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.

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.

Thursday, 15 November 2018

King Tut's jewels made of desert glass

In 1922 British archaeologist Howard Carter was searching the tomb of Tutankhamun and discovered a large breastplate, decorated with gold, silver, various precious jewels and a strange gemstone. Carter identified the gemstone at first as chalcedony, a common variety of quartz.

Ten years later strange pieces of glass were found in the Libyan Desert along the border of modern Egypt. The pale yellow and translucent material seemed to be identical to the gemstone found in Tutankhamun's tomb.
Libyan Desert glass (LDG), is an impactite with fragments found over areas of tens of square kilometers.
Tektites are natural glass formed from terrestrial debris ejected into Earth's atmosphere during meteorite impacts.

LDG is almost pure silicon-dioxide, like quartz, but its crystal structure is different. It also contains in traces an unusual combination of elements, like iron, nickel, chromium, cobalt and iridium.
It's thought LDG formed 28 to 26 million years ago when an impact melted the quartz-rich sands of the desert.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Skeleton of pregnant woman found in Egypt

Archaeologists have found the remains of a woman who died towards the end of her pregnancy some 3500 years ago. The woman’s pelvis was fractured, and improper treatment likely killed her. Thought to be around 25 years old, the position of the fetus in her body suggested she had been due to give birth relatively soon. Researchers found beads made from the shells of ostrich eggs, as well as pottery and jars.

The find was in Kom Ombo, which lies about 30 miles north of the southern city of Aswan. Pottery in the tomb resembled pots from Nubia.
In 2005, Russian scientists unveiled the bones of a woman who died in childbirth 7,700 years ago. The grave was first discovered in 1997 in a Stone Age cemetery in Irkutsk.

Foetal bones revealed that the woman, who was between 20 and 25 years old, died while giving birth to twins - the earliest known evidence of twins in the archaeological record. Researchers believe that one of the twins may have been in the breech position and was only partially delivered. The second twin appears to have got trapped behind the first and died in the womb.

Duplicate foetal bones

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Lost ancient city of Tenea found

Archaeologists have located the first tangible remains of a lost city that the ancient Greeks believed was first settled by Trojan captives of war after the sack of Troy. Finds included walls, marble or stone floors of buildings, household pottery, a bone gaming die and more than 200 coins dating to the 4th century B.C.

Archaeologists discovered nine burials this year, finding gold, copper and bone jewelry, pottery and coins
There are artifact rich cemeteries surrounding Tenea. In one, antiquities smugglers dug up two remarkable 6th century B.C. marble statues of young men in 2010 and tried to sell them for 10 million euros.

Tenea survived the Roman destruction of neighboring Corinth in 146 B.C., and flourished under Roman rule. It appears to have been abandoned in the late 4th century A.D.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Hoard of mummified cats found in Egypt

Dozens of cat mummies and rare mummified scarab beetles have been unearthed in seven ancient Egyptian tombs south of Cairo. The tombs are thought to date to the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, which ruled Egypt from about 2,500 BC to 2,350 BC. Depictions of cats were common, reflecting the ancient Egyptian worship of the cat-headed god Bastet.
Scarabs also held great religious significance in ancient Egypt. They were associated with the sun god Khepri.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

China’s Ancient Treasures

Jade (nephrite) burial suit of Dou Wan from the Western Han dynasty
When the Han Dynasty princess Dou Wan died some 2,000 years ago, her corpse was encased within 2,160 small plates of solid jade. Carefully strung together with 700 grams’ worth of gold thread, the green stones formed a cocoon that conformed to the contours of her body, intended to preserve it for eternity. The jade burial suit was recovered with her husband’s in 1968 from their tombs in the northern Chinese province of Hebei.
Age of Empires: Chinese Art of the Qin and Han Dynasties features over 160 objects on loan from 32 museums and archaeological institutions in China.

Lamp in the Shape of a Mythical Bird from the Western Han dynasty

Dog from the Eastern Han dynasty

Judaean Coins featured in Goldberg’s New York Sale

Two extremely rare Year 4 shekels are featured
The collection of Shlomo Moussaieff, consisting of over 150 extremely rare Judaean and Judaean-related Roman coins will be auctioned in the New York Sale held by Goldbergs Auction from January 8-10.Superb Year 5 shekel
This sela, dated in Year Two (133/134 CE) of the Second Revolt, was struck over a tetradrachm issued by the Roman Emperor Galba, who reigned briefly for seven months from 68 to 69 CE. The most well known Judaean-related Roman coin series is “Judaea Capta”, consisting of bronze, silver and gold coins celebrating the Roman victory over Judaea in 70 CE.Judaea Capta type sestertii generally have the inscription IVDAEA CAPTA or VICTORIA AUGUSTI, but this extremely rare hybrid features the strange legend IVDAEA AUGUST.
Very rare Judaea Capta type gold aureusThe most important Judaean-related Roman coin issued in between the two Jewish revolts against Rome features the Emperor Nerva (96-98 CE) SC (Senatus Consulto = by consent of the Senate).