Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Ancient Egyptian cemetery found

The series of eight tombs contain burial shafts that date to the Late Period, which began in 672 B.C., to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which began in 332 B.C. The tombs were found in a city called Minya, just south of Cairo. Artifacts and human remains were found. Many of the burials are associated with the ancient Egyptian god Thoth.

Archaeologists also found four alabaster jars with the Egyptian god Horus carved onto the lid. The jars contain the mummified organs of the tomb's mummies.
Researchers also found 1,000 ushabti figurines. The small blue-green figures were commonly placed in deceased ancient Egyptians' tombs and were thought to represent workers in the afterlife.

So far, the Egyptian excavators have unearthed 40 sarcophagi


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Ancient Gold Coins

Example of the most successful coin in history; an antique fine gold ducat or Zecchino, minted under the 82nd Doge of Venice, Lorenzo Priuli. Struck 1556 - 1559 in Venice, Italy.

The gold ducats of Venice were first struck in 1284. Their very high gold content (99.40%) made the coins extremely desirable and they are considered to be the earliest examples of a globally accepted currency. Ducats continued to be struck for over 500 years - longer than any other coin issue in history. $1,250.00
An ancient Indian gold Maiores Domus dinar from the Kushan Empire, struck under Emperor Vasudeva II circa 270 - 310 A.D.

The obverse with Vasudeva II, nimbate, standing left, sacrificing over altar and holding filleted scepter; in left field, filleted trident. The reverse with the goddess Ardoxsho, nimbate, seated facing on throne, holding diadem and cornucopia. $850.00
An ancient Greek hekte from Cyzicus, Mysia, struck circa 500 - 450 B.C.

The obverse with naked youth kneeling right, hair bound by taenia with frontal projection, holding knife and tunny fish (emblem of Cyzicus). The reverse with quadripartite incuse square punch. Kyzikos was a wealthy ancient town located between the Aegean and the Black Sea, its advantageous position made it a major center for commerce and trade. $2,250.00
Ancient Celtic gold stater struck by the Chief of the Corieltauvi tribe, Volisios Dumnocoveros. Dating to the Late Iron Age circa 20 - 35 A.D.

The obverse with a vertical wreath made up of square leaves running in opposite directions from the centre of the coin. Across this in two lines is the legend: VOLISIOS The reverse with disjointed Celtic horse, galloping left. $3,250.00
An ancient Byzantine gold solidus of Emperor Basiliscus, (Flavius Basiliscus Augustus.) Struck January 475 - August 476 A.D. at the Constantinople mint. The obverse with a superb portrait of Basiliscus carrying a spear which rests over his shoulder and holding an oval shield, decorated with a horseman spearing a fallen enemy. The legend reading:

D[ominvs] N[oster] BASILICVS P[ater] P[atriae] AVG[vstvs]
"Our Lord Basiliscus, Father of the People, Augustus"

The reverse with the goddess, Victory standing left holding a long, jewelled cross. $7,000.00

Monday, 26 February 2018

Headless statue of Aphrodite discovered at Thessaloniki

A headless statue of Aphrodite was discovered during subway work in the Greek port city of Thessaloniki, which has been ongoing amid metro construction lasting more than a decade. The headless Aphrodite—the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty and desire—was discovered near Thessaloniki's Hagia Sophia, an ancient church dating back to the Byzantine era. Further extensions of the line are expected to cost an estimated $1.5 billion. The discovery also included fourth century floor mosaics.
Around 300,000 antiquities have been discovered at the Thessaloniki archaeological site. The Aphrodite statue and floor mosaics were excavated last week and will be presented at a conference about archaeological finds in the Macedonia and Thrace regions of Greece.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Ekimmu

The Ekimmu (Edimmu) is one of the oldest vampires and myths, dating back to 4000 B.C.E. The vampire creature is one of the most feared among the Assyrians and Babylonians. The edimmu were envisioned as the ghosts of those who were not buried properly. They were considered vengeful toward the living and might possess people if they did not respect certain taboos. They were thought to cause disease in the living.
The edimmu were also thought to be "wind" spirits that sucked the life out of the susceptible and the sleeping.
An ekimmu is an angry undead spirit that hates humans, demihumans and humanoids, and seeks vengeance against the living. There were many ways that one could become an Ekimmu. Violent and premature death, unfulfilled love, and improper burial.

The Ekimmu were sometimes portrayed as winged demons, walking corpses, moving shadows or even rushing wind.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Golden Kingdoms

Golden Kingdoms’ at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, showcases art and objects of the Incas, the Aztecs and their predecessors. Running from Feb. 28 to May 28, the exhibition showcases a history of goldworking in the ancient Americas with more than 300 works—including the paintings, jewelry and adornments of the Incas, the Aztecs and their predecessors, starting from 1000 B.C.A 1599 portrait depicts Don Francisco de Arobe (center), a community leader in what is now Ecuador, and his sons.

Monday, 19 February 2018

Roman “Gates of Hell”

Roman legend says that mortals could access the underworld at certain points on Earth. Located across the Mediterranean, these “gates of hell” were marked by stone passageways built over geologic features like hot springs or caves. In displays of supernatural power, ancient Roman priests would lead an animal through the passageways—an act that killed the creatures, but left the eunuchs unharmed.

Researchers say they’ve discovered how these gates work. The Hierapolis gate is still deadly to this day. Locals report finding dead mice, cats, weasels and even foxes at the site. So how did the ancient priests survive?
Hierapolis’ gate is positioned on a fault. Fissures emit a steady stream of volcanic carbon dioxide. Though the gas is harmless in limited quantities, clouds of CO2 can swiftly suffocate any living creatures that pass through. Researchers measured the CO2 concentration at various heights over time, and found that the concentrations of gas differ during day and night. With the sun overhead, the clouds of CO2 dissipate. But at night, the gas collects, forming a thick layer.

Trajan's Column in Rome
The concentrations grow high enough overnight that they could kill a person within a minute, according to the study. Since the clouds of CO2 streaming up from the fissure are denser than air, it collects at ground level.

This means that sacrificed bulls or rams, whose heads were too short to reach above the deadly layer of gas, would swiftly die. But the priests were likely tall enough to avoid death.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Diving Robbers Looting Underwater Treasure


4th century C.E. Roman shipwreck
Diving robbers looting underwater sites are the bane of marine archaeologists. The items stolen from the sea floor, ranging from coins to amphorae to scrap metal from World War II warships, are usually sold on the black market. Stopping the ravage of the ancient sites is all but impossible.

The problem of maritime looting is especially acute in Israel where the narrow Levantine coast has been inhabited throughout human history and traces of long-vanished civilizations remain on land and under water. Every storm exposes new artifacts on the seabed. It is often a matter of who gets there first – the authorities or thieves.

A bronze embolos - a ram used aboard ships of antiquity to smash holes in enemy vessels.
The sea is very shallow in Gaza, about 5 meters. The popular mentality says that the sea belongs to nobody.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

‘Screaming man’ is Prince Pentewere

Archaeologists have solved the mystery of the “screaming mummy”, an ancient Egyptian corpse preserved with its mouth open in a silent scream. Known as “Unknown Man E”, the precise identity of the body found in the Deir el-Bahari tomb complex in Egypt has eluded researchers. However, DNA analysis of the remains suggests they belong to Prince Pentewere, a son of the pharaoh Ramses III who was involved in a conspiracy to murder his father. Historical records indicate the prince was sentenced to be hanged as a result of his treachery
Marks around the neck of the screaming mummy appear to confirm this account.
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 very probably Pentawere. Genetic testing has confirmed that Screaming Man and Ramesses III were directly related to each other in the paternal line.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Gold crown of Hecatomnus returned to Turkey

An ancient gold crown, stolen from the burial chamber of Hecatomnus in the Aegean town of Milas in 2008 and later smuggled to Scotland, has been returned to Turkey. The tomb of Hecatomnus in Bodrum is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The stolen gold crown dates to the fourth century B.C.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a tomb built between 353-350 BC
The crown will be exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.



Thursday, 8 February 2018

Ancient Rome: cruel and unusual punishment

Roman history is full of stories about the fates of those who broke the law. When a certain Tarpeia let the enemy Sabines into Rome, she was crushed and thrown from a precipice above the Roman forum. It became established practice to throw traitors from the “Tarpeian Rock”. Such tales served as a warning for future generations.

Roman society was patriarchal. The family’s oldest living male had, in theory, the power to kill anyone within his household with impunity. This included not only those living under his roof, but the wider family as well.
Parricides were commonly punished by being 'condemned to the beasts', which was very popular in the Roman world.Anyone who killed his father, mother, or another relative (parricide) was subjected to the “punishment of the sack” (poena cullei). This allegedly involved the criminal being sewn into a leather sack together with four animals – a snake, a monkey, a rooster, and a dog – then being thrown into a river. Was anyone ever actually punished this way? The emperor Constantine’s penalty for parricide only specified that snakes should be added to the sack.
Taking part in the Roman census was compulsory as the state needed a complete record of citizens’ property for taxation. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the sixth king of Rome Servius Tullius decreed that anyone who did not participate in the census would lose their property and be sold into slavery.

The collage of sources from different periods creates Roman punishment that sometimes seems unlikely at best.