Has an Egyptologist Discovered the Lost Tomb of Nefertiti?

Is this Nefertiti's Tomb

Few archaeological discoveries have captured the public's imagination more than Tutankhamun's tomb. Since Howard Carter first uncovered the lost burial site of the boy pharaoh, people have marvelled at the artefacts recovered, spun myths about the curse of Tutankhamun, and speculated about how he died.

But King Tut's tomb may hold one more object of fascination - indeed, something that would likely be considered a more important archaeological moment than the discovery of his own tomb: the whereabouts of the lost tomb of the iconic queen of the 18th dynasty, Nefertiti.

Egyptologist Nicolas Reeves has put forward the startling theory that Nefertiti may lie buried right beside Tut's tomb. His interest was piqued when he noticed a number of fissures and cracks in the walls of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, suggesting the presence of passages that had been blocked and plastered to conceal their existence:

One of these would probably lead to a storeroom; its position and small size mirror that of an already-uncovered storeroom inside the multi-chambered tomb. The other, bigger possible doorway in the north wall of Tutankhamun’s burial chamber suggests something much more exciting.

There are several oddities about Tutankhamun’s tomb. It is small compared with others in the valley. The objects found in it, while magnificent, seemed hurriedly placed and were found to be largely second-hand; even the boy-king’s famous gilded funerary mask sports the strangely unmanly feature of pierced ears. The tomb’s main axis is angled to the right of the entrance shaft, an arrangement typical of Egyptian queens rather than kings.

Noting that the bigger of the two doorways he may have located aligns perfectly with both sides of the tomb’s entrance chamber, Mr Reeves thinks it could conceal a corridor continuing along the same axis, in the scale and shape of other nearby royal tombs. All this, as well as evidence that the tomb’s decoration and construction were executed at different stages, leads him to conclude that this corridor would lead to the burial chamber of a queen, or perhaps several princesses.

Link: A tantalising clue to the location of a long-sought pharaonic tomb

News Briefs 11-08-2015

Top tip: If your 'all-powerful god' needs *you* to kill the heathens for him, he's maybe not such an all-powerful god...

Quote of the Day:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

Dwight Eisenhower

First Trailer for HBO's Artificial Intelligence Series 'Westworld'

Artificial Intelligence seems to be the current plot device du jour for science fiction television and movies, with multiple series and features exploring what might happen when machines become sentient: Person of Interest, Humans, Her and Ex Machina (see our review) all being fascinating recent releases. And now TV heavyweight HBO, makers of the epic Game of Thrones, have stepped into the ring with Westworld, "a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin", starring the likes of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Thandie Newton.

Westworld is based on the 1973 movie of the same name, written and directed by Michael Crichton, which tells the tale of an adult amusement park where visitors can engage in various elements of the 'Wild West' theme enacted by humanoid robots - and by engage, I mean do everything from fighting to screwing the androids. Which sounds pretty much right up HBO's alley...

The series is being brought to television by Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar) and J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot production company - the same pairing which produced Person of Interest. PoI's multi-season run on CBS has been a hell of a fascinating story arc about artificial intelligence, punctuated by its fair share of mundane mainstream TV procedural elements - so I will be very interested to see what Nolan and company are able to do on a network with a bit more dedication to long-form story-telling.

Westworld will air in 2016.

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News Briefs 10-08-2015

Connect the dots...

Thanks @MarkStaufer.

Quote of the Day:

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.

William Shakespeare

The Heretic Volume 6

The Heretic Volume 6

Our good friends at The Heretic magazine have returned after a bit of a hiatus with Volume 6 of their fantastic electronic publication, and the new issue is chock-full of fascinating content ranging through the fields of alternative history, lost civilisations and technologies, the occult and more.

During their break from publication, editor Andrew Gough and creative director Mark Foster have completely updated the way The Heretic is published, as well as designing a new website that has plenty of fascinating content as well.

Here's a summary of the articles in the new issue:

Richard Stanley and Scarlett Amaris have worked beneath the radar of the mainstream for some time, but that is about to change. In Through a Kaleidoscope Darkly; The Life and Work of Irène Hillel-Erlanger, the authors examine a brilliant young scientist whose invention, the titular ‘kaleidoscope’, enabled him to uncover the hidden nature of the universe.

In The Cat and the Mouse in Ancient Egypt Egyptologist Sofia Aziz makes her Heretic debut with a fascinating and seldom explored study of the cat and mouse in ancient Egyptian society. What she reveals will surprise and even amuse you.

Duncan Burden is no stranger to the mysteries of Freemasonry and, in fact, his extensive research, and experience in the Craft, has enabled him to offer new insights into the ancient society. In A Hidden Message in Freemasonry Duncan offers a fresh new hypothesis into the secrets of Freemasonry that will leave you wondering why no-one has ever noticed it before.

If you are not familiar with the brilliant work of Aaron Cheak PhD, then let The War between Symbolists and Egyptologists: René Schwaller de Lubicz in Egypt, 1936-1951 serve as your introduction. Aaron examines the far-reaching influence of the controversial Egyptologist, and renaissance man, René Schwaller de Lubicz, on artists, academia and the many others who were influenced by his remarkable work and, most tellingly, how this led to our appreciation of ancient temples.

In Mount Sinai Discovered, Heretic regular Ralph Ellis offers an alternative candidate for the elusive location of the biblical Mount Sinai. While rejecting the traditionally accepted site, and the popular alternative belief that Mount Sinai is Jebel al-Madhbah, near Petra, Ralph offers a new, compelling and controversial thesis that just may leave you speechless.

Rev. Father Nathan Montgomery Glover bursts onto the scene with his Heretic debut, All Roads Lead to Constantinople: From Ancient Byzantium to the Tübingen Circle and Beyond – The Heretical Timeline of the True Rose-Croix. So you think you know about the origins and significance of the Rosicrucian order? Think again.

Heretic Editor, Andrew Gough, challenges the conventional notion of Original Sin and travels to the Turkish/Syrian border in search of the truth behind the dogma. What he discovers reveals that the biblical account of the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden may not be what it seems, and that the notion of Original Sin may be a memory of the last Pagan god of the ancient world, the Mesopotamian god, Sin.

In Searching for Lost History from Space Angela Micol recounts her personal journey and challenges, which led to the discovery of a significant and exciting new temple complex in Egypt and how, in the process, her work spawned a whole new genre of research: satellite archaeology.

In The Ark of Isis newlyweds Heather Elizabeth Osborn and Gary Osborn collaborate on more than their recent nuptials and state, ‘The symbology of the Ark is a powerful, archetypal reminder of our forgotten history and ancient past, while also representing our future.’ But that is just the beginning. The symbolism of Ursa Major, ships and water are but a small clue to the authors’ innovative and convincing thesis.

The paintings of Nicolas Poussin have been scrutinised for clues for hundreds of years. Louis XIV obsessed over them, particularly Poussin’s masterpiece, Les Bergers d’Arcadie. He was not the only one. In Poussin’s Arcadian Vision: Search for the Golden Age, author and Rennes-le-Château expert, Guy Patton, explores a new and exciting explanation for the significance of the enigmatic painting.

The Otherworld in the Andes by Freddy Silva is a tour de force of an article, representing years of first-hand research that examines the belief that Peru’s most iconic sacred sites may have been part of a global tradition of secret initiation rituals. This is not to be missed.

Marylyn Whaymand proves there is no substitute for respecting the facts while challenging the dogma. In her thought-provoking article, Who were the Minoans?, Marylyn examines new discoveries, linguistic clues and DNA evidence, before arriving at a tantalising hypothesis.

Here's the Editor's introduction, from Andrew Gough:

Link: The Heretic magazine

Twelve Metre Long Monolith Found Off the Sicilian Coast Is At Least 9000 Years Old

12 metre monolith on the sea floor off Italy

Things just keep getting older: A new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science has claimed the discovery of a man-made 12 metre long monolith on the bottom of the sea-floor between the island of Sicily and the Tunisian coastline.

Researchers believe the site was abandoned as it was inundated by the rising sea at the end of the last Ice Age, almost 10,000 years ago (although they seem careful not to suggest when the monolith may have been created...though one of their samples appears to date to around 40,000 B.P.?).

The discovery was made at 'Adventure Plateau' - the shallowest part of the entire Sicilian Channel, but a location that saw the most dramatic and intense consequences of changing sea levels at the time. During the Last Glacial Maximum, the area formed a southern peninsula of the Sicilian mainland.

The monolith, found at a water depth of 40 metres, is broken into two parts, and has what appear to be three regular-sized holes bored into it, one which passes right through, and two others part-way through midway along it.

Various angles of the monolith

The massive stone was first discovered in late 2012, when detailed sonar sea-floor surveys were conducted in the area. Follow-up scans encouraged researchers to send divers down in 2013 and 2014, who collected rock samples and took around 8 hours of video.

After analysis of various aspects of the discovery, the researchers concluded that the block was made by human hands:

From the data we have here presented and analysed, it can be inferred that the monolith discovered in the PVB is not a natural feature, but man-made. The elements that combine to formulate this interpretation can be listed as follows:

  • the monolith has a rather regular shape;
  • the monolith has three regular holes of similar diameter: one that crosses it completely on its top, and another two at two sides of the monolith; there are no reasonable known natural processes that may produce these elements;
  • the monolith is made from stone other than those which constitute all the neighbouring outcrops, and is quite isolated with respect to them; and
  • the lithology and age of the rock that makes up the monolith are similar to those that make up the blocks of the rectilinear ridge closing the embayment.

The presence of the monolith suggests extensive human activity in the PVB. It was cut and extracted as a single stone from the outer rectilinear ridge situated about 300 m to the south, and then transported and possibly erected. From the size of the monolith, we may presume that it weights about 15 t.

The researchers noted that as a consequence of the discovery, "the belief that our ancestors lacked the knowledge, skill and technology to exploit marine resources or make sea crossings, must be progressively abandoned...recent findings of submerged archaeology have definitively removed the idea of “technological primitivism” often attributed to hunter-gatherers coastal settlers."

Image showing the flooding of the area

Readers of alternative historian Graham Hancock's 2003 book Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age might be interested in the conclusion reached by these researchers in 2015: that "the vast majority of marine geophysicist and archaeologists have now realized that to trace the origins of civilization in the Mediterranean region, it is necessary to focus research in the now submerged shelf areas."

Obviously, further investigation and debate will be required before this discovery is confirmed. Will this monolith be consigned to the 'mystery' category along with other underwater sites such as Yonaguni and Bimini Road, or will it completely rewrite the history books like Göbekli Tepe?

Find more fascinating articles like this one by liking The Daily Grail on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter.

News Briefs 07-08-2015

"Good people are good because they've come to wisdom through failure."

Quote of the Day:

“The truth as always is simultaneously better and worse than what the popular myth-making has it.”

W. Saroyan

Red Lasers & Posthuman Blues

I love this cartoon for several reasons: It's funny and pleasing to look at, and once you stop giggling it inadvertently coaxes you to think.

But I also like it because its anonymous author may or may not have been influenced by the musings of one of the best thinkers to arrive in the UFO field in the last 25 years or so: The late Mac Tonnies (20 August 1975 – 22 October 2009).

To say Mac was ahead of his time is an understatement. 10 years before most of the UFO community even knew who Ray Kurzweil was, he was already pondering whether Transhumanism and the Singularity were plausible tools by which to observe the UFO phenomenon from a new, fresh angle. He shared his ideas of UFOs as the potential manifestation of a post-biological intelligence through his blog Posthuman Blues; and after his untimely passing at the age of 34, he was able to reach a larger audience with the posthumous publication of his book The Cryptoterrestrials [Amazon US & UK], which should be required reading to anyone interested in this phenomenon.

[Mac also contributed to the Darklore anthology series with his essay "The Ancients Are Watching", featured on Volume II]

On Friday, September 29th, 2009, Mac published the following post on his blog:

Every few nights I get out my laser pointer and indulge my cats in a frenetic game of "chase." Cats are natural hunters, and they're effectively incapable of not looking at the quickly moving red dot that I project onto the carpet, walls, or any piece of furniture that happens to be in its path.

To my cats, the red dot possesses its own vitality. It exists as a distinct entity. While they may see me holding the pointer, they can't (or won't) be distracted by such things once the button is pressed and the living room is suddenly alive with luminous vermin. So they chase it. And chase it. And, if they get close enough, even take swipes at it -- in which case I make the dot "flee" or disappear in what seems like a concession of defeat (which, of course, only further arouses the cats' predatory curiosity).

All the while I'm controlling the red dot, I'm taking pains to make it behave like something intelligible. Just waving the pointer around the room wouldn't be any fun. So I make it "climb," "jump" and scuttle when cornered -- even though the laser's impervious to obstructions.

This sense of physicality seems to be the element that makes chasing the laser so engaging -- both for the cats and for me.

I can't help but be reminded of our continuing search for assumed extraterrestrial vehicles. UFO sightings demonstrate many of the same aspects of a typical feline laser hunt: mysterious disappearances, "impossible" maneuvers and a predilection for trickery -- the apparent desire to be seen despite (or because of) a technology presumed to be far in advance of our own. More than one UFO researcher has noted that UFOs behave more like projections or holograms than nuts-and-bolts craft . . . an observation that begs the nature of the intelligence doing the projecting.

According to astrophysicist Jacques Vallee, UFOs are part of a psychosocial conditioning system by which perceived "rewards" are doled out to reconcile for the dearth of irrefutable physical evidence. The phenomenon -- whatever its ultimate nature -- obstinately denies itself, thus enabling the very game it's intent on playing with us.

We see that sudden spark of red light; we pounce. This time we'll catch it for sure.

A couple of days ago, when I found the cartoon online --with Spanish subtitles, actually!-- I immediately sent it to Mike Clelland, for I knew he of all people would appreciate it. Not only was Mike a good friend of Mac Tonnies' (and ended up illustrating The Cryptoterrestrials as a final favor to him) but he himself wrote a very similar post as a way to inaugurate his own blog, Hidden Experience; the major difference between both writings being that Mike used a piece of string as a metaphor for the UFO, while Mac --ever the tecnophile-- opted for the more sophisticated laser pointer to play with his cats Ebe and Spooky --the best names for a UFOlogist's pet as far as I'm concerned.

Even more interesting still, it seems there was only a month of difference between Mac's 'laser pointer' post on Posthuman Blues, and Mike's 'cat string' post on Hidden Experience; which should make anyone wonder whether this 'crypto-intelligence' which likes to interact with us from time to time through flashy aerial manifestations, also employs other 'toys' to get our attention --like synchronicities for example.

Which brings us back to the cartoon: Was the author aware of Mac's work? Did he listen to some of his interviews available online? Or was he 'inspired' to come up with the laser pointer gag through other channels? How can be so sure that our thoughts are exclusively our own?

Whichever the case, I hope Mac managed to get a good chuckle out of this, wherever he is right now.

Mac stepping Outside. Artwork by Mike Clelland.

The Berenst#in Bears Problem: Alternate Timelines and Spurious Realities

The Berenst#in Bears Problem

A few days ago I posted a link to a blog post from earlier this year about 'The Berenst#in Bears Problem':

Now, if you don’t know about The Berenstein Bears, they were a series of children’s books, and eventually a cartoon, created by Stan and Jan Berenstein. They focused on a family of bears, and did the usual educational children’s book/tv series thing. Simple enough. I remember them, vaguely, and I believe I owned a book or two when I was a kid. It’s been a while.

So what’s the problem?

They’re not The Berenstein Bears. They’ve never been The Berenstein Bears. Despite the fact that many others remember them as The Berenstein Bears, and I myself still pronounce their name as The Berenstein Bears, this is false. This is wrong.

They are The Berenstain Bears.

Now, from this seemingly minor oddity a number of rather major theories have developed across the intarwebs. Could it be that the discrepancy is evidence that at some point in the last two decades, we all "shifted into an almost indistinguishable parallel universe"? Or perhaps it's the effect of a time-traveler messing with the past and changing the future...our present? You know, those wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey issues that this guy was concerned about:

Okay, it's an odd little bit of Fortean fun, and your response to it all could lie anywhere on the spectrum from stoners mumbling "can't deal with this right now" to anal retentive skeptics making "harumph!" noises. But it's a great jumping off point for two of my favourite topics: firstly, the philosophical arguments over reality and perception (a la Philip K Dick storylines), and secondly, the modern-day creation of mythologies.

In the first instance, the arguments for 'alternative world/timeline' in this case are complicated by (a) in the former, the fact that there are many who *do* remember the books as 'Berenstain', and (b) in the latter, that any change to the timeline should also have changed everyone's memories as well. But it does raise an interesting question: how would anything of this sort be scientifically provable, if the only 'evidence' for such changes were memories retained in consciousness, rather than the physical world?

I could show you a Google NGram (which shows the frequency of usage of words and phrases in books over the last couple of centuries) with Berenstain as the most often used spelling, but what does it prove if the timeline did in fact change?

In the second instance - the modern creation of mythologies - at the moment we're watching one play out with the Berenst#in Bears Problem. People are spending serious hours hunting images down on the internet, looking through their wardrobes for old books, and asking their parents.

Some - most often those that grew up thinking of them as the Berenstein Bears, and cannot accept that it may have been Berenstain all this time - seriously feel that the alternative world/timeline theory is a possibility. Others (like myself) are enjoying the Fortean elements of this story, and are having some fun with it. And then some are taking that fun one step further, and creating fake 'evidence' to support the alternative world/timeline theories.

And now, as all that develops, the Berenst#in Bears Problem is starting to reach much larger audiences as it gets shared across social networks, and some individuals with larger follower counts become aware of it. Just yesterday musician El-P spent much of the day debating it with his 100,000+ followers on Twitter, taking many of them down the rabbit hole with him.

El-P also posted the following series of tweets, referring to the images at the top of this post:

El-P's obviously joking. Or maybe someone played him real good. Or maybe some time traveler is hastily covering his tracks. It really doesn't matter anymore, this myth is alive now, and we can expect it to take its place in the modern mythology pantheon with Slenderman and John Titor before too long.

Speaking of John Titor, does anyone know if he was involved in children's book publishing at all...?

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