Sunday, 24 April 2016

Ancient Mysteries

Tarim Mummies. During an excavation beneath the Tarim Basin in western China, archaeologists were surprised to discover more than 100 mummified corpses that dated back 2,000 years. Victor Mair was stupefied when he found blonde-haired and long-nosed Tarim mummies after they were dug up and put on display at a museum. In 1993 Mair returned to collect DNA samples from the mummies. Test results validated his hunch that the bodies were of European genetic stock.

While ancient Chinese texts describe groups of far-East dwelling Caucasian people, there is no mention of how or why they ended up there.

The Carnac Stones. With over 3,000 prehistoric standing stones, Carnac (in Brittany, France) is the largest megalithic site in the world.

Not all of the Carnac stones were apparently set up for the same purpose. There are stone circles, rows of stones aligned perfectly, and even mausoleums with roofs made entirely of large stones. Stones may have been periodically placed over thousands of years, but a rough calculation for the beginning of the stone placements is 4000 BC.

Minoan Palace Ruins at Knossos
Fall of the Minoans. The Minoans were an Aegean Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from about 2600 to 1400 BC.

The Minoan eruption on the island of Thera (present-day Santorini) was among the largest volcanic explosions in the history of civilization. The eruption is believed to have severely affected the Minoan culture. Archaeological evidence found on Crete indicate that a massive tsunami, generated by the Theran eruption, devastated the coastal areas of Crete and destroyed many Minoan settlements.

Bog Bodies. A bog body is a human cadaver that has been naturally mummified in a peat bog. Such bodies, sometimes known as bog people, are widespread. Bog bodies have retained their skin and internal organs due to the unusual conditions of the bog. These conditions include highly acidic water, low temperature, and a lack of oxygen.

The overwhelming majority of bog bodies have been found in Northern Europe, particularly Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The Helike Delta with the Gulf of Corinth at left.
Lost City of Helike Helike was situated on the northwestern part of the Peloponnesian peninsula. During its heyday, Helike was an important economic, cultural and religious centre.

One night during the winter of 373 B.C., the city of Helike was obliterated. The rescue party that came in the following morning found no survivors. No trace of the legendary society existed outside of ancient Greek texts until 1861 when an archaeologist found a bronze coin with the unmistakable head of Poseidon.

In 2001, a pair of archaeologists located the ruins of Helike.
Rongorongo. Rongorongo is an indecipherable hieroglyphic script used by the early inhabitants on Easter Island. While no other neighboring oceanic people possessed a written language, Rongorongo appeared mysteriously in the 1700s.

The language was lost—along with the best hopes for ever deciphering it—after early European colonizers banned it.
Frozen for 40,000 years, this mammoth calf was discovered in 2007 by reindeer herders in Siberia. The remains of two Ice Age puppies were found perfectly preserved in 2015. Long extinct Siberian Cave Lion Cubs were discovered in 2014. Other long-frozen remains may emerge from shrinking ice sheets.