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The Mystery Of The Lost City of Petra

It is believed that the ancient, mysterious and hauntingly beautiful site of Petra in Jordan has been inhabited (in one way or another) for approximately 9000 years although its existence was kept secret from the modern West until 1812, when Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt “rediscovered it” and revealed its magnificence to the world. Petra – Jordan was designated a World Heritage Site in 1985 and it has been described as “One of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”, by UNESCO. In Arab tradition, Petra is the place where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth, and where his sister, Miriam, is buried.

The word Petra (as with Peter) means “rock” and is derived from the Greek and Arabic language. It is a wonderfully appropriate name as this ancient city is literally carved from the rose-red sandstone hills and outcrops.

THE ANCIENT (LOST) CITY OF PETRA IN JORDAN

Although Petra in jordan is most commonly associated with the Nabataeans, it has been occupied by many different tribes and nations over the millennia. The true mystery of Petra (the lost city) is just how little is known about its history although this is likely to change as each year new studies and excavations slowly reveal the secrets of the place. Evidence of Neolithic habitation of jordan and Petra in the form of six ascending rows of dwellings has been discovered near Baida and suggests that it may be one of the oldest recorded known sites of human habitation in the world.

BAB AL SIQ

Made famous in the film Indiana Jones and the last Crusade

It has proven impossible to accurately identify when the history of Petra began in Jordan. Tradition has it that the first recorded people to live in the area were the cave-dwelling Horites. It is believed that the Edomites settled in the region during the first millennium B.C. There is a reference in the Bible that they were one of the nations that refused to permit the wandering Jews lead by Moses to enter their lands.

The Edomites undertook a complete and systematic takeover of the region (Jordan) and established a stronghold that included the plains of the Umm al Biyarah plateau. The archeological remains of many dwellings that date from the 7th century B.C. have been found in the area. In addition, the remains of cisterns for the collection of rain water dating from this time indicate that the occupants were already experimenting with the water management systems that were to become so important to the success of Petra, the city, in the future centuries. The nation of Edom is known to have existed back to the 8th or 9th century BC. The Old Testament dates it back several centuries further. Recent archaeological evidence may indicate an Edomite nation existed as long ago as the 11th century BC, but the topic remains controversial.

(It is worth noting that in keeping with the mysterious origins of Petra, the American Museum of Natural History (website) contradicts the belief that Petra in Jordan was also Edom. A quote from their website on Petra states: “Petra’s location in the Holy Land of Arabs, Christians and Jews added enormously to its allure. Some writers identified Petra — wrongly — with ancient Edom, cursed in the Old Testament for having barred Moses and the Israelites. In long-abandoned Petra, many visitors saw powerful confirmation of the prophet Jeremiah’s words: “Edom shall be a desolation and every one that goeth by it shall be astonished.”)

During the 4th century B.C. a new nation emerged in the region – The Nabataeans. Little is known about the origin of these people but it is believed that they were part of a migration from the south of the Arabian Peninsula. This group progressively took control of what is today southern Jordan and established a sophisticated trading network with Petra as their Capital City.

Al-Khasneh: The Treasury of Petra

As their power grew, the Nabataeans quickly gained control of the trade routes from the Red Sea to the coast of the Mediterranean. No one is precisely sure what goods were being moved but it is likely to have been incense, myrrh, spices, gold and copper as well as precious stones and even some slaves.

It is recorded that in 312 B.C. the ruler of Syria, Antigonus I Monophthalmus (“the One-eyed”), who had succeeded Alexander the Great, initiated two great attacks on Petra.

The first was led by Atheneus and the second by his own son Demetrius. Both military campaigns failed. The almost impregnable rocky defenses of Petra and the determination of the Nabataeans won the day. At the height of their power not only did Petra possessed the advantages of a natural fortress but controlled the main commercial routes which passed through it to Gaza in the west, to Bosra and Damascus in the north, to Aqaba and Leuce-Come on the Red Sea, and across the desert to the Persian Gulf.

Unfortunately, not a great deal is known about the Nabataeans of Jordan although there are references and hints to be found in the history texts. The first mentions a Nabataean King Harith or Aretas and dates from the third century B.C. and refers to the sanctuary that he provided for the High Priest Jason of Jerusalem when Antiochus confirmed Menelaus, the brother of Simon the Benjaminite in his place and thus forced Jason into exile.

A more accurate timeline of the Nabataean kings can be established from 100B.C. onwards based on the appearance of more written references.

The Roman general, Pompey, appears to have conquered the Nabataeans in 64 – 63 BCE. Fortunately for Petra he believed that there were benefits to keeping an independent Nabataea that could operate as a buffer zone against the desert tribes.

The power and prestige of the Nabataean kingdom in now modern Jordan reached its peak during the rule of Harith III Philodermus (84-56 BC) and Harith IV (9bc – 40A.D), Malik II (40-71 AD) and Rabbel (71-106 AD). Still, even as the Petra City expanded the first signs that independent Nabataean rule was under threat were emerging. From the North the influence of the Roman Empire was growing more powerful. In the South new trade routes were being discovered and developed that would bypass Petra and even Jordan. Some historians and environmental experts believe that this was also a period of noticeable climate change. Petra had always been relatively dry and had developed a sophisticated system of aqueducts and water storage cisterns both to provide water and to protect the city from flash-flooding but now things were changing. At a time when the successful city demanded more water – there was less rain. The city of Petra had always depended on importing food but with the decline in trade it needed to find ways to provide its own. This theory is supported by evidence of intense agricultural efforts by the Nabataeans which can still be seen in Southern Jordan and the Negev. In this climate of change, the Nabataean kingdom still managed to resist the final absorption of their nation into the Roman empire and survive the growing economic hardships.

The ‘Amphitheatre of Petra’ in Jordan.

With the death of Rabel II in 106, the power of the Nabataeans became precarious. The Roman Emperor Trajan (Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus) already famous for his military success in conquering the Dacia nation ruled by King Decebalus in 106 A.D. pushed further east and finally conquered Nabatea in 107 A.D. Trajan ordered the governor of Syria, Cornelius Palma, to make Nabatea (Jordan) into a Roman province with the capital at Bosra. For the Nabataeans it was the end of their power and they began to decline as a nation although life for the average citizen probably went on as normal. The short-lived province of Arabia Petraea was formed and although Petra was no longer the capital of the region it appears to have continued to grow and do well under its new rulers and was even awarded the title of metropolis or mother-city. Even if it lacked true power, Petra still wielded tremendous influence in the region. For example, when Emperor Hadrian visited it in 130 A.D. he was so impressed with its magnificence and aura of mystery that he renamed it Hadriana Petra (Sometimes now referred to as Adriana Petra. Even as the Nabataeans declined the city experienced an influx of new people from Roman, Greek, Arabic and Semitic origin. This mixing of cultures must have made Petra a remarkable and lively place and is perhaps the reason why it continued to flourish for some time to come. It is during this period that many of the great monuments were constructed. However, Roman rule of the region was under constant threat and during the rule of Emperor Alexander Severus (222 – 235 A.D.) Just when the city of Petra was at the peak of its new power the first major disaster appears to have struck Jordan. Many historians attribute this to an invasion by the neo-Persian Sassanid Empire. Coinage stopped being minted and there is suddenly no more new and sumptuous tombs being built. The final decline of Petra had begun. One can only imagine and speculate what it must have been like as year-on-year fewer traders came to Petra as the city of Palmyra drew away the Arabian merchants. As time passed the city would have perhaps taken on a rundown appearance. A person can just imagine the remaining civic leaders talking over their food and debating when they too should leave. Records show that Petra in Jordan did continue to be a successful city and a centre of religion. Christianity had certainly well established itself in Petra by the 4th century A.D. – 500 years after the Petra had become an important trade center. Athanasius of Alexandria (293 – 373 A.D.) mentions a bishop of Petra named Asterius. At least one of the rock tombs (The Tomb of the Urn) was used as a church.

The royal tombs of Petra taken from the South Temple.

A second and more damaging disaster seems to have struck the rock city in the form of a series of powerful earthquakes. The city had already had a history of tectonic spasms as it sits near the boundary of the Arabian plate but this quake was significantly more damaging than those that had come before. The date of this event is said to be May 19, AD 363 A.D. and is based coins found in the ruins and the testimony of Cyril, Bishop of Jerusalem in a letter he wrote. According to the Bishop more than half of Petra (Reqem) was destroyed including Qasr Al Bint (House of the Daughter), The Colonnaded Street, The South Temple and the rock Amphitheatre. Much more dangerous to the remaining citizens of Petra was the damage that the quake did to water system of the city. Had the quake occurred earlier in the history of Petra the city may have rebounded fully but the slow decline of the past century and the loss of its status as a trading centre had broken the will of the people to completely rebuild their rock fortress.There are claims that “large Christian Churches carved from the rock ” were still being built and used during the early Byzantine era in Petra as late as 450 A.D. but although this comes from a reputable source the datelines don’t quite match up. What appears to have happened is that further Earthquakes repeatedly struck the city and the region; each one causing successive damage.

It is believed that an Earthquake more devastating that the one that wrecked the city in 363 AD struck in the year 551 AD. By all accounts it ruined the rock cut city and further damaged the partially repaired water management systems.

A person can only speculate what happened next. Did the remaining citizens quietly gather their belongings and, as a column of refugees, depart together for other cities or did they drift away over the years as it became obvious that without the water system and significant trade the city of rock was finally finished.

Most scholars believe that the power of the Byzantine Empire appears to have shielded the area from Muslim expansionism for some time but during 629 – 632 A.D. the Islamic conquest of the region (now Jordan) appears to have swept away the last vestiges of Christianity in Petra. Records and references to Petra become increasingly scarce and it is accepted that by 700 A.D. the city of rock that had once housed 20,000 people was deserted except for the Bedouin and the flocks they tended. Finally it seems that history forgot Petra.

The Royal Urn Tomb in Petra – Jordan

The ruins of the city (and the region of Jordan) were briefly occupied during the First Crusade by Baldwin I of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and remained in the control of the Franks until 1189 A.D. – who called it the Moyse Valley. (Château de la Valée de Moyse or Sela). However the Crusaders true seat of power in the area was the magnificent Castle of Montreal (Mount Royal) or “Shobak” as it is known today, some 16 miles from Petra.

Petra appears again in History during the late 13th century when the ruins of the Rock City became a place of curiosity during the Middle Ages and were visited by the Sultan Baibars (Baybars) of Egypt.

For the following 600 years Petra becomes a forgotten City. No doubt people new of its existence and according to Bedouin tradition it remained occupied by nomadic desert people and occasionally visited by Islamic explorers and travelers. However, as far as Europe was concerned – it had slipped from memory to become no more than another legendary place in a mysterious world.

Petra in Jordan was once again brought to the attention of the West by an explorer by the name of Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. During his time in Syria he had visited Palmyra, Damascus and Lebanon but was intrigued with the stories of a ruined and ancient city forbidden to foreigners. Pretending to be indifferent to Petra he persuaded his guides to take him though the Wadi supposedly on route to another destination and thus in 1812 became the first European to see the city and the tombs for hundreds of years. He died in 1817 but his book – Travels in Syria (Jordan) and the Holy Land (1822) – compiled from his papers revealed the existence of Petra to the western world.

The Valley of Petra in Jordan from the Tomb of the Lion

Today Petra in Jordan is described a “wonder of the world” and visited by increasing numbers of tourists. Still largely undeveloped (and protected) it is possible for a visitor to reach into the sand and stones and pick up a shard of pottery or a fragment of carved sandstone. It is worth noting that it is strictly forbidden for any archeological remnants to be removed from the site.

As we said earlier, the real mystery of Petra (Reqem / Sela / Rock / Jordan) is how little is known of its history and the nations that lived there. Hidden under the sands and rocks are still undiscovered tombs. As recently as 2003 a new series of rock cut tombs were discovered under the Treasury. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has recognised the importance of this great archeological site and is making concerted efforts to protect and preserve it for future generations as well as making accessible to an often awestruck public.

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Ancient

From “living” runes to a hologram. Ancient technologies are making a comeback

Human civilization develops thanks to accumulated knowledge. Without knowledge and experience, there is no movement forward to progress. People make discoveries, bring them to life and pass this information on to subsequent generations. The most faithful and reliable storage is memory. But, unfortunately, it is limited to the framework of one human life or generation.

Therefore, in past centuries, when people were closer to each other, the continuity of generations was maintained. Wisdom was passed down orally: from grandfather to father, from father to son. So, epics and legends were composed. The image embedded in them was able to live for centuries. After all, only that which is felt is remembered. All events in the senses are imprinted with all the multifaceted connections.

We can say that feeling is a kind of “hard drive” that is turned on with the help of a computer brain.

In that distant era, when our ancestors lived in harmony with themselves and nature, they had developed imaginative thinking. Sounds had a special meaning because they created reality. But the means for transmitting information or extracting it from the past were musical instruments. Each of them had its own purpose. With the help of some, people remembered their past lives, others were introduced into an altered state of consciousness, in which it was possible to perform miracles.

Various folk tales have preserved the legends of “magic words” that open doors and launch flying ships. The Byzantine chronicles say how the northern people came to negotiations without weapons, holding only a folk psaltery in their hands. The sounds drawn from the strings decided the outcome of the negotiations.

Runes – the first material carrier

Руны
Runes

At this level of interaction with information, any drawn symbol had a magical effect. The ancestors called these signs – Runes. Not everyone could “work” with them. Due to the ability to materialize thoughts instantly, only initiates had access to them. For everyday needs, they used features and cuts that did not have such tremendous power. As the spiritual decline and loss of skills, it was necessary to create books, but they were so amazing that for a modern person they seem completely fantastic.

Голографическая реальность
Holographic reality

Ancient stereo books

These were ordinary pre-Christian books, which were then burned as a devilish “black book”. Although they had nothing to do with the devilry. Their whole secret was the ability of our ancestors to use bioenergetics.

Such books have been carefully crafted for centuries. Every detail of her material had to have certain physical qualities.

The text of the future book was first written down with a metal stylus on wax-covered boards, where any corrections could be made. It is impossible to write straight away. Trying to accurately convey his thought, the author “runs after her”, not worrying about spelling. The well-known expression “to spread the thought along the tree” comes from there.

Nevertheless, the main thing in the creation of the book was not the author, but a scribe who would have had imagination and such body cells that emit bioenergy. In this case, all the pictures that appear in his imagination, together with the biocurrents, are absorbed into the parchment as on a film strip. The effect of titles is created, as if hanging in the air between a person and those living pictures that the suede parchment has absorbed. For these purposes, it was manufactured in a special way. As well as cinnabar for writing.

 Стерео-книга
Stereo book

Then the sheets of parchment were stitched like modern thick notebooks with a metal spiral on the spine. The cover was made of bog oak boards. Its name was engraved on the cover. To make it better read, silver and niello were poured into the grooves of the letters. At the same time, the same massive oak-copper case was made for the book, closed with copper clasps.

Ancient books
Ancient books

Incredibly, the natural ingredients and techniques used in this book produced a 3D effect. The only difference is that a modern person needs special glasses, and our ancestors developed such abilities. It’s just that some could emit biocurrents, while others perceive them. In short, living people were transmitters and receivers.

Gold and stone discs – the prototype of modern discs

In addition to such wonderful books, there were also discs that contained a huge layer of information in a compressed form. Perhaps they are “read” in the same way as “miracle books”, but it is possible that there was a certain computer into which these disks could be inserted.

Phaistos disc.
Phaistos disc

In any case, according to the first version, attempts were made to decipher the Phaistos disc, a phenomenon that made a lot of noise at one time. It was discovered that the disc contains layered information. It cannot be read like an ordinary letter.

The hologram is the library of the future

With the advent of Christianity, all ancient knowledge and skills were declared devilish, and the possessors of these abilities were witches and sorcerers. Both books and people were burning in the bonfires. In order to preserve the rest, the manuscripts were rewritten, but already in an ordinary linear letter. Of course, distortions were inevitable and the picture of past events, presented in this way, did not correspond to reality.

Pen books have proven to be a rather primitive way of conveying information. Although, for many centuries, they remained a guiding thread for knowledge. And yet, as we can see, important discoveries were and are being made as a result of practical research, often thanks to insight, which proves the existence of an information field, from where you can get the necessary information. 

Hologram
Hologram

Now, humanity is approaching again the stage when the need for the usual carriers of information will disappear. Everything will be transferred to a virtual memory base. But if earlier holograms were created and accepted by people themselves, now machines will do it for us.

In the event of another disaster, we will lose access to the electronic library. And then everything will have to start over. And our descendants, just like we are now, will believe that at this period people were illiterate, because they did not have a written language …

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What secrets and mysteries of Angkor baffle modern scientists?

Ancient city of Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor was discovered in the Cambodian jungle by French naturalist Henri Muo in 1861. Almost 160 years have passed, and the mysterious city has not yet revealed its secrets to us.

Angkor is not only numerous temple complexes, among which Angkor Wat is the most famous. But there are also huge hydraulic structures of ideally verified shapes and gigantic dimensions. These are ditches with water surrounding each complex, and huge reservoirs – “man-made seas” – barai , and the famous river in the valley of a thousand lingams.plan-map of Angkor

Angkor Map Hobe / Holger Behr / commons.wikimedia.org

The view of Angkor from space resembles a plan-drawing perfectly calculated and executed by an engineer-architect. Historians cannot explain how the Khmers managed to “bring to life” such a grandiose plan in the 9th-12th centuries, while maintaining strict geometry. The lines are well-parallel for over 8 km, and all angles are straight. It was simply impossible to do this in those days with those instruments.

Angkor has been studied not only by historians and archaeologists, but also by enthusiastic researchers, including those from the Laboratory of Alternative History. And they came to the conclusion that the ancient architects either built the structures of Angkor using the preserved secret knowledge and technologies, or restored and completed what they inherited from more ancient civilizations.

According to legend, the capital of the Khmer state was founded in a different place, but the astrologers indicated where to build the city.

Many sources mention the correspondence of the location of the temples of Angkor to the constellation of the Dragon , and in the position in which the stars were twelve and a half thousand years ago. The Bayon Temple , according to legend, symbolizes the heart of the Dragon.

stone faces of Bayon Temple in Angkor

Stone faces of Zram Bayon

Why, in the 9th-12th centuries, correlate buildings with the most ancient map of the sky? And how could they know about her? This, perhaps, confirms the hypothesis of the creation of the city on the already existing foundations left over from prehistoric civilization.

In addition, most of the temples of Angkor are designed as five-step pyramids. And the pyramids around the world were built at a much earlier period than the officially accepted dating of Angkor Wat.

Bayon temple in Angkor

Bayon Temple in Angkor. lj-user yarowind /commons.wikimedia.org

All the temples of Angkor are oriented with front facades along the north-south line. The main entrance to all the temples is on the east side, and only Ankor-Wat, according to legend, being built as a place where King Suryavarman II was to be reborn, has a western entrance.

The moat around the temple complex raises many questions. This is a real hydraulic engineering miracle, the construction of which required the deepest knowledge in many fields of science.

Aerial view of the Angkor Wat temple complex

Aerial view of the Angkor Wat temple complex. Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA

The channel was “calculated” and built in the shortest possible time. Before starting the construction of the foundation of buildings. And the complex itself was under construction for about 35 years, which is extremely short, given the huge amount of work and the primitive level of technology (according to official science).

A number of towers and temples reach a height of 60 meters, this is the height of a twenty-story building. In the modern world, such structures are presented as high-rise objects of increased complexity. The foundations of such structures are performed on a pile foundation using sophisticated construction equipment.

According to the research carried out , the soil was dug out under the complex and sand was poured, which was carefully tamped. A layer of soil was laid on it, or, as modern builders say, backfill soil, and then another layer of compacted sand. Or, in modern construction language, preparation has been made for the base of a floating foundation.

This technology began to be applied in practice only in the 70s of the last century. Until now, they try to install high-rise buildings on a pile foundation, since they cannot foresee all the nuances.

And the ancient builders could. Apparently, they had a lot of experience (or possessed some knowledge) of erecting high-rise buildings and structures on floating foundations in tropical conditions.

It is also striking with what precision the ancient builders adjusted and processed stone blocks. And they did it easily, without thinking about the size and shape.

processed stone in Angkor

Treated stone in Angkor

There are also quite large blocks with polygonal masonry , typical of the ancient structures of South America.

polygonal masonry in Angkor

Polygonal brickwork in Angkor

polygonal masonry in Ollantaytambo, Peru

Polygonal masonry. Ollantaytambo. Peru. Pavel Špindler

In the temples of Angkor there are columns of different quality. Some show traces of processing on some kind of machine, as suggested by alternative researchers.

Traces of mechanical processing of columns in Angkor. Screenshot. youtube.com/LAI Research Center

Measurements of traces of processing of columns in Angkor. Screenshot. youtube.com/LAI Research Center

But not only the temple complexes of Angkor are surprising.

Valley of a Thousand Lingams – Kbal Spien River

For example, the river Kbal Spien , which originates in the mountains and reaches Angkor. The entire river bed is lined with stone slabs with lingams carved on them.

The Khmers believed that the lingas (lingams) fertilized and purified the water that irrigated the rice fields. It was believed that it was because of this that the Khmer empire had rich harvests and flourished.

Waterfall and lingams at Qbal Spien in Ankor

Waterfall and Lingams at Qbal Spien in Ankor, Cambodia Prerit

It is believed that the construction of Qbal Spien was started by King Suryavarman I (1001/06 – 1050). and later finished by King Udayadityavarman II . (1049/50 – 1066)

The researchers were interested in this fact. The length of the river channels is about nine kilometers. To accomplish such a task, it is necessary to run the river along a different channel, scoop out all the silt, light fractions along the entire length of the river and to the entire depth of river sediments, then add an unthinkable amount of sand and lay on top not just sandstone slabs, but decorated with bas-reliefs.

Kbal Spien river in Angkor

River of a Thousand Lingams. Kbal Spean

This requires special hydrotechnical knowledge and a huge number of working hands.

The Qbal Spien bed is covered with thousands of images of lingams, which are arranged in even rows. Alternative researchers believe that the lingams worshiped in Hinduism are in fact the oldest artifacts – the legacy of prehistoric civilization. And the purpose of the lingams was not religious and cult, but quite technological, as evidenced by its unusual design.

So, it is likely that the lingams of the Kbal Spien River performed some kind of technical function, which gave the water flowing through them special properties.

Is Kohker a “pyramid of death”?

90 km from Angkor there is a very unusual place called Kahkay or Kohker. This ancient temple complex. Of the surviving buildings in Kahkai: the Prasattom pyramid temple. It is seven-step, 32 m high and 55 m long, reminiscent of the stepped pyramids of South America.

The Garuda , carved into the stone block, guards the top of the pyramid. Henri Parmentier , a French architect, historian and archaeologist, estimates that the colossal lingam, which, according to the inscriptions, was erected at the top, reached at least 4 meters in height and weighed 24 tons.

According to legend, one of the rulers of Angkor was the sorcerer king – Jayavarman IV. It is believed that he erected this pyramid in one night.

In 921, Jayavarman IV laid claim to the kingdom and then left the capital and decided to create his own center of power. About 10,000 supporters fled with him, including women and children.

In 928, Jayavarman IV became the sole ruler of the Khmer Empire, but did not return to Angor. He died in 941, and Kahkay was the capital of the Khmer Empire until 944.

The most amazing thing is that in the Kohker area, archaeologists found an inscription carved on a stone, which indicates the exact date of illumination of the main lingam at the top of the pyramid – December 12, 921, at 8:47 am (translated from the ancient Hindu chronology). And Jayavarman IV came here just a few days before that date.

Experts cannot explain how this is possible. Clear the site from the jungle, cut down huge stone blocks, process, deliver and lay in the masonry walls, raising them to a height of 30 meters, and all this in one night?

Kohker pyramid in Cambodia

Kohker pyramid. Thomas Wanhoff

Official science does not study this issue, and ancient legends give their explanation for this.

In the 9th century, a certain nobleman of non-royal blood lived at the court, who married a woman from the royal family. He practiced witchcraft and communicated with the demon of the underworld, which helped the nobleman become king – Jayavarman IV.

Legend says that Jayavarman IV turned to a certain “architect” for help, who was able to create a pyramid overnight using a magic tool. Sources call this weapon “white fire”. They could whip enemies at a distance.

Legend also says that Jayavarman IV made sacrifices to this demon by throwing people into a deep well in the Kohker pyramid. Since then, it is believed that the pyramid is the gateway to the demon world. Locals call it the “pyramid of death” and do not like it.

Scientists are still exploring the jungle around Angkor and discovering new complexes . Since they are all covered with thickets, it is very difficult to explore them.

But everything discovered only confirms the hypothesis that Angkor was built in the deepest antiquity by some highly developed civilization. And its creation is unsubstantiatedly attributed to the Khmers, just as the construction of a grandiose monument in Baalbek is attributed to the Romans. The Khmer Empire was only completing and restoring the prehistoric heritage that it inherited.

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The mystery of the ancient Chinese “magic mirrors”, over the solution of which scientists are still racking their brains

In the Ancient East, for more than two thousand years, there are expensive and rare mirrors, which are called magic to this day. Not for nothing, because the bronze from which they are made can become completely transparent. In China they were called “light-transmitting mirrors”, and in the West – simply “magic mirrors”. These artifacts are still a mystery to scientists around the world.

For more than ten centuries, this rare artifact from China has puzzled all researchers. This mirror is made of bronze, which has been carefully polished. On the back there is a molded pattern. 

The polished surface looks completely normal and can be used like a regular mirror. But when a bright light hits the surface of the mirror and it is reflected and projected onto the surface, then the pattern decorating the back side mysteriously appears in the projected reflection. 

It looks as if a solid bronze mirror suddenly became completely transparent. The Chinese name for these mirrors literally means “light transmitting mirrors.” In the rest of the world, they are called differently: “translucent mirrors” or “magic mirrors”.

Various magic mirrors.
Various magic mirrors.

The mystery of these mysterious ancient artifacts has plagued scientists since the 19th century. It took researchers a century before they figured out the technology for making these mirrors. Even in the homeland of these historical wonders, the technique of their production was considered lost. 

The secret was solved thanks to the ancient Chinese manuscript “Records of Ancient Mirrors”. Subsequently, the book was irretrievably lost. Now in the world there is only one master who owns the art of making these magic mirrors – this is Yamamoto Akihisa from Japan.

There is only one master left in the world who owns the secret of making a magic mirror.
There is only one master left in the world who owns the secret of making a magic mirror.

Master Akihisa learned about this mysterious art from his father. In their family, these secrets were passed down from generation to generation. Despite this, many of the manufacturing nuances were lost. I had to experimentally find out various details.

Many of the nuances of this ancient craft have been lost.
Many of the nuances of this ancient craft have been lost.

The mystery of the reflection of the image of the back of the mirror was solved in 1932 by Sir William Bragg. To do this, at the very beginning, patterns are created on the back of the mirror, then the desired bulges are made by scraping and engraving. 

At the end, it is all polished and coated with a special mercury alloy. As a result of all these actions, bulges and bends invisible to the eye remain on a smooth mirror surface. They faithfully reproduce the pattern of the reverse side.

Light on the surface of the mirror is reflected and refracted in such a way that the bronze appears transparent.
Light on the surface of the mirror is reflected and refracted in such a way that the bronze appears transparent.

For many years, various researchers have tried to recreate the “magic mirror”. For this, the materials were subjected to pressure and high temperatures. Nothing worked. All this only spoiled the mirror, and the desired effect did not appear.

Modern scientists have failed to comprehend the secret of the magical effect of the ancient Chinese mirror.
Modern scientists have failed to comprehend the secret of the magical effect of the ancient Chinese mirror.

Scientists have written dozens of books and scientific articles on the topic of studying these artifacts. Back in the 11th century, a Chinese scientist, Shen Gua, in his book “Reflections on the Lake of Dreams” wrote the following about this: if a bright ray of sunlight hits, then all these inscriptions become clearly visible and readable. “

Western scholars have tried to reproduce the effect of an ancient Eastern magic mirror using a compressor.
Western scholars have tried to reproduce the effect of an ancient Eastern magic mirror using a compressor.

The reflection of sunlight occurs on the uneven surface of the mirror as follows: convex parts scatter light, and concave ones collect it. As a result, the “magic mirror” effect is formed.

The art of making magic mirrors dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD).
The art of making magic mirrors dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 24 AD).

Science knows cases when such a mirror had one pattern on its reverse side, and reflected a completely different one! Scientists assume in this case that the front side of the mirror is polished, and then a certain pattern is etched on it with acid, and then polished again. It becomes quite obvious that there are a lot of recipes for making such items. Most likely, each master discovered and kept his secrets, which are now lost.

In China, the method of making a bronze alloy has been known since about 2000 BC.
In China, the method of making a bronze alloy has been known since about 2000 BC.

The bronze, from which the famous mirrors are made, was invented by the Chinese more than four thousand years ago! The oldest “magic mirror” found by archaeologists is more than one and a half thousand years old. The fact that it was unheard of in those days, a rarity and luxury is clear from the fact that such objects were found during excavations of the tombs of very noble nobles and emperors.

Mirrors ceased to be a rarity in the Middle Ages, during the reign of the Ming dynasty. Most of the discovered artifacts belong to these times.

This item was extremely rare and expensive.
This item was extremely rare and expensive.

Over the past century and a half, many researchers and scientists have puzzled over the mystery of the “magic mirror”. Methods for producing the artifact that would have been equal to ancient craftsmanship have never been discovered. World science offers the following options:

1. When casting, those parts that are thinner cool faster and the surface is deformed. Only it is very difficult to achieve this effect: only two or three mirrors out of a hundred can reproduce a magical effect.
2. A pattern is engraved on the mirror, then it is filled with bronze of a different kind and polished.
3. Drawing is done on the front side, and then covered with a special alloy of mercury and polished.
4. The patterns on the mirror are etched with acid, then polished.
5. The pattern is cut on the back of the mirror, resulting in bumps in the front.
6. The front side patterns are stamped onto the surface and then polished.

It is believed that it all works, but so far no one has been able to reproduce it. “Magic mirrors” were also made in Japan. There they were called makkyo. It is there that the last master who owns this art lives.

There is one interesting detail of these mirrors that makes them similar to modern disk storage media.
There is one interesting detail of these mirrors that makes them similar to modern disk storage media.

With all the variety of these artifacts, there is one detail that makes them all in common: a convex pattern element in the center. It becomes clear that this element must carry a certain function. Presumably in order to install and fix the mirror in the required place. Crazy assumption: is it really an ancient disk storage medium?

In fact, there is a lot in common. After all, the discs also have a certain pattern on the back. Information there is written in the form of spiral tracks, depressions that are squeezed out. These paths absorb light, and the base reflects it. 

Information is read from the disc media using a laser beam. Interestingly, someone tried to illuminate the “magic mirror” with a laser? For sure. It is believed that in ancient times they used the technology of steam generation, which made it possible to create real volumetric holographic images. While these are all theories, perhaps in the future, scientists will still be able to unravel the mystery of “magic mirrors”.

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