Monday, 27 November 2017

Jonathan, St. Helena's famous ancient tortoise


In his time on St Helena he has seen 28 British governors come and go.
Jonathan the giant tortoise is perhaps the world's oldest land animal, living in pampered luxury on the remote British island of St. Helena. Aged at least 185 -- though no one knows for certain -- Jonathan should prepare himself for an influx of visitors now that an airport has opened on the small island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. The island's most famous resident, Jonathan slowly roams the lush gardens of the governor's house, eating carrots, lettuce, cucumber, apples and pears prepared in the governor's kitchen.
He appears on the island's five-pence coin, on immigration stamps, and in old black-and-white photographs alongside Boer War prisoners in the early 20th century. Jonathan originates from the Seychelles but his arrival on St. Helena remains a mystery and the exact year is disputed. Some unconfirmed reports suggest 1882 -- a few decades after Napoleon died in exile on the island on 1821.

He is now blind, has no sense of smell and is already far beyond his life expectancy of 150 years -- but otherwise he is in good health with good hearing.

St. Helena, located 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) from the African mainland, is one of the most remote places on Earth.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Ancient Christian mosaic uncovered in the ruins of a monastery in Israel


The tessellated tile work features a four line inscription in Greek, commemorating the builder of the monastery in which it was found. It also includes the date of its construction according to the Georgian calendar, the first evidence of its use in Israel, which corresponds with 539 AD.
An immaculately preserved mosaic created by Christians living in Israel 1,500 years ago has been uncovered by archaeologists.

Inscription reads: 'By the grace of God (or Jesus), this work was done from the foundation under Procopius, our most saintly and most holy bishop, in the month Dios of the 3rd indiction, year 292.
The find was made in the coastal city of Ashdod.

Ashdod was one of the most important cities on the coast of Israel in the Byzantine period.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Ancient Scythian Gold sparks spat between Russia, Netherlands

Moscow has accused the Netherlands of seizing gold artifacts claimed by the Kremlin following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014.

A collection of gold that dates back to the Scythian era in the fourth century B.C. was on display in Amsterdam when Moscow invaded Crimea and annexed it from Ukraine almost three years ago.
A Dutch court ruled last year that Ukraine was the rightful owner of the ancient treasure and it should not be returned to the territory while it is occupied by Russia. Moscow claims that as Crimea is part of Russia, the artifacts should be returned.
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2017/07/scythians-warriors-of-ancient-siberia.html
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2017/04/golden-pectoral-from-tolstaya-mogila.html
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2016/02/treasure-of-siberias-valley-of-kings.html

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Ancient Skull from China raises Questions

Most scientists believe all modern humans are descended from African ancestors. But a new analysis of an ancient Chinese skull found too many similarities to the earliest human fossils found in Africa to be a coincidence. The 260,000 year old skull was discovered nearly 40 years ago in China’s Shaanxi Province. It belonged to a member of Homo erectus.

Its possible we need to reassess how our ancestors migrated, interacted and subsequently evolved.
The similarities show that early modern humans may not have been genetically isolated from other parts of the world. Characteristics of modern Homo sapiens may have actually developed in east Asia, and were later carried to Africa.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

The art market’s Disneyland - $ 1.6b

Art auctions in New York are shaping up to be a spectacle. Leading the charge is Da Vinci’s 500-year-old “Christ as Salvator Mundi". It is being sold by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. He purchased it for $127.5 million in 2013.

Warhol’s 32-foot-wide canvas depicting “The Last Supper” 60 times as a massive black and white grid. The 1986 work is estimated at $50 million.
Vincent Van Gogh’s 1889 landscape “Laboureur dans un champ”. Estimated at about $50 million

Peter Doig’s “Red House" is estimated at $18 million to $22 million.
Schumacher’s Ferrari will mark the first time a collector car will be offered at a Sotheby’s art auction. Estimated at $4 million to $5.5 million, the Ferrari F2001, Chassis No. 211, was driven by the racing legend to win the Grand Prix de Monaco.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Tutankhamun's gold in new exhibit

The Grand Egyptian Museum is exhibiting Tutankhamun’s gold. The exhibition is a celebration of the 95th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

More than 5,000 pieces of Tutankhamun’s artifacts are spread across 7,500 square meters.
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2016/11/gold-of-tutankhamun.html
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2016/06/tutankhamuns-dagger-made-from-meteorite.html

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Pylos Combat Agate

Archaeologists excavating an ancient grave at Pylos in southwestern Greece pulled out a seal stone, a gemstone engraved with a design that can be stamped on clay or wax. The seal stone’s image, a striking depiction of one warrior in battle with two others, is carved in remarkably fine detail. The seal stone’s owner, known as the Griffin Warrior after the mythical animal depicted in his grave, was buried around 1450 B.C. He lived at a critical period when the Minoan civilization of Crete was being transferred to cities of the Greek mainland.

The sealstone is one of the finest works of prehistoric Greek art ever discovered.
The tomb also revealed more than 3,000 objects arrayed on and around the warrior’s body, including four solid gold rings, silver cups, precious stone beads, fine-toothed ivory combs and an intricately built sword, among other weapons.
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2016/10/grave-of-griffin-warrior-at-pylos.html

Monday, 6 November 2017

Hoard of Ancient Coins found in U.K.

A collection of rare coins dating back 2,500 years have been uncovered in a study desk drawer at a 14th century castle in Kent. The unique hoard of 186 coins that came from as far away as China and Syria was discovered by volunteers searching for photographs at Scotney Castle in Lamberhurst, near Tunbridge Wells. The collection includes Greek coins from the seventh century BC and Roman coins from the late second century BC. The majority of the collection features Roman coins from the late second century BC to the fourth century AD.

The cache of coins was discovered hidden in the back of a dusty drawer by National Trust staff who had no idea they were there

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Returned Stolen Treasure

Two Roman ballista balls from Gamla were returned. The 2,000-year-old stones were left in a bag at the courtyard of the Museum of Islamic and Near Eastern Cultures.
In 1993, a retired Red Army officer dropped off 101 drawings by masters like Goya, Manet, and Delacroix at the German embassy in Moscow.

They had been looted from the Bremen museum in 1945 by Soviet soldiers.
The looting of the Baghdad Museum as Saddam Hussein’s government crumbled was devastating for antiquities lovers. In 2003, three men anonymously returned one of Iraq’s most precious treasures in the back of a car.

The Sacred Vase of Warka, a massive limestone bowl, dates to around 3200 B.C.
In 2001, London dealer James Ede received an anonymous phone call that led him to his doorstep, where he found six fragments of Roman frescoes taken from Pompeii during excavations. They had been stolen 16 years earlier from the walls of a villa near the ancient city, and were estimated to be worth around £100,000.
In 2006, just a year after a 1,500-year-old stone box from the Mayan civilization was found in Guatemala, it mysteriously vanished.

After a national investigation, it returned through an anonymous delivery at the country’s Ministry of Culture.
In 1950 a group of 11 small ancient clay figurines were found in a Utah canyon. They belonged to a long-vanished people called the Fremont Culture, who had lived in the region from 700 to 1300 A.D. For two decades, these pieces, which came to be known as the Pilling Collection, toured around Utah museums.

In the early 1970s, one of the figures mysteriously failed to show up. In 2011, an anthropologist at Utah State University received a box with the missing piece.
In 2007 the J Paul Getty Museum returned disputed antiquities, including a prized statue of the goddess Aphrodite.

Italian authorities believe the 7ft statue, bought by the Getty for $18 million in 1988, was looted from an ancient Greek settlement in Sicily.
In April 2015 some 123 artefacts were seized by US customs as part of a five year investigation into international smuggling networks dubbed Operation Mummy's Curse.

One item, a 2,300 year-old sarcophagus was found in a garage in Brooklyn.