Sunday, 19 February 2017

UK cave opened for first time after 1,400 years

A discovery has been made in an unearthed Scottish Highlands cave. Archaeologists found a skeleton of a man brutally murdered. He was placed in an cross-legged position with stones holding up his legs and arms. He died between 430 and 630 AD, referred to as the Pictish period.
The bones were found in a cave in the Black Isle by a team of researchers based at the University of Dundee. They believe he suffered five blows which killed him – causing fractures to his skull and face. Forensic anthropologist Sue Black digitally reconstructed what he looked like.

Volunteers believe the cave was used for iron-smithing during the Pictish period. The discovery of the skeleton has baffled experts.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Spectacular Ancient Coins

A silver Tetradrachm, Thrace dates from 386-375 BC and depicts a Griffin preparing to spring on the obverse with a nude image of the god Apollo carrying a laurel branch and patera and accompanied by a stag. About $7,500

Gold octadrachm from the reign of Ptolemy II in Alexandria from 285-246 BC. Arsinoe II on the obverse, a double cornucopia appears on the reverse. $11,500.
Thrace - Tauric Chersonesus, Pantikapaion, (c.320 B.C.), gold stater, (9.13 gm), obv. head of bearded Pan to left, with animal ear, wearing ivy wreath, rev. horned griffin with curved wings standing to left on an ear of corn, right foreleg raised, head facing, holding spear in jaws. $33,000
Gold coin of Croesus - Croesus was the king of Lydia from 560 to 547 BC until his defeat by the Persians. In Greek and Persian cultures the name of Croesus became a synonym for a wealthy man. Croesus' wealth remained proverbial beyond classical antiquity: in English, expressions such as "rich as Croesus" or "richer than Croesus" are used to indicate great wealth to this day.

Ancient Roman Gold Aureus Coin of Emperor Augustus - 10 BC. $ 5,800
Gold Byzantine Solidus Coin of Jesus Christ & Emperor Justinian II. $8,000.00

Ancient Celtic AV Gold Remic Stater Coin from the Atrebates Tribe - 55 BC. $1,600.00
English Medieval gold sovereign struck under King Henry VIII. The obverse depicting the King, enthroned holding orb and sceptre, portcullis at feet, his cloak falling over his feet in folds, ornate pillars either side.
The legend reading:

HENRICUS DEI GRACIA REX ANGLIE ET FRANC DNS HIBM

"Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, Lord of Ireland" - $19,500.00
Alexander the Great lifetime stater, 8.61g, official issue from Abydos, Asia Minor, c. 328-323 BC

Silver stater of Lokris featuring Ajax. Persephone is on the obverse.
Syracuse, 16 Litrae coin of Hieron II. (275-215 BC)

Sicily, Katane. c. 430-420. BC


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Arms, Armour, and Weapons


Rare German rapier from the 16th century

Halberd with wheel-lock pistol. Germany second quarter of the 17th Century. $ 22,000

Silver-encrusted khula-khud. $5,500

Very fine wheel-lock rifle with inlay decorations by Hans Ruhr. $21,900

Hunting crossbow, complete, lavishly decorated, Southern Germany, circa 1689 Estimated price: €10,000

Luristan Bronze Weapons circa 1000-600 BC. Swords, Daggers and Spear Heads.

Jade and silver mounted dagger. $7,600

Khanjar Dagger. Dated: late century.Indian. Steel, iron, rock crystal, gold.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

More Antikythera Treasure

A team of archeologists has salvaged a trove of 2,000-year-old treasures from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Aegean Sea. Using state-of-the-art equipment and semi-robotic metal diving suits, the divers descended 55-metres below sea level where they retrieved ancient tableware, ship components, and a two-metre long bronze spear likely belonged to a life-sized warrior statue, all dating back to between 60 BC and 70 BC.
The Antikythera Treasures. In 1900, sponge divers discovered an ancient shipwreck just off the island of Antikythera. Another expedition in 1976 recovered the most significant part of the cargo. The massive haul of artifacts from the wreck included the Antikythera mechanism.

Coins and jewelry, glassware, pottery, statues, and even copper couch beds were found. One statue is a classical bronze statue made sometime from 340 to 330 B.C. named Statue of a Youth.
Analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism show it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years.

Researchers used three-dimensional X-ray scanners to reconstruct the workings of the device's gears and high-resolution surface imaging to enhance faded inscriptions on its surface.
By winding a knob on its side, the positions of the sun, moon, Mercury and Venus could be determined for any chosen date. Newly revealed inscriptions also appear to confirm the device could also calculate the positions of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — the other planets known at the time. The device's construction date was radiocarbon dated to around 150 to 100 B.C.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Shrinking dinosaurs became modern birds

It is known that modern birds evolved from dinosaurs, but a new study published in the journal Science shows that the key to this transformation was, for one particular group of giant lizards called theropods, to continually get smaller and smaller over a 50-million-year time span.

Researchers present a detailed family tree of these dinosaurs and their bird descendants which maps out this transformation.
They showed that the branch of theropod dinosaurs which gave rise to modern birds were the only dinosaurs that kept getting smaller. These bird ancestors also evolved new adaptations four times faster than other dinosaurs.

"Birds evolved through a unique phase of sustained miniaturisation in dinosaurs," says lead author Associate Professor Michael Lee, from the University of Adelaide's School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the South Australian Museum."
"Being smaller and lighter in the land of giants, with rapidly evolving anatomical adaptations, provided these bird ancestors with new ecological opportunities, such as the ability to climb trees, glide and fly.
Ultimately, this evolutionary flexibility helped birds survive the deadly meteorite impact which killed off all their dinosaurian cousins."

The study examined over 1500 anatomical traits of dinosaurs to reconstruct their family tree. The researchers used sophisticated mathematical modelling to trace evolving adaptions and changing body size over time and across dinosaur branches.
Paleontologists looking at fossils of meat-eating dinosaurs, particularly those that were small bipedal like the Veloceraptors, have pointed out years ago how they share an uncanny number of traits with modern birds: everything from wishbones, light hollow skeletons and three-fingered hands that folded like bird wings to an array of bright, complex feathers. Many of them also had some ability to glide, perhaps even fly.
A new fossil specimen of Archaeopteryx