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Author Topic: Ancient Sahara Graveyard Hints at Once-Green Desert  (Read 1379 times)
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WhiskeyGirl
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« on: August 23, 2008, 07:59:40 PM »

Ancient Sahara Graveyard Hints at Once-Green Desert

WASHINGTON    A tiny woman and two children were laid to rest on a bed of flowers 5,000 years ago in what is now the barren Sahara Desert.

The slender arms of the youngsters were still extended to the woman in perpetual embrace when researchers discovered their skeletons in a remarkable cemetery that is providing clues to two civilizations who lived there, a thousand years apart, when the region was moist and green.

(snip)

"Part of discovery is finding things that you least expect," he said. "When you come across something like that in the middle of the desert it sends a tingle down your spine."

Some 200 graves of humans were found during fieldwork at the site in 2005 and 2006, as well as remains of animals, large fish and crocodiles.

"Everywhere you turned, there were bones belonging to animals that don't live in the desert," said Sereno. "I realized we were in the green Sahara."

The graveyard, uncovered by hot desert winds, is near what would have been a lake at the time people lived there.

It's in a region called Gobero, hidden away in Niger's forbidding Tenere Desert, known to Tuareg nomads as a "desert within a desert."

(snip)

The first group, known as the Kiffian, hunted wild animals and speared huge perch with harpoons. They colonized the region when the Sahara was at its wettest, between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago.

The researchers said the Kiffians were tall, sometimes reaching well over 6 feet.

The second group lived in the region between 7,000 and 4,500 years ago. The Tenerians were smaller and had a mixed economy of hunting, fishing and cattle herding.

(snip)

Pollen remains show the woman and two children were buried on a bed of flowers. The researchers preserved the group just as they had been for thousands of years.

"At first glance, it's hard to imagine two more biologically distinct groups of people burying their dead in the same place," said team member Chris Stojanowski, a bioarchaeologist from Arizona State University.

Stojanowski said ridges on the thigh bone of one Kiffian man show he had huge leg muscles, "which suggests he was eating a lot of protein and had an active, strenuous lifestyle. The Kiffian appear to have been fairly healthy it would be difficult to grow a body that tall and muscular without sufficient nutrition."

On the other hand, ridges on a Tenerian male were barely visible.

"This man's life was less rigorous, perhaps taking smaller fish and game with more advanced hunting technologies," Stojanowski said.

(snip)

read the whole story here -
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,403921,00.html?sPage=fnc/scitech/archaeology

Maybe this was the garden of Eden?
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WhiskeyGirl
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« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2008, 08:10:45 PM »

Here is the National Geographic article with lots of pictures -

Lost Tribes of the Green Sahara
How a dinosaur hunter uncovered the Sahara's strangest Stone Age graveyard


http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/09/green-sahara/gwin-text

Lots of pictures!
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All my posts are just my humble opinions.  Please take with a grain of salt.  Smile

It doesn't do any good to hate anyone,
they'll end up in your family anyway...
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