in awe of our capacity as a species to come into such a harsh area and be very successful.”

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/alaska-dna-ancient-beringia-genome/

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a tomb of a prominent goldsmith dedicated to the god Amun and the mummies of a woman and her two children, the antiquities ministry said on Saturday.

The finds were made in the Draa Abul Naga necropolis on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, famed for its temples and burial grounds.

The tomb dated back to Egypt’s 18th dynasty New Kingdom era – around 15th century BC, said Egypt’s Minister of Antiquities Khaled Al Anani on Saturday.

“The work did not finish yet and we’re continuing and working to find more objects and more tombs,” he said.

The site includes a courtyard and niche where a statue of the goldsmith Amenemhat and his wife and one of his sons, as well as two burial shafts, the ministry said in a statement.

The tomb of “Amun’s Goldsmith, Amenemhat” contained a sculpture carved into a recess of him seated beside his wife, the ministry said.

A portrait of their son was painted between them.

A burial shaft in the tomb led to a chamber where the archaeologists discovered mummies, funerary statues and masks, the ministry said.

Another shaft led to a chamber where the team found the mummies of a woman and her two children.

The woman appears to have died at the age of 50 and tests showed she had suffered from a bacterial bone disease, the ministry quoted bone specialist Sherine Ahmed Shawqi as saying.

The team also discovered 150 small funerary statues carved in wood, clay and limestone.

https://www.trtworld.com/mea/egypt-announces-discovery-of-3-500-year-old-pharaonic-tomb-10361