Monday, August 18, 2008

5 Mysterious Skulls: Dare They Be Called, Human?

A guest post by s hayes

This isn't your most recent episode of Unsolved Mysteries. In fact, these are five authentic skulls dug up and discovered from nearly every corner of the globe. If the skulls are actually of human origin has been put up for debate by some. Either way, these anomalies will either give you a great costume idea, inspiration to go on your own Indian Jones-style adventure, or just provide a reason for some really freaky dreams.

The Horned Skull

During an archaeological dig in Sayre, Bradford County, Pennsylvania in the 1880s, a number of human skulls were unearthed. These skeletons were anatomically correct, except for the anomaly of their projections, two inches above the eyebrow, and the fact that their average height in life would have been around seven feet tall. The bones were sent to the American Investigating Museum in Philadelphia, where they were stolen - never to be seen again.

Above: Instances today of genetic throwbacks to this race.

Starchild Skull

Starchild Skull

This peculiar skull was found in a mine tunnel, 100 miles Southwest of Chihuahua. Dental analysis have ascertained that the skull is that of a five year old child. However, the interior of the skull is 20cm larger than the average adult cranial cavity. The optic nerve is situated at the bottom of the eye socket, rather than the back.

The back of the skull is flattened, but not by artificial means. Carbon dating places the skull's age at approximately 1100 BCE. DNA testing has determined that the child had a human mother, but useful lengths of nuclear DNA for further testing could not be recovered. In 2004, Royal Holloway College of the University of London revealed “fibers” in the bone of the skull and a reddish residue, neither of which are known or recorded to exist prior to the discovery.

Peruvian Skulls

Peruvian Skulls

These odd elongated skulls originate from Peru. They were excavated in Nazca - close to the mysterious Nazca lines. As with the horned skull race, skeletal remains reveal that this race was extremely tall - up to nine feet in height. Similar skulls have been excavated in Mexico and are on display in museums. Some of the elongated skulls showed evidence of ancient brain surgery, suggesting an advanced knowledge and understanding of biology. Suggestions that the skulls were altered by a process of binding the skull in infancy, when the cranial bones are soft, encouraging them to grow into an un-natural shape, have been rejected.

Nevertheless, skull binding cannot increase the internal capacity of the cranial void - and evidence points to the fact that in the case of the Peruvian and Mexican skulls, the cranial void is significantly larger than in a normal skull. It is intriguing also to consider the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten and his family - who were depicted in hieroglyphics as having a large misshapen skull.

Above: Depictions of Akhenaten and his Daughter

Robert Connolly Discoveries

Robert Connolly was researching the paper “In Search of Ancient Wisdom" when he came across these intriguing skulls. During his research, Robert photographed them:

This skull is in all respects similar to modern skulls, with only several factors out of proportion. The size of eye sockets are about 15% larger than normal. The cranial cavity is almost double that of a normal human - the estimated cranial capacity ranges between minimum of 2600 cm3 to 3200 cm3.

Above: The lower jaw bone of this skull is missing.

What is noticeable about the remnants of the facial portion is that the characteristics are entirely within the range of a normal human skull. The cranial cavity, on the other hand, is extremely large - with the cavity exceeding 3000cm3 Also, the two protruding "lobes" are highly anomalous.

Bulgarian Skull

This skull cannot visibly classified as human - but is interesting. It was discovered in 2001, the Rodopi Mountains, Bulgaria. Very little else is known at this point in time.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Röntgen Etchings: Treated X-Ray photos by Artist Ben Kruisdijk

Röntgen Etchings: Treated X-Ray photos by Artist Ben Kruisdijk

If you are a regular reader on cultcase you must remember X-Ray Photography as Art: Hidden Faces of The Inner Space where we presented a few prominent works from Nick Veasey, Diane Covert, Bert Myers and Steven N. Meyers. Recently we have been honored and privileged to meet another great X-Ray photographer - Dutch artist Ben Kruisdijk. It was around 2004 when Kruisdijk was a student at the academy when he took his first experiments with Röntgen photos and by now his photos can be described as "drawing x-ray photography hybrids" or as he calls them "Röntgen Etchings".

The person who owns the body of his works is always of little or no importance as Kruisdijk is a formalist, interested in the language of the photo more than in the subject. The images are very expressive, sometimes horrible, and include tumors, broken bones and the like, but also fantastic animal hand drawings and always shown in the most aesthetic form.

As a draughtsman, Kruisdijk likes to treat the photos with a technique he describes as "etching" aiming to relocate concepts and images from the medical world to the art world. "The Röntgen etchings are strongly related to my paper drawings", explains Kruisdijk. "Conceptually they are the same and only differ in their material."

According to Kruisdijk's artist statement, his unique visual language allows him "to create an abstract framework" in which he can "think and dream without obstacles". A space in which "all possible steps can be made without having to obey the laws of physics."

For more art from Ben Kruisdijk go to