Wednesday, 31 January 2018

The SS Central America - 'Ship of Gold'

The SS Central America, the 'Ship of Gold' was a 280-foot (85 m) sidewheel steamer that operated between Central America and the eastern coast of the United States during the 1850s.

The ship sank in a hurricane in September 1857, along with more than 550 passengers and crew and 30,000 pounds of California gold. The wreck contributed to the financial panic of 1857.
The bullion had been shipped from San Francisco to the west coast of Panama, then sent by rail to the east coast and finally loaded onto the 280-foot steamship bound for New York.

A remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operated by the Columbus-America Discovery Group made the discovery on 11 September 1987. Significant amounts of gold and artifacts were recovered and brought to the surface by another ROV built specifically for the recovery. Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson found the S.S. Central America after convincing 161 local investors to fund his search.

Thompson with the “Eureka bar” an 80-pound gold ingot.
More than $50 million worth of gold bars, coins and dust that’s been described as the greatest lost treasure in U.S. history is about to make its public debut in California. The gold will be on display Feb. 22-24 at the Long Beach Convention Center. It's all for sale.

The 3,100 gold coins, 45 gold bars and more than 36 kilograms of gold dust recovered are expected to be hot sellers. Meanwhile Tommy Thompson continues to sit in an Ohio jail after fleecing his investors and deliberately refusing to disclose the whereabouts of hundreds of gold coins.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Strange Discoveries

Kepler-78b is a planet that should not exist. This scorching lava world circles its star every eight and a half hours at a space of less than one million miles – among the tightest known orbits. Based on present theories of planet formation, it could not have formed so close to its star, nor could it have proceeded there.
The ancient burial site “El Cementerio,” near the Mexican village of Onavas was disturbed in 1999. Villagers unearthed 25 skulls, 13 of which did not look entirely human.

Experts theorize that the deformity of the skulls were intentionally produced through the ritual of head flattening, otherwise called cranial deformation, in which the skull is compressed between two wooden boards from childhood.

Otzi the Iceman. In 1991, a group of hikers were trekking in the mountains of Austria when they came across an awful sight: a frozen body was buried in the ice at their feet. That body belonged to a 5,300 year old man. By studying the body, scientists have discovered some surprisingly specific facts. When he was alive, he had parasites in his intestines, was lactose intolerant, and had been sick three times in the past six months. His death seems to have been caused by an arrow wound to his back.

In 2012 Australian scientists unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat called diprotodon.

Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever to roam the earth, weighing up to 2.8 tonnes, lived between two million and 50,000 years ago and died out around the time indigenous tribes first appeared.
Pachacamac is an archaeological site 40 km southeast of Lima, Peru in the Valley of the Lurín River. Most of the common buildings and temples were built c. 800-1450 CE, shortly before the arrival and conquest by the Inca Empire.

The adult dead in the newfound tomb were found in the fetal position and were surrounded by a ring of baby skeletons.
Road crew workers working on the expansion of a road from Weymouth, Dorset to the lsle of Portland came across a mass grave of fifty-four skeletons and fifty-one heads of Scandinavian men who were executed sometime between A.D. 910 and 1030. After further analysis, archaeologists determined that it was likely the grave of the Jomsvikings, a merciless group that terrorized the coast of England around 1000. An execution of the Jomsvikings captured in the Battle of Horundarfjord (Hjorunga Bay) occurred in A.D. 986.

In the second century, Bulgaria was known as “Little Rome”. This title was verified when a gravesite of Roman soldiers was uncovered during a construction accident. Archaeologists say the tomb belongs to soldiers from the eighth legion of Augustus.

In its Roman heyday, Debelt was known as Deultum and held an important place in the Roman Empire. Among the items found there were gold jewelry needles, beads, scrapers used for bathing and massage, medicine, and gold medallions.

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Black Sea Fortress of Artezian yields treasure

Residents of a town under siege by the Roman army about 2,000 years ago buried two hoards of treasure in the town's citadel — treasure excavated in 2013. More than 200 coins, most bronze, were found along with gold, silver and bronze jewelry and glass vessels inside the ancient fortress of Artezian. Artezian was part of the Bosporus Kingdom.
The kingdom's fate was torn between two brothers - Mithridates VIII, who sought independence from Rome, and his younger brother, Cotys I, who was allied to the empire. Rome sent an army to support Cotys, establishing him in the Bosporan capital and torching settlements controlled by Mithridates, including Artezian.
People huddled in the fortress for protection as the Romans attacked, but they knew they were doomed. The hoards were funeral sacrifices. It was obvious for the people that they were going to die shortly. The siege and fall of the fortress occurred in AD 45.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Ancient Colombian Treasure - Quimbaya collection

A decade-long legal battle may culminate this year in forcing Spain to return the Quimbaya collection to Colombia. The collection, consisting of 122 gold and burial pieces, has been in Spanish hands since the late 19th century. Colombians have been clamoring for the restitution of the treasure. Madrid has continued to hold onto the collection, which is on display in the capital's Museo de América.
The 122 pieces in Madrid apparently constitute just a part of the original treasure, and the Academy's research shows that other items are in the Field Museum in Chicago. Once the Madrid collection is back, recovering the pieces from Chicago will be the next challenge.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

UK Cop who stole ancient gold coins jailed

Policeman David Cockle, 50, who stole 10 ancient gold coins that he found with a metal detector has been jailed for 16 months.

He found the Merovingian Tremissis coins in a field in west Norfolk and sold them to a dealer for £15,000. He had entered into a contract with the landowner to split the proceeds of any find 50:50, but reneged after finding the coins. He also failed to tell the coroner as required by law, instead selling the coins in three smaller batches to disguise the fact they were treasure trove. Cockle was dismissed from the Norfolk Police.
Another metal detectorist had discovered 35 Merovingian coins at the same site and declared them honestly. Had Cockle done the same, the discovery would have been the largest find of Merovingian coins in the UK - surpassing the discovery of 37 such coins at Sutton Hoo. Coinage fell out of general use in Britain after the departure of the Romans. During the sixth century Anglo-Saxon settlers learnt to use money, initially with gold solidi and later with imported tremisses. Merovingian Tremissis coins are rare and extremely valuable.
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Thursday, 18 January 2018

NGC Ancient Coins Highlight January 2018 Auctions

A Year 5 silver shekel from the Jewish War, graded NGC XF with a 4/5 Strike and 3/5 Surface. This extremely rare coin was struck in 70 or 71 CE, during the final stage of the Jewish revolt against Rome. $200,000 to $300,000
A gold stater of Eucratides I the Great, graded NGC Choice MS ★ with a 5/5 Strike and a 5/5 Surface. Eucratides I ruled the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (an area centered on modern-day Afghanistan) from about 171 to 145 BCE. $80,000 to $110,000.
A silver denarius of Quintus Labienus, graded NGC AU with a 4/5 Strike and a 3/5 Surface. In the chaos after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, Labienus briefly rose to power on the eastern fringe of the Roman Empire. $80,000 to $100,000.
A gold aureus of Julius Caesar, graded NGC Ch AU with a 5/5 Strike and 4/5 Surface. $12,000.

Lost Inca Gold

Its not the mythical city of gold that draws gold seekers to the Llanganates mountain range in Ecuador, some say there is a vast Inca hoard of gold hidden from conquistadors there. The Inca Empire in the early 15th century was quickly giving way to European invaders. Atahualpa was an Inca king who was captured at his palace in Cajamarca in modern-day Peru by Francisco Pizarro.
Pizarro agreed to release Atahualpa in return for a roomful of gold, but the Spaniard later reneged on the deal. He had the Inca king put to death on August 29, 1533 before the last and largest part of the ransom had been delivered.

Instead, the story goes, the gold was buried in a secret mountain cave. Atahualpa's gold existed because it's recorded in the Spanish chronicle, and it's recorded that a large convoy of gold was on its way from Ecuador. After that, the best and most persistent stories revolve around the Llanganates.