Welcome back to the next round of the Behind the Cards: Chronomaly Edition. Today we'll continue with the last of the Chronomalies based upon the artifacts of the Americas, and focus our attention on the artifacts of Asia and Europe, as well as some forgotten ancient cities depicted in the theme. If you haven't read the first Chronomaly article yet, please click here and read about them only if not to familiarize yourself with this "out of place" theme.

As we delve deeper into the history and explanations surrounding the cities and artifacts that serve as the Inspiration for the Chronomaly cards, we also come across the "mystical" or unknown aspects of them. Most of these ancient places and artifacts can be easily explained by simply thinking back to the principle of Occam's Razor. One of these principals touched upon is that the simplest explanation is sometimes the correct answer. This Debunks any mystical or otherworldly or alien assistance. Some things exist because we made them because we could be it art or invention to advance our own needs and propel us further into the future.

Note: Ancient astronaut theorists are those who believe alien beings have visited earth in antiquity and throughout history. I'll be referring to them throughout the article

I Told You...A-L-I-E-N-S!
I love that the Chronomaly theme works almost like a primitive machine. The theme's straight-forward functions reflect the strangeness of the artifacts, concepts and places by which the theme is inspired. The deck wins not just by attacking, but through effects that leverage an element of attrition to deteriorate your opponent's Life Points. It almost makes me think of an ancient curse, placed upon the unfortunate soul greedy enough to pursue these artifacts.

Chronomaly Technology embodies the concepts created by ancient astronaut theorists. You can see ancient, super advanced technological secrets represented in the card's art as floating matter in the middle of an illuminated circle. Surrounding it, you see a foreboding and radiating energy; powerful leylines on the floor; and even strange statues.

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It calls to mind the Debunked, but somewhat popular idea that otherworldly alien technology might lay dormant within ancient structures, acting as a secret source of knowledge and technological advancement for ancient peoples.

The card's effect is interesting, in that it even gives off the vibe of "forbidden" knowledge and prognostication, asking you to look at and select a card. Its effects of selection and replacement feel like they represent the chance to advance yourself at the cost of giving something up.

Are You Busy Next Doomsday?
Chronomaly Sol Monolith is based upon the Aztec Sun Stone (the Calendar Stone) which doesn't actually function as a calendar. It seems like the Aztec Sun Stone was meant to serve as a timeline of creation and destruction of the Aztec people, past and future. Apparently the concept of their impending destruction was always weighing on the Aztecs. Please note that this Sun Stone also has nothing to do with the "Mayan Calendar" obsession.

Much like the real Aztec Sun Stone, Chronomaly Sol Monolith shares the same ring feature upon its wheel-like form, though much less detailed. Looking at the Aztec Sun Stone, the first and center ring – which is in fact the "face" – represents the five creations of the world known as "Suns" in Aztec beliefs, followed by their destruction and the renewal of a new Sun.

Apparently the Aztec calendar only spanned 260 days, contrary to our 365. The second ring – the outer X on the Sun Stone artifact – denotes that an Earthquake was to be the destruction of the Aztec people at some point. The third ring's the closest to an actual time keeping device in that it's said to have a connection to the moon, specific dates, and numerals.

Interestingly, the fourth ring on both Chronomaly Sol Monolith and the Aztec Sun Stone feature triangular points which were thought to be symbolic of ceremonial perforators used in drawing blood. This blood was used as a sacrifice for gods and ancestors. Finally, the outer ring is completely lacking any details in the Chronomaly version, while the real world source displays two dragons with the faces of the sun god Tonatiuh, and the god of fire Xiuhtecuhtil.

Interestingly, the Chronomaly monster itself is associated with the number six, by its Level, ATK, and DEF, and not the number five – the number of rotations on the wheel itself.

Lured Into A Cave With Offerings Of Candy
Chronomaly Crystal Bones is based upon a thousand year old skeleton of an eighteen year-old girl known as the Crystal Maiden. Discovered in Belize's Tapir Mountains in the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves lies the mysteries of rites that involved human sacrifice. This particular sacrifice and the accompanying artifact is of Mayan origin. The Crystal Maiden, while alive, was offered to the gods over a thousand years ago.

Among her are many other human sacrifices, each ranging in age and gender. Interestingly, the skulls of some of these victims show signs of skull shaping, a practice used by many ancient cultures wherein the head was shaped into a larger and more conical form. To our eyes the process made the modified individuals look alien in nature, but it was a practice that existed in a multitude of cultures and was by no means exclusively Mayan. It was usually a mark of for social status and affiliation.

Most of the sacrifices found in the Actun Tunichil Muknal caves were killed by blunt trauma to the head, but the Crystal Maiden – analogous to Chronomaly Crystal Bones – is interesting because she was killed by something else entirey. Two of her vertebrae were crushed, signifying a violent death that involved her being thrown to the ground.

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So what makes her the "Crystal Maiden" and not just another pile of bones, you ask? The skeleton calcified with the girl's skeletal remains permanently cemented to the cave floor. That calcification process has made her bones shine and glimmer, imbuing her remains with crystalized appearance.

Unlike the Crystal Maiden and Chronomaly Crystal Bones, Chronomaly Crystal Skull is based upon the Crystal Skulls you see everywhere in metaphysical stores, and even at gem shows. These are man-made objects and are said to be of either Mayan or Aztec origin. Apparently, there existed several "original" crystal skulls, made of rock crystal (clear quartz) which are said to contain powerful abilities. The legends say that when they're brought together, they unlock some sort of unknown mystical powers. However, they've been scattered and lost throughout the world with only a few of the "originals" found today.

Tests done on some of the known original skulls have proved to be inconclusive. The concept behind these ancient crystal skulls is that they act as some sort of Tuning device. The skulls aren't the shape of normal heads either, with elongated craniums much like the Mayan skulls mentioned previously. Together, with Chronomaly Crystal Bones and Chronomaly Crystal Skull, you can Xyz for Chronomaly Crystal Chrononaut, embodying the unifying concept that all these strange but rationally explainable occurrences are the works of otherworldly beings.

Finally we come to Chronomaly Tula Guardian, based upon tall warrior statues found in in Tula (Tollan), the capital of pre-Columbian Toltec society. Arranged within the city's square, you'll also find the step pyramid built in honor of the god Quetzalcoatl. The area is known for highly ornate, decorative structures, and would inspire later civilizations in architecture and artistry.

Purposeful, Purposely And Purposeless
Chronomaly Nebra Disk is named for the Nebra Sky Disk, a 3600 year old piece of bronze work. It holds the oldest known depiction of cosmic phenomena. This artifact was discovered in 1999, in Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It's inlaid with symbols of gold, depicting the moon in full and crescent form, as well as star groupings (including the Pleiades).

Interestingly, the real-life Nebra Disk was altered from its original form and featured the stars in different arrangements, the addition of two arcs on either side, and the odd mouth-like (thought to be a solar band) arch. Buried along with the disk were a chisel, spiral bracelet fragments, two hatchets and two bronze swords. The Nebra Disk was originally thought to have been a well made forgery, but has since been proven authentic, making it one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century.

Its purpose is unknown, but it could've been an object of either religious or social significance. It's thought to reaffirm the knowledge and abilities of the European Bronze Age peoples.

The next item on our list is the riddle of the Sphinx. But hold up – Chronomaly Winged Sphinx isn't Egyptian in origin you might've thought. Winged sphinx are actually Greek, and they were said to be female in form – not male, like the Egyptian sphinx. Statues of these types of Sphinx can be found amongst other artifacts of the time as well.

Legends state that these Sphinx would wait by roadsides, or places of great austerity, and ask travelers perilous riddles. If a traveler could guess the answer correctly, they'd be permitted to pass. However if one answered incorrectly, they'd be eaten on the spot by the ferocious beast. Chimaeric creatures of the ancient world, like the Sphinx and the Cerberus, were thought to have been created by otherworldly beings through genetic engineering and experimentation… at least according to ancient astronaut theorists.

Finally, to round up the Chronomaly theme, we come to Chronomaly Mud Golem. It's the personification of the Japanese Dogu; if that sounds familiar, yes, that's the same Dogu that was just recently released as a card. The Dogu – meaning clay figure – are small statues from Japan's Jomon period. They came in all sorts of shapes, forms, styles and varying sizes. Some were very intricate, and others very simple, but what purpose they serve is still a mystery. Some believe them to be statues of a mother goddess, fertility fetishes, or that they were used in rituals and other forms of sympathetic magic.

Oh, Your City Lies in Dust
Next we come to a group of cards based upon ancient cities and areas of the ancient world, which inspired elements of the Chronomaly theme. These ancient cities were apparently the epicenter of cultures in their time and were quite astounding as far as their function and infrastructure. The more obvious Chronomaly cards, like Stonehenge Methods and Number 6: Chronomaly Atlandis, are pretty straightforward and are based on Stonehenge and Atlantis respectively. But places like Babylon, Machu Picchu and Catalhuyok are far more puzzling and are worth exploring!

First there's Chronomaly City Babylon, which unsurprisingly, was named for the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon. Its ruins can be found in Iraq, and the name itself is thought to mean "Gates to the Gods." The image seen on the floating city of Chronomaly City Babylon could be a reference to Uruk (Sumeria), or the Babylonian Hanging Gardens.

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Babylon's rise to greatness began with King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE), who transformed the small, obscure city of Babylon into a giant, powerful and influential metropolis it became. The King was famously known for establishing the Hammurabi Code, which dictated and implemented tenets of peace and prosperity. Hammurabi also built large walls around the city for protection, constructed gorgeous temples, and founded great public works like canals and irrigation; he'd eventually unite all of Mesopotamia under his rule, and thus the realm of Babylonia was created.

However, Babylon would become deserted and forgotten at the hands of Alexander the Great's successors, wherein it fell to the status of a battlefield, prompting its citizens to leave the city in haste. Before all that, Babylon was an epicenter for medicine, science, astronomy and astrology, the arts… You name it. It was truly an amazing civilization and very advanced for its time. In fact, according to ancient astronaut theorists it was a little too advanced. Between the advancement of Babylon and the concept of their great god descending from the sky, ancient astronaut theorists suggest that Babylon was in fact visited by otherworldly beings known as the "Anunnaki" who bestowed upon them their genius.

…So yeah. There's that.

The city of Babylon's mentioned many time throughout the Bible but never in a very favorable light; it's in part mentioned for its Tower of Babel. The story goes that the Tower of Babel was created to reach the heavens to allow men to approach the same level as god in the sky. The story serves as an allegorical warning to those who'd aspire to greatness, only to be toppled by their own hubris. The Tower of Babel also happens to be a Yu-Gi-Oh! card.

A Tale Of Two Cities
Number 33: Chronomaly Machu Mech, a fantastical card, is based upon a long forgotten lost city known as Machu Picchu. Found at 7000 feet above sea level in the Andean Mountains, the city was said to float above all others. At that height, it's practically literal.

The real Machu Picchu's lofty height could explain why the Yu-Gi-Oh! version is literally detached and floating in mid-air. Of Incan origin, it was known as a "lost city" until it was discovered in 1911. It's actually relatively small with approximate space for only 1200 people, but its origins and the reasons for its seclusion and isoliation are unknown. Some believe it may've been a retreat for ancient rulers. Amazingly advanced, the city took advantage of its surroundings by leveraging flat terraces for agriculture, using the Mountains for irrigation and aqueducts, and building religious areas overlooking the great landscapes of the Urubamba valley for a truly awe-inspiring feeling.

Why the city was eventually abandoned, how it was built and why, all remain a mystery to this day. Note that the housing depicted on Machu Mech looks nothing like that found in the real Macchu Picchu, save for a waterfall built into two of the buildings and their large size, as well as general the rounded shape.

That said, we now come to Number 36: Chronomaly Chateau Huyuk which is based on the ancient city Catalhoyuk. This card debuted just a little while ago in World Superstars and hasn't seen much play yet. It's still a really good card though. I'm sure a ton of people freaked out when the English translation was revealed. I personally think the English version of this name is brilliant: the way one could pronounce the actual name, Catalhoyuk, would be "sha-toll-who-yick" which sounds very similar to "Chateau Huyuk."

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Speak the two words aloud and you'll be surprised just how similar they sound to the real-world name. Chateau Huyuk acts as a phonetic pronunciation, but can also mean "house" or "castle" of Huyuk. Given the intimate nature of the real-life city of Catalhoyuk and their strange houses, it'll make more sense.

Catalhoyuk was first found in the 1950's and became internationally known for its densely packed society or art and housing structures. Paintings and wall reliefs made the civilization stunning, and the entire city is decorated with bones, shell, stone, natural glass and other materials. Even their houses were very different! The homes in Catalhoyuk were very intriguing in that none of them had doors, but were instead entered through the roof by a ladder. What's even more outrageous is that their dead were buried beneath their floorboards.

It's thought that this society had no social classes and worshipped a feminine deity; a matriarchal goddess isn't common nowadays. Also, it's been proposed that the city was actually home to two smaller groups of people separated by a gully, or a drain or ravine, acting as a divider between what was really two separate cities in one. There's actually a large gully seen in the center of the card art for Chateau Huyuk, with the oval shaped object floating above. Again, note that the housing itself looks nothing like the housing found in the real Catalhoyuk.

I hope you enjoyed this, the last Chronomaly article! I'm excited for the next few columns I'll be bringing you; we'll be looking into some more metaphysical and ancient concepts in the coming weeks. Join us next time as we delve further into the world of legend and metaphysics!

-Franco Ferrara