Tuesday, October 20, 2009

King Tut’s Little Girls?

Two mummified female baby fetuses were found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb. At least one of the fetuses is the offspring of the famous Pharaoh. The fetuses have been stored at the Cairo University's Faculty of Medicine under examination. Howard Carter discovered them in King Tut’s tomb in 1922. There was a lot of debating whether these stillborn babies belonged to this king or not and if they were placed in the tomb as a symbolic meaning for the afterlife. The fetuses will soon undergo DNA and CT scans to determine their relation to the famous king. There were examinations taken shortly after the discovery of the babies, it was concluded that no body parts or innards were removed, even their umbilical cords remained. The smaller fetus examined by Howard Carter in 1925 is about 5 months old. The bigger fetus is about 9 months old. Colleagues from Cairo University, suggested that the older stillborn fetus displayed what could have been the earliest evidence of Sprengel's deformity, a relatively rare and congenital skeletal disorder where a scapula sits too high on one side. The smaller fetus is said to have vertebral dislocation, spina bifida and scoliosis. When DNA is examined the fetuses might help identify "the lineage and the family of King Tutankhamun, particularly his parents." Many people believe that the two female fetuses must belong to King Tut because of the relevance of them sharing the tomb. Until December when the test results should be finished no one will know for sure who the biological parents of the stillborn babies are.

Lindsay M.

Period 5

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seven Year Old Killing Machines

Many Spartan babies that were thought to be not strong enough were left to perish. Because of their unique training, Spartans became dominant figures in war tactics. This training transformed regular boys into killing machines. At age seven, every Spartan boy is taken from his mother to begin his training. Starting at the age of seven, they were taught not to cry but to council pain. A game was played in which Spartan boys would stand in a circle, be flogged, and the one who lasted the longest was the winner. The Spartan society was designed to strip people of their individual identity. As they got older there was and increasing level of violence. Training became more and more intense. Spartans were reminded of their heritage as they were worked to death. By early teens Spartan boys are given wooden staffs and tipless spears. Even though these were games, many boys died from them. This is just a small example of how the Spartans prepared their troops for battle.

Lucas H.
Period 3

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Playing With Fire

New finds suggest that after a huge ice age about 75,000 years ago, sites in South Africa made tools using a heated silcrete stone. This was 50,000 years earlier than when scientists initially believed fire was used to make weapons. Further studying of this has scientists even concluding that in order to pass this technique from generation to generation, language was created in these societies in order for this skill to be passed on. Professionals believe that this heat rock treatment may have made the tools more likely to shatter instead of making them stronger. This maybe allowed more efficient hunting. When the arrows pierced the skin of the animals the tool would shatter on impact making hunting easier. In addition with the use of heat rock treatment, they were much more likely to be able to better adapt to their environments which allowed them to expand. Along with this, humans designed jewelry in the caves nearby. This jewelry may even be some of the oldest jewelry ever designed on earth.


Matt G.

Period 5

Ancient Mesoamericans had…Grillz?

A recent archaeological study shows that Mesoamerican dentists possessed both profound and sophisticated dentistry. Gems had been found in the teeth of the ancient people going back as far as 2,500 years ago. Ancient inhabitants of southern North America went to the dentist to drill semi-precious gems into their front teeth. This practice of dentistry did not classify the rich and the poor, but was merely for decoration. Most royal leaders of the time were found to not have the special treatment, while it was common for the lower class to posses the ancient “grillz.” It was said that even “royals of the day- such as the Red Queen… [didn’t] have teeth decorations.” The early dentists used a drill-like device that was made of obsidian and strong enough to puncture bone. Complex herbal anesthetic was said to be applied to the mouth before the actual studding to reduce any pain. The stones itself were attached to the teeth with natural adhesives such as plant sap mixed with different chemicals and bones. Impressive enough, the dentists had a very high understanding of the anatomy of the mouth and never corrupted the inside of the tooth. The Mesoamericans made many groundbreaking accomplishments in their time of reign, and now from recent discovery teeth studding can be added to the list of their impressive ancient attributes.

Kayce T.

Period 5

Are You on the List?

What started out as a joke, turned out to be a great historical discovery about Genghis Khan. When Genghis Khan conquered territories he would tell his men to find the most beautiful woman and she would become one of his wives. This forced Genghis’ Y chromosome to be passed on for many years after and now 1 and every 200 men is a relative of Genghis. A huge group of central Asian population showed no differences between them and Genghis. Other advantages of Genghis Khan allow his Y chromosome to be passed on over and over again, mainly because he had multiple wives. Tyler-Smith said. “'There are only two ways a single Y chromosome can make such a mark on a population, The chromosome could in some way confer its owners with some biological advantage…[or] its original possessor had some incredible social advantage over other Y chromosome possessors, allowing its owner to pass it on….” So, check your DNA and see if your distant relative is the powerful Genghis Khan.

Philippe A.
Period 3

Monday, October 12, 2009

“Barefoot Burglar:” Feral Child

Thriving in the woods of the islands north of Seattle and eluding the police for over a year and a half in the trees, an eighteen year-old fugitive named Colton Harris-Moore (otherwise known as the “Barefoot Burglar”) is and has been on the loose, supposedly the culprit for robbing people’s homes, stealing boats, and even going as far as stealing small airplanes and crashing them. This teen is just one of the children who either have lived by themselves from a young age or shared company with animals in the vast outdoors. When Colton is referred to as a ‘Feral Child,’ feral is referring to the term ‘wild.’ There are over 4,000 situations of feral humans, even though only eight of these cases have proper documentation; but these situations are closely related to some myths and stories, such as Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli from The Jungle Book, or Remus and Romulus, founders of Rome, and suckled by a she-wolf. These humans cannot speak human languages as well or at all, based on the fact they have not had someone to teach them how. Some of the most famous feral children are Peter, Victor, Kaspar, Kamala and Amala. They were all found, but all had unfortunate ends; Peter was forgotten, Victor was found, but learnt little before death, Kaspar was murdered after being found in a pit, and the two girls Kamala and Amala both died, Amala a year after being found and Kamala eight years after that. The only question remaining is, how will Colton’s story play out?

Logan M.
Period 3

Dogs First Tamed in China to be Food?

New genetic analysis suggests that canines were domesticated in China 16,300 years ago to be livestock, not as pets as it was originally believed (in other words; Dog. It’s what’s for dinner). As they do today, the Chinese have been eating dog as far back as historical records go. May believe that the greatest level of canine genetic diversity should be in the area they were first domesticated. However, during a DNA analysis of African village dogs, it was found that the African dogs had a similar amount of genetic diversity as those in China. Further research showed that dogs from across Europe, the Middle East, and Asia share at least 80% of their DNA, giving proof to the theory that canines were domesticated as livestock between 5,400 and 16,300 years ago, when Asian hunter-gathers adopted a settled lifestyle.

And it tastes like Ostrich….

…which tastes like beef.


Taylor A.
Period 3

A (Kind-of) Country Within a Country: The Story of an Unknown Modern Day Revolutionary

Tales of freedom fighting are heavily romanticized and idealized by society. The French uprising against the oppressive monarchal rule, men and women opposed to archaic Apartheid laws in South Africa, and our forefathers who fought for freedom against the British are all viewed as inspirational and brave groups. However, some instances in which freedom is sought are viewed in a slightly less reverent light. In this category falls the micronation. A micronation is a modern phrase referring to an entity within an established country that is trying to gain its independence from a government that they disagree with, but are not recognized by the international community. Generally micronations are taken lightly and ridiculed. Although there are many micronations existing in some form throughout the world, a prime example is the Principality of Hutt River, which exists within the country of Australia. The creation of this principality was initiated by Leonard George Casley, who goes by the self-stylized title: his Royal Highness Prince Leonard of Hutt. In a disagreement with the Western Australian government regarding a quota that limited the amount of wheat which he could sell from his farm, Casley and his associates seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia, and his family elected him ruler of the new state. To avoid prosecution for secession, Casley gave himself his present title, so that he was protected by an Australian law that prevented law charges being brought against a monarch. Despite initial conflicts with the Australian government regarding mail delivery and taxes, (which resulted in a Hutt declaration of war against Australia) the two countries have now largely resolved their differences and coexist peacefully, with no taxes levied on the 75 square km principality by the Australian government. Hutt River features various signs that it could be recognized as a real country: it has a capital (called Nain, the country’s lone settlement), boasts national currency, and levies income taxes. As described by the self-proclaimed sovereign state’s website, the economy relies upon “the growing of wheat, white and blue lupins, and barley, as well as fat lamb production, wool and the sale of sheep for export”, as well as wildflower sales and tourism. The existence of a country is an ambiguous concept. Why can one political entity be called a country, and another not? Separations occur in an attempt to redefine and reform the status quo of a society. Movements such as the Great Schism, the southern secession, and even the initial colonization of America by religious separatists have defined our world. Rebellions against oppressive and tyrannical governing bodies are generally perceived reverently. So maybe micronations created in opposition to injustice aren’t such a ridiculous concept after all. But how will (or will) history remember His Royal Highness Leonard of Hutt?

-Brit H., period 7

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Looking Forward to Doomsday?Hah hah, Silly America...

Mayans have been revered as the ancient intellectuals whom established the modern-day calendar since the beginning of time 'til the end; as the dirt-old legend readings go, our time here is set for December 21, 2012.


Yeah, actually, it is, insists the Mayan elder. "I came back from England last year and, man, they had me fed up with this stuff." Like salt to the wound, Hollywood's cinema "2012" is set to appear in theaters November 2009.

Though this date may not signify the end of the world as we know it, it does have important significance to the ancient Mayan civilization. Excavation in Southern Mexican has revealed a stone tablet that was in rough repair. It mentioned the Mayan god of creation and war, but - shades of Indiana Jones - the bottom portion of the tablet is too worn and cracked for deciphering. Though archeologists may have managed to crack the final statement as "He will descend from the sky." Heh heh... However many other tablets are set at a date much further in time, including one that sets about 4772. The Mayans were the masters of the sky, the quintessential astronomers of the time. The ancient Mayan civilization revolved around numbers and order, and December 21, 2012 marks the end of the thirteenth Baktun, or 394-year period since the beginning of time. Also, the Mayans knew the earth was tilting, and its alignment with the universe changes ever so slightly every year. Once every 25.800 years, our sun lines up at the dead center of the Milky Way on a winter's solstice. Look for it on December 12, 2012!

Jacob D.
Period 3

Inca Empire Aided by Global Warming

A 400 year age of warmth helped make the ancient Inca one of the largest empires in the Americas. The increase of temperature served as an incubator for the Inca’s expansion. Global warming isn’t always a negative thing. According to “Climate of the Past”, it can help provide societal development. Since the Inca language had no form of writing and the culture was mostly destroyed by the Spanish conquerors it is hard to find history on the Inca people. But, by using plants buried in layers on the floor of Lake Marcacocha they could look at the environmental changes during the Inca Period. They used trees and counted up the rings and looked at the patterns and the environmental indicators inside the tree rings to see the changes in the weather. The Lake sediments also reveal that a drought had began at around 880 A.D. This drought was the collapse of the previous empire, Wari.
According to Chepstow-Lusty, Peru is considered the third most threatened country in the world due to climate change. The country should restore vast areas of terraces and canal systems and play attention to reforestation of the Andes, like the Inca did. The Incas Knew how to work with the weather so that it could help there empire.

Erik L.
Per. 3

How Long is a Marathon?

Most people know a marathon to be about 26 miles. What they don’t know is why. In the year 490 B.C.E., the Persian army descended upon the Athenians at Marathon, Greece. The Greek messenger Pheidippides was sent to Sparta to request help. After the battle was over, Pheidippides was sent back to Athens to deliver the message “Νενικήκαμεν,” or “Nenikékamen,” meaning “We have won.” This distance from Marathon to Athens was about 26 miles, the distance of a marathon. After delivering the message, Pheidippides collapsed and died on the spot from exhaustion. Now, more recently, in 1896, the marathon was run in the Olympics in honor of Pheidippides. Now, the question is posed: How long is a marathon? At first glance, one would say 26 miles, but what most people don’t know is that the distance Pheidippides ran from Athens to Sparta to Marathon was 150 miles. He covered this distance in just two days. This event truly captures the bravery and strength of many people.

-Ryan J., period 7

The Homecoming of Five Stolen Egyptian Relics

On Friday October 9, 2009 France made the decision to return 5 Egyptian relics that had been stolen and sold to them in the 1980's. This had been decided two days after Cairo from Egypt severed ties with the Paris museum in protest. On Wednesday October 7, 2009 Egypt severed all ties with Louvre demanding that their special artifacts be returned. There was a disagreement though between the French government and the Egyptian antiquities. The French government feels as though when their museum purchased these Egyptian relics that they were acting in good faith and did not know of this problem until November after they had been discovered as missing from the Valley of Kings. Yet, the Egyptian antiquities told AFP that they believed the Paris museum had been aware the whole time that these ancient artifacts were indeed stolen. In storage right now are the 5 small relics that had been chipped off of a painting on the wall of an Egyptian tomb all the way back from the 18th dynasty. Right when Cairo announced he had stopped the cooperation between France and Egypt, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand stated that these artifacts were ready to be returned to their rightful place if they were indeed stolen.

-Danielle B., period 7

Cleopatra’s Suicide by Snake True?

It is known that Cleopatra had committed suicide in her chamber by letting poisonous snakes kill her and two other ladies. However an Egyptologist named Joyce Tyldesley, says “…that such a scenario is next to impossible…” which apparently is “…too difficult to sustain as it leaves too many loopholes.” With this being said the snake would have to have been an Egyptian cobra, which can grow to 6 feet in length, and would have to be carried in a large fig basket. It is possible that instead of smuggling a snake into her chamber, Cleopatra and her servants died of self-administered poison, which could have been hidden in a pin or hair comb that was worn by the queen. In fact one of Cleopatra’s uncles had committed suicide by ingesting poison, which in her family, thought that death by suicide was seen as a virtue in Greek tradition. Many historians say that she did die in Alexandrian around 30 B.C, and that there is no historical evidence of a prior illness. In fact, other researchers, one named Pat Brown; say that there is a possibility that Octavian had murdered Cleopatra. As for the myth of the snake arouse because Egyptians feared, respected and worshipped snakes, making it possible that they used the snake for those very reasons. So with this all said; did Cleopatra actually commit suicide using a snake? Or could there have been other types of scenario for the cause of her death?

Tabatha S.
Period 3

The Key To Incan Civilization

It has always been somewhat of a mystery as to how the Incan Civilization was able to survive for such a long period of time. They had no written form of language and their heritage was destructed by the Spanish people so little is known about their rise to power. However, a recent study has found that an increase in climate change over the 400 years the Inca ruled, may have helped them prosper. The scientists who have studied this theory have discovered that the layers of sediment found in the jungles that were the Incan empire show just how many trees and plants were able to grow. With the increase in temperature, the agriculture of Incan civilization prospered greatly. This kind of weather acted as the perfect "incubator" for the Incan people. As paleontologist Alex Chepstow-Lusty points out, "Climate warming does not always have to be a negative issue. Our research shows it can favor societal development." Maybe the climate change the world is going through right now is not such a bad thing after all.

-TJ J., period 7

Colossal Statue of Apollo Unearthed in Turkey

Italian archaeologists have recently unearthed a colossal statue of Apollo in Pamukkale, Turkey, which used to be the ancient Greek city of Hierapolis; the city, which flourished during the Hellenistic age, was later given to Rome in 133 B.C. A finding such as this is extremely rare in Asia, as only a dozen similar statues exist. The statue, which stands at over 4 meters tall, depicts Apollo wearing an ornate tunic that highlights the god’s large muscles, and is missing a head and arms. Also, the statue was evidently designed to be viewed only from the front, which was figured out because of the sculptor’s lack of attention to the back. The statue had particular significance to Hierapolis because Apollo was considered to be the divine founder of the city, and it was likely the chief sculpture at the city’s temple of Apollo. As with most other temples of Apollo, the one at Hierapolis was built along a fault line, and it is clear to historians that an earthquake that occurred there was responsible for the division of the statue and separation of the arms and head. Archaeologists are continuing to unearth artifacts and statues at the site of Hierapolis, and it’s only a matter of time until they find the rest of the statue of Apollo!

-Ravi S., period 7

"Bluehenge" Could Be Funeral Site

A prehistoric stone circle found close to Stonehenge in southwest England may provide proof that the historic monument was actually part of a large funeral complex. This second stone circle has been labeled "Bluehenge" because it was built of blue stones, and was originally located next to the River Avon. Its discovery will offer evidence to the theory that Stonehenge and Bluehenge formed a "domain of the dead" connected by the Avon. Afterall, Stonehenge was Britain's largest burial ground at the time. There are several theories explaining the purpose of Bluehenge in this "domain". Some say there was a processional walk going from Bluehenge to the prehistoric cemetary at Stonehenge, while others believe that people were cremated at Bluehenge, and then actually buried at Stonehenge itself. Althought there are several different beliefs as to what exactly the monuments exact purposes were, it is agreed that the area around Bluehenge and Stonehenge was, indeed, used as a funeral site.

-Kori B, Period 3

Humiliating the Dead?

Historians once believed that burying the dead facedown meant rest in peace, but they may have been wrong. Some sources believe that the dead were buried facedown due to something the person may have done during their living hours. It may have been something to do with religion, as it was with the Vikings. Many of the Pagan Vikings did not accept those converted to Christianity, so they buried them facedown as a sign of dislike or hatred. Caroline Arcini of Sweden's National Heritage Board said, “behavior that is out of the norm—it is not accepted, what [the dead] have done.” She believes that the dead buried were buried the way they were because of some deed that was not “accepted” by the peoples. These strange burials could also have been so because of one’s social class. It is thought that those who were buried in a sitting position may have been a noble or high priest of some sort. Many of these burial sites are found in Peru, South Korea, Sweden and Mexico. So were the people buried facedown because of some horrible deed, and if so, what was it that made their deeds so horrific?

Natalie M, Period 3


Humans Emerge

Scientists have pinned down when humans first started emerging after the last ice age. Evidence of human and stone artifacts show that humans inhabited Gough's cave in England, 14,700 years ago. It is theorized that as Europe slowly defrosted humans followed herds of horses into the grasslands of current day Britain. "In the past, radiocarbon dates have often been influenced by contamination that modern techniques can remove much more effectively. The new results have transformed our understanding of this site because at last we have a chronology we can rely on and which we can link to climatic events here and in the wider world," Dr. Tom Higham, Deputy Director of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit.
Pictures of humans with cut marks on the walls of the cave suggest cannibalism was prevelant at the time. Both the writings and artifacts have led scientists to reexamine similar sites around the area to try to achieve a greater understanding of the first inhabitants of that area.

Emily B.
Period 3

Identifying Queen Hatshepsut

The mummy of Queen Hatshepsut, the most powerful female pharaoh, has finally been identified. An investigative team led by Dr. Zahi Hawass went deep into the Cairo Museum and sorted through thousands of mummies before narrowing it down to four. They used scans to match the mummies with unique physical traits the Hatshepsut had. However, the mummy was proved to be Hatshepsut’s when a missing tooth from a box with her name fit perfectly into one of the mummy’s mouth. As a part of the 18th dynasty, Hatshepsut declared herself a pharaoh by taking power when her husband died and her stepson was too young to rule himself. She was most likely the first female pharaoh. Her rule was considered prosperous but also seen as taboo by some because she was not a man. Yet, in the present day the identifying of her mummy is being celebrated and is considered the most significant discovery since King Tut’s tomb was found untouched by tomb raiders.

Shilpa A.
Period 3

'Mini-Colosseum' Rediscovered in Rome

In Rome , under the Fiumicino airport, there is a ‘mini-colossuem’ that, according to British archaeologists, may have been used by Roman emperors. The amphitheater has similar characteristics of the larger arena that is located in the center of Rome . However this ‘mini-colosseum’ is located at the site of Portus, an ancient harbor on the Tiber River . Although Rodolfo Lanciani marked the remains of what seemed to be a theater around the 1860’s, Simon Keay, project director and leading expert in Roman archaeology, claims “Our team has rediscovered this structure and proved it was in fact a building more akin to an amphitheater.” Findings over the three year period, such as a lavishly decorated rooms, a grand garden, a finely carved marble head, possibly resembling the Greek hero Ulysses, and a well-preserved toilet lead Keay to believe that the building was used for wealthy officials and possibly emperors. “This is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. … Certainly it should be rated alongside such wonders as Stonehenge and Angkor Wat in Cambodia ,” Keay said.


Sarena S.
Period 3

"Bizarre" New Dinosaur: Giant Raptor Found in Argentina

Scientists announced the discovery of a Bizarre, unknown dinosaur species, which appeared to live about 70 million years ago. The carnivorous, to legged raptor averages at about 16.5 to 20 feet long, depending on tail length. The dinosaur’s incomplete skeleton was extracted from rocks in the far-southern Patagonia region of Argentina. This new raptor belongs to a South American dromaeosaur group known as the unenlagiines. This discovery has changed history because the fossil provides the first evidence of dinosaur air sacs, which pump air into the lungs and are used by modern-day birds. Archaeologists have only discovered smaller crow and turkey size raptors in South America. In fact it is the first documentation of giant raptors in Patagonia measuring 5 meters or more. Researchers call Austroraptor “bizarre” because of his short arms in comparison to its large body. Its size says Paul Sereno, probably made Austroraptor a superior predator. There has been a small and closely related dinosaur found in South America which has a similar skull. This suggests the whole radiation of southern dromaeosaurs have these long tapering skulls. Suddenly, the world of southern raptors looks a lot bigger and more complex. "This Austroraptor shows us that here in South America giant raptors evolved and survived until the end of the dinosaur age." This new evidence clearly indicates that South America was the site of a very prolific lineage of carnivorous dromaeosaurs, whose evolutionary history now begins to reveal itself.

Lindsay M.

Period 5

Old Chocolate

On February 3, 2009, evidence of 1000 year old chocolate was found in Pueblo Bonito, and was reported in Tuesday‘s issue of Proceedings of the Nation academy of Sciences by Patricia Crown of University of New Mexico and W. Jeffery Hurst of the Hershey Center for Health and Nutrition. The location of the chocolate indicates trade between the Chaco Canyon and the cacao growers in Central America. The people in Central America drank chocolate in rituals, but the full purpose of this is unknown. This chocolate that they drank was unsweetened and very bitter. Crown found pieces of ceramic from jars in Central America, so she decided to check if there was evidence of chocolate being stored in them. There was indeed evidence of this, theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. "This illustrates the importance of collections in archaeology," Crown said, "that we can return to material with new techniques and find out new things. Every artifact has a story to tell." It is also believed that chocolate was used as a currency by the Aztec.

Alex J.
Period 5

Blue Stonehenge May Be Funeral Complex

On October 7th, 2009, some discoveries of prehistoric stones aligned in a circle may lead many to believe the monuments in southwest England is part of a large burial complex. Stonehenge is one of Britain's most beloved landmarks. Not much is known about its history of why its there, but everyone recognizes this large circle of rocks. The new findings, or the second stone circle was built with bluestones and it once stood next to the River Avon about 1.75 miles from Stonehenge. They believe Avon linked a "domain of the dead." Durrington Wells was a monument where extensive signs of feasting and other human activities were found, which was an upstream "domain of the living." Although there were few people living around that area, it only pushes the fact that it might have been a funeral complex, because records show many people were cremated there at the time.

Michelle H.

Period 5

Mini-Stonehenge Found: Crematorium on Stonehenge Road?

Scientist annouced, that a thirty-three-foot-wide Bluestonehenge was discovered just over a mile from the original Stonehenge near Salisbury, Britian. Bluestonehange wass recently deiscovered, and thought to be a critical stopping point on the route between the living and the dead. So Stonehenge was Britians largest and oldest burial ground, but this new smaller site located on the banks of the avon river is thought to be a creamatorium near Stonehenge. This site is also much older than the most famous Stonehenge. It has been thought to heve been erected around 3000 B.C. The stones are a rough blue shade, which gives it the name of Blue stonehenge. A week after the original discovery scientist conducted some carbon dating experements which show that the stones were as old as 4000 B.C. Also they found large amounts of charcol deposists in the stone, which implies that the area was ony for pre-historic ritual burnings. To conclude Mini-Stonehenge is a vital discovery that gives us just that much more information on the meaning and purpose of Stonehenge.

-Bret F., period 7

Are We Related to Genghis Khan?

One in 200 men alive today are related to Genghis Khan himself. A global team of geneticists have made the amazing discovery that there is more than 16 million men in central Asia that have the same male Y chromosome as the famous Mongol leader. Y-chromosomes that belong to dissimilar men differ slightly. “One in every 5,000 DNA units is not the same. But when we looked at our results, we found a huge group that did not show any differences. We were absolutely amazed,” said Tyler-Smith. The team, who consist of men and women from Britain, Italy, China and Uzbekistan, took tissue samples from 2,000 men from central Asia, and closely studied each one's Y chromosome, the hereditary package that grants maleness and is passed only from father to son. It is a remarkable discovery to find out that so many human beings today are related to such a well-known leader in history.

-Steven V., period 7

Venture on a Virtual Viking Voyage!

Put on your horned helmet and get ready to play Viking Quest. This game is definitely a fun, interactive way to learn about history. It takes you back to 793 AD, the year when the Vikings savagely raided England's Lindisfarne monastery. The player recreates this attack, but is able to control the journey, kind of like a 'choose your own destiny' book. The goal of the game is to return to Norway quickly and with a large loot, and rack up as many points as possible. During the game you control everything from how big of a ship to build to whether or not to burn down the monastery. Don't think this raid will be easy; those monks are known for being tough fighters. You and your band of warriors will also have to work through other obstacles like the brutal weather in the North Sea. Be sure to make wise decisions on your voyage. If you earn enough points, you'll get to become the new Viking chief. But can you beat my best score of 1083?

-Alexandra O., period 7

When Exactly Were the Great Pyramids Constructed?

According to new studies, the Egyptians started building the Great Pyramid of Giza on August 23, 2470 B.C. How did the Egyptian researches find the exact date? They used calculations based on the historical appearances of the star Sirius. "The appearance of this star indicates the beginning of an inundation period for the Nile”, said team leader Abdel-Halim Nur El-Din. Apparently, the inundation was a promising time for the Egyptians and they started building new structures at the beginning of every inundation period. The researches then had to compare our modern calendar, the Egyptian calendar, and the cycle of the star Sirius to find the exact day this star appeared. The evidence that proves 2470 B.C as the year of the building was that the pharaohs usually started building their tombs at the beginning of their reign, and Khufu became pharaoh in 2470 B.C. The Great Pyramid was supposed to be his tomb. Many researchers agree with Nur El-Din’s methods of calculating this exact date, but others argue that the exact year of Khufu becoming pharaoh has never been clear. Also, that the appearance of the star Sirius could have been different depending on the weather conditions during any given year. Depending on your point of view, the exact date of the beginning of the construction of the Great Pyramid has not been discovered…yet!

-Nona B., period 7

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hitler’s Skull Actually Belongs to Female

On September 30, 2009, scientist at the University of Connecticut discovered that what Russian officials claimed to be Hitler’s skull actually came from a woman. Nick Bellantoni, who was asked to examine Adolf Hitler’s skull fragment and the bloodstains from where Hitler committed suicide for a history channel documentary, was the first to notice that something was wrong with so-called Hitler’s skull. Bellantoni took the skull back to the University of Connecticut where it was determined by Linda Strausbaugh, Craig O’Connor, and Heather Nelson (all experts in working with DNA) that the skull was indeed a 20 to 40 year old woman’s. The scientists believe it could be Eva Braun, Hitler’s wife, but have no proof or way to find evidence. Also, it is unlikely that it is Braun’s because there is no record of her being shot in the head and there is a clear bullet hole in the skull. Though an alleged autopsy after Hitler’s suicide shows that he is missing part of his cranium, this skull is clearly not his. The question is, whose skull is it if it’s not Braun’s?


Shannon P.
Period 5

Stolen Egyptian Relics Going Back To Egypt

On October 9th, 2009, France decided to give back five Egyptian relics to Egypt. These relics had come from the Valley of the Kings. The Louvre bought these relics in 2000, and 2003. Egypt demanded that these artifacts be rightfully returned because they had been stolen out of the tombs from the Valley of the Kings, and Egypt decided to severe all ties with the museum in order to protest. France claims that the Louvre had acted in good faith by buying the relics, but the Louvre decided that the relics had been stolen in 1980 and should be given back to Egypt. Speculations about these relics from the Louvre was because of archaeologists recent discovery of a tomb with missing wall fragments. Now with the artifacts on their way home, maybe Egypt can again befriend the Louvre museum in Paris, France.


Zach D.

Period 5

Shroud of Turin Claimed Unauthentic

The Shroud of Turin, the cloth Jesus was wrapped in after he died on the cross, is an extremely important religious article for Catholics throughout the world. This detailed artifact displays an image of a bloody body, said to be the body of Christ at his resurrection. Scientists now believe they have replicated the shroud with items available during the 14th century, and say that the original was in fact created by people other than Christ. Throughout the years the shroud has encountered numerous damaging events, such as fires, which have altered its original appearance. Whether or not this piece of history is authentic will forever be debated. The Catholic Church has yet to comment on its historical accuracy. “Those who believe in it will continue to believe,” says Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor at the University of Pavia who participated in the replication. The disagreement of authenticity remains, and will continue due to many people’s renowned faith, or lack of, in the power of Christ.

Alisha M.
Period 5

Vikings- Ruthless Barbarians... Or Were They?

The Vikings have a reputation as being bloody, cold, vicious killers who slaughtered and pillaged villages along the coasts of continental Europe . However, they may be undeserving of this bad rap, mainly because their history is written by the people they pillaged and killed. Recent archeological evidence has proved that in fact the Vikings were not just simple barbarians, but they were also farmers, artists, shipbuilders, explorers, and traders. Viking art is very developed and intricate, pulling influence from African, Western, and Eastern sources. The cause for this blend is the expansive trade and exploration the Vikings did. They traded throughout the Mediterranean and with Constantinople via the Russian rivers, showing a drive for pursuits other than plunder. Also, they settled as far away as Greenland and North America , showing their prowess for exploring. The final point against their bad reputation is the fact that they lived in a bloody time, where the people of the countries they were raiding were also very ruthless, and it is believed that the churchmen that reported the Vikings raids probably exaggerated them, in order to condemn them on religious grounds. So, upon examination of the Vikings, it is evident that they were not just ruthless barbarians, but a complex society that simply was living in a violent era.


Ryan M.
Period 5

14-Zheng He

Here are some links about the Great Admiral Zheng He of the Ming Dynasty:

Here is a link to listed to Gavin Menzies, the author of 1421 the year China discovered America. Listen a little to his hypothesis and decided if his book is one you may like to read for our second semester project


His ideas has caused a stirring in the historical community, with many claiming that his premise is riddled with holes. Here is link to one of the sites trying to debunk his claims:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Oldest Human Ancestor Skeleton Found

You know Lucy, the last discovered remains of a human ancestor. Well before Lucy's time which was around 3.2 million years ago, evidence has shown us a whole other stage of evolution a million years before Lucy! You also know the popular prediction that someday we would discover that the earliest humans resembled and were related to chimpanzees. Well, archaeologists have discovered that is actually quite false. She's been given the nickname "Ardi" for it's assigned species, Ardipithecus ramidus. Ardi was about 110 pounds and had a small brain. on early humans a few notches because of the proof that Ardi and other like her, are nothing like the ape or anything relating to it! This find has really stepped up the research being done a notch because it proved that Ardi and others like her were nothing like apes or chimps as commonly assumed.

-Savannah B., period 7

Anyone Can Become a Treasure Hunter

An amateur treasure hunter in Staffordshire, England has unearthed Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts in a farmer's field. The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic tribe who invaded England after the Roman Empire fell and ruled from the fifth century to 1066 when there was a Norman Invasion; their cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world. The discovery, which contains as many as 1,500 artifacts, offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons and “it will make us rethink the Dark Ages,” says Roger Bland who managed the cache’s excavation. Among the treasure are intricately designed helmet crests includes running animals, enamel studded sword fittings, and one gold band with a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer’s enemies. Anglo-Saxon artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language is a precursor of modern English. The cache was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and thought to date between 675 and 725. Terry Herbert, the unemployed metal-detecting enthusiast, said the discovery “was more fun than winning the lottery.”
-Alicia P., period 7

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

13-Here Comes the Mongols...

OK... You may have noticed that I do like teaching about the Mongols. So, for this blog entry I thought I would just put a wide variety of links about them.

The first link is to the online store where I purchased my Genghis Khan shirt.
I've added a few pics of some of the other Genghis themed shirts. Have fun at this store and search for virtually any topic in history (and any other for that matter) to find apparel.

This is an article about "Superstud Genghis" and the genetic testing done to find his descendants in Asia.


And finally, here is a better trailer for the movie "Mongol" which came out last year http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2526675225/

Egyptian Tombs May Be Doomed to Destruction

Everyone has heard of the elaborate tombs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Some of the most famous pharohs in history have been buried there, including the boy king Tutenkhamun, Ramses II, and Queen Nefertiti. According to Dr. Zahi Hawass, if the tombs in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings stay open to the public any longer, they may disappear within 150 to 500 years. Ultimately, the combined breath of many tomb visitors makes humidity levels skyrocket and fosters the growth and spread of fungi in the ornate tombs. The fungi eat away at the carvings and decorations inside because of the poor ventilation. Drastic measures are being taken by Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities to protect the great tombs, such as limits on the number of visitors, closing and making replicas of tombs, and installation of better ventilation systems.
Nick H.
Period 5

The Age-Old Mystery: Revenge of the Pharaohs?

King Tutankhamen, boy-king of Egypt, one of the most well-known historical figures in the world. He was well-known for his short rule over Egypt and his mysterious, sudden death. Tutankhamen lay undisturbed in the Valley of Kings for thousands of years until Howard Carter made one of the most crucial archeological discoveries in history. By finding King Tut’s tomb, Carter had unveiled priceless artifacts previously untouched by human hands for thousands of years. Although the unearthing of Tut’s tomb was remarkable, the questionable aftermath of the discovery still baffles people around the world. The strange string of events started in April of 1923, two months after Carter’s discovery of Tut’s tomb. Lord Carnarvon, the sponsor for the excavation, died suspiciously in April from “complications from a mosquito bite”. Soon after his death, Carnarvon’s dog died along with his wife and Carter’s partner. As a result of opening Tut’s tomb, Carter supposedly unleashed the “mummy’s curse”, conjured to doom those who disturbed the Egyptian dead. On King Tutankhamen’s tomb, an inscription allegedly reads, “Death will come on swift pinions to those who disturb the rest of the pharaoh”, which makes one think if the so-called curse did in fact exsist. So now all we can ask ourselves is: Do you believe in the “mummy’s curse”?


Shannon G.
Period 3

Canadian Circus Clown Reaches the Final Frontier

Founder of the world-reknowned Cirque du Soleil, street performer Guy Laliberté has set his sights to new heights. Donned with a red nose and backed by good intentions, Laliberté becomes the first clown in space, September 30, 2009. As the space shuttle leaves the landing pad, friends and family, sporting similar rubber noses, break out in applause before switching into an accapello of Elton John's "Rocket Man." Backed by $350 million, Laliberté is on a campaigning mission to promote a clean water supply. “When I decided to join Expedition 21, I knew there would be an artistic component to my mission. I am an artist, not a scientist, so it was my duty to contribute in my own way,” stated Laliberté. This event showcases but one of the many ways the world is advancing into an era literally "otherworldly," but not everyone has a positive outlook on this. Chief executive of the $100 billion space station expresses his concerns on the ecosystem and how repetitive launches into space will probably NOT be the direction America is veering towards. “I keep hearing that space tourism is ending. It never seems to be true,” he said.


---Jacob D., Period 3

Monday, October 5, 2009

13-Mongol Riders today

When you look at Mongolia today it seems in many ways like the nomadic life of the steppes has changed very little from the days of Genghis Khan. I found this video online and thought it showed this point even more as well as allow you to see what these vast grasslands truly look like.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Candi Borobudur, the Biggest Buddhist Temple in 9th Century

This ancient temple is located in Indonesia, at the city of Djokjakarta. Borobudur is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The temple is decorated with 2,672 sculpture artwork and 504 Buddha statues in it. The main big statue called Stupa is located at the top center of the temple surrounded by 72 Buddha statues. The temple is the sacred place to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist religion and for the spirituality in it. The journey of spirituality begins at the base of the temple and follows the path to the top of the temple through the 3 levels of Buddhist cosmology, Kamadhatu (the world desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms), and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). The temple was rediscovered by the British people in 1859 after thousands years was covered by the jungle of trees and greens. This temple showed that the religion of Buddhism was influenced from India, all the way to Indonesia. This is the statue of Buddha inside the Stupa. If you can touch the Buddha statue inside the Stupa, then your dream or wish will come true.
-Devina T, period 7