Friday, August 12, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Roman-Era Sword Uncovered in Ancient Ditch


The sword with remains of the scabbard on it. Photo: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority

A sword used by a Roman soldier during the brutal pacification of the Jews and the destruction of the Temple at Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago, has emerged from an ancient drainage tunnel beneath the city, Israeli authorities announced this week.

Excavated since 2007, the tunnel, which was used by Jewish rebels as a hiding place from the Romans, has also yielded a stone object adorned with a rare engraving of a menorah, the seven-branched temple candelabra that was the symbol of ancient Judaism.

The 60-centimetre (23.6-inches) long weapon, still in its leather scabbard, is the third Roman sword found in Jerusalem.

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What makes the finding unique is the fine state of preservation, said the excavation directors Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa.

"It seems that the sword belonged to an infantryman of the Roman garrison stationed in Israel at the outbreak of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66 AD," the researchers said in a statement.

At that time, the Jewish people revolted against the tyranny of Rome, but despite a remarkable resistance, they were ultimately crushed.

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The Romans also destroyed the second Temple, which, according to Jewish tradition, was built by King Herod the Great on the site of King Solomon’s temple. This was razed by the Babylonians around 587 BC.

In 70 AD, the Romans under Titus plundered tons of gold, silver trumpets and gold candelabra from Herod’s magnificent white-and-gold temple. Then they paraded the treasure, which also helped finance the building of the Colosseum, through the streets of Rome in triumph.


The stone engraved with the image of the menorah. Courtesy of Vladimir Naykhi

The moment was captured in a frieze carved into the Arch of Titus, which clearly shows the menorah, the seven-branched temple candelabra, being exposed through the streets.

The menorah was also recorded in a stone object unearthed near the Temple Mount.

"Interestingly, even though we are dealing with a depiction of the seven-branched candelabrum, only five branches appear here. The portrayal of the menorah’s base is extremely important because it clarifies what the base of the original menorah looked like, which was apparently tripod shaped," the researchers said.

The fact that the stone object was found near the Temple Mount would suggest that it belonged to a passerby who saw the menorah with his own eyes.

"Amazed by its beauty, he incised his impressions on a stone and afterwards tossed his scrawling to the side of the road, without imagining that his creation would be found 2,000 years later," the researchers said.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Giant fossil shows huge birds lived among dinosaurs

Lower jaw of S. nessovi (Naish/Dyke/Cau/EscuilliƩ/Godefroit)
The fossilised jawbone is nearly twice the length of that of an ostrich, the largest bird found on Earth today

An enormous jawbone found in Kazakhstan is further evidence that giant birds roamed - or flew above - the Earth at the same time as the dinosaurs.

Writing in Biology Letters, researchers say the new species, Samrukia nessovi, had a skull some 30cm long.

If flightless, the bird would have been 2-3m tall; if it flew, it may have had a wingspan of 4m.

The find is only the second bird of such a size in the Cretaceous geologic period, and the first in Asia.

The only other evidence of a bird of such a size during the period was a fossilised spinal bone found in France and reported in a 1995 paper in Nature.

Sharing space

An overwhelming majority of the birds known from the period would have been about crow-sized, but Dr Darren Naish of the University of Portsmouth said that a second find of an evidently different species suggests that large birds were common at the time.

"This fossil is only known from its lower jaw, so unfortunately we can't say anything at all with certainty about the shape and form of the whole animal.

"If it was flightless and sort of ostrich-shaped, it would have been maybe 2-3m tall and somewhere over 50kg," he explained to BBC News. "If it was a flying animal, then maybe it was shaped like a big albatross or a condor."

Dr Naish also wondered about the dinosaurs with which the enormous birds shared their space.

"I think the really interesting thing is that they're living alongside the big dinosaurs we know were around at the time: big tyrannosaurs, long-necked sauropods, duck-billed dinosaurs," he said. "That opens up loads of questions about ecological interactions that we can only speculate about.

"People have said there weren't big birds when there were big pterosaurs, but now we know there were."

Wednesday, August 10, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Antimatter belt around Earth discovered by Pamela craft

Artist's conception of magnetosphere The antiprotons lie sandwiched between the inner and outer Van Allen belts (in red) around the Earth

A thin band of antimatter particles called antiprotons enveloping the Earth has been spotted for the first time.

The find, described in Astrophysical Journal Letters, confirms theoretical work that predicted the Earth's magnetic field could trap antimatter.

The team says a small number of antiprotons lie between the Van Allen belts of trapped "normal" matter.

The researchers say there may be enough to implement a scheme using antimatter to fuel future spacecraft.

The antiprotons were spotted by the Pamela satellite (an acronym for Payload for Antimatter Matter Exploration and Light-nuclei Astrophysics) - launched in 2006 to study the nature of high-energy particles from the Sun and from beyond our Solar System - so-called cosmic rays.

These cosmic ray particles can slam into molecules that make up the Earth's atmosphere, creating showers of particles.

Many of the cosmic ray particles or these "daughter" particles they create are caught in the Van Allen belts, doughnut-shaped regions where the Earth's magnetic field traps them.

Among Pamela's goals was to specifically look for small numbers of antimatter particles among the far more abundant normal matter particles such as protons and the nuclei of helium atoms.

'Abundant source'

The new analysis, described in an online preprint, shows that when Pamela passes through a region called the South Atlantic Anomaly, it sees thousands of times more antiprotons than are expected to come from normal particle decays, or from elsewhere in the cosmos.

False colour bubble chamber image of antiproton/proton annihilation Antiprotons "annihilate" if they come into contact with normal protons

The team says that this is evidence that bands of antiprotons, analogous to the Van Allen belts, hold the antiprotons in place - at least until they encounter the normal matter of the atmosphere, when they "annihilate" in a flash of light.

Although normal matter particles outweigh the antiprotons by thousands to one, the band is "the most abundant source of antiprotons near the Earth", said Alessandro Bruno of the University of Bari, a co-author of the work.

"Trapped antiprotons can be lost in the interactions with atmospheric constituents, especially at low altitudes where the annihilation becomes the main loss mechanism," he told BBC News.

"Above altitudes of several hundred kilometres, the loss rate is significantly lower, allowing a large supply of antiprotons to be produced."

Dr Bruno said that, aside from confirming theoretical work that had long predicted the existence of these antimatter bands, the particles could also prove to be a novel fuel source for future spacecraft - an idea explored in a report for Nasa's Institute for Advanced Concepts.

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

17 Lost Egyptian Pyramids Discovered By Space Archaeologists

Lost Pyramids Space

A new golden age of Egyptology may have only just begun.

But this time things are a little different. Instead of treks through the desert, khaki hats, and camel rides into the sunset, modern archeologists are using satellite imaging and modern technology to uncover the lost secrets of Egypt.

Astoundingly, scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham believe they have discovered 17 "lost" pyramids using this methodology, according to MSNBC.

1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements have also been uncovered with the use of infra-red technology, according to the BBC.

Thus far, at least two of the suspected pyramids have been confirmed and excavated.

From the BBC:

We were very intensely doing this research for over a year. I could see the data as it was emerging, but for me the "Aha!" moment was when I could step back and look at everything that we'd found and I couldn't believe we could locate so many sites all over Egypt.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archaeologist," she said.

The team analysed images from satellites orbiting 700km above the earth, equipped with cameras so powerful they can pin-point objects less than 1m in diameter on the earth's surface.

The program at the university is funded by NASA.

Egypt's Lost Cities, a program detailing these new discoveries, will air on the BBC on May 30.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Pharaoh Statue Unearthed In Egypt

Amenhotep Iii Statue

CAIRO — Archaeologists unearthed one of the largest statues found to date of a powerful ancient Egyptian pharaoh at his mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor, the country's antiquities authority announced Tuesday.

The 13 meter (42 foot) tall statue of Amenhotep III was one of a pair that flanked the northern entrance to the grand funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile that is currently the focus of a major excavation.

The statue consists of seven large quartzite blocks and still lacks a head and was actually first discovered in the 1928 and then rehidden, according to the press release from the country's antiquities authority. Archaeologists expect to find its twin in the next digging season.

Excavation supervisor Abdel-Ghaffar Wagdi said two other statues were also unearthed, one of the god Thoth with a baboon's head and a six foot (1.85 meter) tall one of the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet.

Archaeologists working on the temple over the past few years have issued a flood of announcements about new discoveries of statues. The 3,400-year-old temple is one of the largest on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, where the powerful pharaohs of Egypt's New Kingdom built their tombs.

Amenhotep III, who was the grandfather of the famed boy-pharaoh Tutankhamun, ruled in the 14th century B.C. at the height of Egypt's New Kingdom and presided over a vast empire stretching from Nubia in the south to Syria in the north.

The pharaoh's temple was largely destroyed, possibly by floods, and little remains of its walls. It was also devastated by an earthquake in 27 B.C. But archaeologists have been able to unearth a wealth of artifacts and statuary in the buried ruins, including two statues of Amenhotep made of black granite found at the site in March 2009.

Friday, April 8, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Help support a great new Feature Film on Kickstarter

The Red Robin" Oscar cast/crew attached to Thriller
Plus I am on the crew!
About this project


Academy Award winner Maximillian Schell (Judgement at Nuremberg)

Dominic Monaghan (Merry in Lord of the RingsTrilogy & "LOST")

Hill Harper ("CSI NY" & Tyler Perry's For Colored GIrls)

Claire Forlani (Meet Joe BLack/ The Medallion)

Jane Alexander (The Ring/Terminator 2/Kramer vs Kramer)

Roger Guenveur Smith(American Gangster/Fighting)

"The Red Robin" was conceived 6 years ago when I was about to max out my credit cards to make my second feature bare-bones, guerilla-style, as in no big names, no trailers, no flashy premiere party at the Ziegfield, just enough to feed the crew so they wouldn't revolt. Previously, I completed a small feature film called "Slaves of Hollywood" with most of the above attributes and was invited to 35 festivals worldwide (winning 3), secured distribution and received rave reviews in Los Angeles, so I was no stranger to the idea of making movies on a shoestring nor how much effort would be required not only to write/shoot/edit the movie but to get out and sell, sell, sell!

What started out as a micro-budget movie with unknown actors has evolved into a film that now has Academy Award stars and producers attached.  We have 6 incredible luminaries of the silver screen:

Executive Producing the movie is Academy Award winner, Jonathan Sanger(Vanilla Sky,The Elephant ManThe Producers) as well as Rick Porras(Co-producer of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy). 

Once the project was fully-packaged, I teamed up with some strong business partners who have helped us raise most of the $525,000 budget. The remaining balance is being filled by a combination of tax-credits, soft government money(depending on where we shoot), and 1 or 2 pre-sales. At this point, we are set to shoot in October 2011.  Why I'm here and what I'm asking for is support to help me cover the balance of our POST PRODUCTION COSTS.  The budget we currently have is enough to get the film "in the can" and ready for a 3 month edit schedule.  At this point, as an editor myself, I am tapping into all the wonderful relationships I have with major post houses to get us great discounts without compromising quality.   I've already cut deals that have reduced my budget from over $100k to $25,000.  Now, with this pedigree of this cast, I know I can get a post-house to barter in-kind services if they have the available edit space and personnel, but I thought how cool it would be to say that this film's post-production was made possible by the Kickstarter community.   If I make my fundraising goal, I will have a special credit in the movie that will say just that.  

I put together this TEASER-TRAILER to give a "taste" of the tone of my "film"  If it all excites, provokes or compels you, please consider donating to be part of this special movie.  Thanks for giving this project your time and consideration.  

Project location: New York, NY

Monday, March 7, 2011 | By: Khush Singh-Celebrity & Indian Bridal Makeup Artist

Scientists' amazing California discovery includes fishing tackle 12,000 years old

People are discovering antique fishing tackle all the time, in closets and at garage sales, but none of that compares to discoveries made recently by archaeologists at two of the Channel Islands off Southern California.

Looking for signs of ancient human settlement, they unearthed meticulously-crafted spearheads and other tools (see photo at right) that date back 12,000 years and provide insight into the lives of a seafaring culture that obtained bounty from the ocean.

The astonishing discoveries, at three sites on Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands west of Santa Barbara, strongly support the theory that during an era when the first traces of humans appeared in the archaeological record in North America, a coastal culture existed that was distinct from the well-chronicled inland Clovis culture, which consisted of big-game hunters who subsisted on mastodons and other large mammals.

A 15-member team led by Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon's Museum of Natural and Cultural History found chipped stone tools, used for fishing and hunting, along with an abundance of discarded seashells and bones.

A story about the finds appears in the March 4 issue of Science; it was summarized by New Scientist and Science Daily. New Scientist's headline: "Found: fine American fishing tackle, 12 millennia old."

In the Science Daily piece, Erlandson said, "This is among the earliest evidence of seafaring and maritime adaptations in the Americas, and another extension of the diversity of Paleoindian economies. The points we are finding are extraordinary, the workmanship amazing. They are ultra thin, serrated and have incredible barbs on them. It's a very sophisticated chipped-stone technology."

The sites are thought to have represented seasonal hunting grounds. Prey items probably included surf perch and rockfish, geese, cormorants and other birds, shellfish and perhaps seals, sea lions and otters. The crescent-shaped stones probably were used at the ends of darts to stun birds. Fish and larger marine mammals were speared.

Team member Todd Braje, of Humboldt State University, is quoted by New Scientist as saying, "We found very thin, expertly made projectile points and it blew us away that these delicate flint-knapped points are this old."

Most of the tools were different from those unearthed at inland Clovis sites on the North American mainland, but some of the spearheads were similar, perhaps implying that trade existed between the cultures.

The newly discovered sites might help scientists learn more about how North America became populated. It's widely believed that people arrived via a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska, but some scientists believe seafaring migration occurred.

Erlandson explained that his team's find supports the notion that mariners were either first to inhabit North America, or that they arrived at about the same time as those via the land route.

While the recent finds are not the oldest in North America, Braje explained in the New Scientist story that "this pushes back the chronology of New World seafaring to 12,000, maybe 13,000 years ago. It gets us a big step closer to showing that a coastal migration route happened, or was at least possible."

-- Top image is of the ancient fishing tackle discovered recently by scientists at Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands off Southern California. Courtesy of Jon Erlandson. Second image, of Santa Miguel Island, and Channel Islands map graphic are from Wikipedia