Saturday 2 December 2023

Allectus aureus - $700k

A metal detectorist found a gold coin in Kent with the image of the Roman Emperor Allectus with two kneeling captives at the feet of the god Apollo on the obverse. In power from 293 to 296 AD, Allectus was one of two Roman emperors who ruled Britannia and northern Gaul as an independent nation between 286 and 296 AD. The British Museum owns the only other known example of an Allectus aureus, and no one has discovered a coin bearing his visage in over 50 years.
The coin was estimated to sell for between $90k and $127k. Warring bidders pushed the hammer price to $700k.
Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, an officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286. Allectus murdered him. Constantius launched an invasion to depose Allectus in September 296. He was killed in battle. A bronze antoninianus coin (2 denarii) of Allectus is notable for the history it reflects. Slender and shallow ships were used in Roman rivers until late antiquity and played a significant military role. The ship was easy to navigate and thus sailors could be trained quickly. Each carried 50 men, with 30 of them rowing.

Ancient woman buried with gold

Even fragments of the dead woman's clothes were found in the grave.In 2018 researchers found the grave of an elite woman buried at a Roman burial monument on the island of Sikinos. Her name, according to inscriptions, was Neko. Gold wristbands, rings, a long gold necklace, a figure carved cameo buckle, glass and metal vases were found.

Despite attacks by grave robbers since ancient times, Neko's grave was found intact.  It was hidden in a blind spot between two walls in the basement of the structure.
The grave was found in the vault of the Episkopi monument, a burial memorial of the Roman era, which was later turned into a Byzantine church and monastery.

Friday 1 December 2023

Battle of Teutoburg Forest

In 2018 eight gold coins were discovered in Germany that confirm the site of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. Such a find is very rare. The discovery at Kalkriese doubles the number of gold coins from the site. The coins feature Emperor Augustus, with imperial princes Gaius and Lucius Caesar, and date between 2BCE and 5CE. Lucius died of a sudden illness on 20 August AD 2. His brother Gaius died at age 21 February, AD 4. The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and destroyed 3 legions of the Roman commander Publius Quintilius Varus.
In September 9 AD Varus marched with three legions with him, the Seventeenth, the Eighteenth and the Nineteenth when news arrived from the Germanic prince Arminius of a growing revolt in the Rhine area to the West. Ignoring a warning from Segestes not to trust Arminius, Varus marched deep into the Teutoburg Forest. All three legions were wiped out to the last man. Varus committed suicide.
As a result of the battle Germania remained independent from Roman rule. Roughly 20,000 men were killed during the slaughter in Teutoburg Forest.
An aureus from the reign of Augustus would have been enough to feed and house a family in Rome for a month.
Archaeologists speculate they belonged to a high-ranking Roman officer.
In 1990 a misshapen and corroded cavalry mask was found. Thought to have been worn during exhibitions by cavalry it is one of the most exceptional finds at the site of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. It is one the oldest masks known from the Roman army

Thursday 30 November 2023

The Jersey Hoard (Grouville Hoard)

The last coins from an ancient Celtic hoard discovered in a field in Jersey were successfully removed from the agglomeration that contained them in 2020. Dating from around 30-50 BC, the collection of 69,347 coins was six times larger than any other similar Celtic artifacts and also included jewellery, beads and fabric.
The Jersey Hoard (Grouville Hoard) is a hoard of late Iron Age and Roman coins discovered in June 2012. It was discovered in a field in the parish of Grouville on the east side of Jersey in the Channel Islands. The hoard is thought to have belonged to a Curiosolitae tribe fleeing Julius Caesar's armies around 50 to 60 BC.

Jersey Heritage's conservation team have been excavating an area known to contain gold jewelery. One end of a solid gold torc was uncovered. The find follows the discovery of two other solid gold torcs along with a silver brooch and a crushed sheet gold tube.
At least 50,000 coins dating back to the time of Julius Caesar were found in a field in Jersey. The Roman and Celtic coins, which date from the 1st Century BC, were found by two metal detector enthusiasts. Archaeologists said the hoard weighed about three quarters of a tonne.
It is the first hoard of coins found in the island for more than 60 years. Several hoards of Celtic coins have been found in Jersey before but the largest was in 1935 at La Marquanderie when more than 11,000 were discovered.
This is the world's biggest Celtic coin hoard ever, and was a significant part of a tribe's wealth. It is also one of the world's biggest coin hoards and certainly the biggest coin hoard found in Britain. The value of the hoard was estimated at up to £10m when it was first removed from the ground.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Ancient Humans interbred with Neanderthals

Neanderthal child
In 1997, scientists found the first scrap of Neanderthal DNA in a fossil. Since then, they have recovered genetic material, even entire genomes, from a number of Neanderthal bones. Their investigations have yielded a surprise: Today, 1 to 2 percent of the DNA in non-African people comes from Neanderthals. That genetic legacy is the result of interbreeding roughly 50,000 years ago between Neanderthals and the common ancestors of Europeans and Asians. Recent studies suggest that Neanderthal genes even influence human health today.
The DNA extracted in 1997 was from the original specimen of Neanderthals, found in the Neander valley near Dusseldorf, Germany. It suggested that the Neanderthal lineage is four times older than the human lineage, meaning that Neanderthals split off much earlier from the hominid line than did humans. Humans and Neanderthals split from a common ancestor in Africa some 600,000 years ago. At some point afterward, the ancestors of Neanderthals spread to Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.
Neanderthals took on a distinctive anatomy, a stocky, powerful build, and became skilled hunters.
Scientists found that the genes flowed both ways. In a study published in Nature, a team of scientists reported that another instance of interbreeding left Neanderthals in Siberia with chunks of human DNA. In 2010 scientists recovered about 60% of a Neanderthal genome from fossils found in a Croatian cave.

A toe bone from a male Neanderthal dating back at least 50,000 years.
Neanderthals shared certain mutations with living Europeans and Asians, but not with modern Africans. Humans interbred with Neanderthals after leaving Africa. 3 years later the complete genome of a male Neanderthal was recovered from a toe bone dating back at least 50,000 years, which had been discovered in the Altai Mountains of Siberia.
Comparing the Altai genome to modern human DNA confirmed the interbreeding.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Ancient Scythian gold returned to Ukraine

Ancient Scythian artifacts from museums in Russian-occupied Crimea have been returned to Ukraine after a legal dispute over ownership rights. More than a thousand artifacts, including a solid gold Scythian helmet and golden necklace, were on loan to Amsterdam's Allard Pierson Museum when Russian troops seized and annexed the peninsula in 2014. Both Moscow and Kiev claimed ownership of the priceless Scythian treasures.
The museum’s “Crimea: Gold and Secrets of the Black Sea” exhibit opened in February 2014, one month before Russia seized the Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine.
The collection dates to the fourth century B.C. A Dutch court ruled that Ukraine was the rightful owner of the ancient treasure. Moscow claimed that as Crimea is part of Russia, the artifacts should be returned. Moscow had accused the Netherlands of seizing the gold artifacts illegally, as they were claimed by the Kremlin following Russia's annexation of Crimea.

Monday 27 November 2023

Gold of the 12 Casears

Suetonius’s work, De Vita Caesarium, or The Twelve Casears, chronicles the Roman Empire’s first twelve Caesars.
Aureus struck at a military mint c.43 B.C. bearing portraits of Julius Caesar and Octavian (Augustus). Aureus of Augustus, c.15–12 B.C.
Tiberius (A.D. 14–37). Caligula (A.D. 37–41) A.D. 37–38. Caligula's portrait appears with his deceased mother, Agrippina Senior.

Claudius (A.D. 41–54) A.D. 46–47.

Nero (A.D. 54–68) Aureus struck at Rome, A.D. 62–63.
Galba (A.D. 68–69)

Otho (A.D. 69)
Vitellius (A.D. 69)

Vespasian (A.D. 69–79)
Titus (A.D. 79–81) Aureus A.D. 75. Coin was struck while Titus was Caesar under his father.

Domitian (A.D. 81–96)