Two of the pyramids of Giza , the last surviving wonder of the ancient world, were conceived as a single project--a sort of grandiose stage show to represent the final and most important part of a pharaoh's journey to the afterlife, an Italian study has concluded.It is widely believed that the pharaohs Khufu, his son Khafre and grandson Menkaure built their pyramids on the edge of a desert plateau at Giza between 2600 and 2450 BC. But according to Giulio Magli of the mathematics department at Milan's Polytechnic University, astronomical alignments and the landscape indicate that the two main pyramids, those identified with the tombsof Khufu and Khafre, were not built in different stages.
On the contrary, they were planned as a single, grand project."Khufu was the mind behind the project. He conceived both pyramids to have strong symbolic meaning. He wanted to state forever that his soul had joined the sun god," Magli told Discovery News.
which has been published on the Cornell University physics Web site
arXiv, suggests that Khufu planned the construction of two pyramids,
exactly as his father, Snefru, did in Dahshur. Only later did Khafre
claim for himself the slightly smaller pyramid.
Little is known about the 4th dynasty pharaoh Khufu (2589-2566 BC), whose only portrait is a tiny three-inch high statue.
Greek historian Herodotus
depicted him as a cruel despot who enslaved his people to buildhis
huge pyramid complex. But archaeologists dispute that account.
"The name of Khufu and his
pyramid is always attached to a popular notion that the pyramid was
built by slaves. But that was not the case, because the workers built
their own tombs near the pyramid of Khufu, and prepared their tombs for
eternity like nobles and officials. They were also paid by the king, or
worked instead of paying tax," Zahi Hawass, chief of Egypt's Supreme
Council of Antiquities, wrote on his Web site.
According to Magli, Khufu imagined himself as the "son of the sun god," who was thus destined for eternal life.
"What better way to prove this relationship than making the sun, himself, talk about it?" said Magli.
Indeed, during the summer solstice, a spectacular show appears to observers standingby......
The size of a shoebox, a mysterious bronze device scooped out of a Roman-era shipwreck at the dawn of the 20th century has baffled scientists for years. Now a British researcher has stunningly established it as the world's oldest surviving astronomy computer.A team of Greek and British scientists probing the secrets of the Antikythera Mechanism has managed to decipher ancient Greek inscriptions unseen for over 2,000 years, members of the project say."Part of the text on the machine, over 1,000 characters, had already been deciphered, but we have succeeded in doubling this total," said physician Yiannis Bitsakis, part of amulti-disciplinary team of researchers from universities in Athens, Salonika and Cardiff, the Athens National Archaeological Museum and the Hewlett-Packard company.
"We have now deciphered 95 percent of the text," he told AFP.
Scooped out of a Roman
shipwreck located in 1900 by sponge divers near the southern Greek
island of Antikythera, and kept at the Athens National Archaeological
Museum, the Mechanism contains over 30 bronze wheels and dials, and is
covered in astronomical inscriptions.
Probably operated by crank, it survives in three main pieces and some smaller fragments.
"(The device) could
calculate the position of certain stars, at least the Sun and Moon, and
perhaps predict astronomical phenomena," said astrophysicist Xenophon
Moussas of AthensUniversity.
"It was probably rare, if not unique," he added.
The rarity of the
Antikythera Mechanism precluded its removal from the museum, so an
eight-tonne 'body scanner' had to be assembled on-site for the
privately-funded project, which used three-dimensional tomography to
expose the unseen inscriptions.
The first appraisal of the
Mechanism's purpose was put forward in the 1960s by British science
historian Derek Price, but the scientists' latest discovery raises more
"It is a puzzle concerning
astronomical and mathematical knowledge in antiquity," said Moussas.
"The Mechanism could actually rewrite certain chapters in this area."
"The challenge is to place
this device into a scientific context, as it comes almost outof
Baghdad's National Museum in Iraq houses some of the world's finest treasures dating from the beginning of recorded civilisation. In 2003, during the chaos of war in Iraq, the National Museum was looted. The tragic loss may include more than just priceless vases, seals and statues however. Before the war started, BBC reported on the museum's unusual 2000-year-old artefacts known as the "Baghdad Batteries".The "Baghdad Batteries" are 13cm high earthenware jars, one of which was first discovered by German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig in 1938. Up to a dozen of the jars are said to have been found. The function of the jars has been much debated, as thereis no written record of them.The jars contain a vertical cylinder made of sheet copper and an iron rod.
The edges of the sheet copper were soldered together to make the cylinder, using 60/40 silver-lead solder similar to that used in electronics today. The top of the jar and both ends of the cylinder were sealed with asphalt. The iron rod was held in place at the centre of the cylinder by the asphalt.
found the iron rod was corroded, as if it had been etched by acid.
Dissimilar metals such as iron and copper form an electrochemical
couple when submerged in an electrolyte such as acid, producing
electricity. Mr Konig concluded that the jars could have been filled
with an electrolyte, and suggested they were used for gilding gold onto
silver – a process today known as electroplating.
Following World War IImany
archaeologists around the world built replicas of the batteries and
some attempted electroplating with them. Various attempts using grape
juice, vinegar and modern electrolytes produced around 0.8 – 2 volts,
similar to today's zinc-carbon batteries. Placed in series the
batteries could produce higher voltage, although no wires have been
found associated with jars.
Other suggestions as to the
use of the batteries include medicinal uses. The early Greeks and
Romans are known to have used electric eels to treat cases of gout, so
scientists have suggested the batteries may have been used for a
similar purpose. The batteries may also have been used to electrify
acupuncture needles as is done by some acupuncturists today. Although
acupuncture was practised in ancient China it is unknown whether it was
practiced in ancient Iraq.
The age of thebatteries i......
Scientists discovered mysterious circles on the area of the ancient Russian town of Arkaim, which is the same age with Egypt and BabylonPresident Putin has recently visited one of the most mysterious places on planet Earth - the ruins of the ancient town of Arkaim, which is situated on the outskirts of the city of Chelyabinsk.Historians, archaeologists and ufologists have spent many years trying to unravel the secrets of the town. Which nation was living in Arkaim more than 40 centuries ago? How did people of such ancient civilization manage to accomplish incredible technological progress, which still seems to be unachievable nowadays?
A group of
Russian researchers, with Vadim Chernobrovy at the head, has recently
returned from the mysterious region.
The scientist said that
specialists and students had built numerous tent camps around Arkaim.
The Arkaim valley in the
south of Ural was supposed to be flooded in 1987: local authorities
were going to create a water reservoir there to irrigate droughty
fields. However, scientists found strange circles in the center of the
valley: the authorities gave archaeologists 12 months to explore the
area. Scientists were shocked to find out that Arkaim was the same age
as Egypt and Babylon, and a little older than Troy and Rome.
Gennady Zdanovich, the
chairman of the archaeological expedition in Ural had to prove the
scientific significanceof Arkaim to regional officials. "We achieved
what seemed to be absolutely unreal: the multi-million construction
project in the region was shut down," the scientist said.
showed that the people, who inhabited Arkaim, represented one of the
most ancient Indo-European civilizations, particularly the branch,
which is referred to as the Aryan culture. Arkaim turned out to be not
only a town, but also a temple and an astronomic observatory.
"A flight above Arkaim on
board a helicopter gives you an incredible impression. The huge
concentric circles on the valley are clearly visible. The town and its
outskirts are all enclosed in the circles. We still do not know, what
point the gigantic circles have, whether they were made for defensive,
scientific, educational, or ritual purposes. Some researchers saythat
the circles were actually used as the runway for an anc......