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)

Friday, 29 March 2019

The Hydra

The Lernaean Hydra was a serpentine water monster in Greek and Roman mythology. Its lair was the lake of Lerna. Lerna was reputed to be an entrance to the Underworld. In myth, the monster is killed by Hercules, using sword and fire, as the second of his twelve labors.

According to Hesiod, the Hydra was the offspring of Typhon and Echidna. It possessed many heads. Later versions of the Hydra story add a regeneration feature to the monster: for every head chopped off, the Hydra would regrow new heads. The Hydra had poisonous breath and blood so virulent that even its scent was deadly.

He then confronted the Hydra, wielding either a harvesting sickle, a sword, or his famed club.
Eurystheus sent Hercules to slay the Hydra, which Hera had raised just to slay Hercules. Upon reaching the swamp near Lake Lerna, where the Hydra dwelt, Hercules covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to protect himself from the poisonous fumes. He shot flaming arrows into the Hydra's lair, a deep cave from which it emerged to terrorize neighboring villages.
The weakness of the Hydra was that it was invulnerable only if it retained at least one head. Realizing that he could not defeat the Hydra, Heracles called on his nephew Iolaus for help. His nephew then came upon the idea of using a firebrand to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. Heracles cut off each head and Iolaus cauterized the open stumps. Seeing that Heracles was winning the struggle, Hera sent a giant crab to distract him. He crushed it under his foot. The Hydra's one immortal head was cut off with a golden sword given to Heracles by Athena.

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.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Gabriel's horn

Archangel Gabriel’s name means 'God is my strength'. One of the two archangels specifically named in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament, she is often portrayed holding a trumpet and is the only female archangel.
Gabriel's horn is also a geometric figure which has infinite surface area but finite volume.

Archangel Gabriel is the messenger angel, acting as a messenger of God.
The mathematical name refers to the tradition identifying the Archangel Gabriel as the angel who blows the horn to announce Judgment Day. Gabriel blowing a trumpet blast to indicate God's return to Earth is popular culture though the Bible never specifies Gabriel as the trumpeter.

Gabriel is one of only three angels mentioned by name in the Bible.
Torricelli’s Trumpet, or Gabriel’s horn, is a staple of calculus textbooks. It may also be the perfect imaginary musical instrument: an object constituted by its precise mathematical description, yet impossible – due to its infinite length – to realize in material form.

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."