Humankind has been looking to extend life certainly since records began, and probably from when thoughts beyond basic survival occurred.

The Egyptians believed in an afterlife and prepared their rich and wealthy for their afterlife by building magnificent tombs and supplying them with all the resources they used in life and were thought to need in the afterlife.

The Greeks believed the dead lived on as long as people remembered them.

The Incas used to preserve their dead and their descendants would continue to serve them.  The Incas did not believe that the people had died, but were like a seed, temporarily without life but with the chance of awakening and continuing their lives.  In this way, some of the dead were more powerful dead than they were alive.

Grave goods have been found in burial chambers from stone age and iron age eras.

The similarity with all early civilisations is the belief that, in some form, the human spirit lives on.  It is only in relatively recent times when man has attempted to find ways to extend their physical lives.

The ancient Chinese believed that ingesting long lasting precious substances such as jade or cinnabar conferred their long lasting qualities on human life.  Gold, as a metal which defied tarnishing, was thought to be particularly good at extending life.

The ancient art of alchemy is well known to have studied the transmutation of base metals into gold or silver.  Alchemy was also said to have created the Philosopher’s Stone which was believed to heal all ills and to extend the life of anyone who consumed a small part of the Stone.  Early alchemical writers believed that the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone was known to Adam, and thus led to the extended lives of the ancient biblical characters.  A documentary produced for the History channel can be seen on Youtube.

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