Archive for the 'Mythology' Category

The ancient Maya most likely predicted meteor showers…

On the heels of the eclipse, here’s a timely piece — the Maya may have known even more than we thought about the machinations of the heavens….

 

From EOS, Earth and Space Science News,

 

Ancient Maya May Have Foreseen Meteor Showers
Modern astronomical techniques have uncovered clues to a possible facet of Mayan astronomy from nearly 2 millennia ago not found in surviving records.

 

 

“Using state-of-the-art computer models, an amateur historian and a professional astronomer have found evidence that many important societal events recorded in Mayan hieroglyphic inscriptions may coincide with outbursts of meteor showers related to Halley’s Comet.

 

In newly published research, the two-person research team has found more than a dozen instances of hieroglyphic records from the Mayan Classic Period (250–909 CE) indicating that important events occurred within just a few days of an outburst of Eta Aquariid meteor showers, one of the celestial displays tied to the comet.

 

No Mayan astronomical records from that period survived the Spanish invasion, and the four surviving Mayan codices from later eras do not mention meteor showers. However, the researchers suspect that many significant historical events that coincided with meteor showers, like a ruler’s assumption of power or a declaration of war recorded in the codices and carved in stone monuments, are not chance overlaps.

 

Instead, the Maya most likely predicted meteor showers, the researchers argue in a paper, already available online, that will be published in the 15 September issue of Planetary and Space Science. What’s more, the ancient civilization might have purposefully timed significant occasions to coincide with portentous celestial events…”

 

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The myth of the female Viking is not a myth…

This incredible discovery has been all over the net the last few days. We thought we would supplement the news with a link to the scientific abstract published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology on September 8th…

 

 

A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics

 

The objective of this study has been to confirm the sex and the affinity of an individual buried in a well-furnished warrior grave (Bj 581) in the Viking Age town of Birka, Sweden. Previously, based on the material and historical records, the male sex has been associated with the gender of the warrior and such was the case with Bj 581. An earlier osteological classification of the individual as female was considered controversial in a historical and archaeological context. A genomic confirmation of the biological sex of the individual was considered necessary to solve the issue.

 

“Already in the early middle ages, there were narratives about fierce female Vikings fighting alongside men. Although, continuously reoccurring in art as well as in poetry, the women warriors have generally been dismissed as mythological phenomena (Garde?a, 2013; Jesch, 1991; Jochens, 1996).

 

Archaeological evidence of warrior graves is numerous, especially in the Viking Age of Northern Europe. Situated in Eastern Central Sweden, Birka was a key centre for trade during the 8th–late 10th century (Figure 1) (S1), linked to a social, cultural and economic network that reached beyond the Ural Mountains into the Caliphate in the east and south to the Byzantine Empire (Ambrosiani, 2012). Birka’s population of approximately 700–1000 inhabitants consisted of trading families, artisans and warriors (Hedenstierna-Jonson, 2014). The urban culture in Birka was different from the everyday life and practices of the surrounding region…”

 

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Pythagoras’s theorem discovered a 1000 years earlier in Babylon…

You don’t have to be a math nerd to be excited about this recent discovery. It changes everything we thought about how, when, and where this sort of math was discovered…

 

 

From the Guardian.com,

 

Mathematical secrets of ancient tablet unlocked after nearly a century of study
Dating from 1,000 years before Pythagoras’s theorem, the Babylonian clay tablet is a trigonometric table more accurate than any today, say researchers

 

“At least 1,000 years before the Greek mathematician Pythagoras looked at a right angled triangle and worked out that the square of the longest side is always equal to the sum of the squares of the other two, an unknown Babylonian genius took a clay tablet and a reed pen and marked out not just the same theorem, but a series of trigonometry tables which scientists claim are more accurate than any available today.

 

The 3,700-year-old broken clay tablet survives in the collections of Columbia University, and scientists now believe they have cracked its secrets.

 

The team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney believe that the four columns and 15 rows of cuneiform – wedge shaped indentations made in the wet clay – represent the world’s oldest and most accurate working trigonometric table, a working tool which could have been used in surveying, and in calculating how to construct temples, palaces and pyramids.

 

The fabled sophistication of Babylonian architecture and engineering is borne out by excavation. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, believed by some archaeologists to have been a planted step pyramid with a complex artificial watering system, was written of by Greek historians as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world…”

 

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