Ancient Aztec temple and ball court uncovered in Mexico City

Archaeologists have uncovered the remnants of a Aztec temple and ceremonial ball court in the heart of Mexico City, according to media reports.

According to Reuters, the discoveries were made on a side street behind a Roman Catholic cathedral off the Zocalo plaza. Included in the discovery was the foundation of a circular temple, which was dedicated to the Aztecian wind god Ehecatl, as well as a ball court, which confirmed the existenced of Spanhish conquerors.

EXPERTS DISCOVER CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS’ ANCHOR AT CARIBBEAN SHIPWRECK SITE

“Due to finds like these, we can show actual locations, the positioning and dimensions of each one of the structures first described in the chronicles,” said Diego Prieto, head of Mexico’s main anthropology and history institute told Reuters.

In addition, there were human remains found, as archaeologists uncovered 32 severed male neck vertebrae. Archaeologist Raul Barrer said that the remains came from victims “who were sacrificed or decapitated.”

The temple was built between 1486 and 1502, when Aztec Emperor Ahuizotl, the predecessor of Moctezuma, ruled the ancient civilization.

Once the excavation is completed, a museum will be built on the site.

Experts discover ‘Christopher Columbus’ anchor at Caribbean shipwreck site

NOW PLAYINGChristopher Columbus’ anchor believed to be discovered

EXCLUSIVE: Experts have used a “space treasure map” to make a remarkable discovery in the Caribbean — a centuries-old anchor believed to be from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.

Analysis of the anchor, which was found off the Turks and Caicos islands, reveals that it dates to between 1492 and 1550. The overall size of the anchor and its estimated weight of between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds indicates that it was a “bower” anchor from a 300-ton vessel, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship.

The discovery will be revealed in the next episode of the Discovery Channel docuseries “Cooper’s Treasure,” which airs at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday. “That anchor is from Christopher Columbus,” says historical shipwreck discovery specialist Darrell Miklos, who led the Caribbean expedition, in a clip from Tuesday’s show. “I am telling you, stick around, this is just the beginning of an amazing story.”

NASA ASTRONAUT’S SPACE TREASURE MAP SPARKS HUNT FOR CARIBBEAN WRECKS

Miklos used a space treasure map created by his late friend, NASA Astronaut Gordon Cooper, to find a series of Caribbean shipwreck sites. Cooper, who died from Parkinson’s disease in 2004, created the map following his Mercury 9 Faith 7 flight. At the time, he was possibly on a mission to identify Cold War nuclear threats.

Armed with Cooper’s detailed map and archival research, Miklos and a crew of experts identified five “colonial period” wreck sites. The team used a magnetometer to identify shipwreck areas and then dived down for a closer inspection using a metal detector.

The Turks and Caicos discovery is believed to be linked to Vicente Yanez Pinzon — a Spanish sailor, who, along with his brother Martin Alonso Pinzon, was part of the Columbus expeditions.

VIKING DISCOVERY: EXPERTS USE TECH TO REVEAL SETTLEMENT BENEATH SAINT-KING’S CHURCH

Martin and Vicente were captains, respectively, of the Pinta and Nina on Columbus’ first voyage in 1492. Six years later, around the time of Columbus’ third voyage, Vicente Pinzon set off from Spain with four Caravels, or small sailing ships, including the Pinta, in what is known as one of the expedition’s “Minor Voyages.”

In 1499 and 1500 Vicente Pinzon discovered Brazil and the Amazon River. In the spring of 1500 the captain met with Columbus in Haiti to discuss the Brazilian discovery before leading his four ships back to Spain. However, in July of that year Vicente Pinzon’s fleet was caught in a hurricane while anchored near the Turks and Caicos islands and two of his ships were wrecked. In 1502 Vicente Pinzon returned to the area in an attempt to salvage cargo from the two vessels.

In addition to the anchor, Miklos’ team found a trove of other artifacts at the shipwreck site, including three grappling hooks that date back to the Columbus era. The grappling hooks, or anchors, were used for salvaging treasure from sunken ships.

GLADIATOR GAMES: EXPERTS HARNESS TECH TO REVEAL ROMAN CITY’S SECRETS

Archaeologists also found broken pieces of pottery and an olive jar painted with indigo paint, which indicates Spanish origin. A pot from the Spanish island of Majorca was also found, which also dates the wreck to the period between 1492 and the early 1500s.

Additionally, several iron and bronze spikes, possibly the last remnants of the sunken ships, were found, as well as a broken section of anchor’s ring was found. The broken anchor ring could indicate that the anchor came from a third ship in Pinzon’s fleet that was torn from its anchor during the hurricane.

The discoveries mark a major breakthrough for the expedition. “It means that we now have one of the most valuable maps in history,” explained a spokeswoman for the show, in an email sent to Fox News. “The way that ships wreck is that they leave a trail so the anchor is pointing to more artifacts/treasure to be found.”

Fox News’ Lindsay Carlton contributed to this article.

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Walking dead? Medieval villagers zombie-proofed their corpses

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.

Here, knife-marks can been seen on the surfaces of two rib fragments. Cut-marks and chop-marks are the bones suggest the bodies had been mutilated after death.  (Historic England)

Zombies are hardly a modern preoccupation. For centuries, people have been worried about corpses rising from their graves to torment the living. Now, archaeologists in England think they’ve found evidence of medieval methods to prevent the dead from walking.

The researchers revisited a pit of human remains that had been dug up at Wharram Percy, an abandoned village in North Yorkshire that dates back to nearly 1,000 years ago. The corpses had been burned and mutilated after death, and the archaeologists offered two possible explanations: either the condition of the corpses was due to cannibalism, or the bodies were dismembered to ensure they wouldn’t walk from their graves, according to the study published April 2 in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Study leader Simon Mays, a human-skeletal biologist at Historic England, said the idea that the bones “are the remains of corpses burnt and dismembered to stop them walking from their graves seems to fit the evidence best.” [See Photos of the ‘Zombie’ Burial at Wharram Percy]

People at the time believed that reanimation could occur when individuals who had a strong life force committed evil deeds before death, or when individuals experienced a sudden or violent death, Mays and his colleagues wrote. To stop these corpses from haunting the living, English medieval texts suggest that bodies would be dug up and subjected to mutilation and burning.

When the jumbled bones were first excavated in the 1960s, they were originally interpreted as dating from earlier, perhaps Roman-era, burials that were inadvertently disturbed and reburied by villagers in the late Middle Ages. The bones were buried in unconsecrated ground, after all —near a house and not in the official cemetery.

However, radiocarbon dating showed that the bones were contemporary with the medieval town, and chemical analyses revealed that the bones came from people who were local to the region.

What happened to the corpses after death could rival scenes from a gory zombie movie.

The bones from Wharram Percy came from at least 10 people between the ages of 2 and 50, according to the new study. Burning patterns from experiments with cadavers suggest that the bodies were set ablaze when the bones still had flesh on them. (A fleshed corpse was thought to be more threatening than a bare skeleton.) The scientists also found cut marks consistent with dismemberment, and chop marks that suggest the skeletons were decapitated after death.

“If we are right, then this is the first good archaeological evidence we have for this practice,” Mays said in a statement , referring to the zombie-safety precautions. “It shows us a dark side of medieval beliefs and provides a graphic reminder of how different the medieval view of the world was from our own.”

Stephen Gordon , a scholar of medieval and early-modern supernatural belief, who was not involved in the study, said he found the interpretation plausible. [7 Strange Ways Humans Act Like Vampires]

“Although, of course, one cannot discount the possibility that cannibalism was indeed a cause, I do think the evidence veers toward a local belief in the dangerous dead,” Gordon told Live Science in an email.

Gordon noted that several examples of revenants, or reanimated corpses , come from 12th-century northern English sources, so archaeological evidence from Yorkshire from around 1100 to 1300 is certainly to be expected.

There are still some mysteries concerning the bones, the authors of the study noted, such as how the human remains ended up together in this particular pit, especially since they span the 11th to 13th centuries. It’s also unclear why, if the corpses were feared, they would be reburied in a domestic context.

What’s more, revenants, at least according to written English sources, were commonly associated with males, but skeletons from both sexes and children were found in the pit. Gordon, however, doesn’t think this should invalidate the walking-dead argument.

“The written evidence in English chronicles and saints’ lives, which focus on male revenants, represents just a small (and highly constructed) snapshot of the realities of everyday belief,” Gordon said in the email.

A bishop of the Holy Roman Empire, Burchard of Worms, writing around A.D. 1000, “alludes to the fact that children who died before baptism, or women who died in childbirth, were believed to walk after death and needed to be ‘transfixed,'” Gordon said. He pointed to another case, from the 14th-century Bohemian chronicler Neplach of Opatovice, in which a female walking corpse had to be cremated. “As such, it is possible that female corpses were indeed believed to walk after death in England.”

The bones from Wharram Percy might not represent the very first revenant burial found in Europe. In several so-called ” vampire burials ” in a 17th-century Polish cemetery, the corpses have sickles around their necks. One interpretation is that the blades were meant to keep the dead from rising.

Original article on Live Science.

Man who lived 700 years ago gets brand-new face

(Credit: Dr. Chris Rynn, University of Dundee)

(Credit: Dr. Chris Rynn, University of Dundee)

Gizmodo calls his face “haunting,” but to UK researchers, seeing the mug of the man known as Context 958 is nothing short of astounding. His visage was revealed at the two-week-long Cambridge Science Festival this month, as were details about who he was: in short, a 13th-century working-class man who died in middle age, had apparently lived a life of indigence, and whose face was reconstructed by scientists based on his teeth and bones, per a Cambridge press release.

Context 958’s skeleton, analyzed as part of the university’s “After the Plague” project, was discovered along with about 400 others between 2010 and 2012 in a medieval-era graveyard underneath one of the college’s schools.

The bodies, which date from the 1200s to the 1400s, came from the Hospital of St. John the Evangelist, which used to exist across from the cemetery.

Context 958, who was found buried face-down in his burial spot, is believed to have been a few ticks older than 40 and boasted a “robust skeleton with a lot of wear and tear,” which means he likely had a physically challenging job, says Cambridge professor John Robb.

However, unlike others who lived in poverty, Context 958 appears to have chowed down on meat and fish, suggesting that he worked in a specialized niche that gave him access to this ample food supply.

What makes the discovery of his body and others in the same demographic notable, Robb says, is that it gives researchers a chance to study how the poor lived in England more than 700 years ago.

“The less money and property you had, the less likely anybody was to ever write down anything about you,” he notes. (This living man’s face was reconstructed using 3D printing.)

This article originally appeared on Newser: This Man Lived 700 Years Ago

Trump, Community Bankers Team Up to Boost Lending to Small Business

 

How regulations are affecting community banks

American Bankers Association CEO Robert Nichols weighs in on his meeting with President Trump over financial reform efforts that affect community banks.

President Trump met with community bankers from across the country to find out the potential regulatory reforms and other steps the federal government could take to help boost lending to U.S. small businesses as well as consumers.  American Bankers Association CEO Robert Nichols discussed how the meeting went on the FOX Business Network’s Cavuto Coast to Coast.

According to Nichols, community bankers were optimistic about Trump’s potential appointments to the government’s federal regulator posts.

“We had a great exchange with the president about the need to have people with real world experience in a number of those positions.”

When asked if the bankers in the meeting offered the president any advice, Nichols responded, “They all did Neil, that’s a great question, we talked in some specificity about a series of rules again, some legislative, some regulatory that are kind of getting in the way of additional lending.”

Nichols then pointed out the impact of mortgage and other lending rules on small business job creation in America.

“So we talked about some of the mortgage rules, we talked about some small business lending rules, which of course are so important to the small business communities all across the United States, which are a huge labor force driver in the United States.”

More from FOXBusiness.com

Though Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin anticipated tax reform by August of this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he thought it would take longer.  According to Nichols, bankers hoped lawmakers would pick up the pace on tax reform.

“The desire to get our tax code more internationally competitive vis-a-vis our peers and to reduce some of those rates, clear out the underbrush and get rid of some of those kind of loopholes… we hope that can occur expediently as well.”

Biblical king’s palace uncovered beneath shrine destroyed by ISIS

The remains of the Tomb of Prophet Yunus, destroyed by Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, January 28, 2017. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

The remains of the Tomb of Prophet Yunus, destroyed by Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, January 28, 2017. (REUTERS/Azad Lashkari)

Archaeologists in Mosul have made a stunning find beneath the Tomb of the Prophet Jonah that was destroyed by Islamic State militants in 2014: the long-hidden palace of ancient Assyrian King Sennacherib.

Experts were documenting the jihadists’ destruction of the tomb’s ruins when they located the palace, which dates back to 600 B.C. ISIS had dug tunnels into the site in a search for ancient artifacts to plunder, according to media reports.

The Telegraph reports that Iraqi archaeologist Layla Salih found a marble cuneiform inscription of Assyrian King Esarhaddon inside one of the tunnels. The inscription is believed to date to 672 B.C. when the palace was part of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh.

TREASURE HUNTERS STRIKE GOLD WITH ANCIENT JEWELRY FIND

One of the earliest forms of writing, cuneiform harnesses wedge-shaped marks and was widely used in ancient Mesopotamian civilizations.

The palace was built for the Assyrian King Sennarcherib, expanded by his son Esarhaddon, and renovated by his grandson King Ashurbanipal, according to the Telegraph, which notes that the palace was partly destroyed during the sack of Nineveh in 612 B.C. Sennacherib’s invasion of the ancient kingdom of Judah is extensively documented in the Bible. Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal are also mentioned in scripture, although feature less prominently.

Elsewhere in the tunnel, archaeologists found ancient Assyrian stone sculptures of a demi-goddess, the Telegraph reports.

ANCIENT HONORS: INSCRIPTIONS UNCOVERED AT SYNAGOGUE IN ISRAEL

The Tomb of Jonah, or Nebi Yunus in Arabic, is located on a hill in Eastern Mosul. The site was recaptured from ISIS by the Iraqi army last month during its Mosul offensive.

Jonah is revered in Christian, Muslim, and Jewish traditions. The Prophet’s tomb, which was located within a Sunni mosque, was destroyed by ISIS militants in July 2014.

Dr. Paul Collins, Chair of The British Institute for the Study of Iraq, which is working with the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage and UNESCO to protect Iraq’s cultural heritage, told Fox News that there could be more damage at the site. “The tunnels, probably dug for looting, are in imminent danger of collapse,” he explained, via email. “If this happens the result will be even more destruction at a site that had already been devastated by the explosions that destroyed the ancient Shrine of Jonah – in effect we will lose a place where Iraq’s ancient, medieval and modern cultural heritage rests one above the other.”

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Archaeologists have been aware since the nineteenth century that ancient Assyrian royal buildings are beneath the shrine, according to Collins, who notes that inscriptions and a relief from a dig in the 1870s are now in the British Museum. “Iraqi excavations in the 1950s revealed an entrance to an Assyrian royal arsenal and in 1990 a large Assyrian building to the east of the mosque guarded by colossal human-headed winged bulls was excavated, but this work came to an end with the Iraq/Kuwait war,” he said.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Rabbit hole leads to incredible 700-year-old Knights Templar cave complex

 

 

A picture taken inside the cave complex  (MICHAEL SCOTT/CATERS NEWS)

A rabbit hole in the UK conceals the entrance to an incredible cave complex linked to the mysterious Knights Templar.

New photos show the remarkable Caynton Caves network, which looks like something out of the movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” The shadowy Knights Templar order is said to have used the caves.

The Sun reports that the caves are hidden beneath a farmer’s field in Shropshire. The site was visited by photographer Michael Scott after he saw a video of the caves online. “I traipsed over a field to find it, but if you didn’t know it was there you would just walk right past it,” Scott said.

BIBLICAL KING’S PALACE UNCOVERED BENEATH SHRINE DESTROYED BY ISIS

Once inside, Scott encountered arches, walkways, and carved niches. He described the caves as cramped, noting that anyone nearing six-feet tall has to bend down inside the complex. “I had to crouch down and once I was in it was completely silent,” he said. “There were a few spiders in there but that was it.

Said to be 700 years old, the caves have been long been linked to the Knights Templar – a Catholic military order that played a key role during the Crusades. Named after Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, where the order was based, the order was founded in 1119 protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land.

With the loss of the Holy Land, the Templars’ military influence waned, although they still held great economic sway in medieval Europe. In 1307 the French King Philip IV, who wanted to wipe out his debts to the order, launched a plot to bring the Knights Templar down. Many Templars were arrested on charges including heresy and dozens were later burned at the stake.

TREASURE HUNTERS STRIKE GOLD WITH ANCIENT JEWELRY FIND

Pope Clement V disbanded the order in 1312.

The caves had been closed for a number of years before Scott’s visit. Black magic ceremonies reportedly forced the owners to seal up the entrance to the caves in 2012.

While some people believe the caves are 700 years old, others think that the complex was carved out by followers of the Templars in the 17th century.

Treasure hunters strike gold with ancient jewelry find

The Leek Frith Torcs (Staffordshire County Council).

The Leek Frith Torcs (Staffordshire County Council).

An incredible haul of ancient gold jewelry has been unearthed the U.K. by two treasure hunters using metal detectors.

Detectorists Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania found the four torcs, a form of ancient necklace or bracelet, on farmland in Staffordshire in December. The finds, which were handed over to the U.K. government-funded Portable Antiquities Scheme, were announced Tuesday.

Dubbed the Leek Frith Torcs, the finds may date as far back as 400 B.C. and could be the earliest examples of Iron Age gold ever discovered in Britain, experts say. The torcs, which include three neck torcs and one bracelet, are thought to be from continental Europe, possibly Germany or France.

HUGE 3,000-YEAR-OLD GOLD ‘BELT’ UNEARTHED IN THE UK

Dr. Julia Farley, curator of the British & European Iron Age Collections at the British Museum, assessed the items. “This unique find is of international importance. It dates to around 400–250 BC, and is probably the earliest Iron Age gold work ever discovered in Britain,” she said, in a statement. “The torcs were probably worn by wealthy and powerful women, perhaps people from the continent who had married into the local community. Piecing together how these objects came to be carefully buried in a Staffordshire field will give us an invaluable insight into life in Iron Age Britain.”

The site in the Staffordshire Moorlands area was investigated by archaeologists from Stoke-On-Trent City Council, who described the find as “complete” with no evidence of other pieces.

The BBC reports that the pieces will be on display at the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Stoke for the next three weeks.

ALTAR OF VIKING SAINT-KING DISCOVERED IN NORWAY

“This amazing find of gold torcs in the North of the county is quite simply magical and we look forward to sharing the secrets and story they hold in the years to come,” said Staffordshire County Council Leader Philip Atkins in the statement.

An inquest Tuesday declared that the find was treasure, the BBC reports, with the artifacts deemed the property of the Crown, or British state. The UK Government’s Treasure Valuation Committee will offer a value to the metal detectorists that found the haul, the landowner where the discovery was made, and any museum that wants to acquire the torcs, according to the BBC.

Once the parties agree on the valuation, the museum would have to raise the money to pay for the artifacts. The finders say they will share the proceeds with the landowner.

FARMER’S FIELD YIELDS HOARD OF ENGLISH CIVIL WAR COINS

This is the latest stunning ancient jewelry find in the U.K. In 2015 a huge 3,000-year-old gold belt, described as one of the largest ever discovered, was unearthed in Cambridgeshire.

‘Wind jewel’: Archaeologists find incredible Mayan jade pendant

jade

 (UC San Diego)

Archaeologists have discovered a remarkable jade pendant fit for a king. Covered on one side with hieroglyphs, the buried jewelry belonged to a Mayan king who would have sported it on his chest ceremonially, the University of California, San Diego announced.

Not only is the hieroglyph-filled item itself fascinating to experts, but so is the fact that it was found in a rainy, parrot-filled corner of Belize, at the periphery—  and not the hub— of the ancient Mayan world. There, archaeologists have excavated a Mayan palace and tomb.

“We would expect something like it in one of the big cities of the Maya world,” Geoffrey Braswell, a professor of anthropology at UC San Diego, said in a statement about the discovery. “Instead, here it was, far from the center.”

Braswell is the coauthor of a recent study on the find (described in the paper as a “wind jewel”) in the journal Ancient Mesoamerica as well as the author of another forthcoming study on the archeological site where it was found.

RESEARCHERS UNCOVER NEW CLUES ABOUT MAYAN CIVILIZATION’S COLLAPSE

In 2015, Braswell and others excavated the jade pendant— as well as pottery and a couple of teeth— in a tomb that dates to around the year 800 A.D and is located in a place called Nim Li Punit in the south of Belize. According to Braswell, in the year 672, the jade pendant was used for the first time in a ritual focused on summoning wind and rain, which was essential for Mayan crops. Eventually, the precious artifact—which “had immense power and magic,” Braswell said— was buried.

Measuring over seven inches across, about four inches high, and just over a quarter inch thick, the jade pendant is the second-biggest of its kind to be found in Belize. On one side are the hieroglyphs, and on the other, a T-shape. That T, according to the statement on the find, is a glyph known as “ik,” meaning “wind and breath.”

So what do the hieroglyphs say? While Braswell and another expert aren’t precisely sure, they do think they know the king’s name, Janaab’ Ohl K’inich, as well as information about his parents.

“It literally speaks to us,” Braswell said, about those hieroglyphs. “The story it tells is a short but important one.”

1,700-year-old untouched tomb yields elaborate headdress figurine

A tomb was recently uncovered in Colima, Mexico that held bones and ancient figurines that dated to 1,700 years ago.

A tomb was recently uncovered in Colima, Mexico that held bones and ancient figurines that dated to 1,700 years ago.  (Rafael Platas/INAH)

A 1,700-year-old untouched tomb bearing the bones of a dozen male adults, as well as pre-Columbian figurines and statues, has been unearthed in Mexico.

Archaeologists discovered the ancient tomb, which dates to the Comala Period (between 0 and A.D. 500), during work to remodel a Seventh-day Adventist church in Colima, Mexico. The archaeologists uncovered a hole that was sealed up with stones, artifacts for grinding, and human bones.

Inside, 12 skulls and other bones were piled atop one another in a haphazard manner. Some of the skulls showed signs of damage, as well as tooth fractures and wear, said Rosa María Flores Ramírez, a physical anthropologist at the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) in Mexico.

When the archaeologists explored further, they discovered three burial levels. In the second burial level, the team found two figurines — a male and female — placed facedown next to two skulls. [Prince’s Tomb: Images from a Mayan Excavation]

Ancient figurines

The male figurine, which measures 15 inches tall and 6 inches wide, was wearing an elaborate headdress with a horn jutting out from it. In his hand, he holds an ax.

The female figurine, which is 12.5 inches by 5.5 inches, shows a woman with a sharp nose and a triangular head. She wears a banded headdress and has her hands crossed, with the right hand holding a pot. The burial also contained two other pots.

Each of the figures was sculpted from fine paste that was polished when complete. The ancient artists used cuts to etch in the facial features.

“The presence of these pieces in the offering hint at the worldview of the groups that inhabited the Colima valley in that period. The sculptures, according to their attributes, served as propitiatory elements that ensured the protection of the deceased, as is the case with the male sculpture, which represents a shaman. The other objects fulfilled the function of bringing the requirements to the underworld,” Rafael Platas Ruíz, an archaeologist at the INAH, said in a translated statement .

The finding is rare because tombs of this type are almost invariably looted before archaeologists can get to them.

The fact that the tomb was untouched “allowed us to have a first approach with the bone remains, to observe the lesions, deformations and to have more information to know what was their way of life,” the researchers said in the statement.

It’s possible that this isn’t the only burial in the area, because the entire Colima valley was occupied continuously from 1500 B.C. to A.D. 1500, and cultural relics from different periods in the city’s history may be lying beneath it, the researchers said.

Originally published on Live Science