Posts Tagged With: tomb

Maya ‘snake dynasty’ tomb uncovered holding body, treasure and hieroglyphs…


Xunantunich, in western Belize, where archaeologists found a tomb and hieroglyphic panels depicting the history of the ‘snake dynasty’.
Xunantunich, in western Belize, where archaeologists found a tomb and hieroglyphic panels depicting the history of the ‘snake dynasty’. Photograph: Jaime Awe

Archaeologists have uncovered what may be the largest royal tomb found in more than a century of work on Maya ruins in Belize, along with a puzzling set of hieroglyphic panels that provide clues to a “snake dynasty” that conquered many of its neighbors some 1,300 years ago.

The tomb was unearthed at the ruins of Xunantunich, a city on the Mopan river in western Belize that served as a ceremonial center in the final centuries of Maya dominance around 600 to 800 AD. Archaeologists found the chamber 16ft to 26ft below ground, where it had been hidden under more than a millennium of dirt and debris.

Researchers found the tomb as they excavated a central stairway of a large structure: within were the remains of a male adult, somewhere between 20 and 30 years old, lying supine with his head to the south.

The archaeologist Jaime Awe said preliminary analysis by osteologists found the man was athletic and “quite muscular” at his death, and that more analysis should provide clues about his identity, health and cause of death.

In the grave, archaeologists also found jaguar and deer bones, six jade beads, possibly from a necklace, 13 obsidian blades and 36 ceramic vessels. At the base of the stairway, they found two offering caches that had nine obsidian and 28 chert flints and eccentrics – chipped artefacts that resemble flints but are carved into the shapes of animals, leaves or other symbols.

The excavation site at Xunantunich.
The excavation site at Xunantunich. Photograph: Jaime Awe

“It certainly has been a great field season for us,” said Awe, who led a team from his own school, Northern Arizona University, and the Belize Institute ofArchaeology.

The tomb represents an extraordinary find, if only for its construction. At 4.5 meters by 2.4 meters, it is “one of the largest burial chambers ever discovered in Belize”, Awe said. It appears to differ dramatically from other grave sites of the era. Most Maya tombs were built “intrusively”, as additions to existing structures, but the new tomb was built simultaneously with the structure around it – a common practice among cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, but uncommon among the Mayas.

“In other words, it appears that the temple was purposely erected for the primary purpose of enclosing the tomb,” Awe said. “Except for a very few rare cases, this is not very typical in ancient Maya architecture.”

Many Maya societies ruled through dynastic families. Tombs for male and femalerulers have been found, including those of the so-called “snake dynasty”, named for the snake-head emblem associated with its house. The family had a string of conquests in the seventh century, and ruled from two capital cities. Awe said the newly discovered hieroglyphic panels could prove “even more important than the tomb”, by providing clues to the dynasty’s history.

The third hieroglyphic panel discovered at the Mayan ruins in Xunantunich, in western Belize, with Awe holding a flashlight.
The third hieroglyphic panel discovered at the Maya ruins in Xunantunich, with Jaime Awe holding a flashlight. Photograph: Christophe Helmke

The panels are believed to be part of a staircase originally built 26 miles to the south, at the ancient city of Caracol. Epigraphers say the city’s ruler, Lord Kan II of the snake dynasty, recorded his defeat of another city, Naranjo, on the hieroglyph, to go with his many other self-commemorations. On another work, he recorded a ball game involving a captured Naranjo leader whom he eventually sacrificed.

Naranjo apparently had its revenge some years later, in 680AD, having the panels dismantled and partially reassembled at home with gaps and incorrect syntax – possibly deliberately, to obscure the story of the snake dynasties’ conquests. Fragments have been discovered elsewhere in Caracol and at a fourth site along the Mopan river, but Awe said the new panels could be “bookends” to the story of war and sacrifice in the ancient Maya world.

According to the University of Copenhagen’s Christophe Helmke, the research team’s epigrapher, the panels provide a clue for Kan II’s conquests – he appears to have dedicated or commissioned the work in 642AD – and they note the death of Kan’s mother, Lady Batz’ Ek’. The panels also identify a previously unknown ruler from the Mexican site of Calakmul, Awe said.

Helmke said the panels “tell us of the existence of a king of the dynasty that was murky figure at best, who is clearly named as Waxaklajuun Ubaah Kan” . This ruler reigned sometime between 630 and 640AD, and may have been Kan’s half-brother.

“This means that there were two contenders to the throne, both carrying the same dynastic title, which appears to have been read Kanu’l Ajaw, ‘king of the place where snakes abound’,” he wrote in an email.

The panels clarify what Helmke called a “tumultuous phase of the snake-head dynasty” and explain how it splintered between cities before dominating Maya politics in the region.

The panels identify the origin of the snake dynasty at Dzibanche, in the Yucatan peninsula of modern Mexico, and refer to the family’s move to their capital of Calakmul. Awe said Lady Batz’ Ek’ “was likely a native of Yakha, a site in neighboring Guatemala, who later married the ruler of Caracol as part of a marriage alliance”.

The nine eccentrics.
The nine eccentrics. Photograph: Kelsey Sullivan, courtesy Jaime Awe

The researchers have had their work peer-reviewed for publication in the Journal of the Pre-columbian Art Research Institute.

Awe said it was not clear why the panels appeared in Xunantunich, but the city may have allied itself with or been a vassal state to Naranjo. The cities both fell into decline, along with other Maya societies, around 800 to 1,000AD, for reasons still mysterious but possibly including climate change, disease and war.

The city was called Xunantunich, meaning “stone woman” in the Yucatec Maya, long after its abandonment by original residents. The name derives from folklore around the city about a hunter who saw a ghostly, statuesque woman, dressed in indigenous garb, standing near an entrance to a temple called El Castillo – a storytouted by tourist sites today. The site was also once called Mount Maloney, after a British governor.

The temple is impressive in its own right, a stone structure that towers 130ft above the city’s main plaza, adorned with a stucco frieze that represents the gods of the sun and moon

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, artifacts, emeralds, Emperor, gold, gold chains, gold coins, hidden, jewels, Legends, Lost Treasure, silver, Strange News, treasure, Treasure Hunting, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gold coins, hoofs found in 2,000-yr-old Chinese tomb….


china2

NANCHANG, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) — Chinese archaeologists on Tuesday discovered 75 gold coins and hoof-shaped ingots in an aristocrat’s tomb that dates back to the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD).

The gold objects — 25 gold hoofs and 50 very large gold coins — are the largest single batch of gold items ever found in a Han Dynasty tomb. They were unearthed from the tomb of the first “Haihunhou” (Marquis of Haihun) in east China’s Jiangxi Province.

The coins weigh about 250 grams each, while the hoofs’ weights vary from 40 to 250 grams, said Yang Jun, who leads the excavation team.

They were packed in three boxes placed under a bed in the main chamber of the tomb. According to Yang, the gold objects appear to have been awarded to the marquis by the emperor.

Researchers are still working through the main chamber of the tomb in the Haihunhou cemetery, the most complete known Western Han Dynasty cemetery. It covers roughly 40,000 square meters and contains eight tombs and a burial site for horses used to pull chariots.

The tomb is thought to belong to Liu He, grandson of Emperor Wu. Liu was given the title “Haihunhou” after he was deposed as emperor after only 27 days. Haihun is the ancient name of a very small kingdom in the north of Jiangxi.

The site’s excavation started in 2011. Artifacts unearthed so far include a portrait of Confucius, nearly 3,000 wooden tablets and bamboo slips and a large number of bronze, gold and jade items.

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Locked tomb in eastern China may hold key to fate of little-known emperor 2,000 years ago…


Chinese archaeologists working on a royal cemetery dating to the Han dynasty 2,000 years ago say the site is the most complete and well-preserved set of tombs they have unearthed, state media reports.

But a key mystery remains: experts hope a locked coffin in the main mausoleum contains relics – an emperor’s seal perhaps – that could confirm the identity of the ancient occupants, according to Xinhua.

The site is large, stretching across 40,000 square metres in a rural area outside of Nanchang city in Jiangxi province. Archaeologists have uncovered eight main tombs and a chariot burial area with walls that run nearly 900 metres.

Bronze lamps shaped like ducks.

They believe it is the burial site of Liu He – the grandson of Emperor Wu, who was the most influential ruler of the Western Han Dynasty (206BC-AD25) – and Liu’s wife along with a handful of family members.

Exact details about the era remain sketchy, but it’s thought Liu had a brief but dramatic stint in power – he assumed the throne but was ousted only to later return and be forced out again.

Bronze and ceramic wares.

Archaeologists have discovered terracotta figures, musical instruments, some 10 tonnes of bronze coins and more than 10,000 items made from gold, jade, iron, wood and bamboo.

A network of roads and a drainage system can also be seen.

Xin Lixiang, a researcher from the National Museum who is leading the dig, said his team would next turn to the mysterious coffin.

Archaeologists at the site hope a sealed tomb will contain relics such as an emperor’s seal that could positively identify the interned.

“There may be a royal seal and jade clothes that will suggest the status and identity of the tomb’s occupant,” Xin said.

The State Administration of Cultural Relics has instructed the site supervisors to apply for a world heritage listing with the United Nation’s cultural body, Unesco.

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Nov. 4, 1922 The discovery of Tutankhamun, in color


November 1925

Tutankhamun’s burial mask.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

Jan. 4, 1924

Howard Carter, Arthur Callender and an Egyptian worker open the doors of the innermost shrine and get their first look at Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

In 1907, Egyptologist and archaeologist Howard Carter was hired by George Herbert, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon to oversee excavations in Egypt’s Valley of the Kings. Carter had built a reputation for scrupulously recording and preserving discoveries.

Carter searched the valley for years with little to show for it, which drew the ire of his employer. In 1922, Lord Carnarvon told Carter that he had only one more season of digging before his funding would be ended.

Revisiting a previously abandoned dig site at a group of huts, Carter started digging again, desperate for a breakthrough.

On Nov. 4, 1922, his crew discovered a step carved into the rock. By the end of the next day, a whole staircase had been uncovered. Carter wired Carnarvon, imploring him to come at once.

On Nov. 26, with Carnarvon at his side, Carter chipped open a small breach in the corner of the doorway at the end of the stairs. Holding a candle, he peered inside.

At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flame to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues, and gold — everywhere the glint of gold.

December 1922

A ceremonial bed in the shape of the Celestial Cow, surrounded by provisions and other objects in the antechamber of the tomb.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

The team had discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, the boy king who ruled Egypt from about 1332 to 1323 BC.

Though there was evidence the tomb had twice been raided by ancient grave robbers, it was still remarkably intact. The tomb was crammed with thousands of priceless artifacts, including the sarcophagus containing the king’s mummified remains.

Every object in the tomb was meticulously recorded and cataloged before being removed, a process that took nearly eight years.

These photographs documenting the discovery of the tomb have been colorized by Dynamichrome for the exhibition The Discovery of King Tut, opening in New York on Nov. 21. With precisely crafted replicas and reconstructions, the exhibit allows visitors to step into exact recreations of three burial chambers just as the discoverers saw them.

December 1922

A gilded lion bed, clothes chest and other objects in the antechamber. The wall of the burial chamber is guarded by statues.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

c. 1923

An assortment of model boats in the treasury of the tomb.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1922

A gilded lion bed and inlaid clothes chest among other objects in the antechamber.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1922

Under the lion bed in the antechamber are several boxes and chests, and an ebony and ivory chair which Tutankhamun used as a child.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

c. 1923

A gilded bust of the Celestial Cow Mehet-Weret and chests sit in the treasury of the tomb.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

c. 1923

Chests inside the treasury.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1922

Ornately carved alabaster vases in the antechamber.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

January 1924

In a “laboratory” set up in the tomb of Sethos II, conservators Arthur Mace and Alfred Lucas clean one of the sentinel statues from the antechamber.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

Nov. 29, 1923

Howard Carter, Arthur Callender and an Egyptian worker wrap one of the sentinel statues for transport.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1923

Arthur Mace and Alfred Lucas work on a golden chariot from Tutankhamun’s tomb outside the “laboratory” in the tomb of Sethos II.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

c. 1923

A statue of Anubis on a shrine with pallbearers’ poles in the treasury of the tomb.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

Dec. 2, 1923

Carter, Callende, and two workers remove the partition wall between the antechamber and the burial chamber.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1923

Inside the outermost shrine in the burial chamber, a huge linen pall with gold rosettes, reminiscent of the night sky, covers the smaller shrines within.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

Dec. 30th, 1923

Carter, Mace and an Egyptian worker carefully roll up the linen pall covering the second shrine.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

December 1923

Carter, Callender and two Egyptian workers carefully dismantle one of the golden shrines within the burial chamber.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

October 1925

Carter examines Tutankhamun’s sarcophagus.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

October 1925

Carter and a worker examine the solid gold innermost sarcophagus.

IMAGE: HARRY BURTON (C) THE GRIFFITH INSTITUTE, OXFORD. COLORIZED BY DYNAMICHROME FOR THE EXHIBITION “THE DISCOVERY OF KING TUT” IN NEW YORK.

c. 1923

Lord Carnarvon, financier of the excavation, reads on the veranda of Carter’s house near the Valley of the Kings.

Categories: Egypt, Tutankhamun, Valley of the Kings | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Official says Egypt approves radar for Nefertiti tomb quest…..


CAIRO (AP) — The Egyptian Antiquities Ministry granted preliminary approval for the use of a non-invasive radar to verify a theory that Queen Nefertiti’s crypt may be hidden behind King Tutankhamun’s 3,300-year-old tomb in the famous Valley of the Kings, a ministry official said Tuesday.

A security clearance for the radar’s use will probably be obtained within a month, said Mouchira Moussa, media consultant to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty.

“It’s not going to cause any damage to the monument,” Moussa said.

Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves recently published his theory, but it has yet to be peer-reviewed. He believes that Tutankhamun, who died at the age of 19, may have been rushed into an outer chamber of what was originally the tomb of Nefertiti, which has never been found.

British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tut’s tomb in Luxor’s Valley of the Kings in 1922 — intact and packed with antiquities including Tut’s world-famous golden mask.

In his paper, Reeves claims high-resolution images of King Tut’s tomb include lines underneath plastered surfaces of painted walls, showing there could be two unexplored doorways, one of which could potentially lead to Nefertiti’s tomb. He also argues that the design of King Tut’s tomb suggests it was built for a queen, rather than a king.

The Japanese radar, which will be operated by an expert who will accompany the equipment from Japan for the inspection once the final approval is granted, will look beyond the walls that Reeves says may be leading into the suspected tomb and the other chamber, Moussa said.

Reeves, who has been in contact with the minister, arrives in Cairo Saturday, Moussa said, and he and el-Damaty will travel to Luxor to inspect the tomb.

“We’re very excited… It may not be a tomb belonging to Nefertiti, but it could be a tomb belonging to one of the nobles,” said Moussa. “If it is Nefertiti’s, this would be very massive.”

Already, there’s a mummy at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo that has strong DNA evidence of being Tut’s mother. DNA testing also has provided strong evidence suggesting that Tut’s father likely was the Pharaoh Akhenaten, the first pharaoh to try switching Egypt to monotheism. The DNA testing also brought a new discovery: that Tut’s mother was Akhenaten’s sister.

Still, some archaeologists believe the two were probably cousins and that this DNA result could be the product of three generations of marriages between first cousins — and that Nefertiti, Akhenaten’s chief wife, may in fact have been Tut’s mother.

Many Egyptologists believe there were probably one or two co-pharaohs between Akhenaten and Tutankhamun. Some, including Reeves, believe at least one of them may have been Nefertiti, who may have even ruled Egypt by herself even for just a few months. Finding her tomb could provide further insight into a period still largely obscured, despite intense worldwide interest in ancient Egypt.

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Israeli archaeologists say they may have found fabled tomb of biblical Maccabees…..


APTOPIX Mideast Israel Archaeology-4

Israeli archaeologists may be one step closer to solving a riddle that has vexed explorers for more than a century: the location of the fabled tomb of the biblical Maccabees.

Israel’s government Antiquities Authority said Monday that an ancient structure it began excavating this month on the side of a highway appears to match ancient descriptions of the tomb of Jewish rebels who wrested control of Judea from Seleucid rule and established a Jewish kingdom in the 2nd century B.C.

Scholars in Israel’s quarrelsome archaeological community tend to agree that the site, in an Israeli forest west of Jerusalem and a short walk from the West Bank, is a significant burial site but reserve judgment about its connection to the Maccabees. Now the Antiquities Authority, which sometimes relies on private funding to help finance digs, is soliciting donations so it can keep searching for evidence.

“We still don’t have the smoking gun,” said Amit Reem, a government archaeologist who helped lead the dig.

The Maccabees are considered heroes in both Judaism and Christianity. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah commemorates Mattathias and his five sons who revolted against Hellenic rulers who banned Jewish practices, and rededicated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The biblical Books of the Maccabees, which include a tale of Jewish martyrs dying for their faith, are a source of inspiration in some Christian traditions.

In the late 1880s, a succession of European explorers went searching for the tomb. They were drawn to a barren area near the West Bank village of Midya, a name that resembles Modiin, the ancient town where the biblical account says the Maccabee family was buried.

Arab villagers pointed one European explorer toward a hilltop dotted with rock-hewn graves known by locals as “the graves of the Jews.” Archaeologists today say these cannot be the graves of the Maccabees, but Israeli road signs still label them as such and Hanukkah ceremonies are held there to honor the ancient rebels.

Another 19th-century explorer was drawn to a nearby Arab tomb, where he announced that he found the remains of Mattathias. Archaeologists say the small domed structure has no connection to the elder Maccabee, but a modern tombstone engraved in Hebrew marks it as his burial site. Today, candles and Jewish prayer pamphlets are strewn about.

“It was more wishful thinking than hardcore archaeological evidence,” Reem said about the European explorers’ discoveries.

It is a third spot, just a few paces away from the domed structure, that captures Israeli archaeologists’ imaginations. French scholar Charles Clermont-Ganneau first excavated it in the late 1800s and found a mosaic floor featuring a Byzantine Christian cross. The site was then abandoned. This month, Israeli archaeologists and volunteers cleared away rubble and exposed the simple mosaic cross for the first time in more than 100 years.

Reem said the cross is a clue. It appears on the floor of a burial niche at the site. It is the only Byzantine-era site where a cross decorates the floor of a burial vault, he said, indicating that it may have marked the spot of an important figure. He thinks it is likely that the Byzantines — early Christians — identified this site as the Maccabees’ tomb.

“What other important figures would be here?” Reem said, standing in the deep pit of the archaeological site.

Oren Tal, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University who was not involved with the dig, said the mosaic cross is not necessarily a significant clue. He said the burial niche may have been converted into a Byzantine chapel, where a cross would have been standard.

But he agreed with Reem about other characteristics that correspond to the biblical account and to an account by ancient historian Josephus Flavius. Both describe the Tomb of the Maccabees as a tall structure that could be seen from the Mediterranean Sea, featuring columns and seven pyramids.

Reem says four thick column bases found at the site may be indications that the structure was once 5 meters (over 15 feet) tall, and large rock slabs Clermont-Ganneau said he found — which have since gone missing from the site — could have been the bases of pyramid decorations. Before a forest was planted in the area, it had a direct line of sight to the sea.

Reem said he cannot yet date the site to earlier than the 5th century A.D. He wants to excavate more, to look for an inscription or architectural elements that could associate the structure with the time of the Maccabees.

For the past decade, he said, finding the tomb has been his personal holy grail.

“It (is) crucial for everybody … to solve once and for all this riddle,” he said.

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Parrot laughs like a super villain…


Categories: 2nd Amendment, adult radio | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in Egypt……


Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in EgyptEXPAND

Archeologists have discovered an ancient tomb modeled after the mythical Tomb of Osiris as described by Egyptian lore in the necropolis of Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, on the West Bank at Thebes. The complex includes a shaft that connects to multiple chambers, including one with demons holding knives.

The tomb—which was built following the descriptions of the Tomb of Osiris, like the Osireion in Abydos, one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt—is centered around a statue of the god of the afterlife, Osiris. The emerald skinned deity is sitting in a central vaulted chapel facing a staircase with a 29.5-foot (9-meter) shaft in it. The shaft (in the center in the diagram below) connects to another room with a second shaft that goes down for 19.6 feet (6 meters) into two rooms.

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in EgyptEXPAND

Drawing of the tomb’s architecture made by Raffaella Carrera, of the Min Project.

The funerary room with the reliefs of demons holding knives is located west of the central chapel (on the left in the picture above.) It’s connected to a 23-foot (7-meter) shaft right in front to another empty room. At the bottom of the same shaft there are two rooms full of debris.

Talking to the Spanish news agency EFE, the leader of the Spanish-Italian team that has uncovered the tomb, Dr. María Milagros Álvarez Sosa, said these demons are there to protect the body of the deceased. According to Alvarez Sosa, it’s a tomb of “great importance”:

It’s a unique tomb in the Necropolis of Thebes because it embodies all the features of the mythological Tomb of Osiris.

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in EgyptEXPAND

The main chamber. You can see the statue of Osiris at the back, with the stairs and central shaft going down.

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in EgyptEXPAND

The entrance of the main structure of the tomb.

The tomb was initially catalogued by Philippe Virey in 1887. Later in the 20th century there were some attempts to draw a plan of the main structure. Tomb Kampp -327- however (marked in red in the plan below) was never described and published. Álvarez told EFE that her team will start revealing the chambers during the next archeological campaign, in the fall of 2015.

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in Egypt

Archeologists discover mythical Tomb of Osiris in EgyptEXPAND

Included for reference, from left to right: Osiris, Anubis—protector of graves—and Horus—god of the sun, war and protection.

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Behind Tomb Connected to Alexander the Great, Intrigue Worthy of “Game of Thrones”..


Detail of Alexander the Great from a mosaic.

A mysterious royal tomb in Greece may hold a relative or associate of Alexander the Great, portrayed here in a mosaic from Pompeii.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ARALDO DE LUCA, CORBIS

Heather Pringle

for National Geographic

PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 21, 2014

Suspense is rising as archaeologists sift for clues to the identity of the person buried with pomp and circumstance in the mysterious Amphipolis tomb in what is now northern Greece. The research team thinks the tomb was built for someone very close to Alexander the Great—his mother, Olympias; one of his wives, Roxane; one of his favorite generals; or possibly his childhood friend and lover, Hephaestion.

Over the past three months, archaeologist Katerina Peristeri and her team have made a series of tantalizing discoveries in the tomb, from columns sculpted masterfully in the shapes of young womento a mosaic floor depicting the abduction of the Greek goddess Persephone. The tomb’s costly artwork all dates to the tumultuous time around the death of Alexander the Great, and points to the presence of an important person.

Alexander himself was almost certainly buried in Egypt. But the final resting places—and the rich historical and genetic data they may contain—of many of his family members are unknown. The excavation at Amphipolis is bound to add a new chapter to the history of Alexander the Great and his family, a dynasty as steeped in intrigue, conspiracy, and bloodshed as the fictional Lannisters in the popular television series Game of Thrones. Among Alexander’s family, “the king or ruler who ended up dying in his bed was rare,” says Philip Freeman, a biographer of Alexander the Great and a classical historian at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Palace Intrigues

To understand these palace intrigues, one must begin with Alexander’s father, Philip II, who ascended the throne of ancient Macedonia in 359 B.C. At the time, Macedonia was a modest mountain realm north of ancient Greece, but Philip had big dreams. He transformed Macedonia’s army from a band of ragtag fighters into a disciplined military machine, and he armed it with a deadly new weapon, thesarissa, a long lance designed to keep enemy troops from closing in on his phalanxes.

A natural-born conqueror, Philip led his army to the west, crushing and intimidating the major Greek city-states until all had surrendered to his rule. “Philip II was a traditional warrior king,” says Ian Worthington, author of By the Spear: Philip II, Alexander the Great, and the Rise and Fall of the Macedonian Empire. “He was always in the thick of battle.”

By custom, Macedonia’s kings married multiple wives, often for the purposes of sealing political alliances with powerful neighbors. Alexander’s mother, Olympias, was a daughter of the king of Molossia, a realm that encompassed part of modern Albania, and she claimed descent from the legendary Greek hero, Achilles. She was one of Philip’s many wives, and according to ancient historians, she schemed relentlessly at court to put her son on the Macedonian throne. Some historians even suspect that she poisoned Alexander’s older half-brother, impairing his mental faculties.

For a time, her intrigues seemed to succeed. Philip groomed the young Alexander as his heir, providing the boy with a first-class education from a renowned tutor, Aristotle, and encouraging his prowess as a warrior.

But important Macedonian nobles at Philip’s court viewed Alexander as half foreign and possibly illegitimate. By the time Alexander reached his late teens, Philip seemed to share these doubts. He took a new Macedonian wife, and during a drinking party, Philip allowed Alexander’s legitimacy to be publicly questioned. Then Philip drew his own sword on Alexander, a mortal insult.

Photo of the two sphinxes found at the tomb.

Two guardian sphinxes sit on a marble lintel at the entrance to the tomb at Amphipolis.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THE GREEK CULTURE MINISTRY, EPA

Philip later tried to patch things up, but he had created a dangerous enemy. Exactly what happened next is the subject of debate, although the bare facts are well known. In 336 B.C., Philip threw a lavish public wedding for one of his daughters and invited members of neighboring royal houses to attend this state occasion.

As part of the festivities, Philip planned to stage public games at daybreak in the theater at Aigai, his capital city. He strode into the stadium, wearing a white cloak over his shoulders. On one side was Alexander; on the other was his new son-in-law. Philip waved away his bodyguards, and as he stood at the center of the theater, the large crowd began to roar with approval.

“That was the last thing he ever heard,” says Worthington. An assassin stepped out from the crowd and stabbed Philip to death as the guests watched in disbelief. In the ensuing bedlam, the murderer, a man named Pausanias, bolted from the theater toward a spot where horses were tethered and waiting for him. But just as Pausanias was about to escape, he tripped and fell, and three of Philip’s bodyguards speared him to death.

Conspiracy Theory

Did Pausanias act alone? Some ancient texts suggest that he did, assassinating Philip in a jealous rage. Many of the ancient Macedonian nobles were bisexual, and Philip was no exception. He had taken Pausanias as his lover, and when he tired of him, he discarded the young man and even allowed others to sexually abuse Pausanias. So Pausanias may have murdered Philip in an act of revenge.

But several clues point to a conspiracy, says Worthington. Pausanias, for example, fled to a spot where multiple horses were waiting, suggesting that several people had made plans for escaping the crime scene.

“I think Pausanias was manipulated to kill Philip,” says Worthington, who suspects that Olympias and Alexander played key parts in the assassination. Both mother and son had been deeply insulted by Philip. In addition, they may have feared that Philip’s young Macedonian wife would produce a Macedonian heir more acceptable to the local nobility. The only way to prevent this would be to eliminate Philip. So Worthington theorizes that Olympias and Alexander poisoned Pausanias’s mind and encouraged him to murder Philip.

Other classical historians aren’t so sure Alexander was guilty of patricide. Nevertheless, says Luther College’s Freeman, “if you put Alexander on a couch today and tried to analyze him, you could have a lot of fun.”

Hephaestion and the god Hymen.

Some speculate that Alexander’s closest friend and lover, Hephaestion (pictured above in a 16th-century fresco, with his hand on the god Hymen’s shoulder) may be buried in the royal tomb at Amphipolis.
PHOTOGRAPH BY DEAGOSTINI, GETTY IMAGES

The King Is Dead, Long Live the King

With Philip gone, Alexander had to convince the Macedonian court that he deserved to be king. He planned a costly funeral for his father, cremating the body on a massive funeral pyre and constructing anelaborate tomb for Philip on the outskirts of Aigai (the modern Greek town of Vergina), some 100 miles from Amphipolis. As Macedonia’s aristocracy looked on, Alexander buried his father “like a Homeric hero,” says Ioannes Graekos, an archaeologist and curator at the Royal Tombs Museum in Vergina.

Inside the tomb, Alexander interred a gold chest containing Philip’s skeletal remains, as well as a host of royal treasures, from a gilded crown to a golden scepter, a gold cuirass, and a gold- and ivory-adorned deathbed. Over the doorway, the young king had artists paint a hunting scene showing Alexander and his father closing in on a lion.

Photo of a female figurine in the tomb.

Archaeologists excavate a female figure on a wall leading to the second room of the ancient tomb.
PHOTOGRAPH BY THE GREEK CULTURE MINISTRY, AP

“Only royalty can hunt lions, so Alexander was honoring his father, but he was also honoring himself,” says Terence Clark, an archaeologist at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec, who, along with National Geographic and others, is helping to organize a major new traveling exhibition on the heroes of ancient Greece, including Alexander the Great. “It’s a definitive statement that Alexander is now in charge.”

But despite his appearance of confidence, Alexander still feared rivals at court. He ordered the deaths of his cousin Amyntas and of one of Philip’s young wards. And his mother, Olympias, took care of enemies among the royal women. According to at least one ancient text, she forced Philip’s young Macedonian wife to commit suicide and arranged for the murder of her rival’s daughter. Olympias, says Elizabeth Carney, a classical historian at Clemson University in South Carolina and biographer of Alexander’s mother, was “a political woman.”

That left just the army. Alexander had to convince Macedonia’s generals and soldiers alike that he was a commander like his father. So he embarked on a series of military campaigns, quelling rebels in the Balkan region, crushing the city-state of Thebes, and leading his army to one victory after another. By the time he turned 21, Alexander was firmly in control of Macedonia and Greece, and ready to embark on the conquest of Persia.

Alexander extended his rule to lands as far south as Egypt and as far east as India, creating one of the greatest empires of the ancient world. His closest companion was his lover Hephaestion, a Macedonian general, and when Hephaestion finally succumbed to a mysterious ailment in 324 B.C. on an eastern campaign, Alexander was nearly undone by grief. According to the ancient writer Plutarch, he had Hephaestion’s doctor crucified and massacred an entire tribe in the region to provide offerings for Hephaestion’s spirit.

Photo of Casta Hill in Amphipolis, Greece.

The tomb at Amphipolis, shown here at the top of Kasta Hill, is the largest ancient tomb ever discovered in Greece.
PHOTOGRAPH BY ATHANASIOS GIOUMPASIS, GETTY

Things Fall Apart

By the time of his own death at age 33, Alexander was still in the east, planning the conquest of Arabia. He clearly preferred the thrill of battle to the numbing minutiae of governing. He had taken at least two foreign wives, but had produced no legitimate heir to his massive empire and had given little apparent thought to the matter of succession. Soon after he died of a mysterious fever in Babylon, his generals, nobles, and family members began fighting bitterly over the succession. In the end, his vast empire was divided as spoils of a civil war, and his entire direct line was wiped out.

Alexander’s mother met her end at the hands of a ruthless Macedonian noble, Cassander. To clear the path to the Macedonian throne, Cassander took Olympias prisoner during a siege and executed her. Then, like Alexander himself, he set about eliminating other potential plotters. He imprisoned Alexander’s most important foreign wife, Roxane, and his posthumous son, Alexander IV, at Amphipolis—and had them both secretly murdered in 311 B.C. With the dirty work done, Cassander ruled the kingdom of Macedonia until his death in 297 B.C.

Most archaeologists today are convinced, based on historical accounts, that Alexander himself was buried somewhere in Egypt, quite possibly in the city that bears his name today, Alexandria. But researchers have yet to find the tombs of Olympias, Roxane, Hephaestion, and many of his generals. Perhaps the archaeological team clearing the mysterious tomb at Amphipolis will yet find the remains of one of them.

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Archaeologists discover skeleton hidden in famed Amphipolis tomb…..


greece

Archaeologists have long speculated about who might be buried in the Amphipolis tomb.

The ancient burial site, found in Greece’s Serres region, dates to 325-300 B.C.E., and scientists believe it was built after the death of Alexander the Great. The tomb is the largest ever discovered in Greece, and archaeologists have been eager to determine who was buried inside it.

The tomb included three funeral chambers, but archaeologists recently discovered a secret fourth chamber that was apparently an “underground vault” beneath the third chamber. Now, the team is a lot closer to finding out just who the tomb belonged to — they just found a skeleton in the secret chamber, after months of excavations.

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