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US to return stolen sarcophagus to Egypt

Last year, a 3,000 year old Egyptian artifact turned up…in Miami. Now Federal prosecutors in the US are suing to return the stolen sarcophagus to its home country. The Egyptian authorities suspect the artifact was illegally excavated years ago, before finding its way from Barcelona to sunny Florida through a network of antique dealerships.

The Sarcophagus contains the mummified remains of an unknown person, and is made out of wood and is yellow in colour, covered by elaborate hieroglyphics and symbols which have dated it to between 1070 and 946 B.C.

Heather and Ogham

The only thing still fighting the winter blues in the Upon Reflection Garden is the Heather. In its honour here are some facts about this plant and its thousands of literary and mythological references.

– In Celtic mythology, the Heather plant was associated with regeneration, the passage of death into new life
– The scent of fresh Heather is said to be beneficial for headaches, heart complaints and nervous disorders.
– White Heather has long been considered lucky, a tradition which some use to their advantage by gathering and selling it.
– Heather is burnt on its own to conjure spirits and with ferns to bring rain.
– Lying on a bed of Heather is said to induce psychic powers and otherworld experiences.
– Burning Heather is seen as a way to prepare the way for the new to begin; for instance when moving into a new house.
– The Planet associated with Heather is Venus, the element is water and the Zodiac sign is Gemini
– Its powers are associated with granting protection, making rain, and bringing Luck
– Heather has also long been used by the wiccan faith to conjure ghosts.
– In the Ogham alphabet, heather is U, Ura, and represents midsummer.

If you know of any uses we’ve missed, comment below and let me know.

Rune stone from 400AD discovered

In the city of Mandal in Norway this month, a unique Rune stone has been found, and experts are examining it in an attempt to figure out if it marks a burial site. This is the first rune stone discovered in Norway since 1947, and the find is described as a sensation by the experts.

However, the style of writing is different from earlier finds, and the several lines of runes cut into the face of the stone are proving more difficult to desipher.

It has been determined that one sentence begins “Ek Naudigastir” (I Naudagistr), and it is believed Naugadistr is a man’s name. Under the rune stone there is also another large stone, which may cover what the experts believe to be a grave, since another grave was discovered on the same property around 20 years ago.

The other Scandinavian Rune Stones that have been discovered are written with the late 16-character futhark alphabet, and date from the 11th century. Older stones and inscriptions in the early 24-character futhark are much less common, and their messages are usually far less straight-forward.

Check out our Runes Pages for more information on the different alphabets.

TV’s Lost uses Hieroglyphics to hint at plot lines

lost season 6 poster The poster for the latest season of the hit show ‘Lost’ looks simple enough – silhouetted cast with the words ‘Final Season’ below, but looking closer, there are hieroglyphic symbols within the words. I have to put the word’s ‘spoiler alert’ here – just so no one complains…

Dr. James Allen, Wilbour Professor of Egyptology and Chair of Egyptology and Ancient Western Asian Studies at Brown University, has analysed the symbols and said: “The hieroglyphs spell out two Egyptian words, meaning ‘Who is the guide?’ or ‘Who is the leader?” and pouring over our books, we came up with a similar translation – but bow to Dr. Allen’s superior knowledge!

If you see any other uses of hieroglyphs, or any other ancient language, used in popular culture – let us know.

International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction

The UN hold International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction today, on 14th October. It takes place within the framework of the World Disaster Reduction Campaign 2008–2009. The theme of the Campaign is “Hospitals Safe from Disasters: Reduce Risk, Protect Health Facilities, Save Lives”.

Don’t think that it’s too late for you to get involved, there are plenty of places to give and get involved in other programs throughout the campaign. Or why not jump on over to and help feed a hungry person today, just by clicking a button? Whether you believe in karma or not – doing something good makes you feel good.