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Lost City of Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is a vast stone temple at the heart of an ancient stone city. But at the ends of its corridors and the centres of its hidden rooms lie surprising Buddhist shrines still active in a place abandoned for hundreds of years. These Buddhist statues are imposters, hasty late additions to a religious building constructed to accommodate the myths and rituals of Hinduism.
They are splendid still, some draped incongruously in new and garish orange robes, the polyester glowing harsh against the cool, old stone.

They are alive, thriving on the centuries of mystical memory that make Angkor Wat one of the most fascinating and mysterious places on Earth. Among these ancient religious ruins there still exists a living, beating heart of spirituality that has survived almost 1,000 years. Imagine the incredible spiritual power that exists in such a place.

These days the revered King of Cambodia, for whose ancestors the ancient temples at Angkor were built, lives in his official residence right in the centre of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia. I often wonder if he thinks about what it would be like to live at that other place. Angkor Wat would be uninhabitable, of course, for any modern head of state. But its presence must play in the king’s heart and mind, reminding him that his was one of the greatest of the lost civilisations, and now still the largest standing stone religious structure in the world.

Angkor Wat was built over a 30 year period beginning in 1113. It was a royal palace, temple and eventually tomb for a god-king and the hundreds of women who attended him. The five famous lotus-bud towers still rise above the flattened landscape so characteristic of Cambodia, the central one containing the holiest of shrines once attended only by the King himself.
Though it was lost to the world for centuries, rumours of this great complex would pop up occasionally in Europe, principally in the accounts of Spanish and particularly Portuguese Catholic missionaries who would periodically stumble upon the place. Of course, when you go to Angkor Wat now you are more likely to see hundreds of Chinese and Korean tourists on package holidays. It is more than compensating for its centuries of obscurity.

It has tantalised the popular imagination, periodically slipping from the collective memory, only to be discovered and celebrated over again. Angkor Wat was once again “rediscovered” by the West in 1860 by French Protestant naturalist Henri Mouhot, who became its great publicist and created a vogue for Cambodia and for Angkor in particular. This rediscovery very nearly destroyed it by creating a market for the exquisite sculpture that was littered all through the jungle which covered the complex.

Writers and aristocratic travellers like Somerset Maugham and the eccentric Sitwells travelled to Angkor in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Maugham thought that everyone should see Angkor once before they die. They were charmed by Angkor Wat and its surrounding reservoirs and canals. It reminded them of an oriental version of the Palace at Versailles, though it far surpassed Versailles in scale.

The temple has been plundered over the centuries, and much of its best statuary is now in collections all over the world, as well as in places like the National Museum of Cambodia – an astounding institution – probably one of the best in the world – in an exquisitely designed building. The grounds of the museum also house a University of Fine Arts and a College of Traditional Performing Arts. It is in this museum that you will see the best sculpture of the Angkor period. Cambodian religious art is simply the best in the world, the refined and beautiful Buddha heads becoming such iconic items that they are reproduced now in cement and resin and found in gardens and on coffee tables across the world. To come face to face with them in their original stone glory is really quite exceptional.

Angkor Wat was not constructed as a Buddhist temple. It represents an extraordinary moment in religious history where an ancient civilisation shifted from Hinduism to Mahayana Buddhism and later to the more deliberately primitive form of Theravada Buddhism, which it continues to practise today.

The Lost Fabergé Eggs

The Lost Fabergé Eggs Russia / Unknown

Peter Carl Fabergé (also known as Karl Gustavovich Fabergé) and his brother Agathon were Russian jewellers of French descent based in St. Petersburg. They rapidly became famous for the extraordinary quality and beauty of their work.

In 1885 Tsar Alexander III (House of Romanov) commissioned the production of the gold and enamel ‘Hen Egg’ for his wife the Empress Maria which she adored.

Fabergé was made ‘Goldsmith by Special Appointment to the Imperial Crown’ and over the next 33 years 52 eggs were made for the Russian Royal Family as well as a further 15 for other private buyers.

The 1917 Russian Revolution toppled Tsar Nicholas II who was executed along with much of the royal family in July 1918. Fearing for his safety, Peter Carl Faberge abandoned Russia travelling first to Latvia then Germany and finally Switzerland where he died in Lausene in 1920.

The Fabergé eggs and many other treasures of the Royal family were confiscated and stored in the vaults of the Kremlin Armoury. Some were sold to raise funds for the new regime. Over time eight of the original 52 Imperial eggs have vanished and their whereabouts remain a mystery to this day. A full list of missing eggs is below. In 2007, just one egg, ‘The Rothschild’ was sold at Christies Auction House for $8,9 million.

The Missing Eggs:
(1886) The Hen Egg with Sapphire Pendant
(1888) The Cherub with Chariot Egg (PPC-USA)
(1889) The Nécessaire Egg (PPC-UK)
(1896) The Egg with Alexander III Portraits
(1897) The Mauve Egg
(1902) Empire Nephrite Egg (Alexander III Medallion)
(1903) The Royal Danish (Jubilee) Egg
(1909) The Alexander III Commemorative Egg

Treasure: Faberge Golden Eggs

Lost: 1917-1929

Current Estimated Value: $90 – 150,000,000
Contents: Eight Faberge Golden Eggs

Location: Unknown / Russia

Amazing Ancient Objects – unexplained?

The Roman Dodecahedra

These fist-sized bronze Roman artifacts found in France, Switzerland and Germany pose a fascinating problem for archaeologists: they just don’t have a clear purpose, but many are covered in symbols, some undecipherable and others relating to the Zodiac. But for all the speculation on their use, including that they may have been surveying instruments, some experts believe the Roman dodecahedra were merely decorative candlesticks.

The Giant Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

They appear to be flawlessly round, ranging in size from just a few centimeters to over 6.6 feet in diameter, and are found all over the Diquis Delta and Isla de Cano in Costa Rica. Weighing up to 16 tons, it’s hard to imagine how humans could have moved these gigantic sculptures hewn from hard granodiorite – considering that the nearest quarry for that material is over 50 miles away from where the sculptureswere found. Over three hundred of them are scattered across Costa Rica, but we’ll never know why – the people who made them back in 1,000 C.E. are long gone and had no written records.

The Maine Penny

When a genuine Norse coin dating to the early 11th century was found among Native American ruins in Maine in 1957, it seemed to offer an intriguing piece of evidence that Vikings did indeed travel further south than Newfoundland long before the time of Christopher Columbus. And it could be so – but experts have their doubts. The fact that the ‘Maine Penny‘ was the only Norse artifact found at the site seems to indicate that it came to the site through native trade channels from Viking sources in Labrador and Newfoundland.

A Russian man found a strange piece of machinery from Vladivostok, the administrative capital of the Primorsky Krai area. The object resembled a piece of tooth wheel and was embedded in a piece of coal he was using to light a fire. Although discarded pieces of old machines are not uncommon in Russia, the man became curious and showed his find to some scientists. Testing revealed that the toothed object was almost pure aluminum and almost certainly artificially made.Also, it was 300 million years old. This raised some interesting questions, as aluminum of this purity and shape can’t form naturally and humans didn’t figure out how to make it until 1825. Curiously, the object also resembles parts that are used in microscopes and other delicate technical devices. Although conspiracy theorists have been quick to declare the find a part of an alien spaceship, the scientists researching it are not willing to jump to conclusions and wish to run further tests in order to learn more about the mysterious artifact.

Secret history of Stonehenge revealed

Current research is now suggesting that Stonehenge may already have been an important sacred site at least 500 years before the first Stone circle was erected – and that the sanctity of its location may have determined the layout of key aspects of the surrounding sacred landscape.

What’s more, the new investigation – being carried out by archaeologists from the universities’ of Birmingham, Bradford and Vienna – massively increases the evidence linking Stonehenge to pre-historic solar religious beliefs. It increases the likelihood that the site was originally and primarily associated with sun worship

The investigations have also enabled archaeologists to putatively reconstruct the detailed route of a possible religious procession or other ritual event which they suspect may have taken place annually to the north of Stonehenge.

That putative pre-historic religious ‘procession’ (or, more specifically, the evidence suggesting its route) has implications for understanding Stonehenge’s prehistoric religious function – and suggests that the significance of the site Stonehenge now occupies emerged earlier than has previously been appreciated.

Easter Island heads have bodies

An amazing new discovery on Easter Island has unearhted bodies on the famous heads. Yes, some of the Easter Island statues actually have bodies to go along with their heads. For those who aren’t familiar with these statues, they “were carved out of distinctive, compressed, easily worked solidified volcanic ash or tuff found at a single site inside the extinct volcano Rano Raraku.”

The large stone statues, or moai, for which Easter Island is world-famous, were carved from 1100-1680 CE (rectified radio-carbon dates). A total of 887 monolithic stone statues have been inventoried on the island and in museum collections so far. Although often identified as “Easter Island heads”, the statues are actually torsos, with most of them ending at the top of the thighs, although a small number of them are complete, with the figures kneeling on bent knees with their hands over their stomachs. Some upright moai have become buried up to their necks by shifting soils.

The massive heads had been one of the biggest ancient mysteries ever discovered. The fact that they have bodies is astonishing!. Evidence of aliens is now being explored as a possible explanation of this discovery.

When most people think of the renowned monolithic statues, they think of the heads only. But in October 2011, the Easter Island Statue Project began its Season V expedition, revealing remarkable photos showing that the bodies of the statues go far deeper underground than just about anyone had imagined.

The excavations have also revealed new petroglyph writings on the bodies of the statues.  We are awaiting the transcripts for these writings. WIll they tell the story of ancient aliens creating the stones in the image of themselves?

 

The mystery of the worlds oldest statue and it’s unexplained markings.

The statue is twice as old as the Egyptian pyramids, and contains arguably the most ancient coded message on the planet

The Shigir Idol, is estimated to be 9,500 years old and is regarded as the worlds most mysterious object.

It was made during the Mesolithic period, around 7,500 BCE but was only discovered in 1890 in Kirovgrad, Sverdlovsk region, in the Ural Mountains.

The statue is currently displayed in the “Historic Exhibition” Museum in Yekaterinburg, Russia and is guarded 24 hours a day by Russian special forces.

Discovery

The idol was discovered on January 24, 1894 at a depth of 4m in the peat bog of Shigir, on the eastern slope of the Middle Urals, approximately 100 km from Yekaterinburg. Investigations in this area had begun 40 years earlier after the discovery of a variety of prehistoric objects in an open-air gold mine.

It was extracted in several parts; professor D. I. Lobanov combined the main fragments to reconstitute a sculpture 2.80m high.

In 1914 the archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev proposed a variant of this reconstruction by integrating the unused fragments.

Some of these fragments were reported lost, so only Tolmachev’s drawings of them remain.

Since 2003 the sculpture has also been displayed in a glass box filled with inert gas.

The body is flat and rectangular and strange Geometrical motifs decorate its surface. Horizontal lines at the level of the thorax seem to represent ribs, and lines broken in chevrons cover the rest of the body. The rest of the markings remain unexplained

No consensus exists about the meaning of the motifs, or what the sculpture represented. Claims have been made that the motifs refer to aliens or gods.

Expert view

Now Russian experts say the remarkable relic contains encoded information on the ‘creation of the world’ – a message to modern man from the Mesolithic era of the Stone Age.

THE SHIGIR IDOL: Strange facts

The Shigir Idol is thought to be the most ancient wooden sculpture in the world.

It stands 9.2ft (2.8 metres) in height but originally was 17.4ft (5.3 metres) tall, as high as a two storey house.
Almost 6.5ft (2 metres) of the artefact went missing during Russian’s 20th century political turmoil, though Siberian archaeologist Vladimir Tolmachev drew images of all the pieces.

The messages carved into the ornament ‘remain ‘an utter mystery to modern man’, according to experts.

Some say the straight lines could denote land, or horizon – the boundary between earth and sky, water and sky, or the borderline between the worlds.

A wavy line or zigzag symbolised the watery element, snake, lizard, or determined a certain border.

But the marks could have multiple meanings for the ancient statue-makers who gave the idol seven faces, only one of which is three-dimensional.

The faces may be images of spirits that inhabited the human world in ancient times.

The strange mystery of Amenhotep’s Book of the Dead

As well as the mummy cases, funerary statuettes, amulets and scarabs found in the pyramids, archaeologists also discovered “pyramid texts” provided for the use of the dead on their journey into the unknown. Written with reed pens on papyrus and often enclosed in wooden containers, or else inscribed on the walls of tombs or painted on the covers of coffins, these writings are known collectively as the Book of the Dead.

Whereas the household utensils unearthed in Egyptian tombs are essentially banal, these rich texts draw us deep into the realms of the unconscious, where we come face to face with the ancient world’s darkest, strangest, and most fearful imaginings.

Once mummification was completed and the mummy placed in the sarcophagus, a priest used an adze ritualistically to “open” the dead man’s mouth and enable his winged soul (ba) to enter and leave the mortal remains at will.

Missing pages of this famous book are still showing up in unexpected places.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead is one of the most famous books containing spells to be used in the afterlife. Rather than being a single book, it is more of a concept. The spells were usually written on the walls and on the bodies of the deceased. Upper class Egyptians were also given a papyrus scroll with the spells written on it, which would allow them to journey through the afterlife.??

Researchers have spent years trying to track down all the pieces of the Book of the Dead given to Amenhotep, a powerful Egyptian official from around 1400 BC. Nearly 100 fragments of this scroll were recently found – not in a sandy tomb, but in the basement of the Queensland Museum, where they were donated almost 100 years ago.

Mystery – The Book of Soyga and The Rohonc Codex

The Book of Soyga

The Mystery

The Middle Ages produced their share of strange texts, but perhaps none was as mysterious as the Book of Soyga, a treatise on magic and the paranormal that contains passages that have yet to be translated by scholars. The book is most famously associated with John Dee, a noted thinker of the Elizabethan era who was known to dabble in the occult. In the 1500s, Dee was said to be in possession of one of the only copies of the book, and he supposedly became obsessed with unlocking its secrets, particularly a series of encrypted tables that Dee believed held the key to some kind of esoteric spiritual knowledge. This was no easy task, as the book’s unknown author had utilized a number of typographical tricks, including writing certain words backwards and encoding others in mathematical script. Dee became so fixated on cracking the codes that he even traveled to continental Europe in order to meet with a famous spiritual medium called Edward Kelley. Through Kelley, Dee claimed to have contacted the archangel Uriel, who he claimed told him that the book’s origins dated back to the Garden of Eden.

Possible Explanations

Unfortunately, Dee was unable to finish decoding the mysteries of the Book of Soyga before his death. The book itself, though known to have existed, was believed lost until 1994, when two copies of it were rediscovered in England. Scholars have since studied the book, and one of them was able to partially translate the tables that had so fascinated Dee. Still, beyond finding that the book is most likely related to Kabbalah, a mystical sect of Judaism, these researchers have not been able to decipher the book’s real significance.

The Rohonc Codex

One of the most baffling of the hidden texts is without doubt the Rohonc Codex. This most peculiar script is written from right to left, and seems to mix up runes, straight and rounded characters in the style of Old Hungarian – but it defies all attempts at translation.

The Mystery

The document  has proven resistant to any kind of consistent translation or explanation, a centuries-old book that is said to have surfaced in Hungary sometime in the 1700s. The Codex consists of 448 pages of text, all of it written in a still-unknown language. Scholars have argued that it could be anything from early Hungarian to Hindi, but it lacks many of the prominent features of any of these languages. Moreover, the alphabet features many more characters than any major language outside of Chinese. Perhaps even more fascinating than the text of the Rohonc Codex are the 87 illustrations that accompany it. These depict everything from landscapes to military battles, but they also employ religious iconography that is unique to a number of different religions, including Christianity, Hindu, and Islam. This would suggest that whatever culture the document depicts had many different faiths in existence simultaneously.

Possible Explanations

There have been several partial translations of the Rohonc Codex, each with its own unique results. One scholar proclaimed the document to be a religious text, while another said it was a history of the Vlachs, a Latin culture that once thrived in modern-day Romania. But perhaps the most popular take on the document’s origin is that it was a hoax perpetrated by Samuel Literati Nemes, a notorious forger from the mid-1800s. This idea has often been disputed, but though they have managed to prove that the text of the Codex is not just gibberish, modern scholars have been unable to prove the forgery theory wrong

The true story of Abe no Seimei

Abe no Seimei was the Japanese Merlin. However, unlike the European wizard, Seimei’s historical existence goes unchallenged. He served six different emperors as an omyodo, a yin-yang master. The court wizard oversaw matters of divination, protecting the Japanese emperor with rituals to banish evil spirits and illnesses. Legends and folktales ascribe to him all sorts of supernatural powers.

The famous kabuki play Kuzunoha says he inherited his magical power from his mother, a white fox. He was said to possess second sight, which he used to identify demons. When the samurai Watanabe no Tsuna was said to cut off a demon’s arm, he brought the accursed item to Seimei to seal it away with a spell. The demon later tried to retrieve its limb but was unable to overcome Seimei’s magic. Legend says that Seimei met hosts of other demons in magical combat, defeating each of them with his vast repertoire of spells.

Legend also says that he was killed by a rival. In another play, rival Ashiya Doman secretly copies a text Seimei had been studying under a Chinese master wizard. With his stolen knowledge in hand, Doman challenges Seimei to a wizard battle and manages to kill him. Later, though, Seimei’s Chinese master arrives in Japan and resurrects his pupil with a ritual, allowing the reborn Seimei to defeat the rival wizard and reclaim his book.

Vinland – The lost World!

VINLAND refers to the southernmost region on the Atlantic coast of North America visited and named by Norse voyagers about a.d. 1000

In 1960, a Norse settlement was found at L’Anse aux Meadows, which is located on the northern tip of the island of Newfoundland, in what is now the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The discovery provided evidence that the Vikings had entered sections of North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus. According to the Sagas of Icelanders, the great explorer Leif Ericson established a Norse settlement on North America named Vinland around the year 1000. Vinland is mentioned in the work of Adam of Bremen c. 1075 and in the Book of Icelanders compiled c. 1122 by Ari the Wise. According to the books, North America was sighted around 986 by Bjarni Herjolfsson, who was blown off course on a trip from Iceland to Greenland. His stories lured Leif Ericson to the area.

In 1957, news of the Vinland map was released to the world. The map is claimed to be a 15th-century world map that holds unique information about the Norse exploration of America. In addition to showing Africa, Asia, and Europe, the map depicts a landmass south-west of Greenland in the Atlantic Ocean labeled as Vinland. The discovery shocked historians who looked to explain the origin of the map. The parchment of the Vinland map shows a representative date of somewhere between 1423 and 1445. Since the map was found, some people have labeled it a forgery, while others have identified it as real.

Mysterious Map

In the late 1960s, it was announced that a chemical analyses of the map showed ink ingredients from the 20th-century. More specifically, the presence of anatase, which is a synthetic pigment used since the 1920s, however, natural anatase has been demonstrated in various Mediaeval manuscripts. The situation was made worse by the fact that the map was coated with an unknown substance in the 1950s, possibly created by nuclear tests on the document. To support claims for the map, it has been discovered that the wormholes match a medieval copy of volume 3 of Vincent of Beauvais’s encyclopedic Speculum historiale (“Historical Mirror”), which suggests that it may have been located in the book.

In a bizarre occurrence, the Vinland map depicts Greenland as an island with a remarkably close representation of the correct shape and orientation of the land. However, the depiction of Norway is wildly inaccurate. The map also shows an area that may represent Japan. It seems to not only show Honshu, but also Hokkaido and Sakhalin, which were omitted even from Oriental maps in the 15th century.

Many historians feel that the map might be a copy of one developed by Italian mariner Andrea Bianco in the 1430s. Some have placed the land of Vinland as far south as New England or Rhode Island. To date, the map is said to be real by its current owner, Yale University. Regardless of the controversy over its authenticity, the Vinland map has been valued at over $25,000,000. It might be the first map to show North America.

A thousand years ago, as Europe was emerging from what historians have called the “Dark Ages,” stories began circulating in Europe about a lush, abundant land far across the Atlantic called “Vinland” – the land of wine. For a long time scholars dismissed these stories as fanciful fables but then, in 1961, an indisputable Viking settlement was unearthed at L’Anse Aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada. It was true! The Vikings had been to America 500 years before Columbus “discovered” it. But L’Anse Aux Meadows is not a “land of wine”. So where was this idyllic Vinland where Europe first encountered America?

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Vinland – The lost World!

VINLAND refers to the southernmost region on the Atlantic coast of North America visited and named by Norse voyagers about a.d. 1000 In 1960, a...