Saturday, 31 March 2018

Iron Age and the Bones of the Dead

A macabre discovery rewrites what we knew about the rituals and beliefs of Iron Age man.
In 2012 ancient remains were discovered in a bog in Denmark. Archaeologists are now trying to piece together what happened to the dozens of dead warriors found at Alken Enge. Archaeologists were startled by what appeared to be desecration of the skeletal remains.

Protohistoric cultures had many traditions of ensuring the respect of their ancestors, and protection from their dead enemies.
At least six months after the warriors died, their bones were collected, scraped of remaining flesh, sorted and dumped in a lake. Some were handled in a bizarre manner; four pelvises were found strung on a stick. Researchers guess that the desecration of the body parts was an ancient ritual.

Were these grisly desecrations a barbaric ritual of triumph over defeated enemies, as historical Roman records suggest? They also have been Iron Age rites of warding, ensuring the ghosts of a fallen enemy wouldn’t return from the grave to wreak revenge.
Norse folktales included the mythology of the draugr, an undead creature, literally meaning “again-walker”. The draugr was a corpse risen from the grave, a decomposed body. It would seek out and attack those who had wronged it in life. So horrifying was the prospect of creating a draugr that special care was taken to ensure a proper burial of the dead.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Stater of Kyrene

An ancient gold stater from the City of Kyrene, North Africa. Minted under one of Alexander the Great's closest friends and allies, Ophellas while acting as governor under Ptolemy I. Struck 322 - 313 BC. $ 8,000

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Classical Greek Statues

The first traces of human habitation in Greece appeared during the Paleolithic Age (120000 - 10000 B.C.) During the Neolithic Age that followed ( 7000 - 3000 B.C.) a plethora of Neolithic buildings spread throughout the country. The beginning of the Bronze Age (3000-1100 B.C.) is marked by the appearance of the first urban centers in the Aegean. Flourishing settlements were found on Crete, Mainland Greece, the Cyclades and the Aegean.
The Artemision Bronze (God from the Sea) is an ancient Greek sculpture that was recovered from the sea off Cape Artemision, in northern Euboea.

It represents either Zeus or Poseidon, is slightly over lifesize, and would have held either a thunderbolt, if Zeus, or a trident if Poseidon.

The Charioteer of Delphi, also known as Heniokhos (Greek: the rein-holder), is one of the best-known statues surviving from Ancient Greece, and is considered one of the finest examples of ancient bronze statues. The life-size (1.8m) statue of a chariot driver was found in 1896 at the Sanctuary of Apollo in Delphi. It is now in the Delphi Archaeological Museum.

Caryatids from Erechtheion. A caryatid is a sculpted female figure serving as an architectural support taking the place of a column or a pillar. The Greek term karyatides literally means "maidens of Karyai", an ancient town of Peloponnese.

The best-known and most-copied examples are those of the six figures of the Caryatid Porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis at Athens.
The statue of Laocoön and His Sons was excavated in Rome in 1506 and placed on public display in the Vatican. The marble figures are near life-size and the group is a little over 2m (6 ft 7 in) in height, showing the Trojan priest Laocoön and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being attacked by sea serpents.
The Discobolus of Myron ("discus thrower") is a Greek sculpture that was completed toward the end of the Severe period, circa 460–450 BC.

The original Greek bronze is lost but the work is known through numerous Roman copies, both full-scale ones in marble and smaller scaled versions in bronze.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Zoë and Theodora (1042) - Byzantine rarity

Coins of the joint female reign are among the greatest rarities of Byzantine coins. $223,250Two elderly daughters of Constantine VIII ruled the Empire jointly for seven and a half weeks. The two women could not have been more different: Often-married Zoë was an power-hungry voluptuary who took innumerable lovers, while Theodora was an austere, scholarly spinster who detested court life. They could not stand one another.

Photos capture Egypt's ancient underworld

Photographer Sandro Vannini is the man who, for the past two decades, has captured the fine details. Vannini began photographing Egypt's ancient underworld in the late 90s.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Cool Coins at Heritage

Seleucid Kingdom. Antiochus XI (94-93 BC), with Philip I Philadelphus. AR tetradrachm. NGC AU 5/5 - 4/5. Uncertain mint 127 in Cilicia, likely Tarsus, ca. late 94 - early 93 BC. Est $12,000 to $ 16,000
Augustus (27 BC-AD 14). AV aureus. NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 4/5. Spain, Colonia Patricia. Very rare and among the finest surviving specimens. $ 25,000 to $ 35,000
Galba (AD 68-69). AV aureus. NGC Choice XF 5/5 - 2/5, brushed. Gaul, Narbo. November AD 68 - January, AD 69. Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000.
North West Company brass Unholed Token 1820 MS61 NGC, Br-925, FT-9A. Brass, unholed and plain edge. Est $50,000 - $60,000

Charles I gold Triple Unite 1642 XF Details (Repaired) NGC, Oxford mint. Est $30,000 - $50,000.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Trafalgar Square lion doubles on sale with rare family of mammoths

A pair of giant bronze lions in the style of those which guard Trafalgar Square could sell for up to £100,000 at auction. The statues, modelled on the originals designed by artist Sir Edwin Landseer which surround Nelson's Column, are due to go under the hammer in Billingshurst, West Sussex. They are almost identical in size to their counterparts but were made in the late 20th century. The four bronze lions at Trafalgar Square were made in 1858.
Also up for sale is a complete family of prehistoric mammoth skeletons. The collection of four Ice Age skeletons includes a one-year-old infant, only the second known complete baby mammoth skeleton in the world. It's unknown how the family died but their remnants were found together during building works near Tomsk, Siberia, in 2002. They probably died at the end of the Pleistocene period, around 12,000 to 16,000 years ago. £250,000