Monday, October 20, 2014

King Tut Re-Creation Presents a Shocking Image

by Rossella Lorenzi
A virtual reconstruction depicts King Tut at the time of death.

Tutankhamun’s beautiful golden mask, the embodiment of a man secure in his power, has been flattering the pharaoh for many centuries, according to the most detailed image yet of the teenage king’s face and body.
In the flesh, King Tut had a club foot, a pronounced overbite and girlish hips, says a “virtual autopsy” built using more than 2,000 computerized tomography (CT) scans of the pharaoh’s body.
Built for the BBC documentary, “Tutankhamun: the Truth Uncovered,” the shocking 3-D computer model could shed new light on the death of the boy pharaoh at the age of 19.
King Tut Felled by Malaria, Bone Disease
Previous theories suggested King Tut may have died as a result of a chariot accident, but the virtual reconstruction showed a different scenario.
“It was important to look at his ability to ride on a chariot and we concluded it would not be possible for him, especially with his partially clubbed foot, as he was unable to stand unaided,” Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and Icemen in Italy, told the U.K. daily The Independent.
According to Ashraf Selim, an Egyptian radiologist, King Tut “also developed Kohler’s disease or death of the bones, during adolescence, which would have been incredibly painful.”
King Tut Wore Orthopedic Sandals
Indeed, about 130 walking sticks found in King Tut’s treasure-packed tomb would support the theory that the boy pharaoh had to rely on canes to get around.
Zink believes the pharaoh’s early death was most likely caused from his weakened state — a result of genetic impairments inherited from his parents, who were siblings.
Indeed, in 2010 an international genetic study produced a five-generation pedigree of Tutankhamun’s immediate lineage. In the study, the mummy known as KV55 — most likely the “heretic” Akhenaten — and KV35YL, also known as the Younger Lady, were identified as siblings, as well as King Tut’s parents.
King Tut Death by Chariot? Not So Fast
The study confirmed the frail king was afflicted by malaria and suffered a badly broken leg, above his knee, just before he died.
“It is difficult to say whether malaria may have been a serious factor in the cause of death,” Zink said.
The boy pharaoh has been puzzling scientists ever since his mummy and treasure-packed tomb were discovered on Nov. 22, 1922, in the Valley of the Kings by British archaeologist Howard Carter.
Weird Facts About King Tut and His Mummy
Only a few facts about his life are known. Tut.ankh.Amun, “the living image of Amun,” ascended the throne in 1332 B.C., at the age of 9, and reigned until his death at 19.
As the last male in the family, his death ended the 18th dynasty — probably the greatest of the Egyptian royal families — and gave way to military rulers.
Discovery News

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Prehistoric Temple Uncovered in Ukraine

by Owen Jarus

A temple dating back about 6,000 years has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine. Inside the temple, archaeologists found humanlike figurines, sacrificed animal remains and potter fragments. Here's a look at the prehistoric finding. [Read full story on the prehistoric temple discovery]
Prehistoric temple

A temple dating back about 6,000 years has been discovered within a massive prehistoric settlement in Ukraine.
The temple measures 60 by 20 meters (197 by 66 feet) and was made of wood and clay. Originally two stories tall it was surrounded by a galleried courtyard. The temple and settlement were burned down after they were abandoned. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)


Clay altars
Inside the 6,000-year-old temple in the Ukraine archaeologists found the remains of eight clay platforms that likely served as altars.
Inside the temple archaeologists found the remains of eight clay platforms that likely served as altars. One of them is pictured here. "Numerous burnt bones of lamb, associated with sacrifice" were found in one of these platforms in the temple's upper floor, write Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko, of the Institute of Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Sacrificial remains
An altar found inside a 6,000-year-old temple in the Ukraine contained burnt animal bones, possibly the remains of a sacrifice.
This platform contains burnt animal bones, possibly the remains of a sacrifice. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Pottery fragments
Inside a room of the prehistoric temple in the Ukraine archaeologists found contained a large pot and several smaller vessels.
The upper floor of the Ukraine temple was divided into five rooms. One of these rooms, on the south side of the temple, contained a large pot and several smaller vessels. A picture of it is seen here. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Human figurines
Inside the prehistoric temple in the Ukraine archaeologists discovered humanlike figurines.
While excavating the temple, which was first detected in 2009 and only recently surveyed, archaeologists found a number of figurine fragments, some of them in a humanlike shape. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Wonky eyes
The figurines found inside the Ukraine temple have eyes that are dissimilar, one being larger than the other. They also have noses that look a bit like a beak.
These figurine fragments have eyes that are dissimilar, one being larger than the other. They also have noses that look a bit like a beak. Similar figurines, also dating back around 6,000 years, have been discovered at other sites in Ukraine, referred to as belonging to the Trypillia culture. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Hair decoration
These tiny gold pendants, less than an inch in size, were also discovered at the temple in the Ukraine.
These tiny gold pendants, less than an inch in size, were also discovered at the temple, which would have sprawled some 238 hectares (588 acres), according to recent geomagnetic surveys. The pendants may have been worn on someone's hair. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
Game tokens
Archaeologists also found a variety of clay tokens inside the temple.
Archaeologists also found a variety of clay tokens inside the temple. Artifacts like these were used for counting and game playing in the ancient world. (Photo Credit: courtesy Nataliya Burdo and Mykhailo Videiko/Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine, Kyiv.)
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History Trivia - The Greeks defeated the Persians at Salamis

October 20

480 BC The Greeks defeated the Persians in a naval battle at Salamis, an island in the Saronic Gulf near Athens. It marked the high-point of the second Persian invasion of Greece which had begun in 480 BC.

1097 First Crusaders arrived in Antioch. The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim city, lasted from October 21, 1097, to June 2, 1098.

1524 Thomas Linacre, physician and classical scholar, who founded the Royal College of Physicians in London died.

1632 Christopher Wren, astronomer/great architect (St. Paul's Cathedral), was born.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mr. Chuckles is taking on politics with author E.J. Greenway around The Wizard's Cauldron

The Wizard speaks:

There aren't many political thrillers in Indie and so when I met Emma Gray on my Twitterbus, I was keen to find out what was going on. 

I subsequently found out that Emma actually works at the Palace of Westminster and her novels are drawn from real life. 

This was too exciting an opportunity to pass up and when Emma released her follow up, "Power Games" I got on the Wizphone and asked her to answer a few questions for me. 

Emma's Question Time, as it were.

Though incredibly busy, she was happy to oblige and I caught up with her in one of the many cloisters that line the corridors of power in the Origin of Democracy. 

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History Trivia - Romans under Scipio Africanus defeats Hannibal's army in the Battle of Sama

October 19

202 BC, the Romans under Scipio Africanus defeated Hannibal's army of Carthaginians and Numidians in the Battle of Sama in the Second Punic War.

439 Gaiseric, King of the Vandals, seized the Roman city of Carthage, and made it his capital.

1216 King John of England died at Newark-on-Trent and was succeeded by his nine-year-old son Henry.

1453 The French recapture of Bordeaux brought the Hundred Years' War to a close, with the English retaining only Calais on French soil.

1469 Ferdinand of Aragon married Isabella of Castile creating the alliance that unified Spain. Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, October 18, 2014

History Trivia - Charlemagne and his brother Carloman crowned co-rulers of the Franks

October 18,

768 Charlemagne and his brother Carloman were crowned co-rulers of the Franks, after the death of their father, Pepin the Short.

1009 The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, a Christian church in Jerusalem, was completely destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacked the Church's foundations down to bedrock.

1016 Canute of Denmark became the heir of Edmund Ironside, King of England, with victory at Ashingdon, and Edmund agreed to divide England between himself and Canute. At the end of November, however, Edmund died, and Canute became king of all England.

1529 Henry VIII ordered Cardinal Wolsey to hand over the great seal.


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Friday, October 17, 2014

Giant Sphinx from 'Ten Commandments' Film Unearthed 91 Years Later

By Laura Geggel
Archaeologists unearth one of the giant sphinxes from the film, "The Ten Commandments."
Archaeologists unearth one of the giant sphinxes from the film, "The Ten Commandments."
Credit: Applied EarthWorks,


Hidden for more than 90 years beneath the rolling sand dunes of Guadalupe, California, an enormous, plaster sphinx from the 1923 blockbuster movie "The Ten Commandments" has been rediscovered and is now above ground.
The public will be able to see the sphinx on display as early as next year, once it has been reconstructed — a necessity since it became weather-beaten during its stint beneath the sand, said Doug Jenzen, the executive director of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Center, who oversaw the recent excavation.
The roughly 15-foot-tall (4.6 meters) sphinx is one of 21 that lined the path to Pharaoh's City in the 1923 silent hit, directed by Cecil B. DeMille. He later remade the film, with Charlton Heston as Moses, in 1956. [See Photos of the Film's Giant Spinxes & Excavation]
"[The 1923 film] was one of the largest movie sets ever made, because they didn't have special effects," Jenzen told Live Science. "So anything that they wanted to look large, they had to build large." The facade to Pharaoh's City stood an estimated 12 stories tall and about 720 feet (219 meters) across. "It's giant," Jenzen said.
Applied EarthWorks archaeologists uncovered one of the 21 giant sphinxes (shown in its original state) from the 1923 movie "The Ten Commandments."
Applied EarthWorks archaeologists uncovered one of the 21 giant sphinxes (shown in its original state) from the 1923 movie "The Ten Commandments."
Credit: Dunes Center, Guadalupe, CA.
The film crew originally built the sphinxes' body parts in Los Angeles, and transported them about 165 miles (266 kilometers) to Guadalupe, where they assembled them into giant, hollow statues. The crew even built an extra sphinx so that the actors playing slaves could drag it around during filming, Jenzen said.
Legend has it that after filming ended, the movie crew dynamited the set and buried the sphinxes in a trench, but Jenzen has found little evidence of such a dramatic end. Instead, the wind, rain and sand likely collapsed and buried a large part of the set under the ever-shifting dunes. The sphinxes are in roughly the same place they were during filming, he said.
In fact, the film helped guide an excavation of the site in 2012.
"We'd work during the day, and we'd watch the movie at night to figure out what we were finding," said M. Colleen Hamilton, a historical archaeology program manager and senior historical archaeologist with Applied EarthWorks in California.
The first excavation took place in the 1990s, when the Dunes Center, then a part of the Nature Conservancy, had archaeologists comb through the abandoned movie site. They found dozens of small artifacts, including tobacco tins and cough syrup bottles — likely holding a substitute for alcohol during the Prohibition Era, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, Jenzen said.
"What objects like that tell us is that there wasn't a whole lot to do at the making of this movie," he said. "These guys had a lot of really good times before takes."
Mysterious sphinx
In 2012, the Dunes Center invited an archaeology group to survey the set again. This time, the archaeologists found the head of a sphinx about "the size of a pool table" buried in the dunes, Jenzen said.
The archaeologists excavated the fragile plaster of Paris head, now on display at the Dunes Center, but they didn't have time to exhume its body. Now, two years later, Applied EarthWorks returnedwith the goal of finishing the project.
But it wasn't to be, said Hamilton. Although the archaeologists had buried the body in sand in 2012 to protect it, the wind had uncovered the sphinx's remains, leaving a greying, crumbling mess.
"The site is basically being destroyed through erosion," Hamilton said. "It's become more critical to try to salvage some materials before they disappear." [Sand Scenes: California's Shifting Dunes]
The wind, however, helped them find the body of another sphinx. Sand had filled its hollow insides, and exposure to the moist beach air had dulled its red and ochre colors, making a careful excavation paramount.
From Oct. 6 to 14, the archaeology team, headed by Applied EarthWorks archaeologist Kholood Abdo Hintzman, slowly excavated the sphinx's body. To keep the paper-thin plaster of Paris from cracking, they wrapped it in cheesecloth soaked in a preservation chemical. Then, they carefully funneled sand out of the hollow statue, replacing the empty space with expanding insulation foam, Hamilton said.
The team could only work a few hours each day. In the morning, the thick, moist fog prevented them from doing their fragile work, and strong winds in the afternoon also stymied their progress. But, after eight days, they finally removed the body and placed it in an off-site building to dry and shrink to its normal size.
Fans of old Hollywood will be able to see the reconstructed body of the sphinx at the Dunes Center in mid- to late 2015, along with the head of the other reconstructed sphinx, Jenzen said. The movie itself is a piece of history, as it was the most expensive film made at that time, costing upward of $1 million, he said. Some scenes were filmed in Technicolor, and the crew used Jell-O as a special effect during the Biblical parting of the Red Sea.
"I think it's a great piece of Americana," Jenzen said. "But you have to hunker down to watch the whole thing, because it's more than three hours long and it's silent."

Live Science

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