Sunday, 29 December 2019

Greek Police seize head of ancient kouros statue in Nemea

The head of an Ancient Kouros statue, dating back to the Archaic period (6th century BC) was confiscated by police. A Greek man was arrested in Nemea, in Corinth, southern Greece, for illegal possession of the ancient artifact. He was looking for buyers to sell the head for 500k euro. A kouros is a modern term given to free-standing ancient Greek sculptures that first appear in the Archaic period in Greece and represent nude male youths. In Ancient Greek kouros means "youth, boy, especially of noble rank"

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Titanic artifact: gold cigarette case

A gold cigarette case that once belonged to a controversial wealthy couple that survived the Titanic disaster is up for auction. The rare artifact belonged to Sir Cosmo and Lady Duff-Gordon. The couple were accused of bribing their way off the doomed liner.

Sir Cosmo Duff-Gordon, his fashion designer wife, and her secretary, were among 12 people who escaped the sinking ship on Titanic’s Lifeboat Number 1. The lifeboat, dubbed the "millionaires’ boat," had a capacity of 40. The cigarette case made $50k.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Chilesaurus; 'Most bizarre dinosaur ever found'

A vegetarian dinosaur with the silhouette of a flesh-ripping velociraptor, whose fossilized remains were unearthed in southern Chile 13 years ago, is a missing link in dinosaur evolution, say researchers. An inverted, bird-like hip structure and flattened, leaf-shaped teeth prove an exclusively vegetal diet, not a meat eating one. Chilesaurus is more closely related to a group including Triceratops and the three-tonne Stegosaurus.

The first dinosaur emerged some 228m years ago. The new findings support the idea that Chilesaurus is the 'missing link' between the T-Rex Family and Herbivores. Theropods and ornithischians may have shared a common ancestor as early as 225m years ago.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Biggest ever Roman shipwreck found in the eastern Mediterranean

Dated to between 100 BCE and 100 CE the find is the largest classical shipwreck found in the eastern Mediterranean. The wreck of the 110-foot (35-meter) ship, along with its cargo of 6,000 amphorae, was discovered at a depth of around 60m (197 feet) during a sonar-equipped survey of the seabed off the coast of Kefalonia -- one of the Ionian islands off the west coast of Greece. Most ships of that era were around 50 feet long.

Retrieving the wreck is a "very difficult and costly job." Instead, researchers want to recover an amphora and using DNA techniques find what it contained, wine, olive oil, nuts, wheat or barley.

Saturday, 14 December 2019

The Ancient Kingdom of Axum

The greatest empire to ever exist in Africa, the Kingdom of Aksum lasted from around 100 AD to 940 AD, and extended across East Africa and beyond, including modern-day Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan. Located in the northern province of Tigray, Aksum remained the capital of Ethiopia until the seventh century CE. The ancient Kingdom of Axum, also known as Askum, stands out for its early use of coins.
The kingdom is famous for its stone cut obelisks. These structures were carved out of a single stone and marked graves and underground burial chambers.

Its believed that the Queen of Sheba ruled the Kingdom of Aksum for more than 50 years. According to legend, the Ark of the Covenant came to Ethiopia and has till now been guarded by a succession of monks.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Iron Age shield found in Pocklington

The bronze shield formed part of a chariot burial, which also contained the upright skeletons of two ponies. They were found on a building site at Pocklington in 2018. Its owner was a high status male, in his late 40s or older when he died, between 320BC to 174BC. The shield was well used and a slash made by a sword is clearly visible in the upper right hand side. The only other shield like it, the Wandsworth shield boss, found in the Thames river in 1849, is now in the British Museum.

Monday, 2 December 2019

Ancient puppy found in permafrost

This 18,000-year-old puppy, preserved in the Siberian permafrost, still has its nose, fur, teeth and whiskers – but DNA tests to determine whether it is a dog or a wolf have come up blank, suggesting it may represent a common ancestor of both.

The puppy’s remains were identified by researchers at a site near Yakutsk in eastern Siberia, last year. Researchers have determined that the animal is male, was 2 months old when he died and lived around 18,000 years ago. Research suggests that dogs and wolves may have diverged from a common ancestor around 40,000 years ago, although some dog breeds may have bred with wolves after that point.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Praetorian Guard

The Praetorian Guard (cohortes praetoriae) was an elite unit of the Imperial Roman Army who were personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors. During the era of the Roman Republic, the Praetorians served as a small escort force for high-ranking officials. With the transition into the Roman Empire, Augustus refounded the Guard as his personal security detail.
Although they continued to serve in this capacity for roughly three centuries, the Guard became famous for its interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming successors.

The Guard was ultimately disbanded by Constantine the Great in 312.
Praetorian Cohorts intervened many times in the struggle for the imperial succession. Lacking troops of its own, the Senate had no choice each time but to accept the choice of the Praetorians as well as that of the various legions. The new emperor was always proclaimed by the Praetorians before being ratified by the Senate and the legions stationed in the various provinces.

While the guard had the power to make or break emperors, it had no formal role in government. Often after an outrageous act of violence, revenge by the new ruler was almost always forthcoming.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Napoleon's boots up for grabs

A pair of boots thought to belong to Napoleon Bonaparte is expected to fetch up to 80,000 euros. ($88,176) Auctioneers said Napoleon may have owned the leather riding boots during his final exile in Saint Helena, after his defeat at Waterloo.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Hoard of golden Russian rubles found

Treasure dating back to the reign of Tsar Nicholas II has been unearthed in Moscow. A tin chest containing 60 gold coins was discovered in the basement of a dilapidated building. Experts believe the trove may have been stored there during the Russian Revolution (March - November 1917) or the Russian Civil War (November 1917 - October 1922).

Nicholas and his family – Tsarina Alexandra, Grand Duchess Olga, Grand Duchess Tatiana, Grand Duchess Maria, Grand Duchess Anastasia and Tsarevich Alexei – were executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

The Salvation of Rome: Gordian III

Rome in the third century was a time of turmoil and encroaching chaos. Gordian III assumed the throne in 238 CE at the age of 13, making him the youngest de facto emperor in Roman history. Gordian served for almost six years before dying under mysterious circumstances while fighting against the Sassanian Persians. He was succeeded by his by-then praetorian prefect, Philip the Arab.

The Latin word “aureus” means “golden”, and derives from the Roman word for gold: aurum. The aureus was originally produced in the first century BCE and was still being struck in the fourth century CE. It was initially valued at 25 silver denarii.

Monday, 25 November 2019

Ancient Helmets


Flattened copper helmet and skull found in the Royal Tomb at Ur
The most vulnerable part of the soldier in battle was his head, so the search for protection by some form of helmet goes back to the earliest times.

Helmets were purpose-built to protect the wearer against the specific weapons he faced. At first, ancient helmets seem to have been pointed at the top, to deflect the downward force. When the ax became popular as a weapon, the shape of the helmet was modified to counter the cutting edge of a downward-falling blade.

Stele of Vultures circa 2500 BC. King Eannatum of Lagash leads a phalanx of soldiers with metal helmets, armed with spears and socketed axes. They are trampling over the bodies of their enemies.
The technology of armor was constantly evolving. By 3,000 BC metal workers were making helmets of copper. 500 years later the Sumerians had bronze helmets, spears and axes.


Egyptian soldier in the act of killing a warrior of the 'Sea Peoples' in the Medinet Habu temple relief

Corinthian helmet

The Helmet of Agighiol is a Geto-Dacian silver helmet dating from the 5th century BC.

Sutton Hoo helmet reconstructed

The Golden Helmet of Coţofeneşti
This 2,600-year-old bronze helmet was discovered in the waters of Haifa Bay, Israel in 2012. When it was made Greek colonies dotted the Mediterranean coast, stretching from the Black Sea to southern France.

This warrior was likely one of Egyptian pharaoh Necho II's mercenaries, which he sent through Israel accompanied by a fleet of ancient ships. The pharaoh was involved in military campaigns in the region for nearly a decade, operations in which this warrior and his group likely were involved.
Ancient Greek helmets from the Archaic period (800 BC – 480 BCE). A Corinthian-type, found in Leivadia. The second is a Illyrian-type. The third is from Agia Paraskevi. All are made of bronze.
The Crosby Garrett Helmet is a copper alloy Roman cavalry helmet dating from the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD. It was found in Cumbria, England

Bronze Helmet from Ancient Greece, around 460 BC

Roman horseman's helmet, found in the Netherlands

Gladiator helmet

Greek Spartan Crest Helmet

Spanish morion (helmet)


Helmet covered in heavy gold florets with spike top, visor front. Chou Dynasty, Emperor Wu Wang tomb complex at Laoyang, circa 1020 BC.

Japanese helmet, circa 1590–1640.

Helmet of a Yuan Dynasty officer

Chinese chichak-style helmet, Ming Dynasty


Helmet from 7th century Viking boat grave
A common myth about the Vikings was that they wore horned helmets in battle. Archaeologists have found no proof to say that their helmets had horns. The reason their helmets didn't have horns was because they would have gotten in the way in battles and may have ended up injuring the wearer.

Real Viking helmets had protective metal down and around the ears and some helmets found in burial mounts had a metal mask in front.

German helmet by famous armorsmith Jörg Seusenhofer ca. 1540