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ISSUE 2 - 2023 / HERITAGEDAILY LTD - ISSN 2753-3859













The history of the Roman capital of Britannia

A true American hero of the Lewis and Clark expedition

The hidden secrets of mount rushmore


Roman Londinium - AD47 In AD 47, the Romans established a settlement on the River Thames, a settlement that would one day become the city of Londinium. By the end of the 1st century AD, Londinium had become one of the largest cities in Roman Britain, replacing Camulodunum as the provincial capital.

Read more at www.heritagedaily.com


In this issue


The Vikings In Africa

30 Tutankhamun’s Meteoric Iron Dagger

... more 3



In this issue


Führerbunker Learn about the subterranean bunker complex in 1945 Berlin

42 Cibola – The Legend Of The “Seven Cities Of Gold”

The Real William Wallace

The Seven Cities of Gold, also known as the Seven Cities of Cibola, is a legendary fabled province that supposably held fast cities made entirely from gold.

The true story of Braveheart.

Contents 06 The Last Roman Legion

30 Tutankhamun’s Meteoric Iron Dagger


Roman Londinium - AD47


The Ancient Druids


The Classis Britannica The Roman Navy Of Britannia

34 The Magic Sphere Of

The Vikings In Africa



20 The Navigation Crystals - Sunstones


Danevirke - The Great Viking Wall


The Native American Mound Builders

24 Aztec Sacrificial Rites 26 The Legend Of The

“Seven Cities Of Gold”

28 The Ritual Drug Habits Of The Maya


The Truth Behind The Crystal Skulls Helios-Apollo

Liu Bang - The Peasant That Become An Emperor

36 The Hall Of Records -

Behind The Legend

55 Führerbunker - Hitler’s Last Bunker

56 The Missing Amber Room 58 History Of The Illuminati 60 Mary And Elizabeth I: Sisters At Odds

Mount Rushmore

62 The Animal War Heroes

38 The Life Of John Clark

64 The Viking Beserker

40 The Great Tower of London 42 The Real William Wallace - Braveheart

44 The Collapse Of The Scottish Clan System

46 The New England Vampire Panic

48 Mother Shipton’s Cave 4

52 Atlantis The Story

50 The Dancing Plague Of 1518

66 The Sunken Town Of Pavlopetri

67 Kerma The Ancient African Kingdom


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Heritagedaily LTD was first launched in 2011 by Managing Editor Markus Milligan, growing in size to become one of the largest dedicated media outlets with a focus on heritage, archaeology, anthropology and palaeoanthropology. www.heritagedaily.com

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HROUGHOUT the history of the

Roman Empire, countless legions were raised and disbanded, but one legion endured the entirety, remaining in service to the Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire, marching on into the Middle Ages - The Legio V Macedonica. The Legio V Macedonica was levied sometime around 43 BC during the late Republic Era, possibly under Gaius Octavius (the future Emperor Augustus). At the time, two legions, the V Gallica and the V Urbana are recorded in early text, one or both of which may be the precursor to the Legio V Macedonica. When Augustus became sole ruler in 31 BC following the War of Actium, he disbanded around half of the legions, consolidating the remaining into a standing military force that became the core of the early Imperial army of the Principate.

campaigning in Nero’s Parthian War in AD 58–63 in Armenia and Alexandria in Egypt. With the outbreak of the First Jewish War in AD 66 (also called the Great Revolt), Nero sent the general, Titus Flavius Vespasianus (future Emperor Vespasian), to crush the uprising. Vespasian’s forces consisted of the Legio X Fretensis and the Legio V Macedonica, later reinforced by Legio XV Apollinaris and the armies of several local allies commanded by his son, Titus. During the campaign, the Legio V Macedonica distinguished themselves in Galilee during the liberation of the city of Sepphoris, and at the storming of the main shrine of the Samaritans at Mount Gerizim.

The Legio V Macedonica was dispatched to Macedonia in 30 BC, from where it likely earned the title of “Macedonian”. The legion remained there until AD 6, when it was sent to guard Oescus on the Danube River in Roman Moesia (a region between the Lower Danube and the Balkan Mountains).

The bulk of Roman forces then reached Jerusalem in AD 70, placing the city under siege for four months. After several battles, the entire city and the Second Temple was destroyed, with contemporary historian, Titus Flavius Josephus, stating: “Jerusalem … was so thoroughly razed to the ground by those that demolished it to its foundations, that nothing was left that could ever persuade visitors that it had once been a place of habitation.”

Oescus began as an important military base as part of the Danubian Limes. The legion maintained its Legionary Fortress there to protect the frontier, with some Vexillationes

After the proclamation of Vespasian as Emperor and the end of the war under his son, the Legio V Macedonica returned to its home base back in Oescus in AD 71.


There it remained until the Dacians attacked the province of Moesia, with the Legio V Macedonica being despatched to campaign against the Dacians in the Battle of Tappae. The legion continued to campaign during the reign of Emperor Trajan against the Dacians between AD 101 to 106, but following the conclusion of the war, the legion was transferred to the north-east of Moesia to Troezmis. Troezmis was another Roman legionary fortress situated on the Limes Moesiae frontier system to protect the border from attacks by the Roxolani tribes. During Hadrian’s reign, the legion was sent to crush the Bar Kokhba revolt in AD 132 to 136, a campaign the Roman’s called the “Jewish Expedition”. The Roman force consisted of six full legions, including the Legio V 8

Macedonica, in addition to auxiliaries and elements from up to six additional legions. The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of countless Judean communities. According to the Roman historian and senator, Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews perished in the war, and many more died from hunger and disease. By the latter part of the 2nd century AD, the borders of the Roman Empire were under threat when the Germanic Marcomanni entered into a confederation with the Quadi, Vandals, and Sarmatians. According to the Roman historian, Eutropius, the forces of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (which included the Legio V Macedonica), battled against the Marcomannic confederation for three years until Aurelius’s death in AD 180.

The Marcomannic Wars had little success, but ensured that the Danube remained the frontier until the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Aurelius’s successor, Emperor Commodus, awarded the Legio V Macedonica the title Pia Constans (“Faithful and reliable”) or Pia Fidelis (“Faithful and loyal”), after crushing a mercenary army hired by rebellious gold mine workers in the province of Dacia. For most of the 3rd century AD, the legion was based at Potaissa, having fought several wars against the Dacian Carp tribe, where the Emperor Valerian, also awarded the legion the title of Pia III Fidelis III (“Thrice Pious and loyal). Further titles were bestowed by Emperor Gallienus, who gave the legion the title, VII Pia VII Fidelis, with the 4th, 5th and 6th titles awarded probably when the

legion was used as a mobile cavalry unit against the usurpers, Ingenuus and Regalianus. In AD 274, the Legio V Macedonica was transferred back to Oescus and constructed a second Legionary fortress called Oescus II. From there, the cavalry units were detached from the legion and sent to campaign in Mesopotamia against the Sassanid Empire in AD 296. The legion at Oescus was converted into a comitatensis unit, a field army of the Late Roman Empire, where it remained to guard the frontier as the Western Roman Empire collapsed before them. In AD 411, an invading force of Huns overrun Oescus and destroyed the city. The Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I, rebuilt the city and re-established the Danube defence system, but this was abandoned during the late 6th century

following an invasion by the Avars. The latter years of the legion is mentioned in the Notitia Dignitatum, a document of the late Roman Empire, detailing the administrative organisation of the Western and the Eastern Roman Empire. The Notitia Dignitatum documents the Legio V Macedonica (the detached calvary units) having detachments in the Oriental Field Army and in Egypt, where it remained before joining the Byzantine army.

What happened to the Legio V Macedonica is unknown. We can only assume that the remaining detachments were defeated during the Arab invasions of the Levant and Egypt, however, what is striking is the enduring legacy of one of the last legions from the Roman Empire. The Legio V Macedonica was the longestlived Roman Legion known to history, spanning around 680 years from 43 BC

The last remnants of the Legio V Macedonica Legio is mentioned in inscriptions that provide a date of AD 635 or 636. The inscriptions describe the legion fortifying the defences of Heliopolis, a Roman city in Lebanon that fell to the invading forces of the Rashidun Caliphate.





N AD 43, Claudius, launched an

invasion of Britain, and over the next 45 years, the Roman army gradually extended its control over much of present-day England and Wales, and ventured into parts of Scotland. Britain was inhabited by the Britons, native speakers of the Brythonic languages, with archaeological evidence in the Greater London area showing preRoman occupation at sites such as Ilford, Wimbledon and Epping Forest. In north-west London in the borough of Harrow are the remains of a giant 6-milelong linear earthwork known as Grim’s Ditch, which some archaeologists suggest was constructed by the Catuvellauni tribe as a defence against the Roman incursion. In AD 47, the Romans established a settlement on the River Thames, a settlement that would one day become the city of Londinium. The settlement was situated at a bridgehead on the north bank of the river at a ford, where a major road


nexus would converge at a bridge crossing. The purpose of the settlement is debated, with one theory proposing that Londinium was built as a planned commercial port or a civilian enterprise. The archaeological evidence from this period supports a cosmopolitan community of merchants from across the Empire. The early settlement occupied a relatively small area, about 350 acres, which is roughly the size of present-day Hyde Park. At this time, the capital was located at Camulodunum, present-day Colchester, which therefore claims to be Britain’s first city. In AD 60, a little more than ten years after Londinium was founded, King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe died, dividing his wealth and lands between Rome and his two daughters in his will. As it was common practice for a client king to leave his kingdom to Rome on his death, the Romans ignored the will and seized the entire estate.

According to contemporary accounts, Prasutagus’s widow, Bouddica, was flogged and her daughters were raped by Roman soldiers. During this time, the bulk of Roman forces under the command of Gaius Suetonius Paulinus was campaigning to crush the stronghold of the druids on the island of Mona, present-day Anglesey, off the northwest coast of Wales. Bouddica led a tribal coalition in a largescale revolt, marching on Camulodunum, Londinium, and Verulamium. All three Roman centres were destroyed, causing shockwaves throughout the Roman World.

Cassius Dio, a Roman historian from the mid 2nd century describes: “...a terrible disaster occurred in Britain. Two cities were sacked, eighty thousand of the Romans and of their allies perished, and the island was lost to Rome. Moreover, all this ruin was brought upon the Romans by a woman, a fact which in itself caused them the greatest shame.... But the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Bouddica, a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women.... In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch.” While the Britons continued their destruction, Paulinus regrouped his forces, and although heavily outnumbered, defeated the allied tribes in a final battle inflicting heavy losses on the Britons. According to the Roman historian, Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, the crisis almost persuaded Nero to abandon Britannia, but with the revolt brought to a decisive end, the occupation continued.

Londinium was rebuilt as a planned Roman city following the typical Roman grid system. A temporary fort was erected in modern Fenchurch Street, with a later stone fort constructed in AD 120 on the north-west axis of the main settlement. The walls of the fort were built to a height of five metres and was reinforced with defensive towers on each corner. Each side had a central gatehouse, leading to a thoroughfare that dissected through the fort’s interior, allowing access to the administrative buildings and barracks. The fort encompassed an area of 12 acres, enough to house up to 1000 garrisoned soldiers, but rather than support a substantial standing military force, it would later house the ceremonial guard that served the governor of Britannia.

11 Image Credit : Carole Raddato

Alamut Castle - Image Credit : Catay

As the settlement grew, it extended west to Ludgate Hill and east to Tower Hill, centred on Cornhill and the River Walbrook. Today the boundaries of Roman London are located in the City of London, the primary central business district of London. By the end of the 1st century AD, Londinium had become one of the largest cities in Roman Britain, replacing Camulodunum as the provincial capital. The city was now an important port for trade between Roman Britain and the Roman provinces on the continent. During the 2nd century AD, Londinium had reached its peak with around 45,000 to 60,000 inhabitants, covering an area of 330 acres. The city contained a large forum and basilica, one of the largest in the Roman Empire north of the Alps, several bathhouse complexes and temples, an amphitheatre, the Governors Palace and many townhouses. Between AD 190 and 225, the Romans built the London Wall, a defensive 3 mile

long ragstone construction around the landward side of the city. Along with Hadrian’s Wall and the Roman road network, the London Wall was one of the largest construction projects carried out in Roman Britain. Although the reason for the wall’s construction is unknown, some historians have connected it with the Pictish invasion during the AD 180’s. Others have linked it with Clodius Albinus, the British governor who attempted to usurp Septimius Severus in the AD 190’s. Londinium’s status began to decline during the 5th century AD. Many public buildings fell into disrepair and communication with the rest of the Roman Empire weakened. Trade broke down. Officials went unpaid, and Romano-British troops elected their own local leaders. Archaeologists have found evidence that a small number of wealthy families continued to maintain a Roman lifestyle

until the middle of the 5th century AD, inhabiting villas in the south-eastern corner of the city. By the end of the 5th century AD, Londinium was a deserted ruin. Over the next century, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians arrived and established tribal areas and kingdoms in the former Roman province. What remained of Londinium would reside in the territory of the Kingdom of the East Saxons, where a new Anglo Saxon town called Lundenwic emerged one mile to the west of the Roman centre. Repeated Viking raids during the 9th century led to the re-population of Londinium for safety behind the Roman walls. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle notes that Alfred the Great “re-founded” London, known then as Lundenburg, marking the new beginning of one of the greatest cities the world has ever known.


Most of what we know about the Iron Age druids comes from Roman sources, describing a class of priests, teachers and judges who performed Druidic rites in forest clearings and offered human sacrifices to the gods. T

HE most detailed description

of the Druids dates from around 50 BC in the Commentarii de Bello Gallico, a firsthand account of the Gallic Wars written as a third-person narrative by Julius Caesar. Caesar’s text is based on the hearsay of others and is regarded as anachronistic, drawing on earlier accounts by writers such as Posidonius. Caesar’s depiction of the Druids is documented in book six, chapters 13, 14 and 16–18, where he discusses how the Druids are “engaged in all things sacred, conduct the public and the private sacrifices, and interpret all matters of religion.” They are the arbiters of disputes and are the judiciary over crimes. Anyone who disobeyed the Druid’s decree would be barred from sacrifice (considered the gravest of punishments), with all persons in society forbidden to speak or engage with those shunned, lest they themselves “receive some evil from their contact”. According to Caesar, the Druids are ruled over by an elite figure who “possesses supreme authority among them”.


Unless a worthy candidate can be found upon the death of this ruling figure, those with a “pre-eminent in dignity” can put their candidacy forward for election, although this sometimes resorted in armed violence between candidates to solidify their position. The Druid’s studied ancient verse, natural philosophy, astronomy, and the lore of the gods, some even spending as much as 20 years in study. This was through oral tradition and verses, with writing considered unlawful to prevent their doctrines being divulged among the lower people.

In Chapter 16, Caesar comments: “The nation of all the Gauls is extremely devoted to superstitious rites; and on that account they who are troubled with unusually severe diseases, and they who are engaged in battles and dangers, either sacrifice men as victims, or vow that they will sacrifice them, and employ the Druids as the performers of those sacrifices”.

way his limbs convulse as he falls and the gushing of his blood, they are able to read the future.”

Caesar claims that this was done by constructing large wicker figures made of osiers (willow stems). Those chosen for sacrifice would be placed inside the effigy and set on fire, burning the people alive as an offering to the gods.

By the reign of Emperor Tiberius (AD 14-37), the Druids were suppressed in Gaul, but continued to thrive in Britain and Ireland until the arrival of the main Roman invasion force in AD 43.

Another account by the Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus, also refers to Druidic sacrifices in his Bibliotheca historicae: “These men predict the future by observing the flight and calls of birds, and by the sacrifice of holy animals: all orders of society are in their power... and in very important matters they prepare a human victim, plunging a dagger into his chest; by observing the

Caesar suggests that the Druidic institution emerged in Britain, most likely from native tribes he encountered during his two expeditionary campaigns to Britain in 55 BC and 54 BC.

The Druids were pushed to the far fringes, operating a resistance from a stronghold on the island of Mona (Anglesey) in Wales. To crush the remaining threat, Suetonius Paulinus, governor of the recently established province of Britannia, led an assault on the island in AD 60/61. Tacitus, a Roman historian writes of the events: “On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then, urged by their general’s appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands. A force was next set over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed. They deemed it indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives and to consult their deities through human entrails.”

With the coming of Christianity, it has been suggested that the role of the Druids in Irish society was rapidly reduced to that of a sorcerers, poets, historians, and judges, until eventually disappearing into myth and legend. From the 18th century, England and Wales saw a reinvention of the Druids, with John Aubrey suggesting that the Druids were connected to Stonehenge and other megalithic monuments. This belief was reinforced by William Stukeley, who claimed that Britain’s ancient Druids had followed a monotheistic religion inherited from the Biblical Patriarchs; he called this Druidic religion “Patriarchal Christianity”. He further argued that the Druids had erected the stone circles as part of serpentine monuments symbolising the Trinity, although this and any connection to Britain’s ancient monuments is strongly opposed by modern archaeology. During the 19th century there was a Neo-druid revival, with central figures such as Edward Williams, better known as Iolo Morganwg, publishing posthumously his Iolo Manuscripts and Barddas, claiming a fabricated ancient knowledge in a “Gorsedd of Bards of the Isles of Britain” The revival also appeared on stage in Giovanni Pacini’s, 1817 opera to a libretto by Felice Romani, a play about a druid priestess, La Sacerdotessa d’Irminsul (“The Priestess of Irminsul”). Druidic beliefs vary widely today and there is no set dogma or belief system followed by all adherents. Some strands of contemporary NeoDruidism are a continuation of the 18th century revival and are largely built on the 18th century sources, however, this overlooks the historical realities of Iron Age religion in favour of a romanticised semi-modern construct.

In Ireland, much of what we know about the Druids comes from medieval tales and stories such as Táin Bó Cúailnge, and in the hagiographies of various saints. 15


HE Classis Britannica operated as

a provincial naval fleet that served to protect the waters around the Roman province of Britannia and the English Channel. The Romans established 10 regional fleets for geographic regions, such as the Classis Alexandrina in Egypt and the Classis Germanica in Germany. There are no surviving literary references mentioning the Classis Britannica in contemporary accounts, however, archaeologists have discovered numerous stamped tiles inscribed with the name of the fleet at thirteen locations along the Kent and East Sussex coast of England, and at two localities in the Boulogne region of France stamped with “CLBR”. The earliest proposed Navy within Britannia could be considered the Roman invasion by Claudius in AD 43, where various vessels were used for the transportation of


troops and supplies across the English Channel. Post the invasion, the role of the navy was to provide coastal support to land forces, such as Agricola’s campaign into Caledonia (Scotland) where the Classis scouted the coastline and resupplied the advancing legions as they pressed further north into tribal territories and established forts and temporary encampments. The navy also played a role in campaigns across Europe, supporting troop movements across the Channel and the North Sea to theatres of war along the Rhine. Sculptures and carvings suggest that the Classis fleet comprised of the liburnian bireme, a small galley with oars, and possibly a rostrum for ramming enemy vessels that evolved into the trireme type galley.

In the final years of Roman rule in Britannia, the fleet was devoted almost entirely to protecting the eastern and southern coastline (known as the Saxonicum or Saxon Shore) against Frankish pirates and Saxon raids. During this period, a system of fortifications known as the Saxon Shore Forts were built on both sides of the Channel that probably served as naval bases for the Classis, with the main bases believed to be at Rutupiae (Richborough), Portus Adurni (Porchester Castle), Dubris (Dover), and Boulogne-sur-Mer on the north coast of France. The archaeological record suggests that the Classis Britannica continued to operate until the mid-3rd century AD, with no surviving accounts or literary evidence as to whether the navy was reassigned or simply dismantled in the later years of Roman Britain.



IN AFRICA oughout the Middle Ages, a movement le FTEN overlooked in the historical

The Viking fleet was led by Hastein, a notable

The raid on Nekor is mentioned by Abdullah

record are the interactions that

chieftain of the late 9th century AD, and his

al-Bakri (based on earlier text), where he

Vikings played with the coastlines of

protégée, Björn Ironside, supposed son of the

describes: “Majūs - God curse them - landed at

Africa and southern Spain.

legendary Viking king, Ragnar Lodbrok.

Nakūr in the year 244 (AD 858–859). They took

Contemporary accounts are fragmented and

Upon turning the fleet south to the Emirate of

slaves, except those who saved themselves

open to suspicion, but according to some

Nekor along the African coast, they landed in

by flight. Among their prisoners were Ama

sources, a large Viking fleet began raiding

Mauretania, present-day Morroco, and moved

al-Raḥmān and Khanūla, daughters of Wakif

kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula and across

on the city of Nekor (now partially submerged

ibn-Mu’tasim ibn-Ṣāliḥ. Muḥammed ransomed

the Mediterranean around AD 859.

by the reservoir of the Abdelkrim Khattabi

them. The Majūs stayed eight days in Nakūr.”


the city, plundered it, and made its inhabitants

dam). At the time, Nekor was described as one The fleet attacked the Kingdom of Asturias, the

of the greatest centres of Arabic culture in the

The same basic tale is recorded by a number

Emirate of Córdoba, the Umayyad Caliphate

region of Rif. The city was defended by Sa’id II

of other writers, including the 10th century

at Orihuela, and the Balearic Islands and

ibn Salih, but fell to the raiding Vikings and was

Andalusi historian Ibn al-Qūṭīya, and the later


sacked over a period of eight days.

authors Ibn Idhārī and Ibn Khaldūn, and a

The “Book of Roads and Kingdoms”, an

According to contemporary accounts, many of

eleventh-century geography text by Abu

the city inhabitants were taken as slaves, while

Abdullah al-Bakri, describes the Vikings

other accounts claim that Hastein purchased

Archaeologists are yet to find any physical

as “Majus”, a term for heathens and

blámenn “blue men” (possibly Soussians or

evidence to support the Viking raid on Nekor,


Tuaregs) to be sold in the Irish slave markets.

however, skeletal remains of rodents (house-

version also appears in the late ninth-century Christian Chronicle of Alfonso III.

mice) found at Madeira (not far from Morocco by sea) suggest that the mice may have been


transported on a Viking vessel and colonised

Norse Viking settlers established the Kingdom

the island between AD 903–1036.

of Africa. The Kingdom was an extension of the frontier zone of the Siculo-Norman state,

Published in the journal, Proceedings of

covering Tunisia and parts of Algeria and Libya.

the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, the paper indicates similarities in mitochondrial

The local aristocracy was largely left in place,

DNA between the mice from Madeira with

and Muslim princes controlled the civil

mice populations found in Scandinavia and

government under Sicilian oversight.

northern Germany, but not with mice found in Portugal.

However, Norman rule was fleeting, as during the reign of William I, the Kingdom of Africa

Centuries later between AD 1146–48, the

fell to the Almohad Caliphate between AD

Normans, a people who are descended from




SUNSTONES “Sunstones” have been described in Viking tales from the 13th–14th century AD, used as a navigation tool for transatlantic crossings to the new lands of Greenland and Iceland, and even as far as North America.

Without any knowledge of the magnetic compass invented by the Chinese during the Han dynasty, the Vikings developed their own methods of navigation to trade over long distances and establish settlements in the new lands. To navigate, the Vikings used horizon boards and sundials like the wooden disc example found in 1948 in Uunartoq. However, these techniques only worked when the sun was directly observable, and not obscured by cloud cover or had moved below the horizon. To resolve this issue, one theory suggests that the Vikings used “sunstones” (not to be confused with microcline sunstones), a crystal that could polarise light, and by which the azimuth of the sun can be determined in a partly overcast sky or during twilight conditions. The existence of “sunstones” has been a subject of scholarly debate, first appearing in allegorical stories such as the Rauðúlfs þáttr by an unnamed


author who recants the sagas of King Olaf. The Rauðúlfs þáttr relates King Olav’s trip with his retinue, including the queen and bishop, to “Eystridalir” (now Österdalen), a then remote part of Norway bordering on Sweden. The text describes: “The weather was thick and snowy as Sigurður had predicted. Then the king summoned Sigurður and Dagur (Rauðúlfur’s sons) to him. The king made people look out and they could nowhere see a clear sky. Then he asked Sigurður to tell where the sun was. He gave a clear assertion. Then the king made them fetch the solar stone and held it up and saw where light radiated from the stone and thus directly verified Sigurður’s prediction.” In the Hrafns Saga, it says: “The weather was sick and stormy. The King looked about and saw no blue sky, then the King took the Sunstone and held it up, and then he saw where the Sun beamed from the stone.” It wasn’t until the 1960s that the theory of Vikings using polarised light for

navigation gained some weight. At the time, Thorkild Ramskou, a Danish archaeologist, noted that Scandinavian Air trans artic systems used a polaroid-based instrument called the Twilight Compass (Kollsman sky compass) to determine the Sun’s location. This led Ramskou to propose that Norse sailors may have used a local mineral employed as a polariser, such as cordierite crystals, tourmaline or calcite from Icelandic spar. Experiments by Guy Ropars confirmed that Iceland spar could be used in both cloudy and twilight conditions to detect concentric rings of polarisation and thus the location of the sun. This was further supported with the discovery of Iceland spar on an Elizabethan ship that sank near Alderney in 1592, however, archaeologists are still yet to find a “sunstone” among Viking shipwrecks or settlements to confirm their existence.




CCORDING to historical sources, work on the Danevirke commenced during the reign of King Gudfred of Denmark in AD 808.

Gudfred supposedly built the wall to defend his kingdom from invasion by the Franks, creating a physical barrier that seperated the Jutland peninsula from the northern extent of the Frankish empire.

The Danevirke is system of large defensive earthworks that stretch across the neck of the Cimbrian peninsula in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The defences vary from between 3.6 to 6 metres in height, and run for 19 miles from the Baltic Sea coast in the east, to the marshes around Hollingstedt on the River Trene.

However, this has been contradicted by archaeological evidence, indicating that parts of the wall were first constructed by Danes during the Nordic Iron Age before AD 500, and saw later additions during Denmark’s Viking Age. Excavations also established that the main structure of the Danevirke was built in multiple phases between AD 737 and 968 by notable Danish Kings such as Angantyr, Siegfried, Guðfrið, and Harald Bluetooth. During the Middle Ages, the Danevirke was reinforced with defensive palisades and masonry, becoming a secure gathering point for raids against the neighbouring Slavs of the South Baltic. In the 12th century AD, King Valdemar the Great further strengthened sections of the wall by adding a 7-m high wall of stones propped

up with buttresses and covered with tiles (these fortified sections became known in Danish as Valdemarsmuren or Valdemar’s wall). The Danevirke began to lose purpose in the 14th century AD, owing both to the expense of garrisoning soldiers, and with the development of ballistas, trebuchets, and similar siege engines that made the wall obsolete. After centuries of abandonment and decay, the Danevirke was partially restored and equipped with artillery installations in 1850 and 1861 during the Second War of Schleswig, where Denmark fought the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire.

Following the Allied invasion of Normandy in World War II, the Wehrmacht feared that Allied forces might open a second front through Denmark. The Wehrmacht created plans to use the Danevirke earthworks and convert the wall into an anti-tank trench to secure the Jutland peninsula. However, Wehrmacht plans were altered when Søren Telling, a Danish archaeologist, convinced SS chief Heinrich Himmler that the Danevirke was an important remnant of “Aryan civilisation” to be preserved.



VER a period of more

than 5,000 years, Native American cultures in the

region of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, and the Mississippi River valley, constructed large earthworks and hundreds of giant mounds. 19th century academics concluded that Native American people were too primitive to be associated with the earthen monuments, instead, implying that they belonged to a lost civilisation that disappeared before the arrival of Columbus in 1492. One of the earliest theories suggested that the mound builders were Norse in origin, settling in the Americas and migrating south to become the Toltecs in Tula, Mexico. Later theories have connected them with descendants of the Israelites, the Ancient Egyptians, Welsh, Irish, Polynesians, Greeks, Chinese, Phoenicians, and even crossing into the realm of pseudo-science by implying an association with the legendary lost city of Atlantis. In contrast, modern studies have shown that the monuments were built by Native American cultures over a period that spanned from 3500 BC to the 16th century AD. One of the earliest sites constructed by the mound builders is Watson Brake in Louisiana, built around 3500 BC during the Archaic Period classification. The site was developed over centuries by a pre-agricultural, huntergatherer society, occupying the site on a seasonal basis. The builders constructed an arrangement of eleven earthwork mounds around 7.6 metres in height, connected by ridges to form an oval shaped complex. Another early site in Louisiana is Poverty Point, a ceremonial mound and ridge complex situated on the Bayou Macon. The builders were a society of hunter-fisher-gatherers identified as the Poverty Point culture, who inhabited stretches of the Lower Mississippi Valley and surrounding Gulf Coast. Poverty Point was constructed over several phases, the earliest being around 1800


The Native American Mound Builders

BC during the Late Archaic Period,

continuing with additions to the site through to 1200 BC. The earthworks consist of six concentric C-shaped ridges stretching three-quarters of a mile on the outermost ridge. These encircle a 37.5acre plaza which contained a series of post circles. The most distinct features from ground level are the mounds constructed using loess, a type of silt loam soil which reaches heights of up to 21.9 metres. By the Woodland Period (1000 BC to AD 1000), mound-building cultures existed throughout the entire Eastern United States. One such culture is the Hopewell culture in Ohio, a widely dispersed set of populations connected by a common network of trade routes. The Hopewell culture built complex geometric mounds for burials, and unique earthworks which form the shape of animals, birds, or writhing serpents. The Hopewell people also created some of the finest craftwork and artwork of the Americas. Most of their works had some religious significance, and their burials were filled

with necklaces, ornate carvings made from bone or wood, decorated ceremonial pottery, ear plugs, and pendants. The Classic and Post Classic periods saw mound building reaching new heights, with cultures such as the Plaquemine culture and the Mississippian culture, constructing giant platform mounds and settlements that rivalled European cities in size at the time.

One of the last mound builder cultures, the Fort Ancient Culture, likely had contact and traded with European settlers.

The most famous of these is Cahokia, a centre of the Mississippian Culture constructed around AD 1050 in Western Illinois. Cahokia covered an area between six to nine square miles and contained over 120 earthen mounds.

The Fort Ancient Culture was largely wiped out by successive waves of disease such as smallpox and influenza in the 17th century, suggesting that the population decline in the wider mound building cultures was a result of disease introduced by the first Europeans to make contact.

The mounds ranged in size and shape, from raised platforms, conical, and ridgetop designs, with the largest being “Monks Mound” (named after a community of Trappist monks who settled on the mound), a 290-metre-long platform consisting of raised terraces.

Archaeologists have found objects originating from Europe in the Fort Ancient Culture archaeological record, including brass and steel items, glassware, and melted down or broken goods reforged into new items.

After the arrival of Europeans to the Americas, early explorers found the territories of the mound builders largely depopulated and the mounds mostly abandoned.



universe, the first god, Ometeotl, created itself. Ometeotl gave birth to four children, the four Tezcatlipocas, who each presided over one of the four cardinal directions.

Most of what we know about the pantheon of Aztec gods and sacrificial rites comes from the few codices to survive the Spanish conquest.

Over the West presides the White Tezcatlipoca, named Quetzalcoatl - the god of wind, Venus, Sun, merchants, arts, crafts, knowledge, and learning. Over the South presides the Blue Tezcatlipoca named Huitzilopochtli - the solar and war deity of sacrifice.


Mesoamerica for approximately 400 years, where human sacrifice was a common theme in the Aztec culture to appease their gods.

The Aztecs believed that the gods had created everything that existed in their world, but for all to exist, the gods had to give up part of their divine force. To prevent the gods from loosing their strength, the Aztecs had to constantly renew this divine energy – by making offerings of life (blood), otherwise, terrible consequences would fall upon the Aztec people. In the Aztec “Legend of the Five Suns”, all the gods sacrificed themselves so that mankind could live. From the void that was the rest of the


Over the East presides the Red Tezcatlipoca named Xipe Totec - the god of gold, farming and springtime. And over the North presides the Black Tezcatlipoca - the god of judgment, night, deceit, sorcery and the Earth. Sacrificial ceremonies were carried out throughout the year to the four Tezcatlipocas and the lesser gods, with most sacrifices taking place at the annual festivities to Huitzilopochtli, the patron god of the Aztec people.

At the dedication of the temple of Huitzilopochtli in 1489, over 20,000 people were sacrificed over a period of four days. Victims used for rites were mainly warriors captured during battle, in particular, during the “Flower Wars”, a ritual war fought intermittently between the Aztec Triple Alliance and surrounding city states. In Aztec culture, every Aztec warrior would have to provide at least one prisoner for sacrifice in order to become a full-time members of the warrior elite. Captured warriors were laid across a sacrificial stone at the top of the Great Temple, or El Templo Mayor, a large, stepped pyramid in the capital city of Tenochtitlan. The victim was held down by four priests, while the officiating priest used a ceremonial obsidian knife to carve out the still beating heart from the chest. The heart was considered the ultimate symbol of a person’s life and was presented

to the gods in a Cuauhxicali, or Eagle Vessel. It was then burnt, enabling the life force to rise via the smoke to the sun god, which would take on new strength and go on giving light and heat the next day. Other gods preferred different types of blood offerings to appease their hunger. The fertility god, Xipe Totec, flayed himself of his skin to give food to humanity (this was symbolic of the maize seed shedding its outer layer just before germination). This act was replicated in a sacrificial rite, where the victim was flayed to produce a nearly whole skin, which was then worn by priests for twenty days during the fertility rituals. In another rite to Xipe Totec, sacrificial victims were bound spread-eagled to a wooden frame, and then shot with arrows so that the blood spilled onto the ground. The flowing blood signified a “cool spring rain”, and the festival held in his honor was reminiscent of spring renewal and ensured a desired rainfall.

To appease Tezcatlipoca with offerings, some captives were sacrificed in ritual gladiatorial combat. The victim was tethered in place and given a mock weapon. They would then fight an impossible battle against up to four fully armed jaguar knights and eagle warriors. Warriors weren’t always the preferred victims for sacrificial rites. Newly married couples were the preference of the fire god and were thrown alive into a fire after having their hearts removed. Babies and children were favoured victims of the gods of rain and water, as it was believed that their tears encouraged the rain to fall.

acceptance, they take many girls and boys and even adults, and in the presence of these idols they open their chests while they are still alive and take out their hearts and entrails and burn them before the idols, offering the smoke as sacrifice. Some of us have seen this, and they say it is the most terrible and frightful thing they have ever witnessed.”

Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador whose expedition led to the fall of the Aztecs, wrote of Aztec sacrifice on numerous occasions, one of which in his Letters, he states: “They have a most horrid and abominable custom which truly ought to be punished and which until now we have seen in no other part, and this is that, whenever they wish to ask something of the idols, in order that their plea may find more 25



The Seven Cities of Gold, also known as the Seven Cities of Cibola, is a legendary province that supposably held fast cities made entirely f rom gold.


HE legends may have their roots in a Portuguese myth, which in itself originates from an old Iberian legend about seven cities founded on a mythical rectangular island called Antillia in the Atlantic Ocean.

Early accounts of Cibola mainly originate from shipwrecked survivors of the Narváez expedition, a failed colonial enterprise in AD 1527 to establish settlements and garrisons in Florida. Of the 600 crew in the expedition, only four survived the endeavour, with the remainder either being lost at sea, killed in attacks by indigenous people, or dying from disease and starvation. The survivors, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, Andrés Dorantes de Carranza, and Estéban (or Estevanico), were shipwrecked off Florida in AD 1528, spending many years wandering through present-day Texas and northern Mexico, before finally being rescued by Spanish slavers in Sinaloa in AD 1536.

Of the 600 expedition members, only 242 men had survived to this point. Frequent storms, thirst and starvation, reduced the expedition to about 80 survivors, before a hurricane cast Cabeza de Vaca and his remaining men on the western shore of a barrier island that they named the “island of misfortune”. In response to Cabeza de Vaca’s accounts, the viceroy of New Spain, Antonio de Mendoza, sent an expedition in 1539 under Fray Marcos de Niza and Estéban (a Moorish slave who had been shipwrecked with Cabeza de Vaca) to verify Cabeza de Vaca’s reports. Fray Marcos de Niza describes in his own book, “the Relación”, many third-party accounts of “Cibola” by travellers he and Estéban encountered, even claiming to have seen the seven cities from a distance in western New Mexico. He states: “I only saw, from the mouth of the pass, seven reasonable towns, somewhat distant, a very cool valley below and very good soil, from which many fumes came out; I was right that there is a lot of gold in it and that the natives treat it in vessels and jewellery.”

Upon returning to Spain, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca wrote of the expedition in his La relación (“The Story”), published in 1542 as the first written account of the indigenous peoples, wildlife, flora, and fauna of inland North America.

Upon reporting his findings, another expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado was despatched to conquer the riches of Cibola. Coronado followed the path described by Fray Marcos de Niza, but upon arriving in 1540 in New Mexico, he discovered that the legendary cities of gold were small indigenous settlements and adobe towns of the pueblos people.

In the La relación, Cabeza de Vaca first mentions gold during an interaction with an indigenous group of people: “We also found pieces of linen and cloth and feather headdresses which seemed to be from New Spain. We also found samples of gold. Through signs we asked the Indians where they had gotten those things. They indicated to us that very far from there was a province called Apalachee, in which there was much gold, and they gestured that it had a great quantity of everything we valued. They said there was much in Apalachee.”

Describing one of the towns, Coronado’s officer and chronicler, Castaneda writes: “It is a little, crowded village, looking as if it had been crumpled all up together. There are haciendas in New Spain which make a better appearance at a distance. It is a village of about two hundred warriors, is three and four stories high, with the houses small and having only a few rooms, and without a courtyard.”

A direct parallel can be drawn with the Apalachee people, a culture centred on the settlement of Anhaica in present-day Tallahassee. The Apalachee emerged from the Fort Walton Culture, one of the principle Mississippian cultures that constructed giant truncated-pyramidal platform mounds and established an expansive trading network. Archaeological studies of the culture rarely finds evidence of gold working, but the Apalachee acquired copper artefacts, sheets of mica, greenstone, and galena from distant locations through this trade.

Vázquez de Coronado caused a large loss of life among the Puebloans, both from the battles he fought with them in the Tiguex War and from the demands for food and clothing that he levied on their fragile economies. Around the same time, an expedition led by Hernando de Soto, landed on the west coast of the peninsula of Florida with a large contingent in search of gold. When the de Soto expedition entered the Apalachee territory, the Spanish soldiers were described as “lancing every Indian encountered on both sides of the road.”

Cabeza de Vaca notes that the expedition came into contact with the Apalachee in 1528, reaching an outlying settlement of the wider Apalachee territory. There they occupied the settlement and took the chief and several villagers hostage. Finding only corn and straw huts, the Spanish searched for evidence of gold or substantial habitation, all the while, harassed by the Apalachee and local tribal groups who conducted a guerrilla war against the invaders. The expedition left for the coast that same year, constructing five ships to sail along the Gulf.



HE Maya and indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central America used hallucinogenic substances called entheogens, a form of psychedelics to provoke an altered state of consciousness during spiritual rituals and ceremonies.

The purpose of these substances was to reach a state of temporal and spatial disorientation, bringing the user a sense of inner peace and in one with nature and the gods. Consumption of entheogens in the Americas can be traced back to the Olmec era, however, our understanding of Maya entheogen use is better informed thanks to Maya religious texts such as the Popol Vuh and Spanish accounts from the 16th century. Entheogens were used in Maya ceremonies at underground sanctuaries or in natural caves. These were considered sacred access points to the underworld and were thought to intensify the inner vision, providing a favourable setting for contact with the spirit world. One of the most common Maya entheogens is an intoxicating beverage called balché, a drink infused with the bark of the leguminous tree soaked in honey, water, and then fermented to give the beverage a mild alcoholic content. Balché was mainly used in communion ceremonies to converse with the elements and spirits for predicting events such as poor harvests, illness and the outcome of wars. Due to the low alcohol content, balché was consumed in large quantities to induce vomit, which would be collected in bags and hung around the users neck. Chih was another alcoholic drink made by fermenting the sap of the maguey plant. The sap was associated with the blood of Mayaheul, the goddess of the maguey. Different ceramic works from the Maya Classic Period produced vessels for consuming the drink marked with the glyph ‘chi’. References to the use of Chih also appear in the Dresden, Borgia, Florentine, and Borbonicus codices. Wild tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), which the Maya called piziet, contains the nicotine alkaloid which was used to minimise pain in the nervous system and induce visions. The would either be chewed, inhaled, or mixed with the leaves of Datura to enhance the hallucinogenic effect.


Liquids and gas would often be used for enemas, a procedure in which the substance was injected using syringes made of gourd and clay into the rectum to intensify the effect of the drug. Archaeological evidence provides us with ceramic goods that depict psychedelic enemas utilised in rituals. Paintings on ceramic vessels from the Maya Late Classic Period also depict individuals having enemas and images of pots overflowing with foam from fermented drinks. Various descriptions from the colonial period (such as the Florentine Codex) describe how enemas were used as a medicinal treatment to combat illness and the discomfort of the digestive tract. Hallucinogenic mushrooms known to the Maya as k’aizalaj okox was another drug often consumed for ritual ceremonies. The mushrooms were eaten in the form of fresh, non-boiled mushrooms, or as dried powdered mushrooms that contain separate entheogenic compounds, psilocybin and psilocin, which causes the user to experience visual hallucinations. Artefacts called “mushroom stones” also point to mushroom consumption by a Maya cult and are believed to be associated with human decapitation, warfare and the Mesoamerican ballgame. Other flora such as Nymphaea ampla causes opiate-like effects on the user and is known to have been used as a calmative and mild trance induce.The Maya also used seeds from the Ololiuqui plant, which contain different alkaloids of the LSD family and induce hallucinogenic visions when ground into powder and blended into a cacao beverage. One of the more unusual entheogens employed by the Maya was derived from the skin and the parotid glands of different toad species. 16th century chroniclers document the Maya adding tobacco and the skins of the common toad, Bufo marinus, to beverages such as balché which increased the potency. Thr





N 1922, Egyptian excavators led by Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun, an Egyptian pharaoh who was the last of his royal family to rule during the end of the 18th Dynasty.

Located in the Valley of the Kings on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), the tomb, KV62, was buried in mounds of debris from the cutting of KV9 for Pharaoh Ramesses V, over 150 years after Tutankhamun’s death. The discovery caused a media frenzy, revealing 5,398 items that included: a solid gold coffin, a face mask, thrones, archery bows, trumpets, a lotus chalice, two Imiut fetishes, gold toe stalls, furniture, food, wine, sandals and fresh linen underwear.

Since the 1960’s, researchers suggested the nickel content in the blade was indicative of meteoric origin. A more recent study in 2016 using an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer has indicated that the blade’s composition is mainly iron (Fe), 10.8% nickel (Ni) and 0.58% cobalt (Co). This study compared the blade composition to 11 meteorites of wellknown compositions and 11 certified steel reference materials, concluding that the blade composition and homogeneity closely correlates with meteorite composition and homogeneity from a source of extra-terrestrial origins. This is further supported by a study published in February 2022, which conducted a non-destructive two-dimensional chemical analysis. This study found that the source meteorite of the blade is octahedrite, one of the most common structural classes of iron meteorites.

Among the artefacts were a set of iron blades that resemble the PeseshKaf, a tool used in the “opening of the mouth ceremony,” a ritual performed for the deceased to enable them to breath, speak, eat and drink in the afterlife. One of these blades is an iron dagger with an ornamental golden sheath, expertly produced by an ancient metalsmith. The Howard Carter Archives describes the dagger as having a finely manufactured blade made from a homogeneous metal, while the handle is made of fine gold and is decorated with cloisonné and granulation work ending with a pommel of rock crystal. On one side of the sheath is a floral lily motif, while on the other is a pattern of feathers terminating with a jackal’s head. Examples of smelting during the 18th Dynasty in Egypt are very rare, which likely produced low-quality iron to be forged into precious objects. As the other blades found in the tomb are relatively crude, many scholars suggest that the ornamental dagger was imported to Egypt, perhaps as a royal gift from a neighbouring territory or kingdom. Diplomatic documents (the Amarna letters) from the 14th century BC mention royal gifts made of iron gifted to the pharaohs of Egypt from before Tutankhamun’s reign. Interestingly, one of these documents notes that Tushratta, King of Mitanni, sent iron objects to Amenhotep III (possibly Tutankhamun’s grandfather), which mentions iron blades in the lists.



HE crystal skulls have been the subject of much controversy and speculation,

claimed to be the work of preColumbian Mesoamerican cultures such as the Aztec and Maya. There are a dozen or so crystal skulls in private and public museum collections, most of which are made from clear or milky white quartz, a hard, crystalline mineral composed of silica (silicon dioxide). Pseudo theories claim that the skulls have paranormal powers, enabling the gift of premonitions, cure diseases, or forestalling a catastrophe allegedly predicted or implied by the ending of the Maya calendar b’ak’tun-cycle. In Mesoamerican artwork, skulls are featured prominently in a variety of settings, such as Aztec monoliths made from volcanic rock, or the skull masks of obsidian, cabochon and jade. Both the Aztec and Maya also displayed human skulls on a rack known as a tzompantli, encapsulating the practice into stone at sites such


as Chichén Itzá, where a large carved tzompantli displays over 500 bas-relief skulls. During the 19th century, public and scholarly interest in Mesoamerican sites led to an increase in the trade of fake pre-Columbian artefacts. The trade became so problematic, that Smithsonian archaeologist, William Henry Holmes, wrote an article called “The Trade in Spurious Mexican Antiquities” for Science in 1886.


In 1857, Eugène Boban, a French antiquarian,

skulls were crafted in Germany during the 19th

art dealer, and “official archaeologist” of the

century, possibly in the workshops of Idar-

court of Maximilian I of Mexico, headed an

Oberstein, renowned for crafting ornate quartz

More recently, a crystal skull was mailed to the

expedition commissioned by Napoleon III to


Smithsonian Institution anonymously, claiming

collect Mexican art and artefacts. He exhibited

detailed modelling of the eyes and the teeth.”

to be of Aztec origin from the collection of

his finds at the Trocadéro, where he is reported

In 1900, Boban gave a lecture in Paris at the

Porfirio Díaz, a Mexican general and politician

to have displayed a collection of crystal skulls

Americanist Conference on Ethnographic

who served seven terms as President of Mexico

found on his travels.

Sciences, where he stated: “numbers of

during the 19th century.

so-called rock crystal pre-Columbian skulls After opening a shop in New York, Boban

have been so adroitly made as almost to defy

It has been determined that the skull was

sold a crystal skull to American entrepreneur,

detection and have been palmed off as genuine”.

carved using Silicon carbide (SiC), also known

George H. Sisson, which then passed to

as carborundum, an abrasive mass-produced

George F. Kunz and displayed at the American

In 1924, Anna Mitchell-Heges (the adopted

Association for the Advancement of Science.

daughter of adventurer Frederick Albert

from 1893.

Mitchell-Hedges), claimed to discover another

All the skulls examined were manufactured in

The skull was auctioned off by Tiffany and Co

crystal skull inside a temple in Lubaantun,

the mid-19th century or later, almost certainly

to the British Museum in 1898, where it was

Belize. It has been determined that Frederick

in Europe, during a time when interest in pre-

placed on display as an Aztec artefact. Boban

Albert Mitchell-Hedges actually purchased the

Columbian Mesoamerica abounded.

sold another crystal skull to French ethnologist

skull at Sotheby’s auction house in 1943, and

and collector, Alphonse Pinart, who donated

a scientific study in 2007 has shown that the

The skulls have no written accounts in any of

the skull to the Trocadéro Museum, now

skull was carved with a rotary tool coated with

the ancient codex’s, or mythology and folklore

displayed at the Musée du Quai Branly.

a hard abrasive.

associated with Mesoamerican or other Native American stories, concluding that the crystal

A scientific study on the skulls found indented

The study concluded that the skull was

skulls are nothing more than a 19th century

lines marking the teeth, which were carved

probably carved in the 1930s, with Smithsonian

invention that has morphed into a fake

using relatively modern rotary tools. A closer

researchers stating that the skull was “very

narrative of the Aztec and Maya civilisations.

examination of the composition showed that

nearly a replica of the British Museum skull –

they have chlorite inclusions only found in

almost exactly the same shape, but with more

Madagascar and Brazil, and thus unobtainable or unknown to people from pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. The study also suggests that the




HE magic sphere of Helios-

Apollo is a marble sphere discovered in 1866 outside the Temple of Dionysus in Athens, Greece. During antiquity, the temple was a sanctuary in dedication to Dionysus, the god of the grape-harvest, winemaking, insanity, ritual madness, religious ecstasy, and festivity in the ancient Greek religion. The sanctuary was first constructed around the 6th century BC, with a theatre being built adjacent to the temple in 530 BC.

dealers and tomb robbers engaged in the trafficking of antiquities. Rhousopoulos’s excavations discovered a 30 cm marble sphere covered with what was described as “magical” symbols. A study in 1913 by Belgian Hellenist, Armand L. Delatte, concluded that the sphere was buried near the theatre as an ancient talisman for luck in the games.

After the conquest of Greece by Sulla and the partial destruction of Athens in 86 BC, the sanctuary and theatre were later repurposed by the Romans to be used for performances and gladiatorial combat.

This association was based on Delatte’s belief that some of the symbols showed strategies for winning an athletic or theatrical contest. This was further supported with the gladiatorial connection, as the sphere has been dated to the 2nd to 3rd century AD during the Roman period.

During the 19th century, the sanctuary and surrounding area was excavated by Prof Athanasios Rhousopoulos, an academic art dealer known to be associated with a network of secondary

The sphere is dominated by four scenes, in which the first depicts the image of a man with a solar halo. Delatte interpreted the image to be Helios, the god and personification of the sun, often described

as the son of the Titans, Hyperion and Theia, and brother of the goddesses Selene (the Moon) and Eos (the Dawn). He is shown sitting on a throne beneath an arch, flanked by two dogs that could symbolise the sky’s bright “dog stars”: Sirius and Prokyon. The second scene shows a circle containing five intersecting circles marked with the words: ΑΙΘΑΕΡ, ΑΝΑΒΠΑ, ΑΝΝΙΑΕΥ, ΕΔΕΒΩΠ̣Ι, and ΑΠΙΟΒΙ, whilst three of the intersecting circles are marked with ΕΥΠΑΡ̣ΕϹ, ΑΧΦΕΙ and ΑΘΕΛΑ. Underneath the circles are collections of letters arranged as ΧΧΧ, ΔΔΔΔ and ΗΗΗΗ. The third scene shows a circle containing a triangle, in which the left angle has the letters ΑΞΑΞΒΕΝΒΕΝΒΛΩΘΝΩΜΑΖΟΜΟΗΡ, the second angle ΟΖΩΡΟΥΘΕΝΑΑΕΞ ΑΒΙΟΥΡΟ̣ΑΙΛΕΜΒΡΑΕΡ, and the base ΧΧΧ ΠΠΠΠ ΦΦΦΦ̣Φ̣ΦΦ̣ ΔΔΔΔ ΛΛΛΛ ΛΛΛΛ. The last scene shows a large depiction of a lion, with ΘΑ̣Δ̣ΕΙΗΤ and ΠΔΔΔΔΔΗ inscribed on each foot. The remainder of the sphere is filled with astral and geometrical symbols, a snake, numbers and incomprehensible inscriptions, with the only identifiable word being ΑΙΘΑΕΡ, the first of nature’s five elements (ether, earth, water, fire and air). A more recent study by Nick Farrell proposes that the sphere was an ancient spirit house, a type of stone or jewel that could hold a spirit (whose name he suggests is carved on the sphere’s crown by the word “ΙΞ̣ΙΔΕϹΙ”) and could be called upon for assistance.



THE PEASANT THAT BECOME AN EMPEROR Emperor Gaozu of Han, born Liu Bang, was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC.


IU Bang was born during

the latter years of the Warring States, a period concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that ultimately led to the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.

According to legend, Liu was born into a peasant family in Zhongyang after his mother encountered a dragon during a rainstorm, however, according to imperial Han myth he was the descendant of the mythical Emperor Yao and the Yellow Emperor. Following the death of the first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, the Qin dynasty saw two ascendants to the throne. This created a period of instability that resulted in the empire fragmenting and being divided into the Eighteen Kingdoms. Liu received the Bashu region (Sichuan Basin and upper Han River valley), an isolated backwater used for exiling prisoner, but in compensation was granted the title “King of Han”. From 206 to 202 BC, Liu engaged the other ruling kingdoms in a power struggle (historically known as the Chu–Han contention) for supremacy over China, while simultaneously attacking and subjugating the other kingdoms. By 202 BC, Liu had defeated all other

contenders and was enthroned as the emperor, taking the name of “Emperor Gaozu” or “Emperor Gao”.

coarseness and blunt manners, was won by the charms of a young boy named Ji, and Emperor Hui had a boy favourite named Hong.

He established his capital in Luoyang (later moved to Chang’an) and instated his official spouse, Lü Zhi, as the empress, and their son, Liu Ying, as the crown prince of the Han Dynasty.

Neither Ji nor Hong had any particular talent or ability; both won prominence simply by their looks and graces. Day and night they were by the ruler’s side, and all the high ministers were obliged to apply to them when they wished to speak to the emperor.”

He appointed princes and vassal kings to help him govern by dividing the his empire into manageable territories. However, fearing that these vassal kings might rebel, he would later accuse several of treason and have them executed along with their families. Liu Bang was described as a coarse man who once urinated into the formal hat of a court scholar to show his disdain for education. Despite this, he replaced “Legalism” (of Qin times) with “Confucianism” as the state ideology, a system of thought and governance that developed from the “Hundred Schools of Thought”, and derived from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius (551–479 BC).

As Liu’s health deteriorated, the Empress hired a physician to attend to the Emperor. However, Lui refused any treatment and responded: “Isn’t it heaven’s will that I managed to conquer this empire in simple clothing and with nothing but a sword? My life is determined by heaven.” In 195 BC, Lui died in Changle Palace and was succeeded by Prince Liu Ying, historically known as Emperor Hui. Following the Qin tradition of the construction of burial mounds, Liu was buried in a large truncated pyramidal tomb, located in the Changling mausoleum group in Xianyang, along with the Empress Lü Zhi and Consort Q in adjacent pyramidal tombs.

Some scholars suggest that Lui had a pillow companion or homosexual lover known as Ji Ru. According to contemporary texts, Ji Ru was a trusted personal servant who was elevated to the top of the Royal administration. In an account written in the “Records of the Grand Historian” by Sima Qian: “When the Han arose, Emperor Gaozu, for all his



ISTORICALLY, the Black Hills were located within the tribal territory of the Lakota, or Lakota Sioux, who

called them Pahá Sápa, meaning “the heart of everything that is.” In 1868, the U.S. Government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, which established the Great Sioux Reservation within all of present-day western South Dakota (including the Black Hills), and modern Boyd County, Nebraska. However, the discovery of gold in 1874 as a result of George Armstrong Custer’s Black

The Hall Of Records MOUNT RUSHMORE

Hills Expedition, led to a gold rush that encroached on Lakota tribal lands. This ignited the Black Hills War of 1876, also known as the Great Sioux War, the last major Indian War on the Great Plains. Following the defeat of an alliance between the Lakota and Northern Cheyenne, the U.S. Government forcibly relocated the Lakota to smaller reservations in South Dakota. A large gold and silver mining industry grew up resulting in the rapid growth of several towns. However, as the economy of the Black Hills shifted away from natural resources, tourism and hospitality became the new drive for bringing income into the region. Jonah LeRoy “Doane” Robinson introduced a bill to the South Dakota State legislature, asking for permission and funds for a massive carving project. The original plan for the sculpture was to include the Sioux Nation chief, as well as several famous South Dakotans.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a colossal sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore, featuring the figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

In 1924, Robinson met with the sculptor, John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum, and together they scouted possible locations for their monument. Working in collaboration with tribal representatives, they agreed on a site known as “The Six Grandfathers” by the Lakota.

Located in the Black Hills in South Dakota, United States, the concept for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial was first devised in 1923 by American historian Jonah LeRoy “Doane” Robinson, with the intention of promoting tourism to the region. 36

Locally, the same site was known as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Mountain and Keystone Cliffs by American settlers.

Borglum also planned to construct a large chamber

never seen work recommence on his hall.

It wasn’t until 1930 that the mountain would be

known as the Hall of Records within the mountain

Following America’s involvement in World War

recognised as Mount Rushmore by the United

to house documents and artefacts most central to

II, all work on the Mount Rushmore National

States Board of Geographic Names, following a

American democratic history.

Memorial ended as no further funds were made

generous donation to the sculpture project by businessman, Charles E. Rushmore.

available. The hall would be accessed via an 800-foot granite staircase, which led to a portal located behind the

In 1998, Borglum’s dream was finally completed,

Construction began in 1927, involving 400 workers

president’s faces. Above the entrance, the plan

when a repository of records contained in a

under the direction of Borglum, Bill Tallman, Luigi

was to place a bronze eagle with a wingspread of

titanium vault and covered by a granite capstone

Del Bianco, and later his son, Lincoln Borglum.

38 feet, inscribed with words reading: “America’s

was placed in the floor of the hall entry.

Onward March” and “The Hall of Records.” Borglum decided that the monument would

The repository contains panels that explain the

feature 60-foot-high (18 m) carvings of George

Surviving architectural drawings show that

story of how Mount Rushmore came to be carved

Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore

Borglum planned for recesses inside the hall

and by who, a short history of the United States,

Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.

to hold bronze and glass cabinets containing

and reasons for selecting the four presidents

historical documents such as the Constitution and

depicted on the mountain.

By 1934, Washington’s face had been completed

the Declaration of Independence. The hall would

and was dedicated. The face of Thomas Jefferson

also house busts of famous Americans, and a list of

Etched on the granite capstone is a quote by

was dedicated in 1936, the face of Abraham

noteworthy Americans that made contributions to


Lincoln in 1937, and the face of Theodore

science, industry and the arts.

Roosevelt in 1939.

“...let us place there, carved high, as close to heaven Construction of the Hall of Records started in

as we can, the words of our leaders, their faces, to

A bill had been introduced to Congress to include

1938, with a 70-foot tunnel being blasted into the

show posterity what manner of men they were.

the face of civil rights leader, Susan B. Anthony,

mountain using dynamite. Work was halted a year

Then breathe a prayer that these records will

however, a rider provision was instructed that only

later when Congress instructed that works should

endure until the wind and rain alone shall wear

allowed federal funds to be used on sculptures that

only focus on completing the president’s faces.

them away.”

had already been started. Borglum died of a heart attack in 1941, having



Following the purchase of the territory of Louisiana by the United States from the French First Republic in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned an expedition westward to the Pacific Ocean to map the new territory.


HE main purpose of the

expedition was to find a practical route across the western half of the continent, and to establish an American presence in the territory before European powers attempted to establish claims in the region. To lead the expedition (nick-named the Corps of Discovery), Jefferson chose his personal secretary, 27-yearold Meriwether Lewis. To co-lead, Lewis chose his longtime friend, William Clark, who had previously served as a lieutenant during the Northwest Indian War. Along with over 40 other explorers, Lewis and Clark began their 8,000-mile journey in July of 1803, by traveling up the Mississippi to gather all the necessary supplies. While Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea (the expedition’s interpreter and only female member) gained worldwide attention and historic notoriety for their journey, another expedition member drew much less admiration and respect as his famous counterparts. His name was York... 38

York was born a slave and spent most of his early life in servitude to John Clark III (William Clark’s father). Very little is known about York before the expedition, but what we do know comes directly from accounts in personal journals from Lewis and Clark. We know that upon John Clark III’s death, York was bequeathed to William in his will: “I give and bequeath to my son Edmund... three slaves, to wit Peter (Vegas child), and Scipio and Darathy (Rose’s children)... I give and bequeath to my son William... one black man named York,

also old York and his wife Rose, and their two children.”

In a letter to his brother, Clark wrote:

Despite being the only African American on the expedition, records from the trip show no apparent evidence of racial bias against York. He was allowed to vote alongside expedition members on important decisions, and was trusted to scout alone on missions fully armed (something the enslaved were not ordinarily permitted). Clark even named two geographic discoveries after York; York’s Eight Islands and York’s Dry Creek.

“I did wish to do well by him, but as he has got Such a notion about freedom and his emence [immense] Services, that I do not expect he will be of much Service to me again; I do not think with him, that his Services has been so great/or my Situation would promit me to liberate him”.

York had many duties, including hunting and gathering food (in which the journals note his prowess in hunting buffalo, deer, and geese alike), portaging, building shelters, and caring for the sick or injured expedition members. York’s most important role was trading with native people, who had never seen a black man and considered his skin colour to be that of a warrior endowed with power and strength. On one encounter with the Hidasta tribe, Chief La Barge refused to believe that York’s skin colour was real, so he wet his own hand and tried to “remove the paint” from York’s skin. Another encounter was with the Shoshone tribe, who agreed to supply horses only on the condition of seeing York in person to prove that he really existed.

Clark revealed that he freed a number of his slaves, including York, who he said begun a business as a wagonner (although there is no evidence to confirm this). Clark, whose account betrays a clear prejudice by this point, claimed freedom was York’s downfall: “He could not get up early enough in the morng [sic] - his horses were ill kept - two died - the others grew poor. He sold them, was cheated - entered into service - fared ill. Damn this freedom, said York, I have never had a happy day since I got it. He determined to go back to his old master - set off for St. Louis, but was taken with the cholera in Tennessee & died (1815).” Although York never saw the recognition he deserved at the time for his contributions to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he is now seen as a true American hero and a pioneering explorer.

After a journey that lasted two and a half years, the expedition team returned home to receive money, fame and international recognition…All except York, who was refused his freedom and forced again into a life of servitude. 39



N 1891, construction began on the

“Great Tower of London”, also known as Watkin’s Tower, at the site of present-day Wembley Stadium in what was the rural Middlesex hamlet called Wembley.

The tower was the brainchild of Sir Edward William Watkin, 1st Baronet, a railway entrepreneur who envisioned creating an attraction to rival that of the Eiffel Tower, but surpassing the latter in size to achieve the title of the world’s tallest building. Watkin was an ambitious visionary, having undertaken many large-scale railway engineering projects, including the Great Central Main Line, and the failed 1881 Anglo-French Submarine Railway Company’s channel tunnel project to connect his railway empire to the French rail network. The success of the Eiffel Tower which was built by engineer, Gustave Eiffel, led to Watkin proposing his own tower to entice Londoners onto his trains while visiting the attraction.


Watkin approached Gustave Eiffel to design his tower, but the Frenchman declined, so he launched an architectural competition in 1890 that received 68 designs for consideration. Some of the proposals included a tower inspired by the Leaning Tower of Pisa, a tower with a spiral railway climbing its exterior, and a 1/12-scale model of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The winning entry was submitted by MacLaren, William Dunn and engineer AD Stewart, consisting of an eight-legged 366m tall metal tower - 45.8 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower. The design had two observation decks containing restaurants, theatres, dancing rooms, exhibition halls, Turkish baths, and a hotel with a capacity of 90 rooms. The top of the tower was reached by a system of lifts, leading to viewing platforms, an astronomical observatory, and a fresh-air sanatorium. The surrounding amusement park was laid out with boating lakes, a waterfall, lush ornamental gardens, cricket and football pitches, and numerous public attractions and restaurants.

Watkin formed the International Tower Construction Company to oversee construction, but after a public subscription failed to attract investors, the project commissioned a scaled back variation on the design which resembled the Eiffel Tower. The foundations were laid in 1892 and construction work commenced in June 1893. By September 1895, the first stage of the tower was completed reaching a height of 47 metres, and was officially opened to the public in 1896. Over 100,000 people visited the park in the second quarter of 1894, though this declined to 120,000 for the whole of 1895 and only 100,000 for 1896. Despite an initial burst of popularity, the tower failed to draw large crowds. Of the 100,000 visitors to the park in 1896, less than a fifth paid to go up the Tower. It was later discovered that the foundations of the tower were unsteady causing subsidence in the marshy soil. The project was further hampered after Watkin suffered a stroke and retired from the chairmanship of the Metropolitan, subsequently leading to the International Tower Construction Company filing for voluntary liquidation in 1899.

In 1902, the tower, now known as “Watkin’s Folly”, was declared unsafe and closed to the public. Over the next two years, the structure was dismantled, and the foundations were demolished using dynamite. Although the tower was a failure, the development of Wembley Park as a recreation venue remained a popular attraction. The Tower Construction Company recouped its losses (re-incorporated as the Wembley Park Estate Company in 1906) laying out the Wembley suburb and the future site of where Wembley Stadium (originally known as the “British Empire Exhibition Stadium”) would be built on the former tower location. The story of Watkin’s Tower was described by the then Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman, who said: “Beyond Neasden there was an unimportant hamlet where for years the Metropolitan didn’t stop. Wembley. Slushy fields and grass farms. Then out of the mist arose Sir Edward Watkin’s dream: an Eiffel Tower for London.”





ILLIAM Wallace was a Scottish

knight and military leader during the First War of Scottish Independence, portrayed in the 1995 American film, Braveheart. The movie was inspired by a 15th century biographical poem called the “Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace” by Blind Harry, a minstrel who composed his works 172 years after Wallace’s death. The poem is a long narrative written in decasyllabic rhyming couplets that forms a biography of Wallace’s life from his boyhood until his execution. Based on assumptions by Blind Harry, it is suggested that William Wallace was born in 1270 in Elderslie, and was the second son of Sir Malcolm Wallace, a minor landowner and vassal of James, 5th steward of Scotland. However, William’s own seal on a letter sent to the Hanse city of Lübeck in 1297 gives his father’s name as Alan Wallace, possibly an Alan Wallace in the Ragman Rolls as a crown tenant in Ayrshire. The Wallace surname means “foreigner” in Old Low Franconian, or in AngloNorman French means “Welshman”, suggesting that the Wallace family line could have originated in Wales, possibly in the former Kingdom of Strathclyde. 42

After the death of King Alexander III in 1286, King Edward I of England was invited by the Scottish nobility to arbitrate who had claim to the Scottish crown. At a great feudal court held in the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, judgment was given in favour of John Balliol having the strongest claim in law, based on being senior in genealogical primogeniture. Edward treated Scotland as a feudal vassal state, demanding homage and military support from the new king. This led Scotland to agree a treaty of mutual assistance with France, for which Edward responded by invading Berwickupon-Tweed that started the First War of Scottish Independence. Near the start of the conflict, Wallace was part of a company that attacked Lanark in South Lanarkshire, killing William de Heselrig, the English High Sheriff. Wallace then marched on Scone, driving out the English justiciar, and attacked the English garrisons between the Rivers Forth and Tay. In 1297, an army led by Wallace and Andrew Moray were victorious in battle against English forces near Stirling on the River Forth, an engagement known as the Battle of Stirling Bridge. After the battle, Moray and Wallace assumed the title of Guardians of the Kingdom of Scotland, with Wallace later knighted in a ceremony at the ‘Kirk o’ the Forest’.

Edward sent a second invasion to Scotland in 1297, engaging the now, Sir Wallace, at the Battle of Falkirk. The Scottish forces were crushed by the English army, resulting in Sir Wallace resigning as Guardian of Scotland in favour of John Comyn and Robert the Bruce (Earl of Carrick and future king of Scotland). Some sources suggest that Sir Wallace left for France to secure French assistance, but in 1305 he was turned over to the English by John de Menteith, a Scottish knight loyal to Edward. Sir Wallace was taken to London, where he was tried for treason and for atrocities against civilians in war, “sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun.” During the trial he was crowned with a garland of oak to suggest he was the king of outlaws. He responded to the treason charge, “I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.” It was Edwards intention to make an example of Sir Wallace, and on the 23rd of August in 1305, Sir Wallace was taken to the Tower of London for his sentence. There, he was stripped naked and dragged through the city at the heels of a horse to Elms at Smithfield. Infront of onlookers, he was hanged (almost to the point of death), emasculated, disembowelled, beheaded,

and quartered (chopped into four pieces). His head was preserved in tar and placed on a pike atop of London Bridge, while his limbs were sent to Newcastle, Berwick, Stirling and Perth. In 1956, a plaque was unveiled at the site of his execution, stating in Latin: “Dico tibi verum libertas optima rerum nunquam servili sub nexu vivito fili” (I tell you the truth. Freedom is what is best. Sons, never live life like slaves.), and in Gaelic “Bas Agus Buaidh” (Death and Victory), an old Scottish battle cry. In 1306 Bruce raised the rebellion that eventually won independence for Scotland.



THE SCOTTISH CLAN SYSTEM The term “clan” is derived from the Gaelic word “clann”, meaning family or children, however, it is a misconception that a person with a clan’s name is a lineal descendant of the clan chief (ceannard cinnidh) or hereditary family.


ANY clansmen took their Chief ’s

surname to show solidarity, through marriage, to settle in clan territory, or to obtain the protection of the ruling family in a system known as the ‘Duthcas’. The clan centred on the chief, who’s succession was governed by a system known as ‘Tanistry’, an ancient law of succession where an heir was chosen from individuals within the hereditary line, often descendants of former Chiefs. Beneath the Chief is the Chieftains, heads of individual houses from which the clan formed, the eldest of which was called the ‘Toiseach’, and then there are the ‘Daoin-Uaisle’, the aristocracy or clan elite. At the bottom of the tier system are the main clan members. Most of a clan’s followers were tenants, supplying labour to work the lands, and sometimes to fight in clan feuds and times of greater turmoil against the armies of England. The origins of the clans vary, often claiming mythological founders that reinforced their status and glorified notions of their origins, such as Clan Campbell, that claimed they had descended from Diarmid O’Dyna, a demigod, son of Donn, and one of the Fianna in the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology. The progenitors of clans can rarely be authenticated further back than the 11th century, and a continuity of lineage in most cases cannot be found until the 13th or 14th centuries. Some clans also have an ethnicity from outside of Scotland, such as Norman, Anglo-Norman, Flemish and Norse origins.


For centuries the clans ruled over their kingdoms with relative autonomy, however, in 1493, James IV confiscated the Lordship of the Isles from the MacDonalds, bringing a period of unrest and rebellions against the Scottish crown. To solidify his position, James decreed the law, ‘Slaughter under trust’ in 1587, and required disputes to be settled by the Crown. The first recorded use of the law was in 1588, where Lachlan Maclean was prosecuted for the murder of members of the MacDonald clan. With the union of the Scottish and English crowns under James VI and I in 1603, the kingdoms of Scotland and England were still considered sovereign states. Each had their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, though both were

ruled by James in personal union. James VI also had an uneasy relationship with the clans and moved to dismantle Clan MacGregor for the killing of members of the state-backed Clan Colquhoun, ruling that the name MacGregor should be “altogether abolished” and forcing all MacGregors to renounce their name under pain of death. James also issued the ‘Statutes of Iona’, a series of provisions to bring the Scottish Highlands and Islands under state control. The provisions required that Highland Scottish clan Chiefs send their heirs to Lowland Scotland to be educated in English-speaking Protestant schools. The statutes also prohibited the general import and sale of wine and whisky, a crime for protecting fugitives, a suppression of bards and other bearers of the traditional culture, and a ban on carrying hagbuts or pistols. The clan Chiefs who fully subscribed to this new system of regulation were rewarded with charters that formalised their ownership of clan lands. During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Charles Edward Stuart, also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie, wanted to regain the British throne for his father, James Francis Edward Stuart, and launched an invasion of England that reached as far as Derby in Derbyshire.

Proscription was followed by the ‘Heritable Jurisdictions Act 1746’, which finally removed the feudal authority of the Clan Chieftains. Scottish heritable sheriffdoms reverted to the Crown, and other heritable jurisdictions, including regalities, came under the power of the courts. During the 18th century, Clan chiefs started to think of themselves more as landlords and restricted the ability of tacksmen to sublet land to increase the income from the estates. This resulted in many tacksmen and wealthier farmers to emigrate for new lands, in which historian, T. M. Devine, describes “the displacement of this class as one of the clearest demonstrations of the death of the old Gaelic society.” A significant number of tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands were also evicted in a period known as the ‘Highland Clearances’, replacing the open fields managed on the run rig system and shared grazing with large-scale pastoral farms. Tenants were unable to afford the higher rents, and landowners would often pay for them to emigrate with little choice on their destination. The primary motivation for the clearances was economic, as many of the clan Chiefs found themselves in financial debt and chose to ignore their obligations under the ‘Duthcas’ system.

Charles was confronted by converging armies of troops recalled from fighting in the War of the Austrian Succession on the continent. The Jacobite’s retreated back to Scotland after failing to secure reinforcements, where they were defeated during the Battle of Culloden on Drummossie Moor, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The aftermath of the battle resulted in the burning of many homes, and a mandate to further supress the highland way of life. The wearing of highland dress, including the kilt, was forbidden in a law known as the ‘Dress Act 1746’, although an exemption allowed the kilt to be worn in the army, continuing the tradition established by the Black Watch regiment. Carrying weapons was also outlawed, and new laws were passed to dismantle the clan system in the ‘Act of Proscription 1746’. The Act of


THE NEW ENGLAND VAMPIRE PANIC The New England vampire panic was a period of terror and mass hysteria during the 19th century, caused by an outbreak of consumption blamed on “vampires” in the states of New England, United States.

Consumption, known today as tuberculosis (TB), is an infectious disease caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. The disease generally affects the lungs, causing a chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats and weight loss. Across the states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, outbreaks of TB spread amongst family members and households. So severe was the epidemic, that it claimed around 2 percent of the region’s population from 1786 to 1800. When a TB sufferer died, it was assumed that they consumed the life of their surviving relatives, who also became ill from TB. To protect the survivors and ward off the symptoms of consumption, the bodies of those who died were exhumed to examine for traits of vampirism. The concept of a blood-sucking spirit, or demon consuming human flesh, has been told in the mythology and folktales of almost every civilisation throughout the centuries. One of the earliest vampiric depictions stems from cuneiform texts by the Akkadians, Samarians, Assyrians and Babylonians, where they referred to demonic figures such as the Lilu and Lilitu. It wasn’t until the late 17th and 18th century, that the folklore for vampires as we imagine began to be told in the verbal traditions and lore of many European ethnic groups. They were described as the revenants of evil beings, suicide victims, witches, corpses possessed by a malevolent spirit, or the victim


of a vampiric attack that has resulted in their own viral ascension to vampirism. During the 18th century, vampire sightings across Eastern Europe had reached its peak, with frequent exhumations and the practice of staking to kill potential revenants. This period was commonly referred to as the “18thCentury Vampire Controversy”. In New England, vampiric traits were determined by how fresh the corpse appeared, especially if the heart or other organs still contained evidence of liquid blood. After a vampiric corpse was identified, the remains were either turned over in the grave, or in some cases the organs were burnt, and the affected family members would inhale the smoke to cure the consumption. In rare cases the deceased would be decapitated and their remains reburied. One of the most famous cases is the Mercy Brown vampire incident in Rhode Island in 1892. Several members of George and Mary Brown’s family suffered a sequence of TB infections, with the mother, Mary Eliza being the first to die of the disease. A newspaper report at the time documents that George Brown was persuaded to give permission to exhume several bodies of his family members by villagers and the local doctor. The examination revealed that the bodies of both Mary and Mary Olive, exhibited the expected level of decomposition, however, the corpse of the daughter, Mercy, exhibited almost no decomposition, and still had blood in the heart (likely due to her body being stored in freezer-like conditions in an above-ground crypt).

Mercy’s heart and liver were burned, and the ashes were mixed with water to create a tonic, which was given to her surviving brother to prevent infection. What remained of Mercy’s body was buried in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter after being desecrated. In an account by Henry David Thoreau in 1859, referring to the case of Frederick Ransom from Vermont, who was exhumed and his heart was burnt on a blacksmith’s forge, Thoreau wrote: “The savage in man is never quite eradicated. I have just read of a family in Vermont, who, several of its members having died of consumption, just burned the lungs & heart & liver of the last deceased, in order to prevent any more from having it.” The term “vampire” wasn’t commonly used in the 19th century communities across New England, instead it was likely applied by newspapers and outsiders at the time due to the similarity with contemporary vampire beliefs in Eastern Europe. This is evidenced in an anthropological study by Michael Bell of the New England phenomenon, where Bell stated: “No credible account describes a corpse actually leaving the grave to suck blood, and there is little evidence to suggest that those involved in the practice referred to it as “vampirism” or to the suspected corpse as a “vampire”, although newspaper accounts used this term to refer to the practice.”


MOTHER SHIPTON’S CAVE Mother Shipton’s Cave is a small cave in North Yorkshire, England, associated with the legendary soothsayer and prophetess, Mother Shipton.


CCORDING to text by the

17th century authors, Richard Head, and later by J. Conyers, Ursula Southeil (known as Mother Shipton), was born in 1488 in the market town of Knaresborough. Both authors note that her mother, Agatha Soothtale, was a poor and desolate 15-year-old orphan who had fallen under the influence of the Devil and engaged in an affair, while some legends suggest that Agatha was a witch that summoned the Devil to conceive a child. Shipton was born in a cave on the banks of the River Nidd during a violent thunderstorm. She was described as deformed with a hunchback and bulging eyes, cackling away at the rumbles of thunder that caused the raging storms to dissipate. The cave sits next to a geological wonder called the Petrifying Well. The waters of the well are rich in sulphate and carbonate that encase objects with a stony exterior. In the past, this was believed to be the result of magic or witchcraft that could turn objects to stone, but this is a natural phenomenon due to a process of


evaporation and deposition in waters with an unusually high mineral content. After her birth, Agatha was dragged before the local magistrate, but refused to reveal the identity of the father, leaving both Agatha and her daughter to be ostracised from society and forced to reside in the cave for shelter. There she studied the forest, the flowers and herbs, and made remedies and potions as an herbalist for the townsfolk. Growing up, Shipton was taunted and teased by the townsfolk for her crooked nose, hunchback and crooked legs, with one account in 1686 describing an incident where chief members of the parish called her “hag face” and “Devil’s bastard”. Despite the disdain of the townsfolk, she found love in the arms of a carpenter called Tobias Shipton and took his name following their marriage. Tobias died in 1514, leaving Shipton heartbroken and in despair, but despite her grieving, the townsfolk blamed her for her husband’s death and claimed witchcraft was afoot. Shipton retreated to the woods, continuing her craft in herbalism

and embraced her reputation as a healer, soothsayer and prophetess. Her prophecies may have even caught the attention of King Henry VIII, who wrote a letter in 1537 to the Duke of Norfolk where he mentions a “witch of York”. In 1666, Samuel Pepys recorded in his diaries that, whilst surveying the damage to London caused by the 1666 Great Fire in the company of the Royal family, he heard them discuss Mother Shipton’s prophecy of the event. She is also referred to in Daniel Defoe’s “A Journal of the Plague Year” written in 1722, referring to the year 1665, when the bubonic plague erupted in London: “Here lives a fortune-teller, Here lives an astrologer, Here you may have your nativity calculated, and the like; and Friar Bacon’s brazen-head, which was the usual sign of these people’s dwellings, was to be seen almost in every street, or else the sign of Mother Shipton.” Today the Petrifying Well is England’s oldest visitor attraction. It was first recorded by the king’s antiquary in 1538 and has been visited by millions of people since 1630.



N July of 1518,

Frau Troffea was seemingly bitten by the “dancing bug” while walking through the streets of Strasbourg.

THE DANCING PLAGUE OF 1518 The city of Strasbourg in Alsace (now France) was the site of one of the strangest plagues in human history.


To the horror of onlookers, she began twisting, gyrating, and dancing uncontrollably on the spot. A week later, her symptoms showed no signs of dissipating, with several other outbreaks across the city all showing the same odd behaviour. Physician accounts, cathedral sermons, local and regional chronicles, and even notes issued by the Strasbourg city council, all document that the victims were dancing, which would later become known as the “Dancing Plague of 1518. By August of the same year, around 400 people were afflicted, with reports of people collapsing in the streets from exhaustion. According to later accounts, dozens of people danced themselves to death after suffering from strokes and heart attacks. There are several theories as to the cause of the plague. 16th century fervent Catholics believe that Saint Vitus cursed the residents of Strasbourg with the “St. Vitus’ Dance” because of the Diocletianic persecution in AD 303.

Another theory suggests that the dancing was brought on by food poisoning caused by the toxic and psychoactive chemical products of ergot fungi (ergotism), which grows commonly on grains used for baking bread. The psychoactive properties of ergot (similar to LSD) can induce hallucinations and mental and visual disturbances, dilated pupils and paranoia.

A 17th century diagnosis suggested that the outbreak was caused by Sydenham chorea, an autoimmune disorder that can occur after an infection of Streptococcus. It causes symptoms such as twitching, arm and leg movements, gyrations, and facial distortions. We can’t forget the anxieties of medieval Europe at the time. Dire situations causing starvation, incurable diseases, and other extreme stresses can lead to mass panic events

ranging from collective concerns to a full-blown mass hysteria. The “Dancing Plague of 1518” could be one such example of a mass psychogenic illness event. Although there have been numerous accounts of dancing plagues in other European countries during the 14th to 17th century, the cause of the strange phenomenon remains one of the world’s most intriguing mysteries.



THE STORY BEHIND THE LEGEND Atlantis has become a taboo subject in many scholarly circles, often branded in pseudo-science and invented interpretations from Plato’s dialogues.


PLATO was a Greek philosopher from Athens during the Classical

period in the 5th to 4th century BC. He was the student of Socrates and taught Aristotle, and is credited with founding the Platonist school of thought and the Academy, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Plato first introduced Atlantis in the Timaeus, a monologue of Timaeus of Locri, a character who appears as a philosopher and a wealthy aristocrat from the Greek colony of Lokroi Epizephyrio. Modern scholarship tends to dismiss Timaeus’s historicity, considering him a literary construct by Plato from features of the Pythagoreans. Protagonists in the dialogue includes Socrates (a Greek philosopher from Athens), Hermocrates (an ancient Syracusan general), Critias (a student of Socrates and an author from Athens) and Timaeus. The dialogue begins with an account of the creation of the universe and ancient civilisations, where Socrates muses about his ideal state described in Plato’s Republic, a Socratic dialogue authored by Plato around 375 BC. To make the perfect example, Critias proceeds to tell the story of Solon’s journey to Egypt sometime during the 7th century BC (300 years prior to the setting of the dialogue). Solon was an Athenian statesman who tried to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in Archaic Athens. After he completed his reforms, according to Herodotus, he visited


Pharaoh Amasis II in Egypt and discussed philosophy with Psenophis of Heliopolis and Sonchis of Sais. His journey also took him to the ancient city of Sais in the Western Nile Delta on the Canopic branch of the Nile. Herodotus claims that the grave of Osiris was located in Sais, whilst the Ancient Greek historian, Diodorus Siculus (most known for writing the monumental universal

phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar) there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travellers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island, and

history Bibliotheca historica), attributes the construction of Sais to the ancient Athenians before the great deluge. At the time of Solon’s visit, Sais was the capital of Ancient Egypt during the 26th Dynasty and had a large cult following at the temple of Neith, a goddess associated with creation, wisdom, weaving and war. According to Critias, it was here that the legend of Atlantis was first described, with priests from the temple recounting Solon with tales of the fallen civilisation 9,000 years prior. Based on the priest’s timeline, Atlantis is placed in the 10th millennium BC at the beginning of the transition from the Palaeolithic to the Neolithic via the interim Mesolithic. Prehistoric people started to develop agriculture and complex communities that constructed monuments such as Göbekli Tepe and Hallan Çemi Tepesi, both in south-eastern Anatolia, and the Star Carr site in North Yorkshire, England. Plato then expands on the story: “For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ (a

over many other islands also and parts of the continent; and, moreover, of the lands here within the Straits they ruled over Libya as far as Egypt.” The Critias, another of Plato’s dialogues (often combined with the Timaeus) once again features Timaeus, Critias, Socrates and Hermocrates, and describes in detail the ancient city, the landscape, fauna and flora, and the structure of society and means of governance. Critias talks about an ancient time when the regions of the world were divided between the gods. Atlantis was positioned within Poseidon’s domain, where Poseidon fell in love with a mortal girl named Cleito and bore him many children, the first of which was named Atlas, king of the entire island kingdom and the ocean. The Atlanteans constructed a great metropolis, surrounded by concentric bridged bodies of water connected to the sea by a large canal. At the centre was a palace on a small mountain that contained a holy temple dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, and statues of gold of all the descendants of the ten kings and of their wives. In the dialogue, Critias points out the virtue of Atlantis: “For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various


chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control.” Over time, the divinity of the Atlanteans gave way to the corruption of the human nature for which Zeus sought to chastise: “Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honourable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the centre of the world, beholds all created things.” From here the rest of the dialogue is incomplete, but events previously described by Critias claims that the continent suffered a series of major earthquakes and sunk beneath the sea. In the years that followed the dialogue, many ancient writers such as Xenocrates, viewed the story of Atlantis to be historical fact, but some saw Plato’s work as fictional or metaphorical myth to describe the perfect state.

Despite its minor importance in Plato’s wider works, the Atlantis story has had a considerable impact on literature. The allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon’s, New Atlantis in 1626 and Thomas More’s, Utopia in 1516. Modern day attempts to associate Atlantis with archaeological sites, mainly places the civilisation in or near the Mediterranean Sea, with proposed locations including Sardinia, Crete, Sicily, Cyprus, Spain, Malta, Turkey, Israel, north-western Africa, Crete and Santorini. Santorini is the most interesting parallel, where a Cycladic Bronze Age town called Akrotiri emerged as a trading hub during the 3rd millennium BC. The town had richly decorated multi-storey buildings that used an advanced sewerage system, predating many contemporary civilisations until the Etruscans and Romans. Akrotiri was destroyed in the Theran eruption sometime in the 17th or 16th century BC, devastating the town and communities on nearby islands with earthquakes and tsunamis. The eruption deposited layers of pumice and ash, burying Akrotiri up to 7 metres in material, which was followed by pyroclastic surges, lava flows, lahar floods, and coignimbrite ash-fall deposits. It is speculated by some historians that the destruction of Akrotiri was the inspiration behind Plato’s story of Atlantis, borrowed from oral stories and legends passed down over the centuries. In more recent years, Atlantis has given rise to pseudoscientific speculation, often a byword for any and all, supposed advanced prehistoric civilisations lost in the annals of time.





HE Führerbunker was a subterranean bunker complex in Berlin, Germany, that served as Hitler’s final Führer Headquarters in the last months of the Second World War.

furnished with items removed from the Chancellery. Hitler and his senior staff moved into the Führerbunker on the 16th of January 1945, joined by Eva Braun and Joseph Goebbels in April, while Magda Goebbels and their six children took residence in the Vorbunker.

Increased Allied bombing led to the expansion of the existing Reich Chancellery Air-Raid Shelter into a large underground network of rooms called the Vorbunker (meaning “upper bunker” or “forward bunker”).

Hitler made his last trip to the surface on his 56th birthday (20th April), where he awarded the Iron Cross to boys from the Hitler Youth in the garden of the Reich Chancellery.

The Vorbunker contained the basics for sustainability underground, including a generator room with ventilators, a shower and washroom, dormitories, and toilet facilities that branch off from a linear route through a central dining room corridor.

With the arrival of Soviet forces in Berlin’s suburbs, defence of the city was organised by General Helmuth Weidling who had several depleted and disorganised Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS divisions, along with poorly trained Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members.

A second bunker called the Führerbunker was added beneath the garden of the Reich Chancellery in 1944 by the Hochtief construction company. Both bunkers were connected via a guarded stairway that could be closed off with a system of bulkheads and steel doors.

By the morning of the 30th of April, Weidling met with Hitler to advise that the Soviet Army was almost at the gates of the Reich Chancellery. Hitler, having also learned of the execution of Benito Mussolini, finally came to terms of the impending collapse of his “Thousand Year Reich”.

The Führerbunker served as the command centre for the remnants of the third Reich’s leadership, as well as the private chambers for the Führer, his wife Eva Braun, and highly ranked members of the Nazi elite.

Hitler, two secretaries, and his personal cook then had lunch, after which, Hitler and Braun said goodbye to members of the bunker staff and several military officers, before entering his personal study where he committed suicide by gunshot.

Although smaller than the Vorbunker, the Führerbunker contained briefing rooms, a telephone exchange, a machine room, and several bedrooms all

In the aftermath of the war, Stalin ordered the levelling of the Chancellery buildings, with subsequent attempts by the Soviet and East German government to blow up the Führerbunker and Vorbunker. By the 1980’s and early 1990’s, the area was flattened to make way for residential flats, however, excavations to construct the building foundations found surviving sections of both bunkers. The Führerbunker was flooded and suffered collapse of internal walls, while the Vorbunker was found with the ventilation pipes still in situ, many of the walls still tiled, and decaying metal safes still standing upright. Several sections of both bunkers were demolished during the construction works, while the remaining sections were filled in and sealed off from public view.


THE MISSING AMBER ROOM The Amber Room, often referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”, was one of Russia’s most priceless works of art.


HE Amber Room was designed by

Andreas Schlüter, a German baroque sculptor and renowned architect. Construction began in 1701 by master craftsman, Gottfried Wolfram, and amber masters, Ernst Schacht and Gottfried Turau. The Amber Room was originally meant for Charlottenburg Palace, however, was instead installed at the Berlin City Palace, where it was admired by Peter the Great of Russia during a state visit in 1716. In order to forge a Russo-Prussian alliance against Sweden, Frederick William I gifted the Amber Room to the Russian Empire to cement their new relationship. Over a period of ten years, the Amber Room was reworked and installed at the summer home of the Imperial family at Catherine Palace in modern-day Pushkin, just outside of St. Petersburg. Its surface covered more than 55 square metres with over 6 tonnes of amber, that today has a monetary value of around £240 million. The room contained ornate architectural features, such as gilding, carvings, amber panels, gold leaf, gemstones, statues of angels, and mirrors that illuminated the room by candlelight. During WW II, the German invasion of the Soviet Union (otherwise known as Operation Barbarossa) placed cultural works of art under threat of German looting. Curators tried to disassemble the Amber Room for removal to Leningrad, but found that the amber had become dry and brittle over the years. They instead attempted to conceal the Amber Room behind mundane wallpaper in the hope that their ruse would be enough to prevent its theft. Adolf Hitler considered the works to be of German origin and was determined to repatriate the Amber Room as a symbol of German pride. He sent a detachment of soldiers from the Army Group North to Catherine Palace, where they discovered the Amber


Room beneath its poor disguise, removing it for transportation to Königsberg Castle (presentday Kaliningrad in Russia). It remained on display at Königsberg for the next two years, but as the tide of war turned in the Allies favour, Hitler ordered the movement of looted possessions and items of cultural value from Königsberg to secure locations deeper within German borders. In 1944, Königsberg was heavily fire-bombed by the Royal Air Force, with further damage caused by artillery from the advancing Red Army. Declassified documents from the Russian National Archives, written by Alexander Brusov (head of the Soviet team charged with locating lost arts), concluded that the Amber Room was most likely destroyed in the resulting damage to the castle. His report also stated that three out of four of the Amber Room’s Florentine mosaics were discovered damaged and burnt in the castle’s cellar. Despite this, the Soviets continued to conduct extensive searches for the Amber Room within the castle grounds. It has been suggested that this was a means of early Cold War propaganda - to hide Russian responsibility for the artillery bombardment that might have destroyed the Amber Room. In contrast, several unconfirmed eyewitnesses claimed to have spotted the Amber Room being loaded onboard the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945, which departed Gdynia and was then torpedoed and sunk by a Soviet submarine.

Later, in 1997, parts of the fourth Florentine mosaic from the Amber Room were recovered by German authorities, when it was discovered in the possession of the son of a German soldier who claimed to have stolen it during the room’s removal either in 1941 or 1945. Such contradictory events have led to many theories as to the fate of the Amber Room, but all investigations have failed to find any definitive evidence as to its whereabouts. The most likely explanation is that it was indeed destroyed at Königsberg, or parts may still remain hidden beneath the castle in a concealed vault, however, in 1968 the Soviet general secretary Leonid Brezhnev ordered the destruction of Königsberg Castle, thus making any onsite research of the last known resting place of the Amber Room all but impossible to discover the truth. In 1979, the Soviet government commissioned new works to replicate the Amber Room based on contemporary photographs and architectural evidence. The process would take craftsman 24 years to complete, with the new Amber Room being dedicated by Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder at the 300th anniversary of the city of Saint Petersburg.

Over the past decades, the wreck has been explored several times, with no tangible evidence to suggest that the Amber Room was ever on board.




HE history of the Illuminati

dates back to the late 18th century, when the Bavarian Illuminati was founded by Johann Adam Weishaupt in the Electorate of Bavaria. Adam Weishaupt was a professor of Canon Law and practical philosophy, who became a non-clerical professor in the Jesuits, an order that was dissolved by Pope Clement XIV in 1773 with the issuing of the papal brief Dominus ac Redemptor. Weishaupt became deeply anti-clerical, resolving to promote the spread of the “Enlightenment”, an intellectual and philosophical movement that promoted ideas based on the pursuit of knowledge obtained by means of reason and the evidence of the senses, human happiness, fraternity, liberty, toleration, and the separation of church and state. Following a system of ranks and grades based on Freemasonry, Weishaupt founded a quasi-masonic society in 1776


called the Bund der Perfektibilisten, or Covenant of Perfectibility (Perfectibilists), but this was later changed to the Illuminatenorden, or Order of Illuminati in 1778.

and clergy persuaded the monarch to repress liberal thought, leading to resentment amongst the educated classes that provided a perfect ground for the Illuminati to find new members.

The founding members adopted the Owl of Athena as the groups symbol, with each member taking an alias. Weishaupt took the name of Spartacus, whilst his students Massenhausen, Bauhof, Merz and Sutor took the name of Ajax, Agathon, Tiberius and Erasmus Roterodamus.

Recruitment focused on candidates who were rich, had an interest to advance through education, and those who had influence or positions in society and other Masonic lodges. Christians of good character were actively sought, but Jews, pagans, monks, and women were excluded from membership.

Weishaupt joined a Masonic lodge in 1777, where he used Freemasonry to recruit new members to his society by promoting his own agenda as pure masonry based on “perfecting human nature” through re-education for achieving a communal state with nature, free of government rule and organised religion. The succession of Charles Theodore to the Dukedom and Prince-Elector of Bavaria in 1777 had initially led to a liberalisation of attitudes and laws, but courtiers

At this time, the Order had three grades of membership, the Novice, Minerval and the Illuminated Minerval, for which favoured members were inducted into the ruling council, or Areopagus. In 1782, Adolph Freiherr Knigge, a leading member and spokesman of the Order reformed the Illuminati with a new system of grades arranged in three classes: The Nursery, The Masonic Grades (Apprentice, Companion and Master) and The Mysteries.

By 1784, the Order reached somewhere between 650 and 2,500 members (including masonic lodges the Illuminati supposedly controlled), with powerful benefactors amongst the ranks such as Karl August, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Ernest II, Duke of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, Duke Ferdinand of BrunswickWolfenbüttel, Count Metternich of Koblenz and Count Pálffy von Erdöd, chancellor of Hungary. Weishaupt wished to keep the existence of the Order secret from the Rosicrucians (a competing movement that promoted mysticism and esoteric wisdom handed down from ancient times), but this did little in deterring the Rosicrucians from openly declaring the Illuminati as a masonic sect, which sought to undermine Christianity by following atheism, and turn Freemasonry into a political system with revolutionary tendencies. As the Illuminati embraced Freemasonry and expanded outside Bavaria, the council of the Areopagites were replaced by an ineffective “Council of Provincials”. The Areopagites, however, remained as powerful voices within the Order, and began to bicker causing internal dissent with Weishaupt, who privately slandered his perceived enemies causing the Order to fracture. The decline of the Illuminati was brought about by the indiscretions of some members, who criticised the monarchy resulting in the the Order becoming more widely known. The Order was also blamed for several anti-religious publications and writings interpreted as seditious, resulting in Charles Theodore

and his government banning all secret societies in 1784. In response to the government edict, Weishaupt fled, leaving behind the Order’s documents and internal correspondence which was seized and made public in 1787, causing the Illuminati membership to fracture from exposure. In his exile, Weishaupt would write a series of works on illuminism, including A Complete History of the Persecutions of the Illuminati in Bavaria (1785), A Picture of Illuminism (1786), An Apology for the Illuminati (1786), and An Improved System of Illuminism (1787), until his death in 1830. Between 1797 and 1798, Augustin Barruel’s Memoirs, illustrating the history of Jacobinism, and John Robison’s “Proofs of a Conspiracy”, publicised the theory that the Illuminati had survived and represented an ongoing international conspiracy, including the unsubstantiated claim that the Order was behind the French Revolution. Several modern-day fraternal organisations claim to be descended from the original Bavarian Illuminati, openly using the name of “Illuminati” or the “The Illuminati Order”, but there is no known provenance or historical connection to suggest that these modern entities are associated with the historic Order.




SISTERS AT ODDS HE surviving children of the heir-obsessed king

was questioned by the privy council and thrown into the tower. Mary had Elizabeth’s death warrant in hand, but decided to spare her life, instead imprisoning Elizabeth for several months.

Mary Tudor and her younger half-sister, Elizabeth, were never expected to reign as Queens, however, with Henry having no sons coming of age, this made their accession more and more likely.

By 1554, Catholicism was restored in England and heresy acts enacted in law. This led to hundreds of Protestants being burned alive in punishment.

Mary was the only daughter (and only surviving child) from the marriage between Catherine of Aragon and Henry. Raised by her strong-willed Catholic mother, Mary grew up in a loving environment, doted upon at the time as the jewel of her father’s eye.

A suspected pregnancy gave Mary hope of a Catholic succession, but this turned out to be a phantom pregnancy that would ultimately end her rule. Embarrassed and angry, Phillip left Mary to return to Spain, further weakoning her position.

Princess Mary was highly educated, spoke several languages, was an accomplished singer and dancer, and an extremely pious Catholic. However, as it became more apparent that Catherine would be unable to bear Henry a son, Henry’s attentions turned elsewhere, casting Catherine aside in a decade long attempt at annulment so he could marry Catherine’s lady in waiting, Anne Boleyn.

Mary’s declining health forced her to summon Elizabeth, informing Elizabeth that she would be the new queen of England. Attempts were made to convince Elizabeth to continue with the Catholic traditions in England, but these were unsuccessful, and on November 17th, 1558, Mary died.


Henry VIII were not only girls, but were both declared illegitimate.

Tired of waiting for the Pope to allow the divorce, Henry denounced the Catholic church and named himself the Head of the Church of England, thereby allowing himself the divorce he sought and the marriage of the already pregnant Anne to take place. At the time, 17-year-old Mary was disallowed to see her mother unless they both agreed to support the annulment and confirm that Anne was the rightful queen. Catherine stayed strong in her resolve and died in 1536. Mary became another victim in her father’s plot to have a son. She was declared illegitimate, stripped of her royal possessions, tutors and servants, and was forced to be a servant in the household of her new baby half-sister Elizabeth. Despite not having a son, Elizabeth became the new focus of Henry and was named the High and Mighty Princess of England. Raised as a Protestant, Elizabeth followed the teachings of Henry’s new Church of England.

Thus, Mary became forever known as ‘Bloody Mary’.

Elizabeth became queen at the age of 25, and declared her intentions to her council and other peers who had come to Hatfield to swear allegiance. The speech contains the first record of her adoption of the medieval political theology of the sovereign’s “two bodies”: the body natural and the body politic: “My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God’s creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all ... to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel.” Elizabeth would go on to rule England as Elizabeth I for the next 45 years, a period considered a ‘Golden Age’ by many historians.

However, her status as a princess was short lived, as her mother was executed for treason in 1536. Henry married his third wife, Jane Seymour, which changed the line of succession and caused Elizabeth to be stripped of her titles, just as her sister Mary before. In 1537, Edward was born to Queen Jane, removing Mary and Elizabeth completely from court and any immediate reconciliation with their father. Having a brother as their future king removed any rivalry between Mary and Elizabeth. Young Elizabeth grew to love her older sister and they regularly spent time together. Mary was invited back to court to become reacquainted with her father, while Elizabeth was to live in the household with her baby brother Edward. With the death of Henry in 1547, 9-year-old Edward was crowned King, with governance of the realm managed by a regency council until Edward came of age. However, Edward died 6 years later, naming his first cousin once removed, Lady Jane Grey, as his heir, excluding Mary and Elizabeth. This decision was disputed, and Jane was deposed by Mary nine days after becoming queen. With Elizabeth at her side, Mary marched into London and took the crown. She knew that Elizabeth supported her claim, however, she could also be a Protestant rival to her Catholic beliefs . To legitimise her rule, Mary turned her attention to finding a husband and producing an heir. This would prevent Elizabeth (still next-in-line under the terms of Henry VIII’s will and the Act of Succession of 1544) from succeeding to the throne and her Protestant faith ruling over England. Mary married Phillip of Spain, leading to fear among her subjects that England would fall under Spanish control or influence. Soon a plot to overthrow Mary and put Elizabeth on the throne was hatched. Known as Wyatt’s Rebellion, the plot was led by Sir Thomas Wyatt and other fervent Protestants. The plot was quickly foiled and all the ring leaders were put to death. Elizabeth, suspected of being involved,


THE ANIMAL WAR HEROES Throughout human history, animals have been used for their physical strength (e.g. oxen and draft horses), for transportation (e.g. riding horses and camels), while others are service animals trained to execute certain specialised tasks (e.g. hunting and guide dogs, homing pigeons and fishing cormorants).


NIMALS have also been used

by various militaries for use in warfare, combat, recovery, transportation, communication, and photographic espionage. The horse was the most widely used animal in warfare and has become a symbol to represent the animals lost in conflict. However, other seemingly less significant animals are also credited with saving thousands of lives. During WWI, one of the latest weapon advancements introduced by the Germans was mustard gas, a type of chemical warfare agent that caused 1st and 2nd degree burns when in contact with skin. Soldiers in the tenches used slugs as an early warning detection system, as it was discovered that slugs have a high level of sensitivity to the gas. Birds also played an important role in military service. As early as 5,000 years ago in Egypt, homing pigeons were used to announce the arrival of incoming ships to port, or to carry messages over large distance. During the Crusades, Richard the Lion Heart’s men captured a homing pigeon carrying a message for the people of Ptolemais. The message told the city inhabitants that a Muslim army would arrive in three days to repel the crusaders. A forged message was substituted stating 62

that no help would be coming, resulting in the people of Ptolemais surrendering the city without a fight. Ocean animals such as dolphins, seals, sea lions, and beluga whales have been hugely successful during military exercises and maritime conflicts. Marine mammals have been trained to guard navy ships against enemy divers, locate mines, and aid in location and recovery of lost equipment or persons. Land animals are also vital in many military operations. Dogs have been employed in many aspects of military and wartime duties. Their elite sense of smell allows them to detect poison gasses and enemy troops. Dogs have also been trained to become therapy animals and companions for those in hospital, often supporting those with post-traumatic stress or mortal wounds. One such canine hero was Stubby from WW1. Stubby was a stray mixed breed (likely pit bull/Boston terrier) found wandering around the campus of Yale University in 1917 when the 102nd Infantry was in training. Stubby caught the attention of Corporal James Robert Conroy, who smuggled him aboard his ship enroute to France. During their voyage, Conroy taught Stubby various tricks, in particular how how to salute. When Stubby was discovered, he saluted the commanding officer and was allowed to stay with Conroy and his brigade as an unofficial mascot. Stubby spent the next 18 months serving with the infantry and was involved in 17 battles. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and allegedly once caught a German soldier. Stubby has been called the most decorated war dog of the Great War and the only dog to be nominated and promoted to sergeant through combat.


THE VIKING BESERKER In Old Norse sources, Viking berserkers were warriors who fought in a trance-like fury, that later gave rise to the English word, “berserk”.

The name likely means “bear-shirt” (comparable in Middle English to the word “serk”, that means “shirt”), with warriors traditionally going into battle without armour, and instead wearing bear or wolf pelts.


Some scholars argue that the origins of the berserker can be found during the Roman period, such as the Germanic social structures described by the Roman historian, Tacitus, or in scene 36 on Trajan’s column in Rome depicting tribal warriors wearing bear hoods and wolf hoods. One of the earliest written texts describing berserkers is the Hrafnsmál, a 9th century fragmentary skaldic poem, written by Norwegian skald, Þorbjörn Hornklofi: ‘‘They [the ships] were loaded with men and white shields, western spears 64

and Frankish swords. Berserks bellowed; battle was under way for them; wolf-skins [berserks] howled and brandished iron spears.’ They are called wolf-skins, who bear bloody shields in combat; they redden spears when they come to war; there [at Haraldr’s court] they are seated together. There, I believe, he, the sovereign wise in understanding, may entrust himself to men of courage alone, those who hew into a shield.’’

“His (Odin’s) men rushed forwards without armour, were as mad as dogs or wolves, bit their shields, and were strong as bears or wild oxen, and killed people at a blow, but neither fire nor iron told upon them. This was called Berserkergang.”

To “go berserk” was to “hamask”, which translates as “change form” or “enter a state of wild fury”, literally to shapeshift into the form of a bear.

This image changed overtime (especially after the conversion to Christianity in Scandinavia), instead being portrayed as criminals, thugs, looters and murderers who kill indiscriminately.

Beserkers were portrayed as indestructible in the sagas, immune to most fatal woes, and possessing a superhuman strength. This is shown in the Ynglinga saga, written by the Icelandic historian and poet, Snorri Sturluson (1179–1241):

Berserkers appear prominently in many Norse sagas and poems, either as champions, heroes, elite soldiers, or bodyguards.

amounts of alcohol or drugs - such as hallucinogenic mushrooms, or the henbane Hyoscyamus niger plant. In 1977, archaeologists excavating a Norse grave near Fyrkat in Denmark, found seeds from henbane Hyoscyamus niger plant which supports this theory. In 1015, Jarl Eiríkr Hákonarson of Norway outlawed berserkers, and the Grágás, medieval Icelandic law codes, sentenced berserker warriors to outlawry. By the 12th century, organised berserker war-bands had completely disappeared.

Some scholars propose that that the berserker rage was caused by self-induced hysteria or epilepsy, or through the consumption of large 65

Pavlopetri, also called Paulopetri, is a submerged ancient town, located between the islet of Pavlopetri and the Pounta coast of Laconia, on the Peloponnese peninsula in southern Greece.


HE site was first identified

in 1904, but the scale of Pavlopetri would not be realised until it was re-examined in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming and surveyed by a team of archaeologists from the University of Cambridge.

Most of the physical remains of the town are found 20 metres from the Pounta coast shoreline, and run for over 300 metres south to Pavlopetri Island, covering an approximate area of around 19.7 acres. Ceramics uncovered in situ confirm that Pavlopetri had Mycenaean occupation, but further archaeological evidence suggests that the town was occupied as early as 3500 BC.


The remains are indicated by a network of stone walls up to three stones in height, constructed from uncut aeolianite, sandstone and limestone blocks. Tracing the walls reveals the foundations of a network of streets, courtyards, and up to 15 rectilinear buildings, as well as cist graves and Bronze Age pithos burials at a depth of 3 to 4 metres. The discovery of various loom weights and imported pitharis pots from Crete, indicate that Pavlopetri was a centre of a thriving textile industry, and a major trading port. The site was initially abandoned during the post-palatial period of Minoan chronology, and re-occupied during the Classical and Hellenistic periods (indicated by Skyphos wine-cups that date from the 4th century BC, and 3rd century BC sherds).

Geologists theorise that the submergence of the town was the result of local and regional faulting of the Cretan Arc (an arcuate mountain chain of the southern Aegean Sea), that led to the convergence and subduction of the tectonic plate causing the town to drop beneath the sea level. Other examples of convergence and subduction can be found locally, such as the archaeological site of Plitra that was submerged, and the site of Antikythera that uplifted. Whilst an exact date for submergence is unknown, the evidence so far indicates that Pavlopetri was probably inundated and awash by the time of the Roman period, and thus completely abandoned.




ERMA also called Karmah, is the former capital of the ancient Kerma Kingdom, located in the Dongola Reach above the Third Cataract of the River Nile in presentday Sudan.

The Kingdom of Kerma was an indigenous Nilotic culture that emerged around the mid-third millennium BC from the C-Group culture in the southern part of Upper Nubia. At its peak, the kingdom controlled several Cataracts of the Nile, covering territory almost as extensive as that of its Egyptian neighbours. When Kerma was first excavated in the 1920s, archaeologists believed that the site was an administrative centre or fort of semi-independent Egyptian governor. However, archaeologists now believe that Kerma was most likely one of the earliest African kingdoms that rose to prominence due to the strategic position on several caravan routes linking with Egypt, the Red Sea, the Horn of Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa. Kerma culture has been identified with four distinct phases that span from the end of the Old Kingdom to the transitional phase between the Second Intermediate Period and the New Kingdom. This is based on the burial rites, morphology of the tombs, and the typology of ceramics that define: Kerma Ancient (2400-2050 BC), Kerma Moyen (2050-1750 BC), Kerma

Classique (1750-1500 BC) and Kerma Recent (1500-1450 BC). The kingdom was centred on Kerma, a large walled metropolis with a population of around 10,000 inhabitants at its zenith. The city consisted of a system of planned roads connecting residential areas, a necropolis, and a religious quarter to a large adobe structure called a Deffufa. During the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose I of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt, the Egyptians annexed Nubia around 1504 BC and destroyed the city of Kerma. The Egyptians placed a Viceroy of Kush, or ‘King’s Son of Kush’ to maintain order over the former Kerma territories, establishing a new settlement north of Kerma which is today known as Dokki Gel (meaning “red mound”). The Egyptians continued to rule the region until the Kingdom of Kush emerged (possibly from Kerma) following the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt during the Bronze Age Collapse.


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