Monday, 14 November 2016

Spinosaurus, largest of all the carnivorous dinosaurs

The largest dinosaur predator that ever stalked Earth was also the strangest. Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was the largest carnivore dinosaur of all time. It measured 18 meters (50 feet) long, 4.9 to 7.7 meters (16 to 25 feet) tall and 12 tons. Spinosaurus lived in Cretaceous North Africa from 102 to 93 mya

In November 2014 scientists announced the discovery in Moroccan desert cliffs of new fossil remains of Spinosaurus aegyptiacus, a monster that breaks the mold for how a dinosaur predator looked and behaved.

It was roughly 2.5 metres longer than Tyrannosaurus rex and equally massive. Living during the Cretaceous Period, Spinosaurus is the only known carnivorous dinosaur adapted for a semi-aquatic lifestyle.

The distinctive spines of Spinosaurus, which were long extensions of the vertebrae, grew to at least 1.65 meters (5.4 ft) long and were likely to have had skin connecting them.

Spinosaurus roamed the swamps of what is now North Africa.

Spinosaurus terrorized a vast North African river system from Morocco to Egypt. Spinosaurus's environment was "the most dangerous place in the history of our planet."

Spinosaurus was the undisputed king of waterways teeming with sharks and 11-metre crocodilians. Flying reptiles with wingspans of seven meters soared overhead. It may not have been very agile on land but would have taken down anything unfortunate enough to be in it's path.

Friday, 11 November 2016

The Treasure of Berthouville

A cache of pearl and emerald-encrusted rings, bracelets, gold necklaces and other opulent objects from the Roman Empire are on display in the exhibition "Ancient Luxury and the Roman Silver Treasure from Berthouville" at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.

On view for the first time outside of Paris, the assortment of precious jewelry accompanies the 90-piece gilt-silver Berthouville Treasure of statuettes and ornamental vessels that were found by a French farmer plowing a field in 1830.
Both are on loan from the royal collection of the Cabinet des Médailles at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. These were the objects most valued by the Roman empire as it amassed great wealth.

Cameo of Emperor Trajan, Roman, about A.D. 100; sardonyx set in a seventeeth-century gold, enamel, and ruby mount

Pitcher with Scenes from the Trojan War, Roman, A.D. 1-100; silver and gold. Achilles dragging the body of Hector around the walls of Troy

Pitcher with Scenes from the Trojan War (detail), Roman, A.D. 1-100; silver and gold. The death of Achilles

Offering Bowl with a Medallion of Mercury in a Rural Shrine (detail), Roman, A.D. 175-225; silver and gold

Gem with Achilles Playing the Cithara, 75–50 BC, amethyst intaglio
Cup with Centaurs (one of a pair), 1–100 AD, silver and gold

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.