Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ancient Megalithic Stonework

In ancient period, several large monuments and megalithic structures were built across the world which was presumed to be built by different cultures who constructed pyramids and other pyramid like structures. Megalith means `giant stone’, which include Stonehenge, the giant stone figures on Easter Island, the Great Pyramids, the massive obelisks in Puma Punku – Bolivia including much bigger ones in Baalbek, Lebanon and beneath the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. There are certain walls consisting of very heavy interlocking stone blocks of various sizes which have been seamlessly placed together forming a puzzle without the use of any composite building material. This stonework all over the globe is so massive and precise that in spite of sophisticated modern technology, it would be impossible to duplicate them or even resemble them. There are several mysteries with regards to the construction of these megalithic structures and many were constructed with the use of massive and very heavy stones. Many have debated on their efforts for going into such trouble of using these heavy stones instead of using lighter and smaller stone, or if there was any specific reason behind it.

Stone Balls
The mysterious giant stone balls of Costa Rica in Diqius Delta are clearly man made though their purpose and who created them is unknown. Majority of these stones are made of granoduirite, which is a hard igneous stone and their size ranges from the size of a tennis ball to a huge 8 feet in diameter weighing around 16 tons, with its spherical precision and smoothness of amazing perfection which would be impossible to recreate them without the use of power tools. Another amazing fact on this mystery is that it is also found in several other areas of the world which include New Zealand, Malta including Easter Island. There are speculations with regards to these stone balls that these were once star maps, aligned to planets and stars, if they had never been moved. Prehistoric megalithic site namely Stonehenge, situated in the English Amesbury in Southern Wiltshire was developed by a culture which left behind no written records and archaeologists are puzzled on the purpose of the Stonehenge structure. According to some it could have been used as an astronomical observatory, a place for ceremonies and ritual use, or a healing center.

Many archaeologists around the world are of the opinion that the megaliths are the outcome of many hands that used primitive tools over the years while intervention theorists disagree over this issue. They find it absurd to believe that primitive people who with the help of fiber ropes and stone tools could cut some of the hardest stones on earth and build giant structures with such precision which is unmatched in present times. The Tiwanaku site known as Puma Punku is Aymaran and when translated means `Door of the Cougar’ are huge stone blocks, some of the heaviest block weighing 440 tons which were supposed to be part of a huge ancient architectural advanced structure. Its walls were made of solid multi ton blocks of diorite, an extremely hard rock which were interlocked and carved with accurate shape and angles with some even having indication of tool marks resembling advanced techniques like drilling and frasing. Stone cutters experts believe that it would be difficult for humans in modern times to acquire this precise cutting technique using primitive tools. In the city of Cusco, Peru, enormous stone blocks of different shapes form the walls of the complex known as Sacsayhuaman which are fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. It was earlier thought to be a fortress though researchers are not sure about it anymore. The weight of some of these stones are around 500 tons and 27 feet in height where these types of interlocking stones are also found in various other megalithic structures in Peru – Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Egypt and Easter Island.

Door of the Cougar
Within the mountain ranges of Hayu Marca in Peru, mysterious structures around 35 km from Puno to Lake Titicaca, was recently found in the year 1996, though locals already knew of its existence. It resembles a carved rock which measures around 7 meters high with 7 meters wide with a 1.5 meter wide niche at the center giving the impression of a door. According to local legend, these structures including Tiwanaku were known as `Portal to the Gods’, or the Portal to Heaven which was constructed by Lord Muru, a ruler from the land of Mu – an ancient sunken continent once situated in the Pacific Ocean. It was also known as the `devil’s door by the locals since some claimed that people disappeared and in some cases reappeared near the door and yet others related of strange tall men accompanied by glowing balls of light walking through the doorway. The purpose behind this structure is a mystery and some speculate that there were possibilities that it may have been used as a quarry like the strange quarry in Ollantaytambo which was located in southern Peru. Evidence show that the stones are cut out of the rock and were carved in such a manner leaving behind a smooth finish with traces of horizontal lines at the bottom as though it had been cut with laser technology.

Stone of the Pregnant Woman
In Baalbek, Lebanon, a complex temple was built by the Romans which were built on a foundation of the biggest and heaviest stone in the world that were carved and placed accurately into position. Blocks of around 10 meters length, 5 meters high and 3 to 4 meters deep were found, weighing around 450 tons per block and above these megaliths blocks, three blocks much heavier, weighing more than 1000 tons known as Trilithons or Triliths were placed. In another stone quarry neighboring it, the biggest stone weighing approximately 1158.696 tons, called the `Stone of the Pregnant Woman’, was found while another ancient monolith in the same quarry was discovered in 1990. This surpasses the dimension of the Stone of the Pregnant Women with its estimated weight of around 1242 tons. All these structures have given room for thought on how these megaliths have been transported and placed in perfect position with the help of manpower, ropes or primitive tools.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Aramaic Bowl Spells – Its Beliefs and Practices

Aramaic Bowl Spells 1
Aramaic Bowls known as magic bowls are a kind of amulet comprising of incantation written on earthenware that were used by various Aramaic speaking communities which lived during the Sasanian Mesopotamia period. The corpus of these bowls is the most important source in obtaining information about daily beliefs and practices of the Christian, Jewish, \Mandaean, Zorastrian, Manichaean and Pagan communities on the eve of the conquest of Islam. These bowls are from Schoyen Collection with around 650 texts in different types of Jewish Aramaic, Syria, and Mandaic, all forming the largest collections found anywhere across the globe in which the volumes portrays edition of sixty four Jewish Aramaic incantation bowls together with translation, introductions, photographs, philological notes as well as indices. Moreover the themes also includes magical divorce together with accounts of the wonder working sages, Joshua bar Perahia, and Hanina ben Dosa and is one of the first multi volume project focused on publishing the Schoyen Collection of Aramaic incantation bowls.

Aramaic Bowl Spells 2
These incantation bowls were also known as demon bowl or devil trap bowl, a form or ancient protective magic found in present Iraq and Iran which were usually inscribed in a spiral starting from the rim and going to the center with most of the inscription done in Aramaic language. The bowls were placed facing downwards with the intention to capture the demons and were commonly placed under the threshold, in the corner of the homes of recently deceased person or in the graveyards and courtyards. The Aramaic incantation bowls are important source of information about Jewish magical practices especially the 80 Jewish incantation bowls found in Sassanid Babylon between 226-36 BC from the Jewish Diaspora settlement in Nippur. The bowls were used to protect them from evil influences like evil eye, Bagdana and Lilith where these bowls were used by the members of the Jewish community.

Aramaic Bowl Spells 3
On excavation one will find that practically every house in the Jewish home in Nippur was in possession of these bowls. There are at least 2000 bowls in existence in museums as well as private collections out of which less than 25% have been published and the majority of them are written in Aramaic dialect, a few in Pahlavi with a couple in Arabic. Besides these, a significant number of texts are also written in pseudo scripts and the kinds of Aramaic presented in prevalence order are Aramaic square script – 60%, Mandaic script- under 25%, and Syriac scripts under 15%. A very interesting aspect of the incantation bowls is the way the text is inscribed on the surface of the bowls in various ways, the most common being spiral which begins in the middle of the concave side of the bowl, moving in a clockwise direction towards its outer edge and the skill displayed suggest a need to produce manuscripts on conventional type of material like parchment.

Aramaic Bowl Spells 4
The Aramaic bowl text are intriguing and claim to protect their owners from various misfortunes including difficulty during child birth and rearing, poverty, illness as well as afflictions caused by supernatural and human foes. Moreover the texts also contain adjuration of supernatural beings to curb other beings or entities which may be the cause of adversity. The literature of these bowls indicates a rich theatre where various communities of angelic and demonic kinds and individuals are portrayed in a drama of war and conflict. The incantations are also styled and structured consisting of various elements like opening formulae, sequence in mystical as well as liturgical styles, name invocation, biblical quotations, historical tales of magical incidents of well known figures like great sages and prophets who had successfully eliminated demonic forces. Often, the incantation in the bowls are accompanied with graphic images which are commonly depicted as bound demons while other types of image are a variety of animals and abstract magical symbols or characters.

Aramaic Bowl Spells 5
The Jewish incantation bowl texts are eclectic since they are of literary materials which can be traced to canonical literature namely the Mishna, the Old Testament, the order of liturgy or mystical literature while other element occurred seemed to be either culled or borrowed from literary works which are unknown and some which indicate that they are not Jewish.

Aramaic Bowl Spells 5
The individuals who commissioned the amulets are mentioned within the text making them a source for study of personal named in late antique Mesopotamia and a study of male to female ratios, the makeup and size of families together with households listed as well as the types of afflictions mentioned, contribute to the study of social history of these people, responsible in creating and using these objects. Majority of the names are Persian, indicating that non Jews obtained the services of Jewish amulet practitioners and there is an instance in which a client obtained bowls made by both Jews as well as non Jews while another case shows that there bows made by different faith groups were also found in the same house.

Unique Desert Environment – Botswana Safaris

Botswana Safaris
Botswana itself a desert, is one of Africa’s most favored destinations for safari, with wildlife areas to explore, which is located in the north of the country. Due to this, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and Central Kalahari Game Reserve provide a unique desert safari environment and though their arid dry areas are not often visited it forms a startling contrast to the other safari areas further down north. The Okavango Delta Safaris are the main focus for most of the trips for Botswana Safaris, though there are other well known sites namely Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe and Linvanti. All their vast tracts of wilderness in pristine condition are classic viewing areas home of phenomenal concentration to huge herds of game as well as some of Africa’s awesome camps. Roaming is unrestricted between the Kalahari’s plains as well as the waterways of the Okavango and is an appropriate safari holiday for those interested in wildlife.

Botswana’s Safari – Private Reserves

A major part of Botswana’s important safari regions is separated in private reserves resulting in price hike with a level of privacy which accounts for the high ranking of the country on the list of its visitors. Privacy and wilderness are the main attraction with a Botswana safari since most of the lodges can accommodate around 8 to 20 guest and if one opts for a camp, one may find few tourist but plenty of game. An addition to the flavor of excitement is the arrival by light aircraft at the lodge for the safari, which is beyond compare. There is lots of excitement in store for the tourist in these private reserves where most of the camps offer game drives during the day and at night, walking, fishing, boating with Botswana’s Okavango trademark – mokoro activity which is awesome. Driving at night in these parks is forbidden with strict parking rules to be maintained since conducting walking safaris or driving off road could cause annoyance especially when an interesting game is spotted away from the track.

Professional Safari Guides with Open 4WD safari Vehicles. 

All of Botswana’ safari camps are equipped with professional safari guides with open 4WD safari vehicles which are of comfort nature. The chalets as well as the tents have en-suite flush toilets with hot and cold showers with most of them having fans and air conditioning.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Amazing Discoveries of the Cave of Manuscripts- Dunhuang Library Cave

Dunhuang 1
Over a thousand years ago, a chamber had been sealed in a cave on the edge of the Gobi Desert outside the town of Dunhuang in Western China. The said chamber contained more than five hundred cubic feet of heaped manuscripts which lay hidden for hundreds of years. The room which came to be called the Dunhuang Library was finally opened in 1900 which gave way to remarkable archaeological discoveries of the twelfth century estimating to 40,000 manuscripts, booklets, scrolls, paintings on hemp, silk and paper, besides Tutankhamum’s tomb and the Dead Sea Scrolls. In the middle Ages, this city had been a flourishing city and was famous as a center for Buddhist worship where pilgrims from distant places came to visit the cave shrines.

Dunhuang 2
These shrines comprised of various lavishly decorated caverns which were carved into cliffs on the outskirts of the city. The treasure of these caves were probably collected between the ninth and the tenth centuries AD, by Tang and Song dynasty Buddhist monks who could have carved the cave and then heaped them with the ancient manuscripts which varied from philosophy and religion, history and mathematics, folk songs and dance. In the early 20th century, this city became the backwater with its caves in need of repairs and Wang Yuanlu an itinerant Taoist monk took upon himself to be its caretaker. The library was discovered by accident when one day, he notice his cigarette smoke wafting towards the back wall of a large cave shrine.

Dunhuang 3
This led him to curiosity and he knocked down the wall and found to his amazement a heap of documents piled above ten feet high in the cave. Though he could not read the ancient text, Wang knew that he had found something amazing of great significance and got in touch with the local officials and offered to send the findings to the provincial capital, but they being preoccupied with the Boxer Rebellion and strapped for cash denied him any support. Soon the news spread about the discovery along the Caravan routes of Xinjiang and the Hungarian born Indologist and explorer Aurel Stein, who was in the midst of his second archaeological expedition to Central Asia got to know about the same and rushed to Dunhuang. Stein on rushing to Dunhuang had to wait for two months before finally meeting Wang where the negotiation for the manuscripts seemed to be very delicate.

Dunhuang 4
Wang was careful in not letting the documents fall out of his sight and felt uncomfortable about selling the same. Stein persisted in persuading the monk by invoking his patron saint, Zuanzang, a Chinese pilgrim who had made a journey to India in search of religious text toward the seventh century and claiming to be his follower he managed to convince the monk to sell some of the manuscripts and painted scrolls for a hundred and thirty pounds. From the inscriptions, it is understood that the original librarian in the cave was a Chinese monk called Hongbian who was the leader of the Buddhist community at Dunhuang and in 862, after his death, the cave was consecrated as a Buddhist shrine with his statue, while some of the manuscripts thereafter could have been left as offerings. Some were of the opinion that as other caves were emptied and reused, the storage overflowed and could have ended up in Cave 17.

Dunhuang 5
Cave 17 being one of the many 500 manmade caves was known as the Magao Ku or Mogao Grottoes, dug into cliff of approximately 25 kilometers southeast of the town of Dunhuang, northeastern China in Gansu province having an oasis which was an important cultural and religious crossroad on the well known Silk Road. From the five cave temple complexes, Magao Cave complex in that region were excavated and maintained by the Buddhist monks till they were hidden and sealed until they were rediscovered in the year 1900.The variety of the scripts and languages that have been found among the manuscripts are of multicultural nature of the region during the 1st millennium AD where the major part of the manuscript was written in Chinese in classical and to a lesser extent, in vernacular Chinese.

Dunhuang 6
Moreover most of them included Buddhist text written in regular script or Kaishu and others in running script or the cursive Xingshu. One amazing feature of the manuscript from the 9th and the 10th centuries was that they appeared to have been written with a hard stylus instead of a brush which was due to the lack of material for constructing brushes in that town after the Tibetan occupation towards the later part of the 8th century, according to Akira Fujieda. These manuscripts are some of the earliest samples of Tibetan writing, where some of the styles portray the later Uchen and Ume script styles.

Dunhuang 7
Besides Aurel Stein who visited the caves in 1907 – 1908 and the French sinologist, Paul Pelliot, there were others like the American Langdon Warner, Russian Sergei Oldenburg and other explorers and scholars who visited Dunhuang, taking with them relics which are now in museums all around the world. Research on paper making and inks by Richardin together with his colleagues was done on two of the manuscripts from the Pelliot collections in the National library of France which were collected from Cave 17 by Paul Pelliot in the early 20th century.

Dunhuang 8
The inks utilized in the Chinese scripts contain reds which was derived from a mixture of hematite and red with yellow ochre. Red paint on the murals of other Magao caves were made of ochre, synthetic vermillion, cinnabar, organic red and red lead while black inks was made of carbon with a combination of ochre, calcium, quartz, kaolinite and carbonate and the wood from the papers in Pelliot collection had salt cedar. Resent study in environmental issue with regards to the ambient air quality on the scripts with the ongoing deposit of sand from surrounding areas in the Magao caves indicate threats to the Library Cave as well as the others caves surrounding it.

Friday, February 14, 2014

History mystery: Palimpsest – Ancient Manuscript

Codex Armenicus palimpsest
The word Palimpsest is derived from the Latin word palimpsestus and from Ancient Greek, palimpsestos, meaning scratched or scraped again, originally from palin meaning again and psao, scrape, which literally means scraped clean and used again. Earlier, the Romans wrote on wax coated tablets which could be smoothed and then reused and the term palimpsest by Cicero was referred to this practice. A Palimpsest is a manuscript in codex or roll form, of earlier text that had been partly erased and apparently having an additional text underneath it and the underlying text is considered to be `in palimpsest’ where the vellum or parchment can be reused.

Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus
It was a common function especially during the medieval ecclesiastical time, to erase an earlier existing piece of writing with the aid of washing or scraping of the manuscript and then to prepare it for a new text. The idea of making palimpsests could have been economic and reusing the parchment which was cheaper than getting hold of a new one. Another option could have been directed by Christian piety, in the conversion of a pagan Greek script by overlaying it with the word of God.

Sealed Codices
Before the 20th century, faint legible text were read through technique that helped to make text readable and scholars of the 19th century used chemicals to read palimpsests which were at times very destructive, using tincture of gall and later ammonium bisulfate. Present day historians interested in ancient writing, employed infra red and digital enhancement techniques, to restore the erased text, very often with successful result. From the various important palimpsests, the most notable one being the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus from which, only 299 leaves are available.

Codex Calixtinus
Since parchment which was prepared from animal hides is considered more durable than paper or papyrus, most of the palimpsests are parchment which was popular in Western Europe after the 6th century. The papyrus was in common use then and reuse as writing media was less common since papyrus was much cheaper than costly parchment. The writing from the parchment or vellum was washed with milk and oat bran and with the passage of time, the faded remains of the earlier text would reappear so that scholars could discern the text known as the scriptio inferior, meaning the underwriting, enabling them to decipher the same.

Codex Calixtinus-1
Towards the later stage of the Middle Age, the surface of the vellum was scraped with powdered pumice resulting in losing the text and the most valuable palimpsests are the one that were overwritten in the early Middle Ages. The Medieval codices were developed in `gathers’ that were folded and stacked together in the form of newspaper and sewn together at the fold. The prepared parchment sheets have retained the original central fold with each fold cut in half making a quarto volume of the original folio and the overwritten script running perpendicular to the effect manuscript.

Archimedes Palimpsest
Several ancient works have been restored only as palimpsests and Vellum scripts were overlaid with the intention of reducing the cost or dearth of the material. With regards to the Greek manuscripts, the consumption of old codices in terms of the material was essential that a synod decree of the year 691 restricted the destruction of the manuscripts of the Scriptures or the church fathers which was only permitted for imperfect or badly affected volumes. This resulted in mounted pressure in retrieving the vellum where the secular manuscripts were texted and the decline of the vellum trade with the introduction of paper being scarce lead them to reuse the material. Besides this, the cultural considerations also lead to the creation of palimpsest.

Codex Manesse
Most of the text which were prone to being overwritten included obsolete liturgical and legal, at times, of intense interest to the historian or scholar. The Scripture translation of Early Latin was rendered obsolete by Jerome Vulgate and the text might have been either in foreign languages or in some unfamiliar scripts which could have become illegible over the years or the possibility that the codices could have been damaged or incomplete.

Devil codex Gigas
The Heretical text were dangerous to hold since there was a compelling religious and political reason to eliminate texts viewed as heresy and reusing the media was economical than to burn the books. Major destruction of the broad quartos during the early centuries happened during the period following the fall of the Roman Empire though palimpsests created in the form of new text were needed during the Carolingian renaissance.

The Codex Benedictus
A valuable Latin palimpsests which was found in the codices was remade from the early large folios during the 7th to the 9th centuries and it has been indicated that no complete work is found anywhere in the original text of the palimpsest but sections of many works have been gathered to make a single volume. Overall, the Early Medieval scribes were not indiscriminate to supply material from old volumes which were available at hand.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

History mystery: Maytszishan Caves - The Eighth Wonder Of The World

Maytszishan Caves 1
Excavation on various sites have lead to various discoveries of amazing facts related to the ancient civilization and the world history, throwing some insight on the life styles of the people living during the ancient period. These discoveries help us to understand how the ancient people operated, their way of living, their occupation, their interest, hobbies etc. One particular discovery on the Buddhist complex, Maytszishan Caves, is less known among many and according to some, can be qualified as the eighth wonder of the world, is a remarkable monument.

Maytszishan Caves 2
The discoveries found here are very intriguing which is amazing based on the various sculptures and carving found on these caves and items unearthed from these caves. It brings about a deep insight on their architectural skills of the people belonging to this age. Maytszishan Caves is a series of around 194 caves, with 54 in the east and 140 to the west, that have been carved out of the rocks into the walls of a hill in Tianshui City, Gansu Province in northwest China.

Maytszishan Caves 3
This awesome rock architecture contains interesting Buddhist sculptures with over 1,300 sq.mtr frescoes. Most of the construction of these grottoes started during the Qing dynasty which is a few miles away from the south of the Great Silk Road. Many of the monks chose to reside here and from some written records found from the biographies written by these two monks, Huanggang and Tanhonga there are indications that they meditated there along with their disciples adding more knowledge and information about these caves.

Maytszishan Caves 4
One can trace the various stages of development of sculpture wherein addition to the various sculpture, 2000 objects of pottery, iron, bronze jade, ancient books have been discovered together with documents, painting as well as works of calligraphers. Inside the caves around 7200 clay and stone sculptures were found besides the 1,300 square meter murals which were created during the 4th and the 19th century. One will also find a massive carving of Buddha which is over 16 meter in height along with stairways leading up and around the caves which were probably made of wood at first and then fitted with metal supports for the purpose of security.

Maytszishan Caves 5
These statutes have been carved on the southern slope of the mountain which is at an altitude of around 80 meters from the foot. Many tourists have been making trips to visit this amazing monument though presently the Maytszishan site has been preserved as a museum and most of the caves have been forbidden to the tourists.

Maytszishan Caves 6
Based on all the excavations and discoveries made, Maytszishan Caves portrays an amazing image of the people who skillfully designed on the walls of the hills as well as other artifacts found, which leaves us to wonder on their efforts and how they went about designing these caves. It gives us room for thought to explore further on added information and gather more details if possible on these caves and the life of the people living under that era.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

History mystery: Olmec Civilization

The Olmecs were the first people in the Americas who developed monumental architecture of sophisticated style stone sculpture. The Olmec civilization originated in the lowlands of south eastern Mexico between 1500 and 400 BC, it’s heartland lying on the Gulf Coast of Mexico, an area measuring around 275 km east to west and extending about 100 km inland from the coast within the states of Veracruz and Tabasco.

This civilization was considered to be the first civilization which developed in Mesoamerica with its heartland being one of the six cradles civilizations worldwide, while the others were Chavin culture of South America, the Shang culture of China, the civilization of Ancient Egypt, the Indus Valley Civilization of South Asia and the Sumerian civilization of ancient Iraq.

It was only the Olmec civilization which developed in the setting of lowland tropical forest. Evidence of Olmec writing was found in the first decade of 21st century with the earliest findings of Olmec hieroglyphs dating around 650 BC. Some script has also been found on roller stamps as well as stone artifacts where the text was short and partially deciphered based on the similarity of other Mesoamerican scripts.

Moreover the evidence found on complex society developed in the Olmec heartland has given rise to the belief that the Olmec were regarded as the Mother Culture of Mesoamerica though this remains to be controversial The Olmecs developed cities as early as 1200 BC which were defined as population centers with political and cultural influence and significance. The major urban area of the Olmec in early times was San Lorenzo, the largest city in Mesoamerica at that time and was probably a political and a ritual place which housed thousands of inhabitants with elaborate drainage and water systems.

The influence of talented traders and artists are seen in later cultures of Aztec and the Maya. The Olmec cultures which developed in the 1200 BC and declined around 400 BC have very few written records relating about their culture. The Olmec artifacts at first were thought to be Mayan where they were presumed to be the first great culture in that area. They also had very talented artists portrayed through their colossal heads which are intriguing, leaving behind a lasting artistic legacy.

These colossal heads indicate the head and face of a helmeted man having indigenous features with most of the heads taller than an average human man. The biggest colossal head found at La Cobata stands around 10 feet tall weighing around 40 tons and while the heads are flattened at the back, they are not carved all around indicating that they could be viewed from the sides and the front. Evidence of some plaster and pigments on one such head at San Lorenzo indicate that some paint could have been used on them. A total of seventeen Olmec Colossal heads have been located, with ten such heads discovered at San Lorenzo, four at La Venta, two in the area of Tres Zapotes, and one in the vicinity of La Cobata.

The Olmecs carved stone, jade and volcanic rock basalt and these were quarried as well as imported. Basalt boulders and blocks which were located around 50 miles away were used to carve the heads and archaeologists suggest that it was a tedious process of moving the stones slowly with the combination of manpower, sledges and the possibility of rafts on rivers. When the stones reached a work place, they were usually carved with the help of crude tools like stone hammers since they did not have any metal tools, making this sculpture all the more intriguing and unique.

Once the head reached completion, they were moved into position though there were possibilities of them being occasionally moved around for creating scenes with other Olmec sculptures. The exact meaning of the heads is unknown though there have been several theories related to them. The size and majesty suggest that they could have represented gods but this seemed invalid since Mesoamerican gods in general were depicted more gruesome than human beings.

Moreover the head dress or the helmet portrayed in their carvings suggest that they could be ball players but archaeologist believe that they represented individual rulers since there is some evidence on the faces with distinct look and personality indicating individuals of great power and importance. The ancient Olmec is often remembered due to the massive stone heads that have been found and they developed many things culturally as well as religiously which were later used by the Aztecs and Mayan as well as other cultures.

They had a rich society, ate a variety of food and traded with far away people. The most accepted presumption is that the culture rose from people in that area though some believe that the Olmecs may have come from Africa.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Science Mystery: WORMHOLE, A Means To Travel Back In Time

Science is filled with fiction on tales of traveling through wormholes and the reality of this type of travel is somewhat complicating though we are yet to identify one. A theoretical passage on long journeys in space across the universe with shortcuts created, known as wormholes are, predicted by the theory of general relativity, though they tend to bring about high radiation, sudden collapse together with dangerous contact with exotic matter. Wormholes comprises of two openings which are spherical with a throat connecting the two.

The throat could be a straight stretch and it could also wind around taking a longer route than a conventional one. Physicists like Nathan Rosen and Einstein used the theory of general relativity in 1935, to introduce the existence of bridges through space time and the wormhole is known as an Einstein Rosen bridge which is considered a hypothetical topological feature of space-time with shortcuts through space time. These paths known as wormholes or Einstein Rosen bridges form a connection between two different points in space time creating shortcuts which can reduce the distance and time.

A simple version of the wormhole is to visualize space as a two dimensional surface of a tube which connects various points of the surface where the mouths of a wormhole are analogous to the holes at both ends of a two dimensional surface.

WormHole -2
No observational evidence has been found for wormhole though the equation of general relativity has resulted in valid solutions containing wormholes. Due to its theoretical strength, it is one of the great metaphors in general relativity. And the first kind of wormhole discovered was the Schwarzschild wormhole. This is present in Schwarzschild metric which explains an eternal black hole though it was observed that this particular type of wormhole collapsed quickly for anything to cross from one point to the other. While wormholes which could be crossed from both ends known as traversable wormholes would only be possible, if exotic matter combined with negative energy density was used to stabilize them.

When the wormhole contains adequate exotic matter either naturally or artificially, it could be used as a method of sending travelers or information through space. Adding exotic matter to wormhole to some extent might stabilize the same to a point where travelers there might be a possibility of the addition of regular matter which would be sufficient to destabilize the portal. Besides connecting two separate regions within the universe, wormholes could also connect two different universes and some scientists presume that if one mouth of a wormhole is shifted in a specific manner, it could be used for time travel though there is a controversy according to British cosmologist Stephen Hawking that this argument is not possible.
Present time technology is insufficient to stabilize or enlarge wormholes if they could ever be found though scientist are still debating on the possibility of exploring the concept in obtaining a method of space travel where technology could be utilized.

Without directly observing a wormhole, scientists can only wonder on how they could operate. Some are of the opinion that a black hole, at a point in space time where gravity is the strongest, with no possibility of light could serve as an entrance and this opening could be connected to a tube which would empty from a white hole from which point matter and light would exit. Chances are less that this type of wormhole can be used for space travel where the passages are likely to prevail only on small subatomic scale and if large enough to traverse, the gravitational forces would enable them to collapse at an instant, on opening.

WormHole -3
Scientist are of the belief that wormholes which are made of hypothetical exotic matter could contain negative energy to stay stable with the addition of outside object such as a spaceship, would result in the tunnel falling apart. The Einstein Rosen wormhole would not be considered useful for travel since they collapse quickly though recent research indicate that a wormhole containing exotic matter can stay open without changing for a long period of time.

The theory of Einstein on general relativity, mathematically relates the presence of wormholes though none have been discovered till date. A case of negative mass wormhole could have been discovered whose gravity is so intense that even light cannot escape. Certain solutions of general relativity could be considered for the existence of wormholes wherein the mouth is a black hole though a naturally formed black hole occurred during the collapse of a dying star could not be considered for the creation of a wormhole.

Since it cannot be seen, NASA scientists focused on the tiny core of the galaxy M87 instead which was a super massive cosmic engine, 50 million light years from the earth and astronomers indicated that the core of M87 contained ferocious swirling maelstrom of superhot hydrogen gas which spun at 1.2 million miles per hour. In order to keep this disk of spinning gas from flying violently apart in various directions, a colossal mass concentrated at the center, weighing around 2 to 3 billion sun was essential. According to Davis’ publication in July in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics journal, reference is made to time machines with the possibility that wormhole could become or could be used as a means to travel back into time.

Moreover he relates that scientist’s understanding of the laws of physics are connected with time machine where there are numerous space time geometry solutions to portray time travel or have properties of time machines. A wormhole would probably permit a ship to travel from one point to another much quicker than the speed of light since the ship would arrive at its destination faster than a beam of light by taking a shortcut through space time through the wormhole. Thus the vehicle does not actually break the universal speed limit, the speed of light where in fact the ship never really travels at a speed faster than light. A wormhole could be utilized to cut through space as well as through time.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

History mystery: Egyptian Occultism And Symbolism

Egyptian Occultism Thoth

In the Grand Old Library of Alexandria we find the largest source of information during the middle Egyptian era with detailed study of ancient Egyptian religious topics of divine power and witchcraft. Ancient Egypt believed in various occult procedures, magical spells and recitations and of all civilization ever known in history, Ancient Egypt is the most marvelous and fascinating country, rich in occult significance yet to be unraveled. Many have debated on why the Egyptians, who had no belief in resurrection, took so much effort in preserving the bodies of the dead for eternal life in paradise after their earthly journey had ended. This explanation can be sought from the famous Book of the Dead which represents the convictions that prevailed during the Egyptian civilization from pre dynastic times. Between 4000 and 2000 BC, the worship of Amen Ra who was considered the greatest god of the Egyptian was established at Thebes and it became the central religious teaching.

Egyptian Occultism Crux Ansata
Their priest became very powerful till the high priest of Amen which means the `hidden one’, became the king of upper Egypt and was regarded as the creator with all the attributes and power of Ra the sun god as well as the ruler of lesser gods. One of the most known symbolic figures is of Isis who was the moon goddess and the traditional queen of Egypt while Osiris was her husband. It is related that Isis was the sister, wife and mother of Osiris which is a mysterious and strange relationship. Princess Karadia in her book of King Solomon relates how Osiris was killed by his brother Typhon, the spirit of evil who dismembered and scattered him into fourteen fragments and how Isis his widow, heartbroken patiently sought all the fragments and her son Horus as he grew to manhood challenged and conquered Typhon or Set as he is also called.


Typhon symbolizes decay, autumn and destruction while Osiris signifies light, springtime and the fertilizing and growing powers of nature. Isis is signified in various forms but revered as the goddess of procreation, protector of the spirits of the dead and universal mother of the living. The cow is her symbol and she is depicted wearing the cow’s horns with the orb of the moon between them. Egyptian witchcraft had great influence on the lives of ordinary people and they believed in these powers to provide solutions to their difficult problems in life relying on a set of rigid and sound principles which controlled the mortal as well as the immortal world.

Egyptian Occultism Beetle

This enabled them to obtain super human and supernatural strength to become powerful, mighty and the original possessor of supernatural powers. During the Egyptian civilization that lasted for around 6000 years, the influence of talismans and amulets was used in religious ceremonies and each of them had some specified virtue. While some amulets were worn while they were living, there were others that were attached to the body of the dead. The Crux Ansata or Ankh for instance was known to be the symbol of life having a loop at the top of the cross comprising of the hieroglyphic Ru – O which was set in an upright position...

Isis Egyptian Occultism
This implied the gateway or mouth, and the creative power is signified by the loop representing a fish’s mouth giving out water as life to the country which was regarded as the key of the Nile fertilizing the land by overflowing periodically. It also had reference to spiritual life since it was from the Ankh or the Crux Ansata that the Venus symbol originated and the circle over the cross, the triumph of spirit represented by the circle. The Menat another symbol was dedicated to Hathor and was worn to gain power and strength in promoting health and fruitfulness of offspring and formed as a necklace which was elaborately ornamented. Besides these, the Two Plumes were sun amulets, the symbols of Ra and Thoth with two feathers being the two lives, spiritual and earthly.

Isis 1
They were symbols of the great gods representing light and air and were worn in order to promote enlightenment, uprightness in dealing and morality. The Single Plume the female counterpart of Thoth, an emblem of Maat, was the personification of integrity, truth and righteousness and the Cartouche or Name Amulet was worn to prevent the name of its wear from being blotted out in the next world and to secure favor, remembrance and recognition. It was believed to be an important amulet since the name was considered being an integral part of man, the absence of which would not permit the soul to come before God and hence it was essential that the name to be preserved to be entered in the Book of the Dead.

Amulatic case

The Heart believed to be the seat of the soul was worn to prevent the soul from being bewitched out of the body by black magicians. They realized the importance of these charms from the belief that, should the soul leave the heart, the body would die and fade away and hence according to the Egyptian belief, at the time of judgment of the dead, the heart is weighed and if found perfect, it returns to its owner recovering his powers and being his own master with strength and everlasting felicity in his soul.

The Plummet and the Angles amulet were symbols of Thoth god which were worn for wisdom, moral integrity, knowledge, truth and order and Thoth was personified as law and order, the inventor of all arts and sciences and the god who worked the creation as decreed by god Ra. He also knew all the words of power as well as the secrets of the heart and was probably regarded as the chief recording angel. The Tat which held great importance in the religious ceremonies of the Egyptian formed the centre of their annual ceremony to commemorate the death and resurrection of Osiris and this symbol represented the building of the backbone and reconstructing the body of Osiris.