Saturday, 30 April 2016

Ancient Wreath found in Thessaloniki

Excavation work during construction of a new subway in the northern city of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, has revealed another gold wreath – the ninth since work started in 2006.

Found on the site of an ancient cemetery at what will be the Dimokratias Station stop, the wreath of olive leaves lay buried for some 2,300 years. The wreath was found “inside a large box-type Macedonian tomb on the head of a buried body.” It was approximately dated to the Early Hellenistic Era, at the end of the fourth — early third century B.C. Gold wreaths are rare finds and are usually associated with royal or aristocratic graves.

Featuring delicate decorations which imitated various leaves, such as oak, olive, vine, laurel and myrtle, the fragile gold wreaths were created primarily to be buried.
About 23,000 ancient and medieval artifacts have been unearthed during the ongoing dig for the Thessaloniki subway system.

The much-delayed project is scheduled for completion in 2017.
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Friday, 22 April 2016

The Walton Nickle

It's a mysterious nickel that was estimated to bring $2.5 million at auction. The coin, known as the Walton nickel, surpassed estimates and sold for $3.17 million in early 2013.
This nickel is both old and rare, one of only five that were struck at the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia in 1913. That year a buffalo image was to replace the Liberty head design on the front side of the U.S. nickel. Five coins were inadvertently struck with the old image.

The coin is not supposed to exist. It is supposed to have the buffalo design.

The existence of the coin and its four mates was not discovered until 1920, by which time the five 1913 Liberty head nickels had fallen into the hands of different owners. But for many years, the Walton nickel, named after one of its owners, coin collector George Walton, went missing.

The last time the Walton nickel was up for sale was 1944, when Walton bought it for $3750. Eighteen years later, Walton was killed in a car accident while on his way to a coin show. Though Walton's collection was recovered, his family was told that the 1913 Liberty nickel he had with him that day was a fake.
A decade ago, as a promotion for a display of the other four nickels in the set, a $1 million reward was offered for anyone who brought in the missing coin. Walton's family decided to bring their nickel in to see if it might be real after all. Indeed it was.

The family decided to put the coin up for auction. "It's been in their family for 70 years. They decided that the hundredth anniversary of the coin was the right time to sell it and for another collector to have it," Rohan said.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Archaeopteryx : X-rays shine new light on mystery 'bird'

Archaeopteryx (meaning "ancient wing") is a very early prehistoric bird, dating from about 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period.

The first, and one of the most complete fossils of archaeopteryx is known as the London specimen. It was discovered in 1861, just two years after Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and made a stir being a transitional form.
Only 12 of these curious creatures have ever been found. Now they are going under the glare of a giant X-ray machine - to find out what lies buried beneath the surface.

Using a new "camera obscura" technique - inspired by Leonardo da Vinci - scientists have captured some of the clearest ever images of Archaeopteryx. For the first time, they can see the complete skeleton in 3D. Not just the surface outlines, but all the hidden bones and feathers too.
"We want to know how Archaeopteryx lived," says Martin Roeper, curator of the Solnhofen Museum, which houses one of the specimens. "Was he a little dinosaur running, climbing trees - or was he flying? That's the most important question. Could Archaeopteryx fly or not?"

The answer grows closer as new, microscopic details of its anatomy emerge from ever more precise scans. Blood vessels within the bones, for example, can be compared to modern birds.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Ancient Artifacts Seized in 'Operation Hidden Idol'

A second-century Boddhisattva head
Seizures continue from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which jointly have been tracking antiquities smuggling for the last eight years under the auspices of 'Operation Hidden Idol'.

An 8th century sandstone panel depicting an equestrian deity

A sandstone stele of Rishabhanata from the 10th century

Eighth-century Afghan marble sculpture

Chola-era bronze idol of Shiva and Parvati

A second-century Indian sandstone relief

11th-12th century Chola bronze statue
Saraswati idol made of black stone from late Chalukya

Thousand-year-old bronze Ganesha

Shiva As Lord of the Dance Chola period c.10th/11th