Monday, 30 September 2019

Lewis Chessmen 'Rook' brings £735,000

The rook is a warder holding a sword and was bought by an antiques dealer in 1964 for £5 in Edinburgh. It was catalogued in his purchase ledger that he had bought an ‘Antique Walrus Tusk Warrior Chessman.’

The piece, carved out of walrus ivory, was then inherited by the dealer's daughter when he died. For many years it resided in a drawer in her home where it had been wrapped in a small bag.

The piece was sold by Sotheby's on July 2 for £735,000. The Lewis Chessmen are four sets of chess pieces which were found on the Isle of Lewis, off the coast of Scotland, in 1831. The British Museum holds 82 pieces, the National Museum of Scotland holds 11 and until now, 5 pieces were missing.
It was described by the auction house as the "most famous chess pieces to have survived from the medieval world".
One knight and three warders are still missing.

Friday, 27 September 2019

The Gold Coffin of Nedjemankh

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has returned a stolen antiquity from its collection: The Gold Coffin of Nedjemankh. The ancient gilded coffin was acquired by the Metropolitan in 2017 for $3.95m. The Gold Coffin of Nedjemankh dates back to between 150 and 50 B.C.

The coffin is made of a combination of cartonnage (linen, glue, and gesso), gesso, paint, gold, silver, resin, glass, wood, and leaded bronze. The lid is covered with vignettes illustrating funerary spells.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Scientists find microbial remains in ancient Pilbara rocks

Researchers found organic matter in stromatolites -- fossilised microbial structures -- from the ancient Dresser Formation in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The stromatolites have been thought to be of biogenic origin ever since they were discovered in the 1980s.
Western Australia's 3.5-billion-year-old stromatolites push back the earliest known existence of microbial life on land by 580 million years.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Asteroid collision triggered ancient ice age

Scientists claim a massive asteroid collision may have filled the atmosphere with enough dust to trigger an ice age. They say sunlight-blocking dust remained in the sky for around two million years, effectively causing Earth to freeze. Scientists have long been puzzled by the cause of an ice age that took place 466 million years ago.

Dust is constantly floating down to Earth from space, made from broken parts of asteroids and comets. Scientists believe Earth gains about 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial material every year. Through dating mechanisms, it's possible to verify that a large amount of dust fell around the same time as an ice age began. Not all sunlight would have been blocked – but enough to change Earth's climate. This allowed life to adapt "and even benefit" from the changes, sparking "an explosion of new species".

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Gold mask, bronze helmets of Macedonian warriors found

Archaeologists in Greece have uncovered a gold mask and bronze helmets from a cemetery at Ahlada, near the town of Florina in Northern Greece. The finds came from the graves of elite warriors who died in the 6th century B.C. Despite being plundered in antiquity the graves still contained treasures.

Artifacts included the face mask, made specially for funerals, four bronze helmets, iron spearheads and fragmented iron swords, a large bronze urn with ornate handles, an iron model of a farm cart and bronze leg armor. (grieves)

More than 1300 graves have been found.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

The First Circulating Coins

Ionia, Circa 650-600 BC. Hekte (one-sixth stater)Little is known about this electrum (natural alloy of gold and silver) coin. It was minted in Ionia, somewhere in central Western Anatolia on the shores of the Aegean, but the precise city-state that produced it is unknown. It could have been minted in Miletus, a city often referred to as the origin of the modern world.

This type likely represents the first true coins which circulated in everyday use. This type are small 1/24th staters which represented about a day’s pay. Larger denominations are rare. Even fewer trites (one-third stater) are known, and only three full-size staters have ever been found.
During the excavation of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (present day Turkey near the Black Sea), a group of coins was found which are thought to be its 'foundation deposit', a custom that supposedly prevented the building from falling into ruin. The largest type in the group, a stater, had an inscription stating, 'I am the badge of Phanes'. It's meaning has been lost to antiquity.

Coins revolutionized commerce, offering an accessible, neutral medium through which transactions could be processed quickly and fairly.

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Scottish gold ring found by metal detectorist brings £17k

Dating from the 17th century, the ring was discovered by a novice metal detectorist on the shores of Loch Lomond. Before the sale, experts managed to discover the ring’s history.

The crest belonged to the Colman family of Brent Eleigh, Suffolk, who made their fortune in the mid 16th century from the cloth trade. It's thought to have belonged to Edward Colman, who became an ardent convert to Catholicism. The inside of the ring bares an engraved “I” for Jesus, a personal symbol that could indicate that the owner was a member of the Jesuits, an undercover society of Catholics which was illegal in England at that time. In September 1678, Jesuits were accused of involvement in plots to assassinate the king and restore Charles II. Edward was listed as a plotter. He was found guilty of treason and hung, drawn and quartered. Considered to be a Catholic martyr, he was beatified by the Pope in 1929.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Ancient Humans interbred with Neanderthals

Neanderthal child
In 1997, scientists found the first scrap of Neanderthal DNA in a fossil. Since then, they have recovered genetic material, even entire genomes, from a number of Neanderthal bones. Their investigations have yielded a surprise: Today, 1 to 2 percent of the DNA in non-African people comes from Neanderthals.

That genetic legacy is the result of interbreeding roughly 50,000 years ago between Neanderthals and the common ancestors of Europeans and Asians. Recent studies suggest that Neanderthal genes even influence human health today.
The DNA extracted in 1997 was from the original specimen of Neanderthals, found in the Neander valley near Dusseldorf, Germany. It suggested that the Neanderthal lineage is four times older than the human lineage, meaning that Neanderthals split off much earlier from the hominid line than did humans.

Humans and Neanderthals split from a common ancestor in Africa some 600,000 years ago. At some point afterward, the ancestors of Neanderthals spread to Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. Along the way, Neanderthals took on a distinctive anatomy — a stocky, powerful build — and became impressive hunters.
Now scientists have found that the genes flowed both ways. In a study published in Nature, a team of scientists reported that another instance of interbreeding left Neanderthals in Siberia with chunks of human DNA. In 2010 scientists recovered about 60 percent of a Neanderthal genome from fossils found in a Croatian cave.

A toe bone from a male Neanderthal dating back at least 50,000 years.
Neanderthals shared certain mutations with living Europeans and Asians, but not with modern Africans. They concluded that humans must have interbred with Neanderthals after leaving Africa.

Three years later the complete genome of a male Neanderthal was recovered from a toe bone dating back at least 50,000 years, which had been discovered in the Altai Mountains of Siberia. Comparing the Altai genome to modern human DNA confirmed the interbreeding.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Ingot find reveals UK’s ancient trade routes

Similar ingots, dating from around 1,300 BC, were also found at archaeological sites in Greece and Turkey.New evidence suggests Britain had trade routes with the rest of the world as far back as the Bronze Age. Researchers have revealed 3000-year-old tin ingots found in Israel actually originated from Devon and Cornwall.
Commodities such as tin, amber and glass were highly prized in the ancient world and were the catalysts of international trade routes. The origin of tin has long been an enigma in archaeological research. Bronze was used to make weapons, jewellery, and daily objects. Tin ingots are valuable for research because they can accurately point to their exact origin.

Around 3,000 BC, ancients began smelting copper with tin in order to create a stronger metal; bronze. The Bronze Age witnessed the development of many innovations. Societies around the world grew faster and more advanced and trade was the reason.

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Aureus of Hadrian - 67k

A gold aureus of Hadrian (A.D. 117 to 138). The reverse shows the river god Nilus reclining, half draped, with one arm supporting his weight on a sphinx and the other holding a cornucopia.

Part of Hadrian’s famed “Travel Series” where he celebrated his travels including an extended visit to Egypt in 130 to 131.

Friday, 13 September 2019

Ancient Nubia Now

Between 2400 BCE and 300 CE, a series of kingdoms flourished in what is today the Sudanese Nile Valley. Nubian kings and queens controlled vast empires and trade networks yet are forgotten to history. “Ancient Nubia Now” features more than 400 items, many never before exhibited.
Among the highlights are the jewels of Nubia’s queens, the statue of Senkamanisken from the sacred mountain of Gebel Barkal, the army of funerary figurines from the tomb of King Taharqa, the gold and silver treasure of King Aspelta, and the stele of King Tanyidamani.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Burgess Shale yields first spiders/scorpions

Burgess Shale have yielded another ground-breaking fossil find. This time its the oldest known ancestor of today’s spiders and scorpions.
Mollisonia plenovenatrix is over 500 million years old. It had large eyes to spot prey. Long limbs propelled it across the sediments. Its head was like a modern multi-tool with limbs that could sense, grasp, crush and chew.

The tiny pair of structures in front of its mouth are the same pincers on all members of the family Chelicerata. That’s 115,000 different species, and here is the one that started it all.

See ----->Theft from Burgess Shale

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Poodle from Hell

In 2015 scientists unearthed a spectacularly preserved, nearly complete fossil in northeastern China of a feathered dinosaur with wings like those of a bird, although they doubt the strange creature could fly.

The researchers said the fast-running meat-eater was about 6 feet (1.8 meters) long and covered with simple hair-like feathers over much of its body, with large, quill-like feathers on its wings and long tail.

Finding the dinosaur raises questions about why wings evolved in the first place.
The largest-known dinosaur with wings, it lived about 125 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Paleontologists dubbed the dinosaur, named Zhenyuanlong suni, a "fluffy feathered poodle from hell."

Birds evolved from small feathered dinosaurs. The oldest-known bird, crow-sized Archaeopteryx, lived about 150 million years ago.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Ancient Greek gold crown kept for decades in a box of old newspapers under bed

A rare gold crown believed to be more than 2,300 years old was discovered last year under a bed in a Somerset cottage. The delicate Greek myrtle wreath, which is thought to date to 300BC, was found in a cardboard box in a modest Taunton property.

Its elderly owner was stunned when he found out the artifact is worth at least £100,000. Stylistically it belongs to a rarefied group of wreaths dateable to the Hellenistic period and the form may indicate that it was made in Northern Greece. It is eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams. It's pure gold and handmade and it would have been hammered out by a goldsmith.
Gold wreaths like the one found were meant to imitate the wreaths of real leaves that were worn in Ancient Greece in religious ceremonies and given as prizes in athletic and artistic contests. They usually depicted branches of laurel, myrtle, oak and olive trees, which were symbolic of concepts such as wisdom, triumph, fertility, peace and virtue.

Due to their fragile nature, they were only worn on special occasions. Many were dedicated to the Gods in sanctuaries or placed in the graves of royal or aristocratic people as funerary offerings.
The current owner's grandfather was a collector who was fascinated by the ancient world. Although his family do not know how or where he acquired it, it is likely he bought it sometime in the 1940s.

A gold wreath similar to this one sold at auction in 2012 for almost £200,000.

See ----->

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Ciudad Blanca - 'White City' of Gold

The legend of the lost city of Ciudad Blanca - 'White City' of Gold was first recorded by Hernan Cortes who, in 1526, came to the town of Trujillo, on the north coast of Honduras.

In 1544, Bishop Cristobol de Pedraza, the Bishop of Honduras, wrote a letter to the King of Spain describing an arduous trip to the edge of the Mosquito Coast jungles. His guides, he wrote, assured him that the nobles there ate from plates of gold.
In 1939, adventurer Theodore Morde claimed to have found a "City of the Monkey God" which he and earlier explorers equated with the White City. However, he never provided a precise location for it. Morde died before returning to the region.

Discovery of Ciudad Blanca was trumpted by the media again after a 2015 expedition explored one of the settlements discovered in a 2012 lidar survey, which expedition archaeologists determined was in fact a Pre-Columbian city.
Ciudad Blanca has played a central role in Central American mythology. Text's cite it as the birthplace of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl and previous reported sightings over the years have described golden idols and elaborately carved white stones, leading to the lost city's name.

The ancient inhabitants of Mosquitia are one of the least-known cultures in Central America. No positive confirmation of the existence of the city has yet been provided. If confirmed, the discovery of Ciudad Blanca would be comparable to sites such as Machu Picchu