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They find remains of a mysterious Mayan queen of 1,500 years old

The complete skeleton of a 1,500-year-old Mayan queen has been discovered in a hidden pyramid in the Guatemalan jungle. Archaeologists believe that the remains of her husband, the king, are very close.

skeleton of Mayan queen

Little is known about the identity of this monarch found in an underground chamber inside a pyramid in the Holmul area – a Mayan archaeological site near the border with modern Belize.

According to the archaeologists, the technique called LIDAR was the one that allowed to find pyramids, entire cities, walls, among other Mayan treasures, that until now had gone unnoticed in the north of Guatemala.

Among these structures identified by laser technology, there is a complex of three pyramids on the outskirts of the city of Witzna. The bones of the queen, discovered under one of these pyramids, denote that she was already an old woman at the time of death, and the trousseau that accompanies her clearly evidences her position within royalty.

This finding means that at least one “king” is buried nearby, so archaeologists will continue to explore the site in search of their remains. The hypothesis is sustained, in addition, in a vase to drink chocolate found there, whose inscriptions name a monarch.(Mayan queen)

“Nobody but a king or queen would have possession of this type of item,” explained archaeologist Francisco Estrada-Belli. “We know from many references elsewhere that, on certain important occasions, a king would invite his allies and his lords and make some of these vases made for him and then donate them to his closest allies. We believe that this is the reason why this individual, who is definitely not the person named in the vase, must have it. “

Mayan queen

The excavation in the Witzna complex also revealed an old military building: a watchtower. At his feet, inside a deep well, a skull and teeth belonging to a sacrificed child were unearthed.(Mayan queen)

Also, more ritual activity in the area includes a large number of fragments of vessels that would have been offerings deposited on the top of the queen’s pyramid.

Other stone monuments have signs of having suffered the effects of fire and destruction of their inscriptions; something that scholars believe represents more evidence of rituals or of some military attack.

“What happened at the base and at the top of the pyramid – burned by fire – can be two different things, but in the case of a broken stone monument, we are sure that this was basically an attack on the city . Many of the most important buildings were destroyed, burned, and the monuments with the images of the disfigured kings, “said Estrada-Belli.

More details about this discovery are released in “Lost Treasures of the Mayans”, a documentary broadcast in National Geographic. What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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Burial Site of Anglo-Saxon Prince May Be Greatest Discovery Ever in UK

When the discovery of a well-preserved royal gravesite is being compared to finding the tomb of King Tutankhamun, it’s obviously a big deal. When it’s in the UK and the remains may be from a 6th century Anglo-Saxon prince, it’s definitely a significant find. When the richly-appointed ancient royal tomb is discovered between an Aldi’s and a pub, it’s the height of irony. The tomb was once believed to belong to Sæberht of Essex, the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity, but new evidence points to it belonging to his brother, Saexa.

“In 2003 archaeologists from MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) excavated a small plot of land in Prittlewell, Essex, for Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. They were astounded to discover an intact Anglo-Saxon burial chamber.”

According to its website, when the team from MOLA opened what would have been a 13-foot (4 meters) square timber tomb about five feet high Prittlewell, near Southend, Essex, they found over 40 well-preserved artifacts, including a lyre (a harp-like instrument), gold coins, a gold belt buckle, drinking vessels, a sword trimmed with gold, a flagon from Syria and decorative glass beakers, all placed carefully in such a way that they knew it was the tomb of royalty. Unfortunately, what they didn’t find was the royalty – the only human remains in the tomb were tooth enamel fragments. (Photos of the artifacts here.)

(Wikipedia)

“The team left no stone unturned, using a range of techniques – from soil micromorphology and CT scans to Raman spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy and mass spectrometry – in their quest to reconstruct and understand the chamber as it would have been on the day of the funeral.”

After the site was excavated and the artifacts taken to MOLA, 15 years of research at first pointed to the tomb belonging to Sæberht, who ruled over the Kingdom of Essex from 604 to 616 CE. Sæberht was the first East Saxon king to have been converted to Christianity and gold crosses found in the tomb which would have been placed over the eyes confirmed this was a Christian burial, making this the earliest known Christian tomb ever found in the UK. However, further study showed the tomb being built somewhere between 575 and 605 – too soon for Sæberht.

The artifacts have been stored and displayed at the Museum of London Archaeology, but now a number of them are being moved back to Southend to go on permanent display for the first time at the Central Museum. In conjunction with the move, MOLA archeologists are now stating that the tomb most likely belonged to Saexa, Sæberht’s brother who died earlier and never ruled Essex. Not much else is known about Saexa or how he died, according to Sophie Jackson, MOLA’s director of research and engagement.

“There’s a lot of debate about whether he was a fully-fledged hairy beast Saxon warrior, or younger. Had he died before he could really prove himself?”

Nonetheless, Jackson joins in with those who call the discovery between a pub and an Aldi’s “our equivalent of Tutankhamun’s tomb.” If you can’t make it to the museum, MOLA has an outstanding recreation of the tomb on its website.

“A fully-fledged hairy beast Saxon warrior”? That doesn’t sound much like Tut.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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Chunk of Stonehenge returned after 60 years

Image Credit: PD – Wiki
A little piece of Stonehenge is now back where it belongs. 

A piece of the enigmatic monument that has been missing for six decades has finally been returned.

The cylindrical fragment, which measures just over one meter long, was obtained by Robert Phillips of diamond cutting firm Van Moppes in 1958 when some of the cracked stones at the world-famous heritage site were being re-enforced with metal rods.

Phillips would end up taking the stone core with him when he emigrated to the United States but now, on the eve of his 90th birthday, he has finally asked for it to be returned to where it belongs.

“The last thing we ever expected was to get a call from someone in America telling us they had a piece of Stonehenge,” said Heather Sebire of English Heritage.

Given that it was taken from the middle of one of the stones, the missing piece is not as weathered as the monolith itself, making it ideal for study. Scientists hope that a detailed analysis could help to reveal more about precisely where the stones that make up Stonehenge originally came from.

“Studying the Stonehenge core’s ‘DNA’ could tell us more about where those enormous sarsen stones originated,” said Sebire.

Intriguingly, a total of three such cores were removed from the monument during the 1950s, meaning that two more of them are still out there in the hands of private owners.

Determining their whereabouts however is likely to prove a considerable challenge.

Source: Reuters

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New Look at Moabite Stone May Prove the Existence of a Biblical King

The mysterious 3,900-year-old Moabite Stone, also known as the Mesha Stele, may have proven the existence of another biblical king. A new high-tech analysis of a damaged portion of the stone reveals an inscription referring to King Balak of Moab, who is mentioned in the Hebrew bible in Numbers, Judges and Micah, and in the New Testament Book of Revelations. Will this push Balak to the list of historically verified biblical figures?

“After studying new photographs of the Mesha Stele and the squeeze of the stele prepared before the stone was broken, we dismiss Lemaire’s proposal to read (‘House of David’) on Line 31. It is now clear that there are three consonants in the name of the monarch mentioned there, and that the first is a beth. We cautiously propose that the name on Line 31 be read as Balak, the king of Moab referred to in the Balaam story in Numbers 22–24.”

Circa 1891 photograph of the 9th century BC Mesha Stele, inscribed in the Moabite language by king Mesha of Moab.

In an abstract of their article published in the current Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, archaeologist Israel Finkelstein, historian Nadav Na’aman – both from Tel Aviv University – and biblical scholar Thomas Römer from the Collège de France explain how they used a “squeeze” – a papier-mâché impression of the inscriptions made shortly after it was found in Dhiban, Jordan, in 1868 and shortly before it was broken into pieces by Bani Hamida tribe protesters upset it was being taken away. The squeeze helped put most of the pieces back together and is the best image of what the impressions once said.

Using new high-resolution photos of the squeeze, the team focused on the incomplete line 31 of the stele,, which scholars have long believed referred to the House of David. In the squeeze, they saw what appear to be three additional consonants in the name of the king, which would change it from David to Balak. This is the first mention of Balak outside of the Hebrew bible.

Drawing of the Mesha Stele (or Moabite Stone) by Mark Lidzbarski, published 1898.

Bingo! End of story. Add Balak to the list of archeological-prover real biblical people along with David, Mesha of Moab (author of the stele), Hoshea, Hezekiah, Cyrus the Great and others. Right?

Well, the researchers are justifiably hesitant in making such a bold claim about the world’s most studied book. They say the name could be Balak, but it could also be Bedad, Bedan, Becher, Belaʻ, Baʻal or Barak. Also, the bible puts Balak in Moab 200 years before the stele was created. The team attempts to explain this by suggesting the authors of the Moabite Stone may have woven multiple stories into one. That doesn’t negate the authenticity of the existence of Balak but it definitely complicates things.

As with any old puzzle, the missing pieces of the Moabite Stone will never be found and the interpretation is based on the picture on the box – in this case, the “squeeze.” Balak doesn’t go on the ‘real person’ list yet, but he’s definitely closer than Noah and the ark.

Source: Mysterious Universe

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