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The Mapungubwe Gold Rhinoceros
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 15:32

Gold has been prominent in human thought and history for over 6,000 years. Considered by some, to be one of earth’s rarest and most valued precious metals, it has gained a peculiar, and indeed, an inimitable place in human history.

Decorations placed around a coffin at a home funeral in Da Nang, Vietnam. At left, placed in front of the coffin, is an altar featuring a framed photo of the deceased and a pot for offering joss sticks. At right are a number of flower bouquets with attached condolences, and in the background are a number of vertical banners, also offering condolences.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 13:58

3,000 years ago, a small community on a Vietnamese island disappeared. No one is certain why. But even their very existence is a surprise. Lucky for archaeologists, it seems that the traditional funerary rites could provide clues to practices in the past.

The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC).
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 01:48

Sexuality was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East often described as the cradle of western civilisation roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and parts of Syria, Iran and Turkey. It was not only so for everyday humans but for kings and even deities.

A demon or dark angel.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 22:58

Jacques Collin de Plancy was a French occultist, demonologist and writer. He published a number of books on occultism and demonology. The most famous of these books is probably his “Dictionnaire Infernal”. The “Infernal Dictionary”, as it is known in English, is a book on demonology describing demons organized in hierarchies. The book first appeared in 1818 and it went on to have several editions.

Large trees in image are Yellowwood (Afrocarpus falcatus=Podocarpus falcatus) by Androstachys
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 19:05

Before man invaded, a vast stretch along the southern coast of Africa, was once a lush green forest.  A seagull’s view coming in from the sea would have seen the whitewash breakers of the Indian ocean spilling onto the pristine beaches, immediately bordered by thriving green indigenous forest, stretching far inland. Due to the high rainfall and moisture, water-loving-ferns, lofty trees rising up to 15 to 30 meters, including ironwood, stinkwood and yellowwood and fynbos plants flourished in this jungle.

The Abyss of Hell, Sandro Botticelli, 1480s
Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 13:45

The recent dispute over whether Pope Francis denied the existence of hell in an interview attracted wide attention. This isn’t surprising, since the belief in an afterlife, where the virtuous are rewarded with a place in heaven and the wicked are punished in hell, is a core teaching of Christianity.

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Archaeology News on Human Origins, Ancient Places and Mysterious Phenomena

The Mapungubwe Gold Rhinoceros

South Africa’s National Gold Treasures Just Got Rarer

Gold has been prominent in human thought and history for over 6,000 years. Considered by some, to be one of earth’s rarest and most valued precious metals, it has gained a peculiar, and indeed, an...
Decorations placed around a coffin at a home funeral in Da Nang, Vietnam. At left, placed in front of the coffin, is an altar featuring a framed photo of the deceased and a pot for offering joss sticks. At right are a number of flower bouquets with attached condolences, and in the background are a number of vertical banners, also offering condolences.

Traditional Funerary Rites Provide a Glimpse at Mystery Neolithic Vietnamese Culture

3,000 years ago, a small community on a Vietnamese island disappeared. No one is certain why. But even their very existence is a surprise. Lucky for archaeologists, it seems that the traditional...
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC).

In Ancient Mesopotamia, Sex among the Gods Shook Heaven and Earth

Sexuality was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia, an area of the Ancient Near East often described as the cradle of western civilisation roughly corresponding to modern-day Iraq, Kuwait, and...
A demon or dark angel.

A Multitude of Demons: More on the Mythology of the Constantine TV Series

Jacques Collin de Plancy was a French occultist, demonologist and writer. He published a number of books on occultism and demonology. The most famous of these books is probably his “Dictionnaire...
Large trees in image are Yellowwood (Afrocarpus falcatus=Podocarpus falcatus) by Androstachys

The Ghosts of Knysna Forest: Footsteps of the Once Great Elephant Herds Gone with the Wind

Before man invaded, a vast stretch along the southern coast of Africa, was once a lush green forest. A seagull’s view coming in from the sea would have seen the whitewash breakers of the Indian ocean...
The Abyss of Hell, Sandro Botticelli, 1480s

What is hell?

The recent dispute over whether Pope Francis denied the existence of hell in an interview attracted wide attention . This isn’t surprising, since the belief in an afterlife, where the virtuous are...
Two Sides to Every Story: The North American Martyrs Shrines and Indigenous/ Roman Catholic Relations – Part II

Two Sides to Every Story: The North American Martyrs Shrines and Indigenous/ Roman Catholic Relations – Part II

Read Part 1 Jerome Lalemant, the second Superior of the Huron mission, said there were so few converts because no Jesuit had been martyred yet. It is stated more than once that if the “glorious crown...
Head of Marcus Aurelius found at Aswan/Site of the newly discovered shrine at Luxor,

The Head of an Emperor, the Shrine of a God: Two Contrasting Finds at the Egyptian Sites of Luxor and Aswan

Recent discoveries at two of the major ancient sites in Egypt emphasize the diversity of culture and power that existed in the region over time. In Aswan, the head of a marble statue of the Roman...
Two Sides to Every Story: The North American Martyrs Shrines and Indigenous/ Roman Catholic Relations

Two Sides to Every Story: The North American Martyrs Shrines and Indigenous/ Roman Catholic Relations

After the Blessed Virgin Mary and her assorted shrines and grottoes, evangelical Catholics in Canada and United States flock to and draw inspiration from the North American Martyrs’ Shrines in...
Head from a red granite statue of Amenhotep III wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt found at Karnak; side panel of one of the Colossi of Memnon shows a relief of Hapy, the Nile god, and a sculpture of Queen Tiye; design by Anand Balaji

Amenhotep III, The Man and his Monuments: Age of Empire and Architecture –Part II

With the empire witnessing an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity, Amenhotep III embarked on a grand building project that spanned the length and breadth of Egypt. The monuments he commissioned...
Detail of a copy of the Doryphoros of Polykleitos.

Doryphoros: Greek Art Imitating Ideal Form

Was perfection possible in the ancient Greek world? If you look at their art, you may think so. Doryphoros (translated from Greek as ‘Spear-Bearer), was a statue created during the 5th century BC...
Shields bearing image of Ahuizotl, Museum of Ethnology, Vienna.

Was the Ahuizotl an Aztec Mythical Creature or a Real Fisherman’s Foe?

The Ahuizotl (which may be translated from Nahuatl to mean ‘Thorny One of the Water’) is a creature found in the mythology of the Aztecs. This legendary creature is believed to inhabit the lakes and...
Painting of Father General Saint Francis Borgia, SJ, performing an exorcism, by Goya.

Exorcism – How Does it Work and Why is it on The Rise?

Exorcism is again in the news, as the Vatican announces a new training course will be held to meet increased demand for deliverance ministry. So, what does this actually mean, and should it be a...
A Neanderthal.

More than Brutish Grunting: Can One Bone Prove Neanderthal Speech Existed?

For a long time, the common depiction of Neanderthals was a group of unintelligent subhumans who could only communicate through wild gestures and loud grunts. But many researchers were not convinced...
Several types of mammoths walked the earth during the Pleistocene epoch.

Unprecedented Wave of Large-mammal Extinctions Linked to Prehistoric Humans

Homo sapiens , Neanderthals and other recent human relatives may have begun hunting large mammal species down to size -- by way of extinction -- at least 90,000 years earlier than previously thought...
A modern representation of Humbaba

Humbaba: A Monstrous Foe for Gilgamesh or a Misunderstood Guardian?

Humbaba (Huwawa) is a guardian creature found in the Epic of Gilgamesh , which is generally considered to be the earliest surviving great work of literature. Although Humbaba is traditionally...

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