Herodotus Returns

Aphrodisiacs found in pre-incan healer’s tomb
January 26, 2010, 12:07 pm
Filed under: Shamans, Tombs | Tags: , ,

Archaeologists have discovered 500 nectarine seeds in the tomb of a folk healer who lived 800 years ago in the Lambayeque region in Peru.

Archaeologists at La Pava de Mochumi complex have discovered the tomb of a curandero (folk healer) who lived 800 years ago in Peru’s Lambayeque region and who was buried with 500 nectarine seeds, famous for its aphrodisiac properties.

Peruvian daily El Comercio reported that a ceramic vessel containing the nectarine seeds was the first clue to finding the remains of the ancient healer, who was buried near the valley of the Tucume Pyramids in northern Peru.

Archaeologist Marco Fernandez said that at first they thought it was another ceremonial burial site; but after finding more objects, they confirmed these were the remains of a shaman from the pre-Incan Lambayeque culture.

More on the shamanistic aphrodisiacs.


Third century Japanese tomb yields 81 bronze mirrors
January 12, 2010, 8:15 am
Filed under: Japan, Tombs | Tags: , ,

Archaeologists in Japan have unearthed pieces of 81 ancient bronze mirrors from a 3rd-4th century stone chamber of the Sakurai Chausuyama burial mound in Sakurai, Nara Prefecture.

The pieces, which belonged to 13 different kinds of mirrors, were the largest number to be excavated as burial items from an ancient tomb in the nation. The tomb dates to between the late third century and early fourth century.

Some of the pieces had been made in the same mold as Sankakubuchi Shinjukyo mirrors, which are engraved with Seishi Gannen (in the Japanese reading), a period name of Wei-dynasty China, meaning the first year of the Seishi era, or 240.

Himiko, a female ruler of the Yamatai-koku kingdom, is said to have received 100 mirrors from the Wei dynasty in that year….

“We could assume the tomb had more than 100 mirrors. It suggests the power held by the King of Wa [an ancient name for Japan],” said Taichiro Shiraishi, director of the Chikatsu Asuka Museum in Osaka Prefecture, specializing in archeology.

The Kashihara Archeological Institute in Nara Prefecture believes the discovery may help directly link the Yamataikoku kingdom with the Yamato dynasty, in the present-day Kinki region, that was later to be known as the Imperial Court.

More on Japanese bronze mirrors.

Tombs in Giza suggest pyramids were not built by slaves
January 11, 2010, 9:43 am
Filed under: Egypt, Tombs | Tags: , , ,

A set of tombs recently uncovered near the great pyramids of Giza show that free workers, rather than slaves, were enlisted to build the pyramids. While this theory has already been prominent among Egyptologists for some time, it nonetheless remains difficult to imagine hundreds of thousands of people dragging 2.3 million stone blocks (the largest of which weighed 80 tons) for any other reason than slavery. Perhaps these recently found tombs were supervisors of legions of slaves. Ultimately, it depends on the leader. The pharaoh Khufu may have been powerful and beloved enough that his people would have gone to any length to erect this monument in his name. This level of power, though, is difficult for the modern world to grasp.

“These tombs were built beside the king’s pyramid, which indicates that these people were not by any means slaves,” Zahi Hawass, the chief archaeologist heading the Egyptian excavation team, said in a statement.

“If they were slaves, they would not have been able to build their tombs beside their king’s.”

He said the collection of workers’ tombs, some of which were found in the 1990s, were among the most significant finds in the 20th and 21st centuries.

They belonged to workers who built the pyramids of Khufu and Khafre.

Mr Hawass had earlier found graffiti on the walls from workers calling themselves “friends of Khufu” – another sign that they were not slaves.

More on the new tombs at Giza.

Tomb of Legendary General Cao Cao Found in China
December 31, 2009, 8:23 pm
Filed under: Tombs | Tags: , ,

A 1,700-year-old tomb that may hold the body of the legendary Chinese general Cao Cao has been discovered in China.

More than 1,700 years after his death, Cao Cao, warlord and ruler of northern China during the Three Kingdoms period, has indeed appeared, according to China Daily.

According to the report, Chinese archaeologists might have found the body of the legendary general in a 8,000 square foot tomb complex.

Unearthed in Xigaoxue village near the ancient capital of Anyang in central China’s Henan Province, the tomb featured a 130-foot passage leading to an underground chamber.

More on the Cao Cao find here.