'Immigration Act of 1917' Turns 100: America's Long History of Immigration Prejudice

'Immigration Act of 1917' Turns 100: America's Long History of Immigration Prejudice

Health inspectors examine detainees on Angel Island, California, circa 1917.
Credit: National Archives and Records Administration

One hundred years ago today (Feb. 5), Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917, the first legislation to dramatically limit immigration into the U.S. It introduced rulings that singled out specific countries and ethnicities, and included conditions that favored privilege over need.

While many people view immigration as a cornerstone of America's journey and continued success as a country — a positionoutlinedby White House representatives under President Barack Obama — sweeping restrictions such as those put forward in 1917 also shaped the United States' immigration story.

Decades after the 1917 act became law, its guidelines for inhibiting immigration persisted. And its legacy reverberated recently, when President Donald Trump issued a Jan. 27executive ordertemporarily halting the acceptance of refugees from Syria, and forbidding people from several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. [Refugee Crisis: Why There's No Science to Resettlement]

The Immigration Act of 1917, also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, prohibited immigration from any country that was on or adjacent to Asia but was "not owned by the U.S.," according toa summaryshared online by the University of Washington Bothell Library (UWBL). The Philippines was not included in the ban because it was a U.S. territory at the time, and Japan was excluded for diplomatic reasons.

The act also stated that all immigrants over age 16 would be required to pass a literacy test, demonstrating that they could read "not less than 30 nor more than 40" words in English or in "some other language or dialect." Further prohibitions expanded an existing list of "undesirables," adding epileptics, alcoholics, political radicals, anarchists, criminals, people suffering from contagious diseases or with mental or physical disabilities, and people who were merely poor, UWBL explained.

"A radical departure"

First proposed in 1915, the legislation was vetoed twice by then-President Woodrow Wilson, who declared in a message issued Jan. 28, 1915, to the House of Representatives that such a bill would be "a radical departure from the traditional and long-established policy of this country" to welcome immigrants. Congress overturned his second veto on Feb. 5, 1917.

The ban on people from most Asian countries was the first to target a specific geographical region, expanding on the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 — the first legislation to deny immigration to a specific ethnic group. The act's momentum was driven by nationalist fervor, the propaganda machines of World War I and the anti-immigrant "100 percent Americanism" movement, according to Mae Ngai, a professor of history and Asian American studies at Columbia University.

It also reflected prevailing negative attitudes in the U.S. toward Chinese immigrants, and extended that prejudice to also exclude immigrants from South Asia, Rebecca Kobrin, an associate professor of history at Columbia University, told Live Science.

"This was a big move for restriction of immigration. It marked the move of America to think of itself as a nation defined by race, and it inscribed those racial hierarchies into law," Kobrin said. "There has always been demonization of groups in our history. At the time, Asians were seen as a hallmark of 'the other.'"

These immigration laws were paralleled by other forms of legalized racial discrimination across the country, Ngai told Live Science in an email.

"Asians suffered from state laws excluding them from various professions and occupations — such as teaching and commercial fishing — and from owning agricultural property," Ngai said.

The literacy test included in the Immigration Act of 1917 was also unfair because it offered immigrants a limited selection of languages to prove their proficiency, according to Kobrin. If an immigrant's native tongue didn't appear on that list, he or she would have been considered illiterate and denied entry, Kobrin said. [20 Startling Facts about American Society and Culture]

The political cartoon "The Americanese Wall, as Congressman Burnett Would Build It," by Raymond O. Evans, appeared in the satirical magazine Puck on March 25, 1916. It warned that a proposed literacy test would bar immigrant entry to the U.S.

The political cartoon “The Americanese Wall, as Congressman Burnett Would Build It,” by Raymond O. Evans, appeared in the satirical magazine Puck on March 25, 1916. It warned that a proposed literacy test would bar immigrant entry to the U.S.
Credit: Library of Congress

As harsh as the 1917 measures were, for many members of Congress, the restrictions didn't go far enough, and even stricter legislation followed, María Cristina García, a professor of American studies at Cornell University, told Live Science in an email.

From 1921 through 1924, a series of quotas drastically reduced European immigration into the U.S., cracking down more severely on countries in eastern and southern Europe, who were not as well established in American communities as were people from western and northern Europe, García said. Following the Immigration Act of 1924 (also called the Johnson-Reed Act), "Germany's quota stood at over 51,000, while Greece and Albania had quotas of 100 each," García said.

And at the height of the anti-communist "Red Scare" during the 1950s, European immigrants suspected of communist sympathies or activities were punitively targeted with criminal charges and deportation measures, Ngai said.

Righting a wrong

Immigration quotas shaped by race remained in place until the Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965, which abolished quotas and prioritized uniting families by granting naturalized immigrants the ability to sponsor relatives in their native lands. When President Lyndon Johnson signed it into law, he praised it as correcting "a cruel and enduring wrong in the conduct of the American nation," according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

However, Trump's Jan. 27 executive order appeared to revisit an earlier time, when America's perception of immigrants was less welcoming. It suspended the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for 120 days; prohibited entry to Syrian refugees indefinitely; suspended entry for 90 days to immigrants and nonimmigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen (countries that were identified later by the Department of Homeland Security ina fact sheet); and limited refugee admission to 50,000 people for the duration of 2017's fiscal year. This order was seen by many as prejudicial and racially motivated, The Atlanticreported.

Laws that legitimize discrimination on racial grounds can send a troubling message, fueling public fear that can spark violence and hate crimes toward targeted groups, Ngai told Live Science.

"Trump's executive order, and the stereotypes and discourses that circulated during the 2016 presidential election, more generally, are rooted in century-long conversations about who is 'worthy' of admission to the United States," García explained.

"However, history also teaches us that, while some Americans are fearful, others are welcoming, and they challenge draconian immigration policies if they violate our most deeply held convictions about justice and equal opportunity," García said.

Original article on Live Science.

Ancient Tomb of Chinese General and Princess Filled with Figurines

Ancient Tomb of Chinese General and Princess Filled with Figurines

The remains of a couple were found 1,500 years after being buried in China.
Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics

The tomb of a general and his princess wife buried on March 18, in the year 564, has been discovered in China.

The ancient tomb, which contained the couple's skeletons, was also filled with figurines, said the archaeologists who described the findings recently in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics.

"The grave goods in this tomb are comprised of a total of 105 items, mostly pottery figurines," the archaeologists wrote. The figurines, whose colors are preserved, include representations of warriors, camels, oxcarts and drummers, with the tallest standing at about 22 inches (56 centimeters). [See Photos of the Ancient Tomb and Figurines]

Inscription in sandstone

A sandstone inscription found in the tomb describes the life of the couple Zhao Xin and his wife, Princess Neé Liu. The inscription says (in translation), "On the 20th day of the second moon of the third year of the Heqing period [a date researchers said corresponds to March 18, 564], they were buried together."

Archaeologists say that 105 items were discovered in the tomb and that most of them were figurines.

Archaeologists say that 105 items were discovered in the tomb and that most of them were figurines.
Credit: Photo courtesy Chinese Cultural Relics

Zhao Xin served the rulers of the Northern Qi dynasty, which controlled part of northern China from 550 to 577. He held posts as a general and at times a governor in different areas of China, the inscription said.

At his final post, Zhao Xin served as the general of a garrison of soldiers at a place called Huangniu Town and led the garrison to victory in battle. "A thousand men lost their souls; he disposed of the Yi barbarians and exterminated the enemy, and the public flocked to him," the translated inscription says.

Of Princess Neé Liu, the inscription says that "by nature, she was modest and humble, and sincerity and filial piety were her roots. Her accommodating nature was clear, her behavior respectful and chaste."

Zhao Xin died at the age of 67 while still general of the garrison, according to the inscription, which does not indicate why he and his wife were buried at the same time. A detailed analysis of the bones hasn't been published yet.

Mountain roots

Archaeologists said in the journal article that the tomb is located near modern-day Taiyuan city on the "eastern foothills of the Xishan Mountains, on the west bank of the Fenhe River."

The mountain location could have had some symbolic value, because the inscription also says, "If the mountain peak's roots are firm, it can contend in height with Heaven and Earth; deep and brilliant, solid and bright, it speeds far away along with the Sun and Moon; civil and martial seek each other, and so men are naturally there…"

The cemetery was excavated by archaeologists between August 2012 and June 2013. The archaeologists are from the Shanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology, Shanxi University's School of History and Culture, Taiyuan Municipal Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, and the Agency of Cultural Relics and Tourism of Jinyuan District, Taiyuan city.

An article describing the discovery was published, in Chinese, in the journal Wenwu, in 2015. The article was recently translated into English and published in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. In the journal article, the archaeologists also discussed the other tombs they found in the cemetery, noting that they excavated 69 tombs in total.

Original article on Live Science

Viking VIP: Grave Belonging to 'Warrior of High Status' Uncovered

Viking VIP: Grave Belonging to 'Warrior of High Status' Uncovered

Archaeologists found several grave goods within the Viking burial, including a sword (top), the remains of fabric that was wrapped around the blade of the sword (lower right) and the decoration on the pommel of the sword (bottom left).
Credit: Pieta Greaves/AOC Archaeology

About 1,000 years ago, Vikings dug a grave for a "warrior of high status" and buried him in a boat that was overflowing with grave goods, including a hefty sword and a broad-bladed ax, according to a new study.

The Viking warrior was buried in western Scotland's Swordle Bay, far from his home in Scandinavia. But, the artifacts found in his grave are Scandinavian, Scottish and Irish in origin, the researchers found.

The rare finding provides insights into how the peoples of western Scotland lived and interacted during the 10th century, when this Viking was buried, the researchers said. [Images: Viking Jewelry Revealed in Sparkling Photos]

"The findings suggest a connection between Scandinavia and Ireland in the objects found, as well as information about the history of diet of the person buried here and their connections away from Swordle Bay," the study's lead researcher, Oliver Harris, an associate professor of archaeology at the University of Leicester, said in a statement.

Researchers discovered the grave in 2011 on Scotland's remote Ardnamurchan Peninsula. They were amazed to find that the individual was buried with warrior-related weapons, including an ax, sword, spear and shield. The scientists also found 213 of the boat's metal rivets, which survived while the wooden boat decayed over the years.

Other artifacts found in the grave include a broad-bladed ax (top left), shield box (top right), ringed pin (bottom right) and hammer and tongs (bottom left).

Other artifacts found in the grave include a broad-bladed ax (top left), shield box (top right), ringed pin (bottom right) and hammer and tongs (bottom left).
Credit: Pieta Greaves/AOC Archaeology

Other grave goods that were discovered in the burial relate to daily life, cooking, work, farming and food production, the researchers said. Moreover, the grave is close to a Neolithic burial cairn (a human-made stone mound), whose stones may have been incorporated into the Viking grave, the researchers said.

"The Ardnamurchan boat burial represents the first excavation of an intact Viking boat burial by archaeologists on the U.K. mainland, and provides a significant addition to our knowledge of burial practices from this period," Harris said.

The archaeological team also found a shield boss (the domed part of the shield that protected the warrior's hand); a whetstone made from a kind of rock that's found in Norway; and a single copper-alloy ringed pin, which was likely used to fasten a burial cloak or shroud.

In addition, the grave held the mineralized remains of textiles and wood.

"Critically, when considering a burial like this, it is essential to remember that each of these objects, and each of these actions, was never isolated, but rather they emerge out of, and help to form, an assemblage that knits together multiple places, people and moments in time," the researchers said in the statement.

An analysis of the isotopes in the man's teeth (an isotope is an element that has a different number of neutrons than normal in its nucleus) suggests that he grew up in Scandinavia, the researchers noted.

Other recent Viking discoveries include an immense ax buried with a Viking "power couple" in Denmark, and Viking graves with the bodies of beheaded slaves in Norway.

The study was published in the February issue of the journal Antiquity.

Original article on Live Science.

Qumran & the Dead Sea Scrolls

Qumran & the Dead Sea Scrolls

The Temple Scroll consists of 18 sheets of parchment, each of which has three or four columns of text; the lengthy scroll, spanning 26.74 feet (8.15 meters) and considered the largest scroll ever discovered in the Qumran caves, is now digitized online with English translations.
Credit: Israel Museum

The site of Khirbet Qumran (a modern Arabic name) is located in the West Bank, near the northern edge of the Dead Sea, and is the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 11 nearby caves 70 years ago. Though it has been decades since any scrolls were discovered, researchers announced in February 2017 that they had found a 12th cave near Qumran.

The first settlement was created during the Iron Age, but was abandoned about 2,600 years ago, long before the scrolls were made.

Archaeological work indicates that a second settlement existed between roughly 100 B.C. and A.D. 68, when it was captured by the Roman army and destroyed in a fire. The heat was so intense that modern-day archaeologists have found glass vessels “melted down” by it. It is in this settlement that many scholars believe at least some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written before being hidden away.

Discovery of the scrolls

Explorers first came across Qumran in the 19th century, and the site took on new importance with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

The scrolls were first found in 1946 or 1947 (accounts of the exact date vary) when a young shepherd by the name of Muhammed Edh-Dhib was looking for a stray goat. At one point “he was amusing himself by throwing stones. One of these fell into a small hole in the rock and was followed by the sound of the breaking of pottery,” writes researcher Geza Vermes in his book "The Story of the Scrolls" (Penguin Books, 2010). “Muhammed climbed in and found several ancient manuscripts in a jar. Altogether seven scrolls were subsequently removed from the cave.”

Over the next decade, local Bedouin and scientific researchers would discover the remains of more than 900 manuscripts in 11 caves. Each cave is located near Qumran, the farthest one being just over one mile (1.6 km) to the north of the site. The newly discovered 12th cave contained a blank scroll along with the remains of jars, cloth and a leather strap. The researchers said they believe these items were used to bind, wrap and hold the scrolls.

The scrolls found include copies of Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Kings and Deuteronomy, among other canonical works from the Hebrew Bible. They also include calendars, hymns, psalms, apocryphal (non-canonical) biblical works and community rules. One scroll is made of copper and describes the location of buried treasure. There were no New Testament gospels found in the caves. [Gallery of Dead Sea Scrolls: A Glimpse of the Past]

The Temple scroll is the thinnest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Discovered in 1956, it contains God's instructions on how to run the Temple.

The Temple scroll is the thinnest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Discovered in 1956, it contains God’s instructions on how to run the Temple.
Credit: The Israel Museum, Jerusalum

Study of the letter styles of the scrolls, along with carbon-14 dating, indicates that they were penned between roughly 200 B.C. and A.D. 70, the copper scroll being written perhaps a few decades later. Vermes writes that the vast majority of the scrolls are written in Hebrew with a smaller number in Aramaic and only a few in Greek (although Greek was a popular language at the time). Most of the scrolls were composed on leather (sheep and goat skin in particular).

Recent analysis of textiles found with the scrolls shows that the textiles were originally used as clothing. They are all made of linen (even though wool was the more popular garment at the time) with most of them undecorated. The researchers argue that according to historical accounts these textiles are similar to what people belonging to an ancient sect called the Essenes wore.

A virtual view of the northeast corner of the reconstructed Khirbet Qumran fortress, facing southwest towards the caves.

A virtual view of the northeast corner of the reconstructed Khirbet Qumran fortress, facing southwest towards the caves.
Credit: Robert R. Cargill and Jennifer Dillon / © Copyright 2007-2009 UCLA Qumran Visualization Project


The settlement of Qumran is very small and never grew much larger than one acre. Its population may have been no higher than a few dozen people.

Recent archaeological work by Yitzhak Magen and Yuval Peleg of the Israel Antiquities Authority indicates that around 100 B.C. a Hasmonean military outpost with a watchtower and stables was constructed at Qumran. The Hasmoneans were a dynasty of Jewish rulers that controlled a state centered in modern-day Israel.

In an interview with the website Heritage Key, Peleg stressed that this outpost was a modest structure. “It’s a small site with small units. All its purpose was was to see that no enemy army was coming to the Dead Sea shores, climbing the cliffs towards Jerusalem.”

In 63 B.C., the Romans took control of the Hasmonean Kingdom, and archaeological work indicates that Qumran transitioned to civilian use. Magen and Peleg write that around this time the site’s water supply was “tripled” with the construction of an aqueduct and additional pools. Altogether, Qumran had eight stepped pools that some researchers believe to be ritual baths known as mikveh.

Why the water supply was increased is a matter of debate. A priest named Roland de Vaux, who excavated at Qumran about 50 years ago and first noted the stepped water pools, argued that the site’s population was increasing and the water system expansion was needed for drinking and baths.

Magen and Peleg argue that this is unlikely. Their excavations show that residential space at Qumran did not increase and that only two or three of the stepped pools were ritually suited to be used as mikveh. The researchers argue that pottery production was the reason for Qumran’s water system expansion. They point out that “tens of thousands of pottery fragments” were found at Qumran and their excavations reveal that at least one large pool had a thick layer of potter’s clay.

The people at Qumran apparently engaged in writing. De Vaux’s excavations revealed a room that he called the “scriptorium,” which had two inkwells along with plastered benches or tables. It could have been used for writing scrolls and/or business records, depending on how the site is interpreted.

Qumran’s cemeteries

Qumran has three cemeteries, the main burial ground located just to the east of the site. It’s estimated that 1,000 tombs are located in them, some dating to the time of Qumran but others (such as those made by local Bedouin) dating to much later.

Dating the burials at the cemetery is a difficult problem, writes Brian Schultz, of Bar Ilan University, in a 2006 article in the journal "Dead Sea Discoveries." Researchers have to rely on artifacts found in the tombs, the orientation of the burials (the Jewish burials are more likely to face north-south) and radiocarbon dating.

So far, 46 tombs have been excavated and published says Schultz, out of which 32 can be dated to the time of Qumran, most of them adult men. Schultz writes that the complete lack of children and the presence of (at most) only five women suggest that a monastic group composed mainly of men lived at Qumran.

Qumran and the scrolls

The relationship between the scrolls and Qumran is a source of great scholarly debate. Some researchers, such as de Vaux, have argued that the scrolls were deposited in the caves by the Essenes, who in turn lived at Qumran. On the other hand, some scholars, such as Magen and Peleg, argue that the site itself has no relationship to the scrolls, the manuscripts being deposited by refugees, likely from Jerusalem, fleeing the Roman army.

Robert Cargill, now a professor at the University of Iowa, has created a virtual model of Qumran, giving researchers a tool to help reconstruct its architecture.

He argues that multiple groups (including people from Qumran) could have been putting scrolls into the caves. This theory offers an explanation as to why there are scrolls written in three languages and why the copper scroll (discussing treasure) may date to after Qumran’s destruction.

70 Years After Dead Sea Scrolls Were Found, New Discoveries Await

70 Years After Dead Sea Scrolls Were Found, New Discoveries Await

The Temple scroll is the thinnest of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Discovered in 1956, it contains God’s instructions on how to run the Temple.
Credit: The Israel Museum, Jerusalum

In 1947, or late 1946, the first batch of Dead Sea Scrolls was found in a cave located near the site of Qumran in what is now the West Bank. These bits of biblical history continue to perplex archaeologists to this day.

Not only are there still unanswered questions about the 2,000-year-old scrolls, but scientists continue to find fragments of the scrolls and other related artifacts.

The Dead Sea Scrolls include early copies of the Hebrew Bible, along with a vast assortment of other texts, such as calendars, astronomical information and community rules. There is even one text, inscribed on copper, that discusses the location of buried treasure. [Gallery of Dead Sea Scrolls: A Glimpse of the Past]

A young bedouin shepherd named Muhammed ed-Dib is usually credited with having discovered the first batch of scrolls, which included a fragment of the Book of Isaiah. The exact date of the discovery is not known, and there are variations in the story of how ed-Dib found the first scrolls. (In many of the stories, ed-Dib was searching for lost sheep when he came across a cave containing the scrolls.)

In the time after ed-Dib's discovery, thousands of additional fragments were uncovered in a series of 11 caves located near Qumran. Some of these fragments were found by the bedouin who, in turn, sold them to an antiquities dealer named Khalil Iskander Shahin in Bethlehem. Other fragments were found in a series of archaeological excavations conducted in the 11 caves between 1949 and 1956.

The identity of the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls is a source of debate among scholars. Many believe that at least some of the Dead Sea Scrolls were written by people who belonged to a sect called the Essenes and that this sect used Qumran as a sort of monastery.

After 1956, more scrolls were discovered at other caves located in the Judaean Desert.

New discoveries

As the 70th anniversary of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery approaches, Live Science has learned of new discoveries that will be announced soon. An archaeological team has been excavating a cave located near Qumran since December. Members of the team have told Live Science that they have made some discoveries that the Israel Antiquities Authority will announce soon.

The Israeli media outlet Arutz Sheva reports that the team found jars that once held scrolls and cloth that the scrolls were once wrapped in but that the scrolls themselves appear to have been plundered in the mid 20th century. [In Photos: New Dead Sea Scrolls Revealed]

Additionally, another team, which is excavating at a place known as the "Cave of Skulls," has made a series of discoveries that the newspaper Haaretz says include small fragments of scrolls. Archaeologists with the Cave of Skulls team declined to comment when contacted by Live Science, and an Israel Antiquities Authority spokesperson said the finds from the Cave of Skulls are still being analyzed.

The excavation of these two caves is part of a project that the Israel Antiquities Authority launched to excavate caves in the Judaean Desert that may contain archaeological remains. Over the past few years, looters have illegally excavated material from caves in the desert, with one illegal "dig" supposedly resulting in the discovery of a scroll that dates back around 2,700 years.

Antiquities market

In addition to the new scrolls reportedly being found in the Judaean Desert, some have supposedly turned up on the antiquities market. In 2016, approximately 25 previously unpublished fragments of "Dead Sea Scrolls," supposedly from Qumran, were described in two separate books. Research indicates that some of these scrolls are likely forgeries, while others may not be from Qumran but rather other caves in the Judaean Desert.

One of 15 new Dead Sea Scroll fragments that recently appeared on the antiquities market.

One of 15 new Dead Sea Scroll fragments that recently appeared on the antiquities market.
Credit: Photo courtesy Les Enluminures

Over the past 15 years, about 70 alleged Dead Sea Scrolls fragments have turned up on the antiquities market, Eibert Tigchelaar, a professor of theology and religious studies at the University of Leuven in Belgium, told Live Science last fall. Some of these 70 fragments are likely either forgeries or from other Judaean Desert caves, he said.

In the time since Live Science interviewed Tigchelaar, a company called Les Enluminures, which sells ancient and medieval manuscripts, has sold 15 fragments of "Dead Sea Scrolls" to an undisclosed institution in the United States. "The scrolls are now in an institution in the United States. I am not at liberty to reveal which one, until they make their own public announcement," said company CEO Sandra Hindman.

The company said these fragments were found by the bedouin who sold them to Shahin in the early 1960s. The asking price for all 15 fragments was $1 million. "We have absolutely no doubts about their authenticity," Hindman said.Tigchelaar said that he will need to wait until higher quality photographs of the scroll fragments are available before he can analyze the fragments in detail.

Original article on Live Science.

12th Dead Sea Scrolls Cave Found in Israel

12th Dead Sea Scrolls Cave Found in Israel

Archaeologists recently discovered a cave (entrance, shown at left) near Qumran in Israel, though most of the “Dead Sea Scrolls” in the cave had been taken in the mid-20th century.
Credit: Oren Gutfeld & Ahiad Ovadia

A cave that held Dead Sea Scrolls before they were stolen in the mid-20th century has been discovered near Qumran.

Inside the cave, archaeologists found a blank scroll along with the remains of jars, cloth and a leather strap. The researchers said they believe these items were used to bind, wrap and hold the scrolls.

Between 1947 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in a series of 11 caves located near the site of Qumran in what is now the West Bank. The scrolls contain copies of books of the Hebrew Bible along with community rules, calendars and astronomical texts, among other writings.

Some of the scrolls were found by the Bedouin people, who sold the artifacts to antiquities dealers, while other scrolls were found during archaeological excavations. [See Images of the Dead Sea Scrolls]

Archaeologists taking part in the excavation said they could tell from modern day pickaxes found in the cave that the newly discovered cave had been robbed. Thus, any scrolls that may have held writing were taken, the researchers said. The scientists added that they think the blank scroll found in the cave was, in ancient times, being prepared for writing.

he only scroll found in the Qumran cave was blank, though archaeologists believe that in ancient times it was being prepared for writing.

he only scroll found in the Qumran cave was blank, though archaeologists believe that in ancient times it was being prepared for writing.
Credit: Oren Gutfeld & Ahiad Ovadia

"Although, at the end of the day, no scroll was found, and instead we 'only' found a piece of parchment rolled up in a jug that was being processed for writing, the findings indicate beyond any doubt that the cave contained scrolls that were stolen," said excavation director Oren Gutfeld, an archaeologist at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, in a statement.

"The findings include the jars in which the scrolls and their covering were hidden, a leather strap for binding the scroll, a cloth that wrapped the scrolls, tendons and pieces of skin connecting fragments, and more," he added.

Some of the thousands of fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls that are now in museums or private collections could have come from this new cave rather than the 11 previously known caves, Gutfeld said. "Finding this additional scroll cave means we can no longer be certain that the original locations (Caves 1 through 11) attributed to the Dead Sea scrolls that reached the market via the Bedouins are accurate," Gutfeld said in the statement.

The excavation of the cave is part of a larger operation in which the Israel Antiquities Authority is trying to find and excavate caves in the Judean Desert that may hold archaeological remains. The operation was sparked by the activity of lootersin the Judean desert.

"The important discovery of another scroll cave attests to the fact that a lot of work remains to be done in the Judean Desert, and finds of huge importance are still waiting to be discovered," Israel Hasson, director-general of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said in the statement.

"We are in a race against time as antiquities thieves steal heritage assets worldwide for financial gain. The state of Israel needs to mobilize and allocate the necessary resources in order to launch a historic operation, together with the public, to carry out a systematic excavation of all the caves of the Judean Desert," Hasson added.

Original article on Live Science.

7 Influential African Empires – History

Histories of early African civilizations often focus solely on ancient Egypt, but the continent was home to several other powerful empires that controlled trade routes, built sprawling cities and crafted architectural monuments that still stand today. From ancient Sudan to medieval Zimbabwe, get the facts on seven African kingdoms that made their mark on history.

The Kingdom of Kush

Meroë is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile app. 200 km north-east of Khartoum, Sudan. (Credit: Yannick Tylle/Getty Images)
Meroë is an ancient city on the east bank of the Nile app. 200 km north-east of Khartoum, Sudan. (Credit: Yannick Tylle/Getty Images)

Though often overshadowed by its Egyptian neighbors to the north, the Kingdom of Kush stood as a regional power in Africa for over a thousand years. This ancient Nubian empire reached its peak in the second millennium B.C., when it ruled over a vast swath of territory along the Nile River in what is now Sudan. Almost all that is known about Kush comes from Egyptian sources, which indicate that it was an economic center that operated a lucrative market in ivory, incense, iron and especially gold. The kingdom was both a trading partner and a military rival of Egypt—it even ruled Egypt as the 25th Dynasty—and it adopted many of its neighbor’s customs. The Kushites worshipped some of the Egyptian gods, mummified their dead and built their own types of pyramids. The area surrounding the ancient Kushite capital of Meroe is now home to the ruins of over 200 pyramids—more than in all of Egypt.

The Land of Punt

Papyrus showing preparations for an Egyptian journey to Punt. (Credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)
Papyrus showing preparations for an Egyptian journey to Punt. (Credit: De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images)

Few African civilizations are as mysterious as Punt. Historical accounts of the kingdom date to around 2500 B.C., when it appears in Egyptian records as a “Land of the Gods” rich in ebony, gold, myrrh and exotic animals such as apes and leopards. The Egyptians are known to have sent huge caravans and flotillas on trade missions to Punt—most notably during the 15th century B.C. reign of Queen Hatshepsut—yet they never identified where it was located. The site of the fabled kingdom is now a hotly debated topic among scholars. The Arabian Peninsula and the Levant have both been proposed as potential candidates, but most believe it existed somewhere on the Red Sea coast of East Africa. In 2010, a team of researchers tried to zero in on Punt by analyzing a mummified baboon that its rulers once gifted to the Egyptian pharaohs. While their results showed that the remains most closely matched animals found in modern day Ethiopia and Eritrea, the precise location of the Land of Punt has still yet to be confirmed.


Tunisia, Carthage. (Credit: DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/Getty Images)
Tunisia, Carthage. (Credit: DEA PICTURE LIBRARY/Getty Images)

Best known as ancient Rome’s rival in the Punic Wars, Carthage was a North African commercial hub that flourished for over 500 years. The city-state began its life in the 8th or 9th century B.C. as a Phoenician settlement in what is now Tunisia, but it later grew into a sprawling seafaring empire that dominated trade in textiles, gold, silver and copper. At its peak, its capital city boasted nearly half a million inhabitants and included a protected harbor outfitted with docking bays for 220 ships. Carthage’s influence eventually extended from North Africa to Spain and parts of the Mediterranean, but its thirst for expansion led to increased friction with the burgeoning Roman Republic. Beginning in 264 B.C., the ancient superpowers clashed in the three bloody Punic Wars, the last of which ended in 146 B.C. with the near-total destruction of Carthage. Today, almost all that remains of the once-mighty empire is a series of ruins in the city of Tunis.

The Kingdom of Aksum

Coins from Aksum. (Credit: http://cgb.fr /)
Coins from Aksum. (Credit: http://cgb.fr /)

During the same period that the Roman Empire rose and fell, the influential Kingdom of Aksum held sway over parts of what are now Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. Surprisingly little is known about Aksum’s origins, but by the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D. it was a trading juggernaut whose gold and ivory made it a vital link between ancient Europe and the Far East. The kingdom had a written script known as Ge’ez—one of the first to emerge in Africa—and it developed a distinctive architectural style that involved the building of massive stone obelisks, some of which stood over 100 feet tall. In the fourth century, Aksum became one of the first empires in the world to adopt Christianity, which led to a political and military alliance with the Byzantines. The empire later went into decline sometime around the 7th or 8th century, but its religious legacy still exists today in the form of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

The Mali Empire

Depiction of Mansa Musa. (Credit: Abraham Cresques/WikiCommons)
Depiction of Mansa Musa. (Credit: Abraham Cresques/WikiCommons)

The founding of the Mali Empire dates to the 1200s, when a ruler named Sundiata Keita—sometimes called the “Lion King”—led a revolt against a Sosso king and united his subjects into a new state. Under Keita and his successors, the empire tightened its grip over a large portion of West Africa and grew rich on trade. Its most important cities were Djenné and Timbuktu, both of which were renowned for their elaborate adobe mosques and Islamic schools. One such institution, Timbuktu’s Sankore University, included a library with an estimated 700,000 manuscripts. The Mali Empire eventually disintegrated in the 16th century, but at its peak it was one of the jewels of the African continent and was known the world over for its wealth and luxury. One legendary tale about the kingdom’s riches concerns the ruler Mansa Musa, who made a stopover in Egypt during a 14th century pilgrimage to Mecca. According to contemporary sources, Musa dished out so much gold during the visit that he caused its value to plummet in Egyptian markets for several years.

The Songhai Empire

Tomb of Askia, emperor of the Songhai Empire at Gao, Mali, West Africa. (Credit: Luis Dafos)
Tomb of Askia, emperor of the Songhai Empire at Gao, Mali, West Africa. (Credit: Luis Dafos)

For sheer size, few states in African history can compare to the Songhai Empire. Formed in the 15th century from some of the former regions of the Mali Empire, this West African kingdom was larger than Western Europe and comprised parts of a dozen modern day nations. The empire enjoyed a period of prosperity thanks to vigorous trade policies and a sophisticated bureaucratic system that separated its vast holdings into different provinces, each ruled by its own governor. It reached its zenith in the early 16th century under the rule of the devout King Muhammad I Askia, who conquered new lands, forged an alliance with Egypt’s Muslim Caliph and established hundreds of Islamic schools in Timbuktu. While the Songhai Empire was once among the most powerful states in the world, it later crumbled in the late 1500s after a period of civil war and internal strife left it open to an invasion by the Sultan of Morocco.

The Great Zimbabwe

The great enclosure courtyard, Great Zimbabwe. (Credit: Bill Raften/Getty Images)
The great enclosure courtyard, Great Zimbabwe. (Credit: Bill Raften/Getty Images)

One of the most impressive monuments in sub-Saharan Africa is the Great Zimbabwe, an imposing collection of stacked boulders, stone towers and defensive walls assembled from cut granite blocks. The rock citadel has long been the subject of myths and legends—it was once thought to be the residence of the Biblical Queen of Sheba—but historians now know it as the capital city of an indigenous empire that thrived in the region between the 13th and 15th centuries. This kingdom ruled over a large chunk of modern day Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. It was particularly rich in cattle and precious metals, and stood astride a trade route that connected the region’s gold fields with ports on the Indian Ocean coast. Though little is known about its history, the remains of artifacts such as Chinese pottery, Arabian glass and European textiles indicate that it was once a well-connected mercantile center. The fortress city at the Great Zimbabwe was mysteriously abandoned sometime in the 15th century after the kingdom went into decline, but in its heyday it was home to an estimated 20,000 people.

7th CSC welcomes new commanding general

July 26, 2014 —
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Soldiers, family members and friends gathered to bid farewell to Brig. Gen. Paul M. Benenati and welcome Brig. Gen. Arlan M. DeBlieck as the new commanding general of the 7th Civil Support Command and deputy commanding general of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command during a change of command ceremony on Daenner Kaserne, July 26.

Maj. Gen. John R. O’Connor, the commanding general of the 21st TSC, presided over the ceremony and passed the 7th CSC colors to DeBlieck.

“Today, we are here to wish Brig. Gen. Paul Benenati the best of luck on his future endeavors as he leaves the great men and women of the 7th CSC and to welcome Brig. Gen. Arlan DeBlieck to the ‘First in Support’ team,” O’Connor said. “I know Arlan will continue the exceptional leadership the Soldiers and family members of the 7th Civil Support Command have come to enjoy.”

Benenati then expressed his feelings on the change of command.

“This is a sad day for me, for it means that my tour has just about come to a close,” he said. “During my time here I have met many new friends, worked with some of the greatest Soldiers, Airmen, and civilians serving our great nation and the nations of so many of our friends and allies. I have fallen in love with the people of Germany, your culture, your beautiful country, your way of life, and your tremendous patriotism and friendship for those of us in the United States military.”

Benenati expressed his gratitude to the Soldiers of the 7th CSC.

“I am so proud of each one of the Soldiers standing on the field here today, and have been so honored to have served as your commander for these past two years.”

DeBlieck took the podium for few brief remarks to the 7th CSC Soldiers.

“Brig. Gen. Benenati has been instrumental in developing a solid doctrinal foundation for consequence management, enhancing strategic consequence management partnerships, and insuring the 7th [CSC], a reserve component organization, is positioned well to provide consequent management capabilities to USAREUR where and when they are needed,” DeBlieck said.

“Paul, you have left some pretty large boots to fill,” he added.

Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., the commanding general of U.S. Army Europe, and Maj. Gen. Glenn J. Lesniak, the deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve, were among the distinguished guests in attendance.

African Americans Make History in the Army Reserve

Jan. 10, 2000 —
WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2000 – African Americans in the Army Reserve have made and continue to make more history than can be confined to Black History Month in February.
The month does make for a suitable occasion, however, to take note of some of the things that African Americans have accomplished in the history of the Army Reserve. The following article is hardly exhaustive, but just a sample of the contributions these citizen- soldiers have made to the Army Reserve, the Army and the nation.
Black Americans have been part of the Army Reserve since World War I. In 1917, history notes, 639 “colored” reserve officers (as the segregated Army then designated them) were commissioned from the Officers’ Training Camp at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.
During the Great Depression, black members of the Officers Reserve Corps served in Civilian Conservation Corps camps.
As they did in World War I, African American reservists served in World War II in segregated units. Segregation ended in 1948 through an executive order signed by President Truman. In reality, integration took time.
Black reservists called up for combat duty when the Korean War broke out they found themselves in all-black units such as the 24th Infantry Regiment. The 1954 “Project Clear” study came to the same conclusion that the Army learned by combat experience in Korea: Integration would enhance effectiveness. That same year, the last all-black unit was disbanded.
African Americans today are full and integral parts of the Army Reserve team. Blacks make up 25.4 percent of the Army Reserve today — more than 52,000 African-Americans serve in the Selected Reserve. Just as the Army cannot do its mission without the Army Reserve, then, the Army Reserve cannot do its missions without its black citizen-soldiers.
At present, nine black Army Reserve general officers or promotable colonels serve on active duty; three more are in the Standby Inactive Reserve. They serve as commanders or deputy commanders of major Army Reserve commands or as senior staff officers at Army-level organizations.
The Army Reserve’s first black general officer was John Q.T. King, a World War II veteran who became a brigadier general on Feb. 8, 1974.
In December 1999, Col. Bernard Taylor Jr., an African American, became the Army Reserve deputy chief for the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program.
Command Sgt. Maj. Collin L. Younger, an African American, is the fifth senior enlisted adviser to the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. Previously, he had been simultaneously the command sergeant major of the Army Reserve and the first command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Atlanta. Prior to his current duty, he was installation command sergeant major at Fort Dix, N.J.
Another notable noncommissioned officer is Command Sgt. Maj. Sheila Williams, commandant of the NCO Academy at Fort Lewis, Wash. She’s the first black woman to attain the rank of command sergeant major on Active Guard/Reserve status.
Black reservists make names for themselves outside their military duties, too. In 1996, 1st Lt. Ruthie Bolton became the first Army reservist to make the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.
Another black Olympian is 2nd Lt. Garrett T. Hines, a member of the U.S. bobsled team at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and 1998 Army Male Athlete of the Year.
Wherever the Army Reserve is today, from the Balkans to Central America, from an Army reserve center in New York to an exercise at Fort Irwin, Calif., black reservists make their presence felt.
In the final analysis, when foes and friends look at someone in a battle dress uniform, hospital whites, flight suit or dress greens, they don’t see a black reservist or woman reservist or even an Army reservist. No, what they see are American soldiers — who will do what America asks, no matter their color, sex or how many days of the week they wear a uniform.
And when these soldiers do that, they make more history.
(Lt. Col. Randy Pullen is assigned to the Public Affairs and Liaison Directorate of the Office of the Chief, Army Reserve, in the Pentagon.)

Double Eagle – 09.01.2014

COVER STORY: In 2013, 57 Army Reserve Soldiers committed suicide, the highest number since 2009. The results of a panel review of each of the cases has been released to Army Suicide Awareness and Prevention managers at the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C. The review gave them a better understanding of what caused these Soldiers to end their lives and paves the way ahead to prevent or reduce more tragic losses in the future. (Photo illustration by Timothy L. Hale/U.S. Army Reserve)

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