The Dashka Stone: Map of the Creator

In 1999, a professor at Bashkir State University in Russia named Alexander Chuvyrov made a remarkable archeological discovery. He was called to the house of Vladimir Krainov, who reported a strange slab buried in his backyard. Chuvyrov was instantly intrigued, as he had been searching for similar slabs that have been cited in various historical manuscripts. The slab was so heavy that it took over a week to unearth. The discovery was named the Dashka stone and later titled the Map of the Creator. The artifact is approximately 5 feet high, 3.5 feet wide, .5 feet thick, and weighs at least one ton. The stone was investigated and determined to be some sort of three-dimensional relief map of the Ural Region. Today the military uses similar maps to measure elevation and terrain. The Dashka stone reportedly contains representations of civil engineering work, weirs, an irrigation system, and powerful dams. To date, the ancient technology used to make the map is unknown and extremely advanced.

The map also contains numerous inscriptions. At first, the scientists thought that it was an Old Chinese language, although it was later reported that the inscriptions were done in a hieroglyphic-syllabic language of unknown origin. A group of Russian and Chinese specialists in the fields of cartography, physics, mathematics, geology, chemistry, and Old Chinese language researched the artifact and were the ones that identified it as a map of Ural region, with rivers Belya, Ufimka, and Sutolka listed.

Dating of the slab was reported to be over 100 million years old, but no reliable resources citing evidence of what type of test were used or the exact results could be found. If the Map of the Creator is genuine then it would suggest the existence of an ancient highly developed civilization. Researchers have claimed that a three-dimensional map of this order could have only been used for navigational purposes. Many websites claim that the slab is proof of ancient flight. Recent discoveries indicate that the slab is a piece of a larger artifact.

The Dashka stone continues to undergo scientific testing and is not available for public viewing. … veries.php … _0237.html

Live Animals Entombed in Wood and Stone

It is one of the strangest phenomena reported. Something that can’t happen, but stories saying it does turn up again and again anyway. Stories of animals found alive locked deep within stone or wood, with no observable way they could have entered. This is the mystery of entombed animals:

Reports of entombed animals found inside stones (reputedly sometimes still alive) date back to the 15th century and have occurred as recently as the 1980s. For example, in a letter to Julian Huxley, an Eric G. Mackley claimed to have freed twenty three frogs from concrete in Devonshire and in 1876 sixty-three small toads were reportedly found in the middle of a five meter wide tree trunk in South Africa.

Scientists have paid little serious attention to the phenomenon since the nineteenth century and most specimens were destroyed after the Victorian era, the world’s only remaining entombed toad resides at the Booth Museum of Natural History in Brighton, was found by two workmen in Lewes in 1898 and donated by Charles Dawson in 1901. It consists of an oval, hollow flint nodule millions of years old containing a mummified toad. The toad apparently was quite famous in it’s hey-day, featured on cigarette cards and in paranormal magazines`and it still tours the globe. Dawson’s explanation is that the toad crawled through a small hole in the rock when it was very small, managed to find enough food to grow but then became too large to escape it’s little prison and eventually died of either old age or starvation. He speculated that if the workmen had split the stone before the animal had died, it would have joined the ranks of the living toads-in-the-hole and suggested that this theory could be provide a tentative answer to the hundreds of findings.

However, Dawson cannot be viewed as an entirely reliable source being blamed now for various ‘imaginative frauds’, most infamously for his involvement in the Piltdown scandal, where a faked anthropoid skull was claimed to be Darwin’s ‘missing link’ between human and ape. Sadly, taking this into consideration along with the fact that the toad has visibly shrunk since it’s original discovery (indicating it was not very old to begin with) it is likely that it could be another faked natural spectacle.

Being at my seat near the village of Meudon, and overlooking a quarryman whom I had set to break some very large and hard stones, in the middle of one we found a huge toad, full of life and without any visible aperture by which it could get there…The laborer told me it was not the first time he had met with a toad and the like creatures within huge blocks of stone…

This account, which appeared in the 1761 edition of Annual Register, was attributed to Ambroise Pare, the chief surgeon of Henry III of France in the 16th century. It is an early example of phenomenon. Logically this report is impossible. The stone had to be thousands, if not millions of years old. The toad shouldn’t have a lifetime of more than a few years. If it was really sealed in the stone, how did it get there? Or if it was entombed when the stone was made, how did it survive?

Perhaps one such story over a period of hundreds of years can just be dismissed as a folktale or a hoax, but there are others. Workers doing an excavation in Hartlepool, England, on April 7, 1865, split open a block of magnesium limestone to discover a living toad. The Hartlepool Free Press reported, “The cavity was no larger than its body, and presented the appearance of being cast for it. The toad’s eyes shone with unusual brilliancy, and it was full of vivacity on its liberation.” The animal was very pale when first discovered with a color similar to that of the rock that had encased it, but later the toad turned to an olive-brown. “It appeared,” the Free Press continued, “when first discovered, desirous to perform the process of respiration, but evidently experienced some difficulty, and the only sign of success consisted of a ‘barking’ noise, which it continues to make invariably at present on being touched. The toad is in the possession of Mr. S. Horner, the president of the Natural Historical Society, and continues in as lively a state as when found. On a minute examination of its mouth it is found to be completely closed, and the barking noise it makes proceeds from its nostrils. The claws of its fore feet are turned inwards, and its hind ones are of extraordinary length and unlike the present English toad.”

We can also see an example of a wood entombment by looking at a story from South Africa. In 1876 the Uitenhage Times printed an article reporting that a timberman who was cutting a tree into planks came across a cache of 69 tiny toads, each the size of a grape. The toads were confined to a hole in the tree. “They were of a light brown, almost yellow color, and perfectly happy, hopping about and away as if nothing had happened. All about them was solid yellow wood, with nothing to indicate how they could have got there, how long they had been there, or how they could have lived without food, drink or air.”

According to the Michigan Argus of December 1st, 1871, one man was so curious about these stories he tried his own experiment to see if such things were possible.. M. Herissan, a French savant enclosed three live toads in separate cases of plaster in February of 1771. In April of 1784 Herissan opened the cases, which were still whole, and found two of the toads still alive, though the third was “a martyr to science.” The article continued saying that the animals were handed over to the Academy of Science and a careful examination showed that “the animals had no communication with the external air, and must have existed without the least nourishment.”

Toads aren’t the only subject of these stories. An 1821 edition of Tilloch’s Philosophical Magazine reported a stone mason named David Virture discovered a “lizard imbedded in the stone. It was about an inch and a quarter long, of a brownish-yellow color, and had a round head, with bright sparkling projecting eyes. It was apparently dead, but after being about five minutes exposed to the air it showed signs of life.” The rock the lizard had been found within had been some 22 feet underground. “It was coiled up in a round cavity of its own form, being an exact impression of the animal,” the article continues, “This stone is naturally a little damp; and about half an inch around the lizard was soft sand, the same color as the animal…The stone had no fissure, was quite hard, and one of the best to be got from the quarry of Cullaloe…”

Turtles have also gotten this treatment. In August 1975 construction workers in Fort Worth, Texas, were breaking up concrete that had been laid down more than a year before when they came across a living green turtle. The animal must have been caught in the concrete as it had been poured because the body-shaped hole in which it had stayed during that time was clearly visible.

Sometimes two different types of animals have been found together as the account from a World War II British soldier reported in Jerome Clark’s book Unexplained shows:

In Algeria in the early part of 1943, I was working with a team whose job it was to quarry stone that was then used for making roads and filling bomb craters…One morning, we had set off the charges as usual and I started to prise away the rock from the quarry face when I saw in a pocket in the rock a large toad, and beside it a lizard at least nine inches long. Both these animals were alive, and the amazing thing was that the cavity they were in was at least 20 feet from the top of the quarry face. Try as we might, we couldn’t find how it was possible for the two creatures to be where they were – there were no inlets, cracks or fissures leading to the cavity…

Parts of the scientific establishment have taken both an interest in the phenomena, while other members scoff at it. In an article in an 1890 Scientific American a writer declared “Many well authenticated stories of the finding of live toads and frogs in solid rock are on record.” While a few years later the editor for the magazine Nature argued, “It matters little to tell the reporters of such occurrences that the thing is absolutely impossible, and that our believing it would involve the conclusion that the whole science of geology (not to speak of biology also) is a mass of nonsense.”

Most explanations for these events depend on the reporters being hoaxers or bad observers. “The true interpretation of these alleged occurrences appears to be simply this – a frog or toad is hopping about while a stone is being broken, and the nonscientific observer immediately rushes to the conclusion that he has seen the creature dropping out of the stone itself,” says a writer in Nature. This explanation runs in the face of many of the reports where the animal was found in a cavity shaped like the animal itself.

Cases of entombed animals remain a mystery. Clearly the Scientific American writer is correct in saying that there seems to be no answer to this puzzle unless we are willing to rewrite the science of geology or biology. Still, it seems the phenomena exists. Undoubtedly some of the reports are hoaxes, others are errors, but many remain a true mystery for a future scientist to resolve.

Via: UnMuseum and TheOddmentEmporium

The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

The stone spheres of Costa Rica, one of the strangest mysteries in archaeology, are a collection of some three hundred polished stone orbs, the first of which were discovered in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica during the 1930s. The spheres range in size from a few centimeters to over two meters in diameter, and weigh up to 16 tons. Their precise date of construction is uncertain, but they are believed to have been carved between 200 BC and 1600 CE.

The stone spheres came to light during early cultivation of the farmland. Most were discovered by workmen as they cleared and burned the jungle in preparation for planting.

The first scientific investigation of the spheres was undertaken shortly after their discovery by Doris Stone, a daughter of a United Fruit Co. executive. These were published in 1943 in American Antiquity, attracting the attention of Dr. Samuel Lothrop from Harvard University. Lothrop’s findings were published in Archaeology of the Diquís Delta, Costa Rica 1963.

Numerous myths surround the stones, such as they came from Atlantis, or that they were made as such by nature. Some local legends state that the native inhabitants had access to a potion able to soften the rock. Another calls for the center of the spheres to contain a single coffee bean.

The stones have a surprisingly smooth surface. According to laser measurements by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, the spheres were 96% perfect.

The stone spheres have been found in clusters of up to twenty, and often in geometric patterns such as triangles, rectangles or straight lines. Such alignments often point to the earth’s magnetic north. Archaeologists have been able to date the stones by the artifacts that have been found lying alongside them. Some of them have, thus, been dated as far back as 400 B.C.E.

Via: ACuriousHistory

The Legendary Tales of Atlantis

 More than 2,500 years ago, a legend first began to spread about a society of the past that enjoyed an abundance of natural resources, great military power, splendid building and engineering feats, and intellectual achievements far advanced over those of other lands. Called Atlantis, it was described as a continent-sized area with rich soil, plentiful pure water, abundant vegetation and animals, natural hot springs for health and vigor, and such mineral wealth that gold was inlaid in buildings and was among the precious metals and stones worn as jewelry. Slaves performed manual labor, allowing a large elite to pursue knowledge, enjoy sporting events, and continually improve upon an already thriving society.

In the ensuing centuries, no conclusive evidence of Atlantis has been found, but its attributes have expanded to include additional engineering and technological feats that enhance its legendary status in the popular imagination. In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly published Atlantis: The Antediluvian World, arguing that all civilization is an inheritance from Atlantis. Listing numerous parallels between ancient cultures spaced far away from each other, Donnelly argued that their commonness resulted from contact with Atlanteans.

Similarities do indeed exist among various ancient cultures, as do significant differences. Flood myths and sun worship, for example, might be based on a shared teaching, or they might be separate reactions to beneficent and destructive elements of nature. Pyramids were built in Egypt and the Americas, but they are also significantly different in their structures. The walls of pyramids in the Americas did not converge to form a true point, as they did in Egypt; rather, the walls reached a certain level upon which a platform was built and often a temple erected. If Atlantis did indeed fall somewhere between 8500 and 9500 B.C.E., what accounts for the long time lag until the pyramids were erected in Egypt (generally dated around 2500 B.C.E.) and North America (generally dated after 200 C.E.)?

Since the 1800s, Atlanteans have been credited for having had the technology to generate electricity, build flying machines, and harness nuclear power for energy and war-fare—all developed more than 9,000 years before such things came into being in modern society. Other claims have Atlanteans knowledgeable about a formidable death ray, secrets for levitation, and pure forms of energy through crystals. Many Atlantis enthusiasts firmly believe that the inhabitants of the lost continent had cosmic connections with extraterrestrials and may actually have been a colony established on Earth by alien explorers.

Since Atlantis was first described, claims have been made that certain members of the civilization escaped destruction during its catastrophic final days and managed to impart their knowledge to other peoples of the world, helping civilize primitive societies, passing on the secret of written language, and supervising construction of some of the world’s most mysterious structures of the ancient world. The pyramids of Egypt and the Americas, the Sphinx in Egypt, and the megaliths of western Europe are among the structures attributed to the genius of Atlanteans.

According to most accounts, Atlantis was suddenly destroyed by a cataclysm of earthquakes and floods and swallowed up by the sea. No definitive remnants have ever been found, and the exact location of the “lost continent” remains debatable. The idea of Atlantis was first expressed in the works of Plato (c. 428–348 or 347 B.C.E.), the Greek philosopher, who stressed that a perfect world exists in ideas. For example, a shoe, according to Plato, exists as an idea before a craftsperson makes the material object identified as a shoe. The material world, then, is a reflection of ideas, never quite reaching the perfection of ideas, but which serve as models for which the adepts might strive.

While Plato used the model of Atlantis to represent a world of perfect order in contrast to all that was imperfect in the world around him, he labeled the story of Atlantis “literally true”—a significant declaration. For Plato was suspicious of fiction and art. If ideas are the primary reality, and the material world is a reflection of ideas, then art, as a reflection of the material world, is twice removed from reality, according to Plato. His claim that the Atlantis story is literally true helps sustain the continuing legend of Atlantis. It remains a legend, or an Idea, however, until some material proof shows that Atlantis existed in the material world. Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.), another of the great Greek philosophers, viewed the Atlantis legend as fiction.

 Plato’s writings comprise several letters and 25 dialogues. His views and those of his mentor, Socrates (c. 470–399 B.C.E.), were presented as dramatic conversations exploring such topics as truth, the origin of the world and its composition, the purpose of humankind, and what an individual should choose as an aim of life. Atlantis is discussed in two of Plato’s dialogues, Timaeus and Critias. Timaeus provides a description of the island continent and how Atlanteans conquered all the known world except for the Athenians (Plato was an Athenian). Critias, named after the primary speaker in the dialogue, Plato’s great-grandfather, presents a history of Atlantean civilization and describes the ideal society that flourished there. Critias notes that the stories were originally passed on by an ancestor, Solon (638–558 B.C.E.), a politician and poet who traveled widely. Critias and Solon were both ancestors of Plato.

Solon, as the story goes, was informed by Egyptian priests in the city of Sais, located in the Nile delta, that there was once a land even older in history than Egypt, which the Greeks acknowledged as being centuries older than their own society. The priests described a large island continent called Atlantis that prospered some 8,000 years earlier, which dates Atlantis before 8500 B.C.E. The continent was located beyond “the Pillars of Hercules,” the Greek term for the rocks that form the Straits of Gibraltar, the westernmost point of the Mediterranean Ocean. Beyond the straits is the Atlantic Ocean.

 There were several cities on the continent. The primary city, also called Atlantis, was located in the center of a series of concentric rings that alternated between rings of water and land. The water rings served as canals for trade and helped form a series of natural defenses that made an invasion of Atlantis extremely difficult.

The city of Atlantis, in the innermost circle, had palaces and temples where wise and powerful rulers lived. The ruling coalition descended from Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Poseidon and Clieto had five sets of twin sons, according to Greek mythology, each of which was given a region of Atlantis.

Atlas, the firstborn son, was given the largest province, which became the city of Atlantis, a name that derives from Atlas. The finest structure on the island, the Temple of Poseidon, honored the god and served as the home of the primary ruler.

Atlantis had a powerful army of professional soldiers, as did each of the other nine regions of the continent. The culture of Atlantis promoted learning, through which advances in engineering and science made the land bountiful, beautiful, and powerful. In addition to magnificent architectural structures, a network of bridges and tunnels linked the rings of land, and clever uses of natural resources provided security and abundance. Many groves provided solitude and beauty, racetracks were used for athletic competitions, and irrigation systems ensured great harvests.

 In Plato’s account, the people of Atlantis eventually became corrupt and greedy, putting selfish pursuits above the greater good. They began invading other lands with the idea of world domination. Angered by these developments, Poseidon set about destroying the civilization, battering the continent with earthquakes and floods until Atlantis was swallowed up by the ocean.

 That description of the destruction of Atlantis has been linked by some to other cataclysmic events—stories of a great deluge in the Bible, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and flood myths in other societies. Some contend that the end of the Ice Age between 12,000 and 10,000 B.C.E. likely resulted in rises of water levels in various parts of the world and that earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and climate changes, either incidental or associated with the Ice Age, occurred during the time identified with the destruction of Atlantis.

The location of Atlantis has been claimed on each of the seven continents, and in several spots in the world’s oceans and seas. Additionally, many of the ancient world’s wonders have been attributed to Atlanteans who, presumably, escaped the destruction of their homeland and spread their advanced engineering skills elsewhere.

The text of Plato’s dialogue suggests the Atlantic Ocean “beyond the pillars of Hercules” as the location of Atlantis. As late as the twentieth century, a belief persisted that a landbridge once existed in the ocean and ran between Europe and Africa and North and South America. Such a land-link concept helps explain similarities in flora and fauna existing on continents spread thousands of miles apart. The mid-Atlantic ridge, a series of undersea mountains, has been presented as a remnant of the land bridge, or as the remains of Atlantis.

Jacques Collina-Girard of the University of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence had been studying patterns of human migration from Europe into North Africa at the height of the last Ice Age, 19,000 years ago, when his reconstruction of the area revealed an ancient archipelago with an island at the spot where Plato wrote Atlantis existed. The island was named Spartel, and it lay in front of the Pillars of Hercules to the west of the Strait of Gibraltar at a time when the sea level was 130 meters lower than it is today. According to Collina-Girard, the slow rise of post-glacial sea levels would gradually have engulfed the island and the archipelago 9,000 years before Plato.

 While the concept of an island being swallowed by the sea in the area before the Pillars of Hercules seems a viable theory, there is as yet no evidence discovered to prove that a continent existed in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. The shallow waters around the northwest coast of Africa and extending to the Canary Islands is an area that may have been above the ocean at one time and has been suggested as a location for Atlantis, but no physical remains of human habitation have been located there.

Alan F. Alford, a leading authority on ancient mythology, spent five years investigating Plato’s account of Atlantis, In December 2001, announced his conclusion that the myth of the lost continent took place only in Plato’s mind. In Alford’s theory, the Greek philosopher invented Atlantis as a metaphor for the ancient version of the contemporary “Big Bang Theory.” Atlantis, as a symbol for a lost paradise, represented a kind of cataclysm of all cataclysms that brought about the beginning of all time.

The discouraging theories of the skeptical do little to diminish the enthusiasm of those who earnestly believe in the physical reality of Atlantis. The Atlantic Ocean location for the lost continent received renewed attention in the late 1960s, specifically the region near Bimini Island in the Bahamas, an island chain off the coast of the United States. Fueling the excitement over what appeared to be discoveries of actual roadways, walls, and buildings under the water was the fact that they were found in the exact location and at the same point in time as prophesied by Edgar Cayce (1877–1945), a psychic, whose “life readings” for clients revealed that many of their present-life psychological traumas were being caused by a terrible incident that the sufferer had experienced in a past life. Many of the presentlife traumas of his clients, according to Cayce, were due to the sufferings they had experienced as people who lived in Atlantis in a previous life.

 Cayce helped popularize a modernized view of Atlantis as a superior civilization that had developed planes, submarines, x-ray, anti-gravity devices, crystals that harness energy from the sun, and powerful explosives. He theorized that an explosion in 50,000 B.C.E. blew Atlantis up into five islands; another occurred in 28,000 B.C.E.; and the third, the one described by Plato, occurred around 10,000 B.C.E. Cayce claimed that he had been an Atlantean priest from around 10,500 B.C.E. who had foreseen the coming destruction and sent some of his followers to Egypt. Those followers directed the building of the Sphinx and the pyramids.

 In 1940, Cayce predicted that remnants of Atlantis would rise again near the Bahamas in the late 1960s. In 1967, two pilots photographed a rectangular structure in the ocean off the coast of Andros, the largest island of the Bahamas. Another configuration of stone, in the shape of a “J,” was found by divers off the island of Bimini. The J-shaped formation was believed to be a road of stone. Extensive diving expeditions became common in the area, and some divers claimed to have seen remnants of temples, pillars, and pyramids. However, none were documented by extensive excavations.

 The J-shaped structure became popularly known as the Bimini Road and was a cause of celebration among enthusiasts of Atlantis and Cayce. Geological tests, however, show that the J shape is actually a limestone beachrock. Fractures in the formation give it the appearance of a construction of blocks, but the entire formation shows the same grains and microstructure—a quality difficult to replicate in a series of blocks. Radiocarbon testing of shells in the stone show that the formation is relatively young—about two or three thousand years old, some 9,000 years younger than the alleged final destruction of Atlantis. Finally, the curve of the J parallels the beachline of the nearby island, showing it has been shaped by the same currents affecting the island.

The rectangular structure off the coast of Andros, on the other hand, was indeed manmade—it was a storage facility built in the 1930s where sponges could be deposited after they were collected in the surrounding ocean. Despite these explanations, enthusiasm over the Bahama site continues among believers.

Another theory suggests that Antarctica was once located in the mid-Atlantic and had a more temperate climate where a civilization once thrived. Antarctica, thus, has been claimed as the site of Atlantis and of a similar type of advanced civilization.

The question of where Atlantis was located still persists. Among the many possible sites for Atlantis on the seven continents or under the seas, two popular locations are based on areas that, like Atlantic Ocean regions “beyond the pillars of Hercules,” can be related to Plato’s time. One site is the island of Crete, where the thriving Minoan civilization fell into disarray around 1400 B.C.E. The other site is in present-day Turkey, known in ancient times as Anatolia, where associations with Atlas and his descendants were strong.

Little was known about Minoan culture before the discovery in 1900 of a great palace at Knossos on the island of Crete by the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans (1851–1941). He named the culture that created Knossos and thrived on Crete “Minoan civilization” after Minos, the legendary king of Crete. The palace at Knossos was probably damaged by an earthquake about 1700 B.C.E., a date that marked the end of one phase of the early history of Crete. Minoan civilization had regular contact and trade with ancient Egypt, which lies southeast, across the Mediterranean, from Crete. Crete, then, qualifies as a land far to the west (in those days) of Egypt where Atlantis was said to be by the Egyptian priests who spoke of the continent to Solon.

Archaeological excavations early in the twentieth century unearthed remarkable artifacts of Minoan civilization. Then, in 1939, Greek archaeologist Sypridon Marinatos (1901–1974) discovered pumice, volcanic ash, on Crete. Marinatos connected the ash to the tremendous eruption of a volcano on Thera, a nearby island. The eruption was reported in ancient histories. The explosion would have created havoc on Crete and perhaps a tidal wave that swept over the island. To illustrate that possibility, Marinatos likened the Thera explosion to the 1886 eruption of Mt. Krakatoa that could be heard a thousand miles away and created tidal waves that killed 36,000 people. The volcanic ash on Crete helped preserve excellent artifacts of Minoan civilization, including whole streets and houses as well as frescoes and pottery.

However, while Plato’s text cites earth-quakes and floods as having destroyed Atlantis, there is no mention of a volcano. The date of the Thera volcano, around 1500 B.C.E., does not match the period of the downfall of Atlantis, which Egyptian priests told Solon had occurred 8,000 to 9,000 years earlier. The 1500 B.C.E. date does coincide if the claim of 8,000 years is reduced to 800 years. That tactic was suggested by Greek geologist Angelo Gelanpoulous in 1969: he theorized that all dates and measurements related by Solon were exaggerated and were actually one-tenth as large as claimed. Gelanpoulous’ theory provided some neat correlations, but they work only in a few circumstances.

Another problem with identifying the fall of Atlantis with the destruction of Minoan civilization is an inexact correlation between the eruption of Thera and the demise of ancient Crete, where Minoan civilization continued on for another century after the volcanic eruption. In fact, during twentieth-century excavations, some volcanic ash was found beneath an elaborate palace, showing that construction soon continued after the eruption. Furthermore, there was no apparent disruption in trade between the Minoans and Egyptians. The volcanic eruption caused havoc on Crete, but it did not destroy Minoan civilization.

The kings of Knossos attained their greatest power about 1600 B.C.E., when they controlled the entire Agean area and traded extensively with Egypt. The subsequent destruction of Knossos and the collapse of Minoan culture coincided with the beginning of the most flourishing period of Mycenae civilization in Greece; this coincidence suggests that it may have been the warlike Mycenae who attacked and destroyed Minoan civilization.

Lydia, an ancient country of Asia Minor (now Turkey), was located in the valleys of the Hermus and Cayster rivers (now the Gediz and Büyükmenderes rivers). Known earlier by the name Maeonia, it had fertile soil, rich deposits of gold and silver, and a magnificent capital, Sardis. Lydia prospered as a powerful dynasty beginning about 685 B.C.E. During the sixth century B.C.E., Lydia attained its greatest splendor under the rule of King Croessus. The empire ended when the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great (c. 585–c. 529 B.C.E.) captured Sardis about 546 B.C.E. After the defeat of Persia by Alexander III (c. 356–323 B.C.E.), king of Macedonia, Lydia was brought under Greco-Macedonian control, and then in 133 B.C.E. it became part of the Roman province of Asia.

 Lydia was across the Agean Sea from Greece. A legendary king of Lydia was named Tantalis: his name sounds similar to Atlantis, and he shared many mythic attributes among Lydians that the god Atlas had among Greeks. Like Atlas, Tantalis was a leader of the Titans, the group of gods who were overthrown by Zeus. In Greek mythology, Zeus punished Atlas by banishing him to the west and made to hold up the sky. A similar fate was shared by Tantalis in myths of Anatolia (an old name for the region in Asia Minor that includes Turkey).

According to that myth, Tantalis ruled over a fabulously wealthy city he founded on Mt. Sipylus in Lydia. His city was shattered by earthquake and flood and was reputed to have sunk when he lost the favor of the Olympian gods.

During the 1990s ruins were found on the northern slope of Mt. Sipylus. The area had undergone several phases of change through the centuries. Among the ruins was a statue of the goddess Cybele that was dated around 1400 B.C.E., a time when the Hittite rule over the area was overthrown by locals affiliated with the Mycenae civilization of Greece. The area of Tantalis had been conquered, and perhaps razed. Or, it subsequently was buried during an earthquake, and eventually submerged by a lake. The area is in a major fault zone, and heavy earthquake damage to the cities of Lydia was documented in 17 C.E. Among the hardest hit of twelve ancient Lydian cities was Magnesia at Sipylus, in the region where Tantalis was located.

Lake Saloe in Turkey has long been identified with the lost city of Tantalis. The lake was pumped out in modern times to provide more land for farming. It is now a fertile plain with nearby rivers. An old caravan route was found, certainly not a remnant of a mighty empire, but the tantalizing prospect that Tantalis was Atlantis remains.

Via: UnexplainedStuff

The Lost Continents of Lemuria and Mu

Lemuria and Mu are sometimes distinct and sometimes interchangeable names for a legendary lost continent, which, according to its proponents, existed in the Caribbean Ocean and had many of the attributes associated with Atlantis. The mysterious lost lands of Lemuria and Mu were conceived of during the nineteenth century, when the theory of evolution was introduced and was among the advances in the sciences that challenged conventional ways of understanding life. Archaeological discoveries among the ruins of the Egyptians, Mayans, and other societies were forcing new interpretations of history, and radical forms of mysticism, such as Theosophy, were becoming popular.

References to the lost continent of Mu can be traced back to 1864 and a French archaeologist named Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg. He had become fascinated by hieroglyphics found on Mayan ruins that dated back several centuries. By the time Spanish explorers had reached the New World areas of Mexico and Central America in the 1500s, the great centers of Mayan civilization had long been abandoned and were being reclaimed by the rainforest.

Brasseur traveled to Spain to look at artifacts of Mayan civilization. In a library in Madrid he discovered a purported guide to Mayan hieroglyphics. Using the guide to decipher a rare Mayan manuscript, he learned about an ancient land that had sunk into the ocean after a volcanic eruption. Figures corresponding to letters “M” and “U” were connected with the lost land, and Brasseur determined that the lost continent was named Mu. Using that same guide, however, later scholars were unable to decipher such a story, or to even make sustained and meaningful text from the hieroglyphics. It was not until the mid-twentieth century that a thorough guide to interpreting Mayan hieroglyphics was established.

Nevertheless, Brasseur’s version of a lost continent won some favorable attention. An archaeologist named Augustus Plongeon (1825–1908) used a similar key to decipher hieroglyphics at one of the first excavations of Mayan sites. He allegedly uncovered a story about two brothers who vied for a queen named Moo. One of the brothers was killed, and the other took power just before a catastrophe struck Mu. Queen Moo fled before the catastrophe. Speculations quickly added that she had reached Egypt, became revered as the goddess Isis, founded Egyptian civilization, and directed the building of the Sphinx.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Charles Darwin‘s (1809–1882) theory of evolution, Origin of the Species, was published. Although the theory became widely accepted among scientists, it was also extremely controversial. One point of contention concerned an animal and layers of sediment found in South Africa, the island of Madagascar, and India—all of which are in the same region but separated by expanses of water. The lemur, a predecessor of monkeys, had the same traits in each locale. According to Darwin’s theory, the animal should have developed some unique traits respective to the different environments. Similarities in sediments in each of the areas also raised questions. Scientists began to speculate that a land bridge once existed in the Indian Ocean that connected the three areas.

English zoologist Phillip L. Schlater proposed the name Lemuria after the lemur for this former land now sunk in the Indian Ocean. The land bridge idea was supported by noted scientists, including German naturalist Heinrich Haeckel (1834–1919) and Alfred Russell Wallace (1823–1913), who had developed a theory of evolution similar to Darwin’s. Seas and continents were thought to be immobile in those days before the theory of continental drift, and no fossils of early humans had yet been found. Haeckel used Lemuria, which had sunk into the sea, to explain the absence of early human fossils. Lemuria became a respected term among educated people in Europe and America.

Thus, the lost continent of Lemuria began with science, but its renown spread and has been sustained through mysticism. Science has since discounted the land bridge and lost continent theories, and evidence of early humans was found during the twentieth century in Africa.

James Churchward (1832–1936) was among the first mystics to promote Lemuria as the lost continent of an advanced human race. Beginning in the 1870s, Churchward said Lemuria was a paradise of 64 million people, and that it was destroyed around 10,000 B.C.E. According to Churchward, Lemurians developed homes with transparent roofs, lived to be hundreds of years old, and were capable of telepathy, astral travel, and teleportation. Lemuria, according to Churchward, was about 5,000 miles long and 3,000 miles wide and stretched to the Pacific Ocean, where islands of the present day are former mountain peaks of the lost continent.

In the 1880s, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831–1891) formed the Theosophical Society with psychic investigator Henry Steel Olcott. In her book The Secret Doctrine (1888), she claimed to have learned of Lemuria in The Book of Dzyan, which she said was composed in Atlantis and shown to her by survivors of that lost continent. Her source may have been Sanskrit legends that tell of the former continent of Rutas that sank beneath the sea.

Lemurians, according to Blavatsky, were the third of seven root races of humankind. They were hermaphrodites with psychic abilities and a third eye. Atlanteans, she stated, were the fourth root race. They evolved from Lemurians after much of Lemuria sank, and they lived on the edge of the continent in the northern Atlantic. Atlantis sank around 8,000 B.C.E., according to Blavatsky, and its inhabitants fled to central Asia.

Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), who founded Anthroposophy, was another proponent of Lemuria. Other mystics have envisioned the Elders of Lemuria, known as the Thirteenth School, who moved to an uninhabited plateau of Central Asia now called Tibet before the catastrophe that wiped out their land. They established a library and a school of spiritual adepts known as the Great White Brotherhood.

Certain land masses on the planet are supposedly the last remains of Lemuria, from Pacific islands (Fiji, Hawaii, and Easter Island) to the west coast of the United States. According to some Lemurian enthusiasts, in 1972 the ruins of a submerged Lemurian city was found between Maui and Oahu in the Hawaiian island chain and was covered up in a top-secret project by U.S. Naval Intelligence.

Via: EncyclopediaOfTheUnusualAndUnexplained

Winter Solstice

The December or Winter Solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it’s when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the winter solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20th and December 23rd. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north (Arctic Polar Circle) are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south (Antarctic Polar Circle) receive 24 hours of daylight.You can use the Sunrise and Sunset calculator to find the number of daylight hours during the winter solstice in cities worldwide.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living South of the equator. Those living or traveling South from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight. Those living or traveling North of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

December 20th and December 23rd solstices occur less frequently than December 21st or December 22nd solstices in the Gregorian calendar. The last December 23rd solstice occurred in 1903, and will not occur again until the year 2303. A December 20th solstice has occurred very rarely, with the next one occurring in the year 2080.


The Holy Lines and The Extersteine

About the same time ley lines were first introduced by Alfred Watkins (1855–1935) in the 1920s, a German evangelical parson named Wilhelm Teudt proposed a similar theory he called heilige linien (holy lines) that linked a number of standing stones, churches, crosses, and other objects of spiritual significance in Germany. Teudt’s holy line theory met the same fate as Watkins’s ley lines. There were so many possibilities for connecting a variety of objects on a landscape that the odds were better of finding alignments than not finding them.

Teudt made another observation that had more lasting significance. He noted that an ancient chamber constructed in the naturally formed megaliths called the Extersteine had a circular window that formed a point where rays of light at the midsummer solstice shone through, and where the moon was visible when it reached its northernmost position. He believed the Neolithic peoples (before 2000 B.C.E.) had used the site as an astronomical observatory and a calendar.

The Extersteine, which lies at the approximate latitude as Stonehenge in Great Britain, is a natural site of five sandstone pillars rising 120 feet above an area filled with caves and grottoes. It served as a ritual center for nomadic reindeer hunters, and later was the site of pagan rituals until the eighth century, when such rituals were forbidden by law. Christian monks took over the site and set up crosses and reliefs depicting biblical scenes. They abandoned it after about 1600. Many people continued to visit the Extersteine, claiming they were aware of its energy and that their physical ailments had been cured by walking among or rubbing against the stones.

Via: EncyclopediaOfTheUnusualAndUnexplained

England’s Hill Figures, Part 6: The Kilburn White Horse

The final of our six part posting of England’s Hill Figures the Kilburn White Horse, is formed in the hillside near the village of Kilburn, in North Yorkshire, England. The horse is 318 feet long by 220 ft high and covers about 1.6 acres and is said to be the largest and most northerly of the chalk figures in England.

The Kilburn horse faces south-south-west and is clearly visible from some distance. On a clear day, the horse is visible from north Leeds, 28 miles away on the higher ground to the west of the Vale of York.

Sutton Bank, geologically, is formed of limestone. The horse was created by removing the topsoil and exposing the underlying rock. It was created in November 1857, and some accounts state that it was done by school master John Hodgson and his pupils, together with local volunteers. A tablet erected at the car park below it reads, “The Kilburn ‘White Horse’ — This figure was cut in 1857 on the initiative of Thomas Taylor, a native of Kilburn. In 1925 a restoration fund was created by the readers of the Yorkshire Evening Post to provide for the ongoing grooming of the figure.”

However, Morris Marples in his 1949 book gives Thomas Taylor the credit for being the prime mover: a native of Kilburn, he was a buyer for a London provision merchant, and he seems to have attended celebrations at Uffington White Horse in 1857, at which time he became inspired to give his home village a similar example. Thirty-three men were involved in the cutting of the figure, and 6 tons of lime were used to whiten the exposed rock. The image itself is now formed of off-white limestone chips, but the steep gradient of the hillside, especially at the horse’s breast and forelegs, have led to slumping. Retention boards have been used to fix and halt the degredation.

During World War II the horse was covered over to prevent it from becoming a conspicuous navigation landmark for enemy bombers. This white horse can reputedly be seen from Julian’s Bower, Alkborough in North Lincolnshire, over 45 miles away.

Via: Wikipedia

England’s Hill Figures, Part 5: The Cerne Abbas Giant

The Cerne Abbas Giant or the ‘Rude Man’ is one of the largest hillfigures in Britain, he is one of two representations of the human form, the other being the Long Man of Wilmington in East Sussex. The giant, carved in solid lines from the chalk bedrock measures in at 180 feet high, and carries a huge knobby club, which measures 120 feet in length.

The first written record of the giant appears in 1751 in a letter by Dorset historian John Hutchins, he suggested that the figure was cut in the mid 1600’s. Another slightly later reference to the figure can be found in the Gentleman’s magazine of 1764, where the figure is described and depicted with a navel, that has long since disappeared. The lack of earlier references is frustrating but does not mean that the figure dates to the 17th century, and its style and proximity to an Iron Age earthwork suggests a much earlier origin.

There are numerous theories as to when and why the giant was created, one of the more popular is that he is the Greek-Roman god Hercules, who is often represented with a club and an animal fur. It has been suggested that the figure was once depicted carrying and animal fur in his left hand. It is possible that worship of Hercules arrived in the early part of the Roman invasion, which was then became amalgamated with a god of a local Celtic tribe. The theory given the most weight by historians is that it was created during the reign of the Emperor Commodus between 180 – 193 AD, he believed himself to be a reincarnation of Hercules and allowed the cult to revive.

Other stories suggest that the monks at the nearby monastery cut the giant as a joke on an Abbott called Thomas Corton, who was expelled from the area for malpractice. This is unlikely but its close proximity to a ecclesiastical house is strange, how could such an obviously pagan symbol have survived for so long? especially through puritanical times and the reformation. It may be that the religious buildings were built close to the giant as a form of amalgamation of the pagan site. This was common practice, and many churches are built on, or near to, sites that were once Pagan religious centres.

According to one legend, the figure represents a Danish giant who led an invasion of England from the coast. He had fallen asleep on the side of the hill, and the local villagers had taken advantage of his slumber to cut off his head. They then drew around his prone body in the manner of a gigantic police chalk line, to show where he met his doom. However, the chalk figure sometimes rose from the dead on dark nights, to quench his thirst in the local stream, a habit also common to certain standing stones.

The giant’s obvious sexuality and virility was put to use in fertility folk magic. Local women who wanted to conceive would spend a night alone on the hillside – most productively within the confines of his giant phallus, and young couples would make love on the giant to ensure conception.

Sleeping on the giant was also thought to be a good way to ensure a future wedding for unmarried women. Just above the giant’s head is a small Iron Age earthwork which encloses a roughly square piece of land, this is known as the ‘Frying Pan’ or the ‘Trendle’ and it was within this enclosure that the Mayday Maypole was erected during the festival celebrations. Like many traditional village Maypole ceremonies this practice died out in the 19th century.

Via: MysteriousBritain

England’s Hill Figures, Part 4: The Long Man of Wilmington

The Long Man of Wilmington, the mysterious guardian of the South Downs, has baffled archaeologists and historians for hundreds of years.

Until recently the earliest record of Europe’s largest representation of the human form was in a drawing made by William Burrell when he visited Wilmington Priory, nestling under the steep slopes of Windover Hill, home of the 235 feet high Wilmington Giant.  In 1993, however, a new version of the Long Man was discovered by surveyor, John Rowley, in 1710.

The new figure has confirmed some theories and dispelled others. It suggests that the original figure was a shadow or indentation in the grass rather than a solid line; there were facial features that are no longer visible; the staffs being held were not a rake and a scythe as once described and the head was once a distinctive helmet shape, giving credence to the idea of the figure as a helmeted war-god.

Until the 19th century the Long Man was only visible in certain light conditions and after a light fall of snow, but in 1874, it was marked out in yellow bricks. It’s claimed that during this restoration, the feet were incorrectly positioned, but, despite popular local legend, there is no evidence, historical or archaeological, to suggest that prudish Victorians altered the hill figure or robbed the giant of his manhood.

In 1925, the site of the Long Man was given to the Sussex Archaeological Society by the Duke of Devonshire. During World War II, the figure was painted green to prevent enemy aviators from using it as a landmark. In 1969, further restoration took place and the bricks were replaced with pre-cast concrete blocks that are now regularly painted to keep the Long Man visible from many miles away. The terracettes, horizontal ripples in the turf, change constantly as the soil is rolled downhill by weathering, erosion and animal activity.

The lack of firm historical evidence leaves many theories surrounding the Long Man’s history. Many in Sussex are convinced the figure is prehistoric, while other believe that he’s the work of an artistic monk from the local Priory dating back to between the 11th and 15th centuries. Roman coins bearing a similar figure suggest that he belonged to the 4th century AD and there may be plausible parallels with a helmeted figure found on Anglo-Saxon ornaments.

Fertility symbol? Ancient Warrior? Early 18th century folly? We may never know. Until such time as new evidence is unearthed.

England’s Hill Figures, Part 3: The Cherhill White Horse

The Cherhill White Horse is a hill figure on Cherhill Down, 3.5 miles east of Calne in the county of Wiltshire, England. Dating from the late 18th century, it is the third oldest of several such white horses to be seen around Great Britain, with only the Uffington White Horse and the Westbury White Horse being older. The figure is also sometimes called the Oldbury White Horse.

Facing towards the north-east, the Cherhill White Horse lies on a steep slope of Cherhill down, a little below the earthwork known as Oldbury Castle.  Near the Horse is an obelisk called the Lansdowne Monument, visible in some photographs of the White Horse.This is a 38-metre stone structure, erected in 1845, by the 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne to commemorate his ancestor Sir William Petty.

The Cherhill horse may have been inspired by the first such Wiltshire horse, at Westbury, which had just been remodelled. The origins of the Westbury horse are more obscure. Unlike the Uffington White Horse in Oxfordshire, which has been shown to date from the Bronze Age, the earliest evidence of the existence of the Westbury horse is in a paper published by the Rev. Francis Wise in 1742. A bold theory for the origin of the first Wiltshire horse is that it commemorates Alfred the Great‘s victory over Guthrum and the Danes at the Battle of Ethandun, in 878.

Another is that it was carved in the early 18th century as a show of loyalty to the new royal house, the House of Hanover, the white horse being an heraldic symbol of the Electorate of Hanover. One writer on the subject has commented “…the hillside white horse can be a slippery creature, and the origins of some are impossible to establish with any certainty.”

The figure at Cherhill was first cut in 1780 by a Dr Christopher Alsop, of Calne, and was created by stripping away the turf to expose the chalk hillside beneath. Its original size was 165 feet (50 m) by 220 feet (67 m).  Dr Alsop, who was Guild Steward of the Borough of Calne, has been called “the mad doctor”, and is reported to have directed the making of the horse from a distance, shouting from below Labour-in-Vain Hill.

Since 1780, the horse has been ‘scoured’ several times. In 1935, it was dressed with a mixture of concrete and chalk, and it was cleaned up again in 1994. A major restoration was carried out in 2002 by the Cherhill White Horse Restoration Group, when the horse was resurfaced with one hundred and sixty tonnes of new chalk, the outline was re-cut, and shuttering was added to hold the chalk in place. This work was supported by a grant of £18,000 from the National Trust. The present surface is thus made of compacted chalk, and the edges of the figure are well defined.

In the 19th century, the horse had a glittering glass eye, formed from bottles pressed neck-first into the ground. The bottles had been added by a Farmer and his wife, but by the late 19th century they were gone, perhaps taken as souvenirs. During the 1970s, a local youth centre project added a new eye made of glass bottles, but these also disappeared. The eye now consists of stone and concrete and stands proud of the chalk surface.

In 1922, Oldfield Howey noted that “At the time of writing this horse is sadly in need of scouring, as due to the Great War all such things have had to be neglected, but we understand that a local lady, formerly the Lord of the Manor has come to its rescue and asked permission to restore it.

In the week of the coronation of King George VI in 1937, the horse was floodlit and the letters GE (for the king and his queen, Elizabeth) were picked out in red lights above it, with the power coming from a generator at the foot of the hill. The red letters were lit up for five seconds, followed by the floodlights for ten seconds, in a repeating pattern.

Thirteen such white horses are known to have existed in Wiltshire. Of these, eight can still be seen, while the others have grown over.The Cherhill White Horse is maintained and saved from this fate by the Cherhill parish council. Perhaps most notable out of the eight, along with the Cherill white horse, is Westbury White Horse.

Via Wikipedia

England’s Hill Figures, Part 2: The Westbury White Horse

The Westbury or Bratton White Horse is a hill figure on the escarpment of Salisbury Plain, approximately 1.6 mi east of Westbury in England. Located on the edge of Bratton Downs and lying just below an Iron Age hill fort, it is the second oldest of several white horses carved in the Wiltshire hillsides. It was restored in 1778, an action which may have obliterated a previous horse which had occupied the same slope. A contemporary engraving of the 1760s appears to show a horse facing in the opposite direction, and also rather smaller than the present figure. However, there is at present no other evidence for the existence of a chalk horse at Westbury before the year 1742.

The origin of the Westbury White Horse is obscure. It is often claimed to commemorate King Alfred‘s victory at the Battle of Eðandun in 878, and while this is not impossible, there is no trace of such a legend before the second half of the eighteenth century. It should also be noted that the battle of Eðandun has only tentatively been identified with Edington in Wiltshire.

Another white horse, that of Uffington, featured in King Alfred’s earlier life. He was born in the Vale of White Horse, not far from Uffington. Unlike Westbury, documents as early as the 11th century refer to the “White Horse Hill” at Uffington (“mons albi equi”), and archaeological evidence has dated the Uffington White Horse to the Bronze Age, although it is not certain that it was originally intended to represent a horse.

A white horse war standard was associated with the continental Saxons in the Dark Ages, and the figures of Hengest and Horsa who, according to legend, led the first Anglo-Saxon invaders into England. They are said to have fought under a white horse standard, a claim recalled in the heraldic badge of the county of Kent.

During the 18th century, the white horse was a heraldic symbol associated with the new British Royal Family, the House of Hanover, and it’s argued by some scholars that the Westbury White Horse may have first been carved in the early 18th century as a symbol of loyalty to the new Protestant reigning house.

In the 1950s, the horse was vandalized. It was repaired, but the damage could still be seen. The horse was fully restored in late 2006.

Via: Wikipedia