Tuesday, 30 June 2020

The land of gold, Halayeb and Shalateen

The area is inhabited by the Beja tribe, the largest in eastern Sudan.Egypt announced the discovery of gold in the Eastern Desert, with reserves at more than 1m ounces. The Shalateen Triangle is rich in oil and other metals, most notably gold.
The conflict around the Shalateen Triangle began in the days of British colonialism which failed to identify who the inhabitants of the Triangle followed. It was annexed to Egypt, but was returned to Sudan in 1902 since it is closest to Sudanese land.

The Queen of Sheba is a figure first mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. She brings a caravan of valuable gifts for the Israelite King Solomon ... "with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones" The tale has undergone elaboration in many cultures. Historians identify Sheba with the South Arabian kingdom of Saba in present-day Yemen. Yemen was one of the colonies of ancient Ethiopia, before the fall of the Axum Empire. The queen's existence is not disputed and her 'lost mines' are legend.
See ----->Gold Mining in Sudan - terra incognita

Friday, 26 June 2020

The Spanish doubloon

In the New World, Spanish gold coins were minted in one, two, four, and eight escudo denominations. The two-escudo piece was called a 'pistole' with the large eight-escudo coin called a 'quadruple pistole.' English colonists would come to call it the Spanish doubloon.

Tens of millions of Spanish cob and milled gold coins circulated throughout Europe. Spanish gold was regularly accepted in the early United Sates and continued to be minted in the New World until 1821. It was the first literally world-wide gold trade coin and circulated for over three hundred years until the economic and military decline of Spain forced it's replacement.
The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight is a silver coin of approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) diameter worth eight Spanish reales. It was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497.A silver Spanish dollar minted in Mexico City c. 1650

Monday, 22 June 2020

Father Crespi and his Artifacts

Crespi won the hearts of the people and they began to bring him artifacts as offers of thanks. The items came from all corners of the country, and were the works of almost all the indigenous cultures of Ecuador.
Father Carlos Crespi Croci was a Salesian monk who was born in Italy in 1891. He studied anthropology at the University of Milan before becoming a priest. In 1923, he was assigned to the small Andean city of Cuenca in Ecuador to work among the indigenous people. It was here that he devoted 59 years of his life to charitable work until his death in 1982.

Over time, Father Crespi acquired more than 50,000 objects.
Thousands of Crespi’s artifacts are unremarkable but there was a small subset of items that sparked intense controversy.

Some of the artifacts are Babylonian in style, others appear to have been carved in gold with strange motifs and symbols that do not resemble objects from any South American culture. Some of the gold plates appear to show a type of ancient writing.
In 1973, Swiss ‘ancient astronaut author’ Eric von Däniken launched his book ‘ Gold of the Gods ’, claiming the artifacts had been created by a lost civilization with help from extraterrestrial beings. Father Crespi and the story of his artifacts shot to fame.

According to Däniken, the so-called Metallic Library consisted of thousands of books made with metallic pages. A recent investigation has proven them to be crude fakes.
Investigators found Father Crespi’s collection was purchased by the Central Bank of Ecuador and is currently stored in their museum vaults, with the majority being authentic and valuable artifacts. Nowhere to be found however were the artifacts that were photographed and filmed in the 1970s consisting of gold carvings, hieroglyphs, and the Sumerian figures.

No one at the Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Church of Maria Auxiliadora or the Central Bank Museum were able to say what became of them.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

The Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

The world's richest temple has a cash flow problem. In the wake of depleting revenue amid lockdown restrictions, the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple has slipped into a deep financial hole. Management plans to approach the trust controlled by the Travancore royal family for aid. The famous shrine’s revenue has plummeted since the Covid-19 lockdown began on March 25.
The Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu located in Thiruvananthapuram, India.

The temple and its assets belong to Lord Padmanabhaswamy, and are controlled by a trust run by the Royal family. In June 2011, the Supreme Court directed authorities to open the secret chambers of the temple for inspection of the items kept inside. Some had not been opened in centuries.
The review of the temple's underground vaults led to the enumeration of a vast inventory of the temple's assets, which consist of gold, jewels, and other valuables. 18th century Napoleonic era coins were found, as well as a three-and-a-half foot tall solid gold idol of Mahavishnu studded with rubies and emeralds. Ceremonial attire adorning the idol was in the form of a gold anki weighing 30 kg.(66 lb).
It is estimated that the value of the items is close to 1.2 lakh crore (US$22 billion) This makes the temple the wealthiest in the world. The treasures accumulated for centuries, put there by generations of the Maharajahs of Travancore.

Vault B door with Cobra guardians
It was announced that a new hidden treasure vault had been discovered beyond the already documented Vault B. Adding to recent treasure findings in other vaults, researchers are estimating the total treasure could total over $1.5 trillion.

The temple has been shrouded in mystery and superstition. Two enormous Cobras are rumored to be protecting the innermost hidden chamber.
Legend holds that anyone who opens the vault will be met with certain doom.

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Ancient Greek plague

Homer’s Iliad has the earliest account of plague in Greek literature and dates back to the eighth century BCE. Agamemnon captured the daughter of the Trojan priest of Apollon, Chryses. When Chryses attempted to ransom her, Agamemnon refused to return her. Chryses prayed to Apollon, “god of the silver bow.” Apollo was addressed with his epithet Apollon Smintheus, or “Apollo the mouse god.” The Greeks had noticed the correlation between rodent infestation and plague, and so prayed to this aspect of Apollon. Apollon heard the cry of his priest and sent a plague through the Greek armies, shooting his arrows at the Greek soldiers for nine days, leading to bodies burning on pyres.

In mythology, the arrows of Apollon (as well as those of his twin sister Artemis) were associated with the rapid onset of disease.
The Greeks appeased Apollon with sacrifices of bulls and goats, hymns, and the return of the priest’s daughter. They purified themselves and 'cast their filth into the sea'.

Modern research indicates that rats were not the main reason for spread of plague. The best models suggest it was human borne ticks and fleas.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Gold parting via salt cementation

Gold and silver are similar on a chemical level and are often found together forming an alloy known as electrum. Electrum wasn't always desirable for trade.

When coinage started gaining popularity a means to standardize the purity of the gold and silver was needed. The first technique of gold parting was invented: salt cementation. Salt cementation involves adding gold/silver alloy, some burnt clay or old brick dust, salt, and urine to moisten it. The mixture is sealed and then heated, but not hot enough to melt the gold – less than 1000°C.
In about 24 hours, the gold will be nearly silver-free at around 90% purity or greater. When heated in the presence of silica and alumina (found in the clay/brick dust), salt breaks down to form hydrochloric acid and chlorine. The acidity in urine helps decomposition. The hydrochloric acid from this reaction interacts with the silver to create silver chloride, which separates from the gold. When that occurs, the reaction is volatile – which is why it's sealed.

After removing the gold, one can convert the silver chloride back into silver, giving you two separate, purified samples of precious metals for coins.
See ----->Gold of Croesus

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Search on for Cleopatra's tomb

Taposiris Magna has been in the spotlight recently as the site of the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. The remains of a temple of Osiris is believed to be the last resting place of Cleopatra.Cleopatra VII was born in 70 or 69 B.C. and ruled Egypt as co-regent for almost three decades. After the forces of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony were defeated by Octavian, she committed suicide in 30 B.C.
The ancient settlement was occupied from the second century BC to the seventh century AD.

In 2010 archaeologists discovered a huge headless granite statue of a Ptolemaic king, and the original gate to a temple dedicated to the god Osiris. It could represent Ptolemy IV.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Falerii Novi revealed through radar

Falerii Novi was a walled city spanning 30.5 hectares about 50km north of Rome. It was founded in 241 BC and was inhabited until around 700 AD. This is the first time a complete ancient city was mapped using ground-penetrating radar.

With a population of 3000 people, it boasted an elaborate public bath complex and market building, and at least 60 large houses.
One notable discovery was the location of the city’s water system. GPR showed it was laid out underneath the buildings before they were built, suggesting the city's construction was highly planned.

Monday, 8 June 2020

25th century since the Battle of Thermopylae

Greece marks the 25th century since the Battle of Thermopylae with a circulating commemorative €2 coin. 735,000 coins are being issued for circulation.
The Battle of Thermopylae was fought between an alliance of Greek city-states, led by King Leonidas of Sparta, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes I over the course of three days, during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place with the naval battle at Artemisium, in August or September 480BC, at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae. The Persian invasion was a response to the defeat of the first Persian invasion of Greece, which had been ended by the Athenian victory at the Battle of Marathon in 490BC.
By 480 BC Xerxes amassed a huge army and navy, and set out to conquer Greece. The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the Persians for seven days before the rear-guard was annihilated in one of history's most famous last stands. It has become a symbol of courage against hopeless odds.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Gold bar was Conquistador booty

A gold bar in Mexico revealed that it was once part of the treasure stolen by the Spanish conquistadors during the conquest of the Aztec. It belongs to an event called the ‘Night of Sorrows’ (La Noche Triste) in 1520.

The bar was probably made by goldsmiths working under the supervision of the Spanish in 1519-1520.
On the night of July 1, 1520, Cortez's army left their compound and headed west, toward the Tlacopan causeway. The Spaniards made their way out of their complex unnoticed but were seen by Aztec warriors known as the Eagle Warriors, who sounded the alarm. The fighting was ferocious.

As the Spaniards and their native allies reached the causeway, hundreds of canoes appeared in the waters. Weighed down by gold and equipment, many soldiers lost their footing, fell into the lake, and drowned. Sources vary as to the total number of casualties. It is thought at least 450 Spaniards died and 4,000 of their allies.