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PostPosted: 25 Mar 2015 6:45 pm 
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If anyone is interested in reading some background information about the tunnel system at Baia, which may or may not be the site of an ancient Oracle of the Dead, I am posting here links to two of the original papers from the 1960s.

The first is: THE 'GREAT ANTRUM' AT BAIAE: A PRELIMINARY REPORT. Unfortunately Doc Paget never did a follow-up report. He was old, his wife Ada Immacolata dying and after a subdued press call on the same day as Kennedy was assassinated Doc rather lost his chance at getting the story out, although at the time the story caused a big stir among those who had seen it.

So please have a read of THE 'GREAT ANTRUM' AT BAIAE: A PRELIMINARY REPORT here: https://db.tt/d1op4N9A

Doc Paget called on the help of a classics expert, Colin Hardie, and his paper is also helpful in explaining the background to the tunnel complex.

So please also read THE GREAT ANTRUM AT BAIAE by Colin Hardie: https://db.tt/SEtIVOzD


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PostPosted: 25 Mar 2015 7:33 pm 
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At the River Styx, when we approach the water, we are some 190 metres or 650 feet from the surface and the single entrance, the only point of fresh air. In addition the water is hot, about 30º C or 86º F, making the air humid. Yet the water is clear, fresh and drinkable. There is no bad smell or trace of growth or fungus. There is a crystalline scum on the water but under that it is very clear.

The measuring pole is marked at 0.25 metres. So you can see the headroom here is barely a metre high.

I have enhanced this camera raw picture taken last year to bring the shadow detail up. Remember it is pitch black down there.

Points of note:

    A lamp niche can be seen in the foreground walls on either side.

    The pink tinge on the wall is a Roman covering of waterproof plaster called cocciopesto. Ground up lime, mortar, brick, and crushed tile.

    Ahead and below is the body of water.

    There appears to have been a wall at one time which closed off the tunnel completely.

    At a later date this wall has been broken through.

    To the right a later tunnel has been dug and this curves steeply up and around to a square hole in the roof just behind the wall we see.

    This steep curved section is called 'The Dogleg'.

    The Dogleg wall and all points beyond here are no longer lined in Roman cocciopesto. All is virgin rock.

    When Doc Paget first arrived here The Dogleg was completely blocked. The soil now covering a great deal of the floor has all been pulled down the Dogleg and from higher up, the section we call The Rise.

Image

Let us now view 180º with our backs to the water, looking the way we came in, but before we do so note:

    Courses of Roman brick still cross the floor. Nobody has yet looked to see how many courses are there, but I suspect we will find four or five and that the tunnel should in fact be human height here.

    Again note lamp niches either side. These descend into the water and below, indicating the water is very much higher today than originally intended.

    In fact we know the roof descends and the tunnel width decreases to a point where there is a sudden drop down, which may not have been easy or possible to return up from. It is down below that the river proper once ran. It's still there, but plugged up with silt and mud. In Doc's day there was just 18" above the mud. Divers found it hard to see much for the stirred up mud, but they did find the source of the hot springs below to the left.

    Above us is a square hole. With deep cuts either side where Doc and Keith Jones seem to have hatcheted out the stone where a Roman tile once blocked the hole. We presume we would still find the tile under all the soil on the floor.

    Keith Jones climbed the square chimney and dug his way from there back down the dogleg.


Image

Finally a view looking from the bottom of The Dogleg:

Image


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PostPosted: 25 Mar 2015 9:58 pm 
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Thanks for the great info, Whoop! Gosh those tunnels are enticing. I grew up in Hong Kong and spent endless hours scrambling around in similar
looking Japanese tunnels as a lad (but clay, not the hard stuff for the most part).

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PostPosted: 26 Mar 2015 9:01 am 
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The start of the River Styx, if indeed this be a represention of it.

The view is misleading. Originally there would have been no water visible here at all. The tunnel tapers to an almost sheer drop at the end, at which point you slip down into the Styx proper. The river widens out and stretches for perhaps 40 feet or so. Nobody has ever measured it. It is all man made, but the river is fed by a spring in a cavern to the left near the bottom of the drop.

The big question is how anyone knew that if the tunnelled here they could reach a water source with a stable level. Why did they not drown the instance they cut through to the spring chamber? Somehow they knew about the underground water in advance and tunnelled deliberately to it with no false starts.

In the pictures below, on the left is a picture from about 1964 in black and white, contrasted with a similar view from last year.

Various lines indicate previous water levels on the wall. A lamp niche in the right wall is partially submerged in the left picture but exposed in the right. The water level has dropped since the 1960s.

Image

Image


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PostPosted: 26 Mar 2015 5:34 pm 
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fascinating stuff.


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PostPosted: 27 Mar 2015 8:19 am 
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The engineering of all this just amazes me - it's so easy to forget that your looking at stuff circa 2000 years old.

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PostPosted: 27 Mar 2015 5:20 pm 
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... or even older.


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PostPosted: 27 Mar 2015 8:23 pm 
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jlockest wrote:
The engineering of all this just amazes me - it's so easy to forget that your looking at stuff circa 2000 years old.
The most likely guess to date is that these tunnels may have been constructed circa 500 BC, some 250 years after the Greeks arrived in Italy. So you might want to add another 25% onto your age estimate. During the reign of a Tyrant of Cuma called Aristodemos. Aristodemos deserves a book all to himself. He forbade boys to cut their hair or do any sport and feminised them. In contrast the women had to cut their hair and look like men. A plan was hatched up involving the wife of Aristodemos who seems to have despised him and the man was finally overthrown.

If the whole tunnel mess was for a later Roman purpose, then I wonder what it was? No suitable military or leisure purpose seems to fit the bill. Even if this were the case, then why did someone deem it necessary to carry blocks in 650 feet, one by one, and cement up the Sanctuary arches and at some point the access to the underground river. It makes no sense. Simply block it all off at the entrance with several feet of concrete and the job could be done in a day and possibly nobody today would ever know the tunnels were there. Let us not forget all the soil in there too, which seems to be distributed by the hand of man, not natural causes. It banks up behind sealed off walls. No volcanic inrush of air could get through several feet of man-made wall.

I have already kept a small part of lost memory alive. Doc Paget recorded a staircase hidden in the hillside at the side of the bath house we call Big D. This was blocked off in the late 1960s and has since been forgotten behind modern brick infill that has aged to disguise it completely. Had it not been for Doc Paget, this piece of evidence would be now lost forever. It connects up at a higher level with the base of a tank that was clearly in Roman times a water tank, but a staircase, not in the least airtight, set into the base of a water tank, makes no sense. Furthermore, this 'tank' has a battered passage leading out of it that runs around the back of the round Tholos. This would appear to meet up somehow with the Grotto that sits directly above the entrance. There is an intriguing set of known features that has not yet been looked at by anyone in charge of the site at Baia. This is pioneering work.


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PostPosted: 07 Apr 2015 7:44 pm 
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Another official entry in the tunnels was made today.

The first picture shows Peter Knight, who last year became the oldest person in the Italian speleological (caving) association to gain his speleological qualification. Peter is in his 70s and he had to climb mountains as well as negotiate caves to achieve this - no mean feat. He entered with Graziano Ferrari who currently has the official permission to explore the tunnels. Peter went in as part of the investigative team.

This, as far as I have seen, is the first picture actually in the water looking back at the landing. Remember, the water was never up this high when the tunnels were originally dug.

Image

At the end of the visible tunnel, under the water, lamp niches still can be seen either side. The water here has narrowed to shoulder width only and beyond lies an almost sheer drop down to where the river proper once ran, where it opens up to be much wider. If the traditional story holds, this is where you would have paid Charon a coin and dropped into his ferry, having been told the water would kill you if you touched it.

Image


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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2015 6:09 am 
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privileged to see those photos..many thanks.

would that be yourself in the water ?


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PostPosted: 08 Apr 2015 7:09 am 
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Sheila wrote:
privileged to see those photos..many thanks.

would that be yourself in the water ?

Alas I am in UK. I would be forbidden on grounds of health and safety. The man in the water was Graziano Ferrari. I am hoping to see the pictures he took in due course. The pictures above were taken with Peter's underwater Fuji camera. It needs scuba gear to go down the drop. In the 1960s there was a gap of just 18 inches, 46 cms, above the mud and silt. The first time a diver disturbed the silt and visibility went down to almost zero. The second time he took care not to disturb it and found the hot spring that feeds the river and the far landing, where a passage leads back up to the sanctuary above.

My take is that if someone was told not to touch the water, in the dark if you were told you were crossing a river which stretched and flowed widely either side of you, you would not really know any different. If you were under the influence of psychedelics, and we do know that the Orphic/Dyonisiacs used amanita muscaria, fly agaric, you might be even more suggestible. I took this just once in my youth and the overwhelming experience for me was a loss of sense of scale. Whatever I concentrated on filled my whole sensory awareness, yet at other times I could see the bigger picture. As if I had a zoom lens I could focus. Another aspect is the feeling of great strength, followed after the experience by a period of total apathy. This I don't remember feeling.

The zoom lens aspect is exactly as the Anglican church Deacon Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, aka Lewis Carroll, describes it in Alice in Wonderland. He also has the mushroom depicted with the caterpillar and hookah:

" 'Curiouser and curiouser!' cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); 'now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!' (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off)."


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PostPosted: 09 Apr 2015 5:50 am 
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Sheila wrote:
...and the fresh drinking water comes from which spring...do we know?


did i ever get an answer to this query ?


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PostPosted: 09 Apr 2015 6:20 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
Sheila wrote:
...and the fresh drinking water comes from which spring...do we know?


did i ever get an answer to this query ?

We know that the hot water comes into the man made underground water course through two narrow slits. A frogman in the early 1970s squeezed through a slit to find a rough (natural?) chamber that contains the water. We know neither where the water comes into that chamber, nor where the water flows out to maintain a reasonably constant level, although it must vary somewhat due to rainfall and the water table, couple with bradyseismic forces from the volcanic epicentre about 2kms away below Pozzuoli.

Since the 1970s no divers have ventured into the waters.

It was distressing to see that some new graffiti has appeared in the Great Antrum. Some idiot has carved MARINO in large letters in the wall which makes me sad.

Image

I feel a deep sense of responsibility if my website at http://www.oracleofthedead.com is encouraging people to venture in and do this kind of thing, but it is likely to be an ignorant local kid - kids have been slipping in and out of there since the site opened.


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PostPosted: 09 Apr 2015 6:53 pm 
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hmm...not sure if that answers my question...i'll phrase it differently.... Where was the fresh water supply for the ancient resort of Baiae ?

I can't remember if this has been discussed as my memory is a bit hazy these days, so apologies in advance.


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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2015 6:37 am 
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Sheila wrote:
hmm...not sure if that answers my question...i'll phrase it differently.... Where was the fresh water supply for the ancient resort of Baiae ?

I can't remember if this has been discussed as my memory is a bit hazy these days, so apologies in advance.


I recall that you asked where the Cuma water supply came from and Ivana wrote back that we don't know where the Greek water supply came from but there are storage cisterns. Roman Cuma was supplied by the Aquaeductus Augusteus.

The bulk of Roman Baia is now totally submerged and sitting in ruins on the sea bed, so fresh water sources unknown.

Image

Image

There are numerous fresh water springs at the Roman bath site at Baia and some are still active. Some sources flow freely only after rainfall. Fresh water springs are much admired even today for their curative qualities. One is still famed for curing mangy dogs. Springs appear in many places where the calderas meet the volcano walls and this is the situation at Baia and why the spa baths are there.

After about 30BC the Serino aqueduct was built and fed the site. There are massive storage tanks both near the aqueduct at Baia and also further down the hillside. I went inside them. The Serino aqueduct is green in the drawing below and skirts around the back of Lake Avernus following the hill contours.

Image

The best/worst pic I have of water usage at the baths is below, shot from a projected slide shown at a conference at Baia. The yellow line is the Serino aqueduct, with the purple section the area humanly explored last year. The Green E shape and cyan tanks are water storage areas.

The purple east-west set of tunnels is the Great Antrum and our putative Oracle of the Dead.

The irregular worm holes shown in green are under the curved Nymphaeum called Sosandra. I have detailed pictures of these and they appear to be exploratory tunnels, looking for an underground fresh water source, which they indeed found and one spur leads to fresh underground water today. When and who dug these is unknown. They are cut into sold rock and are not lined in any way with masonry or render.

Image


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PostPosted: 10 Apr 2015 5:54 pm 
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and your "Styx" is fresh water is it not ?


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2015 1:32 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
and your "Styx" is fresh water is it not ?

Yes the 'Styx' is fresh water, I have drunk it. The water is just about at sea level, perhaps slightly above.


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2015 6:30 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
...and the fresh drinking water comes from which spring...do we know?

.....the "Styx" is fresh water is it not ?



Whoop wrote:
Yes the 'Styx' is fresh water, I have drunk it.


so maybe we could put 2 + 2 together here ?


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2015 8:01 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
so maybe we could put 2 + 2 together here ?

Which is what? A freshwater spring totally the other side of the hill feeds an underground cavern that feeds an artificially dug underground water course that is 200 metres away from any known local feature at Baia. What is your thinking here Sheila?


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PostPosted: 13 Apr 2015 8:10 pm 
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I have been sent the first view anyone alive today has seen of the end of the visible water course. I have taken the liberty of sharpening it up and adjusting the picture to bring up what detail there is. There appears to be some kind of horizontal ridge in the side walls, that may perhaps have supported a perishable platform of some kind. This was all in clear air, not submerged as it is today. In the foreground right there is a lamp niche and another on the left wall a little further back.

Image


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PostPosted: 14 Apr 2015 5:57 pm 
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Quote:
What is your thinking here Sheila?


I think you are researching something very ancient pertaining to the Mysteries....


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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2015 7:30 am 
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Sheila wrote:
Quote:
What is your thinking here Sheila?


I think you are researching something very ancient pertaining to the Mysteries....

At the entrance are a quantity of large stone blocks of solid tufa, joined with poured metal staples and no mortar. These occur in enough places to establish that a somewhat square building once stood at and above the Great Antrum entrance. The vision of what was once there is further helped because the Romans, instead of building afresh, built their own brickwork around the existing large blocks and on two sides although the large blocks are missing, the imprint of them is still there in the Roman wall.

Nobody would argue that the large blocks with metal staples are later than their surrounding Roman brickwork, but are they earlier? This is something the authorities at Baia seem happy to gloss over and ignore. They don't match the construction used anywhere else at the site at Baia. They do match the construction of Greek buildings locally at Cuma and further afield.

So we have to look at what was here when the Greeks were here, hundreds of years before the Romans ever set foot near the place. So if the Great Antrum wasn't for feeding steam (couldn't be water, it flows the wrong way) to non-existent baths, what was it for? We are entitled to ask that question.

The 550+ lamp niches appear ceremonial - they are certainly not utilitarian.

The round trip arrangement of tunnels looks ritual/ceremonial. Down to underground water course, across or through the water, up the passage from the far landing to a now blocked up feature leads us back by a different route back to the entrance via a feature that may have contained a swivel door, although someone dressed up blocking the passage would have steered someone in the desired direction - down on the way in, back towards the entrance on the way out. If it is simply to connect A to B, why the multiple tunnels and the loop through the river?

I think it is to do with the mysteries too Sheila, but for now it we are still undertaking a fact-finding mission. Science isn't massaging facts to fit pre-conceived theories.

To me the key might be found behind those blocked 'sanctuary' walls. Why block them up instead of two yards of concrete in the entrance, job done? Why carry bricks and mortar all that way in to block it up?

In personal discussion with Robert Temple, a respected Egyptologist with a great interest in the Baia tunnels, he feels that whatever was sealed up behind the bricks might still be in place. If the place was the site of ritual or reverence then any artifacts may have been deemed too powerful to be removed. Conversely, if there was nothing left there to protect or hide, why the need to brick it up?

In short we do have a mystery and the mysteries are still a plausible explanation, whereas no other plausible explanations spring to mind.


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2015 2:48 am 
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Very interesting posts and pictures!

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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2015 6:05 am 
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...especially when you consider the similarities between the two 'Eleusinian' sites - here at Baiæ and the one in the vallée de la Sals.


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PostPosted: 23 Apr 2015 11:57 pm 
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Sheila wrote:
...especially when you consider the similarities between the two 'Eleusinian' sites - here at Baiæ and the one in the vallée de la Sals.


Can you elaborate a bit please, Sheila? Is this in reference to the descriptions you've sussed out about the underground water constructions in RLB? The part I'm fuzzy on is the initiatory vs. simply say medicinal/therapeutic nature of it - what makes you lean that way? Thanks!

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