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Ancient

Pluto’s Gate Uncovered in Turkey

by Rossella Lorenzi

A “gate to hell” has emerged from ruins in southwestern Turkey, Italian archaeologists have announced.

Known as Pluto’s Gate — Ploutonion in Greek, Plutonium in Latin — the cave was celebrated as the portal to the underworld in Greco-Roman mythology and tradition.

Historic sources located the site in the ancient Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now called Pamukkale, and described the opening as filled with lethal mephitic vapors.

“This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death,” the Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC — about 24 AD) wrote.

“I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell,” he added.

Announced this month at a conference on Italian archaeology in Istanbul, Turkey, the finding was made by a team led by Francesco D’Andria, professor of classic archaeology at the University of Salento.

D’Andria has conducted extensive archaeological research at the World Heritage Site of Hierapolis. Two years ago he claimed to discover there the tomb of Saint Philip, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ.

Founded around 190 B.C. by Eumenes II, King of Pergamum (197 B.C.-159 B.C.), Hierapolis was given over to Rome in 133 B.C.

The Hellenistic city grew into a flourishing Roman city, with temples, a theater and popular sacred hot springs, believed to have healing properties.

“We found the Plutonium by reconstructing the route of a thermal spring. Indeed, Pamukkale’ springs, which produce the famous white travertine terraces originate from this cave,” D’Andria told Discovery News.

Featuring a vast array of abandoned broken ruins, possibly the result of earthquakes, the site revealed more ruins once it was excavated. The archaeologists found Ionic semi columns and, on top of them, an inscription with a dedication to the deities of the underworld — Pluto and Kore.

D’Andria also found the remains of a temple, a pool and a series of steps placed above the cave — all matching the descriptions of the site in ancient sources.

“People could watch the sacred rites from these steps, but they could not get to the area near the opening. Only the priests could stand in front of the portal,” D’Andria said.

According to the archaeologist, there was a sort of touristic organization at the site. Small birds were given to pilgrims to test the deadly effects of the cave, while hallucinated priests sacrificed bulls to Pluto.

The ceremony included leading the animals into the cave, and dragging them out dead.

“We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes,” D’Andria said.

Only the eunuchs of Cybele, an ancient fertility goddess, were able to enter the hell gate without any apparent damage.

“They hold their breath as much as they can,” Strabo wrote, adding that their immunity could have been due to their “menomation,” “divine providence” or “certain physical powers that are antidotes against the vapor.”

According to D’Andria, the site was a famous destination for rites of incubation. Pilgrims took the waters in the pool near the temple, slept not too far from the cave and received visions and prophecies, in a sort of oracle of Delphi effect. Indeed, the fumes coming from the depths of Hierapoli’s phreatic groundwater produced hallucinations.

“This is an exceptional discovery as it confirms and clarifies the information we have from the ancient literary and historic sources,” Alister Filippini, a researcher in Roman history at the Universities of Palermo, Italy, and Cologne, Germany, told Discovery News.

Fully functional until the 4th century AD, and occasionally visited during the following two centuries, the site represented “an important pilgrimage destination for the last pagan intellectuals of the Late Antiquity,” Filippini said.

During the 6th century AD, the Plutonium was obliterated by the Christians. Earthquakes may have then completed the destruction.

D’Andria and his team are now working on the digital reconstruction of the site.

Ancient

Figures of mysterious creatures found in 10,000-year-old graves in Jordan

Photo: Kharaysin archaeological team / Antiquity Publications Ltd

When excavating in Jordan, an international team from the Kharaysin archaeological team research project discovered dozens of strange Neolithic figures who were in burials about 10 thousand years old.

An article about this discovery is published in Antiquity magazine. Figurines are found which date from the middle of the ninth millennium BC. This era is known as the Early Neolithic. At that time, iconography was just beginning to spread in the Middle East. New research will help to understand how it developed.

The burials mentioned above are located on the archaeological site of Haraisin in the Zarka River Valley. A group of archaeologists from Spain, France and the UK worked there. It was led by Dr. Juan José Ibáñez.

“We were digging burial grounds, a cemetery,” Ibáñez said. “We know very well the tools that were made in that period.”

Discovered artifacts look like flint tools of ancient people. However, most of these items were found in burials, which is not typical of flint tools. Scientists have suggested that artifacts were sacred. That is, they were deliberately laid in the graves along with the deceased during funeral rituals.

The artifacts were carefully analyzed. As a result, the researchers saw them as “human forms.” The upper pair of recesses is a narrowing to indicate the neck, and the lower one to indicate the waist. A similar “violin-shaped contour” was previously observed in two figures of the same period, found in Haraisin and made of fired clay. This indicates that artifacts are Neolithic figurines. Who exactly did they represent?

“When one of the team members first suggested that artifacts are figurines depicting people, we were skeptical,” says Ibáñez. However, the team has since been convinced that these are images of people, although rude. “They made two notches on one side, one probably representing the neck and the other representing the thigh.”

There is a version that these were primitive images of deities. In subsequent periods of time, the practice of making anthropomorphic figures of deities became widespread. For example, in Europe during the excavations, “Venus” figures were found more than once, whose age was estimated at thousands of years.

Perhaps the statuettes found in Jordan were the result of the first attempts to create divine sculptures. By the way, all the Neolithic figurines found by this mission have various shapes and sizes.

In their article, the authors write that artifacts could be cult objects, including “vehicles of magic,” which were used in rituals. But they pay attention to the fact that some of the finds were made not in the graves, but in ordinary pits.

It is possible that these figurines were for some reason thrown away. For example, they could be thrown out after the rite is completed. Or they were simply rejected. There is one more explanation – the figures could be used as children’s toys or as visual exhibits when teaching rituals.

The discovery also proves that “psychological and social shifts” occurred in people upon transition to a sedentary lifestyle and farming. In particular, they probably had ideas about the afterlife.

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Ancient

Who are the Guanches? How isolation did not save civilization

For many years, the origin of the Canaries of the Guanches remained a mystery. A mystical suggestion was made that they could be descendants of the legendary Atlanteans.

Who are the Guanches?

The subtropical climate of the Canary Islands, the southernmost region of Spain, attracts crowds of holidaymakers. Last year, the Canaries were visited by 15 million tourists. In the V century BC e. the Roman writer Pliny the Elder wrote about deserted islands with the ruins of large structures. However, not all seven islands were empty. Archaeological finds indicate that from about the middle of the first millennium BC, the Phoenicians and Punians arrived here. The Carthaginians periodically explored the Canary Islands. And only after the 4th century AD e. the guanches, who knew nothing about shipbuilding and navigation, were completely isolated.

Long before the arrival of the first Spanish settlers in the 1470s, another civilization flourished in the Canary Islands. The islanders called themselves Guanches, Guachinec or Guachinet, which translated means “man of Tenerife.” The written evidence of the Guanches dated 1150 reached the King of Sicily Roger II in a book written by Arabian geographer Muhammad al-Idrisi, “Entertainment of the Exhausted in Traveling by Region”.

Fair-haired and blue-eyed, they were strikingly different from the native inhabitants of North Africa , to which the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretched. The natives were taller than the Castilians of that time (tall men (165 – 171 cm) and women whose average height reached 160 cm). Even the shade of their skin was lighter than that of the then Spaniards.

The language, despite some similarities with the Berber-Libyan languages, also differed from them. It was even more surprising that the Guanches could talk to each other, only moving their lips or issuing a whistle that they understood and answered from long distances.

The mystery of the origin of the guanches

The origin of the Guanches has long been an object of discussion between archaeologists and historians. According to some assumptions, they were descendants of the Celts or the Vikings. The most daring suggested that they could be descendants of the mythical inhabitants of the sunken Atlantis. Hypotheses were expressed about the similarity of Aborigines with Cro-Magnons.

A study of the DNA of the ancient mummies preserved on the islands in 2019 showed that the Guanches are most likely Berbers from North Africa, who arrived there around 100 AD. e. or even earlier.

The question of how the Guanches reached the archipelago remains open. According to one theory, the people of Tenerife crossed the ocean in small boats and landed on the islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. The number of potential settlers also remains a subject of scientific debate, but studies show that 14 pairs would be enough to populate the archipelago.

Guanche culture

As archaeological finds show, the Guanches were organized into a tribal society under the leadership of leaders. They were engaged in agriculture, hunting and gathering, their diet included:

  • milk;
  • goat meat;
  • pork
  • fruits.

Mostly they threw on goatskirts woven from the leaves of cattail, goat skins. They lived in natural caves or simple stone houses with a low ceiling .

The guanches adapted their caves and grottoes for use as storages and temples. Some of these structures have survived to the present day and point to the advanced astronomical knowledge of this people. Holes in the walls of the caves let sunlight into certain places at different times of the year, marking the dates of the solstice and equinox.

One of the most noteworthy of these structures is the Risco Caído . This is a settlement consisting of 21 caves, which were hollowed out in volcanic tuff about a hundred meters above the Barraco Hondo River on the island of Gran Canaria. It is believed that this place was used as a storehouse for grain, a temple and an astronomical observatory. Sunlight and moonlight penetrate the cave holes, which illuminate the symbolic paintings on the walls. In 2019, Risco Caído became the first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Canary Islands.

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Ancient

Traces of the great shocks of the past – nuclear ruins and star wars of antiquity

Scientists often say that modern civilization is threatened with death as a result of a global war using weapons of mass destruction. What is curious, ancient epics and archaeological finds sometimes testify in favor of the fact that something similar has already happened on our planet.

Glass fields

The land of ancient Egypt is full of mysteries. And they are associated not only with the pyramids and burials in the Valley of the Kings. One of these mysteries is associated with huge fields of fossil green glass, spread over hundreds of square kilometers in the Libyan desert, near the Saad Plateau in the border area of ​​Libya, Egypt and Sudan, where the dunes of the Great Sandy Sea stretch.

Some pieces of this glass of natural origin weigh up to 26 kilograms, but most are much smaller and resemble fragments of a giant green bottle.

For the first time this natural glass in the form of small glass pebbles was found in the Libyan Desert as far back as 1816, but became widely known after Patrick Clayton, an employee of the Egyptian Geological Herald, saw the glass fields themselves.

200 kilometers away from these deposits. numerous pieces of the same glass were found, along with spearheads made of it, axes and other tools that were in use among the ancient inhabitants of the area. Some of the products are about 100 thousand years old.

Ancient Egyptians knew about these deposits. Not only they knew, but also used for their own purposes, for example, for the production of jewelry. So, the scarab beetle, one of the elements of the famous necklace of the pharaoh Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter during excavations in the Valley of the Kings, is skillfully carved from volcanic glass. Where did it come from in the desert?

It is well known that the transformation of sand into glass occurs as a result of heat treatment. The temperature is required high, the sand melts at 1700 ° C, so that matches and brushwood can not do here. What heat source will be required to turn hundreds of tons of sand into glass?

There are several theories about this. According to one, for example, the whole cause of fulgurites is sand, sintered from a lightning strike, whose electric charge is enough to melt it.

However, it is completely incomprehensible how the dunes of the Libyan Desert pulled so many lightning bolts. According to another theory, the originator of the formation of deposits of glass is a meteorite that exploded over the desert in time immemorial.

Many scientists agree that the reason for the appearance of glass in the desert was the invasion of a hundred-meter asteroid into the atmosphere, rushing at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour. This would perhaps be an impeccable explanation, if not for one “but”: on the surface of the Great Sand Sea there is neither an impact crater, nor its traces.

Meanwhile, back in the 1940s, after testing a nuclear bomb in the state of New Mexico in the United States, desert sands also turned into molten green glass. Is it possible to conclude on this basis that the glazed sands of the Libyan desert appeared under similar circumstances, only over 100 thousand years ago, as a result of a nuclear bombardment, after which the Sahara desert occupied most of North Africa?

Mohenjo Daro – Radioactive Ruins

In 1922, the Indian archaeologist R. Banardji discovered the ruins of an ancient city in the Indus Valley. Excavations showed that it was flawlessly planned and equipped with plumbing and sewage systems that are superior to those used in India and Pakistan today.

The ancient city received the name Mohenjo-Daro. Among its ruins were found scattered fused pieces of clay, which at one time under the influence of high temperature turned into black glass. An analysis of the samples, carried out at the University of Rome and then at the laboratory of the National Council for Research of Italy, showed that the fusion occurred at 1500 ° C.

Such an ancient temperature could have been obtained in the furnace of a metallurgical workshop, but not in a vast open area. Moreover, archaeologists drew attention to one gloomy feature of the ancient city.

After carefully examining the ruins, they came to the conclusion that the degree of destruction of buildings and structures decreases as they move away from the city center or, rather, the epicenter of the explosion, which completely swept away individual quarters.

The skeletons found among the ruins suggested that death found people suddenly. Finally, the bones, as it turned out over the years, were radioactive.

The mysterious and ominous picture found an explanation only after the Americans during the Second World War launched nuclear attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The same eerie pictures of destruction were observed there. So did Mohenjo Daro die in a nuclear strike?

Witness of the Mahabharata

The Sanskrit texts of the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata, consisting of 18 books and numbering over 200,000 verses, which is seven times more than Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, contain information about religion, worldview, customs, history of ancient India, as well as legends about her gods and heroes.

A significant part of the epic is devoted to the description of hostilities involving gods, demigods, and people. Researchers believe that these events relate to the semi-legendary history of the invasion of Hindustan from the north by the Aryan tribes, pushing the indigenous inhabitants – Dravids – into the southern part of the peninsula.

However, among the episodes of ancient battles that were common for those times, there are also detailed scenes in which it is easy to recognize the use of … artillery, rockets, combat aircraft, locators, smoke screens, poisonous gases and even nuclear weapons.

For example, in Dronaparva, one of the books of Mahabharata, the battle is described, during which explosions of shells, like huge fireballs, cause storms and storms, incapacitate entire armies.

As a result of these explosions, many enemy warriors, together with weapons, fighting elephants and horses, fly up in the air and are carried away by a powerful whirlwind, like dry leaves from trees.

This text also describes the process of the emergence of a mushroom cloud characteristic of a nuclear explosion. It is compared to the opening of a giant umbrella. After these explosions, the food became poisoned, and the surviving people fell ill.

Symptoms of the disease exactly corresponded to the main signs of radiation sickness – people had bouts of vomiting, hair and nails fell out, and then death occurred.

In Indian epics, ancient planes are also described in detail – flying vimaana cars. In the book of Samarangan Sutradharan, various types of vimanas are compared among themselves, the advantages and disadvantages of each variety are mentioned, flight characteristics, landing methods are given.

Particular attention is paid to the characteristics of structural materials such as wood, light metals and their alloys. Also referred to are materials used to create a driving force. Strange as it may seem, mercury is among the latter.

Star Wars Antiquity

A.V. Koltypin in his work “The Earth’s Disappeared Dwellers” draws attention to the fact that in the Mahabharata, Bha-gavata-purana, Vishnu-purana and other ancient Indian texts space travel on airplanes is repeatedly described by gods, demons, heroes and various mythical creatures.

“Chitraketu, the lord of the Vidyadharas (demigod class, good air spirits. – Ed.), Went on a journey through the vast expanses of the universe … on his dazzlingly shining aerial ship …”, “Rushing through space, Maharaja Dhurva saw all the planets one after another. I saw the solar system on the way of the demigods in the chariots of the heavens … “,” So Maharaja Dhurva passed the seven planetary systems of the great sages known as sapta-rishi … “,” A descendant of the Kuru dynasty, King Vasu could travel outside the Earth in the upper regions of our Universe , and therefore, in those distant times, he became famous under the name of Upari-chara, “Wandering through the higher worlds.”

One of the episodes of Mahabharata tells how the great warrior Arjuna, after the battle with the underwater inhabitants of the nivatakavachs, returned to heaven on his flying amphibian chariot and discovered a city flying in space:

“On the way back, I saw another huge and amazing city that could move where whatever. He shone like fire or the sun. ” In this flying city called Hiranyapur, there were Danavan demons (daityas). Arjuna was ordered to smash them. Noticing the approach of his aircraft, the dans began to fly out of the city in their celestial chariots – well, exactly the “Star Wars” by George Lucas! Then Arjuna “a powerful avalanche of weapons … blocked this formidable stream. He awed them, plowing the battlefield with a chariot, and … the Danavas smashed each other.”

Subjected to a powerful attack from Arjuna, the Danavians lifted their flying city into the air. Then Arjuna “with a powerful shower of arrows … blocked the daitians and tried to stop their movement.

The gift of the daityas was directed wherever they wanted, this heavenly, floating in the air, marvelously sparkling city, moving at will: it either went underground, then rose again, then quickly moved to the side, then plunged into the water. ” Ultimately, Arjuna hit the heavenly city with iron arrows, so similar to modern kinetic ammunition. And when the 60 thousand surviving demons rushed to Arjuna in their flying chariots, he incinerated them with a weapon called Raudra, obviously a kind of nuclear weapon.

So, the findings of archaeologists and ancient epics really testify to the fact that a long time ago on our planet and even in outer space unbelievable wars raged with the use of the most advanced weapons. And it is very likely that such events happened repeatedly.

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