Saturday, 30 March 2019

SS Central America “Supernova” Double Eagle up for grabs

Known as the “Ship of Gold”, Central America sank in a hurricane in September 1857 off the coast of North Carolina while carrying tons of California Gold Rush coins and gold ingots. There were 578 passengers and crew onboard, but only 153 survived.

Ancient History Of Red

Red has had a long history with human beings. Since red is the color of blood, it has been associated with sacrifice, danger and courage. Red, black and white were the first colors used by artists in the Upper Paleolithic age, probably because natural pigments were readily available. Madder, a plant whose root could be made into a red dye, grew widely. The cave of Altamira in Spain has a painting of a bison colored with red ochre that dates to between 15,000 and 16,500 BC.
Roman fresco from the fullonica (dyer's shop) of Veranius Hypsaeus in Pompeii.

The Egyptians began manufacturing pigments in about 4000 BC. Egyptians often used hematite, the mineral form of iron oxide, and also used both cinnabar imported from Spain and realgar. All three were expensive imports and had to be used in moderation. Egyptian artisans became deft at reverse engineering the color red by reprocessing fabrics previously dyed with red madder (a plant) or kermes (made from insects).

Greeks and Romans also valued red as a dye for clothing, hair, makeup and painting. The rich cinnabar frescoes from many Pompeiian houses communicated luxury. Red was also used on inscriptions and then later, in medieval manuscripts. Roman inscriptions were often white with red lettering.

Villa of the Mysteries, Ruins of Pompeii, fresco, 2nd century B.C.
In Ancient China, artisans were making red and black painted pottery as early as the Yangshao Culture period (5000–3000 BC). A red-painted wooden bowl was found at a Neolithic site in Yuyao, Zhejiang.

During the Han dynasty (200 BC to 200 AD) Chinese craftsmen made a red pigment, lead tetroxide, which they called ch-ien tan, by heating lead white pigment. Like the Egyptians, they made a red dye from the madder plant to color silk fabric for gowns and used pigments colored with madder to make red lacquerware.

The Chinese invented porcelain around the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD)

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Antikythera shipwreck yields human bones

With the discovery of human bones, scientists have their first hope of sequencing DNA from a victim of an ancient shipwreck. The remains include the petrous bone, the hard part of the skull behind the ear. Dense and impenetrable to water and microbes, this is the best hope for finding DNA.

The cargo is considered the most spectacular ever found from antiquity.
Archaeologists have recovered the bones of a young man. In his late teens or early 20s, he was on the ship sailing from Asia Minor to Rome when disaster struck off the Greek island of Antikythera between Crete and the Peloponnese.

The catastrophe in the first century BC scattered the ship’s cargo across the seabed. It lay there until 1900. Salvage operations have since hauled up stunning bronze and marble statues, ornate glass and pottery, gold jewellery, and an extraordinary geared device – the Antikythera mechanism – which modeled the heavens.

The Antikythera Mechanism
Analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism show it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years.

Researchers used three-dimensional X-ray scanners to reconstruct the workings of the device's gears and high-resolution surface imaging to enhance faded inscriptions on its surface.
By winding a knob on its side, the positions of the sun, moon, Mercury and Venus could be determined for any chosen date. Newly revealed inscriptions also appear to confirm the device could also calculate the positions of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn — the other planets known at the time. The device's construction date was radiocarbon dated to around 150 to 100 B.C.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Last 'Siberian unicorn' lived 29,000 years ago

For decades, scientists have estimated that the Siberian unicorn - a long-extinct species of mammal that looked more like a rhino than a horse - died out some 350,000 years ago, but a beautifully preserved skull found in Kazakhstan has completely overturned that assumption. Turns out, they were still around as recently as 29,000 years ago.

The real unicorn, Elasmotherium sibiricum, was shaggy and huge and looked just like a modern rhino, only it carried a mighty horn on its forehead. The Siberian unicorn stood roughly 2 metres tall, was 4.5 metres long, and weighed about 4 tonnes.

That’s closer to woolly mammoth-sized than horse-sized.
The newly found skull was found in the Pavlodar region of Kazakhstan.


Monday, 25 March 2019

Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh

At least one million people are expected to flock to an exhibition, titled "Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh," which opened in Paris. The Egyptian Ministry for Antiquities said this is the largest number of Tutankhamun artifacts ever to have left Cairo, and may never happen again.

Almost all come from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo's Tahrir Square. The touring show, which will open in London in November before moving on to Sydney, will help pay for the new Giza museum.
The tomb of Tutankhamun, who died aged 19 in 1324 B.C. after nine years on the throne, was discovered by British archaeologist Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor in November 1922.

The hoard of more than 4,500 objects laid out across five rooms included thrones, statues, jewels, furniture and weapons. It is pharaonic Egypt's only mausoleum found so far with its burial artifacts intact. The death of Tutankhamun, which ended the 18th dynasty under the period of Egyptian history known as the New Kingdom, has been a mystery. It was blamed variously on a chariot accident, illness or murder.
Tests have established that Tutankhamun's father was the pharaoh Akhenaten, who ruled between 1351 and 1334 B.C.
See ----->King Tut's jewels made of desert glass
See ----->Tutankhamun's gold in new exhibit

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Gold aureus of Roman Emperor Trajan Decius

A gold aureus of Roman Emperor Trajan Decius was the top-selling ancient at Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers’ sale in 2018. It was a superb mint state lustrous piece. It made $ 15,000 plus buyers premium.

Trajan Decius was a Roman general who hailed from the Danube. In 249, he successfully quelled a revolt in that region, leading his troops to proclaim him emperor. His army then successfully routed that of the incumbent emperor, and the Senate confirmed his new status. Trajan Decius was Roman Emperor from 249 to 251. In the last year of his reign, he co-ruled with his son Herennius Etruscus until they and about half their army perished when they pursued Goths into marshes at Abrittus.
Christians who refused to offer a sacrifice for the Emperor and the Empire's well-being by a specified date risked torture and execution. A number of prominent Christians were killed in the process, including Pope Fabian himself in 250.

Plague, at its height, took the lives of 5,000 daily in Rome. Decius sought out Christian scapegoats. The Christian church never forgot the reign of Decius whom they labelled as that "fierce tyrant."

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Supermoon sinister portent of doom?

The third Supermoon of the year is evidence of the biblical end times approaching because it coincides with the Spring Equinox and the Jewish holiday of Purim, a Christian evangelist has claimed.
Doomsday preachers and conspiracy theorists have dubbed the Supermoon an incredibly sinister portent of doom. The Supermoon coincided with the Spring Equinox (March 20), which has not happened in 19 years and will not repeat itself until the year 2030. Today’s Full Moon is also called Super because it approached its nearest orbit of Earth.

For evangelical preacher Paul Begley, the biblical end times are unfolding. Book of Revelation 6: 11-13 “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; “And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.”


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Accidental Discoveries

Lascaux Cave. In 1940, four French teenagers were roaming the forests near Montignac when their dog began sniffing around a hole in the ground. After shimmying down a stone shaft, the boys encountered a vast underground cavern whose walls were adorned with some 2,000 ancient paintings and engravings. Before long, word of the Lascaux cave’s exquisite collection of animal drawings and abstract symbols spread across Europe, and it became known as the “Sistine Chapel of Prehistoric Art.”

Historians later placed the age of its paintings at around 15,000-17,000 years old, and many believe the cave was once the site of religious and hunting rites among the Upper Paleolithic.
In 1974, a group of Chinese farmers found the tomb of the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty. The seven-man team was digging a well near the city of Xian when one of their shovels struck the head of a buried statue. When archeologists conducted further excavations, they found it was one of some 8,000 life-sized terra cotta soldiers, horses and chariots constructed to guard the 3rd century B.C. Emperor Qin Shi Huang in the afterlife.

The tomb and its highly detailed soldiers—each has its own unique face—are now regarded as some of the most important treasures in China.
The Venus de Milo spent centuries buried on the Greek island of Melos. The armless statue was found in 1820, when a peasant accidentally discovered its top half while trying to salvage marble building blocks from a pile of ancient ruins. The find caught the attention of a French naval officer and in 1821 it was presented to King Louis XVIII and donated to the Louvre. Art historians have since speculated that the Venus is meant to represent the Greek goddess Aphrodite.

Napoleon Bonaparte's soldiers stumbled upon a large basalt slab while knocking down ancient walls to make improvements to a French fort near the town of Rosetta. Once deciphered, the glyphs provided scholars with the tools they needed to begin the first in depth studies of ancient Egyptian language and literature.
The Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1947 a band of sheepherders were tending their flock near the city of Jericho. While looking for a lost goat, boys tossed a stone into a nearby cave and heard what sounded like a shattering clay pot. When he went in the cave to investigate, he found several jars containing a collection of ancient papyrus scrolls.

When the Declaration of Independence was originally issued, 200 copies were printed. Only a few have ever been found and verified. One of those was discovered in 1989 after a Pennsylvania man went into a thrift store looking for a picture frame. His $ 4 frame and picture hid copy number 25 of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. It sold for nearly $2.5m.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Satyrs

In Greek mythology, a satyr is a male companion of Dionysus with goat-like features and often permanent erection. In Roman Mythology there is a concept similar to satyrs, with goat-like features: the faun, being half-man, half-goat.
The satyr's chief was Silenus, a minor deity associated with fertility. They are lovers of wine and women, and they are ready for every physical pleasure. They roam to music, and they love to chase maenads or bacchants. Because of their love of wine, they are often represented holding wine cups, and they appear often in the decorations on wine cups.
Satyrs were widely seen as mischief-makers who routinely played tricks on people. Comically hideous, they have mane-like hair, bestial faces, and snub noses and are always shown naked. Satyrs were characterized by their ribaldry and were known as lovers of wine, music, dancing, and women.

They often attempted to seduce or rape nymphs and mortal women alike, usually with little success.