Saturday, 30 July 2016

Carthage


The bitterly fought Punic Wars (“punicus” being Latin for Phoenician), waged between 264 and 146 BCE when Carthage was finally defeated. The city was razed to the ground and the very earth salted by vengeful Romans.
At its peak, the ancient North African city of Carthage rivaled the city of Rome for military and economic control of the western Mediterranean.

Carthage was one of the largest cities of the Hellenistic period and was among the largest cities in preindustrial history. Today, its ruins are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the suburbs of the Tunisian capital.
Tanit served as the special protector deity of the city of Carthage.
Carthage was a Phoenician colony and they were related to the Hebrews and the Canaanites. They shared much in common, including the use of the shekel as the primary unit of money. Likewise, the Carthaginians worshiped a variety of deities from the ancient Middle East.

One in particular was the goddess Tanit. A Phoenician goddess of war Tanit was also a virgin mother goddess and a fertility symbol.

The horse was a symbol of power and was greatly revered by the Carthaginians. It was found on almost all of the city’s coinage.
The ancient city was destroyed by the Romans in the Third Punic War in 146 BC then re-developed as Roman Carthage, which became the major city of the Roman Empire in the province of Africa.

The Roman city was occupied by the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in 698. The site was abandoned until the early 20th century when it began to develop into a coastal suburb of Tunis. It was incorporated as Carthage municipality in 1919.

Pharaoh Ramesses III killed by multiple attackers

The New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III was assassinated by multiple assailants — and given postmortem cosmetic surgery to improve his mummy's appearance. Researchers used CT Imaging of royal mummies from the 18th to 20th dynasties of Egypt, spanning from about 1543 B.C. to 1064 B.C. Rulers during this period included famous names like Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Tutankhamun, Seti I and the murdered Ramesses III.

Ramesses III's throat was slit, likely killing him instantly. Now researchers say the pharaoh's toe was hacked off, likely with an ax, suggesting he was set upon by multiple assailants with different weapons. Ancient papyrus documents refer to a plot to assassinate Ramesses III, who ruled Egypt from 1186 B.C. to 1155 B.C. Court documents outline the tale of a harem conspiracy to take Ramesses III's life, hatched by one of his wives, Tiye. Her son Pentawere was in line for the throne after his half-brother, Ramesses IV. Tiye and other members of the royal household meant to kill Ramesses III and then oust Ramesses IV to install Pentawere as ruler.
They seem to have succeeded in killing Ramesses III, but were brought to trial for that murder under the rule of Ramesses IV. Tiye, Pentawere and their conspirators were convicted and executed. A mummy thought to be Pentawere's has been studied, and Egyptologists believe he died of suffocation or strangulation.

The new book adds detail to this lurid tale, suggesting that Ramesses III's attackers outnumbered him. Part of his big toe had been hacked off and had not healed, meaning the injury happened around the time of death. Embalmers had fashioned a sort of postmortem prosthesis out of linen to replace it when they mummified him. It seems ancient Egyptian embalmers deliberately poured large amounts of resin to glue the layers of linen wrappings to the feet.
A second mummy found in the same tomb is known as the Screaming Man. Screaming Man is an anomaly. Although found in a royal tomb, he was buried in an unmarked coffin devoid of proper ritual markings and with his hands and feet bound. He was also covered with a goatskin, a “ritually impure” element that would prevent him from reaching the afterlife. Screaming Man is probably Pentawere. Genetic testing has confirmed that Screaming Man and Ramesses III were directly related to each other in the paternal line.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Israel displays ancient mummy with modern-day afflictions

Israel's national museum is set to display a 2,200-year-old Egyptian mummy of a man who was afflicted with modern-day illnesses such as osteoporosis and tooth decay.

The illnesses, discovered using a CT scan, indicate that during his lifetime, the man was largely sedentary, avoided manual labour in the sun and probably ate a carbohydrate-heavy diet.
Thanks to Egyptian embalming processes and Jerusalem's dry climate, the mummy's bones, teeth and remnants of blood vessels were found largely intact. The mummy was also found to have had tooth cavities.

Researchers studied the mummy's remains earlier this year using a CT scanner, technology that allowed them to discover the diseases and determine the mummy was a man who lived to what was at the time a relatively old age of 30 to 40 years. He was originally 167 centimetres (5-foot-6) tall but that either in his lifetime or afterward, he had shrunk to 154 centimetres (5-foot-1). His apparently sedentary lifestyle, as well as inscriptions on his coffin, indicates he was a priest.


Monday, 25 July 2016

Thracian tomb reveals Gold treasure

In late 2012 Bulgarian archaeologists found golden treasures in an ancient Thracian tomb near a Unesco world heritage site about 250 miles north-east of the capital Sofia.

Items included gold bracelets with snake heads, a tiara with animal motifs and a horse-head piece along with a hoard of other ancient golden artefacts. The items date to the end of the fourth or the beginning of the third century BC. They were found in the biggest of 150 ancient tombs of the Getae, a Thracian tribe.

Among the objects found were a golden laurel and ring, rhytons - silver drinking vessels shaped like horns, Greek pottery and military items including weapons and armour.

The tomb in Zlatinitsa, 180 miles east of the capital Sofia, is also extraordinary in that it remained unopened since the 4th century BC.

Most Thracians tombs were looted in antiquity.

The tomb was of an upper-class lord or similarly powerful and wealthy leader. "The used weapons and the arrow wounds in the bones of his horse indicated that he was a warrior. He was buried in the biggest burial mound in the region," said Prof Agre.

"This was like a province of England, such as Kent, and he was the leader.


Saturday, 23 July 2016

Yamashita's Gold - Imelda Marcos’ jewelry

In the closing months of World War II General Yamashita Tomoyuki was in charge of hiding tons of Japan's looted gold and treasure.

Expert teams accompanying Japan's armed forces systematically striped anything of value from conquered territories. An effective US blockade prevented shipment and at one time there were more than 175 Imperial treasure sites hidden in caves and tunnels throughout the Philippines.

With US forces closing in, the chief engineers of all the vaults were called together with General Yamashita 67 meters underground in Tunnel 8 in the mountains of Luzon. They became drunk on sake and sang patriotic songs.

At midnight, General Yamashita Tomoyuki and his aids slipped out. Dynamite charges were set off in the access tunnels, entombing the engineers.

The General escaped to Tokyo by submarine and three months later surrendered to American troops.
Yamashita's driver led the Americans to more than a dozen treasure vaults in the rugged country north of Manila. What they found astounded everyone.

In November 1945, General MacArthur strolled down row after row of gold bars stacked two metres tall during a tour. In another 500 meter tunnel west of Mindanao, 12.5kg Gold bars were stacked 1 meter high.
After discussions with his cabinet, President Harry Truman kept the recovery efforts a state secret.
After surrendering on September 2, 1945, General Yamashita was charged with war crimes. During his trial there was no mention made of plundered treasure or of Japanese looting during the war.

On 23 February 1946, at Los BaƱos, Laguna Prison Camp, 30 miles (48 km) south of Manila, Yamashita was hanged.

In 1992, Imelda Marcos claimed that Yamashita's gold accounted for the bulk of the wealth of her husband, Ferdinand Marcos. Despite the best efforts of treasure hunters, no gold hoards have ever (officially) been found.
Former First Lady Imelda Marcos’ jewelry and real estate are among the P18.2 billion worth of recovered ill-gotten assets of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The Hawaii collection comprises jewels seized by the United States Bureau of Customs from the Marcoses when they fled to Honolulu during the 1986 People Power revolt.
The government still holds about 760 pieces of Mrs. Marcos’ jewelry in three collections, valued at a total of $6 million. That includes 300 pieces of jewelry retrieved from the Malacanang Palace right after People’s Power Revolution, 400 items confiscated in Hawaii, and 60 items seized by the Philippines’ Bureau of Customs from a Greek national accused of smuggling the jewelries out of the country.