.... The aim is to retrieve missing artifacts, investigate reports of new ones and understand the importance of what they are doing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Carved stone balls

"Carved stone balls from Scotland are an enigmatic class of objects. They date to the late Neolithic or early Bronze Age, between 3200 and 1500 BC, and are made of various stones ranging from sandstone to granite. They ... are decorated with carved evenly-spaced patterns of circular bosses or knobs around the surface of the sphere. The designs vary with the majority being based around a series of six bosses, but the number of bosses varies from 3-160."

More at http://www.ashmolean.org/ash/britarch/highlights/stone-balls.html

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Roman Dodecahedron

This is a Roman Dodecahedron found at Aventicum, Avenches

The Roman Dodecahedra were ancient telemeters,
as I discussed in the following papers:
Roman Dodecahedron as dioptron: analysis of freely available data
A Roman Dodecahedron for measuring distance
Ancient and modern rangefinders

Cave-men art

Cave-men art

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Al-Jazari machine

Diagram of a hydropowered water-raising machine from The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices by Al-Jazari in 1206.

Antikythera mechanism

Antikythera is a Greek island. It is known for being the location of the discovery of the Antikythera mechanism and for the Antikythera wreck, a shipwreck from the 1st or 2nd century BC. It was discovered by sponge divers in the early 1900s. The wreck produced numerous statues and a mechanism, considered as the world's oldest known analog computer.
In October 1900, a team of sponge divers led by Captain Dimitrios Kondos began diving off the coastline of Antikythera island. At that time, divers wore as diving equipment a canvas suit and copper helmet, which allowed them to dive deeper and to stay submerged longer. "The first to lay eyes on the shipwreck 60 metres down was Elias Stadiatos, who quickly signaled to be pulled to the surface. He described the scene as a heap of rotting corpses and horses lying on the sea bed. Thinking the diver had gone mad from too much carbon dioxide in his helmet, Kondos himself dove into the water, soon returning with a bronze arm of a statue." more Wiki.
On 17 May 1902, archaeologist Valerios Stais made the most celebrated find. He was diving to search the area of the wreck and noticed that one of the pieces of rock near him had a gear wheel embedded in it. He found what is now known as the "Antikythera mechanism".

Il meccanismo è un "antichissimo calcolatore per il calendario solare e lunare, le cui ruote dentate potevano riprodurre il rapporto di 254:19 necessario a ricostruire il moto della Luna in rapporto al Sole (la Luna compie 254 rivoluzioni siderali ogni 19 anni solari). L'estrema complessità del congegno era inoltre dovuta al fatto che tale rapporto veniva riprodotto tramite l'utilizzo di una ventina di ruote dentate e di un differenziale, un meccanismo che permetteva di ottenere una rotazione di velocità pari alla somma o alla differenza di due rotazioni date. Il suo scopo era quello di mostrare, oltre ai mesi lunari siderali, anche le lunazioni, ottenute dalla sottrazione del moto solare al moto lunare siderale.Sulla base della sua ricerca, Price concluse che, contrariamente a quanto si era creduto in precedenza, nella Grecia del II secolo a.C. esisteva effettivamente una tradizione di altissima tecnologia." More http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macchina_di_Anticitera and also, a longer discussion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

I have prepared the following image, using a picture after enhancement and a schematic view, both from Wiki.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


XIV Century
Palazzo Madama

Surveying instrument

Palazzo Madama, Torino
XVII Century

Dodecahedral sundials

Dodecahedron With Sundial Faces 
Palazzo Madama, Torino
End  XVII Century

Buddha and lions

"The Throne is both a reference to Siddharta Gautama's royal ancestry and to the idea of spiritual kingship - enlightenment as ruler of the spiritual world. ...  Sometimes the base of the throne is decorated with other symbols such as lions and deer, both associated with the Buddha's teachings."

Il Buddha siede su un trono sorretto da tre leoni, che poggia a sua volta su un piedistallo fiancheggiato da due devoti monaci. La veste monastica dalle pieghe accuratamente disegnate e priva di cintura rivela il corpo ben modellato. Il lembo dello scialle scende dalla spalla sinistra terminando in un doppia “coda di pesce”.
Il leone in questa iconografia evoca il suo ruggito (simhanada) ossia la voce del Buddha che penetra lo spazio divulgando la Dottrina.
Museo Arte Orientale, Torino

Crystal skull

Small crystal skull, a few centimeters, Palazzo Madama, Torino

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Soul jar

A hunping is a  "soul jar", a ceramic funerary  urn) often found in the tombs of the Han Dynasty of China.
The hunping is somewhat enigmatic artifact: probably, it was believed the soul of the deceased eventually resided in the vessel. Some tops of hunping vessels are decorated with miniatures of men, animals, birds,and even images of  buildings.

Zhejiang (Shangyu kilns), Western Jin, late III - early IV Century AD
Mueso Arte Orientale, Torino

The world's first seismometer

Who was the inventor of the first siesmometer?
Zhang Heng. He was (AD 78–139) a Chinese astronomer, mathematician, inventor, geographer, cartographer, artist, poet, statesman. He lived under the Han Dynasty (AD 25–220) of China. He was a Chief Astronomer, Prefect of the Majors for Official Carriages, and then Palace Attendant at the imperial court. He invented the world's first water-powered armillary sphere, improved the inflow water clock by adding another tank and invented the world's first seismometer, which discerned the cardinal direction of an earthquake 500 km away. He improved previous Chinese calculations of the formula for pi. In addition to documenting about 2,500 stars in his extensive star catalogue. Some modern scholars have also compared his work in astronomy to that of Ptolemy (AD 86–161). (Adapted from Wiki)

A replica of an ancient Chinese Siesmograph (25-220 CE). Picture taken in July 2004 at Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland California.
"In 132 CE, after several serious earthquakes in China, astronomer Zhang Heng invented this instrument to warn people of the next one. When the ground shook, it moved a pendulum inside the jug. The pendulum pushed a lever that opened one dragon's mouth. A ball rolled out and into the toad's mouth below, sounding an alarm. The open dragon mouth pointed in the direction of the earthquake, notifying the Emperor."

Aléria dodecahedron

This image is adapted from YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_2OrVzC46Y
It is showing a rock crystal dodecahedron found at Aléria Corsica