Saturday, 31 August 2019

Scottish Silver coin hoard found - Battle of Roslin

Two metal detectorists discovered 200 coins underneath a tree at the site of the Battle of Roslin, an epic battle during the First War of Scottish Independence on 24 February 1303. Outnumbered Scottish forces led by John Comyn decimated their English enemies. It is widely believed that of the 30,000 English soldiers who entered the battlefield, only a few thousand survived.
The coins resemble those of English monarch King Edward I, whose reign lasted from 1271 to 1307.

Experts speculate the hoard was payment for mercenaries who took part in the battle.

Friday, 30 August 2019

Gold aureus of Antoninus Pius

Antoninus Pius, also known as Antoninus, was Roman emperor from 138 to 161. He was one of the Five Good Emperors. About A.D. 141 Antoninus Pius ordered the Roman frontier be pushed northward. A gold aureus alludes to his victory in Britain. The coin was struck circa 143 to 144 A.D., at the Rome Mint. The campaign was successful, establishing the 39-mile-long Antonine Wall some 99 miles north of Hadrian’s wall. The Senate acclaimed Antoninus as Imperator in A.D. 143 for the second time.

This coin marks that event, with its depiction of winged Victory holding a trophy symbolizing military success. The aureus made $7,000.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

UK couple land massive coin hoard from 1066 - Chew Valley Hoard

The 'Chew Valley hoard' contains 1,236 coins of Harold II, the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England, and 1,310 coins of William I. Experts say the hoard is "hugely significant" as it doubles the number of Harold coins than all previous known finds combined. It also includes fine examples of coins issued by William I after his coronation on Christmas Day in 1066.
Adam Staples and Lisa Grace made a once in a lifetime discovery while out metal detecting together. They discovered 2,571 silver coins that date back to the time of King Harold II, aka Harold Godwinson. He was the last crowned Anglo-Saxon king of England who died in the Battle of Hastings by an arrow through the eye in 1066.

The couple found the coins while searching an unploughed field in north east Somerset in January.
Harold Godwinson was king for seven months and coins from his reign are rare. Experts believe the coins were buried within two or three years after 1066 and probably before 1072.

The Battle of Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under King Harold Godwinson. It marked the beginning of the Norman conquest of England.

The battle of Hastings was a decisive Norman victory.

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

The Karun Treasure - Lydian Hoard

The collection is also known as the Lydian Hoard. The Karun Treasure is a collection of 363 Lydian artifacts dating from the 7th century BC and originating from Uşak Province in western Turkey. The collection was smuggled outside Turkey and bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art between 1967-68, at a cost of $1.2m. A long legal battle ensued.

The hoard made news again in May 2006 when a golden hippocamp was found to have been switched with a fake. The items are now exhibited in the Uşak Museum of Archaeology.
The rich grave goods came from a high status female burial. Locals in Uşak believe that the treasure is cursed and that it brings misfortune and death. Popular rumor has all seven men involved in the 1965 illegal digs of the burial mounds dying violent and painful deaths.

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Yellowstone volcano: 133 earthquakes registered in one month

There are five tremors a day on average. Monitoring records from the US Geological Survey shows that all of the earthquakes have been relatively small, with the largest being a 3.5. Some geologists argue that when it comes to forecasting a volcano eruption, it's not the size of the seismic activity, but more the quantity. A spate of small earthquakes around a volcano usually signifies that magma and gasses beneath the surface are beginning to navigate their exit.
Volcanism at Yellowstone is relatively recent, with calderas that were created during large eruptions that took place 2.1m, 1.3m, and 630,000 years ago. The calderas lie over a hotspot where light and hot magma (molten rock) from the mantle rises toward the surface.

The hotspot appears to move, but it is much deeper than the terrain and remains stationary while the North American Plate moves over it.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

The Chimera

The Chimera of Arezzo, bronze, Etruscan, 5th century BC
In Greek mythology the Chimera was a monstrous fire-breathing hybrid, composed of the parts of more than one animal. It is usually depicted as a lion, with the head of a goat arising from its back, and a tail that ended with a snake's head. It was thought to be one of the terrifying offspring of Typhon and Echidna and a sibling of such monsters as Cerberus and the Lernaean Hydra.

The sighting of a Chimera was a certain omen for disaster. Homer's description in the Iliad: "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire."
The Chimera was defeated by Bellerophon with the help of Pegasus. Since Pegasus could fly, Bellerophon shot the Chimera from the air in safety. Homer adds that Bellerophon finished the Chimera off by equipping his spear with a lump of lead that melted when exposed to the Chimera's fiery breath.

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

The Sword of Charlemagne

Joyeuse, is the name traditionally attributed to Charlemagne's personal sword. The sword of Joyeuse, which resides in the Louvre Museum, is one of the most famous swords in history. Historical records link the sword to Charlemagne the Great, King of the Franks. The story begins in 802 AD. Legend says that the sword was forged by the famous blacksmith Galas, and took three years to complete. The sword was described as having magical powers. It was said to have been so bright that it could outshine the sun and blind its wielder's enemies in battle, and any person who wielded it could not be poisoned.
Charlemagne (742-814 AD) did much to define the shape and character of medieval Europe. After the fall of the Roman Empire, he was the first to reunite Western Europe. He ruled a vast kingdom that encompassed what is now France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Low Countries. The sword was moved to the Louvre in 1793 following the French Revolution. It was last used by a French king in 1824 with the crowning of Charles X.

The pommel (top fitting) of the sword dates from the 10th and 11th centuries, the cross to the second half of the 12th century, and the grip to the 13th century. The grip once featured a fleur-de-lis, but was it removed for the coronation of Napoleon I in 1804.

Monday, 19 August 2019

Sekhmet 'The Powerful One'

In 2017 archaeologists discovered 66 fragments and statues of Sekhmet believed to have been warding off evil from Amenhotep III’s temple. Amenhotep III’s reign, between 1386 to 1349 BC, is regarded as the peak of Egypt’s prosperity and power.
A toppled black granite statue of Amenhotep III was also found at the site.
The statue of Amenhotep shows the king as a young man and is thought to have been commissioned during his reign. Pharoah Amenhotep III became a king at the age of 12, when he inherited an empire spanning from the Euphrates to Sudan.

His temple is being preserved and rebuilt as part of a government approved renovation project.
Sekhmet, often called “the powerful one” is the daughter of Egyptian sun god Ra and was believed to ward off evil and ill health. Her influence was powerful on the Egyptians. Some statues depict her standing and holding the symbol of life – a sceptre made of papyrus.

Sunday, 18 August 2019


Possibly the earliest coin to depict Hermes is a silver stater of Kaunos dated to c. 490 BCE
To the Greeks he was Hermes. To the Etruscans, he was Turms. To the Romans he was Mercurius.

He played many different roles in the myths and beliefs of ancient people, but as a god of profit and commerce, he was often represented on money.

Populonia, an important center of iron production, was one of the few Etruscan cities that issued silver coinage in the fourth century BCE. A magnificent didrachm – one of only three known examples – depicts the god Turms.
The facing head of Hermes, dated to c. 402-399 BCE.

Perhaps the finest image of Hermes on any ancient coin appears on the reverse of a silver stater of Pheneos, c. 360-350 BCE

C. Mamilius Limetanus denarius serratus c. 82 BC. Bust of Mercury
One of the last appearances of Mercury on Roman coinage came during the brief reign of the emperor Trajan Decius. (249-251)

Pheneos produced a small silver obol c. 370-340 BCE
Hermes was often depicted as a young man, wearing traveling clothes, a flat hat known as 'petasus' and winged sandals on his feet. Often, he was depicted having wings attached to his shoulders and hat.

He usually held a caduceus, a winged staff with snakes wrapped around it so he could gain access everywhere. This staff helped Hermes to charm the gods. The staff is often mistakenly used as a symbol of medicine.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Discovery attests to Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem

Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the bloody Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem in the sixth century B.C. The Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar, besieged Jerusalem and then conquered the city, razing it and burning it to the ground.

Experts digging in an excavation site at Jerusalem’s Mount Zion found layers of ash and arrowheads, as well as lamps, a gold and silver tassel or earring and pieces of ceramics from the Iron Age.
The arrowheads are known as 'Scythian arrowheads' and have been found at other battle sites from the 7th and 6th centuries BCE. They were fairly common.

The Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem took place in 587 and 586 B.C. The nature of the artifacts and the layer of ash point to a bloody chapter in the city’s long history.