Italy’s bloody secret…..

They were always portrayed as victims of fascism, but Mussolini’s soldiers committed atrocities which for 60 years have gone unpunished. Now the conspiracy of silence is at last starting to unravel.

The footnotes of Italian history record Giovanni Ravalli waging war on criminals. He was a police prefect who kept the streets safe and pursued gangs such as the one which stole Caravaggio’s The Nativity from a Palermo church in 1969. An adviser to the prime minister, a man of the establishment, he retired on a generous pension to his home at 179 Via Cristoforo Colombo, south Rome, to tend his plants and admire the view. He died on April 30 1998, aged 89.

The footnotes do not record a Greek policeman called Isaac Sinanoglu who was tortured to death over several days in 1941. His teeth were extracted with pliers and he was dragged by the tail of a galloping horse. Nor do they mention the rapes, or the order to pour boiling oil over 70 prisoners.

After the war Ravalli, a lieutenant in the Italian army’s Pinerolo division, was caught by the Greeks and sentenced to death for these crimes. The Italian government saved him by threatening to withhold reparations unless he was released. Ravalli returned home to a meteoric career that was questioned only once: in 1992 an American historian, Michael Palumbo, exposed his atrocities in a book but Ravalli, backed by powerful friends, threatened to sue and it was never published.

His secrets remained safe, just as Italy’s secrets remained safe. An audacious deception has allowed the country to evade blame for massive atrocities committed before and during the second world war and to protect the individuals responsible, some almost certainly still alive. Of more than 1,200 Italians sought for war crimes in Africa and the Balkans, not one has faced justice. Webs of denial spun by the state, academe and the media have re-invented Italy as a victim, gulling the rest of the world into acclaiming the Good Italian long before Captain Corelli strummed a mandolin.

In reality Benito Mussolini’s invading soldiers murdered many thousands of civilians, bombed the Red Cross, dropped poison gas, starved infants in concentration camps and tried to annihilate cultures deemed inferior. “There has been little or no coming to terms with fascist crimes comparable to the French concern with Vichy or even the Japanese recognition of its wartime and prewar responsibilities,” says James Walston, a historian at the American University of Rome.

The cover-up lasts to this day but its genesis is now unravelling. Filippo Focardi, a historian at Rome’s German Historical Institute, has found foreign ministry documents and diplomatic cables showing how the lie was constructed. In 1946 the new republic, legitimised by anti-fascists who had fought with the allies against Mussolini, pledged to extradite suspected war criminals: there was a commission of inquiry, denunciations, lists of names, arrest warrants. It was a charade. Extraditions would anger voters who still revered the military and erode efforts to portray Italy as a victim of fascism. Focardi’s research shows that civil servants were told in blunt language to fake the quest for justice. A typical instruction from the prime minister, Alcide De Gasperi, on January 19 1948 reads: “Try to gain time, avoid answering requests.”

Yugoslavia, Greece, Albania, Ethiopia and Libya protested to no avail. “It was an elaborate going through the motions. They had no intention of handing over anybody,” says Focardi. Germans suspected of murdering Italians – including those on Cephalonia, Corelli’s island – were not pursued lest a “boomerang effect” threaten Italians wanted abroad: their files turned up decades later in a justice ministry cupboard in Rome.

Britain and the US, fearful of bolstering communists in Italy and Yugoslavia, collaborated in the deception. “Justice requires the handing over of these people but expediency, I fear, militates against it,” wrote a Foreign Office mandarin. The conspiracy succeeded in frustrating the United Nations war crimes investigation. There was no Nuremberg for Italian criminals.

Given the evidence against them, it must rank as one of the great escapes. General Pietro Badoglio’s planes dropped 280kg bombs of mustard gas over Ethiopian villages and strafed Red Cross camps. He died of old age in his bed, was buried with full military honours and had his home town named after him. General Rudolfo Graziani, aka the butcher of Libya, massacred entire communities; his crimes included an infamous assault on the sick and elderly of Addis Ababa. His men posed for photographs holding severed heads. General Mario Roatta, known to his men as the black beast, killed tens of thousands of Yugoslav civilians in reprisals and herded thousands more to their deaths in concentration camps lacking water, food and medicine. One of his soldiers wrote home on July 1 1942: “We have destroyed everything from top to bottom without sparing the innocent. We kill entire families every night, beating them to death or shooting them.”

Italy’s atrocities did not match Germany’s or Japan’s in scale and savagery, and it is no myth that Italian soldiers saved Jews and occasionally fraternised with civilians. Glows of humanity amid the darkness; yet over time they have suffused the historic memory with blinding light.

The distortion can partly be blamed on British prejudices about Italian soldiers being soft and essentially harmless, says Nic Fields, a military historian at the University of Edinburgh: “Many British historians liked to focus on the luxury items found in Italian barracks. It reinforced the image of opera buffoons. Your average Tommy tended to caricature the Italians as poor sods caught up in the war.”

The crimes have been chronicled in specialist journals but never became part of general knowledge. Ask an Italian about his country’s role in the war and he will talk about partisans fighting the Ger mans or helping Jews. Ask about atrocities and he will talk about Tito’s troops hurling Italians into ravines. Unlike France, which has deconstructed resistance mythology to explore Vichy, Italy’s awareness has evolved little since two film-makers were jailed in the 1950s for straying off-message in depicting the occupation of Greece.

When Japanese or Austrians try to gloss over their shame there is an outcry, but the Italians get away with it. The 1991 film Mediterraneo, about occupiers playing football, sipping ouzo and flirting with the locals on a Greek island, was critically acclaimed. Captain Corelli’s sanctification of Italian martyrdom was not challenged. Ken Kirby’s 1989 BBC Timewatch documentary, Fascist Legacy, detailing Italian crimes in Africa and the Balkans and the allies’ involvement in the cover-up, provoked furious complaints from Italy’s ambassador in London. The Italian state broadcaster, Rai, agreed to buy the two one-hour programmes, but executives got cold feet and for 11 years it has sat in a vault in Rome, too controversial to broadcast. “It’s the only time I can remember a client shelving a programme after buying it,” says a BBC executive.

Kirby did manage to show it at a film festival in Florence. The reaction was toxic. “They put security on me. After the first reel the audience turned around and looked at me, thinking ‘what a bastard’.”

A brief storm of publicity engulfed Michael Palumbo, the documentary’s historical consultant. “I was practically assaulted by several Italian journalists. There was a sackful of death threats, some from former soldiers.”

The documentary gave a voice to Italian historians such as Giorgio Rochat, who have provoked disapproval from colleagues by attacking the myth. “There remains in Italian culture and public opinion the idea that basically we were colonialists with a human face.”

Another historian, Angelo Del Boca, says those guilty of genocide were honoured. “A process of rehabilitation is being organised for some of them by sympathetic or supportive biographers.” He says that for decades his research was obstructed – an accusation echoed by Focardi. Vital documents are “mislaid” or perpetually out on loan. Just one example: 11 years ago a German researcher found documents and photographs of Italian atrocities in Yugoslavia in the central state archive, a fascist-built marble hulk south of Rome. No one has been able to gain access to them since.

Such scholars are few, but thanks to their work a tentative reappraisal may be under way. While paying homage last march to the Italian troops massacred by Germans on Cephalonia, President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, noting that Italy invaded Greece, asked forgiveness. Newspapers such as La Stampa and Manifesto have reported new research, and a weekly magazine, Panorama, confronted Ravalli before he died. But Italy remains entranced by its victimhood. Television commentary for a military parade in Rome earlier this month hummed the glory and sacrifice of the armed forces. Newspapers splashed on the possibility that a 92-year-old former Nazi SS officer living in Hamburg, Friedrich Engel, may be prosecuted for crimes in Genoa. Other former Nazis accused of murdering Italians are being pursued now that the fear of a “boomerang” effect against Italian criminals has evaporated.

Last month workers digging in northern Ethiopia stumbled on yet another Italian arms depot suspected of containing mustard gas. Addis Ababa asked Rome to respect an international weapons treaty by revealing the location of stockpiles and helping to clear them. Like all other requests over past decades, it was rebuffed. “All efforts on Ethiopia’s side to convince Italy to live up to its responsibilities have failed,” lamented the government.

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Arizona lost treasure tales and legends…..

The Lost Black Canyon Placer

Named for the black metamorphic rocks that it cuts through, Black Canyon Creek is part of the drainage system that taps the southeastern flank of the Bradshaw Mountains. Turkey Creek, Crazy Basin Creek, and Poland Creek are all feeder streams of Black Canyon Creek, which empties into the Aqua Fria River at Black Canyon City.

The Black Canyon area has a history of gold placer mining extending back at least to the 1850’s. Nearly every tributary of Black Canyon Creek, and the main stream itself, contained placer gold. The adjacent slopes of the Bradshaws were intensely mineralized. For millennia, the mountains had shed nuggets of gold into the surrounding streams. Rich pockets of placer gold accumulated throughout the Black Canyon Creek watershed. In the early 1920’s, a prospector recovered $20,000 worth of placer gold from a gravel bar in Black Canyon Creek, just downstream from the Howard Copper Mine.

In the 1850’s, Mexican prospectors were active in the southern Bradshaw Mountains. They worked a few of the lode deposits, panned many of the streams, and built arrastres to separate the gold from the gangue. Sometime in the latter half of the 1800’s, a Mexican prospector discovered an extremely rich pocket of placer gold somewhere in the Black Canyon area. The Mexican worked the deposit for a short time and then left the country, intending to return later. He never did, but his two sons tried to find the placer deposit years later. They were unable to locate the pocket. There has been much gold taken from Black Canyon, but the big pocket apparently still remains.

The Lost Duppa Mine

irst known as the Silver Range, the Bradshaw Mountains rise up west of the Aqua Fria River in central Arizona. The Bradshaws abound in mineral deposits, both gold and silver. For many years a stronghold of the Apache, the Bradshaws were slow in giving up their mineral wealth. American prospectors finally opened the floodgates in the 1860’s. In 1862, a party of prospectors led by the famous mountain man Joseph Walker discovered rich deposits of gold near the headwaters of the Hassayampa River. The following year, a group led by William Bradshaw penetrated the heart of the range and also found precious metal deposits. In August of that year, a second party of prospectors led by another famous mountain man discovered the fabulous Rich Hill gold fields.

Many rich strikes were to follow in the coming years. This rugged mineral-rich mountain range came to be known as the Bradshaw Mountains. They were named for the famous prospector and early Arizona pioneer, William Bradshaw. During the 1860’s, a wave of prospectors, adventurers, and drifters poured into the mining districts of the Bradshaw Mountains.

One such adventurer was an Englishman named Bryan Philip Darrell Duppa. Born in 1832, Duppa moved first to New Zealand, and then in 1863 moved to the Arizona Territory. He gravitated to the mining district near present-day Prescott where he lived for about five years. In 1868, Duppa moved down to the Salt River valley where he tried his hand at farming. Soon, he decided to take on the job of station manager of the stagecoach stop near present-day Dewey. Duppa’s station was located about 13 miles straight east of Prescott, on the Agua Fria River. The new proprietor of the Dewey station found himself traveling back and forth to rescott many times. One day, Duppa took a short- cut down one of the many canyons that cut the east flank of the northern Bradshaws. Somewhere in that steep canyon, Duppa stumbled on a ledge of silver-bearing quartz. The ore mineral was pure native silver! Duppa returned to the station on the Aqua Fria in great excitement. He had finally made good. Or at least he thought so. When Duppa attempted to retrace his steps to the ledge, he was unable to find it! He never did. Duppa eventually retired in Phoenix, dying there in 1892.

The Lost Flannigan Mine

The Gila Bend region of Maricopa County, Arizona was perilous country for early mountain men, emigrants, and settlers. In 1826, the first mountain men arrived in Arizona. They came in search of beaver but found hostile Indians instead. One of these early mountain men, James Ohio Pattie, claimed that after only one year of trapping on the Gila River, he could remember only 16 men left alive out of a total of 160 who started the season.

The emigrants and 49’ers who passed through the Gila Bend region during the mid-1800’s also encountered a hostile land and people. In 1851, tragedy struck the family of Royce Oatman who were on their way to California. While camping near present-day Gila Bend, the Oatman family was attacked by Yavapai Indians who killed both parents and two of the children. Two other girls, Olive and Mary Ann, were abducted by the Indians. Mary Ann died in captivity but Olive was eventually ransomed from the Indians and returned to civilization.

The settlers who carved out their ranches and farms from the land also encountered hostile Indians. One such attack in 1869 led to the discovery of a fabulously rich deposit of gold-bearing quartz in the Gila Bend Mountains of southwest Arizona. It was in that year that the Gila Bend farm of Abner McKeever was raided by hostile Apaches. The Indians kidnapped his daughter Belle and headed north into the Gila Bend Mountains. Several scouting parties went out in search of the war party; one group in particular penetrated deeply into the Gila Bend Mountains. This party was made up of three soldiers, a sergeant named Crossthwaite and two privates named Wormley and Flannigan. The three men soon lost their way and found themselves wandering through some low hills. In a depression filled with water they discovered nuggets of pure gold. Above the pool of water were two veins of gold-bearing quartz, one 5 inches wide and the other an incredible 16 inches wide! The soldiers filled their saddlebags with gold and headed southeast in search of the Gila River. Eventually they were forced to separate in a desperate attempt to reach water. Unfortunately, Crossthwaite died in the wilderness. Wormley made it back to civilization but was mentally never the same again. But Private Flannigan managed to reach safety with his saddlebags full of gold! He mounted many prospecting expeditions into the mountains but never found the pool of gold. Finally, in 1881, his body was found in the desert of northwest Yuma County. He had been carrying his saddlebags with him when he died – they were full of gold nuggets again.

The Lost Four Peaks Gold Mine

The Four Peaks area comprises the southern portion of the Mazatzal Mountains, an extensive range that forms the western boundary of the famous Tonto Basin. The Four Peaks have always been an important landmark in this part of Arizona. Nearly 8000 feet high, they dominate the skyline. From the highest peak, one has a panoramic view of the Superstition Mountains rising up less than 10 miles to the south. To the north, the rugged peaks and ridges of the central and northern Mazatzals seem to go on forever.

Hidden by the intervening peaks, the historic site of old Fort Reno lies about 14 miles north of the Four Peaks area. The Reno Road, built in 1867, connected the fort to the network of military posts springing up in Arizona during the late 1800’s. Fort Reno was constructed on the eastern flanks of the Mazatzal Mountains, overlooking Tonto Creek to the east. The Mazatzal peak known as Mount Ord rises only four miles to the northwest of the old fort. Beyond Mount Ord, the mountains march away to the northwest.

During the 1800’s, the Mazatzal Mountains were in the middle of Apache country. The Tonto Apaches wandered these mountains in search of game, but occasionally found something else. For years, rumors had circulated of a hidden Apache gold mine in or near the Mazatzals. The local Tonto Apaches always seemed to have plenty of gold nuggets for trading. During the 1850’s, the famous Dr. Abraham Thorne was led to an Apache gold mine by friendly Tontos. Although blindfolded for most of the way, Thorne insisted till the end of his days that the mine was in the Salt River country. In 1853, Francis X. Aubry saw local Apaches making bullets out of gold!

Many prospectors have searched the Mazatzals for the lost Four Peaks gold mine. Unfortunately, most of them ended up dead. At least two accounts place a rich gold-bearing quartz deposit somewhere along the western flanks of the Four Peaks. In one case, a pair of prospectors discovered the lode but were later killed by Apaches. In the other, a cowboy stumbled on the gold deposit while searching for cattle. He was never able to find the mine again.

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New DNA tests on ancient Denisovan people ‘shows them occupying Altai cave 170,000 years ago’…

Prehistoric Siberians lived in Denisova Cave earlier than scientists realised – new claim based on state-of-the-art technology.

It was here in the Deinsova Cave in 2008 that Siberian scientists discovered a finger bone fragment of ‘X woman’, a juvenile female. Picture: Max Planck Institute

It has been called the cave that holds the key to man’s origins, and it keeps producing more surprises. It was here in the Deinsova Cave in 2008 that Siberian scientists discovered a finger bone fragment of ‘X woman’, a juvenile female believed to have lived around 41,000 years ago. Analysis showed she was genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.

In 2010 analysis on an upper molar from a young adult, found in the cave ten years previously, was also from a Denisovan. As we reported previously: ‘Traces in the ‘cultural layer’ of the Denisova Cave show the human habitat reaching back 282,000 years.’ The richness of the cave’s prehistoric contents means scientists from around the world are co-operating in seeking to solve its riddles.

Denisova cave

The Denisova Cave is located in the Bashelaksky Range of the north-western Altai Mountains, close to the border of today’s Altai Region and the Altai Republic. Picture: The Siberian Times

Now a new report by the news site of journal Science states that analysis on the Denisovan finger bone and molars as well as cave material shows these little-known ancient people ‘occupied the cave surprisingly early and came back repeatedly’.

The young female ‘lived at least 50,000 years ago and that two other Denisovan individuals died in the cave at least 110,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 170,000 years ago’.

The report cites scientific talks given to a meeting of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution. It cautions about a wide margin or error in the estimates over dates, but quotes paleoanthropologist Fred Spoor of University College London the findings provide ‘really convincing evidence of multiple occupations of the cave’, and that the Denisovans should be seen as a ‘valid species’.


In 2010 analysis on an upper molar from a young adult, found in the cave ten years previously, was also from a Denisovan. Picture: Max Planck Institute

When researchers first dated animal bones and artifacts in the cave’s layer 11, they were said to be between 30,000 and 50,000 years old. ‘So Siberian researchers invited geochronologist Tom Higham of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom to re-date the sequence,’ reported

Sediments holding the finger bone, at the bottom of layer 11, came out right at the limit of radiocarbon dating, and are likely older than 48,000 to 50,000 years, reported archaeologist Katerina Douka, of Oxford, it was reported.

‘Researchers sequenced nuclear DNA from three molars from layer 11 and a child’s molar from a deeper layer, 22, according to a talk by graduate student Viviane Slon, who works in the lab of paleogeneticist Svante Paabo at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.’ They succeeded in analysing ‘a significant amount of nuclear DNA from three teeth that turned out to be Denisovan’.

Denisova cave

Denisova cave

Denisova cave

The girl with the pinky finger was in the cave roughly 65,000 years after the oldest Denisovan, who was there at least 110,000 years ago and possibly earlier’. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

This showed that ‘the Denisovan inhabitants in that one cave were not closely related. They had more genetic variation among them than all the Neanderthals so far sequenced, although Neanderthals are known to be similar genetically’.

The team sequenced ‘their entire mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)  genomes and placed them on a family tree. Then they counted the number of mtDNA differences between individuals and used the modern human mutation rate to estimate how long it might have taken those mutations to appear. They concluded that the girl with the pinky finger was in the cave roughly 65,000 years after the oldest Denisovan, who was there at least 110,000 years ago and possibly earlier’.

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Official says Egypt approves radar for Nefertiti tomb quest…..

CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry granted preliminary approval for the use of a non-invasive radar to verify a theory that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamun’s 3,300-year-old tomb in the famous Valley of the Kings, a ministry official said Tuesday.

A security clearance for the radar’s use will probably be obtained within a month, said Mouchira Moussa, media consultant to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty.

“It’s not going to cause any damage to the monument,” Moussa said.

Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves recently published his theory, but it has yet to be peer-reviewed. He believes that Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, which has never been found.

British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tut’s tomb in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings in 1922 — intact and packed with antiquities including Tut’s world-famous golden mask.

In his paper, Reeves claims high-resolution images of King Tut’s tomb include lines underneath plastered surfaces of painted walls, showing there could be two unexplored doorways, one of which could potentially lead to Nefertiti’s tomb. He also argues that the design of King Tut’s tomb suggests it was built for a queen, rather than a king.

The Japanese radar, which will be operated by an expert who will accompany the equipment from Japan for the inspection once the final approval is granted, will look beyond the walls that Reeves says may be leading into the suspected tomb and the other chamber, Moussa said.

Reeves, who has been in contact with the minister, arrives in Cairo Saturday, Moussa said, and he and el-Damaty will travel to Luxor to inspect the tomb.

“We’re very excited… It may not be a tomb belonging to Nefertiti, but it could be a tomb belonging to one of the nobles,” said Moussa. “If it is Nefertiti’s, this would be very massive.”

Already, there’s a mummy at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that has strong DNA evidence of being Tut’s mother. DNA testing also has provided strong evidence suggesting that Tut’s father likely was the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the first pharaoh to try switching Egypt to monotheism. The DNA testing also brought a new discovery: that Tut’s mother was Akhenaten’s sister.

Still, some archaeologists believe the two were probably cousins and that this DNA result could be the product of three generations of marriages between first cousins — and that Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s chief wife, may in fact have been Tut’s mother.

Many Egyptologists believe there were probably one or two co-pharaohs between Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Some, including Reeves, believe at least one of them may have been Nefertiti, who may have even ruled Egypt by herself even for just a few months. Finding her tomb could provide further insight into a period still largely obscured, despite intense worldwide interest in ancient Egypt.

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Israeli archaeologists say they may have found fabled tomb of biblical Maccabees…..

APTOPIX Mideast Israel Archaeology-4

Israeli archaeologists may be one step closer to solving a riddle that has vexed explorers for more than a century: the location of the fabled tomb of the biblical Maccabees.

Israel’s government Antiquities Authority said Monday that an ancient structure it began excavating this month on the side of a highway appears to match ancient descriptions of the tomb of Jewish rebels who wrested control of Judea from Seleucid rule and established a Jewish kingdom in the 2nd century B.C.

Scholars in Israel’s quarrelsome archaeological community tend to agree that the site, in an Israeli forest west of Jerusalem and a short walk from the West Bank, is a significant burial site but reserve judgment about its connection to the Maccabees. Now the Antiquities Authority, which sometimes relies on private funding to help finance digs, is soliciting donations so it can keep searching for evidence.

“We still don’t have the smoking gun,” said Amit Reem, a government archaeologist who helped lead the dig.

The Maccabees are considered heroes in both Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates Mattathias and his five sons who revolted against Hellenic rulers who banned Jewish practices, and rededicated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The biblical Books of the Maccabees, which include a tale of Jewish martyrs dying for their faith, are a source of inspiration in some Christian traditions.

In the late 1880s, a succession of European explorers went searching for the tomb. They were drawn to a barren area near the West Bank village of Midya, a name that resembles Modiin, the ancient town where the biblical account says the Maccabee family was buried.

Arab villagers pointed one European explorer toward a hilltop dotted with rock-hewn graves known by locals as “the graves of the Jews.” Archaeologists today say these cannot be the graves of the Maccabees, but Israeli road signs still label them as such and Hanukkah ceremonies are held there to honor the ancient rebels.

Another 19th-century explorer was drawn to a nearby Arab tomb, where he announced that he found the remains of Mattathias. Archaeologists say the small domed structure has no connection to the elder Maccabee, but a modern tombstone engraved in Hebrew marks it as his burial site. Today, candles and Jewish prayer pamphlets are strewn about.

“It was more wishful thinking than hardcore archaeological evidence,” Reem said about the European explorers’ discoveries.

It is a third spot, just a few paces away from the domed structure, that captures Israeli archaeologists’ imaginations. French scholar Charles Clermont-Ganneau first excavated it in the late 1800s and found a mosaic floor featuring a Byzantine Christian cross. The site was then abandoned. This month, Israeli archaeologists and volunteers cleared away rubble and exposed the simple mosaic cross for the first time in more than 100 years.

Reem said the cross is a clue. It appears on the floor of a burial niche at the site. It is the only Byzantine-era site where a cross decorates the floor of a burial vault, he said, indicating that it may have marked the spot of an important figure. He thinks it is likely that the Byzantines — early Christians — identified this site as the Maccabees’ tomb.

“What other important figures would be here?” Reem said, standing in the deep pit of the archaeological site.

Oren Tal, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University who was not involved with the dig, said the mosaic cross is not necessarily a significant clue. He said the burial niche may have been converted into a Byzantine chapel, where a cross would have been standard.

But he agreed with Reem about other characteristics that correspond to the biblical account and to an account by ancient historian Josephus Flavius. Both describe the Tomb of the Maccabees as a tall structure that could be seen from the Mediterranean Sea, featuring columns and seven pyramids.

Reem says four thick column bases found at the site may be indications that the structure was once 5 meters (over 15 feet) tall, and large rock slabs Clermont-Ganneau said he found — which have since gone missing from the site — could have been the bases of pyramid decorations. Before a forest was planted in the area, it had a direct line of sight to the sea.

Reem said he cannot yet date the site to earlier than the 5th century A.D. He wants to excavate more, to look for an inscription or architectural elements that could associate the structure with the time of the Maccabees.

For the past decade, he said, finding the tomb has been his personal holy grail.

“It (is) crucial for everybody … to solve once and for all this riddle,” he said.

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1938…Orsen Welles scares nation…War of the Worlds

Source: 1938…Orsen Welles scares nation…War of the Worlds

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Parrot laughs like a super villain…

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Some clips from the One Hour Parking show…with music


A song featuring some of the classic clips from the One Hour Parking Radio Show….

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The Search for Lost Confederate Gold….. By Hans Kuenzi The Cleveland Civil War Roundtable Copyright © 2008, All Rights Reserved

In late May 1861, Jefferson Davis, the former Mississippi Senator and the reluctant president of the seceding Confederate States of America, moved the capital of the CSA from Montgomery, Alabama to Richmond, Virginia to boost the morale of the Confederate troops and weld Virginia to the Confederacy. Had he known that in April of 1865 he, his cabinet and about $700,000 in gold and specie would have to evacuate Richmond to avoid capture during the waning days of the Civil War, he might have elected to remain in Montgomery.  (Note: ‘specie’ describes money in the form of coins, usually gold or silver, as opposed to paper money. Also called hard currency. Since the gold standard was abolished in the 1930s, gold coins, aside from their higher intrinsic value and demand as collectibles, no longer have any special worth as a standard of value in world trade. Dictionary of Banking Terms.)

Davis was attending church services on Sunday, April 2, 1865 when he learned that Lee’s defensive line at Petersburg had been broken and the evacuation of Richmond was imminent. President Davis pleaded with Lee to form defense lines for just one more day and informed his cabinet that Richmond was to be evacuated and that they would take the Confederate treasury with them. General Lee advised Davis that he had until 8 p.m. to load the gold, valuables and cabinet members onto two trains which would travel southward on the only line still open between Richmond and Danville, Virginia. All the Confederate officials would board the first train, while the second train would hold “special cargo”. Navy Captain William H. Parker was placed in charge of the second train and, knowing that the special cargo was comprised of gold ingots, gold double eagle coins, silver coins, silver bricks and Mexican silver dollars, he gathered the only available personnel to provide a military guard. This guard consisted of mostly young navy midshipmen from a training ship on the James River and some of them were only twelve years old.

The two trains left Richmond at midnight and when the tracks ended at Danville, Davis and his staff began to travel south on horseback. Captain Parker and the treasure, now moved to wagons, were directed to the old U.S. Mint at Charlotte, North Carolina, which was considered the safest storage place. Unfortunately, Parker found the U.S. cavalry already in the immediate area and made alternate arrangements. The treasure was placed into all kinds of containers that had once been used for sugar, coffee, flour and ammunition. Moving to the southwest, Parker and the wagons zigzagged across the South Carolina-Georgia state line several times to evade capture.  Eventually the responsibility for the treasure was passed on to the Secretary of War, John C. Breckenridge, who then placed Brig. General Basil Duke in charge. With slightly less than a thousand men in his command, Duke transferred all the treasure into six wagons and began his journey south with eight of his veterans on each wagon as guards and the rest of his command, along with the midshipmen, as escorts. In Washington, Georgia, Jefferson Davis and his cabinet met for the final time, where Davis signed his last official order, making Micajah Clark the acting Treasurer of the Confederacy.

The Chennault Plantation in Washington, GA where the Confederate gold reportedly disappeared

It was in Washington that the bulk of the treasure was captured along with Jefferson Davis and his staff. Some of the treasure had been retained by Brig. General Duke and his men as each man under his command received as payment the sum of $26.25, which amounted to a total of about $26,250. The balance of the captured treasure was assembled and loaded into wagons for transport to Washington, D.C. However, somewhere in Wilkes County, Georgia, the wagon train was bushwhacked. The bushwhackers were stragglers from both the Federal and Confederate armies who had heard of the treasure and the “handouts” being given to soldiers. Residents of Wilkes County who witnessed the event said that the bushwhackers waded knee-deep in gold and silver coinage before loading it in all kinds of bags and sacks and riding away. It was said that many riders were so overloaded that they later discarded or hid large quantities of the coins all over Wilkes County.

The belief that Confederate gold is buried in Wilkes County has persisted since the end of the war. However, despite searches conducted throughout the years, nothing of value has ever been found there. This rumor of buried treasure in Wilkes County nevertheless spawned a legend involving a family of local repute, the Mumfords, and the location of the lost Confederate gold.

This legend was first advanced by Martha Mizell Puckett, a former school teacher and Brantley County native, who spun her tale of Confederate gold in her book, Snow White Sands. Her book alleged that New York native and Confederate sympathizer Sylvester Mumford was present at the Confederacy’s final cabinet meeting in Washington, Georgia, and claimed that Jefferson Davis divided the gold among those present and instructed them to use the money as they felt best. Another account maintains Jefferson Davis entrusted the entire Confederate treasury into the care of Sylvester Mumford. A very prosperous merchant before the war, Mumford had established a cotton plantation near Waynesville. However, his business fortunes suffered great losses throughout the course of the war.

It was said that, after taking possession of the gold, Mumford transported some of the Confederate treasury southeast to North Florida and the Atlantic coast, where he boarded a British steamer bound for England. Puckett was rather vague about what Mumford did with the gold he allegedly transported to England, except to claim that he ordered enough seed corn from South America, by way of Great Britain, to replant the whole State of Georgia. The rest of the gold found its way into the hands of his daughter, Goertner “Gertrude” Mumford Parkhurst, in New York, where she lived and invested it well. Puckett claimed that when “Miss Gertrude” decided that the remainder of the Confederate gold should be returned to the people to whom it belonged, her personal lawyer, Judge J.P. Highsmith, suggested that an educational trust be established for the descendants of the Confederate soldiers.

As heir to the Mumford estate, “Miss Gertrude” allegedly made provisions to return the balance of the Confederate treasure to Southern hands after her death. In fact, when she died in 1946 at age 99 in Washington, D.C., she bequeathed almost $600,000 to the children of Brantley County through an endowment and two scholarship funds.

The Thornwell Home and School for Children as it stands today in Clinton, SC

Initially, with one-third of her estate, the will established the Sylvester Mumford Memorial Endowment at the Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton, South Carolina, which was founded in 1875 and is now known as the Thornwell Home and School for Children. The remainder of her estate was divided between two scholarship funds. The first was given to the Presbyterian Church, headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, in trust “for the maintenance and education of white orphan girls of Brantley County”. By 1960, this scholarship fund was creating more income from its principal investment than there were recipients for the scholarships. The church petitioned the court to expand the scope of the scholarships by including residents of counties which immediately surrounded Brantley and by defining an orphan as a child who had lost at least one parent. Due to the moral and legal concerns about restricting the fund to white orphan girls, the church then petitioned the court to open the scholarship to all ethnic groups. In 2002, the church awarded $32,000 to qualified women from Southeast Georgia, and in October 2003 there were fifteen women attending colleges or technical schools who were funded by the scholarship program.

A second scholarship, known as the Sylvester Mumford Memorial Fund, was to be awarded to students from Brantley County who attend Georgia College, then known as Georgia State College for Women. In recent years, the number of students receiving tuition assistance has fluctuated between ten and twelve.

Given this claim that the source of these scholarships was in fact a portion of the lost Confederate treasury, researchers throughout the years sought to confirm the veracity of the Mumford legend. However, their work created great doubt that any lost Confederate gold ever existed in the first place. Of particular note, Wayne J. Lewis researched the connection between the Confederate gold and the Mumford estate due to his personal interest in the legend. In April 1953, he and his three brothers were the first children from Brantley County to derive benefit from the Mumford funds at the Thornwell Orphanage in Clinton, South Carolina, after their father died from a heart attack in 1951 at age 47. Lewis graduated from Thornwell High School in 1958 and then from Clemson University in 1962 before serving on active duty in Germany and Vietnam with the U.S. Army. He resigned his commission as a captain after almost six years and he retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 2000 and still has family and friends in Brantley County.

Appreciative of the home the Mumfords provided and his opportunity for a college education, he set out to discover the facts behind the Confederate gold. He researched the archives of the Thornwell Orphanage and found no reference to the Confederacy or gold in any of the handwritten letters from Mrs. Parkhurst. He also interviewed local historians and librarians in Washington, Georgia, none of whom had heard of the gold’s connection to Brantley County. Moreover, he was unable to find any mention of the name Mumford in any record of the period.

After exhaustive research, Lewis concluded that gold from the Richmond banks and the Confederate treasury had in fact been evacuated from Richmond and shipped south to prevent it from falling into the hands of Union forces. However, although the banks and the Confederacy had shipped their gold on the same train, each had its own security forces and the gold was never commingled. Although Jefferson Davis’s family was on the train with the gold shipments, Lewis wrote that Jefferson Davis was not. The treasurer of the Confederacy was on board and made numerous and well-documented disbursements along the way to meet military payrolls.

Arriving in Washington, Georgia, Lewis reported that the Confederate treasury had dwindled down to about $43,000 in cash. The funds were then stored there in a vault at a local bank, and within days after the war ended, the Richmond banks had their funds returned to Richmond on five wagons. However, this wagon train was robbed on the first night that it stopped to make camp, and the robbers improvised ways to carry the loot: stuffed in their shirts, pants, boots and whatever else would hold their plunder. Unfortunately for them, their booty leaked and made it easy for a posse to follow. All but about $70,000 was recovered and transferred to Augusta, Georgia, where ownership of the funds was tied up in court until 1893. The courts eventually agreed with the federal government, who claimed the funds because the Richmond banks had aided a rebellion by making loans to the Confederacy.

Lewis concluded that the Brantley County Confederate gold legend was probably fabricated from a combination of the legend told in Snow White Sands and the actual gold shipments after the war. Indeed, no one who was an eyewitness to the events ever documented that the gold was actually lost. Martha Mizell Puckett, the author of Snow White Sands, had failed to include footnotes, references or even a simple bibliography to support the presence of gold in Brantley County.

In conclusion, historical research has determined only $70,000 of the gold belonging to the banks in Richmond is missing, but not lost, as it was accounted for in the robbery during its shipment back to Richmond. What remained of the Confederate treasury, in the form of gold and other valuable coins, was disbursed as payroll to Confederate troops during its transport south. By the end of the war, nothing remained in the coffers of the Confederate treasury except for its incalculable amount of debt.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Civil War | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Baltic Sea Anomaly a 14,000 Year-Old Alien UFO That Crash Landed?……


Is the Baltic Sea Anomaly a 14,000 year old alien spacecraft that crash landed?

In what seems to come straight out of a Star Wars film, something like a crashed Millennium Falcon has been spotted at the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

The image first appeared on the sonar of Ocean X, a private treasure hunting company, a couple of years ago.

You can see its strange and artificially circular shape. It looks something like a UFO.

Also note the streak marks behind it. Look at the way they are shaped….it looks like whatever this thing was crashed and skidded along the ground before coming to a stop.

The team that discovered this object noted that when their boat was directly above it some of their electrical equipment stopped working. When they sailed away , the equipment started working again.

The dive team that explored the sunken object also explained how the object appeared to have steps leading into an egg shaped entrance.

Parts of either the object or rock that had formed around it were dated to be around 14,000 years old.

Still, some experts say this could completely be a natural geologic rock formation.

But, to me at least, the way it stands out on a sonar scan, the steps and entrance the divers note, and the apparent skid marks that trail the object… a natural geologic rock formation seems like an unlikely culprit.

Just what is this object laying at the bottom of the Baltic sea? Could it be an alien spacecraft that crashed long ago?

Categories: aliens, Aliens and UFO's, Ancient Treasure, area 51 | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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