Have Researchers Cracked the Code of the 4,000-Year-Old Phaistos Disc?

12 November, 2014 at 07:29 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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By April Holloway
http://www.ancient-origins.net

The Phaistos Disc is a fired clay plate from the 2nd millennium BC with both sides showing a spiral of strange stamped symbols. Ever since its discovery in 1908, in a palace called Phaistos on the island of Crete, the meaning of the unusual inscription has mystified scholars. But now, after more than a century, scholars may have finally come a step closer to solving one of the most famous mysteries in archaeology.

The Phaistos Disc, along with other artifacts, was first discovered by Italian archaeologist Luigi Pernier in a basement room of an ancient Minoan palace, which had collapsed due to earthquake or volcanic eruption.  Phaistos had been a powerful centre of the Minoan civilization, and one of the wealthiest cities in Crete.

Mysterious Symbols The Phaistos Disc was inscribed with 241 picture segments created from 45 unique symbols thought to be similar to Linear A, an undeciphered writing system used in ancient Greece. The symbols portray images such as an eagle, a helmet, a plumed head, a beehive, and more.

Nearly 30 notable attempts have been made over the years to decipher the code, but each met with a dead end, until now. According to the Archaeology News Network, the latest attempt to unravel the mystery was made by Dr Gareth Owens of the Technological Educational Institute of Crete, who says he has worked out some of its keywords and the general message it conveys.

Cracking the Code

Dr Owens looked at groupings of signs found in three parts on one side of the disc. They spell out I-QE-KU-RJA, which means “great lady of importance”, while on the other side, he identified the word AKKA, which means “pregnant mother”.  Dr Owens’ interpretations is that the Phaistos Disc is a prayer to the mother goddess of the Minoan era.

“The most stable word and value is ‘mother,’ and in particular, the mother goddess of the Minoan era,” said Owens, according to Archaeology News Network.

Speaking at a TED talk in May, Dr Owens explained how he worked with John Coleman at Oxford University for six years to crack the code. “It’s the closest thing to a partial Minoan Rosetta Stone,” he said, stating that they can now read 90 per cent of ‘Side A’ of the disk. Work is still underway to try to decode the remainder of the symbols. Watch TED talk with Dr Gareth Owens:

via Have Researchers Cracked the Code of the 4,000-Year-Old Phaistos Disc? – The Epoch Times

The Last Hieroglyphic Language on Earth and an Ancient Culture Fighting to Survive

28 October, 2014 at 07:26 | Posted in archaeology, China, Culture, Science, Society | 2 Comments
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By April Holloway
http://www.ancient-origins.net

The Dongba symbols are an ancient system of pictographic glyphs created by the founder of the Bön religious tradition of Tibet and used by the Naxi people in southern China. Historical records show that this unique script was used as early as the 7th century, during the early Tang Dynasty, however, research conducted last year showed that its origins may date back as far as 7,000 years ago. Incredibly, the Dongba symbols continue to be used by the elders of the Naxi people, making it the only hieroglyphic language still used in the world today.

The Naxi people lived in the beautiful mountain province of Yunnan (“south of the clouds”) for thousands of years, where they developed their own rich and enduring culture. Today, most of the 270,000 Naxi people live in the county of Lijiang where they retain many of their ancient traditions.

Read more: The Last Hieroglyphic Language on Earth and an Ancient Culture Fighting to Survive – The Epoch Times

Archaeologists Unearth 4,000-Year-Old Siberian Knight Armor Made of Bone

6 October, 2014 at 07:26 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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By April Holloway, http://www.ancient-origins.net

Archaeologists in Russia have unearthed a suit of armor made entirely of bone, which belonged to an ancient Siberian knight who lived around four millennia ago. The Siberian Times reports that the stunning discovery was found in near-perfect condition and is the only example of bone armor found in the Siberian city of Omsk.

The armor consists of different plates made up of small fragments of bone that have been joined together. Testing is being conducted to determine the type or types of animals that the bone came from, but it is suspected to be from deer, elk, and/or horse. Analyses are yet to determine its exact age but Siberian archaeologists say it dates back up to 3,900 years.

Yury Gerasimov, a research fellow of the Omsk branch of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, said that the bone armor would have belonged to an elite warrior and would have given “good protection from weapons that were used at the time – bone and stone arrowheads, bronze knives, spears tipped with bronze and bronze axes.”

The armor was found buried at a depth of 1.5 meters at a site of sanatorium where there are now plans to build a five star hotel. It had been buried on its own rather than alongside a body, which poses a few mysteries. Armor had great material value during the Bronze Age and great care and maintenance was required to keep it in prime condition. Therefore, the fact that it was buried in the ground without being part of a burial, suggests that it may have been some kind of offering.

“While there is no indication that the place of discovery of the armor was a place of worship, it is very likely. Armor had great material value. There was no sense to dig it in the ground or hide it for a long time – because the fixings and the bones would be ruined,” said Gerasimov.

The Bronze Age bone armor is also inconsistent with the style and trends of the Krotov culture, which inhabited the forest steppe area of Western Siberia, and more closely resembles that of the Samus-Seyminskaya culture, which originated in the area of the Altai Mountains, approximately 1,000 km away and later migrated to the Omsk region. This has led archaeologists to propose that the suit of armor may be a war trophy, or it could have been a gift or exchange between cultures.

The researchers now have a big task ahead to clean and reconstruct the armor. Although it is in good condition, there are still some parts that have fragmented into tiny slivers of bone and all these will need to be reassembled. The hope is to reconstruct an exact replica of the suit of armor.

The archaeological site where the armor was found includes a complex of monuments belonging to different epochs, from the Early Neolithic period to the Middle Ages, including settlements, burial grounds, and manufacturing sites. The research team hopes to save the site for future study and preservation.

Read the original at Ancient Origins.

via Archaeologists Unearth 4,000-Year-Old Siberian Knight Armor Made of Bone

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The 5,000-Year-Old Sunken City in Southern Greece

1 October, 2014 at 07:50 | Posted in archaeology, Culture | Leave a comment
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By John Black

In the Peloponnesus region of southern Greece there is a small village called Pavlopetri, where a nearby ancient city dating back 5,000 years resides. However, this is not an ordinary archaeological site – the city can be found about 4 meters underwater and is believed to be the oldest known submerged city in the world.

The city is incredibly well designed with roads, two storey houses with gardens, temples, a cemetery, and a complex water management system including channels and water pipes.  In the center of the city, was a square or plaza measuring about 40×20 meters and most of the buildings have been found with up to 12 rooms inside. The design of this city surpasses the design of many cities today.

Read more: The 5,000-Year-Old Sunken City in Southern Greece

Everything We Have Been Taught About Our Origins Is A Lie

24 June, 2014 at 09:00 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Funny things :-), Science | Leave a comment
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– See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

– See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf


Written by Graham Pick

In June 1936 Max Hahn and his wife Emma were on a walk beside a waterfall near to London, Texas, when they noticed a rock with wood protruding from its core. They decided to take the oddity home and later cracked it open with a hammer and a chisel. What they found within shocked the archaeological and scientific community. Embedded in the rock was what appeared to be some type of ancient man made hammer.

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal. The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

– See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

– See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

A team of archaeologists analysed and dated it. The rock encasing the hammer was dated to more than 400 million years old. The hammer itself turned out to be more than 500 million years old. Additionally, a section of the wooden handle had begun the metamorphosis into coal.  The hammer’s head, made of more than 96% iron, is far more pure than anything nature could have achieved without assistance from relatively modern smelting methods.

In 1889 near Nampa, Idaho, whilst workers were boring an artesian well, a small figurine made of baked clay was extracted from a depth of 320 feet. To reach this depth the workers had to cut through fifteen feet of basalt lava and many other strata below that. That in itself does not seem remarkable, until one considers that the very top layer of lava has been dated to at least 15 million years old!

It is currently accepted by science and geology that coal is a by-product of decaying vegetation. The vegetation becomes buried over time and is covered with sediment. That sediment eventually fossilises and becomes rock. This natural process of coal formation takes up to 400 million years to accomplish.

– See more at: http://www.maltanow.com.mt/?p=2927#sthash.xvdxlCGm.5LOInRq6.dpuf

Read more: Everything We Have Been Taught About Our Origins Is A Lie – Malta Now

Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future?

13 February, 2014 at 07:11 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

The Viking sword Ulfberht was made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists. It was thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.

About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D. A NOVA, National Geographic documentary titled “Secrets of the Viking Sword” first aired in 2012 took a look at the enigmatic sword’s metallurgic composition.

In the process of forging iron, the ore must be heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify, allowing the blacksmith to remove the impurities (called “slag”). Carbon is also mixed in to make the brittle iron stronger. Medieval technology did not allow iron to be heated to such a high temperature, thus the slag was removed by pounding it out, a far less effective method.

The Ulfberht, however, has almost no slag, and it has a carbon content three times that of other metals from the time. It was made of a metal called “crucible steel.”

It was thought that the furnaces invented during the industrial revolution were the first tools for heating iron to this extent.

The difference in purity is seen by the consistency of the Ulfberht steel, almost free of slag. (Screenshot/NOVA/National Geographic)


Modern blacksmith Richard Furrer of Wisconsin spoke to NOVA about the difficulties of making such a sword. Furrer is described in the documentary as one of the few people on the planet who has the skills needed to try to reproduce the Ulfberht.

“To do it right, it is the most complicated thing I know how to make,” he said.

He commented on how the Ulfberht maker would have been regarded as possessing magical powers. “To be able to make a weapon from dirt is a pretty powerful thing,” he said. But, to make a weapon that could bend without breaking, stay so sharp, and weigh so little would be regarded as supernatural.

Furrer spent days of continuous, painstaking work forging a similar sword. He used medieval technology, though he used it in a way never before suspected. The tiniest flaw or mistake could have turned the sword into a piece of scrap metal. He seemed to declare his success at the end with more relief than joy.

It is possible that the material and the know-how came from the Middle East. The Volga trade route between the Viking settlements and the Middle East opened at the same time the first Ulfberhts appeared and closed when the last Ulfberhts were produced.


via Mysterious Viking Sword Made With Technology From the Future? » The Epoch Times

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Noah’s Ark Blueprints Found—4,000-Year-Old Detailed Instructions

30 January, 2014 at 14:12 | Posted in archaeology, Culture | Leave a comment



‘One of the most important human documents ever discovered’

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Irving Finkel, British Museum curator and author of “The Ark Before Noah,” has found a 4,000-year-old tablet that describes the materials and measurements for building Noah’s Ark.

It also describes the Ark in a way never before conceived by archaeologists—as round.

Finkel writes in a museum blog post of his discovery. Douglas Simmonds had approached him at the museum with a tablet given to him by his father. His father had picked up some artifacts from Egypt and China after the war in the late 1940s.

The tablet “turned out to be one in a million,” said Finkel. Dating from 1750 B.C., it tells the Babylonian “Story of the Flood.” The Babylonian story, and its similarities to the story recounted in the Book of Genesis, were already known, but this table “has startling new contents,” Finkel said.

He lists off some of the materials a God told the Babylonian Noah to use for his ark: “Quantities of palm-fibre rope, wooden ribs and bathfuls of hot bitumen to waterproof the finished vessel … The amount of rope prescribed, stretched out in a line, would reach from London to Edinburgh!”

The ark would have had an area of about 2.2 miles squared (3.6 kilometers squared)—about the size of one and a half football fields—with walls 20 feet high.

The aspect of the description that most stunned Finkel, however, is that the ark was round. He said: “To my knowledge, no one has ever thought of that possibility.”

Finkel told the Associated Press that the tablet is “one of the most important human documents ever discovered.”

via Noah’s Ark Blueprints Found—4,000-Year-Old Detailed Instructions

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Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table

23 January, 2014 at 07:37 | Posted in archaeology, Chinese culture, Science | Leave a comment



By Cassie Ryan
Epoch Times

Scientists in China have aligned fragments of bamboo with Chinese calligraphic writing on it to recreate a mathematical device used 2,300 years ago, making it the world’s oldest known decimal multiplication table.

In 2008, the researchers at Tsinghua University in Beijing received almost 2,500 decrepit bamboo strips from a donor, who had bought them at a market in Hong Kong. They date back to about 305 B.C. from the Warring States period before China was unified in the Qin Dynasty.

Each strip was around 0.3-0.5 inches wide and up to 20 inches long with a vertical line of calligraphy in black ink.

Twenty-one of the strips were marked with only numbers, and formed a matrix structure when arranged correctly. The top row and right-hand column contain the same 19 numbers (from right to left and top to bottom–0.5, the numbers 1 to 9, and multiples of 10 from 10 to 90.

“The strips were all mixed up because the strings that used to tie each manuscript together to form a scroll had long decayed,” said researcher Li Junming, according to the journal Nature, adding that it was “like putting together a jigsaw puzzle” because some parts were broken and others were missing. “It’s effectively an ancient calculator.”

The matrix can be used in several ways, for example the entries where each row and column meet are the results of multiplying those numbers, and any whole or half integer between 0.5 and 99.5 can be calculated.

The team think the system may have been used by officials to calculate land surface area, crop yields, and taxes. “We can even use the matrix to do divisions and square roots,” historian Feng Lisheng told Nature. “But we can’t be sure that such complicated tasks were performed at the time.”

“Such an elaborate multiplication matrix is absolutely unique in Chinese history,” he added. Previously, the earliest known Chinese tables were used during the Qin Dynasty from 221 to 206 B.C.

via Chinese Bamboo Strips Revealed as First Known Times Table: photo 2

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An Ancient City Is Discovered Underwater

15 December, 2013 at 18:47 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science, Society | Leave a comment

By Sunny Skyz

The city of Heracleion was engulfed underwater 1500 years ago. This grand city had been mentioned by the Greek writer Herodotus, the 5th-century BC historian. He had told a wonderful tale of Helen of Troy, who traveled to Heracleion, then a port of ‘great wealth’, with her Trojan lover, Paris.

When French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio stumbled upon some relics, it led them to one of the greatest finds of the 21st century; a city underwater. The discovery took place when Goddio had been in search of Napoleon’s warships from the 1798 Battle of the Nile, when he had been defeated by Nelson in these very waters, but to his surprise, he stumbled upon this magnificent discovery.

Read more: An Ancient City Is Discovered Underwater. What They Found Will Change History Forever

How Was it Made? Prehistoric Underwater Wall Divides Scientists

19 November, 2013 at 07:54 | Posted in archaeology, beyond science, Culture, Science | Leave a comment



By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times

Two camps of scientists have faced off on the issue of the underwater structure known as Bimini Road off the coast of the Bahamas since it was first discovered in 1968.

One camp says it is a 12,000–19,000-year-old man-made structure—flouting the conventional understanding that advanced civilizations only emerged some 5,000 years ago.

The other camp says it is a natural formation.

Dr. Eugene Shinn dismisses as “New Age” the claims that a culture advanced enough to build such a structure existed in that region so long ago. He has behind him the heavy weight of current scientific understandings.

Dr. Greg Little realizes his claims to the contrary are viewed with “outright ridicule,” as he explains in a 2005 paper on the subject. “I have no expectation that any of the skeptics will actually change their views or even consider any alternatives to their beliefs,” he writes.

“All contradictions to their beliefs are probably perceived as a direct threat to them professionally and psychologically,” Little says. “The long history of science has countless examples of widely held beliefs that were proven wrong by research. But even in the face of incontrovertible proof that these beliefs were wrong, many so-called scientists refused to accept the new evidence.”

Little is a psychologist who has taken a keen interest in Bimini and has participated in multiple dives with archaeologist William Donato along the structure.

Donato explains in an email to the Epoch Times that the line of stones form a wall, known as a breakwater, built to protect a prehistoric settlement from waves. During their dives (documented by film and photographs), Donato and Little found the structure to be multi-tiered and to include prop stones they say must have been placed there by humans.

The duo also say they found anchor stones with rope holes carved into them and at least one stone later analyzed at the University of Colorado, which was found to have tool marks, deliberate shaping, functional wear, and erosion features similar to steps.

Little writes that a neutron activation analysis compared nearby shore stones to the Bimini Wall stones and showed the Bimini stones had fewer trace elements, suggesting they were formed elsewhere and transported to that location.

“We know what the Bimini Road is now,” Donato says. “The natural feature theory has been totally discredited. Shinn has no background in archeology and [Marshall] McKusick [who worked with Shinn to promote the natural-formation theory] seems to know nothing about marine archeology.”

Shinn, a retired geologist who worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, argues Bimini Road is made up of beachrock—the climate in the region causes sand and other materials on the shore to cement into rock relatively quickly, creating “beachrock”—that was covered by water as the sea level rose.

Rocks of similar shape and in a similar formation have been found in some other regions, says Shinn. The information he sent the Epoch Times in response to inquiries, however, did not seem to explain exactly how the rock forms into the large, thick block shapes seen in Bimini.

Shinn carbon dated some rock samples and found them to be only about 5,000 years old or younger. But, he later admitted to Little, the accuracy of his dating is questionable. Little explains that bulk dating is inaccurate because the samples can be contaminated by materials from later dates.

Shinn told Little, according to Little’s 2005 paper: “You are right, dating of beach rock is not very precise especially if it is a bulk sample. The dates listed in the Nature article were bulk dates done at a later date by a student learning the carbon 14 method.”

Little also accuses Shinn of changing the results of some of his studies.

One of the proofs Shinn has given in recent writings and interviews that Bimini is naturally formed involves core rock samples he took to show a dip toward deep water. If all the cores show a dip toward deep water, explains Little, this would indeed prove the rock formed where it is and did not form elsewhere later to be transported by humans to its present location.

In 1978, Shinn’s published study of Bimini states that 25 percent of his samples showed a dip toward deep water. Little points out that Shinn’s later writings claim all of his samples showed this dip.

When Little confronted Shinn on his discrepancies, Shinn replied: “You must realize that because of all the craziness surrounding the Bimini site and the unusual people, it was hard to take the exercise with the same seriousness we would have employed with our regular research. We did it for fun. There was not the peer review usually associated with our real jobs. The details you have pointed out are evidence of minimal peer review. I got a little carried away to make a good story.”

The Epoch Times asked Shinn to confirm he said this to Little and asked him to clarify the discrepancies pointed out by Little.

Shinn said via email: “I am not going to nit-pick over Little’s concerns.”

He called into question the funding behind Little’s work. Little is funded by the Edgar Cayce Foundation, says Shinn, which was started by people who believe in the writings of Cayce (1877–1945), a purported psychic who had visions of Atlantis.

Little states in his 2005 paper that his work on Bimini is not a quest to find Atlantis. “Skeptics invoke emotion-laden, ridiculing terms,” Little wrote.

Little states: “For obvious reasons, mainstream archaeologists have avoided Bimini as if it was infected with a deadly virus. They have been convinced by reading others’ summaries of the early research—not by digesting the actual facts—that Bimini has to be nothing but natural beachrock and that a harbor cannot be there—therefore it is not there.”

via How Was it Made? Prehistoric Underwater Wall Divides Scientists » The Epoch Times

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‘Skull 5’ Suggests Significant Change to Human Lineage

29 October, 2013 at 10:12 | Posted in archaeology, Culture | Leave a comment

By Jack Phillips
Epoch Times

“Skull 5,” as it has been called, could link Homo habilis, Homo rudolfensis, Homo erectus–the classified earliest members of the Homo genus, according to researchers.

“Unlike other Homo fossils, this skull, known as Skull 5, combines a small braincase with a long face and large teeth,” reads a press release from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The skull was found in the country of Georgia around 96 miles southwest of the capital, Tbilisi, in the Dmanisi excavation site.

Georgian National Museum anthropologist David Lordkipanidze, who led researchers in finding the skull, said it was discovered eight years ago.

“It is really an extraordinary find in many respects,” Christoph Zollikofer of Zurich’s Anthropological Institute and Museum said, according to NBC News. He took part in the discovery.

He added: “[The Dmanisi finds] look quite different from one another, so it’s tempting to publish them as different species. Yet we know that these individuals came from the same location and the same geological time, so they could, in principle, represent a single population of a single species.”

“Had the braincase and the face of Skull 5 been found as separate fossils at different sites in Africa, they might have been attributed to different species,” he said, adding that Skull 5 has a tiny braincase and large face, which have not yet been observed in a Homo fossil.

via ‘Skull 5’ Suggests Significant Change to Human Lineage

Could Ancient Peruvians Soften Stone?

23 October, 2013 at 16:00 | Posted in archaeology, Culture | Leave a comment

By Ben Bendig
Epoch Times

If you take a look at some of the masonry in South America’s megalithic structures and walls, such as the 12-sided stone at Cuzco, Peru, you’ll notice immediately that things are lining up awfully well—and extremely tightly.

Our standard history texts say the Incans, who occupied Peru at the time the Spanish conquistadores arrived, were responsible for all the structures found in the area.

But how could the Incans have managed to construct, with extreme precision, structures like Saksaywaman, with stones as heavy as 150 tons nesting and dovetailing neatly together, with no evidence of the needed technology?

The “standard” explanation is that the Incans somehow managed to use a “guess and check” method of chipping at the stone with their stone tools, then setting the stone in place, seeing how it fit, then lifting it up and chipping further, then checking again, and so on.

This method appears very likely to have been used in the 16th and 17th centuries, when conquistadores and missionaries observed the Incans at work. But what they were building at the time involved much smaller stones, and not the kind of precision in creating blocks with 12 angles. Shaping such complex blocks, and with such a tight fit, only using round stone hammers seems exceptionally unlikely. Especially when dealing with 100-ton blocks!

Even those offering explanations such as these, like archeologist Jean-Pierre Protzen, still acknowledge other problems, primarily how the Incans could have transported (and lifted up and down repeatedly) these large stones. Some of the quarries were as far as 20 miles from the building sites, and in mountainous regions, no less.

Moving big stones isn’t always mysterious—if the quarry is higher than the final site or without much elevation difference, and there’s lots of space for lots of men to drag, then even enormous stones can be moved. Take, for instance, the Thunder Stone that is the seat of the Bronze Horseman statue in St. Petersburg, Russia. Weighing in at a truly massive 1,500 tons, the Thunder Stone was moved in 1768, using only manpower and some engineering ingenuity.

But for a society with only primitive tools available, and no advanced engineering, how are 100-ton stones moved through 20 miles of mountains?

At the very least, it probably means whoever built them were more advanced than we’re currently giving them credit. But what the Spaniards said at the time indicate that the Incans didn’t possess the needed engineering skills.

So it might mean that it was someone else who built the structures.

In fact, the Incans themselves acknowledged to the conquistadores that these structures were there long before them, built by a different people. A favorite topic of speculation among the Incans was apparently trying to figure out how the ancients actually built the walls, fitting the stones in so tightly.

Saksaywaman, in the history books, is said to have been completed in 1508, but those living just a few decades later, like Garcilaso de la Vega, born in 1539 and raised in the area of Saksaywaman, professed to having no idea of how the walls were constructed. And no one else seemed to, either.

Is it possible that the Incans built on top of the previously existing structures and Spanish chroniclers made the mistake of thinking they had built the entire structure?

If the builders were even more ancient, then wouldn’t our textbook understanding of history suggest that it’s even less likely previous civilizations would have the knowledge and ability to build such structures.

Ancient Civilization

So we’re faced with the possibility of a civilization much more advanced than the Incans, but of which we know almost nothing about—except that they could create structures like Saksaywaman.

How the stones were moved still proves a mystery, as it does for other megalithic sites, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza. While we are capable today of transporting such stones, and lifting them up, our conception of the technological advancement of ancient peoples doesn’t always square with the achievements we have clear evidence of in these structures.

There are, however, a few theories about how the stones were shaped. Several local legends are about a liquid known to the ancients, derived from plants, which can turn rocks soft.

Explorers, such as the legendary Percy Fawcett, also brought back tales of such a substance, as did Hiram Bingham, who (re)discovered Machu Picchu. Furthermore, Jorge A. Lira, a Catholic priest, in 1983 said he was able to recreate this stone softening, but was unable to figure out how to make the stones hard again.

Curiously, marks on some of the stones at Saksaywaman look remarkably like stray marks on our modern concrete—indicative of being molded or scraped into shape.

While this remains speculative, we can be sure that stone hammers and repeated lifting up and down aren’t responsible for the precision and power needed to create Saksaywaman. Structures like this invite us to learn more about our past, and realize that the ancients might have been far more advanced than we give them credit.

* 12-sided stone photo via Shutterstock; Saksaywaman photo via Shutterstock

via Could Ancient Peruvians Soften Stone?

Comet Strike Evidence Found in Tutankamun’s Brooch and the Sahara Desert

10 October, 2013 at 09:08 | Posted in archaeology, Culture, Science | Leave a comment
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By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times

A comet strike hit the Earth long ago, and evidence has been discovered in Tutankhamun’s brooch by African and international researchers.

The comet entered Earth’s atmosphere above Egypt about 28 million years ago and exploded, “raining down a shock wave of fire which obliterated every life form in its path,” according to the researchers.

The explosion heated the sand beneath it to about 3632 Fahrenheit, resulting in the formation of yellow silica glass. The glass is scattered over an approximately 3728 mile area in the Sahara desert.

A specimen of the glass is found in Tutankhamun’s brooch, a yellow scarab at the center.

“Comets always visit our skies – they’re these dirty snowballs of ice mixed with dust – but never before in history has material from a comet ever been found on Earth,” says Professor David Block of Wits University in the announcement.

The research was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters and presented in public on Thursday at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

Another form of evidence was a mysterious black pebble dubbed “Hypatia” that was found by an Egyptian geologist in the Sahara. After chemical analysis on the pebble, the researchers concluded that it is the first known evidence of a comet nucleus.

“We propose that the Hypatia stone is a remnant of a cometary nucleus fragment that impacted after incorporating gases from the atmosphere,” the researchers write in the introduction to the published findings. “Its co-occurrence with Libyan Desert Glass suggests that this fragment could have been part of a bolide that broke up and exploded in the airburst that formed the Glass. Its extraordinary preservation would be due to its shock-transformation into a weathering-resistant assemblage.”

The discovery was one of profound joy for the researchers.

“It’s a typical scientific euphoria when you eliminate all other options and come to the realization of what it must be,” professor Jan Kramers of the University of Johannesburg, lead author of the study, said.

“Comets contain the very secrets to unlocking the formation of our solar system and this discovery gives us an unprecedented opportunity to study comet material first hand,” said Block.

The gigantic impact of the explosion also produced microscopic diamonds.

The discoveries point to a new way of finding comet material.

“NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) spend billions of dollars collecting a few micrograms of comet material and bringing it back to Earth, and now we’ve got a radical new approach of studying this material, without spending billions of dollars collecting it,” said Kramers.

The study has come international. For instance, Dr. Mario di Martino of Turin’s Astrophysical Observatory has led several expeditions to the area where the desert glass is found.

Dr Marco Andreoli of the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation and Chris Harris of the University of Cape Town were also involved, along with other researchers.

via Comet Strike Evidence Found in Tutankamun\’s Brooch and the Sahara Desert

ANOTHER THEORY:

Desert Glass Formed by Ancient Atomic Bombs?

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Reconsidering History: Ancient Greeks Discovered America Thousands of Years Ago

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