Sunday, December 28, 2014

Is The Isleworth Mona Lisa Legit?

Allegedly painted 10 years before the Mona Lisa that hangs in the Lourve Museum, controversy surrounds this painting of a "younger" Mona Lisa:

The Earlier Mona Lisa depicts a woman in her 20s, so says the caption.

Disputed 'earlier Mona Lisa' goes on display in Singapore

A portrait of a younger Mona Lisa, which its owners claim was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci before his more famous version, has gone on display.

The painting is being exhibited in public for the first time in Singapore.

Its owners say expert tests and analysis confirm Da Vinci painted it 10 years before the better-known version.

But its authenticity is disputed. Da Vinci expert Martin Kemp said it was "just another copy of the Mona Lisa, an unfinished one, and no more than that".

Prof Kemp, emeritus professor of the history of art at Oxford University and the author of several books on Da Vinci, said: "The fact it's being shown in Singapore and is not getting an outing in a serious art museum [or] gallery is significant in itself.

The painting, he said, was "routine in handling". He continued: "Leonardo's landscapes always seethed with a sense of life. It's inert.

"The drapery is inert, and what Leonardo did was he could always give the sense that even something static like drapery had a life to it, a vitality and an inherent movement in it, and this is a heavy-handed, static picture."

But the Switzerland-based Mona Lisa Foundation, which manages the painting, says historical evidence, other expert opinions and carbon dating and further scientific tests point to its authenticity.

"We feel these latest discoveries and new scientific analysis just carried out leave little doubt that it is Leonardo's work," auctioneer and Mona Lisa Foundation vice-president David Feldman told the Reuters news agency.

"The vast majority of experts now either agree with us or accept that there is a strong case for our thesis."

The foundation says Da Vinci created the work in 1503, 10 years ahead of the Mona Lisa, but left it unfinished.

It was later acquired by an English aristocrat in the late 1770s.

The earlier Mona Lisa was discovered in 1913 by an art collector while visiting a British aristocrat in Somerset.

Taking it back to his studio in Isleworth, south west London, for restoration, it was the dubbed the Isleworth Mona Lisa for its close resemblance to Da Vinci's most famous painting, which hangs in The Louvre gallery in Paris.

The artwork will be on show until February at the Arts House in Singapore's Old Chambers of Parliament, before touring Hong Kong, China, South Korea and Australia.

What Is Egypt Covering Up?

Holy Hathor. Check out this series of articles and YOU tell me if you don't think the Egyptian authorities are keeping this discovery ALL to themselves.  Good luck, dudes, trying to keep this one under your hats.  Bet the local antiquities raiders are already busy at work.  What do you suppose the odds are that the Egyptian government has plenty of armed troops guarding the" million mummies" site??? Ha!  Where is Zahi Hawass when we need him? 

At Live Science:

Million-Mummy Cemetery Unearthed in Egypt
by Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor   |   December 16, 2014 07:43am ET

TORONTO — She's literally one in a million.

The remains of a child, laid to rest more than 1,500 years ago when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, was found in an ancient cemetery that contains more than 1 million mummies, according to a team of archaeologists from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

The cemetery is now called Fag el-Gamous, which means "Way of the Water Buffalo," a title that comes from the name of a nearby road. Archaeologists from Brigham Young University have been excavating Fag el-Gamous, along with a nearby pyramid, for about 30 years. Many of the mummies date to the time when the Roman or Byzantine Empire ruled Egypt, from the 1st century to the 7th century A.D. [See photos of the million-mummy cemetery]

And then this:

Fayoum antiquities official denies 'million mummies' reports
Head of Fayoum antiquities says that the million figure was a research estimate only
[I'm gagging on this one!]

Nevine El-Aref , Friday 19 Dec 2014

A local antiquities official told Ahram Online that news reports about "a million mummies" discovered by an American archaeological mission working close to Fayoum were false.

Ahmed Abdel-Aal, the head of the Fayoum antiquities authority, told Ahram Online that the million figure is an estimate, presented in research presented to an academic colloquium in Toronto last month by mission head Kerry Muhlestein, and not a concrete number.

Abdel-Aal said that the mission had been based in the Fag Al-Gamous area for 34 years, and during that time had stumbled upon torn textiles, and late period and Roman remains of human skeletons. “No mummies were found except one discovered in 1988 inside a wooden anthropoid coffin with a gilded mummy mask," he said.

Archaeologist Affifi Rohayem told Ahram Online that this kind of burial was common during the Roman period.

“I think the burials found in Fag Al-Gamous is one of those necropoli, but the mission does not know much about it,” he added.

The Egyptian antiquities ministry said earlier on Friday that it had decided to halt cooperation with the Brigham Young University mission because it had "published false news" and had broken the law by speaking directly to the press about a discovery without first getting ministry clearance.


… which resulted in the loss of the mission’s dig permit, apparently:

While Explorator's comment implies that BYU's permit to dig has been cancelled (are the archaeologists and field crews being expelled or have they already been expelled from the country?), the articles it points to do not confirm that this is what, in fact, has happened.

So, what do you think?  I know what I think (isn't it clear?)

Saudi Female Drivers to be Tried in Terrorism Court

What a shit ass country, sheesh.  It makes me sick to my stomach that we do business with these religious nut cases on a daily basis.  I hope ALL Saudi men suffer unending nightMARES of the vagina dentata.   Check out the posted article.  There photographs and related videos. 

Saudi women drivers referred to terrorism court

Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two Saudi women detained for nearly a month in defiance of a ban on females driving were referred on Thursday to a court established to try terrorism cases, several people close to the defendants said.
The cases of the two, Loujain al-Hathloul and Maysa al-Amoudi, were sent to the anti-terrorism court in connection to opinions they expressed in tweets and in social media, four people close to the two women told The Associated Press.

They did not elaborate on the specific charges or what the opinions were. Both women have spoken out online against the female driving ban. Activists say they fear the case is intended to send a warning to others pushing for greater rights. The four people spoke on condition of anonymity because of fear of government reprisals.

The Specialized Criminal Court, to which their cases were referred, was established in the capital Riyadh to try terrorism cases but has also tried and handed long prison sentences to a number of human rights workers, peaceful dissidents, activists and critics of the government. For example, this year it sentenced a revered Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a vocal critic of the government, to death for sedition and sentenced a prominent human rights lawyer, Waleed Abul-Khair, to 15 years in prison on charges of inciting public opinion.

Human Rights Watch recently warned that "Saudi authorities are ramping up their crackdown on people who peacefully criticize the government on the Internet." It said that judges and prosecutors are using "vague provisions of a 2007 anti-cybercrime law to charge and try Saudi citizens for peaceful tweets and social media comments."

This was the first time women drivers have been referred to the court, activists said.

The detention of al-Hathloul, 25, and Maysa al-Amoudi, 33 — both arrested on Dec. 1 — has been the longest yet for any women who defied the driving ban. They were vocal supporters of a grassroots campaign launched last year to oppose the ban, and have a significant online following with a total 355,000 followers on Twitter for the two of them at the time of their arrest.

Though no formal law bans women from driving in Saudi Arabia, ultraconservative Saudi clerics have issued religious edicts forbidding women from taking the wheel, and authorities do not issue them driver's licenses. No such ban exists anywhere else in the world, even in other conservative Gulf countries.

The four people close to the women said their lawyers appealed the judge's decision to transfer their cases. An appeals court in Dammam, the capital of Eastern Province, is expected to decide on the referral in the coming days, they said.

Authorities have a history of clamping down on Saudi women who attempt to drive. In 1990, 50 women were arrested for driving. They had their passports confiscated and lost their jobs. More than 20 years later, a woman was sentenced in 2011 to 10 lashes for driving, though the king overturned the sentence.

Supporters of the current driving campaign delivered a petition to the royal court this month asking King Abdullah to pardon the two women.

Organizers behind the campaign, which began Oct. 26, 2013, say the ban on women driving underpins wider issues related to guardianship laws in Saudi Arabia that give men powerful sway over women's lives. One activist said the driving ban is also part of "a wider effort to quash any chances of raising the ceiling on civil liberties" in Saudi Arabia.

The two women appeared in court on Thursday for the second time in the eastern al-Ahsa region, where they were detained after driving to Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates.

Al-Hathloul was stopped by border guards and her passport was confiscated for more than 24 hours when she attempted to cross the border Nov. 30 with a UAE driver's license in an act of defiance.

Al-Amoudi, a UAE-based Saudi journalist, was stopped when she went to deliver food and a blanket to al-Hathloul at the border, activists and relatives said. The women were formally arrested on Dec. 1.
There has been no official Saudi comment on the arrests.

Al-Hathloul is in a correctional facility for juveniles and al-Amoudi is in a prison. Relatives say they have been allowed to see them for short supervised visits.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Archaeology Magazine's Top Ten Archaeology Discoveries of 2014

Under Stonehenge
Wiltshire, England

Seaton Down Hoard
Devon, England

Greece's Biggest Tomb
Amphipolis, Greece

Buddhism, in the Beginning
Lumbini, Nepal

Decoding Neanderthal Genetics
Jerusalem, Israel

Canada Finds Erebus
Victoria Strait, Canada

Sunken Byzantine Basilica
Lake Izlik, Turkey

Mummification Before the Pharaohs
York, England

Bluetooth's Fortress (no, not the WIFI thing)
Koge, Denmark

Naia - The 13,000 Year Old Native American
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

According to the False Prophet Erdogan, Using Birth Control is Treason

Read it and weap.  Common sense is fast deserting the Earth and woe betide us, people.  Woe betide us.

Turkey's Erdogan says birth control 'treason' against Turkish lineage

Source: Reuters - Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:53 GMT
Author: Reuters
ISTANBUL, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has described birth control as a form of "treason," saying it threatened the country's bloodline.
Erdogan urged a newly married couple at their wedding late on Sunday to have at least three children to help boost Turkish population figures, a common refrain from the president, who worries a declining birth rate may undermine economic growth. [Fact:  More often than not, a declining birth rate mirrors a decline in economic growth and shrinking prosperity of the middle class, not the other way around.  Doh.]
"For years they committed a treason of birth control in this country, seeking to dry up our bloodline. Lineage is very important both economically and spiritually," he told the couple after serving as their witness at the wedding. A video of the speech was posted on the mainstream Radikal news website.
Last month, Erdogan, a devout Muslim, said it was unnatural to consider women and men equal and said feminists did not understand the importance of motherhood. In 2012, he sought to effectively outlaw abortion, but later dropped the plan amid a public outcry.
Erdogan regularly faces criticism for an authoritarian style of rule after 11 years in power. [This is something much deeper than that -- the man obviously has penis issues.  Probably has nightmares about Vagina Dentata...]
Turkey's population growth has been slowing in recent years and the live-birth rate hovered at 2.07 percent last year, according to official statistics. (Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Dominic Evans)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Winter Solstice, Whoop Whoop!

Hola darlings!

I am very happy today, and relieved too, because I know after today, and it's gloomy 4:00 p.m. darkness and plugging in the lights on the Christmas tree at 3:30 p.m., that the days will begin to get a little longer each day.  Whew!   It's been a dark, overcast, gloomy, foggy (!) November and December in southeastern Wisconsin -- crazy weather!  Little sunshine and even people who do not suffer from seasonal affective disorder were feeling it -- the constant gloom is wearing on the spirit.  It sure wore on me this year, geez!

Above is this year's version of the Xmas tree.  It has far LESS ornaments on it than I usually throw on because I was working against a time deadline to have things ready for the annual investment club gift exchange that is held at my house each year.  This year it was on December 7th -- very early, but it was the date that worked best for all of us during this holiday season.  I made up for the relative lack of glitz and shimmer on the tree by putting it elsewhere in my small living room.  Don't worry darlings, I will not bombard you with "decorating" pictures.  Next year I'll deck out the gigantic picture window behind the tree with hundreds of flashing lights and hope a jetliner doesn't mistake my house for a landing strip at Mitchell International Airport.

To me, Christmas is a festival of lights time of year.  We in the western tradition who live in the northern hemisphere tend to fill our houses up with lots of lights, glitz, glamour and glow, fighting a fierce battle against the ever-encroaching darkness. We gather around our hearths (real and artificial) and wrap ourselves in layers of wool, knits, fleece and fur to keep the cold at bay.  We eat more and pack on an extra layer of fat!  Gold and silver colors, candlelight, firelight and lots of shine and sparkle abound as we deck our halls for the end of year celebrations.  For myself, I am certain that this urge to surround ourselves with as much light and shine and glowy things as we can pack into our houses is a genetic response to the lack of sunlight we suffer through for weeks/months at a time during the winter.  Darkness and cold -- the eternal enemies.  For me, Winter Solstice marks a huge psychological sigh of relief and is cause for personal celebration, totally separate from any religious celebration(s) that others may be celebrating time of year.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Mother Goddess in Her Queen of Heaven Dove Form

Hola darlings!

Soooo sorry for being absent for so long!  This new old house I downsized to is taking up way too much of my time -- but it's now all decked out for the holiday season and I am sitting back and enjoying it for the next few months.  I'll eventually get around to packing away all "Christmas" decor near the end of February :)

I celebrate the Winter Solstice (a/k/a the Festival of Lights, under its various names), not Christmas, per se, but since Christmas is a Christian expropriation of this ancient Goddess celebration (despite the Romans trying to turn it into a male god thing), I'll take it.  Check out my newest "Christmas" decoration -- the Queen of Heaven:

Do you see her?  She's a crowned dove, and I've got her up on the highest spot I could in the living room, where She is overlooking everything!  She is sparkly white with a gold crown.  I tried to get some close-ups but, frankly, I'm not very good at taking photos and my camera is nearly an antique now, purchased in 2005 (I use that, and my shaky hands, as excuses for crappy photos).  Here are a couple more looks at her, just because:

Please excuse the pea green "metallic" accent wall, I did not paint it that way, it came with the house.  It will disappear as if by magic during the spring of 2015 when I can once again have windows open to air-out paint fumes.

You probably already intuited that when I saw this beautiful crowned dove, I just had to buy her, because I was thinking of the entire criscrossed web of herstory, including: (1) the ancient bird (or eye) goddesses from prehistoric times:

Alabaster eye icon from Tel Brak
(2) the cross-cultural transfers that took place over thousands of years through migration and trade that transformed the ancient bird (or eye) goddesses into iconic goddesses such as Inanna, Ishtar, Astarte, Isis, Artemis, etc.:

Bird Goddess, predynastic Egypt, c.
4000-3500 BCE, Brooklyn Museum
Goddess Artemis in her "Lady of the Beasts"
form (notice the wings) and checkerboard
gown, from Francois Vase. c. 570-560 BCE Greece
(3) the Christian Church's transformation of the Mother Goddess into the Mother of God who was still, somehow, on a lesser footing worship wise than the god she gave birth to whom would not have existed, but for her, LOL!; and (4) those pesky Egyptian Coptic Christians, who keep materializing the Queen of Heaven every so often in the form of white doves flying around church steeples, just to remind everyone that Isis never dies, she just transforms herself into the latest version of goddess chic :)

"Virgin Mary" apparition with dove, appeared outside a
Coptic church, Cairo, Egypt, 1960s.
I am very much looking forward to December 21st, because after that day passes, the days will incrementally begin to get longer once again, and there will be more light.  I am, most definitely, a creature of the Light. So, during this period of celebration of the ancient Festival of Lights (in all of its various forms) which, in this Newton household, is about three months long, I wish you all blessings, joy and prosperity for the fast-approaching new year.  Meanwhile, I am eating too much rich food, drinking too much liquored-up egg nog, far too much wine and hot toddies, burning way too many candles and using far too much electricity lighting a ridiculous amount of Christmas lights around the home and thus contributing to the world's carbon footprint, and spending way too much money on gifts to charities and friends and chessly endeavors.  Oh well.  What the hell, why not!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ancient Roman and Persian Glassware Found in Japanese Tomb

This is fascinating - and demonstrates once again the range of ancient trade.  The Nara tomb in which the glasssware was uncovered dates back to the 5th century CE (c. 400-500 CE).

See also article from August 1, 2014 regarding the Persian glass bowl (in full at bottom).

Article from The Ashahi Shimbun online:

Scientists: Glass dish unearthed in Nara came from
Roman Empire

November 13, 2014

KASHIHARA, Nara Prefecture--A glass dish unearthed from a burial mound here is the first of its kind confirmed to have come to Japan from the Roman Empire, a research team said.
Provided by the Tokyo National Museum
A round cut glass bowl, discovered with the glass plate, was found to have originated in Sassanid Persia (226-651), the researchers said.
The dish and bowl were retrieved together from the No. 126 tumulus of the Niizawa Senzuka cluster of ancient graves, a national historic site. The No. 126 tumulus dates back to the late fifth century.
The researchers’ scientific studies show that fifth-century Japan imported glasswork, and that there was a wide range of trade between the East and the West.
“The dish was likely produced around the Mediterranean Sea and then transferred to Sassanid Persia,” said team leader Yoshinari Abe, an assistant professor of analytical chemistry at the Tokyo University of Science. “After it was painted there, the plate was probably taken to Japan.”
According to the team’s analysis, the chemical composition of the clear dark blue dish is almost identical to glasswork unearthed in the area of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.-A.D. 395).
Measuring 14.1 to 14.5 centimeters in diameter, the flat, raised dish is believed to have been created in the second century at the latest.
The dish has been designated a national important cultural property and is currently owned by the Tokyo National Museum.
The scientists used a special fluorescence X-ray device to analyze chemical elements in glass powder from the dish.
The chemical compositions of natron, a type of sodium mineral, as well as sand made of silica and lime, resemble those typically found in Mediterranean glasswork produced in the Roman Empire and the following Eastern Roman Empire period.
The team also conducted a fluorescence X-ray test on the dish using a high-energy radiation beam at the Spring 8 large synchrotron radiation facility in Sayo, Hyogo Prefecture. The test revealed antimony, a metallic element believed to be used in Rome until the second century.
The results mean that it took centuries for the dish to arrive in Japan and be buried in the grave after it was produced in Rome.
Abe and his colleagues also revealed that the chemical composition of the cut glass bowl is the same as that of glass fragments unearthed from the remains of a palace in the ancient Persian capital of Ctesiphon. The bowl is 8 cm in diameter, 7 cm tall and narrower in the upper part.
“Japan aggressively traded with other countries in the fifth century, and (the latest findings) show various elements were entering Japan at the time,” said Takashi Taniichi, a Silk Road archaeology professor at Sanyo Gakuen University. “Because the glass dish may have been transported via Central Asia, it is no wonder that there was a time lag (between its production and arrival in Japan).”
The team’s research results will be presented at a conference of the Association for Glass Art Studies, Japan, scheduled for Nov. 15 at the Tokyo University of Science in Shinjuku Ward.
The dish and bowl are on display at the Tokyo National Museum until Dec. 7.

Scientists: 5th-century glass bowl in Nara has origins
in ancient Persia

August 01, 2014By KAZUTO TSUKAMOTO/ Staff Writer
KASHIHARA, Nara Prefecture--A cut glass bowl excavated from a fifth-century burial mound in Nara Prefecture originated in ancient Persia, the first domestic glassware scientifically confirmed to have arrived from western Asia, researchers said.
Provided by the Tokyo National Museum
Led by Yoshinari Abe, assistant professor of analytical chemistry at the Tokyo University of Science, the research team used X-ray fluorescence analysis to determine the elemental composition of the inorganic materials of the 8-centimeter [3.14961 inches] cut glass bowl, which was found in the No. 126 Niizawa Senzuka mound in Kashihara.
The chemical composition was almost identical to that of glass shards excavated from the ruins of a palace from the Sasanian Empire (226-651) in present-day Iran and Iraq.
The glass bowl is on display at the Tokyo National Museum through Dec. 7.
This is intriguing:  8 centimeters equals 3.14961 inches.  When I saw that number, I was immediately reminded of the perpetual number Pi, which starts out 3.14.  I can't help but wonder if this was an incorporation of the ancient "magical" number into solid form by the maker of the bowl?  We'll never know.  What we do know is that this bowl was TINY!  Used as a bowl for a cosmetic, perhaps?  

Ancient Roman Board Game Pieces Discovered in Kibyra Excavation (Turkey)

Story from Hurriyet Daily News:

Ancient game found in Roman era city

BURDUR - Anadolu Agency

Two game pieces from the Roman era 1,800 years ago have been found in the ancient city of Kibyra, in the southern Turkish province of Burdur’s Gölhisar district. [No photos of the pieces was provided; there is a generic photo of the layout of the ancient game carved in stone.]

“We don’t have too much information about this game but we believe that it was played by two people on squares … with dice,” Professor Ünal Demirer said, adding that the Roman-era game dated back 1,800-2,000 years ago at least.

The game was known as “Ludus duodecim scriptorium” or “XII scripta” (game of 12 markings).

Excavations in the ancient city are being conducted by Mehmet Akif Ersoy University’s (MAKU) Archaeology Department. 

Demirer said the works had been continuing since 2007 on the avenue of the ancient city’s agora, adding that the game pieces were also used for other purposes. 

“The game was found in the pool structure. We think that it was also used for another purpose. Because of its Latin name, we attribute the game to the Romans. It is like today’s Jacks. People spent time in the agora playing such games,” he said.

"Ludus duodecim scriptorum" was a board game popular during the time of the Roman Empire. The game tabula in Byzantium is thought to be a descendant of this game, and both are similar to modern backgammon. 

Very little information about specific gameplay has survived, though we know that it was played using three cubic dice, and each player had 15 pieces.

1300 Year Old Egyptian Book of Spells Written in Coptic Translated

Story from Live Science:

Ancient Egyptian Handbook of Spells Deciphered

Rare Find: Female Mummy Still Wearing Her Jewelry

There's an article in Spanish at El Pais.  The article below is in English, from

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Wearing Jewels Found


Spanish archaeologists digging in Egypt have unearthed a female mummy still wearing her jewels.
The mummy’s jewels are collected together.  Credit: Manuel González Bustos/Thutmosis III Temple Project 
The mummy was discovered in the necropolis below the temple of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (1490-1436 B.C.), on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor (southern Egypt). The find dates to the Middle Kingdom (2137-1781 B.C.).
For nearly four millennia, the “Lady of the Jewels,” as the mummy was nicknamed, eluded tomb raiders, her sarcophagus trapped under a collapsed roof.
The archaeologists were cleaning and restoring several tombs in the necropolis that had been already looted in antiquity when they realized that in one of the chambers of tomb XIV, part of the roof had already collapsed before robbers entered it.
“A large boulder, which had fallen down before the tomb was looted, had crushed and buried a previously untouched coffin with all its content,” Egyptologists Myriam Seco, director of theThutmosis III Temple Project, said in a statement.
As Seco’s team removed the stone, they found a wooden sarcophagus and an utterly destroyed female mummy.
“She still wore the marvelous jewelry that was attached during the process of mummification,” Seco said.
Belonging to a higher social class, the woman, possibly in her 30s, was buried with a necklace in which semiprecious stones and gold plates alternate. A pendant in the form of a finely-wrought golden shell weighting over 20 grams was attached.
“Furthermore, she carried two golden bangles on her arms, each formed by two pieces of twisted wire, connected to each other and silver bracelets on both ankles,” Seco said.
While the golden shell and the two bangles were found in a perfect state of preservation, the silver ankle bracelets were very worn.
“These spectacular findings confirm that an elite necropolis is located under the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III. Wealthy and important individuals of the Middle Kingdom and their families were buried there,” Seco said.
Archaeological work at the temple began in 2008. The seventh season started last October and will run until mid-January.

Location of Burial Site of First Christian Martyr, Stephen, Discovered

Not so sure about this, as anyone could and would write anything back then, as well as now (easier than ever to propogate and perpetuate lies and garbage since the advent of the internet), and there are always some people who will believe whatever the "it" is, no matter what.  Here's the story:


Ramallah, November 13, 2014
During excavations near the Palestinian town of Ramallah archaeologists have discovered a greatest Christian relic – the burial place of Holy Archdeacon Stephen, the First Martyr for Christ, reports the Linga news portal.
Research in the Kharaba at Taiar village, which lies two kilometers west of Ramallah, carried out by the Palestinian and Israeli researchers have yielded unexpected results. Within the framework of a project by the University of Jerusalem for the discovery and restoration of antiquities, a group of archaeologists led by Dr. Salah al Hudeliyya has discovered ruins of an entire church complex that includes a temple of the Byzantine-Umayyad era as well as a Byzantine monastery.
According to a statement by Dr. al Hudeliyya, this find is of great value for Christians worldwide.
“Inside one of these churches we came across an inscription which indicates that this church had been built in honor of Holy Apostle and Archdeacon Stephen the Protomartyr, buried here in 35 AD,” the historian related.
The researcher has assured the local and Church authorities, whose representatives recently visited the newly discovered ruins, that the university, as before, will put all its resources and energy into implementation of the current project.
“There are five years left, and then the necessary research will be completed and this monument will be ready; it will surely become a pilgrimage site for believers from all over the world. Tourists will take advantage of the opportunity as well, because this site is a living example of continuity of the cultures of the Middle East region: here on the same site we can see the heritage of antiquity, early and late middle ages, Hellenistic, Byzantine, and Islamic cultures,” the archaeologist said in conclusion.
One fourth of the Kharaba at Taiar village belongs to the Church of Jerusalem, which the expert believes will make this settlement a suitable place for pilgrims.
20 / 11 / 2014

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recep Tayyip Erdogan = Ted Cruz

Hola Darlings!

Can you believe this clown?  Well, you know, Mr. Erdogan should run for senator of Texas, he'd fit right it with a certain political party that shall remain unnamed (in order to protect the innocent) that purports to want to govern the United States of America.  Yeah, right.  He might even out-cruise Ted Cruz :)

The sophisticated, intelligent readers of the Goddesschess blog know this truth:  The Bigger The Lie, The More People Believe It...

Or, as P. T. Barnum famously once said, "There's a sucker born every minute."  Guess we have a hell of a lot more suckers in the USA than in Turkey (at present...)

Separated at Birth?
Mr. Cruz

The Blue Star; the Red Star; similar hairlines; similar jowls; similar hand gestures; similar pinched noses and squinted eyes that are too close together on the face (give Erdogan extra points for larger, darker "bags" under his eyes); same STAY IN OFFICE AT ALL COSTS, AND F**K MY CONSTITUENTS IN ORDER TO DO IT attitude; both absolutely corrupted by power and their respective political systems.

Yep, separated at birth. The only difference that I can see is that Mr. Erdogan needs to discover the benefits of "Grecian Formula" FOR MEN ONLY. 

Erdogan slams ridicule of 'Muslims discovered Americas' claim

Ankara (AFP) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday hit back at ridicule of his claim that Islamic explorers discovered the Americas three centuries before Columbus, accusing his Muslim critics of lacking "self-confidence".
In an aggressive rebuttal of the criticism heaped in some quarters on his comments, Erdogan also suggested that the purported "discovery" of the Americas by Muslims should be taught in schools.
"A big responsibility falls on the shoulders of the national education ministry and YOK (higher education board) on this issue," Erdogan said at a ceremony in Ankara.

"If the history of science is written objectively, it will be seen that Islamic geography's contribution to science is much more than what's known," Erdogan said in televised comments.

Erdogan, a pious Muslim who has been in power for more than a decade, stirred up controversy on Saturday when he claimed the Americas were discovered by Muslims in the 12th century, nearly three centuries before Christopher Columbus.

He cited as evidence for his claim that "Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast."

On Tuesday, Erdogan insisted that "very respected scientists in Turkey and in the world" supported his claim.

"Some youth of our country have begun objecting to this without doing any research or paying attention to discussions. Not only youths but also some very senior figures have begun disputing it.
"Why? Because they still do not believe a Muslim can achieve this... They do not believe that their ancestors carried the ships over land to the Golden Horn," he said, referring to Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II's conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453.

"They did not believe in the leaders who closed the Dark Ages and opened up the New Age. This is a lack of self-confidence."

- 'Whatever next?' -
His claim had been mercilessly mocked by some prominent columnists in the Turkish media.
"Now it should be the turn to correct other assumptions misunderstood by the world," wrote Mehmet Yilmaz of the Hurriyet daily with heavy sarcasm, suggesting that Erdogan's next idea maybe that a Muslim, rather than Isaac Newton, discovered gravity.

Devlet Bahceli, leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), said Tuesday the controversy was a political manoeuvre devised by Erdogan to "cover up his faults", including corruption claims targeting his inner circle.

But pro-government media supported Erdogan's claim, saying world history for too long had been based on a distorted Western interpretation.

"If President Erdogan had not made the comments on the Americas' discovery, a big majority would have been unaware of the continent's discovery by the Muslims because Western sources wrote that it was Columbus who first set foot on America," Mehmet Seker wrote in the Yeni Safak daily.

"We had copied the translated (Western) information into our books." [HOLY HATHOR!  It's the end of the world as we know it!!!]

History books say that Columbus set foot on the American continent in 1492 as he was seeking a new maritime route to India. Some researchers also believe Vikings reached America before the end of the first millennium.

A tiny minority of Muslim scholars have recently suggested a prior Muslim presence in the Americas, although no pre-Columbian ruin of an Islamic structure has ever been found.

In a controversial article published in 1996, historian Youssef Mroueh refers to a diary entry from Columbus that mentions a mosque in Cuba. But the passage is widely understood to be a metaphorical reference to the shape of the landscape.                           

Sunday, November 2, 2014

What Would YOU Do...


You are an average Egyptian citizen in today's Egypt.  You are barely scraping by.  You have been through seemingly endless "revolutions" of governments and ruling systems but you know what, when it comes down to you, it pretty much has stayed the same.  You are still screwed no matter what you do.

So, you happen to live in a tiny little house on top of part of a temple.  You go exploring one night, digging down beneath the surface.  Dig dig dig.  You get 20 feet down and lo and behold, an entirely new world opens up before you.  Well, not exactly, since you have to remove the dirt bucket-full by bucket-full, and make sure your equally hungry (and greedy) neighbors don't get suspicious.  Hmmm....

Would you turn away from the potential for discovering countless treasures you could possibly to the Black Market dealers, accepting 10 cents on the dollar?  Or would you stand up and be a "patriot" and say "Oh no, these are treasures for the Egyptian state!  These priceless artefacts belong to our people as a whole.  I shall travel to Cairo tomorrow and report this important discovery to the Ministry of Antiquities."

So you travel to Cairo and report the find underneath your home.  The government comes with bulldozers and kills your home, meanwhile not offering you any kind of compensation because, hey, it's all for the good of the homeland, right?  You, nonetheless, comfort your now homeless and penniless family with the thought that you did what was right.  In the long run, surely, it was right. Those priceless antiquities will now be duplicated by the government and replaced with cheap imitations while the REAL artifacts reap the government ministers MILLIONS of dollars, all safe and secure in secret Swiss Bank Accounts.  And meanwhile, you and your family starve.

Yeah.  What would YOU do?

As much as I ABHOR, absolute ABHOR, the plundering of cultural treasures for filthy lucre, I DO understand the motivations behind the plundering of ancient archaeological sites.  Who, in the end, is more corrupt, heh?

October 29, 2014

Giza men arrested after digging up ancient temple under house

Men carrying out illegal excavation work found the remains of an Egyptian temple from the reign of New Kingdom King Tuthmose III

Seven residents of a Giza district have been arrested after they illegally excavated the area beneath their home and found the remains of an ancient Egyptian temple.

The huge limestone blocks, engraved with hieroglyphic texts, date from the reign of the New Kingdom's King Tuthmose III, and were found in the Hod Zeleikha area of Al-Badrasheen district.

The find was made two weeks ago, according to Major General Momtaz Fathi, an aide to the interior ministry and a director in the tourism police.  A unit from the tourism and antiquities police heard of the illegal excavation work and arrested the seven men – two of whom are Palestinian, Fathi said. [Does it make a difference if one is Palestinian or one is Egyptian when it comes to illegal digs, since they are ALL Muslims???  I mean, really, darlings, what difference does it make to them, since allegedly their one true "God" is "Allah," whose origins (before the old "switcheroo") go back to a Moon Goddess?]

The police also found diving costumes, oxygen cylinders and diving masks with the detainees. [Okay, what does that have to do with any illegal excavation your home in Giza -- A FRICKING DESERT?]

Antiquities Minister Mamdouh El-Damaty said that the unearthed blocks are genuine and belong to a huge temple from the reign of King Tuthmose III.

Seven reliefs and two marble columns were unearthed along with a huge red-granite armless colossus of a seated person, El-Damaty.

The items have been brought to the Saqqara site for restoration and further study, the minister said, adding that the Hod Zeleikha area has now been declared an archeological site and under the control of the ministry in order carry out more surveys nearby and unearth more of the temple.

What really gets me is how MUCH these "policemen" resemble Egyptians depicted in ancient tomb drawings:

Take away the guns and the long pants.  Egyptians haven't changed at all over 7000 plus years, physically.  But they buy the bullshit, don't they.  Well, a man has to do what a man has to do to make some money and survive. Never mind the wife and kids back home, and you keep repeating the same ridiculously losing cycle over and over and over again.  Whatever.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX

Hola darlings!

I will have full results and all chess femme prize winners, and also the winners of Don McLean's memorial prize ($50 awarded to a player in both the Open and Reserve Sections, based on relative performance rating) tomorrow, it's already late for me and I've yet to eat supper, yikes!

My chess buddy, Ellen Wanek (1070),  who has done so much for chess in the Sheboygan, WI area, played in the Reserve Section and started out with a big bang -- winning her first two games!  She finished at 50%, good for Ellen!  Ellen started in 28th place and moved up to 21st place overall in the Reserve Section.  Ellen wins $40 in Goddesschess prize money for her efforts.

In the Open, Rachel Ulrich (2124), who is pushing hard to reach an ELO of 2200 and earn her United States national master title, finished in 5th place overall in the Open Section, starting out as the 8th ranked player.  You rock, Girl!  She lost her first game, and came back with three straight wins.  For her efforts, Rachel wins $120 in Goddesschess prize money.  I am hoping Rachel wins the Don McLean memorial prize in the Open Section.

Susanna Ulrich (1517), playing in the Open Section, moved up in the rankings, from 43rd to 37th, with 1.5, and wins $60.  Alena Huang (1653), who also played in the Open, finished with 1.5, and wins $60 Goddesschess prize money.  Alena moved from 32nd to 30th place. 

You can check out the final standings at the Southwest Chess Club's blog. 

Congrats to all the chess femmes who participated.  This event's female player participation rate was about 15%, a little more than double the percentage of female players overall in the world.  Good for us!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tomb of Emperor Qin Huang's Grandmother Discovered

From The International Business Times Online, which contains many more photographs of artefacts from the tomb:

China: Ancient Tomb of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Grandmother Discovered in Xi'an

A huge ancient tomb belonging to the grandmother of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang has been found in Xi'an during excavations to expand the Xi'an University of Finance and Economics campus in Shaanxi province, northwest China.

According to, the tomb complex covers an area measuring 173,325 square metres, stretching 550m in length and 310 meters in width, and is the second largest tomb to have ever been discovered in the country.

The tomb complex.
So far, archaeologists have excavated two carriages and 12 horse skeletons (each carriage would have been pulled by six horses) out of the tomb.

The carriages and horses are a symbol of high rank which is equal to that of an emperor or a member of the royal family.

The archaeologists also discovered elegantly engraved pottery inscribed with the Chinese characters for Qin Shi Huang's grandmother, together with fragments of jade, gold and silver, have confirmed the archaeologists' beliefs that the tomb belongs to Qin Shi Huang's grandmother.

They also believe that the first emperor commissioned the tomb to be built and it was completed in his lifetime, but there is no word yet as to whether they have found her sarcophagus.

The turbulent Qin family

Qin Shi Huang (260-210BC) was the first emperor to unify China and enact major economic and political reforms across the country. China had previously consisted of a multitude of warring states and kingdoms, each under the control of feudal overlords, leading to much instability.
Although history knows his parents, the concubine Lady Zhao and King Zhuangxiang of the Kingdom of Qin, not much else is known about his family.

After the death of Qin Shi Huang's father, he took the throne at the age of 13.

His mother took a lover Lao Ai and had two illegitimate children. Later, Lao Ai tried to stage a coup with the intention of killing Qin Shi Huang and placing one of the two children on the throne as a puppet ruler.

Qin Shi Huang ordered his half-siblings to be killed and his mother was placed under house arrest, while Lao Ai died during the coup.

Perhaps the first emperor might have had a closer relationship with his grandmother than with his mother.

In later life, he never chose an empress, but sired 50 children on numerous concubines, so he might have had issues with forming relationships with women. [Gee, yah think?]

The legacy left by Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang standardised units of measurement, the length of axles of carts and currency, creating the Ban Liang coin. He also created the first unified Chinese script to make one language and communication system.

Although he destroyed many books about the past so that scholars could not compare his reign to rulers before him, he has left the world a lasting legacy in the form of the Great Wall of China, a defensive wall system, and his mausoleum complex, which is also in Xi'an.

The first emperor's tomb complex took 38 years and over 720,000 builders to construct, and its location was deliberately lost, hidden under the man-made Lishan Mountain, with trees and vegetation planted over it.

Builders who sealed one tomb chamber were killed when they reported to their superiors, who would in turn seal the next chamber and then report to superiors who killed them in turn. It is also rumoured that his concubines were buried alive with him.

When the last builders and guards reported back to the capital that the task had been completed, they were killed too, and the location of Qin Shi Huang's tomb lay hidden for over two thousand years.
In 1974, the tomb was discovered by farmers digging wells, who stumbled on the garrison of 6,000 terracotta warriors.

The central tomb chamber housing the first emperor's sarcophagus has not yet been excavated as archaeologists currently lack the technology to adequately preserve the tomb's contents.

They believe that some ancient booby traps like rivers of mercury and rigged crossbows might still await them, thanks to probes inserted into the tomb discovering abnormally high amounts of mercury.

Israeli Spies Infiltrating Archaeology to Turn the Pyramids Jewish

This is absolutely hilarious, except it was not published (as far as I can tell) on April Fool's day.  Only goes to show, you can fool some of the people ALL of the time.  Are all fundy Muslims brainwashed (just like fundy Christians)?  Read it and laugh, and then weep for the state of appalling ignorance and prejudice in the world today, for it is bullshit like this that makes people kill each other.

From The Jerusalem Post Online

'Israeli spies falsifying Egyptian history to show Jews built pyramids'

Women in Ancient Egypt

From the Biblical Archaeological Society (BAR) online -- if you don't subscribe to Shanks' excellent magazine, I urge you to do so!  The article that I've copied the text from contains several more images than included here, so please visit BAR (click on link in title to article) and check them out, they are fascinating and flesh out the context and article. 

This story presents an interesting analogy to the moral of the story about how masculine assumptions have colored so much of our "scientific" thinking from Day One.  All I can say is, remember the moral of the story about the female mustangs and the totally erroneous assumptions that were made about the stallion/leader of the herd being the sole father of all the foals birthed by the females in the herd...

Examining the Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women
The case of an ancient Egyptian woman named Tjat

Melinda Nelson-Hurst09/02/2014
Tjat, “sealer, keeper of
the property of her lord,
Tjat, born of Netjeru.”
Image copyright
Melinda Nelson-Hurst.
In the heart of Egypt, about 150 miles (ca. 240 km) south of modern Cairo near the city of Minya, lies a large and ancient necropolis at a site named Beni Hasan (see map). This location has been popular among tourists and academics because several of its massive, rock-cut tombs have beautifully decorated tomb chapels that have survived for millennia. These tombs provide troves of information for scholars to analyze and debate, but today I’d like to focus on one minor person in one tomb: an ancient Egyptian woman by the name of Tjat (see image right).
Tjat appears in the tomb of Khnumhotep II (tomb 3), a local ruler from around the middle of the Twelfth Dynasty (ca. 1900 B.C.). You may have heard about this tomb before because of its so-called scene of Asiatics (people depicted in the typical way that the ancient Egyptians used to distinguish people to the northeast of Egypt)—figures who have been variously interpreted as everything from local nomads to immigrants from the Near East to Biblical figures. However, much less attention has been paid to the woman named Tjat who appears in prominent positions in four different scenes throughout this tomb and is labeled there as a “sealer” (sometimes translated “treasurer”).
Who was Tjat and why does she appear within this tomb? Because of her prominent place (and that of her children) within these scenes (see image below), as well as other factors, scholars have assumed for over a hundred years that Tjat was the mistress and/or second wife of Khnumhotep II, who in turn is assumed to be the father of Tjat’s children. However, having studied Khnumhotep II’s family in some depth, I began to feel compelled to reassess this interpretation of Tjat. Might we, as scholars, have been too quick to categorize this woman as a sexual partner of Khnumhotep II because she did not easily fit other familiar categories? I would certainly say, “yes.” While we will never be able to answer all of our questions about ancient Egypt with any certainty, it is only through close study of both the details and the wider social and historical contexts that we might come a bit closer to the ancient realities of life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX!!!

Hola darlings!

Time is flying by!  Please mark your calendars:  October 18, 2014!!!!  Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX, hosted by the Southwest Chess Club, will be taking place at the Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

The Challenges are held two times a year, and now up to tournament twenty.  Goddesschess has been funding special prizes for the chessplayers in these events since Challenge XVIII, woo woo!  So pleased to announce that Goddesschess is once again sponsoring prizes for female players in both the Open and Reserve sections, plus a chessly gift bag for the top female finisher in each section.

I'm also working on a special prize in memoriam of one of Goddesschess' founding members, webmaster and invaluable contributor, Don McLean, who passed away on October 12, 2012.  More details once I have things firmed up with the organizers.
  • The Challenges are USCF Grand Prix qualified (10 GP points) and also earn USCF Junior Grand Prix
  • Four rounds of play in one day
  • Life Master Sheldon Gelbart is on hand once again to analyze your games with you -- I find it absolutely fascinating and so educational to kibbutz this process as the LM plays through the games with anyone who brings their score sheet to him
  • Game in 60 minutes with 6 second delay
  • USCF rated
Flyer at Southwest Chess Club's website. 

$40 – Open; $30 – Reserve (both sections $5 more after October 15, 2014)Comp Entry Fee for USCF 2200+: Entry fee subtracted from any prizes won

SITE REGISTRATION: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

ROUNDS: 10 am -- 1 pm -- 3:30 pm -- 6 pm
Pairings by WinTD---No Computer Entries---No Smoking

PRIZES: OPEN 1st—$325 2nd—$175 A—$100 B and Below—$75
RESERVE 1st-$100 2nd-$75 D-$50 E and Below-$40
Goddesschess Prizes for Females in Addition to Above Prizes Open: $40 per win/$20 per draw; Reserve: $20 per win/$10 per draw plus free entry for top female finisher in each section to Hales Corners Challenge XXI

Tournament Director: Robin Grochowski
Assistant Tournament Director: Allen Becker

SITE: Olympia Resort Hotel---1350 Royale Mile Road---Oconomowoc, WI 53066—1-800-558-9573 (mention Southwest Chess Club for $99 room rate)

ENTRIES TO: Allen Becker—2130 N. 85 Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53226

QUESTIONS TO: Robin Grochowski – 414-861-2745 (cell)

USCF I.D. Required -- Bring your own clocks – Sets and Boards Provided
Half point bye available in Round 1, 2 or 3 if requested prior to round 1; not available in Round 4
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