Saturday, January 5, 2013

Fingers Crossed!!! Goddesschess Website May Soon Be Back Online

Updated January 12, 2013:

Well, I still am not quite sure how I did it - flying totally by the seat of my pants, but I did manage to get the April, 2011 version of Goddesschess BACK WHERE IT BELONGS ONLINE -- using my ancient Front Page program, that is, at  Hooray!!!!!  Unfortunately, the "Way Back Machine" tag seems to be on every single website page I looked at later on this laptop.  There must be a way to delete it wholesale from all of the myriad pages at Goddesschess, but I have no idea how.  I thought by deleting it on the "home" page that it would be wiped out on all pages.  Nope!  Damn!  But the main thing is that a version of the website IS BACK ONLINE where it belongs!

Thanks to an email received earlier today that suggested I visit the Way Back Machine again, I did, and lo and behold, there is now an even later version of Goddesschess, from May, 2012, available that sure wasn't there last Saturday when I was able to successfully fire up the old laptop and get her on my wireless network here at home.  So, I am trying to download that version right now into my Front Page program.  If successful, I will update the Goddesschess website with that "latest version" some time later today.  Fingers crossed, people!  I really have no fricking idea what the heck I'm doing!

Wouldn't you know it (perhaps Caissa is smiling upon me), yesterday morning I received an email from our former host -- you know, the one I did not pay to renew where I thought Mr. Don's most recent Goddesschess files might have been parked since they were not at the current host (damn!), and they were offering me a chance to renew for one year for 50% off and preserve whatever was there of the Goddesschess website.  So, I took them up on their offer.  Wel, I tried to.

Of course, nothing was easy!  I had to get a new password to pay the bill since my old one did not work; I emailed them early yesterday morning at the crack of dawn and a new password was sent to me; then last night, after I got home from work, I managed to log in after some hoo-haa, and pay the bill.

This morning, when I tried to find the control panel and log into it to see what is there -- nothing worked at all!  Could NOT access it.  After hours of pulling my hair (literally!) -- from 8 a.m. until about an hour ago -- I finally figured a few things out and was able to locate and access the Control Panel.  I was able to confirm that the files ARE there -- well, at least I think so.  There is lots of stuff there under File Manager, and I sure didn't put it there, so it must be the files that Mr. Don uploaded there.  I just have no idea how to get THOSE files published online as

Those pages go to about mid-June, 2012.  Mr. Don ran into problems that he was not able to resolve a day or two before he put up a notice on June 20, 2012 that we were taking Goddesschess offline for awhile to do a revamp.  Well, he did do revamps but everything is locked up in his Mac, which is either in storage or his sister has with her.  Will those revamped pages that Mr. Don worked on so hard after his release from hospital ever be published?  I don't know, but I will try my best to get them where they belong -- online.

Guess you could say I'm obsessed, heh?  Well, as I see it, this is a memorial to Don McLean and all that he did for Goddesschess.  I - and Goddesschess - will never be the same without him. 

Later:  Unsuccessful at downloading the May 27, 2012 version of Goddesschess, and I cannot figure out why.  I gave up after tinkering around and trying several different things.  I will try again tomorrow.  In the meantime, I updated (I hope it works) the link to the Way Back Machine which features that version of -- it's in the left-hand navigation bar near the top labeled "Way Back Machine."


Updated January 7, 2013:

Hi everyone.  I looked up the Way Back Machine again today and was able to come up with an April, 2011 version of Goddesschess.  So, that is now linked under the "Way Back Machine" near the top of the left hand navigation bar of this blog -- I hope!  It seems to be mostly all there (at least, as it existed in April, 2011), but many of the original images did not survive - there are lots of those little red boxes with "x"s in them throughout the pages.  I may never be able to reconstruct them because there are four years at least, of Random Round-ups there that Mr. Don did and saved those images to his computer.  And trying to remember what images he may have used and trying to find them and insert them all over again -- ha ha ha!  Are you kidding me?  I can't remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday...

Meanwhile, I downloaded all of THOSE old files to my old Front Page program -- it's amazing to me this old desk top has enough space to hold all of those files.  What I tried to do was "import" the entire website as it was saved in that last version at the Way Back Machine.  Now, the question becomes, will I be able to figure out how to organize the files into a navigable website and get it published using my ancient 2001 Front Page program?  I will try.  April, 2011 is much better than the 2007 version of Goddesschess I had.


Updated January 6, 2013:

Nope, it didn't work.  Oh, when I typed in the name of tonight in my browser an old website that I published at this particular webhost came up -- I had eliminated most of it years ago but this little bit of remnant was still there.  It was an article I did for our old International Chessoid back in 2000 or maybe 2001.  It's actually pretty damn funny.  But --

So, the files that Mr. Don said he parked at the website, maybe they're not there or -- simply pointing the domain name to them doesn't mean they will suddenly be published.  But that means I'm up shit creek without a paddle, because Mr. Don used Dream Weaver, I've no idea what version, and for sure I have no knowledge of it at all.  Perhaps those files parked there (if they are parked there) can never be published since the command isn't coming from Mr. Don's computer.  I just don't know.  I don't understand how all of this works.

I have a VERY old version of Goddesschess saved on my antique desk top (which I successfully fired-up yesterday after it being off the internet for about two years...) -- maybe that is the only version I'll be able to restore?  Well, at least I figure I can, since it was saved with my old Front Page program, and I KNOW (sort of) how to use front page and get that published to a webhost/website.  We'll see.  That would mean, though, that all of Mr. Don's work since spring/summer of 2007, when we first started Random Round-up, is gone, along with all of the articles he added to Goddesschess from that time forward until he got sick.


Hola Darlings!


I have worked and worked and worked to try and get our Goddesschess website back online ever since Mr. Don took it offline in June, 2012 due to ongoing technical issues with our then webhost.

And then he got sick, and I got sick.  And everything went to Hell.

After Mr. Don had his heart procedures in July and left hospital at the end of that month, seemingly cured of his heart ailment, he had also been working to get Goddesschess back online.  But his recovery was long in coming; he was weak and easily tired, and it is entirely frustrating trying to deal with webhosts and domain registrars and how to get things pointed to the right website or vice versa! He was not rallying like we'd hoped he would, and he just did not seem to be getting his strength or energy back, and he continued to lose weight.

While he wasn't getting any better despite his hospital stays, and I was going through my own heart health issues and facing potential surgery and an incurable pulmonary condition that would probably kill me in three years, we had decided just to keep Goddesschess offline for awhile longer, until he or we, or me, were recovered sufficiently to try and figure things out.  I speak from experience of those dreadful months, one's brain just does not work right when one is seriously ill. Then, Mr. Don died unexpectedly on October 12, 2012.

He had handled all of the webmaster duties for YEARS.  I know little to nothing about how all of that works!  I was still operating using the 2001 version of Front Page, LOL, to put together Chess Femme News!  But once he took over with his Dream Weaver and html stuff well - it was all Greek to me.

I have tried numerous times trying to figure out what Mr. Don did and how he did it, and what files were at what webhosts, all for nought.  And so I researched and read and tried to get a handle on what I needed to do and how to do it.  And finally, tonight, I THINK I managed to get the Goddesschess domain pointed to the new webhost.  But I won't know for 24 to 48 hours if it worked. 

Even if it does work, though, although Mr. Don emailed me once (which I can't find, damn it) that he had downloaded all of the Goddesschess files to the new webhost and was trying to figure out how to get the domain pointed to the new host -- I do not have any idea if those files, actually, are at the webhost.  So maybe all of this struggling with the technical aspects to try and get Goddesschess back online could be for nought!  He emailed me that he left those files at our "old" webhost, the one he had so many problems with in the spring/early summer of 2012, pending successful transfer to the new webhost.  The old webhost would be our fallback position if all else failed. 

But I didn't pay renewal for that webhost that was due in early December, and they have been threatening to delete the account and all the files that are there.  So, if the Goddesschess files are NOT at the new webhost, things may be disappeared forever except as what we may be able to figure out how to recover from Mr. Don's Mac when his sister comes back to Montreal in the summer.

Well, all the way around, it's been a big, sad, mess. 

I suppose you're all wondering now why I don't just pay for another year's service with the old webhost, just to preserve the Goddesschess files -- assuming they ARE, in fact, still there, like Mr. Don emailed me that they were -- just in case they AREN'T at the new webhost.  The thing is, I don't know what I'm looking at when I log in at the old webhost, so I can't tell if the files are there or not.  I told you, I'm no techy, and all of this has turned my hair even more grey than what it used to be.  It's a matter of principle, and irrational as it is, I put at least part of the blame for Mr. Don's hard time recovering (well, he didn't, did he) on that damned webhost and it's intractable technical issues that were driving Mr. Don crazy.  He tried to reach technical support numerous times through telephone and email -- and never received a response.  And he asked me questions that I had no idea how to answer.  Like I said, when one is sick, one's brain does not seem to work in its normal way.  I know neither of us were able to handle what seemed to be insurmountable and inpenetrable mysteries!

But that fricking old webhost sure has been emailing me for renewal money!

So, keep your fingers crossed that what I worked on for hours this afternoon and early evening has worked, and the last version of Goddesschess that Mr. Don had uploaded to the new webhost will appear online at

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Ideal Woman -- Of 1912

January 3, 2013 [I tried again several times, unsuccessfully, to publish here a saved image from my hard drive.  I was not ever given that option and yet, that has been an option available since the very first day I started this blog back on April 30, 2007.  So what the flying F is going on?]

"Perfect Woman" Weighed 171 Pounds

Image of Meroe "Princess" Discovered

January 3, 2013 (Note:  Tonight, I was not able to download a single photo for this article due to Blogger errors.  Must I REALLY move this gigantic blog to Wordpress?  Geez!)

Ancient Carving Shows Stylishly Plump African Princess


A 2,000-year-old relief carved with an image of what appears to be a, stylishly overweight, princess has been discovered in an "extremely fragile" palace in the ancient city of Meroë, in Sudan, archaeologists say.

At the time the relief was made, Meroë was the center of a kingdom named Kush, its borders stretching as far north as the southern edge of Egypt. It wasn't unusual for queens (sometimes referred to as "Candaces") to rule, facing down the armies of an expanding Rome.

The sandstone relief shows a woman smiling, her hair carefully dressed and an earring on her left ear. She appears to have a second chin and a bit of fat on her neck, something considered stylish, at the time, among royal women from Kush.

Team leader Krzysztof Grzymski presented the relief, among other finds from the palace at Meroë, at an Egyptology symposium held recently at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

Researchers don't know the identity of the woman being depicted, but based on the artistic style the relief appears to date back around 2,000 years and show someone royal. "It's similar to other images of princesses," Grzymski told LiveScience in an interview. He said that the headdress hasn't survived and it cannot be ruled out that it actually depicts a queen.

Why royal women in Kush preferred to be depicted overweight is a long-standing mystery. "There is a distinct possibility that the large size of the Candaces represented fertility and maternity," wrote the late Miriam Ma'at-Ka-Re Monges, who was a professor at California State University, Chico, and an expert on Kush, in an article published in The Encyclopedia of Black Studies (Sage Publications, 2005).

An ancient palace
The discovery occurred in 2007 as Grzymski's team was exploring a royal palace in the city, trying to determine its date. The sandstone blocks that made up its foundation were "extremely fragile," according to Grzymski, and the team found that the palace dated to late in the life of Kush's existence. The blocks were re-used in antiquity by the palace's builders and were originally from buildings that stood in earlier times.

When they found the relief it "was loose and falling apart so we just took it out," Grzymski said. It was brought to a museum in Khartoum, Sudan's modern capital, for safekeeping. "There's always a danger of robbers coming and taking [them] out, so many of those decorated blocks were in danger."
They found many other decorated blocks as well, Grzymski said. Because they had been re-used in antiquity the blocks were out of order and presented researchers with a giant jigsaw puzzle.

"Ideally, I would like to dismantle this whole wall, this foundation wall, and take out the decorated blocks and see if we would be able reconstruct some other structures from which the blocks came," Grzymski told the Toronto audience.

It's one of many, many, tasks that need to be done in the ancient city. "It's considered one of the largest archaeological sites in Africa," Grzymski said of Meroë. "This site will be worked on for a hundred years perhaps before it's fully explored."

Grzymski is a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum and the symposium was organized by the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and the museum's Friends of Ancient Egypt group.
"Ideally, I would like to dismantle this whole wall, this foundation wall, and take out the decorated blocks and see if we would be able reconstruct some other structures from which the blocks came," Grzymski told the Toronto audience.

It's one of many, many, tasks that need to be done in the ancient city. "It's considered one of the largest archaeological sites in Africa," Grzymski said of Meroë. "This site will be worked on for a hundred years perhaps before it's fully explored."

Grzymski is a curator at the Royal Ontario Museum and the symposium was organized by the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities and the museum's Friends of Ancient Egypt group.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival

It's January and that means the warm tradewinds of Gibraltar are beckoning chessplayers from around the world.  The weather, yes, but especially excellent playing conditions that the players have responded to over the years, and generous prize structures!  What's not to love about Gibraltar at the end of January?

The Masters attracts top talent from everywhere, and this year is no different.  Top female players include (all players numbered by rating):

25 14111330 Muzychuk, Anna g SLO 2582
29 13601903 Dzagnidze, Nana g GEO 2555
35 617822 Sebag, Marie g FRA 2530
36 1700030 Cramling, Pia g SWE 2518
38 2902257 Stefanova, Antoaneta g BUL 2516
39 12801259 Cmilyte, Viktorija g LTU 2515
40 5015197 Harika, Dronavalli g IND 2514
43 8603006 Ju, Wenjun wg CHN 2505
46 14101572 Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2491
47 4167570 Gunina, Valentina m RUS 2490
49 4641833 Paehtz, Elisabeth m GER 2482
52 4147855 Pogonina, Natalija wg RUS 2475
54 14114550 Muzychuk, Mariya m UKR 2471
55 12400149 Hoang, Thanh Trang g HUN 2470
69 13602446 Melia, Salome m GEO 2403
70 5007844 Tania, Sachdev m IND 2403

And many more chess femmes.  Thus far 233 players are registered just for the Masters Open!  A notable absence this year, though, is IM Irina Krush, currently U.S. Women's Chess Champion.  She will be providing live commentary instead!  Fellow Team America player IM Anna Zatonskih will again be holding a Master Class (she held one last year and it proved a very popular event), as well as playing in the Masters.

Prizes for the Masters Open:

Open to all
Prizes for best relative rating achievement
1st Prize
£20,000 Rating Band 1st Prize 2nd Prize
2nd Prize
£14,000 2500-2599 £3,000 £2,000
3rd Prize
£12,000 2400-2499 £2,000 £1,000
4th Prize
£10,000 2300-2399 £2,000 £1,000
5th Prize
£6,000 2200-2299 £2,000 £1,000
6th Prize
£4,000 2100-2199 £2,000 £1,000
7th Prize
£3,000 2000-2099 £2,000 £1,000
8th Prize
£2,500 Under 2000 £2,000 £1,000
9th Prize
£2,000 A player may not win more than
one complete prize from this table.
10th Prize
11th Prize
12th Prize

Open to all Women
1st Prize
2nd Prize
3rd Prize
4th Prize
5th Prize
6th Prize
7th Prize
8th Prize
9th Prize
10th Prize

You can be sure the fight for top women's prize of £12,000 will be fierce!  Top prizes for the Open and the special women's prizes are NOT shared.

The Festival runs January 21 - 31, 2013!  You can read more news and player entries at the official website

Rosgilde Viking Ship to Go on Display at British Museum

Rebirth of the Viking warship that may have helped Canute conquer the seas

27 December 2012
Maeve Kennedy

When the sleek, beautiful silhouette of Roskilde 6 appeared on the horizon, 1,000 years ago, it was very bad news. The ship was part of a fleet carrying an army of hungry, thirsty warriors, muscles toned by rowing and sailing across the North Sea; a war machine like nothing else in 11th-century Europe, its arrival meant disaster was imminent.

Now the ship's timbers are slowly drying out in giant steel tanks at the Danish national museum's conservation centre at Brede outside Copenhagen, and will soon again head across the North Sea – to be a star attraction at an exhibition in the British Museum.

The largest Viking warship ever found, it was discovered by chance in 1996 at Roskilde. It is estimated that building it would have taken up to 30,000 hours of skilled work, plus the labour of felling trees and hauling materials. At just over 36 metres, it was four metres longer than Henry VIII's flagship Mary Rose built 500 years later, and six metres longer than the Viking ship spectacularly recreated as Sea Stallion, which sailed from Scandinavia around Scotland to Dublin in 2007.

"This ship was a troop carrier," said Gareth Williams of the British Museum. It was built some time after 1025 when the oak trees were felled, and held 100 warriors taking turns on 39 pairs of oars if there was not enough wind to fill the square woollen sail. They would have been packed in tightly, sleeping as they could between the seats, with little room for supplies except a minimal amount of fresh water – or ale or mead, which would not have gone stale as fast – and dried salt mutton.

It would have been an uncomfortable journey, but short: they did not need to carry much as their ship could move startlingly fast – Sea Stallion managed an average speed of 5.5 knots, and a top speed of 20 knots. Once they landed, the warriors could forage with ruthless efficiency, as many a coastal community or wealthy monastery discovered.

The ship would probably not have come alone. "There are records in the annals of fleets of hundreds of ships," Williams said. "So you could be talking about an army of up to 10,000 men suddenly landing on your coast, highly trained, fit, capable of moving very fast on water or land." Such luxury ships were fabulously expensive to build and a devastating display of power, Williams said.

The dates suggest Roskilde 6 may have been built for King Canute, who according to legend set his throne in the path of the incoming tide, to prove to his courtiers that even a monarch could not control the force of nature. At the time the Vikings were consolidating their power from temporary raiders to permanent invaders.

With all the original timbers fitted into a steel frame that will recreate its full length and form, the ship will be the centrepiece of Viking, an exhibition opening at the Danish national museum in June, before being transported to London to launch the British Museum's new exhibition space in 2014. It will travel in two containers, by freighter and lorry.


The vessel was found by accident when an extension was being built to the Roskilde ship museum in Denmark, itself built to hold an earlier find of Viking ships that had been deliberately sunk to narrow the fjord and protect the approach to the town, the old royal capital of Denmark. In 1996 archaeologists watching the construction work discovered huge timbers turned up in the new foundations, some already chopped in half by the piling. It proved to be a treasure trove of nine ships, of which Roskilde 6, almost half of which was recovered, was the most spectacular.

The timbers stayed in storage while the museum worked out what to do with the unexpected addition to its collection, until the exhibition provided the opportunity for full conservation.

The original Roskilde ships are spectacularly displayed in a purpose-built ship hall, but could never travel: the timbers look solid but might shatter like glass. When excavated, the sodden timbers of Roskilde 6 would have disintegrated into a heap of dust if left exposed to air. National museum conservator Kristiane Straetkvern managed the project, which has been drying timbers up to 10 metres long far more slowly than the older techniques, then replacing the lost moisture with synthetic resin, leaving them lighter but stable.

It was a nervous moment for her when some completed timbers were test assembled, each resting in a felt lined individually laser-cut support, in a frame that bolts together like a giant Meccano set, but that dismantles into hundreds of components for travelling.

The exhibition will display finds from across Scandinavia and from deep into the countries they penetrated wherever a river could carry their shallow draft ships – as far inland as Lichfield in England, deep into Russia, to Byzantium in the east, where Vikings fought as mercenaries on both sides, and beyond. Objects from 12 countries, including many recent finds, will demonstrate that Vikings were traders, farmers, fishermen, and superb craft workers in timber, bone and metal.

However the most spectacular single artefact will be the ship, a potent witness that the Vikings were also dreaded raiders.

The Roskilde team are now experts on recreating ancient ships, regularly commissioned to build them. One day they hope to recreate a full-size, ocean-going replica Roskilde 6, and send it across the sea to awe rather than to terrorise the coasts of the British Isles.

3,500 Kg of Coins Discovered in China

3,500 kilograms?  What were they made of?  Precious metals?  Just plain metal (bronze, for instance?)  If the coins weren't valuable, why were people evidently stealing them???  I wonder how many were stolen, and where those coins ended up! 

Reported at The Times of India

Huge quantity of ancient coins found in China

IANS Dec 30, 2012, 06.11PM IST
BEIJING: Archaeologists have excavated about 3,500kg of ancient coins in China's Inner Mongolia Region, Xinhua reported on Sunday. Most of these coins were in prevalence during the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD).
According to Lian Jilin, a researcher with the regional Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, the coins were found in three millennia-old coin pits in the ancient town of Huoluochaideng after police cracked three theft cases.
Most of the coins were "Huoquan", the coins commonly used in the Han dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), said Lian.
Archaeologists also excavated over 100 casting moulds from the relics of a coin workshop. The moulds are believed to date back to the rule of Emperor Wudi (156 BC-87 BC) of the Western Han Dynasty and the short-lived Xin Dynasty (45 BC-23 AD) founded by Wang Mang.
Based on its size and cultural relics uncovered there, Huoluochaideng town is believed to have been a major town in northern China during the Han Dynasty, said Lian.
The findings are significant in the study of the ancient monetary system and casting technology, he added.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Notre Dame Cathedral (Paris) Celebrates 850th Birthday!

She wears her age well, this Grande Dame :)  I'll bet it was built upon an ancient sanctuary of goddess worship.  It has all of the hallmarks:  It was built on a island (check); it either had it's own source of water or was near a conjunction of rivers (check); it's named after the Roman Catholic Mother of God (check).  It incorporates well-known (if not to laymen of today) Goddess symbols ("Rose Window," bells, etc.)

This is the "Rose" Window of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.  If you count the small circles around the center-most circle in the "rosette," there are eight.  Eight, the number of the Goddess from ancient times, as in the eight-pointed rosette symbol of Inanna, back in the days of ancient Sumer.  Many "rose windows" also have center-most circles of five, another sacred number codified in the Fibonnaci Spiral and seen in nature repeatedly.  See "Rose Window" at Wikipedia for some great photographs of many different "Rose" windows. 

Paris Notre Dame cathedral turns 850 years old
December 24, 2012

Interesting Finds at Pig Point, Maryland (USA)

Centuries old burial rituals uncovered at Pig Point
Posted: Saturday, December 22, 2012 11:00 pm | Updated: 11:13 am, Mon Dec 24, 2012

By E.B. FURGURSON III Staff Writer

It might have been the last thing they expected to find.

Since 2009, Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project archaeologists have uncovered a trove of prehistoric Native American artifacts along the Patuxent River indicating the spot was a gathering place for thousands of years.  Now they think they know why.

This year’s dig at Pig Point uncovered what appears to be a ritualistic burial place with five or more oval pits with human bone and artifacts dating from 230 B.C. to 620 A.D.

“It looks like this was ritual central for 850 years or more,” county archaeologist Al Luckenbach said. “This casts all the things we discovered in the first three years in a completely different light. It is a hell of a mystery.”

Earlier finds suggested it was the area’s bounty (especially the fishing along the Patuxent) that lured bands of tribes to the site. But now it looks like the rituals surrounding the sacred dead — or were they enemies? — are also a key part of the continued occupation.

“This is completely new to science,” Luckenbach said. “And the first time professional archaeologists have been able to glimpse what is really going on in these places.”

Years ago, mostly in the 1930s and 1950s, similar deposits of what is known as Adena flint — tools, arrow and spear points and pipes made of stone found only in quarries in Ohio — have been found along a line stretching from Ohio to Delaware. But those were found by amateurs and hobbyists long before more modern archaeology theories and technology were developed. [Bullshit!  Amateurs and hobbyists made major discoveries in Egypt during the late 1800's; and what about the amateurs who discovered Troy and uncovered the treasures at Ur?  So-called amateurs and hobbyists today continue to make major archaeological discoveries, that are then turned over to the university and museum people.]

Luckenbach and other Lost Town staffers were amazed to find Adena artifacts at Pig Point on a bluff overlooking Jug Bay. Layer after layer of artifacts were found, one period of material stacked atop another, and another.

The first big find indicating the pre-historic sweep of time were wigwam post holes built on top of one another. The youngest was from the 16th century, the oldest could be 3,000 years old. They are the oldest structures ever uncovered in Maryland.

It was one eureka moment after another, from pottery preceding the birth of Christ to a Palmer point that could be 10,000 years old. Other points found were from 1,000 to 5,000 years old. A small paint pot, the first fully intact pre-historic pot Luckenbach has ever held, was made about two centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Persistance Rewarded
Lost Town archeologists were not sure whether to pursue a fourth year digging at Pig Point. When they did, it was decided to dig test pits on an adjoining property just uphill from the previous work.
Of the scores of test pits, five proved fruitful.

“What we have is at least five oval pits, about 20 by 25 feet each,” Luckenbach said.

Most of the 2012 season was spent on just one of the oval pits, actually only one-third of that pit was painstakingly excavated, inch by inch.  What they found dwarfs previous work.
Archaeologists were all giddy a couple years back when they found a single copper bead. This summer yielded 180.

Luckenbach was thrilled to have found a couple of intact sections of Adena tube pipe in the previous Pig Point digs.  “Now we have 80 to 100 of them,” he said.

But it was the bones that opened up an entirely new realm of discovery.  “We were finding all these pieces of bone. For a few weeks we didn’t know they were human. Until we saw teeth,” he said.
Curiously, all the bone found is long bone, arm or leg bone, and skull fragments. There are no pelvic bone, spine, rib bones.

Dug and dug again
Early Native American tribes engaged in reburial rituals. Every year, 10 years, or more, a group would gather the remains of their dead and commit them to a common burial ground.  Iroquois tribes were noted for their reburial rituals as were the Nanticoke who took their ancestors’ remains with them when they moved to Pennsylvania from the Eastern Shore.

Ossuaries held the the dead whether nothing but skeleton or fresher remains. But the bodies were intact, or mostly so. The difference at Pig Point is that all the bones were smashed, broken on purpose. And so were thousands of artifacts such as fancy Adena points, beads, gorgets, and other items. All broken into bits.

“These are perhaps the most significant discoveries ever made by the (Lost Towns) project,” Luckenbach said. “It is an opportunity to uncover a type of ritual behavior never before seen by science.”

Doug Owsley, a preeminent forensic archaeologist at the Smithsonian, will examine the fragments — especially the teeth.  The long bones didn’t look like they included any children under 10, though some children’s teeth were found. The people were shorter than most of the Plains Indians.

The excavated pit, which was filled with ash and the fractured bone, points, pottery and such, shows evidence the Native Americans returned to the same pit, uncovered it and added more material over the years. “Were they ancestors, or enemies? Or could these be offerings to the gods.” Questions abound.  “This is unreported ritual behavior. The groups repeatedly gathered at this site to trade, fish, conduct rituals and arrange marriages,” Luckenbach said.

Other scientists agree. Chris Goodwin, of R. Christopher Goodwin and Associates in Frederick, said the benefits to science are immeasurable. “Although there are other Adena sites, this one is very different because of the amount of material...and the presence of apparently ritual behaviors.”

Pig Point’s “impact is significant, it can answer a lot of questions about this period,” said Darrin Lowrey, of the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History and the University of Delaware. “The way humans treat their dead will tell you a lot about what is going on.”

The remains, once studied, will be re-buried yet again, Luckenbach said. He has contacted the Piscataway tribe in Maryland to offer them the chance to perform the burial of the bones using rituals they see fit.

So, about the same time as the Han through the start of the Tang Dynasties in ancient China, Pig Point was being used as a ritual/ceremonial center in what is now Maryland in eastern USA.  But people call Native Americans "primitive."  Really?  Europeans who came here have nothing in this land of equivalent age or ritual significance.

Excitement about Tal Motza Discoveries

Temple and sacred vessels from Biblical times discovered at Tel Motza

26 Dec 2012
The finds, dated to the early monarchic period and including pottery figurines of men and horses, provide rare testimony of a ritual cult in the Jerusalem region at the beginning of the period of the monarchy.

Rare evidence of the religious practices and rituals in the early days of the Kingdom of Judah has recently been discovered at Tel Motza, to the west of Jerusalem. In excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is currently conducting at the Tel Motza archaeological site, prior to work being carried out on the new Highway 1 from Sha'ar HaGai to Jerusalem by the National Roads Company (previously the Public Works Department), a ritual building (a temple) and a cache of sacred vessels some 2,750 years old have been uncovered.

Figurines of a person (Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)

According to Anna Eirikh, Dr. Hamoudi Khalaily and Shua Kisilevitz, directors of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, "The ritual building at Tel Motza is an unusual and striking find, in light of the fact that there are hardly any remains of ritual buildings of the period in Judaea at the time of the First Temple. The uniqueness of the structure is even more remarkable because of the vicinity of the site's proximity to the capital city of Jerusalem, which acted as the Kingdom's main sacred center at the time." According to the archaeologists, "Among other finds, the site has yielded pottery figurines of men, one of them bearded, whose significance is still unknown."

Tel Motza and the surrounding region are renowned for their prime archaeological importance. Many finds have previously been uncovered at the site, from a variety of different periods. From the 1990's to the beginning of the present millennium, the site was excavated in preparation for the new route taken by Highway 1. At the time, the site's archaeologists proposed once more identifying the site with the Biblical settlement "Mozah" mentioned in the Book of Joshua - a town in the tribal lands of Benjamin bordering on Judaea (Joshua 18: 26). The proposal was based, among other things, on the discovery at the site of a public building, a large structure with storehouses, and a considerable number of silos. At the time, archaeologists identified the site as a storehouse, run by high-ranking officials, for Jerusalem's grain supplies.

The current excavations have revealed evidence that provides another aspect to our understanding of the site. According to archaeologists Eirikh, Dr. Khalaily and, Kisilevitz, the current excavation has revealed part of a large structure, from the early days of the monarchic period (Iron Age IIA). The walls of the structure are massive, and it includes a wide, east-facing entrance, conforming to the tradition of temple construction in the ancient Near East: the rays of the sun rising in the east would have illuminated the object placed inside the temple first, symbolizing the divine presence within. A square structure which was probably an altar was exposed in the temple courtyard, and the cache of sacred vessels was found near the structure.

The assemblage includes ritual pottery vessels, with fragments of chalices (bowls on a high base which were used in sacred rituals), decorated ritual pedestals, and a number of pottery figurines of two kinds: the first, small heads in human form (anthropomorphic) with a flat headdress and curling hair; the second, figurines of animals (zoomorphic) - mainly of harnessed animals. The archeologists stress that "the find of the sacred structure together with the accompanying cache of sacred vessels, and especially the significant coastal influence evident in the anthropomorphic figurines, still require extensive research."

Figurine of a horse (Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority)
What are those things on the horse's midsection?  Looks like a foot on this side, and on the
side, part of a leg?  Did this horse have a standing rider on it at one point? 

Ritual elements in the Kingdom of Judah are recorded in archaeological research, especially from the numerous finds of pottery figurines and other sacred objects found at many sites in Israel, and these are usually attributed to domestic rituals. However, the remains of ritual platforms and temples used for ritual ceremonies have only been found at a few sites of this period.

According to the site's directors, "The finds recently discovered at Tel Motza provide rare archaeological evidence for the existence of temples and ritual enclosures in the Kingdom of Judah in general, and in the Jerusalem region in particular, prior to the religious reforms throughout the kingdom at the end of the monarchic period (at the time of Hezekiah and Isaiah), which abolished all ritual sites, concentrating ritual practices solely at the Temple in Jerusalem."


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