Sunday, 27 December 2020

11th century Hoard found in Sluszkow

About 6,500 silver coins dated to the 11th and 12th centuries AD were found in the village of Sluszkow in central Poland. The hoard was buried alongside golden wedding bands, rings and bits of silver and lead.
One of the rings bears an inscription in Cyrillic, which reads: "Lord, help your maid Maria." The woman may have been a Ruthenian princess. The wife of King Bolesław Wrymouth was a Ruthenian princess named Zbysława. Her sister was named Maria, who was married to Piotr Włostowic.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Stunning 800 year old gold from 'Nanhai I'

Two exquisite gold necklaces found in an 800-year-old shipwreck have been put on display in the Guangdong Museum, China, along with other artifacts from the Song Dynasty.

The Nanhai I is a Chinese merchant ship which sank off the south China coast during the Southern Song Dynasty between 1127 and 1279. It was first discovered by a joint Chinese-British diving expedition in 1987.

'The Route of the Sea: Nanhai I shipwreck and Maritime Trade in the Southern Song Dynasty' is being presented at the Guangdong Museum
The entire shipwreck was lifted off of the seabed on December 21, 2007 and transferred into the specially-built Guangdong Maritime Silk Road Museum on Hailing Island, Guangdong.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Stunning Ancients

Mint State Tarentum Stater. ITALY. Calabria. Tarentum. AV Stater (8.56 gms), ca. 276-272 B.C. NGC MS, Strike: 5/5 Surface: 4/5. Fine Style. Head of Herakles right, wearing lion skin; Reverse: Nude male youth (Taras or Phalanthos?), driving biga. A VERY RARE type. Bidding starts at $30k.
SICILY. Syracuse. Dionysios I, 406-367 B.C. AR Dekadrachm (42.60 gms), Reverse die signed by Euainetos, ca. 405-390 B.C. NGC Ch EF, Strike: 4/5 Surface: 4/5. Fine Style. Obverse: Charioteer, holding kentron and reins, driving quadriga. Reverse: Head of Arethousa. Est: $30k to $50k.

Thursday, 17 December 2020

12th century abbot's grave

Remains were found beneath the ruins of Furness Abbey when emergency repairs were made to the abbey at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. Cracks appeared in the ‘mouldered walls.’ They were caused by medieval wooden foundations rotting away. Structural engineers found an unknown grave. Medieval jewellery and a silver and gilt crozier, a senior abbot’s staff of office was found.
Furness Abbey is a former Catholic monastery that dates back to 1123 and was once the second-wealthiest and most powerful Cistercian monastery in the UK. Whoever was buried here had been placed in the presbytery – the most prestigious position in the abbey, usually reserved for those held in greatest esteem.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Massive ancient hoard found in French looter's home

A French treasure hunter who claimed to have dug up 14,154 Roman coins in a Belgian field has been accused of being one of the greatest archaeological looters in European history. In France, metal detectors are only allowed to be used for scientific research, but in Dutch-speaking Flanders they can be used for personal searches. A raid by French officials on the man’s house revealed an astonishing hoard of 27,400 objects.

There were bracelets and necklaces dating from the bronze and iron age, Roman brooches known as fibulae, Merovingian and Renaissance belt buckles, parts of statues and Roman and Gallic coins – all of which are said to have been illegally unearthed in France.
A hollow copper Roman dodecahedron was recovered, of which there are only a hundred known copies. Their use remains an archaeological enigma.

The looter, who is awaiting trial, had been exploiting the difference between French law and Flemish regulations to amass his cache. He faces huge fines and prison time for his many thefts.

Monday, 14 December 2020

UK hoard donated to Hertford Museum

A hoard of 47 silver Roman coins and British Iron Age gold coins have been donated to a museum after being declared treasure. They were unearthed in a Hertfordshire field in 2017 by a group of metal detectorists. The oldest of the coins dates to 129 BC and is a Republican Roman denarius. The latest was issued during the reign of the emperor Claudius in AD 50‒54. The group waived a finder's reward of £2,500 to donate the hoard to the Hertford Museum, where the coins will be put on display.

A report stated: "This is a typical hoard deposited between the Roman invasion in AD 43 and the Boudicca uprising of AD 61."

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Gold of the Royal Cemetery of Ur

Ur was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar in southern Iraq. Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now inland, south of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah.

Electrum drinking tumbler.
The city dates from 3800 BC. According to one estimate, Ur was the largest city in the world from c.2030 to 1980 BC. Research indicates that the area was struck by severe drought from 2200 to 2000 BC.
Close to temple buildings at the center of the city, a garbage dump built up over centuries. Unable to use the area for building, the people of Ur started to bury their dead there. The cemetery was used between about 2600-2000 BC. Many graves contained rich materials. The tomb of Pu-abi was excavated along with some 1800 others at the "Royal Cemetery of Ur" between 1922 and 1934.
Pu-abi's tomb was unique because of the large amount of high quality and well-preserved grave goods and because her tomb had been untouched by looters through millennia. Along a wall, three lyres and a harp deteriorated by time stood still in silence.

Gold Helmet of Sumerian King Meskalamdug

Fluted Gold Bowl from Pu-abi's tomb

Queen Pu-abi's gold ring

Gold and lapis lazuli bull's head was attached to a lyre.

Gold bead with filigree

Gold bull amulet, originally part of a necklace. The bearded bull was considered divine

Gold spouted cup from the Royal Tomb of Queen Pu-abi

Tuesday, 8 December 2020

Rare Greek-Illyrian helmet discovered

A very rare bronze Greek-Illyrian war helmet, used in Greece during the time of the Greco-Persian Wars, has been discovered in a rock-cut tomb in Dalmatia, Croatia. The form of the iconic open-faced helmet originated in the Peloponnese during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. The find was made during the exploration of the cave tomb in Zakotarac, located on the Pelješac peninsula, in southern Dalmatia, Croatia. The tomb was for a warrior buried in the 4th century BC. Part of the warrior’s skull appears to be visible from the openings of the helmet. The helmet is one of only about forty such helmets that have ever been found. Archaeologists also discovered a trove of ancient weapons, including spears and knives.

Two other people were buried along with the warrior, including a woman, who was found wearing a bronze bracelet.

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Coinage of the Normans in Sicily

The Norman conquest of England in 1066 is one of the most famous events in history. But few have ever heard of the Norman conquest of Sicily. Descendants of Vikings who settled in the French province of Normandy, the warlike Normans were eventually Christianized. They served as mercenaries across Europe. A band of Normans arrived in Sicily in 1059. Duke Robert de Hauteville (c. 1015 - 1085) led the conquest of Sicily. He was nicknamed Guiscard (meaning “wily” or “clever”). The only portrait coin of Robert was struck at Salerno on the Italian mainland. It depicts him in the regalia of a Byzantine emperor, a position he tried for years to attain, either by marriage or conquest.
Roger I (c. 1031 – 1101) completed the conquest of Sicily begun by his brother Guiscard. The last Arab stronghold, Noto, fell in 1091. The obverse of Roger’s anonymous gold tari bears the Arabic inscription, “there is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the prophet of Allah”--an unusual choice for the coinage of a Christian knight.
Roger II (1095 – 1154) was the second son of Roger I. He succeeded his short-lived elder brother, Simon, as Count of Sicily in 1105. After uniting all the Norman territories in Italy he was crowned as King of Sicily in 1130; his gold tari are relatively common
After Roger II died in 1154, the throne passed to his fourth son, known to history as William the Bad. When he died in 1166, his son, only 11 years old, took the throne as William II. Known as “William the Good”, his reign of 23 years was remembered as a golden age of peace and prosperity.

William II died in 1189 without an heir, and Tancred of Lecce, an illegitimate grandson of Roger II, seized the throne. He was nicknamed “the Monkey King” because of his short stature and unattractive appearance. On his rare gold tari, the Arabic inscription is “King Tancred the Victorious through Allah”