Linguists have recently reconstructed what a 6,000 year-old-language called Proto-Indo-European might have sounded like. This language was the forerunner of many European and Asian languages, and now you can listen to how it may have sounded. Proto-Indo-European (PIE) was spoken by a people who lived from roughly 4500 to 2500 B.C. The question became, what did PIE sound like? As linguists have continued to discover more about PIE, this sonic experiment is periodically updated to reflect the most current understanding of how this extinct language would have sounded when spoken some six thousand years ago. Since there is considerable disagreement among scholars, no one version can be considered definitive.
Tag Archives | Ancient Civilizations
A society in some respects more advanced than our own? Phys.org reports:
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The discovery in Peru of another tomb belonging to a pre-Hispanic priestess, the eighth in more than two decades, confirms that powerful women ruled this region 1,200 years ago, archeologists said.
The remains of the woman from the Moche—or Mochica—civilization were discovered in late July in an area called La Libertad in the country’s northern Chepan province. In 2006, researchers came across the famous “Lady of Cao”—who died about 1,700 years ago and is seen as one of the first female rulers in Peru.
“This find makes it clear that women didn’t just run rituals in this area but governed here and were queens of Mochica society,” said project director Luis Jaime Castillo. “It is the eighth priestess to be discovered,” he added. “Our excavations have only turned up tombs with women, never men.”
The priestess was in an “impressive 1,200-year-old burial chamber” the archeologist said.
Things not where they are supposed to be? Historical strangeness via CNN:
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A recent discovery of part of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian sphinx has been a most unexpected find in Tel Hazor in northern Israel.
Inexplicably buried far from Egypt, the paws of a sphinx statue, resting on its base, have been unearthed with an inscription in hieroglyphs naming King Mycerinus. The pharaoh ruled in 2500 BC and oversaw the construction of one of the three Giza pyramids.
“This is the only sphinx of this king known in the world – even in Egypt. It is also the only monumental piece of Egyptian sculpture found anywhere in the Levant,” said professor Amnon Ben-Tor, the director of the excavation, referring to the region spanning the east of the Mediterranean Sea.
Tel Hazor was the capital of the city of Canaan 4,000 years ago. The question of how the sphinx got to Tel Hazor will likely remain a mystery.
For students of economics and ancient civilizations alike, the strange economy of the Incan Empire is fascinating. Annalee Newitz writes for io9:
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In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Inca Empire was the largest South America had ever known. Rich in foodstuffs, textiles, gold, and coca, the Inca were masters of city building but nevertheless had no money. In fact, they had no marketplaces at all.
Centered in Peru, Inca territory stretched across the Andes’ mountain tops and down to the shoreline, incorporating lands from today’s Colombia, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Peru – all connected by a vast highway system whose complexity rivaled any in the Old World. The Inca Empire may be the only advanced civilization in history to have no class of traders, and no commerce of any kind within its boundaries. How did they do it?
Many aspects of Incan life remain mysterious, in part because our accounts of Incan life come from the Spanish invaders who effectively wiped them out.
The International Business Times reports on the interplanetary origins of ancient human culture:
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A set of funeral beads which could be the oldest iron artifacts on earth actually came from outer space, archaeologists have claimed.
The nine iron beads, which were found in a 5000-year-old Egyptian cemetery in 1911, were made from a meteorite that crashed to earth around 3200 BC, according to a study published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
“These beads were made from meteoritic iron, and shaped by careful hammering of the metal into thin sheets before rolling them into tubes,” researchers noted, adding that neutron and X-ray scanning of the iron beads proved that the metal came from a meteorite.
The iron was strung into a necklace together with other exotic minerals such as lapis lazuli, gold and carnelian. The findings suggest that iron and metal works were much advanced in the ancient Egypt than previously thought.
Ancient amazingness reported by the Daily Mail:
Symbols of fish and the sun, as well as intricate pattens of concentric circles have been found etched into stones on a remote mountain in Mexico.
Archeologists have discovered thousands of stunning stone-age carvings etched into rocks, which they believe that they were made by hunter-gatherers more than 6,000 years ago.
The etchings are known as petroglyphs and are generally patterns made up of concentric circles and wavy lines, although there are also more representative images of deer tracks. Scientists think the carvings could have been made as part of hunting initiation rites or even represent the stars.
So far, around 8,000 of the historic drawings have been found at the site, which measures two miles in radius and is the most important with so many of these ‘petrograbados’ in the Mexican state of Coahuila.
Here’s hoping a nasty curse commences to haunt them. Via the Independent:
A 5,000-year-old pyramid in Lima, Peru has been torn down by two private construction companies. The El Paraiso pyramid, located in the San Martin de Porres, was one of the Americas’ oldest archaeological sites.
Archaeologist Frederic Engel said that the pyramid may have held between 1,500 and 3,000 inhabitants with over 100,000 tons of rock used in its construction, taken from hills in the surrounding area. It was likely used for religious and ritual purposes.
Archaeologist Marco Guillén Hugo, who was in charge of the research and excavation of the site, said that he had reason to believe that Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas were the private companies behind the destruction. According to The Ministry of Culture, the companies have previously laid claim to the land, but it is actually under state control.
Call the reburial a case of superstition triumphing over rationality, but, frankly, the Golden Man gives me the creeps too. RIA Novosti reports:
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Ever heard about the curse of the pharaohs? Well, how about the curse of a 2,500-year-old chief of a nomadic Scythian tribe that brings about floods, droughts, and livestock decimation?
The Scythian curse is real, say locals in a remote area of eastern Kazakhstan where the chieftain’s remains were discovered – and where they will be reinterred this weekend to appease his spirit, to the chagrin of archeologists.
In 2003, an archeological expedition dug up a burial mound in the Shiliktinskaya Valley to find a Golden Man – a presumed leader of the Saka tribe, a branch of the Scythian nomads that populated Central Asia and southern Siberia in the 1st millennium BC.
Since the mound was excavated, the area around it has been hit by several floods, a drought, a mass loss of livestock and an increase in births of children with learning disabilities, locals said, Kazakh television KTK reported.
Your plans for where to go on summer vacation have officially been made:
Archeologists have discovered an ancient Maya city which they’ve named “Chactun”, meaning “Red Rock,” in Campeche in Mexico. For centuries, Chactun remained hidden in the jungle north of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve.
Archeologists have found a number of pyramids and palatial buildings were found, including two ball game courts, plazas, and sculptured monuments. The tallest pyramid measures 75 feet in height.
The city’s timeline is thought to go as far back as the Pre-classic period, around 300 to 240 A.D. But its golden age was [likely] in the Classic period around 250 to 900 A.D
The 10-inch tall relic, an offering to the Egyptian God Osiris which dates back to 1800 BC, has been at the Manchester Museum for 80 years but curators say it has recently starting rotating 180 degrees during the day. The statue is of a man named Neb-Senu. Curators have been left scratching their heads after they kept finding it facing the wrong way. They now believe there could be a 'spiritual explanation' for the turning statue. It is believed that there is a curse of the pharaohs which strikes anyone who dares to take relics from a pyramid tomb. Experts decided to monitor the room on time-lapse video and were astonished to see it clearly show the statuette spinning 180 degrees - with nobody going near it.