UPDATE 20 July:
They opened the sarcophagus and found…
“a mummified family of three swimming in red liquid.”
___ Originally Published on: Jul 11, 2018
From Science Alert:
A Massive, Black Sarcophagus Has Been Unearthed in Egypt, And Nobody Knows Who’s Inside
Archaeological digs around ancient Egyptian sites still have plenty of secrets to give up yet – like the huge, black granite sarcophagus just discovered at an excavation in the city of Alexandria, on the northern coast of Egypt.
What really stands out about the solemn-looking coffin is its size. At 185 cm (72.8 inches) tall, 265 cm (104.3 inches) long, and 165 cm (65 inches) wide, it’s the biggest ever found in Alexandria.
Oh, and then there’s the large alabaster head discovered in the same underground tomb. Experts are assuming it represents whoever is buried in the sarcophagus, though that’s yet to be confirmed.
Okay. If they are going to open it, how about during this….
FRIDAY THE 13TH SOLAR ECLIPSE: If you live in Tasmania, this Friday the 13th is your lucky day. The new Moon will pass in front of the sun, off center, taking a bite out of the solar disk. This video created by graphic artist Larry Koehn of ShadowandSubstance.com shows the circumstances of the partial eclipse:
The eclipse will be visible in a region stretching from the southernmost edge of Australia (2% coverage) to the northern coast of Antarctica (33% coverage). As the Moon’s shadow crosses few inhabited areas, Hobart, Tasmania, arguably has the best combinaion of population (200,000) + coverage (10%). It will be interesting to see if we receive any photos of this remote event. Stay tuned!
UPDATE 13 July:
MARTIAN GREEN FLASH: Mars is approaching Earth for a 15-year close encounter on July 27th. The Red Planet now outshines every object in the sky except the sun, Moon, and Venus. Mars is doing things only very luminous objects can do–like produce a green flash. Watch this video taken by Peter Rosén of Stockholm, Sweden, on July 12th:
“Mars was shining brightly in the early morning sky,” he says. “At an altitude of only 6.5° above the horizon, the turbulence was extreme, sometimes splitting the planet’s disc in 2 or 3 slices and displaying a green and blue flash resembling those usually seen on the sun.”
If they hear the Kyrie from Ligeti’s Requiem there’s more to it than meets the eye.
I hope they get in touch with the Stargate program first.
Naturally, somebody will claim it is the body of Jesus. And there goes 2000 years of history, right down the drain. :)
Paging Fr. Merrin …
“What could possibly go wrong?” includes exposing people to ancient, still viable, and currently untreatable ancient variants of contemporary diseases.
I joked about this possibility with a professor who did excavations some years ago. I have not seen him since; at last report, he was living in Maine, with supplementary oxygen. Bacteria and viruses just might be viable a lot longer than we had suspected. Clearly, a difficult area in which to do double-blind studies, due to the paucity of newly-discovered ancient tombs.
If there are winged cherubim on the cover, I hope they think twice before opening the chest in an attempt to harness its powers…
Alexander the Great?
Black slab? My first thought was the 2001 Space Odyssey monolith. Perhaps the one that sparked the dawn of intelligence in the human race.
Hopefully it’s not the Giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
I am reminded of this Onion article: https://local.theonion.com/archaeologist-tired-of-unearthing-unspeakable-ancient-e-1819566285 .
And what, pray tell, is the appropriate garb for the opening ceremony? And is it strictly necessary to have two hostages tied up so they may also observe the main event… if they so desire?
Ariseydead: “And what, pray tell, is the appropriate garb for the opening ceremony?”
Well, from latest reports it seems to be Ptolemaic (as one might expect in Alexandria) so perhaps the full ceremonial dress of a Hellenistic General? Except for the sandals, that is. Nope, reinforced toe cap boots definitely called for, I think.
Maybe Geraldo Rivera is available and the remains inside could be Jimmy Hoffa.
Are people going to start chanting “Imhotep, Imhotep, …”?
“Mars is shining bright tonight.” (Bane the Centaur)
(deviating a bit from my nickname, which suggests high fantasy, into the realm of light fiction.)
Speaking of astronomy and ancient tombs, archaeologists use ancient records of eclipses and observations of Venus and the star Sirius to convert dates in ancient inscriptions to our Christian calendar.
One key discovery was excavated in Mesopotamia in the 19th century: a cuneiform tablet that recorded a solar eclipse in “the tenth year of Ashur-Dan III” (the Assyrian king at the time of Jonah). Calculations determined the date of the eclipse (see “Bur Sagale eclipse”) as June 15, 763 BC. From that date, using “King Lists” and “Limmu (royal officials) Lists” much of the chronology of the first millennium BC was fixed according to the Christian calendar.
The second and third millennium BC remain a bit of a problem. Today, most textbooks and books use what’s called the “Middle Chronology.” That is, Hammurabi (the Babylonian king with the Law Code) reigned from 1792-1750 BC. The High Chronology sets Hammurabi’s reign at 1848-1806 BC, with the Low at 1728-1686 BC.
One dating method debated by scholars these days is about a cuneiform tablet, excavated in the 19th century, known as the “Venus Tablet of Ammisaduqa.” It apparently records (in lunar dates) Venus on the horizon at sunrise and sunset for 21 years. The catch with this seems to be that Venus has both a 56- and 64-year cycle. Which is one of the reasons for a High, Middle, and Low Chronology.
For dates in ancient Egypt additional methods are used. One method makes use of the “Amarna Letters.” These Letters (cuneiform tablets) are the correspondence of Pharaoh Akhenaten (King Tut was his son) with his officials in Canaan and elsewhere. These Letters (written not in hieroglyphics but in Akkadian cuneiform as that was the lingua franca of the 15th century BC ancient Near East) help to synchronize Mesopotamian dates and King Lists with Egyptian dates and King Lists.
Other methods used are Egyptian inscriptions recording the star Sirius (the “Sothic cycle”), cattle censuses, the pharoah’s “sed” festivals, and Apis bull sacrifices. The catch with these last three seems to be that they did not always occur on fixed schedules.
jaykay mentioned “Ptolemaic Alexandria.” Alot of ancient Egyptian practices and esoteric texts flowed out from Alexandria to ancient Greece and Rome. Perhaps the Roman Mithras bull was inspired by the Apis bull. I think it was Herodotus who wrote a spectacular account of a cat goddess festival for Bast at Bubastis, which involved tens of thousands of people, cat mummification, cavorting on boats in the Nile, and who knows what else.
This link is to a 2017 Times of Israel article about a recent biblical archaeology discovery. In 2014 when ISIS captured Mosul/Nineveh they demolished the Tomb of Jonah and dug tunnels to loot and sell artifacts. When Mosul was recaptured archaeologists found under the rubble a previously unknown palace of the biblical kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.
This second article is from several days ago, about the impressive 5th century AD mosaics of biblical scenes excavated near the Galilee by archaeologist Jodi Magness of UNC Chapel Hill. (Note: you’ll see that this website uses not “AD” but “CE” or “Common Era.” The Biblical Archaeology Society was founded by the semi-secular Herschel Shanks, but most of their articles and books are reasonable enough.)
Great comments here.
msc: Your link to that Onion archaeology parody is pure gold:
“It’s true, I’ve got to stop reading the inscriptions on ancient door seals out loud,” archaeologist Whitson said. “I also need to quit dusting off medallions set into strange sarcophagi, allowing the light to hit them for the first time in centuries. And replacing the jewels that have fallen from the foreheads of ancient frog-deity statues— that’s just bad archaeological practice.”
Whitson added that he hopes one day to excavate an ancient Egyptian monastery or marketplace without hearing the ear-splitting shrieks of the undead while being swarmed by green-glowing carnivorous stink beetles.
GregB: Good one about “Imhotep” from the 1999 Mummy movie. Those scriptwriters must have had a great time with that one.
A family? A father, mother, and their child? Perhaps in the midst of the current insanity we needed a gentle reminder from the past of what’s real and what’s worth preserving.
I’m trying to find a Catholic cemetery for my family. This makes me wonder what’s the point since it seems nothing is sacred. Those people have souls and I’m sure they never wanted their burial site to be desecrated. They didn’t donate their bodies to science.
A classic comment section! Lol
My son reminded me of the passage in scripture where the Jews are waiting to be freed from Egypt and one of the scourges is the water is turned to blood.