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28 New Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments Sold in US

One of the 15 fragments that was recently sold and is now in an institution in the United States that hasn’t made a public announcement.

Credit: Photo courtesy Les Enluminures

Twenty-eight fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls that were purchased from the antiquities market have yet to be published, but are now sitting in three U.S. institutions, Live Science has found.

Forthcoming publications will describe some of these fragments within the next year, experts said. The 28 “new” fragments are part of a growing number of Dead Sea Scrolls that have appeared in the United States. At least 45 fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls have popped up in the U.S. over the past two decades.

Scholars have questioned whether some of these fragments are modern-day forgeries or if they come from caves in the Judean desert that were looted in the past few decades.

Often, anonymous individuals sold these fragments that have appeared in the U.S., claiming that they were once owned by Khalil Iskander Shahin, an antiquities dealer in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, Live Science found. Shahin collected many of the Dead Sea Scrolls from the Bedouin people in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s; he often went by the name Kando, which his son William Kando now uses. [In Photos: Dead Sea Scrolls from the Antiquities Market]

However, William Kando has raised concerns about the number of scroll pieces claimed to have shown up in the United States. In conversations with Live Science, he said that while his family has sold some scroll fragments to collectors in the United States over the past few decades, the family didn’t sell them in the numbers that some collectors are claiming.

During the conversations with Live Science, William Kando also revealed that, after the Kando family sold scroll fragments to U.S. collectors, these artifacts were often resold multiple times, creating a tangled collecting history that makes it difficult to determine which of the 45 fragments the Kandos actually owned.

The Dead Sea Scrolls come from 12 caves, which contained thousands of scroll fragments and are located near the site of Qumran in the West Bank. Excavations of the caves by professional archaeologists uncovered some of the scrolls, while private Bedouin residents removed other scrolls, before selling them to Shahin.

The scrolls contain text from books in the Hebrew Bible as well as community rules, calendars and astronomical texts, among other writings.

Eleven of these caves were discovered between 1947 and 1956, and the discovery of a 12th cave was announced earlier this year. Archaeologists found that most of the scrolls in the 12th cave had been plundered decades earlier. More caves that contain (or once contained) scrolls could await discovery, said Randall Price, a professor at Liberty University in Virginia, who was one of the leaders of the team that excavated the 12th cave.

Altogether, there are nine unpublished Dead Sea Scroll fragments at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; four at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California; and another 15 fragments that were recently sold through a company called Les Enluminures on behalf of an anonymous seller and are now in an undisclosed U.S. institution. Sandra Hindman, the president of Les Enluminures, said that the institution has not yet made a public announcement and she is not at liberty to disclose the identity. [See Photos of Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments]

As the 28 unpublished scroll fragments are studied and described in scientific journals, more information will appear on what the artifacts contain. Already, multiple scholars who are concerned about the fragments have called for the publication of as much information on their collecting history as possible.

“Southwestern purchased nine Dead Sea Scroll fragments approximately seven years ago. We currently have a contract to publish them with Brill ,” a publisher of scholarly books, said Ryan Stokes, a professor of the Old Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. “Hopefully, the volume will be available in the next year.”

When Southwestern purchased the fragments seven years ago, the seminary stated in its news releases that the fragments included writings from the biblical books of Exodus, Leviticus, Daniel, Psalms and Deuteronomy. According to these past statements, one of the fragments holds passages from Leviticus 18, a biblical passage that forbids incest and homosexuality.

The four unpublished fragments at Azusa Pacific University include writings from the biblical books of Daniel, Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and should be published soon.

“We’re hoping in the very, very, near future, with more feedback, our publication will come to light,” said Robert Duke, dean of the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. Before Azusa Pacific University purchased the scroll fragments, the university received assurances from William Kando that the Kando family had owned those fragments in the past, Duke said.

It’s not certain when the 15 fragments sold through Les Enluminures will be studied and published. The institution in the United States that now owns those fragments has not made a public announcement about the acquisition, Hindman said.

Spokespersons for the Museum of the Bible, Azusa Pacific University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Lanier Theological Library all told Live Science that their institutions had not bought the Les Enluminures fragments.

Les Enluminures sent a batch of black-and-white photographs of the fragments to Live Science. The images show what appears to be Greek text on some of the fragments, a language that has been seen on other Dead Sea Scrolls. Hindman said she believes all 15 fragments were once in the collection of Bruce Ferrini, a collector in Ohio who died in 2010.

Hindman said that her information indicates that the 15 fragments were originally sold by the Kando family in 2002 before being passed through a series of collectors. William Kando expressed concerns about this claim, saying that he sold seven fragments in that year to a man named Craig Lampe and that he thinks some of those fragments later went to a “library in California” (a description that better matches Azusa Pacific University).

Duke said that he’s not certain if Azusa’s Dead Sea Scroll fragments were among those sold by the Kando family to Lampe in 2002.

Some of the 15 fragments may be part of the same scroll, and it’s possible that in 2002, the 15 fragments were part of a few larger fragments that have since fallen apart Hindman said. She said she is convinced that the fragments are authentic. Lampe’s antiquities business is now run by his son Joel Lampe, who did not return requests for comment.

A number of Dead Sea Scroll fragments in America have already been published. These include 13 fragments that were published last year in the book “Dead Sea Scrolls Fragments in the Museum Collection” (Brill, 2016) and are now in the collection of the Museum of the Bible, which is set to open in November 2017 in Washington, D.C., just three blocks from the U.S. Capitol. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]

In the book, scholars noted a number of suspicious features that might indicate the fragments are forgeries. The 13 scrolls were purchased in four lots from anonymous sellers between 2009 and 2014, according to the book. William Kando told Live Science that while a few fragments may have come from his family’s collection, not all of them are from the Kandos.

However, the case for forgery is not settled. Ada Yardeni, a professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who is in an expert in the paleography of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the study of their handwriting), told Live Science that her analysis indicated that all 13 fragments are authentic.

Curators at the Museum of the Bible said that they are treating the scroll fragments at their institution as potential forgeries and are conducting scientific tests on them. The curators said they also plan to address the issue of authenticating Dead Sea Scroll fragments in the museum display.

Other Dead Sea Scroll fragments that have appeared in the past two decades in the United States have been described in scientific publications. These include: one fragment at Lanier Theological Library in Houston, one fragment at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio; a fragment from a collector in Pasadena, California, that scholars from the Foundation on Judaism and Christian Origins studied and published; and one published fragment at Azusa Pacific University.

Additionally, previously published fragments arrived in the U.S. in the mid-20th century and are now at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the Syrian Orthodox Church’s eastern U.S. archdiocese.

Original article on Live Science.

http://www.livescience.com/58507-new-dead-sea-scrolls-sold-in-us.html

 

 

 

 

Journal of Possibilities

Posted: October 1, 2016 by Maverick in Archaeology, Uncategorized

 

Feature story this month! Click below to read the story.

Journal of Possibilities- Oct. 2016 issue with the Maverick Archaeologist

New Mammoth Jaw

Posted: September 18, 2016 by joetaylorarcheo in Uncategorized

Mon. Sept.19, 2016, work will begin on a heavily mineralized mammoth lower jaw from a gravel pit 3,000 ft. east of the Red River near Wichita, Texas. It is broken into dozens of pieces. I will first photo it as delivered to me, then all the pieces. After cleaning, it will be coated in polyvinyl acetate (PVA)  and when dried I will begin to glue smaller pieces to larger ones, recording every step. This jaw half is coated with a brown iron stone-like veneer. The owner agrees with me that it should stay on it. More later.

Hi Everyone,
I just wanted to update you all on the status of Finding Noah. As we previously announced, Finding Noah will have a nationwide theatrical event release through Fathom Events at 650+ theater locations on the night of Thursday October 8th. Please save the date.

Tickets for this One Night Only Event are on sale starting Friday August 28th at: www.fathomevents.com/event/finding-noah

We are still awaiting another 236 additional theater locations from Cinemark to be added to the list. So please do not despair if you cannot find a theater near you at this moment. More screens will be added shortly.

It is now up to each of us to help push it toward success. Please share the date and the ticketing information contained herein with your families, friends, church groups and circles of influence. The more these theaters fill, the more theaters and potential encore dates Fathom will provide for us. Early ticket sales are the greatest indicator of robust interest in the film and will help Fathom make decisions to increase our theater count and add extra event dates.

For those of you interested in group sales, please contact me for further info. Thank you! Let’s make Oct. 8th a great success for Finding Noah!

Don’t forget to go to www.FindingNoah.com to view the film trailers.

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Finding Noah Film Coming to Theaters Oct. 8th!

Posted: August 14, 2015 by Maverick in Uncategorized

FindingNoah_300x250banner

http://news.sys-con.com/node/3387525

Torah Codes: End to Darkness

Posted: February 5, 2015 by Maverick in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

There is a code in the TORAH, the first five books of the Old Testament. The Code is real and mathematically provable. Incredibly, the Code seems to have information about what is happening today. Names, places and events are all encoded. The TORAH is not a crystal ball but new clues seem to indicate that it was meant for our generation to discover its secrets.

Since the first introduction of computers in the 70s, a select group of rabbis and professors have been working to crack the Code. You’ll meet them and see what they’ve discovered. The Torah seems to be encoded with major world events including anything that is important to Israel. The Hamas wars — rockets and terrorist attacks. Major events. The Economy, the Twin Towers, the BP Oil disaster, Terror Attacks, 2012 — all have been encoded. Director Richard Shaw interviews the world experts on the Codes, as well as explorers like L.A. Marzulli, IDF Reserve Captain / Writer – Dan Gordon, Col. Richard Kemp CBE, and many others that know the truth of what is happening in Israel. You’ll walk on the Gaza border, see actual Hamas missiles used to kill school children. An incredible look at an ancient mystery that seems to have been locked away until our generation. But why is it being revealed now?

You’re already familiar with the award-winning work that Richard Shaw does in the WATCHERS series. In Torah Codes, End to Darkness, Richard takes you through the real issues Israel faces while working with the world experts in the Codes. They show their most important Tables on those topics — mirroring what is happening today in Israel and the most recent Codes. Also, this is the first film to prove that only the Torah can deliver results unlike any other set of texts. The film shows actual computer searches and probability results between other Hebrew “monkey” texts and the Torah. The renown Professor Eliyahu Rips tells us how he nearly ended his life to protest the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia, and how he went from a prisoner of the KGB to a world-class professor of mathematics in Israel. How trained as an atheist, he later became interested in the miracles he read about in the Torah and had to somehow prove it scientifically. Hence, the work he started and built a team to discover, suddenly was opening up secrets locked away for thousands of years, and that there really was “a creator of the world.” And, not unlike something you might see in the WATCHERS series, Richard takes us to ancient Hebrew expert Nir Studnitsky, whose research seems to suggest that in the un-edited Hebrew text in the Torah, it refers to the giants, and “cities in the sky.”

In the two-disc set, the Special Features section includes a collection of the 41 Torah Code tables seen in the film that you can study and click through at your leisure. Don’t miss this opportunity to see how Israel continues to be the recipient of terrorist attacks that continue to fail by some unseen force, while the Torah Codes seem to document all the details before they happen.

Torah Codes, End to Darkness. Available mid January. Order now!

Post from www.lamarzulli.net

Acceleration Radio!

Posted: January 29, 2015 by Maverick in Uncategorized

L.A. Marzulli's Blog

 acceleration radio new

TRY OUT OUR NEW IPHONE APP FOR THE SHOW 

https://itunes.apple.com/app/id901288310

Acceleration Radio

PLEASE NOTE THIS WILL AIR AT 9:00 PM EASTERN TIME!

 WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO LISTEN WITH YOUR COMPUTER, TABLET OR SMARTPHONE DEVICE FOR THE HIGHEST QUALITY!

Brand New Audio Streams

Http://co1.radio-streams.com:2199/tunein/bammedia.pls  iTunes

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.andromo.dev117207.app163584 Android Phones and Tablets

http://co1.radio-streams.com:2199/tunein/bammedia.asx Windows Media Player and Windows Phone

http://co1.radio-streams.com:2199/tunein/bammedia.ram RealPlayer

http://co1.radio-streams.com:2199/tunein/bammedia.qtl Quicktime

http://tunein.com/radio/Fringe-Radio-Network-s169899/ Tunein Radio App

Politics Prophecy & the Supernatural Politics Prophecy & the Supernatural

POLITICS, PROPHECY & THE SUPERNATURAL!

Tonights Topics: Do your homework!

1.  Holocaust Remembrance day – The Rise of Antisemitism: From the BLOG.

2.  The Collapse of the Petro-Dollar:

From the BLOG.

3.  Volcano UPDATE: https://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com

4.  Distraction of the week – Deflated Footballs – Really?  Super Bowl with Katy Perry? Occult Spectacle or entertainment?

 5. UFO Update: http://ufosightingshotspot.blogspot.com

6. The Coming Psalm 83 war: http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Tensions-in-the-North-Not-war-yet-389347

Got a question? I’ll try to answer it on the show!  Email me at:…

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The Star of Bethlehem

Posted: December 4, 2014 by Maverick in Uncategorized

It may or may not come as a surprise to some that Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ) may not have been born on December 25th.  So if Jesus was not born on December 25th, then why do Christians celebrate that day?
It was in the 3rd century when the Roman Emperor Aurelan proclaimed the winter solstice, December 25th, as a feast day dedicated to the Roman sun god, Sol. With the advent of the winter solstice, each day thereafter becomes increasingly longer. Aurelian decreed that followers of Christ would be “allowed” to celebrate on December 25th because it was convenient to share the Lords birthday with the Roman celebration of their sun god. So this date was determined by the Romans, not the Bible.  In fact, the Bible gives no exact date as to when the Lord was born. But it does leave us some incredible clues. The truth is that there is a whole lot about the birth of Jesus that you may not have been taught in church.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him…and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

(Matthew 2:1,2,9)
The Creator uses celestial bodies for signs, times, & seasons.
“God made the stars…for signs and times and seasons”. (Genesis 1:14-16).
There have been many “signs” that God has given us throughout history, but one particular sign would be the most relevant in all of history, when God Himself became man, incarnate in human flesh, was born for the redemption of mankind.
Before I begin, I want to make something very clear. The Scripture condemns the principles of astrology and Matthew was not endorsing such practices. The Magi were astronomers (scientific observation of the heavens) who had been influenced by Daniel and other Old Testament prophets. The Gospel message is clearly seen in the Zodiac, beginning with the constellation of Virgo, the virgin, and ending with Leo, the King. This message was later perverted in Babylon into the reading of horoscopes to predict future events, which God strictly condemns as demonic, occult practice.
Now let’s look at the possible theories:
The DEATH of HEROD
Most of the early church fathers placed Christ’s birth from 3 B.C. to 1 B.C. However, since the nineteenth century the majority of theologians have placed the birth of Jesus before the Spring of 4 B.C. This placement was due to a reference in Josephus that King Herod died shortly after an eclipse of the moon and before a Springtime Passover of the Jews. Astronomers in the last century identified an eclipse of the moon, which could be seen at that time, occurred on the evening of March 13, 4 B.C.
Herod’s death was arbitrarily placed within the 29 days from that eclipse until the Passover. Thus, theologians have looked for celestial displays as candidates for the Star before that date. Ernest Martin disagrees & builds a convincing argument showing that the proper eclipse occurred on January 10, 1 B.C.
CENSUS of CYRENIUS:
Ernest Martin argues that Cyrenius received special Roman commands throughout his career, especially in census-taking events, and acted as procurator. This special census was one of the most important in history.
This census (or registration) in 3/2 B.C. was actually an oath of allegiance demanded by Augustus Caesar and proclaimed during the summer of 3 B.C. Since both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David, and could both be considered legitimate claimants of the throne of Israel, both could be required to make the trip to Bethlehem. On February 5, 2 B.C., Augustus was given the title Pater Patriae (Father of the Country) by decree of the Senate and the people of Rome. The festivities coincided with his 25th jubilee year of being emperor of Rome and the 750th year of the founding of Rome.
ATTENTION in the HEAVENS
Astronomer Johann Kepler in 1605 suggested that a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter and Mars was the Star of Bethlehem. To Persian Magi, Saturn represented Jerusalem and Jupiter represented royalty. Pisces and Virgo both represented the Hebrews.
On May 29, 7 B.C. a conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter occurred in Pisces. On October 3, 7 B.C. the same thing happened.
This normally occurs once in 804 years. In the spring of 6 B.C. they conjuncted again with Mars joining! This is the only historical occasion when a planetary “massing” has occurred at the same time as a “triple” conjunction. Certainly a celestial message was being sent!
Also, supernovas have been suggested as candidates for the Star. Visible supernovas have been reported in A.D. 1054 (the Chinese star), A.D. 1572 (Tycho’s star), and A.D. 1604 (Kepler’s star). On a date corresponding to July 5 B.C., the Chinese astronomical records report a “guest star”, a nova in the constellation Aquilla.
An excavated Roman garden wall, dating to the time of Augustus Caesar, shows a painting of a tree with fruit clustered in the configuration of the star constellations. An “extra” fruit is shown where this “nova” occurred. It is of interest to note that this “nova” (X-1 Cygnus) appeared in the Northern Cross, with star Deneb (meaning “The Lord Comes”) at the head of the cross. Stars Altair (“The Wounding”) and Vega (“He Shall be Exalted”) are nearby. Our entire Solar System is moving toward star Vega. A celestial announcement anticipating the birth of a King is again being displayed!

MAGI’S  OBSERVATION
On August 12, 3 B.C. Jupiter and Venus united as a “morning star”, then displayed an “evening star” reunion 10 months later… On September 14, 3 B.C. Jupiter (the royal planet star) came into union with Regulus (the royal fixed star of the first magnitude) in the constellation of Leo, the Lion. Regulus is situated between the feet of Leo (the Royal constellation). After this first conjunction Jupiter continued on its normal course in the heavens. Then, on December 1, 3 B.C., the planet stopped its motion through the fixed stars and began its annual retrogression. As it did so, it once again headed toward the star Regulus. On February 17, 2 B.C. the two were reunited. Jupiter continued this backward, retrogressive motion another 40 days and then reverted to its normal motion through the stars. This movement placed the planet once again into a third conjunction with Regulus on May 8, 2 B.C. To the observer, it would appear that Jupiter was making a circling “crown” effect over and around Regulus. With each of these apparent changes in direction, the Planet briefly becomes “stationary” within the background of the fixed stars. On December 25th, 2 B.C. Jupiter came to a normal stationary position DIRECTLY OVER BETHLEHEM, as viewed from Jerusalem! At precisely this time the planet “stopped” in the middle of the constellation Virgo, the Virgin. The Sun was also “standing still” in its usual Winter Solstice.

ROMAN INTERPRETATION
To the secular world devoid of spiritual conscience, particularly to those in Rome, it seemed like heaven itself was giving approval for the emperorship of Augustus and that Roman government had the divine right to world sovereignty. This was in spite of the fact that they were aware of the prophecies made by Daniel. Suetonius and Tacitus confirmed that Rome knew of the belief that the empire of the world would be given to someone from Judea.
JEWISH INTERPRETATION
Martin aptly notes that the spectacular astronomical signs from May, 3 B.C. to December 2 B.C. would have caused wonderful interpretations, by astrologers, on behalf of Augustus and the Roman Empire, but the Magi decided instead to go to Jerusalem with gifts to a newborn Jewish king. On August 12, 3 B.C., Jupiter rose as a morning star, which soon came into conjunction with Venus. That started Jupiter off on a journey in which six conjunctions with other planets and the star Regulus took place. The final planetary union was the massing of the planets, which occurred with Mars, Venus, and Mercury on August 27, 2 B.C., Jupiter then became “stationary” for a brief time over Bethlehem on December 25, 2 B.C. At the inception of this scenario, here was Jupiter (the King Planet), which had just united with Venus (the Mother), now joining itself with the King star Regulus (the star of the Jewish Messiah) in Leo (the constellation of Judah), while the Sun (the Supreme Father of Ruler) was then located in Virgo (the Virgin).
CHRONOLOGY
1) Joseph and Mary began their journey to Bethlehem for the “census” at the close of the Jewish civil year in 3 B.C.
2) Near this time on August 12, 3 B.C. Jupiter and Venus united as a “morning star”, then Jupiter continued its phenomenal progression through the starry heavens.
3) In 3 B.C. Jupiter, the planet representing King David, was in conjunction with Regulus, the star of kingship, in the constellation Leo the lion, considered to represent the tribe of Judah. This conjunction in the lion would have served as a sign of the birth of a leader. Jesus was born in a stable on the twilight period of September 11, 3 B.C., the Day of Trumpets.
The arrival of a king is usually announced with trumpets.  It is amazing how exactly in detail God fulfills His Word! What an awesome God we serve! Truly “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Ps 19:1-2)
4) On September 14, 3 B.C. Jupiter came into union with Regulus and began the circling “crown” effect, which took place during the early months of Jesus’ infancy.
5) Fifteen months later, when Jesus was a “young child” in a house the Magi arrived on December 25, 2 B.C., when the King planet Jupiter came to its stationary point in mid-Virgo, the Virgin. The star would have been seen as “stopped” over Bethlehem, as viewed from Jerusalem.
One conclusion that can be drawn is that that star in the east, which that Magi saw was this progression of Jupiter through the heavens. Thus, the star was not “standing” over the manger at the time of Jesus’ birth (even though it was already in its divinely-appointed historic progression), but instead, at the appropriate time “stood” over Bethlehem at the time the Magi arrived to visit in the house.

As always, check out Man vs Archaeology’s website: www.AARONJUDKINS.com for the latest.

ENDNOTES:
1. Earnest L. Martin, The Star that Astonished the World, 121

2. Josephs, Antiquities XVII. 218

3. D. Ronald Allen, The Stars of His Coming, 15

4. Robert Faid, A Scientific Approach to Biblical Mysteries, 62, 63

10 Strange & Bizarre Archaeological Discoveries 

Posted: October 10, 2014 by Maverick in Uncategorized
Tags:

10 Strange & Bizarre Archaeological Discoveries

#10. The Bog People

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In Northern Europe peat farmers discovered something terrifying. Accidentally unearthed in the bog were unusual preserved bodies that were remarkably well preserved.

The pictures are, unfortunately, exactly what they look like: murdered bodies offered up as part of some freaky bog people ritual. One corpse in particular, the “Grauballe Man,” tells the story pretty clearly: He was put to death the winter after a bad harvest, there’s evidence of stubble on his jaw (indicating he had been detained and not allowed to shave in the days before he was put to death) and his burial pit was right in the middle of a consecrated area.

#9. Pompeii

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Pompeii, the ancient Roman city, was buried during a volcanic eruption in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius exploded. It was lost for nearly 1700 years and the damage done to the city was so severe that even the name of the city vanished from memory. In 1738 Herculaneum – a nearby city also lost – was discovered and then ten years later military engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre discovered Pompeii. Whilst digging in later excavations, Giuseppe Fiorelli discovered that some of the large bubbles in the volcanic mud were perfectly formed molds of the men who had died there. He injected plaster into the bubbles and gave the modern world the first look at real Ancient Roman people. Interestingly the city was full of erotic art and objects (many of which were hidden until 2000 AD) and graffiti found on a wall in Pompeii called the city “Sodom and Gomorrah” leading many Christians to believe that the city was destroyed by God in retribution for its sexual perversities.

#8. Teotihuacan Sacrifice

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In 2004, a grisly discovery was made outside of modern day Mexico City. Although it has been known for years that the Aztecs performed bloody sacrificial festivals, numerous decapitated and mutilated bodies of both humans and animals shed some light on just how horrific the rituals could get.

#7. Mount Owen Moa

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In 1986, an expedition was exploring the cave system of Mount Owen in New Zealand when it came across the huge claw you’re now looking at. It was so well preserved that it almost seemed like whatever it belonged to had just died recently. Upon excavation and inspection, however, it was determined to belong to an Upland Moa, a large prehistoric bird that apparently came with a nasty set of claws.

#6. The Mass Grave of the Headless Vikings

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Archaeologists were digging up the side of a boring old roadway in Dorset when they unearthed  a mass grave containing the headless remains of 54 Viking warriors. Researchers began to notice something unusual about the placement of the bones. The leg and arm bones, heads and torsos were all neatly arranged into their own separate piles. So what happened? The Vikings may have been sacrificed in a ritualistic manner not consistent with the surrounding culture of the time.

#5. Ancient Chemical Warfare

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In 1933, archaeologist Robert du Mesnil du Buisson was conducting a dig in the area of Dura-Europos, where ancient Persians laid siege to their longtime enemies, the Romans. During the excavation, du Mesnil found several tunnels, which is pretty much par for the course in a siege situation. A little out of the ordinary, however, was the haphazard pile of 19 Roman soldiers he found in one of those tunnels, all looking as though they died while fleeing something. So what was at other end of the tunnel that could terrify and ultimately murder 19 Roman soldiers so quickly?

A single Persian soldier, found clutching desperately at his armor, forever preserved in that panicked moment. Add to the strangeness the fact that there were traces of sulfur and bitumen all along the walls, and the implication is clear: one terrified Persian who died clawing frantically at his own body, 19 Romans who died fleeing from his direction, sulfurous emanations in the walls? This indicates that the deaths were actually due to one of the earliest attempts at chemical warfare.

The story may have happened like this:

“The Romans heard the Persians working beneath the ground and steered their tunnel to intercept their enemies. The Roman tunnel was shallower than the Persian one, so the Romans planned to break in on the Persians from above. But there was no element of surprise for either side: The Persians could also hear the Romans coming.

“So the Persians set a trap. Just as the Romans broke, through, James said, they lit a fire in their own tunnel. Perhaps they had a bellows to direct the smoke, or perhaps they relied on the natural chimney effect of the shaft between the two tunnels. Either way, they threw sulfur and bitumen on the flames. One of the Persian soldiers was overcome and died, a victim of his own side’s weapon. The Romans met with the choking gas, which turned to sulfuric acid in their lungs.”

#4. The Screaming Mummies

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In 1886, Gaston Maspero, then head of the Egyptian Antiquities Service, was cataloging mummies when he came across an unusually plain burial box. Unlike the kings and queens he’d been working with for most of his career, this particular box didn’t give any information as to the identity of the individual inside. Even stranger, the body was wrapped in sheepskin, which was considered unclean by ancient Egyptians. And then, as he slowly unwrapped the mummy & gazed upon the face — as if in a horror movie– he found this screaming, mummy face looking back at him!

When he finally uncovered it, Gaston also found that the corpse’s hands and feet had been bound for some unspeakable reason.  Because of the strange coverings and the bound hands & feet with a seemingly tortured expression, experts theorized that the body (creatively named Unknown Man E) had been poisoned, buried alive or otherwise tortured before his untimely death.

#3. The Tomb of the Sunken Skulls

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In 2009, archaeologists were excavating the bottom of a prehistoric dry lake bed in Motala, Sweden, when they stumbled upon the foundations of a mysterious stone structure sealed at the bottom of an ancient lake. They eventually unearthed the exact kind of stuff one expects from primitive mystery structures: animal bones, stone tools and, oh yeah — the 8,000-year-old skulls of 10 people, ranging in age from small children to the elderly. And then they found an 11th skull buried deep within the ancient mud of the lake bottom. Fragments of one of the other skulls were deliberately lodged inside the cranium of the 11th skull.

For reasons that are unclear to us, some ancient society probably butchered 11 people in a stone hut and then put the pieces of one dead person’s skull inside the brain space of another person.

But the horror doesn’t end there: Not only had somebody perhaps bashed one person’s skull in with another person’s skull, but, before being interred inside the tomb, several of the bodies had stakes driven through them and were then set on fire. Two of the skulls were found with the stakes still embedded.

#2. Vampire? 

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Bulgaria archaeologists may have ‘stumbled’ upon new evidence of vampires. The evidence for this is that there was a burial of a man with an iron stake through his chest and trauma indicative of stab wounds to the heart. Since the burial dates to the 15th century, they argue that it was likely meant to prevent the individual from rising as a vampire. This brings the total number of potential vampires found in Bulgaria from this period to 100 cases. The current pattern shows that they are all men, likely wealthier individuals who would be suspected of evil in life, and were found with injuries indicative of being stabbed after death or were pinned down by metal stakes.

This isn’t the first time that an archaeologist has cried ‘vampire’, although it does represent one of the larger cases. A female skeleton recovered from Venice dating to the 16th century was found with a brick in her mouth. She was part of a larger mass grave that contained the bodies of plague victims. Stories of the time period talk of these mass burials being reopened and finding individuals within who looked fresh and were vampires. It is possible that her lack of decomposition of the body and breakdown of the shroud was thought to be a sign of vampirism and the brick in the mouth was a method to prevent her feeding on the living or deceased.

Reference: Archaeology 2012 Archaeologists Stumble Upon ‘Vampire’ Skeleton in Bulgaria. Novinite. http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=139940

#1. An Italian Witch or a Vampire?

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There’s another strange burial from a Medieval cemetery at Piombino in Tuscany, Italy. Two female bodies in particular interested the excavators.  One was found buried with 17 dice and since women were not allowed to play dice games at the time, they interpreted her as a having been a prostitute.

The second body was far more interesting … Seven nails were placed in her mouth. Presumably this was an attempt to stop the women rising and returning from the dead. Yet in addition, in this Italian burial, the woman’s clothes were nailed to the ground by 13 nails, to further ‘hold’ her down.

Because of these highly unusual nails, the woman was identified initially as a witch. She died around AD 1300, aged 25 to 30, and was buried in the church yard amongst other citizens of Piombino who had been buried normally. Most of the other burials had a shroud and / or a simple coffin, but the ‘prostitute’ and the ‘witch’ had neither. The excavator, Prof Alfonso Forgione, of L’Aquila University, said he had never seen anything similar, and felt that the pinning down by nails was an attempt to stop her from ‘rising’ from the dead by those who buried her and who believed she had some sort of magical powers, making her a witch.

The fact that the two women were buried in the church graveyard, in consecrated ground, has been an issue, and led some to question whether a witch would be buried in this way. The Irish ‘zombies’ were certainly buried in a consecrated graveyard, as were many of the Bohemian and Moravian ‘vampires’ so I’m not sure why this should be an issue. It has however led at least one archaeologist to revise his opinion of the ‘witch’ burial and re-label her an ‘adulteress’  … seven nails through the jaw and another 13 pinning her clothes down seem to be to be over-kill for an adulteress, but then again it was a pretty serious sin in the Medieval period. Or maybe she was a vampire after all…

If you want more info, then I recommend UNC anthropologist Krista Killgrove’s blog post on the burials (here), since she links to all the Italian coverage.

  www.AARONJUDKINS.com 

 

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