From: Donald Eastlake 3rd <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 00:14:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: [interest] FWD: Wizards Conical Hats, etc. [long]


Mysterious gold cones 'hats of ancient wizards'
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
(Filed: 17/03/2002)

WIZARDS really did wear tall pointed hats - but not the crumpled cloth
kind donned by such fictional characters as Harry Potter, Gandalf and

The wizards of early Europe wore hats of gold intricately embellished
with astrological symbols that helped them to predict the movement of
the sun and stars.

This is the conclusion of German archaeologists and historians who claim
to have solved the mystery behind a series of strange yet beautiful
golden cone-shaped objects discovered at Bronze Age sites across Europe.

Four of the elaborately decorated cones have been uncovered at sites in
Switzerland, Germany and France over the past 167 years. Their original
purpose has baffled archaeologists for decades.

Some concluded that they were parts of Bronze Age suits of armour;
others assumed that they served as ceremonial vases.

A third theory, which had gained widespread acceptance until now, was
that the cones functioned as decorative caps that were placed on top of
wooden stakes that surrounded Bronze Age sites of worship.

Historians at Berlin's Museum for Pre- and Early History, however, claim
to have established with near certainty that the mysterious cones were
originally worn as ceremonial hats by Bronze Age oracles.

Such figures, referred to as "king-priests", were held to have
supernatural powers because of their ability to predict accurately the
correct time for sowing, planting and harvesting crops.

"They would have been regarded as Lords of Time who had access to a
divine knowledge that enabled them to look into the future," said
Wilfried Menghin, the director of the Berlin Museum which has been
carrying out detailed research on a 3,000-year-old 30in high Bronze Age
cone of beaten gold that was discovered in Switzerland in 1995 and
purchased by the museum the following year.

Mr Menghin and his researchers discovered that the 1,739 sun and
half-moon symbols decorating the Berlin cone's surface make up a
scientific code which corresponds almost exactly to the "Metonic cycle"
discovered by the Greek astronomer Meton in 432bc - about 500 years
after the cone was made - which explains the relationship between moon
and sun years.
[See article on Metonic cycle at end of this email.  -dee3]

"The symbols on the hat are a logarithmic table which enables the
movements of the sun and the moon to be calculated in advance," Mr
Menghin said. "They suggest that Bronze Age man would have been able to
make long-term, empirical astrological observations," he added.

The findings radically alter the standard image of the European Bronze
Age as an era in which a society of primitive farmers lived in
smoke-filled wooden huts eking out an existence from the land with the
most basic of tools.

"Our findings suggest that the Bronze Age was a far more sophisticated
period in Europe than has hitherto been thought," Mr Menghin said.

Another cone, found near the German town of Schifferstadt in 1835, had a
chin strap attached to it. The cone, which is also studded with sun and
moon symbols, is the earliest example found and dates back to 1,300bc.

Other German archaeologists have suggested that the gold-hatted
king-priests were to be found across much of prehistoric Europe. Prof
Sabine Gerloff, a German archaeologist from Erlangen University, has
found evidence that five similar golden cones were exhumed by peat
diggers in Ireland during the 17th and 18th centuries.

These objects, described at the time as "vases", have disappeared. Prof
Gerloff says, however, that her research suggests almost conclusively
that they were hats worn by Bronze Age king-priests.

She is also convinced that a Bronze Age cape of beaten gold - the "Gold
Cape of Mold" discovered in Wales in 1831 - was part of a king-priest's
ceremonial dress.

Prof Gerloff has used computers to create an impression of a Bronze Age
oracle wearing a golden hat and with an elaborately decorated golden
cape wrapped tightly around the shoulders.


Experts uncover the magic of Harry Potter's ancestors
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
(Filed: 19/11/2001)

EXPERTS in fields as diverse as history, archaeology and botany are
about to report on how Harry Potter and other wizards were far from
being fictional many thousands of years ago in Britain.

The word wizard means "wise man" and next week the truth behind Harry
Potter will be unveiled in Real Wizards on Channel 4 when experts look
at the evidence for wizardry in the days before Christianity.

Fictional wizards rely on a magic wand. Examples might have been found
on the south coast of Wales, says the historian Ronald Hutton, of
Bristol University, an authority on witchcraft.

In the Paviland Caves, archaeologists found "wands" 26,000 years old in
an ancient sacred site where the Red Lady of Paviland is buried.

Discovered two centuries ago, the so-called Red Lady is a young man and
scattered about the remains are pieces of ivory, rather like beads,
which could be broken wands.

"The most likely explanation is these are magical objects symbols of
power, an extension of people's wills," said Prof Hutton.

When Potter went to Hogwarts, he was asked to bring a pewter cauldron. A
stunning example has been found in a bog in Denmark, called the
Gundestrup Cauldron.

About 3ft 4in wide and more than 2,000 years old, is this the
inspiration for the magic pot so essential to all fictional wizards?

"A cauldron is now one of the key bits of equipment for a decent wizard,
or witch because it's one of the central magical symbols of the ancient
world," said Prof Hutton.

"It's also a tremendous symbol of rebirth, just as food can be
transformed in it, so a human soul can be transformed. It's a symbol of
death and drowning, a symbol of fire, because a blaze is beneath it."

Around the silver Gundestrup cauldron is a series of disturbing images
of gods, goddesses and fantastic animals, some of which may depict
ancient acts of sacrifice and destruction. More clues to the origins of
wizardry come from Tollund man, preserved in a Danish bog since 400 BC.

Studies reveal that he had eaten a mixture of cereals and berries mushed
up into a porridge which contained ergot, a fungus blight found on
rotting rye that causes hallucinations and sensations of burning along
with cramps and contortions.

Tollund man might have eaten this gruel to commune with the spirits,
acting as a link between his ancestors and the earthly world after he

Ergot was not the only substance used in ancient wizardry, said Monique
Simmonds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew. But she said little was
known about this dark art because those who understood the power of
plants kept that wisdom very close to their chests".

Ancient books provide some clues on what the witches and wizards
believed could be achieved, from herbs that "bringeth away dead
children" to those that boost fertility.

Today traditional medicine is being re-evaluated because there is often
a grain of truth to what the ancients claimed. Mistletoe, a holy plant
for druids, is being studied for its anti-cancer properties, and St
John's Wort, used to ward off evil spirits, is used to treat depression.

As for the idea of wizards casting spells, Prof Hutton said: "Everybody
knows that words can calm people, can make them fall in love, can whip
them up into a frenzy, can turn them into killers, and there was no
reason for the ancients to suppose the natural world doesn't respond
just the same way, and so it's no use smearing a particular chemical on
yourself unless you say the right words over it while you're doing it."

The modern counterpart of wizards are those who "claim special knowledge
that other people don't have", said Dr Piers Vitebsky, an anthropologist
at Cambridge University.

Modern wizards "could be economic gurus, high-technology scientists,
maybe politicians, psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, anybody who claims
some realm of special knowledge.


The Metonic Cycle and the Saros
(Produced by the Astronomy Information Service of
 the Royal Observatory Greenwich)

The Greek astronomer Metos, in the fifth century BC, discovered that the
dates of the phases of the Moon repeated exactly after a period of 19
years. Mathematically, it uses the fact that 19 tropical years contain
6939.60 days while 235 synodic months contain 6939.69 days.

Since it is almost equal to 20 eclipse years, 6932.4 days, it is
possible for a series of four or five eclipses to occur on the same
dates 19 years apart. The metonic cycle was used to determine how
intercalary months could be inserted into a lunar calendar so that the
calendar year and the tropical (seasonal) year were kept in step.


Edmund Halley, whose name is associated by most people with the comet
carrying his name, was interested in classical writings, especially
those concerning astronomy. He mistakenly connected the naming of a
cycle of 223 synodic months by the tenth century Greek lexicographer
Suidas with the eclipse cycle of the same period. The name given to the
cycle by Suidas was the Saros.

This cycle was almost certainly known to the ancient Babylonians and was
possibly used by Thales around 585 BC.

Eclipses of the Sun and Moon can only occur at New or Full Moon
respectively and these have to occur close to the nodes of the Moon's
orbit. The nodes are the places in the orbit where the plane of the
Moon's orbit and the ecliptic cross. The time between successive
passages by the Moon through one of its nodes is called the Draconic
month and equals 27.212220 days. The time between successive New or Full
Moons is called the Synodic month and equals 29.530589 days.

If we take 223 synodic months (6585.321 days) and compare them with 242
draconic months (6585.357 days) we can see that they are almost the
same. This period is the Saros and it amounts to 18 years, 10 and a
third days.

This means that eclipses can be expected in families whose members are
separated by the length of the Saros. Thus knowing the date of one
eclipse allows the prediction of others.

It also happens that the Saros is also nearly equal to 239 anomalistic
months (the time between successive closest approaches of the Moon to
the Earth) and so the length of the eclipses in each cycle will be
approximately the same.


Synodic month. The interval between two successive New Moons.

Draconic month. The interval between two successive passages of the Moon
through the same node of its orbit.

Anomalistic month. The time between successive perigee passages of the

Eclipse year. The period between two successive passages of the Sun
through the same node of the Moon's orbit. 346.620 days. There are very
close to 19 eclipse years in one Saros.

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