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From: Tom Clarke3/6/2020 8:32:14 AM
   of 6393
Latin in the Voynich Manuscript

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From: isopatch3/6/2020 9:35:13 PM
4 Recommendations   of 6393
Wish they'd done this 20 yrs ago when I could still travel. Anyway, hope it stays open long enough for the world to get past COVID19, and people can travel safely to see & experience the inside.

<The Magnificent Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara – Now Open!

6 March, 2020 - 22:55

by dhwty

The Great Pyramid of Khufu in Giza is arguably the most famous of all pyramids in Egypt, or in the world for that matter. Yet, this was not the first pyramid that was built by the ancient Egyptians. An earlier Egyptian pyramid was built 4,700 years ago in Saqqara for a 3rd Dynasty pharaoh Netjerikhet, commonly known as Djoser. After 90 years of waiting, visitors to Saqqara can now venture inside the ancient structure popularly known as the Step Pyramid!

Open to the Public! The last time the pyramid was opened to tourists was in the 1930s. It was closed due to concerns that the structure was unsafe. But the restoration project began in 2006 to try to make entrance into this iconic Saqqara monument available again to the public. Despite work being put on hold between 2011 and 2013, the outer facades, stairs, two entrances, internal corridors to the burial chamber and the stone sarcophagus have all been conserved.

Cintec, the Welsh company that repaired the pyramid, reported that the work was not easy or safe, “It really was extremely, extremely, dangerous,” Peter James, the company’s Managing Director, told The Times . According to Daily Mail , “Rubble had dropped onto the sarcophagus from the roof and many supporting internal stone beams had broken.” There was even concern that the engineers working inside could have caused the pyramid to collapse on them while they were working.

Imhotep’s Innovative Step Pyramid at Saqqara The original architect responsible for the design and construction of the pyramid was none other than Imhotep, who served as Djoser’s chancellor. The most noticeable difference between Djoser’s pyramid and that of Khufu is the shape of each structure. Unlike the Great Pyramid , Djoser’s pyramid consisted of six steps, similar to the ziggurats of the ancient Mesopotamian city states, and thus was commonly known as the Step Pyramid of Saqqara.

Ancient Origins Tours visited Egypt in February 2020. Here is the happy tour family: Lou, Richard, Marcie, Ken, Brian, Luminous, Alicia, Faye, Andrew, Steve, Aila, Lisle, and Mary Lou in front of Djoser’s pyramid. (Image: Alicia McDermott)

The unique shape of Djoser’s pyramid may be explained by looking at the building structures that were in use prior to the construction of pyramids in ancient Egypt. During Egypt’s Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom, rectangular structures with a flat roof and outward sloping sides were used to mark the tombs of the elite members of society. These structures, made of mud-brick or stone, were known as mastabas (meaning ‘bench of mud’ in Arabic).

Perhaps intending to outdo his predecessors, Djoser decided to stack six mastabas, each of a decreasing size, on top of each other, thus producing the Step Pyramid. The construction of the Step Pyramid may have been a reflection of the evolution of the understanding of Egyptian kingship, as the structure could also be interpreted as a means to facilitate the king’s ascension into the divine realm after his death.

The Step Pyramid, Saqqara. (Image: Alicia McDermott)

An Ancient Egyptian Architectural Marvel Regardless of the reason for this innovation, the Step Pyramid was an architectural marvel of its time. At a height of about 62 meters (203.41 ft.), the Step Pyramid dominated the landscape of the Saqqara necropolis . Nevertheless, the pyramid was only part of a larger mortuary complex that served to perpetuate the cult of the pharaoh. The entire complex, which covered an area of 15 hectares, was surrounded by a wall of light Tura limestone 10.5 meters (34.45 ft.) high.

14 walls can be found along the wall circuit, though only one entrance (located on the south end of the east façade) was accessible to the living. This entrance is connected to the South Court via a roofed colonnade. The columns of this passage were made of limestone carved to resemble bundles of plant stems.

The colonnade at Saqqara. (Image: BigStockPhoto)

As for the Step Pyramid itself, its entrance is located in the north side of the structure. Djoser’s mortuary temple can also be found on this side of the pyramid. This temple served as the cult centre for Djoser’s divine ka. It was in this temple that the daily rituals for the dead could be performed, and offerings could be presented to the pharaoh in the afterlife. It may also be pointed out that the mortuary temple faced north as it was believed that the pharaoh would become one of the eternal stars in his afterlife.

In the South Court are curved stones thought to be boundary markers associated with the Sed Festival, an important rejuvenation ritual performed by the pharaoh after reigning for 30 years. It has been suggested that the presence of these markers was meant to allow Djoser to continue benefitting from the ritual even in the afterlife.

As for the Step Pyramid itself, its entrance is located in the north side of the structure. Djoser’s mortuary temple can also be found on this side of the pyramid. This temple served as the cult center for Djoser’s divine ka. It was in this temple that the daily rituals for the dead could be performed, and offerings could be presented to the pharaoh in the afterlife . The mortuary temple faced north as it was believed that the pharaoh would become one of the eternal stars in his afterlife.

Looking down at the burial chamber and sarcophagus inside the newly renovated Djoser pyramid. (Image: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities )

Criticisms Didn’t Stop the Restoration of Djoser’s Pyramid The Step Pyramid has stood for over four and a half millennia, despite being constantly battered by the elements. For years, attempts were made to restore and conserve this ancient structure. These attempts, however, came under criticism.

The pyramid being restored. (Image: bernd_fuelle /Adobe Stock)

According to critics, the restoration work has drastically altered the way the outside of the pyramid looked. Concerns were also raised that the inside of the structure would be altered. These claims have been denied by the Egyptian authorities, and restoration work on the pyramid was allowed to continue. Thankfully the efforts have now made it safe and possible for visitors to Egypt to see the inside of this amazing monument built so long ago.

Inside the newly restored Djoser pyramid. (Image: Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities )

Top Image: The Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt (Alicia McDermott) has been opened to the public. ( Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities )>

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From: Tom Clarke3/18/2020 7:12:30 AM
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Vikings and Pandemics: An Historical Perspective

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From: isopatch3/20/2020 12:23:31 AM
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Something a little different.

<Oneiromancy: Dream Predictions in Ancient Mesopotamia

17 March, 2020 - 18:40


Oneiromancy is a form of divination in which dreams are interpreted in order to predict the future. This form of divination was practiced in many parts of the world, including the ancient civilizations that were based in the region of Mesopotamia, and it still continues to this day. The interpretation of dreams in ancient Mesopotamia can be found in its literature, such as the famous Epic of Gilgamesh and the Atrahasis.

Additionally, oneiromancy seems to have been practiced in real life as well, as evidenced by a compendium of texts known as the Iškar Zaqiqu (translated as ‘core text of the god Zaqiqu’), or more commonly known as the Assyrian Dream Book .

Atrahasis Receives a Nighttime Omen In the literature of ancient Mesopotamia, dreams are depicted as serving a number of functions. The most common of these may be the usage of dreams as a means of foretelling an impending doom. In the Atrahasis, the Mesopotamian version of the flood account, the title character, Atrahasis (meaning ‘exceedingly wise’) is warned about the destructive flood in his dream.

In this story, it seems that Atrahasis’ dreams were sent to him from the gods. In one part of the text, Atrahasis is shown offering a gift to Ea, so that he might be able to receive a dream from the deity:

“May the irrigation-water take it, may the river carry it,
May the gift be placed in front of Ea my lord.
May Ea see it and think of me!
So may I see a dream in the night.”

Cuneiform tablet with the Atrahasis epic in the British Museum. ( Public Domain )

Enkidu’s Dream Dreams as a warning of impending doom can be seen in another piece of ancient Mesopotamian literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh . In this epic, Enkidu ( Gilgamesh’s friend ) has a dream in which the gods decide that he should die as punishment for his involvement in the slaying of the Bull of Heaven and Huwawa. Enkidu also dreams that he was seized, and brought down into the Underworld…

“He (a man described by Enkidu in the preceding lines) seized me, drove me down to the dark house, dwelling of Erkalla’s god,
To the house which those who enter cannot leave,
On the road where travelling is one way only,
To the house where those who stay are deprived of light,
Where dust is their food, and clay their bread.”

The Egyptian Dream Book Stone age Rock Art in Famous Cave of Forgotten Dreams May Show Oldest Human Depiction of Volcanic Eruption 1,400-year-old medicinal treatise of Galen found hidden under hymns in ancient manuscript Following the dream that he had, Enkidu falls ill, and eventually dies:

“From the day he saw the dream, his [strength] was finished.
Enkidu lay there the first day, then [a second day.]
[The illness] of Enkidu, as he lay in bed, [grew worse, his flesh weaker.]”

Possible representation of Enkidu. ( CC BY-SA 3.0 )

Oneiromancy for Dumuzid’s Dream Another instance of dreams bearing ominous messages in ancient Mesopotamia can be found in a text known as Dumuzid’s Dream . In this dream, Dumuzid, a legendary king who lived before the Flood , sees his own demise. Unlike Enkidu, Dumuzid’s dream is filled with more metaphors, and the king had to call his sister, Geštin-ana, to help him interpret it. Dumuzid’s dream is as such:

“In my dream, rushes were rising up for me, rushes kept growing for me; a single reed was shaking its head at me; twin reeds -- one was being separated from me. Tall trees in the forest were rising up together over me. Water was poured over my holy {coals} {(1 ms. has instead:) brazier} for me, the cover of my holy churn was removed, my holy drinking cup was torn down from the peg where it hung, my shepherd's stick disappeared from me. An owl (?) took a lamb from the sheep house, a falcon caught a sparrow on the reed fence, my male goats were dragging their dark beards in the dust for me, and my rams were scratching the earth with their thick legs for me. The churns were lying on their sides, no milk was being poured, the drinking cups were lying on their sides, Dumuzid was dead, and the sheepfold was haunted.”

Dreams and Prophecy in Ancient Greece Woman Tracks Lost People in Her Dreams, Finds Lost Objects with Intuition Morpheus, the Greek God of Dreams who delivered messages from the gods to the mortal world Part of Geštin-ana’s interpretation of her brother’s dream is as follows:

“The rushes rising up for you, which kept growing for you, are bandits rising against you from their ambush. The single reed shaking its head at you is your mother who bore you, shaking her head for you. The twin reeds of which one was being separated from you is you and I -- one will be separated from you. The tall trees in the forest rising up together over you are the evil men catching you within the walls. That water was poured over your holy coals means the sheepfold will become a house of silence. That the cover of your holy churn was removed for you means the evil man will bring it inside in his hands.”

The marriage of Inanna and Dumuzid. ( Public Domain )

The Importance of Dream Interpreters in Ancient Mesopotamia Beyond the sphere of literature, one can say that the ancient Mesopotamians took their dreams seriously. This can be seen in the existence of professional dream interpreters. One of the most well-known collections of dream interpretations from ancient Mesopotamia is the so-called Assyrian Dream Book.

This was a group of clay tablets discovered in the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, in Nineveh. The inscriptions are said to be a record of how dreams may be interpreted. For example, the interpretation for a dream in which a person flees repeatedly is that he/she will lose all that he/she owns.

Archaeologist Henry Layard's image of Nineveh. ( CC BY-SA 4.0) >

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From: isopatch3/20/2020 12:35:36 AM
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Before Chopin could play piano or Segovia the guitar.

<When fish gave us the finger: this ancient four-limbed fish reveals the origins of the human hand

March 18, 2020 2.49pm EDT

Katrina Kenny, Author provided

One of the most significant events in the history of life was when fish evolved into tetrapods, crawling out of the water and eventually conquering land. The term tetrapod refers to four-limbed vertebrates, including humans.

To complete this transition, several anatomical changes were necessary. One of the most important was the evolution of hands and feet.

Working with researchers from the University of Quebec, in 2010 we discovered the first complete specimen of Elpistostege watsoni. This tetrapod-like fish lived more than 380-million-years ago, and belonged to a group called elpistostegalians.

Our research based on this specimen, published today in Nature, suggests human hands likely evolved from the fins of this fish, which we’ll refer to by its genus name, Elpistostege.

Elpistostegalians are an extinct group that displayed features of both lobe-finned fish and early tetrapods. They were likely involved in bridging the gap between prehistoric fish and animals capable of living on land.

Thus, our latest finding offers valuable insight into the evolution of the vertebrate hand.

Elpistostege, from the Late Devonian period of Canada, is now considered the closest fish to tetrapods (four-limbed land animals), which includes humans. Brian Choo The best specimen we’ve ever found To understand how fish fins became limbs (arms and legs with digits) through evolution, we studied the fossils of extinct lobe-finned fishes and early tetrapods.

Lobe-fins include bony fishes (Osteichthyes) with robust fins, such as lungfishes and coelacanths.

Read more: Ancient fish evolved in shallow seas – the very places humans threaten today

Elpistostegalians lived between 393–359 million years ago, during the Middle and Upper Devonian times. Our finding of a complete 1.57m Elpistostege – uncovered from Miguasha National Park in Quebec, Canada – is the first instance of a complete skeleton of any elpistostegalian fish fossil.

This animation shows what Elpistostege might have looked like when alive, and highlights the close similarities in its pectoral fin skeleton to the bones of our human arm and hand. Prior to this, the most complete elpistostegalian specimen was a Tiktaalik roseae skeleton found in the Canadian Arctic in 2004, but it was missing the extreme-end part of its fin.

When fins became limbs The origin of digits in land vertebrates is hotly debated.

The tiny bones in the tip of the pectoral fins of fishes such as Elpistostege are called “radial” bones. When radials form a series of rows, like digits, they are essentially the same as fingers in tetrapods.

The only difference is that, in these advanced fishes, the digits are still locked within the fin, and not yet free moving like human fingers.

Read more: Curious Kids: how do fish sleep?

Our recently uncovered Elpistostege specimen reveals the presence of a humerus (arm), radius and ulna (forearm), rows of carpal bones (wrist) and smaller bones organised in discrete rows.

We believe this is the first evidence of digit bones found in a fish fin with fin-rays (the bony rays that support the fin). This suggests the fingers of vertebrates, including of human hands, first evolved as rows of digit bones in the fins of Elpistostegalian fishes.

The pectoral fin of Elpistostege shows the short rows of aligned digits in the fin - an intermediate stage between fishes and land animals such as the early tetrapod Tulerpeton. Author provided What’s the evolutionary advantage? From an evolutionary perspective, rows of digit bones in prehistoric fish fins would have provided flexibility for the fin to more effectively bear weight.

This could have been useful when Elpistostege was either plodding along in the shallows, or trying to move out of water onto land. Eventually, the increased use of such fins would have lead to the loss of fin-rays and the emergence of digits in rows, forming a larger surface area for the limb to grip the land surface.

Read more: 'Walking' fish help scientists to understand how we left the ocean

Our specimen shows many features not known before, and will form the basis of a series of future papers describing in detail its skull, and other aspects of its body skeleton.

Elpistostege blurs the line between fish and vertebrates capable of living on land. It’s not necessarily our ancestor, but it’s now the closest example we have of a “transitional fossil”, closing the gap between fish and tetrapods.

Our new specimen of Elpistostege watsoni measures 1.57 metres long from its snout to the tip of its tail. Richard Cloutier, UQAR The full picture The first Elpistostege fossil, a skull fragment, was found in the late 1930s. It was thought to belong to an early amphibian. In the mid 1980s the front half of the skull was found, and was confirmed to be an advanced lobe-finned fish.

The original finds of the Elpistostege skull roof (left) and front half of the skull. The new specimen confirms these all belong to the one species. Richard Cloutier/UQAR Our new, complete specimen was discovered in the fossil-rich cliffs of the Miguasha National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Eastern Canada. Miguasha is considered one of the best sites to study fish fossils from the Devonian period (known as the “Age of Fish”), as it contains a very large number of lobe-finned fish fossils, in an exceptional state of preservation.>

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From: Joachim K3/20/2020 12:28:18 PM
2 Recommendations   of 6393
Ancient mantis-man petroglyph discovered in Iran

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From: Stan3/21/2020 10:36:37 PM
2 Recommendations   of 6393
3,000-year-old Canaanite temple discovered in southern Israel

In southern central Israel, Tel Lachish’s new discovery consists of very rare inscriptions showing early precursors of Hebrew alphabet

In Tel Lachish National Park, the 3,000-year-old temple of Canaanite has unearthed by a team of Israelis and American archeologists. ...

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From: Tom Clarke3/28/2020 8:43:26 AM
1 Recommendation   of 6393
Orichalcum, the lost metal of Atlantis, may have been found on a shipwreck off Sicily

A group of naval archeologists has uncovered two hundred ingots spread over the sandy seafloor near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The ingots were made from orichalcum, a rare cast metal that ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote was from the legendary city of Atlantis.

A total of 39 ingots (metal set into rectangular blocks) were, according to Inquisitr, discovered near a shipwreck. BBC reported that another same metal cache was found. 47 more ingots were found, with a total of 86 metal pieces found to date.

The wreck was discovered in 1988, floating about 300 meters (1,000 ft) off the coast of Gela in Sicily in shallow waters. At the time of the shipwreck Gela was a rich city and had many factories that produced fine objects. Scientists believe that the pieces of orichalcum were destined for those laboratories when the ship sank.

Sebastiano Tusa, Sicily’s superintendent of the Sea Office, told Discovery News that the precious ingots were probably being brought to Sicily from Greece or Asia Minor.

Tusa said that the discovery of orichalcum ingots, long considered a mysterious metal, is significant as “nothing similar has ever been found.” He added, “We knew orichalcum from ancient texts and a few ornamental objects.”

According to a Daily Telegraph report, the ingots have been analyzed and found to be made of about 75-80 percent copper, 14-20 percent zinc and a scattering of nickel, lead, and iron.

The name orichalucum derives from the Greek word oreikhalkos, meaning literally “mountain copper” or “copper mountain”. According to Plato’s 5th century BC Critias dialogue, orichalucum was considered second only to gold in value, and was found and mined in many parts of the legendary Atlantis in ancient times

Plato wrote that the three outer walls of the Temple to Poseidon and Cleito on Atlantis were clad respectively with brass, tin, and the third, which encompassed the whole citadel, “flashed with the red light of orichalcum”.

The interior walls, pillars, and floors of the temple were completely covered in orichalcum, and the roof was variegated with gold, silver, and orichalcum. In the center of the temple stood a pillar of orichalcum, on which the laws of Poseidon and records of the first son princes of Poseidon were inscribed.

For centuries, experts have hotly debated the metal’s composition and origin.

According to the ancient Greeks, orichalcum was invented by Cadmus, a Greek-Phoenician mythological character. Cadmus was the founder and first king of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.

Cadmus, the Greek mythological figure who is said to have created orichalcum

Orichalcum has variously been held to be a gold-copper alloy, a copper-tin, or copper-zinc brass, or a metal no longer known. However, in Vergil’s Aeneid, it was mentioned that the breastplate of Turnus was “stiff with gold and white orachalc” and it has been theorized that it is an alloy of gold and silver, though it is not known for certain what orichalcum was.

Orichalcum is also mentioned in the ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ (1 st century AD) – Book VIII, sect. 88 by Josephus, who stated that the vessels in the Temple of Solomon were made of orichalcum (or a bronze that was like gold in beauty).

Today, some scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity the process of cementation, which was achieved through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

The latest discovery of the orichalcum ingots that had laid for nearly three millennia on the seafloor may finally unravel the mystery of the origin and composition of this enigmatic metal.

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To: Tom Clarke who wrote (6283)3/28/2020 12:08:27 PM
From: Valuepro
   of 6393
That "news?" source puts up stories of questionable value repeatedly. Moreover, they mention naval archeologists where perhaps they meant marine archeologists, and then they refer to an ancient wreck as "floating". Really? Sheer trash!

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To: Valuepro who wrote (6284)3/28/2020 12:29:54 PM
From: Tom Clarke
   of 6393
I wonder how on the mark this is:

"For centuries, experts have hotly debated the metal’s composition and origin."

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