Well preserved coffins hint towards more discoveries in a famed necropolis.
- Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered more than two dozen sarcophagi in the last month.
- Experts predict more discoveries in the coming weeks.
- Their discovery is another credit to Saqqara, the necropolis of the old capital of Memphis.
More mummies than a horror movie<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQzMTA4OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjQ3Nzc5OX0.Vf-N6VDF0tVTarGsPg46iPDARKKIqYqd32b7Zltvxn0/img.jpg?width=980" id="4aad6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6000d3bd2b06357cc5155b1372689044" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="coffin close-up" />
A few traditions in the Roman Catholic Church can be traced back to pagan cults, rites, and deities.
- The Catholic rite of Holy Communion parallels pre-Christian Greco-Roman and Egyptian rituals that involved eating the body and blood of a god.
- A number of Catholic holidays and myths, such as Christmas, Easter, and Mardi Gras, graph onto the timeline of pre-Christian fertility festivals.
- The Catholic practice of praying to saints has been called "de-facto idolatry" and even a relic of goddess worship.
Transubstantiation<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjc4MDMzOS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTg5MTM2NH0.rpSOYmtmT3s5HJTxX2MHmg9uiq5v_cQsvM4e4JSE6bc/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C445%2C0%2C445&height=700" id="10194" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="b4dba99f0925a7867132356f63cfed37" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo by Debby Hudson / Unsplash<p>One of the more fascinating elements of Catholicism is the ritual cannibalistic consumption of their "demigod" known as Holy Communion or Eucharist. During Catholic mass, <a href="https://www.uscatholic.org/articles/201706/where-do-hosts-come-31037" target="_blank">bread</a> and wine are transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, who is considered the son of God, in a rite called "transubstantiation." This isn't a symbolic transformation. <a href="http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a3.htm" target="_blank">A core teaching</a> of the Catholic faith is the belief in literal transubstantiation. Practitioners eat the body and blood of Christ to become one with God.</p><p>Similar rituals were practiced in the underground "mystery religions" of the Greco-Roman world. In a few of those occult religions, celebrants shared a communal meal in which they symbolically feasted on the flesh and got drunk on the blood of their god. For example, <a href="https://www.ancient.eu/Mithraic_Mysteries/" target="_blank">the Mithraic Mysteries</a>, or Mithraism, was a mystery cult practiced in the Roman Empire in 300 BC in which followers worshipped the Indo-Iranian deity Mithram, the god of friendship, contract, and order. Mirroring the Catholic Eucharistic rite, the idea of transubstantiation was a characteristic of Mithraic sacraments that included cake and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haoma" target="_blank">Haoma drink</a>. But the ritual probably wasn't original to Mithraism either. In Egypt around 3100 BC, priests would consecrate cakes which were to become the flesh of the god Osiris and eaten.</p>
Holy Days and Carnivals<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjc4MDM0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNjIwNDU1N30.wU_6PRocoZKY63msF-07RuVgfAbQmNpJqk9AunwpMs4/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C202%2C0%2C202&height=700" id="d13d6" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="e82e5ad02156aa156fd726274050fb66" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Goddess Worship: The Virgin Mary and Saint Brigid<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjc4MDMzNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDAwMzY2OX0.XxCP-VNBsWx9O7sir9wIMJcUVsiFkvaRfa_GgyuIFJA/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C572%2C0%2C3339&height=700" id="e519b" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a5969e079ce629e1171f8650ea3346a8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Photo by Grant Whitty / Unsplash<p>Though theoretically monotheistic, the Catholic practice of praying to saints has been called "de-facto idolatry" and even a relic of goddess worship. Rebranded pagan goddesses can be found in the Catholic Church today in forms of Saint Brigid and the Virgin Mary. </p><p>Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ, is arguably the most important Catholic icon save for the Holy Trinity. She's likely the amalgamation of pre-Christian mother goddesses from antiquity whose ranks include Artemis, Demeter, Diana, Hera, Isis, and Venus. The cult of the Egyptian goddess Isis may have had a particularly strong influence on Christian myth. While historical records can not substantiate this entirely, there is <a href="http://www.columbia.edu/~sf2220/Thing/web-content/Pages/meg2.html" target="_blank">physical evidence</a> of statues of Isis cradling Horus that were converted and reused as the Virgin Mary holding Jesus. </p><p>Brigid, the beloved Celtic goddess associated with fertility and healing, is perhaps the clearest example of the survival of an early goddess into Catholicism. Practitioners, <a href="https://twitter.com/PresidentIRL/status/1223182697142607872" target="_blank">particularly in Ireland</a>, pay tribute to <a href="https://www.catholic.org/saints/saint.php?saint_id=453" target="_blank">Saint Brigid of Ireland</a> who shares many of the early goddess's attributes. Her feast day on the first of February falls around the same time as the pagan celebration of Imbolc.</p><p>The appropriation of these pagan practices and symbols by the Catholic Church shows how, as social interests change and new institutions are established, religious myths and practices are not so easily exterminated. Today, millions of Catholics eating the body and blood of their god, bowing their heads to feminine idols and celebrating natural cycles on the Liturgical Calendar are still worshiping in the ways of the ancient pagans.</p>
Researchers confirmed that the mummy known as Takabuti died from a stab wound to the back.
- The mummy Takabuti has inspired a great deal of speculation since it was first unwrapped in 1835.
- Takabuti died when she was between 20 and 30, leading researchers to wonder about her cause of death.
- New techniques have enabled researchers to determine that Takabuti died from a stab wound to the back, among other interesting findings.
Insight into a 2,600-year-old woman<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjYzNzEzNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NTg5NjE3OX0.OJgMph7Sd2jcljUP3SntpWF3STJkL_PBDU9sw5EAWbI/img.jpg?width=980" id="2acec" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="043339a88db5d3b70e3acfe05637283c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Takabuti" />
Ulster Museum<p>The new findings have challenged the popular characterization of Takabuti as resting peacefully — now, it's clear that her last moments alive were anything but peaceful.</p><p>"Trawling the historical records about her early days in Belfast it is clear that she caused quite a media sensation in 1835," said bioarcheologist Eileen Murphy in a statement. "She had a poem written about her, a painting was made of her prior to her 'unrolling' and accounts of her unwrapping were carried in newspapers across Ireland." </p><p>Takabuti also appeared to be something of an independent spirit, at least when it came to following fashion trends contemporary to her life. "Research undertaken ten years ago gave us some fascinating insights," continued Murphy, "such as how her auburn hair was deliberately curled and styled. This must have been a very important part of her identity as she spurned the typical shaven-headed style. Looking at all of these facts, we start to get a sense of the petite young woman and not just the mummy." What remains beyond our understanding, however, is why somebody had been driven to murder the young Egyptian mistress.</p>
Scientists used CT scanning and 3D-printing technology to re-create the voice of Nesyamun, an ancient Egyptian priest.
- Scientists printed a 3D replica of the vocal tract of Nesyamun, an Egyptian priest whose mummified corpse has been on display in the UK for two centuries.
- With the help of an electronic device, the reproduced voice is able to "speak" a vowel noise.
- The team behind the "Voices of the Past" project suggest reproducing ancient voices could make museum experiences more dynamic.
Howard et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"While this approach has wide implications for heritage management/museum display, its relevance conforms exactly to the ancient Egyptians' fundamental belief that 'to speak the name of the dead is to make them live again'," they wrote in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-56316-y#Fig3" target="_blank">paper</a> published in Nature Scientific Reports. "Given Nesyamun's stated desire to have his voice heard in the afterlife in order to live forever, the fulfilment of his beliefs through the synthesis of his vocal function allows us to make direct contact with ancient Egypt by listening to a sound from a vocal tract that has not been heard for over 3000 years, preserved through mummification and now restored through this new technique."</p>
Connecting modern people with history<p>It's not the first time scientists have "re-created" an ancient human's voice. In 2016, for example, Italian researchers used software to <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/hear-recreated-voice-otzi-iceman-180960570/" target="_blank">reconstruct the voice of Ötzi,</a> an iceman who was discovered in 1991 and is thought to have died more than 5,000 years ago. But the "Voices of the Past" project is different, the researchers note, because Nesyamun's mummified corpse is especially well preserved.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"It was particularly suited, given its age and preservation [of its soft tissues], which is unusual," Howard told <em><a href="https://www.livescience.com/amp/ancient-egypt-mummy-voice-reconstructed.html" target="_blank">Live Science</a>.</em></p><p>As to whether Nesyamun's reconstructed voice will ever be able to speak complete sentences, Howard told <em><a href="https://abcnews.go.com/Weird/wireStory/ancient-voice-scientists-recreate-sound-egyptian-mummy-68482015" target="_blank">The Associated Press</a>, </em>that it's "something that is being worked on, so it will be possible one day."</p><p>John Schofield, an archaeologist at the University of York, said that reproducing voices from history can make museum experiences "more multidimensional."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"There is nothing more personal than someone's voice," he told <em>The Associated Press.</em> "So we think that hearing a voice from so long ago will be an unforgettable experience, making heritage places like Karnak, Nesyamun's temple, come alive."</p>
The inventor Nikola Tesla's esoteric beliefs included unusual theories about the Egyptian pyramids.
- Nikola Tesla had numerous unusual obsessions.
- One of his beliefs was that the Great Pyramids of Egypt were giant transmitters of energy.
- He built Tesla Towers according to laws inspired by studying the Pyramids.
Tesla sitting in his Colorado Springs laboratory
Wardenclyffe Tower. 1904.