Wednesday 28 February 2018

Ancient Egyptian cemetery found

The series of eight tombs contain burial shafts that date to the Late Period, which began in 672 B.C., to the Ptolemaic dynasty, which began in 332 B.C. The tombs were found in a city called Minya, just south of Cairo. Artifacts and human remains were found. Many of the burials are associated with the ancient Egyptian god Thoth.

Archaeologists also found four alabaster jars with the Egyptian god Horus carved onto the lid. The jars contain the mummified organs of the tomb's mummies.
Researchers also found 1,000 ushabti figurines. The small blue-green figures were commonly placed in deceased ancient Egyptians' tombs and were thought to represent workers in the afterlife.

So far, the Egyptian excavators have unearthed 40 sarcophagi

Monday 26 February 2018

Headless statue of Aphrodite discovered at Thessaloniki

A headless statue of Aphrodite was discovered during subway work in the Greek port city of Thessaloniki, which has been ongoing amid metro construction lasting more than a decade. The headless Aphrodite—the ancient Greek goddess of love, beauty and desire—was discovered near Thessaloniki's Hagia Sophia, an ancient church dating back to the Byzantine era. Further extensions of the line are expected to cost an estimated $1.5 billion. The discovery also included fourth century floor mosaics.
Around 300,000 antiquities have been discovered at the Thessaloniki archaeological site. The Aphrodite statue and floor mosaics were excavated last week and will be presented at a conference about archaeological finds in the Macedonia and Thrace regions of Greece.

Saturday 24 February 2018

The Ekimmu

The Ekimmu (Edimmu) is one of the oldest vampires and myths, dating back to 4000 B.C.E. The vampire creature is one of the most feared among the Assyrians and Babylonians. The edimmu were envisioned as the ghosts of those who were not buried properly. They were considered vengeful toward the living and might possess people if they did not respect certain taboos. They were thought to cause disease in the living.
The edimmu were also thought to be "wind" spirits that sucked the life out of the susceptible and the sleeping.
An ekimmu is an angry undead spirit that hates humans, demihumans and humanoids, and seeks vengeance against the living. There were many ways that one could become an Ekimmu. Violent and premature death, unfulfilled love, and improper burial.

The Ekimmu were sometimes portrayed as winged demons, walking corpses, moving shadows or even rushing wind.

Friday 23 February 2018

Golden Kingdoms

Golden Kingdoms’ at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, showcases art and objects of the Incas, the Aztecs and their predecessors. Running from Feb. 28 to May 28, the exhibition showcases a history of goldworking in the ancient Americas with more than 300 works—including the paintings, jewelry and adornments of the Incas, the Aztecs and their predecessors, starting from 1000 B.C.A 1599 portrait depicts Don Francisco de Arobe (center), a community leader in what is now Ecuador, and his sons.

Monday 19 February 2018

Roman “Gates of Hell”

Roman legend says that mortals could access the underworld at certain points on Earth. Located across the Mediterranean, these “gates of hell” were marked by stone passageways built over geologic features like hot springs or caves. In displays of supernatural power, ancient Roman priests would lead an animal through the passageways—an act that killed the creatures, but left the eunuchs unharmed.

Researchers say they’ve discovered how these gates work. The Hierapolis gate is still deadly to this day. Locals report finding dead mice, cats, weasels and even foxes at the site. So how did the ancient priests survive?
Hierapolis’ gate is positioned on a fault. Fissures emit a steady stream of volcanic carbon dioxide. Though the gas is harmless in limited quantities, clouds of CO2 can swiftly suffocate any living creatures that pass through. Researchers measured the CO2 concentration at various heights over time, and found that the concentrations of gas differ during day and night. With the sun overhead, the clouds of CO2 dissipate. But at night, the gas collects, forming a thick layer.

Trajan's Column in Rome
The concentrations grow high enough overnight that they could kill a person within a minute, according to the study. Since the clouds of CO2 streaming up from the fissure are denser than air, it collects at ground level.

This means that sacrificed bulls or rams, whose heads were too short to reach above the deadly layer of gas, would swiftly die. But the priests were likely tall enough to avoid death.

Sunday 18 February 2018

Diving Robbers Looting Underwater Treasure

4th century C.E. Roman shipwreck
Diving robbers looting underwater sites are the bane of marine archaeologists. The items stolen from the sea floor, ranging from coins to amphorae to scrap metal from World War II warships, are usually sold on the black market. Stopping the ravage of the ancient sites is all but impossible.

The problem of maritime looting is especially acute in Israel where the narrow Levantine coast has been inhabited throughout human history and traces of long-vanished civilizations remain on land and under water. Every storm exposes new artifacts on the seabed. It is often a matter of who gets there first – the authorities or thieves.

A bronze embolos - a ram used aboard ships of antiquity to smash holes in enemy vessels.
The sea is very shallow in Gaza, about 5 meters. The popular mentality says that the sea belongs to nobody.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

‘Screaming man’ is Prince Pentewere

Archaeologists have solved the mystery of the “screaming mummy”, an ancient Egyptian corpse preserved with its mouth open in a silent scream. Known as “Unknown Man E”, the precise identity of the body found in the Deir el-Bahari tomb complex in Egypt has eluded researchers. However, DNA analysis of the remains suggests they belong to Prince Pentewere, a son of the pharaoh Ramses III who was involved in a conspiracy to murder his father. Historical records indicate the prince was sentenced to be hanged as a result of his treachery
Marks around the neck of the screaming mummy appear to confirm this account.
The New Kingdom Pharaoh Ramesses III was assassinated by multiple assailants — and given postmortem cosmetic surgery to improve his mummy's appearance. Researchers used CT Imaging of royal mummies from the 18th to 20th dynasties of Egypt, spanning from about 1543 B.C. to 1064 B.C. Rulers during this period included famous names like Hatshepsut, Thutmose III, Tutankhamun, Seti I and the murdered Ramesses III.

Ramesses III's throat was slit, likely killing him instantly. Now researchers say the pharaoh's toe was hacked off, likely with an ax, suggesting he was set upon by multiple assailants with different weapons. Ancient papyrus documents refer to a plot to assassinate Ramesses III, who ruled Egypt from 1186 B.C. to 1155 B.C. Court documents outline the tale of a harem conspiracy to take Ramesses III's life, hatched by one of his wives, Tiye. Her son Pentawere was in line for the throne after his half-brother, Ramesses IV. Tiye and other members of the royal household meant to kill Ramesses III and then oust Ramesses IV to install Pentawere as ruler.
They seem to have succeeded in killing Ramesses III, but were brought to trial for that murder under the rule of Ramesses IV. Tiye, Pentawere and their conspirators were convicted and executed. A mummy thought to be Pentawere's has been studied, and Egyptologists believe he died of suffocation or strangulation.

The new book adds detail to this lurid tale, suggesting that Ramesses III's attackers outnumbered him. Part of his big toe had been hacked off and had not healed, meaning the injury happened around the time of death. Embalmers had fashioned a sort of postmortem prosthesis out of linen to replace it when they mummified him. It seems ancient Egyptian embalmers deliberately poured large amounts of resin to glue the layers of linen wrappings to the feet.
A second mummy found in the same tomb is known as the Screaming Man. Screaming Man is an anomaly. Although found in a royal tomb, he was buried in an unmarked coffin devoid of proper ritual markings and with his hands and feet bound. He was also covered with a goatskin, a “ritually impure” element that would prevent him from reaching the afterlife. Screaming Man is very probably Pentawere. Genetic testing has confirmed that Screaming Man and Ramesses III were directly related to each other in the paternal line.

Saturday 10 February 2018

Gold crown of Hecatomnus returned to Turkey

An ancient gold crown, stolen from the burial chamber of Hecatomnus in the Aegean town of Milas in 2008 and later smuggled to Scotland, has been returned to Turkey. The tomb of Hecatomnus in Bodrum is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The stolen gold crown dates to the fourth century B.C.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a tomb built between 353-350 BC
The crown will be exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

Wednesday 7 February 2018

The Guennol Stargazer

Christie’s New York sold a 9-inch-high stone figurine from the Chalcolithic Period (c.3000-2200 BC), known as the Guennol Stargazer for $14.5 million in 2017. It carried an estimate of at least £2m. The Guennol Stargazer is one of the finest and largest preserved Anatolian marble female idols of Kiliya type, “Stargazer” so named because its eyes appear to be looking into the heavens.

There are only about 15 nearly complete idols that survive, although fragmentary examples, particularly heads, abound. Most of the complete examples have been broken across the neck, as with the present figure, suggesting that the sculptures were ritually ‘killed’ at the time of burial. The last marble example of Kiliya type to have appeared at auction was The Schuster Stargazer, which sold at Christie’s New York on 5 June 2005 for $1,808,000.

Tuesday 6 February 2018

Neanderthal Faces yummy for Cave Hyenas

About 65,000 years ago, a large carnivore — perhaps a cave hyena — chomped on the face of a Neanderthal. The carnivore partially digested two of the hominin's teeth before regurgitating them. They were found at the archaeological site of Marillac, near the village of Marillac-le-Franc in the west of France.
In addition to butchered animal bones, the site also contains Neanderthal bones that have similar marks on them. This could indicate that Neanderthals were cannibals. The now-extinct cave hyena was probably the most dangerous carnivore that Neanderthals faced.

Monday 5 February 2018

Boy finds 90m yo fossil of 'lizard fish'

While taking a tour of the Monastery of La Candelaria, situated near the town of Ráquira Boyacá, Colombia, a young boy noticed a fish shape embedded in the flagstones on which he was walking. He took a photo, and later showed it to staff of the local museum, Centro de Investigaciones Paleontologicas. The fossil is an incredibly rare find ... Candelarhynchus padillai—a 90-million-year-old species of fish with no modern relatives.

Sunday 4 February 2018

4,400-year-old tomb found in Egypt

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a 4,400-year-old tomb near the pyramids at the Giza plateau just outside Cairo. The tomb likely belonged to a woman known as Hetpet, who archaeologists believe was close to ancient Egyptian royals of the 5th Dynasty.

Egypt hopes the inauguration of a new museum, along with recent discoveries, will draw back visitors to the country where tourism has been hit hard by extremist attacks and political turmoil.

Friday 2 February 2018

Maya 'Snake King' structures found

A vast, hidden network of cities, fortifications, farms and highways has been found hidden beneath the trees of the remote Guatemalan jungle. Scans of the area exposed 60,000 previously unknown structures, including a seven-story pyramid. Using specialist technology called LiDAR scientists were able to strip away the tree canopy from aerial images. Archaeologists have assumed that Maya cities were isolated and self-sufficient, but this discovery provides evidence for a complex, interconnected society. Earlier population estimates of the Maya have never been more than two million, but the researchers behind the LiDAR initiative that made the discovery suggest a figure of 20 million.