Category Archives: ASIA

The geoglyph of a 10-foot-tall Bronze Age bull in Russia is 2,000 years older than the Nazca Lines

The geoglyph of a 10-foot-tall Bronze Age bull in Russia is 2,000 years older than the Nazca Lines

Archaeologists have discovered a 2,000-year-old etching of a cat carved into a hillside some 250 miles southeast of Lima, Peru, reports Spanish news agency EFE. The feline, which measures about 120 feet long, has wide, orb-like eyes and appears to be sunning itself.

The newly identified likeness is a Nazca Line—one of hundreds of ancient drawings created in the Peruvian desert by removing rock and soil to produce a “negative” , writes Jason Golomb for National Geographic. Other Nazca Lines depict animals including orcas, monkeys, hummingbirds and spiders, as well as geometric shapes and humanoid figures.

Dated to between 200 and 100 B.C., the geoglyph is thought to be older than any others previously discovered in the region. Workers identified the etching while remodeling a portion of the Nazca Lines Unesco World Heritage Site, reports Tiffany .

“The discovery shows, once again, the rich and varied cultural legacy of this site,” says Peru’s Ministry of Culture in a statement.

Per the statement, the image of the lounging cat was “barely visible” prior to cleaning and conservation. As the Times notes, researchers only found it after spotting signs of “something intriguing” near the Mirador Natural lookout point.

“[It] was about to disappear because it’s situated on quite a steep slope that’s prone to the effects of natural erosion,” the ministry explains.

A spider-shaped Nazca Line

Famed for their impressive scale and complexity, the Nazca Lines have fascinated researchers since their modern rediscovery in the 20th century.

But experts remain divided over why the Nazca civilization, which flourished in southern Peru between 200 B.C. and 600 A.D., dedicated so much time and energy to creating the massive figures.

Peruvian archaeologist Toribio Mejia Xesspe was the first to systematically study the lines, examining them from the ground in 1926. The following decade, commercial pilots provided a fuller aerial view of the glyphs; between the 1940s and ’70s, Nazca experts Paul Kosok and Maria Reiche argued that the lines fulfilled “astronomical and calendrical purposes,” per National Geographic.

More recent investigations have shifted away from Kosok and Reiche’s theories, instead positing that the lines relate to religious rituals designed to encourage rainfall and fertility. Increasingly, wrote Stephen S. Hall for National Geographic in 2022, researchers are starting to agree that “[t]hey were not made at one time, in one place, for one purpose.”

Last year, archaeologists from Japan’s Yamagata University drew on satellite imagery, fieldwork and artificial intelligence analysis to identify 143 new Nazca Lines.

According to a statement, the findings suggested that larger glyphs served as ritual sites, while smaller ones acted as location markers for travelers.

“It’s quite striking that we’re still finding new figures, but we also know that there are more to be found,” Johny Isla, Peru’s chief archaeologist for the Nazca Lines, 

The Peruvian desert’s arid climate has preserved the Nazca Lines for millennia. But erosion and human activity pose significant threats to the glyphs’ survival. A single footprint or tire mark could permanently destroy the surface of these ancient lines—and, in recent years, such damage has become increasingly common.

In , Greenpeace activists smudged the surface of a Nazca Line during a demonstration calling for action on climate change, and in , a truck driver was arrested after he intentionally drove a tractor across a condor-shaped glyph.

ANCIENT MUMMY ‘WITH 1,100-YEAR-OLD ADIDAS BOOTS’ DIED AFTER SHE WAS STRUCK ON THE HEAD

ANCIENT MUMMY ‘WITH 1,100-YEAR-OLD ADIDAS BOOTS’ DIED AFTER SHE WAS STRUCK ON THE HEAD

Intriguing new details have emerged about a medieval mummy known for her ‘Adidas’ boots – which she wore more than a millennia ago. The body of the woman was discovered a year ago this week in the Altai mountains region of Mongolia.

And her body and possessions remained so remarkably preserved that experts are still uncovering some of the secrets they keep. Now, scientists have discovered that the mummy suffered a significant blow to the head before her death.  

The Mongolian woman – aged between 30 and 40 – hit headlines in April 2016, thanks to her modern-looking footwear, which some likened to a pair of trainers. In the intervening 12 months, scientists have been working to find out more about the mysterious Mongolian mummy.

Scientists believe the body of a woman (pictured) found in April last year, died up to 1,100 years ago from a blow to the head

And her trademark felt boots – boasting red and black stripes – have been carefully cleaned, with new pictures revealed today by The Siberian Times. Experts from the Centre of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia now believe the woman died up to 1,100 years ago after suffering a serious head wound.

Initial examinations found that ‘it was quite possible that the traces of a blow to the mummy’s facial bones were the cause of her death.

They are still seeking to verify the exact age of the burial, but they estimate it took place in the tenth century – more recently than originally thought.  About the boots, Galbadrakh Enkhbat, director of the Centre, said: ‘With these stripes, when the find was made public, they were dubbed similar to Adidas shoes.

New pictures of the leather boots – which feature red and black stripes and metal buckle work (pictured) – have been released

‘In this sense, they are an interesting object of study for ethnographers, especially so when the style is very modern.’ 

And one local fashion expert. quoted by Siberian Times, said: ‘Overall they look quite kinky but stylish – I wouldn’t mind wearing them now in a cold climate.

‘Those high-quality stitches, the bright red and black stripes, the length – I would buy them now in no time.’ 

The high altitude and cold climate helped to preserve both the woman’s body and her belongings.

And a coating of Shilajit – a thick, sticky tar-like substance with a colour ranging from white to dark brown – that covered her body aided this process.  Some skin and hair can be seen on her remains, which were wrapped in felt.  The woman was buried alongside a number of her possessions – including a handbag and four changes of clothes.

Experts from the Centre of Cultural Heritage of Mongolia (pictured) have worked for the past 12 months to restore the times they found buried
This included a handbag, four changes of clothes, the ‘Adidas’ boots, and numerous practical and everyday objects (pictured)
The items of clothing found, like this jacket (pictured), were decorated with fine embroidery patterns

A comb and a mirror from her beauty kit were also found, along with a knife. Her horse and a saddle with metal stirrups in such good condition that it could be used today were buried as well. But despite her seemingly lavish possessions archaeologists believe she was an ‘ordinary woman of her time, rather than an aristocrat or royal.

The Mongolian woman (pictured) is believed to have been aged between 30 and 40 when she died. Some skin and hair can be seen on her remains, which were wrapped in felt.
Despite her, seemingly lavish possessions (pictured) archaeologists believe she was an ‘ordinary’ woman of her time, rather than an aristocrat or royal
Experts believe she may have been a seamstress, due to a variety of sewing equipment that was found inside her bag (pictured), as well as the embroidery on her clothing

‘Judging by what was found inside the burial, we guess that she was from ordinary social strata,’ added Mr Enkhbat.

‘Various sewing utensils were found with her.

The preserved remains of a horse (pictured) were uncovered at the burial site
A saddle with metal stirrups (pictured) in such good condition that it could be used today was found alongside it

‘This is only our guess, but we think she could have been a seamstress.’ 

‘Inside (her bag) was the sewing kit and since the embroidery was on both the bag and the shoes, we can be certain that the embroidery was done by locals.’ 

The grave was unearthed at an altitude of 9,200ft (2,803 metres) and the woman is believed to be of Turkik origin. It appears to be the first complete Turkic burial in Central Asia.  At the time of the discovery, commenters on Twitter and Facebook made a number of tongue-in-cheek claims that a woman must be a time traveller.

One Twitter user jokingly quipped: ‘Must be a time traveller. I knew we would dig one up sooner or later, another added: ‘Huh? Time-travelling Mummy? Corpse interfered with?.’

Meanwhile, Facebook users said: ‘Loooooool he’s wearing a pair of gazelles’, and ‘Well I must admit, I’ve got a few pair but I ain’t had them that long.’ 

SEE ALSO: ANCIENT WARES WITH CLOTTED CREAM CLARIFIED BUTTER FOUND IN MONGOLIA

A host of possessions were found in the grave, offering a unique insight into life in medieval Mongolia. These included a saddle, bridle, clay vase, wooden bowl, trough, iron kettle, the remains of an entire horse, and ancient clothing.

The discovery also appears to be the first complete Turkic burial in Central Asia and the remains were found at an altitude of 9,200 feet. An elaborately embroidered bag is pictured

There were also pillows, a sheep’s head and a felt travel bag in which were placed the whole back of a sheep, goat bones and a small leather bag designed to carry a cup. Archaeologists from the city museum in Khovd were alerted to the burial site by local herdsmen.

The Altai Mountains – where the burial was discovered – unite Siberia, in Russia, and Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. 

Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on the Biblical Philistines

Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on the Biblical Philistines

Sometime in the 12th century B.C., a family in the ancient port city of Ashkelon, in what is Israel, mourned the loss of a child. But they didn’t go to the city’s cemetery. Instead, they dug a small pit in the dirt floor of their home and buried the infant right in the place where they lived.

That child’s DNA is now helping scholars trace the origins of the Philistines, a long-standing, somewhat contentious mystery. In accounts from the Hebrew Bible, the Philistines appear mostly as villainous enemies of the Israelites. They sent Delilah to cut the hair of the Israelite leader Samson and thus stripped him of his power. Goliath, the giant slain by David, was a Philistine. The Philistines’ reputation as a hostile, war-mongering, hedonistic tribe became so pervasive that “philistine” is still sometimes lobbed as an insult for an uncultured or crass person.

But who were the Philistines, exactly? In the Bible, ancient cities like Ashkelon, Ashdod and Ekron were mentioned as Philistine strongholds. In the 19th and 20th centuries, scholars finally started to piece together a distinct archaeological record of Philistine culture. Excavations revealed that these cities saw the emergence of new architecture and artifacts at the beginning of the Iron Age, around 1200 B.C., signaling the arrival of the Philistines.

Pottery found at Philistine archaeological sites, for example, appeared to have been made locally, but looked strikingly like wares created by Aegean cultures such as the Mycenaeans, who built their civilization in what is now mainland Greece. And the Bible mentions “Caphtor,” or Crete, as the origin place of the Philistines.

Historians also know that, around the time these changes occur in the archaeological record, civilizations in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean were collapsing.

The Philistines are written about in Egyptian hieroglyphs, where they are referred to as the Peleset, among the tribes of “Sea Peoples” said to have battled against Pharaoh Ramses III around 1180 B.C. Meanwhile, other scholars have suggested that the Philistines were in fact a local tribe, or one that came from present-day Turkey or Syria.

Reconstruction of a Philistine house from the 12th Century B.C.

Now, researchers have extracted DNA from the remains of 10 individuals, including four infants, who were buried at Ashkelon during the Bronze Age and Iron Age. The results, which were published today in the journal Science Advances, suggest the Philistines indeed migrated to the Middle East from southern Europe.

“This is an excellent example of a case where advances in science have helped us answer a question that has been long debated by archaeologists and ancient historians,” says Eric Cline, a professor at George Washington University and director of the Capitol Archaeology Institute, who was not involved in the study.

The new study stems from a discovery in 2013 of a cemetery with more than 200 burials contemporary with the Philistine settlement at Ashkelon just outside the ancient city walls. The cemetery, which was used during the late Iron Age, between the 11th and 8th centuries B.C., was the first Philistine burial ground ever found.

The archaeologists documented burial practices that were distinct from the Philistines’ Canaanite predecessors and their Egyptian neighbors. For example, in several cases, little jugs of perfume were tucked near the head of the deceased. Finding Philistine human remains also meant there might be potential to find Philistine DNA.

“We knew of the revolution in paleogenetics, and the way people were able to gather from a single individual hundreds of thousands of data points,” says Daniel Master, the director of the excavations and a professor of archaeology at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Getting DNA from the newly discovered human remains at Ashkelon, however, proved tricky. The southern Levant does not have a favorable climate for the preservation of DNA, which can break down when it’s too warm or humid, says Michal Feldman, who studies archaeogenetics at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, and is the lead author of the new report. Nonetheless, the researchers were able to sequence the whole genome of three individuals from the cemetery.

An infant burial at the Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon

The researchers interpreted these results as evidence that migration indeed occurred at the end of the Bronze Age or during the early Iron Age. If that’s true, the infants may have been the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the first Philistines to arrive in Canaan.

Intriguingly, their DNA already had a mixture of southern European and local signatures, suggesting that within a few generations the Philistines were marrying into the local population. In fact, the European signatures were not detectable at all in the individuals buried a few centuries later in the Philistine cemetery. Genetically, by then the Philistines looked like Canaanites.

That fact in itself offers additional information about Philistine culture. “When they came, they did not have any kind of taboo or prohibition against marrying into other groups around them,” Master says. Nor, it would seem, did other groups categorically have that taboo about them, either. “One of the things that I think it shows is that the world was really complicated, whether we’re talking about genetics or identity or language or culture, and things are changing all the time,” he adds.

Excavation of the Philistine cemetery at Ashkelon.

Cline cautions that it’s always best to be careful about connecting new genetic data to cultures and historic events, and the researchers recognize that if they had only looked at the DNA from the Philistine cemetery, they might have come up with a totally different story about the identity of the Philistines.

“Our history appears to be full of these transient pulses of genetic mixing that disappear without a trace,” says Marc Haber, a geneticist at the U.K.’s Wellcome Sanger Institute, who was not involved in the study. Haber has previously found evidence of “pulses” of gene flows from Europe to the Near East during the Middle Ages, which disappeared centuries later. “Ancient DNA has the power to look deep into the past and give us information on events that we knew little or nothing about.”

The findings are a good reminder, Feldman says, that a person’s culture or ethnicity is not the same as their DNA. “In this situation, you have foreign people coming in with a slightly different genetic makeup, and their influence, genetically, is very short. It doesn’t leave a long-lasting impact, but culturally they made an impact that lasted for many years.”

1.8-million-year-old skull gives glimpse of our evolution

1.8-million-year-old skull gives glimpse of our evolution


The discovery of a 1.8-million-year-old skull of a human ancestor buried under a medieval Georgian village provides a vivid picture of early evolution and indicates our family tree may have fewer branches than some believe, scientists say.

The fossil is the most complete pre-human skull uncovered. With other partial remains previously found at the rural site, it gives researchers the earliest evidence of human ancestors moving out of Africa and spreading north to the rest of the world.

The skull and other remains offer a glimpse of a population of pre-humans of various sizes living at the same time—something that scientists had not seen before for such an ancient era. This diversity bolsters one of two competing theories about the way our early ancestors evolved, spreading out more like a tree than a bush.

Nearly all of the previous pre-human discoveries have been fragmented bones, scattered over time and locations—like a smattering of random tweets of our evolutionary history. The findings at Dmanisi are more complete, weaving more of a short story. Before the site was found, the movement from Africa was put at about 1 million years ago.

When examined with the earlier Georgian finds, the skull “shows that this special immigration out of Africa happened much earlier than we thought and a much more primitive group did it,” said study lead author David Lordkipanidze, director of the Georgia National Museum. “This is important to understanding human evolution.”

For years, some scientists have said humans evolved from only one or two species, much like a tree branches out from a trunk, while others say the process was more like a bush with several offshoots that went nowhere.

Even bush-favoring scientists say these findings show one single species nearly 2 million years ago at the former Soviet republic site. But they disagree that the same conclusion can be said for bones found elsewhere, such as Africa. However, Lordkipanidze and colleagues point out that the skulls found in Georgia are different sizes but considered to be are the same species.

So, they reason, it’s likely the various skulls found in different places and times in Africa may not be different species, but variations in one species.To see how a species can vary, just look in the mirror, they said.

“Danny DeVito, Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal are the same species,” Lordkipanidze said.

The adult male skull found wasn’t from our species, Homo sapiens. It was from an ancestral species—in the same genus or class called Homo—that led to modern humans. Scientists say the Dmanisi population is likely an early part of our long-lived primary ancestral species, Homo erectus.

Tim White of the University of California at Berkeley wasn’t part of the study but praised it as “the first good evidence of what these expanding hominids looked like and what they were doing.”

Fred Spoor at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, a competitor and proponent of a busy family tree with many species disagreed with the study’s overall conclusion, but he lauded the Georgia skull discovery as critical and even beautiful.

“It really shows the process of evolution in action,” he said.

Spoor said it seems to have captured a crucial point in the evolutionary process where our ancestors transitioned from Homo habilis to Homo erectus—although the study authors said that depiction is going a bit too far.

The researchers found the first part of the skull, a large jaw, below a medieval fortress in 2000. Five years later—on Lordkipanidze’s 42nd birthday—they unearthed the well-preserved skull, gingerly extracted it, putting it into a cloth-lined case and popped champagne.

It matched the jaw perfectly. They were probably separated when our ancestor lost a fight with a hungry carnivore, which pulled apart his skull and jaw bones, Lordkipanidze said.

The skull was from an adult male just shy of 5 feet (1.5 meters) with a massive jaw and big teeth, but a small brain, implying limited thinking capability, said study co-author Marcia Ponce de Leon of the University of Zurich. It also seems to be the point where legs are getting longer, for walking upright, and smaller hips, she said.

“This is a strange combination of features that we didn’t know before in early Homo,” Ponce de Leon said.

Bronze Age Siberian ‘Birdman’ Wore a Collar of Beaks and Skulls

Bronze Age Siberian ‘Birdman’ Wore a Collar of Beaks and Skulls

A 5,000-year-old skeleton recently unearthed at the Ust-Tartas site in Siberia’s Novosibirsk region boasts a singular adornment: a headdress consisting of 30 to 50 bird skulls and beaks likely belonging to large shore species such as cranes and herons.

As Lidia Kobeleva, a researcher at Siberia’s Novosibirsk Institute of Archeology and Ethnography, explains in a video interview with the Siberian Times, the avian creatures’ remains were “laid as if they meant to cover the neck like a collar.”

Although the unusual accessory doesn’t exactly qualify as armor, Kobeleva says it probably served a similarly protective ritual purpose.

The Siberian Times reports that the team suspects the deceased—nicknamed “the Birdman of Siberia”—was a priest or shaman. In a separate video posted by the Siberian Times, Kobeleva notes that it remains unclear how the headdress’ components were attached to each other or to a piece of fabric.

“Some of the beaks are packed separately from skulls, without a trace of head bones,” the archaeologist says. Kobeleva further points out that none of the bird beaks or skulls appear to bear the mounting holes one would need to easily weave them together.

The 5,000-year-old skeleton was buried with a headdress or collar consisting of 30 to 50 bird beaks and skulls

The mysterious Birdman was a member of the Odinov culture, which dominated western Siberia during the early Bronze Age.

Hunters who lived on an island surrounded by forest steppes, according to the Daily Mail’s Will Stewart and Ian Randall, the Odinov people derived their name from the Odino settlement in the basin of the nearby Ishim River and emerged out of the Eneolithic forest-steppe tradition prevalent in what is now modern-day Russia.

Prior to the Birdman’s discovery, archaeologists had excavated more than 30 burials at the Ust-Tartas site. But as Kobeleva tells the Siberian Times, none yielded finds as “impressive” as this latest one, which was unearthed alongside a second grave containing the remains of three individuals.

According to the Siberian Times, researchers identified two children aged 5 and 10 buried in the top layer of the grave.

The skeleton of a man laid to rest with a “treasure trove of artifacts” was found beneath a wooden overlay supporting the youthful pair.

One of the artifacts found in the second grave resembles a pair of spectacles

The most intriguing item in the hoard resembles a pair of spectacles. Made up of two bronze hemispheres and a connecting bridge, the mask-like object features what Live Science’s Mindy Weisberger describes as “circular eyeholes.” Experts believe it’s possible the gear served as part of a burial mask or head covering.

In addition to the potential glasses, researchers found five crescent-shaped polished stone pendants perhaps used for ceremonial purposes.

“Both men must have carried special roles in the society,” Kobeleva concludes. “I say so because we have been working on this site for a while and unearthed more than 30 burials.

They all had interesting finds, but nothing … was as impressive as discoveries in these two graves. We suppose both men were some kind of priests.”

12,000-year-old massive underground tunnels are real and stretch from Scotland to Turkey

12,000-year-old massive underground tunnels are real and stretch from Scotland to Turkey

Is it possible that ancient cultures were interconnected thousands of years ago? According to thousands of underground tunnels that stretch from North Scotland towards the Mediterranean the answer is a big yes.

While the reason behind these sophisticated tunnels remains a mystery, many experts believe that this huge 12,000-year-old network was built as a protection against predators and other dangers 12,000 years ago.

Some experts believe that these mysterious tunnels were used as modern-day highways, allowing the transition of people and connecting them to distant places across Europe.

In the book Secrets Of The Underground Door To An Ancient World (German title: Tore zur Unterwelt) German archaeologist Dr Heinrich Kush states that evidence of huge underground tunnels has been found under dozens of Neolithic settlements all over the European continent. These tremendous tunnels are often referred to as ancient highways.

According to Dr Kusch, the fact that many of these tunnels still exist today, after 12,000 years indicates that the tunnels must have been both complex and huge in size.

“Across Europe, there were thousands of them says Dr Kusch,” in Germany, we have discovered hundreds of meters of underground tunnels. In Austria, we have found hundreds more. These underground tunnels can be found everywhere across Europe and there are thousands of them.” Said the German archaeologist.


While some of the tunnels are relatively small- some of them measure over a meter in width, there are other tunnels that have been found with underground chambers and storage areas.

The fact that these tunnels have been found points towards incredible ancient ingenuity which is anything but what history books tells us today. Ancient mankind had the knowledge and tools to build complex structures over ten thousand years ago.

Evidence of that is the Pyramids of Bosnia in Europe and their incredible underground tunnels that go on for kilometres.

Dr Kusch states that ‘Across Europe, there were thousands of these tunnels – from the north in Scotland down to the Mediterranean.


They are interspersed with nooks, at some places it’s larger and there is seating, or storage chambers and rooms. They do not all link up but taken together it is a massive underground network.’

Cappadocia in Turkey is another incredible example. The underground city of Derinkuyu is another piece of evidence that points towards the perfection and long-lost construction methods of our ancestors.

The underground city of Derinkuyu is perhaps one of the greatest achievements in underground construction together with the huge network of tunnels.

The geological features of the stone from Derinkuyu is something that is very important; it is very soft. Thus, the ancient builders of Derinkuyu had to be very careful when building these underground chambers providing enough pillar strength to support the floors above; if this was not achieved, the city would have collapsed, but so far, archaeologists have not found evidence of any “cave-ins” at Derinkuyu.

Other ancient monuments such as Gobekli Tepe are more pieces of crucial evidence that point towards incredible skills and knowledge by people who inhabited our planet over ten thousand years ago.


According to Dr Kusch, chapels were often built at the entrances to the underground tunnels because the Church were afraid of the heathen legacy the tunnels might have represented, and like many other things, the church wanted to make sure word about the tunnels was kept as a secret.

In some of the tunnels, writings have been discovered which refer to these underground tunnels as gateways to the underworld.