Archive for July, 2011

Ancient carving found near Florida has been authenticated

By: The Scribe on July, 2011

A carving of a mammoth on a mammoth bone has recently been authenticated and scientists are now saying it is the oldest example of art found in the Americas. The piece was found near Vero Beach in Florida in either 2006 or 2007. Although it was discovered years ago it has taken until know for scientist to be able to authenticate it and figure out how old the piece actually was.

imageIt has been discovered that the carving is actually 13,000 years old. Originally, scientists believed that the piece was a fake. They began to compare the piece to other bones that were found at the site and studied them using electron microscopy. It was found that the carving did not have any coloring differences between carved grooves and other bones that were found on the site.

This is exciting for scientists as it means that the marks and grooves that were made on the bone aged at the same rate as other bones and debris found at the same site. If the marks had been made more recently it would mean that they were a different color than the other bone surfaces would have been. As there were no differences, it is now believed that the carvings were made approximately 13,000 years ago.

Even the bone itself supports these findings. Scientists believe that the bone fragment belonged to one of three mammals, all of which died out as the last ice age ended. This was between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. Scientists have been able to figure out that the bone belonged to a mammoth, a giant sloth or a mastodon. The last mammoth was believed to have died out approximately 4,000 years ago but the species was on the decline as much as 10,000 years ago.

It was believed that a combination of climate change and predation by humans was responsible for the mammoths to become extinct. Scientists studied factors such as ocean currents and rainfall and were able to determine that the climate that the mammoths preferred (which was cold and dry) actually began to change approximately 42,000 years ago. The mammoths would have had issues with the warmer, wetter climate that began to set in.

Mammoths needed a large supply of coarse tundra vegetation in order to survive. Their imageteeth had actually evolved in order to consume this type of vegetation. When that type of plant matter began to die off it became difficult for the mammoths to eat the food that they had evolved to eat. It also did not help that humans began to hunt the mammoth as much as 40,000 years ago.

The artwork on the bone is exciting as it is a sign of what early Western art looked like. There are many differences between the mammoth incising and cave drawings and art that have been found in Europe. It is believed that they may have had a memory of what the artwork looked like in Europe but took the art in their own direction.

A Historical Look at the Wenis

By: The Scribe on July, 2011

Today, the name wenis is applied to the skin on the back of a person’s elbow. Youngstersimage and the young of heart get a kick out of talking about their wenis, how it looks or how it feels. What they don’t realize is that “Wenis” is actually the name of a historical Pharaoh who was the last ruler of the Fifth Dynasty. In some inscriptions his name is also recorded as Unas. The exact dates of his rule are not known although archaeologists have managed to date his reign as being somewhere between 2375 BCE and 2345 BCE.

Like many other pharaohs, he had several wives. The two women, named Khenut and Nebet were actually buried together in a double mastaba tomb near the tomb that belonged to Wenis. It is believed that because the Fifth Dynasty ended with Wenis it was likely that he did not have any sons that survived long enough to take the throne after the death of Wenis.

Like some other pharaohs, Wenis built a pyramid. It was located at Saqqara and was positioned near the step pyramid which had been built by Djoser in the 27th century BCE. Archaeologists have been able to obtain some information about what life was like when Wenis ruled by the reliefs that are located inside Wenis’ pyramid. There are also numerous inscriptions that line the inside of the pyramid as well.

These inscriptions were religious in nature. Wenis was the first pharaoh to use funerary texts in his pyramid. The inscriptions are actually among some of the oldest religious texts that have been found to date. The inscriptions were a series of spells which were also referred to as “utterances”. Their purpose was to help protect the remains of the pharaohs and would help to reanimate his body after his death.

imageThey also talked about the ways that the Pharaoh would be able to travel to the heavens after his death. Some of the methods of transportation included ramps, ladders and flight. Other inscriptions were methods that could be used to call on the Egyptian Gods as well. A total of 228 spells were located on the walls of Wenis’ pyramid. Each tomb contained a variety of different utterances. A total of 759 spells have been found. Some of the tombs overlapped with the utterances that were inscribed on the walls but there is no one tomb that contains all of the spells.

One of the most interesting utterances was found on the walls of Wenis’ tomb. It is known as the “cannibal hymn”. In this inscription, Wenis is described as hunting the gods and consuming parts of their bodies.

Wenis had also started construction on a funerary temple that was not completed until after his death. The temple had a pink granite gateway which was also inscribed with the names of Teti, the ruler who came after Wenis and whose reign signified the start of the sixth dynasty. There was also a causeway that was decorated with a bas relief. This piece of artwork showed the transportation of a palm column via a boat that sailed down the Nile.

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