Tag Archives | Ancient Civilizations

Yearly Ancient Egyptian Festival Of Ritual Binge Drinking And Public Sex Uncovered

festival of ritual

The debaucherous activities were considered a means for individuals to directly voice themselves to the gods, in what seems like a scary, society-wide version of Woodstock 99. Via the Los Angeles Times:

Since 2001, Johns Hopkins University archaeologist Betsy Bryan has led the excavation of the temple complex of the Egyptian goddess Mut in modern-day Luxor, the site of the city of Thebes in ancient Egypt. And the ritual she has uncovered, which centers on binge drinking, thumping music and orgiastic public sex, probably makes “Jersey Shore” look pretty tame.

Bryan, a specialist in Egypt’s New Kingdom (roughly 1600 to 1000 BC), has painstakingly pieced together the details of the Festivals of Drunkenness, which took place in homes, at temples and in makeshift desert shrines throughout ancient Egypt at least once a year.

Bryan [explains], “What’s really distinctive about these rituals is their communal nature, their participatory aspect. The people in attendance were everybody from the highest elites to groups of far more modest members of society.

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Robot Discovers Unknown Passageways Below The Aztec Temple of Quetzalcoatl

quetzalcoatl

The hidden chambers could contain the corpses of the ancient civilization’s rulers, about whom very little is known. Via the Daily Mail:

A tiny robot has made a momentous archaeological discovery deep under the famous Temple of Quetzalcoatl, it was announced on Monday. The robot has spent months exploring the tunnels under the celebrated temple, which lies about 37 miles north of Mexico City. The temple is best known for the towering Pyramids of the Moon and the Sun.

Experts expected to find just one ancient chamber at the end of a stretch of 2,000-year-old unexplored tunnel at the Teotihuacan site. Instead, the remote-controlled vehicle has beamed back images of three mysterious caverns.

The complex of pyramids, plazas, temples and avenues was once the center of a city of more than 100,000 inhabitants and may have been the largest and most influential city in pre-Hispanic North America at the time. But nearly 2,500 years after the city was founded, very little is known about the identity of its rulers.

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60,000-Ton Underwater Pyramid Detected Beneath Sea Of Galilee

galilee

Deep sea diving teams will be dispatched to attempt to decode the meaning of the monolith, Live Science reports:

A giant “monumental” stone structure discovered beneath the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Israel has archaeologists puzzled as to its purpose and even how long ago it was built. Rising nearly 32 feet high, the mysterious structure is cone shaped and weighs an estimated 60,000 tons. That makes it heavier than most modern-day warships.

It appears to be a giant cairn, boulders piled on top of each other. Structures like this are known elsewhere in the world and are sometimes used to mark burials.

The structure was first detected in 2003 during a sonar survey of the southwest portion of the sea. Divers have since been down to investigate, they write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. The researchers say the structure is definitely human-made and probably was built on land, only later to be covered by the Sea of Galilee.

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Ancient ‘Gateway To Hell’ Unearthed In Turkey

Ancient oracles approached the ancient portal and received hallucinations and visions from the noxious fumes belching forth, reports Discovery News:

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced. Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors. “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death,” the Greek geographer Strabo (born 64/63 BC) wrote.

The site revealed a vast array of broken ruins once it was excavated. The archaeologists found Ionic semi columns and, on top of them, an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.

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Jesus Had Shapeshifting Powers, According To Ancient Coptic Text

Sadly, the depictions of Jesus’s X-Men-like abilities were never incorporated into the mainstream version of the Bible read today. Live Science reports:

Dating back 1200 years, a newly deciphered Egyptian text tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before. Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape:

Then the Jews said to Judas: “How shall we arrest him [Jesus], for he does not have a single shape but his appearance changes. Sometimes he is ruddy, sometimes he is white, sometimes he is red…sometimes he is a youth, sometimes an old man…” This leads Judas to suggest using a kiss as a means to identify him.

Copies of the text are found in two manuscripts, one in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City and the other at the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Was Stonehenge A Site Of Ancient Mass-Hedonism Festivals?

Is Stonehenge far less lofty than previously believed? Phys.org reports:

British researchers on Saturday unveiled a new theory saying Stonehenge was originally a graveyard and venue for mass celebrations. The findings would overturn the long-held belief that the ancient stone circle was created as an astronomical calendar or observatory.

A team of archaeologists led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London carried out a decade of research which included excavations, laboratory work and the analysis of 63 sets of ancient human remains. They said the original Stonehenge Appeared to have been a graveyard built around 3000 BC. Analysis of cattle teeth from 80,000 animal bones excavated from the site also suggest that around 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.

“People came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain—as far afield as Scotland,” Parker Pearson said—the “only time in prehistory that the people of Britain were unified.”

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Egypt Considering Making Pyramids And Sphinx Available For Rent

Book for your next birthday now. Al Arabiya reports:

Egypt’s finance ministry sent a proposal to the country’s antiquities ministry to consider offering key monuments, including the pyramids, to international tourism firm as a quick solution to generate funds needed to overcome the financial crisis, an official has said.

Rumors about the proposal, which some described as preposterous, have circulated online for weeks. But on Wednesday, Adel Abdel Sattar, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, in an interview with Egypt’s ONTV channel confirmed the existence of a proposal to offer Egypt’s monuments, including the pyramids in Giza, the Sphinx, the Abu Simbel Temple and the temples of Luxor.

Sattar said the proposal indicated that such a move would provide a quick solution to the country’s financial deficit as it will generate about $200 billion over five years.

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Pile Of Hundreds Of Ancient Sacrificed Skulls Discovered In Mexico

Imagine going swimming in the (now drained) lake, not knowing what lay below. Via Live Science:

Archaeologists have unearthed a trove of skulls in Mexico that may have once belonged to human sacrifice victims. The skulls, which date between A.D. 600 and 850, are “potentially evidence of the largest mass human sacrifice in ancient Meso-America.”

[The site is] in a now drained lake called Lake Xaltocan. To date, more than 150 skulls have been discovered there, as well as a shrine with incense burners, water-deity figurines and pottery suggesting a ritual purpose.

The findings shake up existing notions of the culture of the day, because the site is not associated with Teotihuacan or other regional powers. The shrines and the fact that sacrifice victims were mostly male suggest they were carefully chosen, not simply the result of indiscriminate slaughter of a whole village.

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Secret Door Discovered At Center Of Machu Picchu

The secret portal has yet to be unsealed, but an electromagnetic survey suggests it houses treasure chambers filled with gold. Who’s going to try to get it and end up with an Incan curse? Heritage Daily reports:

This discovery was made possible thanks to a French engineer, David Crespy, who in 2010 noticed the presence of a strange “shelter” located in the heart of the city, at the bottom of one of the main buildings. For him, there was no doubt about it, he was looking at a “door”, an entrance sealed by the Incas.

It is indeed an entrance, blocked by the Incas at an undetermined moment of history. In April 2012, an electromagnetic survey not only confirmed the presence of an underground room, but several. Just behind the famous entrance, a staircase was also discovered. The two main paths seem to lead to specific chambers. [The electromagnetic survey also revealed] a large quantity of gold and silver.

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An Insider’s View of a Fringe Archeology

I presented this paper at the annual meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists, held in Zadar, Croatia, September 18–23, 2007, in a session called “‘Fringe’ Archaeologies: ‘The Other’ Past,” organized by archeologists Eleni Stefanou and Anna Simandiraki.

This paper is in the form of a discursive essay, so if you were expecting a neatly developed argument, intricate footnotes, and a formal bibliography, you are going to be disappointed. I will, however, touch on a number of topics related to the title of this paper. And I will give enough hints for you to track down articles and books mentioned in the essay.

First, let me establish my credentials as a “fringe” archeologist, one whose work is concerned with the development of an “other” past. Andrew O’Hehir, in “Archaeology from the Dark Side” (Salon.com, August 6, 2005), said about me, “Cremo is a singular figure on the scientific fringe. He is friendly with mainstream archaeologists and with Graham Hancock [author of Fingerprints of the Gods].” I find myself on many lists of “fringe” and “pseudo” archeologists and archeologies. Why? Since 1984, I have been researching archeology and history of archeology from a perspective derived from my studies in the Puranas, the ancient historical writings of India, which contain accounts of extreme human antiquity, inconsistent with modern evolutionary accounts of human origins. And for some reason my work has become known in academic circles as well as among the general public. Some archeologists and other scholars find this kind of thing, which they call “fringe” or “folk” archeology, threatening…

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