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Rock carvings of a disappeared pueblo civilization found. A Star Map?

Photo: Dr Radoslaw Palonka / Jagiellonian University

Archaeologists from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (Poland) have uncovered the secret of rock paintings made by Native Americans about 800 years ago in canyons between the states of Colorado and Utah in the United States. It turned out that these images were created by ancient astronomers based on their observations of the starry sky.

The discovery is reported by the Archeology News Network. The study was conducted in the United States, in a place called Mesa Verde. This region is located on the border of the states of Colorado and Utah and is known to archaeologists and tourists thanks to the cultural settlements of the pre-Columbian pueblo civilization.

These people built unique houses that were carved into the rocks. No other civilization in North America has done anything like this. The mysterious people left on the rocks and many drawings that scientists until recently could not decipher.

A team led by Dr. Radoslav Palonka discovered previously unknown cave galleries containing drawings and petroglyphs from various historical periods.

Archaeologists have suggested, by analogy with some other ancient objects, that the Pueblo Indians could use these images to determine some important dates, for example, the summer and winter solstices, as well as the spring and autumn equinoxes.

They tested their hypothesis in practice by examining two objects. The first of them is located around a stone niche, inside of which are the remains of houses built about 800 years ago.

In this case, the petroglyphs were carved on a flat stone wall facing south and shaded by a cliff hanging over it. This “panel” consists of three different spirals and several smaller elements, including rectangular patterns and numerous indentations.

“Our observations revealed a unique phenomenon, especially noticeable during sunset at the winter solstice on December 22, when sun rays and shadows move along the middle part of the panel with petroglyphs, passing through subsequent spirals, longitudinal grooves and other elements,” explains Dr. Palonka. to a lesser extent, this phenomenon is also observed during the spring and autumn equinox.”

According to him, the interaction between light and shadow, as well as the movement of sunlight across the panel is observed even some time before the winter solstice, as well as for a few more weeks after it. In the remainder of the year, researchers did not observe such a phenomenon.

Similar illumination of petroglyphs by sunlight during certain periods of the year was recorded at the second studied object. The only difference is that in this case, the petroglyph is regularly illuminated by the sun’s rays only in the morning and only during the summer solstice.

Researchers also spoke with representatives of the Hopi tribe, who are descendants of the Pueblo people. Those confirmed that spirals were most likely used as a kind of calendar. Palonka notes that the summer and winter solstices are still of great religious significance to the Pueblo descendants who live in Arizona and New Mexico.

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Ancient

Researchers will determine the age of the ‘Giant of Cerne Abbas’ geoglyph

Phillip Toms of the University of Gloucestershire and his colleagues will study samples taken from the elbows and feet of the Giant of Cairn-Abbas, the famous geoglyph located in the English county of Dorset. Scientists want to clarify the age of this image.

The Giant was carved on a hillside near the present village of Cerne Abbas. Due to the removal of the surface soil layer, the Cretaceous rock was exposed, and as a result, an image of a naked man appeared. Its height is 55 meters, width – 51 meters (due to arms apart). In his right hand he holds a club with a length of 37 meters. Studies have shown that the giant had a cloak draped over his left hand.

The first mention of the Giant of Cerne Abbas in written sources dates back to November 4, 1694. In the “Reports of Church Ministers from St. Mary’s Church in Cerne Abbas” on this date it is indicated that three shillings were spent on the “restoration of the giant”. In 1734, the Giant was described by the Bishop of Bristol, who examined the local landmark during a visit to Cerne Abbas. Four years later, the giant was mentioned in a letter by the antique dealer Francis Wise, and in 1764 he was discussed at a meeting of the London Society of Antiquaries.

Scientists have not yet agreed on whether it appeared in the 16th century or was created earlier. There are currently three main theories. According to one of them, the Giant was carved in a hillside on the orders of the local Lord Denzil Holles and is a caricature of Oliver Cromwell. Halls and Cromwell, although both sided with parliament, were fierce political opponents, and Cromwell even put forward charges against Holz of clandestine ties with King Charles I, who was in besieged Oxford. The version of Halls’s connection with the Giant of Cerne Abbas is based on a report from the 18th century antiquary John Hutchins, who mentioned in a letter that the estate manager told him that “the figure was modern, carved in the time of Lord Hall”.

Proponents of another theory believe that the Giant dates back to Roman times. They note the similarity of the figure with the traditional images of Hercules , which became especially noticeable after the discovery of traces of the cloak (in this version the “cloak” is considered the skin of a Nemean lion). Finally, the third version connects the Giant of Cerne Abbas with Celtic culture. Its appearance is caused by the similarity of the Giant with the image of the Celtic god on the handle of the pan found in Hod Hill in Dorset, which dates from about 10-51 years of our era.

Current researchers intend to use optically stimulated luminescent dating, which allows us to establish how long ago sunlight was exposed to minerals for the last time. “It is likely that the tests will give us a range of dates, not a specific age, but we hope that they will help us better understand and take care of this famous landmark,” says archaeologist Martin Papworth.

Gordon Bishop, chairman of the historical society of Cerne Abbas, said that although some villagers “would prefer the age and origin of the Giant to remain a mystery,” most would like to know at least if he is ancient or only a few hundred years old.

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The mystery of the Anasazi, the mystical “tree of life”

In the XII century BC, when the pharaohs and kings ruled the world, representatives of the Indian Anasazi culture lived on the territory of the American states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. 

They are known for having built the huge city of Pueblo Bonito, on the main square of which a 6-meter pine tree grew. Since there were no other trees growing near the settlement, it was believed that the giant pine tree was sacred to the Anasazi people and was used for religious purposes . However, this assumption was recently rejected because American scientists found that the tree originally grew in a completely different place.

Computer-recreated image of a pueblo bonito with a huge pine tree in the main square

The Tree of Life in the USA

About how scientists managed to dispel myths about the “tree of life” of the city of Pueblo Bonito, was described in the scientific journal ScienceAlert. A settlement of 8,000 square meters, consisting of more than 650 rooms, was first discovered in 1849 by Lieutenant of the American Army, James Simpson. The initial excavations were carried out from 1896 to 1900, during which archaeologists found rooms and other parts of the city. The remains of a tall tree of the species Oregon pine ( Pinus ponderosa ), which was given the name “tree of life”, were found only in 1924.

Photos from the excavation site of Pueblo Bonito

A pine tree was found under the topsoil, and scientists were surprised that the tree survived well even after several hundred years. The leader of the expedition, Neil Judd, shared that the tree had huge roots, so in those days, scientists were sure that the tree originally grew in its place. However, then the researchers came to the conclusion that they deal only with parts of the roots, and not with the entire root system. In addition, at the time of discovery, the tree lay on the ground, so it could be assumed that it had no sacred status and the ancient inhabitants of Pueblo Bonito dragged it from a completely different place.

This assumption was proved after scientists studied the tree rings inside the trunk and found evidence that the tree grew in the Chuska massif. It is located about 80 kilometers from Pueblo Bonito, so researchers can not even imagine how the ancient people managed to move a huge pine tree to such a great distance. Most likely, representatives of the ancient culture did not cut down the tree, but it fell by itself. It could be assumed that the trunk was subsequently dragged, but nearby archaeologists did not find any such traces. Also, they do not know in what position the tree was placed inside the city – it could stand like a pillar or lay along with other logs intended for construction.

Cross section of a sample taken from a tree found in Pueblo Bonito Square

Mysteries of Antiquity

Be that as it may, at the moment the myth of the sacredness of the tree inside the city of Pueblo Bonito can be considered dispelled. But not only the tree, but also the settlement itself was shrouded in riddles. The fact is that people in it clearly did not live on a permanent basis, because on the earth no objects were found that representatives of the Indian Anasazi culture used daily. It turns out that people visited this place only on special occasions and temporarily lived in hundreds of small “houses”, some of which were multi-levelled. Most likely, during mass gatherings, people shared sacred knowledge and performed rituals.

Sacred ceremonies could be held inside the city of Pueblo Bonito, but the tree clearly did not play any role in them.

In general, the city of Pueblo Bonito can be called as important a historical site as Stonehenge in the UK. But it was not preserved as well as it could, because it was built in a very dangerous place. Near the building was a 30-meter rock, part of which weighed more than 30 thousand tons and for many centuries risked collapse. That is why it was known as “threatening rock.” Ultimately, the collapse occurred in 1941 and a rock damaged one of the great walls of the city and some dwellings.

“Threatening rock” before and after the fall

In general, on our planet there are a huge number of historical objects surrounded by secrets. For example, on the island of Easter located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, there are more than 800 huge statues called moai. Locals still believe that they contain the supernatural power of their ancestors. But recently, scientists have found that they were used by ancient people for other purposes.

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Druids of Scotland used lightning in their rites

Kallanish Stone Circle (Lewis Island, Scotland) (ss) Chmee28

A magnetic anomaly was discovered at the site of the ancient Druidic sanctuary in Callanish on Lewis Island in Scotland as reported by the scientific portal Heritage Daily on March 18.

Participants in the Callanish virtual reconstruction project, led by the University of St Andrews and the University of Bradford, have identified a potential connection between the ancient stone circles on Lewis Island and the forces of nature. In the place of the sanctuary, called Irig on Binna Big, also known as Callanish XI, so far there is only one standing stone – the last remaining from the stone circle.

The project team, based on geophysical data, stated that in the center of the sanctuary there was a strong magnetic anomaly with a diameter of about 20 meters. Researchers believe that the anomaly was the result of a powerful lightning strike or a series of strokes about 4,000 years ago. Project manager Dr. Richard Bates of the University of St Andrews said on this occasion:

“Such clear evidence of lightning strikes is extremely rare in the UK, and communication with this stone circle is unlikely to be accidental.”

Bates said it was not known what attracted lightning. It could be a tree or rock, which is no longer there, or the megaliths themselves. “However, this remarkable evidence suggests that the forces of nature could be closely related to the daily life and beliefs of the early farming communities on the island,” he added. The project team hopes to return to Lewis next year to conduct further research in Callanish both on land and in waters, where the old landscape was flooded with rising sea levels.

“The significant results of the Lewis study show that we must understand the landscapes surrounding these ritual monuments, and the role that nature and natural phenomena, including lightning, played in creating rituals and beliefs of people many thousands of years ago,” Professor Vincent Gaffney of Bradford University said.

Callanish on the Scottish island of Lewis, part of the Outer Hebrides archipelago, is an ancient cult site that is one of the most famous monuments of megalithic culture in the British Isles. Callanish includes 19 megalithic objects. The megalithic stones of the shrines were erected during the Neolithic period between 2900 and 2600 BC. e. for worship by Druid priests. Previously, other shrines also existed at this place.

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