Connect with us

Ancient

3800-Year-Old Teen Skeleton Found Buried With Fortune-Telling Game

The Ouija board was invented in 1890 and was probably played by teens at parties from day one. However, that teen fascination with fortune-telling games has been around for thousands of years. Need proof? A skeleton dating back 3,800 years was unearthed recently in Russia and the teen was buried with the animal bone pieces of an ancient fortune-telling game that’s still played in Mongolia today. Did the teen see this coming?

“(The game) was probably the most popular among the kids in the Bronze age.”

Georgy Stukalov, a scientific researcher for the Astrakhan History museum, says the game was discovered next to the remains of a teen (it’s unknown if it was male or female) buried in a fetal position in the Bogomolnye Peski necropolis. This multi-layered burial site is located near the village of Nikolskoye near the Caspian Sea. The remains and the game were buried below layers which recently revealed the 2,000-year-old skeleton and elongated skull of a man who appeared to be laughing. Was he playing the game too?

“And this game – shagai – came to us through the centuries. Even 50 to 60 years ago our granddads and grannies used to play this game.”

Possible positions of shagai bones – Camel, Horse, Sheep, Goat (Wilkipedia)

Stukalov explains that the fortune-telling game is called “Shagai,” a name that refers to the astragalus, which is the lower part of the ankle bone (sometimes called the ‘hock’) of a sheep or goat. The four sides of the bone are uniquely shaped — the convex sides are called ‘horse; and ‘sheep’ and are the lucky sides, while the concave faces are ‘goat’ and ‘camel’ and considered unlucky. More than one of the bones are thrown at a time and the up-facing surfaces determine the outcome, moves or fortune, depending on which version of Shagai is being played. In the simple fortune-telling game, rolling four bones and having one of each animal showing is the best (luckiest) roll. Not much is known of the Bronze Age Srubnaya culture which inhabited the area between the 18th and 12th centuries BCE other than it survived on livestock breeding – which explains the plentiful supply of game pieces.

If it sounds vaguely familiar, Shagai is thought to have been a predecessor to many throwing games and is played in other parts of the world under the name Knucklebones or Jacks. The knobby shape of the bones may have inspired the 3D asterisks that are modern jacks. In Mongolia where the game is still played with the real thing, the bones are considered to be good luck charms and often given as gifts.

Was the person in the grave playing Shagai for fun or for fortune? Being a teen, it was probably both.

Source: Mysterious Universe

Comments

Ancient

The flood during the Sumerian civilization

“And behold, I will bring a flood of water on the earth, to destroy all flesh, in which there is the spirit of life, under heaven; everything on earth will lose its life. But with you I will establish my covenant, and you will enter the ark, you, and your sons, and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you … ”.

This is how the epic story of Noah began in the Old Testament – a righteous man chosen by God to build a huge ship and save all kinds of living creatures. However, the myth of the great flood that destroyed sinners was not an invention of the ancient Jews.

"Winter.  Global flood".  Nicolas Poussin.
“Winter. Global flood”. Nicolas Poussin. Source: wikipedia.org

The Sumerian civilization is rightfully considered one of the most mysterious in world history. For several thousand years the cities of Lagash, Ur, Uruk (there are hundreds of names) were economic and cultural centers between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Permeated by a system of irrigation canals, the river valley was a granary for a large population.

Map of Ancient Sumer.
Map of Ancient Sumer. Source: medium.com

The winter months were accompanied by heavy rains and overflow of rivers. This is evidenced by the names of the tenth (December-January) and eleventh (January-February) months according to the Babylonian calendar – “drowning” and “beaten by the wind.” Agricultural cycles played a huge role in the life of Sumerian society.

However, the word “flood” could be used not only in relation to natural disasters. For example, the ancient Sumerian texts call the punishment of the king of the Akkadian dynasty Naram-Suena, the son of Sargon the Ancient, “flood”. The god of air and storms Enlil sent punishment to the ruler of the state for his unrighteousness.

The punishment itself had many stages, the most difficult was the plundering of the capital of the country of Nippur by the tribe of Kutii. Laments for Nippur became the mainstay of urban winter rituals. In them, the punishment of the gods is called “flood”, although, apparently, there was no talk of a water disaster.

Image of Naram-Suena on a stele from the city of Susa.
Image of Naram-Suena on a stele from the city of Susa. Source: wikipedia.org

In 1872, 32-year-old British engraver and Assyrologist George Smith, among the artifacts from the Ashurbanipal library, found a fragment of a clay tablet with a description of the legend of the Flood.

The find created a furor in European society – there were rolls over with the famous Old Testament legend about the righteous man Noah, who built the ark and survived a natural disaster. The following year, Smith was able to go on an expedition to Nineveh to find the missing fragments of the epic.

The trip was sponsored by Edwin Arnold, publisher of The Daily Telegraph. The search was crowned with success, and already in 1875 Smith published the results of his search in Assyrian Discoveries: An Account of Explorations and Discoveries on the Site of Nineveh, During 1873 to 1874.

George Smith.
George Smith

The legend said about the anger of the gods against people for their unrighteousness, the already mentioned Enlil again initiated the punishment. It rained for many days and nights. However, there was one survivor – the king of the city of Shuruppak Ziusudra, warned by the god of wisdom Ea about the approaching dark times.

Utnapishtim
Utnapishtim Source: Ziusudra) and the god Enki (Ea)

Indeed, in the 1930s, an expedition from the University of Pennsylvania led by archaeologist Erich Schmidt discovered a cultural layer in Shuruppak, consisting of deposits of clay and silt, which indicated flooding. The flood, dating back to the 5th and 4th millennia BC, also caused damage to the larger cities of Sumer – Uru, Uruk and Kish.

Ziusudra, who ruled in Shuruppak, according to legend, for several tens of thousands of years, built a huge ship to save his family, property and living creatures that lived on Earth:

“Everything that I had› I loaded there:

I put all the silver on the ship;

And he brought all the gold;

And I drove all the creatures of God there.

As well as family and relatives.

And from the fields and from the steppe

I brought all the insects there;

And he brought all the artisans to the ship. “

Noah's Ark.
Noah’s Ark. Source: ulltable.com

The cataclysm lasted 6 days, after which the water began to subside, and the ship ended up on the top of Mount Nisir – this is how Ararat was called in ancient times. The gods bestowed immortality on Ziusudra, and the human race again descended from him. The tradition is strikingly similar to the story of Noah. This allowed scholars to assert that the Semitic biblical legends were based on Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian myths.

This, however, did not end the story of the Sumerian righteous man. The last time, but under a different name, he appears in the epic about Gilgamesh – the heroic ruler of the city of Uruk. Utnapishtim (this is how Ziusudra was called in the Akkadian epic) tells the king how he achieved immortality. However, no plaque was found that would tell about the end of the conversation between the two powerful heroes.

Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh. Source: tainy.net

It is possible that the motives of the Sumerian, and then the Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian culture penetrated into the Jewish culture as a result of the famous Babylonian captivity of 598-582. BC. The former captives who returned after the conquest of the capital of the state of the X Chaldean dynasty by the Persian king Cyrus the Great and absorbed the mythological layer of the ancient civilization, apparently recorded the Old Testament legends in the Torah. 

Many stories reflected in the Bible are somehow connected with the Babylonian traditions, which, in turn, are inextricably linked with the Sumerian culture.

Continue Reading

Ancient

A settlement was found in Iceland, which is mentioned in fairy tales

In 2013, archaeologists studied the Icelandic sea bay of Arnarfjordur, on the territory of which, during the Middle Ages, the Vikings supposedly lived. In the course of scientific work, scientists discovered a pile of ash, which clearly remained after the complete combustion of the ancient house. 

Due to lack of funding, the excavation had to be postponed until 2017, but, in the end, the researchers managed to find the remains of a 10th century farm settlement. At the moment, it is known that it consists of a hut, a 23-meter earthen house, three small houses, a workshop and a cowshed. 

The furnaces installed in the buildings were larger than usual, so scientists believe that thousands of years ago the inhabitants of these places were actively engaged in blacksmithing. The most interesting fact is that the life of the people of this region was told in one of the medieval sagas, which bordered on fairy tales.

Kraken – one of the monsters of Scandinavian legends

Viking houses

An unusual place was described in the Ancient Origins edition. In the excavated houses, archaeologists managed to find the remains of large furnaces with cracked stones. Based on the finds, the researchers put forward the theory that the Vikings who lived in the Arnarfjordur Bay were engaged in the extraction of iron and the manufacture of various tools. 

Unfortunately, the remains of these tools have not yet been found by archaeologists. In the future, they plan to use flying drones to find land plots, under which the remains of thousand-year-old Viking buildings and tools made by them may also be hidden. Everything that they manage to find will help to study the historical sagas, which talk about the life of the Scandinavian peoples in the period from 930 to 1030.

Excavation in Arnarfjordur Bay

The first inhabitants of Iceland

One of these sagas is Landamabok, written in the XII century. It is considered the oldest written source ever discovered, detailing the early days of Iceland. This historical work will give a list of the first inhabitants of Iceland: there are about 3,000 names and about 1,400 place names. According to Landnamabok, one of the first settlers of a place called Svinadalur was a certain Eyvindur Audkula. 

In 1300 AD, the ruler of these lands was Bjarnason Auðkýlingur. The places described in this saga have many similarities with the aforementioned Arnarfjordur Bay. Most likely, this work tells about local residents.

Frame from the series “Vikings”

Scandinavian monsters

But if this work tells about real people and events, then where does the fairy tale? The fact is that the historical work also deals with sea monsters that were seen in Icelandic waters. It is noteworthy that not only the people who first settled in Iceland in 874 AD believed in mythical creatures. 

Our contemporaries allegedly see them from time to time. According to Ancient Origins, about 4,000 sightings of sea and lake monsters have been recorded in Iceland over the past hundred years. Moreover, about 180 monsters were met in the Arnarfjordur Bay.

The Nekki is another Scandinavian scum. Something between a mermaid and a mermaid

Rumor has it that some people have been able to see huge monsters like the Loch Ness monster, whose existence has recently been again talked about. Most likely, all of these messages are used to attract the attention of tourists. In the Icelandic village of Bildudalur, which is just located on the coast of Arnarfjordur, in early 2010, even the Sea Monster Museum was opened. 

All the exhibits presented in this institution tell about monsters from Scandinavian legends. In addition to viewing the exhibits, visitors can also listen to stories from fishermen. In general, Iceland is famous for its mystical component and tourists can learn a lot about magic, monsters and other evil spirits.

The excavations in Arnarfjordur Bay should ultimately help historians to separate fiction from real facts in historical documents. 

Continue Reading

Ancient

Sensational Findings About Nebra’s Celestial Disc: It is 1000 years younger than previously thought

Scientists from Germany have clarified the dating of one of the most famous and mysterious artifacts found in recent years. The Celestial Disc of Nebra, considered the oldest depiction of the cosmos, is younger than thought.

A new study of the celestial disk from Nebra, formerly considered the oldest depiction of space, has shown that it was made in the Iron Age, making it much younger. This is stated in a study published September 3 in the journal Archäologische Information and a summary of it appeared on the website of the Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. Experts from the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich also took part in the study.

The Nebra Celestial Disc is one of the most significant archaeological finds in German history. In 2013, it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. This artifact was discovered in 1999, and was found by “black diggers”. Presumably, it was found along with swords, axes and bracelets from the Bronze Age.

Photo: Hildegard Burri-Bayer / Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

Until now, it was believed that the celestial disk from Nebra dates back to the Early Bronze Age, created approximately in the years 2200-1600 BC. However, archaeologists from Goethe University Frankfurt and Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich re-analyzed the location and circumstances of the find. And they came to the conclusion that the disc must be dated to the Iron Age, which is about 800 – 50 BC.

The Celestial Disc from Nebra is one of the most significant archaeological finds in Germany and was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in 2013. Searchers said it was discovered during illegal excavations in Germany in 1999, along with Bronze Age swords, axes and bracelets.

Therefore, many years of research have been aimed at verifying both the identity of the alleged find and the general origin of the objects, regardless of the vague information provided by black diggers.

As a result of new research, archaeologists concluded that the site, which until today was considered a find and which was investigated during subsequent excavations, with a high degree of probability is not the true place of the discovery of the celestial disk. In addition, there is no conclusive evidence that swords, axes and bracelets from the Bronze Age form a common ensemble.

According to archaeologists, this means that the disc should be examined and evaluated as a separate find. Therefore, since the celestial disc from Nebra does not correspond to the motives of the early Bronze Age and should be considered as an artifact of the Iron Age, the researchers say.

The Celestial Disc from Nebra was discovered in 2001 while trying to sell it on the black market for archaeological artefacts. The looters were detained, and the disc was handed over to the archaeological museum at the University of Halle.

Disc sellers said they found the disc in 1999 with a metal detector in the town of Nebra (Saxony-Anhalt, 60 km west of Leipzig). From the same burial, they extracted two bronze swords, two hatchets, a chisel, and fragments of spiral bracelets.

During excavations in Nebra, archaeologists did find traces of the presence of bronze. It also turned out that the soil from the excavation site is exactly the same as the traces of which were found on the disc.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

DO NOT MISS

Trending