Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Otzi the 5,300-year-old Tyrolean Iceman Mummy

In 1991, a group of hikers were trekking in the mountains of Austria when they came across an awful sight: a frozen body was buried in the ice at their feet. That body belonged to a 5,300 year old man. Scientists have discovered some surprisingly specific facts since then.

When he was alive, he had parasites in his intestines, was lactose intolerant, and had been sick three times in the past six months.

A reconstruction of Otzi, based on forensics and 3D modeling.
He's older than the Giza pyramids and Stonehenge, the 5,300-year-old mummy of Otzi the Tyrolean Iceman continues to teach us things.

The latest study of the weapons he was found with reveals that Otzi was right-handed and had recently resharpened and reshaped some of his tools before his death. Otzi was shot in the back with an arrow by a Southern Alpine archer and became naturally preserved in the ice. Otzi, his clothing and his tools were well-preserved. The arrowhead, embedded in his left shoulder, wasn't found until 2001. He would have bled out and died shortly after because it pierced a vital artery.
With goat-leather leggings and a brown bear fur hat, the 5,300-year-old Otzi must have strutted the Alps with style. Otzi the Iceman left behind his leather-heavy wardrobe and a slew of his accessories when he died in the Italian Alps.

He was found with a very valuable copper ax. It is the only one of its kind ever found. During the Copper Age, copper axes were owned by men of high rank and buried with them. Copper was extremely valuable and a symbol of high status.

Elvis Presley’s private plane for sale

For the past 36 years the 1962 Lockheed Jetstar has sat on a runway in Roswell, New Mexico. Among other minor problems the Jetstar reportedly lacks any engines.

Online auction site IronPlanet is currently accepting online bids for The King’s plane until July 27.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Bizarre Ancient Graves in UK found

Archaeologists working at the site of a road project in Cambridgeshire, England have stumbled on a grisly find ... the bodies of two men whose legs had been chopped off at the knee.

The remains are believed to date back to the late Roman or early Saxon period, or at least 1,600 years ago. The men were buried at right angles to each other, forming a T-shape, with their hacked-off limbs laid by their shoulders. Their skulls also appeared to have been smashed in. The project has uncovered an enormous ditch, about 3 meters (10 feet) wide and 1.5 meters deep, running around the site, that suggests it served as a temporary Roman military camp.
The unusual burials are part of one of the largest-ever excavations in the United Kingdom.

At its height, some 250 archaeologists were working on the project, combing through 6,000 years of history contained within what looked like large and empty fields.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Ancient Ring Collection up for grabs

A collection of more than 50 ancient Roman, Greek, Viking and medieval rings, once owned by a Leicester gas engineer, are expected to raise between £80,000 and £100,000 at auction.

The rings, described by an antiquities expert as among the best he has seen outside a museum, are coming up for auction later this month. The ancient haul of 54 rings was gathered in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The rings are between 2,200 and 1,800 years old and many are exceptional and extremely rare.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

The Tetrarchy of Diocletian

The last two months of 284 CE marked a crisis point for the Roman Empire. With the death (probable murder) of the emperor Numerian, Diocletian was chosen by the Roman Army as his successor. Diocletian elevated the commander Maximian to the rank of Caesar. Maximian essentially functioned as co-ruler with Diocletian until he was officially granted the title of Augustus in the spring of 286. After several years of joint rule, both emperors recognized the need for further assistance. Diocletian was attempting radical reform of Roman society while Maximian was preoccupied with putting down rebellions.
Bronze coin of Maximian In 293, Diocletian chose Galerius as his Caesar while Maximian did the same with Constantius I. Now, the Empire was basically ruled by a committee of four; the “tetrarchy” of Diocletian had been established.
Silver coin of Constantius I
Diocletian’s ambitious reforms were doomed to failure. From a collecting standpoint, the time period c.284-c.324 offers a wide array of coinage of almost 20 emperors, or would-be emperors.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Ancient Turquoise

Mask of Xiutecuhlti, god of fire
Turquoise is an opaque, blue-to-green mineral that is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium. It is rare and valuable in fine grades and has been prized as a gemstone and ornamental stone for thousands of years. Turquoise was among the first gems to be mined.

Aztec turquiose
Turquoise has adorned the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs, Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and in ancient China since at least the Shang Dynasty. In many cultures of the Old and New Worlds, turquoise was a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune or a talisman to ward off misfortune.
See ----->California Turquoise

Friday, 15 June 2018

Statue of a Victorious Youth ordered returned to Italy

Among the J. Paul Getty Museum’s most treasured items is a bronze Greek statue of a young man, his weight shifted onto his right leg, his head crowned with an olive wreath — the prize bestowed on victorious athletes in ancient Greece. “Statue of a Victorious Youth” was discovered in the Adriatic Sea by Italian fishermen in 1964, and purchased by the Getty in 1977. It was made between 300 and 100 BCE. The Getty Museum Board of Trustees bought the bronze in the United Kingdom for $3.95 million.

In 1989, the Italian government asked the Getty to return “Statue of a Victorious Youth,” and the fight over the bronze has been ongoing ever since. A 1939 Italian law stipulates that Italy can lay claim to any antiquity discovered on its territory, but the Getty has argued that the law does not apply in this case because the statue was discovered in international waters.

In the wake of the most recent ruling, the Getty says that it plans to file an appeal with the Court of Cassation, Italy’s highest judicial authority.
See ----->Spectacular Ancient Bronze

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Ancient Frogs found in Amber

The discovery of four small frogs preserved in amber is providing the earliest evidence of the amphibians living in tropical rainforests. New research shows that frogs—an animal that first emerged some 200 million years ago—were occupying soggy forested regions at least 100 million years ago. Fossils of forest amphibians are extremely rare and scientists haven’t been sure when frogs first started to venture into tropical habitats.

A comparative analysis of the ancient frogs with similar species living today revealed more similarities than differences; it seems frogs haven’t changed all that much across the millennia.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Chinese Porcelain Vase found in a shoebox sells for $19 Million

An 18th century Chinese vase found in a shoebox in an attic in France sold for 16.2 million euros ($19 million) at auction in Paris. The price was more than 20 times the estimate Sotheby's had put on the item. It was the highest price reached for a single item sold by Sotheby's in France.

The 30 cm, bulb-shaped vase, painted in delicate shades of green, blue, yellow and purple, was described as an exceptionally well-preserved porcelain vessel made for an emperor of the Qing dynasty. The vase bears a mark of the Qianlong Emperor who ruled China from 1736 to 1796.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Grand Egyptian Museum

At the edge of the ancient pyramids of Giza, some 5,000 construction workers labor around the clock to finish the long-awaited Grand Egyptian Museum. The 5.2-million-square-foot structure will become the world's largest museum devoted to a single civilization.

Restoration of a chariot from Tutankhamun's tomb.
The first phase of the GEM will open at the end of this year.
One of a pair of restored sandals from Tutankhamun's tomb.

Gold coins of Leopold II of Belgium found

Workers paid to demolish an uninhabited house in Brittany made an unexpected discovery in the cellar — 600 gold coins. They were found inside a shell-shaped container.

They were Belgian, dated 1870, and bore the face of the then-reigning king of Belgium, Leopold II.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Rare Roman gold aurei lead bidding in Swiss auction

A trio of rare Roman gold aurei led bidding during Numismatica Ars Classica’s May 9 and 10 auctions in Zurich. The coins were issued for some of the shortest-serving leaders of the Roman Empire.

Galba’s reign as emperor occurred from July 68 to January 69, and a gold aureus that was “virtually as struck” was the top lot in the sale. It made $ 256k. Another rarity in the triumvirate is a piece struck for the son of emperor Macrinus. The aureus of Diadumenian Caesar, struck late in 217, realized a hammer price of $239,402. A gold aureus of Florian issued in Cyzicus in 276 A.D. realized a hammer price of $ 229k.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Evolution of Gold Coins

Gold has been used as a medium of exchange and a store of wealth for millennia due to its rarity, desirability, and high value. Ancient gold coins were first introduced into commerce in the kingdom of Lydia (modern-day Turkey) during the reign of King Croesus in the 6th Century BC.

The earliest coins were hand-made from electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver. Electrum wasn't always desirable. When coinage started gaining popularity a way to standardize the purity of the gold and silver was needed.
The first technique of gold parting was invented by Croesus: salt cementation.

King Cyrus and the Persians defeated the Lydians in 546 B.C., and the region became part of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Through trade and conquest, the Persians spread the use of gold coinage throughout the Mediterranean. The most popular gold coin of the empire was the Persian daric, introduced by Darius the Great sometime around 500 B.C. Production of darics continued for nearly two hundred years, until the Persians were defeated by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.
Alexander and his armies allegedly looted some 700,000 troy ounces of gold coins from the Persians. These ‘spoils of war’ were subsequently melted and used to mint coins in his name.

In Britain and elsewhere, a number of Celtic tribes issues coins in gold. The early Roman Republic issued few coins in gold, their main coinage being in silver, with bronze or copper for smaller denominations. From the death of Julius Caesar, gold coinage came to be an important part of the Roman financial system.

See ----->

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Coins of the Jewish War

Rome terminated the rule of its Jewish client dynasty, the Herodians, in 6 CE, establishing Judaea as a province governed by an appointed praefectus (until 41 CE) or procurator (44 – 132 CE). The most famous of these was Pontius Pilate (26 – 36 CE)

Gessius Florus (64 – 66), appointed by Nero and one of the worst procuratores, did much to provoke the revolt known as the Jewish War. In the Autumn of 66, Florus seized 17 talents from the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, claiming it was due for back taxes. That would be 969 pounds of nearly pure silver.

The “prototype” shekel of the first year of the revolt is one of the great rarities of Jewish coinage – only three are known.
This provoked a riot in the city, which was suppressed with Roman brutality. Florus fled to the coast, and the rebels besieged his troops in the Antonia fortress, the citadel of the city.

One of the first acts of the rebels was to assert their independence by issuing silver coins.

Jewish War. 66-70 AD. Shekel, 14.08g. Year 5
Year 1 shekels are scarce; Years 2 and 3 are more common; Year 4 is very rare; and Year 5 is extremely rare, with only about 25 examples known. The supply of silver for fractional coinage may have run short during the long siege of Jerusalem. Bronze emergency coinage was issued in denominations of half, quarter and eighth shekel.
Vespasian. Æ Sestertius, AD 69-79. 'Judaea Capta' type
On August 3, 70 CE, the Romans breached the last defenses of Jerusalem, massacred the starving rebels and destroyed the Temple. Defeat of the Jewish revolt gave Rome an opportunity for massive looting and enormous profits from the sale of slaves. The spoils of Jerusalem funded construction of the Roman Colosseum. The Romans commemorated their victory with extensive coin issues proclaiming IUDAEA CAPTA (“Judaea Captured”).

Coins of the Jewish War have been in high demand with collectors for centuries and there are many fakes, ranging from cheap trinkets to highly deceptive professional forgeries.