Friday, June 25, 2010

2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championship - Field SET - AT LAST!

Excerpted and modified from report at the United States Chess Federation:

10-player field and will feature nine rounds of tournament play. Reigning U.S. Women's Champion Anna Zatonskih to defend her title this year in Saint Louis against a strong field of contenders.

"Encouraging more women and juniors to play chess are both vital goals of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis," said Executive Director Tony Rich. "So we are very excited to host the tournaments simultaneously."

Grandmaster commentary will be provided by GM Ben Finegold and WGM Jennifer Shahade. Saint Louis resident and #1-ranked US player GM Hikaru Nakamura will also provide special commentary for two days yet to be determined.

The field for the 2010 U.S. Women's Championship is as follows:

•IM Anna Zatonskih: Defending Champion (2518, #1 US)
•IM Irina Krush: Rating (2493, #2 US)
•WGM Camilla Baginskaite: Rating (2387, #4 US)
•WGM Sabina Foisor: Rating (2356, #5 US)
•WGM Katerina Rohonyan: Wildcard (2331)
•WIM Alisa Melekhina: Rating (2323, #7 US)
•WFM Iryna Zenyuk: U.S. Women's Open Champion (2305)
•WFM Abby Marshall: Rating (2211, #11 US)
•WFM Tatev Abrahamyan: Rating (2342, #6 US)
•WIM Beatriz Marinello: Rating (2206, #13 US)

The 2010 U.S. Women's Championship will feature a $65,000 prize fund, the largest prize fund in the history of the tournament. The breakdown is as follows:

1st: $16,000
2nd: $12,000
3rd: $9,000
4th: $7,000
5th: $5,500
6th: $4,500
7th: $3,500
8th: $3,000
9th: $2,500
10th: $2,000

July 16 will be the player's rest day, which will feature an all-day celebration in honor of the two-year anniversary of the CCSCSL. The event will feature a block party and special appearances by top-level grandmasters and members of the professional tennis team the Saint Louis Aces including special guests to be named.

Spectators are encouraged to come down to the club to enjoy the commentary and witness the action live. Games begin at 2 PM Local time (3 PM EST) each day. Live spectators need only to purchase a club membership, which is just $5/month for students or $12/month for adults. The live streaming coverage of grandmaster commentary and play-by-play can be followed online at

Complete Schedule of Championship Events

Friday, July 9, 2010 - Arrival Day
6:00pm - Opening Ceremony, Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd

Saturday, July 10, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 1

Sunday, July 11, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 2

Monday, July 12, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 3

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 4

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 5

Thursday, July 15, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 6

Friday, July 16, 2010
Players' Rest Day
All-Day Activities Celebrating Two-year Anniversary of the CCSCSL

Saturday, July 17, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm - Round 7

Sunday, July 18, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm, Round 8

Monday, July 19, 2010
2:00pm - 8:00pm, Round 9

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
10:00am - 12:00pm - Possible Tie Breaker
12:00pm - 5:00pm - Community Day
7:00pm - 9:00pm - Closing Ceremony and Reception

7,000 Year Old Projectile Points found in Vermont (USA)!!!

From the
Artifacts dating back to 5000 B.C. found in Rutland Town
STAFF WRITER - Published: June 24, 2010

Ancient artifacts dating back roughly 7,000 years ago to 5000 B.C., were found by state archeologists on land near Thomas Dairy in Rutland Town recently.

John Thomas, one of the landowners, said the pointed projectiles looked like arrowheads and were discovered in at least two different locations on his property. (Image: The photo depicts 16 projectiles dating back to 5000 B.C. found on land near Post Road in Rutland Town owned by Orin Thomas and Sons.  Northeast Archaeology Research Center)
“One was close to Carey’s Auto and another abuts the development on Blue Ridge acres,” Thomas said Tuesday.

The discovery occurred as a part of an archeological dig — a standard procedure prior to subdivision — by the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation.

Scott Dillon, a survey archeologist with the division, said 16 projectiles were found at one location and appeared to be intentionally buried together in a pit. He said the relics studied by experts from the Northeast Archaeology Research Center Inc. were from the Native American era.

“These findings are quite rare and priceless. They really paint a picture of people living in the Rutland area 7,000 years ago.”

Dillon said the artifacts included stoneworking tools, fire-cracked rock and containers for cooking.

“They would heat up rock and drop the rock into the pot to heat up the food,” Dillon said of the Native American people who used these tools. When asked how much these items are worth, Dillon would not put a price tag on them.

“People do sell projectile points, but their monetary value is insignificant compared to their cultural value,” he said. “Their cultural value far outweighs the possibility of selling an artifact on eBay.”

After the discoveries were made, the state created buffer zones around the sensitive material and put a restriction on the land for anything but agriculture use.

Despite the buffer zone determination, four lots on the Thomas property were subdivided, a portion of which will soon be sold to the federal government to build a 70,000-square-foot Armed Forces Reserve Center.

On Tuesday, an Act 250 permit was granted for the Thomas subdivision, according to Bill Burke from Rutland’s Act 250 office.

Regarding the artifacts, Thomas said although the findings are not a financial burden yet, he feels they could be in the future.

“Anytime anyone encumbers the land, I feel that it could be a problem or expense very easily,” Thomas said.

When asked how he feels about the discovery of ancient relics on his land, Thomas answered bluntly.

“I feel that if these historic preservation people want to preserve these artifacts, they should put them in a museum and leave me alone.”
It will be interesting to see what happens here - the clash among the land owner, the scientists and the preservationists.  What I want to know is, from experts' perspective, how do these points compare with "Clovis" technology and the much older Aurignacian period points found in parts of France and Spain?  How do they fit in, overall, with the peopling of America? 

Very Sad News from Southwest Chess Club - Death of President Joe Crothers

The President of my adopted chess club, Joe Crothers, has passed away.  The following information from Tom Fogec of Southwest Chess Club:

June 22, 2010:
It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Joe Crothers, President of the Southwest Chess Club, has passed away. Joe collapsed Sunday evening while playing chess at the Southwest Chess Club pavilion at Polish Fest and died later at the hospital. He was a wise and valued leader of our club and will be greatly missed. Arrangements are still pending, but likely to appear in tomorrow's Journal Sentinel. If you would want to offer any thoughts or reminiscences regarding Joe, you can do so at our club blog.

June 24, 2010:
Crothers, Joe L. Age 84. Went home to be with his Lord and Savior on June 20, 2010. Survived by his cousins, nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Joe was retired from the Ladish Corp. and enjoyed his chess club, card playing and golf. Visitation will be held at the funeral home Friday, June 25, from 4-7 PM and Saturday, June 26, 10 AM, Vigil Service to follow at 10:30 AM. Interment Holy Cross Cemetery. HARTSON FUNERAL HOME, 11111 W. Janesville Road.

One More Time - What Really Was It That Killed King Tut?

From Isis:

King Tut died of blood disorder: German researchers
Wed Jun 23, 1:14 pm ET
BERLIN (AFP) – Legendary pharaoh Tutankhamun was probably killed by the genetic blood disorder
sickle cell disease, German scientists said Wednesday, rejecting earlier research that suggested he died of malaria.

The team at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in the northern city of Hamburg questioned the conclusions of a major Egyptian study released in February on the enigmatic boy-king's early demise.

That examination, involving DNA tests and computerised tomography (CT) scans on Tutankhamun's mummy, said he died of malaria after suffering a fall, putting to rest the theory that he was murdered.

But the German researchers said in a letter published online Wednesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association that closer scrutiny of his foot bones pointed to sickle cell disease, in which red blood cells become dangerously misshaped.

"We question the reliability of the genetic data presented in this (the Egyptian) study and therefore the validity of the authors' conclusions," the letter said.

"(The) radiological signs are compatible with osteopathologic lesions seen in sickle cell disease (SCD), a hematological disorder that occurs at gene carrier rates of nine percent to 22 percent in inhabitants of Egyptian oases."

Tutankhamun's death at about 19, after 10 years of rule between 1333 to 1324 BC, has long been a source of speculation.

One of the most common genetic disorders, sickle cell disease causes blood cells to take the shape of a crescent instead of being smooth and round, thereby blocking blood flow and leading to chronic pain, infections and tissue death.

The researchers called for further DNA tests on Tutankhamun's mummy for a definitive cause of death.
The fight here seems to be whether Tut had sufficient "sub-Saharan ancestry" - that is - from black Africa -- to inherit the genetic variation that causes sickle cell anemia; see Wikipedia info which is written in plain English and agrees with other things I've read on the subject.  This is a genetic defect which affects predominately black Africans -"sub-Saharans."  The Germans seem to be saying Tut did have this genetic variance and, therefore, at least some of his ancestry is from black Africa.  Official Egypt hasn't addressed the subject and, by implication, is therefore saying that the Germans don't know their shit from shinola. 

Bitching and Moaning

Egoddess, what a week!  I am so fricking tired, I can barely keep my eyes open.  But I've been neglecting posting here, and the natives are restless.  Our stats have taken a DIVE - but mysteriously, actually.  One day we're getting like 800 visitors a day, the next day we drop down to 200 and it doesn't change?  Yeah, right.  Something happened with the stats long before I stopped frenetically posting here five times a day!   

Speaking of days, the last TEN have been a ceaseless round of hot and mega-humid weather followed by fierce storms with non-stop lightning (of which I have a morbid fear), loud house-shaking thunder, and torrential downpours of up to 4 inches at a time, depending upon which part of the city you are located.  This week I had not one uninvited swimming pools in my backyard -- the usual one along the north lot line where the yard slopes to a low spot -- there was also one formed along the south lot line, and I could just visualize it's insidious waves of water rotting out my fence posts, one by one!  The fence posts that I had Kevin the Handiman reinforce with metal rods last November when I was attempting to get the house into shape to sell (don't get me started on THAT topic). 

No rain yesterday or today, but it's been unrelentingly hot and so humid, I just cannot stand it.  It was 85 degrees downtown at 5 p.m. when I walked out of the office building I work in, and that's within spitting distance of Lake Michigan, a natural air-conditioner.  It was much worse when I got off the bus 50 minutes later and seven or so miles inland (about due west).  It felt like it was about 200 degrees F.   I am breaking a sweat sitting here in my air-conditioned home just thinking about how AWFUL it is outside.  I mean, come on people, who breaks a sweat while standing still and under no stress just by exiting her front door?  Yours truly does! 

This climate has, I think, driven me mad.  Yep, I'm officially over the bend.  More storms are forecast for after midnight tonight, and I can already see the clouds starting to pile up on the western horizon, a sure sign we are in for yet another blow.  Tomorrow, more of the same, except the action is forecast to be "scattered" - whatever the hell that means.  One cannot cut the grass if it gets drenched in a 30 minute downpour.

So I rushed home from work tonight, even though totally out of any get-up-and-go whatsoever.  One freezes on the air-conditioned buses which are set to one temperature only - ARCTIC COLD.  I had enough of a coccoon of gcld air about me when I exited the bus to get me through the first block and a half - the hardest part of my non-stop climb up hill toward home.  I didn't even break a sweat until I turned onto 81st street, just 3 more blocks and I'm home!  That's how frozen I was from that damn bus ride.

I trudged upstairs, changed into junk clothes, drenched myself in bug spray (I HATE the stuff as much as the bugs LOVE me.  I have high octane carbon dixoide emissions, it seems, and the bus just cannot get enough of me,  so bug spray is a necessary evil).  Since I did not have enough steam last weekend to cut the front lawn, it is doubly tall this week - six inches and even more in some spots.  I'm tired, I'm bitchy, I hate the bug spray I'm drenched in.  I just want to play on the internet researching yet another family tree I am researching, but duty calls -- with the weather forecast, I MUST cut tonight, or invest in a couple of sheep and keep them permanently chained in the front yard from now on to chomp on the grass.  I don't think the neighbors or the City of Greenfield would approve.

Yechy.  That's what I am now.  Yechy and funky after spending a good hour shoving that damn lawnmower around through that tall grass.  I think I lost 10 pounds in sweat.  I am attempting to replace those 10 pounds with 10 pounds of wine.  I cut the grass extra tall but even so, the sod web worm damage is now quite apparent.  I would very happily murder each of those sod web worm larvae with my bare hands, if I could find them!  To make matters even worse now, my stupid neighbors to the south - I REALLY HATE THOSE PEOPLE, I REALLY REALLY HATE THEM - had the only serious shade tree in the front of both of our lawns cut down.  It was a well developed Norway maple and there wasn't a thing wrong with it, but earlier in the week it did lose a branch because it was too heavy.  The tree hasn't been pruned in years, duh!  A branch broke off and fell on and smashed the hell out of a honeysuckle bush I have bordering the front lot line very near the curb.  I came home and went EEK, figured out what happened, and cleaned up my smashed shrub.  It was easy to figure out what had happened, I could see the "wound" on the maple where the branch had broken away.  I didn't bitch and I didn't complain to my neighbors (ha, an abuse of the word!).  Such things do happen when one has trees.  Anyway, the next day I get home from work and the rest of that nice maple tree is gone!  Now my front lawn will get even MORE sun exposure from the south, the kind those little bugger sod web worms just LOVE to breed in.

I really, really HATE my neighbors to the south. 

Great, just great, now the sod web worms will have even MORE FRICKING SUN to breed and grow in and eat up yet more of my lawn in the sunny summer time.  Where can I rent a cannon - I want to blow up their house - with them in it.

I am plotting my revenge.  I am checking out local tree growers and will bid out a project.  Preferably two large trees are going to go into my front yard as close to that fricking south lot line as I can get them, allowing for future tree growth.  And then I'm going to get myself one of those electric leaf blower thingies, and in the fall I will get busy and make sure I blow all of my leaves just over the south lot line right on to their front lawn - like they used to do with their maple tree leaves, depositing them on my lawn. 

I am also going to firebomb their mailbox.  Tonight - during the middle of the storm (I can't sleep during these storms anyway). They may just think it was struck by lightning, tee hee hee...

A 9 Queens Academy - for Femmes Only!!!

Sorry for the short notice - but if you are within shooting, er, driving distance of Tucson and are curious about 9 Queens and what those wonderful people do, please check it out!

9 Queens Academy on Sunday, June 27 from 2-4 pm at the Sahuaro Girl Scout Resource Center. We will offer free chess lessons for women and girls of all ages and abilities and host our first ever "Ladies Checkmate Challenge." Prizes available for all female players including beginners. For more information visit our website.

9 Queens is grateful to Bookmans- the official sponsor to the Tucson Queens Academy series and to the Sahuaro Girl Scout Council for hosting the fun!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sad News from Southwest Chess Club

Very sad news, I received an email today from Tom Fogec of the Southwest Chess Club:

It is with great sadness that I must inform you that Joe Crothers, President of the Southwest Chess Club, has passed away. Joe collapsed Sunday evening while playing chess at the Southwest Chess Club pavilion at Polish Fest and died later at the hospital. He was a wise and valued leader of our club and will be greatly missed. Arrangements are still pending, but likely to appear in tomorrow's Journal Sentinel. If you would want to offer any thoughts or reminiscences regarding Joe, you can do so at our club blog. It is:

STORMY Weather!

Holy Goddess!  She sure brought in the first day of summer in Wisconsin with a bang yesterday!  A BIG BANG!  Photo: From Madison, WI, Jack Ramsey kayaks at Jenifer Street and Riverside Drive on Monday night after strong storms moved through the area, flooding streets and downing trees.  Photo by Katherine Davey
We've been receiving torrential downpours of rain inbetween bouts of incredibly humid (high dew point) weather, either unbearably hot or downright chilly.  This spring - in May - I have run my central air conditioning and had my heat on close to Memorial Day weekend!  Unbelievable crazy weather.  Last night topped it all.

I was working on the computer as usual; I had listened to earlier forecasts and knew that severe weather was forecast.  About 8: 15 p.m. the program I had on t.v. was interrupted by the local network weather people and the doppler radar shot they flashed on the screen turned my blood cold!  The weather was ripe for the formation of tornadoes.  And it was nearly dark outside. 

It wasn't raining or blowing winds in Milwaukee County or in my little corner thereof, on the southwest side, when this first flashed on the screen, but it was aimed right at my house, I swear to Goddess!  By 9:10 p.m. the non-stop distant thunder creeping closer and closer every second accompanied by non-stop intense lightning flashes convinced me to stop my internet activities.  I unplugged everything I could to protect against power surges and scampered downstairs (closer to the basement, just in case I had to make a mad dash for cover) to watch the weather coverage which had now taken over full-time.

At 9:15 p.m. the tornado sirens went off.  I scampered to the basement but could hear the t.v. quite clearly from overhead.  I hovered in the basement, scared half to death, for the next 45 minutes.  Should I have brought a t.v. down with me?  Should I have brought a radio?  What about my computers - if I lost them, oh my! Finally, at about 10:05 p.m. when it sounded as if the worst of the storm had passed over, I cautiously went back upstairs.  The t.v. had stayed on the entire time although the lights in the basement had flickered a few times.  And I realized then - duh! - I had no fricking working flashlights in the house!  But of course since I didn't take one downstairs with me anyway, even if I'd had a working flashlight upstairs in the junk drawer I don't think I would have risked a trip back upstairs to try and fetch it if the power went out just so I wouldn't be in the dark in the basement (with the bugs, eeeeeeeewwwwwwww) - it could be right at that moment that my giant tree would choose to crash into the kitchen, or part of my neighbor's swing could come smashing through the window.  Fortunately, my power stayed on.

I was utterly exhausted after all the tension and weather drama, and could not even think about going to bed.  Finally, about 12:20 a.m. I felt I might be able to fall asleep, and knew today was going to be a sleep-deprived day.

Sleep-deprived, you bet!  I had whopper killer dreams last night.  Not that I remember a fig leaf about them, but they sure were intense - it was a relief to get out of bed this morning at 6 a.m. when the alarm went off (I was actually awake before then, but drifting in and out of la-la land).  In fact, lately my dreams have been as intense as our weather.  Last Saturday night I don't know what the hell I was doing but when I finally got up Sunday morning I realized I had somehow managed to pull a muscle on the right side under my arm.  Don't know how that was possible unless I was sleepwalking and doing some heavy lifting, which is an absolutely terrifying thought.  Or else I was tossing around so much on the bed and got tangled in the covers, and then was wrestling with goddesss knows what imaginery beings while trying to get untangled, that I somehow managed to twist something out of order.  This isn't the first time this has happened.  But, fortunately, it is a rare event.

So, how the hell do you prepare for a tornado you can't see when it's pitch black outside?  Answer:  you don't.  When the sirens go off you run for cover full speed ahead.  Because people were either smart and did so, or lucky, we had no fatalities last night despite all of the severe weather.  The town of Eagle to the west of me about a county over got hammered badly.  Even my own area, despite no one (as far as I know) losing a roof or having their windows blown out by tornadic or straight-line winds, had visible damage that I could see as I took the bus northeast toward downtown on the lake, this morning.  Plenty of large branches down, plenty of split trees were visible as the bus rolled along.

Today dawned hot, uber humid.  It's only gotten worse as the day increased.  I'm breaking into a sweat just thinking about what it felt like out there, while I'm sitting here typing in my air-conditioned home!  It was absolutely, incredibly YUCKY out there.  I broke a sweat in the blink of an eye with no activity other than walking - very slowly - home from Walgreens, where I stopped when I got off the bus, to get an extra flashlight and a supply of D size batteries!  Now at least I'll have some light other than candles if the power goes out.  I knew enough last night not to bother to take candles downstairs with me, because who the hell would use candles during a tornado, when windows could blow out at any moment?  So if the tornado didn't blow my house down I'd risk burning it down instead?  Duh!

How bad it it out there?  My poor ankles accurately reflect the moisture content in the air - and they blow up even larger the more the temperature rises.  Despite being on water pills and exercising daily, they blow up with retained water like elephantine's disease when the dew points goes above 60, unless the temperature is below 50 degrees F.  Right now it's at 73 dew point, and the air temperature was 87F at 4:20 p.m. when I left the office.  It's hotter here, away from Lake Michigan, Milwaukee's refrigerator.  I hope you cannot imagine what my ankles look like, they are gross, and the skin is stretched tight to the ouchy point.  I must go upstairs and put my feet up, and catch a nap, because we're in for Round 2 of STORMY Weather tonight, sometime after midinight.

Great, just great.  Just what I need, less sleep.  I think I'm already hallucinating from sleep deprivation, I dread what I'll be like tomorrow morning after more sleeplessness and unrelieved stress.  That is, if I survive the night! 

Some news coverage of the storm from local television. 

Unbelievably, some looters attempted to take advantage of the chaos in the early morning hours today. I have not before heard about looters at storm damage sites in Wisconsin.  This is gag-me stuff.   I am SO GLAD those fricking a-holes were caught red-handed.  Trust me, if they are stupid enough to go to a jury trial, they will get 30 years each!  People around here don't take kindly to looters taking advantage of other peoples' misfortune.  This happened in Muskego, Wisconsin, a small community to the southwest of my location - not very far away as the crow flies. 

Raw video taken by an incredibly stupid woman (does she know the meaning of the word COW?) of the tornado that destroyed so many homes in Eagle, Wisconsin last night.  It's very difficult to listen to the increasingly panicked cries of her children begging her to return to the basement captured on the video as she acted as if she were in Oz rather than in a tornado zone. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championship

It begins on July 9 and ends July 19th, and there are lots of great activities planned besides what I'm sure will be a whole series of great games of chess.

Live commentary will once again be provided by WGM Jennifer Shahade and GM Ben Finegold.  I so enjoyed listening to them last year through my headphones at the office while I was pretending to work, all the time clicking constantly on the games to see what the heck was going on as I listened to Jen and Ben.

There is still not much going on at the event the website for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, official host and sponsor of the 2010 U.S. Chess Championship, 2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championship, and 2010 U.S. Juniors' Closed Chess Championship.  I "hear" stuff is going on at the Facebook site - so if you're a member of Facebook check it out.

The total prize fund will be at least $64,000.00.  PLUS -

Goddesschess and 9 Queens are pleased to present a "Fighting Chess Award" prize of $1,000.00!!!

Stay tuned for further details.

Native American Finds Could Date to 1,000 BCE

Native site on Patuxent could date to 1000 B.C.
Was village visited by Ohio mound-builders?
June 13, 2010|
By Frank D. Roylance, The Baltimore Sun
When they first detected traces of an 800-year-old wigwam on a bluff over the Patuxent River last year, archaeologists celebrated what they said was the oldest human structure yet found in Maryland.

Now, deeper excavation at the site — the front lawn of a modest rental house — is yielding details of much earlier settlement, extending its history back to at least 3,000 years ago.

"As far as I know, it's older than anything in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware, perhaps the oldest structures in the Chesapeake region," said Ann Arundel County archaeologist Al Luckenbach, leader of the dig.
And that's just the age that's been established by carbon-14 dating. Slicing deeper in the sandy bluff overlooking the Patuxent's broad marsh, Luckenbach's crew has found stone tools suggesting that humans were exploiting the river's abundance as far back as 10,000 years ago.

Called Pig Point, the site is producing a gusher of ancient artifacts — decorated pottery, tools crafted from stone and bone, ornaments and food waste that have begun to fill in the details of life along the Patuxent River centuries before Europeans arrived.

"Some of the ceramics that have come out of this site are really just astounding," said Maureen Kavanagh, chief archaeologist at the Maryland Historical Trust and a specialist in ceramics.

There have been pot fragments with incised angular decorations or rims crimped like a pie crust — both different from any ever found in Maryland. Diggers found an intact paint pot the size of a child's fist, and a miniature, decorated pot the size of a thimble.

"These really have us scrambling to figure out what they represent," Kavanaugh said. "Some of these artifacts are one of a kind, and we don't have an easy way of fitting them into our mental template. … It's a great, great site."

Archaeologists say some of their discoveries are so exotic in this region that they suggest Pig Point was a center of trade among native people as far-flung as Ohio, Michigan and New York.

Even today, the town site overlooks broad expanses of wild rice and Tuckahoe — river plants that would have helped to feed the native people. Geese, heron, osprey, bald eagles still patrol the shores. Tiny fish roil the shallows.

Trash middens unearthed in the dig are yielding the remains of freshwater mussels, oysters, fish, beaver, muskrat, otter, deer, duck, nuts and more. Archaeologists have also found carbonized corn kernels, evidence of agriculture.

Rest of article.

Western Zhou Dynasty Tortoise Shell

The early peoples in China used certain types of animal bones as well as tortoise shells for divination.  As far as I known, the practice had it roots during the Shang Dynasty.  The area generally associated with the Shang in modern-day China is depicted in the map to the right.

A chronology from

The Bronze Age Shang Dynasty in China is roughly dated between 1700-1050 BC, and, according to the Shi Ji, it began when the first Shang emperor, T'ang, overthrew the last of the Xia (also called Erlitou) dynasty emperors. They in turn were overthrown by the first rulers of the Zhou Dynasty, in 1046 BC.

Shang Dynasty Chronology

•Erlitou (or Xia dynasty) 1850-1600 BC (Erlitou, Xinzhai)

•Early Shang (Erligang) 1600-1435 BC (Erligang, Zhengzhou, Yanshi, Xingyang Dashigu, Anyang)•Middle Shang 1435-1220 BC (Yanshi)

•Late Shang (Yinxu) 1220-1050 BC

Archaeological evidence for the Shang Dynasty suggests that the story is far more complex and that the use of the term 'Shang dynasty' or 'Shang civilization' is confusing, and 'Shang period' might be of more use. Settlement patterns of the Shang period include dispersed villages like Taixi, walled settlements like Gucheng and Zhengzhou, and ritual or ceremonial centers like Erlitou and Anyang.

Important advances of the Shang Dynasty are the creation of writing, on oracle bones, bones and turtle shells used to record dreams and public and private events and sacrifices. Ritual bronzes were first created at Erlitou, which may or may not represent the early part of the Shang Dynasty, depending on which scholar you listen to.

As you can see from this map of the area of the Western Zhou Dynasty, the area in China is basically the same.  Information from

Western Zhou Dynasty Map - (1100 to 771 BC - 331 Years)

A chieftain of a frontier tribe called Zhou, which had settled in the Wei Valley in modern Sha'anxi Province, overthrew the last Shang ruler, a despot according to standard Chinese accounts. The Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other, from 1027 to 221 BC (807 years). It was philosophers of this period who first enunciated the doctrine of the "mandate of heaven," the notion that the ruler (the "son of heaven") governed by divine right but his dethronement would mean that he had lost his mandate. This doctrine explained and justified the demise of the two earlier dynasties and at the same time supported the legitimacy of the present and future rulers. In 771 BC, the Zhou court was sacked, and its king killed by invading barbarians who were allied with rebel lords. The capital was moved eastward to Luoyang. Because of this shift, historians divide the Zhou era into Western Zhou (1027 to 771 BC) and Eastern Zhou (770 to 221 BC). With the royal line broken, the power of the Zhou court gradually diminished; the fragmentation of the kingdom accelerated. Eastern Zhou divides into two sub periods. The first, from 770 to 476 BC, is called the Spring and Autumn Period, after a famous historical chronicle of the time; the second is known as the Warring States Period (475 to 221 BC).
Article from National Geographic News:

Ancient Psychic Shell?
Published June 15, 2010
Photograph from Imagechina/AP

A broken tortoise shell found at the Luoyang excavation site was likely used for psychic practices thousands of years ago.

Not much is known about tortoise-shell divination during the Western Zhou period, Sena said, but during the preceding Shang dynasty, the process involved heating the shell and interpreting the cracks that formed.

"Holes are bored in the back of the shell to make it easier to crack during the divination process," Sena explained.

"Someone then 'reads' the cracks. We don't know how exactly—it may be the shape of the crack or the sound it makes when it's heated," he added.

"The diviner would ask a question and the crack provided an answer."

Tang Dynasty Pottery and Persian Glassware Found in Central Java

More evidence of the broad trade connections that existed during the 9th century CE in the rest of the world while Europe was going through its 'Dark Age.'

Story at
Chinese Ancient Earthenware Found in Dieng
The discovery may reveal the economic situation in the Old Mataram kingdom.
Senin, 14 Juni 2010, 10:32 WIBArfi Bambani Amri

VIVAnews - A student from the Department of Archaeology of Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta, discovered ancient items in the Dieng Temple complex situated between Banjarnegara and Wonosobo, Central Java. The items found during a research conducted on June 2-11, 2010, are considered earthenware produced by Chinese Dinasty of Tang around 9th century and Persian broken glasses.

The discovery completes historical evidences illustrating the connection between the Old Mataram kingdom and China as well as the Middle East through trade routes.

This has been the first and important discovery which may reveal the economic situation in the Old Mataram kingdom.

"We're doing excavation and identification in two spots inside the Dieng Temple complex," said Chief of the research team, Dr Mahirta, on June 12.

"The excavation takes place on the surface of incorrupt soil. Through the excavation, we found some ancient goods such fragments of eartenware similar to those discovered on a shipwreck in Belitung, pieces of grinded earthenware shaped into coins, Persian ancient glasses, and charcoal, which can be used to date back historical items."

Dozens of brown and yellow earthenware, said Mahirta, were made in the center of earthenware products in North China during the era of Tang Dinasty.

Meanwhile, based on the analysis over the ancient glasses, it is concluded that the goods were originated from Persia, referring to their particular colors of blue and green. The broken glasses are among other findings considered the oldest. "The findings prove that Middle East trade routes in the ninth century passed by silk road starting from India, Strait of Malacca, eastern coast of Sumatra, northern coast of Java and Maluku. At that time of years, the merchants bought spices from Indonesia," he said.

Meanwhile, an archaeologist from the National University of Singapore, Prof John Norman Miksick, explained that the data recording the overland trade routes of the ninth century is still rare. "It is only within these last 15 years that new historical evidences have been found on the land, one of which is from Dieng," he said.

According to Miksick, the efforts to discover historical evidences, concerning especially with earthenware produced in the Tang Dinasty, have been conducted through various excavations. However, accurate data has been difficult to be recorded because researchers are busy focusing on the excavations of other sites.

Dieng plateu, according to Head of the Department of Archaeology of Gadjah Mada University, Prof Inayati Adrisiyanti, is only known as home for temples. However, the findings emphasized the economic activities of the locals in the ninth century.
Translated by: Bonardo Maulana W

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