Ancient rulers once used the shrines to predict future events. Image Credit: sxc.hu
Archaeologists have discovered three divination shrines within a hilltop fortress at Gegharot, Armenia.
The shrines, which date back 3,300 years, are believed to have been used by local rulers to aid them in predicting the future, a practice that was common at the time.
Each of the shrines consisted of a single room containing a clay basin filled with ash and ceremonial vessels. Archaeologists excavating the site also unearthed a number of artifacts including marked animal bones, stamp seals and clay idols with horns.
The actual divination process would have involved standing at the shrine while drinking wine and burning various substances in an effort to attain an altered state of consciousness.
"The logic of divination presumes that variable pathways articulate the past, present and future, opening the possibility that the link between a current situation and an eventual outcome might be altered," wrote study authors Adam Smith and Jeffrey Leon.
Evidence of three different divination practices were discovered at the site - osteomancy, which involves predicting the future using animal bones, lithomancy, which uses stones, and aleuromancy, in which a practitioner would attempt to determine the future using flour.
Source: Live Science | Comments (4)
Shrines, Divination, Prediction, Armenia