Tag Archives | Ancient Civilizations

Tattoos May Have Originated As A Form Of Ancient Medicine

ancient form of medicineDid decorating the body begin as a form of mystical medicine 5,000 years ago? Archaeology Magazine writes:

Perhaps the most famous tattooed ancient man is Ötzi the Iceman, who died high in the Italian Alps more than 5,000 years ago.

It is Ötzi’s body, almost perfectly preserved by the snow and ice after his death, that provides unique evidence of early medicine. Ötzi is covered with more than 50 tattoos of lines and crosses made up of small incisions in his skin into which charcoal was rubbed. Because they are all found on parts of the body that show evidence of wear and tear—the ankles, wrists, knees, Achilles tendon, and lower back, for example—it’s thought that Ötzi’s tattoos were therapeutic, not decorative or symbolic.

When Ötzi was first studied, archaeologists were shocked because they had never before seen Copper Age tattoos, and because acupuncture as a treatment for joint distress, rheumatism, and arthritis was thought to have originated in Asia more than 2,000 years later.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Horrifying Necropants Of Iceland

necropantsThe Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft houses the only known intact pair of necropants, a beyond-disturbing item popularly used for purposes of traditional magic in seventeenth century Iceland. To make your own (and thus reap good fortune), strike a deal with a friend than whoever dies first will allow the other wear the lower half of their corpse as a pair of pants, day and night:

If you want to make your own necropants (literally; nábrók) you have to get permission from a living man to use his skin after his death.

After he has been buried you must dig up his body and flay the skin of the corpse in one piece from the waist down. As soon as you step into the pants they will stick to your own skin.

A coin must be stolen from a poor widow and placed in the scrotum along with the magical sign, nábrókarstafur, written on a piece of paper.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Is This What The Proto-Indo-European Language Spoken 6,000 Years Ago Sounded Like?

PIEIt sounds like the Satanic incantations hidden in the fadeout of Beatles album. io9 writes:
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.
Continue Reading

Priestess Tomb Confirms That Women Ruled In Ancient Peru


A society in some respects more advanced than our own? Phys.org reports:

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ancient Egyptian Sphinx Mysteriously Unearthed In Israel


Things not where they are supposed to be? Historical strangeness via CNN:

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Incan Empire: Wealth Without Money

picchuFor students of economics and ancient civilizations alike, the strange economy of the Incan Empire is fascinating. Annalee Newitz writes for io9:

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Jewelry’s Materials Came From Outer Space


The International Business Times reports on the interplanetary origins of ancient human culture:

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Thousands Of 6,000-Year-Old Petroglyphs Discovered On Mountain In Mexico

petroglyphsAncient 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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Real Estate Developers Bulldoze 5,000-Year-Old Pyramid In Peru

5,000-year-old pyramidHere’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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading