Saturday, 5 November 2016

Jewels of ancient Egypt

The outer face of this pectoral is inlaid with colored glass and semi-precious stones. The motif of the scarab pushing solar disc has been elaborated to form "Nebkheprure".
Evidence of jewelry making in ancient Egypt dates to the 4th century BC, to the Predynastic Period of along the Nile River Delta in 3100 BC, and the earlier Badarian culture which inhabited Upper Egypt between 4500 BC and 3200 BC.

From 2950 BC to the end of Pharaonic Egypt in 395 AD, there were a total of thirty-one dynasties, spanning 3,345 years.

Pectoral of King Senusret II from the tomb of Sit-Hathor Yunet, daughter of Senusret II.

Winged Isis pectoral 538–519 B.C. gold
The ancient Egyptians placed great importance on the religious significance of certain sacred objects, which was heavily reflected in their jewelry motifs. Gem carvings known as "glyptic art" typically took the form of anthropomorphic religious symbols.

The Egyptian lapidary would use emery fragments or flint to carve softer stones, while bow-driven rotary tools were used on harder gems.

The collar of Khnumet

A rebus pectoral scarab worn by King Tut-ankh-amun from Thebes. It symbolizes the birth of the moon and the sun and was part of the king's coronation regalia.

Queen Amanishaketo's bracelet

19th Dynasty inlaid diadem, or wig.
Most of the raw materials that were used to make jewelry were found near Egypt, but certain prized materials such as lapis lazuli were imported from as far away as Afghanistan. One gemstone, said to be Queen Cleopatra's favorite, was emerald, which was mined near the Red Sea, at the Wadi Sikait Emerald Mines.

Jewelry coloration was extremely important to the ancient Egyptians, and each color had a different symbolic meaning. Jewelry that featured the color green was meant to symbolize fertility and the success of new crops, while according to the "Book of the Dead" a deceased person would wear a red-colored necklace which was meant to satisfy the God Isis' need for blood.

Egyptian Scarab Rings
Scarab amulets were symbolic of rebirth due to the dung beetle's proclivity for rolling a piece of dung into a spherical ball, then using it as a brooding chamber from which the newborn beetle will emerge.
One insignificant king's treasure remained intact for thousands of years. That king was the now famous Pharaoh Tutankhamun, son of either Amenhotep III or Akhenaten.

His short reign as Pharaoh began at age 9. Although he ruled for only 9 years (1336—1327 BC), he was able to amass a modest legacy of wealth and treasure that lives on today.

Pectoral belonging to Tutankhamun

Bracelet with image of Hathor 100 B.C. Gold, enamel.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Ancient gold coin discovered in Kafr Kana

Archaeological excavation at Kafr Kana revealed a gold dinar from the early Islamic period, dating to 776-777.

Kafr Kana is an Arab town, in Galilee, part of the Northern District of Israel. It is associated with the New Testament village of Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine.
Finding ancient gold is extremely rare. One gold coin at this time was a huge amount of money. It was worth a hundred kilos of wheat. 4.5 dinar like these would buy a house in the village.

Excavations demonstrate the existence of early pre-Islamic villages in the area from the time of the Middle Bronze period 2000 BC as well as through Roman and Byzantine periods.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Crusader Gold found in Israel

A hoard of buried gold coins found in Apollonia National Park in 2012 by a joint team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University and the Nature and Parks Authority is one of the country's largest-ever such finds.

The hoard of 108 gold coins were minted in Egypt about 250 years before being buried in the floor of a 13th century fortress at Apollonia Park, about 15 miles north of Tel Aviv.
The coins discovered in the fort date to the Fatimid empire in northern Africa, and are 200-300 years older than the ruined fortress they were found in. The coins were minted in Tripoli and Alexandria.
Researchers believe the cache of coins was hidden to prevent Muslim conquerors from finding it. The Christian Order of the Knights Hospitaller ruled the fortress and the surrounding city .
The Order of the Knights of Saint John, Order of Hospitallers, Knights Hospitaller, and the Hospitallers, were among the most famous of the Roman Catholic military orders during the Middle Ages.

The excavations are offering a unique insight into Crusader fortifications in the Middle East. The layer of Crusader artefacts has lain nearly undisturbed since 1265. Muslim Arsuf was conquered by the Crusaders in 1101 and re-conquered by the Mamluks in 1265.

Baibars’ reign marked the start of an age of Mamluk dominance in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In March 1265, Mamluke Sultan Baibars stormed the city and captured it after 40 days of siege. The knights were annihilated.

Baibars (1223 – 1 July 1277) was the fourth Sultan of Egypt from the Mamluk Bahri dynasty.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Waitress accidentally breaks Townley Venus statue

A catering worker snapped the thumb off a priceless Roman statue during an event held at the British Museum. The caterer smacked her head on the marble hand of the world-renowned Townley Venus statue as she rose from bending down.

The British Museum described it as an “unfortunate incident”. Museum workers have reportedly managed to glue the thumb back onto the statue, which they describe as being fully restored.
The Townley Venus is a 2.14 m (7 ft) marble statue that dates from the first or second century AD. It is adapted from a lost Greek original statue, dating from the fourth century BC, and depicts the goddess Venus with her torso nude.

The statue was excavated at Ostia, a harbour city of ancient Rome in 1775.