Nine of the Finest: A Run Down of Recent Top Stories
In the recent top stories; A sunken Maya city, Costa Rica’s stone spheres, Mungo Man makes it home, a Jewish-style Alexander the Great, all Roswell’s witnesses, Anglesey Druid slaughter, Jesus death theory, and rats roaming the high seas.
Maya City Sunk in Lake Atitlán Explored By Underwater Archaeologists
Part of submerged Maya city in Lake Atitlán, in Guatemala. (INAH)
In the placid waters of Central America’s deepest lake, an international team of scientists has been engaged in an exciting multi-year research project. Under the authority of Mexico’s National Anthropology and History Museum (INAH), they’ve been exploring, mapping, and photographing the remains of an ancient Maya city known as Samabaj, which is submerged 55 feet (16.7 meters) beneath the surface of mountain-sheltered Lake Atitlán, Guatemala’s top tourist attraction .
The most recent dives at Samabaj were led by the INAH consultant Helena Barbra Meinecke, who heads that organization’s Yucatan Peninsula underwater archaeology sub-directorate. The ongoing exploration project, which was launched in 2017 , also has the full support and cooperation of UNESCO’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Body (STAB). Underwater archaeologists from Mexico, Guatemala, Belgium, Spain, France, and Argentina have participated in dives over the years, and the underwater city has now been extensively explored and mapped as a result of these efforts.
Six Ancient Stone Spheres from Diquís Delta in Costa Rica Excavated
Stone spere excavated in the Diquis Delta of Costa Rica, being restored. (INAH)
Archaeologists from Costa Rica’s Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH) and the National Museum of Costa Rica (MNCR) have recovered and restored six ancient stone spheres from the small island of Isla del Caño and the Diquís Delta. Archaeologists from Mexico’s National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museography (ENCRyM) were also involved in the collaborative conservation-restoration project. The collaborative Program for the Conservation of the Cacicales del Diquís Settlements between the institutes from the two nations has completed its fifth season with this project, according to the INAH website.
Mungo Man’s Remains Returned For Reburial to His Aboriginal Ancestors
The 40,000-year-old remains of Mungo Man were discovered in 1974 on the southern sector of the eroding Lake Mungo shoreline by Professor Jim Bowler. (Jim Bowler / University of Melbourne )
The traditional meeting place of the Mutthi, Nyiampaar, and Barkinji Aboriginal tribes of Australia, in the Willandra Lakes region, has been a source of historical wonder and controversy over the decades, with some very recent promising progress. The remains of Mungo Man, and 107 other Aboriginal people, who died around 42,000 years ago, were dug up in 1974, and taken away without the permission of the indigenous communities involved. Now, finally, the Australian federal government has formally approved a 2018 decision of reburying Mungo Man and 107 others, much to the satisfaction of local community leaders, reports the BBC.
Jewish-styled Alexander Legends Found on Silver Bowl from Tibet
Closeups of images of Alexander (the two leftmost figures), an Indian priest, and a servant shown on the silver Tibetan bowl that depicts Alexander legends with a Jewish “twist.” (Ancient Orient Museum, Tokyo)
A new paper published in the Bulletin of the Asia Institute argues that an ancient silver bowl found in Lhasa 50 years ago displays in Greek-style reliefs scenes from a Jewish version of the Alexander legends. This body of legend grew around the real and fictional feats of the Macedonian conqueror, and was popular from the third to the 12th century AD. Until now, the most accepted interpretation of the scenes depicted on the bowl has been a 1973 one that attributes them to Homer’s Iliad. Now, the study by French researchers contends that the scenes actually originate in a previously unknown fifth-sixth-century Jewish tradition of Alexander legends, reports Haaretz.
According to the writers from CNRS, University Paris Sciences & Letters, and the College de France respectively, the bowl depicts Alexander three times: once picking fruit from the Tree of Life and twice drinking from the Fountain of Life. They also claim the bowl has the first-known depiction in the eastern world of a terrestrial paradise.
Beyond Top Secret: Eyewitness Accounts to the Roswell Incident
Many believe that the debris discovered at Roswell was the remains of a UFO. (aleciccotelli / Adobe Stock)
On the night of July 4, 1947, at 11:27 PM, something highly unusual crashed into the arid desert northwest of Roswell, New Mexico. This event has spawned decades of conspiracy theories, with claims that the debris belonged to some kind of UFO, aliens included. Eyewitness accounts have emerged ever since, creating a picture of what happened that night.
Discovery of Mysterious Debris Near Roswell
After the crash, two separate debris fields were discovered the next morning. One was 75 miles (120 km) from Roswell, and the second one 36 miles (58 km) toward the north, where strange bodies were also seen. U.S. military personnel did not arrive from Roswell Army Airfield (RAAF), however, until July 8, 1947.
That very same day, the Roswell Daily Record newspaper published the first official story, released by First Lieutenant Walter Haut, the base public affairs officer: “RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region: The intelligence office of the 509th Bombardment Group at Roswell Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer… recovered on a ranch in the Roswell vicinity… (by) Major (Jesse A.) Marcel.”
Just 24 hours later, the Army Air Corps changed its story completely, creating a second, official version. “That mysterious object… was a harmless, high-altitude, weather balloon, not a grounded, flying disk… Brig. Gen. Roger M. Ramey, commander of the Eighth Air Force… cleared up the mystery,” claimed the report in the Roswell Daily Record.
The Conquest of Anglesey and the Destruction of Druidism’s Last Stronghold
Roman soldiers killing Anglesey Druids, as described by Tacitus. (Public domain)
With a reputation for their savagery, the destruction of the Anglesey Druids and conquest of the Welsh Isle of Anglesey by the Romans put an end to the last pagan corner of Wales in 77 AD. But was this image of savage and blood thirsty Druids just a Roman dramatization to justify their colonization in the British Isles?
The Isle of Anglesey and the Anglesey Druids
The Isle of Anglesey, or the Isle of Mona as it was known by the Romans, is a windswept island located in the northwest of Wales, bordering the Irish Sea. It is 261 square miles (675 km2), and has a series of low and fertile valleys running from the northwest to the southwest which helped it become an early grain-growing and stock-raising center. In fact, megalithic burial chambers and standing stones attest to late Neolithic and early Bronze Age habitation. By 100 BC, Celtic languages and customs had been adopted on the island, which in time became the most important Druidic stronghold in the British Isles.
To the Romans, who first encountered these native holy men during Julius Caesar’s skirmish in 55 BC, the religion, gods, and practices, including human sacrifice, were abhorrent, yet it would take over a hundred years for them to crush the sacred Druidic home and bring an end to their wicked traditions during the conquest of Anglesey.
Doctor-Turned-Priest Determines How Jesus Died from the Shroud of Turin
Representation of Jesus Christ in death. (nito / Adobe Stock)
A new study published in the journal Catholic Medical Quarterly claims to have discovered the specific cause of Jesus Christ’s death. He died from excessive bleeding caused by a severely dislocated shoulder, the study asserts, an injury he allegedly suffered while carrying the heavy cross upon which he was eventually crucified.
The author of this theory and the Catholic Medical Quarterly article is retired neurologist Patrick Pullicino, who closely analyzed data obtained from the Shroud of Turin , a controversial artifact reputed to be Jesus’s burial cloth. The 14-foot (4.4-meter)-long linen shroud features a faint but unmistakable image, resembling a photographic negative, of a bearded man whose eyes are closed, as if he is no longer alive. The man appears to have suffered wounds all over his body, many of which are consistent with a crucifixion. The linen cloth has several reddish-brown stains that could have come from blood.
Based on the damage he saw on photographs of the man on the shroud, Reverend Professor Pullicino concluded that this individual—presumed to be Jesus Christ—had suffered a shoulder dislocation so severe that it inevitably resulted in his death. The wounds suffered during the crucifixion were terrible, but even if the crucifixion had not taken place Pullicino believes Jesus would have still been doomed.
Swiss Metal Detectorist Finds 1,290 4th Century Roman Coins!
Archaeologist from Archaeology Baselland excavates the pot of Roman coins. (Archaeology Baselland)
Nearly 1,300 priceless 4th-century AD Roman coins, all in a pot, were found in September 2021 near Bubendorf, Basel County, Switzerland by amateur archaeologist volunteer, Daniel Ludin. During one of Daniel’s metal detector searches in a forest at Wildenstein Castle, the alert went off. Digging down he just found a few coins and potsherds, but the detector kept buzzing. Digging further he discovered the Roman coin hoard in what was once a really big pot, according to the report in Archaeology Baselland.
Dead Rats and Diverse Pots Reveal Long Voyages of 1400-year-old Shipwreck
The Ma’agan Michael B Shipwreck. (A. Yurman / The Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa)
Scientists from the University of Haifa in Israel have been studying an ancient shipwreck off the Mediterranean coast of Israel. The Ma‘agan Mikhael B shipwreck has provided a rich haul of artifacts to help them piece together its story. But that is not all. The well-preserved remains of the ship also contain an unusual source of information. The skeletons of rats that once infested the ship are proving to be very useful in finding out more about life aboard the ship before it ran aground, cutting short its career.
Top image: Composite of in-article images.
By Ancient Origins