Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tomb of Final Incan Emperor Believed Found

Funereal stones mark the site of the possible tomb.

The long-sought tomb of the final Inca emperor may have been located. "This is an absolutely important find for the history of Ecuador's archeology and for the (Andean) region," said Patrimony Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa, speaking of the ruins found by Ecuadoran historian Tamara Estupinan.
According to the AFP news agency:
It was back in June 2010 that Estupinan, now a researcher with the French Institute for Andean Studies (IFEA), found what she describes as an "Inca archeological site" high on the Andes' eastern flank amid plunging canyons. Nearby are a small local farm and a facility for raising fighting cocks. 
But in the area called Sigchos, about 45 miles south of Quito, up on a hill dotted with brush, there is more -- much more: she found a complex of walls, aqueducts and stonework that lie inside the Machay rural retreat. Machay means burial in the Quechua language. 
"This is a late imperial design Inca monument that leads to several rectangular rooms that were built with cut polished stone set around a trapezoidal plaza," Estupinan explained to AFP. 
This year Ecuador's state Cultural Patrimony Institute will start work on a promising archeological site, and Estupinan will be front and center to raise the curtain on a massive complex sprawling over a ridge at 1,020 meters.
The Inca empire, in the 1400s and early 1500s, spanned much of South America's Andean region. The emperor Atahualpa was the last of his dynasty. During the Spanish conquest he was captured, pressed into Christianity, and then the Spanish executed him by strangulation. After his death in 1533, the Incan empire began to fall apart.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is Leather Bible Really the Gospel of Barnabas?

The leather Bible now resides in Ankara, awaiting examination.

A leather, handwritten Bible believed to be 1,500 years old may be the much-debated Gospel of Barnabas, some researchers believe. According to Turkish media reports last week, the Bible was seized from a gang smuggling artifacts in southern Turkey in 2010.
Media reports said the copy of Bible in Ankara may be a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, which Muslims claim is an original gospel that was later suppressed. The oldest copies of this gospel date back to the 16th century and are written in Italian and Spanish.
According to Today’s
The Gospel of Barnabas contradicts the canonical New Testament account of Jesus and his ministry but has strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus. Much of its content and themes parallel Islamic ideas, and it includes a prediction by Jesus of the Prophet Muhammad coming to earth. 
Ömer Faruk Harman, a theology professor, said the Gospel of Barnabas treats Jesus as a human being and prophet not a God, rejects the trinity and crucifixion of Jesus and includes a prediction about Prophet Muhammad’s coming to Earth. 
Aydoğan Vatandaş, a Today’s Zaman journalist and author who has written two books on the Gospel of Barnabas, said there is no clue that the Bible mentioned in the Turkish press dates back to 1,500 years ago, but he said it is sure that the Gospel of Barnabas had been written in the Aramaic language and Syriac alphabet. “There is only one Gospel that exactly matches this definition: the ‘Gospel of Barnabas’ that was found in a cave in Uludere in Hakkari [now of Şırnak] in the early 1980s by villagers.”
Scientific examinations are hoped to reveal whether the Bible in Ankara is the Gospel of Barnabas.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

British Teams Finds Source of Sheba's Treasure

Sheba presenting her treasures to Solomon, artist unknown.

British archaeologists digging in northern Ethiopia have unearthed what may be the source of gold the biblical Queen of Sheba presented to King Solomon. The ruler of Sheba ~ modern-day Ethiopia and Yemen ~ is said to have traveled to Jerusalem about 3,000 years ago with vast quantities of gold to give to King Solomon.
Archaeologist Louise Schofield, former British Museum curator, who headed the excavation on the high Gheralta plateau in northern Ethiopia, said: "One of the things I've always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary."
According to Biblical Archaeology magazine:
Although little is known about her, the queen's image inspired medieval Christian mystical works in which she embodied divine wisdom, as well as Turkish and Persian paintings, Handel's oratorio Solomon, and Hollywood films. Her story is still told across Africa and Arabia, and the Ethiopian tales are immortalised in the holy book the Kebra Nagast. 
Hers is said to be one of the world's oldest love stories. The Bible says she visited Solomon to test his wisdom by asking him several riddles. Legend has it that he wooed her, and that descendants of their child, Menelik – son of the wise – became the kings of Abyssinia.
 Among the evidence was a 20-foot stone stele carved with a sun and crescent moon, the "calling card of the land of Sheba," Schofield said. "I crawled beneath the stone – wary of a 9-foot cobra I was warned lives here – and came face to face with an inscription in Sabaean, the language that the Queen of Sheba would have spoken."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Brazilian Geoglyphs Point to Urban Centers

Deforestation that has stripped the Amazon region since the 1970s continues to expose a long-hidden secret underneath the thick growth of the rain forest – flawlessly designed geometric earthwork shapes hundreds of yards in diameter.
Alceu Ranzi, a Brazilian scholar who discovered a number of squares, octagons, circles, rectangles and ovals that make up the land carvings, said these geoglyphs found on deforested land were as significant as the famous Nazca lines in Peru.
According to the New York Times:
“What impressed me the most about these geoglyphs was their geometric precision, and how they emerged from forest we had all been taught was untouched except by a few nomadic tribes,” said Mr. Ranzi, a paleontologist who first saw the geoglyphs in the 1970s and, years later, surveyed them by plane. 
For some scholars of human history in Amazonia, the geoglyphs in the Brazilian state of Acre and other archaeological sites suggest that the forests of the western Amazon, previously considered uninhabitable for sophisticated societies partly because of the quality of their soils, may not have been as “Edenic” as some environmentalists contend.
Instead of being pristine forests, barely inhabited by people, parts of the Amazon may have been home for centuries to large populations numbering well into the thousands and living in dozens of towns connected by road networks, explains the American writer Charles C. Mann.
Photo shows exposed Brazilian geoglyphs.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Genetics Link Native Americans to Ancient Siberians

Tor overlooking an expanse of the Bering Land Bridge.

Recent genetic studies are confirming what scientists have long suspected about the origins of Native Americans ~ their genetic source is in Asia, specifically a mountainous area in southern Siberia known as the Altai region.
The new studies are from the University of Pennsylvania and the Institute of Cytology and Genetics in Novosibirsk, Russia. Researchers say the natives of Altai probably migrated across the Bering Land Bridge to North America.
Altai is located at the four corners of what is today China, Russia, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan. Says research leader Theodore Schurr of the University of Pennsylvania: "It is a key area because it's a place that people have been coming and going for thousands and thousands of years. Our goal in working in this area was to better define what those founding lineages or sister lineages are to Native American populations."
The team analyzed the genetics in both mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome DNA, comparing samples to those that had previously been collected from individuals in southern Siberia, East Asia, Central Asia, Mongolia, and a number of different Native American groups. 
"We find forms of haplogroups C and D in southern Altaians and D in northern Altaians that look like some of the founder types that arose in North America, although the northern Altaians appeared more distantly related to Native Americans" says Schurr. 
Researchers have concluded that the Altaian lineage diverged genetically from the Native American lineage about 13,000 to 14,000 years ago. This correlates with current theories that support the migration of peoples into the Americas from Siberia between roughly 15,000 and 20,000 years ago.