Sunday, 28 February 2021

Baal from Cornwall

Bronze figure of god Baal dated to 14th-12th c. BC,  found in Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit), located in today's Syria. 

In simple terms, bronze is the mixture of two metals: 

copper


and tin

When the Bronze Age arrived to the Eastern Mediterranean, the copper-rich region was able to quickly source copper at mines like Timna...

But where tin came from has been a lingering mystery for scholars. A new paper from an international team of researchers proposes a surprisingly faraway source,  Cornwall and Devon...


In a paper "Isotope systematics and chemical composition of tin ingots from Mochlos (Crete) and other Late Bronze Age sites in the eastern Mediterranean Sea: An ultimate key to tin provenance?" published in June , the authors analyze 27 tin ingots, or blocks, from five sites bordering the eastern Mediterranean Sea. 


Now this is very interesting indeed. The strong connection between Eastern Mediterranean and British Isles during the 2nd millennium BC could bring back the cultural diffusion theory as the explanation for all the similarities between far flung Bronze Age cultures...

Like for instance why the "Celtic" (actually specifically Insular Celtic) year has two seasons: winter (Nov-Apr) and summer (May-Oct). Climatically this makes no sense in Ireland and Britain. But it makes a lot of sense in Levant, where the climatic year is divided into two seasons: winter, wet and cool season (Nov - Apr) and summer, dry and hot season (May - Oct)...


We shouldn't really be surprised that there was a maritime link between Britain and Eastern Mediterranean during the late early 2nd millennium BC....The Irish Annals, oral histories written down in early medieval time, talk about the first metalworkers arrived to Ireland during mid 3rd millennium BC, from Black Sea, via Mediterranean, by boat...

And opened the oldest copper mine in Ireland, Ross Island copper mine, the remains of which are still visible very near to the place where the Irish Annals say these foreign metalworkers landed...

I talked about this in my post "Ór - Ireland's Gold"...More about Eastern Mediterranean - Irish links during the early Copper Age can be found in these articles about "Montenegrian tumuluses"...

And we have even earlier evidence that Mediterranean seafaring mining prospectors, which mined, sailed and traded all over Mediterranean seas during Neolithic, also landed in Ireland, during the late 4th millennium BC...

So the maritime link between the British Isles and Mediterranean was in existence for thousands of years before the first tin mine was opened in Cornwall...The cultural exchange that happened along this trading route is very difficult to measure as yet...But it could account for a lot of "coincidental cultural similarities", "parallel independent cultural developments"...

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Pillar 43

While we are talking about Göbekli Tepe, I would like to just ask few questions about the "famous" pillar 43,   Otherwise known as "scorpion and vultures pillar". I would add "and bags, don't forget the bags"...

Is this a random collection of images or???

In my article about the "Four living creatures" I explained that scorpio is the only Zodiac sign which has its double: eagle (actually a vulture and you will see soon why).


I have shown in my articles about zodiac signs that they are actually all solar calendar markers, marking the part of the solar year when the animal in question has its mating or birthing season. An obvious annual event which you can't miss...

That this use of animals as solar calendar markers predates Greek Zodiac by thousands of years, and was ubiquitous all over Eurasia and North Africa, and used in the same way since Neolithic, I have shown in my articles about animal calendar markers...

Interestingly, both animals depicted on the pillar 43, vultures and scorpion, were used in Middle East and Central Asia as calendar markers to mark the beginning of the rain season. Why?

In the area of Gobekli tepe the solar year is divided into two seasons, dry season (end of May to start of October) and rain wet season (end of October to start of May). And in places with this kind of climate, the arrival of life giving rain is the most important calendar event.

Vultures begin their mating season when the first rains arrive, November. 

And you can't miss it, because they start their mad areal synchronised displays:



I talked about this in my article "Double headed eagle"...

Scorpions hide when the temperature gets too low. Which in the area of Göbekli Tepe is also when the first rains arrive, November. And you can't miss this because they disappear from the fields, where it's cold and wet, and appear in your houses, where it's warm and dry

I talked about this in my post "Dilmun goats seal"...

So both scorpion and vultures being depicted on the pillar 43 could mean: when rains arrive...

Cool, I can hear people say, but maybe just a coincidence. How do you explain the bags?

Well, scorpion was used in Mesopotamia (just down the road from Gobekli tepe) as calendar marker to mark the beginning of the grain sowing season. 

Sowing of grains was done after the first rains, when the scorpions disappear. I talked about this in my articles "Sowing" and "7 stars of scorpio"...

After the furrow is made, the seeds are planted into the furrow. Now how did these early sowers bring the seeds to the field? Most likely in a basket...or a bag...with a handle...

Like this one carried by the sower walking next to the plow on this Mesopotamian seal.

Or like this one seen carried by the sower walking behind the plow on this Egyptian mural.

Or like this one carried by the sower on this European Medieval drawing.

I Mean this is the same thing, just the basket is replaced by a "bag" or a bib...

Or like this one carried by the sower on this Van Gough painting...

And so on and so forth...

I know others asked this question before, but here it is again: I wonder if the "basket" like objects found depicted all over Mesopotamia were possibly actually just baskets. Full of grain seeds used for planting new grain.

If you think about it, the mental jump from "eat all the seeds you collect" to "save some of these seeds to plant them so they will grow into plants that will produce more seeds next year" was huge. I mean this was a paradigm shift of the highest order...

The faith placed in these seeds was huge. The expectation from these seeds was huge. We know, from ethnographic records, that these seeds were treated in a special way, that special rituals were performed with them, that blood sacrifices were offered to them...

All in hope that these seeds will take, sprout, grow, ripen and eventually, after a whole solar year has passed, yield more seeds then were originally in the basket...That is a lot of anxious waiting and hoping and praying...So much, you could make a religion out of it 🙂

Considering all this, is it possible that the seed basket was also seen and treated in a special way? Is it possible that this basket of seeds for sowing became a symbol of the new "agri" culture? Not sure...

But it seems that since Gobekli Tepe, all the cultures in the region which descended from the Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture, to which the builders of Gobekli tepe belonged, sure liked depicting their handbags...

Anyway, I just find it interesting that we find all these symbols linked to grain sowing together on one stone in Gobekli tepe. By the way, is that a hand poking into the middle "bag" (basket)? Like as if to take something, I don't know, maybe seeds, out of it? It's not clear...

Until all this sh*t blows over

Bronze sickle, hollow axe and spearhead, late Bronze age – early Iron age, around 1200-900 years BC, part of hoard of metal objects found in Serbia. Collection of National Museum of Serbia in Belgrade...

Hoards of bronze objects are very common finds from the period of transition from Bronze to Iron age in the Balkans, and they contain variety of metal objects, weapons, tools and jewellery...

They are considered to be wealth deposits hidden from the dangers of war, hoards containing objects belonging to an entire community or votive hoards with objects pledged to a deity...But there is another explanation...

Balkans was a major metallurgical centre during the late Bronze Age. Metal was mined, smelted and cast into objects destined for the rich Mediterranean market...Which collapsed around 1200...

The metal hoards found in the Balkans almost all date to that period...All this merchandise and no customers...The best thing Balkan metalworkers could do with all this, now worthless stuff, was to burry it "until all this shit blows over"...

Which took few hundred years...By which time iron was all the rage...

BTW, here is an article about the evolution of sickles, from animal jawbones, through animal jawbones with stone teeth and wooden animal jawbone like thingies with stone teeth and stone animal jawbone like thingies to metal animal jawbone like thingies... 



The third death

The clay figurine was perched on shoulder of a woman laid to rest about 4,000 years ago...

The woman was laid to rest on top of a man, lying on her front so that she faced him.  The two of them were wrapped in a cocoon of birch bark, which was set on fire before the burial...

The little statuette had a stripe going along its face, which symbolised a tattoo. It was placed on its tummy, and then its head was broken off and turned upside down so that it ‘looked up’ in a ritual yet unseen by Novosibirsk archeologists...


There was a deepening (slash) in the middle of the clay statuette, which had a bronze plate and also some organic substance inside it. Further chemical tests are needed to establish what exactly was placed inside that deepening.

The bone mask made of a horse vertebrae that covered the statuette’s head depicted a bear’s muzzle, archeologists believe.

"...Interestingly, our anthropologists and genetics found that the Odino people were Mongoloids, yet the face of the figurine had clear Caucasian features. We don’t see the gender of the figurine, which is unusual...' said archaeologists who discovered the figurine...

Here is the best bit 🙂 "Given that the discovery is 4,000 years old, you can imagine how important it is to understand the beliefs of the ancient people populating Siberia" said the archaeologists who discovered the figurine...Well if they only asked the locals...

Apparently, the Chuvash people who live in the area, bury a doll into a grave if two people from the same family suddenly die (close) together. This is done to "fool Death" so that it doesn't take anyone else from the family, as if two die close together another one will follow

What we have hear is the same ritual performed by the people living in the same area for 4000 years...Another proof that folk traditions, beliefs and rituals could be thousands or maybe even tens of thousands of years old...And could help us understand archaeological finds...

The other day I wrote in my article "One for the road" about how Serbian folklore funerary rituals involving water, could help us understand Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age funeral practice of burying ceramic vessels with the dead...

In my article about "Bactrian snakes and dragons" I wrote about how Slavic folklore about snakes and dragons can help us understand the meaning of Bronze Age Bactrian seals...

In my article "House of bones" I talked about how some Serbian beliefs and ritual related to the dead could help us solve a mystery of the missing Hittite royal bones and some weird Assyrian reliefs depicting prisoners being forced to grind the bones of their ancestors... 

The other day, in my article about "Cock bashing" end of harvest ritual in Sorbia, I wrote about how cockerel sacrifice was among Serbs used as a replacement for human sacrifice performed at the end of the harvest...

Also in my post about "New house" I talked about obvious replacement of the human sacrifice with a sacrifice of a cock...

"It was believed that someone from the family will soon die after they move into the new house, because every house wants to have its protective spirit, which is the spirit of the first person to die in the house.  To prevent this from happening, the man of the new house would kill a cockerel on the house doorstep (the seat of the dead) and would sprinkle all four corners of the house with its blood..."

Interestingly, Serbs have identical ritual to the one performed by the Siberian Chuvash people when two members of the family die close together. Except that Serbs then bury "a live cockerel" with the dead "to fool Death" or more precisely "as a replacement for the third death"...

So another proof that cockerel was seen by Serbs as a replacement for people, and another proof that these beliefs and rituals were once (Bronze Age, Neolithic, Even Earlier???) possibly common across Eurasia...

Or maybe we should just dismiss all this as just a coincidence. And we should continue to ignore our folklore and continue to "wonder what could possibly be the belief system of our Bronze Age ancestors"...

Friday, 26 February 2021

Tartan

Archaeologists who examined the decorations on the Bronze Age "Transdanubian encrusted pottery" (2000-1500BC) funerary vessels noticed that a few motifs actually represented parts of the human body, clothes and jewellery found on the figurines from the same area and period...


These decorations repeatedly occur on specific parts of the vessels and in specific combinations, which correspond to the position of the body parts...

I talked about the fact that the actual jewelry depicted on the Central European Bronze Age idols was found in graves of the same culture which made these idols in my post "Klicevo idol"...


Certain motifs were related to the sex of the buried person and only appeared on the funerary vessel placed in the graves of the persons of that sex. Most interesting are these two patterns which appear on the bottom part of the vessel corresponding to the figurine legs...

Now what we see on the left is, I think, schematic depiction of the string skirt, like the one found in the grave of the so called "Egtved girl" who died and was buried in Denmark (far away from the lower Carpathians) around 1350BC... 



Here is the reconstruction

I talked about this in my post "Egtved girl"...

But what about the "male" motif? Are we here looking at the schematic depiction of tartan? We know people of that time were perfectly able to make tartan...How do we know this? Because of this:

This piece of tartan was found on one of the Indoeuropean mummies from Tarim basin, northern China, dated to about 1200BC...

But do we have any proof that tartan was worn by men in Europe of that time? Weeeell we actually do...Remember the so called "The Griffin Warrior", a person buried in the Bronze Age, Mycenaean shaft tomb dating to around 1450 BC? 

And remember the so called "Combat agate" found in his grave, which depicts a battle scene in which a Minoan warrior is kicking the crap out of Mycenaeans? 


Here is the drawing of the scene, on which you can see the details much better:

Well, both Mycenaeans depicted on that gem wear kilts made of tartan... 

I talked about this in my post "Legendary battle"...

But wait. We are here talking about the funerary pottery found in Carpathian basin in Hungary...Does that mean that the people living between 1500BC and 1200BC from Balkans to Baltic, from Europe to China, were the same people, or did they just all follow the same fashion???

Sources about the Encrusted Pottery culture vessels:

1. The chronology and meaning of the Transdanubian encrusted pottery decoration

2. Middle Bronze Age Encrusted Pottery in western Hungary

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

One for the road

This is really cool. The people of the Bronze Age Encrusted Pottery Culture (Middle Bronze Age, 2000-1500BC) from the Carpathian basin, buried children with miniature versions of the pottery with which the adults were buried. Pic: pottery from children graves (L) vs pottery from adult graves (R)


This was also observed when remains of adults were found in the same grave. For instance, the remains of a child and of an adult male were found in the same grave, and their vessels could be clearly separated on the basis of their size and differing decoration....

Furthermore, vessels accompanying children showed differences according to age at death, since small, horn-shaped vessels (baby horns) typically occurred in graves of infants. 

I talked about these baby rhyta here in my post "Baby (milk) horns"...

Now the reason why this is soooooo cool, is because it explains why these vessels were buried with the dead...To provide them with the food (or drink) for their trip to the other world... I proposed that these vessels originally contained drink in my post "Thirst"...More about insatiable thirst and hunger of the dead in my post "Blood red wine"...

Oh and remember goat Amaltheia ("Nourishing Goddess"), who fed baby Zeus with her milk? And then he "accidentally broke off one of her horns", which then became "cornucopia", the horn which had "the divine power to provide unending nourishment"...I talked about this in my post "Cornucopia"...

Well this whole link between goats, thunder gods and abundance originates from the fact that Ibex goat mating season in Crete coincides with the beginning of the rain season. And it is rain that bring fertility and abundance...

I talked about this in my post "Goat riding thundergods"

If horn vessels were buried with infants, this means that what was contained inside of the funeral vessels was drink. Because it is impossible to feed infants using horns. Unless you fed them milk...

How would you use these baby horns? Just like you would use gunpowder horns like this one. 

You cut the tip off. You close the hole with your finger. You fill the horn with water, milk, soup...You stick the horn tip into the baby's mouth and voila...Suck suck suck...

This basically proves my hypothesis, which I based on ethnographic data, that the funerary vessels found in Neolithic, Bronze age and Iron age burials were buried full of drink...Most likely just water...Cause the otherworld is a thirsty place...

But that would mean that the same beliefs and the same rituals related to the departure of the dead have survived in Europe since Neolithic...How interesting...But not surprising...At least not to me...

Baby (milk) horns

Among the ceramic finds from the cemetery of the Bronze Age Encrusted Pottery culture at Bonyhád in Hungary, archaeologists have found many ceramic "drinking horn" vessels, like this one, in the graves of infants...

This may suggest that the drinking horns functioned as special items used for the nutrition of children, i.e. like contemporary baby-bottles, or possibly they were related to customs related to birth and new life...

The location of Bonyhád inside of the Encrusted Pottery Culture territory in the Carpathian Basin. 


From "The chronology and meaning of the Transdanubian encrusted pottery decoration"

What did the kids doing from these horns? Milk? Quite possibly, considering that Central Europe was where milk tolerance seem to have developed, and where we find Copper age and Bronze Age ceramic butter churns and Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age cheese strainers...I talked about this in my post "Milk Butter Cheese"... 

Living stone

Shepherds chapel, Velebit, Croatia dedicated to Holy Mary. The altar is actually bedrock, around which the church was built, indicating that this a Christianised pagan holy place. I talked about this in my post "Shepherds chapels from Velebit"... 

Bedrock is in the Balkans known as "kamen živac, živi kamen, živa stena" (living stone, living rock), called so, because it is believed to be still part of the living body of the Mother Earth.  And is venerated as sacred...


Transhumance shepherds used to bring offerings to these lumps of exposed bedrock before they took their flocks to the highlands, to ensure good weather. People believed that "Mother Earth, known as Baba, controls the bad, cold, rainy, snowy weather". I talked about this in my post "Weather stones"...

In my post "The City", I talked about an ancient enclosure in Co Kerry, Ireland which was linked with the veneration of the (D)Anu, the Irish version of Baba, The Mother Goddess. 

The enclosure was built around an exposed piece of bedrock, which served as an altar.

The City was the place where annual rituals were perform on Bealtaine, 1t of May, the middle of Taurus, at the beginning of the cattle drive into the highland pastures, "for the protection of the cattle"...

From the bedrock standing in the centre of the enclosure, both people and cattle looked towards the two round breast like hills, made even more breast like by giant stone cairns built on their tops. The hills are known as the Paps of Anu (Boobs of the Mother Earth)...

So here in Ireland, just like in the Balkans, we have association between bedrock, Mother Earth and shepherds...Mountain tops, and bedrock crags called Baba (Grandmother, Mother, Mother Earth) from the Balkans Pic: Velika Baba (Great Grandmother) peak, Slovenia. From the post "Baba, mountains and crags



Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Helmet?


This amazing object is officially described like this: "Gold parade helmet with the image of warriors. Scythian culture. Found in the mound of Peredereyev Grave (Передереева Могила), Zrubnoe. Donetsk region, Eastern Ukraine. 4st century BC"...But...

Is it possible that this is not a "ceremonial helmet" but instead a "ceremonial cup" used in human sacrifices? Well the scene depicted on the vessel surely shows a man about to be slaughtered...

Herodotus says that: "Of all their enemies that they take alive, they sacrifice one man in every hundred...to their god Aries...which they represent by a scimitar placed on a pile of sticks..."

"They pour wine on the men's heads and cut their throats over a vessel; then they carry the blood up on to the pile of sticks and pour it on the scimitar"...Is this the vessel used for collection of the sacrificial blood??

Oh, and Herodotus also says that "Scythians drank the blood of the first person they have overthrown"...You need cups for that too...Like this one? More from Herodotus on Scythians can be found here

PS: I was just shown this pic of the top of this object, from "Images of scythians on the “helmet” from perederieva mohyla kurgan"


Cups usually don't have holes at their bottoms...So... 🙂

PPS: Another similar strange object, found in 1898 in Kurghip tumulus, Krasnodar, Maykop district, Russia. Gold. Height 5,4 cm. Dated to 4th century. BC...Two warriors, one holding a sword and the other holding a severed head of an enemy, holding onto a spear together...Is this some ritual? Definitely confirms that Scythians liked cutting heads of their enemies off...