St Anna's Fresco

ABOUT

Welcome to my site! I’m a travelling archaeologist and historian of art, always on the track of legends and artifacts. The more I study, the more I realize that ancient history as we have been thought in academic books is full of missing parts. While travelling and studying I take a closer look at monuments, artifacts and discoveries that have been tagged as the so-called Forbidden Archaeology by independent scholars. My journey is like Alice’s looking through the glass, at a strange parallel world of ancient civilizations:

‘I can’t believe that!’, said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’, the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes’.

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying’, she said: ‘one can’t believe impossible things’.

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice’, said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast’.

– Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass.

The gesture of Saint Anne of Nubia, with her index finger touching her lips, in my opinion perfectly reflects the very idea of mystery we experience throughout archaeology, art and religious rituals. Although Saint Anne’s attitude asks for silence and keeping the secret untold, her smiling large eyes are full of hope and promise for enlightenment. Of course, in the case of the Nubian painting from the eight century, it may actually be intended to be solely understood in a spiritual dimension of Christian life. Nevertheless, the image provides solid grounds for reflection on our existence in the face of the lost wisdom of the past, and verification of our spiritual life against it. It is the reason why I have chosen the portrayal of Saint Anne to guide us throughout numerous stories being told on this website. For myself, Saint Anne has become an inspiration for taking a challenge to involve deeper in quest for knowledge, recognition and awareness of unknown aspects of mankind history. In order to acknowledge the truth we need to become a part of it, not exclusively by reading about it, but also by physically approaching it. Only then we will be able to build our own perception of the mystery’s tangible entity, and self-introspection, while approaching and facing it.

Ongoing Project:

As an archaeologist, currently conducting PhD research on early Christianity, I have embarked on an expedition, or rather a pilgrimage, that takes me in most of its complexity with the Seven Archangels, and the seven sanctuaries-mounts dedicated to Saint Michael. They were built along the ley line, stretching southwards from northern Europe, with the Skellig Michael jutting from the Atlantic Ocean, to Mount Carmel In Israel, as its final point. But is it just a point or a cluster of sites around this holy place, important to both, Jews and Christians? (see: Sacred Geography Enclosed in the Idea of the Apollo-Saint Michael Axis)

So far, I have visited the three sanctuaries in the north of Europe. Yet, when I started my exciting journey in 2006, I barely associated the sites with the Archangel; at that time, I was not aware of the fact they are all placed on the imaginative line running 60 degrees 11 minutes west of north or that they are actually seven in number, all aligned southwards on the extension of the axis. In 2008, during my short visit in Cornwall, I learnt there is much more to the story I had known so far. For some, saying that a book can change your life is a cliché … Maybe … But in my life I have read at least two books that turned out to be the bestsellers of my life, giving me proper guidelines on how to live with passion. Having encountered one of them in a small bookshop in a town of Tintagel, my perception of legendary places, shaped by the faith of pagans and Christians alike, has greatly grown; it has triggered my imagination and challenged me to follow a Christian pilgrimage path that was firstly marked by Saint Michael’s steps.

Together with my travel companions, in October, 2022, I am heading off to two other Archangel’s sanctuaries in Italy. First, I will climb up the Mount Pirchiriano, beautifully situated in Piedmont of north-western Italy, where the silhouette of Sacra di San Michele is shouting in between the peaks of the Alpes. And then I will travel southwards to not less prepossessing Monte Sant’Angelo on Gargano Peninsula, surrounded by the navy-blue waters of the Adriatic Sea. Thought-provoking is a binding connection between those two sites and Mont Saint Michel in France, of which Santuario di San Michele Arcangelo on Gargano is the only one not consecrated with a human hand.

Visual reports online from my expeditions will be available on my website. Later on, they will be richly supplemented with exhaustive written descriptions. Meantime, I invite you on a pilgrimage along Saint Michael’s Axis.

Joanna Pyrgies