Marty's Blog

11 Ancient Burial Boxes Recovered in Israel

11 Ancient Burial Boxes Recovered in Israel

March 31st, 2014

Original Article: 11 ancient burial boxes recovered in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli authorities on Monday unveiled 11 ancient burial boxes dating to around the time of Jesus, recovered by police during a midnight raid on antiquities dealers suspected of stealing the artifacts.

The boxes include a pair of ossuaries believed to contain the remains of two noblemen who lived in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago.

Some are engraved with designs and even names, giving clues to their origin and contents. The boxes contain bone fragments and remnants of what experts say is pottery buried with the deceased.

Israel's Antiquities Authority said the boxes were recovered last Friday, shortly after midnight, when police observed two cars parked suspiciously at a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem. When they investigated, they found four people involved in an exchange of the boxes. Once police recovered the items, they alerted the authority.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the boxes were "stolen from a cave" near Jerusalem with the intent of being sold to collectors. He said authorities had been tracking the suspects for some time but would not elaborate. The exchange involved an Israeli and a Palestinian seller attempting to make the sale to an Israeli customer, he said.

According to Israeli antiquities law, all antiquities that are discovered are considered property of the state.

Two of the suspects remained in custody on Monday, and the others were under house arrest, according to the authority.

The boxes, known as ossuaries, are believed to date back to the Second Temple Period, a time stretching from roughly 515 B.C. to 70 A.D. that included the reign of King Herod, who built some of the most famous sites in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, and the time of Jesus.

Not unlike today, the Jerusalem of the time was a place of strong religious divisions, multiple languages and a diverse economy. Visitors made pilgrimages from far and wide, bringing with them commerce and traffic on religious holidays.

According to common Jewish burial practices of the time, the deceased were not buried but laid out in a cave for one year. Afterward, the bones were gathered and stored in the special boxes.

"It's kind of like where the deceased go to retire," said Stephen Pfann, president of the University of the Holy Land. Pfann noted that the use of these burial boxes developed at the time partly to condense the space needed once the corpse had turned to bones and partly because of the difficulty of finding space for a tomb in Jerusalem's hard bedrock.

Some of the newly recovered boxes feature elaborate engravings, indicating wealth and a high social status of the deceased.

"It was an expense to cut a tomb at all," said Pfann. "It definitely took a certain amount of wealth."

The boxes are not especially rare. The Antiquities Authority already has in its possession over 1,000 of these ancient boxes. But the authority's deputy director, Eitan Klein, said that each box was significant.

"We can learn from each ossuary about a different aspect of language, art and burial practice," he said. "And we can learn about the soul of the person."

Two were inscribed in Hebrew with names — "Yoezer" and "Ralphine." Klein said that he hoped to learn more about the identity of the deceased through future research.

According to Klein, the boxes held the remains primarily of rabbis, businessmen and aristocrats of the time. The use of ossuaries became popular during the 2nd century B.C., influenced by the individualism of Greek and Roman societies. They fell out of fashion, Klein said, after Roman domination of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Klein estimated the value of the boxes to be in the thousands of dollars.

In the past, allegations of forgery have been made over certain ossuaries and their inscriptions.

In one of the most famous cases, doubts still linger over a 10-year forgery investigation into the origins of an ossuary claimed to be inscribed with a reference to Jesus Christ. The case was closed in 2012 with no one convicted of forgery.

Klein said he had no questions about the authenticity of the latest discovery, given their engravings and contents.

"These ossuaries are authentic," he said. "Everything here smells authentic."

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 570 |

3300-Year-Old Tomb with Pyramid Entrance Discovered in Egypt

3,300-Year-Old Tomb with Pyramid Entrance Discovered in Egypt

By Owen Jarus
Live Science
March 31st 2014

3,300-Year-Old Tomb with Pyramid Entrance Discovered in Egypt

A tomb newly excavated at an ancient cemetery in Egypt would have boasted a pyramid 7 meters (23 feet) high at its entrance, archaeologists say.

The tomb, found at the site of Abydos, dates back around 3,300 years. Within one of its vaulted burial chambers, a team of archaeologists found a finely crafted sandstone sarcophagus, painted red, which was created for a scribe named Horemheb. The sarcophagus has images of several Egyptian gods on it and hieroglyphic inscriptions recording spells from the Book of the Dead that helped one enter the afterlife.

There is no mummy in the sarcophagus, and the tomb was ransacked at least twice in antiquity. Human remains survived the ransacking, however. Archaeologists found disarticulated skeletal remains from three to four men, 10 to 12 women and at least two children in the tomb.

Newly discovered pyramid

The chambers that the archaeologists uncovered would have originally resided beneath the surface, leaving only the steep-sided pyramid visible.

"Originally, all you probably would have seen would have been the pyramid and maybe a little wall around the structure just to enclose everything," said Kevin Cahail, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, who led excavations at the tomb.

The pyramid itself "probably would have had a small mortuary chapel inside of it that may have held a statue or a stela giving the names and titles of the individuals buried underneath," Cahail told Live Science. Today, all that remains of the pyramid are the thick walls of the tomb entranceway that would have formed the base of the pyramid. The other parts of the pyramid either haven't survived or have not yet been found.

Military ties

It was not uncommon, at this time, for tombs of elite individuals to contain small pyramids, Cahail said. The tomb was excavated in the summer and winter field seasons of 2013 and Cahail will be presenting results at the annual meeting of the American Research Center in Egypt, to be held in Portland, Ore., from April 4-6.

Cahail believes that Horemheb's family had military ties that allowed them to afford such an elaborate tomb. Another burial chamber, this one missing a sarcophagus, contains shabti figurines that were crafted to do the work of the deceased in the afterlife. Writing on the figurines say that they are for the "Overseer of the Stable, Ramesu (also spelled Ramesses)." This appears to be a military title and it’s possible that Ramesu was the father or older brother of Horemheb, Cahail said.

He noted it's interesting that both Horemheb and Ramesu share names with two military leaders, who lived at the same time they did. Both of these leaders would become pharaohs.

 "They could actually be emulating their names on these very powerful individuals that eventually became pharaoh, or they could have just been names that were common at the time," Cahail said.

Multiple wives?

The bones the team discovered in the tomb indicate that considerably more women than men were buried in the tomb. This brings up the question of whether Horemheb and Ramesu had multiple wives at the same time. Cahail said that polygamy was a common practice among the pharaohs, but it's uncertain if it was practiced among non-royalty.

Another possibility is that the tomb was used for multiple generations by the same family and contains the remains of daughters, mothers and other female relatives. Yet another possibility is that the tomb was re-used, without permission, at a later date.

Radiocarbon tests, which can provide a date range for the bones, may be done in the future to help solve the mystery.

"You’re left with the question, who are all these people?" Cahail said.

A Jasper treasure

One of the most interesting artifacts the team found was a heart amulet, made of red and green jasper. The hard stone amulet was broken into three pieces.

"It's a beautiful object and possibly one of the best carved examples of these very rare type of amulets," Cahail said. "It was probably on the chest of one of the deceased individuals and there probably would have been some sort of necklaces and gold and things like that."

The purpose of this heart-shaped amulet was probably related to spells from the Book of the Dead that tell the heart of the deceased not to lie. The ancient Egyptians believed that, after death, their hearts would be put on a scale and weighed against a feather representing ma'at, an Egyptian concept that includes truth and justice. If their heart weighed the same or less they could obtain eternal life, but if it weighed more they were destroyed.

"Essentially, your heart and your good deeds and everything that you've done in your life is weighed against the measure of truth," Cahail said.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 237 |

Mummy's 1,300-Year-Old Thigh Tattoo Revealed

Christian Ink: Mummy's 1,300-Year-Old Thigh Tattoo Revealed

By Megan Gannon
Live Science
March 27th 2014

Christian tattoo has been discovered high on the inner thigh of a mummified Sudanese woman. New images released by the British Museum show the ancient ink, which dates back to 1,300 years ago.

The well-preserved corpse was discovered during a recent archaeological excavation in northern Sudan along the banks of the Nile River. CT scans allowed researchers to peek under the woman's skin and look at her bones, while infrared imaging showed her faint thigh tattoo more clearly.

Researchers at the British Museum have interpreted the tattoo as a monogram for the archangel Michael, stacking the ancient Greek letters spelling Michael (M-I-X-A-H-A), The Telegraph reported. Archaeologists have previously found the symbol emblazoned on church mosaics and artifacts, but never before on human flesh. [Photos: An Ancient Mummy's Thigh Tattoo]

Curator Daniel Antoine told the paper that the ancient body art is the first evidence of a tattoo from this period, calling it a "very rare find."

Antoine doesn't know for sure what purpose the tattoo would have served, but speculated it might have been intended to protect the woman, The Telegraph reported.

The mummy is set to go on display at the British Museum in London in May as part of an exhibition called "Ancient Lives: New Discoveries."

The mummy is hardly the first, or even the oldest, to bear tattoos. It was common to get inked in many cultures around the world; mummies found in places like Peru, Egypt and the Philippines attest to a long and diverse history of body art.

At 5,300 years old, Ötzi the Iceman is Europe's oldest mummy and he may also hold the distinction of having the world's oldest surviving tattoos. The mummy was found frozen in the Alps in 1991 and he has several tattoos, mostly in the form of small lines and crosses, etched in soot around his joints. The markings are suspected to have been less decorative than therapeutic, since Ötzi is thought to have suffered from joint pain before he died.

Another notable frozen mummy discovered in the 1990s had tattoos, too. The 2,500-year-old body of a woman in her late 20s was found in 1993 in the permafrost of the Ukok Plateau in southwestern Siberia. She was tattooed with intricate animal motifs, abstract shapes and mythological creatures such as a deer with a griffon's head, according to The Siberian Times. Other mummies of the Siberian Pazyryk culture are inked with similar designs and animals like tigers, leopards and elk.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 199 |

History Reburied? NY's 1755 Battle Site Covered Up

Today's blog asks will all traces of the past be permanently burried and forgotten including many soldiers graves?

History reburied? NY's 1755 battle site covered up

AP by Chris Carola March 3rd 2014

LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (AP) — The French and Indian War battle won here by green Colonial troops is just a footnote in most history books, but the way Randy Patten sees it, the New England farmers who fell during an ambush that opened the fighting didn't need to be buried a second time, 250 years later.

In the 1990s, a businessman was granted permission by the town of Lake George to fill in his vacant, sloping property. The land borders the wooded ravine where about 1,000 British Colonial troops and 200 of their Mohawk Indian allies were ambushed by a larger force of French and Indians on the morning of Sept. 8, 1755.

The ravine was part of the route for a wilderness road traveled by such 18th-century figures as Paul Revere, Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

"This (businessman) is dumping on historical ground, or what's left of it, anyway," said Patten, a 61-year-old retired state police investigator and former member of the New York commission that promoted the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War from 2005 through 2010.

It's often been that way in Lake George, where history can be uncovered with the simple turn of a shovel or obliterated with the bucket of a backhoe.

In October, state archaeologists announced that they had discovered 10,000-year-old Native American artifacts just inches below the ground near the state-owned beach on the lake's southern end. At nearby Fort William Henry, numerous artifacts and skeletal human remains have been found since the original 1750s fortification was reconstructed as a tourist attraction 60 years ago. Archaeologists believe hundreds of soldiers are buried under what's now the asphalt parking lot shared by the fort and the neighboring resort hotel.

Yet despite its rich history, Lake George's efforts to preserve remnants of its Colonial past often have fallen short, bested by economic development interests in a southern Adirondack town where tourism is the only industry. In the early 1970s, the ruins of a French and Indian War fort were bulldozed to make way for a new hotel on the village's southern end, despite pleas by local preservationists to save at least a portion of the site.

Patten said another historic parcel was damaged when, starting in the late 1990s, businessman Anthony Tomasovic dumped tons of soil, trees and road debris on his 2.8-acre property fronting a commercially zoned stretch of Route 9, the main drag in his tourist-friendly area. At some point, the fill began cascading into the ravine where the ambush known as the Bloody Morning Scout is believed to have happened along the Military Road, built by New England militiamen just days before the battle.

Patten is convinced many of the scores of casualties from the first musket volleys of the ambush were buried afterward in the ravine where the Mohawks from New York and provincial militiamen from Massachusetts and Connecticut were bushwhacked at the start of the Battle of Lake George, eventually won by the Colonials. For proof, he points to after-battle reports and soldier journals that record the dead being buried "where they fell" in the days following the battle.

Patten, local historians and at least one town planning board member raised concerns about the ravine site after Tomasovic first applied in the mid-1990s for a permit to fill in his property. Nevertheless, the planning board approved his application in 1996, allowing Tomasovic to begin clearing trees and dumping soil on the property.

In 2004, a study completed by the Warren County Historical Society under a grant from the federal battlefields preservation program stated that within 10 years, Tomasovic's project and other commercial development along Route 9 "will completely obliterate any evidence of this battlefield as well as the graves of those slain during the action and buried as they fell."

In December, the town's planning and zoning director sent Tomasovic a letter ordering him to cease fill operations on his property. The letter was written two days after The Associated Press first began inquiring about Tomasovic's property.

The town's letter didn't mention any issues regarding the dumping of soil on the battle site, only focusing on concerns over stabilization of the high, approximately 250-foot-long embankment that now looms over the ravine along the property's back side.

Tomasovic said he had finished fill work at the property last year, before receiving the letter. He has yet to build anything on his property, but says he still has plans for the parcel. He refused to divulge details.

Tomasovic defended his work at the property, pointing to a neighboring commercial property that was built decades ago, also by dumping fill into the ravine. He said that anyone building a business in an area as steeped in history as Lake George can't help but run into preservation issues.

"All of Lake George is a historic site," Tomasovic told The Associated Press. "Everywhere you build there, you're going to find something historic."

No official archaeological digs have been conducted in the ravine, and none are planned.

Patten feels something should be done to honor the common soldiers who died and are buried in the ravine.

"They were the first Americans to battle a professional foreign army," he said. "They deserve better."

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 438 |

Association for Gravestone Studies Ohio Spring Meeting May 3rd 2014

Hi everyone today I  want to pass along word from my friend Beth Santore of Graveaddiction  for the Next Association for Gravestone Studies event

Hello, AGS Ohio Chapter members and interested parties

Please save the date for our 2014 Spring Meeting in Knox County!  

When:  May 3, 2014 - Registration begins at 9:00 a.m.

Where:  The Fredericktown Administration Building (the old high school), 117 Columbus Road, Fredericktown, Ohio  43019

Chapter Member Krista Horrocks is our meeting coordinator this spring, and she is going to show us some incredible cemeteries in the Fredericktown area.  More details will be announced as we get closer to the meeting date.  The tentative schedule is below:

MORNING PROGRAM:  During the morning we will have presentations from members and guests.  If you are interested in sharing information about your gravestone research, conservation projects, etc please let me know so I can get you added to the schedule. Presentations can be formal or informal - we just want to hear about any cemetery work or research you've been doing.  Please send me a title and brief description, and I'll get you added to the presentation schedule.  

LUNCH MEETING: While eating, we'll have our meeting portion of the day to discuss cemetery-related events around Ohio as well as plans for future meetings.

AFTERNOON: Cemetery touring. We'll be carpooling to the cemeteries, and written directions to each stop will be provided in case anyone gets separated.

A facebook event is also set up for this meeting: .  Please RSVP via facebook or e-mail if you're planning to attend. This will help us plan the amount of meeting materials to prepare.

Since the chapter meetings are a means to increase awareness of and membership in AGS, if you have any friends who might be interested in the organization who are not yet members, please encourage them to attend! Please feel free to contact me via e-mail, facebook, or phone if you have any questions about the meeting.

Hope to see you on May 3!

Beth Santore
Ohio Chapter Chair
Cell:  614-949-6027

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 439 |

NerkCon gamers convention Saturday Feb 22nd 2014


Gaming Convention

Sat Feb 22nd 2014

Hall of Paladins

80 North Ave, Newark Ohio

11 am to 11pm

A gaming group in my local community, the Nerkonian Dicers in Newark Ohio is putting on a role playing convention.   As some of you know I have been a gamer for the past 20 plus years. I will be running/GMing one of the games at the con so come on down and join in.  it will be a NightBane system from Palladium Games.  Based on a group of youngsters transformation into Shapeshifters /Nightbane. there will be plenty of other Games being run too including Pathfinder. Dont miss out.

NerkCon is an annual game day event for Licking County, Ohio. Started in 2012, this event hosts all forms of dice based role-playing and strategy games. Doors open at 11:00am. Games start at noon with the last games starting around 8pm. Concessions are available for a modest fee. When 22nd Feb 2014 11:00 AM - 11: PM  Location Hall of Paladins 80 North Ave, Newark, OH 43055 (corner of Everett and Hall)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 226 |

Discovery of Asylum's Mass Grave Halts U. Miss. Construction Project

Discovery of asylum's mass grave halts U. Miss. construction project

Parking garage planners said finding of at least 1,000 bodies was not a surprise

By Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo News

Original Article:

The University of Mississippi's School of Medicine was forced to delay construction of a parking garage after tests revealed the presence of as many as 1,000 bodies buried at the Jackson, Miss., site.

They were not identified, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, and are thought to have been former patients at the Mississippi State Lunatic Asylum, which closed about 80 years ago.

The discovery wasn't entirely unexpected, university spokesman Jack Mazurak told Yahoo News. "The property that the University of Mississippi Medical Center is located on used to be the location of the state insane asylum, which operated from 1855 to 1935," Mazurak said.

"Historically we knew that there were a lot of graves, many of which were not marked. In the '90s, we took the handful of marked graves and reinterred them in a designated cemetery area," he said.

"Throughout the years, as construction projects have gone on, on campus, we've occasionally run across a coffin. In fall of 2012, we were extending a road for a new intersection. That extension ran across an area that had rows of graves." Mazurak said they found about 66 graves in that instance.

Mazurak said the university quickly determined it couldn't build on the site, both out of respect and due to the cost to move and rebury the bodies, which would have added $3 million to the cost of the parking garage project at about $3,000 per grave.

The recent discovery was made before any bodies were physically dug up. Having learned their lesson from previous instances, researchers used ground-penetrating radar to test before breaking ground.

Officials from the medical center are currently discussing where to build the parking garage as well as other structures and parking lots they have planned for the campus.

The main campus for the University of Mississippi is located in Oxford. The Medical Center is located around three hours south in Jackson.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 556 |

Public Ghost Hunt Old Licking County Jail Sat Feb 15th 2014

Public Ghost Hunt at the Old Licking County Jail

Saturday, February 15th, 2014
9:00PM until 4:00AM
46 South 3rd Street
Newark, Ohio 43055
Only $30.00 Per Person (If you purchase online)!

Come spend the night in one of the most haunted jails in the country, if you have what it takes!
There have been 16 known deaths inside this 1889 gothic structure.

Get Tickets Here ->>

Haunted Old Licking County Jail

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 364 |

Death Comes to The Mall

Funeral and casket outlets are heading to the mall

Death comes to the mall as funeral outlets, casket stores seek a livelier sales environment

By John Rogers
Associated Press
February 3rd, 2014

Original Article:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- We eat there, buy our clothes there and some people suspect teenagers may actually live there. So perhaps it was just a matter of time until funeral homes began moving into the local shopping mall.

Over the past two years, Forest Lawn has been quietly putting movable kiosks in several of the malls that dot Southern California's suburbs.

The move, by one of the funeral industry's best known operators, expands on a marketing innovation that appears to have begun at the dawn of the decade when a company called Til We Meet Again began opening casket stores around the country.

"We try to reach our audience where they are at and the mall is a great way to do that," said Ben Sussman, spokesman for Forest Lawn, whose cemeteries count among their permanent residents such notables as Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.

"And it's also, perhaps, a way to reach people who might be a little leery about coming directly into one of our parks," Sussman said.

As to why folks would be leery about that, industry officials acknowledge the answer is obvious: Who really wants to enter a funeral home even one day before they have to?

"Funeral planning is something everybody knows they must do, but at the same time it's something nobody wants to do," said Robert Fells, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.

"Nobody gets up on a Saturday morning and says, 'Gee, it's a nice day. I wonder if I can go out and get myself a burial plot,'" Fells said.

But if they're strolling past a funeral outlet at the mall, where they're surrounded by happy, lively people and maybe clutching a bag of Mrs. Field's cookies, the thought is that they'll feel differently.

"When they're going to the mall, people are not going out of need," said Nathan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Til We Meet Again, which has outlets in malls in Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Texas.

So if they do happen to see a place peddling coffins or urns while they're pricing T-shirts and hoodies, Smith said, it will look far less intimidating.

Forest Lawn's effort began modestly, with just one kiosk (one of those movable things that usually sell stuff like calendars or ties) in a mall in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock.

When no one was creeped out, the program expanded to about a half-dozen malls. Now Forest Lawn periodically shuffles them from one mall to another to reach the largest audience.

Unlike the people at other such stations, who can seem like carnival barkers as they walk right up to you and hawk discount calling plans or free yogurt samples, Forest Lawn's operators are more discreet.

At the entrance to a Macy's department in the LA suburb of Arcadia last year, operators were quick to smile and hand out brochures when approached. But they kept their distance until people came to them.

It was the same at a mall in Glendale last week, where people stopped to examine cremation urns ranging from one with a subdued design of leaves to another that brightly featured the logo for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

Also on display was a recruiting poster for potential future Forest Lawn employees, complete with a picture of the great Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who urged them to consider "joining a winning team."

Still, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. "You're in a shopping mall and you're walking along and there's a funeral place?" retired high-school teacher Stan Slome said incredulously. "That sounds too deadly."

After thinking it over, however, he acknowledged it's something that could catch on.

At age 86, Slome said, he gets his share of mail from funeral operators inviting him to seminars at local restaurants, where he can have a meal on them while he hears a pitch on why he should use their services when he exits this mortal coil.

He doesn't care for that either, he said, but he figures somebody is attending those seminars.

If the mall effort catches on, said Jessica Koth of the National Funeral Directors Association, credit the aging Baby Boom generation at least in part. Historically, people have not wanted to talk, or even think, about their demise.

But Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom are pushing 70, are different. Many are beginning to press for so-called green funerals that don't require the use of coffins or burial vaults, Koth said. Others want custom-made coffins or urns that say something about who they were.

That often means something that represents a favorite car or sports team, said Smith of Til We Meet Again. He pointed out he even got a request once for a coffin built to resemble a portable toilet — from a guy whose company made portable toilets.

With that mindset, could going to the mall and planning the whole deal just steps away from the Merry-Go-Round really be that unusual?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 322 |

Lost And Found Ohio Update January 2014

Update: I am getting back out of winter hibernation and movning into another busy year here at Lost and Found Ohio. 

I had a great time this past weekend with my fellow members of the United Paranormal Project We did some training and investigated the Old Licking County Jail again. We had a good 30-minute flash light session in the basement down by the old holding cell. I am still going over the video of this session and checking out a few other signs of activity up in the matrons quarters there. To check out the jail go to:

This past weekend I went with the team to the Seddamsville rectory for an investigation down near Cincinnati for the first time. To check out the activity there:

Then January the 25th we are hosting a public hunt at the Bryn Du Mansion one of my favorite places to investigate. so come on out and join us if you feel like spending a night in a spooky old mansion. hope to see you

Also I have been adding tons of cool new items to my Spooky Things store so check it out.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Add Comment | Views: 433 |
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>