Saturday, November 18, 2017

Oops! Archeologists Were Wrong - There ARE Women in Cahokia Burial Mount 72!

Here is another story that I emailed to myself in August, 2016 that I didn't get around to posting - until here and now.  It's IMPORTANT, too. 

This story is by Live Science, but I found it at CBS News:

Ancient burial mound reveals role of women in "America's 1st city"

An important burial mound belonging to the pre-Columbian city of Cahokia, near present-day St. Louis, contains both men and women, not just men as previous studies had suggested.

The remains of women and a child have been discovered at a burial mound at Cahokia, considered North America's first city, which previously was thought to hold only men, researchers say.
A closer look at a grave at Cahokia, located in Illinois near St. Louis, Missouri, has revealed that a blanket of beads is intertwined around a man and a woman of high status.
"In re-examining the beaded burial, we discovered that the central burial included females," study co-author Kristin Hedman, a physical anthropologist with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (ISAS), said in a statement. "This was unexpected." [Cahokia to Area 51: The 10 Strangest Places on Earth]
Archaeologist Melvin Fowler, who died in 2008, discovered the enormous burial ground in 1967 during the excavation of an unusual mound with a ridgetop. The site, now called Mound 72, contained five mass graves, each holding 20 to more than 50 bodies. There were dozens of other bodies buried by themselves or in groups at the site, bringing the total count to 270, Fowler found.
Scientists dated the burials to between A.D. 1000 and A.D. 1200, during the rise and peak of Cahokia's power and influence, the researchers said. Some of the bodies were placed on cedar piles, indicating that they were high-status individuals, according to the researchers.
"Mound 72 burials are some of the most significant burials ever excavated in North America from this time period," said study co-author and ISAS Director Thomas Emerson.
Grave problems
Several analyses of the burials haven't held up, however. Mound 72 holds two central bodies that are placed top of each other. These bodies are separated and surrounded by a blanket of beads, and several other bodies from the same time period surround them.
Fowler and other archaeologists thought that these bodies were two high-status men who were surrounded by servants. Moreover, the beads look like a beaded cape or blanket that was originally shaped like a bird, they said.
The bird motif is usually related to warriors and supernatural beings in Native American cultures, so Fowler suggested that the two central males represented mythical warrior chiefs, the researchers said.
Once this interpretation was made public, many experts viewed Cahokia as "a male-dominated hierarchy," Emerson said.
A fresh look
When Emerson and his colleagues re-examined the evidence -- including the archaeologists' maps, notes and reports -- they came to a conclusion different from Fowler's. For instance, the early archaeologists said there were only six bodies associated with the beaded burial, but the new team found 12.
Moreover, a skeletal analysis revealed that the high-status pair weren't two men, but a man and a woman. The bodies near the power couple are also male-female pairs, and one individual was a child, the researchers said.
"The fact that these high-status burials included women changes the meaning of the beaded burial feature," Emerson said. "Now, we realize we don't have a system in which males are these dominant figures and females are playing bit parts. And so, what we have at Cahokia is very much a nobility. It's not a male nobility. It's males and females, and their relationships are very important." [The 7 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

Stunning Jewelry Discovered in Tomb of Northern Wei Dynasty Female from 1,500 Years Ago

I am cleaning out my old email today.  I often email myself links to stories to post here, and sometimes they fall between the cracks.  This one is one of those stories, from August of - 2016!  A wonderful discovery, though.  What is disappointing is that the tomb was excavated in 2011 and the story didn't come out until some five years later.  And now here I am, publishing it more than a year after it first hit the main stream media.

By the way - this isn't an original report on modern-day archaeological by Fox News (that would be a unique event in the annals of history if it ever happens).  The article is from Live Science, LOL!

Ancient bling: Exquisite jewelry found in tomb of Chinese woman

By Owen Jarus, Live Science Contributor

Two gold earrings were found beside Farong's skull in Datong City, China.
Two gold earrings were found beside Farong's skull.  Photo courtesy of Chinese Cultural Relics.
Around 1,500 years ago, at a time when China was divided, a woman named Farong was laid to rest wearing fantastic jewelry, which included a necklace of 5,000 beads and "exquisite" earrings, archaeologists report.
Her tomb was discovered in 2011 in Datong City, China, by a team of archaeologists with the Datong Municipal Institute of Archaeology who were surveying the area before a construction project. The researchers excavated the tomb, conserved the artifacts and reconstructed the necklace.
Farong's tomb was dug into the ground, and her skeleton (which is now in poor condition) was found lying in a coffin archaeologists said. [See Photos of Farong's Burial and Exquisite Jewelry]
"The skull rests on a pillow of lime, and inside the pillow are two bricks with rope patterns," the archaeologists wrote recently in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. Her age at death is unknown.
Her epitaph, found by the tomb entrance, reads simply, "Han Farong, the wife of Magistrate Cui Zhen" (as translated in the journal article). In China, the surname is traditionally written first and the given name second.
While no other burials were found in Farong's tomb, the archaeologists did discover two other tombs nearby that are in the process of being studied.
Based on the design of Farong's tomb, and the artifacts found inside it, the archaeologists determined she lived around 1,500 years ago, a few decades before the collapse of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534), which controlled part of northern China. According to historical records, Datong City, where the woman was buried, was the dynasty's capital until 494.

"Exquisite" earrings

The two earrings the archaeologists found are difficult to describe in words. Made of gold, the earrings contain images of dragons and a human face.
"The human figure has curly hair, deep-set eyes and a high nose; wears a pendant with a sequin-bead pattern on its neck; and has inverted lotus flowers carved under its shoulders," wrote archaeologists in the journal article. The earrings are also decorated with gold, teardrop-shaped designs inlaid with gemstones, as well as gold chains and amethysts that would have hung down the sides of Farong's face.

"In recent years, many gold earrings have been unearthed from Northern Wei dynasty tombs, but the earrings unearthed from this tomb are surely some of the most exquisite," the archaeologists wrote.
Earrings with similar designs were found in 1978 in northern Afghanistan, a sign that the Northern Wei dynasty had strong cultural ties with people in central Asia, the archaeologists said.

Lots of beads

Farong was laid to rest wearing a necklace made of about 5,000 beads. The thread that held the necklace together had decomposed; however, "since the distribution [of the beads] was very concentrated, it was possible to reconstruct it based upon the position of the pieces at the time of excavation," the archaeologists wrote.
The necklace "consists of 10 large and small gold beads, nine flat gold pieces, two crystals, 42 pearls, and more than 4,800 small glass beads," the archaeologists wrote. "The small beads are the size of millet grains, some black and some green, and all are oblate, each with a perforation in the middle."
An article reporting the discovery of Farong's tomb was published in 2015, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu. This article was translated into English in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.
Original article on Live Science. Copyright 2016 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

The Original Goddesschess Website: Status Update II

Hola, darlings!

I am happy to report that according to my new webhost, all of the Goddesschess files that create the gigantic original website have been transferred from my old webhost to the new one.  Giant sigh of relief.  However, they won't handle transferring files from the Internet Archive that actually captured a more current version of the Goddesschess website from May 2012 (five months before Don McLean's death in October of that year) as part of the "one free move" deal they offer to new sites.  So, I will have to attempt to tackle that myself.  Please pray to Caissa to grant me success!

Yesterday, I "believe" I managed to give the Goddesschess domain registrar online instructions to "repoint the DNS" to the new host's servers.  Fingers crossed it works - it might take up until tomorrow for it to go through.  I've no idea how that works.  Anyway, once that is done, I will officially "FIRE" my former webhost and then move on to Phase II - getting the updated Goddesschess files imported into the existing website files.

That's where I'm at right now.  After all this work, aggravation and frustration, I am feeling I should write at least one epic piece about - something - on chess (I've no idea what) that will live in the annals of chess herstory forever and ever!  For the time being, at least, the site that shows the evolution of the small band of dedicated folks known as Goddesschess who came together originally in December of 1998, reduced these days to, essentially, moi, will keep the site online. 

Man Deutch (WHO???) Versus World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen

This is very entertaining - and actually true.  Deutch is a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the video comes straight from its own website:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Original Goddesschess Website: Status Update

Hola darlings!

As many of you may know, our dear webmaster and one of the founding partners of the Goddesschess Partnership, Don McLean, passed away unexpectedly on October 12, 2012. He had taken over the webmaster duties for the Goddesschess website in 2004.  I continued to research and write occasional articles through the ensuing years, as did Isis/Georgia (she would email text to me), and I would format things in an ancient edition of Microsoft's Front Page 2000 used to create "what you see is what you get" web pages (no html coding knowledge required), and then - in a way I no longer remember - would somehow get the material "published" to an unpublished page on the web host and give the file name to Don to go in and "fix it up" with his own webpage creator, Dream Weaver.  Somehow, it all worked.  LOL.

By 2012, however, while I was still managing to use my old Front Page program on a very old Windows XP desktop, I had pretty much forgotten how to use the program to do much of anything else.  To make a long story short, after Don's death, the website sat for two years, essentially, untouched.  Don had all of the Goddesschess site files on one of his Mac computers, and I did not have access to any of those computers, nor did I know passwords, etc. to either access his computer(s) to try and find the correct files if I'd arranged with Don's sister to get access to them, or know what to do with the files if I had them!  Our Goddesschess website seemed - doomed.

I'd always intended to do new stuff for the G-chess website, but somehow, it just didn't happen.  I'd lost a lot of heart after Don's death, and concentrated on this blog and a new one I'd started up that was totally unrelated to chess. We'd both suffered through a lot during that Summer of Hell in 2012, health wise, and I'd received a dooming prognosis of death within 3 years while Don was ultimately given a relatively clean bill of health after a procedure to correct diagnosed atrial fibrilation.  Sadly, Don did not live out 2012.  I did, although at the time all I wanted to do after his death was die, too. 

I survived.  Guess I'm just too damn stubborn to die. My own heart condition is stable, my lungs are good.  My health is much better now than it was that horrid summer of 2012.

Then, in the spring of 2014, Mircrosoft stop updating their venerable XP OS and users were warned NOT to use it.  My old Front Page program ONLY worked on my XP system, although I did try it on my Windows 7 laptop at the time (reading elsewhere that it should work) I could not get it to work.  Frustration, all around.  Even if I had wanted to use XP at that point to post new material to Goddesschess, I was AFRAID that something dreadful would happen if I used an unprotected OS to try and add that material to our website.  Prior to the loss of security support updates in 2014, however, I posted a note on the website I had downloaded indicating what the problems were and why we were having them.  That was the last time anything was added to the Goddesschess website.

I ended up using my old Front Page program prior to the expiration of Microsoft's XP service pack and security updates to download an older version of the entire Goddesschess website from the Internet Archive, and then uploaded it all via Front Page's FTP function to a new web host.  Goddesschess reappeared back online!

What I did not realize at the time was that the site I had downloaded was only current at that time through April, 2011. The note I did in 2014 is there - on the April, 2011 opening page for Goddesschess that showcases Don's "Random Round-up," that he created on a monthly basis to keep Goddesschess "fresh."  The website prior to Don experiencing technical issues with our then current web host and then his health problems had been updated monthly between April, 2011 through May, 2012, so a year's worth of Don's wonderful monthly "Random Round-up" work had been left off of 

I didn't realize this until - get ready for it - YESTERDAY!

How could this have happened, you say.  Well - I would not have even realized it, except that at SOME point in time, I added a link to what I called the "original Goddesschess website" at this blog.  And guess what - that link takes me to a website that is updated through May, 2012!  The reason I even clicked on that old link yesterday is because ----

---- (does this remind you of Donald J. Trump's "....." lead-ins in his tweets at Twitter as read by Stephen Colbert on "The Late Show"?) after discovering several days ago that I was being charged more than TWICE the price for the identical service that my then web host was charging others, and spending hours on the telephone with them, they refused to reduce the price to less than around $35 more than what they were offering the same service for to other websites!  So I decided the only smart thing to do was (1) move the Goddesschess website to a new and far less expensive web host and (2) file a complaint against the former web host with the Better Business Bureau.  For the time being, I am not mentioning the rip-off artist web host.  The worst of it is, last year I paid the same amount that was more than twice as much as advertised and didn't question it, I just paid it, DUH. (The bill comes due around this time, yearly.)

You do NOT advertise a service for about $80 a year and then turn around and charge your customer $179.40 for the SAME SERVICE and then ARGUE ABOUT IT ON THE TELEPHONE.  Do you see the steam coming out of my ears?

I have a new web host, and the web host offers a free migration of files service which was ideal for me, since I had no clue how I would do it all, otherwise!  And thus, today, when I was notified that the files from the "old" host had been moved to the new host, and I was asked to look things over (it took me a couple of hours to figure out how to do THAT - please, do not get me started...) to see if everything was okay, I realized that a year's worth of more current files were missing from the Goddesschess website.


So, I emailed the new host and explained the problem as best I could in non-technical language, because I have no idea how to explain it in technical language, LOL.  For instance, I think it's silly to call moving a file or an entire website "migration" instead of just calling it "moving a file or an entire website." 

So - this isn't over yet, but I am hoping for as happy an ending as I can get at this stage in my non-website creating "career."  Hopefully, soon there will be a available online containing Don McLean's final year of work.  I'll figure out SOME way to get it done, one way or another.  Stay tuned!
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