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


The Dry Tortugas

Juan Ponce de Leon
first stumbled upon this stretch of islands in 1513, back when they were nothing more than clusters of coral inhabited by sea turtles. Upon his discovery, de Leon named the islands “Las Tortugas” (meaning “the turtles”), and is said to have subsisted off 160 of these very animals while on his journey through the high seas. The word Dry was later added to the islands’ name as an attempt to warn mariners of the lack of freshwater in the area.

After de Leon’s discovery, the Dry Tortugas became a fixture on Spanish ship maps for merchants and explorers going to and from the Gulf Coast. Seventy miles west of the Florida Keys, and in a prime location between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, the Dry Tortugas soon became a popular shipping corridor.

Despite the passageway’s popularity, the Dry Tortugas also became the site of hundreds of shipwrecks. The seasonal shallow waters and hazardous weather conditions lent to the corridor’s infamous title as the “ship trap.” To this day, a large collection of sunken treasures still lies beneath the surface waters. Seventeenth-century vessel remains, cannons, and glassware are among some of the maritime relics.

Of all the Dry Tortugas treasures, though, Fort Jefferson perhaps remains the crown jewel. Once Florida was acquisitioned from Spain in 1822, the United States began plans to erect a naval station that would help combat piracy in the Caribbean. Eventually, the U.S. Navy agreed on the Dry Tortugas as the site for their fortress, arguing that U.S. shipping in the Gulf Coast would be in jeopardy if a hostile power were to take over the islands.

In 1847, after seventeen years of extensive planning, Fort Jefferson began construction on the Garden Key Island. The design plans called for a practically indestructible hexagonal fortress, complete with a massive 420 heavy-gun platform. Two sides of the fort measured 325 feet and four sides measured 477 feet. The structure stood 45-feet above sea level, surrounded entirely by a wall and a 70-foot wide moat. Though construction lasted for roughly thirty years, Fort Jefferson was never fully completed. Despite this, 16 million bricks were laid, making it one of the largest coastal forts ever built and the largest brick structure in the Western Hemisphere.

During the Civil War the fort was also used as a prison, mainly for Union deserters. The most famous inmate, however, was Dr. Samuel Mudd, who was convicted of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. After shooting President Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth jumped from the theater box, broke one of his legs, and immediately fled to Dr. Mudd’s farm where he received medical assistance.

In 1865, Dr. Mudd was sentenced to life in prison and sent to the remote fortress. Two years later, a yellow fever outbreak occurred at Fort Jefferson. The outbreak took a number of lives, including the lone doctor who had been stationed at the fort. Dr. Mudd agreed to step in as a replacement and, as a result, many lives were saved. Consequently, the soldiers started a petition demanding Dr. Mudd’s release; a petition which President Andrew Johnson granted only four years into Dr. Mudd’s life sentence.

The fort was abandoned by the Army in 1874. In later years it served as a coaling station, quarantine hospital and, in 1935, it was registered by President Roosevelt as a National Monument. Today it operates as part of the Dry Tortugas National Park. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the Dry Tortugas are considered to be one of America’s most remote and least visited national parks.

Via: AtlasObscura

The Maine Penny

A Rare Pre-Columbian Norse Artifact Discovered in America

The Goddard site is an archeological location that holds the remains of an old Native American settlement. It is located at Naskeag Point, Brooklin, Maine on Penobscot Bay. A 1978 article in Time Magazine called the discovery an ancient Indian rubbish pile located near the coastal town of Blue Hill. After an intense study, a collection of 30,000 items from the area were donated to the Maine State Museum. Among these artifacts was an ancient Norwegian silver penny.  The penny is unique because it has been traced to the reign of Olaf Kyrre (1067–1093 AD).  This has intrigued scientists and raised questions surrounding the penny’s arrival in America and Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact.

One of a Kind
Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact describes the interaction between the indigenous people of the Americas and people from other continents, which occurred before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492. Many such occurrences have been proposed over the years, based on historical accounts, archaeological finds, and cultural comparisons. However, these claims are controversial and strongly debated in the scientific world. The Maine Penny is unique because it has been described as “the only pre-Columbian Norse artifact generally regarded as genuine found within the United States.” It is not debated that the object is a real Olaf Kyrre silver penny that was minted between the years 1065 and 1080 AD.

The Goddard archeological site has been dated to 1180-1235, which is within the circulation period of the Olaf penny. During this time in history, the Norse lived in Greenland and could have potentially visited North America. The penny’s coastal origin has been offered as evidence that the Vikings traveled further south than Newfoundland or that the coin might have been traded locally.  However, the penny was the only Norse artifact found at the site.  It was discovered by a local resident, Guy Mellgren, who claimed that he found the coin on August 18, 1957.

Since that time, Mellgren has been accused of creating an elaborate hoax. The general scientific opinion is that the artifact should be considered “not proven.” and may have been planted by Guy Mellgren. It has been suggested that the coin could have traveled to Maine via native Viking trade channels in Labrador or Newfoundland. The Maine Museum and the Smithsonian website favor the opinion that the artifact was discovered at the Goddard site and is therefore evidence of a Viking presence on the North American continent. It has been determined that there are enough questions regarding the Olaf silver penny to leave its archaeological significance as unclear and intriguing.

Via: TopTens.Net

The Aluminum Wedge of Aiud

In 1974, in Romania, East of Aiud, a group of workers, on the banks of the river Mures, discovered three buried objects in a sand trench 10 meters deep. Two of the objects proved to be Mastodon bones. These dating from between the Miocene and the Pleistocene periods.

The third object — the Aluminum Wedge of Aiud, also known as the Object of Aiud, is a mysterious wedge-shaped block of metal similar in some respects to the head of a hammer. The object was sent to the archeological institute of Cluj-Napoca. The examination of this object showed it to weigh about 5lbs. There are two holes of different sizes. The object has two arms. Traces of tool marks can be seen on the sides of the object and at its lowest part. It measures approximately 8″ x 5″ x 3″.

Dr. Niederkorn of the institute for the study of metals and non-metallic minerals located in Magurele, Romania, concluded that the object is comprised of a alloy of an extremely complex metal. Twelve different elements combine to form the Aiud Object. It consists of: 89% aluminum, 6.2% copper, 2.84% silicon, 1.81% zinc, 0.41%  lead, 0.33% tin, 0.2% zirconium, 0.11% cadmium, 0.0024% nickel, 0.0023% cobalt, 0.0003% bismuth, and trace of galium.

Furthermore, this strange object is covered with a thick layer of aluminum oxide, which lends credence to its antiquity. After the analysis of this aluminum oxide layer, specialists have confirmed that the object is a minimum of 300 to 400 years old.

The fact that this strange metal object was found alongside Mastadon bones does cause one to wonder and raises many issues. These findings helped to ignite a heated debate within the scientific community.

The results puzzled the researchers because pure aluminum was not readily obtainable until the middle of the 19th century. Aluminum is not found freely in nature, but is combined with other minerals. The manufacturing process requires 1,000 degrees of heat. It has been thought that only in the last 100 years or so has the technology existed to successfully separate the materials from the mineral bearing ore.

Other specialists claim that the object could be 20,000 years old because it was found in a layer with mastodon bone. Perhaps this particular specimen lived in the latter part of the Pleistocene.

Some researchers suppose that this piece of metal was part of a flying object that had fallen into the river. They presume that it had an extraterrestrial origin. Other researchers believe the wedge was made here on Earth and its purpose has not yet been identified.

Not much information can be found on this subject. The lack of data can possibly be explained by the imposed restrictions on archaeology and history by the communist rule of the time.

The aluminum wedge of Aiud remains a mystery.


The Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient mechanical computer designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck. Its significance and complexity were not understood until decades later. Its time of construction is now estimated between 150 and 100 BC.

The degree of mechanical sophistication is comparable to a 19th century Swiss clock. Technological artifacts of similar complexity and workmanship did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks were built in Europe.
Via: My Confined Space

Exploring the Mysterious Portolan Maps

Section of the amazingly accurate 1559 map by Mateo Prunes.

One of the most mysterious topics in world history concerns a handful of maps depicting the world’s geography with a precision that far exceeded the tools and abilities of the day’s mapmakers. The Library of Congress convened a conference, “Re-Examining the Portolan Chart: History, Navigation and Science” to discuss maps originating about 1275.

According to today’s Washington Post: It is a rare representative of one of the world’s greatest and most enduring mysteries: Where and how did medieval mapmakers, apparently armed with no more than a compass, an hourglass and sets of sailing directions, develop stunningly accurate maps of southern Europe, the Black Sea and North African coastlines, as if they were looking down from a satellite, when no one had been higher than a treetop?

The earliest known portolan (PORT-oh-lawn) chart, the Carta Pisana, just appears in about 1275 — with no known predecessors. It is perhaps the first modern scientific map and contrasted sharply to the “mappamundi” of the era, the colorful maps with unrecognizable geography and fantastic creatures and legends. It bears no resemblance to the methods of the mathematician Ptolemy and does not use measurements of longitude and latitude.

And yet, despite it’s stunning accuracy, the map “seems to have emerged full-blown from the seas it describes,” one reference journal notes. No one today knows who made the first maps, or how they calculated distance so accurately, or even how all the information came to be compiled.

While maps such as the Carta Pisana are indeed worthy of in-depth research, I’m also drawn to even more mysterious examples, such as the Piri Reis map from 1513, which has been the topic of a couple of books, the most fun ~ even if perhaps not the most accurate ~ being Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, first published by Charles Hapgood in 1966.

Signage & Polaroid Negatives

Check out this excellent work by Craig Crutchfield.

Crutchfield is a designer at McGarrah Jesse who documents old signage, afraid that soon they will all be gone. To do so, he uses the negatives from Polaroid films, the part that is usually thrown away. Good concept. Nice results.

These are (for the most part) polaroid type 667 negatives or Fuji FP-3000B negatives that He’s scanned in color mode on his scanner. This setting gives the images a nice sepia tone. The junk on the outside of the photos is the paper and crust that comes natural to a 667 or FP-3000B negative.

Follow this link to check out the complete Flickr photo set!

What Happened To Hitler’s Gold?

As Germany collapsed, its fascist masters tried to hide $7.5 billion in gold and thousands of priceless stolen masterpieces. Much of the hoard has never been recovered. Among the chaos of the collapse of Hitler’s empire in April 1945 the biggest heist in history took place. Gold bars, jewels and stolen foreign currency with an estimated worth of $3.34 billion vanished from the Reichsbank vaults, in Germany.

The Reichsbank vaults held the major part of Nazi Germany’s gold reserves, estimated to be worth about $7.5 billion by today’s standards, including $1.5 billion of Italian gold.

On April 7, U.S. officers took an elevator 2,100 feet down into a cave hewn from salt rock and found a billion Reichsmarks in the 550 bags left behind. After dynamiting the steel door to Room No. 8, they discovered more than 7,000 numbered bags in a room 150 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 12 feet high. The hoard included 8,527 gold bars, gold coins from France, Switzerland, and the United States, and still more stacks of paper money. Gold and silver plate, smashed flat for easier storage, was packed in boxes and trunks. There were suitcases filled with diamonds, pearls, and other precious stones robbed from death camp victims along with sacks stuffed with gold dental bridges and fillings. Added to minor amounts of money from Britain, Norway,Turkey, Spain, and Portugal, the entire cache proved to be one of the richest deposits anywhere in the world at that time. It represented an astonishing 93.17 percent of Germany’s entire financial reserves as the war reached an end.

But that was not all. In other tunnels that webbed through the soft rock, investigators found 400 tons of art, including paintings from 15 German museums, and important books from the Goethe collection from Weimar. Under heavy guard, the treasures of the mines were placed in 11,750 containers and loaded onto 32 10-ton trucks for transport to Frankfurt, where they were stored in the vaults of the Reichsbank branch there. Despite persistent rumors about the disappearance of one of the trucks in the convoy, none of the gold or art was lost in transit.

In the ensuing decades small quantities of the treasures have turned up in Portugal, Switzerland, Turkey, Spain, Sweden and even a small town outside of Texas in the United States, but the majority remains missing. Across the world search teams look for this missing treasure but after 60 years the challenge becomes more and more formidable.

So where is Hitler’s missing gold? Here is a list of popular theories as to the loot’s disappearance.

Information from the following sources: The PreSurfer, In Search of Treasure and Money Choices

Ouija Boards and Dial Plates

Today, we might consider a kitchen table a peculiar piece of equipment to use to speak with spirits. For the spiritualist mediums of the 1850’s, it seemed quite natural. A table was an available and commonplace piece of household furniture and a natural gathering place for family members. It also provided an ideal contact surface for those performing a séance. It worked very simply: the sitters placed their hands palms down on the tabletop and asked questions of the spirits. The spirits responded by tilting the table and rapping a leg against the floor. One knock meant, “no,” two knocks meant, “doubtful,” and three knocks meant, “yes.” For complicated messages, spiritualists either called out the alphabet and let the spirits knock at the appropriate letter, or they employed an alphabet pasteboard. A member of the group held up the pasteboard with one hand, and with the fingers of the other, passed them slowly over the letters. The spirits knocked when the fingers touched the desired letter. Although somewhat time consuming, it was a simple and effective way to spell out messages from the “Dearly Departed.”

Some mediums believed that there might be better methods of interpreting messages than using tables and alphabet boards. Modeling their equipment after the new dial plate telegraphs of the period, the logic was plain: if you could contact the living using the telegraph, then why not the non-living? In 1853, a Thompsonville, Connecticut spiritualist, Isaac T. Pease, called his invention, suitably enough, the “Spiritual Telegraph Dial.” Just a dial with letters arranged around the circumference and a message needle to point to them were necessary. There was no need for messy wires or electricity.

Dial Plate Talking Boards