Ancient Egyptians were getting inked up earlier than we thought.
A new analysis of two mummies shows the pair were sporting tattoos. The mummies belong to a collection of six found in 1900. They were named the Gebelein mummies after the region in which they were found. Now in the possession of the British Museum, they were reanalyzed as part of an ongoing project to reexamine valuable artifacts.
Both individuals date anywhere from 3351 B.C. to 3017 B.C., making them some of the earliest known bearers of tattoos. The next known example of ancient Egyptians getting tattoos doesn’t appear for more than a millennia later.
Only Ötzi the Ice Man, a cave man dating back to about 3370 B.C., has earlier evidence of tattoos.
Unlike Ötzi’s tattoos, which have more geometric designs, the Egyptian tattoos are the earliest known examples of figurative tattoos, or tattoos that represent images. The new findings are published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
What initially looked like a smudge was reexamined with infrared imaging, which allows scientists to see the markings on the mummified skin with more clarity. On the male body, scientists spotted the images of a wild bull and what appears to be a Barbary sheep.
The woman’s body contains four “S”-like symbols on her top shoulder joint and an “L”-shaped line on her abdomen that archaeologists think might be a stave, or wooden staff.
Both bodies contained tattoos that were inked into the dermis, the thicker part of their skin, with an ink made of some sort of soot. Copper instruments found in nearby regions have been previously suggested as tattooing tools.
What the Tattoos Tell Us
The find suggests, for the first time, that both men and women in ancient Egyptian societies had tattoos.
Previously, archaeologists assumed that only women living during ancient Egypt’s predynastic period, from 4000 B.C. to 3100 B.C., had tattoos. This theory was based on figurines that depicted women with tattoos.
These tattoos represent the first time archaeologists have found examples of tattoos on people that mirror motifs used in art.
Both the images on the male and female seem to suggest a symbolic relevance, but archaeologists aren’t quite of their exact meaning.
“The sheep is quite commonly used in the predynastic [Egyptian period] and its significance is not well understood, whereas the bull is specifically to do with male virility and status,” says study author and British Museum curator Daniel Antoine.
CT scans on the man showed he was in his early 20s when he died. A cut in his shoulder and damage to one of his ribs suggests he died from a stab wound to the back.
As to the meaning of the woman’s tattoos?
“I don’t think there’s a good explanation at the moment,” says Antoine. “It’s meant to emphasize things, but I’m not sure why. It was maybe to draw attention to a crooked stave below. It’s an era before writing, so we can only draw parallels.”
The paper further suggests that the placement of the tattoos on the woman’s shoulder and abdomen mean the woman was someone who had religious knowledge or a high status.
Researching the tattoos further may help archaeologists better understand Egypt’s early visual language, says the curator.
1000 Pillar Temple – Impossible Ancient Technology Found
Today we are going to look at one of the strangest ancient sites in India – this is the Thousand Pillar Temple which is at least 750 years old. On first sight, it looks like a regular temple, but there is something fundamentally different about this temple, because there are no visible joints at all between the stone blocks in the walls of this temple.
This is a large temple, but look carefully as I go from the ground to the top, do you see any joints? This makes people wonder if this entire temple is made of one solid rock, like the Kailasa Temple, but archeologists confirm that it is in fact made of many many blocks of stone.
In 1300 A.D , an army of the Muslim King Allauddin Khalji tried to demolish this temple, and they took out many of the stone blocks from the ground and the ceiling, because it was easier to dismantle them, but they could not dismantle the blocks on the walls. If you look at the floor, these are newer stone slabs placed by the Archeology department, and you can see how these blocks are loosely connected.
If you compare the modern day stone masonry with the ancient technique, modern technology appears quite primitive, because you can clearly see the joints. The archeology department has been trying to restore the temple from the destruction and graffiti by Allauddin Khalji’s army.
Now, why is this temple called ‘The thousand pillar temple’? Most visitors wonder why this is known as the thousand pillar temple because it doesn’t have a thousand pillars. It is called so because it is made of one thousand blocks of stone, this is the actual reason why this name is used. But even in most sophisticated temples like the Lepakshi temple, we can see clear evidence of joints between the blocks, but in this temple, the joints are not visible.
What is fascinating is that there was no cement, mortar, or glue used to join these blocks. How did ancient builders achieve such an extraordinary level of jointing, many centuries ago? What kind of technology existed and how was such a temple built?
The underlying technology is this:
Ancient builders created a complex interlocking system with at least a dozen different cuts in each stone block. These complex cuts maximize the amount of surface area shared by the connecting blocks, and will create an extremely tight fit.
This is hard enough to do between 2 stone blocks, but imagine using several stone blocks on all sides and how many cuts would have been needed to connect 4 or 5 blocks together. I mean, this is just an extraordinary technology. This can be done on wood, but how did they manage to make these cuts on large stone blocks many centuries ago? Making these cuts is one thing, but the level of precision, to make these joints invisible can be achieved only with advanced machines.
We can clearly see that building a massive temple with no visible joints is impossible with primitive tools. Did ancient builders use cutting, drilling and polishing tools, just like today? If so, do we have any evidence of these tools in the temple itself?
How about these carvings which resemble modern drilling and polishing tools? In most temples, we usually see carvings of Gods, but in this temple, we can see these tool like carvings, with a conical, striated top with a long shaft, which is remarkably similar to modern day tool bits.
Just compare these carvings with today’s tool bits side by side. You have to admit there is an uncanny similarity. Is this a coincidence, or did ancient builders use tool bits just like us, to make these precise interlocking system?
The pillars in the temple confirm that drilling machines were in fact used. There are very tiny holes drilled on these pillars. My friend is struggling to send a thread through the small holes, but these holes are too small even for a thread. The priest is happy to help us, he picks up something thinner than a thread and inserts it successfully through these holes.
If you think these carvings are not drill bits, how do you explain such tiny holes carved on the pillars? How do you explain the construction of an entire temple with no visible joints? Were they created with advanced machines, or with simple tools like chisels and hammers?
1,000-Year-Old Mammoth Bone Pendant With A Mysterious Message In Turkic Runes Discovered In Yakutia
An 11-year-old boy in the village of Yakutia has discovered a 1,000-year-old message on a pendant that was carved into a mammoth bone with Turkic runic inscriptions.
The four mysterious words are believed to be in the Orkhon-Yenisei type script. Such writings are normally found in rock art in Yakutia, also known as Sakha Republic, the world’s coldest region.
Academic Ninel Malysheva said: ‘Runes rarely occur on such things as talismans and amulets. ‘If it is confirmed that this bone found in Namsky district is genuine, it will be a great scientific discovery for the republic. ‘A comprehensive study is now required involving paleontologists, archaeologists and Turkologist. Studies on exact dating and decoding the inscription are underway at the Museum of Writing, part of the North-Eastern Federal University (NEFU).
Photo © Michil Yakovlev (Image Source)
Photo ©Michil Yakovlev (Image Source)
One of the earliest recorded Turkic language is in the form of a script called “Turkic Runes”, found in Russia’s southern Siberia and the Xinjiang uygur Autonomous Region of China (a region not surprisingly also known as Chinese Turkestan) beginning at around the 8th century CE.
Example of Turkic runes. “Irk Bitig Fal Kitabı” page 7. 9th century. ©The International Dunhuang Project (Image Source)
What are the four mysterious words?
One theory is that the words express ‘good wishes’, but scientists hope to find the exact meaning.
Village where the ancient pendant was discovered is some 100 kilometres north of Yakutsk, the regional capital, and the world’s coldest city. Another example of Turkic runes in Yaktutia is the so-called Petrov inscription. It is a writing made using ocher some 200 km from Yakutsk. It is known as the most northerly rune inscription in the world.
Researchers in the middle of the last century believed that the inscription indicated the location of medieval treasure.
A literal translation is said to read: ‘Pearls of the tribe Az.’ Scientists claim such Turkic scripts date back 1,000 years or more.
The Old Turkic script – also known as variously Göktürk script, Orkhon script, Orkhon-Yenisei script – is the alphabet used by the Göktürks and other early Turkic khanates during the 8th to 10th centuries.
The script is named after the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia where early 8th century inscriptions were discovered in an 1889 expedition by Nikolai Yadrintsev. These Orkhon inscriptions were published by Vasily Radlov and deciphered by the Danish philologist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1893. This writing system was later used within the Uyghur Khaganate.
Additionally, a Siberian variant is known from 9th century Yenisei Kirghiz inscriptions, and it has likely cousins in the Talas Valley of Turkestan and the Old Hungarian alphabet of the 10th century. Words were usually written from right to left.
Yakut runic letters are the least studied in Siberia. They provoke heated discussions among the linguists and Turkologists. But most new finds of inscriptions are made in Yakutia. Now the total number all Yakutian finds is close to 90. Most runic inscriptions of Yakutia have not yet been deciphered.
The Secret Of Cappadocia
Who built the underground City of Derinkuyu?
The worldwide known region of Turkey – Cappadocia it has magical beauty not only on its surface but also in the bottom. Every part of this region is magical. Above ground, there are ancient volcanic stone chimneys, known as “fairy chimneys”. There are no words to describe this excellence. Оr as someone once said: Cappadocia – it looks like Mars but it’s in Turkey. Over the years, generations and cultures have changed, but they all contributed to the unique appearance and structure (in and out) of these chimneys today. The “fairy chimneys” have very impressive architecture.
But Cappadocia is not just what we see on the surface. In the heart of Cappadocia lie hidden places. Also it has beauty inside, within, like a human being you know. The underground city of this region number about 200 and they are spread across the entire region. It’s assumed there could be more lying below the surface, waiting to be discovered. Of all the underground cities discovered so far, the most interesting story brings the city of Derinkuyu. The city was discovered by accident. when a local family decided to renovate their home. Suddenly a wall gave way to reveal a room and passage that led to this underground network. Derinkuyu it’s like a huge building.
According to some research, it is on 11 floors or levels descending about 280 feet, with an area of a little over 4 miles squared (10.4 kilometers squared). Inside there are many chambers for everyday activities, tombs, temples, living quarters etc. This underground city can also be connected to other local underground networks as well as wineries, underground water well systems providing fresh water, and a security system made up of enormous stone doors that can close the city from the inside. Each section, or level, can be separated from the following. Heavy stone doors could close Derinkuyu from the inside in order to fend off intruders, and each story could be shut off individually.
The most frequent guests throughout the years are tourists and archaeologists. The place by itself it’s safe considering its solid structure. The underground rock is very strong. Despite the good structure of the stone, there are no signs of the existence of any cave-ins. Furthermore, the engineer of this masterpiece had a good knowledge of the stone, stonework, architecture, and the local geography.
And the real question is: Who built this underground kingdom and why?
It is really difficult to determine the age of the structure. Furthermore, there is no recorded documentation of the construction and the people who lived there moved over the years. Common assumptions are that they are built by the early Christians but later research has shown that early Christians were only temporary residents. According to UNESCO, the first signs of monastic activity in Cappadocia date back to the 4th century, at which time, acting on the instructions of Basil the Great, Bishop of Caesarea, small anchoritic communities began inhabiting cells dug into the rock. It is believed that these underground premises were mostly refugee shelters.
There are many theories about who built the underground city. There are beliefs that the caves were constructed by the Persian King Yima. But in fact, he was more a mythological figure than a real king. The story of the king Yima is similar to the story of Noah in the Bible: The king built an underground city on the orders of the god Ahura Mazda, to protect his people from a catastrophic winter. He collects pairs of the best animals and people as well as the best seeds in order to reseed the Earth after the winter cataclysm.
The story of the ‘winter’ it’s in fact maybe the period of the ice age. And the last ice was between 110,000 to 10,000 years ago. The diverse labyrinths, so many floors and security doors point to the fact that these rooms are built to protect something or someone. The most impressive fact is that the network would have taken an immense amount of time to construct without advanced tools. The mystery of who built these underground networks is huge and heavy as the rolling stones on the doors of Derinkuyu.
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