Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Amazing Artifacts

Mjöllnir amulets - In Norse mythology, Mjölnir is the hammer of Thor, a major Norse god associated with thunder. Mjölnir is depicted in Norse mythology as one of the most fearsome weapons, capable of leveling mountains. In Norse mythology the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr.

The discovery of a 10th century Viking artifact resembling the Hammer of Thor has solved the mystery surrounding amulets found across Northern Europe. The relics, known as Mjöllnir amulets, appear to depict hammers but this could not be concluded with certainty. In 2014 another similar pendant was found in Købelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, which contained the runic inscription “this is a hammer”. Cast in bronze, and likely plated with silver, tin and gold, the 1,100-year-old pendant shows that Thor’s myth deeply influenced Viking jewellery.

The Nebra Sky Disc is a 3,600-year-old bronze disc so extraordinary it was thought to be an archaeological forgery. Scientific analysis revealed that it is authentic. The Nebra Sky Disc was discovered in Ziegelroda Forest, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It had been ritually buried along with two swords, two axes, two spiral arm-rings and one bronze chisel.

The disc measures approximately 30 cm in diameter, weighs 2.2 kg, and is decorated with a blue-green patina and inlaid with gold symbols. These are interpreted generally as a sun or full moon, a lunar crescent, and stars. Two golden arcs along the sides were added later. The two arcs span an angle of 82°, correctly indicating the angle between the positions of sunset at summer and winter solstice at the latitude of the Mittelberg (51°N).

While much older earthworks such as the Goseck circle or Stonehenge had been used to mark the solstices, the disc is the oldest known "portable instrument" to allow such measurements.
The James Ossuary is believed by some to be one of the most precious Biblical artifacts of all time, as the limestone box is said to have held the bones of the brother of Jesus.

The first century AD burial box contains an Aramaic inscription that reads "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The box was carved from a single piece of limestone, which was typical of burial boxes used by Jews of first-century Palestine. In those days, bodies were left in a cave for a year before the bones were collected and put in a box. The limestone box has been a controversy for decades.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) tried to prove in court that the item was forged by Oded Golan, but they failed. They then tried, and failed, to gain ownership. It is alleged that it was vandalized by the Israeli government before being returned.
Strange figurines were unearthed in 1919, during the first excavation of the Tell Al’Ubaid archaeological site in Iraq. 7,000-year-old artifacts depicting humanoid figures with lizard-like characteristics, including long heads, almond shaped eyes, long tapered faces and a lizard-type nose where found. Some appear to be wearing a helmet and have some kind of padding on the shoulders. Other figurines were found to hold a staff or scepter, possibly as a symbol of justice and ruling.

Male and female figurines were found in different postures, but the strangest of all are the female figurines holding babies suckling milk, with the child also represented with lizard-like features.

In 1808, William Cunnington discovered the crown jewels of the 'King of Stonehenge'. They were found within a large Bronze Age burial mound ½ mile from Stonehenge. Within the 4,000-year-old barrow, Cunnington found ornate jewellery, a gold lozenge that fastened his cloak, and an intricately decorated dagger. The dagger was originally adorned with up to 140,000 tiny gold studs just a third of a millimetre wide.

To create the studs, the craftsman had to first create an extremely fine gold wire, a little thicker than a human hair. The end of the wire was then flattened to create a stud-head, and cut with a very sharp obsidian razor, just below the head. This delicate procedure was repeated tens of thousands of times. Thousands of tiny holes were then made in the dagger handle and a thin layer of tree resin was rubbed over the surface as an adhesive to keep the studs in place. Each stud was then carefully placed into its miniscule hole.

The entire process – wire manufacture, stud-making, hole-making, resin pasting and stud positioning – would have taken thousands of hours to complete.

The Trundholm Sun ‘Chariot’ is a bronze and gold artifact pulled out of a bog on the Danish island of Sjælland in 1902. It is said to belong to the Nordic Bronze Age (c. 1700-500 B.C.)

The ‘chariot’ consists of a bronze horse, a bronze disc with a thin sheet of gold pressed into one side, and 6 four-spoke wheels made also of bronze. Apart from being a ritual object, it has also been suggested that the Trundholm Sun ‘Chariot’ may have functioned as a calendar. The golden day side has dimensions associated with one third of a Solar year, while the night-side of the large central concentric circle has dimensions linked to six lunar months.