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.

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.

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.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Gigantopithecus blacki

In 1935, anthropologist Gustav von Koenigswald came across several strange teeth in drug stores in Hong Kong and southern China. Sold as “dragon teeth,” and ground up for use in Chinese medicine, they were special: They were apelike, but huge. Their size suggested that Gigantopithecus blacki was the largest primate ever discovered, towering 3 meters. By piecing together clues from proteins in the enamel of a 1.9myo tooth found in southern China, researchers have evidence that places G. blacki on the primate family tree.

The giant ape was most closely related to orangutans. The two lineages probably split off between 10 million and 12 million years ago.

G. blacki became extinct around 100,000 years ago.
Adult male G. blacki are believed to have stood almost 10 feet tall and weighed as much as 600kg, making it three to four times as heavy as modern gorillas and eight times as heavy as the orangutan, its closest living relative. It's thought G. blacki consumed bamboo and other vegetable foods including seeds and fruit. Gigantopithecus blacki is the largest known hominid.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Assyrian Empire collapsed due to climate change

Ancient Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers, was the center of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The ancient superpower was the largest empire of its time, lasting from 912 BC to 609 BC in what is now Iraq and Syria.

At its height, the Assyrian state stretched from the Mediterranean and Egypt in the west to the Persian Gulf and western Iran in the east. Then a reversal of fortune, and the Neo-Assyrian Empire plummeted from its zenith (circa 650 BC) to complete collapse within the span of a few decades. The reasons why were a mystery. New research shows that climate change was the double-edged sword that first helped the meteoric rise of the Neo-Assyrian Empire and then lead to its precipitous collapse.
Rainfall patterns over Mesopotamia were deduced from cave stalagmites. These are the cone-like structures from the cave floor. They grow slowly, as rainwater drips down from the cave ceiling. Oxygen isotope ratios build a timeline of how conditions changed, but don't reveal the amount of time that elapsed between them. Stalagmites also trap uranium. Over time, uranium decays into thorium at a predictable pace. Experts made high-precision uranium-thorium measurements.

The Neo-Assyrian state expanded during a 200 year interval of anomalously wet climate. This was followed by major droughts in the early-to-mid-seventh century BC. The period marked the swift collapse of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.
Repeated crop failures likely exacerbated political unrest in Assyria, crippled its economy and empowered adjacent rivals.

Friday, 15 November 2019

12,000 yo lake toasted in failed treasure hunt for Roman gold

A 12,000-year-old lake is gone after a team of treasure hunters carried out an authorized excavation to unearth an ancient trove in Turkey's northern Gümüşhane province. Located in the Taşköprü Plateau, Lake Dipsiz (Bottomless) was drained after an application to the Gümüşhane Governor's Office to carry out an excavation. The governor and the Gümüşhane Culture and Tourism Directorate both authorized the controversial excavation.
No gold was found and the excavation was stopped after four days.

The treasure hunters were trying to find gold of the 15th Apollinaris Legion (Legio XV Apollinaris), which was one of the four largest military units of the Roman Empire in Asia Minor. It was recruited by Octavian (Augustus) in 41/40 BC. The legion was stationed in the area around 134. Dating back to the last ice age, Lake Dipsiz does not have a source of water.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

200-year-old set of false teeth go under the hammer

Peter Cross has found many objects during his 40 years of metal detecting. His find of upper dentures, made out of gold and possibly hippo ivory goes under the hammer in Derbyshire with an estimate of £3,000-£7,000.

They would have belonged to an extremely wealthy person and date to between 1800 and 1850. The dentures would have cost a fortune at the time. The only other slightly similar set of false teeth belonged to American president George Washington and date back to the late 1700s.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Looted ancient coins, bracelets returned to Romania

In 2018 coins and bracelets from the 1st century that were looted from western Romania and smuggled out of the country were put on display after a joint investigation with Austria brought them back home. The hoard of gold and silver artifacts was presented at Romania's National History Museum.
473 coins and 18 bracelets were taken from archaeological sites in the Orastie Mountains that had been inhabited by Dacians, who fought against the Romans in the early 2nd century.
See ----->http://psjfactoids.blogspot.ca/2016/11/ancient-gold-of-romania.html

Monday, 28 October 2019


Berserkers were Norse warriors who are reported to have fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury, which later gave rise to the English word berserk.

They were said to wear the pelt of a wolf or bear into battle. The name berserker derives from the Old Norse berserkr. This expression likely canme from their habit of wearing a kind of shirt or coat (serkr) made from the pelt of a bear (ber-) during battle. The bear was one of the animals representing Odin, and by wearing such a pelt the warriors sought to gain the strength of a bear and the favor of Odin. Berserkers are described as Odin's special warriors.
Berserkers appear prominently in sagas and poems, many of which describe them as ravenous men who loot, plunder, and kill indiscriminately. Later, Christian interpreters referred to the berserkers as a "heathen devils".

The berserker were said to be able to do things that normal humans could not. According to ancient legend, the berserkers were indestructible, and no weapon could break them from their trance. They were described as being immune to fire and to the strike of a sword, continuing on their rampage despite injury.
The fury of the berserkers would start with chills and teeth chattering and give way to a purpling of the face, as they literally became ‘hot-headed’, and culminating in a great, uncontrollable rage accompanied by grunts and howls.

Some claim that berserker behavior can be explained by the ingestion of the plant known as bog myrtle, one of the main ingredients in Nordic grog. Myrica gale is a species of flowering plant in the genus Myrica, native to northern and western Europe. It is a deciduous shrub.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Boba Fett J-slot action figure - $500k

Less than 30 of the Boba Fett J-slot action figures are thought to exist in the world. The Boba Fett bounty hunter persona first appeared in the Star Wars film franchise developed by George Lucas in 1980’s Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, and was also resurrected for Return of the Jedi.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Sumerian antiquities seized from dealer returned to Iraq

In 2018, after years in police storage, 8 objects were taken to the British Museum for analysis. They were quickly identified as being from the site of ancient Girsu (modern Tello) in Southern Iraq, one of the earliest known cities of the world. The British Museum has been conducting archaeological excavations there since 2016.

Inscriptions linked the cones with the Eninnu temple complex at Girsu.
It's believed the objects were removed in 2003, around the time of the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Friday, 25 October 2019

£15 Early American teapot makes £460k

Last year the bidding for the sixth known surviving piece from the John Bartlam factory in Cain Hoy, South Carolina opened at £10,000. It rose quickly in increments of £5000 up to £200,000. Then bids continued in increments of £10,000. The teapot was estimated at £10,000-20,000. It was found at a flea market.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Devil's Coulee - Alberta

Devil’s Coulee is the richest dinosaur nesting site in Canada and the third nesting site discovered in North America. The site was found in May 1987 near Warner, Alberta when ten fossilized Hadrosaur eggs were found. The site was designated a Provincial Historic Resource the same year. Finds at the site include young dinosaurs, eggs, embryonic bones, and nests of hadrosaurs.
The find dates from the Late Cretaceous. (100-65 mya). Hadrosaurids, or duck-billed dinosaurs, were a common herbivore in the period.

The Royal Tyrrell Museum reports the Devil’s Coulee site is rich with ancient nests of at least two separate duck-billed dinosaurs and five different Cretaceous-era carnivores.

The Devil's Coulee area was once part of a vast inland sea.