The Elephant Slabs of Flora Vista: Enigmatic Artifacts with Ancient African Origins

The ‘Elephant Slab’, (left) and sketched markings (right).

In Did West Africans live in the Four Corners Region of the United States from 12th Century?, published in Ancient Origins, I discussed the Mande inscriptions found in the Four Corners region of the Southwest United States. It illustrated that the Mande people (ethnic group of West Africa) belonging to the expedition of Voyager Mansa Abubakari left many inscriptions throughout the Southwest and generally, the Americas.

The 'Voyager King' Mansa Abubakari II - Africa's Greatest Explorer

The ‘Voyager King’ Mansa Abubakari II – Africa’s Greatest Explorer (

William James Veall in Sea-Farers from the Levant: Do Ancient Inscriptions Rewrite History of the Americas? – Part 2, also published in Ancient Originsprovides a detailed discussion of the Mande inscriptions found in South America left by Abubakari and his followers along the coast.

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WATCH LIVE! Dew Tour Long Beach Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of Dew Tour Long Beach! The highly anticipated Team Challenge takes us through the end of a weekend packed with skateboarding’s elite bringing it to the newly redesigned course format.

Nine brands have put together teams of four skaters each who are masters of their respective domains: gaps, rails, tech and bowl. Ryan Sheckler took home the trophy in the individual competition yesterday; can he help bring Plan B a second win?

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Day 1 of Dew Tour Long Beach offers something for everyone

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Day 1 of Dew Tour Long Beach offers something for everyone

With the Southern California sun beating down on the blacktop, thousands of skateboarding fans descended upon the Long Beach Convention Center for Day 1 of Dew Tour Long Beach 2016 looking for a show. Lucky for them, the inaugural day of competition at the newly redesigned contest didn’t disappoint.

RELATED: Why you should check out Dew Tour Long Beach even if you don’t skate

Catering to all demographics, Dew Tour Long Beach 2016 embraced new-age technology, giving visitors the chance to try their hands at everything from drone flying in the Mountain Dew Technology Experience tent to helicopter flight simulation at the U.S. Army area.

Dew Tour Long Beach 2016
Fans beat the heat inside the Mountain Dew Technology Experience tent by testing out drones. Photo: Robert Pursell

“There’s no doubt in my mind that drone racing is going to be huge in the future,” Brett Velicovich, founder of Expert Drones, told GrindTV. Expert Drones teamed up with Dew Tour to specially design an on-site obstacle course for fans to fly drones through.

“We’ve had a constant stream of people coming in here throughout the day, and everyone’s been really psyched about it. It’s an exciting new technology, and I think it connects with the action sports base pretty well.”

Just a few paces away from the Mountain Dew Technology Experience, the U.S. Army gave passersby the opportunity to try their hand at flying something slightly larger than a quadcopter in the form of a Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopter simulator.

Dew Tour Long Beach 2016
It’s not every day you get to fly a helicopter without leaving the ground. Photo: Robert Pursell

“We’re just out here mixing with the local civilians,” Staff Sergeant Gregory Romanovitz told GrindTV. “We want to have people meet and greet with the Army and let them know about the career opportunities we can offer.”

Beyond recreating the feeling of flying an Apache, the U.S. Army also trotted out a pair of pull-up bars, letting the crowd test their fitness against soldiers for a chance to win free gear.

Competition kicked off with the pros throwing down in the new Dew Tour format that broke down the competition into four sections focusing on technical, bowl, rail and gap skateboarding. Unlike the Team Challenge scheduled for Sunday, Saturday’s event was all about individual skaters tackling every section of the course solo.

Dew Tour Long Beach 2016
SoCal golden boy Ryan Sheckler blazed to a first-place finish in the Pro individual competition. Photo: Courtesy of Dew Tour

Ryan Sheckler came out like a man possessed, winning the opening tech section and finishing top four in each of the other specialties to edge out Louie Lopez for the top individual honors.

As the sun set on a great day of skateboarding, the crowds piled into the Convention Center’s Terrace Theater to take in the hop-hop stylings of Action Bronson and E-40, who put on a show-stopping performance for a packed house.

Action Bronson brought his East Coast style to Long Beach for a wild show. Photo: Courtesy of Dew Tour/Bryce Kanights
Action Bronson brought his East Coast style to Long Beach for a wild show. Photo: Courtesy of Dew Tour/Bryce Kanights

Check out the live stream of the second and final day of competition on Sunday, right from GrindTV’s homepage.

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cycle hiking San Juan island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Due to ferry schedules I arrived Friday Harbor late in the day. The town’s name originates from Joseph Poalie Friday, a native Hawaiian.


I purchased food for dinner and headed out to find a place to camp.

Next morning early I was back at the Bean Cafe. These free wifi spots are my longest breaks during each day.

Tourist information told me the south was more scenic than the north, so I headed towards American Camp.


There are a number of trails. I opted to start towards Grandma’s Cove and made my own loop back.




It’s very popular.


American Camp is a legacy of the Pig War, a confrontation in 1859 between the United States and Great Britain over the Canada-U.S. border. Over a pig. Not kidding.

This was my first really hot, sunny day on the bike.


At times I wished I’d rented one of Susie’s Scootcars instead.:-)


Nearby is Cattle Point Lighthouse.




Jakle’s Lagoon is the trailhead for several interesting looking hikes. Hot and nearly out of water, I gave them a miss. This time.


After lunch I headed north to Roche Harbor with it’s weird sculpture garden.





The resort is cluttered. Too near the airport for my liking. But I did like the colour scheme.



Next stop – English Camp.


Much quieter than American Camp.



It was late in the day when I finally reached Lime Kiln Park State Park.



A highlight of the day was spotting Orcas.

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Middle East breaks all-time maximum temperature records with 54 °C (129.2 °F)

Maximum daily temperatures across much of the Middle East have reached extreme levels this week, with numerous all-time records broken. On July 21, Kuwait has set the ‘most reliable’ eastern hemisphere’s all-time maximum temperature record at 54 °C…… Read more »

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Ancient Signs of Pride and Power: Unravelling the Secrets Behind Irish and Celtic Symbols

A Celtic knotwork border, high cross, and knot symbol.

The ancient Celts believed their symbols and signs held amazing and meaningful powers which could influence their lives. Bards and storytellers have carried on the stories and meanings behind Celtic symbolism from one generation to another. Their efforts have helped maintain pride in the Celtic heritage and allowed it to live on until today.

The Claddagh and Harp

The Claddagh symbol has a triple meaning. The hands symbolize friendship, the crown symbolizes loyalty, and the heart symbolizes love which is not affected by time. The design of the Claddagh arose in an old fishing village of the same name that was once located outside the walls of Galway. This symbol has been applied to many items, but one of the most popular is its use on rings. Claddagh rings as they appear today first became popular in the 17th century. Due to the meanings behind the symbols, these rings became associated with engagement and marriage.

A gold Claddagh ring.

A gold Claddagh ring. (Royalcladdagh/CC BY SA 3.0)

The Irish harp is a traditional symbol of Ireland. It is believed to represent the immortality of the soul. In ancient times, Bards and musicians used to play the harp for their chieftains. Even in the present day, the harp remains among the most popular Celtic instruments. It also appears on coins, uniforms, and on the Guinness beer logo.

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Largest Ancient Settlement of South Caucasus Discovered from Satellite Photos

One of the burials at Didnauri, the largest Bronze Age settlement ever discovered in the southern Caucasus. This burial predates the 3,100-year-old wall around the settlement by about about 200 years

A military commander killed in battle with the arrowhead still lodged in his thorax is one of the interesting finds by archaeologists at the largest prehistoric settlement discovered in the South Caucasus. The site dates back at least 3,300 years and has been yielding interesting burials, artifacts and architectural features, including a huge wall and waterworks.

The village at Didnauri in the nation of Georgia, about 150 km (93 miles) east of Tbilisi, is encompassed by a wall 1.7 km long (about 1 mile) and 7 meters (23 feet) wide.

When the discovery was made last year from satellite photographs, scholars said it could push back the establishment of an ancient civilization in the region, but they did not give a time frame.

In a tantalizing bit of information in an article on, it states:

In one of the most unique findings, a grave of a military commander was unearthed in the area. The remains of the ancient warrior featured an arrowhead in their stomach area, while a 13th Century BC bronze dagger was buried next to the individual. History experts said the arrowhead found in the remains did not resemble those made in the Caucasus region.

The article does not speculate about where the arrowhead was made. One can only wonder if the people of Didnauri did battle with warriors from another part of the world that killed the commander. Because of the Caucasus’ location, hostile forces could have come from Europe, Asia Minor, West Asia or the Middle East.

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The Daily Grind: Recapping Day 1 of Dew Tour Long Beach 2016

Ryan Sheckler — born, raised and still claiming San Clemente, California, just 50-odd miles from Long Beach, as his home — proved himself the most versatile skateboarder on the ticket today, earning a first-place finish at Dew Tour Long Beach in the Pro individual contest.

Watch as he joins hosts Chris Cote and Chris Pastras on “The Daily Grind” to talk about his strategy, his competition and how Sunday’s Team Challenge is gonna go down. (Spoiler alert: He’s fully claiming Plan B to roll away with the prize.)

We’re live from Dew Tour all weekend long. Tune in at at 1:30 p.m. PST to catch the day’s “Daily Grind” preview, all the action live from the venue and a wrap-up weekend in review.

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WATCH LIVE! Dew Tour Long Beach Day 1

Dew Tour Long Beach 2016 kicks off today with the Pro competition in full swing. Riders will hit the Tech section first, followed by Bowl, Rails and finishing off with the Gap section.

RELATED: 4 reasons Dew Tour Long Beach will be the best skate weekend of the year

Check out a course preview with Sean Malto and get the full weekend schedule on

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BREAKING: New DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History

A Paracas elongated skull and an artist’s impression based on a digital reconstruction.

The elongated skulls of Paracas in Peru caused a stir in 2014 when a geneticist that carried out preliminary DNA testing reported that they have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far”. Now a second round of DNA testing has been completed and the results are just as controversial – the skulls tested, which date back as far as 2,000 years, were shown to have European and Middle Eastern Origin. These surprising results change the known history about how the Americas were populated.

Paracas is a desert peninsula located within Pisco Province on the south coast of Peru.  It is here where Peruvian archaeologist, Julio Tello, made an amazing discovery in 1928 – a massive and elaborate graveyard containing tombs filled with the remains of individuals with the largest elongated skulls found anywhere in the world. These have come to be known as the ‘Paracas skulls’. In total, Tello found more than 300 of these elongated skulls, some of which date back around 3,000 years.

Elongated skulls on display at Museo Regional de Ica in the city of Ica in Peru

Elongated skulls on display at Museo Regional de Ica in the city of Ica in Peru (public domain)

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