Archaeologists find a treasure trove of Assyrian kings discovered in ISIS excavated tunnels

Archaeologists find a treasure trove of Assyrian kings discovered in ISIS excavated tunnels

The historically hidden Palace of the Assyrian Kings was revealed when the terrorist group blew up the tomb of the prophet Jonah for ideological reasons.

Two months were spent investigating the tunnels dug by ISIS under the destroyed tomb. The tunnels were found to lead to the military palace founded by Assyrian King Sennacherib in the 7th century BC.

The archeologist who led research on the site, Prof. Peter Miglus, said that Sennacherib’s gold may have been discovered by ISIS.

He said: “We can presume many very valuable objects must now be on the black market.”

The archaeologists found gold objects littered within the tunnels that were discarded by ISIS.

Within this rabbit warren of tunnels dug by the terrorists, the German scientists discovered archaeological treasures, including a 2,000-year-old, 55 meter (180 ft.) long, “throne room”, which was associated with the military palace.

The temple and its carvings date to the final period of the once vast Assyrian empire which dominated Mesopotamia. The great city of Nineveh was once the largest in the world.

This 40 ton statue was one of a two flanking the entrance to the throne room of King Sargon II. A protective spirit known as a lamassu, it is shown as a composite being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of a bird.

A 2018 article in The Guardian said the initial discovery was “a rare piece of good news in the context of so much deliberate destruction and looting by Isis of pre-Islamic archaeology.”

British Museum archaeologists worked with Iraq archaeologist, Saleh Noman, who was in the first group of Iraqi archaeologists trained in London to survey and rescue war damaged archaeology.

Stairs to the podium in the throne room of the palace.

The Iraq Museum’s Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme began in 2015 to help combat the many threats to the country’s archaeology, and Sebastien Rey, lead archaeologist at the Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Programme at the British Museum, told The Guardian that the “reliefs are unique with features which we have not seen anywhere else.”

What’s more, he said the archaeologists are incredibly brave working in “extreme danger”, with the mudbrick in danger of collapse at any time.

Wall panel with a palace inscription of the Assyrian king Asarhaddon (680-669 BC).

In December 2016, a U.S. led coalition backed thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish troops in a massive military operation to take back Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, and government forces eventually drove ISIS militants from the area around the Nebi Yunus shrine.

The first local archaeologists on the scene reported that ISIS had dug tunnels deep beneath the holy site searching for treasures and artifacts to sell on the black market.

Then they discovered the treasure tunnels led straight to a previously undiscovered and untouched palace.

In 2018 archaeologist Layla Salih told  The Telegraph she could only “imagine how much Daesh [Arabic term for ISIS] discovered down there before we got here.”

At first sight, it does appear extreme to blow up a mosque and to tunnel hundreds of meters into stone, it is certainly not acceptable, but consider the numbers: in 2017 The Middle-East Observer reported that at The Unesco conference in Paris the deputy Iraqi culture minister, Qais Rashid, said, “in the Mosul region alone at least 66 archaeological sites had been destroyed by ISIS,” and that Muslim and Christian places of worship had suffered “massive destruction”, and thousands of manuscripts had been looted.

Mr. Rashid’s analysis suggested ISIS was funding its acts by smuggling oil (up to $1.645m a day), kidnapping (at least $20m last year), people trafficking, extortion, robbery and last – but not least – “the sale of antiquities.” For example, the sale of looted items from al-Nabuk, west of Damascus, is reported to have earned ISIS $36m.

An ancient crystal skull was found many years ago in an archeological site in Southern Mexico

An ancient crystal skull was found many years ago in an archeological site in Southern Mexico.

A crystal skull was discovered in an archeological site called Monte Alban in Southern Mexico a number of years ago called Pancho. The location where he was found was once populated by the Zapotec people.

In the Valley of Oaxaca in the south of Mesoamerica, Zapoteca was an indigenous Pre-Columbian civilization. Evidence shows that their civilization goes back at least 2500 years.

The Zapotecas were the second oldest civilization in Mesoamerica. Only the Olmecs were older. Even the Mayas flourished later in what is known as the Classic Period.

The Zapotecas left evidence at the ancient city of Monte Alban in the form of buildings, ball courts, magnificent tombs and grave goods including finely worked gold jewelry. Monte Alban was one of the first major cities in Mesoamerica and the center of a Zapotec state that dominated much of what we know today as the current state of Oaxaca. 

Pancho was carved from one piece of clear quartz crystal. Quartz crystal can be found all over the world and the crystal that was used to create Pancho is probably millions of years old.

An ancient crystal skull was found many years ago in an archeological site in Southern Mexico.

He stands about 6.5″ tall and weighs about 15 pounds. Pancho is hollow. Most of the other ancient crystal skulls have human characteristics. Pancho does not.

The most interesting distinction is the fact that Pancho has two rows of teeth with 9 teeth in each row. His head is horizontally flat in the back and he has an elongated looking jaw. Some of the dirt that was on him and inside of him when he was found in the ground still clings on to Pancho.

Who carved Pancho and how was he carved? The answer to these questions remains a mystery. Modern scientists claim that the Pre-Hispanic peoples of Mesoamerica did not have the tools or the technology to carve Pancho and the other crystal skulls so smoothly.

Without modern tools, it would have taken more than 300 years hand polishing the crystal day in and day out without rest to create such a smooth specimen. Could perhaps a more advanced civilization have brought Pancho to Monte Alban? Or did a more advanced culture bring the peoples of this area the tools to create Pancho and the other crystal skulls?

It is widely accepted in the metaphysical and spiritual community that the land of the Maya was a safe place for the survivors of Atlantis after the destruction of that continent.

The Atlanteans had learned to harness crystal energy and used it as part of their culture. Did the Atlanteans or even the Lemurians bring this technology or even the crystal skulls themselves to Mexico and Central America?

Some crystal skull researchers and experts even believe that Pancho and some of the other ancient crystal skulls could have come from outer space or from another dimension. This might explain Pancho’s strange appearance. 

It is very possible that these extraterrestrials placed the crystal skulls strategically in earth grids or landlines to activate the planet. These crystalline grids could perhaps navigate future visits by these aliens to our planet much like crop circles do today.

Assuming that our ancestors carved and created Pancho and the other ancient crystal skulls the question still remains: what was their purpose? Did our ancestors download information into the crystal that perhaps someday would be retrieved by future generations? Our ancestors were wise and knowledgeable.

They built the Great Pyramids, Stonehenge, Macchu Picchu, and the statues on Easter Island. The Maya were able to calculate solar calendars, lunar calendars and even a calendar for the planet Venus. The Egyptians and the Sumerians were advanced in mathematics and understood the codes of the universe. The ancients also figured out that crystal could hold and store information. Much like our modern computers that utilize microchips to store information the ancients utilized the same technology.

They created their computers in the shape of a skull because they knew that the skull was a vessel for thought, knowledge, wisdom, and life. But how could the information be uploaded and downloaded? Twenty years ago the thought of connecting to the worldwide web wireless was impossible. Today, the idea that we can turn on and turn off our computers with our minds is not that far fetched.

Perhaps in a couple of years, we might even be able to connect to the Internet psychically, too. Did the ancients know this? Were they able to connect to the information in the crystal skulls through thought? This is the explanation for why Pancho and the rest of the ancient skulls were created.

It is very possible that Pancho and the other skulls are a web of knowledge and information much like our present Internet. Our ancestors knew that one day a future generation would be in desperate need of their ancient wisdom. Ancient Wisdom for a New Generation. 

Mysterious Giant Stone Sculpture of Aramu muru north of Chucuito Peru

Mysterious Giant Stone Sculpture of Aramu muru north of Chucuito Peru

Many people here only see an unfinished work by ancient masons. Nevertheless, other local legends tell something else — Aramu Muru is called a gateway to a realm of spirit.

It is unclear when and who made Aramu Muru – but presumably before the Incas. No archaeological research has been done here.

This massive stone gateway is located in the uncommon location of Hayu Marca Stone Forest (‘the city of the Goods’), on the banks of Lake Titicaca. Giant crests of red granite rise from the dry soil of Altiplano here. Erosion processes have formed natural bridges, weird grottoes, and natural sculptures. Often it is hard to tell whether some weird shapes have been formed by nature or by humans.

Mysterious giant stone sculpture of Aramu Muru, north of Chucuito, Peru

Aramu Muru is cut in the side of one such granite crest. This portal is 7 m high and 7 m wide, with a “T” shaped alcove in the bottom middle. The surface of the portal is polished. Alcove is some 2 m high – one man can fit into it. In the center of the alcove is a smaller depression.

On the other side of the cliff in earlier times was located a tunnel, which is blocked now with stones to prevent mishaps with children. Some believe that this tunnel was going to Tiahuanaco.

Similar Monuments

It seems – there are no similar landmarks in the Americas. Often there is noted that Aramu Muru is similar to the Sun Gate in the nearby Tiwanaku – but Wondermondo does not see many similarities.

Gate of the Sun

Aramu Muru has some principal similarities to the unfinished rock-cut architecture in India. Son Bhandar Caves (Bihar) have an unfinished portal inside the rock-cut cave. Local legends there tell about incredible riches inside.

Son Bhandar Caves, India.

Local tourist guide Jose Luis Delgado Mamani had unusual dreams in the 1990s. He saw a weird, red mountain with a gate cut in it. The door of this portal was open and blue, shimmering light was shining out of it.

Mamani was surprised to find mountains similar to the ones in his dream. He asked the local old men whether there are some gates cut in these cliffs – and, yes, they confirmed – there is a gate. Some tried to dissuade Mamani from going there – “this is the true gate to the hell”.

When Mamani reached the gate, he almost passed out from excitement – this was the site that he saw in his dreams. This story made into local newspapers and somewhat later – into the international press. The old, exotic story about Aramu Muru became popular again.

Legend about Aramu Maru

According to a local legend (maybe – a bit embellished by some contemporary mystics), this gate leads to the spirit world or even – to the world of gods.

Portal for the Immortals

The portal was made in the distant past. In those times the great heroes could pass the portal and join the pantheon of gods. Sometimes though these gods return to the land through these gates “to inspect all the lands in the kingdom”.

Golden Discs 

Legends tell that the gate was open for a while in the 16th century. Back then Spanish Conquistadors were looting the immense treasures in Cusco city and slaughtering local people.

In the most important Inca temple – in Coricancha temple (now the Church of Santo Domingo stands there) – were located especially valuable relics – the golden discs.

According to the legend, these discs were given by gods to Inca. Discs had powerful healing abilities. Two of these discs were seized by Spaniards, but the third one – the largest – disappeared without a trace.

Escape from Cusco to… The Otherworld

A priest of Coricancha temple – Aramu Muru – managed to escape from the deadly havoc in Cusco. He took the large golden disc with him.

Aramu Muru reached the Hayu Marca hills and hid there for a while. He stumbled on Inca priests – guardians of the portal and when the guardians saw the golden disc, there was arranged a special ritual at the gate.

This secret ritual opened the giant portal and blue light was shining from it. Aramu Muru entered the portal and has never been seen again. The gate got his name.

A battery around 200 BC found by  the German Archaeologist in 1938 

A battery around 200 BC found by the German Archaeologist in 1938.

It was in 1938, while working in Khujut Rabu, just outside Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, that German archaeologist Wilhelm Konig unearthed a five-inch-long (13 cm) clay jar containing a copper cylinder that encased an iron rod.

The vessel showed signs of corrosion, and early tests revealed that an acidic agent, such as vinegar or wine had been present. 

They are commonly considered to have been intentionally designed to produce an electric charge.

“They are a one-off. As far as we know, nobody else has found anything like these. They are odd things; they are one of life’s enigmas.”

Form and Function:

Railway construction in Baghdad in 1936, uncovered a copper cylinder with a rod of iron amongst other finds from the Parthian period. In 1938, these were identified as primitive electric cells by Dr. Wilhelm Konig, then the director of the Baghdad museum laboratory, who related the discovery to other similar finds (Iraqi cylinders, rods and asphalt stoppers, all corroded as if by some acid, and a few slender Iron and Bronze rods found with them). He concluded that their purpose was for electroplating gold and Silver jewellery.

The ancient battery in the Baghdad Museum

The Object he first found (left), was a 6-inch high pot of bright yellow clay containing a cylinder of sheet-copper 5 inches by 1.5 inches. The edge of the copper cylinder was soldered with a lead-tin alloy comparable to today’s solder.  The bottom of the cylinder was capped with a crimped-in copper disc and sealed with bitumen or asphalt. Another insulating layer of Asphalt sealed the top and also held in place an iron rod suspended into the centre of the copper cylinder.

Batteries dated to around 200 BC Could have been used in gilding

Two separate experiments with replicas of the cells have produced a 0.5-Volt current for as long as 18 days from each battery, using an electrolyte 5% solution of Vinegar, wine or copper-sulfate, sulphuric acid, and citric acid, all available at the time. (One replica produced 0.87-Volts).

From the BBC News Article

Most sources date the batteries to around 200 BC – in the Parthian era, circa 250 BC to AD 225. Skilled warriors, the Parthians were not noted for their scientific achievements.

“Although this collection of objects is usually dated as Parthian, the grounds for this are unclear,” says Dr St John Simpson, also from the department of the ancient Near East at the British Museum.

“The pot itself is Sassanian. This discrepancy presumably lies either in a misidentification of the age of the ceramic vessel, or the site at which they were found.” 

From the same Article, these prophetic words of wisdom:

‘War can destroy more than people, an army or a leader. Culture, tradition, and history also lie in the firing line. Iraq has a rich national heritage. The Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel are said to have been sited in this ancient land. In any war, there is a chance that priceless treasures will be lost forever, articles such as the “ancient battery” that resides defenseless in the museum of Baghdad’.

Unfortunately, the Baghdad batteries are now lost to us following the looting of the Baghdad museum in 2003.

This article appeared in the Guardian: Thursday, April 22 2004.

The situation in Iraq makes the fate of the 8,000 or so artefacts still missing from the National Museum of Baghdad ever more uncertain. Among them is an unassuming looking, 13cm long clay jar that represents one of archaeology’s greatest puzzles – the Baghdad battery. The enigmatic vessel was unearthed by the German archaeologist Wilhelm Koenig in the late 1930s, either in the National Museum or in a grave at Khujut Rabu, a Parthian site near Baghdad (accounts differ). The corroded earthenware jar contained a copper cylinder, which itself encased an iron rod, all sealed with asphalt. Koenig recognised it as a battery and identified several more specimens from fragments found in the region.

He theorised that several batteries would have been strung together, to increase their output, and used to electroplate precious objects. Koenig’s ideas were rejected by his peers and, with the onset of the second world war, subsequently forgotten.

Following the war, the fresh analysis revealed signs of corrosion by an acidic substance, perhaps vinegar or wine. An American engineer, Willard Gray, filled a replica jar with grape juice and was able to produce 1.5-2 volts of power. Then, in the late 1970s, a German team used a string of replica batteries successfully to electroplate a thin layer of silver.

About a dozen such jars were held in Baghdad’s National Museum. Although their exact age is uncertain, they’re thought to date from the Sassanian period, approximately AD 225-640. While it’s now largely accepted that the jars are indeed batteries, their purpose remains unknown. What were our ancestors doing with (admittedly, tiny) electric charges, 1,000 years before the first twitchings of our modern electrical age?

Certainly, the batteries would have been highly-valued objects: several were needed to provide even a small amount of power. The electroplating theory remains a strong contender, while a medical function has also been suggested – the Ancient Greeks, for example, are known to have used electric eels to numb pain.

Of particular interest in relation to the Baghdad Batteries is the suggestion that they were used in order to electroplate Copper Vases with silver, which were also once to be found in the Baghdad museum. They had been excavated from Sumerian sites in southern Iraq, dating 2,500 -2,000 BC.

Paul T. Keyser of the University of Alberta in Canada has come up with an alternative suggestion. Writing in the prestigious archaeological Journal of Near Eastern Studies, he claims that these batteries were used as an analgesic. He points out that there is evidence that electric eels were used to numb an area of pain or to anaesthetize it for medical treatment. The electric battery could have provided a less messy and more readily available method of analgesic.

Of course, the 1.5 volts that would have been generated by such a device would not do much to deaden a patch of skin, so the next conclusion was that these ancient people must have discovered how to link up several batteries in series to produce a higher voltage. 

‘The Chinese had developed acupuncture by this time, and still use acupuncture combined with an electric current. This may explain the presence of needle-like objects found with some of the batteries’

Bronze Age cemetery discovered in West Bank village – Middle East Monitor

Bronze Age cemetery discovered in West Bank village – Middle East Monitor

On April 6, the Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of a prehistoric cemetery dating back to the Bronze Age in the Hindaza region near Bethlehem.

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced the discovery of a Bronze Age cemetery in Hindaza area, east of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem on 6 April 2020

IMAN AT-TITI Director of the Antiquities Department of the Governorate of Bethlehem “The discovery of this cemetery is one of the most important in this region.

During the Bronze Age, some accessories were buried together with the deceased, in the belief that they could be used in the afterlife.

The metal that was commonly used at that time was bronze. We can see here some of the daggers and metal weapons that were commonly used in that period.

The findings also include a number of jars, and large and small bowls.”

The team of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has carefully documented all the archaeological materials found in the cemetery, including jars, daggers and bones, which will increase the scientific and historical heritage of this region.

Regarding the excavation methods used and the material found, Iman At-Titi, director of the Department of Antiquities of the Governorate of Bethlehem, explains IMAN AT-TITI Director of the Antiquities Department of the Governorate of Bethlehem.

“As archaeologists, we study more than one material… like ceramics, for example.

Pottery in the Bronze Age has several particular characteristics, related to the components of the mixture or the method of manufacture, or even its origin.

According to the data available to us, we can estimate the dating of ceramics.

There are materials for which we can also use methods such as Carbon 14, which is used to determine the archaeological age of ancient objects.”

The discovery of this Bronze Age cemetery is an important archaeological discovery, which brings to light a very ancient period in the history of the Region.

A Roman “laguncula” (water bottle) of the 4th century AD discovered in France

A Roman “laguncula” (water bottle) of the 4th century AD discovered in France

Archaeologist Carlo Di Clemente: Exceptional state of conservation, there are only very few other specimens found from excavations

A Roman "laguncula" (water bottle) of the 4th century AD discovered in France
Photo of the French Inrap Institute

The military bottle in the modern sense dates back to the second half of the 19th century, yet the Romans had already invented it.

One of these has just been found, in extraordinary conservation conditions, in the town of Seynod, in south-eastern France.

The architects of the discovery were the archaeologists of the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap).

A shopping center, or something similar, should be built on the site, but since the first investigations, evidence of a sacred Roman site with two or three small temples emerged, of which only the stone foundations remain.

In two of these, the cell floor (the closed space of the temple) and the vestibule can be clearly identified and referred to in the first half of the 4th century.

However, the site had to be older: the discovery of pottery from the end of the 1st century. they date the first construction of the sanctuary to that time.

In addition to the temples, 42 tombs with very different dimensions have emerged: the largest is more than two meters wide, the smallest only a meter and a half. Inside some of these coins, ceramics and figurines have been found. Among the various votive objects, a metal “laguncula” of the 4th century has sprung up. AD that belonged almost certainly to a legionnaire.

This is an exceptional find for the state of conservation – explains the archaeologist Carlo Di Clemente – there are only very few other specimens found from excavations. 

The “laguncula” was the container flask, usually made of copper, bronze or other alloys, which each legionnaire brought with him to preserve his daily ration of cereals, which he would then consume together with the companions of his “contubernium”, the smallest unit of the Roman army (8 soldiers). The food supply of the Roman army was extremely efficient: a legion (about 5000 men) needed around 1.2 tons of cereals per day.

The container, with a very graceful shape, is composed of two iron disks joined by bronze plates with a lobed outline like that of an oak leaf. Both the hinged handle and the cap are made of bronze, once connected to the flask by a metal cable, also in copper alloy, of which a fragment remains. Both the cap and the base are decorated with concentric circles. 

The interior was coated with wax or pitch to waterproof the container and, not surprisingly, traces of this material have been identified.

Even more interesting is how the remains of the organic content of the bottle have been preserved. According to the first analyzes, they are millet seeds (Panicum miliaceum, cereal widely consumed by the Romans) blackberries, with traces of dairy products. Perhaps he had also transported olives, given the presence of oleanoleic acid.

The laguncula was therefore also a kind of apprenticeship since it could contain solid foods. In fact, for the water, the legionaries had a specific skin bottle.

Explains military historian and experimental archaeologist Flavio Russo: This was a flask made of goatskin and had the advantage of not breaking with falls or bumps.

The external coat, if wet, allowed to refresh the content due to the subtraction of heat produced by evaporation. Its use even reached the Great War where it was called “ghirba”. By extension, “saving the stuff” began to mean, in military jargon, saving one’s life. The skin bottle also performed a very useful function: if filled with air, it constituted a real lifesaver that allowed the legionnaire to wade the waterways. skins, if used in bulk,

Returning to the laguncula, it is surprising how on the market of accessories for historical re-enactment this bottle has been present for some time now, reproduced with characteristics quite similar to the ancient one found. This allows us to appreciate how “new” it should have been. 

It was certainly an object of a certain value, like all the metal ones, at the time, which the legionary had to particularly care about. 

Perhaps this is precisely why she was left in one of the tombs. Maybe, the extreme homage of a fellow soldier, a friend, a brother? It is not just an archaeological find: the rust and verdigris that cover the laguncula evoke a story of pain and affection that we will never know.

The mystery of unique 2,100-year-old human clay head – with a ram’s skull inside

The mystery of unique 2,100-year-old human clay head – with a ram’s skull inside

According to a report in The Siberian Times, a team of researchers led by Natalia Polosmak of the Russian Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography and Konstantin Kuper of the Institute of Nuclear Physics used fluoroscopy to examine a head-shaped sculpture crafted by the Tagar culture more than 2,000 years ago.

The clay head, which resembles a young man, was discovered among about 15 sets of cremated human remains in a Shestakovsky burial mound in eastern Siberia in 1968. X-rays made of the artifact at the time revealed a small skull within the sculpture.

The Martynov brothers noted in 1971 that “there are skull bones and a narrow hollow space which, however, does not correspond to the inner size of the human skull but is much smaller,’ Then – and later – opening the clay head was deemed impossible since it would destroy this ancient relic. 

‘It was suggested that there was a human skull inside. It was of course quite surprising to see instead a sheep’s skull.’

Four decades later scientists returned to this man’s mystery from the Tagar culture, renowned for his elaborate funeral rites, e.g. the use of large pit crypts containing some 200 bodies which were set ablaze.  As scientist Dr. Elga Vadetskaya had observed, the heads of the dead were covered in clay, moulding a new face on the skull, and often covering the clay face with gypsum.  So the expectation was – in deploying new technology on the man’s death mask – that the bones inside, though small fragments, would be human.

But they were not. 

The research was led by Professor Natalya Polosmak, from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography, and Dr. Konstantin Kuper, of the Institute of Nuclear Physics, both in Novosibirsk, and part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 

The man ‘could have got lost in the taiga, drowned, or disappeared in alien lands’.
The man ‘could have got lost in the taiga, drowned, or disappeared in alien lands’.

‘I had been working with Natalya Polosmak on other research, and she suggested checking this head because they could not simply look inside – and were puzzled,’ explained Dr. Kuper.  ‘It was suggested that there was a human skull inside. It was of course quite surprising to see instead a sheep’s skull.’

But…why? 

What made these ancient people fill human remains with a ram’s remains?

In the article for the magazine Science First Hand Professor Polosmak offers two options but also acknowledges that ‘as this is the only such case so far, any explanations of this phenomenon will undoubtedly contain, alongside the elements of uniqueness, elements of chance’. She believes the Tagar people ‘may have buried in this extraordinary manner a man whose body had not been found’.

Professor Anatoly Martynov unearthed the head in 1968 in Khakassia.
Professor Anatoly Martynov unearthed the head in 1968 in Khakassia.

She surmises that the man ‘could have got lost in the taiga, drowned, or disappeared in alien lands’. For this reason, he was ‘replaced with his double – the animal in which his soul was embodied’ and in this was sent to the afterlife alongside the remains of his fellow humans.

‘This must have been the only way to ensure the after-death life of a person who had not returned home.

‘Archaeologists know a number of such burials, referred to as cenotaphs, which have no human remains but may contain a symbolic replacement. As the latter, an animal could have been used.’ Her other theory for the ‘false burial’ is that it may have been done to give the man ‘a chance to have a fresh start, a new life in a new status.

Clay head prepared for fluoroscopy at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, SB RAS.
Clay head prepared for fluoroscopy at the Institute of Nuclear Physics, SB RAS.

‘Instead of a living man whose death was staged for some reason, an animal – a sheep in human disguise – was offered.’

One thing is clear: for ancient people the ram had a great significance. 

‘What does the sheep’s skull hidden under the clay covers depicting a man’s face tell us? What is it, an accident? Or was the animal the main hero of ancient history?

‘The latter hypothesis seems justified. A ram (sheep) is among the most worshipped animals of old times. Initially, the Egyptian god Khnum was depicted as a ram (later, as a man with the head of a ram).’

Remains of 200 mummified bodies found in one of the Tagar burial mounds at Belaya Gora.

A third version has been proposed by Dr. Vadetskaya in her book ‘The Ancient Yenisei Masks from Siberia’  after studying elaborate burial rites of ancient people during this Tesinsk period. Her work was based on the research of other archaeologists but also had fascinating input from forensic experts. She believed the burial rite had two stages – the first of which was putting the dead body in a ‘stone box’ which then went into a shallow grave or under a pile of stones for several years. The main goal was partial mummification – the skin and tissues decomposed, but tendons and the spinal cord persisted. 

Then the skeleton was taken away intact and was tied by small branches. The skull was trepanned and the rest of the brain was removed. Then the skeleton was turned into a kind of ‘doll’ – it was wrapped around with grass and sheathed with pieces of leather and birch bark. Then, according to Dr. Vadetskaya, they reconstructed ‘the face’ on the skull. The nose hole, eyes socket, and mouth were filled with clay, then the clay was put onto the skull and the ‘face’ was moulded though without necessarily much facial resemblance to the deceased. 

Often this clay face was covered with a thin layer of gypsum and painted with ornaments.  She suspected that these masked mummies went back to their families pending their second, bigger funeral.  This might have been for some years: there is evidence that gypsum was repaired and repainted. 

Faces molded on the skulls were often covered with a thin gypsum layer painted with ornaments.

She wrote: ‘For some mummies, the wait was too long. The decomposed, so only the heads were left to be buried.  ‘In some cases, even the head did not survive. Then they had to recreate the whole image of the deceased one.’

She believed that this was the case with the mysterious human sheep skull. The ram remains were used to replace the real human skull of this ‘mummy doll’ lost or destroyed during the decades between the two funeral rites.  According to Vadetskaya, a large pit was dug for these ‘Big’ funerals. A log house was erected and covered with birch bark and fabrics.  Many such human remains were put inside, and the log house was with the remains of dead were ignited.  The log house was partly burned down and often the roof collapsed.  The pit-crypt burial was then covered with turf and earth and formed a mound. 

In this particular case, there were relatively few human remains – no more than 15, yet in others, the number could rise into the hundreds. 

So – there are three main theories. 

Perhaps future scientists will gain access to more elaborate technology to examine this death mask and unlock more secrets about this extraordinary find.

Two Viking Boat Graves—With a Warrior Inside—Found in Sweden

Two Viking Boat Graves—With a Warrior Inside—Found in Sweden

Previously, two Viking burial boats in Uppsala, Sweden have been unraveled by archaeologists the remains of a dog, a man, and a horse are remarkably preserved.

The horse skeleton.

A few of the powerful elites were sent back to their afterlife by the Vikings in boats laden with sacrificed animals, weapons and artifacts; the funeral practice dates back to the Iron Age (A.D. 550 to 800) but was used throughout the Viking age (A.D. 800 to 1050), according to a statement.

Throughout Scandinavia, several richly decorated gravestones have been found. For example, archeologists had already discovered one of those burial boats throughout Norway with evidence of human remains, and one in western Scotland with many burial artifacts, including an ax, a shield boss, a ringed pin a hammer and tongs.

Recent excavations of Viking boat burials reveal the remains of a man, a horse, and a dog.

The elites who were given such elaborate send-offs were also often buried with animals, such as stallions.

These burial boats were typically built with overlapping wooden planks (called “clinker-built”) and had symmetrical ends, a true keel, and overlapping planks joined together, said Johan Anund, the regional manager for The Archaeologists, an archeological organization working with the National Historical Museums in Sweden.

A man’s remains were discovered in one of the boat graves. 

Archaeologists have also found other, simpler boat structures, such as logboats, which are like a dugout wide canoe, Anand told Live Science in an email. 

The remains of the dog and the horse were nestled in the bow of the well-preserved boat, while the remains of the man were found in the stern.

“We don’t know much” about the man yet, Anund said. But analysis of the skeleton will reveal how old he was, how tall he was and if he had any injuries or diseases. Anund’s group may even be able to figure out where the man grew up and where he lived for most of his life, Anund said.

As for the animals buried with him, they could have been sacrificed to help the dead person on the “other side” but could also be there to show the man’s status and rank, Anund said. It’s common to find horses and dogs in such burials, but also big birds like falcons.

Archaeologists also found other items on the boat such as a sword, spear, shield, an ornate comb, and leftover wood and iron nails that were likely used in its construction.

A comb and a part of a shield were discovered in one of the boat graves.

The other boat was badly damaged, probably because a 16th-century medieval cellar was built right on top of it, according to the statement.

Some human and animal bones were still preserved on the damaged ship, but they seem to have been moved around, making it difficult for archaeologists to say much about them, Anund said.

Archaeologists discovered the ships, the well, and the cellar after a plot of land outside Uppsala was marked off to become a new building for the vicarage of Gamla Uppsala parish.

They excavated the boats last month and some of the finds will go on display at Gamla Uppsala museum and the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm.

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