Thursday, October 4, 2012

Archaeologist discover tomb of Maya Queen Lady K’abel

10/03/2012 Archaeologists discover the tomb of one of the greatest queens of Classic Maya civilization piecing together for the first time Maya archaeological and historical records.

The tomb of Lady K’abel, a seventh-century Maya Holy Snake Lord, was discovered in the royal Maya city of El Peru’-Waka’ in northeastern Pet’en, Guatemala.

The team of archaeologists at El Perú-Waka found a carved alabaster jar  in a burial chamber. The team concluded that the tomb belonged to Lady K’abel partially based on the distinct characteristics of the white alabaster jar.

The jar is carved as a conch shell, with a head and arm of an aged woman emerging from the opening. The depiction of the woman, mature with a lined face and a strand of hair in front of her ear, and four glyphs carved into the jar, point to the jar as belonging to K’abel.

The team also found ceramic vessels in the tomb and stela (large stone slab) carvings on the outside, the tomb is likely that of K’abel, says Freidel, PhD, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences and Maya scholar.

“The precise nature of the text and image information on the white stone jar and its tomb context constitute a remarkable and rare conjunction of these two kinds of records in the Maya area.”

“In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense that the people of Waka’ buried her in this particularly prominent place in their city,” Freidel says.

K’abel, considered the greatest ruler of the Late Classic period, ruled with her husband, Kinich Bahlam, for at least 20 years (672-692 AD), Freidel says. She was the military governor of the Wak kingdom for her family, the imperial house of the Snake King, and she carried the title “Kaloomte,” translated to “Supreme Warrior,” higher in authority than her husband, the king.

K’abel also is famous for her portrayal on the famous Maya stela, Stela 34 of El Perú, now in the Cleveland Art Museum.

The team of archaeologists led by Washington University in St. Louis’ David Freidel included professor of anthropology at WUSTL, the project is co-directed by Juan Carlos Pérez, former vice minister of culture for cultural heritage of Guatemala. Olivia Navarro-Farr, assistant professor of anthropology at the College of Wooster in Ohio, directed the excavations with Griselda Pérez Robles, former director of prehistoric monuments in the National Institute of Anthropology and History, and archaeologist Damaris Menéndez.

The team has been working on the project in El Peru-Waka’ since 2003 attempting to uncover and study “ritually-charged” features such as shrines, altars and dedicatory offerings. .

El Perú-Waka’ is an ancient Maya city in northwestern Petén, Guatemala. It was part of Classic Maya civilization (200-900 AD) in the southern lowlands. It is located approximately 75 km west of the famous city of Tikal. The city center consists of nearly a sq km of plazas, palaces, temple pyramids, and residences surrounded by many sq km of dispersed residences and temples.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Easter Island


                                                         If They Could Only Talk 

“The statues walked,” Easter Islanders say. Archaeologists are still trying to figure out how—and whether their story is a cautionary tale of environmental disaster or a celebration of human ingenuity.

On a winter night last June, José Antonio Tuki, a 30-year-old artist on Easter Island, did one of the things he loves best: He left his one-room home on the southwest coast and hiked north across the island to Anakena beach. Legend has it the earliest Polynesian settlers hauled their canoes ashore at Anakena a thousand years ago or so, after navigating more than a thousand miles of open Pacific. Under the same moon and stars Tuki sat on the sand and gazed directly before him at the colossal human statues—the moai.

Carved centuries ago from volcanic tuff, they’re believed to embody the deified spirits of ancestors.

Sleepless roosters crowed; stray dogs barked. A frigid wind gusted in from Antarctica, making Tuki shiver. 

He’s a Rapanui, an indigenous Polynesian resident of Rapa Nui, as the locals call Easter Island; his own ancestors probably helped carve some of the hundreds of statues that stud the island’s grassy hills and jagged coasts. At Anakena seven potbellied moai stand at attention on a 52-foot-long stone platform—backs to the Pacific, arms at their sides, heads capped with tall pukao of red scoria, another volcanic rock. They watch over this remote island from a remote age, but when Tuki stares at their faces, he feels a surge of connection. “It’s something strange and energetic,” he says. “This is something produced from my culture. It’s Rapanui.” 

He shakes his head. “How did they do it?”

Easter Island covers just 63 square miles. It lies 2,150 miles west of South America and 1,300 miles east of Pitcairn, its nearest inhabited neighbor. After it was settled, it remained isolated for centuries. All the energy and resources that went into the moai—which range in height from four to 33 feet and in weight to more than 80 tons—came from the island itself. Yet when Dutch explorers landed on Easter Sunday in 1722, they met a Stone Age culture. The moai were carved with stone tools, mostly in a single quarry, then transported without draft animals or wheels to massive stone platforms, or ahu, up to 11 miles away. Tuki’s question—how did they do it?—has vexed legions of visitors in the past half century.

But lately the moai have been drawn into a larger debate, one that opposes two distinct visions of Easter Island’s past—and of humanity in general. The first, eloquently expounded by Pulitzer Prize winner Jared Diamond, presents the island as a cautionary parable: the most extreme case of a society wantonly destroying itself by wrecking its environment. Can the whole planet, Diamond asks, avoid the same fate? In the other view, the ancient Rapanui are uplifting emblems of human resilience and ingenuity—one example being their ability to walk giant statues upright across miles of uneven terrain.

When the Polynesian settlers arrived at Rapa Nui, they had been at sea for weeks in open canoes. There were probably only a few dozen of them. Nowadays 12 flights arrive every week from Chile, Peru, and Tahiti, and in 2011 those planes delivered 50,000 tourists, ten times the island’s population. Just three decades ago, cars, electricity, and phone service were scarce; now Hanga Roa, the only town, buzzes with Internet cafés, bars, and dance clubs, and cars and pickup trucks clog the streets on Saturday nights. Wealthy tourists drop a thousand dollars a night at the poshest of scores of hotels. A Birkenstock shop caters to footsore ramblers. “The island is not an island anymore,” says Kara Pate, 40, a Rapanui sculptor. She’s married to a German she met here 23 years ago.

Chile annexed Easter Island in 1888, but until 1953 it allowed a Scottish company to manage the island as a giant sheep ranch. The sheep ranged freely, while the Rapanui were penned into Hanga Roa. In 1964 they revolted, later obtaining Chilean citizenship and the right to elect their own mayor.

Ambivalence toward el conti (the continent) runs high. Easter Islanders depend on Chile for fuel and daily air shipments of food. They speak Spanish and go to the mainland for higher education. Meanwhile, Chilean migrants, lured in part by the island’s income tax exemption, gladly take jobs that Rapanui spurn. “A Rapanui will say, What, you think I’m going to wash dishes?” says Beno Atán, a 27-year-old tour guide and a native himself. Though many Rapanui have married mainlanders, some worry their culture is being diluted. The population is now around 5,000, nearly double what it was 20 years ago, and fewer than half the people are Rapanui.

Just about every job on Easter Island depends on tourism. “Without it,” says Mahina Lucero Teao, head of the tourism chamber, “everyone would be starving on the island.” The mayor, Luz Zasso Paoa, says, “Our patrimony is the base of our economy. You’re not here for us, but for that patrimony.” That is, for the moai.

Thor Heyerdahl, the Norwegian ethnographer and adventurer whose Pacific expeditions helped ignite the world’s curiosity about Easter Island, thought the statues had been created by pre-Inca from Peru, not by Polynesians. Erich von Däniken, the best-selling Swiss author of Chariots of the Gods, was sure the moai were built by stranded extraterrestrials. Modern science—linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence—has proved the moai builders were Polynesian but not how they moved their creations. 

Researchers have tended to assume the ancestors dragged the statues somehow, using a lot of ropes and wood. “The experts can say whatever they want,” says Suri Tuki, 25, José Tuki’s half brother. “But we know the truth. The statues walked.” In the Rapanui oral tradition, the moai were animated by mana, a spiritual force transmitted by powerful ancestors.

There are no reports of moai building after Europeans arrived in the 18th century. By then Easter Island had only a few scrawny trees. In the 1970s and 1980s, though, biogeographer John Flenley of New Zealand’s Massey University found evidence—pollen preserved in lake sediments—that the island had been covered in lush forests, including millions of giant palm trees, for thousands of years. Only after the Polynesians arrived around A.D. 800 had those forests given way to grasslands.

Jared Diamond drew heavily on Flenley’s work for his assertion in Collapse, his influential 2005 book, that ancient Easter Islanders committed unintentional ecocide. They had the bad luck, Diamond argues, to have settled an extremely fragile island—dry, cool, and remote, which means it’s poorly fertilized by windblown dust or volcanic ash. (Its own volcanoes are quiescent.) When the islanders cleared the forests for firewood and farming, the forests didn’t grow back. As wood became scarce and the islanders could no longer build seagoing canoes for fishing, they ate the birds. Soil erosion decreased their crop yields. Before Europeans showed up, the Rapanui had descended into civil war and cannibalism. The collapse of their isolated civilization, Diamond writes, is “the clearest example of a society that destroyed itself by overexploiting its own resources” and “a worst-case scenario for what may lie ahead of us in our own future.”

The moai, he thinks, accelerated the self-destruction. Diamond interprets them as power displays by rival chieftains who, trapped on a remote little island, lacked other ways of strutting their stuff. They competed by building ever bigger statues. Diamond thinks they laid the moai on wooden sledges, hauled over log rails—a technique successfully tested by UCLA archaeologist Jo Anne Van Tilburg, director of the Easter Island Statue Project—but that required both a lot of wood and a lot of people. To feed the people, even more land had to be cleared. When the wood was gone and civil war began, the islanders began toppling the moai. By the 19th century none were standing. Easter Island’s landscape acquired the aura of tragedy that, in the eyes of Diamond and many others, it retains today.

Rearrange and reinterpret the scattered shards of fact, though, and you get a more optimistic vision of the Rapa Nui past—that of archaeologists Terry Hunt of the University of Hawaii and Carl Lipo of California State University Long Beach, who have studied the island for the past decade. It’s a vision peopled by peaceful, ingenious moai builders and careful stewards of the land. Hunt and Lipo agree that Easter Island lost its lush forests and that it was an “ecological catastrophe”—but the islanders themselves weren’t to blame. And the moai certainly weren’t. There is indeed much to learn from Easter Island, Hunt says, “but the story is different.”

His and Lipo’s controversial new version, based on their research and others’, begins with their own excavation at Anakena beach. It has convinced them that the Polynesians didn’t arrive until A.D. 1200, about four centuries later than is commonly understood, which would leave them only five centuries to denude the landscape. Slashing and burning wouldn’t have been enough, Hunt and Lipo think. Anyway, another tree killer was present. When archaeologists dig up nuts from the extinct Easter Island palm, the nuts are often marred by tiny grooves, made by the sharp teeth of Polynesian rats.

The rats arrived in the same canoes as the first settlers. Abundant bones in the Anakena dig suggest the islanders dined on them, but otherwise the rodents had no predators. In just a few years, Hunt and Lipo calculate, they would have overrun the island. Feasting on palm nuts, they would have prevented the reseeding of the slow-growing trees and thereby doomed Rapa Nui’s forest, even if humans hadn’t been slashing and burning. No doubt the rats ate birds’ eggs too.

Of course, the settlers bear responsibility for bringing the rats; Hunt and Lipo suspect they did so intentionally. (They also brought chickens.) But like invasive species today, the Polynesian rats did more harm to the ecosystem than to the humans who transported them. Hunt and Lipo see no evidence that Rapanui civilization collapsed when the palm forest did; based on their own archaeological survey of the island, they think its population grew rapidly after settlement to around 3,000 and then remained more or less stable until the arrival of Europeans.

Cleared fields were more valuable to the Rapanui than palm forests were. But they were wind-lashed, infertile fields watered by erratic rains. Easter Island was a tough place to make a living. It required heroic efforts. In farming, as in moai moving, the islanders shifted monumental amounts of rock—but into their fields, not out. They built thousands of circular stone windbreaks, called manavai, and gardened inside them. They mulched whole fields with broken volcanic rocks to keep the soil moist and fertilized it with nutrients that the volcanoes were no longer spreading. In short, Hunt, Lipo, and others contend, the prehistoric Rapanui were pioneers of sustainable farming, not inadvertent perpetrators of ecocide. “Rather than a case of abject failure, Rapa Nui is an unlikely story of success,” Hunt and Lipo argue in their recent book.

It’s called The Statues That Walked, and the Rapanui enjoy better spin in it than they do in Collapse. Hunt and Lipo don’t trust oral history accounts of violent conflict among the Rapanui; sharp obsidian flakes that other archaeologists see as weapons, they see as farm tools. The moai helped keep the peace, they argue, not only by signaling the power of their builders but also by limiting population growth: People raised statues rather than children. What’s more, moving the moai required few people and no wood, because they were walked upright. On that issue, Hunt and Lipo say, evidence supports the folklore.

Sergio Rapu, 63, a Rapanui archaeologist and former Easter Island governor who did graduate work with Hunt, took his American colleagues to the ancient quarry on Rano Raraku, the island’s southeastern volcano.

Looking at the many moai abandoned there in various stages of completion, Rapu explained how they were engineered to walk: Fat bellies tilted them forward, and a D-shaped base allowed handlers to roll and rock them side to side. Last year, in experiments funded by National Geographic’s Expeditions Council, Hunt and Lipo showed that as few as 18 people could, with three strong ropes and a bit of practice, easily maneuver a 10-foot, 5-ton moai replica a few hundred yards. In real life, walking miles with much larger moai would have been a tense business. Dozens of fallen statues line the roads leading away from the quarry. But many more made it to their platforms intact.

No one knows for sure when the last statue was carved. The moai cannot be dated directly. Many were still standing when the Dutch arrived in 1722, and Rapanui civilization was peaceful and thriving then, Hunt and Lipo argue. But the explorers introduced deadly diseases to which islanders had no immunity, along with artifacts that replaced the moai as status symbols. Snatching Europeans’ hats—Hunt and Lipo cite many reports of this—became more appealing than hoisting a multiton red pukao onto a moai. In the 19th century slave traders decimated the population, which shriveled to 111 people by 1877.

As Hunt and Lipo tell it, Easter Island’s story is a parable of genocide and culturecide, not ecocide. Their friend Sergio Rapu buys some but not all of it. “Don’t tell me those obsidian tools were just for agriculture,” he says, laughing. “I’d love to hear that my people never ate each other. But I’m afraid they did.”

Today islanders confront a fresh challenge: exploiting their cultural legacy without wrecking it. A growing population and thousands of tourists are straining a limited water supply. The island lacks a sewer system and a place to put the swelling volume of trash; between 2009 and mid-2011 it shipped 230 tons to the mainland. 

“So what do we do?” asks Zasso Paoa, the mayor. “Limit migration? Limit tourism? That’s where we are now.” The island recently started asking tourists to take their trash home with them in their suitcases.

Tourists are forbidden to touch moai, but horses happily rub against them, wearing away the porous tuff. 

Though cars are now the preferred mode of transport, more than 6,000 horses and cattle—“more than people,” grumbles tour guide Atán—still run free, trampling ground once trodden by Scottish-owned sheep and relieving themselves on once sacred platforms. But the islanders’ own desire to develop their ancestral lands may be a greater threat to their densely packed heritage: more than 20,000 archaeological features in all, including walled gardens and stone chicken houses as well as moai and ahu. More than 40 percent of the island is a protected national park, which limits available land. “People have to learn that archaeology isn’t their enemy,” says Rapu.

Decades ago he himself helped get the moai at Anakena back upright. In the process he and his colleagues also discovered how the moai builders had breathed soul into their colossal statues after the long trek from the quarry: As a finishing touch, they placed eyes of white coral and pupils of obsidian or red scoria into the empty sockets.

A grove of coconut palms, imported from Tahiti, overlooks Anakena beach today, reassuring sunbathers and Chilean newlyweds that they really are in Polynesia, even if the wind is shrieking and the grassy rolling hills behind them look like the Scottish Highlands. The moai are eyeless now and not confiding—to the tourists, José Tuki, or anyone else—how they got there or which story of Easter Island is true. Tuki, for one, can handle the ambiguity. “I want to know the truth,” he says. “But maybe the island doesn’t tell all its answers. And maybe knowing everything would take its power away.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

'The Gospel Of Jesus' Wife,' New Early Christian Text, Indicates Jesus May Have Been Married

A discovery by a Harvard researcher may shed light on a controversial aspect of the life of Jesus Christ.

Harvard Divinity School professor Karen L. King says she has found an ancient papyrus fragment from the fourth century that, when translated, appears to indicate that Jesus was married.

The text is being dubbed "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife." The part of it that's drawing attention says, "Jesus said to them, 'my wife'" in the Coptic language. The text, which is printed on papyrus the size of a business card, has not been scientifically tested to verify its dating, but King and other scholars have said they are confident it is a genuine artifact.

"Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim," King said at a conference in Rome on Tuesday. "This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’ marital status to support their positions."

King, who focuses on Coptic literature, Gnosticism and women in the Bible, has published on the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary of Magdala. She presented her research Tuesday evening in Rome, where scholars are gathered for the International Congress of Coptic Studies.

The idea that Jesus was unmarried and chaste is largely accepted by Christian denominations and a reason for the practice of celibacy among Roman Catholic priests.

"Beyond internal Catholic Church politics, a married Jesus invites a reconsideration of orthodox teachings about gender and sex," said journalist and author Michael D'Antonio, who writes about the Catholic Church, in a blog on The Huffington Post. "If Jesus had a wife, then there is nothing extra Christian about male privilege, nothing spiritually dangerous about the sexuality of women, and no reason for anyone to deny himself or herself a sexual identity." 

The quote about Jesus' wife is part of a description of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. In the conversation, Jesus talks about his mother twice and speaks once about his wife. One of them is identified as "Mary." His disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy of being part of their community, to which Jesus replies, “she will able to be my disciple.”

The fragment has eight incomplete lines of writing on one side and is badly damaged on the other side, with only three faded words and a few letters of ink that are visible, even with the use of infrared photography and computer-aided enhancement. 

The private owner of the papyrus first approached King in 2010. King said she didn't believe the document was authentic, but the owner persisted. She then asked the owner to bring the papyrus to Harvard, where she became convinced it was a genuine early Christian text fragment. Along with Princeton University professor Anne Marie Luijendijk and Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, King claims to have confirmed the document is real. The document's owner has not been named and King said he does not want to be identified.

It's unclear when the text was initially discovered. The owner who showed it to King found it in 1997 in a collection of papyri that he acquired from the previous owner, who was German. The papyri included a handwritten German description that had the name of a now-deceased professor of Egyptology in Berlin who called the fragment a "sole example" of a document that claims Jesus was married.

The scholars believe the text is from Egyptian Christians before the year 400, as it is written in the language used at that time. Since writing appears on both sides of the fragment, scholars believe it came from a codex, a kind of book, and not a scroll. The scholars also believe the document is a translation of an earlier one that was likely written in Greek.

King notes in her research that the idea of Jesus' celibacy hasn't always existed, and that early Christians debated whether they should marry or practice celibacy. It was not until around the year 200 that Christian followers began to say Jesus was unmarried, according to a record King cites from Clement of Alexandria. In his writing, Clement -- an early theologian -- said that marriage was a fornication put in place by the devil, and that people should emulate Jesus by not marrying.

One or two decades later, Tertullian of Carthage in North Africa declared that Jesus was "entirely unmarried" and told Christians to remain single. But Tertullian did not come out against sex altogether and allowed couples to get married one time, denouncing divorce and remarriage as overindulgent. A century earlier, the First Epistle of Paul to Timothy said in the New Testament that people who forbid marriage are going by the "doctrines of demons," but did not include anything about Jesus being married in order to make the point.

The point of view that ultimately became dominant was that celibacy is preferred as a high sexual virtue among Christians, but that marriage is needed for the sake of reproduction.

"The discovery of this new gospel," King said, "offers an occasion to rethink what we thought we knew by asking what role claims about Jesus' marital status played historically in early Christian controversies over marriage, celibacy, and family. Christian tradition preserved only those voices that claimed Jesus never married. The Gospel of Jesus's Wife now shows that some Christians thought otherwise."

The life of historical Jesus is often a matter of controversy, and this is not the first time it's been proposed that Jesus was married. Most recently, Dan Brown's novel "The Da Vinci Code" depicted Jesus as being married to Mary Magdalene. The book was published as fiction, but nonetheless attracted loud criticism from Vatican officials.

Front of fragment with translation

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Back of fragment with translation

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UPDATE: 4:28 p.m. -- Speaking on a conference call Tuesday from Rome, King said that some people who have read about the discovery have asked if the papyrus fragment was describing Jesus as being married to the Christian faith, not to a woman.

"One cannot overrule that it might be him saying 'my wife as a church,' but in the context where he's talking about 'my mother' and 'my wife' and talking about 'my disciple,' the one thing you would not say is that the church would be 'my disciple.'"

Even before King's discovery, there has been speculation that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. "I do not think Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene," King clarified Tuesday, adding, "whether he was or was not married ... I really think the tradition is silent and we don't know."

King also said that a professor who saw her report asked her if the text on the papyrus could have been a homily and not a gospel, an idea she said she had not considered.

King added that she hopes the discovery will diminish the view outside of academic circles that the debate over marriage and sexuality in the early church is "fixed and over." In current church debates over issues such as same-sex marriage and marriage among Catholic priests, "having more voices from the early church and a better, more accurate version of early Christianity is more helpful," she said.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Secret £14million Bible in which 'Jesus predicts coming of Prophet Muhammad' unearthed in Turkey

A secret Bible in which Jesus is believed to predict the coming of the Prophet Muhammad to Earth has sparked serious interest from the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI is claimed to want to see the 1,500-year-old book, which many say is the Gospel of Barnabas, that has been hidden by the Turkish state for the last 12 years.

The £14million handwritten gold lettered tome, penned in Jesus' native Aramaic language, is said to contain his early teachings and a prediction of the Prophet's coming.

The leather-bound text, written on animal hide, was discovered by Turkish police during an anti-smuggling operation in 2000.

It was closely guarded until 2010, when it was finally handed over to the Ankara Ethnography Museum, and will soon be put back on public display following a minor restoration.

A photocopy of a single page from the handwritten ancient manuscript is thought to be worth £1.5million.

Turkish culture and tourism minister Ertugrul Gunay said the book could be an authentic version of the Gospel, which was suppressed by the Christian Church for its strong parallels with the Islamic view of Jesus.

He also said the Vatican had made an official request to see the scripture - a controversial text which Muslims claim is an addition to the original gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John.

In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel treats Jesus as a human being and not a God.

It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Muhammad.

In one version of the gospel, he is said to have told a priest: 'How shall the Messiah be called? Muhammad is his blessed name'.

And in another Jesus denied being the Messiah, claiming that he or she would be Ishmaelite, the term used for an Arab.

Despite the interest in the newly re-discovered book, some believe it is a fake and only dates back to the 16th century.

The oldest copies of the book date back to that time, and are written in Spanish and Italian.

Protestant pastor İhsan Özbek said it was unlikely to be authentic.

This is because St Barnabas lived in the first century and was one of the Apostles of Jesus, in contrast to this version which is said to come from the fifth or sixth century.

He told the Today Zaman newspaper: 'The copy in Ankara might have been written by one of the followers of St Barnabas.

'Since there is around 500 years in between St Barnabas and the writing of the Bible copy, Muslims may be disappointed to see that this copy does not include things they would like to see.

'It might have no relation with the content of the Gospel of Barnabas.'
Theology professor Ömer Faruk Harman said a scientific scan of the bible may be the only way to reveal how old it really is.


Born in Cyprus as Joseph, Barnabas was an Early Christian later named an apostle.
His story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles.

The date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable.
But Christian tradition states that he was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus.
He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Church, with his feast day on June 11.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Keith Barry "DECEPTION"

Keith Barry :

Early and personal life :

Born in County Waterford, Ireland, Barry's interest in magic began at the age of fourteen when he purchased a book entitled Magic for the Complete Klutz.

Barry's grandfather, 82, was attacked in his home in Waterford by burglars in 2009, later dying of his wounds.Barry and his father launched a high-profile campaign to stamp out abuse against the elderly in their homes, said the government was “insulting” the elderly and said he would “bring the country to a halt” until the Government responded. Pundits referred to the incident in discussions of laws about the actions people can legally take to defend themselves in their homes.

Career :


Barry’s television career began with a series entitled Close Encounters with Keith Barry, which ran from 2003-2005. The show originally aired in Europe and has since aired in 28 countries worldwide.

In 2004, Barry performed in a MTV television special entitled Brainwashed. 2005 ended with Barry performing a live Christmas special in Europe. Keith Barry Live With Friends featured various celebrities such as magician Billy McComb, Jim Corr of The Corrs, and The Conway Sisters.

Despite never achieving the success of his British counterpart Derren Brown, and widely regarded as the inferior performer of the two, Barry's success throughout Europe coupled with his MTV special led to a four year multi-special deal with CBS. His first special with CBS debuted on 12 May 2006 and was entitled Keith Barry: Extraordinary. The special later aired on New Year's Eve 2006 on The CW and on New Year’s Day 2007 on TV3 in New Zealand and the Arena channel in Australia.

In the Keith Barry: Extraordinary special, he performed various pieces of illusion and interesting mental feats. In one trick, which he referred to as "Black Ops Hypnosis", he made a host from Entertainment Tonight forget that he had torn a specific page from a book and sealed it in an envelope in the span of roughly five minutes. In another, he made a blindfolded man lift his arm when he thought others stopped touching him.

Barry first used suggestion to make the man "concentrate" and lied that he was touching the man. The man imagined the touch and lifted his arm, but Barry and another member of the audience only moved their hand afar.

Following a successful Irish tour along with a week in Dublin's Vicar Street, Keith and his longtime manager Eamonn Maguire were badly injured in a horrific car crash on the Belfast to Newry road on 1 March 2007.

Keith suffered severe trauma to his left leg and only returned to the stage later the same year at Vicar Street.
As an actor, he performed in the "Open Water" episode of CSI: Miami.

Keith's prestigious TED Talk on is in the top 15 Most Viewed TED Talks of all time and follows from his first ever live stage performance which was at TED in Monterey, California in 2004.

He returned to TED in 2005 and was the special guest performer then on the opening night.

On 29 December 2007 Keith performed in a live Saturday night primetime special on ITV in the UK titled Keith Barry - The Escape Live. The finale of the show featured an escape from a shed rigged with explosives.

Keith was tied to a chair with thick ropes by two members of the audience. One of these was Glen Gathard, noted for hoping that Keith Barry would not make it out of the explosion. Participants lit a fuse, started a two minute countdown, and carried the chair into the shed. Workmen hammered additional wood to cover the door and windows from the outside, then left the scene when one minute remained on the countdown. After the countdown was complete, the shed exploded, then the camera changed to reveal Keith safely on top of a gantry some distance away.

Keith has performed live on The Ellen Degeneres Show four times and The Paul O'Grady Show four times.
In 2009 on TV3 Ireland Keith hosted the Irish version of Deal or No Deal.

In February 2010, Keith finished a pilot for a new series on The Discovery Channel in the US. The show is called Deception with Keith Barry and the pilot aired in July 2010. The show was picked up for a season and premiered on 31 May 2011 with 4 one hour shows, Black Ops, Used Car Salesman, Cops and Robbers, and Daring and Dating. The show premiers on Oct 6th 2011 in Taiwan, Nov 1st in Japan, Nov 3rd on Quest in the UK, on Dec 7th in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Dec 13th in Australia and New Zealand and in India in the 1st Quarter of 2012.

Also in 2010 and 2011, Keith toured extensively with his live show “The Asylum” which finished its run in May 2011. On this tour, Keith set the record as the most successful solo act ever to play The Olympia Theatre in Dublin. On 13 July 2011, Keith's new live show “Keith Barry - 8 Deadly Sins” opened to critical acclaim and a standing ovation at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin and ran for 5 weeks setting new box office records during the run. A National "8 DEADLY SINS" Irish tour is planned for Jan/Feb 2012 playing in Killarney, Letterkenny, Castlebar, Donegal, Galway, Wexford, Clonmel, Waterford, Cork, Arklow, Drogheda, Kilkenny, Carrick on Shannon, Limerick, Portlaoise, Mullingar, Ennis, Athlone, Castleblayney, and Navan.