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Post n°1358 pubblicato il 19 Gennaio 2017 da diegobaratono

DA: ""
“We drank Soma, we became immortal...”
“We drank Soma, we became immortal...” 
For over a hundred years now, scientists have been discussing what plant was used to prepare Soma (Haoma), a sacred drink of the ancient Indians and Iranians, which "inspired poets and seers, made warriors fearless." The hypotheses were plenty: from ephedra, cannabis, and opium poppy to blue water lily (Nymphaea caerulea) and fly agaric (Amanita muscaria). The answer was found in a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia
Importantly, none of the researchers denies the fact that the ancient Indians and Iranians consumed a drink with a psychoactive substance as a sacrament. However, the precise identity of the substance and its plant source, as well as its influence on human consciousness, are still being debated.

The translator and greatest authority on the Rigveda Tatyana Ya. Elizarenkova wrote: “Judging by the Rigveda hymns, Soma was not only stimulating but also a hallucinogenic drink. It is difficult to be more specific not only because none of the plants suggested as soma satisfies all the parameters and only partially answers the description of soma given in the hymns but mainly because the language and style of the Rigveda, an archaic religious tome with the typical features of ‘Indo-European poetic speech’, pose a formidable obstacle to soma identification.” Knowing perfectly well that all the possibilities of the written source had been exhausted, Elizarenkova believed that the answer could come from archaeologists, from “their findings in North-Western India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (and not in remote Central Asia).”

Remarkably, her opinion, expressed 25 years ago, was confirmed by new findings made in Mongolia. No one could have suspected that a grave of a noble woman buried in an elite burial ground of the Xiongnu, the famous nomads of Central Asia, would answer the question asked long ago.

It happened in 2009. A team from the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS, which was led by Natalia Polosmak, was performing archaeological excavations in the Noin-Ula Mountains, Northern Mongolia. In tumulus 31, at a depth of 13 meters, the archaeologists discovered a wooden burial chamber. On the floor, which was covered with a thick layer of blue clay, around an old tomb ruined by ancient robbers, there were visible traces of a woollen fabric; this was all that was left of an embroidered strip, which was of great historical value even in this fragmentary state. Textiles are virtually never preserved in ancient graves, and such findings are exceptionally rare. The remains of the textile were retrieved from the grave and delivered to the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography SB RAS. The second life of this remarkable artefact began thanks to Russian restorers.

The craftsmanship and the story unfolding on the threadbare fabric are truly amazing. Embroidered in woollen thread on the thin cloth is a procession of Zoroastrian warriors marching towards an altar; one of them, standing at the altar, is holding a mushroom in his hands.

A distinguishing feature of this embroidery is that the craftsmen did their best to depict the faces, costume, arms, plants, and insects, trying to copy everything from life. According to the mycologist I.A. Gorbunova (Candidate of Biology, senior researcher with the Inferior Plant Laboratory, Central Siberian Botanical Garden, SB RAS), the mushroom depicted on the carpet belongs to the Strophariaceae family. In some ways—the general habitus, shape of the cap, stitches along the edge of the cap reminding of the radial folding or remnants of the partial veil and dark inclusions on the stipe that can remind of a paleaceous ring, which blackens after the spores are puffed—it is similar to Psilocybe cubensis (Earle) Singer [Stropharia cubensis Earle]. Some of the mushrooms of the genus Stropharia cubensis, or Psilocybe cubensis, contain psilocybin—a unique stimulator of the nervous system. In their psychoactive properties, psilocybin mushrooms are much more befitting as vegetative equivalents of Soma, or Hoama, than fly agaric, which was identified with Soma in the Rigveda by R.G. Wasson in his well-known book. His point of view was supported by many famous scientists; the psychedelic theory proposed by T. McKenna even assigns the main role in human evolution to psilocybin-containing mushrooms.

For the first time, we can see vivid evidence, embroidered on an ancient cloth discovered by archaeological excavations, for the use of mushrooms for religious purposes, probably, to make Haoma, a “sacred drink.”

The origin of this embroidery and characters depicted on it is associated with North-Western India and the Indo-Scythians (Sakas). How the embroidered cloth made it into a Xiongnu grave is a surprise of the so-called Silk Road, a network of trade routes crossing the whole of Eurasia. Judging by the Chinese chronicles, veils and blankets from Northern India were highly valued in the Han China.

The woollen curtain with an amazing plot was discovered after its 2,000-year-long confinement in a deep grave, which is a miracle in itself. The curtain is not only a fine example of ancient art, which was recovered thanks to the meticulous work of Russian restorers, but a unique source of information casting light on one of the obscure periods of ancient history.+


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Post n°1357 pubblicato il 17 Gennaio 2017 da diegobaratono

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Post n°1356 pubblicato il 12 Gennaio 2017 da diegobaratono

DA: ""

Scoperte a Gebel el-Silsila 12 tombe di Nuovo Regno

Source: MoA

Il sito di Gebel el-Silsila, antiche cave di arenaria situate tra Edfu e Kom Ombo nel sud dell’Egitto, continua a mostrare sempre di più la sua importanza nell’ambito funerario. Infatti, grazie alla missione di ricognizione dell’area diretta da Maria Nilsson e John Ward (Lund University, Svezia) che già lo scorso anno aveva individuato una quarantina di tombe rupestri, sono state scoperte altre 12 sepolture scavate nella roccia risalenti sempre al Nuovo Regno. Inoltre, sotto uno spesso strato di limo, sabbia e detriti, sono state ritrovate anche tre “cripte” (ancora non è chiara la definizione che, forse, si riferisce a strutture multiple ipogee), due nicchie dedicate alle offerte ai morti, tre sepolture infantili – due delle quali sfruttavano insenature naturali del promontorio – e una camera deposito per animali (una dozzina di pecore e capre, due persici del Nilo e un coccodrillo).

Ogni tomba presenta numerosi corpi che fanno pensare a interi gruppi familiari. Da questi resti ossei, sembrerebbe che gli individui fossero in salute perché mancano tracce evidenti di infezioni o malnutrizione, ma comunque soggetti a intensa attività fisica, come testimoniano le fratture, spesso curate, e le massicce inserzioni muscolari. La necropoli, nonostante sia stata quasi completamente saccheggiata, ha mantenuto parte dei corredi con ricchi sarcofagi scavati nella roccia e dipinti, altri in legno, amuleti, scarabei, gioielli, cartonnage, tessuti e contenitori ceramici che hanno datato le tombe ai regni di Thutmosi III (1479-1424) e Amenofi II (1424-1398).

Il sito della missione:

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Post n°1355 pubblicato il 12 Gennaio 2017 da diegobaratono

DA: ""

January Full Moon 2017: When to See the 'Full Wolf Moon'

The full moon of January 2017 is blazing brightly in the skies tonight (Jan. 11). The moon technically reaches its full phase tomorrow morning (Jan. 12) at 6:34 a.m. EST (1134 GMT), but skywatchers can get an eyeful of an apparently full lunar orb both tonight and tomorrow night. The Slooh Community Observatory will air a live webcast about the January full moon at this evening at 8:30 p.m. EST (0130 on Thursday). You can also watch the moon webcast here on, courtesy of Slooh. [The Full Moon: Why It Happens (Video)]

See the moon phases, and the difference between a waxing and waning crescent or gibbous moon, in this infographic about the lunar cycle each month. a href=
See the moon phases, and the difference between a waxing and waning crescent or gibbous moon, in this infographic about the lunar cycle each month. See the full infographic.

Credit: Karl Tate,

All of the year's full moons have names, which were given to them by Native American tribes living in the eastern and northern United States. January's full moon is known primarily as the "Wolf Moon," according to the Farmers' Almanac:

"Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages. Thus, the name for January’s full moon. Sometimes it was also referred to as the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. Some called it the Full Snow Moon, but most tribes applied that name to the next moon." In the Southern Hemisphere, the January full moon is known as the Hay Moon, Buck Moon, Thunder Moon or Mead Moon, according to

A full moon occurs about every month (every 29.53 days, to be precise), when the Earth, moon and sun line up, with Earth in the middle. In this configuration, the lunar near side — the only face skywatchers ever see, because Earth and the moon are tidally locked — is fully illuminated. Lunar eclipses can occur only when the moon is full. Solar eclipses, on the other hand, happen only during the moon's "new" phase, when the moon gets between the sun and Earth. (The moon's orbit is tilted 5 degrees relative to that of Earth; if the two bodies orbited in exactly the same plane, lunar and solar eclipses would happen every month.)

You can see many details of the lunar surface even without binoculars or a telescope. Large dark regions known as maria, for example, are easily visible to the unaided eye. These are vast plains of basaltic rock, the cooled remnants of ancient lava flows. Their name means "seas" in Latin; early astronomers thought they were huge reservoirs of liquid water.

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Post n°1354 pubblicato il 09 Gennaio 2017 da diegobaratono

DA: "" 



Les manuscrits du Mont Saint-Michel bientôt accessibles à tous sur internet. Histoire, magazine et patrimoine

Manuscrits du Mont   
Saint-Michel : 
bientôt accessibles à 
tous sur internet
(Source : 
France Télévisions)
Publié / Mis à jour 
le JEUDI 29 

Ils sont considérés comme les 
véritables trésors du 
Mont Saint-Michel. 
199 manuscrits issus de l’ancienne 
bibliothèque de l’abbaye sont 
en cours de numérisation. 
Une opération qui a débuté il 
y a une dizaine d’années et 
qui est sur le point de se terminer. 
Courant 2017, ces documents 
précieux seront accessibles à tous 
via une bibliothèque virtuelle 
hébergée par le site de l’université 
de Caen.
Tels les moines copistes du 

Moyen-Age, ils fixent dans 

le temps les trésors du passé. 

Page par page, les 199 manuscrits 

du Mont Saint-Michel sont 

numérisés afin d’alimenter 

la future bibliothèque virtuelle 

imaginée par des chercheurs 

de l’université de Caen en 

partenariat avec la ville 

d’Avranches. Depuis 1791 

et la confiscation par les 

autorités révolutionnaires 

des livres appartenant 

au clergé, ces manuscrits 

ont été conservés par la 

cité normande située juste 

en face de la Merveille. 

Les ouvrages les plus anciens 

datent du VIIIe siècle, les plus 

récents du XIVe.

Manuscrits du Mont Saint-Michel : des enluminures exceptionnelles
 Manuscrits du Mont Saint-Michel : 
des enluminures exceptionnelles.
 © France Télévisions

Enluminures magnifiques, 

textes religieux mais pas seulement. 

La bibliothèque rassemblée par 

les moines bénédictins à partir 

du Xe siècle comporte notamment 

des ouvrages d’auteurs païens 

comme Cicéron, Platon ou Aristote. 

Une richesse qui en fait au 

Moyen Age l’une des plus grandes 

bibliothèques d’Occident. 

Réorganisée au XVIIe siècle 

par les Mauristes (religieux de 

la congrégation de Saint-Maur), 

la collection est déménagée 

à Avranches sous la Révolution.

Depuis, la mise en valeur 

de ce patrimoine a été continue. 

De la création d’une salle 

spécialement dédiée à l’hôtel 

de ville d’Avranches en 1850, 

jusqu’à la création en 2006 

du Scriptorial qui expose 

en permanence et à tour de 

rôle une quinzaine de ces 

manuscrits, l’accès du public 

à ces trésors reste une priorité 

dont l’aboutissement sera, 

en 2017, la mise en ligne de 

la Bibliothèque virtuelle 

du Mont Saint-Michel. 

Désormais chacun, du 

chercheur au simple particulier, 

pourra consulter ce savoir millénaire.

Sophie Granel 

France Télévisions 

Accédez à l’article source

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