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  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,885
    I am a little curious about the "sphinx" class the article mentions.

    On a more serious note, most of you are undoubtedly aware that the object we refer to as "a 20-sided die" is nothing more than a icosahedron, a polygon having 20 faces which are equilateral triangles and is one of the classic Platonic solids. I suspect it was probably used in some sort of religious ritual for trying to divine the answers to questions: go to the temple, offer a sacrifice, ask the priest a question, the priests consults the gods by rolling the die, then gives you your answer. Given that there are 24 letters in the classic Greek alphabet (if I am remembering correctly), I wonder which 4 letters are absent?

    atcDaverufus_hobartCrevsDaakjackjack
  • MichailMichail Member Posts: 196
    Well, well, well... it has greek letters on it, and they doubled as numbers, but... i can see U, which should stand for the number 400, P which is 100, and N which is in fact the number 50, next to H (8). And i am not sure if the symbol facing directly the viewer is a deformed A (1), or a version of stigma, koppa or whatever. It is very weird. Makes me even more curious.

  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,885
    @kiwidoc‌ A cutting guide would almost have to be required--it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to shape the cut stone (I presume it is made of stone of some sort) by hand without assistance. The mathematics had already been established, making the engineering less time-consuming.

    @Michail‌ Perhaps some form of numerological divination?

  • MoomintrollMoomintroll Member Posts: 1,481
    Apparently it is made from Serpentine, a fairly soft rock, you could grind faces onto it using sandstone I imagine, as it is softer than quartz.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    Apparently it is made from Serpentine, a fairly soft rock, you could grind faces onto it using sandstone I imagine, as it is softer than quartz.

    Its probably not a very hard stone judging by the wear on it, so you're probably right on.

    Didnt people already cut gemstones by this time? Many of those are incredibly hard (rubies and diamonds come to mind), so faceting a softer rock shouldn't be too awful. Tedious though!

  • deltagodeltago Member Posts: 7,045

    TSOUKALOS HAS THE ANSWER!!!!

    image

    I wouldn't be surprised if this was actually on the next season of Ancient Aliens.

    Each side represents a constellation and the center is the Alien Home World. The circle with the line in it represents earth and the diamond triangle thingy is a spaceship flying away.

    MetallomanCrevsDaak
  • MoomintrollMoomintroll Member Posts: 1,481
    edited September 2014
    DreadKhan said:

    Apparently it is made from Serpentine, a fairly soft rock, you could grind faces onto it using sandstone I imagine, as it is softer than quartz.

    Its probably not a very hard stone judging by the wear on it, so you're probably right on.

    Didnt people already cut gemstones by this time? Many of those are incredibly hard (rubies and diamonds come to mind), so faceting a softer rock shouldn't be too awful. Tedious though!
    From what I understand, though I sincerely doubt this is of much interest! Serpentine rock is made up mainly of minerals from the serpentine group. Minerals are rated by hardness on the Mohs scale; serpentine minerals sit on this scale at about 2.5-4.

    To put that into context.
    1 - Talc (the mineral that we get the powder from)
    2.5 - Fingernail
    5 - Tooth Enamel
    7 - Quartz
    10 - Diamond

    If you want to abrade something, you should be able to use anything that is higher up on the list of hardness.

    Saying that.. from personal experience I can tell you that you can use sandstone to polish a knapped flint, this is extremely time consuming but it does work, they are roughly the same hardness (That is, Quartz and Flint - 7)

    Minerals do fracture consistently, in accordance with the structure of their lattice, but those fancy shapes you see today are apparently, ground onto them using a wheel.

    Anyway, as the serpentine is likely a rock, made of interlocking minerals, it would not likely have a clean fracture.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Real men use he Rockwell Hardness test, gives objective results. ;)

    You might be missing my point, that being that if you have flakes of diamond, ruby, etc, these would easily be able to cut facets, asmopposed to fracturing them.

    If this was made of D2 tool steel, I'd be more impressed. But thats still cool.

  • MoomintrollMoomintroll Member Posts: 1,481
    edited September 2014
    @DreadKhan I am missing your point, what do you mean, surely it is easier to fracture a diamond rather than cut (grind?) a face onto it? due to its hardness.

    (I wasn't trying to prove a point, just understand something myself, by describing it)

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    My point is you arent going to get precision by relying on fracturing and chipping. You likely need both.

    Moomintroll
  • kiwidockiwidoc Member Posts: 1,294
    edited September 2014
    When I first made the comment about how impressed I am by the fact that someone made these beautiful objects, I wasn't trying to be specific - it was a much more general kind of statement. The point I was getting at is that modern people find it really easy to underestimate the level of skills the artisans and craftsmen had in pre-industrial societies. You hear somewhat daft theories about how " they couldn't have made that without alien help" or "that is just too complex for such old civlisations to have made so it must be a fake"

    I've recently been to see the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition and I can tell you that early medieval craftsment with bugger all equipment, bad lighting, raw materials of often dodgy purity made specactular work that even the best modern jewellers with all their high tech kit say they find it incredibly hard to produce reproductions of at a bigger scale, let alone the orignal tiny, tiny scale.

    Personally I love to look at objects like that and just admire the simple beauty of the object and the degree of skill and sophistication needed to make it. Egyptians didn't just make glorious big things like pyramids, temples and sphinxes the made glorious tiny things as well.

    And then there is the whole philosphical, cultural and spiritual significances of "the luck of the dice" - which is another great discussion waiting to hijack this thread :D

    The bottom line - this dice is amazing on so many levels. Thanks @diggerb for sharing it with us.

    Post edited by kiwidoc on
    NimranMoomintrollMichailArdul
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Pre-columbian gold and jade relics always blow me away, considering the technology the natives had was so different. Same with very good Roman cameos, or their republican 'warts and all' art style.

  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,885
    It is possible to grind or polish a harder substance with one that is softer if you are patient; a lone craftsman could have finished, polished, and engraved the die in only 6 months.

  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,848
    People turn anything into an argument these days.

    JuliusBorisov
  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    edited September 2014
    Wait... WAIT! WAIT!

    Did it land on an Upsilon or an Omega?

    If it landed on either the feckless gambling Pharaoh loses control of the Kingdom ceding it to ME!

    I COULD BE THE RULER OF THE REALM!

    *cough*

    So... Errr... What face was it showing when it was found?

    JuliusBorisov
  • BelanosBelanos Member Posts: 968
    And here we were thinking that Gary Gygax was such a visionary.

    "All things old become new again."

    AnduinjackjackatcDave
  • Misfit_KotLDMisfit_KotLD Member Posts: 16

    I am a little curious about the "sphinx" class the article mentions.

    On a more serious note, most of you are undoubtedly aware that the object we refer to as "a 20-sided die" is nothing more than a icosahedron, a polygon having 20 faces which are equilateral triangles and is one of the classic Platonic solids. I suspect it was probably used in some sort of religious ritual for trying to divine the answers to questions: go to the temple, offer a sacrifice, ask the priest a question, the priests consults the gods by rolling the die, then gives you your answer. Given that there are 24 letters in the classic Greek alphabet (if I am remembering correctly), I wonder which 4 letters are absent?

    I wager the first twenty are present as the Greek alphabet doubled as numerals.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_numerals

    Use the table here and game away with a duplicate, if we can find someone to make one.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Anduin said:

    Curses!

    AAAAHHHH!!!

    RUN AWAY!

    THE MUMMY'S CURSE!

    SethDavisNimranJuliusBorisov
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