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.

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.

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

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

U.K. treasure hunter finds 600 year old gold rings

The rings were unearthed by a metal detectorist in a field in Dorset after remaining buried there since the Middle Ages. The larger ring is said to be incredibly rare, with a band of four decorated brooch motifs. It is 22mm in diameter and weighs 3.6g. The smaller finger ring features a gothic letter R, which was probably the initial of the medieval owner. It is 19mm in diameter and weighs 1.9g. They were likely worn by someone who was visiting from France. They would have been someone of very high standing, like a bishop or a lord.

The outer ring has been given a pre-sale estimate of £25,000 while the inner one is said to be worth £5,000.