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16 of history's greatest unsolved mysteries
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Donnelly argued that, at the height of their civilization, the Atlanteans established colonies around the world—and that the oldest of these was probably in Egypt, "whose civilization was a reproduction of that of the Atlantic island. As evidence for his claim that the Atlanteans had set up colonies around the world, Donnelly pointed to the tremendous similarities between the pyramids of Egypt and those of Mesoamerica.

It's a theory that still persists among "true believers" today. But, as archaeologist Kenneth Feder has pointed out , there's abundant evidence to the contrary:. The pyramids of the Old and New Worlds do not look the same. New World pyramids have stairs ascending their faces, Egyptian pyramids do not. New World pyramids served as platforms for temples; Egyptian pyramids were burial chambers for dead pharaohs only a very few Mesoamerican pyramids contain burials.

The construction methods were different; most Egyptian pyramids represent a single construction episode, whereas Mesoamerican pyramids usually represent several building episodes, one on top of another. Finally, if Mesoamerican and Egyptian pyramids are hypothesized to have been derived from the same source Atlantis or elsewhere , they should date from the same general period. But Egyptian pyramids were built between about 5, and 4, years ago. Those in Mesoamerica are all less than 3, years old—and most are considerably younger, dating to less than 1, years ago.

Furthermore, the pyramids on both sides of the Atlantic date to well after the supposed destruction of Atlantis some 11, years ago. Nonetheless, the endurance of this myth was vividly revealed last year, when two German nationals, Dominique Goerlitz and Stefan Erdmann, were arrested for vandalizing the Great Pyramid of Giza:. Goerlitz and Erdmann acknowledged their acts, and even went so far as to post photographs and videos of themselves vandalizing the archaeological sites. However, they claimed their goal was a noble one: to prove their "alternative history" conspiracy theory that the pyramids were not built by ancient Egyptians.

The men are apparently convinced the cartouche identifying Khufu as the creator of the Great Pyramid at Giza is a fake, and they hoped to do an analysis on the pigments to prove they were not as old as the pyramids themselves. In essence, they claimed, pharaoh Khufu simply put his name on and took credit for pyramids that had been built thousands of years earlier by people from the legendary city of Atlantis.

They accuse mainstream archaeologists of covering up — or willfully ignoring — evidence pointing to non-Egyptian origins of the pyramids. Egyptian researcher Amir Gamal recently told Elaph newspaper that Israel has launched a plot to falsify history to show the Jews built the pyramids:.

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Gamal [said] Israel does not send its own Jewish archeological teams to Egypt because that would expose its plot. Instead, Israel sends missions to Egypt "under the guise of other nationalities" while making sure the leaders of the foreign-archeological missions are Jewish, he said. Gamal believes Israel is seeking to claim that gold and jewelry found at an ancient burial site at Tanis in Egypt are part of Solomon's treasures.

This is not the first time the alleged role of the Jews in ancient Egyptian history has caused controversy in Egypt. Earlier this year, Egyptian journalist Ahmad al-Gamal called on Cairo to sue Israel for the costs of the 10 deadly plagues visited on the Egyptians during the time of Moses. And, in , a prominent Egyptian legal scholar announced he was preparing a lawsuit against Jews around the world over gold that was stolen during the exodus from Egypt.

Levitation appears as a common theme among fringe pyramid theorists. The famed psychic Edgar Cayce—who believed the pyramids were built by a consortium of Atlanteans, Egyptians and Caucasians from southwest Russia—claimed the ancients used their extraordinary mental powers to lift the massive blocks into place. Inscribed magical papyri were inserted beneath the stone blocks used in the construction of the pyramids, before the latter were struck by an instrument of some sort, plausibly a rod or stave.

Somehow this induced them both to rise into the air and travel for a distance of "a bowshot. By striking the stones, the Ancient Egyptians were able to set up some kind of sustained sound vibration that enabled the building blocks to defy gravity and move over the ground for a distance of around After producing an initial thrust, they would have been able to take advantage of Newton's First Law of Motion.

Recent legitimate research into the field of "acoustic levitation" has been seized upon as further evidence that the Egyptians—along with the builders of Stonehenge and the statues on Easter Island—had mastered this science. Astronomy played a role in the design and construction of the pyramids. The great pyramid of Khufu, for instance, contains four shafts aimed toward the meridian in the sky. Apparently, the shafts served to direct the spirit of the dead pharaoh towards these key stars. Thuban and Kochab were circumpolar "Imperishable ones" stars that never die , while Orion represented the deity Osiris and Sirius his consort, Isis.

But Robert Bauval, in his book The Orion Mystery , took Egyptian astronomy a step further, claiming that that there is a correlation between the location of the three largest pyramids of the Giza pyramid complex and the three stars that form Orion's Belt. However, that alignment would only be possible if the pyramids had been built 12, years ago. The "Orion correlation theory" remains popular, though it's been debunked by two prominent astronomers.

Ed Krupp, the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles and a well-known expert in archaeoastronomy noted :. There is something wrong with these images, however. The picture of the pyramids is oriented with north at the bottom of the page. Orion's Belt, on the other hand, has north at the top. To make the pyramids match the sky, you have to turn Egypt upside down.

In fact, all of the book's maps of Egypt are published upside down, with south at the top. Although an Orion-mystery enthusiast might argue that the inversion is not really significant, or that the Egyptians deliberately upturned their constellation for arcane reasons known only to them, these rationalizations won't fly. And, according to Anthony Fairall, a professor of astronomy in Cape Town:.

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My own investigation showed that, while the line of the two outer pyramids is set 38 degrees from north, the angle of Orion's Belt to north in 10, BC is close on 50 degrees! Hardy an exact match. Bauval's choice of 10, BC when Orion is furthest south in its precessional cycle also supposedly fits with the Milky Way aligning with the Nile. But the course of the Nile is variable, and we do not now know where it ran in 10, BC with any accuracy. The idea that the very shape of the pyramids makes them capable of harnessing regenerative powers probably traces its origins to the first discoveries of the well-preserved mummies in Egypt.

In the early 20th century, French researcher Andre Bovis tested the theory by building a scaled-down replica of the Great Pyramid and placing raw meat inside to see if it rotted. Hearing of these experiments, Czech radio engineer Karl Drbal built a cardboard pyramid and claimed that it had actually sharpened his razor blades.

In , he was granted a commercial patent for his Cheops Razor Blade Sharpener. But, pyramid power's golden age was the s. At the time, San Francisco-based writer Bill Sievert wryly observed that it was the perfect pop phenomenon for the Jimmy Carter era. Depending on the literature and advertisements you read, there were no limits to what pyramids could accomplish: sharpen cutlery, age wine, remove the bitterness of coffee, preserve foods, purify tap water, strengthen TV reception, reduce pain and, of course, assist in meditation.

The A. One of the oldest was discovered by Arthur Evans and is now known as Linear A. Despite not yet being deciphered, scholars believe it is the local language of Minoan Crete. But it must have been an important regional common language of its day, as Linear A has been found inscribed on many of the clay vessels discovered on islands across the Aegean. The other script, called Linear B, evolved from Linear A. Deciphered in the s, Linear B is recognized as the oldest known Greek dialect.

The Minoans also maintained trading relationships with Egypt, Syria, and the Greek mainland. Their trade routes may have extended as far west as Italy and Sicily. Certain locations had especially close ties with Crete and its sailors. The city of Akrotiri on the island of Thera modern-day Santorini is one of the best preserved of these Minoan settlements.

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A volcanic eruption around the 16th century B. Its walls boasted stunning murals of brightly colored, stylized images of sparring boxers, climbing monkeys, swimming dolphins, and flying birds. The quality of the paintings uncovered at Akrotiri suggests that artists either from Crete or influenced by its culture had set up workshops in this city. Other Aegean settlements bearing clear evidence of Minoan influence include the Cycladi islands of Melos and Kea, and islands in the Dodecanese, such as Rhodes.

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The settlement of Kastri, on the island of Cythera, south of the Peloponnesian peninsula of the Greek mainland, is another example of Cretan cultural power. Built to exploit the local stocks of murex—a mollusk highly prized for its purple ink used for dyeing cloth—Kastri is purely Minoan in its urban planning. But even this town was not a colony. There is no evidence that these places were politically subject to Crete, as it is not believed that they paid any kind of tribute beyond the money exchanged when trading goods.

Minoan civilization declined by the late 15th century B. One theory is that the volcanic eruption on Thera damaged other cities along Minoan trade routes, which hurt Crete economically.

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Taking all the evidence available, the volcano did not directly affect life on Crete—about 70 miles to the south. No damage from the eruption has been found there. Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of an invasion in the midth century B. Many sites, including several large palaces in central and southern Crete were burned, and many settlements were abandoned shortly thereafter. Despite its abrupt ending, the influence of Crete survived.

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Its vibrant culture made a major impact on the rising new regional power: the Mycenaean Greeks, who lauded King Minos and Crete in their mythology. Linear B, the Cretan writing system adopted by the Mycenaeans, would be the basis for the Greek in which the poet Homer would write his two masterpieces. Read Caption.

The symbols of the Labyrinth and Labrys

Sailing Home Around B. This fresco from the Minoan settlement of Akrotiri, Santorini, depicts the return of a fleet.

The Bronze Age Collapse - Before the Storm - Extra History - #1

Rise and Fall of the Mighty Minoans Perhaps the inspiration for Atlantis, Minoan civilization born on the island of Crete spread throughout the Mediterranean before it mysteriously collapsed. Cult of the Bull This Minoan wine vessel in the shape of a bull's head is just one example of the popularity of the animal in Minoan art. Bulls were sacred in Crete and symbolized power and fertility. On the island of Melos there are architectural remnants, pottery, and frescoes in Cretan style, similar to those on Thera.

Farther north, there is evidence of Minoan settlement i on the island of Kea. In the eastern Aegean, Minoan pottery has been found in Rhodes. Minoan artifacts and cooking equipment have been found at Miletus, a city in Anatolia that would have attracted the Cretans for its proximity to sources of metal.