Monday, 30 April 2018

The Tombos horse

The archaeological site of Tombos along the Nile River Valley, in what is now a northern region of Sudan, harks back to the ancient Nubians. It is dated to the Third Intermediate Period, 1050-728 B.C.E., and it was found more than 5 feet underground in a tomb. The horse, with some chestnut-colored fur remaining, had been buried in a funeral position with a burial shroud.

The horse burial at Tombos mirrors the might of the Kushite Empire (circa 8th century BC) that was responsible for uniting Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt, and also Kush. The well-preserved burial hints at the possibility that horses were far more important to the Kushite (Nubian) culture than previously thought.

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Switzerland returns ancient coins to Serbia

Switzerland handed over a batch of around 550 ancient Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman coins to Serbia. They were about to be sold online. The highlights of the seized loot is a sesterce bearing a depiction of Roman Empress Faustina dating from the 2nd century, and a solidus with the effigy of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius dating from the 7th century.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Galactic map shows the positions and brightness of 1.7 billion stars

The European Space Agency unveiled a new, highly detailed sky map of the Milky Way Galaxy that showcases the brightness and positions of nearly 1.7 billion stars. It’s the most comprehensive catalog of stars to date

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Ancient Humans Pushed Large Mammals to Extinction

New research adds to  evidence that humans were responsible for the extinction of megafauna such as woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed cats. Previous research argued that human hunting pushed large mammals to start disappearing earlier and faster than smaller ones – a phenomenon called size-based extinction – in Australia around 35,000 years ago. The latest study is claiming that this size-based extinction started in Africa at least 125,000 years ago.
Cave bearAs humans migrated out of Africa, the average mammal size in the newly occupied continents started to shrink, often to sizes even smaller than those found in Africa. A clear pattern emerged – the animals that survived tended to be smaller than those that did not.

From a life-history standpoint, it makes sense. If you kill a rabbit, you’re going to feed your family for a day. If you can kill a large mammal, you’re going to feed your entire village for a week.
Cave Lion

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Roman emperor bust, ancient shrine found in Egypt

Archaeologists have discovered an ancient shrine and a bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in southern Egypt. It was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo in the southern city of Aswan. The head is "unique" because statues depicting this emperor are rare in Egypt.
Marcus Aurelius (26 April 121 – 17 March 180 AD) was Roman emperor from 161 to 180. He was the last of the so-called 'Five Good Emperors'. His death in 180 is considered the end of the Pax Romana and the beginning of the eventual fall of the Western Roman Empire.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Treasure linked to Viking king 'Harald Bluetooth' found on Baltic island

Hundreds of 1,000-year-old silver coins, rings, pearls and bracelets linked to the era of Danish King Harald Gormsson have been found on the northern German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea. Archaeologists said about 100 of the silver coins were probably from the reign of Harald Gormsson, better known as "Harald Bluetooth," who lived in the 10th century and introduced Christianity to Denmark.
'Bluetooth' was one of the last Viking kings of what is now Denmark, northern Germany, southern Sweden and parts of Norway. His nickname came from the fact he had a dead tooth that looked bluish, but it's now best known for the wireless Bluetooth technology invented by Swedish telecom company Ericsson. The company named the technology, developed to wirelessly unite computers with cellular devices, after him for his ability to unite ancient Scandinavia. The technology logo carries the runic letters for his initials HB.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Coin Auction From Künker

The spring Künker auctions were March 19 to 23, 2018. Over five days, 6,726 lots with a total estimate of 7.3 M euros were auctioned. The result was 11 M euros.Silver Stater, Caulonia, 530 BC - 510 BC.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Caligula Coins

In 2014 a Caligula coin appeared on 'Pawn Stars'. The coin was a silver denarius that was struck in the last 24 days of Caligula's life.

Caius Caesar was born in 12 A.D., the son of Germanicus and Agrippina Sr. He was nicknamed Caligula, meaning "little boots," by the legions because as a child his mother dressed him in military uniforms (including little boots).

Initially he was very popular, succeeding Tiberius in 37 A.D. when he was 24 years old. For a few brief months he ruled well. His reign quickly degenerated into debauchery and murder. He was murdered by the Praetorian Guard in 41 A.D.
Caligula was sadistic, cruel and indulged in sexual aberrations that offended Rome and were considered insane. Caligula's power soon led him to believe himself a God. This led him to kill anyone that he thought surpassed him in something.

Declaring himself a deity caused a major backlash in Judea, because Jewish law said that they could only worship their God. His refusal to revoke the decree that the nations worship him caused the revolution in Judea. Caligula's hubris eventually destroyed him. He insulted his Roman military commanders, particularly Cassius Chaerea, who plotted against and murdered him on January 24, 41 at the Palatine Games.

Caligula was tall, with spindly legs and a thin neck. His eyes and temples were sunken and his forehead broad and glowering. His hair was thin and he was bald on top, though he had a hairy body.

During his reign it was a crime punishable by death to look down on him as he passed by, or to mention a goat in his presence.
Ancient accounts of Caligula’s reign focus on his cruelty, his excesses, and his clinical insanity – an unpredictable mixture of fits, anxiety, insomnia and hallucinations.

He often claimed to hold conversations with Jupiter and to sleep with the moon goddess. He was famous for his sadism.
In late 2012 an ancient Gold aureus of emperor Caligula was discovered underwater in the area between Limassol and Larnaca in Cyprus by a local amateur fisherman. Roman gold went east in payment for spices and silk. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder (AD 23/4-79) tells us that, in his day, over 25 million denarii were spent each year on this trade, equivalent to one million gold coins.

Monday, 16 April 2018

First gold coin struck in the US changes hands for $5m

A 1787 New York Brasher Doubloon has sold in a private deal for more than $5m. The price exceeded the $4.58m that the same coin had fetched in January 2014. The coin has the highest grade among the seven recorded examples of its type. The doubloons struck by goldsmith and silversmith Ephraim Brasher, George Washington's neighbor in New York City, are considered the first ‘truly American’ gold coins.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Ancients From Atlas Numismatics

Lucius Verus. (Emperor, 161-169 CE). Struck 164 CE. AV Aureus. NGC Gem MS (Gem Mint State) Strike 5/5 Surface 5/5 Fine Style. Rome. Superb gem in an incredible state of preservation; an exquisite portrait.
Greek. Kingdom of Macedon. Philip II. (King, 359-336 BC). Early posthumous issue. AR Tetradrachm. NGC Ch. AU (Choice About Uncirculated) Strike 5/5 Surface 4/5.
Roman Republican. L. Hostilius Saserna. Struck 48 BC. AR Denarius. NGC AU (About Uncirculated) Strike 5/5 Surface 4/5. Rome. 3.87gm. Head of Gallic warrior (Vercingetorix?)

Rome’s potholes: Ancients better

All roads may lead to Rome, but when you get there the mean streets may swallow you whole. An Italian cocktail of chronic mismanagement, corruption, bureaucracy, neglect, heavy traffic, rare snow and constant rain has turned Rome’s roads into a modern ruin.
Goats graze along the historic Appian Way in RomeThe city has closed streets and reduced the speed limit in many places to an ancient Roman crawl. The potholes have caused accidents, hours of traffic and windfalls for tire dealers.

The earliest Roman administrations seemed to care more about road maintenance. The Laws of the Twelve Tables, Rome’s first set of rules dating back to 450 B.C., included instructions to make straight roads 8 feet wide, stipulated what to do in case of water damage and decreed who “shall build and repair the road.”
Rome protected its streets by limiting chariot traffic and put a daytime ban on commercial carts. Julius Caesar fought to procure the position of temporary commissioner on the Appian Way.

After Rome collapsed, urban planning fell by the wayside for centuries. In the past decade the city’s streets have become a patchwork of asphalt, cobblestone, gravel and rubble.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Midgard Serpent - Jörmungandr

According to the Prose Edda, Odin took Loki's three children by Angrboða and tossed Jörmungandr into the great ocean that encircles Midgard. The serpent grew so large that it was able to surround the earth and grasp its own tail. As a result, it received the name of the Midgard Serpent or World Serpent. When it releases its tail, Ragnarök will begin. Jörmungandr's arch-enemy is the thunder-god, Thor.
The last meeting between the serpent and Thor is predicted to occur at Ragnarök, when Jörmungandr will come out of the ocean and poison the sky. Thor will kill Jörmungandr and then walk nine paces before falling dead, having been poisoned by the serpent's venom.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Curator Picks From Heritage

Pontic Kingdom. Mithradates VI Eupator (120-63 BC). AR tetradrachm. NGC MS 5/5 - 4/5. A fantastic design with a needle-sharp strike.
Claudius I (AD 41-54). AR denarius. NGC XF ★ 5/5 - 5/5. A beautiful example of a scarce emperor, with an exceptionally lifelike portrait. The coin has a pedigree going back to an auction in 1938.
Buttium. Locri Epizephyrii. Ca. 350-275 BC. AR stater. NGC MS ★ 5/5 - 4/5. High-grade and problem-free coins of Corinth are scarce, and it's orders of magnitude more difficult to find one from colony Locri Epizephyrii.