Aerial Archaeology, Anatolia, and Ancient Persia

I recently came across some open-access resources that some readers might find interesting and useful.1 Here are the links:

APAAME – The Aerial Photographic Archive for Archaeology in the Middle East

ANADOLU – Open Access scholarly journal for the study of Anatolia (what’s now Turkey)

Online Encyclopædia Iranica

Enjoy!

  1. My apologies to ancient astronaut believers who might be confused by real research.

Nazca Spaceman?

nazcaastronautI’ve blogged about the famous Nazca lines before (“Doodling and Chicken Scratch of the Gods“), both in terms of why they have nothing to do with aliens and to expose readers to the thoughts of scholar-anthropologists on their manufacture and meaning. I recently came across an essay posted last December on the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog that pertains to the alleged Nazca astronaut that’s definitely worth a read: “The Nazca Astronaut Man: Owl-man or Fisherman?” The post focuses on the relief under the right elbow of the “astronaut” and the “spaceman’s” clothing. It makes a good case that: (1) the relief is actually a fish held on a line, next to a fishing pole (certainly has a fish shape when you look at it closely) and (2) the clothing is traditional Peruvian garb. It’s an interesting post. I’m betting an expert in Peruvian art could find analogous examples.

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Ancient Nanotechnology: Glass-Blowers from Space?

Just read this very interesting article – it’s about how ancient Roman glass makers ground up silver and gold to the size of 50 nano-meters in diameter (less than 1000th the size of a grain of table salt) to produce a goblet that appears green when lit from the front and red when lit from behind.

No word on which extraterrestrial race gave the Romans this technology. I’m sure the news will be appearing on a future Ancient Aliens episode. They just have to do more “research” to figure out the alien connection since humans just couldn’t do this sort of thing.

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Stone Spheres of Costa Rica: No Aliens Needed

Stone_sphereMany PaleoBabble readers have no doubt heard of the stone spheres of Costa Rica. In addition to the debunking of the “Nuremberg UFO” engraving I posted about a few days ago, Frank Johnson of the Ancient Aliens Debunked blog also has a worthwhile piece on these stone spheres. Hope you’re sitting down: aliens didn’t make them.

As Johnson notes in his post, ancient alien theorists not only don’t have a firm grasp of the obvious (like hammer marks still visible on the stones – thanks for that advanced technology, ET), they’re just plain irritated that he would dare dispute amazing “proof” like this for ancient alien contact. I’m sure they’ll soon realize that’s a poor strategy. Why not just film another Ancient Aliens episode and make up different evidence? I’m just saying.

As is so often the case, mainstream scholars are not curled up in the fetal position, rendered dumbstruck by the shocking evidence for alien causation offered by the likes of Erich “I’m the reincarnation of P.T. Barnum” von Daniken. Johnson introduces readers to anthropology Professor John Hoopes. As Johnson notes, “Hoopes has not only examined the Costa Rican giant stone balls, he has a Website explaining them and the errors in many of the claims.”

At any rate, if you haven’t read a thoughtful treatment of the stones spheres, the post is recommended.

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Free Book (PDF) on Temples and Temple Cosmology in Antiquity

The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago recently posted a new volume in the Oriental Institute Seminars series: Heaven on Earth: Temples, Ritual, and Cosmic Symbolism in the Ancient World (Edited by Deena Ragavan). You can download the book as a PDF for free here (click on the down arrow next to “terms of use”).

Here is the Table of Contents – some good stuff here!

Introduction
1. Heaven on Earth: Temples, Ritual, and Cosmic Symbolism in the Ancient World. Deena Ragavan

Part I: Architecture and Cosmology
2. Naturalizing Buddhist Cosmology in the Temple Architecture of China: The Case of the Yicihui Pillar. Tracy Miller
3. Hints at Temple Topography and Cosmic Geography from Hittite Sources. Susanne Görke
4. Images of the Cosmos: Sacred and Ritual Space in Jaina Temple Architecture in India. Julia A. B. Hegewald

Part II: Built Space and Natural Forms
5. The Classic Maya Temple: Centrality, Cosmology, and Sacred Geography in Ancient Mesoamerica. Karl Taube
6. Seeds and Mountains: The Cosmogony of Temples in South Asia. Michael W. Meister
7. Intrinsic and Constructed Sacred Space in Hittite Anatolia. Gary Beckman

Part III: Myth and Movement
8. On the Rocks: Greek Mountains and Sacred Conversations. Betsey A. Robinson
9. Entering Other Worlds: Gates, Rituals, and Cosmic Journeys in Sumerian Sources. Deena Ragavan

Part IV: Sacred Space and Ritual Practice
10. “We Are Going to the House in Prayer”: Theology, Cultic Topography, and Cosmology in the Emesal Prayers of Ancient Mesopotamia. Uri Gabbay
11. Temporary Ritual Structures and Their Cosmological Symbolism in Ancient
Mesopotamia. Claus Ambos
12. Sacred Space and Ritual Practice at the End of Prehistory in the Southern Levant. Yorke M. Rowan

Part V: Architecture, Power, and the State
13. Egyptian Temple Graffiti and the Gods: Appropriation and Ritualization in Karnak and Luxor. Elizabeth Frood
14. The Transformation of Sacred Space, Topography, and Royal Ritual in Persia and the Ancient Iranian World. Matthew P Canepa
15. The Cattlepen and the Sheepfold: Cities, Temples, and Pastoral Power in Ancient Mesopotamia. Omur Harmansah

Part VI: Images of Ritual
16. Sources of Egyptian Temple Cosmology: Divine Image, King, and Ritual Performer. John Baines
17. Mirror and Memory: Images of Ritual Actions in Greek Temple Decoration. Clemente Marconi

PART VII: Responses
18. Temples of the Depths, Pillars of the Heights, Gates in Between. Davíd Carrasco
19. Cosmos and Discipline. Richard Neer

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Pyramidiocy and Common Sense (And a Little Grasp of Ancient Religion)

I was just sent the image below from a friend who asked for my opinion.

pydmap

I often get pictures like this that people think “prove” certain ideas about ancient alien influence on world civilizations. Asinine. Pardon my yawn.

Let me summarize what this proves:

All ancient cultures believed the gods lived where humans did not and could not – mountains, the depths of the sea, the waters above the sky, below the earth, etc. They also believed the gods lived in the best possible places – hence also the luxuriant garden idea, known best in arid cultures where finding an oasis was a big deal.

Taking the “gods live on mountains” idea, to localize a deity so that you can worship it and offer sacrifice, in return for blessing and barter, you’d build the deity a vacation home – in the shape of a mountain, like his or her real home. A home away from home.

Consequently, such images make me think “whoop-dee-do.” What other architectural shape would you use to build an artificial mountain / home / meeting place for a deity? It’s no surprise that the common shape occurs all over the world. It’s quite understandable.

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Peer Review: The Kryptonite of PaleoBabblers

I’ve blogged before here about the importance of peer review. I came across these thoughts by another scholar (and friend; Dr. Larry Hurtado) on its crucial role for sifting nonsense. Hurtado is a seasoned NT scholar and has been on both sides of the process. Unless you approve of “researchers” making conspiratorial excuses to avoid submitting their thoughts and ideas to experts, you’ll enjoy it.

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Margaret Barker and the Jordan Codices

This past June Dr. Margaret Barker was on Coast to Coast AM talking about the infamous Jordan Codices. Barker is a legitimate scholar in the fields of biblical studies and Second Temple Judaism. She’s a favorite author of mine, not because I always (or even often) agree with her, but because she’s out of the box.

My fondness for Barker’s work won’t stop me from being critical of her thinking, though. Her thoughts about these codices, which basically the rest of the scholarly community thinks are fakes, for very good reasons, are a case in point. But I don’t have to chime in myself, as a fellow scholar and friend of mine, Dan McClellan, has already done so. Dan is one of a handful of scholars who has followed the codices saga very closely and done a lot of work to chronicle it for the rest of us. I recommend reading Dan’s critique of her appearance.

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The Cosmos in the Antikythera Mechanism: ET Flunked Astronomy

That’s the title of a new, freely accessible scholarly paper on the Antikythera mechanism you can find here. Here’s the abstract:

The Antikythera Mechanism is a fragmentarily preserved Hellenistic astronomical machine with bronze gearwheels, made about the second century B.C. In 2005, new data were gathered leading to considerably enhanced knowledge of its functions and the inscriptions on its exterior. However, much of the front of the instrument has remained uncertain due to loss of evidence. We report progress in reading a passage of one inscription that appears to describe the front of the Mechanism as a representation of a Greek geocentric cosmology, portraying the stars, Sun, Moon, and all five planets known in antiquity. Complementing this, we propose a new mechanical reconstruction of planetary gearwork in the Mechanism, incorporating an economical design closely analogous to the previously identified lunar anomaly mechanism, and accounting for much unresolved physical evidence.

For all those ancient aliens enthusiasts out there, please note the line about the five planets known in antiquity. The Gadarene rush among some in of that ilk to label the mechanism as proof of high (read: alien) technology in the ancient world would of course be proven wrong by this analysis. We’d have another case (just like Sumerian and Babylonian astrolabes and astronomical texts, contra Zecharia Sitchin) where the “aliens” presumably behind this technology only knew about five planets in our solar system.

Amazing how consistent that is. Why? Because we’re talking about human naked eye astronomy, not alien knowledge.

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Robert Ripley: A More Honest Showman Than Steven Greer

I just blogged this over at UFO Religions so I thought I’d reproduce this here.

>>

In the latest twist to the Steven Greer ET disclosure shell game (hat tip to BK), Greg Newkirk of the Who Forted? blog and Lee Spiegel of the Huffington Post (photo credit for the image below) have produced evidence that Robert Ripley of Ripley’s Believe it Or Not fame had found a 6.5-inch “alien” he called “Atta-boy” (Ripley’s specimen was from Peru, not Atacama, Chile, the region from which Greer’s “alien” hails, so the phonetic similarity seems coincidental).

 ATTABOYATA-570
 RIPLEYATTABOY-570

Ripley of course believe the specimen to be a mummified human. That’s still where my money is, since the 91% of the DNA that is identifiable to this point is human (and again, DNA testing of ancient specimens like this rarely produce completely identifiable genomes — that’s why there’s more than one way to DNA test such things).

The mummification thing keeps coming up. Readers know this is what I suggested at the beginning. I didn’t do that because I’m clairvoyant. Rather, I read things like scholarly journal articles on mummification like this one (the Atacama region is referenced on pp. 258 and 260). The abstract states in part:

This essay explores the idea that arsenic poisoning was the impetus for the origin of the oldest mummification practice in the world. The Chinchorro people artificially mummified fetuses and infants starting 7000 years ago, but we do not know why.

It stands to reason that mummification might have something to do with this (these) specimen(s) and thus account for anomalies (were the process known).

Incidentally, Atacama is also a region of Chile known for “cranial modification” — just like certain Peruvian regions. Cranial modification refers to deliberately shaping of the *human* head to a conical form (sorry, folks, those pictures you see on the internet are neither mysteries nor nephilim skulls). I can’t provide links to full articles on that due to copyright laws, but here you go:

Christina Torres-Rouff, “Cranial Vault Modification and Ethnicity in Middle Horizon San Pedro de Atacama, Chile,” Current Anthropology 43:1 (Feb 2002).

Christina Torres-Rouff, “The Influence of Tiwanaku on Life in the Chilean Atacama: Mortuary and Bodily Perspectives,” American Anthropologist 110:3 (Sept 2008): 325-337.

 

 

 

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