|Ancient Rome was a dangerous place to be an emperor. During its run from 27 B.C. to its end in A.D. 476, about 20 percent of Rome's 82 emperors were assassinated while in power. So, what led to their downfall? Some are blaming the lack of rain. In drought there's more probability of assassinations as soldiers go hungry. Using ancient climate data, researchers analyzed thousands of fossilized tree rings from France and Germany and calculated how much it had rained there for the past 2,500 years. This area once comprised the Roman frontier, where military troops were stationed.||Many factors can lead to an assassination. Correlation does not equal causation.|
Sunday, 30 September 2018
Saturday, 29 September 2018
In 1962, the bodies of 13 people—10 adults and three infants—were discovered in a 7th century burial site in Niederstotzingen, Germany. The individuals were high status, and some of the adults were warriors because their graves were stuffed with weapons, armor, jewelry and equestrian gear. But details remained a mystery. A team of researchers analyzed DNA from the bones and studied isotopes from their teeth.|
The Niederstotzingen bodies belonged to the Alemanni, a confederacy of ancient Germanic tribes that were sprinkled across modern-day Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria. The Alemanni clashed periodically with the Roman Empire, but were ultimately brought down by the Franks, another Germanic group, in 497 A.D.
|Six of the individuals appeared to be from northern and eastern European populations, and five of these were directly related to one another. Seven bodies were unrelated. Two seemed to come from southern Europe.|
Folklore from the time has tales of tribes exchanging hostage children that are raised as their own. In addition to containing people of diverse origins, the Niederstotzingen burial site was filled with diverse grave goods: some were Frankish, some were Byzantine, and some were Lombard.
Friday, 28 September 2018
|Dating to 1400 BC, the Oracle of Delphi was the most important shrine in Greece. Built around a sacred spring, Delphi was considered to be the omphalos - the center of the world.
|Delphi was inhabited since Mycenaean times (14th - 11th c. B.C.) by small settlements who were dedicated to the Mother Earth deity. The worship of Apollo as the god of light, harmony, and order was established between the 11th and 9th centuries. Slowly over the next five centuries the sanctuary grew in size and importance.|
During the 8th c. B.C. Delphi became internationally known for the oracular powers of Pythia.
|Pythia entered the inner chamber of the temple, sat on a tripod and inhaled the light hydrocarbon gasses that escaped from a chasm on the porous earth. After falling into a trance, she muttered words incomprehensible to mere mortals. The priests of the sanctuary then interpreted her oracles in a common language and delivered them to those who had requested them. The oracles were always open to interpretation and often signified dual and opposing meanings.|
In 356 B.C. the Spartans captured the sanctuary of Delphi, and stripped the temples. In 338 B.C. Philip of Macedon defeated the combined armies of the Athenians and the Spartans. In 191 B.C. the sanctuary of Delphi fell into Roman hands. The Oracle of Delphi lost its influence over the next few centuries as Apollo's worship was replaced by a new religion imported from the East: Christianity.
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
|In 1954, archaeologist Samuel Lothrop described an ancient burial site he'd excavated in Panama. Hacking, mutilation, sacrifice, people buried alive, cannibalism, flesh stripped from bones, decapitation for the purpose of trophy-taking - it was all there. The only trouble is the evidence for it doesn't exist. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have conducted a review of the remains and concluded that the bones show no evidence of trauma at or near the time of death.|
|The cemetery at Playa Venado, or Venado Beach dates to between 550 and 850 CE. Lothrop recovered 202 skeletons and grave goods, with 167 skeletons recovered by others at later times. Lothrop's evidence for perimortem violence - occurring around the time of death - was focused on the manner in which the bones were found. Open mouths, he said, were evidence of having been buried alive. Such thinking is ridiculous.||Almost no evidence of perimortem violence was found.|
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
|The Petras cemetery has proven to be by far the largest on Crete. It belonged to elite family members related to the palace in the area. In antiquity, Petras had a large port and served as the entry gate to eastern Crete. |
Monday, 24 September 2018
|The bronze hand features a gold cuff, and was found in the 3,500-year-old burial of a man along with a bronze pin used to secure a cloak, fragments from the gold cuff, a bronze spiral hair ornament and a dagger. The find was originally uncovered in 2017 near Lake Biel in the western canton of Bern. Researchers didn't know what to make of it.|
Radiocarbon dating determined the object was very old – dating back to the middle Bronze Age, or between 1,400 and 1,500 B.C. Metal objects in Bronze Age burials are rare, and gold is almost never found. The sculpture could have adorned a statue or been mounted on a stick and wielded like a scepter.
Friday, 21 September 2018
|The exhibition showcases more than 1,000 major archaeological finds from the past 20 years and reveals how Germany has been at the heart of European trade, migration, and conflict since the Stone Age. The exhibit is at the Martin-Gropius-Bau museum in Berlin.||Skull unearthed in the Tollense Valley|
|A river God mask from Roman-era in Cologne||The Nebra sky disk is dated to around 1600 B.C. It is a plate-size object of gold and bronze, depicting the sun, moon phases and the Pleiades star cluster. It is considered one of the first astronomical depictions in history.|
|Three spectacular hats made from sheet gold believed to have been worn by early Celtic priests.||A stone memorial of a deceased Roman cavalryman.|
Thursday, 20 September 2018
|Archaeologists have discovered new mummies in Aswan, southern Egypt. One well-preserved example has intrigued archaeologists. Carefully wrapped in linen bandages for its burial, it was placed inside of an unmarked sandstone sarcophagus. Because there was no writing on the sarcophagus, the individual is a mystery.|
|Researchers have tentatively concluded that the Aswan mummies most likely belonged to the Late Period of Egypt which dates from 712 to 332 BC.|
It's hoped artifacts found inside of the tombs as well as the hieroglyphic texts from nearby communal burials may shed light on the mystery. All the tombs contained the remains of amulets made of faience (glazed pottery).
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
|An exhibition titled "El Dorado: the Spirits, Gold and the Shaman" is at the National Museum of Korea.|
Pre-Colombians saw the golden objects not as material wealth but as a bridge to their gods. Gold was sacred, a metal used in religious offerings.
|Pre-Hispanic goldsmiths of Colombia crafted some of the most elaborate objects in ancient South America.|
Sunday, 16 September 2018
| Archaeologists have discovered a statue of a lion’s body and a human head in the city of Aswan.
The sandstone sphinx was found in the Temple of Kom Ombo during work to protect the site from groundwater. The statue likely dates to the Ptolemaic Dynasty — from around 320BC to about 30BC. |
|The statue was found near two sandstone reliefs of King Ptolemy V. Sphinx statues typically depict a king and are often found guarding the entrances to temples. |