Ancient Egypt has been a keen interest of mine for many years. From 3000BC to 672–332 BC This magnificent civilisation flourished and influenced many other civilisations such as the Greeks and Romans. The ancient Egyptians build some incredible monuments and temples. Their greatest achievement was the construction of the Pyramids which were elaborate tombs for their Kings/Pharaohs ensuring transit to the afterlife which the pharaohs people could hopefully share in after helping construct these majestic monuments.
It was so see the pyramids up close and personal.
Below is an interesting article from Ben Gilland @ Metro Newspaper on the latest theories of how the pyramids may have been built.
According to a book I read about Buddhism, everyone can become a buddha. It is not really a religion but one of enlightenment. Everyone is capable of enlightenment as long as they follow some precepts. The Buddha was not a god but rather one who was enlightened. By following the path he’d taken, one can be like him too.
Since it was not really a religion, i.e. believing in a god, so can a Christian in some way a Buddhist Christian?
hmmmm, well the only way is to find out… is to become and englightened Christian. Be a Buddha for Jesus!
awww headache …..
THE LOVER OF MEN
In the Far East there was once a prince whose name was Gautama. He lived in a splendid palace where there was everything that could give delight. It was the wish of his father and mother that every day of his life should be a day of perfect happiness.
So this prince grew up to be a young man, tall and fair and graceful. He had never gone beyond the beautiful gardens that surrounded his father’s palace. He had never seen nor heard of sorrow or sickness or poverty. Everything that was evil or disagreeable had been carefully kept out of his sight. He knew only of those things that give joy and health and peace.
But one day after he had become a man, he said: “Tell me about the great world which, you say, lies outside of these palace walls. It must be a beautiful and happy place; and I wish to know all about it.” “Yes, it is a beautiful place,” was the answer. “In it there are numberless trees and flowers and rivers and waterfalls, and other things to make the heart glad.”
“Then to-morrow I will go out and see some of those things,” he said.
His parents and friends begged him not to go. They told him that there were beautiful things at home—why go away to see other things less beautiful? But when they saw that his mind was set on going, they said no more.
The next morning, Gautama sat in his carriage and rode out from the palace into one of the streets of the city. He looked with wonder at the houses on either side, and at the faces of the children who stood in the doorways as he passed. At first he did not see anything that disturbed him; for word had gone before him to remove from sight everything that might be displeasing or painful.
Soon the carriage turned into another street—a street less carefully guarded. Here there were no children at the doors. But suddenly, at a narrow place, they met a very old man, hobbling slowly along over the stony way.
“Who is that man?” asked Gautama, “and why is his face so pinched and his hair so white? Why do his legs tremble under him as he walks, leaning upon a stick? He seems weak, and his eyes are dull. Is he some new kind of man?”
“Sir,” answered the coachman, “that is an old man. He has lived more than eighty years. All who reach old age must lose their strength and become like him, feeble and gray.”
“Alas!” said the prince. “Is this the condition to which I must come?”
“If you live long enough,” was the answer.
“What do you mean by that? Do not all persons live eighty years—yes, many times eighty years?”
The coachman made no answer, but drove onward.
They passed out into the open country and saw the cottages of the poor people. By the door of one of these a sick man was lying upon a couch, helpless and pale.
“Why is that man lying there at this time of day?” asked the prince.
“His face is white, and he seems very weak. Is he also an old man?”
“Oh, no! He is sick,” answered the coachman. “Poor people are often sick.” “What does that mean?” asked the prince. “Why are they sick?”
The coachman explained as well as he was able; and they rode onward.
Soon they saw a company of men toiling by the roadside. Their faces were browned by the sun; their hands were hard and gnarly; their backs were bent by much heavy lifting; their clothing was in tatters.
“Who are those men, and why do their faces look so joyless?” asked the prince. “What are they doing by the roadside?”
“They are poor men, and they are working to improve the king’s highway,” was the answer.
“Poor men? What does that mean?”
“Most of the people in the world are poor,” said the coachman. “Their lives are spent in toiling for the rich. Their joys are few; their sorrows are many.”
“And is this the great, beautiful, happy world that I have been told about?” cried the prince. “How weak and foolish I have been to live in idleness and ease while there is so much sadness and trouble around me. Turn the carriage quickly, coachman, and drive home. Henceforth, I will never again seek my own pleasure. I will spend all my life, and give all that I have, to lessen the distress and sorrow with which this world seems filled.”
This the prince did. One night he left the beautiful palace which his father had given to him and went out into the world to do good and to help his fellow men. And to this day, millions of people remember and honor the name of Gautama, as that of the great lover of men.
‘Exciting’ Discovery At Buddha’s Birthplace
Sky News – 36 minutes ago
‘Exciting’ Discovery At Buddha’s Birthplace
The Buddha may have lived centuries later than some historians have suggested, a dig at his birthplace has revealed.
Archaeologists made the discovery during excavations of an ancient shrine at the Maya Devi Temple in Lumbini, Nepal.
The Unesco world heritage site has long been identified as the birthplace of the Buddha but the dig has revealed artefacts that pinpoint his life to a specific century for the first time.
As well as narrowing down his birthday, archaeologists believe they may also have located his exact birthplace.
His mother, Queen Maya Devi, is thought to have given birth while holding on to the branch of a tree in the Lumbini garden, midway between the kingdoms of her husband and parents.
It is thought the tree may have been situated in an open space at the centre of the newly-excavated shrine.
Professor Robin Coningham, of Durham University, led a team of 15 British historians who had to go barefoot or wear slippers during the excavation because shoes are forbidden in the sacred temple.
“(This) is one of the most exciting discoveries in terms of Buddhist archaeology since the early discoveries of the sites because we now have an idea of what the earliest Buddhist shrine looked like,” he said.
“The significance for us is that the shrine is built around a tree and the fact that the Buddhist birth story is connected with a tree.
“It is one of those really rare occasions when belief, tradition, archaeology and excavation actually come together.”
Experts have disagreed on precisely when the Buddha was born, placing the date anywhere between the early 400s BC and up to three centuries earlier.
The archaeologists, who spent three winters at the site, digging only when the water table was at its lowest, now believe he lived during the sixth century BC.
Buddhism is based largely on the teachings of the Buddha, or Siddhartha Gautama, and is one of the world’s oldest religions.
Many hundreds of thousands of Buddhists from around the world make the pilgrimage to Lumbini every year.
We dwell in our history to improve upon our future.
– African Asante Proverbs
I find this proverb so beautiful and inspiring. This is what history should be to us, to improve upon our future instead of reliving all the madness and badness that went on in the past over and over again.
Anyway, Peter and I have been watching a documentary on the Asante people of Ghana in Africa. Their gold artefacts were so amazing. There was a lake that continues to be a source of mystery. Divers to these days are investigating it.
As to the history bit, the Asante people were colonised by the Brits, who changed their culture but not so total. The Asante were able to hide their iconic golden stool which is a symbol of their core values, customs and traditions.
Wow! This is something for the 2014 diary. Just the thing to see during the Holy Week bank holidays!
It will arrive flat pack. My thoughts and best wishes to the people who would assemble it back to its former glory! 😉
26 September 2013 Last updated at 13:49
Viking ship to arrive at British Museum in ‘flat pack’
By Tim MastersEntertainment and arts correspondent, BBC News
The 37-metre warship was built in southern Norway around 1025, and deliberately sunk in Denmark in the mid-11th century
The longest Viking ship ever found will arrive at the British Museum in a “flat pack” from Denmark early next year, curators have revealed.
The 37-metre ship is the centrepiece of the museum’s Vikings: Life and Legend exhibition which opens in March 2014.
“It’s essentially an enormous Meccano set which can be put together,” curator Gareth Williams told the BBC.
As you might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat packed”
It is the British Museum’s first major exhibition on Vikings for more than 30 years.
Currently on display in the National Museum of Denmark until November, the timbers of the 1,000-year old ship will be packed up in individual boxes, shipped to the UK and re-assembled for display in the British Museum’s newly-built Sainsbury Exhibitions Gallery.
“As you might expect of a Scandinavian-designed ship, it comes flat packed,” Mr Williams said at Thursday’s launch event.
“It’s massive by the standards of the time,” he added. “It’s longer than the Mary Rose.”
Experts are expected to take two weeks to put the ship back together when it arrives in London in January.
A silver-inlaid axehead (AD 900s)
Known as Roskilde 6, it was excavated from the banks of Roskilde fjord in Denmark in 1997. About 20 per cent of the original timber survives and it is displayed on a steel frame that reconstructs the shape of the original vessel.
It dates from around AD 1025, the high point of the Viking Age when England, Denmark, Norway and possibly parts of Sweden were united under the rule of Cnut the Great.
The ship will be displayed alongside Viking artefacts from the British Museum’s own collection and elsewhere in Britain and Ireland.
The exhibition aims to reflect the role of Vikings as both raiders and traders.
“The Vikings were very keen on acquiring gold and silver,” said Mr Williams. “Their most favourite means of expressing power and wealth and status was basically ‘bling’.”
The Vale of York Hoard was jointly purchased by the British Museum and the York Museums Trust under the 1996 Treasure Act
The exhibition will include recently excavated skeletons from a mass grave of executed and beheaded Vikings near Weymouth in Dorset.
“It’s a reminder that the Vikings were not always the invincible warriors of legend,” Mr Williams said.
He said visitors should not expect to see any Viking helmets with horns. Those were apparently the invention of 19th Century story illustrators.
Also on display will be the Vale of York Hoard which was discovered – by a metal detector – near Harrogate in 2007. It includes 617 coins, six arm rings and a quantity of bullion.
British Museum director Neil MacGregor said: “This world which we think of as essentially of violence and brutality is also a world of extraordinary sophistication and cultural achievement.”
This article explaining Carbon Dating by the BBC is the best I have read on this subject. It is easy to understand and yet all the elements are there. It is brief and concise.
Carbon dating has been used in all sorts of things including the ever mysterious Shroud of Turin. To this day, people and scientists still puzzle on the authenticity of the Shroud.
Carbon dating has not really worked to authentic the shroud. Apparently the shroud has been repaired many times in the past and newer threads were used, these thread were the ones given as samples to scientists for the carbon dating which of course would show and give the illusion that the shroud is a fake, or rather not the one used by Jesus of Nazareth.
The mystery lives on.
Be that as it may, carbon dating has been used in so many things which has been more than useful.
The Story of Carbon Dating
Radio carbon dating determines the age of ancient objects by means of measuring the amount of carbon-14 there is left in an object. A man called Willard F Libby pioneered it at the University of Chicago in the 50’s. In 1960, he won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry. This is now the most widely used method of age estimation in the field of archaeology.
Certain chemical elements have more than one type of atom. Different atoms of the same element are called isotopes. Carbon has three main isotopes. They are carbon-12, carbon-13 and carbon-14. Carbon-12 makes up 99% of an atom, carbon-13 makes up 1% and carbon-14 – makes up 1 part per million. Carbon-14 is radioactive and it is this radioactivity which is used to measure age.
Radioactive atoms decay into stable atoms by a simple mathematical process. Half of the available atoms will change in a given period of time, known as the half-life. For instance, if 1000 atoms in the year 2000 had a half-life of ten years, then in 2010 there would be 500 left. In 2020, there would be 250 left, and in 2030 there would be 125 left.
By counting how many carbon-14 atoms in any object with carbon in it, we can work out how old the object is – or how long ago it died. So we only have to know two things, the half-life of carbon-14 and how many carbon-14 atoms the object had before it died. The half-life of carbon-14 is 5,730 years. However knowing how many carbon-14 atoms something had before it died can only be guessed at. The assumption is that the proportion of carbon-14 in any living organism is constant. It can be deduced then that today’s readings would be the same as those many years ago. When a particular fossil was alive, it had the same amount of carbon-14 as the same living organism today.
The fact that carbon-14 has a half-life of 5,730 years helps archaeologists date artefacts. Dates derived from carbon samples can be carried back to about 50,000 years. Potassium or uranium isotopes which have much longer half-lives, are used to date very ancient geological events that have to be measured in millions or billions of years.
What a tremendous find. Really exciting. Wood carvings during the Mesolithic and Neolithic period is virtually unheard of. And yet here we are, faced with an ancient but rather sophisticated wood carving. We may have to revisit our perceived history. Probably stone age is not so stoned afterall!!!;)
6,000-year-old oak carving is among Europe’s oldest
A 6,000-year-old oak timber carved with a concentric oval pattern and zig-zag lines, recently discovered in the RhonddaValley, Mid Wales, is thought to be among the oldest decorative wood carvings known from Europe. Found by Heritage Recording Services Wales during the construction of a wind farm near Maerdy, the 1.7m long timber had been preserved in a waterlogged peat deposit, together with 11 other unmarked pieces of wood. With one end apparently deliberately rounded and the other tapering slightly, the timber has been interpreted as a post, possibly marking a locally significant site or a tribal boundary, or representing a votive offering. Radiocarbon dating has placed it in c.4270-4000 BC, in the late Mesolithic or early Neolithic period. ‘Most finds from this period consist of stone tools, so to have a decorative carving, on wood no less, is very exciting,’ said lead archaeologist Richard Scott Jones. ‘We all put bets on its age, and people suggested Dark Age, Iron Age – but no one imagined it would come back as Mesolithic. We have since shown it to a number of Neolithic and Mesolithic experts, and they say it is a unique discovery.’ He added: ‘This period marks the transition between mobile hunter-gatherer groups and sedentary settlements. The timber was found by a stream edge on a small flat plateau, and if it is a post, it was probably marking something; maybe a sacred site, or a pool, or a nearby hunting ground – there is an ancient lakebed, which could have attracted animals, just a stone’s throw away – or some kind of boundary.’ Similar abstract patterns are known from Neolithic pottery, and from standing stones such as those at the Gavrinis passage grave in Brittany, or, closer to home, at Barclodiad y Gawres, Anglesey, Richard said. Due to the rarity of such decorations surviving on ancient timbers, however, the team sent the oak timber to experts from the University of Wales Trinity St David, and Glamorgan-Gwent Archaeological Trust, to confirm that the markings were manmade. ‘We wondered if the lines could have been created by the larvae of oak bark beetles, but after consultation with palaeoentomologists, we are happy that these are not burrowing channels,’ said Richard. He added: ‘As the timber is about 100 years older than the deposit in which it was found, this may suggest that the oak timber had been brought to the spot deliberately, and perhaps carved on site. If so, then that is a lot of energy to expend, which may indicate that the markings have a special purpose, rather than casual whittling.’ The oak timber is currently undergoing conservation with York Archaeological Trust, where it is expected to remain until 2014. All images: Richard Scott Jones