From: Donald Eastlake 3rd <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 00:14:43 -0400 (EDT) Subject: [interest] FWD: Wizards Conical Hats, etc. [long]
<http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/03/17/wwiz17.x ml&sSheet=/news/2002/03/17/ixworld.html> 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 Merlin. 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. <http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/graphics/2002/03/17/wwiz17.jpeg> 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. <http://portal.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/11/19/nwiz19.x ml&secureRefresh=true&_requestid=170800> 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 died. 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. <http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/metonic/metonic.html> 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. THE SAROS CYCLE. 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. Glossary. 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 Moon. 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.