Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Oxus Treasure

The Oxus treasure is a collection of about 180 pieces of metalwork in gold and silver from the Achaemenid Persian period, found by the Oxus river in 1880 in Takht-i Kuwad, Tadjikistan.

It is the world's most important surviving collection of gold and silver to have survived from the Achaemenid period. (6th-4th century BC)
Cyrus the GreatThe Achaemenid Dynasty built an empire (559–330 BC) which, at its peak, spanned three continents.

In land mass, the Achaemenid Empire was the largest empire the ancient world had ever seen until 331-330 BC, when Alexander the Great toppled the Persian regime on his eastward march from the Mediterranean through Afghanistan to India.
The Persian Empire became the first to attempt to govern many ethnic groups on the principle of equal rights for all, so long as subjects paid their taxes and kept the peace. The king did not interfere with the local customs and religions of its subject states, a unique quality that fostered rapid growth.
The British Museum has nearly all the surviving metalwork from the hoard.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Spike in meteor impacts may be ongoing

Ever since our sun was born around 4.6 billion years ago, the solar system has been a very violent place. Like a pinball machine filled to the brim with moving balls of every description ... meteors, comets, and even baby planets crashing into each other.

The 'giant-impact hypothesis' suggests that the Moon eventually formed from the debris left over from a collision between Earth and a planet the size of Mars. Scientists say earth barely escaped being pulverized completely. The moon is a comparatively untouched geological archive and a constant companion to Earth for most of its lifetime.
Researchers found a way to map and date the moon’s craters from a billion years ago to the present using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). Mapping a billion years’ worth of craters on the moon took 5 years. The team found that two to three times as many objects have been slamming into the moon starting 290 million years ago, compared to the impact rates in the 710 million years prior. The lunar impact spike 290 million years ago also appears on Earth. The best guess as to the reason is almost all the impacts we have on Earth came from objects that escaped the asteroid belt. Whatever the cause, this impact flux spike will continue to consume scientists and for good reason. The 2013 Chelyabinsk meteor was estimated to be 20m in diameter with an airburst of around 500 kilotons, an explosion 30 times stronger than the one over Hiroshima.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Saturn's rings only as old as the dinosaurs

Saturn’s rings are one of the most amazing sights to behold in our solar system, but scientists can't explain their origin. That might be changing thanks to the last data collected by NASA’s Cassini probe before it met its planned demise in September 2017. Saturn’s rings are much younger than the planet, only about 10 to 100 million yo, compared to Saturn's age of roughly 4.5 billion years. The big findings came from gravity field measurements as Cassini plunged towards the planet.
Coincidentally, the time-frame of formation of the rings is the same as when the dinosaurs were wiped out some 65 million years ago. Scientists speculate some sort of unusual upheaval of objects and collisions may have occurred at the time. They predict, based on Cassini's data, that the planet’s rings would be completely gone in 'just' 300 million years.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Crusader Gold in Israel

A hoard of buried gold coins found in Apollonia National Park in 2012 by a joint team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Nature and Parks Authority is one of the country's largest ever.

The hoard of 108 gold coins were minted in Egypt about 250 years before being buried in the floor of a 13th century fortress at Apollonia Park, about 15 miles north of Tel Aviv.
The coins discovered in the fort date to the Fatimid empire in northern Africa, and are 200-300 years older than the ruined fortress they were found in. The coins were minted in Tripoli and Alexandria.
Researchers believe the cache of coins was hidden to prevent Muslim conquerors from finding it. The Christian Order of the Knights Hospitaller ruled the fortress and the surrounding city .
The Order of the Knights of Saint John, Order of Hospitallers, Knights Hospitaller, and the Hospitallers, were among the most famous of the Roman Catholic military orders during the Middle Ages.

The excavations are offering a unique insight into Crusader fortifications in the Middle East. The layer of Crusader artefacts has lain nearly undisturbed since 1265. Muslim Arsuf was conquered by the Crusaders in 1101 and re-conquered by the Mamluks in 1265.

Baibars’ reign marked the start of an age of Mamluk dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In March 1265, Mamluke Sultan Baibars stormed the city and captured it after 40 days of siege. The knights were annihilated.

Baibars (1223 – 1 July 1277) was the fourth Sultan of Egypt from the Mamluk Bahri dynasty.

Skeletons of 270 children sacrificed to the gods discovered in Peru

The remains of nearly 270 children sacrificed to the gods 500 years ago have been found in a mass grave. The victims were all aged between five and 14 when they were slaughtered at the same time in Peru's northern coastal region. The ChimĂș tribe carried out the massacre, which is the largest known mass child sacrifice in world history. Dislocated rib cages suggest someone tried to tear out the hearts of each victim.

Its thought the children were sacrificed to the gods to prevent further floods caused by El Nino storms which ravaged the Peruvian coastline and decimated fisheries causing starvation.
The mass grave was first discovered in April 2018 when scientists stumbled upon the scene that featured the skeletons of 137 children. Since then the team has uncovered the remains of 132 more, taking the total to 269.
260 young llamas were also killed as part of the sacrifice.

The children were buried facing the sea, while the llamas faced the Andes mountains to the east.
See ----->Ancient Mass Child Sacrifice May Be World's Largest

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Magnetic pole moving faster

Earth’s churning interior creates a magnetic field that keeps us safe from the radiation of space. Our magnetic north pole drifts about 9.3 miles (15 km) per year.

Beginning in 2014, the pole has moved an average of 34 miles (55 km) each year.

A geomagnetic reversal is a change in a planet's magnetic field. Magnetic north and magnetic south are interchanged.
Reversals are statistically random, with some periods lasting as little as 200 years. There have been 183 reversals over the last 83 million years. The latest occurred 780,000 years ago, and may have happened very quickly, within a human lifetime.

Monday, 14 January 2019

The Umutkor Collar

In late 2014 a 5th-century Eastern Hunnic gold collar was sold by Sotheby’s for $380,000.

The royal collar and beads set with garnets and glass belonged to Sansyzbay Umutkor, who bought it circa 1890-1895. The collar was handed down by family descent until it was exported to Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2013.
The previously unrecorded fifth century gold royal collar is from the time of Attila the Hun. The magnificent collar would have been worn only by those of the highest social status.

Attila and his Huns are seen in the West as barbarians. In the late fourth and fifth centuries they viciously subjected all of the European tribes and forced Rome and Constantinople to pay vast sums of gold just to keep the Hunnic horde out of their cities.
Attila led many military raids on both the Eastern and Western Roman Empires provoking what has become known as the Barbarian Invasions, a large movement of Germanic populations that greatly accelerated the fall of Rome. He is considered by most Hungarians as the founder of the country.

According to ancient records, Attila died in his palace across the Danube after a feast celebrating his marriage to a beautiful young gothic princess named Ildico. Legend says that his men diverted a section of a river, buried the coffin under the riverbed, and were then killed to keep the exact location a secret.

Golden Graves of Vani

The kingdom of Colchis lay in what is today the Republic of Georgia. Situated east of the Greek world, north of the Persian Empire, and southeast of the Scythians, the region was at a crossroads of cultures. Known in myth as the destination of Jason and the Argonauts in their quest for the Golden Fleece, Colchis was renowned as a region rich in gold.

The Colchian settlement of Vani is situated inland from the eastern shore of the Black Sea, on a hilltop flanked by deep ravines. The settlement is spread across three terraces and overlooks the region between the Sulori and Rioni rivers.

The earliest signs of human activity at Vani date to 700 B.C., but it is during the fifth century that the city's wealth became prominent. Vani appears to have served as the administrative center for the local Colchian elite. The series of graves for which Vani is renowned date to about 450–250 B.C. Afterwards, rich burials appear to cease.
In Greek mythology, the Golden Fleece is the fleece of the gold-hair winged ram, which was held in Colchis. The fleece is a symbol of authority and kingship. It figures in the tale of the hero Jason and his band of Argonauts, who set out on a quest for the fleece by order of King Pelias, in order to place Jason rightfully on the throne of Iolcus in Thessaly.

Some believe that the legend of the Golden Fleece was based on a practice of the Black Sea tribes; they would place a lamb's fleece at the bottom of a stream to entrap gold dust being washed down from upstream. This practice is still in use, particularly in the Svaneti region of Georgia.