Tag Archives | Ancient History

Historical Atlantis

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Plato by Raphael.

While neither the first nor the only one of its kind, Plato’s account is the best-preserved description of Atlantis to have survived antiquity. It is, therefore, the most important document available to students of this sunken realm, made all the more valuable by the Greek philosopher’s prestige among Western civilization’s most influential thinkers.

He cites Atlantis in two dialogues—the Timaeus and Kritias—as an example illustrating the point he was attempting to make, that human societies begin to self-destruct when their citizens no longer honor organic relationships between the spiritual and the material spheres of existence. Imbalance in one, he states, sets up a deteriorating resonance in the other. Such a bond is unseen until the consequences of cosmic disharmony reveal themselves in physical destruction. This fact alone—that Plato used Atlantis to exemplify his argument—is ­sufficient ­evidence to verify the drowned kingdom’s historical authenticity.

The account did not originate with him; he inherited it from Solon, the famous lawgiver who learned of the sunken civilization while visiting Egypt around 565 BCE.… Read the rest

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Was Stonehenge an Ancient Mecca on Stilts?

Julian Spalding, a prominent museum director in Britain, has a new theory about the famous megalithic site: it was an ancient Mecca on Stilts. From the Guardian:

Whether it was a Druid temple, an astronomical calendar or a centre for healing, the mystery of Stonehenge has long been a source of speculation and debate. Now a dramatic new theory suggests that the prehistoric monument was in fact “an ancient Mecca on stilts”.

Through Mists Of Time - Stonehenge

Stonehenge photo by Simon and his Camera

 

The megaliths would not have been used for ceremonies at ground level, but would instead have supported a circular wooden platform on which ceremonies were performed to the rotating heavens, the theory suggests.

Julian Spalding, an art critic and former director of some of the UK’s leading museums, argues that the stones were foundations for a vast platform, long since lost – “a great altar” raised up high towards the heavens and able to support the weight of hundreds of worshippers.

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Neanderthals Created Jewelry

Yet more evidence that Neanderthals were far from the dullards they’ve been made out to be, this time via an academic research paper entitled “Evidence for Neandertal Jewelry: Modified White-Tailed Eagle Claws at Krapina” by Davorka Radovčić, Ankica Oros Sršen, Jakov Radovčić and David W. Frayer, published at PLOS one:

We describe eight, mostly complete white-tailed eagle (Haliaëtus [Haliaeetus] albicilla) talons from the Krapina Neandertal site in present-day Croatia, dating to approximately 130 kyrs ago.

Fig 1. Krapina 385.1, a right talon 2. Three cut marks are preserved on the lateral surface: (a) a short superior cut mark; (b) a long cut mark interrupted by the foramen; (c) a short inferior mark. Edges of most cut marks are not sharp. An abraded area (d) occurs near the proximal edge of the joint. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119802.g001

Fig 1. Krapina 385.1, a right talon 2.
Three cut marks are preserved on the lateral surface: (a) a short superior cut mark; (b) a long cut mark interrupted by the foramen; (c) a short inferior mark. Edges of most cut marks are not sharp. An abraded area (d) occurs near the proximal edge of the joint.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119802.g001

Four talons bear multiple, edge-smoothed cut marks; eight show polishing facets and/or abrasion. Three of the largest talons have small notches at roughly the same place along the plantar surface, interrupting the proximal margin of the talon blade.

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Dinosaurs on Acid

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Via Phillip Smith at Alternet

Was brontosaurus blissed out on prehistoric psychedelics as he munched the swamp grass in Southeast Asia 100 million years ago? Scientists who have analyzed a perfectly preserved amber fossil from a cave there say it’s entirely possible.

The amber fossil contains evidence of the earliest grass specimens ever discovered—about 100 million years old—and that they were topped by a fungus similar to ergot, which has long been intertwined with animals and humans. Ergot is known as a medicine and a toxin. It is also the source of the psychedelic drug LSD.

In animals, ergot can cause hallucinations, delirium, gangrene, convulsions, or the staggers. And this research provides evidence that the fungus, the grasses it lived on, and the dinosaurs who gulped down huge mouthfuls of them, coexisted for tens of millions of years. Imagine a multi-ton behemoth wrecked out of its dinosaur mind stumbling around the landscape.

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Shell ‘Art’ Made 300,000 Years Before Humans Evolved

The geometric pattern on Pseudodon DUB1006-fL. Click for more images at Nature.

The geometric pattern on Pseudodon DUB1006-fL. Click for more images at Nature.

One of the main themes of Graham Hancock’s bestselling book Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind was that the emergence of painting some 40,000 years ago marked a shift in human consciousness, possibly brought about via consciousness expanding substances. Now a clam shell buried between 430,000 and 540,000 years ago with artwork etched onto it has emerged, reports New Scientist. What might this mean?

The artist – if she or he can be called that – was right-handed and used a shark’s tooth. They had a remarkably steady hand and a strong arm. Half a million years ago, on the banks of a calm river in central Java, they scored a deep zigzag into a clam shell.

We will never know what was going on inside its maker’s head, but the tidy, purposeful line (pictured above right) has opened a new window into the origins of our modern creative mind.

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Setting the Record Straight: Secret Chambers and ‘Hall of Records’

[disinfo ed.’s note: the following is excerpted from Secret Chamber Revisited: The Quest for the Lost Knowledge of Ancient by Robert Bauval]

There shall appear and shine the sign of the Son of Man in the Heaven. . . . – Matthew 24:30

Only an initiate may understand. . . . – Edgar Cayce on the Great Pyramid of Giza, Reading 5748-5

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

The hope of finding a secret chamber in the Giza Plateau, the home of the Great Pyramid and the Great Sphinx, has never been so high. As I write these words (late February 2014), Egyptians have gone to the ballot boxes and voted in favor of a new constitution. Soon presidential elections will take place, to be followed immediately by the formation of a parliament. A new Egypt is in the making, and hopefully along with it a new and more open-minded Ministry of Antiquities.… Read the rest

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Sulawesi Cave Paintings Offer New Conclusions About Origins of Art

Cave paintings in Sulawesi, Indonesia, have been estimated to be at least 39,900 years old, changing ideas about creative art being exclusively European, reports BBC News (note to Graham Hancock fans: how does this affect Graham’s hypothesis in Supernatural?):

Scientists have identified some of the earliest cave paintings produced by humans.

Sulawesi cave painting with Dr Maxime Aubert (Photo: Dr. Aubert).

Sulawesi cave painting with Dr Maxime Aubert (Photo: Dr. Aubert).

Until now, paintings this old had been confirmed in caves only in Western Europe.

Researchers tell the journal Nature that the Indonesian discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.

Early artists made them by carefully blowing paint around hands that were pressed tightly against the cave walls and ceilings. The oldest is at least 40,000 years old.

There are also human figures, and pictures of wild hoofed animals that are found only on the island. Dr Maxime Aubert, of Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, who dated the paintings found in Maros in Southern Sulawesi, explained that one of them (shown immediately below) was probably the earliest of its type.

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Neanderthals Created Cave Art

A new discovery at Gorham’s Cave in Gibraltar suggests that Neanderthals were, contrary to their poor reputation, cave artists (and created the hashtag). Report via Chicago Tribune:

Belying their reputation as the dumb cousins of early modern humans, Neanderthals created cave art, an activity regarded as a major cognitive step in the evolution of humankind, scientists reported Monday in a paper describing the first discovery of artwork by this extinct species.

Gorham's Cave.jpg

Gorham’s Cave. Photo by Gibmetal77 (CC)

The discovery is “a major contribution to the redefinition of our perception of Neanderthal culture,” said prehistorian William Rendu of the French National Center for Scientific Research, who was not involved in the work. “It is a new and even stronger evidence of the Neanderthal capacity for developing complex symbolic thought” and “abstract expression,” abilities long believed exclusive to early modern humans.

In recent years researchers have discovered that Neanderthals buried their dead, adorned themselves with black and red pigments, wore shell and feather jewelry and cared for the elderly and infirm, all evidence of complex thought.

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Ancient Egyptians Used Wooden Sleds to Move Pyramid Stones and Overcame Problem of Friction With a Simple But Clever Trick: Wet Sand.

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

Gizah Pyramids. Photo: Ricardo Liberato (CC)

The mystery of how the pyramids were built at Giza, Egypt, has fascinated generation after generation of visitors. A new study purports to reveal the simple truth of it, reports the Washington Post:

Few have traveled to the pyramids of Egypt and not wondered how an ancient civilization without modern technology could have constructed structures so large they can be viewed from space. Some have theorized they were built inside out.

On the flakier side, some say aliens did it.

Perhaps the most confounding mystery of all involves how incredibly large stones made their way to the middle of the desert without massive mechanical assistance. No camel, even the Egyptian kind, is that strong.

The truth, researchers at the University of Amsterdam announced this week in a study published in the journal Physical Review Letters, may actually be quite simple. It has long been believed that Egyptians used wooden sleds to haul the stone, but until now it hasn’t been entirely understood how they had overcome the problem of friction. It amounts to nothing more, scientists say, than a “clever trick.”

They likely wet the sand.

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