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Tomb Full of Mummies Unearthed at Luxor


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Tomb Full of Mummies Unearthed at Luxor

Tomb Full of Mummies Unearthed at Luxor

The tomb complex contains the remains of numerous coffins, skeletons and assorted artifacts.

Credit: Photo courtesy Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities

Several mummies and more than 1,000 figurines have been discovered at an ancient cemetery located at Luxor in Egypt, archaeologists reported.

A team of archaeologists with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities uncovered the funerary complex during the ministry’s ongoing excavations at the site. The funerary complex contains multiple tombs that were originally built for a man named Userhat, who was a judge in Luxor sometime during what modern-day archaeologists call Egypt’s New Kingdom (1550–1070 B.C.) period, the ministry said in a statement.

During the New Kingdom period, Egypt was unified, and it often controlled a large amount of territory in the Middle East and modern-day Sudan. After the New Kingdom ended, the complex was re-opened and more mummies and burials were put into the structure, the ministry said.

Researchers discovered a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers containing the remains of mummies and assorted human remains, as shown in photos released by the ministry. In some cases, the colors on the mummy coffins are well preserved, despite the passage of millennia.

The tomb complex is part of a larger ancient cemetery at Luxor that today is often called Dra' Abu el-Naga.

The tomb complex is part of a larger ancient cemetery at Luxor that today is often called Dra’ Abu el-Naga.

Credit: Photo by Roland Unger, CC 1.0 Generic

Additionally, a “collection of ushabti figurines carved in faience, terracotta and wood was also unearthed,” in the tomb complex, the ministry said in the statement. Ushabti figurines were frequently buried with the dead in ancient Egypt, and Egyptologists generally believe that ushabtis were buried with the dead so that the figurines could work for the deceased in the afterlife.

“We found a large number of ushabti, more than 1,000 of them,” Egypt Antiquities Minister Khaled el-Enany told the Agence France-Presse.

Archaeologists also discovered the remains of clay pots in the cemetery.

The ministry’s team is led by Mostafa Waziri, the head of the ministry’s Luxor department. Excavations are underway that the ministry said will lead to the entire complex being uncovered. The complex is part of a larger ancient cemetery that today is often called Dra’ Abu el-Naga.

Original article on Live Science.

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10 Mysterious Discoveries That Could Completely Rewrite History


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10 Mysterious Discoveries That Could Completely Rewrite History

MARK OLIVER APRIL 25, 2017

http://listverse.com/2017/04/25/10-mysterious-discoveries-that-could-completely-rewrite-history/

Most of history comes from what gets written down. But what we know of our past is only a sliver of everything that happened. A great deal of where we came from was never etched into a stone and, today, has been lost.

We don’t know what’s missing from the patchwork of history. But every now and then, archaeologists find things that don’t quite fit with what’s been written down. We find relics from a society left in a place that should have been a world away from its owners.

Nobody knows for sure how these things got there, but they suggest some incredible events that might never have been recorded. Some of the greatest adventures may have happened to people who never made it home to tell the tale—and they might completely change the history of our world.

Featured image credit: baroodyperu.blogspot.com

 

10A Roman Sword In Canada

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Photo credit: theepochtimes.com

On Oak Island, Nova Scotia, a TV crew accidentally stumbled upon the last thing they ever expected to find: an ancient Roman sword that seems to have been there since AD 200.

The sword alone is shocking—it suggests that a Roman might have made it to North America 800 years before the Vikings. But it’s not even the only thing they found. Other people have stumbled upon other strange things that shouldn’t be in Canada: a crossbow bolt wedged into a tree, a Roman-style burial mound, Carthaginian coins, and even a stone with what appears to be Roman writing on it—all made about 1,800 years ago.

It’s theorized that a group of Roman and Carthaginian explorers might have traveled out West about 1,800 years ago. They may never have made it home and may have buried their dead on the island—explaining why there are Roman graves in Canada and no record of their trip in Rome.

None of this has been proven yet—and the fact that the sword was found by a TV crew instead of archaeologists makes it easy to be a little suspicious. Still, it’s a lot of evidence. If expert testing backs it up, it could change the history of the first Europeans to visit the Americas.

NOTE: According to this source (thanks Fuzzybunny), the sword is a fake.

9Chinese Oracle Bone Writing In The United States

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Photo credit: theepochtimes.com

According to John Ruskamp, another group made it to the Americas thousands of years before the Vikings: the Chinese.

Ruskamp found strange symbols etched into old stones in 82 places around the southern United States. Every etching follows the same style, and none of them match anything made by the local cultures. Ruskamp, however, is convinced that they’re not just random squiggles. He believes that they are messages written in Chinese oracle bone script.

Oracle bone is one of the oldest forms of Chinese writing, which nearly faded out of use entirely around 1046 BC. If Ruskamp’s theory is right, this would mean that these Chinese settlers reached North America about 3,000 years ago.

The etchings match up to oracle bone eerily well. One in Arizona appears to read: “Set apart (for) 10 years together; declaring (to) return, (the) journey completed, (to the) house of the Sun; (the) journey completed together.” It seems to be a message left behind by explorers in a new world.

 

8Ancient Ape Bones In Ireland

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Photo credit: Poleary91

At the Hill of Tara in Ireland, a body has been carefully laid to rest. Its bones were given a full royal treatment, but they don’t look like the bones of a normal king. Instead, the bones look an awful lot like those of an ape.

It’s not even the only set of ape bones found in Ireland. Another ape skull has been found in County Armagh that appears to have been there for about 2,300 years. Nobody knows how these apes got there. Someone in the ancient world, for some reason, was taking apes up to Ireland and burying them there.

The apes might have been traded along early routes, but there’s a fringe theory that takes it in a very different direction. An ancient Irish legend claims that a group of strangers with magical powers came to Ireland on a massive ship and ruled the people from the Hill of Tara. Some think that legend was based on a real event and that the people they thought were magic were really a group of Egyptians with advanced technology.

That’s a big leap to make just because of some ape bones—but there’s more evidence than just that. DNA testing on ancient Irish bodies suggests that they have an ancestor from the Middle East. And, not too far from the Hill of Tara, the 3,800-year-old remains of a boy have been found, wearing what appears to be an Egyptian necklace.

7Native American Legends Of White Giants

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Photo credit: ancient-code.com

In 1857, a Native American of the Comanche tribe stood in front of a crowd and told them a story. “Innumerable moons ago, a race of white men, [305 centimeters (10′) high], and far more rich and powerful than any white people now living here, inhabited a large range of country,” he said. “They drove the Indians from their homes, putting them to the sword, and occupying the valleys in which their fathers had dwelt.”

It seemed like a parable of what was happening now. But all that changed when what appeared to be a Greek medallion and two coins was found in Oklahoma. After that, genealogist Donald Yates started piecing together the evidence and realized that this wasn’t an isolated story.

The Choctaws also had a story about “a race of giants” with white skin who lived in what is now the state of Tennessee—and other tribes had some stories that were oddly similar. The Greek writer Strabo wrote about a “Western Continent,” suggesting that he might have had some knowledge of the Americas.

Yates believes that these native stories might not be entirely made up. Greek explorers may have actually made it to the Americas and fought with the people there, leaving behind a legacy that grew bigger every time the story was told.

6Mayan Murals Showing White-Skinned Warriors

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Photo credit: Ancient Origins

Inside the Temple of the Warriors in Chichen Itza, there are murals depicting a scene that doesn’t seem to fit the Maya’s surroundings. The murals show brutal battles fought between a very diverse group of people for pre-Columbian Mexico. Some have pale white skin, some are pitch-black, and others are brown.

On its own, that could just be an artistic choice. But other evidence supports the theory that different races of people might have fought around modern Mexico. For one, when Hernan Cortes reached Mexico, he claimed that the people there hailed him as a returning “white lord”—suggesting that another white person had been there before.

And the Maya left behind a story called the “Dance of the Giants.” In it, a white giant pairs up with the Maya and helps them fight off a black giant who’s harassing them. According to one controversial theory, all this really happened. The black-skinned giants, it’s believed, were Aztecs moving in from the North. And the white-skinned giants might be Vikings.

As early as 1789, there was speculation about Viking explorers reaching modern Mexico. One in particular, Ari Marson, was sent off course by a storm while trying to make it to Greenland. According to the theory, Marson may have ended up in Mayan territory a little after the Aztecs and he might have left his mark on their history.

 

5A Temple To An Egyptian Goddess In India

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On the western coast of India, there are the ruins of a temple to the goddess Pattini. It’s not a particularly strange thing to find in India—except that there’s a secret chamber underneath that’s rumored to hold an underground shrine to the Egyptian goddess Isis.

The ruins are now owned by a Hindu temple, so nobody’s been able to actually check what’s underneath them. But according to writer Chris Morgan, the idea that it was a secret shrine to an Egyptian goddess fits. He believes that an Egyptian traveler may have come to India and started a cult dedicated to his own goddess.

Morgan believes that the idea of the goddess Pattini came from this cult. He points out some major similarities in the two legends, both of which are about women defined by the brutal murder and dismemberment of their husbands. He thinks that Pattini might be an Indian evolution of the concept of Isis spread through that shrine—a little in the way that Egyptian culture influenced Hinduism.

4The Giant Village Of Peru

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Photo credit: blog.rainbowasi.com

When the Spanish first came to Peru, conquistador Pedro Cieza de Leon recorded everything he could in a book called The Chronicles of Peru. It’s full of incredibly detailed and accurate descriptions of the cultures of the natives, the conquests by the Spanish, the details of the environment—and strangely, a village built by giants.

Cieza de Leon recorded a native legend about giants who arrived “in boats made of reeds, as big as large ships.” He said, “From the knee downward, their height was as great as the entire height of an ordinary man.” According to the legend, the giants built wells that were beyond the native technology as well as massive villages to accommodate their size. Later, a great fire came down and consumed the giants.

Oddly, though, Cieza de Leon claimed to have seen the village and the well built by the giants. He said that they were big enough to fit the story. He even claimed to have seen a giant’s skull and a femur and attested that other Spaniards saw teeth that must have weighed 0.2 kilograms (0.5 lb).

We don’t have these artifacts anymore, so we can’t confirm it. But it’s hard to understand why Cieza de Leon would make up lies to support a native legend.

It’s not clear what he saw. Was he deceived? Did he make it up? Or did the Spanish conquistadors really find something in Peru that suggested they weren’t the first foreign visitors to arrive?

3The Marcahuasi Ruins

3a-Marcahuasi-Ruins

Photo credit: andestao.com

In the Andes Mountains, there are strange rocks known as the Marcahuasi Ruins. They appear to be rocks carved by human beings, sculpted to beshaped like human heads. One, in particular, looks almost exactly like a crude copy of the Egyptian Sphinx.

It’s possible that these rocks took their shape by pure, random erosion. But there are some people who don’t think it’s possible. The theory that the rocks were deliberately sculpted by an unknown people is out there—although it’s mostly supported by some pretty off-the-wall theories, including stories about aliens and mystical healing powers.

One of the more popular theories comes from an archaeologist who claims that the site was built by a biblical civilization called the Masma, who traveled to Peru and carved crude imitations of the wonders they’d seen in Egypt. His theory, though, comes from having seen it in a dream, which is a slightly less-than-scientific approach to history.

Still, even if they weren’t built by aliens or by biblical tribes, it’s not out of the question that someone carved these rocks—making them an incredible work of art still without a name for its creator.

2The Three Handbags Of Heaven

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Photo credit: lost-origins.com

There’s a strange design that keeps popping up all around the world. It shows something that looks like a little handbag, usually drawn in groups of three and usually up in the sky. And nobody really knows what they mean.

The oldest one in Turkey shows three handbags floating over all of creation. It’s far from the only one, though. The same handbags have been seen in art from all around the world, including India, Egypt, and even Central America. It seems to be something that’s been passed on from an ancient Middle Eastern culture—which might make it a way to trace where groups of people came from.

That’s why it’s interesting that the Maori of New Zealand used the three handbags, too. They have a myth about a hero named Tane who went up to Heaven to get three baskets of knowledge—an image that seems strangely similar to the one carved in a rock in Turkey.

It could just be a coincidence. But this might be a strong sign that the Maori have ancestors who once lived in the Middle East, long before they moved to New Zealand.

1The Redheaded Giants Of Lovelock Cave

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Photo credit: Ken Lund

In 1911, miners working in Nevada’s Lovelock Cave were digging through piles of guano when they stumbled upon a massive wealth of ancient Indian relics. The miners started searching through the relics and found something even more incredible—the mummified remains of a 198-centimeter (6’6″) man with red hair.

The cave soon turned into an archaeological dig site, and some incredibly strange things were found. Inside, there were 38-centimeter (15 in) sandals, which appeared to have been used by a very large person, and a giant handprint that was twice the size of that of a normal man.

Some believed that this backed up the Paiute legend about redheaded, “freckle-faced” cannibals called the Si-Te-Cahs coming onto their land. The giants, they said, came by boats and preyed on them until the Paiute managed to chase the giants into a cave and set it on fire.

The original redheaded mummy has been destroyed, making the story impossible to prove, and some alternative explanations have been created. Several people, though, insist that they saw it firsthand. If they’re telling the truth, it might just mean that the Si-Te-Cahs were a real group of violent European explorers—people who tormented the Native Americans and met their end in Nevada.

Top 10 Dazzling New Discoveries From Ancient Egypt


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Top 10 Dazzling New Discoveries From Ancient Egypt

JANA LOUISE SMIT APRIL 23, 2017

http://listverse.com/2017/04/23/top-10-dazzling-new-discoveries-from-ancient-egypt/

Too often, it might appear as if Egypt’s dunes no longer deliver Giza-grade delights. While it would be extremely difficult to top the famous pyramids, incredible discoveries are still being made. New ruins reveal vast, rich tombs and even when the plague came to Thebes. Even modern places such as Cairo’s museum and slums deliver unexpected historic gems.

 

10Bonaparte’s Weapons

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Photo credit: english.ahram.org.eg

Ancient Egypt experienced invasions from several overlords, and Napoleon Bonaparte eventually joined that club. In 1798, he sailed with an armada of over 100 warships and surprised the famous city of Alexandria in the early hours of the morning.

Determined to rule the land of the pharaohs, he fought off the British successfully until the lure of power got the best of him. The English nabbed Egypt while Napoleon was attempting a coup in France.

In 2014, Russian divers found traces of his army near Pharos Island, which is located near Alexandria. The island once held the highest building of the time—a lighthouse that reached 117 meters (384 ft) into the sky.

While exploring the waters of Pharos Island, the team found 18th-century guns, pistols, and even cannons belonging to Bonaparte’s men. The cache is believed to have belonged to the crew aboard the French vessel Le Patriot, which lost in a skirmish with the British at the port of Alexandria.

9The Unexpected Pyramid

9a-13-th-dynasty-pyramid

While Egypt is not the most surprising place to find a new pyramid, one pointy wonder appeared unexpectedly. The structure was no longer recognizable since all that remained were some of its lower ruins.

Located inside the Dahshur necropolis south of Cairo, the remains consisted of rooms, alabaster paving blocks, and a stone corridor. The building was misidentified as an early tomb building attempt. A reexamination in 2017 revealed the truth.

It wasn’t merely an elaborate or experimental grave but a pyramid built around 3,700 years ago. The closest pyramid to this newcomer is the well-known Bent Pyramid. The latter was raised around 2600 BC on the orders of King Snefru.

It’s unknown whose body was supposed to be interred within the newly discovered Dahshur pyramid. Its age places it in the 13th dynasty and was most likely meant to be the eternal resting place of a highly born individual. The necropolis that surrounds it was also constructed on the west bank of the Nile, an area reserved for the tombs of royalty.

 

8The Thousand Statues

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Photo credit: abc.net.au

A magnificent moment came for Egyptian archaeologists when they unearthed another tomb on the Nile’s west bank. This one was also within the boundaries of a necropolis. The Dra Abu-el Naga site in Luxor yielded a wealth of artifacts as well as caskets.

When the tomb was opened in 2017, it was discovered to belong to a nobleman who died 3,000 years ago. Named Userhat, he worked as a judge during his lifetime in the New Kingdom era (1500–1000 BC).

The tomb complex consisted of an open courtyard connected to a pair of halls. In one, there were four coffins. When the researchers investigated the second hall, they found six more sarcophagi.

Yet another room was uncovered, and inside was an army of over 1,000 small statues. The diminutive figurines represented the kings from several different dynasties, and more are expected to be found before excavations are completed. In the same room, there was also a wooden mask and the handle of a sarcophagus lid.

7A New Necropolis

7a-Gebel-el-Silsila

Photo credit: Live Science

A necropolis (burial ground) is common in Egypt. However, when a new one was located in 2016, it tweaked the area’s history and presented a mystery. Gebel el Silsila was thought to be a quarry camp. The shrine and 42 tombs show that it was a flourishing community with families, religion, and commerce.

This led archaeologists to look for the ruins of homes, but there was no sign of them. There was the necropolis, quarry, statues, and stelae but no village or city. The tombs were discovered when archaeologists tried to reverse flood damage. They were aware of the rock-cut hollows but didn’t find out their exact nature until the Nile silt was being removed.

The double-chambered shrine was the first to be found. Inside one room was a carved solar disc with wings, a powerful protection symbol. The tombs had been looted, and human bones were in disarray.

The burial site appeared to have been for elites. The statues depicted important families from 1543–1189 BC. A scarab amulet displaying Pharaoh Thutmose III’s name also supports the notion that Silsila was far more important than just a quarry.

6The Bird Dancers

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Photo credit: newhistorian.com

In 2015, this treasure received the honor of being named “one of the 10 most important archaeological discoveries in Egypt.” At first glance, the rock art appears dull and faded. But its worth flows from the fact that it predates the pharaohs.

Almost nothing is known about the Neolithic Nile culture that later became the unique ancient Egyptian society. Egyptologists working at Qubbet el-Hawa, a necropolis near Aswan, found images dating to the fourth millennium BC. They survived the eons because they were carved and not painted.

The style was interesting. Instead of lines, tiny dots formed the outlines of a dancer and an archer stalking an ostrich. They cannot be seen unless the dots are connected. The dancer, shown with arms raised in perhaps encouragement or a blessing for the hunt, wears what looks like a bird mask.

This could be a much sought-after link between the two cultures. Several years ago, similar clay masks and paintings of female dancers with bird masks were found in Hierakonpolis. They also date to the fourth millennium BC.

 

5Meteoric Jewelry

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Photo credit: sciencedirect.com

Nine metal beads from northern Egypt, the oldest iron artifacts in the world, are from space. A burial ground in Gerzeh produced the tiny items from two different tombs. Grave goods helped to securely date the rare metal to 3200 BC.

Made of meteorite iron, the beads were created by hammering the metal into thin sheets before rolling them into the final form. The tubelike jewelry was highly prized.

Four were strung on a necklace with other valuable minerals such as gold, carnelian, agate, and lapis lazuli. Another three were found on the waist of the same corpse. The remaining two were at the hands of a person buried in another richly furnished grave.

The cemetery was excavated in 1911 and contains the remains of predynastic people who died sometime during the fourth millennium BC. Although the brittle and rough meteoric iron was harder than copper (which was more commonly used at the time), this ancient community already possessed the smelting skills to finely hammer sheets as thin as 1 millimeter (0.04 in) and roll them without causing any fractures.

4The Third Kingdom

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Photo credit: The Guardian

Flinders Petrie uncovered a site in 1902. But for some reason, the world-famous Egyptologist decided not to waste his time on the modest tombs. Had he done so, Petrie would have added another sterling discovery to his career.

In 2014, archaeologists took their spades, headed over to this area of Abydos, and found an unknown king. But this wasn’t just any old pharaoh. The looted body of King Senebkay dates back 3,600 years ago.

The significance is that scholars theorized about a dynasty that existed during that era but had no physical proof for their theories until now. Even more remarkable, it rewrites the long-held belief that Egypt only had two kingdoms before its unification.

In the central territory between the northern and southern kingdoms, another one existed and it was controlled by Senebkay’s dynasty around 1600 BC. What role this lost state played is unknown, but it will be interesting to find out with whom it was allied or whether it acted like a buffer between the other two.

Archaeologists remain hopeful that the remaining tombs will turn up more royalty and missing history.

3Plague Of Cyprian

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Photo credit: Live Science

A grisly find occurred during the 1997–2012 excavations of Luxor. A team working at the funerary complex of Harwa and Akhimenru, once used by the ancient people of Thebes, discovered a human disposal site.

Three kilns at the complex produced massive amounts of lime, a disinfectant in olden times. There were bodies covered with lime and the remains of a bonfire with skeletons. The fire was fed the victims of a plague so horrific that the writer Saint Cyprian thought the end of the world was near.

Pottery dates the complex to the third century AD when a plague swept through the Roman Empire and decimated populations everywhere, Egypt included. Cyprian was a bishop of Carthage and described the harrowing sickness that occurred between AD 250–271. Symptoms included persistent vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, mouth sores, and rotting extremities.

The monument was meant to receive two grand stewards, Harwa and Akhimenru, but was used as an emergency funeral parlor instead. Examination of the victims shows that people died at such a rapid pace that none received burial rites. A strain of measles or smallpox is likely behind what history later called the “Plague of Cyprian.”

2The Cairo Manuscript

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Photo credit: The Guardian

A unique relic was forgotten for years in the storage section of the Egyptian museum in Cairo. The leather book’s modern origins are hazy. The French Institute for Oriental Archaeology purchased it after World War I. The seller was an antiquities dealer, but nobody knows who it was.

Just before the start of World War II, the book was donated to the museum where it lay forgotten until 2015. When it was rediscovered, the roll of leather was in pieces. After careful reconstruction, it turned out to be a 4,000-year-old manuscript brimming with religious spells and color images of sacred and supernatural creatures.

Writing and images adorn both sides of the 2.5-meter-long (8 ft) artifact, and it even predates the infamous Book of the Dead, which is also a collection of rituals. Created between 2300–2000 BC, the Cairo scroll is the oldest leather manuscript from ancient Egypt. Among the new religious texts, the reader is also taught the specifics of how to gain access to a restricted sacred site guarded by powerful magical beings.

1Slum Statues

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Photo credit: The Independent

In 2017, two statues were found in a Cairo slum. One was the upper half of a life-size man, and the other was a breathtaking colossus measuring 8 meters (26 ft).

Although the smaller man was identified as Pharaoh Seti II, the jury is still out on the identity of the giant. The yet-to-be-named royal was submerged in groundwater and was unfortunately not in one piece. The head was lifted from the mud with a forklift but was incomplete as far as facial features went, obscuring any features that might have helped with a name.

One candidate is Pharaoh Ramses II (r. 1279–1213 BC). The other limestone statue is the upper part of his grandson, and nearby ruins belonged to a temple built by Ramses II.

As one of Egypt’s most revered leaders, one can imagine a massive statue being made in Ramses’s honor. Carved from quartzite, it was found in the slum of Matariya where roads are unpaved and buildings are incomplete.

Ironically, this is where the ancient Egyptians believed that the Sun god created the Earth. The pair of statues requires renovations and further study, but they are already being praised as one of Egypt’s most important discoveries.

Top 10 Insights Into The Mysteries Of The Aztec City Of The Gods


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Top 10 Insights Into The Mysteries Of The Aztec City Of The Gods

MARK OLIVER APRIL 18, 2017

http://listverse.com/2017/04/18/top-10-insights-into-the-mysteries-of-the-aztec-city-of-the-gods/

Teotihuacan, at its prime, was one of the largest cities on earth, filled with massive pyramids that rivaled the wonders of the Egyptian pharaohs—and everything about it is a mystery today. Little to nothing was written down to tell the story of Teotihuacan, but little hints in the ruins left behind have uncovered some of its past.

 

10Nobody Knows Who Built It

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in America and saw Teotihuacan for the first time, the Aztecs were living there. They had moved their people in and taken it as a part of their empire—but they didn’t build it. It had stood for 1,000 years before the Aztecs and 500 years before the Maya ever came to Mexico.

Nobody knows who built it. A group called the Toltects tried to take credit, but the city had been in Mexico for longer than they had, as well. Some of the archaeology, though, has left behind a few little hints of where it came from.

The city was started in 400 BC, built around a cave carved into the earth by a flow of lava. The people who found that cave seemed to have believed it was a holy spot. They set up a temple on top of it. Gradually, it seems, little settlements were built around it, added by pilgrims who came out to see the holy cave.

9A Volcano Made It A Metropolis

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Photo credit: Matthew T. Bradley

That small settlement, in time, became a religious landmark—and it’s believed that it took the death of thousands to make that happen.

Around the time Teotihuacan started to boom into a city, a volcano in Cuicuilco erupted. A huge settlement of people there was wiped out, and the scattered survivors fled out into the wilderness in search of a new home. Soon, they made their way to Teotihuacan.

Their lives, though, had changed. They’d now seen the power of the natural world and the destruction it could wreak on ordinary lives. Their lives, like never before, were focused on the gods. Their new home, Teotihuacan, became more than just a city. It was a desperate shelter against the powers of nature, built to earn the protection of the gods.

The pyramids, historian Esther Pasztory believes, were built to imitate the volcano that had destroyed their home. It was meant to show the people that priests had the powers of the gods and that they could keep them safe. And it may have been the start of a new order of religious devotion across the whole country.

The refugees in Teotihuacan, once they’d settled in, would make treks back to their old home in Cuicuilco. There, they left behind stone figures built in their new city in tribute to the place their ancestors called home.

 

8They Performed Human Sacrifices

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Photo credit: Wolfgang Sauber

The gods of Teotihuacan craved blood. They weren’t all the same gods as those of the Aztecs or the Mayas, and there’s a lot we don’t know about them—but it’s clear that they believed that their gods demanded human sacrifices.

In the tunnel under the Pyramid of the Sun, four burial sites filled with human sacrifices have been found, made when the pyramid was built. They aren’t all adults. Three of the burial sites left behind have the remains of dead childrenwho had been sacrificed to appease the gods.

It’s believed that a new set of bloody and brutal sacrifices were given to the gods as each new layer of the pyramids was built. This wasn’t only at the Pyramid of the Sun. Under the Pyramid of the Moon, they buried a whole array of wild animals, along with 12 human corpses—10 of which are missing their heads.

7The Rituals Of The Pyramid Of The Sun

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

They may have done horrible things to create them, but those pyramids were architectural wonders. They were two of the largest buildings in the world. Even today, the Pyramid of the Sun is still the third-largest pyramid in the world.

It was built over the sacred cave that started the city, the place they believed the Sun was born. At the time, there was an altar place on the top for rituals, although we can only guess what those rituals were. Perhaps they simply prayed—or perhaps, like the Aztecs who followed them, their priests went there to carve hearts of human sacrifices.

They left behind jade masks, found only the homes of the Teotihuacan elite. When they held these ceremonies, it seems, the most powerful men in the city would join the priests at the Pyramid of the Sun, their faces completed obscured under a sheet of green jade.

6It Was The Largest City In The Western World

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

By 100 BC, Teotihuacan went from being a temple surrounded by a few domiciles to being the biggest city in the Western world. By some estimates, there were 200,000 people living in Teotihuacan at its peak. No city would match its size until the 1400s, more than 1,000 years after it reached its zenith.

It’s believed that the city was so massive because it was a religious epicenter of the whole area. Every part of the city was built on religious principles. It was laid out in a rectangular grid, patterned to follow the movements of the Sun. A massive road ran through it, called the Street of the Dead, directing people to the great pyramids in the center of the city.

The city boomed after those pyramids were built. People from every corner of the land came to live there, and for more than 700 years, it was the biggest city in its people’s known world.

 

 

5It Was A Multicultural City

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

The Aztecs didn’t know who lived in Teotihuacan in its prime. They had no idea who the people were that created this massive, amazing city. As it turns out, though, they might not have any one group of people. Teotihuacan seems to have been a multicultural city, almost like an ancient New York.

Each part of the city seems to have been divided up into cultural areas, sort of like the Chinatowns and Little Italys we find in modern cities. There were districts full of Mayans, Mixtecs, and Zapotecs, each with its own unique temples and their own unique relics.

That doesn’t mean, though, that everyone was equal. The city was designed to keep commoners in their own slums. There, they were allowed to set up temples and carry on rituals to their own gods. But they were kept from the center of the town, where the elites, covering in jewelry and jade, held ceremonies atop the great Pyramids.

4They May Have Commanded Power By Force

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Photo credit: Wolfgang Sauber

Teotihuacan had massive power over the people around them. Products made by the people there were traded all around the country, and their beliefs seem to have completely reshaped the religions of Mesoamerica.

It’s not entirely clear how the people of Teotihuacan commanded such power over the nations around them. The people may have simply been in awe of their incredible projects—or they may have been forced at the point of a sword.

Murals across Teotihuacan depict the warriors that once guarded the city, their eyes protected by shell goggles, their heads adorned with feather headdresses, and dart throwers held in their hands. There’s reason to believe these warriors were put to use to keep the people in line.

The city held the Temple of the Plumed Serpent, a massive pyramid dedicated to the celebration of war. It is covered in sculptures of feather serpents representing their god of war. When it was completed, 200 people were sacrificed, their hands tied behind their backs and buried in pits beside the building. The victims aren’t local—they’re people from other cities, defeated, captured, killed, and buried under the Teotihuacan shrine to war.

3Secret Tunnels Under The City

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Photo credit: Sigvald Linne

Underneath the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Plumed Serpent, the people of Teotihuacan built long, deep tunnels that lead to the main courtyard. These were secret places used for mysterious purposes, sealed for thousands of years before they were discovered.

A sinkhole at the foot of the Temple of the Plumed Serpent revealed the one there. It ran 330 feet from the temple to the courtyard, taking anyone who entered through a massive cross-shaped chamber.

These tunnels weren’t just used to move around. They seem to have been places where sacrifices were made to the gods. Inside the cross-shaped chamber, there are offering left behind: elaborate necklaces, figurines, pottery—and human skin.

For reasons unknown, the way into these passageways was forcibly sealed with massive boulders 1,800 years ago. Somebody wanted the way into the passageways closed, and they wanted to make sure no one ever stepped inside again.

2The Fall Of Teotihuacan

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

By the time the Aztecs had come to Mesoamerica and found Teotihuacan, the city was in ruins. They had no idea what had happened, how such a massive city could have collapsed—and, today, we only have our best guesses.

The most popular theory, is that there was a violent uprising. Around 750, the commoners who had been forced to live on the outskirts of town turned against the elite.

A massive drought hit the area around the time, and it’s likely that the poor were left starving in its wake. They stormed the center of the city, burning it to the ground. The massive government buildings that belonged to the elite were targeted, and their artwork and sculptures were destroyed.

When the city fell, the people left. They separated and formed new communities, commemorating their new towns with human sacrifices. In one case, 150 people were slaughtered to consecrate a new land. Then, in short time, the people who had once lived together turned against each other and a new era of war and chaos began.

1The Aztecs Copied Their Religion

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Photo credit: Wikimedia

For nearly 600 years, the city laid in ruins. The, in the 1300s, the Aztecs moved in. They may have stumbled upon by chance, finding, lost in the jungle, massive buildings that towered higher than anything they had ever seen in their lives, in the center of a city unlike any they’d ever known.

The Aztecs, unable to imagine mere mortals making something like Teotihuacan, assumed that it was a city of the gods. This, they believed, was the place where the gods sacrificed themselves so that they could be reborn. And this was the place where they created the world.

It’s believed that the Aztecs took their religion from the beliefs left behind in Teotihuacan. Like the people there, they worshiped the Plumed Serpent, who they called Quetzalcoatl. They copied their pyramids. They followed their habits of human sacrifice. They carried they found in the great city back to their own homes and treated them as sacred relics.

More than 600 years after the last person left Teotihuacan, its influence was still reshaping the world.

MARK OLIVERMark Oliver is a regular contributor to Listverse. His writing also appears on a number of other sites, including The Onion’s StarWipe and Cracked.com. His website is regularly updated with everything he writes.

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Secret Medieval Tomb Reveals Resting Site of Five Lost Archbishops


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Secret Medieval Tomb Reveals Resting Site of Five Lost Archbishops

Yesterday 11:36am

An Archbishop’s gold Mitre rests atop a lead coffin. (Image: Garden Museum)

During renovations at the former site of a medieval church in London, England, construction workers uncovered the entranceway to a hidden crypt. Inside lay 30 lead coffins, including the remains of five former Archbishops of Canterbury. It’s a completely unexpected archaeological finding—showing that even London’s most famous historical sites still have secrets to tell.

The discovery was made at Lambeth Palace’s Garden Museum, the prior home of the Church of St. Mary’s-at-Lambeth. This medieval church was built in the 11th century, and for years was located next to the Archbishop of Canterbury residence (the Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, and the symbolic head of the Anglican Church). Over the centuries, many archbishops worshipped at the church, and as this latest archaeological discovery shows, many of them also chose to be buried there.

The historic church, which was converted into a museum in the 1960s, is currently undergoing an extensive 18-month-long renovation. Given the building’s history and its proximity to the river Thames, the work crews had no reason to believe that anything existed below the structure. It was assumed that the lower levels had been filled with dirt as a precaution against flooding.

This hidden entranceway was found beneath large slabs weighing as much as 3,300 pounds. (Image: Garden Museum)

As part of the renovations, workers had to lift large, heavy flagstones to expose the ground underneath. These stones—some of which weighed as much as 3,300 pounds—were laid down in 1851. The removal of one of these stones revealed a hidden entrance to unknown space directly below. The workers hastily attached a flashlight and a camera to a stick and stuck it in. To their utter astonishment, the footage showed a secret tomb with numerous coffins stacked upon one another. Incredibly, one of these coffins had a gold crown on top of it—a Mitre signifying the buried remains of an archbishop.

Numerous coffins were discovered in the crypt, some stacked on top of each other. (Image: Garden Museum)

Several coffins had nameplates on them—including five coffins that hold the remains of prior Archbishops of Canterbury. Of note is Richard Bancroft, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1604 to 1610. He chaired the committee that wrote the King James Bible, which is considered the most notable and “majestic” English translation of the Bible. The crypt also contains the remains of John Moore, Archbishop from 1783 to 1805 (and his wife Catherine Moore), Frederick Cornwallis (in office 1768-1783), Matthew Hutton (1757-1758), and Thomas Tenison (1695-1715).

The 30 lead coffins have been left undisturbed, so we may never know the identity of the dozens who remain unidentified. Still, the discovery of five “lost” archbishops—including the person who commissioned the King James Bible—at such a highly celebrated and well studied site is nothing short of remarkable; unearthing a secret tomb isn’t something that happens every day.

The builders have constructed a glass panel in the floor above the crypt so visitors can take a look below. The Garden Museum is scheduled to reopen in May.

[Garden Museum]

Worst Ways to Die Are Pretty Weird (and Gruesome)


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Worst Ways to Die Are Pretty Weird (and Gruesome)

Elaborate Mosaics Unearthed in ‘Lost’ Roman City


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Elaborate Mosaics Unearthed in ‘Lost’ Roman City