Friday, 30 June 2017

New discovery at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey - Skull Cult

Göbekli Tepe was first discovered in 1996. An ancient site in southern Turkey, archaeologists believe it was built around 12,000 years ago, possibly as some kind of a holy site.
Archaeologists use “skull cult” to describe prehistoric peoples who venerated skulls to the point of worship, indicated most frequently by modified skulls. Archaeologists recently found three such skulls at Göbekli Tepe, each bearing incisions along the sagittal axes of the head, or lengthwise down the center between one’s ears.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Etruscan Gold


Ear-stud decorated with a rosette surrounded by concentric bands. Gold with vitreous glass paste insets, 530–480 BC.
The Etruscan civilization dominated the north of what is now Italy from about 700 B.C.E. until about 300 B.C.E. It is known that they had a language not related to that of the Italic tribes. Etruscan kings ruled in Rome and other Italian city states and had extensive trade routes by land and sea. Their arts flourished, most notably their outstanding goldsmithing.
The Etruscans took great pleasure in wearing ostentatious gold jewellery. Etruscan metalworkers produced many fine items not only in gold, but also in bronze and silver. The gold jewellery was often ornamented with filigree (fine wire) and granulation (tiny gold granules) formed into patterns. This latter technique has been mimicked in recent times but modern goldsmiths have never achieved the powder-fine granules of the Etruscan metalworkers.
Etruscan goldsmiths learned the basic technique of granulation from the Phoenicians, but all agree that the Etruscans took this technique to new heights of excellence and delicacy through extreme miniaturization. Granulation refers to the side by side application of tiny beads of gold. Twisted, or "corded" gold wirework was also applied to jewels in the Etruscan style.

To this day, modern jewelers have been unable to duplicate the skill and precision of these ancient craftsmen.
Around 550 BC, engraved gems were reaching Etruria from the Greek world. Soon afterwards Etruscans started to engrave semi-precious stones like carnelian. Gem carving reached its apex in Etruria during the Classical period (480-300 BC), but did not continue long into the third century BC.


Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Rare Roman horse race mosaic found in Cyprus

Scenes from a chariot race are depicted in a rare Roman mosaic found in rural Cyprus. Dating from the 4th Century AD, it lies in Akaki, a village not far from Nicosia. Only nine similar mosaics - showing a hippodrome race - have been found at ancient Roman sites. The ornate 26-metre-long (85ft) mosaic was probably part of a wealthy man's villa.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dog from 3rd century Rome discovered during Subway Excavations

Fires were common in ancient Rome, where narrow streets were densely packed with wooden structures, cooking was done over open flames, and effective fire-fighting was non-existent. Archaeologists recently unearthed the charred remains of a building that was destroyed in one of the city’s conflagrations.

Buried within the ruins: the skeleton of a 1,800-year-old dog. The find appears to date to the reign of Septimius Severus, a despotic emperor who ruled from 193 to 211 A.D.
Some 40,000 artifacts have been found during the decade-long project to improve Rome’s subway network.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Treasure of Nimrud

The Royal Tomb of Nimrud was discovered in 1989. The tomb is located in the ancient city of Kalkhu (modern Nimrud). Ancient Assyrian tombs have been found in the past but the goods had all been plundered in antiquity. The sarcophagus in the tomb chamber contained hundreds of items including jewelry, vessels and seals.
The treasures belonged to:
Yaba, Queen of Tiglathpileser III, king of Assyria 744-727 BC
Banitu, Queen of Shalmanasser V, king of Assyria 726-722 BC
Atalia, Queen of Sargon II, king of Assyria 721-705 BC

The treasure of Nimrud survived 2,800 years buried in northern Iraq. It then spent 12 years tucked away in a vault. Until 2013 it was uncertain whether it had survived Saddam Hussein, a U.S. missile strike, looters, a flood and a grenade attack. But it was found intact in the dark basement of a bombed out central bank building.




Antikythera shipwreck yields ancient human bones


The cargo is considered the most spectacular ever found from antiquity.
After more than 2,000 years, archaeologists have recovered the bones of a young man they call Pamphilos. In his late teens or early 20s, he was on the ship sailing from Asia Minor to Rome when disaster struck off the Greek island of Antikythera between Crete and the Peloponnese.

The catastrophe in the first century BC scattered the ship’s cargo across the seabed. It lay there until 1900. Salvage operations have since hauled up stunning bronze and marble statues, ornate glass and pottery, gold jewellery, and an extraordinary geared device – the Antikythera mechanism – which modelled the heavens.

The Antikythera Mechanism
With the latest discovery of human bones, scientists have their first real hope of sequencing DNA from a victim of an ancient shipwreck. The remains include the petrous bone, the hard part of the skull behind the ear. Dense and impenetrable to water and microbes, this is the best hope for finding intact DNA.
Analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism show it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years.

Researchers used three-dimensional X-ray scanners to reconstruct the workings of the device's gears and high-resolution surface imaging to enhance faded inscriptions on its surface.
By winding a knob on its side, the positions of the sun, moon, Mercury and Venus could be determined for any chosen date. Newly revealed inscriptions also appear to confirm the device could also calculate the positions of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — the other planets known at the time. The device's construction date was radiocarbon dated to around 150 to 100 B.C.