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Posted on Tuesday, August 12 - 2008


I noticed something and had something of an epiphany. The pyramids represented on the US bills are not the pyramids of GIZA as everyone seems to discuss and assume. They are in fact the pyramids of Kush, in what is now Sudan. These were built from around 500BC, by the Nubians who eventually became pharos of Upper and Lower Egypt. They had been ruled by Egypt proper a thousand years or 2 before hand, but after that had stopped, they maintained many of the ancient ways, and so reintroduced forgotten arts and styles back once they ruled Egypt. They are in a totally different style to the original Pyramids of Saqqara or Giza. For one thing, they were built after the Pharo's death by his successor. Most importantly here though, these pyramids reflect the same style as the ones on the dollar bills; steep sided, were usually, although not always, built purposefully without a cap stone of any kind, and with ridges running up each side/edge. Maybe there is more to this.

Ancient Nubia: The region referred to as Lower Egypt is the northernmost portion. Upper Nubia extends south into Sudan and can be subdivided into several separate areas such as Batn El Hajar or "Belly of Rocks", the sands of the Abri-Delgo Reach, or the flat plains of the Dongola Reach. Nubia, the hottest and most arid region of the world, has caused many civilizations to be totally dependent on the Nile for existence.

Historically Nubia has been a nucleus of diverse cultures. It has been the only occupied strip of land connecting the Mediterranean world with "tropical" Africa. Thus, this put the people in close and constant contact with its neighbors for long periods of history and Nubia was an important trade route between sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world. Its rich material culture and tradition of languages are seen in archaeological records. The most prosperous period of Nubian civilization was that of the kingdom of Kush, which endured from about 800 BC to about 320 AD. During this time, the Nubians of Kush would at one point, assume rule over all of Nubia as well as Upper and Lower Egypt...

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Posted on Thursday, May 08 - 2008

A close-up of a Spanish gold coin, three Portuguese silver coins and a pair of brass dividers that were found from a shipwreck off the south west coast of Namibia.

Copyright Discovery News

The ship was laden with tons of copper ingots, elephant tusks, gold coins -- and cannons to fend off pirates. But it had nothing to protect it from the fierce weather off a particularly bleak stretch of inhospitable African coast, and it sank 500 years ago. Now it has been found, stumbled upon by De Beers geologists prospecting for diamonds off Namibia. "If you're mining on the coast, sooner or later you'll find a wreck," archaeologist Dieter Noli said in an interview Thursday.NamdebDiamond Corp., a joint venture of the government of Namibia and De Beers, first reported the April 1 find in a statement Wednesday, and planned a news conference in the Namibian capital next week. The company had cleared and drained a stretch of seabed, building an earthen wall to keep the water out so geologists could work.

Noli said one of the geologists saw a few ingots, but had no idea what they were. Then the team found what looked like cannon barrels.
The geologists stopped the brutal earth-moving work of searching for diamonds and sent photos to Noli, who had done research in the Namibian desert since the mid-1980s and has advised De Beers since 1996 on the archaeological impact of its operations in Namibia. The find "was what I'd been waiting for, for 20 years," Noli said. "Understandably, I was pretty excited. I stillam." Noli's original specialty was the desert, but because of Namdeb's offshore explorations, he had been preparing for the possibility of a wreck, even learning to dive. After the discovery, he brought in Bruno Werz, an expert in the field, to help research the wreck. Noli has studied maritime artifacts with Werz, who was one of his instructors at the University of Cape Town. Judging from the notables depicted on the hoard of Spanish and Portuguese coins, and the type of cannons and navigational equipment, the ship went down in the late 1400s or early 1500s, around the time Vasco de Gama and Columbus were plying the waters of the New World. "Based on the goods they were carrying, it's almost certain that it dates from that time," said John Broadwater, chief archaeologist at theU.S. National......

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Posted on Saturday, April 19 - 2008

The ruins at Great Zimbabwe are the most extensive in sub-Saharan Africa, and arguably the most emotive. The name 'Zimbabwe' probably comes from the Shona phrase Ziimba dza Mabwe1, meaning 'Houses of Stone'. 30km south-west of Masvingo2 in Zimbabwe3, the ruins sit on a 1000m plateau, at the base of some low granite hills on otherwise open plains, with few trees. For generations, these cyclopean stone walls were considered one of the great unsolved mysteries of the world; who could have built these ruins when no surrounding people was capable of more than mud huts? Why could such a people not have dominated the local Shona tribespeople and built more such cities? Where had their advanced civilisation gone by the time Europeans reached the area in the 1800s? Nowadays, we have satisfactory - and often surprisingly obvious - answers to all these questions, though there are mysteries yet on the plains.

The Ruins: There are three main sections, the Hill Complex (also known as the Acropolis or Hill Town), the Valley Ruins and the Walled Town (or Great Enclosure). The Valley Ruins are now almost invisible, as they are the remains of mud-brick (daga) buildings between the other two sections. A purpose-built version of a local village is thankfully well concealed from view at the rear, offering fortune-telling and tribal dancing during the high season. It does, however, give an impression of what the Valley ruins must once have looked like, with conical thatched roofs slope almost to the ground. The Hill Complex is largely built into the rocky hillside, with walls and floors carved into the rock in some places and built on top of it in others. Guides will enthusiastically point out to visitors areas where the acoustics would allow public speeches to be made, and caves that act as loudspeakers to allow voices to be projected over the surrounding countryside. However exciting these stories may be to tourists, it should be remembered that they owe more to the imaginations of the guides than to local tradition or archaeology...

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Posted on Sunday, April 13 - 2008

Known as the Kiosk, it is located in front of the Lion Temple in Naqa, Sudan.

Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly

Our great grandfathers called it Ta-Seti, Land of the Bow. They were referring to the area south of the First Cataract at Aswan, and the reason behind the name was the unparalleled skill its inhabitants demonstrated when using the bow as a method of arm. Those excellent bowmen were actually the Kushites.At first, Egyptians, as back as the First Dynasty, would send expeditions to the area in pursuit of slaves as well as the exploration of new sites where copper and gold could be mined. Egyptian influence grew and by the Middle Kingdom, a series of strongholds and fortresses controlled the Nile at theSecond Cataract.

Their influence over the area grew further through the New Kingdom; Pharaoh Tuthmoses III marched as far south as the Fifth Cataract. But change is a question of time, and by the end of the New Kingdom, Kush began to rise.
Historians have universally agreed that King Alara unified Upper Nubia around 780 BC, declaring Napata (near Jabal Barrkal, Karima, North Sudan) the capital. The job was completed by his successor King Kashata when Lower Nubia joined the crown. Nubia had been united and Kashata claimed for himself the title Pharaoh. But that was not the end of it; following suit was Pharaoh Piye, better known in history as Pharaoh Piankhy, conqueror of Thebes and founder of Egypt's 25th Dynasty, the dynasty of the Black Pharaohs. Lasting for a little less than 100 years, the 25th Dynasty had five Pharaohs claiming the throne, themost famous being Pharaoh Taharqa. Leaving numerous monuments both in Egypt and Sudan, one of his most famous deeds was the restoration and building efforts in Karnak Temple, notes the First Court of Amun. Being the heroic war veteran he was, the Kushite Kingdom expanded as far as the borders of Libya and Palestine. Unfortunately for him, the Assyrians were rising exponentially and in no time they stormed Egypt, forcing Taharqa to flee Thebes and seek shelter in Napata. The period that followed was draped in a shroud of mystery, up until the third century BC when King Arkamani moved the capital from Napata further south to Meroe (midway between Khartoum and Atbara). History has taught us that behind each move there is a story and this one is no different. Kushite holy priests used to hold unlimited power, to the extent that they were authoritative enough to declare,through......

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