Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Neolithic stone mask found

A 9,000-year-old stone mask used in ancient rituals aimed at protecting a family’s prosperity has been uncovered by Israeli archaeologists. It is thought that Neolithic masks were used in religious and social ceremonies and in rites of healing and magic.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Treasures of Pompeii

The city of Pompeii is a partially buried Roman town near modern Naples. When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, Pompeii was burned and buried in ash, while nearby Herculaneum was destroyed by the pyroclastic flow. The area was buried under 4 to 6m (13 to 20 ft) of ash and pumice from the eruption. Pompeii was lost for 1500 years until its rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later in 1748. Discoveries continue to this day.
The objects that lay beneath the city have been well preserved for thousands of years.
Marble statue with traces of gold-plating from the Temple of Isis, Pompeii.

Helmet of a ‘Thracian’ (Thrax) gladiator. Bronze, from Pompeii.

Mosaic (detail) from Pompeii.

Apollo as an Archer

A gold bracelet bears an inscription. On its inside face are the words 'dominus ancillae suae'– from the master (dominus) to his slave-girl (ancilla).

Monday, 26 November 2018

Egypt cracks 3,000-year-old sarcophagus

Authorities in Egypt cracked open a newly discovered sarcophagus to unveil a more than 3,000-year-old female mummy, still perfectly preserved. The first of the two new mummies holds the remains of a priest who would have been responsible for embalming the pharaohs. The female mummy dates from the time of Tutankhamun and Ramses II
Mummies stacked together at the site of tomb TT2Carved wooden statues and funerary figurines called “Ushabtis” made of wood, faience and clay.

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Aureus with image of Augustus

In 2016 an Israeli woman hiking in the Galilee discovered an impossibly rare gold coin - only the second such coin known.

The coin, dating to the year 107 CE, bears the image of the Roman Emperor Augustus, and was unearthed in northern Israel.
On the reverse are symbols of the Roman legions next to the name of the ruler Trajan, and on the obverse – instead of an image of the emperor Trajan, as was usually the case, there is the portrait of the emperor “Augustus Deified”. The coin is part of a series of coins minted by Trajan in tribute to the emperors that preceded him.

The only other example known is in the British Museum.

Trajan's Column with a statue of St. Peter installed on top in Rome.
Trajan lead the empire to attain its maximum territorial extent by the time of his death.Historical sources say Roman soldiers were paid a high salary of three gold coins, the equivalent of 75 silver coins, each month. Due to their high monetary value, soldiers were unable to buy goods in the market as the merchants couldn't provide change. Bronze and silver coins of Trajan are common, but his gold coins are extremely rare.

Trajan was Roman emperor from 98 AD until his death in 117 AD. Officially declared by the Senate optimus princeps (the best ruler), Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emperor who presided over the greatest military expansion in Roman history.

Trajan's Uniformed Army, frieze on Trajan's Column

Friday, 23 November 2018

Staffordshire Hoard Roman helmet recreated

Many of the fragments found in the famous Staffordshire Hoard come from the high-status helmet and experts have painstakingly spent the last 18 months reconstructing it for display. Thousands of 1,300 years old fragments were studied in a bid to build a picture of the original helmet.
He unearthed the £3.2 million ancient gold and silver haul in the summer of 2009.It was almost a decade ago when one man and his metal detector uncovered the world's largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork. Terry Herbert struck the treasure of several lifetimes near the village of Hammerwich, near Lichfield.

Thursday, 22 November 2018


In Greek mythology, Talos was a giant automaton made of bronze to protect Europa in Crete from pirates and invaders. He circled the island's shores three times daily. Talos threw rocks at any approaching ship to protect his island.

The origin of Talos varies. Some accounts describe him as the last survivor of an ancient race of bronze men, but the more popular versions attribute his creation to Hephaestus, god of the forge.
Talos had one vein, which went from his neck to his ankle, bound shut by one bronze nail. The Argo, transporting Jason and the Argonauts, approached Crete after obtaining the Golden Fleece. Talos kept the Argo at bay by hurling great boulders.

Talos was slain when Medea the sorceress either drove him mad with drugs, or deceived him into believing that she would make him immortal by removing the nail. He dislodged the nail, and "the ichor ran out of him like molten lead", killing him.

5th-century BCE Greek vase depicts the death of Talos
Talos makes an appearance in the 1963 motion picture "Jason and the Argonauts" thanks to stop-motion wizardry. The film, however, cast Jason as the automaton's slayer instead of Medea.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Wolf-Rayet star found in our galaxy

A massive triple-star system surrounded by dust could be a Wolf-Rayet star, capable of unleashing the greatest release of energy known ... a sustained gamma ray burst.(GRB) Some 8,000 light years from earth, the star system is the first discovered in our own galaxy. Lasting between a few thousandths of a second to a few hours, gamma ray bursts can release as much energy as our sun will release over its lifetime. Long-duration GRBs – longer than 2 seconds – are thought to be caused by the supernova explosions of rapidly-rotating Wolf-Rayet stars.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Skull Elongation of the Paracas

The Paracas people living on the coast of what is now Peru between 1000BC and 100AD developed a complex and advanced civilization. Some of their practices however would be considered bizarre and sinister today.

Chief among them is the practice of skull elongation. Deformation of the skull began shortly after birth and would continue for years until the desired effect was achieved.
It's believed the practice was a way to mark those of noble birth versus those of lower class. Evidence for this is seen among the royalty of the Inca Empire, who all had elongated skulls. The Paracas remain mysterious. DNA testing of 19 Paracas skulls indicates that these people migrated from Eurasia.
The mystery deepened after a drone found geoglyps – huge drawings etched into the Earth – in Palpa province. They predate the famous Nazca lines by thousands of years.

Friday, 16 November 2018

The History of Humanity in 19 minutes

Since 200,000 BCE, humanity has spread around globe and enacted huge change upon the planet. This video shows every year of that story, right from the beginning.

The worst year to live through in human history

If one were to guess the worst times to live through there are many choices. 1347 CE was nasty. The Black Death hit Europe. The Holocaust, between 1941 and 1945. Or perhaps 1918, the year of the Spanish flu pandemic. Scientists have come up with an answer. 536 CE. 536 was in the reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian the Great. Temperatures plunged, causing global chaos - drought, crop failures, summertime snow, and widespread famine.

The Triumph of Death. Pieter Bruegel the Elder. 1562.
In the year 536 CE, volcanic ash and debris was mixed in with the ice layer, indicating a large volcanic event. Greenland and Antarctic ice cores showed evidence of a second eruption in 540 CE. Then in 541, the Justinian Plague appeared, compounding the human misery and death. In a single year, the outbreak killed an estimated 25 million.