Sunday, 30 September 2018

Roman emperors assassinated often

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.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Mystery children buried with elite Germanic warriors

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

The Oracle of Delphi - Pythia

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.
The ancient people of the Mediterranean had such faith in Pythia's view of the future that no major decision was made without consulting the Oracle of Delphi first. Greek and foreign dignitaries, heads of state, and common folk made the pilgrimage to the Delphi sanctuary, and paid great sums for Pythia's oracles. Since the sanctuary only served the public a few days over nine months out of the year, great sums were paid by the more affluent to bypass the line of pilgrims.
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

New research on Ancient Burials in Panama

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

Excavation uncovers rich Ancient Minoan graves on Crete


Two burials with rich grave goods were found in a pit from the Middle Minoan IA era in Siteia, NE Crete. The cemetery of Petras is dated to 2800-1700 BC.

A primary burial of a man included the first weapon found in Petras, a bronze short sword. The first burial also included a “secondary burial of a woman with a large number of gold beads of very fine workmanship.” They were made of silver, crystal, carnelian, and jasper.
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

Bronze hand found in 3,500 yo burial

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

German exhibit - ancient battles, religion, migration

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 CologneThe 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.
Perfectly preserved gravestone of a trader named Sextus Haparonius Iustinus, who sold cosmetics and perfumes.
A stone memorial of a deceased Roman cavalryman.
See ----->Secrets of Europe's most ancient battlefield - Tollense Valley

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Mystery Mummy found in Aswan

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

El Dorado comes to S. Korea

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

Ancient sphinx discovered in Egypt

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.
Egypt hopes such discoveries, and the opening of the Grand Egyption Museum, will spur tourism, which was hit hard by political turmoil following the 2011 uprising.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Collectors go bananas over $ 25 US Palladium coin

There was a rush by dealers and collectors to dial or get online for the US Mint’s latest “must have” coin. The hubbub was over the 2018 $25 Proof Palladium Eagle. This is the first time in which a US palladium coin was being struck as a Proof. It was limited to a mintage of just 15,000 and there was a strict limit of one coin per address.
The 15,000-mintage issue was sold out in about 4 minutes. There is already a significant premium over the Mint's offering price if you want one today.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

50,000 yo mummified wolf and cariboo unveiled

Specimens of this quality are extremely rare.An ancient predator and its prey is being put on display as the mummified ice-age remains of a caribou calf and a wolf pup are unveiled in the Yukon. The specimens were unearthed southeast of Dawson City. Both have been radiocarbon dated to more than 50,000 years.
The remains were found in Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in traditional territory. The animals hold special significance. 

"Wolf and caribou are very important and interconnected. The caribou has fed and clothed our people for thousands of years. The wolf maintains balance within the natural world, keeping the caribou healthy."