The Wave consists of 200 million year old sand dunes that have turned to rock. These large sandstone formations are located on the slopes of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness in Arizona. The spectacular ribbons of various colors, called Liesegang Bands, were formed by the movement and precipitation of oxidizing materials such as iron and manganese in ground water. The Wave is accessible only on foot via a three-mile hike and is highly regulated.
The Oldest Mummies in the World
Trekking through Chile’s Atacama Desert 7000 years ago, hunter-gatherers known as the Chinchorro walked in the land of the dead. Thousands of shallowly buried human bodies littered the earth. According to new research, the scene inspired the Chinchorro to begin mummifying their dead, a practice they adopted roughly 3000 years before the Egyptians embraced it.
Archaeologists have long studied how the Chinchorro made their mummies, the first in history, says ecologist Pablo Marquet of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in Santiago. After removing the skin to be dried, the hunter-gatherers scooped out the organs and stuffed the body with clay, dried plants, and sticks. Once they reattached the skin, embalmers painted the mummy shiny black or red and put a black wig on its head. Covering the corpses’ faces were clay masks, some molded into an open-mouthed expression that later inspired Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream.
Few scientists have tackled the mystery of why the Chinchorro started to mummify their dead in the first place. Complicated cultural practices such as mummification, Marquet says, tend to arise only in large, sedentary populations. The more people you have in one place, the more opportunity for innovation, development, and the spread of new ideas. The Chinchorro don’t fit that mold. As nomadic hunter-gatherers, they formed groups of about only 100 people.
The Bog Body of “Grauballe Man”
The “Grauballe Man”, pictured above, was found in 1952 by a Dane digging for peat in Northern Europe. His throat was cut in 290 B.C., but his body was well enough preserved to yield fingerprints. Why was he killed? Maybe ritual, maybe execution for a crime, maybe human sacrifice. Here’s one odd clue: judging from his nutrition and manicure, the body appears to have been from the upper class.
The acidity of the bog water, the cold temperature, and the lack of oxygen have effectively prevented these corpses from decomposing. More than 700 bodies have been recovered, some as old as 10,000 years and some still appearing fresh enough to be mistaken for recent murder victims.
Ancient Wari Mummy
Archeologists working at Peru’s Huaca Pucllana ruins pulled a mummy from a tomb in 2008, thought to be from the ancient Wari culture that flourished before the Incas. Besides the female mummy, the tomb contained the remains of two other adults and a child.
It is the first intact Wari burial site discovered at Huaca Pucllana in the capital Lima, and researchers believe it dates from about 700 AD. The Wari people lived and ruled in what is now Peru for some 500 years, between 600 AD and 1100 AD. Their capital was near modern-day Ayacucho, in the Andes, but they traveled widely and are known for their extensive network of roads.
Standing Fudo Myō-ō (11th century) - King of Mystical Knowledge and One Really Mean god…
The Myō-ō are warlike and wrathful deities that appear with furious faces and fire to frighten non-believers into accepting the teachings of Esoteric Buddhism. Introduced to Japan in the 9th century by Japan’s Shingon and Tendai sects, the Myō-ō were originally Hindu deities. Elaborate and secret ritual practices are used to help partitioners develop and realize the eternal wisdom of the Buddha.This form of Buddhism is not taught to the general public, but is confined mostly to Buddhist believers, priests and those far along the path toward enlightenment.
Prehistoric Sock Puppet
This ancient artifact is an actual prehistoric stone puppet on display at the Tokyo National Museum. Its was most likely used as a toy or perhaps as a teaching aid for passing on oral history.
World’s Oldest Socks
These odd, ancient socks are the earliest knitted items in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection and quite possibly the oldest socks in the world. Made in 300-499 AD, these Egyptian socks were excavated in the burial grounds of ancient Oxyrhynchus, a Greek colony on the Nile in central Egypt at the end of the 19th century. They have a divided toe and are designed to be worn with sandals.
Particularly intriguing is the technique used to construct these red wool socks. Called nålbindning, or single-needle knitting, this time-consuming process required only a single thread. The technique was frequently used for close-fitting garments for the head, feet and hands because of its elastic qualities. Primarily from prehistoric times, nålbindning came before the two-needle knitting that’s standard today; each needle was crafted from wood or bone that was “flat, blunt and between 6 -10 cm long, relatively large-eyed at one end or the eye is near the middle.”
The Sanctuary of Tophet - Children’s Graveyard
The Sanctuary of Tophet is found in Tunisia. It is home to thousands of graves of children only which has led historians to speculate that they may have been the victim of human sacrifice in the Punic times when the place was known as Carthage.
It is possible the children were sacrificed and then eaten due to starvation in the region at the time.
Siberian Princess and her 2,500 Year-Old Tattoos
The remains of the immaculately dressed ‘Princess Ukok’, aged around 25 and preserved for several millennia in the Siberian permafrost, a natural freezer, were discovered in 1993 by Novosibirsk scientist Natalia Polosmak during an archeological expedition.
Buried around her were six horses, saddled and bridled, her spiritual escorts to the next world, and a symbol of her evident status, perhaps more likely a revered folk tale narrator, a healer or a holy woman than an ice princess.
There, too, was a meal of sheep and horse meat and ornaments made from felt, wood, bronze and gold. And a small container of cannabis, say some accounts, along with a stone plate on which were the burned seeds of coriander.
‘Compared to all tattoos found by archaeologists around the world, those on the mummies of the Pazyryk people are the most complicated, and the most beautiful,’ said Dr Polosmak.
The tattoos on the left shoulder of the ‘princess’ show a fantastical mythological animal: a deer with a griffon’s beak and a Capricorn’s antlers. The antlers are decorated with the heads of griffons. And the same griffon’s head is shown on the back of the animal.