Monday, 27 March 2017

500 BC Celtic tomb reveals Gold

In 2015 French archaeologists completed excavations of an ancient burial site revealing the decorated skeleton of a Celtic prince. The tomb was discovered in an industrial area of Lavau, a village near Troyes, about 150km southeast of Paris.

The finding was described as "extraordinary" by experts. Buried with a two-wheeled chariot, the body is believed to be a high-ranked aristocrat from the so-called Hallstatt culture that dominated central Europe during the Early Iron Age.

The skeleton sported ancient pieces of jewellery including a richly decorated gold torque weighing more than half a kilogram and gold bracelets.

Remains of the deceased's clothing, such as shoe parts, finely worked amber beads that formed a necklace or hair decoration, and iron and coral hooks that attached to a piece of clothing were also retrieved.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Mummies Revealed

Now at the American Museum of Natural History, a new “Mummies” exhibition explores how two civilizations on opposite sides of the globe, ancient Egypt and pre-Columbian Peru, both embraced mummification.

Though mummies are linked to Egypt, it was Peru’s Chinchorro people who first began mummifying their dead, some 7,000 years ago. The Gilded Lady has a face adorned with a thin layer of gold. CT scanning reveals she likely died in her 40s of tuberculosis, and had curly hair and an overbite.
The headdress is made of cartonnage, a papier-mâché like substance made from glued layers of papyrus or linen, then covered with gilding, a thin layer of gold. Ancient Egyptians believed the gold would enable the person’s eyes, nose, and mouth to stay intact for the afterlife. The golden skin was used to show divinity because after death, she would be transformed into the god Osiris, who had skin of gold.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Gold hoard found stuffed in old piano

An old piano, made by Broadwood & Sons in London in 1906 contained far more than the new owners bargained for ... a hoard of gold coins dating from 1847 to 1915.

The oldest coin in the hoard dates back to 1847, and bears the face of Queen Victoria. The hoard's true value is unknown but is described as a 'life-changing sum of money’.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

2000 year old Gaza Statue lost again

Lost for centuries, an extremely rare bronze statue of the Greek god Apollo mysteriously resurfaced in the Gaza Strip in 2014, only to be seized by police and vanish. A fisherman says he scooped the 500-kg statue from the sea bed, and carried it home on a donkey cart.
Police from the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory, swiftly seized it. Archaeologists have not been able to get their hands on the Apollo since – to their great frustration.

From what they can tell, it was cast sometime between the 5th and the 1st century BC. The discoloured green-brown figure shows the youthful, athletic god standing upright on two, muscular legs; he has one arm outstretched, with the palm of his hand held up. He has compact, curly hair, and gazes out seriously at the world, one of his eyes apparently inlaid with a blue stone iris, the other just a vacant black slit.
The finder said he cut off one of the fingers to take to a metals expert, thinking it might have been made of gold. Unbeknownst to him, one of his brothers severed another finger for his own checks. This was then melted down by a jeweller.

Researchers say it is very, very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal. Some 5,000 years of history lie beneath the sands of the Gaza Strip, which was ruled at various times by ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and crusaders. Alexander the Great besieged the city and the Roman emperor Hadrian visited.
The statue is unique and most experts say priceless. It's current whereabouts remains unknown.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Treasure of Vettersfelde

Scythian Golden Fish from the Treasure of Vettersfelde circa 500 B.C.
The Vettersfelde Treasure was found by chance in what was then Vettersfelde in the Province of Brandenburg (modern Witaszkowo, near Gubin, Poland) in 1882.

The objects in the trove are connected to the Scythians. The origin of the trove remains mysterious.

Golden plaque intended to cover the upper part of a sheath for a type of dagger.
The presence of these golden objects so far into northern Europe was explained by a Scythian expedition into central Europe, with the trove forming the grave-offerings of a Scythian prince, who had made it as far as Brandenburg.
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Saturday, 4 March 2017

Ancient Egyptian Mummy Wearing Jewels Found

In 2015 Spanish archaeologists digging in Egypt unearthed a female mummy still wearing her jewels. The mummy was discovered in the necropolis below the temple of Pharaoh Thutmosis III (1490-1436 B.C.), on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor. The find dates to the Middle Kingdom (2137-1781 B.C.)

For nearly four millennia, the “Lady of the Jewels,” eluded tomb raiders, her sarcophagus trapped under a collapsed roof.
The archaeologists were cleaning and restoring several tombs in the necropolis that had been already looted in antiquity when they realized that in one of the chambers of tomb XIV, part of the roof had already collapsed before robbers entered it.

“A large boulder, which had fallen down before the tomb was looted, had crushed and buried a previously untouched coffin with all its content,” Egyptologists Myriam Seco, director of the Thutmosis III Temple Project, said in a statement.
“These spectacular findings confirm that an elite necropolis is located under the mortuary temple of Thutmosis III. Wealthy and important individuals of the Middle Kingdom and their families were buried there,” Seco said.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

More Orichalcum found

More ingots of orichalcum, the ancient metal that was purported to be mined at the mythical island of Atlantis, have emerged from the seas of Sicily.
Underwater archaeologists who have been investigating the remains of a ship that sunk 2,600 years ago off the coast of Gela in southern Sicily recovered 47 ingots of the alloy earlier this month, along with a jar and two Corinthian helmets.

Never before discovered in any great quantities, orichalcum has long been considered a mysterious metal, with its composition and origin widely debated.
In early 2015 a team of marine archaeologists discovered 39 ingots scattered across the sea floor near a 2,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Sicily. The ingots were made from orichalcum, a rare cast metal which ancient Greek philosopher Plato wrote was from the legendary city of Atlantis.
For centuries, experts have debated the metal’s composition and origin. According to the ancient Greeks, orichalcum was invented by Cadmus, a Greek-Phoenician mythological character. Cadmus was the founder and first king of Thebes, the acropolis of which was originally named Cadmeia in his honor.

Orichalcum has been thought to be a gold-copper alloy, a copper-tin, or copper-zinc brass, or a metal no longer known.

It had been theorized that orichalcum was an alloy of gold and silver.

A fresco found in an ancient Minoan house at Akrotiri, showing a procession of boats
X-ray fluorescence analysis conducted in Italy indicates the ingots were made from a mixture of zinc (15-20 per cent), charcoal and copper (75-80 per cent) with traces of nickel, lead and iron. Today, some scholars suggest that orichalcum is a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity through the process of cementation, which was achieved through the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible.

The latest discovery of the orichalcum ingots that had laid for nearly three millennia on the sea floor may finally unravel the mystery of the origin and composition of this enigmatic metal.

The Minoan eruption of Thera, also referred to as the Santorini eruption, was a major catastrophic volcanic eruption which is estimated to have occurred in the mid-second millennium BCE.
The eruption was the largest volcanic event on Earth in recorded history. The eruption devastated the island of Thera (Santorini), including the Minoan settlement at Akrotiri.

There is some evidence that the myth of Atlantis, described by Plato, is based upon the Santorini eruption.
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