Category Archives: GERMANY

Demon with Forked Tongue Found on Clay Tablet in Library of Assyrian Exorcists

Demon with Forked Tongue Found on Clay Tablet in Library of Assyrian Exorcists

On a 2,700-year-old clay, a demonic figure with curved horns, a forked tongue, tail, and reptilian eyes long lurked was Unobserved is placed at housed of Berlin’s Vorderasiatisches Museum, a new study published in Le Journal des Médecines Cunéiformes suggests.

A scholar spotted the long-overlooked image (its horns and face are at left, its legs on the right) while conducting research at a Berlin museum.

The Assyriologist Troels Pank Arbøll of the University of Copenhagen discovered the rare illustration while studying the cuneiform text five years ago.

Researchers have known of the artifact’s existence for decades, but as Arbøll tells BBC Tom Metcalfe, he was the first to notice the creature’s damaged outline.

The writing on the tablet suggests its creator viewed the demon as the cause of convulsions and other involuntary movements then called bennu but now understood as epilepsy.

As per the study, the anthropomorphic figure measures around 2.5 inches tall and one inch wide. Its neck is long, and its body appears to be covered in scales or hair.

Although the majority of the demon’s torso has been effaced over the centuries, its claw-like hands and feet remain partially visible.

Magic and medicine were intertwined in ancient Assyria. According to a University of Copenhagen statement, the Assyrians believed diseases were caused by gods, demons or witchcraft. To treat these afflictions, healers turned to drugs, rituals or incantations.

Interestingly, explains Arbøll to Metcalfe, the newly described drawing differs from spiritual images typically found on cuneiform tablets. Unlike “comparable drawings, which generally depict a figurine made during a ritual to remove the illness,” the tablet depicts an “actual demon.”

As the researcher notes in the statement, the work presents the mystical being “as the healer who wrote the text must have imagined it.”

The drawing presents the mystical being “as the healer who wrote the text must have imagined it.” (Troels Pank Arbøll)

The tablet’s text indicates that ancient “doctors” would have blamed bennu’s occurrence on a demon acting on behalf of the Mesopotamian moon god Sîn.

The standard prescription, according to Arbøll, was to wear a leather amulet and breathe in smoke from certain ingredients charred on hot coals.

Arbøll previously completed a separate analysis of cuneiform tablets cataloging the medical training of a man named Kisir-Ashur.

This microhistory offered new insights on ancient Assyrian medical practices, including how doctors were “trained in the art of diagnosing and treating illnesses, and their causes,” the Assyriologist told ScienceNordic’s Bo Christensen in 2018.

Like the tablets studied for this earlier survey, the demon manuscript was unearthed in Kisir-Ashur’s private library. He and his family lived in the city of Assur, located in what is now northern Iraq, around 650 B.C., through BBC. Metcalfe points out that the bennu text in question was likely copied from a far older document.

Kisir-Ashur and others like him are often described as exorcists, but Arbøll told Christensen that this title is a mistranslation, as these individuals also handled non-spiritual issues.

“He does not work simply with religious rituals, but also with plant-based medical treatments,” the researcher said. “It is possible that he studied the effects of venom from scorpions and snakes on the human body and that he perhaps tried to draw conclusions based on his observations.”

9.7 Million-Year-Old Teeth From Unidentified Ancient Primate Found In Germany

9.7 Million-Year-Old Teeth From Unidentified Ancient Primate Found In Germany

The discussion over the understanding of our early history was opened in September of last year by a team of archaeologists in southwest Germany who revealed that millions of years old teeth that belonged to an ancient Euroasian primate.

Recently, the news was made public about the sensational discovery since the team that dug the ancient teeth in Eppelsheim wanted to be sure the find was as significant as they had initially believed.

“It’s totally new to science, and it’s a big surprise because no one had expected such a tremendous rare discovery,” Herbert Lutz, head of the excavation team at Mainz’s Museum of Natural History, told Deutsche Welle.

Lutz had been digging at the site in Eppelsheim for 17 years where the Rhine River used to flow, excavating riverbed sediments approximately 10 million years old. the area is “well known in science” and famous for its primate fossils.

As his team decided to finally wrap up the excavation, “just in the last second, these two teeth came to light. We really weren’t expecting such a tremendous discovery,” Lutz said.

Both teeth are completely preserved, too. The teeth look “excellent” and are “shining like amber,” though no longer white, Lutz said.

The excavation site in Eppelsheim.

The 9.7 million-year-old canine tooth and upper molar – found only 60 centimeters apart and thus believed to belong together – resemble those of great apes who lived in Africa 2.9 to 4.4 million years ago. According to Lutz and his colleagues, the teeth closely resemble some extinct African relatives of humans.

Since the official unveiling of the teeth, global media outlets have been questioning whether the find is capable of rewriting human history since it seems to go against theories of human beings originating from Africa.

The teeth are unlike anything found in Europe and Asia, Lutz cautiously claims.

“It’s a complete mystery where this individual came from, and why nobody’s ever found a tooth like this somewhere before,” he said in an interview with Research Gate.

But some experts say that the teeth hardly “force us to reexamine the theory that humans originated from Africa,” arguing that the fossils “more likely belonged to a very distant branch on the primate family tree,” reported National Geographic.

Other experts state that whether the teeth really belong to the hominoid classification (apes, chimpanzees, etc.)  is questionable.

Expert on the teeth of humans’ extinct relatives and paleoanthropologist at the University of Toronto, Bence Viola, says the molar found contradicts any case for a human connection.

“I think this is much ado about nothing,” he told National Geographic. “The molar, which they say clearly comes from the same individual, is absolutely not a hominin, and I would say also not a hominoid.”

The majority of the experts National Geographic spoke to said the molar found likely belongs to a species of an extinct, primitive branch of primates that lived in Asia and Europe between seven and 17 million years ago.

Moment horrified sailor finds mummified remains of German adventurer on stricken yacht

Moment horrified sailor finds mummified remains of German adventurer on stricken yacht

On a yacht floating off the Philippines, fishermen have discovered the mummified body of a German sailor.

After two people made the discovery, the police were investigating. Officers discovered that the dead person is Manfred Fritz Bajorat, aged 59, from identity documents found on the ship.

Manfred Fritz Bajorat’s body was recovered inside a drifting yacht in the seas off Barobo. Fishermen found his corpse inside the radio room of the yacht.

The deputy police chief of the near-by Barabo city, Inspector Mark Navales, said that although it was unclear how Bajorat’s death was caused there were no signs of foul play.

“It is still a mystery to us,” said Navales.

Bajorat’s body was found seated at a desk in the radio room, slumped over on his right arm “like he was sleeping”, said Navales.

The body of Manfred Fritz Bajorat found inside the boat

His exact time of death had not yet been determined. The yacht was found in the Philippine Sea about 100km (60 miles) from Barabo.

Bajorat had reportedly been sailing the world on his yacht, Sayo, for the past 20 years.

Reports said he had not been sighted since 2009. But a friend told the media that he had heard from the mariner in 2015 via Facebook.

Authorities were attempting to contact his friends and family in Germany in the hope they would be able to shed light on his movements.

The police investigation found no obvious signs of violence but could not determine the cause of death.

Navales said items inside the yacht were scattered and Bajorat’s wallet was not found but the yacht’s radio, GPS and other valuable items were still there.

Dr. Mark Benecke, a forensic criminologist in the German city of Cologne, told the Bild newspaper: “The way he is sitting seems to indicate that death was unexpected, perhaps from a heart attack.”

Reports suggested that dry ocean winds, hot temperatures, and the salty air helped preserve his body.

The yacht was found floating off Barabo.

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

The oldest bottle of wine in the world remains unopened since the 4th Century

For a few years now, contemporary historians have been debating the future of the oldest bottle of wine in the world, known as the Speyer wine bottle, or “Römerwein.”

Historians have split opinions on whether the bottle should be opened or not. This extremely rare artifact is 1,650-years-old and it is placed in the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Germany.

The glass amphora has handled in the shape of dolphins and is sealed with wax.

The contents of the bottle are about one-third olive oil which in the past was used as a preservative that prevented the wine from oxidizing.

The Speyer bottle was found in the grave of a Roman nobleman in 1867, in the Rhineland-Palatine region of Germany and caused a real stir among historians and archaeologists at the time.

It’s been said that the noble owner, believed to be a high ranking Legionnaire, was buried with the bottle of wine, an ancient custom which represents the Romans’ beliefs in the after-life, that is, sending valuable objects with the body of the deceased so she or he can use them in the “hereafter.”

Reportedly, the tomb near the city of Speyer also contained the sarcophagi of his two spouses.

The Speyer wine bottle. 

The antique bottle, which represents thousands of years of human history and customs, was named after the city of Speyer.

In the glory days of Ancient Rome, wine and wine cults were diligently observed.

One of the inventions of Hero of Alexandria, an engineer who was centuries ahead of his time, was a delightful party centerpiece that seemingly turned one liquid into another.

Speyer, Germany

His trick jug incorporated two separate, sealed compartments and some clever pneumatics to make it seem that water added to the vessel was dispensed as wine. This is one of several similar devices that Hero describes in his Pneumatica.

During WWI, a chemist analyzed the Speyer bottle but never opened it so the wine was given to the Historical Museum of the Palatinate collection in Speyer. Over time, numerous scientists have hoped to obtain permission to analyze the bottle’s contents thoroughly, though nobody has been granted one yet.

Some scientists and microbiologists are adamant that the bottle shouldn’t be opened, among them Ludger Tekampe, the curator of the Folklore Wine Museum collection.

“We are not sure whether or not it could stand the shock to the air. It is still liquid and there are some who believe it should be subjected to new scientific analysis but we are not sure,” said Tekampe on the matter.

The world’s oldest known bottle of wine, 325 AD, Historical Museum of the Palatinate, Speyer, Germany. 

This rare artifact of the ancient world was created during the early days of the tradition of wine production and consumption, which was begun by the ancient Greeks.

The tradition was later embraced by the ancient Romans, who also took Dionysus, the Greek god of agriculture, wine, and fertility, and renamed him, Bacchus.

Contrary to the general notion and belief that the older the wine is, the better, the Speyer wine is presumed to be undrinkable.

According to the Daily Mail, Professor Monika Christmann said that although the Speyer wine might not be microbiologically spoiled, it “would not bring joy to the palate.”

This 48-Million-Year-Old Fossil Has an Insect Inside a Lizard Inside a Snake

Fossil of a beetle inside a lizard inside a snake – an ancient food chain

Paleontologists have uncovered a fossil that has preserved an insect inside a lizard inside a snake – a prehistoric battle of the food chain that ended in a volcanic lake some 48 million years ago.

Pulled from an abandoned quarry in southwest Germany called the Messel Pit, the fossil is only the second of its kind ever found, with the remains of three animals sitting snug in one another.

Earlier excavations have revealed the fossilized stomach contents of a prehistoric horse, whose last meal was grapes and leaves, and pollen grains were identified inside a fossilized bird. Remains of insects have also been detected in a sample of fish excrement.

Grube Messel

We have been lucky to glimpse such a primordial food chain of the snake, that ate a lizard, that had previously treated itself to a beetle, and ended up in a volcanic lake of the time. It is uncertain how the snake died.

Perhaps the snake’s body fell dead close to the shores of the lake before the waters claimed it. It had died there not more than 48 hours after its “last supper,” scientists say.

“It’s probably the kind of fossil that I will go the rest of my professional life without ever encountering again, such is the rarity of these things.” Such are the words of Dr. Krister Smith, a paleontologist at the Senkenberg Institute in Germany who took charge of the fossil analysis.

According to Dr. Smith, the almost entirely preserved snake was recovered from a plate found in the pit back in 2009, and the discovery soon turned out to be groundbreaking. Smith remarks, “we had never found a tripartite food chain–this is a first for Messel.”

Dr. Smith and Argentine paleontologist Dr. Agustín Scanferla used high-resolution computer imaging to identify the taxonomy of the snake and the lizard, however, they were unable to name the beetle, the least preserved of the three.

Palaeopython fischeri, exhibited in Naturmuseum Senckenberg, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The snake, measuring some 3.4 feet in length, was identified as Palaeophython fischeri, a species which belongs to a group of tree-dwelling snakes that was able to grow to more than 6.5 feet in length and is related to today’s boas.

The preserved sample from Germany was only a juvenile, an assurance being not only the shorter length but also its food choice, the lizard. Adult boas are known to opt for bigger animals.

The lizard would have measured nearly eight inches and a clear hint for paleontologists that it was inside the snake’s body was that the snake’s ribs overlapped it.

It is an example of the now extinct species Geiseltaliellus maarius, a type of iguanian lizard that inhabited the region of what is now Germany, France, and Belgium. Messel has been the site that has provided some of the best-preserved samples of this lizard species.

What’s also interesting is that, even though lizards are known for shedding their tails when under threat, this one has kept it despite falling prey to the snake.

“Since the stomach contents are digested relatively fast and the lizard shows an excellent level of preservation, we assume that the snake died no more than one to two days after consuming its prey and then sank to the bottom of the Messel Lake, where it was preserved,” explained Dr. Smith.

Fossil of Palaeopython in the Naturhistorisches Museum Wien

This is a rare type of fossil, but it’s not the first instance in which a fossil has simultaneously exposed three levels of an ancient food chain. According to National Geographic, in 2008, a fossil dated at more than 250 millions of years old depicted a shark that had devoured an amphibian that had previously consumed a spiny-finned fish.

Both these findings are precious as they reveal significant details on how food chains functioned. In the case of the snake fossil, it is interesting that the lizard had eaten a beetle.

Before that, scientists didn’t know that the Messel lizard liked to dine on insects, as in previous digs they had been able to identify only remains of plants in fossilized lizard bellies. In the case of the shark, it was revealed that amphibians consumed fish before becoming a menu item to the fish itself.