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

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Pereshchepina Hoard

Belt Plaque Gold. Second half of the 7th century BC
The Pereshchepina Treasure is a major deposit of Bulgarian, Sassanian, Sogdian, Turkic and Avarian objects.

The hoard was discovered in 1912 in the village of Mala Pereshchepina (20 km from Poltava, Ukraine) by a boy shepherd who literally stumbled over a golden vessel and fell into what is thought to be the grave of Kuvrat, the founder of Great Bulgaria and father of Asparuh, the founder of the First Bulgarian Empire.

Comb with Scythians in Battle. Gold; cast and chased. Late 5th - early 4th century BC

Plaque in the Form of the Head Gold; stamped. Scythian. 4th century BC

Sword Hilt. Gold and iron; chased. Scythian. 5th century BC
The 800 piece trove contains finely crafted gold artifacts that exceeds 21 kg and 50 kg of silver. (42 pounds, 110 pounds) Items ranged from 500 BC to 670 AD and are of Byzantine, Persian and Barbarian origin. Three gold rings are engraved with the monogram of Kubrat, and his 400gm gold patrician buckle and sword were found.

Torque (Grivna) Gold; cast, forged, chased. Meotian Culture. Late 4th century BC

Necklace. Gold; stamped, soldered, filigreed, repousse. Meotian Culture. Late 4th century BC

Plaque with Scythian Warriors. Gold; repousse. Scythian. 4th century BC

Facing for a Horse's Frontlet Gold; stamped. Scythian. 4th century BC

Overlay for a Goryt (Case for a Bow and Arrows) Gold; stamped. Scythian. 4th century BC

Hand-Washing Vessel: Pitcher and Ladle Poltava Region, Ukraine. Silver gilt

Overlay for a Wooden Vessel Gold; stamped. Scythian. First half of the 5th century BC

Pair of Boat-Shaped Earrings Gold; forged, stamped, soldered, filigreed. Scythian. 4th century BC

Goblet Poltava Region, Ukraine 7th century

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.”