Martians did not build Egyptian pyramids, Mayan tombs


This video from the USA says about itself:

Orson WellesWar Of The Worlds – Radio Broadcast 1938 – Complete Broadcast.

The War of the Worlds was an episode of the American radio drama anthology series Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloween episode of the series on October 30, 1938 and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells‘ novel The War of the Worlds.

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated “news bulletins”, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a ‘sustaining show’ (it ran without commercial breaks), thus adding to the program’s quality of realism.

Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated. In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage. The program’s news-bulletin format was decried as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast, but the episode secured Orson Welles’ fame.

So, according to recent research, it is possible that long ago, simple forms of life could live on planet Mars.

However, there is no evidence (yet) that any simple living beings used that opportunity.

Still far less than zero evidence exists of not so simple beings, like the Martians described in H.G. Wells’ science fiction book War of the Worlds, living on the red planet or elsewhere in outer space and going to planet Earth.

From the Columbus Dispatch in the USA:

Archaeology | No evidence of aliens helping ancient cultures

Sunday January 26, 2014 10:20 AM

Did aliens visit Earth in ancient times? It’s possible.

The late Carl Sagan once argued that there was a “statistical likelihood that Earth was visited by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization at least once during historical times.”

A statistical likelihood is one thing. Is there any reliable evidence that any such thing ever actually happened?

None whatsoever.

So why do 2 out of 4 Americans believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth in the past? I think there are two reasons. First and most fundamentally, when most people see a wonder of the ancient world, such as the Egyptian pyramids, they can’t imagine how our so-called primitive ancestors possibly could have built it.

Second, there are charlatans out there willing to take advantage of that lack of imagination by making exuberant claims that various cultural achievements in antiquity could have been accomplished only with the help of friendly aliens.

In the current issue of Skeptic magazine, documentary filmmaker Chris White shoots down a few of the most popular claims of past alien intervention.

For example, ancient alien enthusiasts find it unbelievable that Egyptians could have carved the huge stone blocks used to build the pyramids, especially since they didn’t have iron tools. Yet there is abundant archaeological evidence that shows teams of stonemasons used simple hammer stones to shape the blocks.

But fans of ancient aliens say that even if Egyptians somehow shaped the enormous blocks of stone, no mere humans could have moved them into place.

The truth, however, is indeed out there.

White explains that there are many ancient carvings that show “Egyptians using wooden sleds to move … blocks the size and shape of the ones used for the pyramids.” It is amazing what our ancestors could achieve with creativity, determination and a large workforce.

Believers in ancient aliens frequently point to an engraved stone slab from a Mayan tomb, which they claim depicts an astronaut at the controls of a spacecraft.

If you take the time to study the symbolism of the Mayan religion, however, it is clear that the “spacecraft” actually is the primordial world tree with a celestial bird perched in its upper branches. And the barefoot “astronaut” really is the deceased Mayan king descending into the underworld.

These examples are typical of what is offered as evidence of ancient aliens. The purveyors of this nonsense assume our ancestors were ignoramuses. If they accomplished some great thing, then aliens must have helped them.

Champions of ancient astronauts look through volumes of prehistoric art and cherry-pick images that bear — at best — only a superficial resemblance to something that could be construed as alien technology.

They give no thought to what those images represented in their original cultural contexts. Using this method, an Egyptian carving of a lotus flower can be reinterpreted as an electric light bulb, and a South American sculpture of a sucker-mouth catfish can be imagined to be a delta-wing fighter jet.

Archaeologists don’t take these views seriously, but by ignoring them, we allow 3 out of 4 Americans to buy into a fantasy.

Bradley T. Lepper is curator of archaeology at the Ohio Historical Society.

Unbelievable story: A man is suing NASA for (allegedly) failing to investigate alien life: here.

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and the University of Amsterdam have discovered that the ancient Egyptians used a clever trick to make it easier to transport heavy pyramid stones by sledge. The Egyptians moistened the sand over which the sledge moved. By using the right quantity of water they could halve the number of workers needed. The researchers published this discovery online on 29 April 2014 in Physical Review Letters. Read more here.

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Buddhism and archaeology in Nepal


This video from Nepal says about itself:

Oldest Shrine Found Near Buddha’s Birthplace unearthed in Lumbini 26-11-2013

Earliest ever Buddhist Shrine unearthed in Lumbini

Archaeologists digging at Lord Buddha’s birthplace have uncovered remains of the earliest ever “Buddhist shrine”. They unearthed a 6th Century BC timber structure buried within the Maya Devi Temple at Lumbini in Nepal.

The shrine appears to have housed a tree. This links to accounts in Buddhist chronicles where his mother gave birth while holding on to a tree branch. This is the earliest evidence of a Buddhist shrine anywhere in the world. Tradition records that Queen Maha Maya gave birth to the Buddha while grasping the branch of a tree within the Lumbini Garden.

The narrative of Lumbini’s establishment as a pilgrimage site under Ashokan patronage must be modified since it is clear that the site had already undergone embellishment for centuries. The dig also detected signs of ancient tree roots in the wooden building’s central void — suggesting it was a tree shrine. It sheds light on a very long debate, which has led to differences in teachings and traditions of Buddhism.

By K. Kris Hirst in the USA:

Archaeology and the Buddha

December 8, 2013

December 8th is the traditional date for Bodhi Day, when the historical Buddha Siddartha Gautama is said to have reached enlightenment: when better to speak of the enlightening effects of archaeology?

Several recent archaeological studies associated with the life of the Buddha have been conducted, most recently excavations at Lumbini in Nepal, said to have been his birthplace. The oldest phase of the Maya Devi shrine at Lumbini is securely dated between 550-800 BC, making it the earliest shrine associated with the Buddha to date.

Coningham RAE, Acharya KP, Strickland KM, Davis CE, Manuel MJ, Simpson IA, Gilliland K, Tremblay J, Kinnaird TC, and Sanderson DCW. 2013. The earliest Buddhist shrine: excavating the birthplace of the Buddha, Lumbini (Nepal). Antiquity 87(338):1104-1123.

Butterflies, damselflies, abandoned church in Italy


Dragonfly couple, Italy, 17 September 2013

17 September 2013. Still in Liguria, Italy, shortly before arrival in the abandoned village Bussare. Two damselflies of the Lestidae family making a heart-shaped figure for mating.

Bussare, Italy, path, 17 September 2013

We arrive at Bussare. The streets still have names. In the middle is a small square, with a sign Piazza Cavour, honouring a nineteenth century politician. However, now, in the twenty-first century, I don’t see any human living here.

Silver-washed fritillary, Bussare, Italy, 17 September 2013

However, I do see butterflies. Like a male silver-washed fritillary butterfly.

Bussare, Italy, church, 17 September 2013

The Roman Catholic church building’s name, “Immaculate Conception“, is still there. Now, however, accompanied by another sign: “For sale”.

Bussare, Italy, church name, 17 September 2013

We walk back, past Bussare. On a blackberry bush, another beautiful butterfly, one of the biggest species in Europe: a two-tailed pasha.

Two-tailed pasha, Italy, 17 September 2013

We go back to the bridge. Now, a hummingbird hawk-moth feeding at the butterfly-bush.

Will there be lizards, or snakes, near the old tyre? Not this time.

Bevera river, 17 September 2013

Further, in the river: trout and pondskaters.

On the footpath: a male pheasant.

Lizards, moths and butterflies in Italy


Young wall lizard near flower pot, Italy, 15 September 2013

After 14 September in Liguria, Italy, today 15 September. With a young wall lizard next to a flower pot.

Grasshopper, Italy, 15 September 2013

A grasshopper along the path.

Butterflies along the irrigation canal.

A dung beetle rolls a ball of dung across the path.

A big lizard disappears quickly into a hole in a wall.

We reach a hilltop above the cemetery of Olivetta village.

Six-spot burnet moth, Italy, 15 September 2013

A six-spot burnet moth on grass.

Hilltop view, Italy, 15 September 2013

We look around, at other hills and mountains.

Ciantri, Italy, 15 September 2013

We go downhill. Below us, Ciantri hamlet.

Torre village, Italy, 15 September 2013

To the other side, Torre village.

As we go down, on a yellow flower, a grasshopper.

River clubtail, Italy, 15 September 2013

A bit further, a female red-veined darter dragonfly.

Common blue, Italy, 15 September 2013

A common blue butterfly on a grass stem.

Then, a hummingbird hawk-moth. Moving too fast to photograph.

Olivetta in the rain, Italy, 15 September 2013

As evening starts to fall, it rains. We see Olivetta village through a curtain of rain.

Lizards, snakes and butterflies in Italy


This video is called Main road from Olivetta San Michele to Bussare (Italy).

After 13 September 2013 in Italy came 14 September.

In the morning, to Olivetta village.

Butterflies, including meadow brown and gatekeeper.

Colourful butterfly, Olivetta, 14 September 2013

And a colourful one [UPDATE: a Jersey tiger moth; see here].

Great tit sound. Buzzard sound.

In the afternoon, we went down the Bevera river valley.

Trout swim in that river. A trout is also in the local coat of arms.

Olivetta San Michele coat of arms, with trout

Near a bridge over the river, butterfly-bush grows. It attracts many butterflies, most of them orange coloured. Including Argynnis paphia (silver-washed fritillaries).

Silver-washed fritillary, 14 September 2013

Near the river bank close to the bridge, an old car tyre. Inside it, a young snake (grass snake?). On top of the tyre, two young wall lizards.

Immaculate conception church tower, Bussare, 14 September 2013

We continue to Bussare village. A village, practically abandoned by people. The Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic church still stands, but there are no services any more. It is for for sale.