Tag Archives | Ancient History

Kazakhstan To Rebury Ancient Warlord, Fearing Curse

ancient warlord

Call the reburial a case of superstition triumphing over rationality, but, frankly, the Golden Man gives me the creeps too. RIA Novosti reports:

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Second Century Science Fiction Describes Trip to the Moon

science fiction

Also, it was illustrated by Aubrey Beardsley!

Continuing Disinfo’s love affair with The Public Domain Review, this piece by Aaron Parrett on a 2nd century work of science fiction describing a surreal voyage to the moon:

With his Vera Historia, the 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the first detailed account of a trip to the moon in the Western tradition and, some argue, also one of the earliest science fiction narratives. Aaron Parrett explores how Lucian used this lunar vantage point to take a satirical look back at the philosophers of Earth and their ideas of “truth”.

The Greek-speaking rhetorician and writer Lucian of Samosata, born around 125 CE in what is now known as Syria, has had a somewhat mixed reception through the ages. Scholars agree that his contemporaries and successors viewed him with a great deal of respect. Early Christians were less admiring of Lucian and his pagan and vitriolic pen, though by the time of the renaissance, he had regained favor among learned people.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Oldest Known Guide To Dreaming

book of dreamsThe 3,300-year-old Dream Book, via the British Museum:

The meaning of dreams is a subject that fascinated the ancient Egyptians. This hieratic papyrus, probably dates to the early reign of Ramesses II (1279-1213 BC).

On each page of the papyrus a vertical column of hieratic signs begins: ‘if a man sees himself in a dream’; each horizontal line describes a dream, followed by the diagnosis ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and then the interpretation. For example, ‘if a man sees himself in a dream looking out of a window, good; it means the hearing of his cry’. Or, ‘if a man sees himself in a dream with his bed catching fire, bad; it means driving away his wife’.

It is uncertain who the original owner was, but it passed into the hands of the scribe Qeniherkhepshef. The Dream Book was part of an archive, including a wide variety of literary, magical and documentary material, which passed down through [his] family.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ancient Peruvian Pyramid’s Astronomical Alignment Uncovered

peruvian pyramidLive Science reports on ancient architecture and monoliths designed to merge with figures in the sky:

An ancient astronomical alignment in southern Peru has been discovered by researchers between a pyramid, two stone lines and the setting sun during the winter solstice.

The longest of the two stone lines, called geoglyphs, runs for nearly a mile. Interspersed with these lines, researchers have also found more than 200 cairns (rock piles). The stone lines and cairns appear to be connected with four nearby ancient settlements and their pyramids.

Using 3D modeling, the researchers determined that during the time of the winter solstice, “Someone viewing the sunset from these lines during the winter solstice would have seen the sun setting directly behind, or sinking into, the adobe pyramid…Thus the pyramid and the linear geoglyph constitute part of a single architectural complex, with potential cosmological significance, that ritualized the entire pampa landscape.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Does Moore’s Law Imply That Life On Earth Arrived From Elsewhere?

origin of lifeThe MIT Technology Review writes that earthly lifeforms appear to have 10 billion years’ worth of complexity, yet our planet is only 4.5 billion years old. So do our origins lie elsewhere?

As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.

Alexei Sharov at the National Institute on Ageing in Baltimore and Richard Gordon at the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida argue that it’s possible to measure the complexity of life and the rate at which it has increased from prokaryotes to eukaryotes to more complex creatures such as worms, fish and finally mammals. That produces a clear exponential increase identical to that behind Moore’s Law although in this case the doubling time is 376 million years rather than two years.

That raises an interesting question.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Evidence of the Gods – Islands in the Pacific

Ancient humans had the natural urge to document the world in which they lived, a fact that is evident in the cave paintings from various sites around the world that all seem to depict the same things. Did the peoples of the prehistoric world have contact with each other? Is it possible that some were transported to far-flung locations in what our ancestors could only have described as “flying chariots”? Here is an excerpt from Erich von Däniken’s latest book, Evidence of the Gods: A Visual Tour of Alien Influence in the Ancient World.

Boulders on the Beach

North of Dunedin in New Zealand, there are about 100 spherical boulders lying on Moeraki Beach. The largest has a diameter of 3.16 meters. These giant geodes are literally flushed out of the rock, roll a few meters, come to a halt, and are then washed over by the daily tides. Many have broken apart, crumbling away as the result of the action of wind and waves.… Read the rest

Continue Reading