Sunday, 29 October 2017

Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum

A new exhibition at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History offers a glimpse into the world of the ancient gladiators. “Gladiators: Heroes of the Colosseum” at Fernbank through Jan. 7, brings one of the most famous and violent traditions of ancient Rome to life with more than 100 artifacts, replicas and displays.

Many of the exhibition’s artifacts are being displayed for the first time outside of Italy

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Historians wrong about ancient Roman vase for centuries

New research shows that one the British Museum’s most famous artifacts—the Portland Vase—was manufactured by a different technique than the one traditionally assumed by historians and archaeologists.

For centuries, experts in antiquities have said that the Portland Vase, along with other Roman cameo glass artifacts, were manufactured by the ancient Romans using a blown glass technique. Arguments say a cold-processing technique now known as “pate de verre” was used. The Portland Vase was crafted sometime between 30 BC to 50 AD and is probably the best known piece of Roman cameo glass in the world today.

Wedgwood replica

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Gold Thief busted at famous Mandalay Pagoda

The Mahamuni Buddha Temple is a temple and pilgrimage site in southwest of Mandalay, Myanmar. Recently a man who scraped gold from Mandalay’s ancient bronze Mahamuni Buddha image was arrested. Security cameras caught the man scraping out the gold from the back of the Mahamuni image.
With a short piece of steel pipe hidden up his sleeve, Tun Aung Kyaw mingled with other pilgrims who were applying gold leaves to the 6.5-ton image as offerings.

Devotees have regularly applied gold leaves to the image over centuries. Except for the face, the image is covered with layers of gold believed to be about 15 centimeters (6 inches) thick. The trustees of the pagoda said this is the first time gold has ever been removed from the image.

Kyaw is being charged with theft and defaming Buddhism, a serious offense in Myanmar.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Mystery ancient Iron Age skeleton unearthed in Ireland

A storm has unearthed an Iron Age skeleton on the coast of Ireland. The complete remains were discovered near Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford. The person lived between 1,500 and 2,500 years ago around the time the Celtic tribes arrived in Ireland.
The remains were buried, not washed ashore. They were found by people out walking on the beach.

Locals are baffled by the find and say it throws up questions about whether there could be more historical sites in the area.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sweden’s Sandby borg yields gold

Four miles off the Swedish coast in the Baltic Sea, the rocky island of Öland was the site of mass murder. In 2010, archaeologists uncovered scores of skeletons that had initially been left unburied. They estimate that the massacre at Sandby borg took place in the 5th century. The fort’s 15-foot-tall ramparts were no match for the attackers. A discovery of two gold rings and a coin at the site may hint at the motive.

The gold gives credence to the theory that the island may have had ties to the Roman Empire. At the site of an important house the team uncovered pieces of Roman glass. The coins roughly date to the time of the massacre and depict Emperor Valentinian III, who ruled between 425 and 455.
Most mysterious is the fact the site was not looted. Even the murdered inhabitants’ valuable horses were tied up and left to starve.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Spectacular fossils of the Green River Formation

Large teeth and rear-placed fins make Phareodus encaustus well suited for catching and eating other fish.
Rocks of the Green River Formation contain a story of what the environment was like about 50 million years ago in what is now parts of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Streams draining the steep and newly formed mountains carried large amounts of sand, silt, mud and dissolved minerals into lakes that occupied the intermountain basis. Over time the sand, silt and mud began infilling the lakes. Abundant plants grew on broad swampy areas that developed around the margins of the lakes.

This 5.5 inch long bat is the most primitive known.
Claws on each finger of its wings indicate it was probably an agile climber and crawled along and under tree branches searching for insects.
A lagerstätte is a sedimentary rock unit with fossil content. The Green River swamps and lakes provided an exceptional environment for fossil formation.

The lakes and swamps were calm where remains were quickly buried by sediment. This resulted in one of Earth's most spectacular deposits of preserved plants, animals, insects and fish.

This 1.7 meter (5 foot 6 inch) softshell turtle is one of the largest turtles from Fossil Lake. During the Eocene, trionychid turtles reached maximum size.

This fully-articulated early horse is an extremely rare find.

The insect fossils from Fossil Lake sometimes show color patterns, wing venation, and sex-related characteristics.

Palm Tree Flower

Monday, 16 October 2017

Astronomers find the cosmic source of gold and rare metals

130 million years ago, the ultra-dense cores of two dead stars collided. The first evidence of the cataclysmic collision were gravitational waves. They reached Earth on August 17th. As astronomers targeted their source, they turned up a trove of riches. It is explaining, among other things, the source of such precious metals as silver, gold and platinum.

This is the first direct sighting of a collision between two neutron stars. The corpses of these stars are spectacularly dense. A single teaspoon of material would carry a mass that on Earth would weigh roughly one billion tons.
Churning debris produced in the afterglow of the collision included newly created gold, silver and platinum. There was also a smattering of other heavy elements, including uranium.

Until now, the birthplace of such elements had been theory. The extreme conditions produced in the collision forged heavier elements than the parent stars had hosted.
The actual smashup now appears to have taken place 130 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Hydra. The afterglow revealed the birth of elements.

As the collision spurted neutron-rich material into space, a variety of heavy elements formed through a chain of nuclear reactions known as the “r-process.”

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Ancient Greek Roman city of Phaselis Sinking

Almost two meters of the ancient city of Phaselis have submerged in 2,000 years say Turkish archaeologists. The submerging is a natural phenomenon. “The African continent puts pressure on the Asian plate. In some areas, it’s three-centimeters per year and in other areas, nine centimeters. Plate movements in the Mediterranean basin cause that area to collapse in some areas."

Phaselis, situated in the southern province of Antalya’s Kemer district, was important for trade in ancient times as it had three ports. Its possible to still see the wealth of the ancient city. The town was set up by the Rhodians around 700 BC.

Because of its location on an isthmus separating two harbours, it became an important center of commerce between Greece, Asia, Egypt, and Phoenicia.
The city was captured by Persians, and was later captured by Alexander the Great. After the death of Alexander, the city remained in Egyptian hands from 209 BC to 197 BC, under the dynasty of Ptolemaios. After 160 BC it was absorbed into Roman rule. In 42 BC Brutus had the city linked to Rome. In the 3rd century AD, the harbor fell under the constant threat of pirates.
The city gradually lost it's importance and the area was totally impoverished by the 11th century.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Psychology of Gold

Human beings' fascination with gold is as old as history itself. Gold has always had an irresistible appeal. Empires have flourished by possessing gold, they have fallen to ruin for it's failure to exist. Uncountable wars have been fought to control regions harboring it. Countless have died in pursuit of it.
Oxus chariot
The Aztecs described gold as the "excrement of the gods" while the Incas thought of it as the "sweat of the sun." In ancient Egypt, gold was considered the "flesh of the gods." Across human cultures, it was sacred. In ancient Rome and medieval Europe, laws prohibited people from wearing too much gold -- or wearing it at all unless they were from noble stock.

In many cultures, the word for money derives from the word for gold. Gold debuted as a recognized exchange standard for international trade around 1500 BC. In China, the ideogram for money is the ideogram for gold. Gold continues to feature heavily in religion and religious rituals worldwide.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

40,000-year-old “Tianyuan Man” pure Homo sapiens

When scientists excavated a 40,000-year-old skeleton in China in 2003, they thought they had discovered the offspring of a Neandertal and a modern human. But ancient DNA now reveals that “Tianyuan Man” has only traces of Neandertal DNA and none detectable from another type of extinct human and elusive cousin of Neandertals known as a Denisovan. Instead, he was a full-fledged member of our species, Homo sapiens, and a distant relative of people who today live in East Asia and South America.
The first modern humans arose in Africa about 300,000 years ago. By 60,000 years ago, a subset swept out of Africa and mated with Neandertals, perhaps in the Middle East. After that, they spread around the world.

Tianyuan Man shares DNA with one ancient European—a 35,000-year-old modern human from Goyet Caves in Belgium. But he doesn’t share it with other ancient humans who lived at roughly the same time in Romania and Siberia—or with living Europeans. Tianyuan Man is most closely related to living people in east Asia. All of this suggests that Tianyuan Man was not a direct ancestor, but rather a distant cousin, of a founding population in Asia that gave rise to present-day Asians.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

3,200-year-old stone tells of invasion of mysterious sea people

Symbols on a 3,200-year-old stone slab have been deciphered by researchers who say they could solve "one of the greatest puzzles of Mediterranean archaeology". The 29-metre limestone frieze, found in 1878, in what is now Turkey, bears the longest known hieroglyphic inscription from the Bronze Age. Only a handful of scholars worldwide can read its ancient Luwian language.

Researchers believe the inscriptions were commissioned in 1190 BC by Kupanta-Kurunta, the king of a late Bronze Age state known as Mira. The text suggests the kingdom and other Anatolian states invaded ancient Egypt and other regions of the east Mediterranean before and during the fall of the Bronze Age. The script tells how a united fleet of kingdoms from western Asia Minor raided coastal cities on the eastern Mediterranean. The identity and origin of the invaders which scholars call the Trojan Sea People had puzzled archaeologists for centuries. The first translation provides an explanation for the unexplained collapse of the Bronze Age's advanced civilizations.
It suggests they were part of a marauding seafaring confederation, which historians believe played a part in the collapse of nascent Bronze Age civilizations.