Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Barbarians and Romans


Barbarians – Protection at Roman Frontiers - Julius Caesar

Barbarians had been organized for protection at the Roman frontiers right from the time of Julius Caesar. The river Rhine and Danube demarcated the Roman Empire in the European continental segregating the citizens of Rome from the various people who had inhabited Germania, which is the Roman term for the location extending as far north as Scandinavia and far east as the Vistula River.

The empire had at no point of time isolated itself from the Germanic people known as barbarian who were recruited as soldiers for the Roman army and developed commercial as well as political bonds with their leaders who had occupied lands beyond the borders.Several of these barbarians would return to the homeland though others would stay with their families in the Roman territories and would rise to the highest rank in military.

The kingdom had established diplomatic ties with the Germanic monarchs who had inhabited the lands further than the borders in order to safeguard them from hostile barbarians much beyond the field. Possibilities of Roman citizenship together with military as well as economic support had encouraged barbarian leaders to support their well to do neighbours mainly with the provision of troops.

Barbarian Neighbours – Hierarchical/Wealthy Elites

The barbarian neighbours of the empire were hierarchical as well as wealthy elites. Refereed by the buried artifacts and some observation in the literature of Rome, ‘Gaul almost everywhere had been governed by elite families who had been merged together by marriage as well as service in the community and region’.

These provisions enabled the barbarians of high position to amass wealth like direct gifts of jewellery from the empire together with payment in gold coin which in turn could be utilised in the commissioning of luxury objects of personal beautification from the local artists.

In the later centuries of the empire the increasing strength and the extent of the military needed the assimilation of improved quantities of barbarians units called the foedarati, in the army. Towards the fourth century, around 75,000 soldiers had been posted in the Roman province of Gaul where most of them were Germanic.

Roman Belief – Superior to Barbarian Neighbours

Burns had described the relations between the Roman Empire and the barbarians towards the frontier in Western Europe through a span of 500 years. The Romans were of the belief that they were superior to their barbarian neighbours and looked on their own civil wars as serious affairs though made light of the endemic warfare among the barbarians.

 Rome had been interested in stability and peace on its borders and the barbarians were aggressive and invading each other inclusive of the societies with whom the Romans had agreements. Besides protecting the barbarian allies, Rome also pressured these allies in limiting the warfare.

The trade between the Romans and the barbarians had been universal which comprises of Celtic people whom the archaeologists had found signs of having large amount of Roman goods. This indicated that they had on-going trade.Towards the second century BCE, in southern and central Gaul, the Celts had created `highly refined iron products and the Roman trader had acquired Celtic iron wear for resale.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Copper Scroll treasure

Copper Scroll

Copper Scroll – Mystery Treasure

A Copper Scroll had been discovered by archaeologist in a cave on March 14, 1952 while most of the other Dead Sea Scrolls were found by Bedouins, at the back of Cave 3 at the Qumran site. They are said to be on display at the Jordan Museum in Amman. As per its name, the writing had been etched onto a copper scroll which records a huge amount of hidden silver and gold treasures.

The scroll seems to date back to over 1,900 years to a time when the Roman Empire had taken charge of the Qumran area. It had been the last of 15 scrolls found in the cave and hence has been referred as 3Q15. While the other had been written on parchment or papyrus, this particular scroll had been written on copper mixed with around 1% tin.

The rusted metal could not be unfurled in any conservative way and hence the scroll had been cut into 23 strips and then patched back together in 1955. The language appeared different from the others, wherein Hebrew seems closer to the language of the Mishnah than the literary Hebrew of the rest of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Opening of Copper Scroll – John Marco Allegro

The opening of the Copper Scroll had been supervised by John Marco Allegro, who transcribed its content instantly and it then became clear that there had been something very unique regarding the content. Contrasting from the other scrolls, that were literary works, the copper scroll seemed to comprise of a list which did not seem like an ordinary list.

It contained directions to 64 locations where amazing quantities of treasures could be discovered. There had been various revolts against the Roman rule during the time the scroll had been written and the scientists have assumed that the treasure had been concealed in order to avoid being captured by the Roman forces. The Copper Scroll is said to be a part of the extraordinary cache of the First century documents.

It seems to differ from the other documents in the library of Qumran and tends to be quite unusual among the Dead Sea Scrolls wherein its author, style, script, language, content, genre together with the medium seem to differ to the other scrolls.

Unique/Important/Least Understood

Professor Richard Freund had commented that the copper scroll could possibly be the most unique, the most important, and the least understood.The treasure of the scroll was presumed to be the treasure of the Jewish Temple and some of the scholars claimed that it belonged to the First Temple and was destroyed in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon.

Others have suggested that the treasure could have been that of the Second Temple but according to historical records, the main treasure of the Temple tend to be in the building when it fell to the Romans. The copper scroll has led several to the biggest treasure hunt in history with various expeditions taken up in locating the valuable treasure.

It has not been revealed in the scroll by whom or when, the treasure were buried or why. However it has been presumed that it had been hidden within Judaea or near the Mount Gerizim in Samaria, parts of modern Israel.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Rainbow Creek Australian Micronation

Rainbow Creek

State of Rainbow Creek – Australian Micronation

The self-governing country of Rainbow Creek was an Australian micronation which was active during the 1970s and 80s and was founded due to the result of a long running compensation dispute between the Victorian farmers in the town of Cowwarr and an agency of the Victorian state government, the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission – SRWSC. It was intended to publicize their cause to the wider community.

Cowwarr is situated on the Thomson River in the Victorian Alp and is sited downstream of the heavily forested country. During winter, flood season infrastructure in the area was prone to damage by the large volume of bush land debris that got washed downstream.

A road bridge which was built in the late 1930s over the Thomson River at Cowwarr was too near the annual flood high water mark and when the structure proved to be an impediment to the flow of debris during a particular violent flood in the year 1952, the river carved a new course for itself around the edge of the bridge and this breakaway which was later named Rainbow Creek was passed through a number of privately owned farming properties.

SRWSC Constructed a Weir Across the River

Remedies for this seems ineffective and the creek got enlarged by subsequent flooding which reached the size of several football field at the cost of the farmers’’ affected lands. Making the best of a bad situation, the farmer started using the water from the creek to irrigate their properties with the local and state authorities responding by serving levies for the use of water.

Those who were affected had to pay a set of levies to the local council for land which was presently underwater since their title deeds did not indicate the existence of the creek, while the second levy to the SRWSC was paid for using creek waters for irrigation purpose and the third levy was to the Thomson River Improvement Trust which was supposed to prevent further erosion by the creek which continued to grow inexorably with every new flood.Then in 1954, SRWSC constructed a weir across the river downstream of the bridge that had an effect of funnelling higher volumes of floodwater directly into the Rainbow Creek.

Yammacoona – Worst Affected Properties

Towards the late 1970s, the the micronation was 8 meters deep and more than 50 meters wide and the farmers had to privately provide finance for the constructions of bridges to cross over from one side of their properties to the other which were all washed including their crops, stock as well as their equipment by a particular severe flood in 1978.

 The farmers of Cowwarr blamed the government for its incompetence for over three decades for their plight, but they were denied the right to claim compensation for the loss of their land, productivity as well as private infrastructure, they decided to take further action in 1978. Yammacoona was one of the worst affected properties which was located directly below the weir and was owned since 1970, by Thomas Barnes who was a retired UK and Victorian police officer and had settled in the town. He was known to be of feisty temperament with less patience for the slow turning wheels of the government bureaucracy and hada flair for publicity.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Secret Codex of a Lost Civilisation Being Hidden Beneath a 16th Century Manuscript for 500 Years


Codex Selden – Lost Civilisation in Mexico

Research scrutinized a manuscript known as the Codex Selden dating around 1560 and is said to be one of the less than 20 Mexican codices which has survived from the pre-Columbian period. For almost 500 years, the contents had been unsatisfyingly concealed by a layer of plaster covering the details of a lost civilization which had existed in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish.

However due to a new imaging technique, for the first time, historians can go through the material on top to disclose a series of pictograms on the deer underneath. This has provided them with a glimpse at the culture and history of the early Mexican civilisation which was known as the Mixtec.

However experts suspect that the codex could have been formed from a much older document which had been covered up to arrange for a new surface for writing. The document which is 16 feet long is composed of deer hide which is covered with gesso, said to be a white plaster made from gypsum and chalk before it is folded into a 20 page manuscript. The plaster had been scraped away in the 1950s to expose a vague image on the deer hide below though no further work has been revealed as to what lies below for fear of damaging the same.

Hyperspectral Imaging

However, researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who have been working with the historians at Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University, housing the Codex Selden, have located a way of seeing through the plaster. Their discovery had been published in the Journal of Archaeological Sciences.

The technique utilised was known as hyperspectral imaging to reveal the outline of vivid pictogram which were on the original document.David Howell, head of heritage science at the Bodleian Libraries also involved in the research stated that `hyperspectal imaging has portrayed great promise in helping to begin to reconstruct the story of the hidden codex and finally to recover new information regarding Mixtex history and archaeology.

It is a new technique and they have learned valuable lessons on how to utilise hyperspectral imaging in the future for very fragile manuscript as well as for countless others like it. An archaeologist at Leiden University, Ludo Snijders, leading the work had informed MailOnline that they are now for the first time capable of revealing at least in part, the images of the palimpsest without the fear of damaging the object.

Genealogy Appear Unique

He further added that `what’s interesting is that the text found does not match that of the other early Mixtec manuscripts. The genealogy seen appears to be unique which means it may prove invaluable for the interpretation of archaeological remains from southern Mexico’.

Seven of the pages of the codex had been analysed by the researchers and some of the pages featured over 20 characters sitting or standing though all seemed to be looking in the same direction. Similar scenes were also located on other Mixtex manuscripts that typically represent a King with his council. Scrutiny of the characters concealed under the Codex Selden exposed though that they portrayed a mixture of male as well as female characters and the same has perplexed scientists on what the text could be illustrating.

 Besides this, there were other imaged comprising of people walking with sticks and spears, women with red hair or headdresses and glyphs illustrating a river which seems to be names of place.The imaging also disclosed a prominent individual who is seen recurrently on the document and is represented by a big glyph comprising of a twisted cord and a flint knife.

Four of the Worst Missing Person Cases in History

Maura Murray
Missing person cases fascinate people of all ages. While some people simply wandered off and started a new life without a second thought, others disappeared under mysterious circumstances and left behind concerned and worried loved ones. Television reports and newspapers love talking about those who came home safely, but those reports often forget about those who never came home. You might find some of the worst missing person cases in history a little creepy and even baffling.

Laura Bible and Ashley Freeman

The story of Laura Bible and Ashley Freeman is so interesting that people still talk about it more than a decade after it happened. Laura decided to spend her birthday at her best friend's house. The two teenagers spent the night chatting and having fun before going to bed. A car randomly driving down the road saw a fire at the house and called the authorities. Once the smoke cleared, police found the bodies of Ashley's parents but no evidence of either girl. Though police believe Ashley's brother was a drug dealer and had something to do with their disappearances, police never found any trace of the two teens.

Maura Murray

Maura Murray was just 21 when she went missing back in 2004. Murray made a few odd movements in her last days, including trying to rent a timeshare in New Hampshire, looking at hotels in Vermont and getting directions to Burlington. She then took time off from her nursing studies, took money out of the ATM and purchased a large quantity of alcohol. A New Hampshire resident later came across her car on the side of the road and offered to call a trucking company for help. By the time police arrived, there was no trace of Murray. Though some claimed they saw her in the days after, she is still a missing person.

Jodi Huisentruit 

Jodi Huisentruit was 27 and a television broadcaster in Iowa when she went missing on a warm day in June of 1995. A producer working for the station called Huisentruit when she was late to work, and the woman told the producer that she was on her way and would be there shortly. When she didn't show up for several hours later, the producer called the police. The police found her purse on the scene and its contents spread across the ground. Though neighbors reported hearing some screams that morning, no one ever saw Huisentruit again.

Jacob Wetterling 

Jacob Wetterling disappeared after visiting a convenience store with his brother and friend in 1989. A man came out of the nearby woods, forced the three boys to lay face down and then kidnapped Jacob, who at 11, was the youngest. His parents later created a foundation to assist the loved ones of other missing persons. Police announced in 2015 that they had a person of interest in the case but did not bring charges against him in Jacob's disappearance. These missing person cases are some of the most heartbreaking ones and prove that no one is ever truly safe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

4,500 Year Old New Stonehenge was Made of Wood


Neolithic Monument in Wiltshire

It is believed that an excavation at a 4,500 year old superhenge would have over 90 stones hidden underground which have failed in locating any evidence of rock monoliths. It was presumed to be a huge prehistoric stone monument which could have once dwarfed the enormous Stonehenge.

Experts are not of the belief that the Neolithic monument in Wiltshire could have been developed utilising large wooden posts which had been sunk in the ground. At first archaeologist believed that the site concealed a series of stones of around 15 ft. long lying down which had been buried below a massive earthwork. It has been revealed through ground penetrating radar of the `irregularities’ which were believed to be the stones scattered around the large site.

However, on excavating two of them, the researcher found huge pits which seemed to have contained timber post earlier. An archaeologist with the National Trust, Dr Nicola Snashall, who had been working on the site, informed Mail Online that they are certain that they do not have any stones and what they have on the contrary are at least 120 pits which were created to take great big timber posts.


Enormous Earthwork – Durrington Walls

They think that there could have been as many as 200 or more since they have some gaps in the ground penetrating radar data. The site that is just outside Durrington, Wiltshire, is said to have been a large Neolithic settlement earlier, housing the builders of Stonehenge less than two miles away.

The earlier excavations have exposed seven houses and it has been proposed that around 4,000 people may have inhabited the village. However, Dr Snashall has stated that the settlement seems to be decommissioned after about 10 to 12 years of use and it was after this that the timbers had been set up surrounding the site in a huge ring.

This seems to follow the line of what is presently an enormous earthwork which is called Durrington Walls. The earthwork is said to encircle an area of 1,575 feet across, measuring just less than a mile in circumference. It is surrounded by a ditch to around 58 feet wide, with an outer bank of about 131 feet wide which is raised to around 10 feet high.

Henge Earlier Constructed from Wood

The radar scans by the team from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Austria and Birmingham University last year, had disclosed something which seemed to be up to 90 standing stones that could have earlier measured up to 15 feet tall, lying on their side below the enormous bank of Earth.

However, the latest excavation indicates that his henge had been earlier constructed from wood instead of stone and the new research had been led by the Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project, the Stonehenge Riverside Project and the National Trust.

This could mean that it could have appeared more like the nearby Woodhenge, which is a Neolithic site near to Stonehenge, presumed to be built around 2300BC. According to Dr Snashall it seems that the earthworks were built on top of the pits where once the post seemed to be.

She commented that earlier to the timber posts being put in, the place was presumed to have housed the builders of Stonehenge and it was only after they had left, that the timbers were put in, probably as a means of setting aside this place as somewhere important.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Yamashita’s Gold: The Philippine Treasure Caves


Japan Plundered Asia – Before/During World War II

It is a known fact that Japan had plundered Asia in the years before and during the World War II. As per legend, they had amassed a genuine fortune for themselves. A special team known as `The Golden Lily’ had been formed who’s main aim was to plunder the invaded countries.

There had been plenty of confiscated treasure which needed a full time attempt of transporting all of it back to Japan. Initially, the Philippines was utilised as a layover spot for the plundered treasure to be loaded onto ships for the last leg of the journey. The American forces posed as a problem for Japan when they began sinking a number of the ships on the high seas.

The royal family of Japan decided to hide the remaining loot in the Philippines and it is here where General Yamashita tends to come in.Yamashita had been given the task of organizing and implementing the plans of digging tunnels and locate caves in which they could hide all the plundered goods together with the other items. The Japanese soldiers and prisoners of war would dig out tunnels and move the hideaways in them.

Various Theories – Whereabouts of Treasure

However, when the gold had been transferred, the entrances had been covered up usually through explosive devices which left the labourers trapped within to die. Several theories have been coming up regarding the whereabouts of the treasure over the years.

According to one theory, Ferdinand Marcos, ex-president of the Philippines, had found a portion of the treasure and had kept it for himself. He undertook severe control in searching and excavating during his term, wherein he had to personally support each expedition. In 1971, one particular expedition was led by Rogelio Roxas who claimed that he had found a huge cache of gold in a cave.

He had brought a lawsuit against Marcos and his wife asserting that when his discovery had been known to Marcos, he had been beaten and arrested after which his gold had been taken away by his men. The suit which had been filed in the state of Hawaii ultimately was found in favour of Roxas stating that there was adequate evidence to indicate that he had indeed found the gold which had been taken away from him and was awarded $6 million.

Debate on Uncertainty of Gold

Some other researchers and historians had claimed that the US had been given the location of the treasure in exchange for not being charged against the royal family for war crimes together with other outrages. It is said that the CIA and the OSS had received most of the gold that had been used to fund those agencies.

Several are sceptical and tend to doubt the presence of the treasure of Yamashita or argue about the amounts presumed to exist. They debate on the uncertainty of gold as claimed by history;there would be several more levels of discovery.

In spite of many claims by treasure hunters and Filipino natives to the opposing, there has been little or no evidence of any gold found. Though there has been no proof of any of these claims, Roxas’s story is possibly the closest anyone could get in having the story authenticated.