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Marketing atrocity: Ancient Assyrians would have understood Islamic State’s methods March 10, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, philosophy & politics, Religion.
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I also watched recent video of ISIS members in a museum smashing (alleged) archaeological relics from the very ancient Mesopotamian past. I felt a certain sense of historical irony while doing so. I wondered as I watched them use sledgehammers and power drills on a 3,000 year old Assyrian statue if they realized that they were following the ancient Assyrian playbook as they tried to erase the region’s past. The Assyrians of that era were masters at the art of atrocity marketing. The concept of publicizing horrific cruelty to cow and intimidate subjects or opponents has a long history, and only fell out of style relatively recently (and not everywhere). 

JoanArc17-eIt’s only in the last century or so that public executions, for example, have become rare. Having people view a burning, beheading or hanging (with or without a torture appetizer) was thought to be something that reinforced law and authority and demonstrated that justice was being carried out. Often it was thought an edifying thing to have children watch.

How would the German public living in the Third Reich have reacted to ISIS-like, slickly produced films showing the scenes inside a death camp gas chamber while people were dying? Even in a nation brainwashed by state-fostered anti-Semitism, it’s hard to imagine the reaction being anything the Nazi regime would have considered positive.

The fact that the Islamic State’s marketing gurus feel otherwise is interesting. Perhaps its more evidence bolstering the idea that ISIS seeks to return to the values of an earlier, much more harsh historical era. If so,we might be seeing a visual and visceral example of what our ancestors might have done with a good TV studio.

If online video existed in the Middle Ages, does the burning of Joan of Arc go viral? Would it go viral today?

via Marketing atrocity: Ancient Assyrians would have understood Islamic State’s methods.

We Took Out Neanderthal With Our Arrows April 1, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in In The News.
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Archaeologists excavating a cave on the southern coast of South Africa have recovered remains of the oldest known complex* projectile weapons. The tiny stone blades, which were probably affixed to wooden shafts for use as arrows, date to 71,000 years ago.

neanderthal1To craft the stone points, the people at PP5-6 first had to locate and collect a specific type of stone called silcrete. They then had to gather wood and transport it to a designated spot to build a fire to treat the stone, heating it to just the right temperature to make it easier to shape. After carefully chipping away at the rock to form tiny, sharp blades, they made mounts for the blades from wood or bone, and joined the stone to the mounts with mastic to create composite tools in the form of arrows or darts.

Brown and his collaborators conclude by noting that this projectile technology, which allows one to attack from a safe distance, would have given modern humans a significant edge during hunting and interpersonal conflict as they spread out of Africa into Europe and encountered the resident Neanderthal equipped with handheld spears. McBrearty agrees, writing, “if they were armed with the bow and arrow, they would have been more than a match for anything or anyone they met.”

via Oldest Arrowheads Hint at How Modern Humans Overtook Neandertals | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network.

Greek Mythological Times Facebook Page March 31, 2013

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Lifestyle.
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Oldest Evidence of Regular Meat Consumption by Human Ancestors Found October 7, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Enviroment, Lifestyle.
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Meat-eating was an important factor affecting early hominin brain expansion, social organization and geographic movement. Stone tool butchery marks on ungulate fossils in several African archaeological assemblages demonstrate a significant level of carnivory by Pleistocene hominins, but the discovery at Olduvai Gorge of a child’s pathological cranial fragments indicates that some hominins probably experienced scarcity of animal foods during various stages of their life histories. The child’s parietal fragments, excavated from 1.5-million-year-old sediments, show porotic hyperostosis, a pathology associated with anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, including anemia, are most common at weaning, when children lose passive immunity received through their mothers’ milk. Our results suggest, alternatively, that (1) the developmentally disruptive potential of weaning reached far beyond sedentary Holocene food-producing societies and into the early Pleistocene, or that (2) a hominin mother’s meat-deficient diet negatively altered the nutritional content of her breast milk to the extent that her nursing child ultimately died from malnourishment. Either way, this discovery highlights that by at least 1.5 million years ago early human physiology was already adapted to a diet that included the regular consumption of meat.

via PLOS ONE: Earliest Porotic Hyperostosis on a 1.5-Million-Year-Old Hominin, Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.

Easter Island Heads Have Bodies! May 30, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Art, Science & Technology.
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Our EISP excavations recently exposed the torsos of two 7 m tall statues (Figure 4). Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of visitors to the island have been astonished to see that, indeed, Easter Island statues have bodies! More important, however, we discovered a great deal about the Rapa Nui techniques of ancient engineering:

  • the dirt and detritus partially burying the statues was washed down from above and not deliberately placed there to bury, protect, or support the statues
  • the statues were erected in place and stand on stone pavements.
  • post holes were cut into bedrock to support upright tree trunks
  • rope guides were cut into bedrock around the post holes
  • posts, ropes, stones, and different types of stone tools were all used to carve and raise the statues upright Thanx to Neil Rooney  Read More
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