Where we attempt to fill you in on everything they forgot to teach you at school

Angkor Revealed through Laser Pulses

Indiana Jones meets Han Solo (oh wait): In 2012, a team of archeologists lead by Dr. Damian Evans used an helicopter equipped with a LIDAR system, to reveal the magnificence of Angkor Wat's architecture, buried beneath the dense jungle foliage for the last 6 centuries. Their work has uncovered roads, canals, ponds, field walls, occupation mounds, and other never-before-seen structures of the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.

Before the arrival of airborne laser scanning technology known as lidar (for light detection and ranging), archaeologists working in Angkor had to hack through thick jungle or painstakingly analyze aerial photos and satellite images — essentially guessing at what was beneath the dense canopy. Lidar has revolutionized tropical archaeology in Mesoamerica in recent years, but this is the first time the technique has been used in Asia. “Almost within minutes of receiving the data, we clicked a few buttons, and millions of data points coalesced into cities in front of us,” says Damian Evans of the University of Sydney, Australia, who spearheaded the $250 million lidar mission. “We were all a little bit speechless.”

There's been recent attempts to employ LIDAR in the detection & study of historic shipwrecks. Let's hope the technology becomes more widespread, so that it can be used in the discovery of ruins so ancient, by now they are situated beneath sea level *cough*Atlantis*cough*

Link: Angkor's Sprawling Cityscapes Revealed

Evans' paper (PDF): Uncovering archaeological landscapes at Angkor using lidar

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Graham Hancock, Live

Magicians of the Gods Tour 2014

It takes a fair event to get me out of the house away from Daily Grail and family duties, but it wasn't a difficult decision last night when best-selling author Graham Hancock stopped into my hometown of Brisbane on his 'Magicians of the Gods' tour to talk about everything from consciousness to UFOs to lost megalithic cultures. Nevertheless, with doors opening at 5pm, and Graham going on stage at 6pm sharp, getting to the show on time through rush-hour traffic - given its location at the wonderful Old Museum just outside the CBD - was not without its difficulties. On the bright side, the fact that I arrived right on 6pm meant that a host of convenient parking spots right near the building had just become available to me. On the down side, it started pouring rain at the exact time I hopped out of my vehicle. Lucky for that close park!

Arriving at the Old Museum, my first encounter with staff was a happy one. Rather than a paper ticketing system, a simple flash of my driver's licence allowed me entry as they ticked my name off on an iPad - no sacrificial trees required. Though one of the last to arrive at this sold-out event, every one of the still-spare seats in the house offered a fine view of the stage, and the media screen behind it. The MC quickly ran through the sequence of events for the night, etiquette tips (phones to silent, etc), and other information - an often neglected, but very helpful start to the event. Then, Graham Hancock walked to the stage to rapturous applause, for his first (of three!) presentation of the night.

This first talk was related to his fiction outing, War God. Although I'd imagine for many of his devoted 'alternative history' fans that this talk may have felt like the ancillary one of the evening, for me – given I'm very familiar with many of the topics discussed in his other talks on consciousness and lost cultures – this proved to be an absolutely fascinating exploration of the cataclysmic historical period when ... Read More »

The Heretic Volume 5

The Heretic Volume 5

Volume 5 of The Heretic Magazine is now available for sale, and returns with another stellar line-up of material from the likes of Robert Bauval, Chris Ogilvie-Herald, Ralph Ellis, Robert Eisenman, and...me!

Our current edition contains over 15 fascinating articles written by a variety of cross disciplinary experts and subject area enthusiasts in the fields of Alternative History, Lost Civilisations and Technologies, Mysteries and Conundrums, Rennes-le-Château, the Occult, Politics, Science and more. No magazine offers more specialized esoteric content than The Heretic.

Edited and collated by Andrew Gough, Volume 5 features (alphabetically) Robert Bauval, Dawn Bramadat, Duncan Burden, Patrice Chaplin, Robert Eisenman, Ralph Ellis, Lorraine Evans, Robert Feather, Brien Foerster, Andrew Gough, Chris Ogilvie-Herald, Mark Oxbrow, Graham Phillips, Ian Robertson, Freddy Silva and Greg Taylor. Once again we have compiled a stellar collection of thought-provoking articles and features. See a full list of the content inside Volume 5.

The Heretic is available in two digital formats: firstly as a multi-touch iBook for iPad and secondly as a Kindle edition. The two versions are very different and the richest experience will be gained from the iPad version, but the Kindle edition is there for those readers who own a Kindle but not an iPad.

Here's editor Andrew Gough introducing the latest edition:

The Heretic's website has direct links for purchasing the magazine from both the iTunes store and various Amazons around the world.

Link: The Heretic Magazine

The Origins of Consciousness in the Technological Age

Here's a fascinating panel discussion on "The Origins of Consciousness in the Technological Age " involving Graham Hancock, futurist (and Darklore contributor) Mark Pesce, Dennis McKenna and Mitch Schultz (creator of the documentary DMT: The Spirit Molecule).

Which reminds me that Graham will be touring Australia in a few weeks - if you're near one of the lecture locations, make sure you take the opportunity to get to one of his presentations:

Hancock will be presenting his radical theories and philosophy at a series of events across Australia including Melbourne, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Sydney and Perth. A formidable story teller, Hancock will deliver keynote presentations that draw on his vast body of research, weaving recurring historical themes with profound questions such as: What happens after we die? What is the nature of consciousness? How and when did human culture emerge and what lessons can be learnt from our past?

Highlights from his talks include:

  • An update on his theories first proposed in the book ‘Fingerprints of the Gods’ - Hancock provides compelling new evidence that supports his research into a technologically advanced ancient civilisation that was destroyed in a catastrophic event during the end of the last ice age. This will include findings from his own fieldwork into the recent astonishing archaeological discoveries at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and Ganung Padang in Indonesia, which has forced scientists reconsider
    the age of human culture.
  • The War on Consciousness: An extended version of Hancocks controversial TED talk that was banned, then reinstated after an immense public backlash. Hancock sees the “war on drugs” as more like a war on consciousness and an affront to adult liberty. He reveals a personal account of the transformative power of shamanism, ayahuasca and altered states – a story which Russell Brand went on to publish when he was guest editor of the New Statesman magazine last year.
  • Past research into biblical mysteries and also more recent research into the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in Mexico, including the intriguing hidden story behind the tragic confrontation between Moctezuma and Cortés.

Always captivating, continually surprising and forever pushing the boundaries, Hancock entertains, educates and inspires. His presentations take the audience on a dazzling journey through time, delivering a profound message that invites us to challenge conventional paradigms, whilst offering rigorous evidence of much
more profound mysteries.

More information and tickets are available at the website (or click the image below).

Graham Hancock Australian Tour

Document Suggesting That Jesus Had a Wife is Proven to be Authentic

'Jesus wife' papyrus

Dating tests performed on a controversial piece of papyrus which suggests that Jesus had a wife have found that, contrary to claims of a hoax, it is indeed an ancient document:

Since Harvard professor of divinity Karen L. King publicized the so-called “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” in 2012, scientists and theologians have fiercely debated the authenticity of the fragment — the only known papyrus containing the words “Jesus said to them, my wife.” Biblical scholars have argued that the 1- by 3-inch chunk of papyrus is modern, “oddly written” and a “clumsy forgery.” But results from recent chemical and handwriting analyses say otherwise.

...Scientists used a technique called micro-Raman spectroscopy, which measures the way objects scatter photons from a laser, to determine the chemical composition of the ink used to write the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” The chemical composition of the ink dated back to between the sixth and ninth centuries, or earlier, and matched other samples from the same time period.

A second study examined the fragment’s handwriting to verify its authenticity. King, at Harvard Divinity School, weighed all the evidence and concluded that the fragment is likely a product of early Christians, not a forgery. The findings were presented in a series of studies published Thursday in the Harvard Theological Review.

Note that this does not necessarily prove that Jesus was married, but it certainly provides additional evidence for those wanting to build such a case (though if you're a fiction writer who think s novel based around that idea could be a bestseller, you're about a decade late...).

Ancient Mummy Has Tattoo of an Angel on Her Inner Thigh

1300-year-old Tattooed Sudanese Mummy

New research is revealing the secrets of ancient mummies of the British Museum. Using CAT scanners and infra-red reflectography, new details about the mummies' lives have been uncovered, such as the angelic tattoo found on the inner thigh of a 1300-year-old Sudanese woman:

One of the mummies, whose remains were found just seven years ago, was so well preserved that archaeologists could almost make out the tattoo on her skin on the inner thigh of her right leg with the naked eye. Infra-red technology helped define it more clearly.

The woman, aged between 20 and 35, had been buried wrapped in a linen and woollen cloth and her remains had mummified in the dry heat. The tattoo has been deciphered by curators and spells out in ancient Greek – M-I-X-A-H-A, or Michael.

The owner of the tattoo was a woman who died in about AD 700 and lived in a Christian community on the banks of the Nile.

The tattoo represents the symbol of the Archangel Michael, who features in both the Old and New Testaments. The symbol has previously been found in ancient churches and on stone tablets, but never before in the form of a tattoo.

“You can see her tattoo really clearly using infra red reflectography,” said Dr Antoine, “The tattoo on her right inner thigh represents a monogram that spells Michael in ancient Greek.

“She is the first evidence of a tattoo from this period. This is a very rare find.”

Link: 1300 year-old mummy and her intimate tattoo

Archaeologists Discover 9000-Year-Old 'Wand' Near Thirty Decapitated Bodies

9000-year-old 'wand' carved with human faces

Archaeologists have discovered a 9,000-year-old 'wand' with two human faces engraved on it in southern Syria, near a burial site where 30 headless skeletons had been previously discovered:

The item, made of cow bone, is thought to date from the late 9th millennium BC. Archaeologists excavated it from Tell Qarassa, an Early Neolithic site. This is among the few archaeological sites not damaged in the fighting in Syria, which on Saturday marked its third anniversary.

The wand was found near a burial site, where 30 headless skeletons were discovered previously. Archaeologists say the findings shed light on the rituals of people who lived in the Neolithic period. Other findings at the site indicate that its inhabitants in the Neolithic period were some of the world's first farmers.

...The cow-bone wand, found by archaeologists during digs at Tell Qarassa in 2007 and 2009, was possibly used in a burial ritual, archaeologists believe."This small bone object from a funerary layer can be related to monumental statuary of the same period in the southern Levant and south-east Anatolia that probably depicted powerful supernatural beings," the experts said.

Link: Archaeologists in Syria find ancient 'wand' engraved with human faces

"Not Fit to Be Printed": The Suppressed Alchemical Papers of the Great Scientist Sir Isaac Newton

William Blake's Painting of Sir Isaac Newton

Sir Isaac Newton's influence on the modern scientific worldview is profound, and despite a paradigm change in physics a century ago through the discoveries of the quantum world, many people still see the world through the prism (no pun intended) of 'Newtonian' physics. Indeed, that scientific philosophy has now become synonymous with a purely mechanical cosmos, stripped of superstition, magic, and even the impact of consciousness, via the loss of free will. It is a worldview, however, that may have horrified Newton himself.

When the great scientist died in 1727, he left behind him a substantial estate, including a library with nearly 1800 books and a large number of manuscripts. He did not, however, leave behind a will. After much debate and argument, it was decided that the manuscripts would be examined by Dr. Thomas Pellet, a member of the Royal Society, with the intention to publish and sell them. Once Pellet had looked over the papers though, the idea of releasing them publicly quickly receded - in the end, only one out of eighty-one items was published. The rest were tagged “Not fit to be Printed”:

Many of these manuscripts were of a theological nature. Theology as such was of course not an issue, but, on the contrary, an asset: After all, Newton was one of the true defenders of the faith against popish plots and Cartesian deism. But Mr. Pellet must have had a bad time when he realised that Newton’s theology was of a very heretical nature. Leafing through piles of apocalyptical interpretations and anti-Athenasian rants, Pellet understood that Newton’s anti-Trinitarianism and idiosyncratic interpretation of Church history should not be made public, lest the image of the great Newton be blemished.

...At the time of his death, Newton’s library contained at least 138 books on alchemy, many of which showed signs of extensive use. This was not unheard of for ‘enlightened scientists’: some were avid book collectors, interested in all sorts of curiosities. The manuscripts, however, proved that Newton’s interest in alchemy went far beyond curiosity. There are thousands of folios with Newton copying from all sorts of alchemical manuscripts, and recent scholarship has shown that he must have been actively involved in the circulation of alchemical knowledge. Not only did he read and copy out entire tracts, Newton even gave detailed descriptions of alchemical experiments he performed himself. How could a hero of modern science be engaged in such occult and ‘unscientific’ practices?

The economist John Maynard Keynes purchased Newton's works - many of which were encoded and needed deciphering - at auction in 1942, and on discovering the alchemical nature of much of it was moved to state that "Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians".

For those interested in learning more, see the Nova feature Newton's Dark Secrets embedded below:

(via Forbidden Histories and Dangerous Minds)

The Ringing Rocks of Stonehenge - Was This the Original 'Rock Concert'?

Stonehenge, by Wigulf (Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 Licence)

A study published this month in the journal Time & Mind has shown that the 'blue stones' of Stonehenge, quarried in the Preseli Hills of Wales and hauled some 200 miles to south-west England, may have been treasured for their sonic properties. Thousands of stones along the Carn Menyn ridge on Mynydd Preseli were tested, and a high proportion of them were found to "ring" when they were struck, a quality that has been highly valued in many ancient cultures.

The principal investigator on the project is a good friend of the Daily Grail, Paul Devereux (author of The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia, available from Amazon US and Amazon UK). Here's what he told BBC News:

It hasn't been considered until now that sound might have been a factor. The percentage of the rocks on the Carn Menyn ridge are ringing rocks, they ring just like a bell. And there's lots of different tones, you could play a tune. In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks.

The research paper, "Stone Age Eyes and Ears: A Visual and Acoustic Pilot Study of Carn Menyn and Environs, Preseli, Wales", is in the March issue of the journal Time and Mind. Check out the BBC news story for audio examples of the 'ringing rocks'.

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Graham Hancock 'Magicians of the Gods' Tour of Australia

Graham Hancock Australian Tour

Good news, Antipodean Grailers: our good friend, 'hidden history' author Graham Hancock, is heading to Australian shores in May for a tour of major cities (and Byron Bay) discussing his 'Magicians of the Gods' research:

Ancient Mysteries, Altered States & The War on Consciousness. This May 2014, Graham Hancock, bestselling British investigative author of Fingerprints of the Gods, Underworld and Supernatural will share his radical theories and philosophy at a series of events across Australia.

Find out more details and book tickets at GrahamHancockTour.com.au.

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