Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Taos Hum

The Taos Hum
The Taos Hum – Low Frequency Sound 

Low pitched sound which is described as some sound similar to a diesel engine idling in the distance is heard in various places worldwide especially in the USA, UK and northern Europe.

The name is derived from the small town of Taos, New Mexico where in the year 1997, Congress had send researchers to identify the sound which individuals had been complaining about, a low frequency sound and it came to be known as the `Taos Hum’.

Researchers had been unable to identify its source and though not all can hear the low pitched hum, those who hear it state that it seems artificial in nature and is driving them crazy.

In the year 1977, a British newspaper had received around 800 letters from various people complaining about dizziness, loss of sleep, shortness of breath, anxiety,irritability, headaches, deteriorating health and the inability to either read or study due to the incessant humming sound.

In 1993, the annoyance was so acute for the individuals in Taos, that they banded together and petitioned Congress for investigation to detect the source of the noise.

No Proven Source Detected

Scientist from the state’s national laboratories together with several universities came to Taos to measure everything right from seismic and electro-magnetic vibration to the sensitivity of the human ear but no conclusive source was noted or discovered.

A prevailing theory claims that the hum could have been created by a military communication system used to contact submarines. Those who have heard it state that the noise begins abruptly and never abates, interfering with their sleep which is more noticeable in the house or car than when they are outside.

The sound remains a mystery since no proven source has been detected by microphone or VLF antennae.Data that has been gathered from a Taos Hum study indicated that a minimum of two percent of the population could detect the Taos Hum, while in 1996, the Daily Telegraph reported that a figure of 2% of people hear the Bristol Hum and those who hear the hum, state that it is a very disturbing sound.

Those who do not hear the hum together with some specialists have been speculating whether it exists or not.

The Sound – A Mystery

Congress directed a dozen or more researchers as well as scientists from some of the recognized institutions to identify the sources of the sound one reason being that the Taos Hum could probably be the outcome of military activity.

An effect of the allegation was that the inquiry was done openly which involved several people. Besides this, two important organisations were also included like the Philips Air Force Laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory – the makers of Atom Bomb.

The final report was written by a team which included Mr Joe Mullins of the University of New Mexico and Mr Horace Poteet of Sandia National Laboratories. The team initially contacted ten professed `hearers’, making efforts to comprehend the nature of the Taos Hum and their first findings were: it often had an abrupt beginning, there was always a fluctuation in the pulse and it was always a low barely audible sound.

Some experts suggest that suffers resort to cognitive behavioural therapy to help in dealing with the noise but it is unlikely to solve the mystery of the Hum.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Wang ZhaoJun

Wang ZhaoJun
Wang Zhao Jun – Four Beauties in Chinese History

Wang Zhao Jun was nicknamed Wang Qiang and was also known as Mingfei or Mingjun. She is referred as being one of the Four Beauties in Chinesehistory.She was born in Baoping Village, Sigui County in the Western Han Dynasty and was sent by Emperor Yuan in marriage to Xiongnu Chanyu to establish friendly relationship with the Han Dynasty through marriage. In the prevalent version of the legend of the Four Beauties it is related that Wang Zhaojun had left her hometown one bright autumn morning on horseback and started her journey northward. Her horse neighed all along the way, which made her feel sad and difficult to control her emotions. She then began playing sorrowful melodies on a stringed instrument, as she journeyed on the saddle of her horse. It is related that a flock of geese heading southward saw her riding the horse and on hearing her music forgot to flap their wings and fell to the ground which is why Zhao Jun has acquired the nickname, `fells geese’ or `drops birds’.

Intelligent/Adept in Pipa

She was born to a prominent family of Baopin village and was born when her father was quite old and was the apple of his eye. She was bestowed with great beauty and with an intelligent mind, well adept in pipa and master of all the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar, namely, Gugin, Weiqi, Calligraphy and Chinese painting.

Towards 36 BC, Emperor Yuan decided to choose his concubine from the state wherein as per the customs prevailing then, it was that when choosing a new wife, the Emperor would be presented with the portraits of the possible women. It became a practise then, for the ladies to offer bribes to the court artist to make ensure that they were well portrayed to the emperor. Due to Wang’s fame, she was the first choice for the concubine and the Emperor issued the edict that she should enter the harem.

Wang ZhaoJun 1
Wang’s father informed that his daughter was too young to enter the harem but could not violate the emperor’s decree and Wang had to leave her father and her hometown to enter the harem of the emperor.

It is said that because Wang has such confidence in her beauty and temperament, she refused to bribe Mao Yanshou, the artist, as the other maid did. Due to this, the artist painted a very unflattering image of her and the final portrait showed her as the ugliest of all the ladies in the palace resulting in the emperor not setting his eyes on her while she remained in the palace as lady-in-waiting.

Became an Envoy of Peace for Han

Wang ZhaoJun was not in favour of the thought of wasting her life in the harem and hope that something could happen one day which would free her from that way of life. Thereafter in the 33 BC, she got an opportunity to be free when the Hun, a group of nomadic people from the north who wanted to maintain friendly relationship with the Han Dynasty through marriage came on the scene. Huhanxie, the Chanyu – Khan, of Hun came to the capital requesting for a Han princess as a bride with the Emperor Yuan agreeing to help him.

Not keen on providing him with a beautiful wife, he gave orders to present the plainest of them all to be selected. When her unflattering portrait was presented to the emperor, he merely glanced at it and gave his approval on selection of a bride in marriage. It was only when Wang Zhao Jun was on her way of departure did the Emperor set eyes on her and much to his dismay, realized his terrible mistake that she was in fact one of the most beautiful woman in his palace.

Though he wanted to find a substitute for her, it was quite late to change his decision and the fate of Wang Zhao Jun was now sealed and she had to depart. With sorrow and anguish he parted with Wang Zhao Jun. The court artist on the other hand was eventually put to death for deceiving the Emperor.

Wang ZhaoJun 2
Loved & Respected by the Hun

The Emperor provided Wang with a generous dowry and due to this event; he also changed the name of his reign to Jing Ning, which means peaceful boundary, indicating that Zhao Jun’s departure for Hun, way beyond the Great Wall would bring about everlasting peace and harmony between the Han and the Hun together with a peaceful border. Wang, under the escort of Han and Hun official, dressed in a beautiful red dress with a pipa in her arms set out from Chang’an on a white horse for her journey to the distant land of the Huns.

Initially she found it difficult to adjust to the way of life of the Hun but being determined to overcome all difficulties she gradually became accustomed to their habits and customs. Subsequently Wang Zhao Jun got on well with the Huns and became successful in spreading the Han culture and civilization in the Hun tribe.

She was loved and respected by all the Hun and Chanyu gave her the title of the First Lady of Hun Peace, honouring Wang as a queen who was responsible in bringing about peace and security to the Hun tribe.

History of Friendship and Unity

Wang Zhao Jun lived in Hun for the remainder part of her life where her children continued her good work of maintaining friendly and amicable relationship between the Han and the Hun. The narration of Zhao Jun’s Settlement Way beyond the Great Wall has now become a household story in the history of friendship and unity among Chinese and also a well-known subject in Chinese poetry, novels and drama.

It is related that after the death of her husband, Wang Zhao Jun married the eldest son of his and his concubine according to the customs of that time which was abhorred by the Chinese moral norms in which she was brought up. Due to the sake of her country’s stability and peace, she was self-sacrificing for a second time thereby earning respect of her compatriots in her generation as well as the generation to come.

 Her tomb, presently at Hohhot in Inner Mongolia is considered as one of the eight special scenery spots in today’s Inner Mongolia. It was built by the Huns of ancient time in memorial of the goodwill envoy from the Han.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Naga Fireballs


Naga Lights or Naga Fireballs – Unexplained Phenomena

The Naga fireballs also known as the Mekong lights and `bung fai paya nak’ by the locals is a phenomenon with an unconfirmed source stating it to be often seen in Mekong river in Thailand. They are one of the well documented though unexplained phenomena in the world where every year on the night of Wan Awk Pansa during October, many spectators assemble on the banks of the river Mekong in Thailand and Laos to witness the legendary Naga breathe forth balls of fire from the river and many have watched this scene every year during their entire life.

The Naga Lights balls seem to be reddish in colour with diverse sizes ranging from small sparkles up to the size of basketballs which rises quickly to a couple of hundred metres before disappearing while the number of Naga Lights fireballs which have been reported varies between tens and thousands on each night.

It is believed that the legendary Naga breathes forth balls of fire from the river which slowly and silently rises from the river before ascending high into the air where they tend to disappear in the sky. This spectacular scene is seen at the time of the festive night which is believed to be of natural origin rather than an organized display by anyone.

Naga Fireballs- naga lights

Naga Lights, Naga Fireballs – Least Known/Most Spectacular Phenomena

According to Manas Kanaksin, a doctor from Nong Khai, is of the opinion that fermenting sediment at the bottom of the river could cause pockets of methane gas formation and the position of the earth in relation to the sun during those days could cause them to rise, spontaneously igniting in the presence of ionized oxygen.

The lights have been replicated by Italian chemist Luigi Garlaschelli and Paolo Boschetti who have added chemicals to the gases, formed by rotting compounds. Other researchers have dismissed this theory stating that the bottom of the rocky river does not have much sediment and the water’s turbulence could break up any such methane bubbles before reaching the water’s surface. The Naga fireballs of the Mekong seem to be one of the least known and the most spectacular of phenomena ever seen.

Naga Fireballs or naga lights

Mythology – Naga a Gigantic Hooded Snake

The Naga Lights or Naga fireballs always tend to appear on the night of the full moon in October or November which indicates the end of the Buddhist rainy season retreat. These lights have been named after the Naga with a belief that it is the mythical serpent inhabiting the waters that shoots the fireballs into the air.

According to mythology, it is believed that Naga is a gigantic hooded snake which is very prominent in Indian and south-eastern Asian cultures and is said to be an actual physical animal though with a supernatural spirit. The people in that region also believe that the animal lives in the local waters but it is the fireball which has drawn the attention of the people who tend to be both sceptical and believing.

However, the ancient Naga fireballs phenomena seem to be a locally held understanding and do not seem to be reliably documented before the middle of the 20th century. There are several theories regarding the origin of the light but the same has not been explained till date.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Lost Roman Legion

The Lost Roman Legion
The Roman Legion – Subject of Great Interest

A Roman legion operated from the first century BC till the mid-2nd century AD and fought in several provinces of the late Roman Republic as well as early Roman Empire. It was based in Britain following the invasion of the Roman in 43 AD.

Thereafter the legion disappeared from the Roman records towards the first half of the second century and there are no details of what happened to it. For 1900 years, the mystery of Rome’s missing ninth legion is puzzling and its ultimate fate is debated by several generations of historians.

It is said that it was the first in a chain reaction of disasters, where the Roman were forced to halt expansion and create the only two massive frontier walls that were ever built in the Roman Empire.

There are written evidence and a raft of new archaeology which portrays how and where the ninth met its end in the tribal bad lands of northern Britain.The fate of the legion has been the subject of great interest and research and it was recorded in 108 in York.

One theory states that it was destroyed in action around 120 in northern Britain during a rising of northern tribes and this view became popular by the 1954 novel – The Eagle of the Ninth, wherein the legion is considered to have marched into Caledonia in Scotland and thereafter was never heard of again.

The Lost Roman Legion 1
Tile Stamps - Nijmegen

The theory seemed to be discredited till tile stamps found later in Nijmegen portrayed that the legion was based there between 121 and 130 though this evidence became disputed. There came up other possibilities that it could have had an end in the Bar Kokhba revolt or in Armenia in 161.

The Ninth does not seem to appear in a list of legions compiles in 165, in any event. Archaeologists reveal how Hadrian built a huge innovative timber rampart in order to protect Roman forces before his monumental stone wall and later sent one of his best generals which include the infamous Julius Severus who was a ruthless soldier, engaged in devastating new tactics against the insurgents. Beyond the frontier, there were tribes with powerful new alliance and harried Roman military in a guerrilla war of attrition.

 Fifteen wars were fought and the three Roman generals together with an estimate of over 20,000 troops lost their lives while fighting the hostile tribes. Huge resources were put into trying to maintain the frontier system.

Ninth Legion - Historical/Science Fiction, Fantasy

The mysterious disappearance of the legion from the records was noted first by John Horsley, a scholar in the 18th century in his book `Britannia Romana and by late 19th century, there were evidence that the disappearance of the legion coincided with unrest in the north of Britain.

Bartolomeo Borghese an Italian scholar found an inscription about the life of one Lucious Ligarianus suggesting that he served with the legion around 116. Conclusion was drawn with the combination of this together with the evidence which was sent by Legion VI Victrix to Britain, that ninth was destroyed during an invasion or rebellion where no details had been preserved. The mysterious disappearance of the Ninth Legion has become a popular subject for historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.


Unseen Passages

Monday, October 20, 2014


Rongorongo – Mysterious Glyphs 

Rongorongo is believed to be a script or glyphs which was discovered in the 19th century on Easter Island after the visit of the Spanish in 1770 and seems to be a system of enigmatic glyphs which were found written on several artifacts.

Many are of the opinion that they portray a system of writing or proto writing. It was probably inspired by some written document or annexation which was given to the islander to be signed, though from 1860, they seemed to lose the interest to read it resulting in the inability to understand it and no inhabitant of Easter Island was then capable of reading it.

Several attempts have been made at decipherment with none of them being successful. The glyphs however, remains undecipherable resulting in its true messages which according to some hints on the perplexing collapse of the statue building Easter Island civilization, being lost forever.

Though some calendrical and some which seemed to be genealogical information have been identified, none of these glyphs are readable. Around two dozen wooden objects with rongorongo inscriptions, some of which heavily weathered, burned or damaged were collected in late 19th century but are now scattered in various museums and private collections with none of them available on Easter Island.

These are typical tablet shaped from irregular pieces of wood, at times like driftwood which include a chieftain’s staff, a bird man statuette and two reimiro ornaments. Besides these there are also a few petroglyphs which include short rongorongo inscription.

Carved on Tablets or Staves – Ritual Chanting 

Rongorongo 1
Referring to oral history it was suggested that only few were literate and the tablets were considered as sacred. The word rongorongo was derived from the Polynesian island of Mangareva which was connected to the script that were carved on tablets or staves and used as mnemonic devices for the ritual chanting by the rongorongo men at that time.

The men here competed in annual ritual which were connected with the birdman cult and associated to the deity Makemake. Besides a part of one tablet which has portrayed dealing with a lunar calendar, none of the text can be understood and even the calendar itself cannot be accurately read.

 Three serious obstacles are there to be deciphered, the small number of the remaining text, which comprises only of 15,000 legible glyphs, the lack of context of interpreting the text like illustrations or parallels to the text that can be read and the modern Rapanu language that is mixed with Tahitian.

Written in Alternate Direction – Reverse Boustrophedon 

Rongorongo 2
This is unlikely to reflect the language of the tablets especially if they tend to record any special register like an incantations and the remaining few examples of the old language are either restricted in genre or would not correspond to the tablet.

Authentic rongorongo texts are written in an alternate direction which is a system known as reverse boustrophedon. The lines of text in the third tablets are inscribed in shallow fluting carved in the wood and the glyphs seem to be outlines of animal, plant, human, artefact and geometric shapes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Circlestones – Mysterious Ancient Circle Wall Structure

Circlestones is located in the high remote desert country, around fifty four miles toward the east of Phoenix in Arizona. It has a mysterious ancient circle wall structure which is quite impressive and has a thickness of 3 feet with a high wall which runs continuously in an almost perfect circle for around 430 to 440 feet which is interrupted by entry gateways.

 It has a slight elliptical shape to the overall circle in the dimensions of north-south as opposed to east-west which are similar to the sites in Great Britain. Besides, this there is also a flat section of wall towards the east which seems to run to around 44 feet till it reverts in a curve. Two clear spoke walls run from the centre towards the outer wall together with four faint spokes which are now somewhat difficult to identify.

The structure is on an elevation of 6010 feet above sea level and lies about 14 miles east of the Superstition Mountain and northeast of Mound Mountain making it the highest point in the Superstition Mountain Wilderness Area within the Tonto National Forest. The Superstition Wilderness has a variety of amazing pre-historic Native American dwellings and ruins which are a testimony to those who lived in these mountains ages ago.

Ancient Solstice & Equinox Sun Watch Station

It is presumed that the first Anglo-Americans to visit Circlestone were cavalrymen under Major Brown while the next Anglo-American visitor was probably Elisha Marcus Reavis, the `Hermit of the Superstitions’ when he shifted base to the high mountain valley below Circlestone in 1874.

The place where he lived is now known as Reavis Ranch and is a trail location in the Superstition Wilderness Area. After the discovery of the Circlestone, there were various theories for several years on what it really was which ranged from corral for cattle to ancient observatory and it is now an accepted fact that it is an ancient Solstice and Equinox Sun Watch Station which was built by ancient Sinagua, a pre-Columbian cultural group of people in Arizona. It has a site known as Casa Malpais near Springerville, in Arizona which has a somewhat similar circular structure.

Aligns with Summer and Winter Solstices

Besides this, there is also another site which is similar, in Wyoming which is known as Bighorn Medicine Wheel. Around 1000 yards from this structure, one will find a sandstone cliff with drawings of Ursa Major and the sun. An opening in Circlestone wall aligns with the summer and winter solstices. Moreover, a 17 foot square structure at the centre of the Circlestone has some astronomical alignments in the square while there are several others as well.

This structure is one of the several circular stonewall sites which has survived in the region with the other similar impressive site which is the Casa Malpais. There is a lot of speculation on the Circlestone structure, on how remote this high desert circle observatory is situated that is away from resources more conducive to a rational and a large population which is making it more interesting and intriguing.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Cuicuilco Pyramid – Early Mesoamerican Site

Cuicuilco Pyramid
Cuicuilco is one of the early Mesoamerican sites which are believed to have been developed in Central Mexico at the time of the Formative period in 700 BC and 400 AD when it was completely destroyed due to volcanic eruption.

The site is located on the southern shore of the Texcoco Lake in the south-eastern Valley of Mexico, present day borough of Tlalpan in Mexico City. It was discovered by archaeologist Manuel Gamio in 1920 but the first investigation was done by Byron Cumming at Cuicuilco between 1923 and 1924 and this led to the discovery of the civic core of the site together with the main pyramid.

Towards 1968 when swimming pool for the Olympics was being constructed, they came across several other smaller, rectangular pyramids.The Cuicuilco pyramid is around 18 meters high and measures 20 metres in diameter, while its original height is estimated to be around 27 meters.

Gamio found four galleries with a central staircase which ascended to the summit and the site dating back to the 1st century is believed to have been one of the oldest pyramid structures predating Teotihuacan, north of Mexico City. It could also be the oldest city in the Valley of Mexico, roughly contemporary with or probably interacting with the Olmec civilization of the Gulf Coast.

First Stone Monument 

Cuicuilco Pyramid
The circular pyramid was the most important building of Cuicuilco having several superimposed altars which were found on top of the pyramid which in turn were painted red with traces of haematite. It was the first stone monument on the Mexican plateau and is truncated cone along with stone core with the rest of it made of sun dried brick having a stone facing.

The ancient city of Ticoman was discovered near the Pyramid of Cuicuilco.Archaeological discoveries, ceramic and structures portray that Cuicuilco developed during the first millennium BC as a small settlement where the inhabitants coordinated with other sites in the Mexico basin together with other distant regions.

It was originally founded as a farming village with evidence of early religious beliefs like stone offerings and the use of ceramics as grave goods and developed around large ceremonial centre with pyramids along with urban area including avenues and plazas with small shallow pools.

Dense Volcanic Lava Field – Pedregal de San Angel

At the site one will find dense volcanic lava field known as Pedregal de San Angel which covers an approximate area of 80 square km which includes the foothills of the Ajusco mountain range, reaching down to a nearby shore of the lake. Study done in 1956 indicates that the uneven lava deposits covered a depth of over 10 m in area and was the main factor for the preservation of Cuicuilco.

Moreover it was also a modern urban spot which had partial building structures that were associated with the National University of Mexico. Partial archaeological investigation could only be done with the modern building techniques causing damage to the prehistoric city.

Cuicuilco is a difficult situation due to its location and there are disputes on legislation and conservations with regards to the archaeological heritage. It main obstacle for investigation is that the area is covered entirely with lava layer.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Badlands Guardian

The Badlands Guardian – Geomorphological Feature

Badlands Guardian 1
The Badlands Guardian which is also known as Indian Head is considered to be a geomorphological feature which is situated near Medicine Hat, south east of Alberta, Canada. It is a magnificent rock formation which was viewed from the air that resembles a human head with full Native American headdress facing westward.

Badlands Guardian was discovered by Lynn Hickox on November 2006 while accidently surfing Google Earth on the internet. Mrs Hickox who lived in a small Canadian town had brought about this awareness by posting her discovery on Google Earth forum using the nickname `Supergranny’, stating that she was navigating for direction to a dinosaur museum when she suddenly came across this discovery of the Badlands Guardian.

Due to man-made structures, Badlands Guardian seems to be wearing earphone where these earphones seem to be road and an oil well which were recently installed and are expected to vanish once the project tends to get abandoned. It is said that its scale is quite larger than that of Mount Rushmore. The image can be traced on 50° 0’38.20”N 110° 6’48.32”W with the use of Google Earth.

Instance of Hollow Face Illusion Badlands Guardian

Badlands Guardian 1
Several names were canvassed by CBC Radio One program, As it Happens and out of fifty names which were submitted, seven were recommended to the Cypress County Council. The suggested name `Guardian of the Badlands was altered and came to be known as `Badlands Guardian’.The rock formation measures 255 metres wide and 225 metres long on land which has been leased by local ranchers.

The head seems to be a drainage feature which was created through the process of erosion of soft clay rich soil due to wind and water. Its arid badlands have been formed by infrequent though intense rain, sparse vegetation together with soft sediments while the head could have been formed during the short time of fast erosion after the intense rainfall.

The Badlands Guardian images seems to be a convex feature but is actually concave which is a valley formed by erosion on a stratum of clay. This is instance of the Hollow Face illusion and its age could probably be considered at a minimum of hundreds of years.

Winner of RTNDA National TV Short Feature Award

The Badlands Guardian is considered to be the only one of the several geological and landscapes which have been discovered with the use of Google Earth images. Dal Hunter, Reporter of Medicine Hat’s Chat TV did a short feature in 2006 on the Badlands Guardian which became the winner of the RTNDA National TV short feature award during that year.

Badlands Guardian was also described as a `net sensation’, by the Sydney Morning Herald while the PCWorld magazine referred the formation as a geological marvel. Moreover it was covered by Canada’s Global Television and is also listed as the seventh of the top ten Google Earth discoveries by Time Magazine. Its formation is amazing taking into consideration that human hand had no part in its shaping and creation of this large mass of rock. Its profile has been formed due to erosion of rainwater on clay rich soil layers.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Salzburg Cube

The Salzburg Cube – Strange Ancient Mass of Iron

The Salzburg Cube
The Salzburg Cube also known as the Wolfsegg Iron is a small strange ancient mass of iron which was found in the 19th century buried in Tertiary lignite in Wolfsegg am Hausruck, in Austria. Its weight is around 785 grams measuring about 67 x 67 x 47mm with four of its sides being roughly flat while the two sides, opposite each other are convex.

A deep groove is carved all around the object almost mid-way to its height. It was identified by scientists as a meteoric origin which was later ruled out by analysis. It seemed to be most likely a piece of cast iron which could have been used as ballast in mining machinery, deposited at the time of mining which apparently could have been found within the seam.

The ancient artefact is often considered as an out of the place artefact since its location of origin does not match its makeup due to which the cube continues to intrigue historians, theorist as well as scientist till date. At first sight, the Salzburg Cube does not seem like a cube but more of a rounded object with two flat edges with a groove giving the object a defining feature. Besides this, the object has various pits and craters which cover its surface which includes the central groove.

Unusual Metal Cube

The Salzburg Cube 1
The Salzburg Cube derived thename from its location since it was held at the Salzburg Museum though it disappeared in early 1900s under mysterious situations and reappeared later at the Heimathaus Museum.

Reidl, a workman in 1885, who worked in Schondorf/Vocklabruck, Austria, foundry, had broken open a block of brown coal which had been mined at Wolfsegg, finding it to be an unusual metal cube like object which was embedded in the block and the tertiary coal deposit in which it was embedded seems to date back about 60 million years back.

On discovering the unusual object, he took the artefact to his boss who in turn took it to the Heimathau Museum in Vocklabruck. The mining engineer, Adolf Gurlt, Professor of Geology at the University of Bonn claimed that it was of meteoritic origin such as nickel, cobalt or chromium. Various theories and scientific research have been done on the Salzburg cube and the initial theories being from a meteor or outer space was later replaced with more pure science indicating that the cube was considered to be man-made and manufactured.

Salzburg Cube Intriguing History

The cube was on show at the Oberosterreichisches Landes Museum in Linz only till 1957 when it was transferred to the Natural History Museum of Vienna for the purpose of analysis. Before it was taken from the Landes Museum, a cast was made of the cube.

According to some the cube had sharp and straight edges which seem to be machine made instrument that were part of a much larger instrument and made of iron, carbon and traces of nickel. It was said to have a specific gravity of 7.75 while tests carried out later confirmed it to be artificially manufactured.

The Salzburg cube is a unique ancient object which has intrigued severalresearchers on its story and history. Its origin continues to remain a mystery which is yet to be unravelled.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Phaistos Disc – Fired Clay Disc

Phaistos Disc
The Phaistos disc or disk was discovered in 1908 in southern Crete by an Italian archaeologist, Luigi Pernier and is a fired clay disk from the Minoan palace of Phaistos probably dating to the middle or the late Minoan Bronze Age.

He discovered the disc while excavating the first Minoan palace which was found in the main cell of an underground temple depository where the basement cells were accessible from above and covered neatly with layer of fine plaster.

Though the context was poor in precious artifacts, it was rich in black earth and ashes mixed with burnt bovine bones. Liner A tablet PH-1 was found in the northern part of the main cell, few inches south east of the disk and about 20 inches above the floor. The site probably collapsed due to earthquake linked with the explosive eruption of the Santorini volcano affecting large parts of the Mediterranean region.

Two Sided Circular Tablet

The disc is a two sided circular tablet around 15 cm in diameter which is covered on both sides with spiral of stamped symbols. These symbols were impressed with the use of stamps instead of being hand engraved which indicates that they had facility for large scale production of printed material though no other samples of the script has been discovered.

The disc has a total of 242 symbols broken into 61 groups where most of the symbols are pictures of recognizable objects though its purpose and meaning together with its original geographical place of manufacture seems to be unknown thus making it one of the famous mysteries of archaeology.

This amazing disc is now on display at the archaeological museum of Heraklion. It is presumed that the pictograms could have been used phonetically probably in a manner which was similar to Egyptian hieroglyphics. Some others consider the disc to be an artefact having religious ceremonial functions and does not represent sample of a developed writing system.

242 Tokens with 45 Signs

Phaistos Disc 1
The Phaistos Disc drew the imagination of amateur as well as professional archaeologist with several attempts made to decipher the code on the disc. There are 242 tokens on the disc comprising of 45 signs most of which represent everyday objects.

Besides this, it has a small diagonal line beneath the final sign in a total group of 18 times and the disc indicates traces of correction which could have been made by the scribe in some places. Arthur Evans has numbered the 45 symbols from 1 to 45 which has become the conventional reference that has been used by several researchers.

Some of these symbols have been compared with Linear A characters by Nahm, Timm and others, while still others have pointed to similar resemblance with the Anatolian hieroglyphs or with Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Text Written from Exterior to the Centre

From the diverse epigraphical facts such as overcuts, corrections, angulous points of the spirals, etc. it is observed that the text is written from the exterior to the centre and the fact that some corrections were done on the spot, indicates that the scribe could have been composing the text in proportion while printing it.

 Hence there is no way to dissociate the direction of printing from the direction of reading. While some symbols were pictographs and represented objects depicted, others functioned as ideogram wherein the pictures relates and expresses an idea such as a boat would relate to travel. Pictographs and ideograms are much easier to understand than the syllabic or phonetic systems of writing which may evolve as a means of expressing abstract ideas in any given language.