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X-Rays Reveal Secret of Ancient Mayan Dye

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posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 12:57 PM
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WASHINGTON -- Physicists have created a dye that promises to last for a thousand years. The secret to this extraordinary durability? Its formula is based on a Mayan pigment, a brilliant blue color that survives to this day on the walls of their ancient temples.




A warrior with Azul Maya on the background. Physicists have used X-rays to determine the atomic structure of Mayan blue dye -- and to create a modern version.


"This pigment has been stable for centuries in the hostile conditions of the jungle," said Eric Dooryhee at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y. "We're trying to mimic it to make new materials."

Dooryhee and team of French physicists have spent years studying historical objects using X-rays. They shoot finely-tuned beams of X-rays from a synchrotron machine -- much stronger than a dental X-ray -- at these materials and look at the pattern of scattered X-rays coming out in order to determine the structure of the atoms inside.

The scientists have used this technology to examine Egyptian cosmetics, Roman pottery, and Renaissance paintings. They have recreated some of these ancient materials and are just beginning to learn how to borrow their strengths to make new modern "archeomimetic" materials that can stand the test of time.

Unlike most organic pigments, which tend to break down over time, the pigment Maya Blue is remarkably resistant -- not only to natural weathering, heat, and light, but also to strong acids and solvents in the laboratory.

Pre-Columbian Mesoamericans, who lived in Central America before the first Spaniards arrived, developed the pigment about 1700 years ago. Archaeologists rediscovered it in 1931 at the site of the ancient Mayan capitol Chichen Itza.

The Mayans used the pigment in art and in rituals to bring the rains. Recent evidence suggests they painted sacrificial objects and human victims blue and threw them down a deep natural well called the Sacred Cenote, thought to be the home of the rain god Chaak.

The pigment was made by burning incense made from tree resin and using the heat to cook a mixture of indigo plants and a type of clay called palygorskite. A bowl retrieved from the Sacred Cenote revealed traces of all of these materials, each of which was considered to be a healing substance by the Mayans.

"By offering incense to Chaak, they were combining two healing components," said Dean Arnold, an anthropologist at Wheaton College in Ill. who examined the bowl. "This was ritually significant because the rain healed their land."

Source: www.foxnews.com...

Well, the good old boys may have had a trick up their sleeve (or two). I am sure they didn't put much thought into what their blue color would look like in 1700 years-when they were making it.

They would surely be proud knowing that today we will spend millions to find out something like beelte dung is the key ingredient....

Well, on the other hand, maybe some material not know to man is in it and there goes the whole UFO/Alien crowd!!!! I can't wait.

It is a great shade of Blue though.

here are some other shots of Myan artwork with blue in them: www.crystalinks.com/mayanarch.html







posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 01:01 PM
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Great Find!

I'm interested to see what the scientists can come up with.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 01:44 PM
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Interesting what ingenious things came out of ritual worship.
Can’t wait to see if they are able to reproduce it and have it not violate health codes as well.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 02:12 PM
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wow glad to see something interesting that isnt about the end of the world here great find!! its humbleing to see that even they had some better things then we do now waaay back then



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 02:22 PM
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reply to post by anon72
 


The Mayans were awesome. I wish science would humble itslef before some true masters of nature and astronomy more often.

These Mayans were not the savages we are led to believe.

A recent theory is that mayans used pools to watch the stars because the reflection was more accurate than looking up at them. That takes way more understanding that our limited twitter and reality TV brains use these days.

Great article!



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 03:46 PM
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Originally posted by zroth
reply to post by anon72
 


The Mayans were awesome. I wish science would humble itslef before some true masters of nature and astronomy more often.

These Mayans were not the savages we are led to believe.

A recent theory is that mayans used pools to watch the stars because the reflection was more accurate than looking up at them. That takes way more understanding that our limited twitter and reality TV brains use these days.

Great article!


ummm mayans were savages.... they threw people into pit holes and cut there heads off for the goods. kind of like a peaceful Religion i know that starts with a Is and ends in a lam.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 03:51 PM
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Imagine if the ink used was to show up on certain people that were marked and the solar activity was to reveal this or something else when the x rays from the sun start picking up.


A location or a person or ?



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 05:47 PM
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reply to post by jazz10
 


I like your thinking.

Something to expand on, maybe?

They were an odd lot.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by camaro68ss

ummm mayans were savages.... they threw people into pit holes and cut there heads off for the goods. kind of like a peaceful Religion i know that starts with a Is and ends in a lam.


stop believing the fairy tales the 'experts' tell you.



posted on Jul, 27 2010 @ 11:58 PM
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Depends on your terms of reference. To the Spanish the Maya were savages but by our criteria they had cultural aspects that were civilized but also embedded in their cultures were aspects of war and religious rites that we would deem 'savage'.

The Archaeological views of the Maya have changed over time. Intially up to the Thompson era they were look at being neutral to savage. During he Thompson era the Maya were deemed peaceful and civilized. Since the 'cracking' of the language the more unseemly aspect of the religion and political practices have come to light and they are now seen to be like many other civilization, enlightened but having flaws.

Example:

The Swiss are deemed to be civilized but we could find in their history aspects of their culture that we would consider savage.



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